Pursuit of Natural

life, levity, & the pursuit of natural


10 Comments

Banding

bandingpic2

I’d heard good things about banding your hair to stretch it. Here’s why it’s a no go for me.

What’s Good

It really stretched my hair way more than my normal two-strand twists. I was actually astonished at my length. Installing the bands was quick and uncomplicated and I could do larger sections. Of course, not having to use heat is always a plus.

How to Do It

Some people use multiple hair ties along the length of the section. I decided to cut up my favorite t-shirt into strips long enough to do the job. (The t-shirt had been ruined prior to that, of course.)

Starting at the root, grip one end of the band and the section of hair together, then start wrapping the free end of the band all the way down the section. It’s really simple. When I got to the end, I just tied it off onto itself. It took a bit longer to dry but was overall comfortable to wear.

bandingcollage1

The Disastrous Takedown

I wanted to stretch my hair using the banding method so that I could flat iron without blow drying and raking a comb attachment through it. I thought!

My hair was matted, so I had to spend an extra two hours combing it anyways. With so many hairs fused together, my patience was running thin and my temper running high. I thought it was because I didn’t have any product in my hair, so I tried again at a later date with my regular products. It was only marginally better but there was still matting.

So banding is a no go for me, but that’s how it is on this natural hair journey. It’s all about the trial and error. Let me know in the comments about your trials and errors. Have you discovered any methods that left you pleasantly surprised at how well they worked?

If you like this post, please take a second to “like” this post. Share, subscribe, and follow me on my other platforms via the sidebar.

 

Advertisements


3 Comments

The Tilt of my Crown Twist

crowntiltTHUMB

Looking back on my old pics, I noticed the tilt of my crown twist changed over time, I thought about why that was.

My first crown twist could just barely secure the hairs from the top of my head, they were so short. Even then, I’d have to use a bunch of bobby pins to keep everything in place. My twist sat far above my ears and halfway up the back of my head. Then one day I could twist around the very perimeter of my head without cutting across the back and sides.

I got to thinking about how my styles evolve with length. Installing mini twists take longer but they look better when worn down. My two strand twists got hangtime, and my twistouts look fuller.

Flat twists used to spring free in revolt, but with length they held fast. My puff used to stand neat and round, and then it grew wild and floppy.

Some styles improve with length, others lose their appeal and I have to find new looks. That’s the beauty of the journey. I’m loving the evolution, the versatility of my natural hair.

Are you enjoying your length? (If not, my Dear Newly Natural Me letters are for you!) Comment below and like this post. If you’re a fan of The Pursuit, subscribe and follow me @edinPON.


1 Comment

Protective Style Match-Up

stylematchupTHUMB

I can’t really speak to the pros and cons of protective styles with added hair. The last time I had extension braids in, I was the new girl in 3rd grade. So, here I’m addressing protective styles with just my own natural hair. And I’ve done twists (chunky, regular, mini), cornrows, and flat twists.

But which is the baddest of them all? Let’s compare!

Prep

For optimum results pretty much all of these styles require stretched hair. However, if I’m just wearing regular two-strand twists, I can style that on wet hair right after a wash. I just have to keep it stretched while it dries. So, points for the two-strand twists.

Install

Individual twists are more forgiving if my parts aren’t perfect. Not so with rows and flats. The parts are essentially part of the style. Before I started doing my parts on freshly washed hair, I estimate 75% of the time it took to install protective styles was spent just trying to separate those strands and get those parts straight.

Individuals are easier to weave than flats and flats are easier to install than rows. Naturally, the fastest, least fussy protective style to complete are two-strand twists.

Style

Twists are the most versatile because they behave like loose hair. Bun it, put it in a ponytail or even a bigger twist. I love the intricate designs you can create with flats or rows, but you’ll be wearing the same style for the long-term. I sometimes cheat and cornrow so that I can undo the ends without compromising the rest of my braids to add a high or low bun. Obviously, if your hair is really long you can do all sorts of amazing, voluminous buns without loosening the ends.

Maintenance

You can conceivably wash in twists, flats, and rows (I’ve done all of the above), and doing so makes wash day go by in breeze. However, you don’t have full access to your roots, so you have to agitate more vigorously and you still might not get totally clean. And what does all that extra agitation do to these style? We’ll get to how they hold up in the next section.

When it comes to applying products and remoisturizing, twists are easier because they are not all bundled together, meaning most of the hair and roots are reasonably accessible. Flats and rows require you to be much more diligent applying products in a manner that penetrates the nooks and crannies of the braids.

Longevity

Honestly, this one counts for so much for me. The whole reason I protective style in the first place is so I do my hair less often, so I cause less mechanical damage, so I gain more length retention and see healthier hair for all the effort it takes to install these styles.

