I Tested Every TikTok Curl How-To — Here's What Worked For Me
TikTok made us do it! We teamed up with HASK to test these viral hair hacks and see how they worked on one curly-haired editor.
As someone with a love-hate relationship with my curly hair, I’m always on the hunt for new ways to style it, sans damage. Turns out, so are many beauty influencers (and just regular people!) on TikTok, just waiting for the chance to school us on the best ways to take care of our curls.
It’s necessary to point out that while many of these techniques may be new to me (a white woman) and other TikTok users, several of these techniques have been part of beauty routines for people of color, especially Black women, for years. So while natural hair isn’t just about finding products that make their hair look great, for them it’s a larger act of self-love and empowerment.
There is one thing every person has in common: trying something new with your hair can feel really great. With the help of a brand-new line of curly-hair products from HASK, I experimented with six of the biggest trends to see what worked best for me.
Swapping Shampoo and Conditioner
Because curly hair is especially prone to dryness, using curl specific shampoo and conditioner is key when starting your curl journey. I tried the new HASK Curl Care Moisturizing Shampoo, made with a blend of coconut oil, argan oil, and vitamin E. In the past, I’ve found curly-hair shampoos to not be as effective as I would like, but the Moisturizing Shampoo ($5) lathered easily and removed buildup from my scalp, while being gentle on my hair, thanks to its silicone-free, vegan formula. The Detangling Conditioner ($5) also worked miracles — my curls are prone to tangling, especially at night, but I noticed significantly fewer tangles after showering with this. At the end of my week of experiments, I also used the Intensive Deep Conditioner ($5) to refresh my hair, which left my curls soft and frizz-free.
“Plopping” is a technique used to help dry your curls, where instead of using heat or letting your hair air-dry, you “plop” your hair into a cotton shirt or scarf, wrap the bottom of the shirt over your curls, then twist the ends together to secure it in place. You then let your curls dry; research showed some TikTokers do this overnight, some for only 15 minutes. Personally, plopping was already in my routine, but I usually only let them dry for as long as it takes to do my makeup, which, while following stay-at-home orders, is not very long. So I decided to extend the experiment by an hour to see if I noticed a difference. I scrunched the HASK Curl Enhancing Mousse ($6) into my hair first, then applied the Curl Shaping Jelly ($4) before plopping my hair into an old T-shirt. While the initial result seemed similar to my usual volume and definition, the extra drying time (and new products) helped my curls hold throughout the entire day.
Denman brushes are designed specifically to help add definition and shape to your curls. It’s simple enough: just work the brush under a one-inch section of damp hair, then wrap it away from your face as you bring the brush through the curl. After you do this to each section of curls, they’re supposed to air-dry into perfectly defined spirals. Unfortunately, it was a little difficult for me to tell which pieces I had brushed and which I hadn’t, and my hair was quickly drying as I completed this (kinda tedious) process. Those with curly hair know: dry curls + touching = frizz, so I could see my hair starting to pouf up as I went. While some curls were super defined, others definitely weren’t.
In order to achieve big, romantic waves on my naturally curly hair, I need to first blow-dry it out, then smooth it with a straightener . . . then take a curling hair through my hair. It’s long and extremely damaging, so “bathrobe curls” seemed like the answer. Here, you braid or wrap your damp hair around a thick bathrobe tie, then sleep on it until it’s totally dry. Unwind your hair from the robe tie in the morning, and the result is big, soft, waves — sans any heat. It seemed almost too good to be true, but I applied some HASK 5-1 Leave In Conditioner and got to work. It was a little tricky, but I managed to get the hang of it by the end. The results were pretty close to my usual triple-heat process, albeit a little messy. I smoothed out the look with a small amount HASK Curl Defining Cream ($6) and brushed it through, then went about my day with big waves that nearly rivaled what I get with my curling iron.
If you have curly hair, you may already be mixing your products together without even realizing that TikTok calls it a “trend.” One of the most popular “cocktails,” especially for those with dry curls that need lots of moisture, is the “LOC”: leave-in, oil, and cream — in that particular order. Because my curls are on the looser side (and I didn’t have any oil on hand!) I decided to make my own cocktail inspired by this method. Instead of oil, I used the HASK Curl Shaping Jelly, which contains coconut oil and argan oil. I used this in-between the 5-in-1 Leave-In Conditioner, and Curl Defining Cream, then dried my hair for about 15 minutes using my usual plop method. My hair seemed wetter than usual after removing, which is likely thanks to all the moisture these products provide. Once my hair was dry, I flipped my hair upside down and scrunched it to add a little more volume, and the result was one of my best hair days of the week.
While diffusing isn’t totally new to me, I always felt like I was kinda doing it wrong. So when I saw @curlyyheadyaz’s technique, I knew I had to give it a try. After applying the HASK 5-in-1 Leave-In Conditioner, Curl Defining Cream, and Curl Shaping Jelly as she instructed, I turned the diffuser on its lowest setting. Without touching my curls, I let the diffuser get to work on “setting the gel cast” (aka allowing the gel to harden and protect the shape of my curls). Once that was complete, I diffused my roots first, then flipped my head over and diffused the rest. While the process was a little longer than I would normally spend on my hair, the results were worth it: my curls were volume-packed and defined, plus super soft to the touch. With experiments like these up my sleeve, I predict a lot more good curl days are on the horizon.
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