I feel particularly close to what I have chosen to write about today. One of the things I remember not liking about being relaxed (apart from the scalp burns and hurt that came with retouching) was that my hair always laid so flat on my head. It just never had the kind of body that everyone else I know seemed to have. So for 3 years before I began my transition back to natural, I stopped using relaxers and began texturising my hair. It definitely made a difference, but still, styling my hair to my liking was always an issue. I just always felt like at certain times and from certain angles, I looked like I had no hair.
Apart from getting excited about having my real hair texture on my head, going back to natural for me, was a chance to rock a full head of hair. I had dreams, people, of walking around with a big ass afro that will block doorways. It was a no-brainer: natural hair = thick afro, right? WRONG!
It took me getting heat damage, combined with attempting mini twists to come to the realisation that, some of us have fine and/or thin hair. And I’m here to tell you that ain’t nothing wrong about that! Well, I’m here to tell this to you after spending a week sulking and searching for something that will tell me otherwise. AB is in complete disagreement that I fall in this category, but babe ain’t never seen my hair eye to eye. One day, I will sit down and she will attempt to install mini twists for me and then she’ll see what I’ve been talking about all this time. Luh you boo!
The thing is, when you begin your natural hair journey, chances are that you might not know that you have fine or low density hair until you attain a certain length and are on course to begin enjoying some hangtime. But fear not! There are ways to style your hair in order to create an illusion of volume.
1. Bantu Knot-outs
This is number one on my list, because I have rocked this look a couple of times and it has fooled even me. There are two methods I know that can be used for bantu-knot outs. One is where you roll the hair tight between your fingers and then continue into the bantu knot. The other is where you start off with a twist and then roll the twist into a bantu knot. I have tried both methods and I very much prefer the look and definition that I got with the ‘twist first’ method. One reason why this is number one on my list is that unlike the other styles I will mention, you don’t necessarily have to separate the curls you get in order to achieve a volumised look. The style in itself automatically does that for you, and so more often than not, you could separate the curls a little bit and then fluff the roots with an afro pick and you are good to go.
2. Flat Twist-Out
I am yet to try this out. However, while I have no personal testimony, I have seen the results on other people with similar hair. It looks great and will definitely be the next style I try out. The sort of results I like best are those where the end of the twist are either put in bantu knots or curled with perm rods. Jouelzy has a really good video tutorial that gives you a visual of what I mean.
3. Rod Sets
If you can tell already, there is a pattern here. Most of the styles that create the illusion of volume for this hair type are styles where the hair is curled upon itself. So these are not styles that stretch the hair and show off length. Personally, I will take volume over length any day. I am currently rocking a rod set that I had done at a natural hair salon in NYC called Mixx Beauty Bar. Erica Watson, the stylist and owner of the salon, was my hero today and I shall dedicate another post to reviewing my experience here. The process of installing these rods by myself, at home, looks daunting to me. But I know that one day when I have enough time, I will try it out.
4. Braid-outs & Twist-outs
Sometimes, you want to show off your length and say “to hell with scalpiness (or lack of body)”. I say go for it. But always always remember to separate your curls, carefully. Separating them will create that desired volumising effect.
5. Loose Twists
For those with longer hair, you might want to give this a try. The rationale behind this is that the twists should be loose enough not to make your hair look scanty, thereby giving more body to each twist and indeed, to the entire head of hair.
6. Pompadours & Buns
Also for sisters with longer hair. Stretching by threading has been reported to be a great way to add volume to hair while also keeping it stretched. So your hair is stretched and you are looking for how to style and create that volume illusion? Go for a pompadour. Go for a bun.
7. Mini Twists
I have attempted to do this twice and have abandoned them quarter of the way because they literally looked like thread. Unfortunately, I have no picture of my hair to show you, but I will allow you imagine by comparing a picture of AB’s mini twists (Up) to a picture of my bed-time ‘chunky’ twists (Down).
8. Chunky Braid-outs & Twists-outs
The longer your hair, the easier it becomes to put your hair in chunky twists. However, this hair type cannot really enjoy the luxury of a chunky twist-out as is. What do I mean? Well you cannot just unravel your chunky twists and be on your merry way. You still have to separate those curls to enjoy the beauty of the twist out.
This is a chunky braid-out on AB’s hair and as you can see, the curls are in tact with little or no curl separation done. This would not necessarily be the result on my hair.
And if all else fails…
9. Trusty Ol’ Shrunken Fro
Yup. Like I mentioned earlier, the longer the hair, the more apparent the texture/density. I find that I can always find solace in the loving arms of my shrunken fro (or even a combed out, or no-comb fro). You can wear it as a glorious halo above your head; pin up one side; as a fro-hawk; or even as an afro puff.
So there you have it. Do you have fine and/or thin hair? What are your go-to styles? Any tips are welcome!
I hope all is well with you! Biko, you people should send some sun and warmth my way. I don tire for this oyinbo cold abeg.
Love all that is you today and always!
– Mee Mee