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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

About four years ago, I came to the realization that I have naturally curly hair. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I turned to TikTok for inspiration and guidance on how to style my hair with different techniques. Even today, I find the app to be my greatest resource, and today I’m going to share my ratings of different TikTok-recommended curly girl techniques for how to style your hair.

The general recommendation for maintaining your curly hair involves a series of steps that can be adjusted and personalized depending on your hair type. Here is my routine for reference:

  1. Shampooing
  2. Conditioning/Deep Conditioning
  3. Leave-in Conditioner
  4. Curl Cream
  5. Gel
  6. Mousse
  7. Diffuse
  8. Oil

The process for following these steps are mostly self-explanatory, and the internet is a great resource for further information on how to optimize your curly hair routine. Below I’ve rated some tried and tested curly hair techniques that I’ve found and implemented in my routine at different points of my curly hair journey.

Bowl Method

The bowl method involves filling a bowl with water and completing steps 1-4 of the curly hair method. Once the steps are complete, you dip your head forward into the bowl and allow your hair to soak in the water. After gently scrunching out the water, add gel and proceed with the rest of the routine. The purpose of this is to maximize hydration, ensure equal product distribution, and create curl clumps. While the process yielded me gorgeous curls, it was painful to keep my neck tilted downward and I felt like dipping my head of products into water only wasted product. I don’t think I achieved curls that I couldn’t replicate with another technique. I would rate the bowl method a 4/10.

Strainer Diffusing

A couple months ago, I heard a ruckus in my kitchen. My mom could not find her pasta strainer anywhere. She was reasonably upset, and interrogated my family to find the culprit. Oddly, it turned out to be my younger sister. She saw strainer diffusing on TikTok and wanted to try it out herself. Now that the strainer was out of commission as a utensil, I figured I’d give it a shot. Instead of using my diffuser attachment, I cupped my hair into the pasta strainer, and made an attempt to diffuse my hair. It was definitely… interesting. My hair dried no differently than it would have if I used a regular diffuser. The only noticeable difference was that I was able to diffuse more hair at a time, but it didn’t save me a significant amount of time. I likely won’t go and try strainer diffusing again anytime soon. The only thing it resulted in was a cranky mom. I would rate strainer diffusing a 5/10.

Finger Coiling/Brush Styling

Finger coiling or brush styling entails styling your hair after you complete steps 1-6 of the curl routine. After all your products are in your hair, you can use your fingers or a Denman Brush to create tension in a curl clump and roll it up to the root before releasing the coil. I finger coiled my hair for almost a year before I decided to give up on it for one day – and let me tell you, it made a world of difference. While I love the results finger coiling produced, it was extremely time consuming and tiring. Due to the length and thickness of my hair, it would take 30-40 extra minutes to finger coil my entire head of hair, and it was not worth it. One day a couple months ago, I was feeling lazy and decided to skip finger coiling. When I met up with my friends that night, they said my hair looked more voluminous and natural than they had ever seen it. I haven’t gone back since. I would rate finger coiling a 7/10 for how time consuming it can be.


Though I’ve known about plopping since I started my curly hair journey, I was not inspired to try it until I watched my sister walk around our house with her hair up in my dad’s old T-shirt. When I asked her why her hair was up, she rolled her eyes and told me she was plopping it. Duh. Her words, not mine. I watched a TikTok tutorial and tried it after my next wash, and let me tell you, it is life-changing! Plopping my hair after I create a gel cast is honestly so relieving. It creates volume in my roots while keeping my hair out of my face while it dries. Though I’ve been stealing my dad’s old T-shirts to plop my hair, I love the method enough that I plan to invest in a hair wrap that’s better suited to plop. I would rate plopping a 10/10 for the convenience of putting away your hair while it dries frizz-free!

Every curly head is different and it’s important to nurture your curls to suit what works best for you. I have 3A-3B curls and these are my opinions on different TikTok trends. I love to experiment with my hair and I’m still discovering more each day. It all comes down to different products, techniques, and your curls!

Snigdha is a new writer at Her Campus MSU. As a first-year Humanities Pre-Law major, she hopes to pursue a career in IP Law and has fresh perspectives to contribute to her ongoing experiences as she navigates college in East Lansing. Essays are Snigdha’s favorite assignment, and she loves to write both academically and creatively. In high school, she co-founded a School Communications Committee that ran social media pages to increase student-to-teacher engagement. She was also a board member of the club Girl Up and served as her school choir's social media manager. In the summer of 2024, she will be a Learning & Engagement Programs intern at the Henry Ford. Snigdha has dedicated over fifteen years of her life to performance, mostly in the theater. She loves her found family and looks forward to fostering the same community at HCMSU. In her free time, Snigdha loves to read, sing, vlog, and spend every second she can with her friends and family.