12 Natural Hair Styles That Give You Defined Curls

Rayna Ali
@HappyCurlHappyGirl on Instagram

One of the most common questions asked by naturals all over is “How can I get my curls to pop?” Well part of the key to getting defined curls is to ensure your hair is properly hydrated and moisturized.  While everyone’s hair is different and no curl two curl patterns are the exact same there are some things you can do to manipulate your natural curls to give a more defined look.  You can switch up your look and transform your hair by following these 3 steps before styling your hair:

Step 1 – Section your hair

To make your hair easy to manage during the styling process, first section it into manageable sections.  Do this by  separating your hair into big sections and loosely twisting them.

Step 2 – Detangle each section

Once your hair is sectioned, hydrate your tresses with a moisturizer.  You want to choose a product that has water as the first ingredient followed about other moisturizing natural ingredients.   When detangling your hair, use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush to prevent breakage and preserve the shape of your curls.

Step 3 – Moisturize and seal

Seal in your moisture with your choice of a natural hair product. This will help protect your hair against breakage and will help retain length.  I recommend sealing your hair with high-quality natural oils (such as jojoba, argan oil, Jamaican Black castor oil, etc.). Try using the PureFix Hair Elixir which is a great scalp moisturizer (while promoting growth). Its all-natural ingredients work together to support longer, stronger hair and to promote hair growth.

Ok so once you have taken the appropriate steps above, then you’re ready to style!

Here are 12 styles (and how to get them) to get defined curls for your natural hair:

  1. Bantu Knot-Out

Bantu knots or Zulu knots are actually great for any and everybody. One of the few ways to do your hair that works with all four hair types, Bantu knots and Bantu knot-outs can help smooth out and define curlier tresses, or add a bit more curly anarchy to straighter ones, too.

  • Thoroughly wash, condition, and detangle hair.
  • Part damp hair into sections, using a comb.
  • Using gel, setting lotion, or pomade for control, “screw” hair into a taut rope.
  • Coil the twisted length around itself and secure in place.
  • Repeat steps 5 and 6 on each section until all of hair is knotted.
  • For a knot-out, remove pins or elastics, un-tuck ends, and reverse the process.

  1. Flexi Rod Sets

Flexi Rod Sets use Flexi rods to achieve curls that range from tight curls to big and bouncy curls. The bigger the rod, the bigger the curls, the smaller the rod, the smaller the sets. Here’s how to achieve Flexi Rod curls.

  • Decide on the size of the curls you want and use the suitable flexible rods.
  • You can start on damp or dry hair. Damp hair takes longer to dry and could be shorter due to shrinkage while dry hair gives more length but less definition than damp, in some cases.
  • Section your hair with a rat tail comb.
  • Detangle as desired
  • Apply a leave-in conditioner and sealant, or a setting lotion/foam
  • Twist the section of your hair around a Flexi Rod
  • Twist both ends of the Flexi Rod to put your hair in place
  • Repeat all over your head
  • Unravel when dry and style
  • Straw Sets

  1. Straw Sets

Straw sets are similar to Flexi Rod Sets but are a more economical choice. They are also great for short hair and best styled on wet / damp hair. Follow all the steps in the Flexi rod procedure to achieve a straw set, however, substitute your Flex rods with straws.


  1. Twist and Braid Outs

Twists and braid outs are the fastest and more simple ways to curl natural hair and extensions. While twist outs give more definition, braid outs give more volume and length.

  • Apply a gel or curling custard. (Optional)
  • Braid/twist each section.
  • Unravel when dried, separate curls and fluff for more volume.

  1. Curling Wand

A curling wand gives you instant curls and is the fastest way to curl your hair. After sectioning and detangling your hair, follow the steps below.

  • Apply a heat protectant
  • Twist the section of your hair around the curling wand and hold about an inch at the ends
  • Release your hair after a minute. Repeat all over your hair
  • Style as desired

  1. Flat Iron

This is another direct heat method for getting curls. Although flat irons are better suited for straightening hair, they can also be used to create big curls or light waves. This is best done on straight hair or stretched hair.


  1. Twist/Braid + Curl

For extreme volume and definition, try a twist/braid and curl. This method involves cornrowing your hair or flat twisting it and using a roller on the ends. This keeps the ends more defined and less frizzy.

  1. Rollers (Plastic Wrap)

Rollers and plastic wrap is a method that is usually done as part of the silk press  hair straightening method. The results are straightened hair with big bouncy curls and body. To create these curls:

  • Start on clean and well moisturized hair
  • Apply a setting foam to your hair
  • Roll each section of your hair firmly with your preferred rollers
  • Allow to dry under a hooded dryer or air dry over night
  • Use a silicone-based product to seal in the moisture
  • Use a plastic wrap round your head, going in one direction
  • Use a hooded dryer for about 10 minutes with the plastic wrap on
  • When cool, take off the wrap
  • Style as desired

  1. Finger Coils

Finger coils are best for achieving small spring-like coils. To get perfect finger coils, all you need are your fingers, some products and patience.

  • Start on wet or dry hair. The latter gives more length
  • Moisturize and seal
  • Apply some gel or curling cream to your fingers
  • Twirl small sections of your hair
  • Allow to air dry
  • Style as desired

  1. Wash & Go

Wash & Go curls often are achieved with a bit of product and quick natural hair styling techniques. This is the easiest way go get curls that are similar to your natural curl pattern. Although you’re originally meant to wash and go as implied, follow the steps below to get more defined curls, length and volume.

  • Rake a gel or curling cream into your hair after washing and moisturizing
  • Use a Denman brush, the shingling method or praying hands method to get more definition
  • Lightly twist hair or use banding method to stretch
  • Air dry over night or use heat
  • Take down twists/ bands
  • Apply some of your favourite oil to get rid of crunchiness, if any
  • Style as desired

  1. Curlformers

Curlformers are great for long spiral curls. Although they seem intimidating to use at first, it gets easier with more practice and YouTube tutorials.


  1. Wet Set

Wet sets are the classic way to curl your hair. All you need are some plastic rollers, pins, a setting lotion, and hair dryer if you need to dry your hair quickly. To achieve a finished look using the Wet Set curling technique, repeat steps under ‘Rollers and Saran Wrap’ without wrapping your hair.

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Brandelyn Green is the Founder of VoiceOfHair, a platform to help women of color find the best hair care products, regimens and hairstyles! Since starting VoiceOfHair in 2014 she has grown the social media platform to over 1MM+ on Instagram and Facebook. As a natural who is also a salon goer, she wanted to create a platform where people could find the best products, hairstylists, advice and trends.
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