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How to Define 4c Curls

Wearing your hair in a bun every day can become tedious, especially if you have a thick kinky texture.

You’ve probably thought about switching things up a couple of times and trying something different like braids or cornrows – but it has been hard to know where to begin.

If you attempt a quick search on YouTube, you will realize that every other influencer with 4C curls has a video of their hair in curl definition, wash and go styles, and twisted-out updos.

It tells you that the 4C texture is versatile and can be turned into many curly hairstyles. This article explores several techniques that you can use to make 4C hair curly. 

Method 1: Straw Setting Your Hair

4c hair techniques

The techniques vary depending upon how much time a person is willing to spend on their hair and what styling methods they are personally most suited for.

The perfect cutting technique for naturally curly hair is the straw set. This method is less expensive than purchasing many different packages of semi-permanent wave custodians and can be as effective for short or long-length hair.

The best part about the straw set is that it doesn’t damage your natural hair at all, and it simply adds to its beauty by adding body and bounce in a very natural way.

Products needed:

Shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, setting lotion, one pack of straws, one pack of bobby pins, and a wide-tooth comb.


  1. As Straw setting works best in damp hair, clean your hair thoroughly with a hydrating shampoo before styling your hair.
  2. Use a suitable conditioner and keep it wet.
  3. With a light moisturizer, massage your hair and scalp.
  4. Then using the wide-toothed comb, apply an even layer of setting lotion.
  5. First of all, take an inch’s width or so of hair and wrap it around the straw in a spiral fashion. Roll the hair up tightly onto the straw, then secure it using smaller bobby pins than normal ones used on regular curls. Make sure you place these bobby pins in front of a mirror to avoid tight spirals.
  6. Dry the hair.
  7. Once set, remove the straws and bobby pins.
  8. Apply some hair oil, if needed.

Also read: Best Leave-in Conditioners for 4C Hair

Method 2: Bantu Knot Outs

The Bantu knot-out method is a perfect hairstyle to try on your kinky hair. This style holds up for an extended period, and you will not need any heat throughout the process.

If you have shorter hair, start by making smaller sections to see which parts of your hair need to be brushed and tucked in thoroughly. When working with longer hair, it may be easier and recommended to make larger sections so that you do not get tired out before fully styling the rest of your hair!

Products needed:

Shampoo, conditioner, setting lotion or styling gel, rattail comb, pins, or elastics.


  1. Wash your hair thoroughly with warm water, use a conditioning shampoo and leave-in conditioner to protect it from damage, and make it easy to comb or style afterward.
  2. Detangle the hair strands using your fingers.
  3. Part your hair using the rattail comb. Ensure that the hair is still wet after the wash.
  4. Use the setting lotion or styling gel in the individual sections and work through each section of hair and twist.
  5. You can secure each section with pins or elastics, and you can also use the hair around itself to twist them like a screw.
  6. Make sure to wrap each section closer to your head, bringing the ends of your hair closest to your scalp. Secure the knots in place with a pin or elastic.
  7. Let it dry overnight.
  8. Remove the pins, untuck the knots and get defined curls.

Method 3: Flexi rods

Flexi Rods are fun and easy tools to work with when creating curls. These soft, bendable rods can be easily incorporated into your everyday styling routine thanks to their ability to adapt around hair and create curl patterns that will last all day long!

Whatever size rod you choose, the bigger the rod is, the more extensive your curls. Keep in mind that less tension is required if you want loose waves.

Products needed:

Flexi rods, a spray bottle of water, a leave-in conditioner, setting lotion, and a Rattail comb.


  1. To start with dry hair, you want to make sure that it gets the most volume possible. If you decide to use hair that is damp, then the drying process will take longer, but the result will be less dramatic and wavier.
  2. Section your hair using the rattail comb.
  3. Mist your hair a little using the spritzer bottle.
  4. Apply the setting lotion, styling gel, or leave-in conditioners into each section.
  5. Wrap each section of hair around a Flexi rod and bend the ends inward. You need to decide on the size of the curls you desire and use the appropriate Flexi rods. If you use a thicker rod, the curls will be larger.
  6. Allow your hair to air dry.
  7. After drying, take out the Flexi rods and unleash the curls.

Method 4: Perm Rods.

perm rods

Perm rods are like Flexi-rods, and they give you gorgeously bouncy curls. If you try it on damp hair, please let it air dry before styling after that, as the slightest bit of moisture can spell disaster for your curly style! This method leaves you with healthy and voluptuous curls.

Products needed:

Perm rods, curl-defining cream, rattail comb, and a silk bonnet or scarf.


  1. Start with dry and detangled hair.
  2. Section your hair using the rattail comb.
  3. Apply the curl defining cream or mousse liberally.
  4. Wrap the hair tightly around the perm rod.
  5. Repeat this for all the sections.
  6. Cover with a silk bonnet and let it dry overnight.

Method 5: Shingling

Shingling is a great way to separate and define each curl, resulting in maximum curl definition.

Don’t apply too much ‘leave-in’ conditioner or gel; otherwise, your hair will lose its volume and become flat. This process results in bouncy, elongated curls that can last up to a week without the frizz.

Products needed:

Detangling brush, wide tooth comb, moisturizing leave-in conditioner, curling cream, and a spray bottle of water.


