Hot! Reader Question: Why Can’t I Get Curl Definition?

jan henna 3

(This is not a photo of the reader’s hair)

This is a question that I see pretty often so I thought it would be a good one to post.

Bre asks:

“Ok So I did my BC on tuesday and need some help!!!!!! What can I use to get curl definition? I see my curls but I must be using the wrong products. When I apply activator they will form but once I do my whole head then it seems like I did nothing to it! Should I just leave my hair alone and just let it grow out a lot more to see definition or what?”

If anyone has any helpful tips, please leave them in the comments section. Thank you.

If you have a question, please send it to me at


  1. @ Bre – Try Karen’s Body Beautiful’s Hold it Gel. It’s all natural and works exceptionally well.

  2. Comments from FB:

    C.A.- braidouts and twistouts are a tremendsous help. I did a braidout tuesday with shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie and olive oil eco styler. the rest of the week i just refreshed with curl enhancing smoothie, and retained great curls!!

    J.S.- Definitely try Curl Love Moisture Milk by Camille Rose Naturals. Www. Or try Afroveda’s butters. You can get them both at my natural hair store.

    E.O.- I found that during the “transition” stage I didn’t think I had a curl pattern. However, when I finally did the BC and got the processed hair out of the picture, my hair was free to do what it does… kink and coil! So you might be surprise…d when you too complete the transition stage and find what works best for your hair type.
    I do agree that braid/twist-outs help a lot of people obtain the super definition and I love the end look. :)

  3. Comments from FB:

    F.B.P.- Great question. I’m 8 months into my transition but I can already see that I have little to no curl definition on the top front area of my hair. I think we just have to accept our hair textures. I realize I may never have a curl pattern there but I will definitely rely on braid outs and twist outs to help me along.

  4. Just let it grow and ditch the curl activator, and opt for oils and butters.

  5. Hi Ladies! Thank u for so much feedback. I had Eco styler with olive oil here at home and used that and my curls came out! I have tiny spiral curls. I do want a more “Natural” gel if anyone has suggestions, please leave them… Thanks so much L and all of you beautiful ladies!!!

  6. As others have suggested, it will take a while to find products that work for your hair. I suggest keeping it well moisturized. This may mean keeping a spray bottle with you and misting it throughout the day. Moisture, moisture and more moisture may help with seeing what your hair will and can do. Be patient, and try to have fun in figuring out your hair.

  7. Comments from FB:

    C.E.W.- Koils by nature Shaelo conditioner is very curl defining try that out and also cream of nature leave in conditioner is good and oh yeah Care Free curl jeri curl juice will truly work as well many bless ing to you on your journey

    S.B.- it may take some time for your hair to be trained. you’ll be surprised what proper moisturizing can do.

    K.B.- Believe it or not, some people have very loose curls. Product can not give you curl that does not exist. Keep your scalp healthy, moisturized daily. You may have to create texture with twist or coils.

  8. Activator is not a bad choice to bring out curl definition because activator contains high levels of glycerin. Glycerin is great for adding and holding moisture in hair causing the hair strands to smooth out. Smooth strand = strand definition. Your hair may be lacking moisture. Add a deep moisturing treatment to your shampoo ritual. Don’t shampoo everyday. Once a week is fine, every other week is better. Try a comb twist or two strand twist on damp hair with activator gel or foaming pomade for extra hold. Allow to dry and undo the twist. Finger comb to desired fullness and style. Cover your hair with silk or satin scarf or bonnet when going to bed. Cotton scarves absorbs the moisture from the hair. Follow these steps to ‘train’ your hair. Have fun!

  9. I am not a hair expert however, I am a loyal experimentalist with my natural hair. I have kinky-curly hair that i have tamed since 2005. One discovery I have made about natural hair is the response time of product is relative to the design of your curl pattern and the ingredients within the product you are applying. Each curl patten is unique and responds to the products in its own time. My hair has an s shaped spiral curl that loosens immediately when I apply hair milk, grape seed or aragon oil while its wet. If I want to keep the definition I have to use a defuser. If I use products that provide more of a hold for the shape or patten I want my hair to produce, I have to twist or braid it, therefore shaping the curl patten a little more and it takes more time for my hair to respond. So, you have to discover and experiment with your personal texture and products that you know give you your desired results.

  10. When I first BCed I tried all kinds of curl activators and all of them did absolutely nothing. The only thing that I tried that gave me curl defintion was Eco Styler Olive Oil gel. I was really surprised and impressed. I’ve read that it takes months-years for many people to see their true texture; however, I would learn to like your hair’s texture the way it is now, because that’s what you have to deal with and you never know…your texture may stay the same.

  11. Comments from FB:

    S.Y.- After my BC I used be curly be AVEDA- I loved it.

    J.D.- It may not be the product but the technique. I go through my hair with a d3 denman brush in sections. The bigger the section the bigger the curls.

    E.R.D.- @sheena what hair type are you though? i am looking for the same type of product for my hair as well, I’m 4b or 4A not quite sure yet. BC 12/26/11

    T.J.- I agree denman brush is perfect to see your pattern try combing your hair first with the conditionor of course run the brush through your hair u see your pattern. I agree technique can be the issue as well. I use uncle funkys curly magic or I leave my conditioner in my hair. My favorite conditioner for my wet and go is by taliah waajid.

    J.D.- I hope this isn’t taken the wrong way but is there hair that doesn’t have curls to define?

    NaturalReview- @JD- That is a valid question. I would say that there are textures that don’t show the type of “defined curl” people are looking for once it’s dry. It just depends on the hair.

    S.L.- Good point Jacqueline. A person can only define a “curl” if there is one in the first place. If you have kinky puffy hair, you might not have a curl to define.

    J.D.- That’s what I was thinking Natural. People aim for a certain curl and sometimes your hair just won’t do it. I wonder if that makes some people turn back to chemicals or straightening. Whew this journey is a lot deeper than people think!!

  12. How are you applying these products to your hair?

    This is how I apply my curling gels and puddings:

  13. I look back at pictures taken after I did the bc and I don’t see nearly as much curl definition as I do and have now. My aunt even saw curl definition after I chopped but I didn’t as much. I suggest you be patient as your hair gets longer and also use a little curl defining product. But I most think waiting will be your best option. :)

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