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Curly Nikki

Graduation and Natural Hair– A Giveaway

By January 27th, 202126 Comments
A beautiful reader writes:

Graduation and Natural Hair-- A Giveaway

In graduating on December 6th with my bachelors degree in Psychology (woot woot!) and I can’t figure out what to do with my hair. I am currently rocking a TWA (about 4 inches long when stretched) & my hair is 4a & 4bish (front is kinda 4b and the middle and back is 4a). I was wondering if anyone in the CurlyNikki community has any ideas for me? Also I will be wearing my graduation cap, so the hair style needs to look good with the cap, as well as when I have the cap off (since I will be going out after, & wont have on the cap the entire day). The curly who provides the best suggestion, styling tip, or idea, will win a bottle of Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose conditioner!

Graduation and Natural Hair-- A Giveaway
Leave your comment/suggestion/style tip in the comments section below. Tomorrow, at 5pm EST, Shayna will select the winner!


  • MakeUpJunkie32 says:

    Congrats! I would have to say that a flat double strand twist style would look great with your cap on or off. You should get a little creative with it and try flat double strand twisting it back to one side, then add a small flower to the back. I think that would be a great look for you!

  • Rhapsody in PURPLE! says:

    You can cornrow your hair up in the back and do a twist out/ braidout in the front!!! it would be adorable and classy

  • CurlyNola says:

    I had a similar scenario. I was transitioning and my hair was about your length. I had a rod set on small rollers. I purchased a half yard of black satin material and some velcro. I fashioned the satin in my cap and adhered it to the inside of the cap with the velcro and a small amount of fabric glue. I did not need all of the material. After the ceremony and all the family pictures were taken, I removed my hat and fluffed. I had a similar effect as having a rod set and preserving it with a satin bonnet. Between the satin in the cap and a great rod set I was the bees knees for all of the after parties. Congrats on your accomplishment!

  • lehcareaj says:

    Congrats Shayna! I understand your dilemma, i'm graduating on the 10th, and I've been wondering/experimenting as far as what to do with my hair for weeks! I briefly considered flat ironing my hair, but changed my mind. I want to show my family, friends, and peers that you can be beautiful, elegant, and professional WHILE being naturally curly! The problem with rod curls, twist-outs, curly fros, and other "big hair" styles is that it doesn't fit under the tight graduation cap! I plan on doing very very very small (micro-esque) two-strand twists, wearing them down for the ceremony, and then possibly putting them up into an elegant french-twist or pretty bun for after-parties. Whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll be gorgeous! There's no beauty like natural! Congrats again!

  • MahoganyCurls says:

    I would suggest trying flat twist.I have a TWA and I love wearing this style. It is low maintence, it last at least a week, and it will look very elegant. You can use bobby pins to secure the ends. We do not have the same hair type, but it will work. I would twist while it is still wet. Add your favorite leave in or regular conditioner you can even add a little gel for hold. At night tie your hair up with a satin scarf to preserve the twist. I actually have a picture of how it looks on my TWA. Just visit the community and under curlfriends check out MahoganyCurls…I have a few pictures. I hope this helps. Also congrats on your big day!

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm actually in the same situation. I will graduate December 19 with a degree in Finance. I wear twists all the time, and although it will lay down under my cap, I think it will look fuzzy when I take it off for all my photo ops.

    I'm actually just thinking about straightening it… I'm do for a good trim anyways. I doubt that straightening it one time will hurt if I deep condition prior and don't go crazy with the flat iron. I can tell that my twa will straighten to just above shoulder length, slightly longer than neck length with layers.


  • LovelyCurls says:

    CONGRATS!!! I am very happy for you and pray that your dreams come true.
    I actually have a few suggestions. 1)Kinky twist w/ extensions 2)Two strand twist (I would suggest small twist and have the ends curled, you have the face for this look and I truly think with your hair length it would work and once your are tired of that look you can rock a twist out) 3) Braid the back forwards and wear the front in a braid out 4)Flat two strand twist at an angle going towards the back of your head (either to the right or left) then add braid hair and tighly twist until it starts to coil around itself. Repeat this process until you have a full size coil bun. Add a flower for flair.

