Yes you can 4C that style! : Style 003 Side Swoop Bun

Style 003: Side Swoop Bun

Style 003: Side Swoop Bun - Here is an easy style to try with stretched 4C hair. This is a style for when you only have a few minutes in the morning when perhaps you haven't achieved the original twist/braid out definition you hoped for and you need a new style in the morning as a quick fix.

To create this style you will need:

  • Bobby pins
  • 12" Piece of hosiery material
  • Moisture (water or leave-conditioner)
  • Sealant (oil or a butter)

Instructions:

  • Start on stretched hair.
  • Section your bang area into a horse shoe shape and pin away.
  • Moisturise your edges.
  • Gather the rest of your hair into a bun using the hosiery material, tie and secure the ends using a bobby pin.
  • Divide the bun into two sections. Taking one section, gently twist, tuck and pin down the ends towards the back of the bun. Repeat this step with the other section.
  • Undo the bang area and gently comb the ends downwards with your fingers. 
  • Twist the bang section in an upwards motion towards your ear and pin the ends down towards your back bun. 
  • Use bobby pins on the top area of the bang twist to press it down.

Night maintenance

If you wanted to keep this style over night I would suggest doing three large chunky braids or twists. One for the bang area and two for the back buns.

How long does the style last for?

This style could be redone each morning for three days or perhaps more if your hair doesn't easily tangle at the roots. My hair starts to grow together at the roots if I leave it in a style that doesn't have lots of sections. So I personally wouldn't do this style for more than three days.

Happy styling!

Bxx

4C Summer Styles

4C Summer Styles

Hi everyone, I hope you are all enjoying your summer! if you've been looking for some new hairstyles to try, look no further! Check out my feature on 4Chairchick.com where I show you how to do 3 really easy styles for your summer events. And if you're at all interested in the accessories shown in the video, check out my etsy shop where I have lots of handmade hair accessories in the 'Verano' 2014 collection. Enjoy!

Bx

Regime Tweaks

Regime Tweaks

 Chunky twist out style after the trim - April 2014

Chunky twist out style after the trim - April 2014

I recently cut roughly 4cm off my ends, I think I was in desperate need of a cut as my ends we're frequently tangling and had become thin, and in addition to my already fine hair it did not look good. I think I need to increase my moisture load.

Over the last few months I have tried to gradually reduce the amount of times I wash my hair. I have also chosen to do more long term protective styles lasting two weeks or more. I thought this would help me to retain length since I wasn't often going through the wash process, which is usually when my hair forms knots and tangles. I also read of bloggers like Cipriana from UrbanBushbabes who only wash and deep condition once a month but still manage to maintain the length and health of their hair. I thought that sounded great. I love the idea of doing less and less to my hair! However I don't think that approach worked so well for me and perhaps it was one of the reasons for my damaged ends and single strand knots (ssk's). 

Then I thought back to the first year of my natural hair journey and how I never really had ssk's and bad tangles. I guess one reason why was because my hair was shorter, but also I remember washing my hair twice in the week and regularly applying leave in conditioner and sealing. My ends were well moisturised and stayed that way 1. because lots of water was able to penetrate the hair strand and 2. I wasn't in the habit of frequently stretching my hair. Since discovering the african threading method I have been stretching my hair after every wash and although I spritz my hair between washes I've learnt that my hair and scalp benefit from a thorough soaking and kept in a style that allows the hairs to clump and curl in its natural pattern. I think I lose moisture rapidly when my hair is stretch out too much.

I also looked at photos I took of my hair when I was tracking it's growth last year and I noticed that my hair hasn't gained much length at the fringe and crown area since then. This is not surprising because the hair at my crown is coarse and breaks really easily and my fringe hair seems to form a bountiful amount of ssk's (which I've had to cut off) probably because I manipulate that area the most and it probably needs extra moisture which I've not been careful to give it and likewise the crown of my head.

