Suns Out, Afro’s out!It is getting closer to summertime every single day. Do you know what that means? It is time to plan out your summer hair journey! Yep, that is right. Typically, every girl should plan out her hairstyles for the summer for a few reasons. One reason is that during the summer you have a little more time and energy to play around with different styles. If you plan on taking any vacations this year, this could be the time to test your limits. Try out different braids, twists, wigs, and see what works for you and what does not. You may find that you end up loving specific styles you never even saw yourself trying out. But, let’s get down to why you are here today. Let’s discuss afros. With the natural hair movement merrily making its way into the media and the everyday lives of our peers, we should be proud of the progress. But, there are times when we question if wearing our afros are worth the hassle of styling.
Can you Style an Afro?My natural sisters know what I am talking about right now. It can be time to consume, bewildering and sometimes downright unnecessary when it comes to styling natural hair, let alone afros. That can cause many women of the natural hair community to resort to going back to a perm or cutting all of their hair off. Neither of which I am against, but don’t do it out of feeling defeat for styling your natural hair. Your hair is your crown and glory. Give them proper care with the proper techniques, tools, and products, and you will see your afro flourish all summer. But, what’s the number one thing that can help any afro reach its optimum glow? Moisture is the key, but sometimes it can be hard to consistently and adequately moisturize your afro. That is, until today!
Tips for Moisturizing your Afro in the summer
Conditioner Makes a DifferenceAfros love the conditioner, but they like the right type of conditioner. Hair conditioner is a hair care product that changes the texture and appearance of hair. The purpose of conditioning your hair is to add moisture to the hair shaft after the shampoo has stripped the hair and raised the cuticles. You want to get a moisturizing conditioner with natural ingredients that will adequately moisturize the hair. Natural ingredients can be things like shea butter or vitamin B5. They can even be natural oils, such as olive oil, jojoba oil, or coconut oil or carrier oils, like, tea tree oil or rosemary oil. Make sure that the first ingredient is water since water is the best and most natural moisturizer for natural hair. The conditioner moisturizes the part of the hair shaft that the natural oils from our scalp cannot reach because of the coily/kinky nature of our hair. The more often you condition your hair, the more likely your hair will be in retaining moisture.
Let’s Not Forget to Pre-PooIf you haven’t done this before, you are missing out on something that could potentially change the entire structure of your hair. That is a method where you add oil, conditioner, honey or eggs to your hair before the shampoo process. Pre-pooing adds moisture to your hair follicles since the shampoo will strip the hair of product build-up, dirt, and oils. You’re probably thinking “What’s the point if the shampoo is going to strip the hair?” Pre-pooing preps the hair for the harsh ingredients that strip it if you are using a sulfate shampoo by keeping the natural oils from our scalp to keep our hair moisturized. It is kind of like a penetrator and protector for your hair shafts and follicles. The oils I mentioned for conditioner are the same ones that are ideal for different pre-poo recipes. Distribute it evenly all over your hair strands from the ends to your scalp and cover with a plastic bag or conditioning cap, and sit under a hooded dryer or steamer.
Try Out the LOC MethodThe LOC method is something naturals have been doing since the natural hair movement began and it’s ideal for the curlier/kinkier hair types. The LOC method stands for liquid, oil, and cream is a way of sealing in moisture for your natural hair using the following ingredients. For the liquid, you can use water (water is the best moisturizer for our natural curly locs) or a leave-in conditioner. As far as oils, you can use ones, such as jojoba, almond, castor or coconut oil. Creams work best in butter forms such as shea butter and mango butter. After applying the moisture with the water/leave in, the oil will hold onto the water molecules than the cream seals in everything to the hair shaft. Make sure to use oils and cream that work for your hair type so you can obtain the most moisture for your hair. We all want to have soft hair when understanding how to moisturize natural hair. But it won’t be retained in the days after styling if we do not seal it in the oil, and this method allows for that.
Tools Used to Retain Moisture in your AfroIt is essential to pay attention to the tools you use on your hair because that also plays a role in how your afro keeps moisture. Moisture retention doesn’t only come from the products that we apply to our hair, but we can also use tools that promote moisture as well. It is best to invest in a satin pillowcase, bonnet, and sheets. The satin material keeps the moisture that is already in our hair from getting out. Cotton material is how it would escape from your hair quicker. Invest in a good shower filter. For those who wash their hair in the shower, chlorine that is in water can wreak havoc on our hair by making it dry and brittle. Our goal here is to retain moisture, not take it out!
