Returning to natural in the digital age is like going to a free/open to the public, online hair school.
You log into YouTube and check in with your favorite hair mentor for your inspiration like “computer labs”.
Then, if you’re up to the challenge, you test their different hair routines, styling methods or deep conditioning recipes in your home lab. Those days before Wash Day are study days and the time to gather your materials.
For feedback and peer to peer interaction, you find hair groups to post questions like group discussion. Did this work for them? What were their result? As invaluable to learning about hair as a chat with a peer in the same class. Think of the time and money saved from the wisdom shared through these honest natural hair pow wows amongst the #teamnaturalhair tribes!
Lastly, like a presentation for what you’ve learned, you do YouTube tutorials when you have mastered the method for your look! Too bad they don’t give out accreditation for #teamnaturalhair “slaying”.
The point is, once you venture out there, experiment to learn the basics, then commit to the process, you can develop confidence and a foundation for natural hair success in the future.
Meet your goals: is it to retain length? Combat dryness issues? Frizz? Grow thicker, stronger hair? Need some inspiration? Join as many pro natural hair groups, sites and blogs as possible to get free suggestions and ideas.
You don’t necessarily have to be a professional to pull off a look you’re proud to rock, from the board room to the boudoir.
*Learn What Works for Which Style*
Basic hydration methods differ when styling these popular natural looks; wash and gos, flat twists or braids, indirect/direct heat styles, and overnight set styles.
First let’s look at the products naturals routinely use on Wash Day for Wash and Gos and why:
Every hydration method includes a sealant, whether a product contains oil or not, if you’re in the coarser grade of hair category, (3a to 4c), you probably always follow up any styling routine with a layer of oil to seal your look. The final oil layer or (sealant) is the final barrier for the hair cuticle, locking in water, and whatever styler used.
Custards, puddings, and smoothies come in a multitude of different combinations of oils, with just as many benefits for different hair types.
Assuming that the products labeled “extra hold” or “combats frizz” with their curl defining properties comes in a jar, it’s probably a thick, viscousy consistency between a gel and “hair dressing” or “hair milk”.
This product is good for, wash and gos and twist outs or braids, because, depending upon which brand you use, it will lock your style into place as it dries.
Dryness: When to Expect it?
People often complain that their hair is “dry” after a few hours, then ask if adding oil, to bone dry hair, will moisturize their hair cuticles?? No. Just like if you were dying of thirst and turned up a bottle of Wesson oil, your body would reject it. Applying more oil to a closed hair cuticle will only slide on the outside, not penetrate the cuticle, or moisturize your hair.
Water is the only molecule able to penetrate and open the hair cuticles to provide moisture to nourish your hair. Through the process of osmosis, water travels across the hair cells and provides nutrients. The open cuticles absorb the water and create that indescribable softness. Make sense? 😀
The Difference Between Gels and Gel Stylers
Gels (like Ecostyler, Gorilla Snot*, etc.) are a magical combination of oil and water, spun with a centrifuge at top speed for the molecules to change, that then suspends larger water molecules inside the oil/petroleum molecules for a short period of time.
Depending upon which brand you use, over time, the water evaporates. Just like when you leave the lid off your gel or custard, the water dries out and whatever is in the product will be left on your hair. Gels containing alcohol will probably dry faster, so expect to have to moisturize at the end of the day.
Gel stylers? Oh my.
I just tested a gel styler (for Naturally Curly through their Trendsetter program), which is designed to define your curls, then dry quickly as it locks the curls into place.
I suggest using oil twice when using gel stylers, before and after you apply the layer of gel, for softer curls that will hold up for several days. This way, as the style dries, and the water evaporates, there’s an extra layer of moisture being held in by the first layer oil. (I demonstrate this technique in my YouTube video).
Moisturize, seal and pineapple those curls daily, then cover with an extra jumbo satin cap to preserve!
Popular Routines that are Drying and When
While many girls use just a gel (Ecostyler) with wet hair and experience growth, when the temperature drops, they experience breakage or dryness/fizz issues.
No moisture in the air means the cold will suck the moisture from your open hair cuticles. No oil barrier (or layer of nutrients) means your cuticles remain rough and open, with no protection until you wash again.
It’s why most people opt for protective styling during cold months and don’t wear wash and gos in winter.
Locks need TLC too!
Think of your Wash Day as a Spa Day. The opportunity to revitalize your locks and refresh yourself and the opportunity to try something new! If you’re negative, chances are your curls will suffer for it, so relax! Take your time and enjoy the process of taming your mane!
Remember to massage after spraying moisture, in sections, into your hair. Massaging the hair shaft (just lightly press your hands together up and down your hair strands), after applying will help your hair absorb. Equal product distribution means there’s a better chance of your product working the way you want it to!
Hopefully, this helped you understand what to use, why and when for your Wash and Gos!
For more natural hair tips, check out http://www.naturallycurly.com!
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