There is a common misconception that if you’re natural your biggest concern is managing thick, voluminous hair. For many of us naturals this is our experience but there are also women with naturally coily and curly hair who find their hair to be too thin. There is no hair type that is more prone this issue than another. There are those with fine coily type “4” hair and those with huge elastic-breaking type “3” hair. So, no matter what hair type you have, length, texture, etc. this article is geared towards women who want to include techniques into their regimen that can help make their hair appear thicker.
Some readers may wonder why I focus on appearance rather than changing the hair itself. Well, unless one suffers from a health issue or is malnourished the thickness of your hair is largely genetic. I’ve been down the hair growth bandwagon as I’m sure some women have been down the hair thickening bandwagon and everything doesn’t work for everybody. The techniques I address in this article do not involve potentially harmful products nor do they offer a permanent solution. I offer a “work with what you got” approach for those of you who want to add styling methods to your hair care repertoire.
1. Intentional Shrinkage
For many naturals shrinkage is a nemesis that foils attempts to stretch one’s styles and display hair length. Shrinkage, however, can make hair that might appear thin when straight or stretched appear fuller. There are a number of things you can do to create what I call controlled shrinkage. If you normally like braid outs or twist out try braiding or twisting the hair when damp and letting it dry 80%. You can also lightly spritz your dry braids or twist. The trick with this method is that you will want to avoid separating the twists or braids after you have unraveled them. The moisture will add shrinkage and frizz, eliminating the need to further separate the hair. Below is an example of my hair with shrinkage created from slightly damp hair. When this photo was taken my hair was about mid back length stretched.
2. Braiding or Twisting in Smaller Sections
If you like wearing braids or twists as a style, you may find the style appears more “scalpy” the larger the sections you use when styling. I recommend taking the time to make your sections smaller if you want a fuller appearance. You will also have the added benefit of having a style that will last longer and the resulting twist out or braid out will also appear be fuller.
Whether you’re newly natural or a veteran you probably know that curls help to create the appearance of fullness. If you normally wear textured styles like braid outs consider adding rollers to the end of each braid or roll each braid into a pinned curl if you’re concerned about the discomfort of sleeping in rollers. Curling the ends of your hair is a helpful solution for those who summer from a variety of textures that sometimes lead to an uneven appearance in styles.
So, what styling methods do you use or recommend to create the appearance of thicker hair?