We turned to a curly hair specialist for the best advice on styling curly hair.

Let’s be honest, curly girls face major challenges when it come to styling their hair – especially in the South where heat and humidity run rampant. Use too much product and your locks get crunchy. Overdo it with the blow dryer and ultra frizz will be the result. Go to bed with it wet and you never know what you’re going to get.

That’s why we turned to Alabama’s own curly hair expert, Sara Mills of Southern Curly Girl, to teach us the ins and outs of styling curly hair, and what she has to say may surprise you.

To begin, it’s important to start with soaking wet hair, and sectioning it if off tightly to keep the water in place. Apply a small dollop of leave-in conditioner and gel to control forehead frizz. Create a cast; it’s a technique using gel that lets hair dry naturally while protecting it against the weather elements. Next, apply leave-in conditioner starting at the ends and working to the scalp.

Using a wide-tooth comb, section of small amounts of hair and begin doing the rake-and-shake method. This means starting at the scalp with product in hand and running your fingers, like a rake, through the hair. When you’ve reached the end, give it a good shake; this will allow the curls to settle naturally.

Here’s a tip: never touch wet hair with dry hands. The friction will surely cause frizzing. Lastly, pinch and squeeze the hair with a towel to dry, and use a diffuser to finish it off. Following these simple steps will help you nail your curly hair ‘do every time.