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Curly Nikki

Betwixt and Between- Natural Hair Styles

By January 27th, 202153 Comments
Reposting because I’ve seen this question in the comment section quite a bit lately–

Betwixt and Between- Natural Hair Stylessource

JossBella (not pictured above) writes:

After ten months of transition, I big chopped at the end of January 2011. I went to a stylist for the cut, but since then, I’ve been experimenting with my hair at home and I have discovered the following things:
  • My hair is different lengths and is NOT a TWA. It’s about 4-5 inches in most places.
  • The front middle part of my hair is extremely loose curls and some straight pieces, probably due to the ONE time I flat ironed during my transition.
  • The sides have no curl definition
  • The middle can’t hold a curl
  • The back tends to not stretch out as much as the sides, top, and front, thus giving me a mullet look with the back being flat when I try to go for a ‘fro. This is NOT pretty. I don’t like picking it out because it hurts my scalp and causes breakage. It really doesn’t do much help anyway.
Even with all of that, I have found ways to keep my hair moisturized and soft! And I can DEFINITELY tell my hair is growing. :)

I have done twist-outs and with my sides having no curl definition, it kinda looks crazy so I’ve been doing the whole fro hawk thing with them, which looks awesome. But that’s all that seems to work.

Any other naturals going through the same thing during this in between stage?

What did you do or what are you doing?

What other styling suggestions do you have?

I feel so limited. Thanks in advance!


  • Shia says:

    Same thing here! I transitioned almost two years and then had the perm cut out. Boy was I in for a shock. I didn't realize it would be so inbetween! I thought I was going to rock a twa, but it's just not. It's this awkward stage and it's just doing me in. I can pull it in a tiny bun, yes. But that's after I stretch it.

    I would say to find a good leave in conditioner and some oils. I do the two strand twist all the time now. Sometimes for the front part I do a three strand one. I roll them up into bantu knots too.

    It's an awkward phase I admit, but I'm nearly use to it. I miss my long hair so much though. Which is weird since I've had short hair before, but never short and curly. Just stick with it! It's a relief to not have the crunchy ends though. lol!

  • LM says:

    right now im in yarn braids to give myself a break from my hair and my hair a break from me. I LOVE little to no manipulation styles. Since twist outs fail to make my hair uniform, i do a modified version of them. when i do the twist out, i have to lightly pick the roots, fluff like crazy and pat my hair down a little lol. This makes a gorgeous uniform fro. if all else fails, i slap on a head band or a beanie. i have patches of different textures in my hair ranging from wavy, loose curls, to tight corkscrews..i have never flat ironed or blow dried my hair so i really dont know why my textures vary so much aside from maybe my familial background

  • LuvMissNovember says:

    For Curl definition and uniformity (and I know because in my 10 years of naturalness, I have perfect springy coils in the back, crazy misfit straight peices in the front, weird long crimpies on the sides and one long straight chunk on the nape..le sigh…) I use curlformers or flexies. I think the best hairstyles for us involve bunning and/or stretching. Stretching, using flexies or twistouts creates a uniform curl all over. Also, two strand twisted updos are awesome too. :) I blog about my styles. Check em out! XO

  • JossBella says:

    Hey there! I'm still in the between stages but my hair is much longer now. I still have some of the same issues but as my hair has grown, I've found that certain parts are getting a curl pattern but I have frizzy hair! I've just learned to embrace it. Also doing bantu knot outs, acv rinses, and braid outs have helped. Braid outs last longer but take longer to do.

  • Lauren says:

    NIKKI! Chica! Miss Lady…we need more information on hair like this. I was a few hours away from sending you my own hair horror such as this.

    This completely describes my hair. I've looked through tons of natural hair pictures of LONG HAIR or short hair.

    Not the inbetween look.

    I tried to do a twist out and just like JossBella there's no curl in the middle. I've transitioned for over a year Thanksgiving 2010 was when I decided not to relax anymore and haven't had one since.

    My hair hasn't been this long in a long time.

    My boyfriend who is learning to be on board (he's trying…bless his Caucasian southern heart) was looking in one of my magazines with me saying, how about this one? Too long. How about that one? That's not my hair type!

