Tag Archives: Going natural

Stretching And Styling Your Hair After Washing

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Wash day can be just that, a whole day. However, we shouldn’t have to draw a line through the day just to wash our hair.  I am now able to wash my hair and go out to dinner within the hour. Washing your hair should not have to result in a night in front of the TV, waiting for our hair to dry in twists. Some of us avoid swimming because of the time spent washing and detangling our hair afterwards.  Here are some styles that are appropriate to do after washing. They allow you to wash, style and go. Plus, they have the added bonus of stretching the hair, making it easy to re-style the next day.

 

Roll, tuck and pin

Kimmytube first introduced me to this style. It is simply rolling the hair around the head and pinning. This is a great style for medium length hair, which, may not be long enough to put into a bun. It also helps to stretch the hair, as it is pulled taut to roll and shape. Use hair pins or bobby pins to secure the style.  Cover hair with a satin scarf and leave for five minutes to smooth your edges down.

 

 

Low pigtails/buns

Pigtails are easier than putting the hair into a bun, as you only need to style one half of the head at a time. This works well for thick hair, which, can be difficult to put into a ponytail, especially when wet and shrunken. I don’t worry about doing the perfect part down the middle. I simply use my fingers.  If you want to do a neat part use a rat-tail comb.  All you will need are two snag proof hair bands.

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This style can be modified in three ways:

1. If your hair is short to medium length , you can leave it in pigtails. The front will be pulled taut and be stretched from the roots.

2. If your hair is medium to long, you can put each pigtail into a bun. Twist each one and roll into a bun. Pin to secure or use another hair band to hold the buns in place.

3. You can braid each pigtail, creating two jumbo braids. This will stretch out the hair the most. If you are worried about looking like a school girl, pin both braids up and across from each other, to create a more mature style.  This is demonstrated in the video below.

Check out whoissugar’s after washing styles and, styling ideas for the following day.

 

Top knot

Put the hair in a high ponytail and pin into a bun. The ponytail can be twisted or braided. This will make it easier to shape, and protect the hair as it is manipulated. Or, shape the bun loosely, in whichever way you desire.  Be gentle when styling wet hair, as it is more fragile. This is an easy style to do.  It still looks good even when it is a little messy. So you don’t necessarily have to worry about obtaining the sleek look and smoothing down your edges.

Top Knot

Top Knot

 

A low bun

This is great for medium to long hair and, looks elegant for going out later. To ensure that the hair looks as sleek as possible, use the palm of your hands to smooth your edges. If you use a product for smoothing  add accordingly. I use my homemade flaxseed (linseed) gel to hold my edges down, if necessary. The most important step is covering your head firmly with a satin scarf. Leave it on as you finish getting ready (10 minutes or so).  When you take if off the hair should looker sleeker. You can also use a donut to fill out the bun, which, could also be made using an old sock.

donut

 

 Two french braids

Split the hair in two and put each side into a French braid. Again splitting the hair will make it easier to manipulate. Sleek down the edges with some product or water and cover with a satin scarf. The next day the hair should be stretched and wavy. I have worn my hair out in this stretched out style before.

french braid hair

French Braids

 

A Jumbo Braid

My favorite after washing style is the jumbo braid. Just put your hair into a low ponytail. Divide the ponytail into three and braid down. I find this stretches my hair the most and leaves it wavy when taken down.  This is the quickest and most convenient after washing style to do. Add some flaxseed gel to smooth your edges and use your satin scarf.

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After swimming

If you have gone swimming in a pool that has chlorine, it is best to use a clarifying shampoo (if not that day then later during the week). Immediately follow this with a conditioner to relieve that squeaky clean feeling.  Co-washing is even quicker, as there are fewer steps. Take a medium-sized section of hair, detangle and remove shed hair with the conditioner in.  Add your leave in and/or oil for sealing, to that section of hair. Twist it to prevent it from getting tangled again.   By the end, you should have four to six large twists.  Cover the hair with a t-shirt to remove the excess water.  Then you can style the hair using any of the above methods, if you have somewhere to go afterwards. If your hair needs to be deep conditioned or requires extra care and attention, this can be done at home later.

