Ask the Experts: Maintaining Frizz-Free Natural Hair

Score sleek, straight natural hair with these top tips.

ESSENCE.COM Oct, 17, 2012

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If your hair is relaxer-free but you still enjoy wearing it straight, then you've probably experienced a few days of frizz, pouffy hair. For those of us who want to maintain natural hair while wearing it flat-ironed, here are a few tips from Alexandra Williams, founder of Sporty Afros blog. Williams knows a thing or two about keeping her tresses in check—she's completed 5 triathlons, 1 half-marathon and 1 duathlon—all while maintaining healthy, fabulous hair.

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Pin curls are an easy way to make your straightened hair go the distance whether you're going for a workout or have to brave a rainstorm.   "Use bobby pins, a brush and a little argan or ayurvedic oil to pin curl your hair in big chunks," advises Williams. "Then, wrap a silk scarf over your hair. If you're working out, let it dry completely before taking it down."

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Topknots and ponytails are two styles that work well with natural hair that has been straightened. "Using a little of your favorite nourishing oil, twist your ponytail around and arrange it in a bun," advises Williams. "Also, be sure to invest in quality ponytail holders, as cheaper ones may break your hair."

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"Anti-humectant products help keep moisture away from your hair by providing a small barrier between your hair and the environment. These products also help repel water absorption," says Williams.  "Aveda's Brilliant Anti-humectant Pomade ($20, available at Aveda) gets rave reviews for keeping hair tame in the most humid environments."

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Given the heat you've put on your hair during the straightening process, it's imperative that you keep it hydrated for the best results. "Argan and ayurvedic oils works great. They keep your hair shiny and moisturized without weighing it down," says Williams.

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Since your edges will usually be the first section of your hair to revert, camouflage those breakthrough curls with a cute and comfy headband.  "Colorful headbands are great for adding a little pizazz to your hairstyle. Whether you’re wearing a bun or wearing it down, you can still look cute," says Williams.  Just be sure your headband is lined in satin or you could risk thinning edges.

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Whether you're maintaining your straight hair via pin curls or tucking it behind your ear, you'll always need to have a handful of bobby pins nearby. "Long bobby pins offer extra hold to make sure your hair stays in place," says Williams. "Forever 21 offers several varieties for only $1 a pack!"  (Love and Beauty Bobby Pins, $1, available at Forever 21)

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Instead of wearing your hair bone straight, a slightly wavy look can be achieved with braids and looks just as fabulous as bone-straight hair. "Utilize this hairstyle a few days before it’s time to wash your hair. At night, French braid your hair in two-to-four sections using a light styling product."   If it's a humid day or you're coming from the gym, be sure to let your hair dry completely before taking the braids down to avoid frizz.

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Correctly prepping your hair for bed can make all the difference between a press that lasts one day versus one week.  Wrapping your hair at night and sleeping in the right head wraps will help your 'do stay sleek.  Avoid cotton scarves pillowcases like the plague!  Their rough fibers will cause dryness, frizz, and even worse, breakage.

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This tip might sound contradictory to the story angle here, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow! If your roots start to rise, roll with it and style accordingly.  "I hate to say it but the longer you want to keep your press, the pouffier your hair is going to get," says Williams.  "You have natural hair, so embrace it!  Opt for full waves or a poufy pony instead of bone straight hair."


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