    But it's just as described except for one thing…the insane poof. That I will learn to love but it's just as described above.

    When I get home (I'm at work now…shhh! don't tell) I'm going to check out that fourm that everyone is talking about.

    The fourm is massive everyone is talking about great things…that don't apply to me.

    I'm going to go home and attempt some two strand twists.

    For the past year it's been weaves, braids, wigs, half wigs, hats, scarves and an I don't care check out my fro. (I work in a corporate office where the majority of the people just have NO CLUE.)

    So I need this!

  • Shanna says:

    When it grows out, the different textures will be less of an issue. I have the same problem. As it gets longer it "lays down" and the top overlaps the bottom giving the illusion that the hair is the same all the way around. At that point you can also rely more on twist outs, braid outs, roller sets, etc to make the hair all look the same as well.

    While it is short, it is harder to hide the different textures because as the day progresses, your hair behaves differently in those areas and looks a bit disheveled. Once you get more of an overlap from the top, the discrepency won't be as noticeable.

  • Anonymous says:

    Check out for tips.

  • Geraldine Coleman says:

  • AcecentriclyNatural says:

    This article spoke to me because I told myself the winter of 2010 that I was going to take better care of my hair. I got heat damage after getting my hair flat ironed at a salon. So seeing that I've been natural since I was 8 and had pretty much trained my hair I was devastated. So basically everything after the first three and a half inches was straight. But I cheat when I do hair styles and maybe it'll work for you. If I'm doing a twist out, or bantu knots Ill put the front twists on rollers. I usually twist or roll the front away from my face hiding the ends so most don't see the texture difference. Try rollersets, and updos.

  • Erica S says:

    I have MAJOR issues with curl definition in some parts of my hair than other parts. The back of my hair (where a low pony would be) curls much tighter than the top (like where I high pony would be). To tame this I try twistouts where I make the sections tighter in some areas than other areas. I also like to pin my hair up where the tighter curls are pinned down and the looser curls (which I like better) are left out. But my main go to style are loose buns where I twistout my hair and just use the twists to create some definition in my hair.

  • Bertha D. says:

    My best suggestion would be to use some kind of gel with a lot of hold when doing twists, make sure you make them really right and make them into bantu knots. Idk :/

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear anonymous at 9:53pm January 17th.

    KCCC/KCKT is my go too product when my hair gets uber dry. I have kinky hair with no curl pattern. My crown has a wiggly pattern and will not coil with gels.

    I read this method but have not tried it yet. Apply KCCC/KCKT as you normally would to the back and sides. At the crown, do two strand twists for texture.


  • Anonymous says:

    I have been going out of my mind trying to find youtube videos showing people with hair like mine. I always assumed that the front and top portion of my hair grew slower when I was relaxing because it never got kinky(I never even had to press it when I was transitioning; it was automatically straight with maybe a few waves). Well imagine my surprise when I bc'd and it didn't curl and I kept cutting trying to get to the curly part(I finally gave up before I ended up with a big bald spot). Right now I have to section the top part from the rest and scrunch with kinky curly to get waves because if I try to shingle or rake gel through I will get the straight wet cat look. I think that this would make a great ongoing forum for those like me.

  • Anonymous says:

    This seems to be a trend so maybe we should all accept it as a part of being natural and not wish for more than perfect hair. I know some stages can be awkward but it always disheartens me when hear Naturals talking about everything they don't like about their hair and what it should and should not be doing. But that's another post, sorry to be the debby downer.

    So to answer your question, my hair texture and length changes depending on products. I have learned that my curl pattern is totally different depending on what product I choose to use. I also use my denman to define my curls. My twist outs look complete different when I use carol's daughter healthy hair butter vs using sm curl enhancing smoothie. The same with shrinkage, sm smoothie causes my hair to shrink but oyin shine and define stretches it. My hair is very curly, coarse and dense so how wet my hair is when I apply products also makes a difference. In my one one yr of being natural I've learned that paying attention to how my hair reacts to products has made my journey much easier and very enjoyable. Hope this helps.

