If you are a new natural, chances are you are researching ways to enhance your natural curl pattern. Today you are in luck!
Last year I was so frustrated with my hair. After years of being natural, I just did not understand why my natural curl pattern was not defined because I thought I was doing all the right things. I did not use heat often, I deep conditioned now and then and generally took “great” care of my hair.
Thankfully, since I’ve started blogging I’ve become exposed to tons of new information I never knew about hair care.
Around January, after months of frustration, I finally got serious. I read everything I could about the science of hair, created a regime and followed it consistently. Last week when I tried a wash & go for the 100 millionth time my results were amazing!
Everyone wants to learn how to enhance natural curls but, do you know that it takes more than just a great product to make it happen?
Today I’m sharing 4 ways to enhance your natural curl pattern, all which are super easy to follow. I used these strategies religiously and went from frustration in November to popping curls by June.
How to Enhance Your Natural Curl Pattern
1. Do not sacrifice hair health for length. Cut all dead or heat damaged ends
If you do not remember I received a major haircut back in January. I was desperate for a new look and even more, I knew I needed to cut ties with all dead and heat damaged ends. As fellow blogger Sister Scientist so eloquently stated,
“Unlike skin, hair does not have living cells; therefore, once the hair is damaged it cannot biologically repair itself. The damage can only be concealed or further damage can be prevented.”
Let go of those ends and let your curls flourish. Weak ends will continue to break creating more frustration on your journey to a healthy head of curls. You will also find that after cutting your dead ends completing styles like twist-outs and braid-outs will become a lot easier.
2. Improve your elasticity by understanding protein/moisture balance to enhance your natural curl pattern
Everything is about balance and moderation and your hair is no exception. Too much protein will make your hair hard with the possibility of breakage just as over-moisturizing can lead to hygral fatigue and breakage because the strands are weak.
Elasticity measures the “stretchiness” of your hair. If your hair has a hard time stretching when wet and does not return to its natural state after pulling, your hair more than likely has low elasticity.
Research shows elasticity cannot exist when there is an imbalance of moisture and protein. My hair has flourished since rotating between protein and moisturizing deep conditioners every week.
Check for ingredients in your deep conditioners such as hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed keratin, and hydrolyzed silk protein, which will help restore the needed balance and repair weakness all in one step.
In April I started using the Aphogee 2 Min Keratin Re-constructor once a week in addition to my moisturizing conditioners, which has made a HUGE difference. Not only is my hair thicker, but it is also more curly.
Also See: The Ultimate Natural Hair for Beginners Guide
3. Use products that are properly pH balanced to enhance curls, reduce frizz, and properly close the hair cuticle to retain moisture
This tip is very important but often overlooked because quite frankly it requires you to do a bit more research than normal. In fact, I may be the only person who becomes extremely excited when brands list the pH on the actual packaging. The potential of hydrogen, also known as pH, is the measurement of how alkaline or acidic a substance is and significantly controls how the cuticle layers of the hair react to products
Measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14, substances with a pH between 0 and 6.9 are acidic, 7 is neutral, while substances between 7.1 and 14 are alkaline. For example, relaxers rank higher on the scale with a pH normally around 13, pure water is neutral at 7, and apple cider vinegar (undiluted) is on the opposite side of the scale around 3.
What does this mean for you? A higher pH substance or product on the scale opens the cuticle and lower pH closes the cuticle. So another daily example – shampoos are higher on the pH scale. This allows the hair cuticle to open and cleanse the hair to remove product build up and oils.
Conditioners on the other hand, have a lower pH compared to shampoos to condition and then close the hair cuticle after the shampoo has been applied.
I try to use brands that state their products are pH balanced as much as a I can. If a product does not state its pH level, to define my curls I look for key ingredients in my curl enhancing products such as aloe vera juice.
Aloe Vera juice is a great natural ingredient with a low pH of about 4, which is very close to the natural pH of healthy hair (4.5-5.5). I know this will help enhance my natural curls while also closing the hair cuticle. My most recent wash & go product to help enhance my curls is the Curls Gel-Les’C Serum. Aloe vera juice is one of the main ingredients.