So I'm going to change up a few things. This is what I'm going to try:

  • Washing my hair twice a week (while in twists)
  • Keeping my hair in chunky twists during the week.
  • Applying oil to the ends a few times a week or introduce oil rinsing.
  • Continue to finger detangle.
  • Do a short deep condition on the first wash day and perhaps a longer one on the second wash day.
  • Find styles that don't require hair to be super stretched.
  • Start to document my growth again by taking one photo at the beginning of each month. Then I will be able to see if the new regime is working.
 Simple chunky twist style which allows my hair to stay moisturised for longer.

Simple chunky twist style which allows my hair to stay moisturised for longer.

 Moisture and shrinkage go hand in hand.

Moisture and shrinkage go hand in hand.

I've learnt so much about my natural hair over the last 3 years but this is only because I've taken note of how my hair reacts to different regimes and products. I definitely think it's great to leave you hair out of weaves and braids for some of the time so you can better understand how to care for your hair and what it likes and dislikes. There's a lot of trial and error with natural haircare but I'm enjoying the journey because the further you go along the road the more you'll be able to refine your regime, therefore making caring for your hair as easy as pie!

Yes you can 4C that style! : Style 002 Chunky Twist Updo

Style 002: Chunky Twist Updo

Style 002: Chunky Twist Updo - Here is an easy style to try with stretched 4C hair. It's fast to do and you can play around with pinning the twists in different positions to create a new look.

To create this style you will need:

  • Bobby pins
  • Long elastic hair band 
  • Moisture (water or leave-conditioner)
  • Sealant (oil or a butter)

Instructions:

  • Start by doing roughly 25 loose two strand twists. When twisting, ensure the twisting at the roots is loose and then gets progressively tighter towards the ends. Make sure you have at least 5 in the front.
  • Starting from the back, divide the back horizontally so you have a top section and a bottom section.
  • Take the ends of the top section, bring them together, roll, tuck and pin them downwards while slightly pushing the roots upwards towards the crown of your head.
  • Now taking the back bottom section, bring the ends of your twists together, twist and pin upwards and tuck the ends away.
  • Place your elastic hair band across the top part of your forehead with approximately 5 of the fringe twists underneath the elastic. 
  • Take the ends of the fringe twists and curl them over the elastic and a little way towards your ear.
  • Tuck the ends down and secure with a bobby pin if needed.

Night maintenance

Simply re-twist the chunky twists to neaten up. Spritz your hair all over with the style installed and cover with a hair scarf. In the morning use your fingers to gently press the twists outwards so that they don't look flat or pressed down. Now you can position your elastic over your fringe area again.

How long does the style last for?

This style can last for a week to two weeks. If you would like to wash your hair with the loose twists installed I would suggest re-twisting them a little more tightly at the root and then proceeding to wash them. This is to ensure your roots do not tangle when you wash your hair. When you're done washing your hair, moisturise and seal each twist in turn and then stretch hair by making sure the twists are tight or you can band or african thread your hair in the pre-made sections. The next morning you can easily re-twist each twist loosely to create volume at the root.

Happy styling!

Bxx

 

Fine/Low Density 4C Hair

Managing Fine/Low Density 4C Hair

Hi everyone! In this video I wanted to talk about being natural and having fine, low density hair. Many people believe (and I was the same) that having afro hair means really thick, coarse hair and this is the reality for many naturals. However there are some, like myself who's hair does not share the same characteristics. My hair strands are fine/thin and I also don't have loads and loads of hair. 

Some bloggers who have a similar issue are Nalia 1908 and Evelyn From The Internets. These are good examples of naturals who are managing their fine hair, and Nalia in particular has retained lots of length. If you know of any more vloggers please leave the links in the box below and/or do post your own hairstyles on our Facebook page which naturals with fine hair can easily do.

As I mention in the video having fine hair can make creating certain styles a challenge, especially protective styles like single braids and twists which are so useful in aiding length retention. So what's a girl to do? One thing I would say is "Loose twist it!" Loose two strand twists have been great for my hair! Watch on to hear the rest!

Bola

x

 

4c Hair Feature: Michele

4c Hair Feature: Michele

I know how encouraging it is to read about other naturals with 4c hair texture, especially those from the UK. Over the coming months I would like to bring more exposure to other UK natural websites particularly highlighting those who have 4c hair. If you live in the UK and would like to feature on the website please get in touch! So here is the first feature on UK natural Michele N Dimbua from UKnatssisters.com.

