Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tips to Loosen Curly Hair?

Kimberly recently emailed me with a request for tips on how to naturally loosen curly hair.  Other women might give her the verbal side eye, wondering why she has issues with the tightness of her texture.  I have no such agenda.  My shrinkage is so extreme, I live for second and third day hair.  And my favorite days are when I sport a twist out and -- yay! -- my hair is shoulder length! One day I had a fresh dry wash and go after wearing a twist out the day before and a colleague asked me "Wasn't your hair shoulder length yesterday?"  So Kimberly, I sympathize.

Dry styled second and third day hair is one of the very few ways to loosen my hair.  Somehow the act of loosely pulling my hair into a scunci overnight stretches the curl a bit.  It also gives me a wicked case of bed head, but scrunching with Devacurl Set It Free and a dab of shea butter or a tiny bit of castor oil will fluff out the dents.  Adding water or using a spritz simply results in more shrinkage.

The only other way I know to loosen curly hair is twist outs, braid outs and bantu knot outs.  I like the dry twist and curl method as it imparts volume to my fine and fairly thin hair.  If your hair is thick, twisting on wet hair will likely work better for you. 

I do a dry twist out on second or third day hair that was air dried or diffused on wash day.  I do add product to my dry twists and usually do between 11 and 14 twists. The products I use are Devacurl Set It Free for the length.  For the ends I use Afroveda Curly Custard or a similar product (Curl Junkie Hibiscus & Banana Honeybutta leave in or Botanical Spirits Kinky Coils pudding). It is important to saturate the t wist ends with product.

I don't comb or brush so my texture is incorporated into the twist and subsequent twist out. The trick is to not get the hair wet or even damp really (except for the ends), just soft enough to finger separate. I aim for smooth, not necessarily detangled hair.

Dry Twist and Curl How to:

  •  With plain water in a spritzer, lightly spritz the entire loose head of hair 3-5 times tops. This softens the ends since I'm not combing or brushing.
  •  Isolate a section to twist, sectioning off the rest of the hair with duckbill clips. Spray two or three sprays of Set It Free in palm and smooth that down the length of the section to be twisted. Separate with fingers and twist.
  • Towards the end of the twist, smooth some of the thicker product down each end to saturate and completely detangle, then finish twisting to the ends
  • Optional: roll the ends with small foam rollers.
In the morning, I undo and gently finger separate each twist 3 or 4 times. That's it!   How do other curlies fight shrinkage and loosen texture?              


  1. I have 3b hair and have always wanted to achieve wavy hair without a lot of heat styling. I like my hair as it it, but it's nice to have a change, and waves make my hair longer. Currently, I'm experimenting with rollers. :)