Keys to Styling 🔑
The main purpose of this blog is to offer major keys for successful styling; so I won't be discussing specific tutorials for each style. I think hair tutorials are best explained through videos, so stay tuned for my Favorite Youtubers blog!
First things first, for most styles to be successful you need to make sure your hair is clean and detangled before starting. You can detangle as you are styling or before, but it is a necessary step. It’s up to you if you want to use a comb or brush, but I always prefer my fingers. Second, make sure you are SEALING moisture in when you do these styles. When we put water on our hair it hydrates it... but once that water dries, that moisture is gone. You want to lock in any moisture you put in your hair with an oil or butter. Styles don't last long on dirty, dry, tangled hair.
Twist Outs/Braids Outs
I like to do these styles with my hair damp but shrinkage will make the twists/braids shorter. If you want your hair to be longer you’ll have to stretch your hair first, let it dry, then use products with minimal water when twisting/braiding.
Major Keys 🔑
Pull your hair downwards and make sure you are twisting/braiding tightly - this is the key to definition.
Use a good amount of product and distribute it evenly. Don't just slap it on top of your hair. The product helps smooth your hair and helps it take on the texture of the braid/twist. If a product gets on the ends of your hair and not the roots, the ends will be super defined and the roots won’t be.
When you get to the end of the twist/braid, use extra product (these are your oldest hairs, take care of them! :) & twirl the end of the twist/braid around your finger. This will coil the ends of each twist/braid since it is hard to keep twisting/braiding all the down.
Let it marinate. Don't be in a hurry to take your twists/braids out. In my opinion, the longer you leave it in the more defined it will be and the longer the definition will last.
Untwist/unbraid gently with oil on your hands. The more careful you are during this process, the more the curls will stay intact.
You can try to take apart each of the untwisted parts even more but it will probably lead to frizz. There’s nothing wrong with a little frizz though, it’s up to you!
Pick out your roots for bigger hair.
Product Application Order: Water → Leave in Conditioner/ Styler → Oil to seal
Go-To Stylers: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie or Cantu Coconut Curling Cream (I’ve never used a gel for my twist out but many people do.)
Bantu Knots/Flexi Rods/Perm Rods
I’m not gonna lie... I prefer not to do these lol! They take forever to dryyyyy and I am not bold enough to wear the knots out as is. You really can't wear flexi rods or perm rods out either and they are hard to sleep with when in your hair. SOOO these styles just aren't for me. But some people can pull off wearing bantu knots out and issa lewkkk. I’m not included in that list lol. If you have a dryer and don't mind using heat that’s a great alternative to air drying.
Major Keys 🔑
It's better to do this style on partially dry hair or hair that is already stretched because of the long drying time. These styles DEFINITELY work better on stretched hair.
Work in SMALL sections, especially if your hair is thick. Small sections dry faster, product is distributed more evenly, and your hair will lay smoother. If you don’t have the time/patience to do smaller sections everywhere, you can just do smaller sections in the parts of your hair that you know are super thick and dry really slow.
Use a mousse or foaming wrap lotion for these styles.
Make sure your products get on each strand or else some parts won’t be defined. The product distribution is even more important with these styles than with twists/braid outs.
Wrap your bantu knots/flexi rods/perm rods tightly and make sure your hair is laying smoothly on the rods.
Don’t roll the hair on top of itself. As you roll your hair onto the rod, you want the length of the hair to lay across the entire rod. If all the hair is rolled on top of each other in one place on the rod it will take even longer to dry.
With bantu knots, wrap your hair around the bottom of the knot that is forming rather than wrapping the hair on top of itself. (Pictured below)
Make sure it’s dry lol or else all that time was wasted... Your hair will revert.
Apply oil all over the hair before taking out. Use oil on your hands when unraveling curls.
Separate curls gently and slowly. Don't separate each curl a million times - this will get rid of the definition and cause frizz.
Don't force a section to separate. Separate pieces that are naturally coming apart.
Fluff roots with a pick and shake ya curls out!