1. CurlyB: Tell us about yourself.                                                                                                                

Michele: Hello my name is Michele N Dimbua, I'm the official blogger and contributor at UKnatssisters.com. I live in Newcastle, and my facebook page is: www.facebook.com/uknaturals

2. CB: How long have you been natural or transitioning for?

M: I've been natural for 19 months now, and I love it! But at first I didn't like the look too much and I was relying on wash and go's or braid outs etc to reduce the kinkiness of my hair texture. But after that I began to appreciate my 4C texture and now I rarely do twist outs I just wear my fro out! 

3. CB: What is your hair regime?

M: My hair regimen is simple: 

  • Co-wash: once a week
  • Shampoo: once every 6 weeks (sometimes I don't at all for the entire 2 months)
  • Bicarbonate: Once every 5 weeks
  • Treatment: once a week ; Avocado and extra virgin olive oil 
  • Deep condition: once a week; Conditioner and olive oil

Styling: I used to wear my Fro out a lot, but now I'm on a protective style challenge. So my hair is always protected on buns, braids, twists etc. 

Combing: I never comb my hair unless it's wet! I usually finger detangle.

Moisturising and products: 

  • Daily: with water and olive oil. 
  • Once a week: home made Shea butter cream. 
  • Leave in - African Pride Shea butter leave in conditioner.

Trim: when necessary! 

4. CB: What products do you use on your hair?

M: I use:

  • Alberto Balsam for deep conditioning 
  • Kuza 100% Shea butter
  • Homemade Shea buttery cream 
  • IC Fantasia Gel
  • Extra virgin Olive oil (best moisturiser)
  • Castor oil
  • Almond oil  (best sealant)

I use Almond and extra virgin olive oil because they are the two few oils that penetrate the hair strand. I buy these products anywhere. Fantasia gel I buy at any local African Shop. Olive oil - Tesco, almond oil - any Pakistani or Bengali corner shops, Alberto Balsam - Savers, Asda or Tesco. Castor Oil - Amazon UK.

5. CB: What are your 3 favourite styles?

 M: Mini twists, Marley twist, big fro! Because they are styles that most naturals don't do. It looks different and Afrocentric. 

6. CB: What do you think is the best feature about your hair texture?

M: Best feature about my hair is shrinkage, the fact that I can have it out long or short is brilliant! 

7. CB: Do you have any encouragement for those with kinky, coily hair?

M: For newly naturals... Dare to be different, there is a reason why you were given a particular type of hair! 

A big thank you Michele for featuring on CurlyB. Stay tuned for more 4c features!

Yes you can 4c that style! - Style 001: The Loose Twist Beehive

Style 001: The Loose Twist Beehive

twist_tut_style001_flat.jpg

Before I went natural I believed that 4c hair couldn't be manipulated or styled easily and could only be done by a professional hairdresser. I truly believed that I could not do my own hair. I had no idea about the myriad of styles one can do on 4c hair just like any other hair type. Everything has changed since then, and now I know it is possible. During this series I will be sharing the styles I do to help anyone who may be feeling as I did before I began my natural hair journey. I hope to be regularly posting ' 4c style files' which will include how to create and maintain a style for a certain number of days or weeks. So remember, yes you can 4c that style!

Style 001: Loose twist beehive - A great little style to sport especially when you have two strand twists installed but it can equally work on loose 4c hair. This style is great to do if you want minimal manipulation for a least a week or two. You can even wash your hair in the twists and then re-install the style afterwards.

To create this style you will need:

  • Bobby pins
  • Hairband (optional)
  • Moisture (water)
  • Sealant (Oil or a butter)

Instructions:

  • You will need to start by doing loose two strand twists all over your head. These must be left in for at least one night. Make sure you moisturise and seal your loose twists. Make a side parting and section off the bang area. Undo the twists in the bang area, and while holding the ends twist and pin them to the side of your head, just above your ear.
  • Push the rest of your twists upwards. Then starting from one end of your head, roll the twists underneath themselves and move along until you reach the other end of your head. You can now twist and pin the twisted twists back on themselves as shown above.