  • Ahyl says:

    I'm having the same problem too. My hair is a little of 7 inches in length and about 4-5 inches in the shorter areas, mainly the back where it was cut the shortest. In the back it can almost reach my shoulder, on the sides it can reach my jaw, and in the front it reaches the bottom of my nose. I do put my hair in twists after washing it, but the twists always stick up in different directions after a couple of days. I really hate the way my hair looks after taking them so I usually comb it out. I'm not very skilled at flat twisting or braiding, so I have a lot of trouble finding hairstyles. Even when I try to do a hairstyle I find in a tutorial, it fails. My hair is really, really tightly curled and shrinks alot. I could really care less about "curl definition" as I don't see a point in making my hair do something it doesn't do on it's own. Most of the time I wear an afro or puff, or if I'm successful I'll roll and tuck the front. Otherwise, I'm really stumped for hairstyles. It's difficult finding hairstyles because I don't see many people on the interwebs with my hair type who don't load their hair with products to make it appear loosely curled or wavy, which is something I don't care to do.

  • NaturallyNatural says:

    Wow, this sounds like my hair too, lol. Who knew everyone was rocking my hair. I have found two strand twists to be lifesavers. I have also begun to wear the afro puff on the top of my hair with flowers. I am crazy about hair accessories to jazz it up but at the end of the day I look in the mirror and tell myself I will slap myself silly if I continue to act like I am not the with all this crazy textured hair and then I smile and thank God I am me, lol.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have already found my Caribbean Cruise hair style.

    Extension braids wrapped with "Marley Hair" to make simulated "Locs"

    Saw it on YouTube, and the style was Mahvelous *imitates Geoffrey Holder*!

  • Terica says:

    Sounds so familiar. I BC'd at 10.5 months. I wore two strand twists flexi rodded and with accessories or flat twisted updos until about 5 months after my BC when I could better rock a twist out. I had that mullet look too so I can totally relate. It helped that it was winter anyway so my twists worked perfectly under hats. As for the straightness, I thought mine may have been heat damage too…2+ yrs after my BC, It's clear my hair actually grows that way.

  • Sparkle Arts says:

    I'm wearing my hair in yarn braids – a great protective style for the winter. Protective styling helps with growth and length retention.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh my goodness, this post sounds like my hair. King of straight-ish in the front, super tight and short in the back and curly/kinky all different things going on everywhere else. Honestly I have found that two strand twist, only with my own hair works really well to camouflage the different textures.

  • Anonymous says:

    Why not try some cornrows or headband in the front and let the back be a fro. I think this may work for some people with thicker, denser or coarser textures. A scarf might also do the trick.

    You can also wear braids, cornrows or twists with extensions. But don't overdo it to prevent thinning edges.

  • Anonymous says:

    This article is just what i needed. I plan to big chop in the next few days, as soon as the wig i ordered online comes to have a plan B. I can already tell that i have at least 2 textures..coils down the middle from front to back and no coils or curl pattern on the a skunk. I hate to cover my natural hair with a wig cause i really love it but loving it and stlying it are two different things.

  • Ayana says:

    I'm doing wigs, also. And, to be honest, I am thinking about rocking a short and sassy natural. I hate this middle stage. I've been natural for almost 18 months, I have cut it twice when I've gotten to this stage. #tiredoftryingtogrownandstylemyhair

  • Anonymous says:

    I've been wearing wigs. Don't sleep on the wigs ladies! There are some really nice ones out there! I wash and braid my own hair every two weeks. And although my hair is in braids, I still seal my ends and make sure I keep my hair moisturized. Everytime I wash it I can see the growth!

  • Sequitta J. says:

    Yes, I'm in that horrible stage myself! What makes it worse is that the back and sides of my hair grow like crazy, but the top and middle of my hair just takes its slow, precious time, making me want to keep cutting it all to keep it even. I get so frustrated because my twist outs look good, but my hair is too short to pineapple and the multi-pinapple method leaves my hair looking a mess. I've actually just started learning new protective styles (shout out to Keri-SimplYounique and CharyJay-160days2Lose2). That way I can stay out of my head while it continues to grow.

