This last couple of weeks I’ve been kicking myself for the frequent trimming that has kept my hair journey stuck in neutral. Right now my hair sits just below APL (arm pit length) in back and layered in front with bangs (when straight). My main motivation for going natural was to grow my hair longer. I figured I was on a five year plan but saw how much faster my hair grew (or broke less) during the first year natural. I was so excited and figured I would see Bra Strap Length hair (BSL) some time around the halfway mark. When that didn’t happen, I started to get down on myself and wonder what I was doing wrong. It also didn’t help that I kept seeing progress pics and videos from others who gained length and thickness in what seemed to be much less time.
|My hair wet with product|
Sometimes I feel like I should be crowned the Wash n’ Go queen by now after all of the products and techniques I’ve experimented with to achieve the curly look. Washing my hair and just heading out the door is never the case. I have curls but they are “type 4” curls. Yes, I’m talking about the hair typing system. It’s not my favorite way to categorize my hair but hopefully it will give others a way to gage whether my techinques will work for them.
My curls are tight corkscrew coils, lazy “s” shapes and everything in between. I even have a section that laughs at the idea of curl definition. Oh and let’s not forget about the shrinkage. I would say mine can be up to 75% but it depends on the day.
In order to get my curls to pop, there are certain things that I must do in order to get the definition I want. Just so you know, I’m usually looking for hair that will last me a few days without feeling drastically dry and brittle. I’m still looking for a softer hold solution but at least I’ve got the curl definition part down.
Here are some things that I have learned when styling my own hair
|My hair freshly washed and detangled
using a denman brush.
Dry with no product
1. Start with clean hair
For some this may mean co-washing; for others, shampoo. I’ve noticed that I really do get the best results after cleansing my hair. Otherwise, I end up with so-so results.
2. Detangle, detangle, detangle
There are times where I skip this step and I always pay for it. Not only does this cut help to cut down on the time it takes to apply the products but the hair is also way easier to work with. Whether you’re shingling, raking or combing product through remember to start with detangled hair.
3. Make sure hair is soaking wet
When my hair begins to dry, all of those pretty little curls go poof! Any curl defining product out there is really just a way to lock your curls into place. My hair is at it’s curliest when it’s dripping wet so I start with that. When sections begin to dry, I make sure to keep a spray bottle handy so I can wake those curls back up.
4. Work in small sections
We’ve all seen the videos where someone takes a quarter size amount of product and applies it to all of their waist length hair and voila; curl definition. Not for our hair texture! It’s best to keep the sections as small as possible so that each and every little curl can get enough product from root to tip. Sometimes, big hair is desirable but if you want every curl accounted for, using smaller sections is the way to go.
|I get lots of curl definition using product
on wet hair
5. Smooth those ends
After I have completely raked the product through a section, I always go over my ends, using my fingers, to smooth them out. This will ensure that the curl lays flatter and discourages those stubborn single strand knots.
6. Once the products are all in, LEAVE IT ALONE!
This is a biggie. I’ve done it myself more times than I can count. Still, you’ve got to leave your wet hair be until you’ve got that, dried “cast” that tells you it’s okay to touch your curls. Even if you choose to diffuse, remember not to handle your hair with your fingers because this will cause lots of unwanted frizz. Simply tilt your head and let your curls drop into the diffuser so that it can do its’ thing.
I hope these tips will help someone out there. I sure wish I would have known all of this long ago when I first went natural. Still, I’m pretty happy with my coily creations and that’s all that matters.
One of the most popular topics over at the K.I.S.S. hair forum (or any forum for that matter) is which moisturizer works best. For a long time the word “moisturizer” was a bad word in my newly natural regimen. I had become accustomed to avoiding products that contained mineral oil and petroleum which is often found in “moisturizers” for curly, relaxed and afro textured hair. Still, the homemade spritzes and butters I learned how to make were either too heavy or too wet for my hair depending on the style. For a while I started using leave-in conditioner to moisturize and sealed that with one of my favorite oils.
Finally, I decided to purchase a product to add to my regimen after reading a suggestion in one of the discussions on K.I.S.S. . That product was by Hollywood Beauty which I have to admit was never a brand I thought of ever trying. I guess I assumed that there would be a lot of the “no-no” ingredients in their products. I was surprised to find that their Olive Creme was mineral oil and petroleum free. Instead I found ingredients like, Olive oil and Calendula extract. I decided at $4 (USD) it was at least worth a try. I’m on my fifth jar now and can’t say enough about it.
Deionized Water (Aqua) , Isopropyl Myristate , Glycine Soja Oil (Soybean) , Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive) , Stearic Acid , Stearyl Alcohol , Glyceryl Stearate , Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate) , Matricaria Extract (Chamomilla Recutita) , Calendula Extract (Calendula Officinalis Flower) , Vitamin B (Yeast Extract) , Macademia Oil (Macademia Ternifolia Seed) , Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate) , Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera) , Rosemary Extract (Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf) , Sage Extract (Salvia Officinalis Leaf) , Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) , Great Burdock Extract (Arctium Lappa Root) , Triethanolamine , Methyl Paraben , Propyl Paraben , DMDM Hydantoin , Imidazolidinyl Urea , Fragrance , Yellow #5 (Cl 19140) , Blue #1 (Cl 42090)
|My son likes to call it, “Yoda Creme” because
of the pale green color
While the ingredients are not 100% natural, I still find that this product does a good job of keeping my hair moisturized without leaving a heavy, greasy feeling. I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t really expect much from the Olive Creme but it is now one of my staples. It even works well when my son’s curly (3b/3c/4a) hair is starting to get the, “frizzy halo”. I just spritz his hair down with water first and then apply the creme throughout his hair and we get another two days of soft curls before wash day. He dubbed it “Yoda Creme” because of the pale green color and we still call it that.
I of course love to add it to my Argan Oil Eco Styler Gel along with some Castor, Coconut and Grapeseed oil for my DIY Eco Styler Custard. I also use it after applying my leave-in conditoner when I pull my hair back or braid it up for air drying. The only thing I would complain about is the scent. It’s not like some of those other products out there that smell good enough to eat. It just has this faint, old fashioned women’s cologne smell or something. It doesn’t matter because I just ignore the scent. I can always add some fragrance oil to it to make it my own. I’m just glad to have found a product that works well and is affordable for me and my family.