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How I Define Curls on My Type 4 Natural Hair.

Once in a while, I love me some defined curls. There was a time I obsessed about having some curls on my hair and had learn how to define them and keep them popping. Now, I can easily get the curls all defined in minutes and it took me years to get here.

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On today’s post, I share how I define products and the products I use for definition and styling. If you want defined curls but getting there feels like a struggle, don’t give up yet. This post is for y’all who want defined coils and curls, if you have nailed how to define curls, share your tips in the comment section.

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How I define curls on my type 4 hair and keep it defined

My Go To Tips for Curl Definition.

How I defined curls when I started my natural hair journey.

When I started my natural hair journey,  all I used to my hair is wash, stretch with heat, install some braids with extensions or keep it straightened for weeks. Thank God when I decided to care for my hair myself I didn’t have the crazy heat damage though my hair didn’t have any curls.

If you’re starting your hair care journey, curl definition should be among the last things you think and obsess about. Start by learning all things about hair care routine, how to cleanse, Pre-poo, detangle without pain and damaging your hair, moisturizing, deep conditioning, protective styling and the best products to use.

As a hair care beginner, check out these posts and Ebooks to ease your journey;

How to define curls when on a natural hair journey.

Two ways I used to define my curls when starting my hair journey.

Twists and Twist Outs.

This was my go to trick to get my hair all curly. Twists will easily give you the definition of installed well and use products that will activate curls. I learned that the smaller the twists, the more the definition. So, choose mini twists over chunky twists. Another tip that helped me with definition is installing the twists on wet hair.

Spray water or a hydrating hair mists on your hair, once wet, apply a moisturizing leave-in conditioner. For thick and coarse hair, go for thicker leave-in conditioners like African pride moisture miracle coconut oil and baobab oil and for fine hair, use lightweight moisturizing leave-in conditioner. Some leave-in conditioners will give you the definition you need and if they don’t, use a curl cream.

After applying moisturizing leave-in, I used to apply an oil or a butter then twist the hair. For maximum definition, I would twist each of the two sections around my finger before twisting, like curl the two sections with my fingers before twisting them. Once done with the whole head, I would keep the twists for at least a week before taking them down revealing the twist outs which turned out curly and bounce. Keep the twist outs without separating then separate them after a couple of days, you’ll notice how curly your strands look.

One of my favourite twist outs from the early years of natural hair journey
One of my favourite twist outs from the early years of natural hair journey

Braids and Braid Outs.

This was another way, I would define my curls. Braiding isn’t fun for me, I feel like it’s a lot of work especially if wearing mini braids. With installing braids, I start off with wet hair, apply moisturizing leave-in conditioners, use curl creams for more definition then follow up with an oil or butter to keep the moisture locked as the curls get the definition. 

I would keep the braids for at least two weeks because there is no way am taking down braids within days after all that hardwork. After taking them down, I separate the strands then flaunt my curly hair.

Related posts;

How I Define Curls on My Type 4 Natural Hair.
Once upon a braid out.

How I define Curls Now/ Lately.

I still love my defining my curls with twists, braids not as much because braids take time and my hair is fuller and longer compared to when I started my natural hair journey. Twists are also my go to protective style because they are easy to do, style and I just love them. If you’ve been here for a minute, you already know I love them and come across the a thousand posts on twists. If you missed the thousands of twists posts, here you go;

Other ways I lately define my curls;

Moisturize right after washing my hair (rinsing off deep conditioner)

Moisturizing right after rinsing off my go to deep conditioner while my hair is still wet, define the curls perfectly coupled up with chunky braids to stretch it. You can never go wrong with long and curly hair now can you? Lately, I don’t use oils and butters, you can read about that here.

I apply a moisturizing leave-in conditioner when my hair is still wet and in sections to ensure all the strands are coated. Once every strand is coated, I braid the hair 6-8 sections and let the hair air dry.

Related post; How I moisturize my hair after washing.

How I Define Curls on My Type 4 Natural Hair.
This is your sign to keep your hair moisturized.

Flat Twists.

These too gives me a definition though looser curls compared to braids and twists. I prefer going with 2-4 flat twists. I only use flat twists to define my curls when have been wearing my hair out and it’s loosing the definition. I start by moisturizing either by spraying the hair with water until it’s damp then apply a leave-in conditioner or apply a moisturizing deep conditioner on the dry hair then install the flat twists.

I only start with water when I intend on wearing the hair in flat twists for days giving them time to dry. On instances when all I need is definition, I apply leave-in conditioner on dry hair and install flat twists in the evening before taking them down in the morning.


Re-moisturizing between wash days will revive the curls and give the definition we all desire. I should mention that you shouldn’t re-moisturize just because you want defined curls. Re-moisturize to keep your hair healthy, soft and manageable. To re-moisturize, I either apply leave-in conditioner on dry hair or start by spraying water then apply my go to moisturizing products.

Related posts; How I moisturize my hair between wash days.

That’s it from me but there are other ways you can define curls like by using flex rods, Bantu knots, straw sets etc.

I would love to know how you define coils and curls on your hair.

Valerie Kinoti

Valerie Kinoti has loved all things hair since she was 8 and always dreamt of having long hair. Decades later she is living the long hair dream and sharing all tips, tricks she has learned over the years.