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What Are Finger Coils (and Are They Right for You)?

The world of curly hair care has exploded with unique methods for caring for your curls, whether they are velvety ringlets or mermaid waves. It’s fun to explore these methods and try new techniques. 

Looking up all these new ways to manage your curls may leave you wondering if finger coils are right for your hair.

What Are Finger Coils?

Making finger coils is a hair styling technique for achieving defined curls without heat. The process takes a few hours and lasts for a few days. Taking care of a head of curls can sometimes feel like a full-time job.

But it also lends to the versatility that makes for a more fascinating hair care journey. You can try different methods of taming your mane and see which results you like best. Finger coils are an easy DIY technique that anyone can master.

Old pros to the curly hair game and newbies can enjoy frizz-free, no-heat curl with this method. Keep reading for our complete guide to finger coils. You’ll find step-by-step instructions, tips and tricks, and answers to some frequently asked questions.

Finger Coiling Your Hair: A Summary

  1. Wash and condition your hair
  2. Add leave-in conditioner to your hair
  3. Detangle sections of your hair 
  4. Section your hair into equal parts 
  5. Add curl cream or gel to each section
  6. Form the coils
  7. Dry your hair completely
  8. Make sure you sleep on a silk pillowcase

How to Finger Coil Your Hair

You can skip the salon by using the finger coiling technique. You won’t need heat or chemicals to make defined, bunch curls. It takes a few tools and products you already have on hand and a few hours dedicated to the process. 

1. Wash and Condition

Start by washing and conditioning your hair. The process works best on damp but not dripping wet hair. Wring out your hair with a microfiber towel or an old cotton t-shirt. You can also do finger coils on a non-wash day by spraying your hair with water to soak it.

However, if you wash your hair the next day, you won’t get as much wear from your coils as you could. Since it will take you a few hours to finger coil your hair, starting on a wash day gets more longevity out of the look. 

2. Leave-in Conditioner

Apply a leave-in conditioner to your wet hair. This helps to lock in moisture and avoid frizz. Pay special attention to your ends to assure you spread product evenly down your strands.

3. Detangle

If you are finger coiling after washing, you likely already detangled your hair while conditioning. But you can run a wide-toothed comb through it to make sure there are no tangles hiding.

If you are starting between washes by spraying your hair, definitely detangle it with a wide-toothed comb. It will make the rest of the process much easier. 

4. Section Your Hair

Next, you’ll use a comb to divide your hair into several sections and do the next several steps in the process on each section individually. How many sections you make depends on how thick your hair is.

Start by dividing it in the middle from your forehead to the nape of your neck. Divide each of those sections again to make four. You’ll divide these sections depending on how thick you want to make the coils. Larger sections result in thick, loose curls while smaller sections create small, tight curls. 

Don’t worry if the sections are not precisely the same size. You’re dividing your head of hair into manageable sections. Divide each of these into subsections as you go. Aim to make coils with a .5-2-inch square section of hair.

Some variations will create a more natural-looking curl arrangement. Choose a section to begin. You’ll systematically do the next two steps on each section of hair until you have coiled all your hair. 

5. Apply Curl Cream or Gel

Take your first section of hair and apply a quarter-sized dollop of curl cream or gel. You may need more if you have exceptionally thick hair. Comb it through for even coverage. 

6. Create Coils

In this step, you’ll create curls by coiling small amounts of hair around your finger. Divide the section into a subsection of your preferred size. If it seems to need a little more curl cream or gel, add a pea-sized amount. 

Begin twirling the section of hair around your finger near the root. As it coils, move your hand toward your ends while continuing to twirl the hair around your finger. 

Repeat this motion with the same section until it stays coiled when you let it go. You can coil the hair in either direction. If you want to separate larger coils later, you may want to ensure you twist them all in the same direction. 

7. Dry Hair Completely

Your two options for drying are to diffuse with a hair dryer or to let it air dry. You can cut down the total time you need by diffusing. Once your hair is dry, the curls you’ve created will last a few days. You can separate some coils for a fuller look. You can also add more curl cream or gel for final styling.

8. Sleep on Silk

You just worked hard for those nicely defined, frizz-free curls. Keep them sharp for a few days by abiding by some curly-hair cardinal rules. Sleep on a silk pillowcase or tie your hair up in a silk scarf to sleep. 

How Long Does It Take to Finger Coil Your Hair?

Plan an hour or two for the coiling process. It could take longer if you have long or thick hair. Drying time depends on whether you diffuse or air dry. Even diffusing thick hair can add another hour to your total time. 

You can take a few short breaks during the process to rest your arms. Give any dry hair sections a quick spritz with water to get them ready for coiling again. It’s best to plan finger coils for a wash day when you can dedicate the time to the technique.

A weekend morning works great if you want to air dry because you’ll have the rest of the day to let the finger coils do their thing. You can also diffuse dry your hair and head out for the afternoon to enjoy your weekend. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know how to finger coil your hair, here are some common questions and answers.

Are finger coils a protective style?

No, it’s not a protective style because your ends are still exposed. However, it makes for a low-maintenance style that lasts for days.

Can finger coils work with wavy hair?

Yes. The resulting curls will not be as tight as someone’s with naturally tighter curls. But it is worth doing to restore your curl pattern, especially after straightening. Can finger coils work with straight hair? Yes, though you’ll likely have loose, beachy waves rather than tight coils or ringlets.

How do you refresh finger coils?

Spritz your hair with water or curl refreshing spray and scrunch gently with your hands. Inverting your head and shaking out your roots will give you some volume back.

How often should you retwist finger coils?

If you are keeping finger coils as your regular hairstyle, you can keep them going for several days between retwisting. Spray any sections that you want to retwist.

So, What Are Finger Coils?

Finger coils are a simple, DIY hair curling method that doesn’t require heat or chemicals. It takes 1-2 hours to coil your hair with the look lasting a few days. Happy styling!