I'm confused about how to define my daughter's curls.
It's true it can get confusing about which smoothing techniques to use.There are actually three) smoothing techniques to help define our curls. One gives more "set" curls, one helps emphasize her natural curl patterns, and one works best if she has looser curls than I do:
Doodles are best for very short hair (hair that doesn't reach to the shoulders, even when stretched out), and/ or very tight curls. Also, it's good if you're wanting a more set look for your daughter.
To do this way of defining her curls, you comb her hair wet, leave in lots of conditioner (so it foams up when you comb it. It looks scary, but it goes away when it dries).
Then while her hair is wet, take each little curl, or tiny little sections of her hair (like for really tight curls I sometimes take sections that are only maybe 50 hairs thick), and twist it around your fingers. You can check out what Aja
is doing with her hair for an idea (and there are several other women on the Before and After page who used this technique for their hair). You'll have hundreds of little Shirley Temple spirals over her head.
Let it dry. Don't fingercomb or brush it. (This is what my mom did with her hair when it was all cut off very short). They should last about a week if you don't brush or comb them.
My mom got lots of compliments when she did her hair like that until it reached her shoulders, then her hair was long enough to just smooth each curl as above.
In the morning, just re-twist the little spirals that came apart with water and more conditioner. This should last about a week. You can also see what Jennifer is doing with Arden
hair for the run through of all these steps.
For wearing her hair in her own curl patterns (this is how I wear mine and what I show on the site). This look is best if you like to see nice, strong curl definition, her hair is shoulder-length or longer, and it's too curly for you to simply run your fingers through it when wet with conditioner.
To do this look, comb lots of conditioner through her wet hair. It should foam up if you use enough. Don't worry, if you use the conditioners
I recommend, they don't dry white. Once you comb with the Denman, you will see her hair start separating into sections. (This is how I define
my hair.) Then go through her hair, and one by one, take each curly section that you see and smooth it by running your fingers down it.
If she has tight curls, you will have to make very very small sections. Like some sections will only have about 30-50 strands in it. Otherwise the curls will puff apart. The tighter her curl, the smaller the sections you'll need to make. You may have hundreds by the time you are done, depending on her curl size.
Let her hair dry. Don't do anything else to it. Don't comb them, brush them, or separate these curls. When her hair dries, if it's long enough, you can put her hair up in several braids or twists.
In the morning, after you take out her braids (or twists), it may look like her curls are fuzzy and smooshed, but they aren't. Just wet your hands, add a little conditioner, rub them together, and smooth any fuzz, smooth her ends, and re-smooth any curls that got mashed.
If curls are puffing apart, you might need to make them smaller. Divide them in half, or even more pieces. I know this sounds like lots of work, but once you do this, it lasts all week, and it only takes a few seconds in the morning to refresh her curls.
*If her hair is wavier, or you don't have time to go over every curl, you could try the next technique:
Finger defining is good for any length of hair. It's especially good for looser curl patterns, or if you don't care so much if your daughter's curls are crisply defined (and you can run your fingers through her curls when they are wet with conditioner).
To finger-define, follow the steps for Defined Curls, but instead of smoothing every curl one by one, run your fingers through her hair wet (with the right kind of conditioner in it) a bunch of times. Then let it dry as usual. Her curls won't be as defined as they would be if you smoothed every single one between your fingers, but it will still look really good.