In part one of this guide we covered everything about an effective wash day; shampooing, conditioning, detangling (which gives every natural a run for her money), moisturizing, and styling. We even gave some tips on the effective way to dry your curls.
In this part two, we write about keeping your curls fresh between wash days, several protective styles you could try out, and how to style your curls au natural. Let's get down to it.
How to Refresh Your Hair Between Washes
You know how soft and hydrated your hair feels like on wash day? Don’t you wish you could have that all the time? Yeah, me too. But did you know that keeping your hair moisturized is for more than just looks or how your hair feels?
Keeping your hair moisturized is integral for growing thicker, fuller hair. I won’t get too technical here, but because of how your hair is structured formed, water actually helps your hair get thicker, making your mane look fuller.
Moisturized hair is also easier to detangle during wash day since you've managed to avoid dry hair, which is a tangle magnet and makes it difficult to separate those strands from the tangle because they often also lack slip. So don’t skip this step.
Plus, it’s actually really easy and quick to do. You’ll literally be done in seconds.
Here’s how to refresh your curls during the week:
- Using Prettykind’s Deeply Refreshing Hair Tonic, spray your strands when you get out of bed to start your day.
- You can rub it into your hair just a bit to work the product in… and voila! You’re done!
It really is this easy!
For best results, aim to use it daily.
What Are Some Good Protective Styles for Curly Hair?
First off, a protective style is a style that is meant to protect your strands, usually, by reducing how much you manipulate your hair.
When you’re starting out your natural hair journey or trying to rekindle one, these are a godsend! They allow you to tuck your hair away for a while, resulting in having a shorter routine overall while still preserving those precious inches of hair growth.
The trick to making sure you retain length when wearing a protective style is to have the style installed properly i.e., not too tight and to make sure you frequently moisturize your hair while in the style. Most protective styles can also be washed without ruining the style. There are lots of tutorials that you can watch for advice on how to do this in a specific style.
There are literally hundreds of protective styles that we can cover in here, but for today, I’ll run through a couple of common styles that look great and that you can easily get done for you or DIY.
I'm sure you've heard and seen these before! These are all over social media, and celebrities and your favourite influencers have been rocking them everywhere- even on the red carpet!
Box braids are three-strand plaits done on a small section (or ‘box’) of hair that incorporate braiding hair to add some bulk. That’s why box braids are visually often much thicker than plaits or twists done on plain hair.
The latest trend for box braids is knotless braids. These thinner, 90’s-style braids are great for not putting too much tension on the scalp and hairline and are extremely breathable, making them great for summer.
They can be styled in many different ways. If you get smaller braids, then you can style them just as you would your natural hair. You can wrap them into Bantu knots, curl them, put them up in a bun, etc. You’ve got so many options.
These last a long time! It’s not uncommon to have people keep their braids in for a month or two- with proper care and washes. This style can also be kept in for longer by retwisting or rebraiding a couple of rows from the front section. Surprisingly, doing this makes the whole style look brand new.
These take a long time to get done. It is often a whole-day affair getting box braids done. They often take even longer when you DIY them, but if you’re mentally prepared for it, go for it!
They can be pricey. Prices vary depending on several factors such as the length of the braids, how close you want them to each other, the thickness of the braids, whether you’ll be doing knotless braids, which are more time-consuming, etc. Costs can run into the hundreds of dollars range very quickly.
Some people’s scalps might be irritated by the chemical coating used to seal braiding hair. To be fair, not all brands have this issue, but it is a common problem. To prevent itching and flaking that may occur, you’ll have to soak the hair with ACV and some water. If it does have this coating, the surface of the water will turn murky. Repeat until the surface of the water remains clear. Rinse with clean water and air dry before use. Take care to not tangle the hair while doing this by not rubbing the hair; gently pull it through the water.
If done too tightly or if too much braiding hair is added, then box braids may actually cause breakage around your hairline and make your hair look thinner. Be careful and tell your stylist not to braid your hair too tightly. If there are any sections that were done too tight, ask them to redo them.
