We all want our hair to behave and come through and shine whenever we style it, right?! I mean no one wants to go through all the work of washing, conditioning, applying product and defining curls or braiding and twisting and then fail miserably at the reveal. It’s disappointing and a waste of time and product but it happens and all curly girls have experienced or will experience this at least once at some point in their hair journeys. There could be many reasons for a hairstyle fail, however, one thing is for sure, we all want our hairstyles to be BOMB when there’s an event, a party or a special occasion coming up. We got no time for fixing or redos! Well, this holiday season is full of these events and to help you avoid any unnecessary stress a style fail can bring I am going to share a few styling tips to guarantee you success.
First of all, let me just address some reasons why your hairstyle can turn out to be a fail.
One of the main reasons for a style fail is making the wrong choice of hair products or pairing them the wrong way. We’ve all been here, especially when we begin our natural hair journey and are trying out new products, have no understanding of what products we need for the style we want to achieve and have no knowledge of product ingredients. This is something I go through in my course the Hair Regimen Blueprint.
The weather is also a major contributor to a messed up style. Yes, there is a degree to which we can control the effects of weather on our hair (e.g. less/more humectants, better sealing ingredients) but, the weather is almighty and sometimes we can control everything. 🙁
Applying the wrong technique to style your curls can mean that your hairstyles are too puffy at the roots, have little or no definition, look frizzy or only last a couple of days at best. Also, you may not be considering your hair’s characteristics. So, for instance, if you have low porosity, low-density hair it may be better to set your braid out in dry, stretched hair than wet hair. You’ll get more volume and your hairstyle won’t look flat.
Yep, product buildup sucks and should not be happening to you if you clean your hair properly (that means no clays, soaps, rinses and the kind! Shampoo is the key). Make sure you use the right products to clean your hair in accordance with the ingredients in your products. If you only use water-based botanical products, a regular sulphate free shampoo will be fine, but if you frequently use products with silicones, polyquaterniums, PVP, carbomer and similar synthetic film-forming ingredients you have to adjust your cleansing product to effectively remove all of these to avoid buildup and dehydrated hair.
Yes, in case you’re wondering that means having an understanding of product ingredients and don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you’ll end up with a PhD in product ingredients or similar. 😉 Once you know a few of them you’ll be quicker to spot them or your hair will tell you, anyway. I actually give a product Ingredient Cheat List in my course to help with this learning curve. 😉
Okay, I’ve given you some hints as to why your hairstyles may not pass the Glam Test now it is time for the actual tips.
WASH & GO
Being that it is the holiday season, it’s only right to expect we’d do something special with our curly hair, however, some of us can’t seem to part with our curls. I mean, why would we?! I love me a good wash and go, they’re easy and quick to achieve in comparison to protective styles and why shouldn’t we promote the beauty of our hair, our different curls and textures?!
Well, the point is to come out of your comfort zone and do something different with your hair since it lends itself to our creativity. But if you’re dead set on a wash and go, why not have it as the base of your holiday hairstyle with a bit of a twist?! For inspiration, check last weeks post Holiday Hairstyles.
Okay, so here are your wash and go tips (it may be best to do this in the shower):
- Start with well-cleansed and conditioned/deep conditioned hair and have your hair well-saturated with water and ready for your styler application.
- Apply a water-based, botanical gel to your saturated hair (they work best with hair like this) and work the gel all over the hair. If you feel you need to apply more gel, add water instead and redistribute gel. Need a gel suggestion? Check this post.
- Make sure you have the roots of your hair well covered too or they will become puffy.
- If, when you scrunch your hair, you hear a squishy sound that means there’s good product coverage.
- Once you finish product application let your hair air dry or sit under a hooded dryer or use a hair dryer for 20-30 minutes or until is fully dry. If your hair is not fully dry by the time you leave the dryer it’s okay. As long as you don’t touch your hair until it’s FULLY DRY you’re okay.
- All done! Enjoy
(Braids/Twists, Bantu KNots, etc.)
