5 Simple Tips to Make Your Curls Pop

Do you ever wonder how to get your curls defined and popping?

When I started my natural hair journey 4 years ago, I had heat-damaged hair. I used to walk down the street and see other people’s curls popping then look at the sad mess on my head and feel sad. I didn’t know whether my curls would ever look or be defined. As I grew out the heat damage, I faced another challenge. My own type 4 hair didn’t seem to hold the natural curl pattern. I often had frizzy hair. The question of how to make my curls pop was ever present.

Over the years, I have acquired a few common and not-so-common secrets on how to get juicy curls on my type 4 hair. Now, I’m not saying that I have the process completely figured out. I am, however, saying that I have picked up on 5 tips that make my natural curls more defined.  These are:

1. Practice Makes Perfect

Do you walk into kindergarten and expect to graduate with a PhD the next day?

Of course not! But why does it seem like we want to bypass the process when it comes to our natural hair? We learn one thing today and complain that it doesn’t work the next day when all we really need is practice and patience.

Juicy Twist Out on Type 4 Natural Hair
Juicy Twist Out on Type 4 Natural Hair

Do you want your twist out to look bomb? Practise! Do you want your wash and go to be more defined? Practise! Are your Bantu knots looking a bit weird? Practise! I can’t say this enough – practice makes perfect. If you want to get juicy curls, it might take you a few tries and tweaks to land on what works best for your natural hair.

2. Neat Hairstyles and Parts

When we’re doing twists, flat twists and Bantu knots for the purpose of unraveling them to get some popping curls, we can ignore the neatness of parts. After all, we are going to undo them, right?


Clean Parts on Flat Twist and Twist on Type 4 Hair
Clean Parts on Flat Twist and Twist on Type 4 Hair

The neatness of your hairstyle and parts matters a lot. If you, for example, manage to get your braid in using three perfect sections, then your braid out will be more defined and uniform. This might not seem important at first, but it factors in into how your braid out is going to look at the end of the day.

In order to define and make your curls stay, strive to be as neat with the parts, twists, flat twists, Bantu knots, braids, etc.

3. Master the Take-down Process

Do you ever get step 2 (above) right only to end up with a frizzy mess at the end of the take down process? This could be an indicator that you need to master the take-down process in order to get juicy curls.

There are a few things to note for any natural hair take-down process:

  • Rub light oil such as olive, coconut or jojoba in your palms before undoing your twists, braids or Bantu knots. This helps to reduce frizz
  • Take your time when undoing your hair. if you are in a hurry, you will most likely mess up a few parts which will lead to frizzy results
  • Tease your curls with your index finger as you separate them. For this, you need to gently twirl the curl in its natural direction to reduce the chances of frizz

You can see the tips above practically in the take-down section of the video below:

4. Avoid BHE Syndrome

I came up with this scientific discovery from studying my own behavior. 😀

Big Hair Envy (BHE) Syndrome is real people! If you are like me and don’t have bush-baby-level volume when it comes to your hair, the hair pick is your best friend and your worst enemy.

When I have curly hairstyles, I don’t want my hair to look flat. I’m out here trying to block views and stop traffic. Now, my hair isn’t naturally like that so my only option is to pick it at the roots. The result of this is usually one of two things: big hair and struggling curls hanging on for dear life at the ends OR a frizzy mess that almost always ends up as an afro.

Backfired Bantu Knot Out Afro on Type 4 Natural Hair
Backfired Bantu Knot Out Afro

What’s the solution, you ask? To be content with your hair volume and banish BHE syndrome. If you can, please put the pick down ma’am. Usually, your type 4 natural hair will only maintain its juicy curls when left alone. Also, time, humidity and overall weather conditions have a way of making your hair bigger as days go by. You can use a hair pick to fluff out the roots and blend partitions but be careful not to overdo it.

5. Use the Right Products

Now, I purposely placed number 5 at the bottom. That’s because I don’t like glorifying hair products. I believe that they should be secondary to healthy & proper hair practices.

That said, when we talk about defined curly hair, products are an important factor. The type of hair products that you use will factor into how to make natural curls more defined. Depending on your porosity and other factors, you may need to choose your conditioners, gels vs creams, sealing oils and other products wisely.

Generally, products that don’t weigh your hair down are better for curl definition and hold. However, there is no formula for this. The unfortunate truth is that you will have to try and test various products on your hair before you can confidently conclude that certain products give you the most defined curls for your type of hair.

Summary: How To Define Curls

Every naturalista wants to know how to make curls pop. The curls and kinks are integral to the unique identity of our manes. Therefore, it is always beneficial to get new tips and trick to get juicy curls. I hope the tips above (which have worked for me) will work for you too.


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