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How To Scrunch Out The Crunch “SOTC” in Curly Hair & Get Rid of Crunchy Curls

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Do you have trouble getting rid of the crunchy feeling in your curly hair? Or maybe you dread using styling products because you want to avoid crunchy curly hair.

If so, you're not alone!

But did you know that crunchy curly hair can actually be a good thing, and it's actually very easy to get rid of?

In this post, we'll show you how to scrunch out the crunch and achieve bouncy, curly hair. Keep reading to find out more.

Why curly hair gets crunchy

Curly hair can get stiff and crunchy from the cast that styling products create on the hair. This is called a gel cast.

As the gel, or other styling product, dries in your hair, it hardens to hold the curl in place while the hair dries. This cast keeps that curl pattern from becoming frizzy and helps to hold the curl pattern. This is a good thing as it helps your hair dry with less frizz and better definition, as well as locking in hydration.

2b hair
before I knew how to have soft curly hair

The problem is that many people don't know that they can get rid of this crunchy cast once their hair has dried, nor do they know how to.

But it's actually very quick and easy!

You can see in the photo above, that I used to leave the house with crunchy hair ON PURPOSE! I had no idea I was skipping a step.

How to get rid of crunchy curly hair

The best way to get rid of the stiff, crunchy feeling is to scrunch out the crunch. This quick and easy technique takes a minute to soften your curls so that they are bouncy, shiny, and defined. It simply breaks the cast to reveal soft curls.

hair dried in a cast before scrunch out the crunch
hair dried in a gel cast

What is scrunch out the crunch?

Scrunch out the crunch is a very common term in the curly world that means to scrunch your hair while it's in the crunchy cast in order to release the cast and soften the hair. It's often abbreviated to SOTC.

SOTC a key part of any curly hair routine in order to reduce frizz, create more definition, have a longer lasting style, and have softer curls.

hair after scrunching out the crunch
hair after scrunching out the crunch

How to scrunch out the crunch

Here are the exact steps to scrunch out the crunch. Scroll down for a video tutorial.

1. What for hair to be completely dry

Before you start, make sure your hair is really dry. You can air dry or diffuse, either doesn't matter.

If you break the cast before your hair is fully dry, it will cause frizz and possibly flatter curls. It can take hours for your hair to dry so be patient or diffuse.

To check if your hair is dry, stick your fingers into the middle part and press them together. if it feels damp or cold, it's probably still wet.

2. You scrunch your curls up very gently using your hands, which softens the hard cast.

Most people do this with their bare hands, and others will use a product like an oil, conditioner, or mousse. Some people even use a silk scarf or t-shirt if their hands alone don't work.

Gently scrunch up or use the praying hands method to smooth the hair. As you scrunch, you'll notice the hair start to soften. You may need to focus more on the ends as they tend to be the hardest.

Fluff your roots and flip your hair backward, forward, and side to side. You can finger coil any wonky or frizzy pieces.

3. Your hair is now soft and bouncy without any crunch!

That's it. It can take less than a minute to just a few minutes but this step really makes all the difference in your routine.

Watch the video below to see exactly how I scrunch out the crunch.

How to prevent frizz with SOTC

Sometimes, people experience frizz when scrunching out the crunch.

This can happen for a few reasons:

  • too aggressive when scrunching
  • hair was not fully dry
  • using a product that causes friction to SOTC
  • hair is not moisturized
  • styling product did not provide enough hold
  • SOTC for too long

Make sure you are gentle and don't do this for too long. It takes me less than a minute to SOTC, but for others with thicker hair, it can take a few.

If you still have frizz, try using an oil, conditioner, or silk scarf to SOTC.

If that doesn't work, then perhaps your hair needs more moisture or more hold. Experiment with different products to determine the cause.

Products To Scrunch Out The Crunch

Let's go over a few product options to help you scrunch out the crunch.

These are only necessary if you are unable to get rid of the cast with your bare hands or if you simply want to use them for their extra benefits.

Oil To Scrunch Out The Crunch

Many people like to use oil to scrunch out the crunch because it can add shine and help with definition.

My favorite oils to use are jojoba oil and argan oil. You can also use other oils like olive oil or avocado oil.

Simply take a small amount of oil on your fingers (like a few drops) and scrunch it into your hair or smooth it over like praying hands. Start from the ends and work your way up.

You can also use an oil-based product like a leave-in conditioner or hair serum.

Conditioner To Scrunch Out The Crunch

If you have dry hair, using a conditioner to scrunch out the crunch can help add moisture and soften hair.

Put a small amount of leave-in conditioner or regular conditioner in your hands and smooth it over like praying hands. Start from the ends and work your way up.

You can also use a water-based product like a curl cream or custard.

conditioner to scrunch out the crunch

Mousse or Foam To Scrunch Out The Crunch

Mousse and foam can help add volume and definition to your hair. I like to use mousse because it doesn't weigh my hair down like a lot of other products.

Put a small amount in your hands and smooth it over like praying hands, then scrunch up. Start from the ends and work your way up.

Silk Scarf To Crunch Out The Crunch

Some people don't want to add more product and just need the extra friction of another fabric to break the cast.

You can use a silk scarf in the same way you would micro-plop, to scrunch up and help break the gel cast.

hair in a buff

Sleeping In Gel Cast

You can also just sleep with your hair in a cast and it will soften throughout the night with your movement.

When I have done this, I only have a few pieces that needed to be softened in the morning.

I would still recommend using a silk pillowcase and/or a hair buff.

What if you can't seem to remove your cast?

If you struggle with getting rid of the crunchy feeling then that is a sign that you are using too much product or your hair needs more moisture.

Use more moisture under the gel, such as leave-in and creams. You can also use a gel or styling product with a lighter hold and with more moisture.

Styling on wetter hair can also help with this since it dilutes the styling product.

Bottom Line

So if you’re looking to avoid crunchy curls, make sure to scrunch out the crunch after your hair has dried. This easy technique will help you have less frizz and softer curls that last. Have you tried this method before? Let us know in the comments below!


Please do me a favor and share this post to social media, as it helps me grow my audience and spread the word about our curly hair movement! And remember to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and Instagram for more curly hair tips and product recommendations. Thanks!

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