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Tutorial: How to Style Your Curls with a Hair Sponge

Learn how to use this must-have tool.

Have you heard about the hair sponge? A hair sponge is a tool that is great for women and men with short natural hair and is also excellent for type 3 and 4 hair textures. Over the last few years, it has gained popularity in the natural hair community; in the past, they were only available for purchase at hair shows, but they are now available at many retail stores and beauty supply stores. Keep reading to learn more and get inspired to try one out yourself:

What is a Hair Sponge? 

A hair sponge brush is a hand-held tool that contains holes or ridges and is used for curling natural hair. For those with short hair, options with smaller holes are best, as they will give you very tight, small coils and/or curls. A larger option will produce larger curls and coils if you have long hair.

When deciding which is best for you, check the hole size. This will help you determine which one will work best for your hair. 

How Does a Hair Sponge Work?

Curl sponges curl your natural hair. Using this tool, you rub it onto your hair in a circular motion to create curls, coils, and twists. The holes and the movement you create with your hands will curl and twist sections of your hair.

Using a hair sponge takes less time than creating this style by hand. The hair sponge also works best on damp hair. Applying your favorite gel, cream, or water before styling is best.

How to Use a Hair Sponge

Not sure how to use a sponge brush? Check out this easy tutorial to get all the tips and tricks when using this tool on natural hair.


Start with damp hair.

It’s best to style on damp hair as using a hair sponge on dry hair can cause damage. To achieve the desired texture, make sure your hair is slightly wet before starting the styling process.


man with short hair

Apply a leave-in conditioner

A leave-in conditioner will help to give your hair moisture to aid in styling. SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Leave-In Treatment is amazing and will keep your curls moisturized!

fair skinned male parting curls

Apply water, gel or a cream styler

When it comes to achieving stunning, defined curls, applying a moderate amount of product evenly throughout your entire head is key. Consider using TRESemme TRES Two Mega Sculpting Gel for optimal results, and watch your curls come to life!


Fair skinned male holding TRESsemme gel

Use your sponge

Rub it on your hair in a circular motion until you achieve your desired look. If you want a lightweight hold, use a pomade like SheaMoisture Men Argan Oil & Shea Butter Waves Pomade.

Tip: The tighter the circular motion, the tighter your pattern, and vice versa. 

man using a hair sponge

Which Side of The Hair Sponge To Use?

The hair sponge brush usually comes with a flat side and on with grooves. Use the flat side to create very defined curls, or use the side with grooves to achieve a more rugged look.

hair sponge

Final look

You’re done!

man with short hair smiling

Whether you’re new to a hair sponge or looking for a different way to style your short natural hair, this tool will surely be useful for many hairstyles. Looking to learn how to use more hair tools like this one? Subscribe to our newsletter below.

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