 

Two important tools

A satin scarf and t-shirt are crucial.  Loosely wrap your head with the t-shirt to remove the excess water. It only has to be on for a few minutes. This will ensure that your hair is not soaking wet when styling, making it easier and safer to manipulate. Do not leave your hair to dry completely before styling.   Use the satin scarf to smooth down your edges. Smooth your edges with the palms of your hand. Place the scarf on firmly and continue to get ready for the day. After about 10 minutes your edges should be a lot smoother and, the style will appear less frizzy overall. The longer you leave the scarf on the better.

Your hair can also look great in twists

Your hair can also look great in twists

 

After washing and styling, your hair will still be a little damp but look presentable.  This will enable you to continue on with your day. Obviously, if you want to do a braid out or twist out, you should put your hair in braids or twists after washing. Some women like to wear their hair in large twists or braids as a style. This is another option. For those who are not a fan of this look, it usually means staying in for the day or covering your hair with a scarf or hat. The above styles allow you to style your hair quickly after washing and, still look presentable.  Then you can do a braid or twist out on stretched hair another day. I no longer dedicate a whole day to washing my hair, unless I want to.

How do you style your hair after washing? Share your ideas below.

 

 

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Top tips for going natural

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Going natural may not be a huge declaration or momentous occasion for some.  Perhaps you have taken your hair out of braids and want to delay using chemicals for a while. You may never look back.  Some may have experienced breakage due to relaxers and believe going chemical free is best.  Whatever your reasons for going natural, here are some tips to get you started on the right track.

1. Big chop boldly

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Decide whether you want to big chop or transition. The big chop is simply cutting all of the relaxed hair, right up to the new growth. For this, you must be willing to have short hair; a TWA (teeny weenie afro) or shorter.  You may have seen videos on YouTube of women drastically shaving their heads to big chop.  You do not have to do this.  The Amber Rose look isn’t for everyone! You can choose to wait until there is a sufficient amount of new growth to showcase a TWA. If you are only going to be comfortable with hair long enough to put back in a ponytail, perhaps transitioning is more suitable.

I have a round face, so I was hesitant about having short hair.  I never thought very short hair could look good with my face shape.  However, I found that afro textured hair framed my face well, better than a short straight cut would have.  I certainly didn’t’ shave my head, I wore braid outs with my relaxed hair to blend in the little new growth, until it grew out adequately.  For me personally, I knew playing around with two textures was not going to work.  So I big chopped soon after giving up the chemicals.

2. Transition with care

Transitioning is holding off on cutting the relaxed hair and growing your natural hair out gradually. This is done until you are happy with the length. For this, you have to be willing to care for two different hair textures at the same time.  If you decide to transition, you may want to wear braids, weaves or wigs in the meantime.  Be careful that these styles are not installed too tightly because your edges may thin or you may experience breakage in other areas.  This would be a terrible set back so soon into your journey.

When transitioning, avoid falling into the trap of using heat on your new growth, to blend the two textures.  A small amount of sweat on the scalp will cause your new growth to revert back to its natural state.  You may find yourself using heat daily as a result.  When it is time to big chop, you may be left with heat damaged hair.

For transitioning, start doing braid-outs and twist-outs to get the feel of curly or kinky textured hair, and to get out of the mindset of straight hair.  Check out styling tutorials on YouTube, such as FusionofCultures who transitioned for two years.  Roller sets, two strand twists, bantu knot-outs and flexi-rods can be used for styling your transitioning hair.

 3. Keep it simple with products

Keep your approach to products simple at this stage.  Perhaps it would be best to continue to use the products you are already familiar with, unless you found that they were damaging to your hair. Focus on getting familiar with styling and caring for your hair. It is your skills that make the difference, not the products. While styling and maintaining your hair, start to research natural shampoos and conditioners and the ingredients you should avoid.  Know the reasons why they should be avoided.  Educating yourself about ingredients will ensure you choose the best products for your hair.

