Transitioning to natural hair? Hairstyling options are numerous
SUN Spotlight On: Orchid Blue Hair Salon
Owner: Andrea Johnson
Co-Owner: Kesha Muhammad
4405 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Appts: Sunday and Monday, Closed; Tuesday thru Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday, 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Specialties: Offers hair maintenance services for women, men and children. Services include Natural Hair Care Treatments, Relaxing Services, Hair Weaving, Hair Coloring and Precision Cutting. Schedules Wedding Parties and Offers Gift Certificates.
By Leah Fletcher
You've made the decision to transition from chemically-treated hair to natural hair. Now, the major challenge facing you is selecting a hairstyle. Hair stylists agree there is an array of options to wear during your transition.
Whether you select a TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro), braids or Sisterlocks will pretty much be determined by your decision to keep your relaxed hair or to do the "big chop". "Your hair may range from being extremely short or have roots that are kinky or curly with the remainder of the hair straight," offered Andrea Johnson, owner of the Orchard Blue Hair Salon, in University City section of Philadelphia.
Johnson and her partner, Kesha Muhammad, observed some of their clients may be more comfortable allowing their natural hair to grow and work toward minimizing breakage as they go. Others, they said, take the bold step and cut the relaxed hair off. They both agreed that regardless of one's decision on how to transition, there are great natural hairstyles to wear during this period.
The following are just a few:
Teeny Weeny Afro: Just take the big step and chop all your relaxed hair your hair off and wear a small afro for a time. Depending on how much new growth you have you will be limited in your styling options. Some elect to go with the Teeny Weeny Afro. Other options include the Two Strand Twists or Coil Twists, which may be accomplished with just about any length of hair.
Braids and Extensions: You can maintain your length of hair while to transition by adding hair to your own. This will camouflage the difference in texture between your new growth and the relaxed hair and give you length while you are growing enough natural hair to feel comfortable after making the "big chop". Natural hair weaves are a preferred choice for transitioning because they give you the opportunity to see yourself with natural hair. Also some methods for weaving or cornrowing are gentler on your hair than other forms of extensions such as individual braids
Sisterlocks are a great to wear while transitioning. They may be started with one and a half inches of new growth at the scalp. Sisterlocks use your own natural hair and can be started with relaxed hair in place and give you length. Sisterlocks are similar to dreadlocks but they look more like micro braids or very small twists. Ultimately, they give your hair length and offer many styling options.
Two Strand Twists or Comb Twists: this is a simple yet effective style. It does not work well with relaxed hair, which will not hold the style. But, if you decide to cut your hair, you can part the sections and then twist a strand by taking two strands and twisting them around each other. If you wear this style too long, your hair will begin to lock.
The Straw Set: This style is nice for relaxed hair. Tight curls hide the different textures of new growth and relaxed. If you want to give this style a try at home, you will need a pack of plastic drinking straws or perm rods, end papers and bobby pins. Wash and condition your hair. Apply gel or setting lotion and make sure it is alcohol free. Cut straws to a little past the length of your hair. Fold end paper over hair ends and wrap around the straw lengthwise into a spiral formation. Start at the ends and roll towards the scalp. Secure by placing the bobby pin inside the base of the straw lengthwise at the scalp. Dry under a hooded dryer until completely dry. Release by carefully unwinding the straw from the hair. Apply light oil and separate curls if more volume is desired.
Flat Twists: Flat Twists are essentially cornrows. You are using two strands of hair instead of three.
To achieve this style on your own, make certain your hair is not tangled. Part your hair using a rat tail comb or something similar to make the parts sharp. Separate section into two strands at the hairline. Wind one strand over the other like a rope, picking up hair from underneath as you move down the section. Secure with clip or bobby pin and place underneath the twist. You can twist to the back of your head or leave hair out at the ends and roller set or straw set.
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