  • Khaliah says:

    I think most of us can understand where you're coming from. When I wasn't feeling the length and look of my TWA, I got it braided. i kept in short extensions for a little under a month. Amazingly when I took them out my hair had grown a bit more to a length that I was very pleased with. So, I just hid from my hair for a while.
    Maybe you should try small single-strand twists, rock some scarves or hats, if extensions aren't the way you want to go.

  • Anonymous says:

    One thing that people forget is that TEXTURE & DENSITY play a big part in whether you'll be able to execute the styles you see on Youtube. I've noticed that most people with Youtube channels have low density, fine and smoother textured hair. I rarely see anyone with coarse hair, wiry hair, highly dense but spongy hair (like mine) or hair that shrinks which can cause a decent sized fro to curl up into an awkward looking not quite TWA that still needs styling but doesn't play nicely.

    I'm going to try bantus and pin them in interesting ways – anything that stretches my hair to the fullest gives me slightly more options that my style unfriendly, spongy texture won't fight as hard

  • Chelsa says:

    You described my hair to a T! But I agree with others that and say that I just roll with it. I mostly just wear my hair in a curly fro. I tried finger coils once (that was a process) that didn't turn out quite right, but I pulled them apart the next morning and I got so many compliments! So I think I'm going to do it again. I'm also a fan of twist outs. When I do those people think I'm a wearing a wig! Not sure if that's a compliment or not though LOL All in all I'm enjoying my natural hair. It's been about 2 1/2 months that I've been completely natural and I love it!

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with Anon 2:26. helped me tremendously. I BC'ed back in mid Dec. 2010 and have been experimenting with my in-between hair. Mine is even worse because my sides above my ears is sparse due to a scalp condition. It's growing, but rolling with it is the key. I learned how to flat twist from Janelle's (above website) Youtube page. I also did my version of finger coils from the middle to the back of my head (sectioning the hair in small, uniform pieces and twisting them with butter/gel/whatever works for you) with a flat twist across the front, left them in for four days, and unraveled them for curl definition. I have different textures too, but this really turned out great. Even better than when I did a two strand twist out.

  • says:

    @Anon 9:22, do you have pics? Sounds cute!

  • Anonymous says:

    oh wow, thats exactly how my hair is right now! I'm so glad I'm not alone. My hair is very straight (like no curl, I can scrunch it to create one bend in it but thats it) in the back two corners closest to my ears and then super curly inbetween those two pieces and the crown. Then the front is move wavy than curly and my length is about 4-6".

    So what I find myself doing is wearing puffs, or pinning it up in the back but to the side, then doing a twist out with sort of a gangsta lean. It sounds weird when I describe it lol but its really cute. I also add flowers, headbands or I create a french braid headband across the front. Rods work also. Its not the most fun having betwixt hair but its only temporary! :)

  • Charlene says:

    The moment I read this post I felt as if I was reading about my experience. My hair has been unpermed for over a year, yet flat-burned, I mean, flat-ironed and it has a multi-texture thing going on as well. However the young lady that styles my hair, seems to think it is wonderful. Okay!!! However we finally discovered a style that is pleasing to me and looks rather cute. I am wearing a two peice twist that is rod set and my hair looks like I have a short crop hairstyle. After a week or so old, it looks fuller and rather beautiful. I love it. I call this my signature style, until it grows out and we will have to find another signature style. Yet, it's a jazzy and funky style to works for my multi-textured hair. Happy Hair Style Hunting!! :)

  • Anonymous says:

    yes I agree with the post about She is Blackizbeautiful on youtube and her styles are geared exactly to this length she has saved my life during my 4th month of being natura, and they only take a few minutes to do! Ladies this is the uphill treck of this journey. We just have to get up this hill and over the top loving our natural hair the entire journey and then we can coast with buns and ponytails again lol.

  • says:

    THANKS SO MUCH LADIES! I love the positive support and suggestions. I think I'll print this page so if one thing doesn't work, I have other things I can try. LOL. You're awesome!

  • Tia says:

    growing my hair out last summer, I had that same shape! But after months of only a frohawk and and updo (french braided straight up and twists at the top) My hair grew a lot more and I was able to have a more full afro.

  • Ciara Pierce says:

    I shape my hair into a taper. Wet the back and sides so that the curl tightens and put a twist out on top. Also, I find that not caring in addition to makeup and earrings makes life a lot easier.

