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Reader Q&A: CurlyNIkki On Achieving Chunky, Voluminous Curls

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Calling all naturalistas: Do you have urgent tress questions? If so, you're in luck. Every Thursday, natural hair blogger extraordinaire CurlyNikki will be solving your curly hair conundrums! Submit your questions by tweeting them to @EssenceMag with the hashtag #AskCurlyNikki.

READER QUESTION: Nikki, I love wearing wash-and-go's but my hair always looks too stringy. How can I make my naturally fine strands appear to have more volume?

CURLYNIKKI'S RESPONSE:   My natural pattern consists of super skinny, piecey 's-waves' with a sprinkling of coils here and there. While I totally love my stringy and defined waves and curls, I sometimes try to smooth a few of them together to achieve a chunkier look. But no matter how heavy or tacky the styling cream or gel, the manufactured clumps always break up. My waves do what they do and they don't give a sh*t. While I'm usually cool with that, on some real levels, I'd appreciate a few clumps sometimes!



Now generally for me, clumpier wash-and-go's mean a reduction in volume, but I recently discovered a way to get the best of both worlds by styling on damp hair with a tacky yet moisturizing curl cream. 

Here's what I did: 



Like with my successful chunky twist-outs of month's past, I applied my products to damp hair rather than in the shower on soaking wet hair. I t-shirt plopped clean, naked hair for five minutes and then air-dried for 10 minutes. I tested the Living Proof Full Thickening Cream and SheaMoisture's Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie on the back of my hand before applying it to my hair to make sure they blended well together. (Otherwise, you could end up with white clumps in your hair. Fail.) The two were smooth as butter, so I applied the Living Proof first (about a quarter size amount to each half) and then smoothed the Shea Moisture over it into four sections. I didn't rake it through my hair, I simply smoothed it on with the palms of both hands in a downward motion from root to tip. Finally, I finger curled and smoothed some of the top pieces and was excited at how easily my usually stringy curls held together thanks to the tackiness of the SheaMoisture Smoothie on my damp hair. I've got quite a bit of shrinkage, but it's the good kind. 

Nikki "CurlyNikki" Walton is a successful psychotherapist and creator of one of the most credible online sources about natural hair care, maintenance and decoding the psychological ties between black women and their hair. Visit her at her blog CurlyNikki or follow her on Twitter @CurlyNikki.

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