Shingling Curly Hair, A How-to Guide- For Ultimate Definition!

Hey Curly beauties,

It is Fridayyyyy! That means its time for a natural hair post. This time about the shingling method. There are many different types of ways that us curlies can style our natural hair, and this method is certainly up there for ultimate definition. I am very partial to the curly girl method, check out my post here to learn what it is and how to do it, but like to use the shingling method from time to time along with the curly girl method basics (co- washing with a botanical conditioner, applying the condish so the hair feels like slippery seaweed, leaving the conditioner in, applying a curly- friendly gel). I have been super impressed with my shingling results.

What is Shingling?

Very simply shingling is separating your strands and smoothing them down with your finger tips and usually some water and a product. Yup that’s it! But for ultimate definition and for the best results you want to prep your hair first. This includes cleansing your hair, conditioning, applying your product and then taking each small section  and sliding your fingers down to encourage a great curl that has product distributed evenly.

Why I like it

I have a dry scalp (check out scalp- types in my previous post here) and because of this my hair gets really frizzy and *surprise surprise* really dry at times and I cannot stand how it feels with lack of moisture. Because of this it is super important for me to make sure that my scalp is properly hydrated, oiled, and that my hair has all the protection it needs to last until my next wash day. With the shingling method I like that I can cater to each strand of my hair and in this way I know for certain that each curl is getting some love. I also like that it elongates my curls and really gives definition for the majority of the week.

How to do it

1. Cleanse your hair with a botanical conditioner or other cleanser (I like to use apple cider vinegar for an extra cleanse)

2. Condition your hair (I leave the conditioner in instead of rinsing it out and you should as well if your hair falls in type 3 through type 4)

3. Split the hair into sections of your choice (you can use coconut oil to oil your scalp and when you need it distribute this through the rest of your hair to lock in moisture). It’s easy for me to begin with the back while the rest of my hair is clipped up in the front.

Please do not mind the none- so- happy looking faces in the photos! They are screenshots from the video (see below) and I suppose I never heard of smiling whilst shingling my hair!

4. Apply your product. Take you middle finger and thumb or index finger and thumb (or all four fingers plus the thumb), take a very small section and smooth the product all the way down.

  • Type 2 curls (wavy/S’wavy) can use a gel or mousse for the best results
  • Type 3 curls (curly) can use a cream and a gel or mousse for best results (or just the left in conditioner and favorite gel)
  • Type 4 (kinky/coily) curls can use a cream and a gel (or just the left in conditioner and favorite gel)

5. Once the full section is complete, rub a small amount of the gel in between both hands and scrunch the whole section upwards towards the scalp. Then take another section and repeat.

6. Diffuse or Air Dry (I am usually too lazy to do the former plus am not actually sure that I have ever had remarkable results with a diffuser)

Upkeep through the week

  • Sleep with hair in a silk bonnet or scarf
  • Sleep on top of a satin or silk pillowcase
  • Redo any frizzy hair by wetting the strands, applying some conditioner/water and your cream or gel along with shingling method again or apply conditioner/water, your gel and roll the strands in need up towards the scalp for up to a minute (check my post/video on how to do it here)

Important Notes on this Method

This takes longer than the curly girl method and usually takes me around 15-30 minutes to complete plus about an hour of air drying.

If you aren’t careful you can lose track of the strands that are done and un- done. This is usually ok so long as you prepped your hair beforehand with loads of conditioner to protect each strand (doing this makes product application easier as you need less of the other product that you use), but try and be as meticulous as possible. This is also why it is a good idea to take your product after you finish a section and scrunch with it on your hands, it will coat any hairs that you left behind.

It’s more than ok to take a section that is substantially large, the reason being that we always need to pay attention to what our curls want and endeavor not to force them, especially apart!

Many think that this method requires taking tiny pieces and splitting hair apart to coat every strand, but this can severely disrupt your natural curl pattern and such an upset can encourage frizz. If you pull an extra large section where curls are clumped together, it is likely that the curls wish to stay together, so allow them! Rub your product on the large section anyway and if they can easily come apart, that’s great, otherwise let them be clumped together.






How- to- Video

Last Thoughts

The shingling method is great for giving more definition, elongating and ensuring that each strand of hair is coated, though if your hair falls in curly/kinky/coily category I would strongly advise you to use tons of conditioner before utilizing this method (if wavy then I’d recommend the curly girl method instead of this one). You can use a leave- in or your favorite botanical one (I like deva curl one conditioner), scrunch/ring it out whilst in the shower but do not rinse it out. The conditioner will protect your hair until your next wash day (eliminating frizz) and the gel will hold the  curl in place while it dries ;). Just shuffle your hair when it is fully dry to release the caste and your hair should be good to go!

Well my friends, it looks like we have come to an end, but it has been another lovely natural hair Friday! I hope you found this post informative and helpful and enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Your natural hair is the bee’s knees! Look after it always, and naturally!

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8 comments on “Shingling Curly Hair, A How-to Guide- For Ultimate Definition!

  1. Hi Manika-Nia. I have to say no shampoo and conditioner has worked as well for me as DevaCurl. It’s just SOOO expensive! lol But hey you have to use what works. I have been natural going on 5 years so I can relate to your product build up in your cabinet. Guess that is what all natural hair ladies go through!

    1. Hi Jenee, yes I definitely think so! Some products that I find to be as superior as Deva Curl for a fraction of the price are Carol’s Daughter and Shea Moisture. You can check out my top natural hair products here! Hope it helps, and thanks so much for the comment x

  2. Your hair is beautiful! My hair is so straight and boring, but I know yours is harder to deal with from what I’m told. Great article and video and I love that you keep your hair natural 🙂

    1. Thank you Keli so much! I am sure your hair is beautiful as well and not boring at all! My hair takes some extra care to deal with but honestly it makes me love it more and since wearing it natural I have a deeper understanding of it. Thanks so much for your comment and for reading!x

  3. Hi Manika,
    My wife’s curly hair has been crazy of late and I shown her your website and she loves your videos.

    She has just tried the shingling method and it took her a while but the results were great and she says it has improved with her dry scalp.

    Thanks for adding this great info.

    1. Hi Vince, wow that’s awesome! I so love when men visit this site for the ladies in their life and am so very happy that she tried it and got great results! If she is suffering from a dry scalp, these natural remedies can really help!

  4. So informative! And love the video, as it really shows me what you lovely ladies with curly hair go through… I’m almost jealous that I can’t relate! Can any of your featured shampoo’s or conditioner’s be used for shorter/wavy hair?

    1. Hi Courtney, if you have wavy hair that is shorter then the best thing to do is use a non- sulfate (detergent- free) shampoo and follow up with a botanical conditioner. Here is my post about the best to use. There is also an amazing book about curly hair (wavy/curly/coily/kinky) that you might find really helpful in the care of your hair 🙂 I hope this helps!

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