How do you get coil/curl definition?

Lately I’ve received several emails from readers wanting to know how to define their curls and coils.

Franchesca says….

“After I wash my hair, I love the curls that I see. But after I detangle it, it turns into a fro with no definition. How can I detangle my hair and still have the curls I see after shampooing?”

and Alexis says…

“My issue is that I have multiple textures in my hair and I really don’t know how to define my curls… It is so hard to find a product that is not too heavy for one part an not too light for another and I just really need advice.”

I know that defining coily/curly natural hair can be a challenge. What is your method?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...


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60 thoughts on “How do you get coil/curl definition?

  1. I define my 4a/4b hair using my Miracle Moisture cream. I formulate a lot of stuff and was just looking for something that would tame the frizz on my curls. I used this as part of air dry routine and wow! I started testing it and so far my 3b/3c ladies love it too. Best yet it has absolutely no silicones or mineral oil (I don’t believe in that stuff).

  2. I wash my hair with a gentle shampoo and rinse. While still in the shower, I squeeze some water out, and saturate my hair with conditioner. Then, I detangle (gently!), rinse out the conditioner with lukewarm water, and do the cold water rinse for as long as I can stand it. Don’t touch your hair while rinsing, as the water actually “sets” your curls. When I step out of the shower, I wrap a soft towel around my hair, taking care to not squeeze or wring out. Last step is to apply more conditioner. I usually use Aussie 3 minute repair (it’s actually a deep conditioner, but my hair loves it). When you are applying the conditioner on the last step, don’t comb your hair or “rake” it with your fingers. Don’t touch it until it dries. After it completely air dries, I shake my head a few times and separate some of the curls. It works everytime!

    • I have to try this for I have different texted hair going on also. If I airdry my hair, it becomes like an afo so I have to lay my hair down. When I do a braid or twist out the front holds and looks great and the rest frizzes out. I need help.

  3. i use the TC method, where you just take condish and run it along individual sections all over your head. works great and lasts forreeevver…until you wash your hair again at least.

  4. Hello Ladies: You will have to form your curls. My hair is just like yours….I turntp into a fro. Use Eco Styler Gel and Shea Smother Curl Smoothie together. Also have a spray bottle on hand. You will spray your hair when your hair becomes dry. Anyways, part your hair in sections. You will then grab pieces of hair from one sections at a time and apply the shea butter first with a little gel to give the curl definition. You will either use the smooth method where you just rub down the piece of hair smoothly and once you let it go the curl will form or you can actually move your pointy finger in a circular motion forming your curl. It usually takes me about a hour to complete my entire head. Once I am done and It’s dry I pick out my curls. Then on day two you can spray your hair with water and olive oil…also use activator no drip in the spray bottle daily. Once your curls are formed the next week you will only have to co wash your hair but don’t comb your curls or move it around so much when your washing out the conditioner. Dry, shake and then go!

  5. I have 4bc hair and usually I don’t bother to define my curls as I have gotten use to the fluffiness and Afro texture of my hair. However, I recently started using Shea Moisture products which I really enjoy. I discovered that a mixture of Shea Moisture Curling Gel Soufflé and echo styler gel works well on wet hair to give definition to my curl reluctant texture:) My hair doesn’t get crunchy using the mixture of the two. I do find it hard to revive this wash and go style the next day…it just isn’t the same, but a second day curly updo is feasible.

  6. SHINGLING! Me and my twin sister are 4b/4c, and I honestly say it works! It’s basically partitioning into smaller parts, detangling, dampening, adding a curl definer then a gel to define curls. You don’t detangle again after. Works a treat! YouTube & Google it for better description

  7. Finger detangling. Using even a wide tooth comb on my hair makes me lose all curl definition. Once you continue to finger detangle it becomes easier and you have increased curl definition. It doesn’t take forever as time goes on as well. I’m 4a/b, super coily

    • yep I would say finger detangle and don’t stretch your hair at all if you want your natural curl definition to shine. Think of your hair as a slinky, after you’ve stretched that slinky a couple of times it doesn’t coil back up like it used to. I also only finger detangle now. I use NO styling tools because they break my tiny coils apart. Lastly moisture is so important. I remember someone said frizzy hair is just curly hair waiting to be moisturized. Moisturized hair will clump in some form or fashion. It might not be how you want it to clump, but it will clump! Asf or my hairtype I believe it’s mostly 4b it looks puffy with teeny tight coils

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