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Beginner: How to Organize Curly Hair by Curl Training

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Notice some of these Instagram-worthy curls seem so “organized”? Whether you are a beginner or have done the curly method for some time, here’s everything you need to know about curl training.

2 Ways to Train Your Curls

FINGER COILINGTWO-STRAND TWISTS
When to do it– Deep conditioning
– Styling (before gel.)
– Spot Refreshes
– Prepoo with oil
– Deep conditioning
– Hairstyle Up-do’s

I started my curly journey in 2017. Inspired by Instagram blogger @hif3licia, I started training my curls from January 2018 making two strand twists with my deep conditioner. Excited to see my curls evolving, I deep dived into the finger coiling.

Much like swimming or driving, curl training takes practice. Took me 3 months to get my finger coiling technique right. I stuck with the program and I’m reaping all the benefits NOW!

TOP BENEFIT OF CURL TRAINING: After a while, I didn’t have to manipulate my curls anymore! Even my no product hair started falling into organized curl pattern. Wash days got simpler; life got easier. I really want this for you too. Here are a few ways to incorporate the training…

Top Beginner Tip!

Start curl training during cleansing. The cleansing phase includes conditioner and/or deep conditioner. For a beginner, these products offer better slip compared to gel. Curl training is also easier and faster when done on soaking wet hair. Slowly graduate to other phases like prepoo or styling. Your motivation to curl train diligently will only come after you see results! This is the easiest way to get those results.

Curl Training at Prepoo Phase

Prepoo is preparing your hair before shampoo. I don’t recommend this for fine hair or low density hair. Coarse hair? Colored hair? Grey hair? Here are some helpful pro tips for you:

  • Use oil on dry hair or conditioner with water to help your detangle first.
  • Use light-oil blends that also help in detangling (options here)
  • Make small or big sections, depending on how much time you have.
  • Spray water first, lightly, then apply oil; oil SEALS HYDRATION from water.
  • Brush that section and, then do the two-strand twists.
  • Use reusable shower cap and keep 10-20min
  • Keep overnight for bleached damaged coarse hair.

Curl Training at Deep Conditioning Phase

  • Ensure hair is buildup-free before using a hair mask. 
  • Rake in small sections to encourage curl clumping.
  • Brush and/or train your curls with the clumps already formed by raking
  • Finger coil OR make twists – whichever way you find easier and faster.
  • Use reusable shower cap and keep 20min
  • Rinse out with cold water using Squish to Condish method (see video tutorial here)

But Liz won’t the water unravel the curls? Yes it will, of course! The idea is to train your curls to fall into these respective curl families eventually without products without any manipulation. So don’t overthink this. The amazing hair salon transformations you see on my IG salon? We likely trained while deep conditioning!

Which side do you think did better? 

  • I make two-strand twist when using “thicker“ deep conditioners (DC) or with my Bonding treatments.
  • You can finger coil when using thinner consistency DC for better slip

Pro Tips for Curl Training at Styling Phase

  • Make sure hair is conditioned, detangled, and wet.
  • Take 1-2 coin sized leavein/cream and apply on your hair.
  • Part your hair either side ways, or half-up half-down.
  • Finger coil in small sections to stay organized.
  • Finger coil with leave-in conditioner or curl cream only
  • Scrunch or just coat hair gel after.

I don’t recommend you finger coil with hair gel because not all gels are moisturizing. Some gels can cause flash drying which may discourage you from trying this again or worse, cause breakage! To avoid elongating your curls remember to diffuse to dry to enhance the curl pattern.

Here’s a quick Finger Coiling tutorial using conditioner only! I used the Indian brand Arata’s Conditioner to style here (it works better as as styler for me) The credit goes to the rice water rinse I did right before I styled. Use my code HONESTLIZ for 20% off on orders over INR999 here.

Helpful Tips:

  • Use any product with slip and/or add water to get more slip.
  • When in doubt, use a brush first to create “potential” curl-family-clumps.
  • For longer hair, use a different technique. Watch @thekirstyfiles highlights.
  • Pulse and scrunch your coils to reinforce curl pattern, but be gentle.
  • If scrunching breaks your curls, DON’T SCRUNCH next time.
  • If it uncoils, don’t panic. Try a different direction; the natural direction will never unravel.

    I gave it approximately 50 tries before I saw real results! Real results, as in, NOT having to do anything and curls falling in an organised fashion – effortless! So try it as many times before you tell me it doesn’t work for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to FINGER COIL? It takes my thick coarse hair flat 6 minutes to finger coil my whole head. Half of that time to two-strand-twists on wet hair.

Finger coil, wet or damp? Whichever way gives you the slip. Manipulating wet hair is ideal since you will get more slip to do it. Attempting any manipulation while dry may cause breakage. Use your discretion and be gentle with your hair.

Can we finger coil with oil?  You can’t finger coil dry hair I mean you can but you might break hair in the process BECAUSE of the dryness and the tension. I suggest stick with the two-strand twists for dry or damp hair training.

Curl Direction

The right direction to coil… Remember if you do it in the “wrong” direction it will never stay that way. Curls want to fall in their natural direction only. So if you notice your efforts are not showing fruit, change the direction for that curl family; it takes practice but you’ll figure it out ONLY when you do do it.

Curl Training all in one or different directions?  Stay with the natural direction of your curls. Remember, real curly hair is not perfect, and perfect curly hair is not real.

How much hair is needed to finger coil? The training depends on what you want your curls to look like, and also, the capacity of your curls to be trained. If you want big clumps, do them big. If you want tighter definition, do smaller sections. You don’t have to do your whole head even. Focus on wonky curls around your face while styling. For refreshing on non-wash days finger coiling just key pieces with water can reactivate previous products!

