Basic Hair Maintenance Through out the Lengths

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Here are a few rules to live by:

To all my TWA Ladies.
Length: 0.5 - 2 inches, unstretched.

Meet TheStarvingArtist... Want to know more about this gorgeous lady? Follow her on twitter @denisiotruitt

1. Love thy Teeny Weeny Afro. Adore it. You can have so much fun with your TWA - throw some dazzle in there with some hair pretties! Enjoy how healthy your hair is at this moment... Keep a hair journal and take pictures! You won't believe how fast your hair grows.

2. Regularly moisturizing your hair is not a matter of choice, it is mandatory. Failure to adhere to this rule is punishable by drastic breakage. Having a TWA allows you to co-wash (wash your hair with conditioner as you would with a shampoo) as often as you like (everyday - every other day!) you don't have to worry about shrinkage and detangling. Use the your moisturizing spritz daily or interchangeably with a water based moisturizing hair cream (mineral oil free of course). Remember: only comb/ manipulate your hair when lathered in conditioner. Invest is a great leave in conditioner... I envy you.

3. Seal in the moisture with a natural oil. This comes with a disclaimer: use only a 2009 mint Kenya shilling amount on your palm, rub it and apply to your moisturized ends. A little goes a long long way.

4. Keep your scalp clean and clarify your hair (roughly once every two to three weeks), clarifying your hair will remove the product build up. Be sure to use a sulphate free clarifying shampoo or some good old diluted baking soda / apple cider vinegar. Works like a charm.

5. Carry out a deep protein condition at most, once a month/ only when need be, start loving that silk/ satin bonnet every night.

"Awkward" Never Looked So Good.
Length: 2 - 4 inches, unstretched.

****Let me explain; you know that stage where you're pretty darn sure you're TWA has graduated to something else, but it's not a Big A** Fro yet... not just yet. Yeah we don't have a name for that stage but we sometimes refer to it as the awkward phase. On hindsight, we think the word has a negative connotation, so at this juncture, we welcome any diva-inspired suggestions to name this phase.

1. This stage is critical both psychologically and mechanically. You want to experiment with new styles as seen on the interweb; you are more risqué and adventurous with your hair. This urge is synonymous with Post-Twa-Syndrome (PTS) - a condition that, if not well managed, can lead to numerous bad hair decisions and one that has forced many to revert back to the creamy crack. So the first word of advice to you lovely ladies is to calm down and keep to the basics.

2. Natural hair will always and forever require regularly moisturizing. There is no going around this. The Awkward phase has a slight hitch in that your hair will only thrive with minimal manipulation. We would advise that you cut down on your cowashes to 2 -3 times a week max. DO NOT RUB YOUR HAIR when washing or co-washing, i.e. don't go scrubbing your scalp like you see on TV! This will cause unnecessary matting and tangling. We would advice that you section your hair and very patiently and very gently apply the conditioner from root to tip, all the while squeezing through the section. This will take time but believe me, it comes highly recommended. Detangle your conditioner saturated hair in sections, first with a wide tooth comb, and (if you wish) follow up with a denman brush to give you a more defined curl.

3. It is paramount that you keep your hair tangle free as it continues to grow. The best advice we would give to any one at this phase is to get familiar with protective styling. Fight the urge to carry out wash-n-go's, in fact, don't ever do a wash-n-go again. Those days are long gone my friend. After a thorough co-washing and detangling session, put on some regular two-strand twists as you moisturize and seal your hair. I know it's a big ask, but try and stretch them out for as long as you can, a week if possible! Then let your hair out on the weekend and enjoy a lovely twist out... If you cannot keep your hands off your hair, we suggest long term protective styles such as chunky box braids, braided corn-rows, or even wigging it out!

Low to no manipulation is the aim here.

4. As always, keep your scalp clean, carry out protein treatments on the minimum/ only when needed, love your night satin scarf.

The Big Bad Fro.
Length: You will know it when you see it.

This stage is what I like to call Natural hair Nirvana...
You woke up one day and BAM! You have an afro! And not just any afro... A BIG ASS FRO! It took a while but you finally made it. But you are not out of the woods yet, (I am starting to believe we never really get out of the woods...) there are still rules and regulations to adhere to with regards to natural hair care.

1. Cowashing: Best way to go about this is to prep your hair for the cowash. Section your hair and gently finger detangle the sections with your moisturizing spritz. Grab each section and make chunky two-strand twists or three strand twists (matutas). Cowash the sections with your moisturizing conditioner... remember, no violent rubbing. Detangle the sections with a wide tooth comb, (you may choose to follow up with a denman brush). The size of your shed ball will be a lot bigger as your hair grows, this is because of the accumulated length, so don't worry about it. Follow this up with your moisturizing session and seal with a natural oil of your choosing.

