With years of dry brushing and using heat your curls probably need some help to be great now, no? Trained curls are effortless; like Instagram curls! But only if you put some effort in to train them first. Start now! Better late than never :) Here’s everything you need to know about curl training
Inspired by any Instagram curlies like @patyandhercurls , @thekirstyfiles , @sojazzaye I started training my curls in January 2018. With practice, I got the finger coiling technique right only by March 2018, oops! Much like swimming or driving, curl training takes practice to perfect too, you see? I stuck with the program and reaped the benefits all of 2018-2019! After a while, my hair just fell in that "trained" pattern WITHOUT any manipulation!
However, towards the middle of 2019 I had a lot of color damage. To hasten the transition to virgin hair, I had to cut the damage out. Now in 2020, my curls need training again! So excited to share my journey now, hoping you benefit from these tips also.. learn more!
How to start curl training?
When you're just starting out, I recommend you focus on the cleansing phase. Yes, there are different phases in making natural hair curly.
The cleansing phase includes using a conditioner or deep conditioner . Curl training with these is a great start because these products have thr best slip compared to using a gel. Plus, with your hair soaking wet, the process will be faster and you will stay encouraged. Slowly graduate to other phases like prepoo or styling. Only once you start seeing results will you be motivated to do more!
Me? I finger coil while deep conditioning, but do the two-strand-twist for prepoo. Depending on the time, I do either technique for styling. The training depends on how much time you want to invest in. The more phases you include, the faster the training is all.
Pro Tips for Curl Training at Prepoo Phase
- Use light hair oil blends that also help in detangling (options here)
- Make small or big sections, depending on how much time you have
- Spray water first, lightly, then apply oil - OIL SEALS HYDRATION from water
- Brush that section and, then do the two-strand twists.
- Use reusable shower cap and keep 20min (or overnight depend on how dry your hair is)
Pro Tips for Curl Training at Deep Conditioning Phase
- Ensure hair is buildup-free before using a hair mask.
- Apply your hair mask on damp hair, rake it in to encourage clumping.
- Make sections and Brush OR train your curls with the clumps already formed by raking
- Finger coil OR make twists - whichever way you find easier and faster.
- Use reusable shower cap and keep 20min
- Rinse out with cold water using Squish to Condish method (tutorial in this guide here)
Which side do you think did better?
I make two-strand twist like Felicia when using “thicker“ deep conditioners (DC) or with my Olaplex treatments. If you use a DC with thinner consistency or better slip, you can finger coil for best results!
Pro Tips for Curl Training at Styling Phase
- Make sure hair is wet, conditioned, and detangled
- Brush to encourage clumping before styling (optional)
- Curl train with your trusty leave-in conditioner or curl cream
- Flip Coat Scrunch in the gel after
I don’t recommend you finger coil with gel because not all gels are moisturising. Some gels can cause flash drying which may impede the training process or worse, cause breakage!
Anyway, if you find styling with the two strand twists lengthens your curls and it won't spring up, remember to always scrunch in the end! Diffusing to dry also enhances the curl pattern.
Here’s a quick Finger Coiling tutorial Using conditioner only! I used an Indian Conditioner to style here and was very pleased with the results. The credit goes to the rice water rinse I did before I styled also. Use my code HONESTLIZ for a discount if you want to get one too!
Pro Volume Tips for Curling at the root
- Wet Plop for 5-10 min right after styling! (remember to squeeze out excess water)
- Root Clip while drying to achieve more volume! Tutorial here
- Trim all dead-split-ends so they don’t weigh your hair down
- Use water-soluble products for bouncier results! (not butters or oil-based)
Honest Liz Top Tips for Curl Training!
✔️ Use any product with slip! Add water to get more slip.
✔️ When in doubt, use a brush first to create “potential” curl-family-clumps, then curl train those.
✔️ For longer hair, use a different technique. Watch @thekirstyfiles highlights to learn that!
✔️ Pump and scrunch your coils after to reinforce curl pattern direction, but be gentle .
✔️ If it uncoils, Don’t panic. Just coil it in a different direction; it will never uncoil if it's the natural direction.
I gave it approximately 50 tries before I saw real results! Real results as in, NOT having to do anything and curls falling in an organised fashion - effortless! So try it as many times before you tell me it doesn’t work for you.
Liz, which way to coil and how much hair? I don’t know the direction?
I’ve noticed many are concerned about this. Remember if you do it in the “wrong” direction it will never stay that way. Curls want to fall in their natural direction only. So if you notice your efforts are not showing fruit, change the direction to test if that way is better for that curl family 🙃 it takes practice but you’ll figure it out ONLY when you do do it.
How long does it take? Anything takes practice honestly - like swimming or driving - nobody gets it right the first time obviously, no?
