Styling 101

There is a method to the madness, and I, Manes by Mell, have cooked up the formula for your best curly hair days ever. I’m sharing my perfected recipe for applying your styling products as outlined in 3 phases: Prep, Style, Finish. This blog will break down the importance of each step and what products/ingredients you want each!

What is Prep, Style, Finish?

“Prep, Style, Finish” is the order products are applied to the hair when styling. Yes, products plural.

* Reality Check *

There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all-one-and-done” styling product for everyone. Instead of applying a lot of ONE product, it’s exponentially more beneficial to apply a little of a couple products to get multiple benefits.

Also important to note: It is (almost) always better to layer your products rather than mixing them all into one concoction and slapping it on your head to avoid weird reactions like clumping/flaking of your hair products. This is why we Prep, Style, Finish.


Consider your hair’s porosity. Porosity refers to how well your hair is able to absorb and hold moisture, and knowing it is important when deciding which products will be right for you. If you don’t know your porosity, see here: POROSITY BLOG

Low Porosity

hair tends to repel moisture and resist product absorption. To moisturize it effectively, use protein-free daily conditioners with humectants such as glycerin, propylene glycol, panthenol, honey, agave, and aloe vera. Humectant-rich products that attract and retain moisture, such as lighter, liquid-based hair milks, are ideal for low porosity hair.

High Porosity

Hair can easily absorb moisture, too much even, and so it’s important to use leave-in conditioners, moisturizers, and sealers to prevent moisture loss. Products rich in emollients such as fatty alcohols (Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, and Stearyl alcohol), silicones (dimethicone, amodimethicone, cyclomethicone, etc.), proteins and hydrolyzed proteins, fruit and vegetable-derived oils and butters,  mineral oil, petrolatum, and polyquaterniums. These help fill gaps in damaged cuticles and protect hair from losing too much moisture. 

I know, it sounds like a lot. (especially if you’re high porosity like me, and if you didn’t know, curly hair is naturally porous to a degree, which is why our hair can feel so dry at times. If it’s not properly moisturized, it wont hold onto moisture well) hence why we layer products. So have no fear, the proper way to do so is outlined here!


Hair Prep is the foundation of a good hair day. Failing to prep is planning to fail, so you definitely don’t want to skip this step.  Prepping your hair well starts with a proper cleanse and condition, but to narrow things down, we’re strictly going to talk about leave-in prep products.

These products are known as Primers, Leave-In Conditioners, Detanglers, Protectants, etc.and may provide you the benefit of:

  • Slip for detangling
  • Heat and uv protection
  • Color protection
  • Hair plumping for fullness
  • Shine
  • Moisture
  • Strengthening

Choose one with a consistency best suited for your hair. Sprays are more lightweight and well for Fine hair, and creamier lotions will perform best for Coarser hair.


Style is where you get to customize your look, so ask yourself:

What are you trying to achieve with your products?

Typically there are 3 desirable curl effects. Volume, Hold/Definition, and moisturized/de-frizzed.

For Soft Hair

Cream products are the best for moisturizing dry frizzy hair. If the hair is conditioned well it will not frizz as much in humid temperatures. Well moisturized hair is also less prone to breakage and contains a healthy shine. Beware however that these products are also heaviest on the hair and may weigh down your curl. If you have fine hair that needs moisture, water down your cream/conditioner so it is not as heavy.

My favorite cream products: AG Re:Coil, Curlsmith Weightless Air Dry Cream

For Hold/Definition

Gels give the best hold as they create a shell around the curl to keep them looked together. With great hold, there is little frizz. Hair that is more wavy/curly that don’t have a ringlet curl need products with stronger hold to keep the strands together and prevent from frizzing. Gels give the best hold as they create a shell around the curl to keep them looked together. With great hold, there is little frizz. Hair that is more wavy/curly that don’t have a ringlet curl need products with stronger hold to keep the strands together and prevent from frizzing.

For Volume

On fine hair that is easily weighed down, a styling foam or mousse is the best option, HOWEVER; Volume comes through your styling application methods, , i.e fluffing out your roots with a comb.

TIP: The softer/looser the curl pattern, the more important it is to use something to hold the curl as it is more likely to frizz apart since the lock isn’t twisted in a ringlet.

Part of defining your curls isn’t just about what products you use but how you apply them. How wet your hair is and what tools you use will affect the end result.

See these videos:

Before the next step, make sure you dry your hair! You can air dry or diffuse.


This is how you complete the style. Based on your earlier preferences ie, Soft Hair, Hold/Definition, Volume, you may add one more product to the hair to complete the look aka the *FINISH-ing touches*.

Soft Hair

You can apply a frizz-taming serum or finishing (sealing) oil to scrunch out the crunch, to lubricate and seal cuticle cells, and add softness, shine, and block out humidity.


You can add hair spray to give extra hold to the style.


You can add a texture spray or volumizing powder to fluff the hair, add texture and lots of body.


If you’re having challenges with other areas in your routine,

make sure you check out this blog:

Link: 15 Reasons Why You Keep Having Bad Hair Days

Explore More

Product Recommendations


🌟 By popular demand… these are my top 2023 Black Friday Sale Favorites; the products that I, or my subscribers can’t get enough of; by some of the best brands out there! AMAZON LIST LINK Go To Amazon Aveda Aveda – Botanical Repair bond building styling cream Go To Aveda

Read More »
Product Recommendations

My Skincare Routine

I became obsessed with my skin, because I care. Over my years online, the clarity of my skin has fluctuated, and the peak of my pimple era was in 2020/2021 and I did everything i could to try to clear it (I definitely did too much) BUT at last, I

Read More »
Product Recommendations

Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide!

Hi friends! If you’re a last-minute shopper like me with a budget of $50 or less, these are gifts from amazon (prime shipping) and Sephora (offering free same day delivery). I hope this helps you find the perfect gift! Happy Hair-idays!🎄    For Those Short on Time The Perfect Hair

Read More »

Featured Products

Copied! ... Redirecting to Retailer