Google Header -->
Skip to main content
Curly NikkiNatural Hair

All About the Heat-Free, Chemical Free Jheri Curl for Natural Hair

By April 8th, 2021No Comments

jheri curl natural hair curlynikki

IG @milena_shemelis #NaturallyGlam

Recreating the Iconic wet-looking curls of the Jheri Curl for Natural Hair 

by Jacqueline Samaroo

The Jheri curl was THE Black hairstyle of the 1980s. Celebrities like Lionel Ritchie, Ice Cube, and Michael Jackson sported the style. The Black community was swept up in a wave of glossy, springy, curly hair and bottles of curl activator were flying off store shelves.

Yep, the Jheri curl had its heyday, lasting into the 1990s. It then faded away and became just a distant memory to most of us.  Fast forward to the present time and we see a new wave sweeping through the Black community – the natural hair movement. So, it comes as a surprise to many that the Jheri curl of all things is back AND that there are naturalistas who are embracing it. After all, the style was dependent on the use of harsh chemicals – the very thing naturalistas strive to avoid.

But here’s the thing – there is a natural hair, heat-free, chemical-free version of the Jheri curl. It uses natural hair products to recreate the iconic wet-looking curls of the Jheri curl.

Let’s take a look at the flat twist/twist out version of how it’s done.

jheri curl natural hair curlynikki


Start with clean hair

The first step (as it is with the original Jheri curl) is making sure your hair is clean. Select a good shampoo for natural haircare and for that a sulfate-free shampoo is a great choice. It won’t dry out your hair by stripping it of its natural oils.

Use a leave-in conditioner

The Jheri curl is all about curl definition. Getting defined curls means your hair needs to be well moisturized. You can do that by applying a leave-in conditioner to your hair while it is still wet.

Add curl cream

The traditional Jheri curl uses a chemical softener to permanently change the curl pattern of the hair. This new natural Jheri curl is not a permanent style. It uses a curl cream, a kind of styling cream, to make natural hair softer while defining its natural curl pattern.

Note: Curling creams are natural hair products designed to work with different types of curly hair. Be sure to use a curling cream that matches your hair type.

Add the curl cream to your hair, one section at a time. Work it into your hair then wrap and twist small portions of your hair around your finger to help the curls take shape. Clip the hair in that section together and move on to another section

Flat twist your hair
In the traditional Jheri curl, two more chemicals would be needed – a solution to set the curls and another chemical, a neutralizer, to make the new curl pattern permanent. In this all-natural version, flat twists are all you need.  Make several flat twists in one section of your hair then twist those twists together. Repeat for all the sections.

Add perm curlers Jheri Curl for Natural Hair Jheri Curl for Natural Hair Jheri Curl for Natural Hair
Roll the twisted sections up in perm curlers, going from tip to scalp. Leave the curlers in overnight, making sure to protect your hair with a silk or satin scarf or bonnet.

Take the curlers out and moisturize Jheri Curl for Natural Hair Jheri Curl for Natural Hair 
Remove the curlers one at a time and use your choice of hair oil for natural curly hair to moisturize each section as you carefully separate the curls. Don’t overdo this step as it might make the curls fall apart.

Now, you have your 2020s, all-natural version of the 1980s Jheri curl – without the chemicals!

Do you like the wet look?! Would you try the Jheri Curl for Natural Hair? Tell us below! 

Jheri Curl for Natural Hair Jheri Curl for Natural Hair 

Leave a Reply