Other Benefits of Aloe Vera for Natural Hair:
- Releives dry, itchy scap
- Works as a natual moisturizer for dry hair
- Slippery texture helps with detangling
- Promotes hair growth
- Can be used as a great pre-poo product.
Read More about PH Balance and Natural Hair
4. Use heat sparingly…or not at all
I’m a realist and I know for some women avoiding heat forever is not an option. Using heat is totally fine, especially if used correctly, but from November to June I only blew out my hair about 4 times.
I was on a mission to healthy curls so heat was something I had to give up for a while.
Best Heat Protectants for Natural Hair:
- It’s A 10 Heat Protectant
- Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray
- The Mane Choice Thermal Defense Natural Shine
- Aveda brilliant™ damage control™
Interested in learning more about overcoming heat-damaged hair? Check out the Overcoming Heat Damage post as well as the 4 Ways to Stretch Your Hair without heat post!
Curl Training? Is It Possible?
I say yes! Train your curls just as you train in the gym meaning consistency is key. One year I even did a #noheatchallenge.
Your curls will start to reveal themselves slowly once you get into the habit of no heat and low manipulation styles. I know it may be difficult but trust me you can do it!
The more I wore my hair without heat the more my curls continued to enhance naturally (no pun intended) over time. I also started to moisturize my hair daily unlike when I wore straight styles because I wanted to preserve my blowout as long as possible.
If you choose to use heat more often do not skip using heat protectants and always deep condition before using high heat. The key tip to avoiding heat damage is to ensure the hair is properly moisturized from within.
What are some ways you enhance your natural curl pattern? Comment and let me know!
If you’ve scrolled all the way to the bottom of this post and have decided you prefer to watch a video recap, check out the video below.
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I want my hair to stay the wet curly look without drying out, is this good for it? U can take a look at my hair on ig. I’m naturally_shes_beautiful
Hey, thanks for commenting! I tried to look at your hair but your page is blocked. Eventually the hair will dry out but it seems like you’re looking for something with more hold to keep the curl pattern defined. I suggest trying more of gel-like curling custard that will give you a soft hold and apply the product with leave in conditioner to keep it moisturized. I also like to refresh my curls with a little water and coconut oil if it starts to dry out. Whatever product you are applying to your hair just try to work it in really well from root to tip in each section to define your curls. Hope that helps!
When and how do I use the yogurt mixture from the recipe in the article?
Oh no I’m sorry it’ s just a joke! The last part says put it all in a bin and get a hair cut. 🙂
Hey,am addicted to using heat I don’t know any way to manage my hair without it..any tips on how to just stop putting d heat?
Yeah pretty much! Look for some great protective styles that you love to in the meantime. Or try styles like perm rods and flexi rod sets.
My hair doesn’t want to shine. I use the loc method. Spray with water, leave in condition and oils and shea butter moisturizer cream
Hi! That’s perfectly fine as well. You could just have low luster hair. 🙂 Keep trying different oils and make sure you are deep conditioning regularly.
Hi I messed up my curls with a texturizer. Is there any fixing it?
I had the same problem for a veeeeery long time, also using the LOC method. It might be due to different factors:
1) you might have product build up; try a clarifying shampoo, and maybe less heavy products. I clarify once a month; try it out, listen to your hair and see what works best for your tresses 🙂
2) you might have high porosity hair, I do, and the raised cuticle prevents light from reflecting off of the hair shaft. But don’t worry, this can be lessened:
Try a protein treatment to fill up the cuticle (related to the moisture-protein balance this article talks about).
Avoid hot water (it makes the cuticle swell).
Aaand my favorite: do an ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinse* after you shampoo and condition on wash day; do the
LOC method right after the acv rinse.
Also, I changed my LOC routine a bit: I do Leave-in, with soaking wet hair; then a light almond oil (this is a sealant, and coconut oil gave me build up reaaaaally fast), and at the end I do a gel instead of a cream; it gives my hair a shine cream never could.
*For the ACV rinse: mix a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of ACV. Try to find one that says it has “the mother” in it. After regular shampoo and conditioner, tilt your head back and pour the mix; let it saturate from roots to tips.
