CHEMICALLY STRAIGHTENED ENDS, NATURAL ROOTS
More and more women are trading relaxers for natural ringlets – but the in-between phase can take some work. A little background: there are three methods for permanently straightening or relaxing hair and they all work by breaking the disulfide bonds in curls to smooth them into straight strands, says cosmetic chemist Jim Hammer. The straighteners may be permanent, but new root growth disrupts the sleekness. The full grow-out process takes time (up to two years if you want hair to fall past the shoulders!), so you’ll have plenty of time to perfect your mediation skills.
TO MAKE PEACE... TAILOR YOUR HAIRCUT
Choose one that will transition seamlessly with the shape of your incoming curls to make the grow-out process easier. For example, hairstylist Ursula Stephen suggests that someone with tighter coils go for a short afro style (the round shape of the growing hairs plays well with the round shape of the look) and that someone with flatter waves try a lob (a sharp cut flatters this type of hair, which grows down instead of out).
EMBRACE THE FLAT BOTTOM
The lived-in wave (a curl toward the roots with boxier ends) is having a moment, so girls with a wavier curl pattern are in luck. To enhance your incoming curls, wrap sections of hair around a five-centimetre curling iron, leaving out eight centimetres of your ends. Another pro trick? Book frequent trims and ask your stylist to texturise ends – it will soften the difference between the two textures, making the curly top and straight bottom more visually harmonious.
As your new hair grows in, don’t forget to give some TLC to the older strands, which can be weakened during the relaxing process, says Hammer. Once a week, apply an ultrareparative, deep-conditioning treatment to the straight parts for 10 minutes to help heal damage, then rinse. Look for one with strengthening ingredients, like vitamin B5 found in Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Hair Smoothie (R299).