Tips for getting curl definition no matter your hair type.

If you’ve been hanging around NaturallyCurly.com for any amount of time, you’ve no doubt noticed the pictures some curlies have chosen to share with us. The pictures they share always prove to be a source of inspiration! For some of you, though, these pictures lead to major hair envy because you can’t quite get your hair to look that way, even though you supposedly have the same hair type as the curly in a picture. So why won’t your hair do the same thing? Why does your hair seem to have no definite curl pattern? Maybe your hair does have a curl pattern, or three patterns that are just all over your head. You may even have hair that’s straight at the roots and only curls somewhere from the middle on downward. Is there anything you can do about this?

Why Me?

Before addressing what you can do to get more defined curls, it will help to explore some of the things that may be causing this lack of curl definition.

  • Transition:  If you’re transitioning after years of relaxers and haven’t done a big chop, then most of your hair is post-relaxer hair. The chemically relaxed hair is straighter than it would be naturally, so your natural curl pattern may show up at the roots or in places where it was under-processed during a relaxer. This leads to hair with two or three curl patterns.
  • Hair Length: Simply put, long hair weighs more than short hair. Therefore, it makes sense that the sheer length of your hair is what’s pulling it and causing it to be straighter near the roots. This is even more likely if you have thick hair.
  • Nature: If you’ve never done a relaxer (or you’ve chopped off all of the damaged hair) and your hair is on the short side, yet you still have hair with different curl patterns throughout, that could just be the way your hair grows naturally. Don’t despair, though! Our tips for getting a more defined pattern might work for you as well!

Tips & Tricks

Once you’ve figured out the reason your hair seems to have multiple curl patterns, you can decide what you want to do about it. You may just need to adapt to styling the different textures of your naturally diverse curls, but if not one of these methods might work for you.

  • Braiding or Twisting: If you have type 4 hair, you may not be able to get curl definition without braiding, twisting or doing bantu knots. You can do this on wet or dry hair. Add your favorite leave-in or twisting product and divide hair into smaller sections all over your head, two-strand twisting, braiding or twisting into a bantu knot for each section. Leave it in over night or until its completely dry, then take it out and carefully separate each section for great curl definition!
  • Clipping: Clipping is a technique many curlies know and love! It’s simple and you may even be able to do it as part of a wash-and-go technique if your hair isn’t super porous. Clipping will help lift your hair at the roots and can create an artificial “curl,” which will give your hair more volume.
  • Plopping: When you plop your curls, you’ll scrunch them up in a t-shirt in such a way that it looks like you’re wearing a head wrap. While this may not be something you want to do if you’re headed right out the door, it’s fine to do while you finish your morning routine. Before you leave, you’ll take the t-shirt off and be on your way with curls you’ll love!
  • Pumping: You may have heard of scrunching, but you can take this technique to the next level by pumping those fistfuls of hair! When you scrunch, you gather a chunk of your hair in your hands and hold it and then you release it. With pumping, you literally squeeze those handfuls of hair several times (for some reason, eight times seems to be the magic number) before releasing it.

Final Thoughts

Curls are about as unique as the individuals sporting them! Even though we can categorize most curl patterns, nobody’s hair is a textbook hair type.

Do you have hair that doesn’t seem to fit neatly into any single hair type? What tricks have you discovered for your curls?