Curly Method & Styling

Definitely shaping, highlighting and reviving curls is a fundamental step in taking care of your hair, just as it is sure that there are numerous styling techniques and product combinations that lead to results that are also very different from each other, in some cases even counterproductive.

In this article we will analyze in a generalized way which styling products to use and which techniques are best suited to your hair depending on the desired effect.


The amount of water trapped in the hair at the time of styling is a crucial factor and therefore should be investigated, in general we can say that:

The greater the amount of water present in the hair at the time of styling, the greater the possibility of forming thick strands of hair (called clumps). The formation of these clumps allows you to get to the end of the styling and obtain a more defined result with less frizz but at the same time with less volume and longer time required for drying.

If, on the other hand, the hair is dabbed before starting the styling phase, the formation of large strands of hair will be almost impossible, instead the formation of numerous smaller strands will be favored. In this case, therefore, the final result will be to have a greater volume at the expense of the definition, with a faster drying time.

The importance of water at the time of styling should never be underestimated if you want to obtain a very precise result, so we always advise you to pay attention to how wet your hair is when applying styling products and notice the differences at the end.
As we will see later, there are techniques such as the ‘’ bowl method ’’ which involve drenching the hair further to maximize the presence of water in order to obtain greater definition.

Styling Products

It's useless to specify that all references to styling products made in this article imply that the products taken into consideration are suitable for the curly method and do not contain "prohibited" ingredients, however given the heterogeneous nature of the products in question, we must bear in mind that the information herein is of a general and indicative nature and that not all products can actually reflect the descriptions given in the article.

Let's start by saying that all or almost all styling products contain "fixing" ingredients. Whether they are gels, creams or mousses, everyone usually has one or more ingredients inside that can keep the curl in position.
However, although hypothetically containing the same fixing ingredient, the final result will be different for their different composition in the rest of the INCI, let's analyze them specifically:


a gel is recognized by its gelatinous consistency, usually made by ingredients such as pectin, aloe juice, agave extract or marshmallow extract (althea) , they can be more or less dense and can have a great fixing power, without making the curl too heavy and offering a good definition.


the main feature of this category of styling products is the presence (almost always) of oils and butters that make the compound creamy. They are very suitable for very curly hair (kinky & coil). On thin or less curly hair types they can have counterproductive effects, weighing down the curl and stretching it until it becomes wavy in some cases. However, there are light creams whose composition is designed to not weigh down the hair. We recommend checking the list of ingredients and understanding the position of the oils and butters that tend to weigh down the hair.
The massive presence of oils and butters in some creams can create a shiny / oily effect on the hair if not applied correctly but finding the ideal one for your hair type, a cream offers definition, fixing and softness that can hardly be achieved by using a gel or a mousse.


clearly a mousse is characterized by the presence of some foaming ingredients capable of transforming the product from liquid into a soft foam without the use of propellant gases (in all mousses do not contain gas).
A mousse does not offer the same fixing power as a gel or a cream but it is certainly much lighter and difficult to weigh down the hair, thus offering greater volume and less fixing force.

We conclude this paragraph by remembering once again that it is essential to observe the INCI of a product and understand its "essence" because it is not said that a gel does not contain oils or for example that a cream is free of oils and therefore lighter and more suitable for thin hair.
Ours are general indications useful for understanding the topic, they do not want to be definitive in any way. We also remind you that you can write to to receive personalized advice on purchases or for other doubts, we will be happy to help you if we can.


There are many techniques and combinations of methods that curly community has shared and keep sharing, some of them better known and others less so. You can find numerous videos and descriptions online, here we will just list a few in order to explain the concepts behind the techniques, in order to offer the essential understanding of why to use one technique or another.


Usually whatever the styling technique used, the products are applied using this technique, the position of the hands of which simulates a prayer, hence the name. This technique is only used to APPLY the chosen product.


After application, the product must be DISTRIBUTED uniformly on the hair. In this regard, a Denman brush can be very useful. Use the best tool you have available and take care that the product has actually distributed evenly.


