Ask the Experts: Four Fierce Natural Hairstyles You Can Do at Home

Ask the Experts: Four Fierce Natural Hairstyles You Can Do at Home
ESSENCE.COM Mar, 21, 2012

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There are two elements that we love about Tracee’s new look — her voluminous roller-set curls and the chic cinnamon hue. If you’re ready to spruce up your color for spring, Groover advises talking to a professional stylist for the best results. “If you’re looking to make a drastic hair color change, find a professional stylist,” says Groover. “At-home color kits are good for small sections or touch-ups only if you have specific recommendations and instructions from your hair stylist.”

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To create spirals like Tracee’s at home, Groover advises using flexirods. “Flexirods are great for creating curls on natural hair,” advises Groover. “Make sure you’re rolling medium-sized sections that are not too small or too thick. Roll the rods tight starting at the roots of the hair which will elongate your curls and create fullness.”

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“When setting the hair, I always recommend a leave-in conditioner that’s in a liquid form, such as the Design Essentials HCO Leave-In Conditioner,” advises Groover.

$9.90, available at Design Essentials.

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“The great thing about flexirods is that they come in different sizes. Choose a size depending on the thickness of your hair and how large you want your curls to be,” advises Groover.

$3-$5 per pack, available at beauty supply stores.

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If you’re wearing locs like Ledisi’s, creating full updos start with healthy hair. “All styles start with great cleansing and deep conditioning,” says Groover. “When maintaining locs, it’s also important that you don’t twist them at the roots too tightly. This could cause hair loss or in severe cases, alopecia.”

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To create a loc’d updo at home, start by setting your locs overnight on flexirods. Another DIY solution for curling locs is to use pipe cleaners from the craft store. Once the locs are curled, gather them at the front of the head and secure in place with extra large hair pins.

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Groover says that keeping locs properly moisturized is key to keeping them soft and healthy. “One of my clients sits under a hair steamer twice a week for 20 minutes and she has some of the most gorgeous, full hair I’ve ever seen,” says Groover. “A lot of time we think we’re adding moisture with oils or butters, but true moisture comes from water, which steam therapy is great for.”

$120, available at Huetiful.

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To help achieve styling versatility with locs, Groover advises using lightweight products that won’t cause a lot of buildup on the hair and scalp. “Light sprays like the Carol’s Daughter Macadamia Finishing Shine Mist will enhance flexibility and make the hair easier to maintain,” says Groover.

$18, available at Carol’s Daughter.

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When Nicole Ari Parker stepped out in flat-twists with a high bun at the ESSENCE Black Women in Music event, we instantly fell in love with this simple yet elegant style. “Flat-twists are great because they can be left in for a week or two with proper care. This will give the hair a break from daily styling and aid in length retention which is important for many women with natural hair,” says Groover.

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“The key to flat-twists is to start with dry, stretched hair. When twisting, make sure to use the right amount of tension without making them too tight. You should never feel pain around your edges or scalp. If you see little bumps along the hairline or have a headache when you’re done, you’re doing them too tight and could end up with hair loss,” says Groover. If you’re not an expert at creating flat-twists, YouTube can be a great resource for learning twisting techniques.

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If you want to add extra fullness to your bun, Groover advises experimenting with drawstring ponytails. “I love creating buns with loose hair rather than buying the pre-made buns that you can pin in,” says Groover. “You have a lot more versatility this way and it looks more natural.”

$23.95, available at Beverly Johnson.

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If you prefer to set your twists while the hair is still slightly damp after a wash, Groover says this foaming lotion is enhanced with protein that will help strengthen fragile strands while offering a flexible hold.

$13, available at Design Essentials.

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Esperanza is one of the very few celebs rocking her kinky-curly hair in its natural state. If you’re looking to flaunt your afro texture, too, Groover advises that you start by creating loose two-strand twists on dry hair to stretch tight coils. “If your hair is like Esperanza’s, you probably have a lot of shrinkage,” states Groover. “The easiest way to stretch kinky hair is to set the hair in 7 or 10 twists and let it air dry. Once the hair is dry, use an ionic blow dryer to pull out the roots to add even more fullness.”

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Another key thing to consider when wearing stretched, naturally kinky hair is how to protect the hair at night. “Coarse hair has a lot more memory to shape which is why you’ll wake up and have flat hair on the side you slept on. To prevent the hair from shrinkage overnight, pull the hair into a high bun or create four to six large twists before you go to bed,” advises Groover.

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“For a soft, nourishing hold, I like to mix shea butter with a little bit of my shine serum,” says Groover. “This will prevent coily hair from drying out while adding moisture and shine.”

$14, available at Curl Mart.

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In addition to braiding or bunning the hair at night, “a satin pillowcase is a must,” says Groover. “This is really important because if you’re a rough sleeper and your scarf comes off at night, at least your hair is still protected.”

$14.99 for two, available at Target.


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