Q: How can I get my style to last? Is there an alternative to wetting and putting leave-in conditioner in my hair every day?
A: Naturalistas are always in search of that elusive ‘second-day hair’ — a style that lasts forty-eight hours and still looks fab! Here’s the thing: achieving predictable second, third, or fourth-day hair takes preparation, starting with a solid, moisture-based regimen on wash day, followed by protective measures at night, and if necessary, some refreshing the morning after. Here’s how:
Properly moisturized curls retain their definition and ward off frizz. On wash day, use a gentle, non-stripping shampoo, deep condition with heat, use a leave-in conditioner and follow up with an oil to seal in the goodness. Tip: apply your leave-in and oil in a downward motion to smooth the cuticle, and in small sections, to ensure it’s evenly and thoroughly distributed.
Many naturalistas find that their curls last longer if they have the ‘crunch factor’ from a styling gel or cream on Day One. A firm hold product locks in the curls, resulting in a ‘perfect’ and less voluminous look (that many don’t like), that’ll slowly loosen up and fluff up with time. If you choose this route, apply the styler after your leave-in and oil, and look for Aloe Vera gel in the ingredients list, since it encourages definition and provides moisture.
Once your products are in and your hair is styled, don’t touch it, or you risk major frizz! You have to allow your style and curls to properly set.
Pineappling, or gathering your curls in a high, loose ponytail will keep your curls from shrinking, flattening and frizzing. If your hair is shorter, you can try a low, loose pony, or multiple loose ponytails. Other naturals find re-twisting, re-braiding, or bunning to be a better method of curl preservation. No matter your bedtime style of choice, everyone should cover up with that a satin or silk bonnet, and sleep on a satin-covered pillow.
Even with preparation, our curls can be a bit unpredictable. Salvage your style by coating the frizzy pieces with a leave-in conditioner/water mix, finger curling and twisting the flattened pieces, or spritzing with a mix of water, Aloe Vera gel and oil. If all else fails, rock a fierce updo!