Night maintenance

Simply re-twist or flat twist the bang area, spritz your hair all over with the style installed and cover with a hair scarf. (There's no need to undo the beehive you have created)

How long does the style last for?

This style can last for a week to two weeks. I would suggest taking the style down (not the loose twists just the beehive) after a week and moisturising and sealing the ends of your loose twists.

Happy styling!

Bxx

Simple Twist Out Technique

Simple Twist Out Technique

Here's a quick photo tutorial showing you how I do my twist outs. It's really simple and there's no need for special products. I get a defined, soft hold using only aloe vera gel and my homemade curly pudding. See here for my video on how to make a simple curly pudding.

simple_twistout strip.jpg

Instructions:

1. Take a small section of hair.

2. Take a blob of aloe vera gel and smooth it along the section of hair making sure it is evenly distributed.

3. Do the same as in step 2 with the curly pudding.

4. Divide the section into two.

5. Begin to twist the two strands together. If you want a really defined twist you need to ensure that you twist tightly (Note: Do not twist so tight so as to put undue stress on your roots) this is the most important part! Remember to twirl your ends around your finger at the end.

6. You may be able to see some excess curly pudding on your twist, you can simply run your hand down your twist to take off any excess. The curly pudding and aloe vera should dry clear and so you shouldn't see any traces of the products once your hair is dry..

7. Once the twist is dry, simply unravel the twist and you're done. (Note: You must wait until it is completely dry or you will not get the definition)

For those of you who enjoy watching videos see below! 

Henna on 4c Hair

Henna Treatment

henna_4.jpg

I've been wanting to try henna on my hair for a while but now I've actually plucked up the courage to give it ago. To learn a little more about henna see curlyNikki's post here. After doing a lot of research on henna I decided that I would love to give it ago for it's strengthening qualities. Because my hair is fine its perhaps more prone to breakage than other naturals who have thicker hair strands so I wanted to try treatments which strengthen the hair shaft naturally. Henna leaves colour deposits on the hair which I don't really mind, as long as it wasn't going to turn it orange! I also read that it can loosen the curl pattern of your hair every time it is applied. I don't know if this will really happen to my hair as my curl pattern is so tight, but I read that this has been noticed with people who have looser curl patterns (3c, 4a hair types) so I don't think I have too much to worry about.

Anyway, onto the process. if you prefer to watch the process please see my youtube video or read on for a summary.

I decided to buy Lush Caca marron (£8.25 a block) because I wanted to get the henna from a trusted source. While researching I read a few comments from people who had been scammed when purchasing their henna. They had tried to purchase the Jamila brand henna but instead had been sold fake henna which probably contained harmful substances. Also, some kinds of henna need to be mixed with other ingredients so that the dye can be released. Everyone I read about seemed to do it in a different way so I searched for an easy solution. Lush Costmetics sells henna in blocks which you simply add hot water to and stir up. I also consider Lush to be a trusted brand so I decided to buy my henna from them. I chose the Caca marron because I prefer the darker chestnut tones it is said to give instead of redder tones. The Lush henna also contains some great added ingredients like coco butter and essential oils.

Things you will need

  • Henna
  • Gloves
  • Plastic cap
  • Clips
  • Heat proof bowl
  • Newspaper (for the bathroom floor)
  • Old towels
  • Cleaning equipment
  • Hot water
  • Vasaline (to put on your hairline to stop the henna from dying your skin)

 

Getting Ready

I would say that planning is essential for the whole henna process. I would suggest setting aside a day when you're not massively busy. Firstly get all the things you need together and put them in the bathroom e.g. newspapers for the floor, old towels, clips, vasaline and cleaning equipment. Then mix up the henna with hot water and stir it until It reaches a thick yogurt consistency.

 

Application

Section off your hair into 4 or more sections. Apply vasaline to your hairline. Put your gloves on and apply the henna to your hair by gently patting it onto the section you are working with. Be careful not to press and smooth down the henna too hard along your hair. The henna is very gritty and I read that if some of the sharp pieces are pressed down onto the hair too hard there's a possibility of introducing mid shaft splits along your hair strand. This part took me about 30 minutes. 