How do you know what family your curl belongs to? Apply conditioner on 100% wet hair. Don’t brush your hair. Just work with your conditioner and water, clawing in small sections. Notice how they fall like seaweeds? I find those are your ideal curl families.

How do you train curls and still get volume? Make sure your products are not too heavy for your texture. Products matter too. If you have similar curl pattern as mine using water soluble products will help you. Using butter based creams may weigh hair down. Also make random coils to get only some curls organized. Allowing the others be in their natural state will offer more volume.

How to sleep with finger coils? Remember to always sleep with dry hair. Just plop your hair into your bonnet to preserve your curls while you sleep!

Top Tip for Training Wavy Hair

Both my daughters have wavy hair and I find none of these techniques like brushing, finger coiling, or making two strand twists work for their wavy hair. Don’t be disheartened if these methods don’t work for you; remember not everything is for everyone. Meanwhile here’s a tip from my curl friend Julie – “My wavy curls usually unravel when I try so if I have really wonky bits I add a bit of product and pin curl them until dry. I can do single twists that air dry into big barrel curls as a protective style though” ~ @juliedeccentricities

Finger Coiling is NOT for you if… 

You already have defined curls.  Here’s the thing. Finger coiling helps enhance curls. With gentle yet persistent training, curls fall in an organized pattern. But if you are in that happy place already then this isn’t for you. 

You have looser curl pattern – type 2 hair. My daughters both have wavy hair and none of these techniques work for them. I speak from experience. But maybe. Just maybe, you will never know unless you try?  

Best Product for Curl Training

Any product with slip will do for curl training. Here are some of my top recommendations! (coming soon)

  • Deep Conditioners
  • Leave-in Conditioners
  • Curl Creams
  • Hair Gels

Experiment to explore what works for you.

Notice some of the best Instagram beauties have finger coiled their hair at some point. Let no one discourage you from trying it today. Here are my favorite videos for more inspiration.


Finger coils on Type 3 Hair

Kirsty shows the difference here – in the first photo she has finger coiled hair; the second shows her with minimal products and no coiling! I’m SHOOK.


Finger coils on Transitioning Hair

Sayria Jade is total hair goals! She uses the Denman Brush first to clump curls, making it easier to find the clumps “to coil”.


Finger coils on Type 4 hair

Love lush! Her videos are everything 🙂

Here’s Bianca too!


Think of this concept like the Bible story of John 4. There is a rich official who walks 20 miles just to meet Jesus. He tells Jesus about his unwell son, and asks if Jesus could heal him. Jesus says “Go back home. Your son will live!” !

51 While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well. 52 He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!” 53 Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” And he and his entire household believed in Jesus.

Anyway, my point is that the Official believed first, and then did the work. He could’ve sent his servant to inform Jesus but n, he walked all the way, and only then he saw the miracle!

This curly hair care is a journey is something like that. There will be different options, and this curl training technique is just one of fastest ways to organise your curls. Try it to see if it leads to your destination. Let me know if it does – tag #HonestLiz on your posts I can see and repost them too.

Thank you for watching & reading!

Need Hair Help? Ask Liz here
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3 thoughts on “Beginner: How to Organize Curly Hair by Curl Training

  1. This is such a helpful resource! I am so happy to see all the links from so many bloggers at one place. So much of information.
    I remember Liz told me to finger coil when I had first discovered a curl in my temple area after washing my hair and not straightening.
    I had bald spots, my skull was visible, teachers would ask me if my health is okay, peers would bully me in school and my hair had literally reduced to a thin braid that had the diameter of a pencil where I tied it.
    And then I got so fed up of straightening and eating trash that I finally let my hair loose. I thought that okay if my hair wants to go crazy, I am too tired to tame it anymore. Taming did not leave hair on my head anyway so I am done. Maybe I am ugly. So i stopped trying.

    That was the best moment of my life!
    I stopped trying and I discovered a curl one day! I rushed to Liz and her youtube and thoroughly educated my self on curly terminology, and I remember saving and buying curly hair products that Liz would recommend and now I have a head full of hair!

    The other day someone texted me for advice and I shared Liz’s profile to her. I got so emotionally connected because I learnt to embrace myself here.
    There wasn’t beauty in fitting in, in looking ‘presentable’. Presentable is what I already am and no one is unpresentable.
    Since I came across Liz’s curly hair resources at a time when I was going up, the self love I discovered here also shaped the person I have become.
    I am so grateful! From having baldness and 2 inch wide partition (I am not kidding I literally had a 2 inch partition) to having a head ful of hair!

    I am on day 7 and no refresh and I still have my curls popping thanks to finger coiling! It took so much of effort initially and I did 3 big chops to finally have bouncy fluffy hair but now I put nothing in, and it still curls. How wonderful is this feeling!
    My hair just keeps getting better and better after wash days. I have never been more confident and happier. The best part is I never knew I could stop trying to fit in, be someone I’m not and let myself free and instantly see how beautiful untamed was! I am so proud of Liz for being such a wonderful human and so proud of every single one of us who has fallen in love with ourselves.
    I found Liz’s youtube and website as the first resource I ever referred to and that is the only resource I ever needed.
    I still come back to it and I’m so grateful for it.

    1. wow Praise God for all the talent and wisdom He provides – Thank you so much for taking the time to share the most intimate feelings and thoughts here, with me and with the readers, I appreciate you! Thanks again for encouraging me to keep going

  2. Thank you for this. My main challenge is wonky or undefined curls. Will surely try the tips given here! 💛

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