Wedding ‘Dos: TWA Edition

I’m not sure about the rest of Africa, but it seems like in West Africa, wedding season is a year round occurrence. For women with TWA’s who are attending or participating in these weddings, figuring out a cute hairstyle can be…overwhelming. I get the same complaint/question all the time, “I’m tired of wearing the same old afro I wear to work to a wedding, what can I do with my hair??”

Well ladies, there is no need to fret, because I found a few great tutorials on Youtube that should help (especially for those with Type 4 hair):

6 STYLES TO KEEP YOUR TRANSITIONING HAIR FIERCE

We’ve received quite a few questions about hairstyle suggestion for transitioning hair, this week, so we decided to answer via a blog post (surprise surprise).

In our last post, we discussed the “struggles” associated with managing the two textures and preventing breakage.  This, however, does not mean you can’t transition and make it look effortless.  The key is in choosing styles that require little manipulation.  Here are a few styles to help you manage your transitioning hair and still look fabulous.

1. ROLLER SET

roller setSource

                    roller set updoSource

 The following two links have a great method that I have used successfully: Best Ever Roller Set on 4c Natural Hair4c Natural Hair|Magnetic Roller Set Tutorial

After setting your hair, I’d recommend air drying because heat can be extremely damaging to transitioning hair, but if you want to use some heat then eliminate direct heat, such as the blow dryer, and opt for a hooded dryer set on low heat.

2. BRAID OUT

braid out

I tend to prefer braid outs over twist out for transitioning hair.  The twist out on the permed part can look a little flat sometimes.  Also, putting rollers or curl rods on the ends will enhance the curl.  You can leave it down as shown in the picture above, or style it into an updo.

3. BANTU KNOT OUT

Bantu-Knot-Out-Success-ZN

Bantu knot outs are easy, quick to do and can last for about 3 days or more without the need to touch up.  It also makes your hair look fuller. In fact it could actually be two styles: you can wear the bantu knots for a few days, then undo them and wear them in a twist out.

4. CORN ROW PROTECTIVE STYLE

corn row style                                                          Source

This style is fantastic.  You can just do it after washing and conditioning your hair, and it can last up to a week if you scarf your hair before going to sleep.

5. MOHAWK TWIST OUT

Mohawk Twist out                                                            Source

This style is a simple flat twist with the front untwisted.  You can also use rollers, curl or flexi rods for the loose hair in front.

6. FLEXI ROD SET

flexi rod set Source

Flexi rod sets are also a great way to get some volume and stretch out your hair.  You can wear it out or style it in an updo. Here’s a video to guide you through the process: Heatless Curls! | Flexi Rods | Transitioning Hair

We hope these styles go long way into helping you keep your hairstyles interesting so you don’t get frustrated with the transitioning process.

GOING NATURAL: IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE

This post is a little long, but we had to pack it with a lot of information.  We’ve been getting a lot of questions about going natural.  A lot of people tend to fear the “Big Chop” but guess what? It’s not necessary.  The “Big Chop” is one option but you can also “Transition.”  Once you make that commitment to go natural, the choice is yours.

THE BIG CHOP

    Big Chop Collage

It’s exactly that. You make an appointment with a barber or your friend who can cut hair and cut off the permed hair.  Usually people do the Big Chop about a month after their last perm so there is a little bit of new growth left once the perm is cut off.  But by all means if you don’t mind the bald look, don’t wait, just do away with the perm.  Just make sure whoever is cutting your hair can do a good job.

Pros of the Big Chop:

1. Instant: You go from permed to natural immediately…well however long it takes to cut off the perm.

2. It’s Simpler:  Once you cut off the perm, there is only one texture to deal with (your sexy natural hair).  You don’t have to deal with two different textures as you would if you transitioned.

3. It’s Liberating: Short hair is easy to manage. You can just wash and go (I don’t mean that literally :) please take a little time to slap on some moisturiser).  And you will not have to run for cover when it rains.

4. Puts you in the Frame of Mind: Your hair is now natural and fewer people tend to turn back because the Big Chop usually provides some measure of finality to the decision to go natural.

5. Get to Know Your Hair: It gives you a chance to learn your hair and texture before there is too much of it to control.  This is the time to be a product junkie and determine how your hair behaves with various products.


Cons of the Big Chop:

1. Not so Sexy: You may not like the way you look with short hair.  For example, I decided against the Big Chop because I was nervous about the shape of my head and the short hair making me look unattractive, but Didi rocked it.  I think, make-up and certain earring choices (usually big/dramatic ones) help.