Wrap your hair in cling film (optional for extra protection) and put a cap on. I kept the henna on for 6 hours, during this time I went out to the shops and just simply popped a beanie hat on over my plastic cap. I kept the henna on for 6 hours because it was convenient for me and my timetable. I think the pack says you can leave it on for 2-3 hours but I don't think it really matters if you leave it on for longer than the stated time. 

Be prepared to do a bit of clean up. But don't worry. if you've tried to be careful when applying the henna then the clean up shouldn't be too bad. I suggest cleaning the sink area as soon as you have finished applying the henna to reduce the chances of stains.

Results

When washing the henna off do so one section at a time. You can use a conditioner to do this. I used Cantu shea butter conditioner because I had some I needed to use up. It took me 4 washes to really get all the bits and pieces out so make sure you leave yourself enough time.

After I washed the henna out, my hair felt great. My curls really popped, especially at the crown area where the curl pattern is more of an 'S' shape. My hair didn't feel hard or dry like many people had reported from their own experiences. I didn't follow up with a conditioning treatment as my hair felt really good. I just applied my curly pudding and stretched my hair as usual. In the morning I styled my hair, it still wasn't dry and hard. Instead it felt really soft and hopefully it had been strengthened by the treatment too.

Pros and Cons of Lush Henna

Pros:

- Improved the condition of my hair

- Easy to use

- Reasonable price

Cons:

- Very gritty ( this made it difficult to wash out)

-  Strong grassy smell developed hours after henna was applied 

-  Quick and careful clean up is needed to avoid stains on sink

- Planning the process is essential

 

Overall I would recommend giving this product a go to discover whether it works well for you and your hair. You might find the whole process a little too fussy and drawn out, or perhaps you find the benefits to your hair out weigh the process. I have two young children, 4 and under, so I made sure that when I was applying the henna they were occupied with my husband. When I wanted to wash the henna off I did so in the evening when they were in bed. I loved how my hair felt after using it so I'm going to continue to use it, perhaps four more times and see what the effects are. What have your experiences been with henna? Good? bad? or ugly?! 

 

African Threading

African Threading

Have you ever tried african threading on your hair? You might remember it from your youth (I certainly do) when perhaps your mum or auntie wrapped huge amounts of thick black thread around sections of your hair to create stiff , sticking out spikes of hair. Well recently I have revisited this method of wrapping my hair- not as a styling option but rather as a way of stretching my hair.  It's fast and easy to do and works really well yielding similar results to a light blow out. I would really recommend you give it a try if you're looking for a good way to regularly stretch your hair without using heat. Here's part 1 of my video explaining the process:

Here is part 2 showing the results:

Note: Apologies for the low lighting in the video, I recorded the video late at night!

Thoughts on Texture

Thoughts on Hair Texture

 Pinterest

Pinterest

I recently watched a natural hair vlogger on youtube discussing the issue of hair texture within the natural hair community. She asked a number of good questions regarding the attitude of some within the natural hair community towards tighter, coarser hair textures. She felt that there was a hierarchy of natural hair, with looser curl textures perhaps being favoured above tighter coarser textures. She suggests that there is a natural hair 'look' which is more acceptable and sought after by many naturals or those looking to go natural, and how those with the idealised natural hair 'look' were seemingly more popular on youtube than those with tighter textures.

I thought the questions she raised were very good and I would agree with many of the points she mentioned as I have seen in my own experience how these attitudes are very real. So is there really a hair hierarchy in the natural hair community? Is there one particular hair aesthetic which is idealised within and without the natural hair community?

To these two questions I would answer yes, I think there is. 

But why are looser hair textures seemingly preferred?

It seems to me that many prefer loose textures or hair textures which have a bit of 'hang' not first and foremost because they are more 'manageable' but more so because of the way they look. That particular aesthetic is desirable to many. I think this preference can be seen within the natural hair community and wider afield too.

I believe this is the attitude of many even outside of the natural hair community as I have experienced this attitude personally in regards to my daughters. My daughters are of mixed heritage and they have loosely curly, ringlet type texture. I have had so many comments from strangers about their "lovely" hair. I wonder why is their hair seen as better than any other hair type? There is beauty in all hair types and textures! When I receive these comments I usually say something like "your hair is lovely too". To which the reply is usually "no, it's not".

