Techniques to Define Wavy or Curly Hair

When we start embracing our naturally curly or wavy hair, one of the biggest issues that we face is regarding how to define the curls. I remember coming out of the shower and gazing at my soaking wet hair in the mirror with gel in my hand and wonder, “What am I supposed to do now?”. Well as it comes, there are various ways of applying styling products to our hair to style our gorgeous locks. I have tried out few of these and kept few to ‘try out later’.


So if you couldn’t find out a way to apply that gel or mousse to your hair, here I am sharing few techniques to make  your life easier. Try out and do let me know if it worked out for you!! Oh btw, how I style my hair most of the times is like this – My Curly Hair Styling Routine


  • Smoothing: In this method, following hair wash, conditioning and applying the leave-in conditioner, the gel is applied to soaking wet hair in a smoothing motion. Take the Styling product (gel or mousse) and spread it between your palms by rubbing it. Take a section of your hair between your palms and slowly spread the product on your hair in a smoothing motion. Do this for all the sections of hair. This method helps in creating more clumps in hair. This method is very much effective for tightly curly haired people where the hair is already well defined. If your aim is to get those beautifully clumped curls, then Smoothing the hair gel on wet hair is the way to go!


  • Rake and Shake: Here, you spread the styling product between your palms and starting at the root, you run your gel spread fingers through the hair(raking), stopping just before the ends and then give your hair mild shake. The raking helps in spreading the gel evenly onto the hair which will help it remain clumped and defined. The shaking helps the curls to attain their natural curl shape. This method is best suited for people who are looking for volume. Also, if  you do not have tight curls and after shower your hair needs to be guided to for the natural curl pattern then this method will be well suited. This is also helpful in defining wavy hair.


  • Scrunching: In this, the styling product is spread on the palms and is applied onto the hair in a scrunching motion. Ends of hair are taken onto gel spread palms and the hair is crushed towards the roots. This process of crushing hair (like a paper in the palm) is called scrunching. This process helps in enhancing the curl formation and also helps in the most wanted clumpy curls. This is suitable for all types of curl patterns.


  • Finger Coiling: The name of the method defines it all. You need to spread the styling product  onto your index finger and coil sections of your hair around your finger to give it definition. Start at the end of the hair and coil or roll around the finger until the roots. Hold for few seconds and uncoil. If you are looking for tight curls, take small sections for coiling. If volume is the goal then take larger sections. This method produces well-defined curls. And can be done on all curl patterns. However this can be a little time consuming as it needs all sections of the hair to be coiled around the finger which requires patience too.


What I Follow is a mix of more than two methods. My go-to method is to rake and shake the product onto my hair followed by scrunching. If I am in the mood and have time, I finger coil the front of my hair to give the shorter hair more tight definition.


Which is your favourite or go-to curl defining method? Do share in the comments below!


Here is a list of silicone-free hair styling products available in India: List of gels and mousse.

Here is a list of silicone-free hair conditioners available in India: List of hair conditioners.

Here is the step by step process for making Flaxseed gel at home: How to make flaxseed gel .

10 thoughts on “Techniques to Define Wavy or Curly Hair

  1. Really like your blog. Just one question can you suggest any leave in conditioner good for wavy hair and easily available in India? Thank you for your help in advance.

  2. Hi Divya

    To tell you, these blogs have given me confident to show up my curls after years and years. I have started your methods and haven’t achieved complete results but i can see improvement 🙂

    thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Can you tell me how to water down normal conditioner to make it as leave in ?

    1. Hi Ramya,

      Thank you so much!!! I am glad that you have started flaunting your curls!!

      I am sure that your curls will get to their full glory in no time!! 🙂

      Watering down a conditioner is very simple…just take few drops of conditioner in your palms,,,add water and rub your palms together…
      You can also do it in a spray bottle or a jar or a cup… add a small quantity of your conditioner and add water…. the quantity of water and conditioner would depend on the consistency that you want to achieve! 🙂

      1. Hi divya ,
        Thank you for responding. I did follow the cg method and got my curls in place. But they were not fully tammed n were loose curls. I mailed u the pics , do let me know what better I can do.

        Thank you,
        Ramya M.

    1. Hey Rupal, I am currently using Cantu Define and Shine Custard. If flaxseed makes your hair feel dry, may be you can add a aloe vera gel/juice to it or few drops of oil.
      Also, try and deep condition your hair more. 🙂

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