  • Anonymous says:

    Try braiding or flat twisting the sides up into your style. Rod sets and roller sets will help blend the textures. I have the SAME problems and I'm trying to find new options as well. Thank you for posting this.

  • Anonymous says:

    APL hair (in the back)but I still feel like I'm in that in between stage. my main styles are puffs, um puffs, and you guessed it, more puffs. I put em to the sides, the back, the top. Occassionally I do out styles(twistouts, braidouts, big blowouts) but they only work with very strectched hair or hair that has been released from extremely tiny twists (i have really fine strands).Oh and I sometimes do a frohawk.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think you're my hair twin!

    I have the exact same problems. Everything is soo uneven with so many different textures. I have to confess that I went and got it flat ironed a few weeks ago because it just looked a hot mess after I tried a twist out for the first time. I'm just getting up on this curly thing. I've been flat ironing for years and wearing tracks and I'm really trying to stick with it, in fact I have a plan to wash and try a braid out this weekend but I feel like I'll never have the even head of locks I see on all these tutorials.

    Deflated curls and ego in DC

  • Roddrea says:


    Today is my 8monthoversary! I was a short term transitioner and when I BC'ed I cut it down to about an inch. It's now about 6in. It would be longer but I did two more BC's because I thought the different textures were damaged. Once I realized that the damage was just my hair (3c, 4a, 4c)I just let it grow.

    Currently, I am tired of the twist outs and flat twists. It's too cold to wash and go and I'm nervous about braids and weaves because of the damage tight styles can cause you hair. I know it's growing but I'm just tired of this stage. One thing I did do was do a pinnapple twist sort of thing where I twisted my hair up into a sort of a pony tail and did a twist out in the front. That was a fun and cute styling option. And I've taken to wearing turbans and head-wraps! They are also fun and protect your hair during these cold months.

  • Anonymous says:

    Gosh,if only I knew the answer to your question!!!

    The varying textures in my hair are enough to drive me crazy. I am way past the twa stage and it is still an issue. The only thing that salvages it for me , is my ability to pull it up in a bun. Wash n gos are out-looks crazy on my hair due to weird uneven shrinkage. Twist outs and braid outs are really big on my hair and look somewhat triangular. Tried an expensive haircut to shape it and that didn't completely do the trick.

  • Anonymous says:

    When I was younger I used to get my hair straighted with the hot comb. It always reverted back to curly when it got wet. I don't understand how flat ironing it one time can cause it to stay straight even after it gets wet again.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm not in the "betwixt" nor "between" stage (I've been natural for 3 years); however I do understand your plight. My hair grows at different rate, in different areas, and with different curl patterns/textures. I often contemplate on shaving it off and starting from nothing. But what's holding me back, is th fact that I love my hair in spite of its imperfections.

  • Anonymous says:

    There is a thread in the "Natural Hair Challenges" section of the forum so definitely check that out for support if nothing else.

    Also, Janelle of has lots of styles on her site for this length.

    Finally, flat twistion for twist outs tend to give better definition for hair that doesn't want to curl. They also set your hair in a certain direction so you can avoid the mullet thing. Just keep being positive and things will fall into place:)

  • Anonymous says:

    I am having the same issues, even though I been natural for 8 years now I have various textures, my mother contributes it to being part Ethiopian, West Indian and Irish! and it seems that the older I get my hair texture is changing again to more of a baby fine super soft curly hair, I cant do nothing with it but wear a bun, braids, or wig. aagh!!

  • Anonymous says:

    There is a thread in the Challenges section of the forum about this in-between stage so definitely check that out.

    Also Janelle of has lots of styles on her site for hair at this length.

