rake and shake styling method

When it comes to getting great curl definition that lasts, there are two important factors to consider: your product selection and application technique.

Even though I’m a product junkie with no rehab stint in sight, even I can admit that technique is more important. You can have the best curl defining products at your fingertips, but if you’re not utilizing and applying them properly, you’ll blame the product for the outcome of your style.

There are several methods for applying curl definers to hair, raking, smoothing, praying hands, and more. But there is one method that has been delivering the best results — defined curls from root to tip that are plump, juicy, de-frizzed, and far from stringy ramen noodle style.

Ouidad’s Rake & Shake Method

The Rake & Shake was developed as a technique to define curls, encourage clumping without sacrificing too much in the way of volume. The method guarantees even distribution of product and minimal frizz–and promises perfect curls every time.

I came across the Rake & Shake Method about a year ago while poking around online learning more about Ouidad as a brand and salon. I became curious about the method, but wasn’t quite sold on how successful it would be with my multi-textured, type 3-something curls. The videos I found from Ouidad showed ladies with looser textures (like 2A hair”> getting their Rake & Shake on–but I was hard pressed to find a video of it on more highly textured hair. So I decided to do what I always do when I get curious about the claims a brand, product, or method makes–try it out myself!

rake and shake method for coily hair

The Rake & Shake method is really simple, and involves only a few minor adaptations from how you probably already apply product to your hair for wash and go styling. Really, it’s modified shingling.

What you’ll need

In this video, I styled my wash and go with As I Am Leave-In Conditioner, Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil, and Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel — the yellow one. You can use Ouidad styling products to do the Rake & Shake (the consistency and slip of their Tress Effects and Climate Control gels is perfect for raking and shaking”>, or experiment and get the technique down with products you already have at home.

In this video, my hair is freshly co-washed and deep conditioned, and divided into five sections to make things easier. I applied my leave-in and JBCO in the shower, so I’m keeping a spray bottle handy just in case my hair starts to dry.

Remember, the best wash and go’s happen on WET hair! Capturing the curl while it’s still wet will guarantee you a longer lasting result.

Got your products ready? Let’s go!


How to Rake & Shake

1. Take a generous amount of your curl definer of choice and apply it to the root, then smooth and rake it through the entirety of the larger section. Really work it in so it coats all the strands. Then, take a smaller section within that larger section and move the rest of the hair out of your way.

2. Starting at the root, rake your fingers through your hair. Rake thoroughly 3 or 4 times, so that your hair is evenly clumped between your fingers. This is going to give you more plump clumps of curls.

3. On the last rake, stop just short of letting the hair go. Holding on to the ends, gently shake the hair up and down a few times to set the curl. Make sure that you’re holding the hair in an outward motion, away from your scalp. This ensures that your curls will be defined to the root, but won’t fall flat.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 throughout each section of your hair.

5. Air dry, diffuse, or use a combination of both. I personally prefer to air dry (I  live in LA. it’s still 80 degrees every day”>.


Took me all of 15 minutes to rake and shake my entire head. Now air drying, that’s another story. Regardless of what product I use, it’s an all day process. As you can see, the results in this video really cosign on the claims that the Ouidad folks make. Rake & Shake has given my curls new life! No more frizzy roots, no more randomly stringy ramen noodle curls. I even found that while letting my curls air dry, I didn’t have to pin them back like I normally would to create that elongation in the front (thanks to the fact that it shrinks considerably more than the back half of my hair”>. For all the ladies like me with multiple textures, this is a total game changer.

Watch my tutorial

A lot of times, we naturalistas get comfortable in our styling boxes based on texture and type. I’m sure many type 3 and 4 ladies have heard of the Rake & Shake, but skipped past it based upon not being able to identify with the hair model in the video. Hopefully my video can help bridge the information gap a little–some techniques and methods can be universally applicable.

Will you be trying the Rake & Shake? 

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