But why not?

Another experience I had was when someone had made another lovely hair comment about my eldest daughter and then another person who was present turned to me and said " I bet you're jealous"!! I couldn't believe it! I then calmly answered, "No i'm not, why should I be?". There was no reply. I then continued to tell the person that I was happy with my hair texture...but there was still no reply. Perhaps that person thought that I must really hate my kinky hair, probably first and foremost because of the way it looked. If I had the same hair texture as my daughter's or straight hair like the person commenting did, I doubt whether such a comment would have been made.

I am so thankful that I can now say that I love my kinky texture, and I love my daughters' ringlet curls and my husband's wavy caucasian hair too!. There is no hierarchy in my mind!

Is aesthetics at the heart of why perhaps many women who have kinkier, tighter hair feel insecure about wearing their own hair texture? If really kinky, coily tightly curled hair was highly desirable in today's society I believe many people would happily put aside the "it's not manageable" excuse and be prepared to wear their natural hair because it was idealised and stylish.

protectivestyle_complete_4.jpg

I know that I desired a particular texture when I first went natural and it was only after I big chopped I realised that my hair wasn't like the 4a's and b's I had been watching on youtube. Since then I have grown to appreciate and see the beauty in my really kinky hair but I think there are still many who follow a hair hierarchy. 

Society's construction of aesthetics play a major part in our perceptions of beauty. Our perception of what is beautiful is shaped by many external factors like our upbringing, our social groups, television, film, literature and the internet. I'm sure there are so many reasons why a hair hierarchy has developed, probably too many to discuss in one post.

But one reason I would mention, which naturalfashionista highlighted was the fact that kinky hair is under represented in the natural hair community. If there were more images and videos of really kinky haired women growing their hair well then perhaps many more people would start to feel more comfortable with their own kinky hair texture.

We need to be satisfied and confident with what we have regardless of the mainstream idea of beautiful hair is. I hope that in the coming years kinkier hair will be more represented in the natural hair community and in the wider community too.

 

Homemade Curly Pudding for 4c Hair

Curly Pudding for 4c hair

I love this curly pudding! The mixture of gel, oil and butter seems to be just right for my hair. After washing my hair all I need to do is to use this pudding and my hair remains moisturised and sealed for a good few days at least. It also works really well when I use it for twist outs and flat twists (see photo below). Give it a try and see how it works for your hair texture. Happy mixing!

3twist_img.jpg

4c hair Growth - 2 years post 'Big chop'

4c Hair Growth

 2011-2013

2011-2013

Earlier on in my natural hair journey I would take photos every month to document my hair growth, however for the last year or so I haven't continued this routine. I can usually tell if it has grown if I can achieve certain styles. I haven't really had any hair length goals, I've just wanted to learn how to keep it healthy and understand how to manipulate and style my hair with ease. I recently took my hair out of my loose twist protective style and decided to do a length check. It's been just over two years since I big chopped (the left photo shows this- however I didn't cut off all my relaxed ends at the front until a few months later). Now, in 2013 my hair at the back reaches arm pit length when fully stretched, which I'm pleasantly surprised about. My natural hair has never in my whole life reached this length.

My relaxed hair did not grow to great lengths even though I had been relaxing it for 10 years, in theory it should have been down to the ground! But of course it was damaged and every time it grew I would have to cut off the ends because they were so thin. It's only taken me two years to get to the photo on the right and I've worked out that I've saved nearly £500 from not paying for the relaxer treatment and of course I'm sure there are the health benefits too. I'm interested to see if I can reach mid back length by the end of next year but I think I'll continue to focus on keeping my hair healthy. 4c hair can grow!

CurlyB Channel

Well I've finally taken the plunge and set up a youtube channel for curlyB. I hope to be posting videos showing the basics of natural hair care, my journey, style tutorials and much more. I hope you find them useful, feel free to suggest a video subject in the comments box or send me an email. Here's my intro!