Don’t fall for marketing ploys. Products that claim to give you a certain curl pattern or accelerated growth for instance, or products that claim to be natural but aren’t.  I see too many naturals become super focused on product brands, expecting a product to ‘fix’ their hair, while failing to learn good hair care practices.  Most of these products do not do anything that water, natural oils and butters don’t do, unless they contain chemicals or unnatural ingredients.

You may not be too concerned about using products that are 100% natural, do what is best for you. As long as you have the sufficient knowledge, you can make an informed decision. The most important thing you can do for your hair is learn how to take care of it: how to comb it correctly, how to finger detangle, how to deal with shrinkage, when to use protein treatments, when to trim, to name a few. You don’t need to invest your time trying every product on the market and over spending as a result.  The reason we used relaxers was for them to ‘fix our hair’, do not have the same attitude towards products.

 4. Keep the use of heat to a minimum when dealing with shrinkage

Shrinkage is one of the main challenges for any new natural who has passed the TWA stage. Remember that shrinkage is a good thing; it shows you that your hair is healthy and simply reverting back to its natural curl pattern when wet. However, if you have very kinky hair, it may be best to keep it stretched out as much as possible, especially for styling. Check out my posts on this and practice techniques that ensure you do not have to rely on blow dryers and flat irons. Frequent use of heat can create dryness, breakage and heat damage. Heat damage is when your hair doesn’t revert back to its natural curl pattern and you are left with straight strands, in some sections. If you develop good habits in the early stages of your hair journey, you will continue this good practice for years to come. Unfortunately, bad habits are hard to break.  Besides, the longer your hair gets, the less problematic shrinkage becomes. If you invest in good hair care practices now, you will reap the benefits later.

5. Go natural for you, not for others

Personally, I couldn’t care less what men on YouTube say about women with natural hair, whether positive or negative.  I choose not to pay attention to general opinions about natural hair. Whether men, other women, people of other races or even employers like natural hair; I had to decide to embrace my natural hair regardless.  Anyone who says they don’t like natural Afro textured hair, I put in the same category as those who say they don’t like dark skin; ignorant and not worth arguing or wasting my time with. Positive attitudes are great and welcomed, but these can change like the wind. So be secure with your natural beauty, such security must come from within and not be based on the opinions of others or on trends.

What advice would you give to anyone who is considering going natural?

Natural Hair Journey to Health Journey

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fitness woman

It’s amazing that so many women who are discovering their natural hair for the first time have also begun to consider their overall health.  Many have now embarked on a health and fitness journey.  If we are going to take the time to research what makes our hair healthy and what to avoid to prevent damage to our hair, how much more should we do this for our bodies? Hair and nails are the last to receive vital nutrients from foods. Our bodies are so amazing that they are designed to prioritize the vital organs. If we take the time to learn how to look after the least important part of our bodies; hair, then it’s only a matter of time before we desire to do the same for our overall health.

fitness

What goes on inside our bodies is reflected on the outside anyway. Having the best hair care products, the best regimen and the most creative hairstyles, will not get us very far if we are not healthy from the inside. If our bodies are not hydrated for instance, our hair  and skin will suffer from dryness to reflect this on the outside.  If we are lacking key vitamins and nutrients, it doesn’t matter if our shampoos or conditioners are ‘enriched with vitamins’, our hair and overall health will still suffer.

I am glad to see so many newly naturals not only embark on a natural hair journey, but also considering the effects of diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle on their bodies as a whole. I often hear many not only discussing good hair care practices, but fitness and workout regiments, weight loss and avoiding processed foods or drinks. Not only are they avoiding  chemicals in their hair products, they are also doing the same with their skin products and food.  Quite clearly it has become about much more than hair, and I for one believe it is a step in the right direction.

weight loss

I’m tired of reports suggesting that certain health problems are more prevalent within the black community and with black women in particular. Regardless of whether you believe such statistics are accurate, it should be a priority for us to break any negative trends and set a better example for our children.  Many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer can be prevented by having a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Such diseases can also be cured or managed simply by improving your diet and adopting a healthier lifestyle. For example according to the America Diabetes Association, weight loss of just 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge improvement to the health of those with type 2 diabetes.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that overweight and obese women were at a higher risk of uterine fibroids.  A diet high in fruits and vegetables and thus high in fibre was found to be crucial for the prevention and treatment of fibroids.

