5 Expert Tips to Keep Natural Texture Hair Hydrated and Defined 24/7
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You think you have your textured hair routine down pat? Think again. We tapped Pekela Riley, founder of Salon PK in Jacksonville, Florida and True & Pure Texture Extensions, on textured hair misconceptions and how she keeps her clients’ textured hair in perfect shape beyond their salon appointment. Click through the gallery as Pekela shares her tips for keeping textured hair hydrated and defined at all times, including the oils you should stop using and the styling habit you need to break ASAP.
1. Define texture according to your hair length
For short hair: Make certain that you finger coil the hair to define the texture. Sometimes people think you have to do a full twist-out or get into intricate styling but utilizing the finger coil technique to redefine texture works, and also using a soft bristle brush will keep the texture defined on the sides.
For medium-length hair: Keep a defined shape. For medium-length hair, the most flattering is heart-shaped. It works for a lot of face shapes and you can play that up with a part. It’s also versatile when you can have the illusion of bangs.
For long-hair: Keeping the hair long with layers at the crown will keep it from getting flat or boring. It’ll give it volume without making it too big, but you do have that versatility if you want to play it up. Long layers are when you focus on the interior and the crown while leaving the perimeter length, giving the illusion that the ends are long. The interior layers are going to give it lots of body and movement. You can wear it in a causal way or if you really want to glam it up, you can take it to its maximum volume with those layers.
2. Use different elements of texture
For this look at the Mizani Texture Jam Session, I finger coiled random strands in alternating and random patterns so you had those moments of definition and soft texture, so it was really creating a texture within the texture. We wanted to create that mixture of texture. She had medium-length hair and wanted to play up that texture so we brought it up to the top near the crown and forward. We did that by utilizing scalp twist and eclectic pattern that was inspired by that pin curl. I called it a cocktail because I used all the elements of texture to create the style.
3. Maintain moisture at night
When it comes to keeping hair and texture hydrated, you have to think about the ends—they’re the most worn, and oldest part of the hair and that’s where moisture is going to dissipate from the hair. Each strand is plugged into the follicle so it’s getting natural oils from the follicle itself but by the time it reaches the ends of the hair, there’s no natural moisture left. When you initially do your style you may apply that product from roots to ends but as you maintain moisture throughout the week, it’s about the ends so you should apply your product at the ends. With textured hair we might skip the amount of moisture we need because it may be heavy or damp during the day. If you add a little discipline to your style by doing it at night, it allows time for moisture to penetrate the hair and get rid of some of that heaviness that you might experience if you applied it in the morning. Moisturize at night, just as you would your face. If the hair is colored or fragile I love the Mizani Strength Fusion Intense Night-Time Treatment, and the Mizani True Textures Curl Define Pudding Cream is a nice refresher for the ends of the hair at night, depending on how you’re wearing it. These products are good if you’re wearing hair in a wash & go, bantu knots, twist-out or a braid-out. The type of moisture you apply really depends on your style.
4. Use oils that have smaller molecule sizes
One thing I see a lot of in the natural community are heavy oils that have large molecules like shea butter and castor oil-these oils coat the hair, however they don’t permeate the hair so there’s the illusion of sheen and moisture but in truth it’s encasing dry hair. A better way to moisturize hair is think of moisture as being water-based. The product should have a creamy texture or spray lotion-like texture such as Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Treatment. These will actually permeate the hair and get into the cortex which is where you want that moisture. Utilize natural oils to do this because they have smaller molecule sizes. Marula oil and grape seed oil for example are better able to penetrate the hair strand. I also love Mizani’s Supreme Oil. It’s okay to use these on dry hair or damp hair. Go over the ends of the hair when you need a touch of shine or hydration.
5. Stop styling on dry hair
The biggest mistake that I see after shampoos: You’ve done a great job of shampooing, you’ve used a nourishing moisture mask, you’ve detangled, and now you’re preparing to style it. It’s going really well when all of a sudden it gets really difficult. That’s because you’re letting the hair dry out. When it comes to tighter hair textures, keep the hair wet while styling. After washing, put a plastic cap over the hair to retain moisture or keep a water spray bottle close by. The way hair dries becomes destructive for the hair. When the hair is wet it’s missing the salt bond, but when it’s dry the salt bond is there. If you want to smooth, elongate or stretch don’t let it air dry in an ambiguous texture state because you’re going to have to force that out while styling. Not keeping the hair wet is the biggest mistake I see when I sit with my clients and find out they’re having difficulty doing their twist-outs or bantu knots. Styling textured hair while dry will cause damage to it because you’re trying to manipulate the texture. There might be no chemical damage but because of the force you use to brush through it, you end up physically breaking it.
Use a brush that has a padded cushion designed for wet brushing. I specifically love the Cricket Friction Free Brush. The bristles have protective round tips on it so they don’t snag the hair. A wet brush is better to start the detangling process over a comb. Start at the ends with a wet brush because the teeth are perfectly spaced apart to detangle. Then go in with an all-purpose comb starting on the wide side. Start wider, go smaller.