Protective styling for 4c hair

Protective Styling 

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Protective styling is to style your hair in such a way so as to protect or conceal the ends of your hair. The ends are the very oldest parts of your hair and tend to be the driest and in need of the most tlc. Protective styling comes in many forms such as twists, braids, buns, weaves, wigs, pin and tuck styles and also styles which incorporate scarves or head coverings. I have found there are two main benefits to protective styling for my hair texture.

Sealed in moisture for longer

When I do a protective style I find that my hair stays moisturised for longer. If I properly moisturise and seal my hair with a heavy butter (e.g shea butter) I can go for days without adding any more moisture to my hair. When hair is properly moisturised it is less likely to break.

Length retention

When wearing a protective style I find that I retain more length. This is probably for two reasons. Firstly because I am not manipulating my hair everyday therefore there is less chance of breakage occurring. Secondly, my hair is not repeatedly exposed to the weather elements or to garments and accessories like woolly scarves I might be wearing. 

As I mentioned earlier there are a range of protective styles you can do. I prefer not to use weaves, wigs and extensions for a number of reasons. Firstly I don't like to go to the hairdressers. I like to do my own hair as I know exactly how it should be treated. I also like to save money and time and I find going to the hairdressers (for me) wastes both (unless of course it is a special occasion). 

Another reason why I prefer not to use weaves and wigs is that I enjoying learning about my hair and how it reacts to different products and techniques. I would also feel there would be a risk of me forgetting to keep on top of moisturising my hair while wearing such a style, resulting in bad breakage when taking the style out. Lastly I have learnt that my edges can not take the strain of tight braids over a long period of time, I know from past experience that my edges would become badly damaged. (Please note I have nothing against anyone using these protective styles, the points i've mentioned apply to what I've learnt about my own hair!)

So when doing a protective style with my own hair I've noticed some styles are better for my hair type and texture than others. These are my top 3 protective styles:

 

1. Loose two strand twist

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  • This is my ultimate protective style at the moment. Loose two strand twists are just like the regular single twists , but looser. The looseness makes my hair look fuller which I prefer. I don't have the problem of the twists unraveling as I really twirl and seal my ends well so they stay put.
  • Moisture retention is good with loose twists, but if my hair does dry out I simply spritz and seal my hair without the worry of shrinkage and tangles.
  • I can also wash my hair while in this style and re-twist to neaten as and when I have the time. Which means if I don't have the time to re-twist all the twists in one go I can re-twist a section each day while still wearing the style. 
  • Loose twists allow for versatility of styling during the week and there is absolutely zero manipulation in the morning. I simply throw a hairband or hair accessory on and go. The longest I've gone without re-twisting is about 8 days but I could easily carry this style for two weeks or longer if I re-twisted it. The only down point to this style is that it is essential you do not wash your hair too many times while it is installed without re-twisting, or else you might end up with locs! I usually wash my hair once or twice and then I make sure I either take down the twists or re-twist.

 

2. Flat and chunky two strand twists

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  • I tend to flat twist the back area of my head while chunky twisting the top and front area to allow some versatility of styling each day. Pros are that you can easily carry this style for days without having to re-do the whole the style each morning hence reducing manipulation and breakage during the week. The moisture retention is very good when wearing this style.

 

3. Tuck and pin 

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  • A tuck and pin style is simply when you tuck sections of your hair and pin them down. What I love about this technique is that you can very quickly create some really lovely shapes and designs. All that is needed is a comb for parting and bobby pins. This technique works best on stretched hair.
  • The downside to this style is that you will need to re-twist or stretch your hair each night and re-do the style in the morning. This means that you are manipulating your hair everyday which could increase the chance of breakage. Also, another issue I've discovered is that moisture is easily lost when my hair is stretched and left untwisted or braided. I guess this is because the outer cuticle layer is slightly lifted as a result of the hair strand being stretched into a straighter shape, this therefore allows for moisture to escape a little easier.

What protective styles do you like to wear? Which are best for moisture and length retention for your natural 4c hair. Leave you comments below!

 

Why is my hair so dry?

Why is my hair so dry?

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 I think dryness is the top complaint of those who have type 4c hair. When I made the decision to go natural I didn't realise how thirsty my natural hair really was. I had never learnt about what it likes or how it needs to be treated. One of the things it loves is water. Type 4 hair loves to drink, drink, drink!. My relaxed hair did not like water at all and I would do everything in my power to make sure moisture did not touch it before my fortnightly wash day.

