Turn thin low porosity type 4 natural hair into glam curls

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Call me smug because I am. It took me a lot and I mean hours of trial and error to achieve this glam wavy curl on my type 4 hair. I’ve seen other naturals with this loose curl and wondered HOW DO THEY DO THAT!

My hair is…

  • Super thin – I get loads of gaps when I do single strand twists. There just isn’t a lot of it on my head.
  • Low porosity so it doesn’t retain moisture and I have to remember vital rules when washing and styling – warm water open cuticles and lets moisture in whereas cold water closes cuticles and traps moisture in.
  • 4c and 4b at the back and 4a in a section at the front so I have to adjust the amount of product and sometimes the product itself when working on certain parts of my head.

So let me give you a step by step guide to this style. Basically it’s a flexi rod set with a few modifications.

Step one – clean scalp

I washed my scalp with a non-sulphate shampoo that contained wheat protein. I kept my hair in six twists for this part so I could just get my scalp clean.

Protein tip: I rarely use protein in my hair but I knew I needed to this time because it was lacking springiness and I needed that for a wavy finish. Usually I just use Aunt Jackie’s purifying co-wash cleanser because it doesn’t have any sulphates, parabens, mineral oil or petroleum.

Step two – clarify

My mud mask recipe is rasul clay with peppermint essential oil, coconut oil and water. I untwisted the twists covered them in the mud  mask and twisted them back up again. The leftovers went on my face and neck because waste not want not. Then 10 minutes later it was time to rinse it out with warm water.

Clay tip: Peppermint tingles and encourages blood flow to the scalp and therefore hair growth.

Step three – condition

I deep conditioned with ´Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair.  It’s awesome stuff. I applied it the same way as the mud mask but then I covered my head with two plastic bags, a scarf and a hat to create heat. The wait time was 20 to 30 minutes before it was time to rinse it off with cold water.

Conditioning tip for low porosity hair: Heat is super important for low porosity hair. It makes the hair cuticles rise and let in all the goodness. With this in mind it is important to trap that goodness in so you MUST and I cannot stress this more rinse your conditioner out with COLD water.

Step four – section hair

Now I had super soft clean hair to work with. It was wet and I was unsure whether I would get decent flexi rod curls, but I powered on. It’s important for me to separate my hair into four equal sections and twist them to make the hair easy to work on. My hair is super thin so I usually get four to five rods in each of the sections.

Detangling tip: I do a lot of twisting and sectioning because it prevents my hair tangling. Doing this reduces breakage. Also my hair is so thin the tangles fall out when I condition. I detangle with my fingers and never use a brush.

Step five – application

Time to apply the rods. First I added a pea size amount of Beautiful Textures Leave-in conditioner to a small piece of hair from one of the sections. Just a pea-size amount is enough because my fine hair strands can easily get weighed down by products. It’s tempting to lather product on but the only way to get that light airy wavy look is to be stingy with your hair products.

Then I added a pea-size amount of my homemade shea butter mix (shea, jojoba oil, argan oil, black seed oil, lavender essential oil and castor oil) to seal in the moisture.

Frizz-free curl tip: I wanted to make the curls easy to separate so I took the hair and single strand twisted it an eighth of the way down before wrapping the hair around the flexi rod. I also held the rod and inch from the root to leave that part at the root with less curl and more kinks to add body at the root and give the illusion I had more hair on my head! 😉

Step six – set

Once my whole head was covered in flexi rods I wrapped it in a satin bonnet and went to bed so it could dry overnight.

Drying tip: the smaller the sections the quicker the drying time.

Step seven – take down

In the morning, with a little coconut oil on my fingers, I took down the rods. It was so easy to separate each curl by unravelling the twists at the top.

Great curls tip: It is essential that the hair is dry before you take it down.

Step eight – fluff!

My hair was looking cute and curly but I wanted more umph so I carefully picked the roots a bit with an afro comb and voila!

Picking tip: Be very gentle and take sections of curls and lift the hair from the root just a smidge to avoid ruining your curls.

Step 10 – overnight maintenance

I was loving my curls all day but when night came I thought, how am I supposed to keep this style overnight? Braiding or twisting creates a different curl and simply putting a satin scarf over it, even in a pineapple, is sure to leave me with a matted tangled mess in the morning…so I took big sections of hair and wound them around flexi rods. No water or product, I just took them as they were because my hair still felt soft and moisturised. It took eight or nine rods and no time at all. And, of course, I covered my hair with a satin scarf.

Silky hair tip: Wrapping a satin scarf keeps hair neat and silky as well as keeping it safe from breakage.

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In the morning I took down the rods to discover I had movie-star wavy hair! Yes!

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