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How to Define Curls: Methods for Maximum Curl Definition

How to Define Curls: Methods for Maximum Curl Definition

Let’s face it—curly hair is the main character. So it’s no wonder everyone from Selena Gomez to Taraji P. Henson is rocking their curls with confidence! Yup – whether you were blessed with natural curls or need heat to obtain your style, defined curls have never been more popular. Which probably has you wondering, how can you get yours looking their springy best...

To save you hours of watching curly hair videos on TikTok, we’ve created this go-to guide. Full of tips on how to define curls with confidence, it might even inspire you to come up with a #curlyhairtutorial of your own! So, to tame your mane and get the curly hair of your dreams, read on!


Method 1. Curl Training

Now that curly hair is back in style, curly-haired angels everywhere are trying to learn how to finger curl hair to get their curls to cooperate. Whether you want extra curl definition or a heat-free routine, curl training can restore your hair’s natural curl pattern and bring it back to life! Here’s how to do it.


@curly.iris Let's curl twist/ training ➿✅🌿 #foryou #curlygurl #curlytips #CGMethod #viral #foryourpage ♬ Easy On Me - Adele


How to Finger Curl Hair:

  1. Shampoo and Condition: When it comes to defining curls, preparation is key, so it’s important to know how often to wash your hair. For those with natural coily curls, it’s important to avoid over-washing. Have beachy waves or a crimp in your strands? Chances are you can wash your hair more frequently. 

    No matter your hair type, curls love moisture, so we recommend a shampoo and conditioner that revitalises hair—instead of drying it out. Our Super Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner are infused with avocado oil and pineapple enzymes so you can go further between washes while strengthening strands to reduce breakage and grow your hair longer. Because we all know curls make hair look a lot shorter than it is #curlyhairproblems.

  2. Dry Hair: Remove excess water from your hair so your strands are ready to absorb the product. There’s no need to use a blow dryer. Instead, just plop your hair with one of our Microfibre Hair Towel Wraps that reduce frizz without sucking out more moisture.

  3. Apply Deep Conditioning Treatment: Apply a deep conditioning treatment from the mid-shaft of your hair to the ends. Using a wide-tooth comb, distribute the product evenly. Need a product pick? Choose between our OG Like a Virgin Hair Mask that’s suitable for all hair types and our New Sweet Repair Hair Mask that’s a go-to for damaged hair. Both work like a dream for curl training!

  4. Twist Curls: To define curls, twist two thin sections of your hair together, working around your head. Don’t wind the curls too tight, as your hair is prone to breakage when wet. Let your hair sit for 15-20 minutes. 

  5. Rinse: Rinse the deep conditioner out of your hair and follow with a brush or comb to gently pull apart the twists.

  6. Style: Ready to skip to the good part? Feel free to follow your typical styling routine, but we recommend applying a curl-defining cream to scrunch your way to enviously defined curls.



@zara.howey Loose curls hair tutorial 🎀 using the amazing @coco_and_eve hair masque and elixir to moisturise+protect my hair💗 #cocoandevepartner #hairtutorial ♬ som original - ᱬmath


Method 2. Hot Tools

While you may not be born with stunning curls, you can still fake it until you make it! We stan anyone who wants to improve their confidence by changing up their look—plus, you may even get more right swipes on your Tinder profile with curly hair. (It’s a theory we’re currently testing.)

How to Define Your Curls With Heat:

  1. Work with Day-Old Hair: The best way to define curls is by working with hair shampooed the day before. This is because some oils in your hair will allow the curl to hold better. If your hair feels too oily, use a dry shampoo and focus it on your roots.

  2. Prep Hair: Choose a hairspray with a medium-to-strong hold, depending on your hair’s natural texture. If your hair is naturally straight, use hairspray before you begin to create more grip for the curl. Follow up with a heat protectant to prevent breakage. 

  3. Choose Your Tool of Choice: When it comes to learning how to define curls, the trick is picking the right tool. To get beachy waves like Hailey Bieber (yes please), divide your hair into small sections. Next, use a flat iron and bend your iron towards you, then away from you as you slowly drag it towards your ends.

    If you want voluminous Elle Woods-style hair, opt for a one-and-a-half-inch curler wand. For a more tousled look, stick with a three-quarter to a one-inch wand. As curling wands come in all shapes and sizes (with and without clips), you can create an endless amount of styles and find one that you love!

