Surely you have come across a few Instagram or youtube accounts that someone has shared an incredible before and photo of their curls. Which has left you scratching your head and wondering what you’re doing wrong and why you haven’t seen those results. Today’s I’m sharing Everything You Need To Know About Training Your Curls to show you exactly how you too can train your curls and have your very own stunning before and after photos.
Before we get started…
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the curly girl method or maybe you just haven’t seen the results you’ve been wanting, I have something special for you.
I created a curly girl cheat sheet to help you get started right.
I remember scrolling through my phone and seeing account after account of curly girl transformations that were mind-blowing. I couldn’t believe some of the amazing result people were having with their curls.
After reading dozens of captions and different articles, I learned many of these people had enhanced their curls by training them (or manipulating them). I was obsessed with the idea. It just seemed like such an obvious way to naturally enhance your curl pattern without damaging it.
I decided to write Everything You Need To Know About Training Your Curls to help you know exactly what you need to train your curls.
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I wanted to know everything I could about training my curls. I spent hours and hours reading different blogs and watching tutorials on how to train your curls.
So I started training my curls the first month on my curl journey. And I noticed results almost immediately. It seemed crazy to me that your curls could hold memory after they dry.
Here is a before and after of my first three months following the curly girl method. This was directly after finger coiling.
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For those of you who aren’t exactly sure what curl training is let me start at the beginning and give you a full understanding of what it is and how to do it.
What Is Curl Training?
The ability to train your curls by manipulating them. This is meant to enhance your natural curl pattern and create frizz-free defined curls.
What Curl Training Is Not
There seems to be some controversy around the curl training topic (imagine that, controversy on the internet).
So let me tell you a little bit about what curl training is not…..
- It’s not meant to make your hair more curly. Think of it as enhancing the curl definition you already have
- The goal of curl training is not to make all your curls curl in the same direction. That would take all the fun out of curly hair. Again, think of it as enhancing your already gorgeous curl pattern.
- The purpose of curl training is not to make your hair prettier. ALL CURLS ARE GORGEOUS!! So I’ll say it one last time…..
The purpose of curl training is to ENHANCE your existing curl pattern and create more definition.
So are we clear on what curl training is not? Good!
Everything You Need To Know About Training Your Curls
Establish Healthy Habits
When it comes to training your curls, the first thing you are going to need to do is to establish healthy hair care habits.
Trying to train your curls on damaged brittle curls is like trying to paint on a broken canvas. It just doesn’t work. You are setting yourself up for failure.
To have beautiful curl clumps, you need to start with a clean slate. Check out 10 Curly Girl Habits You Must Know To Have Perfect Curls.
Track your progress
This may seem trivial but tracking your curly journey from start to finish is super important. There is no way to measure a goal or how much your curls have improved if you aren’t documenting your progress.
Before you get started with your curly journey, it’s important to make detailed notes and take before and after photos. That way you will have something to compare to in the next 6 months. It is so encouraging to be able to look at before and after photos and see how far you’ve come.
I designed a custom daily curly tracker to help you track every aspect of your curly journey. You can get it here.
Use the template below as a guide to curl tracking.
Clarifying is key to healthy habits. Even if you are using clean products you still need to clarify to remove natural oils and dirt build up on your hair shaft which weighs it down and creates frizz.
If you have wonky curls, unexplained frizz, or your curls are acting funny. Chances are you need to clarify.
I add this to my calendar and make sure to clarify at the beginning of each month. It’s a good way to start with a clean slate.
These are my favorite clarifying cleanser:
I love this one because it’s fairly accessible and does a decent job. I’d say it’s the best drugstore clarifying wash.
Bounce curl is one of my favorite product lines. It’s the perfect amount of moisturizing without weighing my curls down. This gentle clarifying wash gets your curls clean without damaging them.
When it comes to high-end products, Monat is one of my favorites. Their products are super high quality, made with hair-healthy ingredients, and are the perfect balance of moisture and protein. The price point is a bit higher but you truly get what you pay for.
I know choosing a high-end product can feel scary so I wrote this post on the difference between drugstore and high-end products to help you better understand what you are paying for.
Finger coil or twist your deep conditioner
Training your curls starts early on in the process. Get in the habit of twisting or finger coiling your deep conditioner while you are in the shower.
This helps your curls create and remember their curl pattern better which will give you more definition long term.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. You cannot establish healthy hair habits for a week and then throw in the towel because you didn’t get the results you wanted.
Having great curls can take weeks or months of consistent healthy habits. I don’t say that to scare you but rather to encourage you that if you don’t see results right away, don’t get discouraged.
I recommend committing to caring for your curls for a solid six months before you get discouraged. During those six months, make an effort to learn about your curls and track your progress.
Use The Right Products
You will always hear me say that methods are greater than products. But products still play an important role. When it comes to training your curls, it’s super important that you choose the right products. Read more about how to choose products here.
