In our Natural Hair Bloggers series, StyleList profiles kinky, curly and coily hair beauties and share their natural hair (not chemically straightened and often coarse and highly textured strands) care and styling tips. This week, Mae of Natural Chica opens up about why she went naturally curly and how she perfects her favorite 'do, the braid-out.
Location: Atlanta, GA
Natural Since: July 22, 2009
Maeling Tapp, a PhD student in materials science and engineering from Atlanta, Georgia, decided to go natural last July, after seeing how healthy her younger sisters' hair looked after they made their own transitions to natural hair. "What I love most about being natural is the health of my hair!" Mae says. "This is honestly the healthiest it's ever been, which also gives me the flexibility to experiment with a variety of styles."
Mae's Top 5 Natural Hair Care Tips:
1. Detangle hair when wet and only when saturated with conditioner. This minimizes breakage that can occur due to friction.
2. Moisturize! Water is natural hair's number one best friend, so to ensure that your hair retains it, try using products that seal in moisture like shea butter-based creams
3. Avoid heat damage by using minimal to no heat-styling (i.e. blowdrying, flat-ironing, curling)
4. Minimize hair breakage by wearing satin or silk scarves or bonnets to bed. You can also opt for satin or silk pillowcases instead.
5. Most importantly, "Do natural hair your way." Everyone's natural hair and journey are unique, meaning that all styles, products, regimens, etc. won't always be transferable from one girl to the next. Enjoy discovering what works for you!
Mae's Top 5 Must-Have Hair Products:
1. Doris New York Olive Oil Hair Cream
2. TRESemme Naturals Moisture Conditioner
3. CURLS Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream
4. Pura Body Naturals Sapote Hair Lotion
5. Homemade Moisturizing Spritz: Aloe vera juice mixed with avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil and a few drops of peppermint essential oil
Mae's Favorite Natural Hairstyle: The Braid-Out
This is a look I like to do on freshly washed and deep-conditioned hair. After washing, I separate my hair into 10-12 sections and secure with hair clamps. I detangle each section, combing a light leave-in conditioner (i.e. Pura Body Naturals Sapote Hair Lotion) throughout each section.
After detangling, I apply a heavy styling cream (i.e. Doris New York Olive Oil Cream), comb through and braid each section (free hanging and not cornrows).
I let the braids dry overnight and sleep with a satin bonnet to preserve the style. The next day, I unravel the braids and further separate the strands until I've reached the "volume" I desire for the look.
I maintain the style throughout the week by re-braiding my entire head, or just the front portion (about four braids) each night. What I love about this look is that I can usually wear it for about two weeks!
Click through the photo gallery for expert tips on how to style highly textured hair!