Ya’ll, regular twists and flat twists are just not easy to maintain long-term. Because individuals aren’t secured down, they shrink easily. Because flats are not as secure as cornrows, the roots puff up and they come undone faster. Washing and wearing them have been a no-go for me. That means retwisting every week or more frequently depending on how neatly you want to keep them.

Mini twists can be redone, but really don’t need to be more than once or twice, and only a few of the twists, at that. Cornrows really aren’t meant to be redone in the interim. They are pretty much a set it and forget it style for me. They hold up the best after a wash. The roots hold fast, and I’ve found the weave pattern frizzes less.

All in all, I can wear my hair (without embarrassment) for a week with two-strand twists or flat twists, 2 weeks for cornrows, and a month for mini twists.

The Takedown

It goes without saying, the longer you leave your hair untouched, the more shed hairs get trapped in there, the more tangles and matting you’ll find, the more breakage, the more tears, et cetera. This is the main reason I don’t do mini twists but for once every other year. That takedown is a beast.

My roots are the most troublesome areas in general, and the less strands they are separated into the more tangled they are. Three strands (braids) are easier to detangle than two (twists). So, while I may only leave my twists in for a week, taking out my cornrows after two weeks hasn’t proved any more arduous for me. It takes me 2 hours either way.

The Winner

It depends on your needs, of course! For hair vaycays, mini twists. Hands down. When I’m busy and need quick styles, twists and flat twists. I can easily undo them if I need some pizzazz with a twistout or just bangs.

But, right now, I’m on a length retention goal and cornrows balance regular upkeep with low manipulation, which is what’s best for my needs.

All of these protective styles are winners for me.

If you like this post then  “like” this post! Subscribe and join The Pursuit, and follow me @edinPON


4 Comments

Transitional Styling

 

thelastsection3

Not to be confused with transition styles, which blend your textures when you are growing your natural hair but still have relaxed ends. I’m talking about how I take my hair from one state to the next, through the week and towards wash day with less mechanical damage. To that end, it does not include extensive re-twisting or resetting.

These days, I’m all about those cornrows and low buns, so the only transitioning I do is from post-wash twists or rollerset (to stretch my hair while it dries) to my long term style. But when I’m rocking my hair out, transitional styling helps minimize the inevitable wear on my fro by keeping it stretched while reducing the amount of time I have my hands in my hair.

I would start with stretched free hair for about two days, which is how long my stretched puffs last before looking tired. Then, I’d transition to a full or partial protective style that did not require too much sectioning or strand separation, because those are the top two ways I experience breakage. Halo twists and buns are my go-to for this reason. I’m either gathering my hair or doing one part down the middle. Finally, I’d go into a prep state the day before wash day. Each stage is an opportunity to lightly re-moisturize and lightly remove tangles and shed hair, but this last stage is where I would do a proper breakdown before putting my hair into twists to facilitate a tangle-free and organized wash process.

The goal, for me, is to be mindful of every point of contact with my hair. How many times a week am I messing with it? How many times in one styling session am I re-arranging and re-pinning? When it starts to fro out in my hands, I know I’m doing way too much. Having your hands in your hair doesn’t need to be a major production. If you’re on a length retention regimen but still want to show it off once in a while, keep it simple and let it thrive.

Quick shoutout to @Kimmaytube, who also has good weekly regimens with similar concepts.

Do you wear your hair out currently? How do you style it through the week? Comment below, and if you enjoy The Pursuit, like, share, and follow me here and @edinPON.

 

 

 


1 Comment

Signature Styles for the Style-Challenged

I was young and carefree once. It was a glorious time, when I didn’t have to do my hair at all–when my mom or sister had to drag me away from play, pin me down, and tame the mess on my head.

Growing up, I thought one should change hairdos like one would change outfits, because only boring old people wore the same hairstyle every day. Never mind I didn’t have to do any of the work and spent zero time on upkeep in between. ¿Por qué? For what? It was a magical time, and the curling iron was the magic wand that made it all possible.

Fast-forward (speed: x8), and I’m happily one of the boring “old” people with just a few signature styles on rotation, because, yes, it does take a decent amount of work to stay fierce. Especially as a natural. And, also, I did not inherit the creative styling gene my mom and sis have.

When you see me, I’ll likely be rocking a halo twist, puff, bun–and a beanie and bangs as long as the weather permits.  Signature styles are a must, if you’re style-challenged like me, and here’s why:

1. It’s protective

When I tell you my hair weeps when I attempt some heretofore untested, unknown, funky style I didn’t prep for, I mean that my ends are breaking off and raining down. Hyperbolic, sure, but I can’t stress enough that the less I manipulate my hair the happier it is. Save for the puff, my signature styles keep my ends tucked away and my hands out of my fro.