Braids and twists or braid outs and twist outs, bantu knots, Updos and similar protective or low maintenance styles are staples in the natural hair community and allow for creativity and fun. Many hairstyles have them have them as their base. Of course, for them to live up to the glam that a holiday season ‘demands’ (or any other time, for that matter) certain steps need to be covered.
- Start with well-cleansed hair making sure you deep condition according to your hair needs. Need help figuring it out check this guide.
- Apply a leave-in product to help with slip and prepping the hair for your next styling product.
- Section your hair with a clip and address each section separately.
- Depending on your chosen hairstyle, take a small subsection of your hair or the whole section and apply your styling product with hold to allow for style longevity.
- Start to detangle your hair using your favourite tool (brush works best), smooth the hair and set your hair for braids, twists or whatever you have planned.
- Once finished, sit under a dryer until it’s dry, or close to it, or let it air dry (allow at least 48h. May need more depending on your hair texture and density). Whatever you do, let your set dry completely or you will experience frizz.
SILK PRESS/STRAIGHT HAIR
After 6+ years (close to 7) without any heat on my hair, this year seems to be the year I will invite heat on my hair again. Unlike many, I haven’t done so not because I fear heat or think it will ruin my hair, but because I haven’t felt the desire to straighten my hair. But after watching the work of some professionals like Cyn Dollar or Janay Mickles I feel a desire growing.
It is totally possible to transform naturally curly hair into silky, straight hair without causing any damage but for that you need a professional that is experienced in dealing with natural, curly hair or, if you feel you can do it, to have the right tools and technique.
I personally prefer going to a professional and being pampered. Just the thought of doing my whole head of hair is making me feel tired already. 😀
Anyway, here are some tips to achieve your best silk press.
- Make sure your hair is completely rid of oils, butter and any other form of build up. This will ensure a good silk press.
- Apply a heat protectant, detangle hair and section it.
- Grab your blow dryer and favourite brush (it can be a round brush, paddle bush or even a Denman brush). According to both hairstylist I mentioned above, what makes or brakes a good silk press is the blow drying step of your silk press. Making sure you use the right tools and apply the right tension when drying your hair is where the secret is. Watch the videos I linked to both stylists above for some visual guidance.
- Direct the heat above the brush and work your way until the hair is fully dry.
- Once all of your hair is dry and sectioned get your flat iron (ceramic is better for home DIY) and address each section.
- Take small/thin subsections of hair and press with your flat iron from roots to ends. Having a low heat setting is not necessarily better as you may need to press several times to get the desired look which can lead to damage. This is why a good blow out is essential, it will allow you to use a higher heat setting on your flat iron and only have to press once without damage.
(Perm Rods, Flexi rods, Curlformers, etc)
For a curly girl, curls can be worn in many different ways… their God-given natural curls or curls created with perm rods, flexi rods, curl formers, straw or other creative ways.
For this style set, you can start on wet, stretched (e.g banding, braids, twists or old style) or straightened hair and do the following:
- Part your detangled hair in sections to make the task easier and address each one separately.
- For a wet hair set, apply a little leave-in conditioner to prevent the hair from drying and also to allow for better smoothing and manipulation. Take a small piece of hair, detangle, stretching it and apply your hair styler with enough hold to give definition and longevity. It can be something like Doux’s Mousse Def.
- Keeping uniform tension on the hair, start rolling the hair from ends to roots or, if you’re doing Curlformers, grab hair with hooking tool at the roots and pull into the curlformer. Repeat until you finish all sections of your hair.
- Allow the hair to dry fully (air dry, hooded dryer or soft dryer) before the takedown to prevent frizz or puffiness at the roots.
- You’re done!
And that is it! Whatever style you decide to do this holiday season these tips will make sure your hairstyle is bomb this holiday season. Plus, you can use these tips for any other time! For hairstyle inspiration, make sure you read my previous post 14 Easy Holiday Styles For Natural Curly Hair.