  1. Start by applying the deep moisturizing leave-in conditioner and part your hair into four sections with the wide-toothed comb.
  2. Using a detangling brush, reach the entire length of the stand.
  3. Apply the curling cream in an even layer.
  4. Spray your hair with little water.
  5. Use the thumb and an index finger to smooth out each curl and twist around your index finger for maximum definition.
  6. Repeat the process for all sections.
  7. Use a diffuser or let the hair dry naturally.
  8. You can use an afro pick to lift the root, giving you extra bounce and volume.

Method 6: Braid and Curl

braid and curl

The braid and curl method is considered one of the perfect ways to create extra body and volume for your hair.

It is time-consuming, but it will leave you with curls that last for days and keep your hair looking charmingly frizz-free. Here’s how you can recreate these gorgeous tresses!

Products needed:

Leave-in Conditioner, Moisturizing oil, detangling brush, and a Wide-tooth comb.


  1. Rinse your hair thoroughly and allow it to dry a little bit before styling.
  2. Start with damp hair.
  3. Evenly apply the leave-in conditioner.
  4. Using the comb, divide your hair into sections.
  5. From each section, take a smaller unit and detangle it using the brush.
  6. Part the section into two and twist them against each other. Alternatively, part it into three and make numerous french braids.
  7. Repeat all over your hair.
  8. Wrap each braid and let them dry.
  9. Unravel the braids once dried.
  10. Finish it off by using hair oil.

Also read: Best Oils for 4C Natural Hair

Method 7: Twist outs

For 4c hair, twists are the more straightforward way to curl your natural hair. They are guaranteed to give your curls more definition, with several options available from tight ringlets, large curls, or chaotic waves if you want to try something extravagant.

Products needed:

Shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, hair oil, curling cream or gel, wide-toothed comb.


  1. Start by rinsing your hair with a moisturizing shampoo and apply the conditioner for a few minutes.
  2. Section your hair carefully using a wide-toothed comb
  3. Next, use the hair oil all over the hair
  4. Detangle the sections with a comb
  5. Take a smaller section, apply curling cream and twist it.
  6. Repeat the process for all the sections.
  7. Let it dry overnight. Don’t unravel the curls before drying completely, or the curls will not hold.
  8. Unravel the twists carefully using your finger
  9. Separate and fluff your curls using oil on your fingertips for more volume.

Method 8: Flat twist

These are similar to twists in that it is a pseudo cornrow braiding technique that gives hair definition along the route. Follow these steps for your flat twists and get ready to rock your awesome new summer hairstyle!

Products needed:

Leave-in conditioner, hair oil, wide-toothed comb, perm rods


  1. Apply the leave-in conditioner evenly and liberally all over your hair
  2. Section the entire hair into four parts.
  3. Apply some hair oil.
  4. Take a smaller section from each section and carefully detangle it using the wide-toothed brush.
  5. For practice with the flat twist technique, pick up two strands from the top of a section of hair. Begin twisting these strands over and under one another against the scalp until you reach the end of the section. Don’t forget to take an extra inch along as you go!
  6. In the end, each section should be like a flat, two-strand twist.
  7. Add perm rods at the end of your hair if needed.
  8. Repeat for all the sections.
  9. Cover with a silk scarf and let it dry overnight.
  10. Take out the perm rods and untwist carefully.
  11. Pick out the roots for extra volume.

Method 9: Wet set

wet set curls review

A wet setting can be employed by stylists immediately following a shampoo and conditioning session.

At the same time, the hair is still damp to define natural curls through rollers of various sizes. This method may create a slight curl or add volume to wavy hair.

Products needed:

moisturizing cream, setting lotion, detangling brush, curling mousse, pins, plastic rollers, hair curls


  1. Start by washing and moisturizing your hair correctly.
  2. Evenly apply a setting lotion to your hair.
  3. Part the hair into two and detangle them with the help of a detangling brush.
  4. Put the curling mousse to a minor part of the hair, and then roll each smaller part tightly with the plastic rollers. Please keep it safe with the pins.
  5. Use a blower or let it dry overnight.
  6. Avoid using any oil-based products until your hair is completely dry.

Method 10: Pin curls

The pin curls method is old-fashioned when done on dry hair, and it works best after straightening or blow-drying your hair.

Products needed:

Pins, wide-toothed comb, silk scarf.


  1. Section your well-moisturized hair into sections using the comb.
  2. Take smaller sections to wrap them in a circular pattern.
  3. Cover up with a silk scarf for a few hours or overnight.
  4. Take out the pins carefully and apply a setting spray.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you train your 4C hair to be curly?

4c hair treatment

To make 4C hair curly, one must first ensure their hair is well moisturized. After that step, it’s necessary to lock in the moisture. Then complete various curl defining techniques such as twist-out and braid-out to finish naturally full-looking curls!

How do you define 4C curls without shrinkage?

Keep your hair organized into several knots while washing it to avoid shrinkage. You can also apply stretching methods like twist, braid, bun, banding, or African threading.

Regularly use hydrating creams and use curling gel while styling your hair. Anti-frizz products may also help to smooth and elongate your curls. Reducing shrinkage will make your hair much more manageable, healthy, and less prone to breakage.

How do you keep 4C hair curly?

To keep your 4C hair curly, use the maximum hydration method. The ultimate hydration method, or MHR for short, is a 4-6-step hair care regimen that deeply moisturizes your follicles.

It also decreases frizz and gives you healthy curls perfect for achieving long-lasting wash and go styles. This method aims to increase the moisture in hair to the maximum level and works well for low porosity hair like 4C.


As described in this article, there are several methods to make 4C hair curly, and there are various things you need to consider before changing your hairstyle. We hope this article helped you understand everything you need to know about 4C curls.




I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty & make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!

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