At this point there are two parallel roads that can be followed: the one of volume or that of definition.
Depending on the result we want to obtain, we can use different techniques that give the hair a greater volume at the expense of the definition or vice versa a greater definition at the expense of the volume.

Surely it is possible to reach a compromise between the two extremes by modifying some passages, modifying the amount of water in the hair, using one material rather than another, making scruches in a delicate or vigorous way, in short, there are a series of variables that make the whole process very personal.

Each of us gets slightly different results, so our advice is to stick to the consolidated techniques and then adapt them to your needs with small changes, always carefully observing the technique and the result, annotating it mentally or why not physically on a small agenda or app.



this technique consists of separating the large strands that formed after applying the products using your fingers and favoring the formation of numerous smaller strands.
This allows the hair to take up more space once dry and the final effect will be a bulkier hair mass.
Before raking, the hair can be dabbed to take away excess water, this will help the formation of several smaller strands. Recommended to towel dry your hair upside down.


after raking you can help the curl to take shape by scrunching the hair strands without needing to be very delicate, we want the strands to divide in order to create volume, so you can be determined to do it without too many worries.


this pre-drying technique consists in keeping the hair still on the head for a given period of time to fix the shape of the curl. The concept is to prevent gravity from stretching the hair when it is still weighed down by the water contained in it.
Plopping can be done using a scrunch-it, one of the best ways as these bonnets are designed specifically for this purpose, otherwise you usually use a cotton shirt or a microfiber towel, but be careful because not all shirts are the same and even less micro-fibers, it is necessary to choose the smoothest and least damaged ones, whose texture is intact and does not generate friction on the hair.
It is important to plop correctly and with the right accessories, otherwise the curls could take an unwanted crease or create a lot of frizz.


the final part of the styling process. It should always be remembered that if you really want to follow the curly method, even in its less restrictive variants, the hair dryer must be used with cold air or at most warm, the hair must not be heated. The important thing is to have patience at this stage.

You can let your hair dry in the air without using a hairdryer, perhaps with the use of a netted scrunch-it or other breathable materials, especially in the summer season.

Or you can use the hairdryer normally always taking care not go over temperature and using a quality diffuser.
Handling the hair and drying it upside down can favor a final result aimed at the volume, always at the expense of the definition.



as previously advised, watching one of the many videos available is more immediate than trying to describe the steps in detail, however we are more concerned to underline that this technique which in general consists in immersing the hair in a bowl and making it drizzle, basically serves to create thick strands of hair, as opposed to recking. The thick strands (clumps) are used to keep the hair very firm, preventing it from dividing into numerous strands and losing definition. The hair immediately after will still be dripping and ready for a delicate scrunch to avoid breaking clumps.


in this case scrunching must be performed delicately, we do not want to break the strands of hair formed to create volume, on the contrary we want to join them to create definition. Clumps must not be divided at this stage, so be gentle when doing scrunches.


this pre-drying technique consists in keeping the hair still on the head for a given period of time to fix the shape of the curl. The concept is to prevent gravity from stretching the hair when it is still weighed down by the water contained in it.
Plopping can be done using a scrunch-it, one of the best ways as these bonnets are designed specifically for this purpose, otherwise you usually use a cotton shirt or a microfiber towel, but be careful because not all shirts are the same and even less micro-fibers, it is necessary to choose the smoothest and least damaged ones, whose texture is intact and does not generate friction on the hair.
It is important to plop correctly and with the right accessories, otherwise the curls could take an unwanted crease or create a lot of frizz.


Not recommended to dry your hair upside down. They can be left to air dry or use a hairdryer, the basic concept is not to move and undo the hair strands more than necessary, reaching the end of the process to give the desired volume / definition using the fingers and / or the air flow of the hairdryer.

Those listed above are just two examples, each of us then chooses to slightly change some details, quantity of product used or times etc ... to adapt the styling phase to your needs. The possible combinations are impossible to list, so it is important to pay attention and write down what you use, how you use it and the result you get. With a little practice you will acquire the necessary experience to better highlight your curls, whether kinky or wavy.


