Caring for and styling thick hair often presents all kinds of different challenges, which is putting it mildly. With humidity, wind, rain... and the world in general often working against our strands, it can be a whole lot easier to end up looking more like a fully-grown troll doll than a hairstyle goddess à la Connie Britton. But - and it's a big but - on the days when thick, wavy locks actually behave themselves, all that high-maintenance prep, styling and constant TLC is worth all the hassle because your hair looks and feels wonderful. Seriously, your head becomes a compliment-generating machine!
If you're struggling to get your hair to that happy place, however, fear not! There are all kinds styling hacks that will help you get the style you really want. You may need to experiment a little to find out works best but, with a little determination, you'll get there. And hey, while you're figuring it all out, you can rest safe in the knowledge that braids look really, truly awesome on you.
Below, you'll find a list of five essential tips and tricks to get you started. Use these as a guide, road test them, and hopefully your hair styling routine will get a little easier.
1. Hydration is key
Keeping your hair well-conditioned is imperative when it comes to maintaining a thick head of hair. Make sure you condition your hair often and take the time to apply a deep-conditioning mask once a week or so. Both of these things help to replenish lost moisture and nutrients, which help to keep frizz at bay.
Styling tip - To detangle, run a paddle brush through your hair before rinsing out your conditioner.
2. Don't brush dry hair
Staying on the topic of frizz, brushing thick waves when they're dry can cause an explosion, so it's best to use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers instead.
Styling tip - To instantly add shine to dry hair and eliminate frizz, mist your style liberally with L'Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Strand-Smoother Serum Spray.
3. Patience is a virtue
The basic laws of physics dictate that thick, wavy hair will take longer to dry and style than thinner hair, purely because there is just so much of it. This is not exactly news, but it is worth bearing in mind.
Blowouts take AGES if you start with wet or even damp hair, so it might be better to wait until your hair is part dry before your break out your dryer. That said, thick hair blowouts are great toning exercises for your upper arms... and are kind of unavoidable in humid weather conditions.
Styling tip - Apply Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Frizz Vanisher Cream while the hair is damp and leave it to air dry for a while. Then, use a paddle brush to smooth out your hair, working in small sections, until it's about 80% dry. Complete your blow-out with a round brush to add movement.
4. Find the right tools & accessories
It may take some time, but scouting the right dryer, brush, comb, ties and pins for your hair will make managing it a whole lot easier. For blowouts, thick hair requires a powerful airflow, and for general care, you'll need a brush that's tough and a comb that can't be broken! Similarly, hair elastics need to be heavy duty in order to keep your hair up, as do clips and pins.
5. Be careful when towel-drying
If you're on a tight schedule, it can be all too easy to jump out of the shower and start rubbing your hair dry with a regular terry cloth towel. Unfortunately, this can rough up the hair shaft and cause unwanted frizz before you're even out of the bathroom!
Styling tip - Take the time to blot your hair dry and maybe use a cotton T-shirt or specially adapted towel if frizz is a major issue.
6. Talk to your stylist
If you find that your hair is persistently unruly and there is absolutely nothing you can do to coax it into your desired style, try talking to your stylist. A professional will be able to give you advice that is tailored specifically to you that will improve your at-home styling techniques.