When I first went natural, I recall watching videos of people applying conditioner to hair that looked like mine to magically form clumps. However, mine did not. Of course, there is really no magic to it. Natural hair in its stretched form pretty much looks alike but when wet some of us have clumps and some of us won’t. Naturally getting your hair to curl is a matter of finding the right method that works for you. If you don’t care for it, that is fine too; but if you are on a journey to find some clumps, here are 6 different ways.
1. Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay really can create curl clumps where there were none before and can also emphasize hair that naturally clumps. A clay wash at a basic level just entails mixing clay with water and applying as a mask to hair for around 15 minutes at a minimum.
‑Generally very good results on all hair. If you use the hair typing system this would be 4ABC right through to the wavy type 2.
‑Bentonite clay can also be used as a mild cleanser
— Some people feel that the clay makes hair feel dry . You can fix this by either using a rinse in or leave in conditioner.
— Clay can get stuck on the scalp and therefore care around that area is essential.
2. Shingling — Finger detangling with a styling cream gel product
Shingling refers to the use of fingers in efforts to smooth out and define curls when hair is wet or damp and a styling cream is used. It is a term that was coined by Miss Jessie’s but you may see many tutorials simply refer to it as finger detangling.
— Probably one of the simplest curl defining methods as it simply involves raking a styling product through damp hair
— Generally works well with hair that naturally clumps. Some 4B and 4C hair types would not yield the same result without using another curl clumping method first e.g bentonite clay wash
— Great variability on the longevity of the style with some people able to go for a week but others 2 days at a maximum
3. Tightly Curly or Conditioner Only Method
I noticed that I have not yet used a male demonstrator for a hair tutorial so here is one! The conditioner only or tightly curly method was described first by Teri La Flesh and involves using conditioner to both moisturize and style hair.
— Only a hair conditioner is required
— Although this method does not work with all hair textures, quite a bit of the wave curl spectrum would be covered 4A, type 3 A, B, C and 2 can all expect some results.
— Some people do not like the feel of the excess conditioner on hair with some reporting scalp itchiness or a feeling of a film on hair
— Some combing or brushing may be required for curls to clump for some hair. This may not be ideal for finer hair.
4. Hair Gel
Hair gel is typically used over a leave in conditioner to avoid hair becoming very dry and crunchy. It is a pretty simple method with better effect if the gel is applied to small sections at a time.
— A relatively simple process
‑Many hair gels are sold in large tubs at relatively cheap prices
— Only hair that clumps naturally or hair that has been treated with a product such as bentonite clay and made to clump is best suited for this technique
— It will take some time to perfect the gel to hair section ratio as well as the type of gel that gives the best results.
5. Scrunch and Diffuse
This method involves scrunching in a relatively small amount of a conditioning product into freshly washed hair and then allowing it to air dry or use a diffuser to speed up the drying process without breaking up the curls
‑Another fairly simple method, requiring the styling product to be smoothed into the hair
— Generally works well with only the wavier type of curls — type 2 to type 3A, B. Wavier curls are more amenable to scrunching compared to the more corkscrew type of curls that could have the clumps disrupted by scrunching.
6. Max Hydration
I will not go on too much about this as I am certain many of the regular blog readers already know all about this method. If not, see the previous article — here
— Curl definition even on harder to clump textures e.g 4B and 4C
— Complicated process. Consider simply adding bentonite clay as a step after a standard shampoo and conditioner to simplify the method.
— Some reports of hair feeling dry and breaking after the process.
Have you mastered the art of curl clumping? What is your preferred method?