Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Styling Transitioning Hair

Styling during the transitioning period need not be a massive job. Decide on a particular look and get the info on how to achieve it. It can be as simple as first, second and done. That way you are dealing with a specific process and you have clear guidelines on a then b then c. Experiment with getting on top of one process before you move onto trying the next one. That way your target is set and you can go yay or nay and move on from there. DIY can be intimidating mostly due to the uncertainty that comes with having to decide on the next step.

The biggest part of your process will be detangling your hair. Processed hair tangles a lot. It is much more apparent when you have the two textures to compare. The processed ends are much finer and more likely to mat. Sectioning your hair may be a pain. Completely detangling it may be just as frustrating. Start with four sections and work with one at a time. Further section a quarter into slivers and detangle ends to roots. Always working in a downward motion never in an upward one. As processed hair can have damaged cuticles and reversing the direction can lift the scales on the hair and cause havoc. 

You can use a comb/ Denman type brush or your hands. I prefer my hands but this took me a while to get used to. So don’t put pressure on yourself. Go from easy to more complex.

Whatever you do, do not wash your hair as is often shown in TV ads. You will be sorry as the mating that happens with transitioning hair will be made worse. Section and shampoo. Clip and move on. try and wash your hair upright. You can tilt your head forward and over into a basin especially if you have shorter hair,  but with length this will create more tangles than is necessary and is totally avoidable. 

The easiest way to style transitioning hair is by braids or twists. Depending on the length of your hair and the look you want, experiment with one of these till you find the one you like best. 

A braid or twist

Option 1) cornrow your hair in horizontal rows and set to dry. 2) Flat twist triangles (asin a cut pizza shape) and set to dry 3) Single-strand twist and set to dry 4) bantu knots

Flat Twist

Knots/ Bantu Knots

Once these are dry- you can undo the plaits/twists and create a simple style. 

The amount of variation with braids and twists are endless. They come on a sliding scale from very laid back all the way to dress up. shop around for look online to find what works for you. 
Sumetra Reed- Natural Metra has several amazing vlogs on Youtube that show clear  visuals on how to create amazing hair
See her do her magic here.

The endless styling options

Maintenance: You can then just use a satin bonnet to preserve this style for a few days or 
You can redo the braids, twists or knots as a nightly routine and undo it in the morning. 
Do a quick style and your out the door. 

The Not So ‘wash n go’

Here the point of the process is to style your hair in curls or coils while wet, leave to dry and either wear it as is for a few days or style the curls when dry to a hairdo. 
Wash n go’s are often misrepresented as a quick and easy way to style but this is not the case. Unless you have very sleek smooth curls that just appear and are defined on their own you will have to do a few things to get your curls to a defined state. 

The way this process works is 1) to cleanse and condition. 2) detangle 3) rinse. 4) add a leave in and or a gel. 5) set your curls by either combing them in your hair or using your fingers to set small sections. Either by smoothing your hair between the palm of your hand. Alternatively taking every single stand of curl and smoothing it individually. It takes a long time. Especially if you are new to this process. I suggest you try it when you have at least 1.5 hours to get through the process. The last thing you want is to try this at 6am when you have to leave the house at 6:30. The processed bits of your hair may not form a curl, particularly if it has been relaxed. The more growth you have the better the overall look will be. 

Flexi-rods, rollers and knots

Another useful skill to master is a flexi rod set. It may take a few tries before you figure it out but its well worth the struggle. Also, other types of rollers give a wide variety of curls that can help during the transitioning period. The reason it is useful is that it helps to blend the two different textures. It stretches out the coily parts of the hair to give the look of even curls.  Also if you have very coily curls the size of skewers as I do then this is a useful way to get bigger curls. Do check out a tube video or two till you get the hang of this one. 

Things you want to reduce or avoid: 

Chemicals that will change the texture of your hair. Unless you have consciously decided to change the texture of your hair note that permanent hair dyes, texturises, and most chemicals with extreme points of alkali substances will change the texture of your hair. It will compromise the protein bonds of your hair and will lead to some kind of damage. 

Heat is a potential factor of damage to all hair. Natural hair is susceptible to heat damage and can become limp and dry from extreme heat exposure. Use heat protectants but most of all guard against very high temperatures. If you do want to use heat try and keep it as low as possible to avoid burning you hair. Avoid heat damage at all cost as heat damage cannot be repaired. The only way to mend it is with a scissor. 

Washing your hair in a hurry will cause a lot of frustration. Detangling natural coily hair is a time-consuming task. Be patient and do not resort to wild combing to speed up the process. You will break your hair. If you opt for finger detangling know it require more time. Do not pull tangles out with force. Slow is your friend. 

Things you want to do:

Curb breakage- Natural hair is not indestructible, instead it is fragile. So handle it with care, be patient when detangling and styling. Satin bonnets and pillowcases will help protect your hair from breakage. Do your hair when your able to take your time instead of rushing though the process. Wet hair in particular tends to be elastic. While your natural hair will easily bounce back from a stretch your processed ends may not. Take care not to cause more damage to processed ends. Slowly trim them to reduce the risk of breaking the healthy lengths. 

Hairstyling is an art. Don't be discouraged if you do not succeed at first. The more you do it the better you will become. Think of it as walking. At some point in your life you learnt how to do it and now you barely think about the fact that it was something you had to learn. Have fun with your hair. If it does not work, just laugh and move on. Don't let it overwhelm you. Have a back up plan for fail days. A hat, a doek, a few hairpins can save the day. Just as you can use a broken cake to make cake pops or another dessert you can use a messed up hairstyle to create a nice pin-up. 

Love Naturally

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