How much hair is needed to finger coil? The training depends on what you want your curls to look like, and also, the capacity of your curls to be trained. If you want big clumps, do them big. If you want tighter definition, do them smaller sections. You don’t even have to do your whole head. You can focus on wonky curls around your face while styling. For refreshing on non-wash days Finger coiling with water can activate previous products and Help you boost definition!
Do you finger coil while your hair is wet or damp? Whichever gives you the slip. Manipulating wet hair is ideal since you will get more slip to do it. Attempting any manipulation while dry may cause breakage. Use your discretion and be gentle with your hair.
Do you need to train curls all in one or different direction? We don’t want to look like George Washington’s wig or baby Shirley Temple, no? Stay with the natural direction of your curls. That's the goal! To enhance your natural curl pattern.
How do you know what family your curl belongs to? Get your hair wet with conditioner. Don’t brush your hair. Just work with your conditioner and water. Then notice how they fall like seaweeds, those are your ideal curl families to be honest.
What is the best way to finger coil? Best way to finger coil is with a product that is slippery - great slip!
Can we finger coil when we have oil in our hair? You can’t finger coil dry hair I mean you can but you might break hair in the process BECAUSE of the dryness and the tension. I suggest stick with the two-strand twists for dry or damp hair training.
Will using a Denman Brush curl train too? Denman brush definitely helps in curl clumping which is also the goal for curl training EXCEPT once trained You don’t have to do much! Curls will just fall that way, you won’t even need the brush .. but something’s got to give. You see? So the Denman Brush would be good initially, but eventually other techniques will need to be used to see a more “PERMANENT” difference.
How do you train curls and still get volume? If you have curl trained into place before, but hair “falls” into that place and doesn’t give volume then your products are much too heavy for you. Products matter too, you know? If you have similar curl pattern as mine using water soluble products will help you. Using butter based creams may weigh it down.
How to sleep with finger coils? Remember to always sleep with dry hair. Just plop your hair into your bonnet to preserve your curls while you sleep! Make sure to wash your bonnet every two days to avoid product buildup on the bonnet and your pillowcase.
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- Beausilkin (for silk!) they ship worldwide
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Top Tip for Training Wavy Hair
Both my daughters have wavy hair and I find none of these techniques like brushing, finger coiling, or making two strand twists working for their wavy hair. Don’t be disheartened if these methods don’t work for you; remember not everything is for everyone. Meanwhile here’s a tip from my curl friend Julie -
“My wavy curls usually unravel when I try so if I have really wonky bits I add a bit of product and pin curl them until dry. I can do single twists that air dry into big barrel curls as a protective style though” ~ juliedeccentricities
Arguments Against Curl Training
It takes so much time! Finger Coiling should be done with Slippery products/with “slip” and only then it gets faster. Takes me 6 minutes to finger coil. With practice, it will get faster for you too!
It’s not natural! It looks fake! This is manipulating your hair, yes, but it’s better than using hot curling wands or perming hair with chemicals! Remember to uncoil the coils after fully drying and fluff your hair for that natural look. Make sure you use little oil or a curl cream while you separate coils to avoid frizz. Watch this video on how I do it:
Finger Coiling is NOT for you if...
You already have defined curls. Here's the thing. Finger coiling helps enhance curls. With gentle yet persistent training, curls fall in an organized fashion. But if you are already in that happy place then this isn't for you.
You have looser curl pattern - type 2 hair. My daughters both have wavy hair and none of these techniques work for them. I speak from experience. But maybe. Just maybe, you will never know unless you try?
With the right technique and practice, you’ll get the hang of it. Let me know if you feel the difference after you've tried it at least 5x times.
Best Product for Curl Training
You don’t have to use a lot of products. Focus on your cleansing game: use rice water rinse before deep conditioning OR use a hair tea before styling! As long as your foundation is strong, any product with slip will do for curl training. But since you asked me, I recommend training with creams. That’s because I like to FLIP COAT SCRUNCH my gel after.
Experiment to explore what works for you. Here are my favorite videos for more inspiration.
Finger coils on Type 3 Hair
Finger coils on long curly hair
Kirsty shows the difference here - in the first photo she has finger coiled hair; the second shows her with minimal products and no coiling! I’m SHOOK.
Finger coils on Transitioning Hair
Sayria Jade is total hair goals! She uses the Denman Brush first to clump curls, making it easier to find the clumps “to coil”.
Finger coils on Type 4 hair
Love lush! Her videos are everything :)
Here’s Bianca too!
Notice some of the best Instagram beauties have finger coiled their hair at some point. Let no one discourage you from trying it today. This curly hair care is a journey. There will be different paths, and this is only one of them. Try it to see if it leads to your destination. Let me know if it does - tag #HonestLiz on your posts I can see and repost them too.
Thank you for watching & reading!
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