If you've ever spent hours styling your curly, textured hair only for it to resemble something more akin to a cheap party shop afro than Yara Shahidi's glossy mane, then you're in luck.
We've picked the brains of internationally-acclaimed celebrity hairstylist and the man behind Ruth Negga, Solange and Thandie Newton's luscious locks,Vernon François, for all his tips, tricks and no-gos for styling textured hair the right way.
How would you describe textured hair?
I talk about textured hair over natural hair, because all hair growing out our head is natural, right? Textured hair is where strands create shape, like curves, spirals, zig zags or waves; hair is kinky, coily, curly or wavy. Knowing your hair's texture means you can treat it correctly for its type and re-set your expectations of what can be achieved with it.
How should you prep textured hair before you start styling?
The kind of prep that you'll need to do before styling will depend on a variety of things:
1. How long ago did you shampoo your hair?
2. What style was it in before?
3. What style do you want to do now and how much time do you have?
If your hair is dry to begin with, lightly wetting it first is the quickest way to start styling. My MIST~ Nourishing Water is perfect for this, because the spray is incredibly fine and added natural amino acids help hair to grow strong and also stop colour fade.
As the strands hydrate, hair becomes ready to be shaped and the curl pattern becomes more defined.
What tools should should you use to style textured hair?
I always say that your best tools are your hands. Before styling, you'll usually want to detangle your hair and using your fingers is most effective because you can feel your way along, so hair is less likely to pull or break.
Start at the ends and work upwards towards the roots. Stop where you feel a tangle and massage it out, a little serum or moisture spray can ease this along.
Tell us your three favourite ways to style textured hair and how to achieve each look...
1.The Head Band Command
Best for... Short hair that's wavy/curly
Difficulty rating: 4/5
How to get the look:
1) Cleanse with a sulphate-free shampoo, condition and let hair air dry. Spritz with Moisture Spray to encourage curls to form and protect from heat styling.
2) Gently comb through and define the shape of one curl at a time, with a medium-heat tong.
3) Use a warm hairdryer and round brush to blow hair downwards, towards the nape with a little AVEDA Brilliant anti-humectant pomade to smooth any flyaways.
4) Centre the head wrap on the crown of the head, so that hair lies flat there.
5) Primp with a wide tooth comb for shape; style with fingertips, a dab of ORIBE moulding wax and finish with a couple of pumps of my lightweight styling serum.
2. The Hair Flick Trick
Best for... Mid to long curly/coily hair
Difficulty rating: 3/5
How to get the look:
2) Style finger twists all over your head, thin or chunky, turning hair from the roots to the ends.
3) Either let hair air dry or speed the process along with a little gentle heat from a diffuser. Hold the diffuser at a 45-degree angle facing upwards so hair happily sits in it, move it up and down to encourage curls and coils to take shape.
4) Once the hair is fully dry, apply a couple of pumps of serum to hands and fingertips then gently separate each curl into two. If you've done chunky twists you may want to separate out into more like three, four or even more individual curls.
5) Flick your hair all the way over to one side, then flick it all the way over to the other side – repeat! This technique is great for lifting the roots and adding volume. Wear your hair where it naturally falls, so that the look is very effortless. Do the hair flick trick if your style needs re-energising throughout the day.
3. The Art Of The Part
Best for... any length kinky/coily/curly/wavy hair
Difficulty rating: 1/5
Changing how and where your hair is parted is one of my favourite, most simple and effective ways to create a whole new look.
Here are some ideas:
1) Swap sides. If you usually part hair on the left, see how your face is framed differently if you change it to the right. You'll likely find that hair appears to have more volume if strands have laid in one direction for some time. Also, no-one's features are completely symmetrical, so this can really refresh your look.
2) Change up how far back the parting goes; either a short or very deep parting.
3) Go from a precise neat line to casually separated with fingers, or vice versa. A touch of my PureFro Hold and Shine Serum is great for slicking sharp partings in place; use the end of a carbon tail comb to create a defined line first.
4) A middle part with a low bun or puff is flattering for most people.
5) Use U pins to sweep hair away from your face and secure behind your ear.
6) Starting the part at the highest point of your eyebrow arch can be very dramatic.
What should you avoid when styling textured hair?
Avoid brushing textured hair when styling it, if you want to preserve the curl pattern, unless you're deliberately going for an undefined look. Instead, use your fingers or a three in one style pick.
Also, avoid being completely set on doing one thing. Textured hair behaves differently on different days so you may need to adapt what you originally set out to do, depending on what your hair is telling you! Be flexible, patient and give yourself enough time so you don't have to rush. Styling your hair should be enjoyable. I find that a bit of music helps!
What products should you u se to style textured hair?
My favourite styling product for all types of textured hair – kinky, coily, curly or wavy – has got to be my very own Styling~ Cream. One of the natural ingredients is mongongo oil, which is known for its sun protection properties; there's also shea butter which is very moisturising.
It feels incredibly rich and luxurious, gives hair a soft hold with no flaking and hair is never stiff or crunchy. It's essential for successfully styling everything from finger waves to twists and for a clean ponytail look too.
What products can cause problems when styling textured hair?
A lot of traditional gels can be drying for hair because of the alcohol content and they can also make hair go hard and crispy.
Back in the day, I'd mix a little gel with some serum before slicking around the hairline with a toothbrush. Understanding the issues with this inspired me to create my own solution, which is where the idea for PureFro Hold and Shine Serum came from. It's wonderful for giving all kinky and coily hairstyles a tidy finish and laying the fine hairs around the hairline flat, with a soft hold, it's never hard, greasy, crispy or flaky either.