PS: the smell will go away as soon as the hair dries LOL 🙂
Thanks for the extra info!
How many times do I do the ACV
Hey, love the article.
was wondering what’s your hair type.
Thanks for reading! Umm I guess I would consider myself a 4b-4c type if I had to choose. I have different textures througout honestly.
I’m currently doing a no heat for a year personal challenge. what are some of your go to products to add moisture? my hair has been so dry lately
Hey girl! The Obia Natural Hair Curl Moisture Cream leave-in conditioner for sure. It’s one of my favorite leave in conditioners. I use that after washing or co-washing or use it after I spritz my hair with water. It’s available in the SHOP section under leave-ins. Hydratherma Naturals Daily Growth moisturizing lotion is also really great and I always use coconut oil daily as well.
These are amzing thank you i was wondering ,Im a thick 2c 3a is it possible to be a full 3a head in ut opinion?
Yes! Several women have multiple curl patterns. Thanks for reading!
Thank you! This was a very informative article! I’m totally sharing this with all my friends!
I was wondering is there a specific shampoo you use on your hair? Because I’ve brought some ACV bars from this etsy seller here>>> https://www.etsy.com/shop/NaTaReCreations# and her products worked really well for my for my curls !
Thank you for reading! Yes I use and love the Obia Naturals Shampoo bars actually…it’s also available at the online store https://texturesnaturalhaircare.com/collections/obia-natural-hair-care …ACV bars actually sound amazing so I’m going to check that out too. Also thanks for sharing with your friends!
Is there any way to change your curl pattern permanently pr temporarily? I want to be like a 3b or 3c, what products do you recommend to just really deepen your curls?
Most chemical processes with change your hair both permanently and temporarily. I’ve heard of people getting Texlaxers but I wouldn’t recommend because I don’t have a lot of knowledge in that area. Why do you want to change your current curl pattern? For deep conditioners check out our deep conditioners in our shop at texturesnaturalhaircare.com. Thanks!
You mentioned you did protein treatments once a week cant that be too much protein and break off your hair? and im not sure if i just have looser patterns in my head or if this is heat damage can you look at my hair my IG is coco_chevy
Yes, a full protein treatment once a week is too much and can break your hair off, however; the above product is a protein conditioner/reconstructor which can be used weekly per the directions for a short period of time. This product is not a full protein treatment like the Aphoghee 2 Step Protein Treatment. I would not suggest using it indefinitely as you want to make sure you have that balance between protein and moisture. Thanks for reading!
And yes my page is private but I will follow you just request to follow me
hello I wanted to find out how can you make your hair curl I have a afro right now but it doesn’t show my curl pattern only in song strands but I wanted to know can I get it to show and connect together and define my curl so can say I’m a 4c or 4b but I have no clue about what my natural is or if I’m using the right products for my hair to show me these things please help!!!!
Great article thanks!
Thanks so much for this write up I just started my natural hair journey few months ago and i must confess it has been a most challenging one cos I have a type 4c hair which is very coarse, but reading your article has really encouraged me. Please can i find this products you listed in Nigeria, I really need my hair to stay soft and hydrated I have also got some products but it is not giving me what I want. I must say you got a very beautiful hair here.
Thank you so much and thanks for reading! Try https://www.obianaturals.com/. It’s one of my favorite products and I believe they ship internationally.
Hi I did a big chop now my true hair is growing very slowly now about a short Afro have a very deep 4c very very coarse Nappy hair i want a pretty curl pattern I can achieve it with curl products & a sponge but alot of split ends I clipped my ends but they still show up..So what can I start over with my steps for softer & curlier hair pattern
My daughter has been natural for 3 years now and she has 4c textured hair and I have yet to get her hair to create a curl pattern, her hair is super thick and when i try any twist out on her hair there are almost no curls or they last only one day. Now I have used a number of products and they all seem to work fairly well but still no curl pattern. So now she wear a lot of protective styles which has actually grown her hair out instead of just making it full and her hair feels different and her braids are much longer but still not really a curl pattern. Now her roots are soft and wavy but her ends are poofy like when u wear a ponytail poof can u give me pointers on creating a curl pattern Because I have just about given up on it
Hi thanks for reading! Depending on her texture, her curl pattern could possibly just not be as defined as others. My suggestion is to apply all curling gels and curl enhancing products on SOAKING WET hair to get the curls to form. Check out https://www.adwoabeauty.com/ ! Love their products and they have a lot of tutorials on how to enhance 4c curls.
