One of the best parts of natural hair is discovering the flexibility, diversity and complexity of your hair. Although I love my fluffy fro, there’s something about rocking a style that showcases my curl pattern or allows me to go from curly-to-wavy without using any heat. Here is a rundown of our favorite ways to enhance natural curls and what products can help you get the look.

Bantu Knot-out

Part damp hair into 4 sections. Starting in one of the sections, two-strand twist hair from root to tip and then wrap/coil the hair into a little knot-shaped ball. To make the knot, roll the hair tightly at the root and wind it until it begins to make a corkscrew shape. You can secure with clips or bobby pins but sometimes the hair stays put by itself. Note: You can add about 4-5 knots per section depending on the look you’re going for. The more knots you have, the smaller the curls. Apply a satin bonnet and allow hair to dry overnight. Take down carefully, apply Shea butter or a moisturizer to the ends, fluff and go!

Suggested product: Shea Moisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Cantu Shea Butter

Shingling

When I initially went natural two years ago, I remember asking a friend of mine how her curls were so defined. “Shingling,” she said. My initial reaction was “shingle-what?” After a little research blended with trial-and-error, I got a grasp on how to shingle. On wet, detangled hair, start at the nape of the neck and part hair (horizontally) into small sections (about ½ inch thick). Apply a curl enhancing product and rake it into hair either using your fingertips, a Denman brush or a rattail comb to help enhance curls.

Suggested product: Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding, Kinky Curly Curling Custard

Twist-Out/Braid-Out

My personal natural hair mantra is “When in doubt, twist it out!” Twist-outs have been a lifesaver for my hair on several occasions because I know that regardless of how big or small the twists are, when done correctly, my curls will have some added definition. For a slightly looser curl, try two-strand flat twists.

Braid outs are a fun and easy way to get a cool tight, wave pattern in hair. You can either do individual plaits or braid hair down to the scalp. Again, for a tighter curl-pattern use smaller braids and if you want looser results go for larger braids. This style can be done on dry or wet hair.

Suggested product: Uncle Funky’s Daughter Extra Butter, Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream

How do you create styles to show off your curl pattern in the summer?

-Margaret Francois

  • http://swallowsandglamazons.wordpress.com/ digitalribbon

    I used to do bantu – knot outs all the time when i was a teenager and all i used was olive oil.
    They always came out looking nice, very short very defined curls.

    I’ve never attempted to shingle and my twist outs just stopped working.
    I think that flat twists and mini french braids/cornrows give amore defined pattern and after a few days/weeks.

    I just usually use an oil or shea butter to set my natural styles. Other things just tend to make it shrink up more

  • Shoedooo

    I have done twist outs and twists are my go to look. Curly Custard is a must. I love love love the product. I’ve never done shingling with it but I will defintley try it out. Bantu, my hair hasn’t reached that point. But it will get there.

  • Kea

    I’ve been natural for quite some time now, and it saddens me that no matter what product or technique I try, none of these styles have ever worked for me. I always end up resorting back to a puff :(

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