Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Shrinkage Games

By Lisa Clay

When you make the decision to go natural, there are a few things you must keep in mind. One of the primary — and constant — battles is the one between curls and length. Although we all love our curls unconditionally, there is nothing wrong with wanting to get the most out of them. While there may be a million products on the market that claim to elongate your curls, the right product can help you retain length when styling. It doesn't matter if you’re a twist-out queen or a wash-n-go kind of girl, here are some great products to try next time you’re looking to show some length.

Jane Carter Solution Curl Defining Cream – 6 oz., $18.00
This great multi-purpose product can be used to give ultimate curl definition for wash-n-go styling or twist/braid outs. When used on wet hair, shingling (raking the product through small sections) can help elongate your curls while imparting shine and softness to the finished dry style.  

Shea Moisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie – 12 ounces, $9.99 
This highly regarded styling aid is both affordable and widely available. With the Curl Enhancing Smoothie, a little goes a long way when it comes to preparing your twists or braids. A small amount per section will help with reducing frizz and increase hold to create a more defined style. Available at local retailers.

Qhemet Biologics Aethiopika Hydrate & Twist Butter – 5 oz., $14.00
Qhemet has a cult following and this is one of those products with the most praise. The combination of amazing ingredients includes yummy butters, oils, and a bit of plant wax gives great definition to curls while helping retain their length. This product doesn't contain water, so try it on damp or dry hair for best results. 

Obia Natural Haircare Curl Moisture Cream – 4 oz., $10.00 
One of the best new products on the market, the Curl Moisture Cream is fantastic for setting styles such as twists, braids, and bantu knots. It doesn't matter whether you use it on wet or dry hair, the results will be lush curls with a soft hold.  

b.a.s.k. Palm Tapioca Deluxe Hair Cream – 8 ounces, $16.00 
The Palm Tapioca cream is thick, creamy, and excellent for those looking to stretch their curls. The ingredients are made to envelop and condition the hair during the styling process, and can be easily used on wet or dry hair.

The wonderful thing about natural hair is that it’s versatile. Whether you’re one to embrace your curls or want to stretch them out, there’s a product and styling technique out there for you. If you’re looking for more of a stretched style, try working with drier hair. When your hair is wet, it has the tendency to shrink, so you’ll have a tighter, more defined curl pattern. Working with dry hair will allow you retain more of the length, and usually makes for softer, fluffy styles. 

When you want to rock a more loose or more full twist or braid out, opt for fewer twists or braids. More twists equals more definition which can make your curls appear shorter. And speaking of braid-outs, for some, this style may also help with elongating your curls. The process of the three strands crossing in a downward motion can help to stretch your natural curl pattern.  These are just a few tips and techniques that can help you achieve a more stretched style. Don’t be afraid to experiment to see what works best for your curls! Who’s ready to play the shrinkage game now?

Lisa Michelle Clay is the owner/creator of the natural hair blog, This Hair of Mine. She shares personal information about her natural hair journey and seeking to inspire, encourage and motivate those who are natural or considering going natural.
She can reached via Twitter @bighairbrwn via Facebook This Hair of Mine.

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