Recently, I have had the opportunity of styling the mane of a few Abuja Naturals. When I say styling, I mean protective styles like kinky twists, box braids, cornrows, normal twists e.t.c. One thing I have noticed with most - if not all-of the naturals I have met is that they come to me with badly tangled hair. Their hair is clean and smells great (with all the leave ins and oils they have applied) but it is shrunken and super tangled at the ends.
This led me to re-do a post on how and why Naturals should prepare their hair before going to our hair salons.
WHY THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT
· Most Nigerian stylists don’t know the first thing about natural hair (not to talk of styling badly tangled hair). If you leave your poorly maintained hair to someone who is ignorant about natural hair care then you shouldn't complain when they pull your hair out of its roots with a comb.
· Time: Even if you are lucky to get a stylist who knows what he/she is doing, a lot of time is going to be spent in taking those tangles out. I have spent 2 extra hours on a naturals head; patiently undoing what 30mins of detangling and braiding would have avoided.
· If you refuse to keep your natural hair in good condition, then you might want to delete the words “length-retention” or “long- natural- hair” from your vocabulary.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- When plaiting tightly curled natural hair that isn't damp/wet, it is easier and faster to work with stretched hair. Note that you do not need to use heat to stretch your hair. Read on for tips on how to go about this.
- If your hair is not properly detangled and stretched out, your equally helpless stylist might pull and tug; causing you to have a sour scalp before your hair is completely done. The torture...
- You might have to deal with a lot of breakage and pay more for extra time spent on your hair.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HAIR
- Wash, deep condition and properly detangle your hair in sections.
- Take a section of your hair, detangle, apply your favorite light oil (in moderation) and braid.
- Let hair air dry.
- Loosen a section to see the condition of your hair. If your fingers can’t easily go through your hair then;
*Take a loose section, detangle, smooth your hair using your fingers and then thread.
- When hair is dry, properly stretched and free of tangles, proceed to the salon. Tell your stylist to do the following:
*Work with your hair in sections. Why? Natural hair shrinks easily and the ends are the first to coil up. When they coil, you will need patience to take them apart in order to make straight, neat lines without causing much pain. If your stylist is not the patient type, he/she might want to comb out the coils to make sectioning easier. The experience is usually a painful one.
So keep the hair in sections so he/she only has to work with little parts of hair at a time.
* Plead with your stylist to use a comb sparingly. If your hair is properly detangled your stylist should be able to section and braid without combing a huge section of your hair at once. If your hair is a mess then he/she would have to comb your hair dry - there is no way around it.
STRETCHING YOUR TIGHT CURLS
You can thread your hair immediately after washing (pic to the left)
Or you can thread damp/dry hair.
This technique (African Threading) stretches your hair without the use of heat and keeps the hair strands away from each other-no tangling, no knots.
After wash day, you undo the braids and notice that your hair is still tangled or that you can't take the clumped hair strands apart without hearing snap! snap! No worries, all you need to do is spray on some water (if necessary), smooth the section with very little oil (see pic below) and then braid.
Shida Natural's video shows how you can smooth your hair while it is damp.
Super-coily ends? Then thread and pin down hair
Threading after braiding to stretch out hair
Note: TRY NOT TO APPLY TOO MUCH OIL TO YOUR HAIR WHILE SEALING.
OILY HAIR IS NOT EASY TO BRAID.