Finger coils are a great styling option for naturals of many lengths. In all the eight years I’ve been natural, I thought I could only rock coils at a shorter length, but that is so far from the truth! I had a chance to experience this for myself with the help of Houston stylist Candace Walls of Sovereign Styles Hair Studio. Using products from the Design Essentials Natural line, she took my hair from curls to coils in no time flat!

Products I Used: 


I’m a pretty quick learner and I really think this is a style I can do at home myself. However, never having thought I could accomplish this type of style was really the only thing holding me back.

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Steps I Took: 

  1. Start on freshly washed and conditioned hair
  2. Work from the back of your head to the front, sectioning the hair into a small row to work with
  3. Clip the rest out of the way. 
  4. Within that row, section pieces less than an inch square, to create the individual coils. 
  5. Apply a cocktail of products to each section, rubbing with your finger tips. 
  6. Once the products are applied, stretch and twirl your hair until it forms the coils. 
  7. Make sure the hair is coiled down to the scalp. This will ensure the coils stay longer and you won’t have to deal with the dreaded puffy roots madness! 
  8. Repeat this technique all over your head. It shouldn't take longer than an hour and a half to complete. 
  9. Sit under a dryer until your hair is completely dry, and voila…professional coils!

Coil Out Tips

The next step to coils is a coil out, which was accomplished the following day.
  1. Just as you would with a twist out, your coils can be separated until you achieve the desired effect. Because my hair is so tightly coiled, the resulting coil out wasn’t as voluminous as my twist outs are, but they looked great!
  2. I continued to separate them over the next few days and my hair never quite got to the frizzy state that comes with fourth and fifth day hair.
  3. Coils & coil outs can last quite a while with proper nighttime maintenance and even that is simple. I slept with a satin bonnet the entire time I had the coils and my hair was never out of place.
  4. My only caution with this style is to be careful upon undoing the coils. Because my coils were so small and tight, I had a hard time separating them all enough to make detangling less of a chore. I separated my hair into four sections and applied my favorite detangler Nourish by Earth’s Nectar but it didn’t do much to help get through the small coils. I found myself having to go just about coil by coil, separating as much as I could until I finally whipped out my Denman paddle brush to finish the job. That wasn’t fun, but I think if I had more time to separate first then detangling would have been much easier.

Final Thoughts

Moral of this story: Never say never to hairstyles for your curls! With the right products and some patience, our natural hair can be transformed into just about anything if you’re willing to give it a try. I loved my experience with finger coils. The maintenance and upkeep was super simple and it gave me a totally different look than I’ve ever had before. It curbed my desires for shorter hair and it was quite versatile! This can be a great styling option for busy ladies on the go, new naturals and everyone in-between. Happy styling!

Have you tried finger coils on longer hair? Shorter hair? What was your experience?



by Susan Walker of Earthtones Naturals

First things First – Hair Width

Regardless of if your hair is straight, wavy, curly or kinky we all have 3 basic widths: fine, medium and thick which can also be called coarse. Width is not how the hair feels but describes the thickness of each individual strand of hair. The comparison is typically to a piece of thread. If your hair is fine, it’s thinner than the thread, medium hair is usually the same width and thick or coarse strands are thicker than the piece of thread.

Characteristics of Each Hair Width

Fine Hair

Fine hair is the most fragile texture and can be easily damaged. Contrary to popular belief, people with finer hair tend to have more hair than people with thicker hair strands. Fine hair can tend to be oilier than other hair types. For those of you with fine hair you may find difficulty holding a style; your hair is light and can fall flat against your head. Volume is often desired but not often attained. Structurally fine hair has two hair layers – a cortex and a cuticle.

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Fine natural hair:
•Doesn’t hold styles well
•Can become weighed down with heavy products, causing the hair to look stringy
•Can look thin
•Can break easily because it’s fragile

Medium Hair

Medium hair is the most common hair type and often covers the scalp very well. This hair texture is not as fragile as fine hair and can be manipulated into styles easily. Structurally, medium textures usually have two layers – the cortex and cuticle – and may contain the medulla.

