What Is Brush Curling And How Can It Give You Perfect Ringlets?

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There was a time when you'd be hard-pressed to find haircare products aimed at tackling curly hair. If you were to walk through the aisles of a beauty store, you'd mainly find advertisements featuring straight-haired people showing off their shiny tresses. But as time has passed, we've thankfully seen the rise of many products that help us embrace our natural curls instead of making us want to get our hair permanently straightened. 

These days, you can find everything from specially-formulated curly hair shampoo and conditioner to curl-defining creams. And while the right products can do wonders for your locks, many of us are searching for something different that isn't quite as readily available: Beautiful, well-defined ringlets. As far as convenient solutions go, your options are limited to ringlet curlers or using a curling iron. For many, sleeping with ringlet curlers isn't comfortable, and putting them in is considerably tougher for those with longer or denser hair.

So, it's only natural that many of us resort to regularly using curling irons to get those dreamy tight curls. But subjecting your hair to frequent heat styling can cause a lot of long-term damage. For non-product-related options, we have everything from TikTok's viral sock curling trick to bathrobe hair curling. While any hair styling method can be hit or miss for people with different hair types, there's one that many swear by: The brush curling hack. And all you need for this method is a good ol' brush and some specialized haircare products. 

Here's the right way to brush curls for ringlets

The process of brush coiling, or curling, is fairly simple. All you have to do is wash your hair, gently detangle it in the shower using your fingers, and perform your everyday post-shower haircare routine as normal with just one important distinction — don't dry your hair. For more defined ringlets, you can add a curl-defining cream at this point too. To make the process easier for longer hair, use a large clip to divide your hair into three to four sections. 

Once you're ready to start curling, grab a brush and a small section of hair. Start by wrapping the strands closest to the roots around the base of the brush, where the bristles meet the handle. Gently move the brush away until the hair strands are at their full length. Then, twist your hair around the handle as you carefully move upwards. Once the entire stand is covered, twist the brush in the opposite direction to slowly free your curls. Then, scrunch your hair with gel.

While this look is achievable with several brushes, one with a slightly curved handle like the Denman curly hair brush will help you get the best results. For beginners, the twirling motion can be slightly painful and there's a risk of getting your hair caught in the brush. To prevent this from happening, ensure your curls are adequately wet. Generously spray on some water if your hair's dried up during the styling process. 

Follow these tips for more defined curls

It's important to know that this isn't a method to get straight hair curly, but rather a way to define curls for naturally curly-haired folks. So if you're looking for a styling solution, you're better off with the curlers or the occasional curling iron session. To form the perfect ringlet curls, you might have to play around with your hair for a bit. If you aren't satisfied with the results, hold the brush at different angles, try to keep the hair coil tighter, and basically just experiment with other little tweaks to the steps. 

If your locks don't seem to fall into ringlets after brush curling, you can brush them out and twirl them in the other direction instead. The brush you use for styling can also make or break how your curls turn out. For ringlets, you might want to go for a brush with denser rows, but if you're looking for a lighter, more wavy look, then you'll do just fine with fewer rows.

With brush curling, something as simple as the amount of hair you choose to curl at a time can define how they turn out. As Janet Jackson, founder and CEO of Jou Jou Hair Studio, suggested to Oprah Daily, "If you have thicker hair, smaller sections will add definition and volume." She added, "For thinner hair, use larger sections." To keep your curls around longer, finish with an anti-humidity hairspray.