When styling natural hair, it can be easy to fall into boredom and repetition. You find yourself doing the same tired style over and over again and before you know it, you’re none too happy with your hair. Due to its texture, natural hair is insanely versatile, and there are always new styles coming out of the natural community! Here are 7 ways to break out of the styling rut, should you find yourself in one.
1. Modify hairstyles that you love
You might be browsing through photos thinking, ‘That style looks amazing, but my hair is too long/short to do it.’ But there are plenty of ways to modify styles! For example, If your hair is too short to gather into one, try flat twisting it to the center or if a style requires you to have a short afro, try working with your hair while it’s in a short, shrunken state. If the necessary modifications are beyond your skill set, try a local stylist or even a family member or friend that’s good at doing hair. They can help you figure out how to achieve the look you want.
2. Go to the Salon
Natural hair culture is very do-it-yourself, but there’s nothing wrong with going to the salon from time to time. Many stylists — whether they specialize in natural hair or not — are good at cornrowing, braiding and flat twisting. If you’re unsure of the stylist, meet with them before hand to lay out exactly what you want. If you don’t trust the salon prep, ask if you can show up with your hair already washed, conditioned and (if necessary) blowdried. And don’t be afraid to ask them to be gentle! Even if you have to say that you have a medical condition that requires gentle handling (and hey, it’s true if you count tender-headedness as a medical scalp condition ;)
3. Build an inspiration board
Sites like Tumblr and Pinterest are perfect for keeping track of styles that you like. Compile photos of styles that resonate with you and perhaps you’ll see a pattern. You might find that you’re drawn to styles that are highly detailed, or looks that are big and out. Perhaps you like styles that are more geometric, or looks that are more reserved. Figuring out what you love is half the battle.
4. Do the opposite of what you normally do
Here’s an easy tip… just take the plunge and switch it up! If you normally wear your hair up, try an ‘out’ style. If you normally wear your hair out, try an updo. Break through your reservations and try things you’ve always wanted to try, like a new color, a second big chop or locs. Learning to have fun with your hair is essential.
5. Start out as a copycat
YouTube and blogs are full of naturals with incredible styling skill. Start by mimicking the styles they do, then branch out and add your own twist. Many natural hair styling ‘gurus’ got their start by copying former gurus. The cycle of inspiration just keeps going :)
6. Cheat with heat
When used safely and sparingly, heat styling can be a fun way to switch things up. Plus, it’s great for trimming and length checks. Many naturals notice that straightening natural hair gives a smoother, shinier finish than when their hair was relaxed. Now, if you’re going to a stylist for this make sure you go to one that knows how to work with natural hair! This is definitely a situation where you want to be super picky about the stylist you choose because heat damage is irreversible!
7. Go for extensions
Extensions are a great way to play with length and volume. You can add pieces to a section of your hair, or do a full set of twist or braid extensions. Keep in mind that, if not properly applied, extensions can lead to traction alopecia. Furthermore, the extra hair can expedite the ‘drying out’ of your strands. Be sure that your extensions are not too heavy and that you are moisturizing your hair frequently.
How do you break out of a styling rut when you get bored with your hair?