  • lexibugg says:

    i am not sure why i haven't seen ANY other naturals try this style, but when my hair was about this length, i would do a josephine baker-esque hair style!!!after deep conditioning and detangling in the shower, i started by doing a deep part in the front going straight back(which ever side you like is fine)i applied a nice rich leave- in to entire head, then to the front third of hair( or as far back as part goes)you should apply products with some hold to them, i, not knowing any better at the time used gel,you could use a combo of aloe vera gel (which has no hold but will provide moisture) and an alcothol free setting lotion. at this point i would use a medium tooth comb to create wide soft waves. the first wave on the side of the part with the most hair should extend out toward your forehead,if you don't have sensitive skin feel free to extend to wave about an half an inch. of course the next wave should head in the opposite direction. after completing each wave i held them in place with duck billed clips.after completing both side of the front of my hair i would leave the back to air dry with just the leave in for definition, or you could choose to do your entire head in waves. from the pics in seems as if you have a nice tapered TWA that is shorter in the back, if i am right leaving the back out in little coils wouldn't look a bit strange, or you can actually do finger coils to really insure clean definition!!! you can either air dry if you don't use heat or sit under a dryer, if you don't have access to a hooded dryer beauty supply stores sale inflatable hoods that you attach to you regular dryer. once completely dry remove clips. you can accessorize the look with a nice peacock or pheasant feather clip, or one of those beautiful crystal clips that make you look as if you are wearing jewelry in you hair, reminiscent of the 1920's-30's. now i know doing waves in 2009 sounds scary, but if you make them one and a half to two fingers wide, and the fact that you will not be using crusty ampro gel, they will come out looking soft and regal. i wore this style quite often when i went natural five years ago it was very quick but looked like it took hours, and lasts for days, if you wrap it up at night. i even wore it when to my wedding with a single rose tuck behind my ear!!!! Also congratulations on completing your Bachelors degree, i love seeing other educated young women of African descent!!!

  • CostaKink says:

    Hey Shayna! I found this hairstyle that I think you should try. I even want to try it myself! Its a hairstyle that you use by doing a bantu knot out. While looking on fotki I found this young lady's page. Her haistyles are awesome! Its actually one of her transitioning styles but I think it will be a great style never the less. You can wear it like this—> under your cap OR you can break up the curl and wear it as a curly fro when you decide to go out. On her page she explains how she did the style and what products she used (DEFINITELY A PLUS!!!)Congrats on your success and good luck in the future!

  • Beads, Braids & Beyond says:

    Congrats! You are beautiful. Love your hair!

    I would suggest the smaller flexi-rods they sell. Definitley a cute look and will hold up under that cap! My daughter had a flexirod set for her birthday and it held up fine under her birthday hat.

    Check out my post on them here.

    I used alcohol free gel with some shea butter & coconut oil. Try to space the hair out so it gives you more length, work in 1-2inch sections.

  • Ms. Jones says:

    When I graduated I had cornrows in the front and comb coils in the back. It worked perfect for getting my cap on my head. I had about a week of graduation activities (went to an HBCU) and my hair held up through all of that.

    Also after about a week, I seperated the coils to create a coil out. I did a lot of partying and I went to school in humid ATL and this held up just fine.

    You could also forgo the cornrows and just do coils or do flat twists in the front. There are so many variations! Your hair looks like it's a bit longer than mine was at the time, but here are a few pictures. Not sure if you're going to a stylist or not, but if not, don't fret, coils are really easy to do at home, just time consuming :)

    I really hope this helps, you should be sooo excited!!!!!

  • Mae says:

    Congrats on your upcoming graduation! I remember how exciting that day was : ) I'm sure this has been suggested before, but I think a two-strand twist-out would look great on you! I recently did one, where I had a side part when I did my twists. I left them in for a day before I took them out. I have a YouTube video where you can see my twists and the result of the twist-out. I did my twist-out this past Saturday and my hair is still holding up well today, even after wearing a beanie. When you take your cap off, you can always accessorize with a cute headband or clip-in accessory (ie. flower, feather clip). Hope this helps : )

    Twists Vid:

    Twist-out Vid:

    *Mae* (

  • Christina - RebelRocks says:

    I wouldn't focus on your hair too much! You just spent 4 years working hard, so, enjoy your night, your family and your major accomplishment…your hair will fall into place, literally.