2. Stretching your hair is as easy as 1,2,3! After you have cowashed, detangled and moisturized your hair, section your hair and do around 8 - 10 firm, but not tight three strand twists. Let your hair dry completely. This might take all day, so keep yourself occupied, or do it at night. In the morning, (once dry) undo the sections and make smaller, neater two strand twists (using very little moisturizer). You will notice that your hair will have stretched from the last session. Keep the new two strand twists for another day, and guess what's next... RETWIST again using your moisturizer and minimal spritz. By day three, your open hair will be big and bountiful.

3. Never let your hair shrink. Ever. Again, no wash and go's - reason being the detangling session will cause violent and unnecessary breakage. Try and keep your hair constantly stretched by twisting your hair or tying loose buns before you sleep. Wash/ cowash your hair only in braided or twisted sections. Let your twists dry out completely before you leave your hair out to play.

4. The longer your hair grows, the more you employ methods of protective styling. All the famous naturals RARELY leave their fro's out. Low to No manipulation is the only way to ensure long and healthy hair. Twists, cornrows, and buns are a common staple and we would advise you to get used to having them on. Let your open hair out only for special occasions or for weekend frolics. But of course, this is upon your prerogative.

5. Trim your hair once every three months. By trim, I mean dust. Dusting is literally snipping out the bare minimum of your edges.

6. No need to repeat this but I will anyway; keep your scalp clean, carry out protein treatments on the minimum/ only when needed, love your night satin scarf.

Thanks for reading... HAPPY DECEMBER 1st!
Mwixx said...

Just what I needed for the festive season, I'm in the P-TWA phase and always leaving my toto-fro out!

Keep 'em coming girls!!

Anonymous said...

love this post! Am at that P-TWA stage and felt like you guys were talkin bout me! Thnx again for the tips ladies, great job as always


evbu said...

i am doing the big chop after transitioning for three months this weekend. i went shopping for all the stuff i'll need for this new hair journey which i am looking forward to. i am armed and ready! it was so hard finding a sulphate free shampoo! so i settled for himalaya herbals, just to try it out. which are the sulphate free shampoos out there that i can find locally! sniff!

Anonymous said...

This is one of your best posts yet! Enjoyed reading.

On sulfate-free shampoos, there is still some debate about whether they are really that bad or not. FYI: Sodium laureth sulfate and other similar ingredients are added to shampoo simply because they lather well i.e. produce foam which most of us associate with cleansing action. They are also surfactants which basically means they help to lift oils, grease, dirt etc from your scalp and hair.

@Evbu, you can always co-wash your hair but it might be a good idea to shampoo once in a while to avoid buildup especially if use gels or products containing silicone or waxes. There are low-sulfate shampoos as well e.g. Tresemme or you can dilute the shampoo before use. Experimenting with different brands also helps, the ingredient list may look the same but there always certain subtle differences in formulation.

Also keep in mind, sulfate-free formulations are being marketed more aggressively now because of the current obsession with organic and natural stuff. Most of the companies selling sulfate free shampoos also have formulations containing sulfates e.g. L'Oreal. Obviously, naturally derived ingredients would be more desirable but they may not always work as well because of some of our hair-styling habits as described above. There is still alot of debate even among stylists and cosmetic chemists on whether it actually makes a difference. (P.S. Check out the NY Times article below). In short, the jury is still out on this one


5by5 said...

I'm in the awkward 'too long to be short' phase and I tell ya, my hair has mood swings! Thanks 4 the info!

kinky_lockz said...

gorgeous pics! i came for the info too :) gurrrl, i was going to cut my hair again during the awkward stage. that psychological warfare was no joke.

TheStarvingArtist said...

Hey that first picture is me!!!! :-)

Kurly said...

Hey LADIES! I think we have a name.. P-TWA/ Post TWA! Perfect. Trust me when I say it gets easier, just hang in there lovelies.

@TheStarvingArtis GASP! You are drop dead GORGEOUS! You had us wanting nothing more than to chop of our hair and run about in blue eyeshadow (true story)..

Thanks for letting us use you photo. You are a source of inspiration for lots of ladies out there. We would love to do a post on you if you would be so kind!

Lots of love from Africa

TheStarvingArtist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lily said...

hey. love the blog. could you please do an article on suggested "awkward phase" hairstyles? because i never know what to do with mine other than hiding under hats & hoodies :/ cheers!

A first time blogger said...

Very enlightening. I'm a new natural (1 week to be precise) and really needed this coz it feels like am learning how to swim in the deep end.

Fredricoinc said...

I am printing this out now n putting it on my bathroom mirror! :) love

Na'Keia Haynes said...

Thanks for this article, I am in that awkward phase right now, but I love it. Headbands have become my best friend. When I am not rocking two strands, placing my hair back in a headband gives me a simulated cute puff

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