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How Can I Create Defined Curls Without Crunchiness?

09.11.12 | Expert Tips + Advice | by Amena

Q/ I’ve been natural for a while but I’ve kept my hair sewn up and in kinky twists with extensions the whole time. I’m ready to start wearing my own hair but I have a couple issues. Between installs, I’ve tried to do twist-outs but they end up poofy! When my hair is wet, I have these awesome, beautiful curly coils. Near perfect spirals. When it dries, I can’t see them as well. I’ve twisted with Elasta QP Mango Butter, and while I love the scent, it did nothing for my curl pattern. A lady at my office showed up to work the other day with an awesome twist out, telling me she used Kinky Curly products. I’ve never used it, though I’m willing to try it. What do you think is the best product to help pull out those curls when my hair dries? – A. Naomi

A/ There are two main keys to achieving the desired styling results every time, hair moisture levels and product. I say this because dry to dehydrated hair doesn’t look its best no matter what we put on it and what we put on it and in what amount is critical to predicting our final results.

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you give your hair adequate moisture by avoiding harsh sulfate shampoos and conditioning your hair regularly at least once per week. You should also try to use a deep conditioner for 20 minutes or longer at least twice per month.

The second thing you’ll want to do is understand that there isn’t a styling product in the world that can give us what we don’t have, they can only lock in (our curl or coil pattern) or accentuate what we do have. Since you are looking to highlight or enhance your curls you’ll need something with a bit of hold and frizz blocking power. The level of hold you’ll need will be dependent on your hair texture whether it’s fine, medium or coarse and not your hair type commonly classified from type 1 through 4.

Fine textures with up to medium density strands do best with setting foam or lotion type products, medium textures can do either setting foams, lotions or gels depending on how heavy the gel and the density of the hair, and coarse textures need heavier gels as well. The key to using holding products effectively without drying out the hair is the leave-in applied underneath them. Your leave-in should be natural oil based (shea, olive, coconut, etc.) to help prevent crunchiness and nourish the hair as part of the styling process. Pomades are another option as they hold without crunch however their base ingredients are usually something smothering to the strand which encourages dryness so I do not personally recommend them for direct application to the hair unless used for edge or spot control.

Hair styled with products that are not meant to hold (are not formulated with holding ingredients) like many hair “butters” often equal maximum frizz in a matter of 1-2 days. I always get fourth day hair before it is time to re-twist or braid for setting purposes using a oil-based, hold styling product on top of well moisturized hair.

Though your co-worker had success with heir hair and Kinky Curly, please keep in mind that finding a product that will work for your hair is trial and error and what may work for one head of curls may not work for another. I have not personally tried the Kinky Curly line, however, they have quality natural ingredients though this is still not a guarantee that they will perform well on your hair. I also think there are much more economical brands with equally quality ingredients to consider. Many naturals have touted Shea Radiance Maximum Curl Defining Cream as well as Eco Styler Gel With Argan Oil as products that define without crunch and work well over a leave-in. See our product recommendations below for creating defined curls without crunch and play around with a few products to see what your hair likes and be sure to keep the above guidelines in mind.

Cheers to your hair!

-
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  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Torrid-Tresses-by-Ms-Amena/164443836991148 Ms. Amena

    @Kade – appreciate your feedback lady!
    @Izely & Black and Olive – glad you ladies found methodsthat are working for youas no two heads are alike!
    @Tammy Barbour – I do my best to think in terms of all textures when dispensing recommendations and advice. Glad you found something helpful to you.

    Cheers to our hair ladies!!!

  • Ndy

    From the sound of things the fro in distress sound similar to my hair, I have type 4b hair and the crown area is very prone to frizz. I get defined twist outs that last the whole week by using heavy pomades when I first twist my hair. Like article advised you definitely need a leave in before applying the pomade. I prefer pomades as they feel less drying on my hair compared to gels. I only used the pomade on the first day after my wash after I have applied my leave in for the hold that it gives.For the rest of the week I maintain my twist out by retwisting everynight in bigger twist. I don’t usually need to reapply any more products until about the third day and then a light oil will do for the next two days by then it is the end of the week.So I will definitely recommend a pomade . I also know a lot of type 4 naturals that use the shea moisture deep conditioner to twist their hair. check out youtubers like Blaklzbeautyful, ahseik1118.

  • Renee

    What is the Curly Girl Method?

  • http://blackandolives.blogspot.com Black and Olive

    I had a similar problem so I just gave up doing twist outs. The first two days my hair is dry and then after my curl pattern takes over and does it’s own thing. Ironically I love hair on day 4,5,6 than day 1,2,3. I tried kinky curly though I don’t just stick to just one brand. I find it better for me to gain as much moisture when I mix products.

    • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Torrid-Tresses-by-Ms-Amena/164443836991148 Ms. Amena

      Glad you found something that works for you. No two heads are exactly alike!

      Cheers to your hair!

    • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Torrid-Tresses-by-Ms-Amena/164443836991148 Ms. Amena

      Glad you found a method that works for you as no two heads are exactly alike.

      Cheers to our hair!

  • http://myfabulousnaturaljourney.wordpress.com/ Kade

    This is a great article, very informative! I love that you made the VERY important point, that what works for one, may not work for another. I think a lot of times, we want so badly for our hair to achieve what HER hair does, to our OWN hair’s disservice. It’s important to take the time to figure your hair out; you tresses and your natural journey will be all the better for it.

    Kadé

  • http://SUITE7beautyTALK.com Izley

    I had this exact problem the first few months of being fully natural. My hair was always a dry, frizzy mess once it dried so I would put it up in a tacky short ponytail because I didn’t know what else to do and had seriously considered a keratin treatment at one point and even going back to relaxers..scary thought. Last month I was googling options as I often do & discovered The Curly Girl Method which truly saved my life. The first time I tried it, I was surprised to see that a) my hair is actually curly & defined when properly moisturized b) it stayed that way once dry c) I didn’t have to spend a ton of money on products, thank goodness.

    I had no idea I had this hair & I know I can’t be the only one shocked at the curliness/softness of her texture once you get the right regimen down. For the first time in my life, I’m able to style & take care of my own hair without spending money on salon visits & I’m actually enjoying the process.

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/421205031249611/ Tammy Barbour

    Thank you for explaining the difference between types of products so I know which works best for my hair.



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