More and more women in the natural hair community, and beyond are realizing the importance of healthy eating, exercise and the avoidance of harmful chemicals. We understand that we no longer have to be reconciled to a lifetime of taking numerous medications.   Instead, through education and basic research we can learn to look after our bodies as well as our hair.

fitness couple

Did going natural lead to a health journey for you or have you always been conscious of these issues? Maybe you are yet to embark upon a health journey. Share your thoughts below.

Just Juices and Berries

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olive-oil

I am not writing this to bash ‘product junkies’. I  like trying out new things and for some people that could be hair care products. However, I am noticing a lot more emphasis being placed on products, in the natural hair community. On forums, blogs, YouTube and social networking sites, I am seeing different women post questions about what products to use to address certain hair ‘problems’.  For example: what product can I use to stretch out my hair? What product can I use to soften my hair? What product can I use to make my hair grow? I am thinking about going natural, what products should I be using?

I can’t help but believe that we are reverting back to the old mindset, that we simply need a magical product to make our hair perfect! This is opposed to simply learning how to manage our hair properly. Isn’t that how relaxers were presented to the black community, for decades? Relaxers, perms and texturizers were supposed to be magical products that would ‘fix’ our hair and take away all our hair problems.

This quick fix mindset is based on an unwillingness to do research and educate ourselves about our hair. It is quite concerning to see some women obsessing about products before they have even gone natural. This makes going natural a lot harder than it needs to be and I can imagine why some women find the concept quite daunting. When I first went natural I was living in the UK and most of the products mentioned on the internet were only available in the US. So I didn’t have access to a great number of products. To be honest the last thing I was thinking about was products because 99% of products in my local beauty supply contained harmful ingredients. I had learned about them through doing my research. I came to realize that most of the products I used when my hair was relaxed had sulphates, petroleum, silicones, alcohol, harsh perfumes parabens and other chemicals that I couldn’t even pronounce. It’s funny to see that those same black hair companies are now jumping on the natural bandwagon and releasing natural product ranges, to cater to the natural hair community. It’s good to see that they are taking notice and shows that we have a powerful voice.

productjunkie

However, due to the lack of quality hair care products at the time, I was only concerned about the benefits of natural ingredients. I learned about Shea butter, the benefits of plain water, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and aloe vera juice. This made my life a lot simpler and I wasn’t bombarded with the many products that are on the market today. I was able to focus on learning to manage my hair, and to this day I personally haven’t found a product that holds my twist outs as well as pure Shea butter does.  I haven’t found a product that moisturizes my hair as well as water does and I stretch my hair out by simply braiding or twisting it. A product by itself will not make your hair grow any faster or longer. Protective styling, moisturizing and being gentle with your hair will help you to retain length.

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Of course I enjoy trying out new products from time to time and learning about different products can be part of your natural hair journey. However, when all else fails, I go back to my simple usage of water for moisturizing, oil for sealing in the moisture and my Shea butter for styling.  I’m not against products and I’m happy to see many black owned companies becoming successful. However, there is no product out there that will magically ‘fix’ your hair. You simply need to learn how to manage it properly. Some of us need to learn how to manage our hair with simple ‘juices and berries’ instead of looking for a magical product that simply doesn’t exist. We also need to consider being healthy overall; diet, exercise and water consumption can also affect our hair. Products can only enhance your hair, not make it into something it is not. ALL  hair  textures are beautiful, with or without the use of different products. Keep it simple when going natural and learn the important basics that will benefit you well into the future.

What do you think? Is there an obsession with products? Share your thoughts and ideas below.

Going Natural

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The Big Chop or Transitioning?