2. Few Styling Options: Your styling options will be limited until you get some length.  For the most part, people just cultivate their curl and wear it in a short fro.  You can also, try braids and weaves once you attain a little length or wigs to give you a break from the short fro.

3. People Talk: Everyone is going to have an opinion, and usually they won’t be positive about your choice to cut off your perm, especially if it was long and healthy.

TRANSITIONING

                                                                     transitioning hair

This is the gradual process of going natural.  Once you make the decision to go natural by transitioning, you have to stop using all chemicals and try to stay away from heat as much as possible.  Typically, transitioners will let their natural hair grow, and gradually cut off the permed ends.  This takes as long as you want it to.  You can transition until all the permed ends have been trimmed off or you can cut off the permed ends once your natural hair reaches a length that you’re comfortable with. With this option, keeping your hair well moisturized and treating it gently is important because you will have two very different textures.  Note: Please remember to comb your hair from the ends to the roots or you will pull it all out.

Pros of Transitioning:

1. No Shock: You can ease yourself into going natural.  The “Big Chop” can be a little traumatising if you are not mentally prepared.  You have time to learn your hair type and the regimen it will respond to.

2. More Styling Options: Since you’re likely to have more length, you have several styling options. Twists, Braid Outs, Twist Outs, Buns, Updos, Weaves, Braids, Wigs etc.

3. Control: You have more control over the length of your hair as you will determine when you want to cut the perm or trim.  Or you can just maintain your length i.e. when you grow an inch of hair, you cut off an inch of the perm.  And if you decide that you don’t want to go natural, it’s easier to change your mind (no don’t go back).

Cons of Transitioning:

1. Two Textures: You will have two textures and have to make sure you care for both or your hair will break. The products that work for natural hair may not work for your permed hair.  This option requires more care and patience from the get go.

2. Breakage: There is a lot of potential for breakage at the point where your natural hair meets your permed hair.

3. Inconsistent Texture: Although you have more styling options available to you, you will still have to be innovative with styles such as twists outs because the permed part of your hair will not achieve the same curl as the natural part.  You can resolve this by using curl rods or rollers.

Throw Away Your Hair Nets!

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If I could go on a West African Campaign to eradicate hair nets, I would; that’s how much I hate hair nets. Many women here wear them and, sadly, hair dressers promote them as a good way to keep hair from bothering their clients while they sleep. However, although they can keep your hair in one place at night, the gaps in the nets actually do more damage than good because your hair is rubbing against your cotton pillowcase, which is in turn is drying out your hair and will eventually lead to breakage. This is the case whether you are relaxed or natural. The best way to prevent your hair from drying out is by using silk or satin to protect your hair.

Rather than using a hair net, try one of these solutions:

  1. Silk or Satin Scarf – You can tie these around your hair at night. They are great for getting your edges to lay flat after you’ve put some gel on them, but some people don’t like how tight they can feel and they can slip off at night.
  2. Silk or Satin Bonnet – these babies are really no fuss! You just pop it on and you are set. Now, these aren’t great for the restless sleeper because you can wake up in the morning to find the bonnet on the other side of the bed or even the floor.
  3. Silk or Satin Pillowcase – I’ve found this to be the easiest solution yet. Just replace your cotton pillow case with a silk or satin pillowcase and lay your head down. That’s it. You don’t have to worry about the issues you would with a scarf or bonnet and the pillowcase has the extra benefit of being cool, so you don’t feel hot at night when you sleep!

If you stay in Nigeria, you can purchase these products at the following locations:

  1. Olori
  2. Casa Bella Shops (Ikeja; The Palms in Lagos; The Shopright Shopping Mall (Apo, Abuja))

Swim Good

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Swimming + Chlorine + Natural Hair = A Natural Hair Disaster

Before a few years ago, I wouldn’t have been caught dead dipping my head in a pool.  I stayed in the doggy paddle lane, if I dared to do anything besides sitting in the shallow end of the pool.  However, in a bid to have the baddest body on the block, I realized swimming two or three times a week was a great way to cross-train without sweating.

Before I hit the pool, I put my hair in four or five flat twists (I can’t do cornrows) and applied a light coat of a cheapie conditioner (V05 or Suave), just in case any water seeped in to protect my hair. Then I put on not one, but two swim caps to make sure the water stayed out.

It was a simple routine but it worked perfectly. My hair stayed dry and I got really toned!

Let me know if you have any questions!!

(Thank you Maame for the post idea!)