Written by: Melissa Martin
Natural Hair has evolved over the past decade. More women are wearing their natural tresses in various forms, styles, cuts and colors. All ethnicities have embraced the beauty of adorning themselves in a hue of natural hair. Textured hair is no longer frowned upon, but is now graced from boardrooms to magazine covers.
The question often arises to the care of this wonderful phenomenon. Being a healthy hair stylist, the forefront for my clients are to strategically format or develop a plan individualized for each client whether they choose chemically treated hair or not. The reason for such customization of care is to address each person's hair care needs. Some clients are in a transitional stage, where I have to remain aware of the chemically treated hair and the non-chemical texture as it grows out with keeping the strands intact and free from breakage.
Another concern for natural hair is the constant confusion between dry/brittle hair and the ability for the hair to maintain a high gloss sheen. These are two different situations altogether. One client may need to attack it from an inner level with a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables. Other clients may need to have a balance of protein and moisture to remedy this problem. The need for plenty of water to keep the body, hair and skin hydrated is considered a year’s old cliché. Sometimes hydration therapy treatments are utilized to fill moisture from the intercellular level (infuse moisture from the cortex layer). Natural weightless sheen comes from the inside out and starts at the shampoo bowl with proper cleansing of the hair fibers.
Each hair strand is formed by three layers; the outermost layer is the cuticle layer. The cuticle layer is transparent and lies like the shingles on your roof top. With this understanding, the cortex layer or middle of the hair is the true vision of healthiness from each strand. When the cuticle layer is completely closed it reflects light thus projecting sheen. The cuticle layer can become damaged by heat styling from irons, blow dryers and even UV rays from exposure to the sun. When the cuticle layer is raised by the natural curl pattern of the hair then, light cannot be reflected properly. At each bend of the curl pattern the cuticle layer is extended or stretched. The importance of moisture to soften the cuticle layer so it becomes and remains pliable, smooth and subtle is vital for weightless, vibrant sheen. At this point you would want to consult a hair care professional for the best therapy for your hair texture and type.
STYLING NATURAL HAIR
The question is, "What do I do with my hair now that it is natural?" As a professional stylist I address this by manipulating the hair with various techniques to get the clients desired look. Using such techniques as two stranded twists, to create a smoothed coiled look or wavy intentions to give a guided textured look. Flexi rods are used to create spirals of textured curls ranging from small to larger corkscrews. Finger twirls create natural ringlets providing the curl pattern is soft and pliable. Twisted knots make a style in itself or can be loosened for an exquisite afro. Twisted knots, cornrows and two strand twists can be worn as a sleek, ethnic fashion look for everyday or special occasions. All of these techniques must be accompanied by products that aid in the moisture retention and molecular weight needed to surround each strand for ease of styling.
As an added bonus, most styles can be mastered on your own strengths as you learn your particular hair texture and grooming needs. Developing a relationship with a stylist to assist you will be beneficial. Whether you are in transition or have styling desires, visiting your stylist for therapy on moisture and conditioner needs will give you optimum results as you explore your crown of glory.
Adorn your smile with your crown 🙂