If you thought having to find the perfect styling products for your uniquely textured hair was the hardest part of life as a curly girl, then you'll likely be surprised to hear that the method in which you apply the products is actually just as, if not more, important.
In the naturally curly community, we often hear about many different methods for product application--there is one forgotten method, however, that remains tried and true for achieving curl definition: It's the Smasters method, and it's nothing new. Created by O.G. CurlTalk user Smasters467, it is a relatively lesser-known method in comparison to others, like finger coiling. But that doesn't mean it doesn't work; it delivers fabulous results, and might be worth a try next time you style.
The Smasters method is a pretty simple addition to any style routine, and it doesn’t require you to buy any new products, so you can give it a try right now! The basic idea behind the method is that adding a curl enhancer to your hair when it’s about fifty percent dry will help encourage curls more than when applied soaking wet.
How to do the Smasters method
Apply your products as you normally would (cleanser, conditioner, leave-in), then begin to diffuse your hair. Once your hair is about fifty percent dry, turn off your diffuser, and move to a sink.
2. Add your gels
This is the part that many of us have been told to skip to avoid having horrid frizz, but believe it or not, in doing this method, you will avoid the cast that most gels leave on your hair. The next step is to wet your hands and use about a quarter-sized amount of curl enhancing gel on your hair. A popular choice is Kinky Curly Curling Custard, but you can also try the method with any products you already have in your cabinets.
Now, gently scrunch the gel into your hair. Be careful not to break up any clumps that may have started to form, as this can cause frizz. If scrunched in with wet hands and open palms, you should have no trouble applying products to avoid frizz.
For the final part of the method, dry your hair again to your preference. There are some differing opinions for this portion of the method, as some curlies dry their hair with high heat, and others only use low or warm heat. It depends on what works for your hair--drying on high heat will help encourage your hair to shrink and create more defined curls, which is ideal for many wavies. Using a warm or cool setting will give more elongation, which may be ideal for tighter textures.
Troubleshooting common Smasters Method issues
Here are a few fixes to some of the most common problems you might be facing:
1. Your hair feels weighed down.
With the Smasters method, you are using additional product on your hair, and fine-haired curlies may run into this issue the most. In the beginning, cut your usual product usage in half. Then, gradually add more or less, until you are able to get the benefits of this method without it weighing your hair down.
2. Your hair feels stringy and crunchy.
If you find that your usually soft curls feel much more stringy and form clumps that won’t scrunch out, you are probably using too much of the second product. Start by using half the amount, and gradually add more as needed. If the Smasters method is still not working, it may be that the gel you are using has too much of a cast. If may too hard of a hold, or your hair could be too dry when you are applying your products. Try and experiment with different gels, and adding more or less product to get your desired results.
3. You have excessive frizz.
The number one reason you might experience frizz with this method is by not wetting your hands enough before applying the second layer of product. To avoid this, I recommend standing next to a sink so you can instantly add more water if it feels sticky, or if it's pulling strand of your hair, and not going on smoothly. Frizz can also be caused by your hair being too dry--in this case, consider using a diffuser later in the routine to allow the product to sit in your hair, that way your hair can retain a bit more water to keep it from feeling too dry.
Have you tried the Smasters method before? Which curl-defining technique works best for you? Let us know in the comments below!
This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated to incorporate reader feedback.