Every queen needs to know at least 5 curling techniques to transform her hair or extensions from drab to fab. While you might want to wear your hair straight or pick out your fro to spherical perfection, knowing a few curling techniques come in handy on days you want to switch up your look.
Here are12 ways to get defined curls for your natural hair style and extensions. The key to perfectly defined curls starts with a 3 basic steps:
Step 1 - Section your hair
Make your hairstyle ambitions more controllable by taming your crown into workable sections. The sections don't need to be perfect but should be secured together with clips or simple braids or twists.
Step 2 - Detangle each section
Once your hair is sectioned, hydrate your crown with moisturizer. Consider using the LOC method or your favorite leave-in-conditioner.
Step 3 - Moisturize and seal
After you have nourished your tresses it's time to seal in your moisture with the best natural hair products. Sealing in your moisture helps to protect your hair against breakage and retains length.
Natural Hair Styles with Defined Curls
One of the greatest challenges we face in the natural hair game is defining our curls. In this article we focus on how to get various styles of defined curls using tried and true curling techniques. Many of the recommended methods below are heatless, simple and guaranteed to last for up to 5 days with the right natural hair products.
Important Note: Remember to proceed with each of these curling techniques only after you have completed the 3 basic steps for defined curls mentioned above.
Bantu knot-outs are simple heatless ways to get defined curls and can be done on different lengths. If you rock short hair you'll need to divide your hair into smaller sections. For longer hairstyles the section sizes are flexible. Here's how to get Bantu Knot-out curls:
- Twist and wrap the section of your hair against itself like a screw
- Wrap it against itself at the base
- Tuck the ends at the base close to your scalp or secure with a pin
- Leave to dry/set overnight
- Unravel and fluff
Flexi Rod Sets
Flexi Rod Sets use Flexi rods to achieve curls that range from tight curls to big and bouncy curls. The bigger the rod, the bigger the curls, the smaller the rod, the smaller the sets. Here's how to achieve Flexi Rod curls.
- Decide on the size of the curls you want and use the suitable flexible rods.
- You can start on damp or dry hair. Damp hair takes longer to dry and could be shorter due to shrinkage while dry hair gives more length but less definition than damp, in some cases.
- Section your hair with a rat tail comb.
- Detangle as desired
- Apply a leave-in conditioner and sealant, or a setting lotion/foam
- Twist the section of your hair around a Flexi Rod
- Twist both ends of the Flexi Rod to put your hair in place
- Repeat all over your head
- Unravel when dry and style
Straw sets are similar to Flexi Rod Sets but are a more economical choice. They are also great for short hair and best styled on wet / damp hair. Follow all the steps in the Flexi rod procedure to achieve a straw set, however, substitute your Flex rods with straws.
Twist and Braid Outs
Twists and braid outs are the fastest and more simple ways to curl natural hair and extensions. While twist outs give more definition, braid outs give more volume and length.
- Apply a gel or curling custard. (Optional)
- Braid/twist each section.
- Unravel when dried, separate curls and fluff for more volume.
A curling wand gives you instant curls and is the fastest way to curl your hair. After sectioning and detangling your hair, follow the steps below.
- Apply a heat protectant
- Twist the section of your hair around the curling wand and hold about an inch at the ends
- Release your hair after a minute. Repeat all over your hair
- Style as desired
This is another direct heat method for getting curls. Although flat irons are better suited for straightening hair, they can also be used to create big curls or light waves. This is best done on straight hair or stretched hair.
Twist/Braid + Curl
For extreme volume and definition, try a twist/braid and curl. This method involves cornrowing your hair or flat twisting it and using a roller on the ends. This keeps the ends more defined and less frizzy.
Rollers (Plastic Wrap)
Rollers and plastic wrap is a method that is usually done as part of the Silk Wrap heatless hair straightening method. The results are straightened hair with big bouncy curls and body. To create these curls:
- Start on clean and well moisturized hair
- Apply a setting foam to your hair
- Roll each section of your hair firmly with your preferred rollers
- Allow to dry under a hooded dryer or air dry over night
- Use a silicone-based product to seal in the moisture
- Use a plastic wrap round your head, going in one direction
- Use a hooded dryer for about 10 minutes
- When cool, take off the wrap
- Style as desired
9 Finger Coils
Finger coils are best for achieving small spring-like coils. To get perfect finger coils, all you need are your fingers, some products and patience.
- Start on wet or dry hair. The latter gives more length
- Moisturize and seal
- Apply some gel or curling cream to your fingers
- Twirl small sections of your hair
- Allow to air dry
- Style as desired
Wash & Go
Wash & Go curls often are achieved with a bit of product and quick natural hair styling techniques. This is the easiest way go get curls that are similar to your natural curl pattern. Although you're originally meant to wash and go as implied, follow the steps below to get more defined curls, length and volume.
- Rake a gel or curling cream into your hair after washing and moisturizing
- Use a Denman brush, the shingling method or praying hands method to get more definition
- Lightly twist hair or use banding method to stretch
- Air dry over night or use heat
- Take down twists/ bands
- Apply some of your favourite oil to get rid of crunchiness, if any
- Style as desired
Wet sets are the classic way to curl your hair. All you need are some plastic rollers, pins, a setting lotion, and hair dryer if you need to dry your hair quickly. To achieve a finished look using the Wet Set curling technique, repeat steps under ‘Rollers and Saran Wrap’ without wrapping your hair.
Achieve defined curls as a natural is simple and fast. For the perfect curls plan ahead to give your hair plenty of time to dry. Also moisturize and hydrate your hair with your favorite natural hair products and remember to use a satin bonnet at night to preserve your curls for up to 5 days.