How to Define Your Natural Black Curls
Texture isn’t dead! In fact it’s more popular than ever, these days; from big barrel waves to tiny coils, curly hair is getting hotter and hotter. And women with natural Black hair are born with lots of texture…the trick is just figuring out how to play it up.
Depending on your hair type, you may have natural black hair that is already tightly defined and individually curled, or kinks that zigzag a bit more than they coil around. However, if you want a rodded, curly coif, there are several different ways to go about it.
Method 1: Wet Sets
The most common way to bring out your hair’s natural coils is to use a wet set technique. Perm rods, small rollers, and even plastic drinking straws are all great for setting the hair in tiny, polished ringlets. Just make sure your rollers stay 1/4 inch thick or narrower, and use very small sections of hair.
You can also do a two-strand twist-out or braid-out. With these methods, you simply two-strand twist, braid, or cornrow your natural hair, let the strands dry, and then carefully unwind the twists or braids with a bit of pomade or natural oil. Twist-outs and braid-outs give the hair a less rigid, more bohemian look than roller sets, so they’re perfect for summer outings and relaxed nights.
Method 2: Curl Enhancers
If roller setting and drying don’t appeal to you, most women with natural black hair can also get super-shiny, defined curls with curl enhancing products. These leave-in conditioners, pomades, and potions have moisturizing and hydrating ingredients that encourage the hair to coil without frizzing. And, as a plus, these same ingredients help maintain healthy locks that grow longer without breaking.
The key to using curl enhancers on natural black hair is to thoroughly detangle your tresses before applying the product; over-combing your locks after putting in curl products just defeats the purpose, as you’ll yank out all the curl you want. Instead, after washing and deep-conditioning your mane, apply a light leave-in conditioner to help you comb out any tangles. Then use your fingers to work through your curl enhancers without disturbing your natural curl pattern too much.
When choosing a curl enhancing product, keep in mind that kinkier or coarser locks call for heavier products that will give you more control. Finer hair, on the other hand, demands a lightweight curl enhancer that won’t weight your mane down. So test out samples before buying them; rub the product between your fingers to test its thickness, or shake the bottle to see if it is a liquid.
Also check product labels for ingredients. Because natural black hair has thinner cuticles than other types of tresses, it is naturally drier and more fragile. So make sure to avoid curl enhancers which use lots of alcohol to create results. These will ultimately dry your locks and cause breakage.
Many curl enhancers also use silicones to hold moisture to the hair, and you probably remember earlier Perfect Locks articles about how silicone-based ingredients can be drying in the long run. So what can you do? Try washing the product out more often, since the problem with silicones is that they can create buildup and block moisture. While each head of hair is different, a helpful rule of thumb is to rinse or wash out any silicone-filled styling product after 3 to 4 days of wear.
Which is great news, because wet sets and frequent washings have been shown to help natural black hair grow longer, stronger, and healthier – all of which helps you rock even more beautiful, more luxurious ringlets!
Take care of yourselves,