Mini Twists or Braids
These follow the same concept as box braids only there is no braiding hair added to your natural hair to make it appear fuller. This style utilizes your own hair either in its curly/kinky state or after being stretched/blown out.
One can either do a three-strand braid or rope twist the hair from roots to their ends.
They are so much lighter than box braids. This makes them an even better option for hot weather, those with really tender-headed and anyone who doesn’t like the idea of wearing any extensions or braiding hair on their head.
These are easier and quicker to moisturize. With box braids, making sure moisture reaches your actual strands can be difficult. For mini twists or mini braids, you’re assured that your products reach your hair; nothing’s wasted on braiding hair.
If you know how to twist or plait, then these are the easiest style to DIY at home. You can twist/braid your hair over a couple of seasons of your favourite Netflix show.
These tend to be significantly smaller in size than box braids so the takedown process can be more lengthy since it requires more precision.
These aren’t as long-lasting as box braids since they get frizzy much faster than box braids.
They aren’t very voluminous, so if you love your full hair, you probably won’t enjoy this style too much.
Weaves and Wigs
The good old styles! Weaves and wigs have been around for thousands of years (literally) and for good reason. These extremely versatile options make it easy to protect your hair while making it look like you still have your hair out. It’s having your cake and eating it!
To get the maximum length retention from these styles, make sure to cornrow your hair and have your stylist tuck in the ends into adjacent braids.
For wigs, always make sure to wear a wig cap to protect your hair from breaking due to friction from rubbing against the inside of your wig and from combs and elastic bands that can snag on your hair.
Wigs are the most versatile of all the styles. You can switch up your look every day just by putting on another wig. Depending on the quality of hair used for your wig, you can flat iron it, blow it out, curl it and so much more.
There are now lots of wig and weave options that mimic natural hair textures or are made from natural hair. So for the most natural, seamless look, these would be your best bet. Luckily, they come in all budgets too.
There can be a learning curve to wearing wigs, especially those with lace fronts.
They can start to smell if you don’t care for them properly. If your weave or wig hasn’t dried properly, it can get a mildew smell that can be off-putting to those around you. Also, don’t keep either of these in for too long- this is another reason that they often start to smell.
If You Don't Protective Style, Here Are Different Ways to Make Your Curls Pop
If you're not too keen on protective styling at the moment, then this section is for you. There are lots of ways to style your natural hair to make your curls pop and even temporarily 'reshape' your hair into a new curl pattern. Here are some of my favourite styles for this:
Wash and Go
As the name suggests, you literally wash your hair and once it dries, leave it as is. For the best results, make sure to moisturize your hair. This will encourage your natural curl pattern to form, although if your hair is really kinky, you won’t be able to see your curls because they are so tight. For you, your hair will look like a soft cloud, which I actually enjoy.
You can also use a product like our Poppin Curls Styler (that’s included in the 4-Step System) or our Curls Defined Cream to help set your curls once they appear. Once dried, shape your hair as desired, and you’re good to go.
Twist Outs and Braid Outs
For these two styles, it’s important to use a product to set the curl such as a gel, styling mousse or butter, and to only twist or plait well-moisturized hair. Once the hair dries, apply a few drops of oil to your fingers, and slowly unravel the twists or braids.
To enhance the volume, separate the twists or braids into even smaller sections- just be careful not to overdo it, or you’ll end up with a frizzy mess. You can also use an afro comb/ hair pick to lift the roots and make your twist out or braid out appear even fuller.
Roller Set and Straw Set
Just like they do it in the movies, you’ll take small or medium-size sections of damp hair and carefully wrap them onto a roller and pin it in place. To do a straw set, you use the exact same principle but you’ll wrap the hair on drinking straws and leave them in until your hair has dried. The roller set gives big, dramatic, even sexy curls while the straw set will give you ringlets reminiscent of a tight water wave.
For best results, make sure to apply a product that will help set the curl before you wrap the hair. Once dry, unravel the hair and fluff out to your desired volume.
We hope you have fun styling your curls.
The Prettykind Team