For a long while I lived in fear of styling my own hair. I saw styling as “challenging.” You see I have 4B/4C natural hair.
4B/C curls are tiny, dry, dense, and fragile! Consequently, they are touchy to rough handling, and thus thrive in both low manipulation and protective hair styling.
In the past I would style my hair everyday and because I have fine hair my ends took a beating. Along with prior damage sustained through frequent heat [plus excessive styling] I had to get major trims December 2011 & May 2012. It seemed like my hair would never grow.
I understood effective balancing of protein and moisture to minimize breakage. I understood proper product selection. I however did not understand styling! And understanding styling leads to building a healthy hair care regimen…
Ultimately, I made the decision to leave my hair alone! So I started doing a lot of low manipulation/protective styling and it paid off (see curly girl the handbook*).
Once my hair was styled I would carry it for 3-4 weeks (moisturizing daily and co-washing weekly: see chart below); and because I was not manipulating my hair every day I began to retain length steadily.
Another thing is I have fine but thick hair (combination hair) thus I hated styling it because of it’s volume! I dreaded wash day!!
However, I began playing movies and/or music during styling this not only helped me to relieve tension but also anxiety, making styling so much easier! No wonder salons have TV’s!
Growing up, my mother encouraged me to learn how to style, I half listened and half ignored. Today, I am grateful I listened. I am not where I want to be but I’m getting better with practice.
Furthermore, when it comes to styling my hair it really is the smallest things that make the biggest difference. Styling my hair myself guarantees my time. I am a small business owner: so my time is money.
No more waiting to book salon appointments and working in to a stylist’s schedule. Here’s hoping that the tips below give you inspiration; amazing ahas! and a kick to start styling your hair… in the words of Joyce Meyer: Do it Afraid! Practice makes perfect!!
Below are 10 tips for curly hair styles:
- Styling depends on so many factors that are often overlooked, for instance: climate, hair texture (fine, combination, coarse); level of skill (beginner, average, advanced) to name a few. Some people, for instance, will not wear two strand twists but rather twist outs simply because their hair is too fine. Twist outs give volume and bold curls; thus are a better alternative. Stop doing what you want to do to your hair and start listening to it. The more you listen the better you’ll style.
- Practice on doll heads! My mom always encouraged me to learn this way. Most cosmetology schools and regular hair product stores have mannequin heads available to purchase for practicing hair dressing styles.(1)
- Divide hair into manageable sections ALWAYS, using hair clips, bobby pins, hair bands and/or twists. Always use a metal rat-tail comb for precise parting. However, never use its teeth on curly hair! Detangle with your fingers (or wide tooth comb instead). Hair that is finger-combed often tends to be thicker and longer than hair that is detangled exclusively using combs.(2)
- YouTube! watch how-to-tutorials on hairstyling. These videos can be very encouraging and allow you chat, network and learn from other viewers, naturals and bloggers. As well as experiment with an array of natural hair styles! Natural hair is not boring!!
- Get a good nightly regimen i.e. wearing a satin bonnet, pineappling, re-twisting, etc: this will save you a lot of hassle in the morning especially – if like me – you are always on the go!
- Begin practicing with easy styles (for example: 2 strand twists, twists-outs, wash n’ go’s, fold and tuck, finger coils and buns). Simple styles equals less time styling.
- You are your best teacher! You can draw inspiration from many sources (thankfully we have an array of videos, blogs and books available today) however none of this will matter if you do not practice. We all know that it’s one thing to watch a video or admire a picture…it’s a completely different thing to style YOUR own hair. You may come out with something totally opposite! Don’t give up.
- Keep your natural hair care products simple: personally, I use water (rose water or a tea spritz), leave-in conditioner and oil when styling.
- Don’t rush; be patient plus it’s okay to make mistakes (as long as it’s not with a pair of scissors!)
- If your style turns out differently from what you originally planned, remember: natural hair is so versatile you can transform it into something else, or accessorize (i.e. with hair clips, scarves, & flowers)
- You are unique. Avoid comparing yourself to other naturals and learn to love and accept your curls!
Ladies, if you are struggling with natural hair styles? What challenges do you face?
1. Tunkara, Khalidah. How to Learn Hairdressing From Home. eHow.com. n.d. Web. 26 April. 2013
2 1.Davis-Sivasothy, Audrey. The Science of Black Hair. Texas: Saja, 2011. Print.