Medium natural hair:
• Holds styles fairly well
• Usually looks thick and covers the scalp well
• Is not as prone to breakage as fine hair

Thick or Coarse Hair

This hair texture is strong because structurally it contains all three hair layers – the cortex, cuticle and medulla. The medulla, the innermost layer of the hair shaft is pretty much a series of empty spaces.  It’s an area filled mostly with air and protein. This hair texture usually takes longer to dry than others, and can be resistant to various chemical treatments. It can tolerate heat well and resist breakage better than the fine or medium hair.

Thick natural hair:
• Appears full
• Holds styles well
• Can tolerate higher amounts of heat
• Can be resistant to hair colouring and chemical relaxers

Curl Pattern (or Hair Type)

In general there are 4 basic hair types: straight, wavy, curly, kinky curly. This classification is based on the shape of the hair fiber.

Wavy
Wavy hair has  s-shaped curls down its length or much of the hair can appear straight with slight bends towards the ends of the hair. Wavy hair can frizz fairly easily and requires care to achieve perfect waves.

Curly
Curly hair tends to do so down the entire length of the hair shaft. Strand thickness can range from fine to coarse but is most often fine. The greatest challenges for curly hair types are frizz, lack of curl definition, shrinkage and dryness, to a lesser extent.

Kinky-Curly
This hair type has the tightest curls ranging from fine to coarse with s-shaped and z-shaped curls with everything in between! It is the most fragile of the types. If curl definition is a challenge for curly hair types it’s almost an impossibility for kinky-curly hair. Additionally, shrinkage and dryness are two issues to constantly fight against.

Next: Want to read about hair porosity? Check out Hair Porosity: Does it Matter?

What is your curl pattern and width? What's the hardest thing to understand about them?


by Shelli of Hairscapades
I was originally going to call this post, “Afro Puffy Twists or How My Dream Turned into a Nightmare.” However, time has allowed wounds to heal and a level-head to prevail. Now that I’ve sufficiently recovered from my PTSD (Post Twists Stress Disorder), I feel that I can give a breakdown of the Pros and Cons of my long-term, winter protective style, Afro Puffy Twists.
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Pros:
  • I love the look of Afro puffy twists. I finally had the lush twist that I’d lusted after for the last couple of years.
  • The style looks very natural and real. The older it got, the better it looked. The ends of the hair curled on their own as natural hair would. It was nearly impossible to distinguish my hair from the Nafy Collection Afro Puffy Twist hair (though, this pro became a con with the take down).
  • I had a braider that was gentle, didn’t comb through my hair, parted it gently and didn’t braid too tightly.
  • I requested cornrows at my hairline and they prevented the extensions from dangling on my finest strands. So, I didn’t lose any twists/hair due to the weight of the extensions.
  • 6 weeks of NO detangling.
  • My fingers and nails had become extremely ragged and rough due to the drying winter air and inside heat. I didn’t have to worry about destroying my strands with my busted fingers as I wasn’t handling my hair as often.
  • Ease of daily styling … this is for real, get up and go hair. I loved that I could wake up, do absolutely nothing to it and it still looked great going out the door.
  • Styling versatility (check out my FB album for more pics).


  • Ability to have a style that showed length, but still protected my strands to a large extent. Although I wore the twists in updos the majority of the time, I could wear them down and out with little risk.
  • Limited daily maintenance. At the most, I would oil my scalp and moisturize and seal the length every 3-4 days.
  • Limited weekly maintenance. Although my plan was to wash it once a week, I only washed and conditioned the twists once in the 6 weeks that I wore the style.
  • Limited styling products. I used my essential oil mix for my scalp, kimmaytube leave-in or Oyin Juices n’ Berries to moisturize and EVOO to seal. The one time I washed, I shampooed with diluted Shea Moisture Raw Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo and conditioned with Aussie Moist. I didn’t pre-poo or DC during the 6 weeks.
  • My hair feels and looks like it is in very good condition, with minimal breakage and normal shedding, post twists.
I’ve seen this much hair shed in one week post wash/detangle session. So, I was very
pleasantly surprised that this is all I saw after 6 weeks of no finger-combing/detangling.

