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How To Maintain Finger Coils (All About The Hairstyle)

Since the resurgence of the natural hair movement in the early 2010s, more black women realized the kind of awesome hairstyles that their gorgeous tresses could hold.

From twist-outs, braid-outs, wash and goes, and bantu knots, Type 4 hair is really fun to style.

But what if I told you there’s another fun and easy (albeit tedious) way to achieve beautifully-defined curls that will last you over a week when done properly?

And that all you need to get it done is your favorite styling product, a whole lot of patience, and your quick, nimble fingers?

Yup, I’m talking about finger-coiling – the curly hairstyle that makes use of quick, straightforward twists with your fingers to achieve bouncy, frizz-free, majestic-looking curls.

While this hairstyle isn’t new, I do believe it deserves more appreciation, especially for those with short African-American locks that need a hand in bringing out their curl definition.

how to maintain finger coils

In this post, I’ll give you the 411 how to achieve finger coils (and make them look as stunning as possible), how to maintain finger coils, and answer a question that I see a lot: “Do finger coils grow hair?”

What Are Finger Coils?

Finger coiling is a technique wherein you twist small sections of naturally curly hair around your fingers to make them look super defined.

When you’re done, you can wear your springy, bouncy curls for a full week!

It’s quite similar to curl training, but much more intense.

What’s awesome about finger-coiled curls is that they’re flattering on any face shape and hair type.

The whole point of the method is to enhance and bring out your hair’s innate curl pattern, so it’s a way to embrace your natural look.

Suggested Read: How To Get A Curl Pattern For Natural Hair

Finger coils are also extremely versatile.

You can wear them to glamorous events and photoshoots, but they’re also sleek and professional enough to be worn day-to-day at the office.

And when you style it with bohemian scarves and cute hair clips, you can even make your curls look young and trendy!

The technique is not very easy to nail, especially for beginners.

But trust me when I say that once you get the hang of finger coiling, you’ll love it immensely for the beautiful effect it has on your usually poofy, kinky curls.

how to maintain finger coils


Benefits Of Finger Coils

Rocking finger coils comes with several benefits:


Works On Most Curly Hair Types

One of the biggest benefits of finger coiling is that it works on most Type 4 and Type 3 hair.

Obviously, it won’t work on those with straight and lightly wavy hair.

But if you have a decent curl pattern in your locks and the right products to bring out that definition, finger coiling will be fantastic for you.

If you have tight, springy ringlets, finger coils will give you popping curls that have tons of body and bounce.

And if you do the technique on wavy-curly hair, you’ll end up with a well-defined Goldilocks appearance to your hair.

That said, finger coils work best on those with Type 4 hair.


Aesthetically Appealing

Another huge benefit of finger coils has to do with their visual appearance.

When done properly, finger coils can make you look like you’re rocking soft dreads or twists.

If you’ve been dreaming of getting dreads or any other protective style but don’t want to commit to it for the long run, finger coils are an excellent alternative that will make your hair look just as bold and eye-catching but without the hassle of maintaining the style for months.


Give You Control

Lastly, finger coiling your hair gives you a lot of control over how your curls will turn out.

By changing up the thickness of your hair sections as you coil them, you can go from tight and springy curls to loose, wavy ringlets with intense definition.

It’s highly customizable – you just have to find the method that works for your hair type and how you want your locks to end up looking.


Do Finger Coils Grow Hair?

Many people get the misconception that finger coiling will make your hair grow long faster.

However, that’s sadly not the case.

Your hair grows from your roots, so it’s healthy roots that will aid in faster hair growth, not a protective or trendy hairstyle like finger coils.

That said, finger coils can help strengthen your hair.

Since it is a protective style, it prevents hair fall and friction that causes breakage, allowing your hair to retain its length.

Suggested Read: My Hair Is Falling Out! Should I Cut It Short?

Plus, the process of finger coiling requires you to moisturize your hair deeply with nourishing conditioners and styling products.

The mere fact that you are moisturizing your hair well makes it stronger and more elastic, and therefore less susceptible to dryness, breakage, and damage.

So, since finger coiling helps keep your hair healthy and less prone to breakage, it may feel like your hair is growing faster, even when it’s technically growing at the same pace it always has.


How To Do Finger Coils On Short Natural Hair

I first tried out finger coiling my hair about eleven weeks after my big chop. 

My hair was still short but I was able to do finger coils without much struggle.

Most ladies who have transitioned from chemically-processed hair to natural tresses also tend to have somewhat. short hair

If you’ve been wondering how to do finger coils on short natural hair, don’t worry. I’ve got you.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to finger coil your curls, from washing to styling:


Wash And Condition The Hair

Always start with freshly-washed hair.

In the shower, use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of any leftover product from your last styling session.

Follow with a deep conditioning treatment to get your hair as moisturized as possible, which is key for bringing out definition and shine.

After showering, apply some leave-in conditioner to your hair to give it extra hydration.

Recommended Post: Best Conditioner For Low Porosity Hair

At this point, you can either let it dry overnight or start with the finger coiling process if you’re ready.


Section Your Hair

If you dried your hair overnight or for a few hours, you’ll want to dampen it again.

Curls are much easier to work with when they’re wet since that’s when they’re at their smoothest and most defined.

Spray some water into your hair to make it damp, but not drenched.

Divide your hair into medium-sized sections and clip each one up.

Sections make it easier to work through all your hair since you’ll be working on one section at a time, from the bottom to the top of your head.


Use Styling Product

Grab your first section at the bottom of your head.

Apply a generous amount of your favorite styling product on that section’s strands from root to tip.

You can use your favorite curling cream, oil, or curling gel – whatever you prefer.

