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Heatless Curling for 4C Natural Hair: 5 Tips and Methods for Flawless Curls

• Jan 20, 2015

natural hair heatless curls naija curls

Taiwo of Naija Curls

Let’s talk all about curling 4c hair. Specifically, I’m referring to manually curling the hair versus enhancing the natural curl without a tool. The goal is to achieve either big fluffy bouncy curls or a smooth (or smoothish because let’s face it, some kinks don’t want to be smoothed out!) roller set. These styling ideas are perfect for you to practice if you have a summer wedding to attend or if you are just looking for styling ideas for your hair.

Heatless Curling Tips
1. In general, 4c hair curls best when the hair has been conditioned, allowed to dry and stretched. The moisture level of the hair is high enough to be flexible without being soaking wet such that it is shrinking and a little more difficult to handle. Some misting or use of hair setting foam/lotion is perfectly fine and may even enhance the final result.
2. Detangle, detangle, detangle.…did I say detangle? The better detangled your hair, the smoother the result and the less frizz you’ll experience, should you want to break up some curls after the rollers are removed.
3. Never take out rollers before the hair is fully dry. It can take anywhere from several hours to overnight for hair to completely air dry. You can accelerate it with a hairdryer, just never take the rollers out before the hair is dry.
4. Once the curls are set, bear in mind that in general water based products will start the reversion process. Stick to oils/butters of your choice for added slip when separating curls or for sheen/shine
5. Use a pick to cover up parts — see the first video for a how to!

Here are five video tutorials showing the results you can obtain with various curling methods including flexi rods, standard rollers, curlformers, straw sets and perm rods.

1. Big, Bouncy Curls — Large Flexi Rod Set

I love this tutorial because many tutorials show flexi rods being wound from the tip to the root but Taiwo does the opposite with larger sections of hair to great effect with plenty of texture and curl! It is definitely a technique worth practicing. For shorter hair, smaller parts and smaller rods are likely to emulate this result.

2. Big, Bouncy Curls — Large Roller Set

Many naturals with 4c hair generally scoff at the idea of the traditional roller set but it really can work especially if you start with stretched hair as this tutorial shows.

3. Smoothish Regular Curls — Curlformers

Curlformers are as stretching staple for many naturals now. I tend not to like the look on shorter hair but this video did change my mind. Perhaps a few more parts are necessary to get a good result.

4. Smoothish Small Curls — Straw set

The size of your straws will obviously determine your result but in general, this style works best on medium to short lengths. It is a time consuming style but has the advantage that provided you do not get rained on, it could last for around 5 days to a week.

5. Super smooth, smallish curls — Perm rod set

Jouelzy pretty much knocked it out of the park with this rod set. The small parts, good detangling and small perm rods are responsible for what is pretty much the smoothest 4c curl set I have seen. Much like the straw set, it takes time to do but has longevity attached as a benefit.


Do you think you’ll attempt any of these curly looks?

About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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Manestream Beauty
Manestream Beauty
7 years ago

I like options 1 most because even if my hair started to revert i.e. swell/puff up it wouldn’t bother me as much as option 2, which I like, but doubt would last a whole day.

Manestream Beauty
Manestream Beauty
7 years ago

I like option 1 most because even if my hair starts to revert i.e. swell/puff up it wouldn’t bother me as much as option 2, which I like too, but doubt would last a whole day.

7 years ago

When I do a roller set with magnetic rollers, I use rollers with clamps. Without clamps, the rollers fall out of my head! My curls are so tight they refuse to stay on the roller haha. With the clamp, my hair dries so smoothly that it almost looks relaxed.

7 years ago

perm rods and straw sets shrink the hair. where as I feel magnetic rollers and curlformers gives a stretch

Shamenth Barril
Shamenth Barril
7 years ago

i love all, nice post

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