Every naturally curly girl knows the struggle of wanting to find that perfect balance between defined, moisturized, bouncy curls and no frizz all while avoiding that crunchy feeling after your hair dries.
The problem is that it’s so much easier said than done.
I remember my high school years of using ginormous gobs of L.A gel max strength to help with definition and curl.
Still, I always ended up with that dreaded crunchy mess by the time my hair dried. So frustrating!!
After years and years of trial and error, I’ve finally found the missing link in every curly girl’s routine that is causing that terrible crunch and hiding those bouncy locks that your curls were meant to be.
But before I share my secret with you, I have to tell you that I stumbled on these tips while following the curly girl method.
If you have not already tried the curly girl method, I highly recommend it.
It’s essentially a method to embrace and promote your natural curls by using clean products and creating healthy hair routines.
I saw a significant change in my curls in the first 30 days following this method.
There are a plethora of different application techniques that are specific to your curly type.
You can read a more detailed post about the curly girl method here.
It can be a little overwhelming which is why I created “Getting Started With Curly Girl Cheat Sheet” (including a guide to my favorite affordable drug store products) to help simplify the process and get you the curly results you want quickly!
The Secret To Creating Soft, Bouncing Curls Without That Terrible Crunch
Finding a balance in moisture & hold is key.
The secret in getting those perfectly defined soft curls is making sure your curls have plenty of moisture to give them that bounce…..
….followed by plenty of gel to hold it. Make sense?
Basically, your curls need moisture (or in some cases protein) in order to be springy curls.
But in order to hold those curls (and not have them fall out), they need the help and hold of gel in order to keep that curl pattern.
But using a lot of gel always ends up getting crunchy! Keep reading curly friend…..<3 <3
Everything Rises And Falls An Your Application Technique.
Even if you use the best products, if you do not apply them the right way in the right order, you will end up with frizzy or crunchy curls.
It also makes a huge difference when you apply a product. Gel, for instance, will give you those lasting locks if applied on wet (not damp) hair and after a leave in conditioner.
But that same exact gel applied on dry hair will create frizz, crunch, and cause your curls to lose moisture.
Product choice matters.
In a market saturated with products specifically for curly hair, it can be a nightmare trying to find the perfect product.
If you want soft, bouncing curls that last 3-5 days, you have to ditch the dirty stuff.
I follow the curly girl method when it comes to products. You can read more about it here.
- HEAT STYLING TOOLS
- COMBS & BRUSHES
- SULFATES – NAMELY SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE & AMMONIUM LAURETH SULFATE
- NON-WATER SOLUBLE SILICONES
These ingredients are harsh on your curls.
You can find a shortlist of cost-effective products to get started with here.
How & When To Apply
It really comes down to a few simple steps.
- Apply a leave-in conditioner right out of the shower while your hair is still wet. Apply it by squshing it up into your curls and scrunching. This method will really lock that moisture in your curls.
- Section your hair into 2-inch sections while it is dripping wet. NOTE: It is really important that your hair is really wet when you apply the gel. I typically wring it out just a little bit but it is still really wet when I apply the gel. This is key.
- Thoroughly apply the gel in each section.
- If your hair dries quickly, use a misting bottle to rewet it. I cannot express the importance of your hair being very wet while you apply the gel.
- As you apply the gel to each section, scrunch it up into toward your head to encourage it to take its natural curl pattern. More is more when it comes to gel application.
- After you have thoroughly applied the gel, use a microfiber towel or t-shirt and scrunch upward. This will remove some of the water and again encourage the natural curl pattern.
- Let dry completely before you touch your curls by either air drying or using a diffuser. NOTE: It is really important that you allow your hair to dry 100% before you touch it at all. I cannot stress that enough.
- Scrunch out the crunch. You can read more about this method here but in short, after you hair is completely dry, use your hands and a bit of leave-in conditioner or oil to smooth and scrunch out the crunch from the gel.
The purpose of applying a leave-in conditioner followed by a thorough application of gel is to create a gel cast (read here) to lock in the moisture and hold the curl.
By scrunching or smoothing out that crunch (once completely dry) you will be left with soft bouncy curly that will last multiple days.
As always, every curl is different and has different needs. It’s so important to experiment and find out what works for your specific hair type.
Don’t forget to be patient! It takes time to master this technique.
I would LOVE to connect and hear how this technique worked for you!
Jump over to Instagram and say hello @curl_colleen