    i'd suggest parting small strand twists closer to one side of your head and pinning it close to the nape of your neck to make a cute curly ponytail. It wouldn't be in your face and I think it'd look classy


  • Moni says:

    I'd suggest doing comb coils or finger coils. Since they lay flat, they'll look cute peeking out from under your cap, but won't get smooshed by it, and will also look cute once you take the hat off. If you have a break in between, you could even rock a coil out in the afternoon or when going out. Kcurly has a great tutorial for both coils and a coil out here: Plus, you'll have some hair around your face, so it won't look like you're bald under the cap!

  • Anonymous says:

    A small perm rod set might be best, because it will start out with less volume to wear under your cap. Then after the ceremony, you can run home and separate the curls a little more for bigger, more glamorous hair for partying.

    A twist out could work as well, as long as you don't wear the cap directly on top of your head. I saw this young lady on Facebook doing it very well:

    And remember you can use bobby pins to keep the hair's volume down and the cap fitted on.

  • Shayla Simmons says:

    I would suggest first doing small-medium two strand twists over your entire head. And then using perm rods to roller set the twists. When your hair is dry, just take out the perm rods. The end-result is a beautiful twisty curly do that will not be smooshed by the cap.

  • Milan says:

    My idea would be to flat twist or corn row the front nice and do either a twist n curl, twist out or rod set in the back.

    Or you could rock twists and bring a pretty hair accessory like a hair flower from Ododo Originals ( to put in your hair once you've taken the cap off.

  • Ms.Panda says:

    flat twist your hair in a mohawk style and two strand twists in the middle…use little flowers and applique' to decorate it

    Hope this helps!!!!!!

  • Tianna says:

    I suggest rod curls. I have similar textured hair and similar length and when I want to wear it for an occassion I use small curling rods on my wet hair overnight with a little styling gel. In the AM, I toussel (or I don't depending on how I feel) and go. Pin up a few here and there for dramatic effects and viola nice hair! Good luck and congrats on the graduation!!!!!

  • Jackiej205 says:

    Hey Shayna, have you tried twist, twist-outs, or Curly Nikki's twist and curl? I believe all three would look gorgeous on you and you can shape them around your hat and shake them out when the hat is off.
    Hope this helps,
    Jackie j.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think curly twists or a curly twistout would work well with the graduation cap. The twists will stretch the hair and your curls will frame the bottom of the cap. Afterwards, just give your hair a fluff if the hat smooshes the curls a bit and enjoy yourself. You could also add a hairband or some kind of accessory after the hat comes off. HTH!

    Tausha D.

  • Crystal says:

    How about small rods and then pluck them out? Then you just have to fluff your hair once you take off the cap.

  • Krystality says:

    I would suggest a Rod or Flexrod set. This will create small tight curls that will last for about a week. I think this will work well after you take off your hat…

    The first time I tried this style I used flexi- rods, shae butter for moisture, EVCO to seal, and Fantasia IC for hold. I done this on a Friday night. Then next day I did some volunteer work at a building site which required me to wear a hard-hat. After work was done all I done was pull out my curls and fluffed a little. My style still lasted for the entire week.

    Also please be sure to roll the rods in the direction you want them to fall.
    **You can also add a cute flower on the side that will match your outfit after you take off your cap and gown off for a little bling. :-)**

    Hope this helps and Congrats on you Graduations!

  • Nik says:

    I would say wear twists! I would suggest doing the twists when your hair is mostly dry so that they would have a bit of length on them. That way you can wear them with your cap and shake them out and wear them while you are out! Hope this helps and Congrats!!!

  • The Queen of Hearts says:

    Your site is truly inspirational. As a late hair bloomer, I'm not sure what to do with my hair! I just received a relaxer for the first time a year ago (I'm in my mid 20s, believe it or not) and have had some ups and some downs. I tried to reach out to one very popular hair blog for help (I come from a family that has NO idea what to do with my hair and basically just leaves me to the hair hounds)but with no response. Hopefully I can come here from time to time and obtain some guidance. Thanks for being available. : )

  • crustaceans says:

    I would say perhaps two strand twists that are pinned up, like a fellow curly did here:

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