    I also find that flat twisting for twist outs makes for better definition and direction so you can avoid the mullet thing. Keep focusing on the positive and things will fall into place:)

  • Latasha Charmain says:

    Hi there. I transitioned for 10 months also and BCd in May 2010. My hair was about 4 inches then and could be described exactly as above! The top middle of my head didn't curl worth a dime and I assumed it was heat damaged as the back was all these kinky curls that shrunk up to my scalp lol and the front top was sort of weird and a bit curly but not as shrinky as the back and the sides were super frizzy! I wished i had either all kinky frizz or all kinky curls, but instead i had both and when I first BCd because i thought it was heat damage, I was very sad. My hair didn't "catch itself" until after about 6 weeks and then began to curl to its full potential. i think it was just shocked. Initially I was contemplating cutting my hair even shorter to cut out what I assumed was heat damage in the top middle of my hair because, like i said, it didnt curl but was like straight, coarse, poof! Happily, I didnt because now that it has grown i have learned that my hair is just kinky waves at that section! But it is healthy hair! Since it was so short when I bc'd the kinkyness just looked like poof since the wave pattern hadn't come in yet, it was still inside my scalp lol. I would say give your hair time to get use to begin itself. As the weeks of nurturing and gentle styling continue it will reach its proper potential. The front of my hair is now very very curly but the curls there are bigger than the back and the back was the only real place that always curled is very very tiny perfect kinky curls, and my sides have now started to act like the top front but the middle is still kinky waves, but now you can see the waves, not just poof where the end of a wave would be lol.

    As you get length you learn to "roll wid it" lol and even though the back still shrinks much more than the top sometimes i will put two scrunchies back there and it sort of stretches it out more, but 99% of the time i just let it do what it do and its never been better, get compliments all the time!
    I also don't believe in picking it out in a fro often as i do believe that can lead to breakage, but i do do it for special occasions and to check lenght. how i got over those 1st six weeks i would do the tightly curly method and put more and more conditioner on the bits that poofed and then tuck in some of the mega poof, now that its grown, i still do tightly curly (90% of the time i am wearing wash and go styles) but now that i know the top bit is just going to be kinky waves and hang longer, i just smooth over the waves and sometimes try to define the end of them with the conditioner if some of them still poof.

  • Anonymous says:

    headbands have been my hair saver. I have three different textures in my hair: 3a, 4a, and a section at the very top that doesn't know what it is – it's not curly, not straight, a little wavy but that's it. The front of my hair is very short about 3" compared to the 5 – 6 inches on the rest of my head. To avoid frustrations, I use the Kinky Curly line, do twist-outs and put a headband on and call it a day.

  • Unknown says:

    I'm 5 months post BC (1 1/2 yrs transition) and I have this same issue…I have about 9 inches on the top and 4 on the sides and back. I don't have the issue of different patterns but it's deficult to create stlyes with uneven lengths…therefore I resort to puffs and PS's with wigs. I don't do weave (sew-ins) anymore because I found myseld missing my hair to often. I have *hands in the hair* syndrome most days…LOL! Don't know if this helps but it's my remedie until this ackward time passes. :)

  • IcyLillies says:

    that stage…was evil!!! Zomgoodness. Too short for a pony, too long for a twa afro. So I would twist and braid and cornrow my hair or pull it back into a puff with a shoe string, that was my best friend for the longest time. Now, the shoe string seems to put too much tension on my hair.

  • Christa says:

    Wow I just BCed after a 10 month transition and you described my hair perfectly!! I'm curious to see the responses to this post… Maybe it'll give me ideas as well.

  • Liz says:

    I love how you're are going through some tough hair woes..yet you're keeping a positive outlook on your situation. I had some of the same problems when I BC'd in November. Probably because I hacked it off myself lol. What did I do to save myself, you ask?? I went to my hairdresser to get it cut evenly..then immediately got kinky twists, not that I was ashamed of my length, I just knew I was limited in the style department. I took them down a month and a 1/2 later and my hair had grown tremendously..almost 2 inches!!! If you do go this way with your hair, be sure to morturize while the braids are in. Some people wash it too, but I believe its better if you don't. Hope this helps! I wish you the best.

  • Naturally Nita says:

    I'm right in there with you in the middle stages. My hair just hit 4 inches. I have varying textures in my hair but I don't have the mullet situation. I too have done twistouts and braidouts…mostly worn with headbands. This weekend I was successful using perm rods on my hair, it created a really cute look! I also am rocking my first protective style with flat twists currently. Youtube has been my best friend during this stage. And remember if all else fails, it's nothing that a headband and some gel can't fix!

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