A very small puff

A few months after my big chop

When contemplating going natural it is good to take advice from those who have already taken that step. You can learn from their experiences and the mistakes they made. Ultimately, it is up to you to take that information and decide what is best for you. You can either decide to do the big chop, which simply means to cut all your relaxed/permed hair off, down to your new growth. Or you can transition. This means to grow out your new growth to the point where you are comfortable with its length, before cutting your relaxed ends off completely. Transitioning involves managing two different hair textures for months and even years. Before I went natural I only knew one friend who was natural. She transitioned for over a year and gradually cut her relaxed hair off. She wore braids and weaves constantly so I didn’t even know she had gone natural until she told me. For her, it was not a big declaration to go natural, she simply was tired of the negative impact relaxers were having on her hair and knew it was in her best interest to avoid them.

So when I was considering going natural I did some research on the internet and realized that I would have to learn to manage my hair in a completely different way and I had to avoid products that exposed my hair to harmful ingredients and chemicals. I also came across a few ‘natural hair journey’ videos, showing women cutting their hair, down to their new growth. This had never occurred to me before and I never believed  short hair suited my round face shape. So I thought transitioning would be best for me.  To be honest, this did not last long. I didn’t have the time and money to be constantly putting my hair in braids or weaves and quite frankly I was unable to manage the two hair textures. Even with very little new growth, my relaxed hair would began to shed like crazy and it would feel dry. I became more and more interested in the big chop after a very short period of time. I enjoyed doing my braid outs because that gave my hair volume and blended in the two textures well. However, even with that style I still hated having different textures. Also, I was simply eager to be natural. I was so over my damaged, relaxed hair.

I decided to cut my straight hair off and once I made up my mind, that was it. I found that the short style suited me and it was so convenient. I literally could wash and go. I would spray my hair with water and glycerin and my curls popped! I was definitely experiencing the honeymoon stage of my natural hair journey. It was great seeing my natural curl pattern and I received many compliments. Of course I would get a few comments along the lines of ‘what happened’? Some people couldn’t understand why I would deliberately cut my hair. I also did braids once, just to feel some length again but I was surprised at how versatile my hair was despite it being so short.  It also seemed to grow back quickly. I think learning how to care for my hair properly and avoiding products with harmful ingredients helped to maintain my hair and I saw more length retention.

What to consider before deciding to transition or big chop
1. Are you someone who has to relax/perm their hair six to eight weeks on the dot without fail, or are you able to go a while without retouching. If you do not relax your hair as frequently as others you already have some experience at blending the two textures.

2. How would you feel about having very short hair? Do you care what other people think? You don’t exactly have to shave your head bald! You can wait until you have a good amount of new growth, so that you at least have a TWA (teeny-weeny afro) before doing the big chop.

3. Have you researched both options? There is a lot of information on the internet now, in the form of blogs, YouTube videos and even books on the subject.

4. Do you know friends or family members who have big chopped or transitioned? How can you learn from their experience?

5. Would you wear weaves and wigs while transitioning? Is this financially feasible?

6. Do you know some good hairstyles for transitioning (e.g. braid outs or roller sets)? Have you researched how to do these?

7. If considering the big chop, who would cut your hair? Or would you prefer to cut it yourself?

Nothing is full proof, if you don’t like transitioning you can cut your hair or trim more regularly to go natural sooner. If you big chop and you hate having short hair, you could simply put your hair in braids. Pick and drop is a great style for people with short hair because you can’t do it once you have medium to long afro-textured hair (as it will not blend). You could also experiment with wigs and weaves.  However, it is important to remember the reasons you want to go natural. One of the reasons may be to learn how to manage your hair in its natural texture. Weaves and braids do not allow you to learn this whereas having your hair out forces you to learn, and gives you valuable experience.

Pick n Drop Extensions

Pick n Drop Extensions

I personally found it quite liberating to have my TWA, it proved to me that I was not defined by the length of my hair. It was also super convenient. However, it is not for everyone and that’s alright. Read about my decision to go natural in the post: Why did I decide to chop my hair off?

A hairstyle for transitioners.

A big chop inspiration.

MahoganyCurls did the big chop.

MahoganyCurls did the big chop.


What did you do? The big chop or transition? How did you find the experience? Share your thoughts below.

Step Away From the Relaxer!

