Volume or Definition? That is the Question.

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I had an extended wash day as I pre-pooed on Sunday morning, shampooed, conditioner detangled and applied a DC on Monday morning and then finally rinsed the DC on Tuesday morning. I didn’t do this for extra conditioning … I did it because I was exhausted from my family reunion road trip and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises … a 2 hour and 44 minute bore … on Monday night.

Anywho, on Tuesday morning, after sealing and rinsing my DC, I put my hair in 5 twists with some diluted conditioner. I placed one twist on each side of my face, one at my crown and two in the back. Then I hit the road for the 2 hour drive to my Trenton office. When I was almost there, I applied some pomade to my ends and released slightly damp twists (I really need to do an updated regimen post … it’s coming soon).

Now, here is where the “age old” … like, you know, a few years “age old” 😉 … question for fine-haired curlies comes in. Because my hair was damp, it swelled once released to give me pretty big and soft hair, which I love.

But, the downside is that the frizz that gave me some nice volume also meant a loss of definition as my hair fully dried. This issue is especially prevalent in my crown, which is more porous than the rest of my hair.

See what I mean? So, I attempted something to try to get the best of both worlds. I re-twisted the top sections of my hair and the areas that framed my face to try to redefine the parts that I thought would be visible. But, I left the underlying hair untouched to retain the volume gained by the frizz.


Look at those roots! I used the Touch Back Marker in the front, but not the back ;).

I released the twists a little while later and …. ummm … yeah … it didn’t work!! It was soooo NOT cute. LOL! I had these defined piecey sections mixed with the frizzy and projecting under-sections! It was bootleg *smh*! And sorry, I didn’t take pics of the results! I saw that it failed, so I twisted the rest of my hair for the night to restore some definition for today. I should have taken the “after” picture though as I like to share failures as well as successes. I think it’s important to show that every experiment doesn’t work and every day isn’t a good hair day (you should have seen the four wet and saturated in conditioner twists that I secured with a jaw clip and went to work in on Monday!). Because, in the end, it’s all good and a learning opportunity. Maybe this didn’t work today, but I might do a better job of creating the “cover” twists or find a better technique the next time. Trial and error man.

Anywho, this made me think of a question for my fine-haired and/or low density curly friends:

Which are you willing to sacrifice: volume for definition OR definition for volume? Have you figured out how to have the best of both worlds?

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8 responses »

  1. Honestly, I prefer definition over volume. I know that this is natural hair blasphemy, but I have never really been a fan of big hair on myself. I have seen other naturals with big hair and it’s gorgeous on them, but just not for me. Now, I don’t want it to be lifeless and limp, I want some curls and body, just not huge. Growing up in New Orleans, humidity, frizz, and poofy hair have been the bane of my existance, so I try to avoid big hair at all costs. I guess I’ve been traumatized, lol!

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  2. I usually go for definition, and I usually fail. I get volume by default [except on my ends – grr!] but I would really like for the effort I put doing those twists to show up somehow.

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  3. I am such an idealist when it comes to my hair. My quest continues for the perfect balance of definition and volume. I realize I havent answered your question, Shelli. *blinks repeatedly* So, if I must choose…I prefer definition. Too much volume w/out definition and I look like a Chia plant. Trust me! It’s not a good look.

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  4. Can’t I just have both, please? I have absolutely no problem getting definition, but the Ramen Noodle look is no bueno! I just got a hair cut today because the back of my hair just keeps growing while the front refuses to grow past my nose. It is parked. With the emergency brakes on! It is soooo not a good look. #mulletinthehouse O_o
    So I asked my stylist am I stuck with no volume if I want definition and she said, “In a word, yes”! I was heartbroken, but undeterred. I’ve seen it done, so I know it can be done. MahoganyCurls, HeyFranHey, Watchfuleye2008, etc. All are fine-haired, low to mid density naturals who get definition and volume. Now, I just need to figure out how to get it for myself.

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  5. I prefer definition. I have a similar problem where my crown is porous and kinky unlike the rest of my hair. I have to remind myself to apply product – ie Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie – only in my crown area and minimal product everywhere else. Otherwise I look like little Orphan Annie by midday. You also have to contend with weather, humidity, ssk, etc! Like Tracy said, definition & volume is achievable for us fine haired girls, it’s just figuring out your personalized “formula”. We’ll get it girls…we just have to keep trying!

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  6. I’d rather have definition, but volume always add that “little something extra.” I usually get great volume by styling with flax seed gel or Deva AnGel and Set it Free (especially if I don’t touch my hair until it’s dry). I recently got my first Deva cut and the stylist used clips at the roots to give a little lift at the roots. I recently discovered that on my own the longer duck billed clips help me get just the amount of volume that I like. Once my hair is dry I just put a very tiny amount of almond oil in my palms to scrunch the crunch and I’m good! Oh, and take out the clips of course.

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