Try Shingling for Defined, Hydrated, and Elongated Curls

The time-consuming method is worth it.

If you have naturally textured hair, you know that styling and caring for it can be a challenge. That’s why we created The Curl Corner, a monthly column that celebrates the versatility of textured hair. Here, we cover everything from how to properly style your coils to how to protect them—and include expert tips for curl patterns of all types.

When I first went natural, it bothered me that the most definition I saw and felt was while my hair was wet in the shower. Back then, the definition would fade once I applied my styling products. I’d drench my coils in leave-in, curl cream, and gel, and run a curl-friendly brush through it in hopes of getting the same definition. And still, nothing. That was, however, until I discovered the shingling method. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s probably because the time-consuming method isn’t always a curly girl’s first choice. However, if you’re like me and struggle with maintaining curl hydration, definition, and elongation, then shingling is exactly the route to go. 

“Shingling is a method of putting a product on your hair with your fingers to smooth textured hair,” Jaxcee, a New York-based colorist and co-founder of The Coily Collective at Riccardo Maggiore Salon, tells HelloGiggles. “It’s kind of like clumping your curls or your coils together to remove the frizz with the product.”

It’s a method that Aja Marian-Smith, a New York City hairstylist, is very familiar with. “Once the hair is washed and detangled, apply a generous amount of leave-in conditioner and use a detangling brush to make sure that it’s evenly distributed,” she says. After that’s done, the shingling method begins. “Use your desired styler and separate each curl, working the product from the root to the end.” That individualized attention to each strand, and ensuring that each piece of hair is coated, helps create optimal definition. For best results, Jacxee recommends using a mousse, gel, custard, or pudding.

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While many natural styles are relegated to certain textures, shingling is inclusive to all coils. “From wavy to coily, the shingling method benefits all curl types,” Jaxcee says. However, if your hair is a tighter texture, you may want to use your fingers and a comb while styling due to the hair’s tighter growth pattern. “For type-4 texture, use a comb first to further detangle the hair and then shingle,” Jaxcee suggests.  

Although it takes a long time to complete the shingling method, it could actually save you time in the long run. “Shingling ultimately results in less tangling,” Smith explains. “Therefore, you probably won’t have to worry about refreshing your curls as often and your wash n’ go will last longer.” Plus, since your hair won’t get tangled as much, you’re also preventing lots of potential breakage, which can result in more length retention. 

As a curly girl, I know that putting more time and effort isn’t always ideal. However, if you’re willing to spend a little more time to your wash n’ go routine to give shingling a try, I can guarantee that you’ll be thankful for the results.