TikTok's Bowl Method Is The Secret To Perfect Curly Hair

TikTok is a gold mine for beauty hacks. Not only did it bring us this dermatologist-approved contour hack and Jennifer Aniston's hair volume trick, but it's also taught us all about the bowl method. Not to be confused with the bowl cut (that's something different we'd prefer to forget), this hack is designed for curly-haired beauties who want a no-frizz style with defined curls. It was brought to our attention by TikToker @curlyzia.xo, whose how-to video garnered 4.5 million views after she claimed it stopped her from getting "stringy curls." That inspired a slew of other clips showing people doing their versions, including a TikTok from @brittminetti which amassed 2.5 million views after she claimed it "worked wonders for [her] curls." 


How to do #ziasbowlmethod 😊 I hope this helps anyone struggling with stringy curls or wondering how to define their curls.🥰 #bowlmethod #thebowlmethod #bowlmethodtips

♬ Home – Edith Whiskers

The bowl method involves using — you guessed it — a bowl to wash your locks, in a somewhat similar way to how a diffuser is used to dry curly hair. In her video, @curlzia.xo washed with shampoo and conditioner, then added leave-in conditioner (and noted a curl cream could also be applied for definition). Bent over and with her hair dangling into the tub, she dipped her hair into a bowl of water and brought it closer to her head. Now, here's the important bit: She scrunched her locks with her hands and repeated the dip and scrunch process on the sides. To finish, she brushed with a wet-hair compatible product (never brush wet hair with a standard brush) and scrunched again before adding mousse all over.


Does the bowl method work?

We know what you're thinking: Does the bowl method actually work? Well, according to hair and makeup artist Luna Viola, it has its benefits. "It's definitely effective if you have a little extra styling time on your hands," she told Women.com. "The more you dip and scrunch the hair in the water, the more the product gets absorbed, ideal for low porosity hair." Board-certified dermatologist Corey L. Hartman also confirmed that the bowl method keeps curls hydrated, but noted to Allure that there's not any actual scientific evidence confirming this method's effectiveness. With that said though, TikTokers are getting gorgeous finished looks, and it can certainly help products distribute more evenly. It's also suitable for all types of curls and wavy hair, and can work with colored locks and extensions. 


To stand the best chance of getting defined curls, Viola suggests doing the dip and scrunch method four times or more with cold, filtered water. "This repetitive process offers a sort of mold for the curls and defines the curl clumps, leaving the hair bouncy and voluminous," she shared. Another tip Viola gave us? Don't touch the curls too much when drying, and you should either air-dry or opt for a diffuser. We'd suggest air-drying to avoid heat damage. In her video, influencer Lana Summer wrapped her locks in a hair-specific towel to dry. If you absolutely have to use a blow-dryer though, read our tips on using hot tools without frying your hair first.

There are downsides to the bowl method

We all have hair that's drastically unique, so, of course, there are going to be people the bowl method just won't work for. If you have naturally straight hair, this one's not for you. It can also be difficult to do without getting water everywhere, and if you're someone who travels a lot (who travels with a bowl?) or struggles to bend for longer periods, it's not practical. Equally, Ginger King, a cosmetic chemist, told Allure that doing the bowl method every time you wash your hair can cause product build-up. Especially if you're using a combination of leave-in conditioner, mousse, and gel, the latter of which Luna Viola recommended to finish your curl look. To combat that, try clarifying shampoo to break down the accumulation or limit the bowl method to once or twice a week.


It's also not ideal if you're in a rush, because all that dipping and scrunching takes time. However, if time's your issue, there's a similar, quicker hack. Viola recommended the strainer method, which can also work for all curl types. "After shampooing and styling the hair, just dip your curls into the metal strainer without touching them," she shared. "Start drying on a low heat set keeping your head down. The low heat combined with the strainer gives a beautiful natural diffusing effect to the hair, defines the curls, and adds plenty of volume to the roots as well." We love options!