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Pump Haircare best curly haircare products
Pump Haircare best curly haircare products

How to Define Your Curls: Top 10 Tips & Popular Methods

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    Learning how to define curls can be a difficult task if you do not know the proper steps to maintain a bouncy and defined shape. For all the curly-haired people seeking to define their natural curl pattern, this is the perfect comprehensive guide for you. We have delved into the top 10 tips and methods for maintaining your natural curl pattern to keep your luscious curls defined and beautiful throughout the day. 

    1. Use the Right Shampoo and Conditioner

    Using the wrong products can do more damage than good, especially when it comes to retaining and defining your curls. Always choose a shampoo and conditioner that are sulphate-free and curly girl-friendly. This will give your hair the support it needs to maintain its natural form without drying or straightening the hair shafts.

    curly hair shampoo and conditioner

    2. Apply a Leave-in Conditioner 

    Leave-in conditioners are a curly girl's best friend for defining their natural curl patterns. This is because curly hair is naturally more porous so it requires more hydration and support compared to straight hair. This means that curly hair will greatly benefit from products that are lightweight and hydrating, such as Pump’s Define and Repair cream, which deeply nourishes and defines your curls throughout the day. 

    3. Apply a Hair Oil

    Natural oils are another way you can hydrate and define your natural curl pattern. Keep an eye out for curl hair oils containing coconut oil, argan oil or jojoba seed oil as these oils are known to deeply hydrate, increase shine and act as a natural heat protectant against UV rays or heat styling tools. You can apply hair oil on dry or wet hair, however, hair oils apply better on wet hair as they distribute evenly. 

    4. Use a Microfibre Towel or Cotton T-Shirt

    Opting to dry your hair with a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt is gentler on your hair compared to regular towels, helping to keep the natural curl pattern defined and protected. Gently blot out any excess moisture in upward motions to maintain your shape. From there, you can allow your hair to air dry so its natural shape is preserved. 

    5. Embrace the “Praying Hands” Method

    How you apply your leave-in conditioner or hair oil makes a difference when seeking to define your curls. That is why we recommend the “praying hands”  method as it helps to evenly distribute the product without disrupting your natural curl pattern. This method is best done on wet hair so do this post-wash or use a spray bottle to wet your hair evenly before applying the product. 

    The “praying hand” method is done by putting a dollop of curl styling cream or oil into your hands and warming the product up by rubbing them together. From there, position your hands on either side of a section of your hair in a “prayer” position. Begin to gently glide your hands down either side of your hair while keeping your hands close together. This allows for the styling product to be evenly distributed without creating frizz or tangles. Repeat the process until the product is evenly distributed throughout your hair. 

    @jazzycurlss Easy curly hair routine with @Pump Haircare 🩷 #curlyhairroutine#naturalcurls#wavyhair#healthyhair ♬ Swoop - Max Drazen

    6. Scrunch Your Curls

    After washing and drying your hair or applying the “praying hands” method, you can further add curl definition by scrunching your curls in an upward motion. This is done by cupping your hands at the base of your hair and giving a gentle, upward squeeze to help define your natural curl pattern. 

    7. Use a Diffuser on Low Heat

    After you wash your hair or have done tips 4-6, you can use a diffuser on low heat. Diffusers are recommended for curly hair because they are gentler on your curls as they provide a wider base for warm hair to blow and set your curls without causing heat damage. On a low heat setting, place the diffuser at the base of your curls and plop it in an upward motion, working through all sections of your hair evenly so as to not overheat one section. 

    3 benefits of using a diffuser for curly hair

    8. Refresher Spray 

    In between washes your curls may start to lose their shape and definition. That is why a refresher spray may be just the solution you need to keep your curls defined and bouncy throughout the day. Opt for a hair freshener spray that is free of sulphates or silicones as they can dry your hair out or weigh it down.
    Alternatively, you can make your own at home using distilled water, aloe vera or your favourite leave-in conditioner and a hair oil. 

