Last night's post got me thinking...
Many of us (not erry'body, tho) want thicker looking hair. I'm talking BIG, voluminous, heavy, block-people's-line-of-vision tresses. I too fancy big hair, and even go so far as to henna regularly to achieve it. Score! It totally works, but what happens when you can't henna (due to time constraints, side effects such as curl loosening or the red tint)? Or, if henna simply didn't work for you? Obviously, growing more hair per square inch would be sorcery... so we have to work with what we've got.
- Wash&Gos shrink and shrink and shrink some more. This shrinking action makes my hair appear shorter and thinner than it actually is. Stretched styles such as twist and braid-outs, roller sets, bantu knot-outs, and Twist-n-Curls, really aid in stretching out the curl, showing more length, and thus giving the illusion of volume. Also, I don't know about you, but my hair doesn't shrink uniformly. Left to its own devices, the back (which is very fluffy and has a tighter curl) will shrink to 80%, and the front, to my chin... other pieces throughout shrink anywhere from 25%-50%. This makes for a very uneven and sparse looking finished product. When it's all stretched out to the same length it looks healthier and BIGGER!
- Dry sets rock! For me, they only work in the winter, tho... the summer humidity shrinks them up as soon as I hit the front porch. Dry sets yield an even bigger look than the typical wet set twist or braid-outs. Love, love, love these! To achieve the bossiest dry sets, I gently finger detangle in sections, brush through with a paddle brush to create an undefined bush (breaks up the curly clumps), and twist using a leave-in or cream to set the waves(no water necessary). I allow it to set overnight and in the morning... pure awesomeness.
- Damp sets. Allow your freshly washed and conditioned hair to air dry for 30 minutes or so before twisting or braiding. Damp sets yield nearly the same results as my dry sets with a teeny bit more hold. The results are less defined and piece-y as compared to a wet set.
- If you don't have time to do a wet set to stretch your hair in preparation for a dry set, you can blow dry your hair on warm, concentrating on the roots, and skipping the ends. A twist or braid-out on blown out hair may not last very long, but you'll definitely be rocking the Joan from Girlfriends look. I would reserve this style for special occasions. The blow dryer is definitely a frenemy.
- Fluff! I fluff with my fingers. Gently raking through the released twists starting at the roots. I first separate all the twists, then separate the sections further. Finally, I do the raking action, shake, use my fingers like a pick to cover any parts, and I'm out the door.
- Pineappling. This nightly routine also stretches the hair. Days after a good pineapple, my hair looks fuller, and I love that.
- Finally, eating a healthy, balanced diet, engaging in lots of cardio (to stimulate the scalp), and gentle hair practices can all help you keep more of what you grow. Also biotin is known to thicken the actual hair cuticle providing a fuller appearance because of the increased diameter of the hair shaft. And MSM supplements claim to lengthen the growth cycle, which would make for fuller looking hair, since you'd keep strands for longer.
- Less is more when it comes to product. Opt for curl creams over gels. Hard hold products can make fine haired curlies look stringy and overly clumped/defined, they also make your hair too stiff to fluff (which results in frizz). Also, always use less product than you think you need.