Product Application Order: Minimal Water (Optional) → Leave In Conditioner (Optional) → Foaming Mousse → Oil
Go-To Styler: LottaBody Wrap Me Foaming Mousse
Wash n Go
Quick clarification… This isn't literally a wash and go lol. It’s a wash and define every single curl on your head for 4 hours, then go (if you have my hair texture). I don’t do these often because they take a long time. Some people are able to just hop out of the shower and apply some gel, and go. But once again, I am not included on that list. I guess I could hop out of the shower and apply some gel but my hair would be super dry and undefined.
Major Keys 🔑
Be careful about what products you’re combining with your gel. It may cause flakes.
Mix a small amount of each product you are using in your hand BEFORE YOU START styling. If it mixes clear, then they mix well together! If the products start to clump and look like cottage cheese in your hands, that means they will probably cause flakes when your hair dries. Try a different product combination instead.
Use a lot of water to help bring out your natural curl pattern
Small Sections + Maximum Gel = 🔑
Use A LOT of gel to clump and define your curls. I don't have much of a natural curl texture so when I say A LOT, I mean, A LOT! I have seen youtubers do wash n gos and was so jealous watching because I thought this style wasn’t possible on my hair since I don’t have natural curls. I finally tried it multiple times and figured out that my curls will form if I use enough gel.
Trimmed hair is best for wash n gos because the ends will curl well.
If you have a hooded dryer, I would recommend using this after applying your products because my wash n gos always shrink a lot.
Some people use the banding method to stretch their wash n go but banding ruins my curls so I don't like to do that. (Banding method pictured below)
Product Application Order: Water (a lot) → Cream/Styler → Gel
Go-To Styler: Cantu Curl Activator Cream + Olive Oil Eco Styler Gel
One of the simplest and quickest styles!! I like to do this style with old twist outs, old wash n gos, etc. because there's usually some definition still left from my previous style.
Major Keys 🔑
Make sure you moisturize and seal your hair extra well whenever doing this style because all your hair will be out and the air will pull all the moisture out. I use a THICK leave in or butter when preparing for this style because those products stay in my hair longer. Thin leave in conditioners won’t keep my puff moisturized for long.
Optional: Apply gel to the perimeter of hair (the part that will be laid not the puff portion) and brush the hair in the direction of where your puff will sit to lay and smooth the hair down.
Use an old cut stocking or string to tie the puff, that way you can adjust the tightness and the placement of the puff on your head. Maybe leave some little hairs out by your ears or by your neck in the back. It doesn't have to be super neat, do as you want.
If you’re doing this style over and over again, remember that it is pulling on your edges.
Pick and fluff your fro as you please. Lay ya edges if you can (my edges never stay down so I never do lol)
Product Application Order: A little water → Leave-In/Cream/Butter → Oil
Go-To Styler: TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer + Almond Oil or Castor Oil
I always just throw on a satin bonnet or satin scarf to cover my styles. I don’t put it in a pineapple or anything because it messes with how the style lays. In the morning, just fluff and adjust the hair to your desired look. Be careful with using too much water or products with water in it because your hair may revert back to its natural state.
Recovering “Failed” Hairstyles
If you fail trying these styles it’s okay! I didn’t perfect any of my styles the first time and most of the famous natural hair people you see on social media didn’t perfect it the first time either. It takes time and as I will keep mentioning, you have to keep practicing. Your hair also learns as you learn, so a lot of times your hair will get adjusted and take a style easier than it did the first or second time. Keep trying!
Don’t throw all that work away even if you don’t like the look! There are still other ways to wear your hair even with the “failed” style rather than restarting! Be creative :) I posted some inspiration pictures at the bottom for ways to restyle your style quickly.
Low slick back “ponytail”
Use bobby pins to form frohawk or a pinned back style
Flat twist or cornrow front of hair into a puff or low ponytail
Half up/half down styles
Buns & Updos
Use a hat, visor, headwrap! (Hundreds of quick & easy headwrap tutorials on Youtube)