Just make sure that the product coats every strand so that the hair feels slippery until the ends.

Suggested Read: Best Curling Gel For 4c Hair


Coil Small Hair Sections

Take a small section of hair and twist it by wrapping it all around your index finger.

Start doing it at the roots while slowly making your way down.

Twist that lock around your finger until you get to the end of your hair.

Slowly release and watch your newly formed curl spring up and bounce.

Do this to the rest of your hair in that section.

If you want tight but voluminous curls, coil thinner locks.

For looser curls, finger coil bigger locks at a time.

Then, bring down one section at a time and repeat the process until all your hair has been finger coiled.

Be patient – this part will take a while!


Air Dry Your Hair

Let your hair air-dry.

Blow-drying – especially without a diffuser – will create frizz and flyaways in your hair.

It’s best to just let it settle so that you can retain that definition and shine without disturbing any of the curls.


Style Your Hair

When your hair is all dry, you’ll notice that your curly hair is bouncy and perfectly defined!

Feel free to style your curls however you want.

Add a headband or some cute, trendy hair clips for a charming look, or simply shake out your hair and wear it as is for that seductive, voluminous finish.


What To Do To Prevent Unwanted Shrinkage

If you have long hair, when you’re done finger coiling your tresses you may notice some shrinkage in your curls that makes your hair look shorter than it actually is.

After all, the whole point of finger coiling is to make your hair as tight, springy, and bouncy as possible – and shrinkage is always the result of doing something like this.

Of course, it’s understandable if you’re not into shrinkage.

Some women love to make their hair look super-defined while still maintaining their length.

Luckily, if you’re not a big fan of shrinkage, there’s always something you can do to stretch out your curls while you finger coil.

After finger coiling all your hair, use some elastic bands to tie each section into a small, downward-facing ponytail.

That way, your locks will be stretched out as they air dry, leaving you with hair that is smooth and defined but not so short and poofy.

Leave the elastic bands in overnight or just until your hair is finally dry.

Take them out gently so you don’t disturb the newly-formed curls.

Et voila! Picture-perfect, frizz-free curls without shrinkage.

Related Post: What Causes Hair Shrinkage?


Important Reminders When Finger Coiling 

Technique is extremely important when finger coiling.

But you should also take to heart these last few reminders about how to perfect your finger coiling method.


Right Products

First, remember to use the right styling product for your hair type.

If you have high-porosity hair, go for heavier products, like a coconut oil-enriched cream.

If you have low-porosity hair, avoid heavy stylers that are just going to sit on your scalp and strands.

Go instead for a light yet nourishing gel.


Be Gentle

Next, remember to be gentle with your strands as you finger coil them.

If you pull on your curls too roughly as you coil them, it can lead to breakage and hair fall.

Be careful with your twists to ensure that your hair stays thick and healthy with minimal damage.



Lastly, remember to be patient.

The task may be tedious and time-consuming, but the results are always worth it.

Imagine having bouncy, shiny, uber-defined curls that last an entire week just from one finger coiling sesh!

Try to schedule your finger coiling session on a day when you’re not rushing to get to work or run urgent errands.

You can’t rush perfect curls, so you need the utmost patience to get it done.


How To Maintain Finger Coils

If you do your finger coils properly, they’ll last a full week before you feel the need to wash or refresh them.

But if you do extra work to maintain the definition and moisture of your curls, you can extend that lifespan by up to three weeks!

Here are some tips on how to maintain finger coils for as long as possible:


Try Not To Touch Your Hair

The more you flip or shake your hair out after finger coiling, the faster it’ll come apart and look loose and poofy.

They’ll also speed up the time it takes for your curls to look frizzy.

While rocking your finger coils, try to be extra conscious of how often you touch and play with your hair.

Self-control is key so that you don’t ruin your curls early on.


Moisturize Your Hair Daily

Before going to bed, nourish your hair strands with a lightweight leave-in conditioner or hair oil.

The more moisturized your hair is, the more defined your curls will look, so it’s perfect for keeping your finger coils in tip-top shape.

Doing it before you sleep at night allows the oils and creams you use to absorb into the hair properly.


Cover Your Hair At Night

Another thing you should do is to wear a silk or satin scarf over your curls at night.

Wear a satin bonnet or scarf, or head covers made of silk.

Cotton can rough up your cuticles and disturb your curls.

Meanwhile, your hair just slides on silk and satin.

It’s a great way to keep your curls intact overnight.


Refresh The Finger Coils

Remember to refresh your curls when they’re looking dull.

If your finger coils are looking a bit dull and poofy a few days in, it doesn’t mean you have to wash your hair and do it all over again.

Sometimes, a good refresh is all your hair needs to look springy and bouncy again.

Now and then, go in with a hydrating product and redo the locks that don’t look as bouncy as others.



Finger coiling is amazing for anyone with African-American hair.

Whether you have thick and poofy 4C locks or something a bit looser and wavier, like 3B curls, you’ll enjoy the definition-boosting benefits of this technique.

Hopefully, with our how-to guide above, you’ll be able to nail that perfect finger-coiled look that makes you look fabulous and earns more than just a few double-takes and compliments from others.

Key things to remember while finger coiling are to twist from the roots, be generous with your styling product, and be diligent with going from section to section.

Before you know it, you’ll be rocking the prettiest natural curls you’ve ever seen.

Remember you can customize your finger coils too depending on how loose or tight you want them to be, or how stretched out.

Experiment with how you do your finger coils so that you can achieve the perfect, natural-looking, curly look.

Don’t forget to go through the tips on how to maintain fingers if you want to sport this hairstyle for up to three weeks!

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