Some days, my hair is completely compliant, gorgeous, and controlled.
Most days, it ain’t.
Thankfully, over the years I’ve cultivated a few hacks that I find not only to be effective, but inexpensive and quick. And since I’m all about the sharing, I’ve systematically listed my tips and tricks for your enjoyment and your convenience. This post will be a living one, ever changing as you let me know what works and what doesn’t. And as I learn more things, I’ll add to this post and repost so that we all stay in the know.
Ok. Here we go.
- Using a dark eyebrow pencil on thinning edges
This trick is ingenious; after brushing your hair into the desired style (this works best when edges are slicked back) draw several dark lines in the direction of growth (to imitate the look of hair follicles). Finish the look with gel or pomade. If desired, refresh the look of strands at the temple by reapplying the pencil over dry-to-the-touch gel.
- Using bobby pins to make hair “fall”
My hair texture is a coarse 4c. This means it goes out, not down, seemingly no matter how long it gets. This is not something I normally fight but there are some days when I want just a little more hang, I find that this helps;
a) Decide what direction you want the hair to hang in
b) Divide hair into sections that resemble shingles
c) Take a few middle sections and add two or three bobby pins; one close to the scalp and the others a little further down. Make sure that they can be hidden
d) Fluff to hide the bobby pins
- Overlapping your bobby pins.
This provides a much better hold for high puffs and frohawks. With the wiggly side facing your scalp, overlap each bobby pin when creating your style.
- Spray your bobby pins with a little bit of hairspray in order to help them to stay better.
Cause we know how much they love to wander off in thick, category 4 hair.
- Banding your braids/twists
I do this when I really want elongation in the morning. If your hair is past neck length then you may have a problem with long braids at night becoming short braidouts in the morning. My remedy? Band the braids! This helps to maintain their stretch under your bonnet or scarf while also adding a bit of definition.
- Moisturize with gel
Not Ecostyler, haha, but flaxseed gel! You can absolutely make it yourself, but if you are less crafty and more pressed for time you can substitute it for Shea Moisture’s Curling Gel Soufflé. Use liberally after shampooing and then set hair. You will only have to lightly moisture your hair for the next three days or so (which translates to a light misting of hair with a olive oil/water mixture and running my palms covered in hair lotion all over my hair to coat the ends) meaning that my hair is drier before I set it, and therefore bigger in the morning. Also, it saves money on expensive moisturizers.
- Refresh your edges with a paper towel
Encourage your edges back with your fingers, carefully separating any knots around your edges (if your edges are less than 2 inches long. Otherwise just smooth them). Dampen a paper towel and again smooth edges back and down as much as possible.
This doesn’t make your edges as smooth as say, a brush would, but it will do the job in a pinch. I often find myself having to use this method after spending half a day at work as a light touch up. This also works best if you’ve previously slicked your edges back with pomade.
- Blast your roots for stretch
Did your style turn out with too much definition and not enough volume? Using a hot blow dryer to the roots can both stretch and fluff your hair, especially if you have a comb attachment.
Hold hair at the ends and stretch, then angle your blow dryer towards your roots on the hottest setting and blast for about ten seconds. If you have a comb attachment, a few passes through your roots with it should also do the trick. Be careful though, doing this to just a few sections of hair will add a lot of volume!
- Dyeing hair blue for black
If you already have dark hair but want it to be jet black, going with a blue dye can often do the trick. Your hair will be so dark that it will look black, but without the grayish sheen that some jet black dyes will give you. Note: this has only been tested on hair that was already fairly close to black. Hair that is lighter may have different results.
10. Mini twist-out
Note: I’m rocking a mini-twist out in the picture above. I also happen to be rocking a super warm leopard print onesie . I must LOVE you guys to post this embarrasing pic up here. That being said, if this crap ends up on nowaygirl.com I WILL FIND WHOEVER IS RESPONSIBLE AND FLUSH ALL OF YOUR DEEP CONDITIONER DOWN THE TOILET.
Most of my hairstyles accommodate my hair sticking straight up. Haha. But on days when I wish for a little hang and bounce a mini-twist out is absolutely the way to go. Now twist out is a bit of a misnomer because you aren’t totally removing all of the twists. You actually only remove select ones around your head, fluffing where you want some fullness and leaving it twisted where you want less volume.
Start with mini twists on stretched or blown out hair. Braid or band overnight in order to maintain the stretch overnight. The next morning remove the braids or bands and shake hair out. Style by removing twists and fluffing hair until you have the look you want. At night, spray with a water/olive oil mix and moisturize areas that feel dry (twisted hair retains moisture much better than loose hair and so some areas will be drier than others) and retwist areas that have lost definition or stretch.
11. Setting hair with gel
This hack came to me completely by accident. I’ve found that If I am really craving definition the next day, adding just a little bit of Ecostyler gel to the section of hair I am about to braid adds crazy definition AND give my hair staying power all day. I also find that my braid out looks fresher longer.
After spraying and moisturizing your hair, use just a little bit of gel (enough to coat your fingertips) and work it through the section you intend to work with. Smooth through, concentrating on your ends, then braid or twist.
12. Save a twist/braid out with a blow dryer
How many times have you worked on setting your hair the night before, woken up in the morning, showered, gotten ready, get to your hair and realize after unbraiding it that you’ve gotten a braid or two wet and now a random part of your fluffy style is shrink city?
A lot? Ok. I got you.
I have found that either wrapping loose pieces of hair around your finger or a flexi-rod (depending on how big or small your braids/twists are) and hitting them with a blow dryer set on high for a few seconds will often do the trick. Afterward I’ll lightly fluff newly dried section and blend it in with the rest of my hair. Easy peasy.
Note: All these hacks have been tried on my only my 4b/c hair. Results may be different for looser textures.
Remember naturalistas, I need to hear from you! Did these hacks work for you? Any hacks that you have that I missed? Let me know! I’m dying over here!
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 at 5:37 pm
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Tags: 4c hair, african american hair, african american woman, afro, beautiful, black hair, black hair care, black women, hair care, hair hacks, kinky hair, natural hair, natural hair care, natural hair hacks, natural hair shortcuts