Hey, Hey, Hey! What’s up to all my beautiful NaturalLeeders! Hope you are all doing great. I know this post has been long overdue but I really have been short on time since lately. So, one of the questions I receive on a daily basis always has to do with achieving defined curls! My top answer…Moisture!!! [for me at least]. When I just started my journey I had little knowledge about hair care & my thick hair just really seemed overwhelming. Overtime I felt more in control of my hair and less like it was controlling me, & I did this by researching on the internet and then learning through TRIAL & ERROR!
I realized early on my journey that my hair looked and felt its best the day of and the day after wash day; by day 2 & 3 it looked lifeless. This was when I realized that moisture really is key! Dry curls just DO NOT have the same appeal that moisturized ones do. Keeping that in mind I decided to moisturize my hair daily and did this by misting my hair with a spray bottle of coconut oil and purified water, paying keen attention to my ends. I also co-washed once weekly and deep conditioned once a week. Within a month or two my hair moisture levels were ideal, making them feel great and appear healthy, while my coils looked lush & springy.
Later on in my journey my trusted hair product at the time was sold out & so I picked up something different to try; products from Beautiful Textures (I no longer use their products, but now I feel like revisiting, because Beautiful Textures was once my holy grail brand). That night I realized that PRODUCT was also the key to everything! I did the same thing I did every week to my hair but this time using different products and the results were incredible. My coils were POPPIN!!! As of that day I figured out that hair moisture levels and quality product were essential in achieving beautiful, lush, defined curls. You see, if our hair is dry and dehydrated no matter what we put in it, it won’t look as lush, so it’s important that our hair is always hydrated. On the other hand, what we put in it and the amount we put in is then important in predicting defined, lush curls.
My Top FIVE tips for achieving Defined Curls!
1. Keep Hair HYDRATED
You can achieve consistently well-defined curls by keeping them hydrated. Well hydrated, or well moisturized hair behaves and looks better than curls that are dry and parched. With regular conditioning and deep conditioning not only will your hair be easier to manage but it will also behave and look better.
I deep condition once every 1-2 weeks with Shea Moisture’s Manuka Honey Intensive Hydration Hair Masque, then rinse, apply moisturizer and style if needed. How often I deep condition is just for reference. I know naturals who deep condition once a month because their hair retains moisture for longer periods. I on the other hand need to do it more often, so figure out what works for you. You can start with regular deep conditioning once a week, and do this until your moisture levels are at its peak (moisturized hair is soft to the touch without product). Once your hair is hydrated then feel free to lessen how often you deep condition to once every two weeks and then to every three weeks depending on your hair. Just remember that curls that are dry simply cannot have the same definition that well-conditioned curls will have.
2. USE QUALITY PRODUCTS
Quality Products = Products with Quality Ingredients!
Why do you think brands like Shea Moisture, Camille Rose Naturals, Cantu or Kinky-Curly are so popular among curly gals seeking lush curls? Because the products from their lines actually WORK! These brands have formulated their products to work with curly hair of all textures. Now I’m not saying the brands I’ve mentioned are the best out there on the market, but their ingredients put them at the top of my personal list. So INGREDIENTS MATTER! [tip: you should always pay most attention to the first 5 ingredients because these are the highest concentrated].
Always check the ingredient list before being sucked in by fancy labels on the front of the packaging. The power of a product is actually on the back and our power as consumer is to decide what is best for our hair’s wants and needs. When it comes to hair care it is important to know how certain ingredients work on our strands, and which don’t so when when buying you can quickly decide if a product is right for you or not. For me personally I look for products containing a good combination of moisturizing butters and oils among its top ingredients. Once you master which ingredients work best with your hair, then you will know exactly which products are better suited for you.
3. Apply Products While Wet
Your hair should be damp to wet when you begin the styling process. I always say after conditioning don’t bother getting out of the shower, just squeeze the excess water from your hair and begin applying your moisturizers and styling products. If you apply your products to your hair while it’s wet, it will lock in the style and lock in the definition.
Have you ever noticed as you work product into your wet hair the curls start clinging onto other curls??? If yes then we’re in business! Wet hair and product causes curls to clump together, & clumping is a good thing when you’re on the hunt for definition. Some naturals opt for a paddle brush (Denman brush) when working product into wet hair, but I personally just use my fingers and the palms of my hands to smooth the products onto my hair and allow my hair to take the lead and let my curls come together on their own.
4. Get yourself a product with good HOLD
If definition is your greatest concern, then you may be skipping an important step in your styling routine. I used to only use butters, leave-in conditioners and oils to style my hair and could not figure out why my hair became frizzy and poofy so fast and why by day 2 my hair looked less defined. Sure my hair felt and looked super moisturized but it lacked that WOW factor that so many of us are on the hunt for with our hair…defined curls! This was happening because oils and butters don’t contain ingredients that will HOLD our curls in place. Gels, custards and jellies is what we need if we plan on achieving any curl definition or longevity to a style.
These products help create the desired clumping effect (hair strands begin to stick to each other). When I see my strands clumping together I know the end results will be amazing. For my ladies with thick hair like mine, or those who’s hair show little curl definition, I would definitely suggest you get yourself a good hair gel or custard for clumping your curls, defining and holding them in place. A product with hold, will preserve your coils longer while also minimizing frizz. Nonetheless, your hair type will determine what sort of gel you need to enhance your curls.
For my ladies who have visible definition regardless of what product you use, go for a gel that is more liquid and less dense, with lots of slip. If you have very fine/thin hair I suggest you also go for a more liquid type of gel.
For my Type 4 curly gals
You ladies have been blessed with beautiful type 4 curls but I know that a common concern for most is the lack of visible curl definition. Your hair type will require a bit more work to achieve defined curls, but it definitely is possible by following the tips above and by finding a gel that works with your hair and making her your new best friend.
So you need to find a thick, dense hair gel because thicker gels will help your hair clump together and the denseness will allow your hair to hang because of the added weight. Next, ensure your gel has lots of slip so the gel can glide on your hair easily and also help in the detangling process. Finally you want your gel to feel gooey between your fingers, because this means major clumping and curl definition. Most naturals with type 4 hair usually love Eco Styler Gel, so that’s a good one to test out first. In case you’re curious I personally use Cantu’s Shea Butter Shine Custard.
5. After applying products, Leave Hair Alone!
The Jamaican in me would say, “Lef yuh hair alone!!!” Got that??? After you’ve applied your products, combed through your hair, styled it and all that, please just leave your hair alone. Okay? Feel free to grab your diffuser (low heat) or let it air dry (what I do) but don’t even bother thinking about touching those curls. Your curls at this point have now been set and you don’t want to disrupt the curls.
So no combing and no brushing after you’ve applied your moisturizer and styled! WHY? Once the water in the product evaporates the polymers (source of hold in styling products) form a clear film which creates a strong hold and helps maintain the definition of a curl. This hold breaks when you either wash your hair or touch, comb or brush it. So unless you want your hair to look like a big ball of frizz then I’d suggest you refrain from touching your hair.
♥ As always thank you for coming by. I know this was quite a lengthy post so congrats on making it to the end. Hope at least one of theses tips will be of use to you. ♥