Oh, to be fully natural and not have a care in the world...
Just kidding, I know plenty of naturals still struggle with their hair - especially at bedtime. But for transitioners, the struggle is especially unique - how do you preserve styles and prevent tangles without accidentally returning all hair to straight? Here are 3 ways to preserve styles, prevent matting, and reduce damage to transitioning hair at nighttime:
1. Scarf Pineapple
When it comes to the pineapple, I generally warn transitioners to stay away. Although the pineapple is simple and brilliant, it will inevitably lead to ruining a transitioning style via stretching the styled hair back straight. However, if you've reached at least the mid-point in your transition, the scarf pineapple method is a viable option. As a spin-off of the original, I use a satin scarf to secure and pineapple my hair. I bend over at the waist, lay the triangular shaped (achieved by folding in half diagonally) scarf at the back of my head, then bring the sides around to the front and tie them in a knot to secure my hair. Then I take the two ends and tie them at the back of my hair, to further secure. It ends up looking like a ponytail, but minus the scrunchie, which significantly decreases the likelihood of stretching or re-straightening styled hair.
2. Light Banding
Many naturals use the banding method to stretch highly textured hair without heat. However, banding done a little differently can help preserve a textured transitioning style minus smushing, straightening, and tangles. The original banding method involves several rubberband-like scrunchies (like Goody Ouchless) securely placed down the length of the hair. But for light banding, you'll need looser satin scrunchies that won't leave dents in the hair. Separate hair into 4 sections, and place 2 or 3 satin scrunchies loosely down the length of each section - looping no more than twice so as to prevent stretching. Cover hair with a satin scarf or bonnet, and sleep easy!
|A multi pineapple|
For shorter hair or textures more prone to tangles, matting, and high amounts of shrinkage, the multi-pineapple is an effective way to preserve curls and coils. The premise is the same as the original pineapple, just divided into as many sections as necessary. Click here for a thorough tutorial by EllePixie of Quest For the Perfect Curl. Just remember for transitioners, keep the ponytails loose, and cover hair with a satin scarf or bonnet afterwards.
If you are looking to preserve a style such as a twist or braid-out, do not use water or water-based products (or if you do so, use sparingly) to refresh hair at night or in the morning. Water causes reversion, which can do double-damage for a transitioner style - reverting your new growth to natural (not stretched) texture, and returning your curled/braided/wavy relaxed or heat damaged ends back to straight. I recommend properly moisturizing and sealing hair before styling, to prevent dried-out hair on day 2 or 3. If you must moisturize, creamy products like: Soultanicals Fluffalicious Curl Nutricious, CURLS Whipped Cream, or Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream. All three are moisturizing, and not too watery - and they won't weigh down relaxed or heat damaged ends.
*Protect your edges
Many transitioners get so caught up in preserving a style that they neglect their edges. Keep edges nourished and moisturized with products like Eden BodyWorks Peppermint Temple Balm or Jamaican Black Castor Oil.
*Minimize your styling
If you can avoid it, refrain from re-braiding, twisting, curling, etc. your hair every night. Although your ends are damaged and you'll eventually trim away at them, excessive manipulation can cause an untimely expedition of that process. Stick to styles that will give you the look you desire, and couple that with products like EcoStyler, Soultanicals Curl Blaze Hair Glaze, or Wonder Curl Get Set Hair Jelly that will provide a lot of hold to get a longer lasting style!
Regardless of what method you use to preserve your moisture and style at night, I recommend always having a satin pillowcase on deck. I'm a wild sleeper, and can never guarantee that any scarf or bonnet will make it through the night. The satin pillowcase is a great backup plan to have in place.