NaturalOne 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 products: 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 rat-tail comb to help enhance curls.

Suggested products: 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 products: 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?

-Margaret Francois

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  • Penny

    I like the Miss Jessies shampoos and conditioners (they provide plenty of “slip”), but I’m not crazy about the creams. They are so heavy and cause buildup. I love the Bee Mine creams (beemineproducts.com). Also, Kinky Curly Knot Today is a fantastic leave-in.

  • dvine

    right now i’m in the process of using the shea moisture products.. love them and they smell so good.. this summer will be the 1st summer i wear my hair out natural. i’m souped..

  • Lecy

    I use Avon Daily Shine leave-in conditioner in my hair and then french braid it overnight. Then in the morning, I take it out, comb it using a wide tooth comb and it leaves my hair with fine curls.

  • Taunya Browner

    I’ve been relaxer free going on four years now. To enhance my natural curl pattern I rinse my hair in the shower daily. Squeeze out excess water with a microfiber towel, apply pure aloe vera gel and pure coconut oil (found in any natural products store), working it through with my fingers. Still with my hands, I arrange my hair into the style I want and let it air dry. If I’m in a hurry I blow dry it using LOWEST heat setting.