“You’re only as good as your tools”
When I heard Miko Branch say this quote the other day at the Chicago Naturals Meetup, it reminded me of the fact that because we, as black women, have been straightening our hair for so many decades we don’t even know where to begin when going natural. Our hair is not unmanageable. We just don’t know how to use the right tools. Our tools will empower us to reclaim our natural hair. Here’s a few that I find especially helpful in my daily routine:
This might sound simple, but just like a handyman needs different types of screw drivers, you need different type of combs. You’ll need a wide tooth comb with round, not sharp tips for detangling, a rat-tail comb for parting the hair and maybe a pick comb if you plan to “fro” out your hair or just want a little more volume.
2. Satin hair bonnet and occasional scarf
This tip goes even back to my days of wearing a relaxer. I could never go to bed without putting a scarf or bonnet on my head without my hair falling out. A satin bonnet or silk pillow case will help prevent the breakage and dryness that normally happens when you lay or your head on cotton. Furthermore, a bonnet is great for maintaining loose hairstyles, while a scarf is better when you need to tie up a style that needs to stay neat and in place.
3. Your fingers
Whether you are detangling, finger-styling, twisting, parting, braiding your fingers are like little machines at work in your hair. Like a machine, you can “program” your fingers into doing styles quickly and without having to spend so much time in the mirror. These days I don’t need to stand in front of the mirror and do my two-strand twist styles. I can sit on the couch with my family and watch a movie while my fingers do the work. Also, when detangling your hair, it’s best to “finger detangle” since your fingers can best feel for knots and tangles and maneuver better than a comb can. This will reduce the risk of breakage while detangling.
4. Water and moisturizers
Okay, technically these could be two separate points. However, the combo of water and a light moisturizer or hair milk will keep your hair from drying out, and keep those kinks and curls nice and springy. Depending on how fast your hair dries out, you may need to use this dynamic duo every day just to restore the sheen and moisture that you lost throughout the day or night.
5. Bobby pins, hair pins…and lots of them.
These little helpers are like the “glue” that hold our styles together. Any piece of hair that needs to be held in place, stick a bobby pin or two, or three in there and it’s done. Hair pins are great for securing “poofy” styles like pomps and french rolls. A word to the wise…do not use bobby pins after the rubber tips fall off because they will tangle up in the hair and cause breakage, plus, you may scrape your scalp as you push them in place—ouch!
Well, there are lots more tools we use to stay looking pulled together. What are some of your favorites?