Cons:
  • The anxiety of finding the right braider who won’t pull hair too tightly or comb through it with a fine-tooth comb from root to tip instead of tip to root. However, the anxiety was for naught.
  • The anxiety and time to blow-out my hair myself to reduce the likelihood of a braider causing heat or mechanical damage. Again though, it was for naught because the blow-out process went pretty smoothly as I did my research first and took my time.
  • 7 1/2 hours to install.
  • I had a lot of flyaways. I think this was because the braider didn’t use any product on the length of my hair before twisting it.
  • I had some serious matting of twists at my nape. Hair from multiple twists started matting together. This area was especially vulnerable to ensnaring sweater and scarf lint, dust and gunk. Given that this is the finest hair on my head, this was not good.

  • 3 day, 20+ hour twist take down (see here and here). This pretty much negated the timed saved in daily styling.
  • It was difficult to distinguish my hair from the twist hair, which meant I had to handle the twists as gently as I would have if they were all my hair. This extended to the take down as well.
  • The difficulty in removing the twists due to the way that they were installed. Two spray-in detanglers, conditioner, and a EVOO “steam bath” did very little to ease the take down. Each twist took a good 5-10 minutes to remove as my hair extended the full length of the twists. So, there was no cutting off a part of the twist before untwisting. Between the added hair at the end to cover my hair, the rolling of my hair in the twists and the braids at the roots with all three sections containing strands of my hair, there was no quick way to remove the twists without damaging my own hair
This is the hair and sections in ONE twist!
Final Verdict:
So, in conclusion, would I get twists with the Nafy Afro Puffy Twist hair again? Yes I would. Surprised? I think the pros mostly outweighed the cons. Ultimately, though the take down was trauma inducing, it didn’t result in any permanent damage and my hair felt great after my wash, henna, DC and style. Also, I loved them so much and I think that the drama of the take down could be averted with some different techniques.

Next Time:
  • I would have the twists installed using the Senegalese twist technique at the roots instead of braids.
  • I would ask the braider use some type of holding product on the length of my hair so that I wouldn’t have as many flyaway hairs.
  • I would request that the length be loosely twisted, rather than twisting the individual sections first and then twisting the two together. I think that this caused my hair to be ensnared in the extension hair more than it needed to be.
  • I would keep a more cautious eye on the nape twists and remove them when I start to feel appreciable matting. I would either have them “refreshed” or just twist my own hair until I was ready to take down all the twists.
I’ve been thinking that I may try to do my next install myself, using bigger sections. However, I know myself pretty well, and don’t think I’d have the patience or willingness to actually make a go of this on my own. Maybe I’ll try Havana Twists next? I have 3 bags of hair left!

Have you worn puffy twists? Would you do it again? 

This article was originally published on January 2012 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.
 
by Lisa Michelle via NaturallyCurly

I always hear about people opting to wear protective styles during the harsh winter. But what about protecting your hair during the hot summer months? With summer just around the corner, it's time to think about protective styles during the hot months ahead. I’ve worn micro braids and Senegalese twists, but never tried my hand at kinky twists. If you follow the same premise of two strand twists, kinky twists should be a fairly straight forward installation and can save you lots of money should you choose to do them yourself. Here’s how I did mine!

Read More!!>>>
Preparation

I started with freshly washed hair, then washed, conditioned and also went ahead and deep conditioned since I planned to keep my hair in this style for at least a month. Once my hair was clean and separated into four sections, I applied Kinky-Curly Knot Today as my base leave-in, EDEN BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Hair Oil and EDEN BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Hair Milk to seal it all in. This combination of products gave me soft, well moisturized hair and allowed me to proceed to the next step.

