Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

Clumping My Curls And Waves Notes

Lately I've doing my own personal experiments with clumping my natural curls and waves, trying out a combination of base clumping cocktails and playing with Denman brushes and similar.   I am keeping a detailed notebook with the results of my various experiments.

Clumping, for those who think I've lost my mind, is the process of training curls and/or waves so that the strands all wind the same direction and ultimately cascading into uniform clumps of curls and/or waves.

Clumping is easier to say than to do.  At least until you get the hang of how to clump.

Depending on your hair's natural texture (curly, coily, kinky, wavy), type (fine/thin, medium, thick, super thick), condition (healthy, damaged, superdamaged), porosity and length (short, medium, long or super long) clumping takes some experimenting.

General Curl Clumping Guidelines

While there are general guidelines such as creating a base clumping cocktail, usually a leave-in conditioner and curl forming cream or similar, and plopping, there are a variety of techniques which can be customized.

Some die hard clumpers will pre-condition with oil, cleanse either with Conditioner Only (CO), Diluted Shampoo (DS), Water Only (WO) or a combination.  Some clumpers will perform which is known as super soaking which is the process of getting curls literally soaked with water.  Water is known to act as a clumping agent when combined with the appropriate styling products such as gel, cream or similar.

Utilizing Brushes And Curls In Clumping

Part of the clumping process for some, involves utilizing a wide tooth comb to distribute the base clumping product.  Other part of the process is utilizing a Denman style brush.  Brushing will help lift the future clumps of curls up and away from the roots to prevent what is known as flat root which occurs when the curls compress and flatten at the top of the head creating a triangular effect.

Some base clumping cocktails may work so well on their own that the super soaking of the hair with water is not required.  In other cases, depending on the type, texture, condition, porosity and length of the texture, super soaking is the only way to achieve the ideal curl clumps.

Ultimately people with natural textures such as curls, coils, kinks or waves need to custom design their own clumping methodology and technique.

My own personal clumping process so far has netted the following:

1.  I pre-condition my hair with my own personal HairTopia oil which is based on 100% organic jojoba oil.  I focus the majority of the oil on my middle and end strands which tend to get a little crunchy.  I lightly braid my hair and let the oil soak in for anywhere from 2 hours to overnight.

2.  On the day of my cleansing I remove the braid and detangle with a wide toothed comb.

3.  Beginning the cleansing process I douse my hair with a gallon of luke warm water.

4.  I slather Rene Furterer - Tonucia Toning & Densifying Mask from the top of my ear lobes down to my ends focusing on the ends.  I use my fingers to massage the product into my strands.  The product is very thick and super moisturizing which is perfect for my dry, medium thick hair which is wavy and curly.

5.  I allow the Tonucia to soak into my hair for 10 minutes while in the shower.

6.  After rinsing the Tonica I apply a rinse out conditioner which I alternate but sometimes Phytosesame Conditioning Treatment.    

7.  I distribute the conditioning treatment through my wet hair and allow it to remain on my hair 5-10 minutes.

8.  To rinse out the Phytosesame I use a 2nd jug of lukewarm water to douse my head.

9.  My final rinse is a cool/cold water rinse.

10.  I towel blot my hair to remove the excess drippage. 

11.  My base clumping cocktail consists of a mixture of Phyto 9 Leave-in Conditioner and PhytoPro Sculpting Gel which I apply to my wet hair.

12.  After applying the base cocktail I detangle my hair from the ends up to the roots. 

13.  My next step is to ploop my hair into a towel and allow it to remain plooped for 10 minutes.

14.  After removing my hair from the ploop I apply more PhytoPro Sculpting Gel to 4-6 sections of hair.  I brush my hair away from the roots to get that special lift and then lightly scrunch my hair.

15.  I soak my hair with a water bottle filled with lukewarm water.

16.  Using a long finger diffuser and working with individual sections 2" thick I dry my hair using the long finger diffuser to form the clumps.

17.  After each section is dry I wind it around my fingers and pin to form a tighter clump.

18.  At the end of my diffusing process when all the sections are pinned I allow them to set for up to 1 hour.

19.  I allow the curls to stay pinned as long as possible.  Once I am ready to leave the house I unpin the curls and gently tug with my fingers.

Utilizing Brushes And Curls In Clumping

My thoughts about this process?  Luckily I only cleanse my hair every 7-10 days so I can afford to spend all this time on my hair.  However, I will not lie, it's a lot of work, requires a lot of dedication and while my clumps of curls and interspersed waves hold for up to five days, I have a hard time remain committed to all the steps.

Do I recommend clumping?  Yes, if you understand the amount of time and commitment involved and have a willingness to experiment with different products and procedures.

Does Curl Clumping Work For All?

Does clumping work for everyone?  Maybe not.  As I expressed earlier clumping is dependent upon everyone's individual texture, type, hair condition, length, porosity and other factors.

The key to successful clumping is truly customizing the process for your own tresses.

More Information

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