Always add water
I feel like water doesn’t get the attention it deserves in the curl world. When it comes to curl training, make sure your hair is very wet. And if at any point it seems like your curls won’t behave or you are seeing frizz, add more water.
Use a leave-in conditioner
Moisture is important any time you style your curls but especially when you are training them. A good leave-in conditioner should be the first product you apply to your hair before you begin curl training.
As always it is important to choose a leave-in conditioner that will add moisture but will not weigh your curls down.
My favorite leave-in conditioner’s:
This drugstore leave-in conditioner is the perfect amount of moisture for my curls.
I love this leave-in conditioner because it is lightweight and adds moisture, but it repairs your hair as well. So it’s pretty much a like a win-win.
Use A Product With Slip
A product with slips refers to how well the product is distributed through your hair. Products like heavy gels, mousse, and even curl curl cream can be too dense for curl training.
Choose lightweight products that glide through your hair. This helps eliminate friction caused by running your fingers or a brush through your hair.
You can always finish your look by scrunching in that max hold gel or mouse. But when it comes to the actual curl training process, use a product with slip.
My go-to products with slip:
Bounce curl is my go-to for curl training. Both of these products have slip, moisture, and hold.
This is my favorite drugstore product for curl training. It has slip but not a ton of hold so I recommend using a gel on top of it.
This is another good drugstore option. Make sure to use this product on super wet hair only because it will flake if your hair is damp or dry when you apply it.
When it comes to slip, you just can’t beat a good homemade flaxseed gel.
Use A Product With Hold
Once you’ve added water for hydration and to create natural curl clumps, leave in conditioner to add and hold moisture, and a product with slip to create your finger coil, it’s time to finish the look off with a product that will hold.
Think medium or max hold gel. And don’t worry about your curls getting crunchy. Of you apply gel while you hair is super wet, it won’t get crunchy.
My favorite max hold gel’s are:
This is by far the best drugstore gel. It has a ton of yummy ingredients, doesn’t flake, and is super affordable.
This is one of my favorite max hold gel. It smells delicious! I have to say that Ecoslay has some of the coolest branding. All of their products have fun names and work well!
Types Of Curl Training
Yes, there are a couple of different options when it comes to training your curls. And the only way to find out what is right for you is to, you guessed it, experiment!!
Finger coiling is probably one of the most popular ways to train your curls. Apple your products and simply coil your curl around your finger to enhance your natural curl pattern.
Always finish by scrunching your favorite gel throughout your curls to hold and lock in moisture.
This method takes a bit more practice but does wonders for your curls. Divide your curls into one-inch sections and brush your hair while twisting your hair around the brush handle. It’s a little tricky to explain so I made a video you can check out here.
I use and LOVE the Denman brush. Be sure to get the original brand because the off brands are not as good.
Twisting or braiding
I’ve found that this method doesn’t work as well on my hair type which is 2c-3a. But if you have 3c and above, I’ve seen it work really well.
Divide your hair into one-inch sections and twist or braid your hair together. Finish off with scrunching your hair upward.
Use Natural Curl Clumps
When it comes to curl training, it’s important to listen to your curls. Think of it as enhancing your natural curl pattern, not creating it. If a curl doesn’t want to coil a certain way, then readjust and coil it in its natural direction.
Trust me when I say the sooner you accept your curls the happier you will be.
It’s important to encourage your natural curl clumps before you even start the training process. See this post on how to create natural curl clumps.
Twist section that naturally group together
Start by grouping sections of your hair that naturally clump together. Coil them around your brush or finger and then scrunch toward the top of your head.
Twist hair in the direction that it naturally curls
Always twist each section in the direction that it naturally curls. Pump and scrunch after you train your curls to hold in your curl pattern.
Once you coiled each section of your hair, flip your hair over your head and pump or scrunch toward your scalp using a strong hold gel.
Let it dry completely before you scrunch it out
When you are finished styling your curls, let it dry completely before you fluff it.
Note: If you try to scrunch out the crunch before your hair is 100% dry, you will break up the curls and end up with a stringy, frizzy mess on your head.
If At First You Don’t Succeed Try Try Again
Curl training takes time. If you do not commit to consistent healthy habits and ongoing experimentation, then you just won’t see results.
Test And Experiment
Don’t be afraid to try new products and techniques. Your curls are always changing with weather, hormones, and many other outside sources. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t and don’t be afraid to try something new.
Like everything in life, success takes time. Commit to a minimum of six months being consistent on your curly journey, and I promise you will be shocked at how much your hair is capable of.
Training your curls isn’t for the weak-hearted. I’d be lying if I told you it was easy and there was one secret to unlock gorgeous curls.
While it won’t happen overnight, training your curls is a fairly simple process.
Start by establishing healthy hair care routines, choose your products wisely, experiment with what type of curl training works for you, utilize your natural curl clumps to enhance curl pattern and definition, and if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.
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