Actress Amandla Stenberg via instagram
 By Mary Wolff

Styling your hair is key to looking and feeling your best every day. If you have short curly hair, you may be experiencing some roadblocks in your hair journey. Whether you recently big chopped, went short to make your routine easier, or just prefer rocking a short cut, there are a few things you should know to help you get your best look. Here are 5 styling tips for short naturally curly hair.

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1. Avoid Buildup

When the scalp produces natural oils called sebum, it is intended to travel down the hair shaft to keep strands moisturized and healthy. When you wash your hair, some of this is naturally stripped away and the process repeats itself. While many people think of this as their natural clock for when to wash, with short hair, you need to watch this even more closely. The hair shaft is naturally shorter so you require less of that sebum buildup. If you don’t stay consistent with your washing routine, you will end up with an oily buildup which can make styling harder. It all starts with the wash!

2. Dry the Right Way

Another concern for styling shorter curly hair is the matter of frizz. While this is an issue for almost every natural, short hair is especially prone to frizz. We all know frizz is created by heat and humidity, but it can also happen in the bathroom when you are drying hair. Make sure you are air drying or squeeze strands, but never rub! Rubbing your hair creates friction which raises the hair cuticle and leads to frizz.

3. Choose Products for Definition

When styling your short curls, you may need a little help with definition. Since curls that are cut short can sometimes curl upwards and lack definition, using a styling solution with curl defining properties can help you achieve a better style. A few examples for this purpose are EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea Curl Defining Crème, Dippity-Do Girls with Curls Curl Defining Cream, and DevaCurl Light Defining Gel.

4. Play with Heavy vs. Light

With heavy products you get intense moisture, but it can weigh down your hair. While a lot of curlies would want to avoid weighed down curls, sometimes this can work to the advantage of short hair. A little weight can help stretch the curl and give the appearance of a little more length. Don’t be afraid to play around with heavy products to see how they affect your curls.

5. Don’t Be Afraid of a Little Heat

Another issue with styling short hair is the need for a little volume. If your hair tends to dry more on the upward curl with flatter roots, using a blow dryer every now and then can help with this problem. Since blow dryers use heat to raise the root, it can give the appearance of more volume and help to relax that curl pattern just a little.
Kirbi on Instagram
Looking to make a statement this fall? A look that celebrates the TWA not as a necessary stop on the way to length, but as the destination? Look no further than Kirbi's candy-colored do's that are so much fun they may inspire you to do the big chop all over again! #fallhairinspiration

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Erickka Sy Savané

"Your hair is ugly," said my daughter's classmate. My first reaction was to go right up to the school and give that child a good whop upside the head. However, I had enough good sense to know that going ham on a five-year-old would only land me in jail. No, there had to be a better way to handle this. But how, Sway?

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Oh, and I know exactly which little girl said it too. At five, she’s a year older than my kid and everyday a babysitter picks her up from school with earphones on. They can be seen blocks away from the school walking in silence. It’s doubtful the babysitter even knows she’s there.

This isn’t the first time this little girl’s name has come up. Not long ago, she was fighting over the pink bean bag. Apparently, there’s only one in the class and homegirl feels like she should have it everyday.

I'm starting to wonder if this kid is a bully, which makes sense because who says that to someone with a straight face?

Well, someone with a lot of hair hate but that’s a whole 'nother story. I don’t want to get into the fact that the kid is a light-skinned Puerto Rican with 'nappy' hair so in her circles she’s probably a disgrace. It would be surprising if the hair conversations in her household center around the beauty of natural hair or the fact that everyone’s hair is different and beautiful just the same. Though I'm not saying that she’s the only one. Once my daughter and I were at a laundromat in Atlanta when a little girl around her same age with braids down to her ankles looked at my daughter's short natural hair bewildered. “What’s wrong with her hair?” she asked her mommy in disgust. You could sense the woman’s embarrassment, but what else could she expect when she and all of her kids, there were at least three more, looked like they had robbed a weave truck? It clearly sends a message that long hair is in, and anything to the contrary can’t happen by choice. People start getting very “well-meaning” when they see a little girl with short Afro hair. In fact, a few have come right up to me and offered the number of their hair braider. One lady offered to pay me to "fix it."

Maybe I'd feel the same way if I hadn't been to the Ivory Coast, where my husband is from, and seen so many strikingly beautiful little girls with short cropped hair. If not for them, I might also be clinging to braids as the only way my daughter, whose hair doesn't grow very long, would have a shot at a 'normal life.' It’s funny how we only see the beauty in what we’ve been trained to see.

So back to this kid. What do I do?

I call my mom who is not pleased. “Should I confront her mother?” I ask her. She quickly kills that idea, reminding me of the time she almost came to blows with a mom who was talking stuff about me and my brother. With all the neighborhood kids egging her on, me included, she went to the house of this single mother of eight to defend her kid's honor. Only thing is, ma didn’t realize that the woman was 300 lbs. She almost pooped her pants as she stood in the woman’s living room, trying to remember why she was there. Fortunately, the woman didn’t want to fight any more than my mom, but it sure was a close call. “Why don’t you just talk to the teacher?” she suggests.

The next day, I tell Ms. P. what the little girl said to my daughter and she confirms that it’s not a good idea to talk to her mom. For one, parents generally don’t like hearing from other parents regarding their kid, and two, one can never predict a parent’s personality. Things could easily escalate.
“Okay, so what then?”
She says the best thing to do would be to introduce some books to the class that address acceptance and diversity. After, they can discuss it. Her solution doesn’t sound nearly as proactive as going upside the child’s head and then taking down her mom, but...The next morning, I come to class armed and ready to read one of my daughter’s favorite books called, ‘I Like Myself,’ about a little girl so filled with self-love that she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. Hopefully, it will help.

This article first appeared on MommyNoire

How do you deal with insults aimed at your kids by other kids? 

Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or