Hello, I did a big chop last September and I am trying to exchange my curl pattern. I have worn plaits for the past 2 months (with breathers between) to avoid see the natural process. I have tried different products to moisturize my hair and create a curl pattern. The top of my hair and sides do not curl but the back does. What do you recommend for moisturize and create a curl?
Hey! Why do you want to avoid seeing the natural process? Do you not like your natural hair? Everyone has different textures throughout their head – your circumstance isn’t abnormal. However, you aren’t going to change your curl pattern if you continue to wear plaits. You have to wear your hair in its natural state and get your hair used to be worn out curly and moisturized on a regular daily basis. High manipulation and plating will impact the curl pattern.
Continue to deep condition weekly and use products that will truly moisturize your hair like a curling cream/leave in conditioner. Also, follow the tips in the article! Good luck!
Hello I’ve been natural
for a year now & I can’t seem to find anything that keeps my hair looking wet or keep my curls. I know I have a good grade hair, but I’m really not seeing it. I’ve been wanting to start back getting my relaxers so bad but I’m tryna hold out so I’m wanting to know what can I use on my hair to keep my curls & to make my hair not look dry. Thanks
Hey girl hey! Nothing will keep your hair “looking wet” except for it being wet. If you are looking for to enhance your curls always apply curling products on soaking wet hair for best results. Once the hair drys that’s the look, embrace and love it! 🙂
Hi, I have spongy hair nice curl pattern when wet or gel on it. When it’s dry with no product on it it’s nappy and hard. I’m experiencing snarls and tangles. So I need a good detangler. I also need to get on a weekly regimen for washing/conditioning etc. What should I do weekly and monthly? In or there words how do you care for your hair when it comes wash/conditioning?
Check out the Natural Hair For Beginners Guide – Part 10: How to Care for Natural hair Daily
I had my natural hair routine down to a science until I went gray. Now I am scrugglin’ (not struggling). I am going to try some of your suggestions. Thanks!
Hello, I just ran across your article. So much information. I have been natural for about two years and I can see my curl pattern. I read where you said to turn down the heat. Is it best to let the hair air dry? How do you keep the hair from drying out? Thanks
My hair grows really fast after a big chop but once I have at least 6 inches of hair, it seems to “stop” growing. I use nothing during the growth process other than shampoo and conditioner then probably a little coconut oil every now and then. That does not work for my hair once it has length. My hair is thick in the middle and the top but thin around the edges. Once it gets like that I always big chop again. I don’t want to but I get frustrated. Unfortunately I’ve been going that cycle for over 12 years. I’m “4c”, dry brittle hair, flaky scalp (even after a wash), thinking edges, don’t use heat at all and products sit on top my hair. I normally just wash my hair and gel it back just to go to work. That’s the only way I know how to manage it. I need help.
Hi! I’ve struggled with my hair quite a while— I’ve been trying to work with my curls for about a year now. When my hair is wet, it’s very clearly curly— 3A, corkscrew-type curls— but no matter what I do, my hair loses its curl shape as it dries, and it ends up looking like I have very loose waves or just unkempt straight hair. I’ve tried all sorts of products (shampoos/conditioners and styling products like mousse/gel/cream/etc) and routines, but nothing seems to help. It doesn’t seem to be the weight of my hair that makes it lose shape— my hair falls a bit above chin length, is very fine, and even lightweight products make no noticeable improvement. My hair isn’t notably damaged— I’ve never coloured it or treated it, never used heat on it, I very rarely tie it back (when I do it’s loosely with a silk elastic), and I’ve never been someone who swims more than once a year. My hair is healthy as far as I know— it’s golden red, not particularly frizzy, thick, and extremely fine. Do you have any idea what could cause this? Or what I could do to make my curl pattern stronger and more defined? Thank you for any help you can provide!