10 Ways to Style your Afro
The Twist OutAchieving this look can be time-consuming, and it may take a few tries to get right. But, the results are completely worth it. The first thing you need to wash your hair using your regular hair care routine. Working with clean hair is best for styling. The second thing you need to do is wet the hair slightly. Wet natural hair is much more natural to work with than dry natural hair as the moisture helps detangle it. Once your hair is somewhat damp, grab a section of hair to twist, apply a little hair food and wrap the hair all the way to the end. Voilà! You finished your first twist out. Now repeat, repeat and repeat until you’ve twisted your entire head. You need to allow the hair to dry before removing the twists. We suggest twisting hair at night and sleeping with a satin scarf over your head to protect the hair. When you wake up in the morning, all you need to do is untwist your hair, and you’ve got the look.
Wild and FreeWear your afro out and about! This look can be cute and feel entirely empowering. Use the moisturizing techniques to keep your hair moisturized. Look up the different wash and go techniques to keep your hair on a schedule that works with its moisture retention and flourishment. Keep a spray bottle mixed with some of your favorite oils and a small portion of water. Use this bottle throughout the day and occasionally spray your afro with it throughout the day. If you want to define your curls, try out different curl enhancing products. There are creams and different gels depending on preference.
Braid OutBraid outs give a different curl pattern than twist outs. The texture is more of an S curl on 3C to 4A hair. Use the same technique you would use the twist outs, but replace it with braids instead. The braids will give you a fluffier and more significant appearance the more you pull them apart.
The “FroHawk”This look is pretty simple to achieve. It is also daring, elegant and the epitome of Afrocentric hairstyles. Once you’ve combed your ‘fro out, grab a few bobby pins, pull the hair back on each side of your head and pin it. It is best to use a wide-tooth comb. These are ideal for detangling natural hair. Remember to use your satin headscarf since cotton pillowcases suck all the moisture out of your hair. Wearing a satin headscarf while sleeping or sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase will help hair to retain moisture. Make sure you have hair food. The worst thing you can do to your natural hair allows it to get dry. Healthy hair needs moisture. Use a water-based moisturizer and try the LOC method.
Crochet BraidsCrochet braids are a great protective style. It allows your hair to breath so that you can give it a break from the day to day manipulation. Your hair will be in a braiding foundation, similar to what it would look like in a sew in. From this point, the stylist, or you, will use a crochet needle to pull the hair between different areas in your braids. The best art about crochet braids is that you can have virtually any style you would like. This style can be from faux braids and dreadlocks to curly and straight hair. Research some methods and find out which ones you would be interested in trying out.
Buns, Buns, BunsGive your hair another break and pull it back into a puffy, curly bun. This bun will give your hair a break from constant manipulation as well. Just remember not to pull back your hair too tightly. Doing so, can wear down your edges and thin them out over time. You all know what happens next from there. The same way you would define your hair in an afro is the same process you would use in wearing your afro.
Crown BraidThe crown braid has been gaining popularity since 2016. The style is elegant, and you can wear it for any occasion, especially on vacation. There are different ways to achieve this look, so look up some and find out what works best for what you can do.
Wear a Unique ScarfTie your hair with different scarfs! Invest in some quality scarfs with different prints, patterns, and styles and tie your hair in different ways as well! It is trendy, fashionable and timeless!
What About Bantu Knots?Bantu knots have only one con. Do not sleep in these! Bantu knots will likely hurt if you sleep on them. Use the same technique to style these Bantu knots, the same way you would style braids or twists. Just replace the sections with Bantu knots. This look may take a few times to execute if you try to rush it. But, in the end, you will not regret the look you will get with them.
Blown Out HairThere is something about natural hair blown out, without a silk press that gives me life. It is sort of like saying we are taking back straight hair and making it our own!
The Possibilities are EndlessWhen it comes to afros, they are as versatile as any other look. Research different looks that you believe will compliment yourself. Prevent yourself to the world the best way possible, so start with your hair. Which style is your favorite? Did I miss any techniques that you love? I would like to hear them! Leave a comment below!
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