2. Time management

Signature styles are quick and easy to achieve, overnight and even minutes before I’m out the door. Girl, when I tell you, I’ve spent hours on some style that looked good in my head but looked like trash on my head, I felt like fighting somebody. Instead, I’d just twist it up all huffy, knowing good and well it’s too tight, but I don’t care ’cause it’s late and I’m tired, and we ain’t redoing this again in a day or two!

3. Predictability

Trial and error is part and parcel of being natural–but y’all. I can’t be having tragicomedies every wash day. With my signature styles, I’ve done them so many times that I’ve mastered every step of the process, from pre-poo to updo. I know how long it will take to install, how long it will last, and how well they transition into other styles if I do get bored.

4. Reliability

I’ve lost sleep on whether or not my twist and curl will look right in the morning. Granted, that was because the rollers were annoying to sleep in, but for all that tossing and turning, what did I get the next day? I got to do my hair all over again, that’s what. So, whenever I’m unsure what to do with an old twistout or freshly washed hair, and I’m tempted to be bold and, like, cornrow or something, I return to my signature styles and keep it pushing.

And all of this leads to…

5. Low stress

For me and my edges. Running late, last minute meeting, laziness forgot to refresh my situation? I fall back on a signature style, confident it will look good and take no time at all to pull off. I stick with styles that won’t leave me with a ton of take down or break down work at the end of the day, or an unseemly amount of mechanical damage to contend with at the end of the week. When all else fails, I throw a hat on with some twist out bangs.

I was young and carefree once. Now, I don’t care how many times you see me in my halo twist.

Are you style-challenged? What are your staple ‘dos? Where do you go for inspiration? Comment below or follow me on Twitter @edinPON.


3 Comments

The Puff is the Real MVP

How clutch is the puff? Gather-it-on-top-of-your-head-and-go clutch. It goes high and low, and can salvage most bad hair days. You just cannot go wrong with an afro puff.

Or so I thought. In my 2nd year natural, I got my life with that cute and sporty  baby puff, but then something strange happened in my 3rd year. While most of my hair stayed in formation, the crown exploded into an overgrown bush that even water and shrinkage couldn’t tame. I could pick and tug and pat forever, and my puff would still topple over in front, making the back look flat and the whole style far from round, let alone uniform.

#mixTexProblems

Just when I was about ready to bench my star player, I switched up my technique and put a new spring in my coils. Like I wrote in the previous article, installing curls gives me more control over my style, targeting shrinkage or hangtime where my hair needs it. So, now I exclusively rock bantu puffs and roller set puffs. It’s one extra step, but I can still gather-and-go in the morning.

For the curious, I use an old black stocking to tie it up, and at night I pineapple with a scarf. When it’s time to remoisturize, usually on day 3, I just put it all away in a protective style instead of fighting with reversion. That’s the best part of my curly puffs; my hair is already stretched and ready to transition to a different style. With full shrinkage, I’d be battling knots and dreading the detangle…and putting it off only to compound the issue. (Y’all know how it is.)

When I’m not in protective styles, the puff is my go-to. Dressed up or dressed casual, it is versatile and hard screw up.

What’s your favorite “out” style? Chime in below or catch me on Twitter @edinPON.


Leave a comment

Tightrope and Tension

monaelol2

So, there I was getting my Janelle Monáe on, when a stab of pain hit me right in the pompadour. I knew I was working with old hair but The Itch could not be that bad already.

Maybe dry scalp? An infected micro-cut from scratching? I even tried spot cleaning but the pain came right back.

Finally, I took down my updo, and my scalp said, “What were you thinking?”

I was thinking my length at the time was just enough to get creative like the Electric Lady. Maybe. Sort of. If I pulled it in well-well and pinned it down in a hundred-and-one places. Bad idea. We all know tension is the enemy of edges, but on a tender head tension anywhere can be a literal headache.

Me and slack became best friends after that. I love a style that’s laid and slayed, but I gotta keep my balance. So, I incorporate volume into my ‘dos to give sleekness a rest, and I think twice before triple-tying or giving my stocking just one more tug around my puff. I also treat myself to a scalp massage once in a while, especially when I’m wearing a style that stays put and my roots get stiff.

You might also find that, like mine, your sensitive scalp abhors the feel of bobby pins poking or even slightly rubbing against it. I try to carefully insert the pin raised away from the scalp to avoid such irritations. If I can feel it sliding in, it’s too close.

So, mini-Monáe (pictured above) didn’t last the day, but I learned to be a bit more conscious about walking that line between haute hairstyles and a happy head.

What are your scalp sensitivities and tips for dealing with them? Feel free to share–and find me @edinPON on Twitter where I mostly share the work of others in the community and anything else that strikes my fancy.