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How To… Style Textured Hair

Charlotte Mensah, founder of Notting Hill salon Hair Lounge and creator of the Charlotte Mensah Manketti Oil Haircare Collection, should know a thing or two about styling textured hair. She does – hurrah! And she’s sharing it with Creative HEAD Education – double hurrah!

In years gone by relaxed (chemically straightened) hair was one of the most popular services in the salon for women with textured hair. However, this has now declined dramatically. Today, inspired by celebrities such as Solange Knowles, Lupita Nyong’o and Alicia Keys, a growing number of women are embracing their natural texture.

Let’s get styling!

There are some popular natural styling techniques, which include:

  • Cornrows: Three-strand braiding on the scalp used to create a Z-shape pattern
  • Two strand twist or twist out: Small, medium, or large sections of hair twisted into two strands and then into each other. This is set under a dryer, then released/unravelled to create a full S-wave pattern
  • Bantu Knots: Two strand twist wrapped around/secured into a knot
  • Flat Twist: Two strand twist created flat to the scalp in rows
  • Locs: Very curly hair and tightly coiled hair are the most ideal for locing because of the hair’s strong elasticity
  • Plaits: Large size braids on natural hair. Hair extensions can also be added for length

Making the transition

Braids and weaves aren’t just great for adding length or creating a new style, but they are increasingly also used for clients ‘transitioning’ from relaxed hair back to their natural texture or used as a ‘protective’ style. This means it gives clients’ own hair a healthy opportunity to rest and be protected during the transitioning process.

When braiding with extensions, the new growth is hidden with individual braids or cornrows, leaving the transition process completely invisible. With sew in weaves, the hair is cornrowed underneath and completely hidden making the transition undetectable.

As well as wearing braids and weaves, clients can also transition by going short, such as a close crop that is fashion forward and looks great! You can also use a natural set, where hair is set with rollers, rods, straws or bendy rollers. This gives the client a head full of curls to hide the bulkiness of the new natural hair growth.

Let’s relax

While they have declined in popularity, relaxers have improved greatly over the last decade as they are now less harsh and this is still a service requested by clients seeking a smooth, sleek look. Relaxing without damage requires great skill, so clients should always be advised to have this done professionally in the salon. Once you have been trained in applying relaxers, you’ll be able to select the right formula for your clients’ hair type and texture as there are several available including Mild, Normal and Resistant.

Want to take it further…?

If you really want to boost your knowledge of textured hair further, I’d recommend booking on to a specialist Afro hairdressing training course and practising techniques such as braiding. Also extend your kit bag to include Afro combs, detangling brushes and the relevant products so that when a client with textured hair enters your salon, you’ll be armed with the right tools to care and style their hair with confidence.

Click HERE for a Step by Step on Twists
Click HERE for Step by Step on Diffused Texture
Click HERE for Tim Hartley’s tips on cutting Afro-Carribean hair