If your natural hair is dry it is probably saying "Please give me a drink!". Here are some suggestions on how to satisfy its need:

1. Spritz your hair daily and watch how it reacts. (See here for how to mix up your own spritz bottle). Is it soft for a short while and then dry again? If so then...

2. Try sealing with shea butter. This wonderful butter is thick and creamy and the best sealant for my 4c hair. Whip some up and use it sparingly straight after you have spritzed your hair. Remember to put your hair into sections (6 sections should be fine), rub some shea butter into your hands and then smooth it out on your hair, concentrating on your ends which tend to be the driest area. (If shea butter doesn't agree with you try olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil or jojoba oil)

3. You could also use a leave-in conditioner after you have spritzed your hair and then seal with the shea butter.

4. Another suggestion would be to try aloe vera gel before you seal your hair. Aloe vera gel is an excellent moisturiser. It has a ph reading which is very close to our hair (around 4.0-5.5) and because of this it helps close the cuticles of our hair thus reducing the amount of moisture allowed to escape. Kimaytube expands on ph balancing the hair here.

Other factors to consider...

5. What do your shampoos and conditioners contain? Do they contain lots of silicones and sulfates? These substances are found in many commercial haircare products and are extremely drying to the hair. See here for more details. Also note how often you wash your hair. I would suggest washing type 4 hair only once a week with shampoo, however if you need to wash your hair more frequently you could try conditioner washing your hair (co-washing) or an apple cider vinegar rinse on other occasions during the week.

6. What styles do you wear during the week? If your hair is always out it may be more prone to drying out due to continued exposure to the environment. Try to wear more protective styles or moisturise and seal your hair more often if you wear your hair out regularly.

7. How often do you deep condition? Try to deep condition your hair at least once a week. It's a good way of adding moisture back into your hair which is lost during the week. I make my own deep conditioner using ingredients from my fridge. It's cheap and it only contains natural ingredients.

8. How often do you use heat or dyes on your hair? Frequently using heat styling equipment or dyes will cause it to dry out as these styling methods causes the outer cuticle layer of your hair strands to be lifted or damaged. In turn, this allows moisture to easily escape from your strands. I only use heat on my hair once a year as I have fine strands and I don't want to risk heat damage. Some hair textures can withstand more frequent exposure to heat. I would suggest perhaps aiming for irregular use of heat styling tools, maybe just on special occasions or significant events.

9. Have you just big chopped after years of using relaxers? It may be that your new growth, directly under the scalp has been affected by the harsh chemicals. This is called 'scab hair'. This new growth is said to have produced extra protective layers in reaction to the relaxers/texturisers this therefore results in dry hair as moisture finds it difficult to penetrate the over protected hair shaft. If you're experiencing scab hair then don't worry, it's said to only last for the first 6-12 months, so keep regularly moisturising and deep conditioning your hair.

10. Do you know how porous your hair is? "Porosity is the term used in the science of hair care to describe how easily water and other matter can diffuse back and forth through the cuticle layer and into or out of the cortex" (Naturallycurly.com) . Cipriana from Urban bushbabes helpfully explains how having hair with high porosity can mean that moisture is not easily absorbed into the hair shaft. Check your hair's porosity levels.

You may need to change a couple of practices in your regime (or many) in order to see a real change in the condition of your hair. I would suggest changing a couple and then testing these changes over a period of a week or fortnight to see how your hair reacts. If you notice a big difference then you know that those factors were the culprits most likely causing the problem. However, if not, then try changing a few other factors named in the list above. I hope the suggestions above might help you on the road to discovering what might be causing your dry hair.  

Curly Beginnings

Welcome to curly B the new UK natural hair website for kinky coily type 4 hair!

Our aim is to celebrate natural kinky curly hair, especially in the UK (as there still aren't many natural hair blogs which are based this side of the pond). We want to teach others to embrace the natural beauty of type 4 kinky hair while learning how to style and manipulate their hair on a day to day basis without it being a major hassle.

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