The “Everything” Guide to Getting Defined Curls (without the Frizz)

May 18, 2021

The “Everything” Guide to Getting Defined Curls (without the Frizz)

Put a finger up if you have more hair products than you can fit on a bathroom counter. What about a drawer - do you have an entire drawer, cabinet, or a couple of shelves in the hall DEDICATED to all the different products you have tried in hopes of getting more defined curls? One  of the questions naturals want answered the most is “how do I get defined curls?” We’re talking about that very topic in this post.

Let me start by acknowledging that getting defined curls isn’t an effortless endeavor – it requires skill, consistency, and patience. Not to worry though, this art can be learned, and we’re here to help you do just that. Today, we are going to show you how to get defined curls and even give you a few pointers on which products you’ll need to get them.

So if you have been spinning-out, wondering what you have to do to achieve this look, relax – we’ve got you!

Why Can’t I Define My Curls?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be dripping in product to get defined curls. Good news for anyone still suffering from Jheri Curl trauma. You just need to be aware of the techniques available to you and find the products that work best for consistently achieving the look you want. Easier said than done, I know. 

You can use products like BIYO Curl Restore Maximum Hydration Deep Conditioner or the Curl Enhancer to quickly enhance and define your natural curl pattern without having to do a whole lot extra.

If you want different sized curls, you just need to deploy some different techniques. These can include using Flexi rods or doing braid-outs, twist-outs, and even Bantu knots. These curling methods offer differences in the way they form your curls, but the one thing they have in common is you will need to do some twisting. 

For instance, Flexi rods result in spirals that are typically larger than braid-outs or twist-outs. Twist-outs lend themselves nicely to curls, and the curl pattern tends to be a little looser than braid-outs. If you like a little more bounce and springiness to your curls, a braid-out usually does a better job of providing those results than a twist-out, but not better than the juicy spirals you’ll get with Flexi rods.

The point: there are different ways to get the curl definition you want, even without twisting your hair. So, let’s  talk about some techniques you can use to get defined curls when your natural hair falls flat, when you have 4c hair, or when you want to get curl definition in a night, or maybe even an hour or two.

Scenario 1: Defining Your Curls When Your Natural Hair Falls Flat

It’s always a bummer when your natural hair falls flat. It doesn’t hold your curls in place and just ends up feeling and looking droopy. There are a couple of reasons why your hair can fall flat - not saturating your hair enough to set the curl pattern, using heat styling techniques on your hair, untwisting your hair or attempting to style it before it’s completely dry or before your curls have properly set. 



Sometimes you have naturally frizzy hair that makes it harder for you to keep the natural texture of your hair at bay. And sometimes the natural weight of your hair makes it harder for curls to stay put. Remember how Grandma used to roll and pin her hair every night before bed? Sometimes we just have to do that. 

When it comes to maintaining curl definition in natural hair, one of the most effective ways to get this result is using the shingling method. All you need for this process is some water, a moisturizing deep conditioner, and a curling cream or gel. Its major steps are:

  • Apply the leave-in conditioner in your hair and part it into sections, ensuring that each is evenly covered by the product
  • Apply some water and use your fingers or a detangling brush to detangle and reach hidden areas
  • Apply your gel or curling cream on each strand of hair, using your index finger to smooth and twist it for maximum curl definition. Repeat this for all the sections of your hair
  • Air-dry /use a diffuser then lift your roots and shake your hair  for that extra volume and bounce

Scenario 2: Getting  Defined Curls on 4C Hair

So, next we’re talking about getting defined curls on 4C hair. We have just the recommendation for you - Bantu knots. They are great for all types of hair and aren’t even complicated to do. The only products you need are your shampoo, a leave-in conditioner, oil, and a moisturizing hair cream. Key steps include:

  • Wash your hair with shampoo and apply some leave-in conditioner
  • While still damp, part your hair into four sections using a rattail comb
  • Take a portion of one of the hair sections, brush it out to remove any tangles
  • Smooth oil and a moisturizing hair cream over the entire section
  • Coil the twisted hair around its base, making it look like a screw. Hold the hair in place with a pin. Repeat this for all sections
  • Allow it to dry overnight
  • Undo the knots and separate them with your fingers
  • Use a comb to lift the roots and add volume

Scenario 3: Getting Defined Curls Overnight

Now, let’s talk about what to do at night to get your morning curls defined. When figuring out how to get defined curls overnight, it is easy to assume that you need a complicated process - but you don’t. In fact, a braid out is more than enough. It creates a more defined pattern than most curling methods do and requires minimal products and tools. Essentially, all you need is curling cream, oil, and a wide-tooth comb. The process steps are:

  • Partition freshly washed hair into four sections
  • Apply your cream and oil all over the hair
  • Spray water into smaller sections of hair, detangle, and braid. Repeat this for all the sections of your hair
  • Once you’re done braiding, cover your hair with a silk scarf and let it dry overnight
  • Take out the braids in the morning and style hair as desired

Scenario 4: Get Defined Curls in an Hour

Even when you are in a hurry to get to a meeting, you deserve to have beautiful curls. As such, it’s always a good idea to have at least one technique to help you get your hair done fast. And if you’re looking for a way to get this done in an hour, we have a suggestion for you - Flexi rods. Using them is as easy as:

  • Dividing your dry hair into sections and applying setting lotion
  • Wrapping pieces of hair around Flexi rods and bending their ends inward
  • Air-drying the hair or using a hairdryer
  • Taking out the rods and enjoying your bouncy curls

Scenario 5: Getting Men to Get More Defined (but not too defined) Curls

Now, let’s talk about the brothas. They may not say it as much, but men want defined curls too (and we’ve seen the Google search numbers to prove it, so we see you). Fortunately, we know a simple way to get just the right amount of definition. And don’t worry, you won’t end up wearing any Hustle and Flow hair rollers. It involves:

  • Detangle the hair by combing through it
  • Add a little moisture to the hair with either a hair spritz or even water would work
  • Apply some curling cream
  • Use your fingers to apply some styling gel and curling the strands for more definition
  • Air-dry or blow-dry the hair 

Alternatively, men with short hair could use a curl sponge. To effectively use one, you should first ensure that your hair is damp, and contains an ample amount of leave-in conditioner, oil, and hair cream (the KISS Supreme Curl Define Set is perfect for this). Afterward, use the curl sponge to rub your hair in a circular motion. While it doesn’t matter whether you move clockwise or anticlockwise, you should stick to the direction you start with.

Final Thoughts on Getting More Defined Curls on Natural Hair

With all the techniques included in this article, we hope you never again have to ask, “Why can’t I define my curls?” All of them are effective and can be paired with nourishing products that can keep your hair looking supple and healthy long after you have decided to change your hairstyle.

So whether you want loose waves, to define your natural curl pattern, bouncy hair that stretches or just a more textured look to your natural hair, when you couple the right hair products, the right hair tools with the right curl techniques, you’ll be good. 



Nancy Ouma is a writer, content creator, and all-round storyteller who loves sharing stories about African hair, culture, and experiences. Born and raised in Kenya, Nancy is a believer in embracing one’s individuality and being your authentic self.

When she is not trapping words on paper, she is reading, binge watching shows, or making faces at toddlers.

Connect with Nancy...

on Twitter @nakinyi  OR on Facebook @nancy.akinyi2

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