Indispensable to not spend few words for a moment on this term, widely used in the curly world and which refers to the effect of some products, especially gel and foam, to form a hard patina on the hair and which visually makes it look wet.

Its primary function that we should always remember is that it serves to keep the curl in position during drying, if you remove it before the hair is completely dry, but really dry, the result will be to get a lot of frizz, which of course we don't want.

We therefore remind you that the cast must be "broken" only at the end of the drying, in this way we will be able to control the frizz (frizz effect).

To undo the cast and therefore avoid that classic wet effect, you can use a silk scarf, a good microfiber towel, a good cotton shirt and you have to do it gently, until looking at the hair you reach the desired effect.
The cast can also be undone using a scrunch-it, practical and comfortable to use, alternatively you can use your hands, previously greased with very little (2-3 drops) of oil with sealing properties (safflower, cumin etc.)

We also remember that there is no general rule that provides for how much cast the use of a given product produces. The important thing is to try and find the right combination for your style.


The essential thing to know is that there are styling products that contain proteins and others that do not contain them. The presence or otherwise of these natural compounds and their quantity (i.e. at what point on the INCI list it is) affects the final effect.

Styling takes place practically on cold hair and having hypothetically applied also a product that closes the cuticles (example: conditioner or leave-in) it is impossible for these to penetrate inside the stem.Their action is purely superficial and if not considered they can lead to undesirable effects, such as giving hair an unpleasant dry effect.

We can say that some products containing proteins are not recommended for beginners of the method, however if used in the correct way, many types of curls can appreciate the presence of proteins in the formulation of a gel or a cream, curling more, marking more the shape of the curl and keeping it in place.

To obtain good results with protein-based products, the hair must have been previously hydrated correctly with products useful for this purpose, only at this point the proteins will not be able to dry the hair but will instead be able to do their job by providing a remarkable definition to the curly.


Once again, remember that not all hairs respond the same way and something that works very well for someone, may not do it for someone else, so we invite you to experiment with yourself, understanding all the nuances of the various styling techniques of the curly method .

The M-G-M technique combines the fixing power of gel and mousse to have a combo of fixing products which, depending on the ingredients, can give the hair more definition and at the same time even more volume.

We start by applying the mousse with the praying hands technique, once applied we proceed with the scrunch.
After the first scrunch, the gel is always applied with the praying hands technique and then scrunch is made again.
Finally, apply the mousse again and proceed with the rest of the chosen styling steps.


This technique is ideal for maximizing definition, obviously at the expense of volume.

It consists of sequentially applying 3 different types of gel with different properties. No need to dry hair between the application of one gel and another.

The first gel to be used should not contain protein or glycerin.
The second gel should contain both protein and glycerin.
The third gel should contain protein but not glycerin.

The concept behind this technique is to exploit the power of proteins to "activate" the curl without the glycerin (ingredient sensitive to environmental humidity) being in direct contact with the environment.

We reiterate that trying and experimenting with different combinations is often the right way to find the ideal one for your person.


The Liquid Cream Oil or even Leave-In Oil Cream technique seals the hydration inside the hair, therefore it is not designed to increase the definition or the volume, however of the two you get more definition than volume.

The concept is to use 3 different products that have 3 different consistencies:

It starts with a gel or a cream or even a leave-in that have a tendency to liquid consistency, passes to the application of a styling cream that has a denser consistency and finally a sealing oil is applied with the palms of the hands ( jojoba, argan etc.) in very small quantities (2-3 drops).

Conclusions and thanks

Whatever your type of curls, learning to recognize the ingredients and what position they are on the list will give you a first idea of what you are using and the effect obtained, do not underestimate the importance of experimenting with new combinations or changing some details in a routine. With time and patience you will almost certainly find ideal styling routines for your hair that you will hardly abandon!

Curly Selection thanks the whole curly community for sharing information without which it would not have been possible in our turn to share this article!

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