    No matter the size of your curling wand, each method can be replicated with the steps that follow. If you’re a newbie, consider getting heat-resistant gloves to prevent accidental burns. They happen to the best of us!

  4. Eliminate Knots and Section: To begin, brush any tangles out of your hair. If you’re stuffing with stubborn knots, try applying a detangling leave-in conditioner to ease the process. Next, create small sections with clips. Our convenient Claw Clips don’t pull on the hair and make a cute accessory if you need to put your hair up later on in the day. For thinner hair, choose a temperature at or below 93.3 degrees Celsius and for thicker hair, stay around 148.8 degrees Celsius to avoid damaging strands. 

  5. Curl Hair: Taking one small section at a time, twist curls away from your face, holding the curl to the hot wand for 15-20 seconds. To make sure you don’t wind up on Brad Mondo’s naughty list, curl down to the ends to avoid a crinkled finish.

  6. Brush Out: For a more natural look, we recommend brushing your hair out to give it a slightly worn-in vibe. Feel free to backcomb your roots with hairspray if you want more volume on top too.

  7. Finish with Hairspray: Apply a hairspray or texture spray for maximum tousle and hold! 


@coco_and_eve Wake up to gorgeous, heatless curls!🌀 @withlove.nadia #hair #haistyles #hairtips #lifehacks #beauty ♬ original sound - Coco & Eve


Method 3. Overnight Curls

For the ultimate #lazygirl hack, test out this technique with damp hair right before bed to wake up with the ultimate curls. Who knew a bathrobe tie could give you the stunning hair you’ve always wanted?

How to Define Curls With a Bathrobe Tie:

  1. Brush Out: Brush out any knots from your hair and part your hair where it naturally falls. Try our Tangle Tamer which works on all hair types.

  2. Pin Robe Tie: Place the middle of the robe tie on the centre of your head, allowing the sides to fall across your ears. Secure it with a bobby pin at the top of your head. 

  3. Braiding Method: Working with either the right or left section first, braid your hair around the robe tie by simply taking one strand across the front of the robe tie, then taking it behind the robe tie and back out the other side. Repeat the process until you are left with two adorable braids. For more volume, take bigger sections of hair, as you would when doing a French braid. 

  4. Secure the Curls: Secure the end of your hair with hair ties. Remove the bobby pin and bring the excess robe belt around the top of your head, tying the ends together at the crown of your head.

  5. Take Out the Curls: Come morning, gently remove your belt tie and run your fingers through the curls. To tame night-time frizz, smooth your hair with our Miracle Hair Elixir for a lightweight, silky finish. 


@sarasaadia My new favourite styling method 🤩 these are from BaByliss #heatedrollers #hairhacks #hairtools #rollerstutorial #hairrollers #hairtoolstutorial ♬ the way i are - theplutoaudios


Method 4. Hot Curlers

Just like mom Jeans and chokers, hot curlers are coming back in style. For a 1950s vintage hair-do or a modern Victoria’s Secret runway look, try your hand at hot curlers to get defined tresses.

How to Define Curls With Hot Curlers:

  1. Blow-Dry Hair: Start this process with freshly washed hair. Use a round brush to dry your hair for maximum volume. Blow-dry hair away from your face to create smooth, bouncy curls. This doesn’t need to be perfect, but it will help create an easier base for the hot curlers.

  2. Curl Hair: Beginning at the crown of your head, section out small pieces of hair. Tuck your ends around the hot curler first, then continue wrapping the hair around the curler until you reach the base of your head. For a younger look, wrap hair away from your face, or for a classic throwback style, curl hair towards your face.

    Secure each curler in place with a bobby pin. Continue this method until all your hair is pinned up. You can let the hot curlers sit for 30 to 50 minutes—or the length of a Queer Eye episode!

  3. Brush Out: Carefully remove all the pins and curlers. For a more relaxed look, brush your hair out. If you want more defined curls, rewrap each section with your fingers and spray each curl with hairspray!


We hope you’re now a curl expert and know how to finger curl hair like a pro to get those stunning twists. Test out our top methods above to see which ones work best with your hair type and give you dreamy, defined curls. 

For hair that thrives, check out our previous article, How to Care for Your Curls!


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Edited by: 
Pip Jarvis and Iris



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