January offers a clean slate to map out your hair goals and create a fresh start. Whether you want to try a new hairstylist or bid adieu to the same old style, put these 20 tips and tools to the test and get ready for your best hair year yet!
Forget the Idea of 'Perfect Hair'
In 2014, vow to not stress over having "perfect" hair. As any natural can attest, every day won't start out as a "good" hair day, but that doesn't mean you can't turn it into one. The good news is, every strand doesn't need to be perfectly pinned or placed for you to rock a fly hairstyle. A messy topknot or a wild-and-free puff always make for a quick and easy emergency hair fix.
Commit to a Trimming Schedule
Whenever the topic of trimming comes up, some of us curly girls cover our ears. Listen, here, ladies. Trimming your ends is a requirement for healthy hair. Curly hair especially needs to be trimmed because it's more prone to single strand knots. Even if your regimen is totally heat-free, put some shears to those ends at least three times this year. Deal?
Photo by Alison Buck
Don't Shy Away From Accessories
I'm a huge advocate of using accessories to add oomph to my natural hair, the same way that some ladies use accesories to spice up an outfit. If you've historically shyed away from oversized jewelry, make 2014 the year that you try something new. This especially goes out to my TWA sisters. Just because your curls are small doesn't mean your jewelry has to be!
Invest in a Hair Steamer
This is the single product that has changed my hair for the better. At first, I thought it was all hype, but after using my Huetiful Hair Steamer for two years now, I'm a big advocate of it. After shampooing, I apply my conditioner and sit under the steamer for 15 minutes. My hair is left hydrated and I'm left happy. ($117, available at Huetiful)
Rock an Out-There Afro
Many of us curly girls have given the afro a bad rap because it can cause our delicate curls to tangle. That's true, but you haven't spent all this time growing out your hair only to keep it hidden 24/7. Break out of your 2013 protective-styling-comfort-zone and let your hair loose, if only for a day.
Be Brave and Big Chop
If you've been transitioning for a while now, now's the time to let go of those relaxed ends for good. This year, pick a date to finally do the big chop and plan a fun night out that same day to show off your new look. There's nothing like getting dressed up and hanging with your girls to remind you how fabulous you are!
Go For Bold Makeup
When your hair is in a super-short TWA or you're rocking a halo of ringlets, there's no better way to top off your look than with a major makeup moment. If your beauty collection consists of only nudes and taupes, it's time to add some flavor, honey! Head over to CVS or Target and snag a $5 tube of neon orange or juicy red lipstick and go for the bold.
Protect Your Hair While You Sleep
You spend up to eight hours each night in the bed and if your pillowcase is made of harsh cotton fabric, you're putting your hair health at jeopardy. Invest in proper hair wraps that stay put while you slumber, such as these Silky Wrap hair items. This Diva Set contains a satin bonnet that's great for sleeping with rods or rollers, and the Diva Hair Wrap made of soft satin that perfectly protects the edges and nape. Make sure you're also sleeping on a satin pillowcase. ($39.99, available at Silky Wraps)
Find a New Hue
Hair color is an instant way to change your entire look. Whether you get a few face-framing highlights or an all-over shade shift, a new hue in 2014 is sure to spice up your style. Not ready to commit to chemicals? Dye some clip-in extensions and strategically place them into your hair. No one will ever know.
Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images
Dress Up Your Curls
If you tend to stick to updos or sleek styles for your after-five affairs, let 2014 be the year you break out of the box. Natural hair ruled the red carpet in 2013, so take your cues from our favorite Hollywood naturalisatas and try a kinky-curly look for your next night out on the town.
Put Yourself on a Hair Product Budget
If one of your New Year's resolutions is to save money, you may want to evaluate how much you're spending on hair products. Put yourself on a product testing plan that allows you to only buy a new product once you've used another one up. Or purchase a curlBOX subscription for $20 per month to receive a stash of new products to try once a month.
Try A Bold Updo
If you were not a fan of updos in 2013, this year it's time to give them a whirl. Updos are an amazing choice for two reasons. Not only are they sure to make a head-turning style statement, but they are also a nice alternative to protective styling because they hide away the ends of your hair and are low-maintenance.
Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic
Don't Be Afraid of Heat
Photo by Getty Images
Connect with Other Naturals
This is especially important if you're a newbie natural. Follow your favorite hair crushes on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with natural hair events in your area. When you find one to attend, strike up a convo with someone you meet there. You never know what little-known hair secrets you can learn from a new curlfriend.
Revitalize Thinning Edges
Some naturals suffer from thinning edges due to too-tight twists, braids and frequent updos. Beware: once your hair follicles are gone, that hair won't grow back. If your edges are thinning, stick to loose styles and massage your edges with Jamaican Black Castor Oil twice per day. ($10.99, available at Naturally Curly)
Keep Those Brows in Check
Short natural hair and updos, two favorite styles of naturalistas, draw much more attention to your eyes than if you were wearing your hair down. Thus, it's essential to make brow grooming a priority. This year, commit to finding a brow specialist and making an appointment just once per month. (Any more than that can cause too-sparse brows). In between visits, keep your eyebrows nice and neat at home using these tools.
Spend a Lazy Afternoon on YouTube
Yes, YouTube can be overwhelming, however, there's a ton of knowledge to gain if you invest the time and do your research. While not every YouTuber is a licensed hair professional, these ladies are very skilled at creating some amazing hairstyles, I tell 'ya! Find a few vloggers whose hairstyles you love and try them for yourself.
Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images
As the natural hair movement has grown, hair companies have introduced a wide range of extensions to match kinky-curly textures. Indique's Bounce Organic Curl has a natural wavy pattern that offers amazing versatility. To keep your tracks in tact, make sure to take care of your own hair underneath and protect it with a net or cap. (Starting at $189 per tube, Indique)
Get Healthy on the Inside, Too
Your diet plays a huge role in the health of your hair. Leafy green veggies are rich in iron which is essential for hair growth, while omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and nuts, are known to support scalp health. Drinking enough water is also important as it helps your body distribute and absorb nutrients which can impact hair growth.
Embrace the Natural YOU
Whether you just big chopped or have been rocking your curls for years, make 2014 the year you fully embrace the beautiful, natural YOU! No two heads of hair are alike, and your curls are just as amazing as your favorite hair crush's. Try a new style, get some bold highlights or rock a funky cut— and do it all with confidence. Make 2014 your best natural hair year yet!