I’ve gotten several questions over the past few weeks about how I keep my styles looking fresh for days. The misconception is that I re-twist or restyle my hair on a routine basis. As a mother of two and a burgeoning business owner, I don’t have time for that. None of us do!
No matter if your hair is long or short, you don’t have to manipulate or refresh your styles to make them last continuously. What you’re doing is recreating a new style each time you re-twist or restyle your hair. If hair care is supposed to be more accessible, then we should evaluate our practices and look for areas where we fall short.
Today, I’m putting all the misconceptions to rest and sharing with you easy steps that will help you simplify your routine and get more longevity out of your hairstyle.
Things to consider
Before we get started, it is vital to know some specifics about your hair. Understanding the key characteristics of our hair will allow you to set realistic expectations and become more intentional when selecting products. You should also be mindful of the fact that climate, daily routines (e.g., workouts, extended periods in or outside), styling techniques, and product selection make a significant difference when it comes to the longevity of your styles. Finally, this is a process that requires consistency and persistence. Building a routine, following that routine consistently, taking note of missteps, and fixing them will help you greatly in the long run. It may sound like a lot, but as soon as you start, it becomes second nature.
Now, let’s take a look at ways to make your styles last!
Start on a clean canvas
First things first, clean hair yields the best results. Routinely cleansing the hair and scalp not only removes product build-up that can be hindering your styles, but it also increases hydration and keeps moisture in your strand. This simple yet vital step will help you better execute your styles and will also help your hair react better to your styling products.
Use a product that has a level of hold
Stylers are products that help you execute your style. They can range anywhere from light to firm hold. Products such as leave-in conditioners, oils, moisturizers, and shea butter alone are not stylers. Found in many stylers you use, these ingredients help aesthetically, but on their own, they cannot keep your styles intact. Knowing things about the texture, surface texture, and density of your hair will help you determine what level of hold is right for you. In general, lighter hold gels tend to give less definition and longevity to coarser hair textures.
Layer your gels
Factors like humidity and lifestyle all come into play where the longevity of your style is concerned. When exposed to certain conditions, using only one gel may not give you the amount of hold necessary to keep your curls poppin’. Layering gels is a great option to both elongate your curls and extend the longevity of your styles. When applied appropriately, layered gels protect against the excessively humid or dry climates, sweat, and elemental exposure. If you think layered gels will give you hard, crunchy curls, think again. With the right products, you can have still have beautiful, manageable curls.
Leave the gel cast intact
With our wash and go’s, I know we all like to see big, voluminous hair on day one. While breaking that gel cast does bring life and volume into your styles, it also reduces its longevity. Instead of breaking your gel cast on day one, allow your hair to swell and disrupt the gel cast gradually as the days progress. The result will still be a beautiful style, and the bonus will be curl definition that lasts a little longer.
Preserve your style overnight
There is some debate over which methods for preserving your coils are most effective. Be it a bonnet, buff, satin cap, pineapple, or silk pillowcase, find what works for you. The length of your hair will often dictate what accessory you choose to use. Always be mindful of the amount of friction or rubbing these “protectors” will cause on your hair and try to avoid rougher materials that will remove moisture or damage your hair.
Bonus tip: perfectly sleek curls do not last forever, be ok with a little frizz and continue to rock your styles as the hair begins to frizz and swell.
Sounds easy enough, right? It is! No re-twisting or restyling required. Just wake up, shake it out, and go on with your day. Let’s stop letting our hair monopolize our days, and let’s take back our time by incorporating simple steps that work. Our routines are only as complex as we make them, stop doing the most, and start letting your curls live!