Letters To Urbancurlz: How To Establish Curl Pattern

"Hey, Urbanista, I love the blog. So wonderful, fun and helpful! :) I'm a new natural, I only did my big chop about a month ago. I have about four or five inches of natural hair now and I have a few questions about defining curl pattern. You're the expert! :] I do like my little freeform afro, but how can I go from a tight, shrunken 'fro to the having a head of the coily, little curls that I can feel in my afro?? I think I'm about a 3c/4a with some 4b. Any product suggestions? Techniques I should try? Thanks for the help and posting such a lovely blog!


Defining your curl pattern believe it or not is a trial and error period. I say this because you have to find the right products and combination along with the best method for your hair. For so many years, I thought that brushing was the best technique to establish a curl pattern. But I was never able achieve that curly look after my hair dried. It always dried to a frizzy, shriveled mess. It wasn't until early this year that I figured out that the no-brush method and the Miss Jessie's Shingling method is the best way to allowing the natural curl pattern to form in my hair. So in April, I tossed the brush and comb-for good.

My advice is try to avoid brushing and combing for a while to see if that will allow you curl pattern to form. In order to make this process easy, you should completely detangle your hair in the shower with your fingers. Do this while the force of the water is on your hair. Afterwards, do not towel dry! After exiting the shower your hair is already detangled, so all you have to do is apply product, section by section. Allow hair to air dry or use a diffuser. Once dried, you can finger style or stretch out the curls with a nozzled blow dryer.

Another thing to keep in mind is that styles like twist sets, straightening, etc. do not allow you to establish your natural curl pattern. These only temporarily alter the curl pattern. So I recommend trying the Miss Jessie's Shingling method or Curlisto Method to achieve your natural curls. The key is to learn how to lock in that fresh wet look and that can be achieved with the right product and skipping out on the brushing and combing.
5 Responses:

I really love the wet look of my hair after its just been washed. What is the shingling and curlisto method that you mentioned? I typically on use natural products that I make, so I'm not familiar with the brands out.


Be careful stretching out the curls with a nozzled blow dryer as this can create breakage at the root area. If you do this method be gentle and use low heat.

Good Luck

UC to KurlyQue,

This is a Youtube Video for the Curlisto.

-and the Shingling Method from Miss Jessies

I do a combination of both methods to lock in the wet look. It's not necessary to use their prodcuts, because many different products will produce the same results. It's a matter of finding which product(s) works with your texture.

And Beautiful Napps makes a great point, be careful with using the nozzle to stretch curls. I only do it on average of once or twice a week on medium heat.

do you wear a towel around your neck or something for the water drippies?

No, I ususally let it drip but sometimes I will squeeze the ends of my hair with my fingers.

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