by Nicole Harmon author of Coils and Curls

Summer barbecue filled with eligible bachelors? Photo shoot? Wedding? Sometimes you just need everything about your look to be on point. These 4 steps will help you achieve picture perfect styles that last.

Step 1: Start by conditioning your hair

Pre-shampoo treatments are often recommended because they prevent the hair from swelling when it absorbs water too quickly, but that’s not the only benefit. Applying oil before washing your hair also helps your strands absorb and “hold on to” more conditioner once you’re in the shower. For DIY treatments, coconut oil has the strongest scientific evidence for conditioning the hair. If you want to step it up for a big event, opt for a professionally formulated pre-shampoo treatment like Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Extreme or L’Oreal EverStrong Overnight Repair Treatment.

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Step 2: Cleanse thoroughly but gently

Big events call for shiny, fluffy hair, which means a “clean slate” is a must. Old product residue and dirt will leave your strands looking dull and dry. That doesn’t mean you should clarify though. Many clarifying shampoos are so strong that they’ll strip away the conditioning from your pre-poo AND your hair’s natural cuticle oils. Instead, choose a gentle, moisturizing, pH balanced shampoo that removes dirt while leaving your hair more moisturized (similar to what a luxurious body wash does for your skin).

Step 3: Deep condition to smooth your strands and block humidity

A deep treatment will help you smooth and patch the cuticles of your coils and curls. Deep treatments that contain hydrolyzed protein will protect your hair from humidity which means you won’t have to worry about a frizz attack in the middle of your event. Take the time to apply the deep conditioner as thoroughly as you would a relaxer or color treatment. Saturate your hair from root to tip, especially in the front where most of the photos will focus. For the best results, leave your deep treatment in for the full recommended time in the instructions. Don’t worry about leaving it in for hours and hours, that won’t help you get better results and you might end up late for the party!

Step 4: Pump up the shine

The more light that reflects from your hair, the healthier and more moisturized it will appear (in person and in pictures). Coils and curls don’t reflect as much light as straight hair, so a boost of shine is always helpful. “Shine glaze” products that are made to prolong the life of color treatments can also be used to add shine to your natural color. My favorites are Aveeno Living Color Color Preserving Shine Glaze and Fekkai Salon Glaze Clear Shine Rinse.

The rest of your prep work will depend on what style you’ll be rocking for the event. Wet sets like twist outs or roller sets are great because you can do your makeup and everything else as your hair air dries. Before you head out the door, apply a flexible hold hairspray for extra assurance that your style will stay in place all day and night.

Hair Liberty is the freedom to rock whatever style you want, whenever you want. Curly, straight, natural, relaxed, whatever! Free yourself! 
How do you prep your hair for a big night?