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So you did the big chop or you are transitioning. It may have been a few months since you stopped relaxing your hair. Perhaps your hair is growing to an awkward stage where it’s no longer a cute TWA (teeny weenie afro), neither is it long enough for the big puffs and twist outs that frame your face. You are probably experiencing the perils of shrinkage and all of this will be new to you.  When you think about it, the last time we saw our natural hair was when we were kids. So the fact is, having natural hair will be something that you have to get use to and the longer your hair gets, the more challenges you are likely to face.

TWA

At this stage when your hair is growing out it may be difficult to make it presentable at times, especially when you have very little time. When I was at the TWA stage I would simply spray my hair with my water and glycerine mix, it would curl up nicely and I would be ready to go. At most, I would put a little flower in my hair or a scarf around my head to jazz it up. I loved this stage! People would ask me if I texturized my hair because it had a distinct curl pattern and was very soft. This was the last thing I expected before I went natural. My last memory of my natural hair was trying to pull a comb through it and it being dry and coarse. However, as I soon came to discover, it was never my hair that was the problem, it was my lack of knowledge. My lack of knowledge in caring for my natural hair caused me to use products that were not designed for my hair type, comb my hair in the wrong way and left it without being adequately moisturized.

After going natural and facing the challenge of my new length, again it was my lack of knowledge that was the problem, not my hair.  At every stage you will learn new things about caring for your hair, and it continues to be a learning process. If you are at this stage, do some research before considering going back to a relaxer. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some tips about overcoming this difficult stage. These helped me continue on my natural hair journey, I hope they will aldo help you:

1.  Don’t forget about braids, wigs or weaves.  If you are at that awkward stage and find that you don’t have the time to deal with your hair, just put it away for a few weeks. I found that a good wig helped me tremendously. This way I was able to cornrow my hair underneath and not have to deal with it. Also, this gives you the opportunity to change your style if you are stuck for ideas. Braids are great as well and still give you that natural hair look.  For instance you can get kinky twists which look like you just put your natural hair into two strand twists. The important thing to remember with braids and weaves is to not get them done too tight and to remember that your real hair still needs to be moisturized. You can spray your roots with the product of your choice or simply with a water, oil or glycerine mixture.  Also, if you are using a lace-front with glue avoid sticking the cap to your hairline or your edges will be harmed.

Be mindful of the effect such styles can have on your edges, a good hairstylist shouldn’t only be concerned about how good the style looks, they should also make it their priority to protect your real hair from damage.  Remember that hair sheds between 50  and 100 strands a day, so when you you loosen your hair you will find an accumulation of shed hair. It is nothing to worry about if you have not been neglecting your real hair. Of course weaves and wigs are not for everyone. I will also include a section about protective styles using your own hair. These also give you a break from daily styling and manipulation.

Solange usually wears afro style wigs

Brandy

Here is a vlogger that wears wigs and weaves regularly as a protective style.  Check out her channel for ideas. Her rants are also very interesting!

2. Moisturize correctly.

Dry hair becomes weak and is extremely difficult to manage. It makes life a lot more difficult when you are dealing with dry brittle hair. So keep your hair well moisturized .  I use to think that oil or Shea butter  alone moisturized my hair, and I would wonder why it would feel dry even when using a great amount.  Sometimes I would have so much oil in my hair it looked like Jheri curl! The fact is true moisture comes from water. Oil and Shea butter help to seal in the moisture, so that the water doesn’t just evaporate soon after.  If you apply oil or Shea butter alone, you are simply coating your hair and weighing it down.  So make sure your moisturizer is water based (aqua should be the first ingredient on the list) or you can simply spray your hair with water then follow it with an oil of your choice or Shea butter. I use coconut oil because it seals in moisture very well. I also use Shea butter, depending on how I feel. You could buy a leave in conditioner, these are usually water based, and then you can add oil to make sure the moisture is sealed in. I’m more of a juices and berries girl so I don’t use that many products. As long as I have Shea butter, coconut oil and water I’m fine.

I find a great time to moisturize my hair is when it is in twists. I allow them to become damp in the shower then I apply my coconut oil to seal the moisture in. I can wrap my hair (like I did when my hair was relaxed) and this usually stretches the twists to their original length or I just put them back in a bun.

