One of the goals of using a diffuser is to help form abundant tight ringlets, coils and curls. One of the biggest problems with creating bouncy curls is that sometimes the hair at the roots will go flat.
I have discussed this challenge with curly hair gurus Robert Hallowell and Barbara Lhotan. They both use a range of methods but recommend diffuser scrunching as a good option.
Follow the steps below to scrunch curls with a long finger diffuser:
One method to combat flat roots which can be the bane of well formed ringlets is to actually scrunch tresses with a long finger diffuser.
1. Separate pre-cleansed, damp naturally curly, wavy or permed hair into individual sections. Remember, the smaller the sections, the tighter the ringlets which will be form.
If you have a special routine that includes applying a special curl friendly styling cocktail to wet strands and towel plopping, be sure to follow your normal routine before using the long finger diffuser. Make sure strands are not dripping wet. The key is to separate curls into even sections and then work on one section at a time.
2. Position the long finger diffuser so that it's flush or adjacent with the scalp and scrunch up the target section of hair in the diffuser bowl.
3. Turn the dryer on to a low heat setting. If your hair takes a long time to dry you can even experiment with medium heat, but high heat is not advised as it may damage the scalp.
Some fans of this technique prefer to dry their strands on the cool or cool shot setting. It's also best to use a low or medium speed rather than a high speed since the goal is to avoid blowing the curls around with air from the dryer.
4. Dry each individual section for up to two minutes. In a sense this is a form of scrunching using the diffuser. Experiment with different drying times from 20 seconds to up to 2 minutes. Repeat until all of the sections are properly diffused.
Optionally you can use this method with your head held upside-down. Form curls gently by pressing them flatly towards the scalp in a type of plopping. To achieve more volume leave a little space between the roots and the diffuser.
5. After drying for the appropriate time, turn the hair dryer off before moving to the next section. The goal of this curly hair styling technique is to avoid blowing curls around and thus the blow dryer must be turned off before drying another section. The hair does not have to be cool before moving the diffuser/dryer to the next section of curls.
Use a low, medium or cool heat since using a high or hot heat may damage or burn tender scalps.
Note: For even tighter curls, after you've scrunched with the diffuser you can wrap the newly dried curls around your fingers pinning them into place against the scalp to finish air drying. Or you can use clips or Curl Formers if you prefer for a great curl set.
If frizz is a problem with this method it can be that the hair is dried past 75% or that the heat is too hot or the blow dryer speed it too fast. Experiment until you find the best series of steps for your own hair type and texture.
Some naturally curly haired people who love this method also refer to this technique as long finger diffused plopping, Others refer to it reversed plopping or tightly curled heat scrunching. The goal is to develop evenly placed tight frizz-free volume enhanced curls throughout the scalp and head.
This method is very good for curly hair styling on sections of the hair which tend to develop uneven curl patterns. While it's possible to do this type of diffused scrunching throughout the entire head, it will take a lot of time and some people only use this method on isolated problem curl areas. Some find this is best as a spot styling option.
Many naturally curly folks find that using a long finger diffuser with a negative ion hair dryer base will help create gorgeous coils without frizz.
Also, this method can help slow down natural curl shrinkage and help individual curl formations to literally pop from the pack. It's a great option.
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