Tips for Blow Drying Natural Hair:

  • During tension blow drying, it’s important to use a heat protectant
  • Grapeseed oil offers a natural option for heat protection because of its high smoke point
  • Make sure your hair isn’t soaking wet when blow drying
  • Working with damp hair will make it easier to keep the hair smooth and speed up your blow dry session
  • Finally, make sure to keep the heat settings on low to medium so you don’t burn your hair! 

How to Install Kinky Twists:
Now on to the fun and hard part!

  1. I started with my hair in eight sections, four across the front and four across the back. I found it easier to start in the back of my head, though you can start in the front or around the perimeter. I used Marley braid hair which comes sectioned into 20 pieces per package. I chose not to cut the hair in half since I have longer hair and wanted to make sure I covered my entire length. I also wanted the longer twists look.
  2. I made small parts, between ¼” and ½” and used the braiding first method to attach the extensions. 
  3. I started by creating a braid with my hair and the two sections of Marley braid hair. 
  4. With my hair between the two pieces of braid hair, I wrapped my hair over the braid hair and back to the middle position, creating a secure hold so that I could continue braiding. 
  5. Once I got down about an inch or so, I twisted my hair around one piece of braid hair to get two pieces and then began two strand twisting to the ends. 
  6. I repeated this over a total of 160 twists and 16 hours later I was done! 
It’s important to make sure you don’t pull the hair too tight, especially around your hairline. You can create larger parts, but try not to put too much stress on weak areas.

Final Thoughts

Although this was a long process, it was definitely worth it. If you were to get this type of style done at a braid shop it could easily cost upwards of $250 dollars or more, depending on the length and thickness of your hair. The great thing about being able to braid your own hair is that you can, not only save loads of money, but you can also refresh your style and perform any maintenance when needed. Kinky twists are a great protective style for any occasion and I’ve gotten lots of compliments on them already. They blend quite well with my own hair and will last four to six weeks.

Have you ever installed your own Kinky Twists? Share!

This article was originally published in 2012 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.
Re-Post 5/2/2012

by Jamila of For The Fabulous and Frugal  

It's that time again! Graduation is right around the corner, so I wanted to do a special post for you fabulous college curlies preparing to move on to the next phase of your life!

My first tip is that you can wear your curly/kinky/coily underneath your cap. I thought it wasn't possible, but it was actually quite easy to wear a cap over my curls, even with the humidity of summer in North Carolina. So before you reach for that flat iron,  here are some style options to keep it fierce and carefree on graduation day. 

Twist Out: A simple way to rock your hair big and boldly under a cap is to simply wear a twist out and secure the cap on with bobby pins, which is what I did. To maximize space under the cap, try flat twisting your hair and not fluffing the roots, so that the area underneath the cap lies flat, and the part outside of it is visible and defined.  You can also pin some of the front section of your hair back, like I did:
Twist-out with one side pinned to the back
 Not convinced? Here are some more ladies rocking fierce twist outs underneath a graduation cap:
 





 


 
...believe me now? :)


Here's my favorite tutorial (by Naptural85) on how to use flat twists to get a super defined twist out:
 

And another great video by Black Onyx on how to get your curls to hang:
 

Twist It Up:  You could try curly twists,  mini twists, or finger coils, which can be pinned various ways beneath your cap and styled different ways post photos/ceremony.

Tutorial:

Roller Set: If you're worried about your hair puffing up beneath your cap, this is a great option to still rock your curls, but have them be easier to manage under a hat. Try Curlformers or Flexi Rods.

Tutorials:



Half-Updo: Another option is to do a half-pinned up style. You can style your hair with flat twists,  so that you have a cute style to wear the rest of the day. Check our my version here.

When all else fails... Accessorize! Bring a few headbands, flowers, and bobby pins in case your hair gets fussed up during the photo session. Always good to have these on deck! I hope this helps. 

Senior curlies, what are you doing with your hair for graduation/senior pics?