Natural Woman: Maintaining Your All-Me Mane

ESSENCE.COM Dec, 11, 2009

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Rachel True, the former star of “Half & Half,” sports a bohemian-chic look with her shoulder-length spirals. “Healthy curls are hydrated curls,” says Branch. “Find a moisturizing hairdress that really penetrates, not just sits on top of your hair—and use it daily.”

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Jill Scott’s lustrous afro is as distinctly “her” as her throaty, soulful voice. “Make sure you detangle natural hair with every washing, at least,” says Branch. “Use a paddle brush…the teeth are made of pliable rubber, so they’ll detangle knots without breaking them off.”

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Here, Thandie Newton shapes her chemical-free curls with half-inch curling iron. “Curly-haired girls should sleep with a silk bonnet to keep hair from knotting up,” advises Branch.

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Extra anchor Tanika Ray works a casually sexy moment with her copper-kissed ringlets. “To refresh natural hair mid-day, try applying a moisturizing styling cream like Miss Jessie’s Buttercream.”

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Growing out your perm? Mask multiple-textured hair with a bountiful afro wig, a’la Erykah Badu. “The growing-out process can be frustrating because you’re dealing with two different textures of hair,” says Branch. “Try doing two-strand twists with rods on the ends, or a soft chignon.”

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We’re obsessed with Solange’s new, closely cropped cut. Gorgeous! “Nothing’s easier to maintain than a short natural,” says Branch. “Just apply a moisturizing styling lotion to keep it soft, brush through, and go!”

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“Community” actress Yvette Nicole Brown wowed Essence.com staffers with her bronze-streaked natural bob when she recently stopped by the office. Too cute.

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Model-turned-actress Noemie Lenoir’s delicious curls are perfectly defined. “A great way to define curls is by shingling,” says Branch. “Using the palm of your hands, smooth Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding throughout wet hair in sections, elongating the hair. Sit under the dryer for about fifteen minutes, and then blast the roots with a blowdryer to set the shape. Voila, bouncy curls!”

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Tracee Ellis Ross’ springy style is one of the most coveted hairdo’s in Hollywood! We love the jet-black color—it gives her strands an impossibly glossy look.

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