Best Products to Define Coils (And what exactly is “definition”, anyway?)

I’ve been experimenting with a few different homemade styler mixes for a while. Some are my own tailor-made recipes, some are others’ original styler mixes.¬†There are still lots more mixes I want to try, some using ingredients I have no experience with yet (such as mango butter). All this mix experimentation got me thinking about all the natural products for definition other naturals¬† say they have used with success.

Then I remembered doing a poll about this topic a while back with ladies that dialogue on the How to Go Natural Facebook page. In case you missed it, here are the highlights:

best natural styler for definition

Best Natural Hair Products for Coil/Curl Definition

(Based on Poll of How to Go Natural’s Facebook Fans)

-Flax seed gel

-Olive oil Eco Styler Gel

-Homemade whipped shea butter

-Coco Curls Styling Cream

-Crisco mix -AKA Calvis’ Sugar Foot Hair Shortnin’ (Review & Pics)

-Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Defining “Definition: What is it and can coils be ‘undefined’???

Allow me to take a step backwards for a moment in case any readers are new to “natural speak” and are still trying to figure out some of the commonly used natural hair terms. I don’t take it for granted that you know what it means to “define” a coil, twist or braid. Once upon a time, I remember being really frustrated when I watched a YouTube video about someone’s product regimen and she kept saying she used a certain product to “seal” her hair. At the time, I had NO clue what it meant to “seal” hair. Anywho, back to the point…

What is “definition” as it relates to natural hair (coils, twists, braids)?

In case you don’t know, definition (in relation to natural hair) simply means that you can easily distinguish one coil, twist or lock of hair from another. By contrast, coils that are completely undefined would probably be referred to as an afro. It’s the same hair texture (coily/kinky/wavy) but each coil (ringlets, curls or what have you) is pulled apart, picked apart, frizzy or otherwise not “clumped” together so that you can tell one lock of hair from the other.

My Favorite (and Cheapest) Product for Curl Definition Is…

The best thing to define my coils thus far has been plain old water. Yep. H20 from the tap. Whether I style my hair soaking wet after cleansing it or mist it before twisting/braiding it up for the night, water is THE thing I can always use to make coils/waves/twists pop. That’s because hair (any and all hair) responds to water on a chemical level in a way that makes it easier to take on a new shape.

Why Water Improves Curl/Coil Definition (But Also Causes Hair to Revert)

When hair is wet, it forms new hydrogen bonds with the water molecules. This is true whether you use pure water misted from a spray bottle or if there’s water in the styling product you’re using. That’s why it’s best to use oil-based products instead of water-based to keep hair from reverting after you’ve straightened or set it some way.

What’s “reverting” mean as it relates to natural hair?

Revert simply means something has returned to it’s original (or former) state. Here’s an example in hair terms: Let’s say your natural hair texture is something like little coils or ringlets that are about the diameter of a pencil. You decide to do a wet set on large rollers as a protective style. This will flatten out the coils/waves and instead will give you large barrel curls. However, after a few days your hair is a little dry you decide to put a product on it at night before you put your satin cap on for bed.

If you use a product with water as the first ingredient, your hair will revert back to coils or waves depending on how much product you used. However, if you use an oil-based product that doesn’t contain any water (such as pure coconut oil), then your hair won’t revert. Get it? Got it? Good! :-)




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