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Isabelle talks about curl training: the secret to beautifully defined curls

For a few weeks now I have been adding curl training to my wash day routine. But what does this mean, why and when do I do it?

In this article:

In this article:

Curl training restores curl memory. This method can be very useful for curls with damaged hair because in the long run, when the training is repeated often, your hair can turn into the original curls you were born with. 

That is why I train my curls. Over the years I have disrupted my original curl pattern by using heat tools such as a flat iron and dyeing my hair.

When I have a wash day I apply curl training while using a deep conditioner after I have washed my hair. First I comb it through with a wide tooth comb, then I start the training. 

There are two ways to train your curls: finger coiling or twisting strands of hair together. This is a personal preference; experiment and do what works best for you! 

I usually leave the deep conditioner in my hair for 45-60 minutes. I found that it is best for me to use a protein treatment. I use the Curls Blueberry Bliss reparative hair mask.


How does curl training work?

There are of course different methods to train your curls. I prefer finger coiling and twisting. 

They are both very effective! What is needed if you want to start with curl training?

I always use a Tangle Teezer to detangle my hair. Then I choose a mask (with or without protein) to apply to my hair. 

After twisting or finger coiling, I use a clamp to hold everything together. The last step is to put on a shower cap. 

I usually leave the mask on for an hour. If I am in a hurry, I am more likely to leave the mask on for 30 minutes instead of skipping the curl training.

Finger coiling

What exactly is finger coiling? With this method, you take a strand of hair and twist it around your finger, repeat a few times so that this clump does not sag. I usually work on my entire hair for 10 minutes.


With twisting you take two strands of hair and twist them tightly around each other, as it were. Then I scrunch the clump a little bit so that there is a curl reaction. 

Twisting takes about 15 minutes, just a little longer than if I would apply finger coiling.

Both are great methods and one takes a little longer than the other, but it is worth putting time into this every week. Below in the video you can briefly see both methods depicted again!

Have you ever tried curl training?

You probably have a whole list of curlies on your Insta that are really #hairgoals. It seems as if they have perfectly mastered the art of creating defined curls. 

We call this curl definition clumps. Clumps are strands of hair that curl together or form one larger curl.

What's the secret to these perfect curls?

In a nutshell, by applying curl training you can, as it were, let your curls clump together into beautifully defined clumps.

What is Clumping?

Imagine you have thousands of curly strands of hair on your head. Clumping is the clumping of hair strands and thus means that your curls come together and form bunches or clumps. 

The more strands you have per clump, the easier it is to see your curl definition and the bigger your curl will get. An added benefit is that clumps usually look shinier and healthier than frizzy thin curls.

So if, despite taking good care of your curls, you still don’t have a beautiful curl definition, read on before you throw in your towel. Below you will find my favorite tips & tricks.

How do you get the best result?

Let’s take a deep dive through your hair arsenal. To stimulate your curls to naturally form clumps, it’s important to start with the right tools.

The first important tip is to exchange your brush for a coarse-toothed comb. Your curls will clump in the direction of your natural curl pattern. 

Bristles disrupt that natural curl pattern by raking away all of your natural curl definition. A coarse-toothed comb helps to detangle your curls and distribute your products evenly without pulling your curls apart.

Open the tap wide, water is your best friend!

We’ll probably say it a thousand times… Water is arguably the most important ingredient to your curling routine. A common mistake curlies make is not using enough of it. 

Curls thrive on moisture, so making sure you completely saturate your hair strands with water is critical. The excess water not only makes it easier to detangle your hair, but also encourages your natural curls to shape, in fact, your curls are most defined when wet. 

Another way to reduce frizz is to use cold water whenever possible to rinse the conditioner in the shower. When you wash your hair with warm water, it opens up the hair cuticle, which is actually the outermost layer of each hair strand.

When the cuticles are open, your hair can absorb tons of moisture, but if you don’t seal your cuticles with cold water afterward, all the moisture will escape. Your curls will then dry out and thirsty, dried-out curls will not result in beautiful curl definition! 

If you have to get used to using cold water, start slowly. During your next wash, try to lower the temperature a few degrees and then put in one shot of cold water towards the end of your wash.

How do you keep your curls beautiful?

Left to their own demise, our curls would probably go wild a bit. A good styling product will help your curls clump together by creating definition that will last after your curls have dried and set. 

But even with the perfect styler you have to do the work yourself: the curl training. The two different application methods I mentioned earlier lead to different end results. 

As you know, every curly girl is unique and what could work perfectly for someone might not work for you at all. We therefore recommend that you experiment with different application methods and discover what makes your curls most beautiful.

Clumping: our favorite techniques & tips

Here are some of our favorite curl-curling techniques:

Top to bottom

As curly girls, we focus more on our ends than the roots in search of the perfect curl. While styling your curls, make sure your hair is completely wet from roots to ends. 

If you are experiencing a lot of frizz or flakiness on top, try applying the product from above and dragging / smoothing it down the length of your hair. The trick is if you don’t have a good clump, starting at the roots, then the curls at the ends will eventually separate and frizz.

Glide it

If you have looser curls or waves, then you want to let your product slide through your locks to smooth out your waves / curls and help them clump.

Raking and shaking

For tighter kinking and rinsing, working in sections is key to even product distribution. When you are done applying the product, shake your head back and forth. 

The centrifugal force pulls your strands together while separating the clumps from each other. Covering your face with a towel will likely help so you don’t get hit in the face with wet hair.

Hands off

When you are done styling your hair, the last step is to leave them alone! Don’t touch your curls! 

While your hair dries out, the styler will help your curls keep your tufts in place. Messing with damp curls is the perfect way to disrupt your curl pattern and encourage frizz. So no matter how cute your curls are, keep those curls hands-free!

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many ways to get poppin’ curls, while we think it’s best to learn from another curly girl.

The most important advice: try out which curl training method is best for you and your curls. And whatever techniques you use, those clumps will really come!

Every Curly Girl, and every curl, is unique! Do you have any questions? Let us know on Instagram!


  1. what do you mean by glide it?

  2. Hi Brionna,

    Thanks for your response. By this we mean that you put the product on your hands and fingers, spread it out and then you kind of “stroke” your hair which means you apply the product to your hair.

    Hope you understand now!


  3. Hi there

    I have naturally curly hair but very heat damaged with flat ironing for a couple of years.. I did the big chop but was impatient and started to flat iron again which I regret deeply.. I’m back on track now and cut off the straight ends bit by bit. I also ask advice about different products and there are so many on the market..
    when my hair is wet, my curls fall so beautifully into place , when it gets dry my ends are straight again and that frustrates me..
    Can you please please help me on this one

    Thank you

    • Hi Marlene,

      Thank you for your comment, we’re here to help you! I would suggest to use either a mousse or a gel (plus scrunching). This will make your curls last longer. Here are a few product I recommend using: Umberto Giannini Curl Whip Curl Activating Mousse, Giovanni 2chic Ultra Volume Foam Styling Mousse, Aunt Jackie’s Gel Don’t Shrink Flaxseed, Eco Styler Argan Oil gel.

      Hope this helps😊,

      Team Kurlify💜

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