Effortless Defined Curls: Stylist’s Guide to Scrunching Hair without Crunch

Scrunching is one of the most effective ways to style wavy or curly hair. Simply cup and squeeze your hair. It can enhance the natural texture and definition of your hair. We’ve got the perfect solution for you if you want to incorporate this popular technique into your routine. Aaron Grenia, Iris Rubin and other haircare professionals have explained how to scrunch hair step by step.

What is Scrunching?

Hair scrunching can be used to style curly or wavy hair. Dr. Rubin explains that this simple method involves cupping and gently squeezing wet waves or curls with your hands or towel. This method encourages hair to take on its natural shape and can make it more defined.

Who should scrunch their hair?

Scrunching is best for hair types that are more wavy or curly. Dr. Rubin says that this method of styling is all about “optimizing your hair’s curl pattern and texture.” Grenia also agrees that “[scrunching] is particularly effective for people with natural curls or waves who want to enhance their texture.”

You can scrunch straight hair too, but it won’t hold your curls and waves as well. For those with type 4 and tighter ringlets, other styling techniques such as finger coiling or wash-and go will be preferred.

Benefits of Scrunching

Our experts say that scrunching has the following benefits.

  • Enhances the Natural Texture. Scrunching begins by saturating hair with product and allowing it to be wet. This helps separate the natural curl pattern.
  • Volume Increase: By gently squeezing the hair and cupping it at the roots, you can increase the volume and height of the hair.
  • Reduces damage:Scrunching is a method of reducing the risk of breakage by using moisturizing, hydrating products. There is little or no exposure to heat and brushing or combing.
  • Saves time This gentle styling method is ideal for air drying and doesn’t require precision. This will reduce the amount of time you spend in front the mirror drying and styling your hair.
  • Versatility Depending upon your method of drying, scrunching will give you a variety of looks from subtle waves to defined, bouncy curly curls.

How to scrunch hair

Start with Wet Hair

Use Seen’s Shampoo & Conditioner to condition and nourish your hair before scrunching. As a hairstylist I love products that improve my natural texture, and add volume. One of these is Ouidad’s Advanced Climate Control Defrizzing shampoo and conditioner.

Scrunch your hair

Dr. Rubin advises that you can scrunch your hair by squeezing sections with your hands in an upward motion, from the ends to the roots. This will encourage the natural curl or wave pattern of your hair. You can scrunch certain sections of hair again when the hair is drying [to increase volume]. You can scrunch hair with a microfiber t-shirt or towel if you don’t wish to use your fingers.


Dr. Rubin recommends detangling hair with a wide tooth comb, and then applying the styling product you want. The products you choose will be based on the texture of your hair, how frequently you wash and style it, and how long your desired look should last.

IGK’s Class of ’93 Whipped Curl Perfecting Cream is a few options that are recommended by experts. It offers a great hold and whipped cream finish without being crunchy. Seen’s Curly Creme, which helps to keep hair defined and soft without frizz, is also a must-have. For those with tighter curly hair, a gel that has a strong hold is recommended. Camille Rose Curl Defining Gel and Pattern Beauty Curl Gel are both good options.

Scrunch Again

It’s time for a second scrunch. You can use your hands, a towel or a t-shirt. You can achieve maximum volume and definition by scrunching your hair again.

Dr. Rubin suggests that if you’re looking to maintain your style in between washes you can mist the water on your hair and scrunch it again.

Select Your Drying Method

Air drying your scrunched style is possible, or you can use a diffuser with low heat. The decision you make will depend on the needs of your hair and desired results. When you don’t have much time to spare or prefer not to use heat, air drying is the most convenient option. Dr. Rubin advises that you can scrunch the hair to maintain its shape while air-drying.

Dr. Rubin suggests using a diffuser attachment on low heat “when your hair is 70 percent dry.” Diffusers will speed up the drying process and also increase volume. If you decide to diffuse your hair, apply a heat protector first. Grenia says that “IGK Good Behavior Spirulina Smoothing Spray” protects hair against high temperatures (upto 450degF), and tames the frizz up to 24hours. Byrdie has also approved the Mizani Style Shifter Society’s Heat Screen Spray and Gisou Propolis-infused Heat Protecting Spray.


It is easy to add scrunching into your curly and wavy hair routine. You can use your hands, or a microfiber cloth to cup and squeeze your hair. This will help define and increase volume. What’s another plus? This haircare technique can reduce the amount of heat you use and your styling time. There are no negatives to scrunching hair.

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