The Best Products and Methods for Achieving Curl Definition on Natural Hair
Get that hair poppin' for all of 2021.
Let me start this off by saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with a little or a lot of hair frizz. It's normal, it's natural, and quite frankly it's a part of being a Black girl. But just make sure it's not stemming from dryness, breakage, and split ends.
With that said, I'll admit I'm someone who likes my curls to be juicy, moisturized, and defined (at least my day one hair). However, as the week goes on, I love the little bit of extra frizz that comes along and makes my 'fro look even more voluminous.
Seeing as I have a mix of type 4 hair, getting ultra-defined curls and coils isn't exactly a walk in the park. And my wash days tend to take a lot longer than I'd like, but they're always worth it.
Share my feelings? Here's a quick guide on how my fellow natural girls can get all the definition they desire after wash day.
Type 3 hair tends to be on the looser end of the curl spectrum. But depending on your own individual strands, it may or may not be easy for you to get strong curl definition.
Regardless of your texture, moisture is vital for natural hair, which is why it's so important to finish off your wash day with a deep conditioning treatment.
For type 3, both Briogeo's Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask and Ouidad's Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask are great options.
To shop: $36; sephora.com.
To shop: $44; dermstore.com.
Next, you'll want to follow up an oil and leave-in of your choice, as well as a curl cream and a good detangling brush. Amika's Curl Corps Curl Defining Cream and Miss Jessie's Quick Curls work magic on type 3 hair.
To shop: $25; sephora.com.
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To get those curls popping, you want to make sure you're working with wet to damp hair, then apply your leave-in and oil, using either the LOC method or the LCO method — whichever your hair prefers. Next, use a Denman brush or a Tangle Teezer to gently detangle the hair, starting from the ends and working your way up to the roots. As you're going through your hair, you'll start to notice that either of these brushes will start clumping your curls, so don't fuss with them too much.
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Once your hair has been detangled, section it out into however many parts you need (this will vary on the thickness of your hair) and gently rake the curl cream through. You can also scrunch your hair if you desire.
When you're done, you can either let your hair air dry or use a diffuser. Once it's completely dry, you can use a pick at the roots to fluff out the hair and give it more volume.
VIDEO: 6 Twisted Hairstyle Ideas for Anyone with Natural Hair
While it's essential for everyone with natural hair to include a deep conditioning treatment in their routine, this step is even more important for those with type 4 curls and coils, since this specific texture is more prone to dryness.
That said, 4C Only's Too Thicke Deep Conditioner is one of the few products on the market that works effectively across all textures, but especially 4C. And a little goes a long way.
You can also put on a heat cap while the treatment is in your hair to help the product penetrate each strand.
To shop: $23; 4conly.com.
Once the treatment has been rinsed out, you'll want to apply an oil and a leave-in of your choice using either the LOC or LCO method. If your hair is thick, it's better to do this in sections to ensure each strand gets coated.
Next, you'll want to grab the Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush, which expands as it glides through your hair, to prevent snagging and breakage for delicate type 4 hair.
To shop: $16; brushwiththebest.com.
Next, you'll want to use either a gel or a styling cream (there's no rule here, just whatever your preference is). Both Ecostyler and 4C Only have great, non-drying options.
There are a few options for adding definition to type 4 hair: you can either rake the product through your hair in small sections (but be prepared for temporary shrinkage), or you can do a twist-out, braid-out, or finger coils — the choice is yours. If you go the finger-coil route, you can try twisting or braiding your hair about one inch down from the root, and coiling the rest to give your hair a little stretch once it's dried and you've taken the coils out.
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To shop: $23; 4conly.com.
It's best to let type 4 hair air dry on its own because this texture is more prone to dryness and breakage.
If you find that your hair looks a little too shrunken up once it's dry, there's a simple hack for that. Just take a blow dryer and put it on the lowest heat setting. While holding your roots taut, blast them with hot air for about 10 seconds to stretch out the hair and give yourself more volume. Feel free to fluff out the hair at the roots when you're done, but make sure not to go any lower in order to avoid frizz.
This is All Natural. From the kinkiest coils to loose waves, we're celebrating natural hair in its many forms by sharing expert tips for styling, maintenance, and haircare.