I hope this has been helpful. Look out for some more helpful tips next week. What were the main challenges for you when you were transitioning or are you currently experiencing this. Share your stories here.

The Versatility of Natural Hair (Part 1)

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One of the biggest misconceptions I had about going natural was that I wouldn’t have a lot of options for styling my hair. If you are thinking of going natural  and worry about this, continue reading. If you are already natural and are stuck for ideas I have complied a list of my favourite styling options. I have tried many of these styles. I have also included some links to some very useful vloggers who give you step-by-step instructions on how to achieve  these styles.

Natural hair is extremely diverse. There are a lot of styling options available. We just have to do our research and try the many different styles. It is also important to share ideas with each other.  As I recall when my hair was relaxed I simply wrapped it and wore it down or up, that was about it. When I curled it the curls wouldn’t last. However curling natural hair is a lot easier because natural hair can be shaped and molded in many different ways. So have a look at the styles below and let me know what you think.

1. The big chop

If you’ve heard the term TWA it stands for Teeny Weeny Afro. I loved my hair at this stage because I was able to see my natural curls for the first time in my adult life.  Hair styling is very simple at this stage as long as you keep your hair well moisturized.  I used a glycerin and water mix that I put in a spray bottle and would spray my hair everyday. You could also use an oil of your choice and water. There are also many accessories you could use:  headbands,  flowers, decorative clips and hair pins. A simple side or middle parting also adds another feature to your style.  When it gets a little longer you can do a mini twist out to really play with your curls.

Viola Davis – 84th Academy Awards

2. Wash and Gos

These are an excellent way of emphasising your natural curl pattern and they work well on short  to medium hair but can also be done with long hair.  You go through your usual wash and deep conditioning routine then use a curl enhancing product to bring out your curls.   Then you allow your hair to dry naturally. Below is a good example of a wash and go done with Eco Styling gel. Jane Carter Solutions also has some excellent products for this.  However, this style  requires you to embrace the shrinkage of your hair as oppose to other styles that stretch out your hair.

Esperanza Spalding‘s wash and go

SimplYounique

Short hair

3. Blow outs

Sometimes its good to just get a blow dryer and blow it out into a huge afro. This style is a lot of fun and very glamorous. It’s important to make sure you use a good heat protectant before applying heat to your hair. I think this style is best for special occasions when you really want to stand out.

Esperanza Spalding’s glamorous look

4. Twist-outs

This can be achieved by two-strand twisting your hair (usually around 12 medium-sized twists) and simply undoing the twists the next day.  One of my favourite styles that gives you great volume and defined spiral or wavy curls. Check out Natural Chica’s channel and her methods of achieving this style. You don’t have to blow dry your hair out first so I have included both methods where she uses heat and where she avoids it. Twist-outs work on both short and long hair but your hair does have to be long enough to twist obviously.

Yaya’s Twist-Out

Flat twist out tutorial

5. Braid-outs

Again, similar to the twist-out but done with braids instead. I personally do these more than twist-outs as I usually braid my hair after washing it to stretch it out. So I end up doing a braid-out after every wash. These give your hair a nice crimped look and create a lot of volume.

Braid-out

Again you do not have to use heat to do this it can be done immediately after washing. If your hair isn’t stretched out enough the next day you can simply re-braid it and it will stretch it out further.

6. Bantu-knot outs

Back in the day these use to be called China bumps! I love these as your hair works as its own set of rollers. It’s a lot cheaper than buying a set of curl formers or rollers. It is quite easy to do this style and you can decide how big our small you want your knots to be. I will feature two methods below and you can try whatever works best for you. You could even leave the bantu-knots in and wear your hair in a funky style like that.

Corinne’s Bantu knot-out

SimplYounique

xGOLDn

That’s it for now! I will be featuring some more styles for part two of this article. There are many more and some that I haven’t even discovered yet. Styles for formal occasions such as weddings for example and updos, cornrows, flat twists, the list is endless. Let me know if you have tried any of these styles and what your favourite style is.  Remember to look out for part 2 of this article that will follow shortly. If you have found this helpful let me know in the comments below.