Monthly Archives: July 2011

Flat-twist Up-do Style

Part of the beauty of natural hair is the ability to have fun and experiment. Here, I show you one of my favorite styles I found on youtube–the flat-twist up-do thingamagigga. I say that because it can be whatever you want it to be. The first time I did this style I let the two-strand twist hang straight down. Here, am showing them curled. After I got tired of the two-strand twist, I left the up-do in place and did a twist-out on the side.

This is a very classy and versatile style. Here’s some tips on how I achieved this look:

  1. Wash, condition, detangle and section off the hair. You can keep the hair moist with a spray bottle. Decide to which side you want the hair to fall. I put my part slightly to the left of the middle of my head.
  2. Do the flat twist first. Get a scrunchy or hair tie for the two-stand twist portion and make sure it’s out of the way.Start flat-twisting from the top. I use styling gel or loc and twist gel.
  3. The key to making the spiral effect is to start parting straight to the back and then change the direction going up. Keep twisting straight to the back and then up. All the twist should end at or near the top of the head.
  4. Another tip, to keep the parts as neat as possible, secure the hair not being twisted with clips (I prefer duckbill clips for a tight hold). Place a few dabs of gel at the root of the hair before you flat-twist that section.
  5. Secure each flat-twist at the scalp with a bobby pin and proceed to two-strand twist when you reach the top. 
  6. After all the flat-twist are done, two-strand twist the rest of the hair that’s tied up. Keep the twists uniform at about a 1/4″ width.
  7. Once the two-strand twists dry completely (air dry is fine unless you are in a hurry, then hood dry) you can do a rollerset with sponge rollers for the curly twist look. Place about two twist per roller.
  8. Lastly, be patient and take your time. I’m not very fast so this style took me about 3 hours (with some interruption).

Coping with the reality of natural hair

This is me a couple
years ago one day
when I didn’t know
what in the world to 
do with my hair.
This pic is hilarious. 
Please don’t share
without my permission.

Reality Check #1: Your hair texture is what it is.
Some people seem to think that you can change the texture of your hair by taming it. Here’s the truth. The more you straighten your hair either through blowing drying combing, braiding, etc., the more you break down the natural bond of the hair. So, over time your kinks won’t be so kinky. (Some natural hair purists have a problem with this.) However, you can never change the curl pattern that comes out of your head. Yet, you can make the hair more manageable and softer with moisturizers and deep conditioning. If your hair is tightly coiled, it will never lay down the way someone with wavy or curly hair will lay down. And vice versa, if you have a looser curl pattern, your styles may not last as long as someone with tighter coils. What matters is that your hair is healthy and well conditioned.

Reality Check #2: You may have to try a variety of products before you find the ones that work for your hair.
As I stated before, everyone’s hair type is different. Even if you think you are one hair type (4a, 4b, 4c, etc.), you may have more than one texture in your head. For instance, my hair texture is very tightly coiled and spongy. My edges tend to be a little coarser than the hair on top of my head, and still, there is one slick spot in the back of my back of my head. That “cow lick” gives me problems when I do certain styles that require a tight hold. So, what is a girl to do? Test, test, test. Test out a product on a section of your hair and see what happens. I’ve made the mistake of trying a product that I thought would work only to be disappointed after spending hours on a style that didn’t turn out the way I had intended. But don’t be so uptight, just have fun experimenting. Lastly, find out what are the basic ingredients for the products you’re using. Do you need extra hold? Do you need shine? Do you need hydration? Check back with Love Your Naps for a detailed look at which ingredients do what.
Reality Check #3 Split ends are not your friend. You might think you have length, but the spilt ends are no good.
The most important thing in dealing with split ends is to prevent them from the start. Keeping the hair well moisturized will help prevent split ends. Another thing that helps is keeping the hair covered at night with a silk or satin scarf or hair bonnet. The key is to protect your hair from breakage. Be careful when detangling your hair—whether you are detangling in the shower after washing your hair or taking down a braid style that you’ve had in for a while. When your ends are frayed and split, it creates tangles and knots in the hair which lead to even more breakage and more split ends. They also will make your twist styles and other styles look raggedy. Check back with Love Your Naps for specifics about split end and natural hair.
Do you have any other reality checks or comments? Share them with us!