    Home Refresher Spray- How To Do It: 

    Once you have all the ingredients listed above, you can fill a small spray bottle with distilled water, a tablespoon of aloe vera or leave-in conditioner and a couple of drops of a hair oil of your choice. Close the bottle and shake well to mix all the ingredients. And voila, you have a quick and easy way to refresh your curls in between washes. 

    9. Silk or Satin Pillowcase 

    Swapping out your cotton pillowcase for a silk or satin one helps to maintain your natural curl pattern. This is because the smooth surface doesn't cause friction and helps retain moisture in comparison to cotton pillowcases. 

    10. Get Regular Trims

    Staying on top of getting regular trims also helps to define your curls as split ends can make your hair frizzier and lose definition. 

    Popular Methods for Curl Definition: 

    If your hair is wavy or you are looking to give your curls more definition, there are a number of curling methods you can take. Depending on your hair type, different methods may be more suitable. Here are four ways you can define curls as well as all the pros and cons of popular curling methods: 

    before and after using curly hair products

    Method 1: Curl Training

    Curl training is a gentle method to encourage your hair to revert back to its natural curl pattern. To begin, wash your hair using a sulphate-free shampoo to remove product buildup without stripping your natural oils. Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle your hair while it is wet to prevent breakage and allow your curls to form naturally. 

    Grab your favourite oil or leave-in conditioner and begin to coil or twist sections of your hair in the direction of your natural curl pattern. Repeat the process until every section has been individually twisted into larger curls. Let it air dry and then gently plop your curls in an upward motion to further define your curls. 


    Curl training is a great way to curl your hair as it doesn't require heat or chemicals to maintain your shape. It helps to enhance your natural curl pattern and over time if the right care is taken, you will begin to see the results.


    This method takes time and patience to begin to see results and tight curls might not be achieved if your hair is naturally straight. 

    Method 2: Hot Tools

    Apply a heat protectant to dry hair, spraying your hair evenly. To begin curling, hold the curling iron at a vertical angle and begin wrapping a small section of your hair; starting at the top and wrapping your hair around the barrel. Holding the hair for 5-10 seconds before releasing it. Repeat the process until all sections are curled. 


    Using heat styling tools, such as a curling iron or wand, will give quick results of tight and styled curls. If you are seeking a specific look or need immediate results, this method is ideal. 

    mermaid waves hair curler


    Overusing hot styling tools will dry and damage the hair shaft, making your hair more prone to damage. If you want to use this method, be sure to use a heat protectant prior to using a heat tool as it will add an extra layer of protection. 

    Method 3: Overnight Curls

    Overnight curls are an easy, at-home method. There are a number of ways to do this but our favourite is using a robe tie to achieve cascading, gentle curls. To begin, place the middle of the robe tie at the top of your head and start braiding one side of your hair around the robe until all your hair is braided into it; repeat on the other side. Lift either side of the robe tie, tie it together at the top of your head and leave overnight. 


    This is a gentle and convenient method as you can sleep with the curl wrapped in, waking up in the morning with beautiful natural-looking curls. 


    It might be uncomfortable to sleep with them and they take time to set so it will require some planning. Results may also vary depending on your hair type and length and the curl wrap you choose.

    Method 4: Hot curlers

    Once you have evenly sprayed a heat protectant on dry hair, section your hair into the number of curls you would like to have. Use larger sections for loose curls and smaller sections for tight curls. Beginning at the end of a section of your hair, roll the curler up towards your roots, making it as tight as possible. Pin it into place and repeat until all sections are completed. After 15-20 minutes (or once they are cooled) carefully unroll each curler and set with hairspray (optional). 


    In comparison to curling wands or irons, hot curlers are the gentler option. They can give the desired results without needing much attention. 


    However, they are time-consuming as you will have to wait for the curlers to cool before removing them. They may also not provide a very tight curl in comparison to other methods.  

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