Textured haired is a joyous world of opportunities – and it starts with confidence and pride; because Baby, big hair gets a big reaction! So get ready for centre-stage attention, and warm up the high beam smile to match.
Next, stitch the toupee clips (below) along the weft – one at each end, and one in the middle.
The double pronged curling iron I’m using in the picture, was a gift from my long-time friend and hair hero Kerry Warn. He got them from his favourite supply store in Paris (see below). But there are great irons out there, like this one from hottools.com which you can order on-line, or buy from a good beauty supply store (see below).
But please be careful – and always create a place where the hot irons can lie away from anything that will burn (like wood, cloth, your skin!). A large ceramic plate will do. A millisecond burn from one of these things is NO JOKE, especially on dark skin where the mark will stay for months, even up to, or more than, a year. You can see that I covered my legs with my bathrobe when I curled the pieces.
Post by Thandie
I’ve never felt entirely comfortable ‘wrapped’…except at night, when I wear a scarf around my head to keep hair off my face. It’s something I strongly associate with my Mum who did the same. But during the day? God knows what the nuns at my school would have said if I’d arrived ‘wrapped’ – they might have called the police – heh heh.
Most women in my top 10 admiration list have featured head wraps – Chimamanda, Maya, Zadie, Ntozake – and they look divine. I guess I don’t feel confident enough to pull it off. But in life I DO use my hair like it’s fabric…I’ll roll it, pile it, bunch it, fold it… and this week I happened on my first casual DAYTIME mini wrap!
When I saw them I bought a bunch for my night time head wrapping. The gorgeous prints are to dye for (sorry) – in beautiful, natural pigments.
I’m drawn to the blues – indigo, denim, cornflower, powder.
And this ‘mini wrap’ is the simplest solution on a dodgy hair (alarm-clock-didn’t-go-off) day.
Throw in a few braids.
Wrap your Tenugui around the back of your head, enfolding your braids, with the fabric ends roughly where you want your ‘knot’.
Literally tie a knot (if your hair is short your Tenugui will provide enough length)
Tuck the ends in (hair and Tenugui) and arrange the knot to your liking.
And that, is IT! So cute, and a subtle variation to the full wrap and pile of fabric. This feels more like a hair ‘accent’ or accessory, and I really like seeing the braids bound together with the fabric, rather than completely hidden inside it.
The key is the size -35cm by 90cm. But if you love Tenugui’s like I do you can order on line, or there’s bound to be a store near you if you bounce into Google. I did a quick search and I like the look of ones at Rikumo.
Thandie Newton’s Hair
Post by Thandie.
This is about hair and healing. If you’re featuring kinks you’ll acknowledge that the two often go together. We’ve already devoted many pages to the theme here at ThandieKay – and doubtless there’ll be many more to come.
I went to an all-girls boarding school between the ages of 12 and 18. We wore a tidy uniform, and the hair discipline was similarly straightforward. Especially the ‘straight’ part. I was a dance student and half of every week day was spent throwing down shapes, so my hair was pulled back in a bun or braid. The weekend was where we got to express ourselves with clothes, hair and make up. It was showtime. And the parade took place in the dining hall. Lunchtime in the canteen we’d watch from tables as girls rounded the corner to select their plates, while revealing who they really were.
It was always more delicious than the food. Dozens of revelations – “Did you see so and so’s OUTFIT! So and so looks fierce with eyeliner! So and so kills a JEAN!”
I was very shy about my appearance (Anika and I talked about hair issues growing up in a previous Post here). But finally at about 13 I braved the canteen with my loose hair.
I don’t think I’d ever seen another person with big bushy hair; only me. Subsequently, wearing it free put me in a profoundly fragile space. I guess I thought I was safe in my boarding school environment.
As I walked self-consciously along, selecting food items, the matron on duty – Miss O’Donohue – saw me and commented loudly “Thandie Newton, you look like a WITCH!” I felt as though I’d been slapped in the face. The room went silent. I was surrounded by a sea of eyeballs. The humiliation was intense.
I didn’t have the self esteem to deflect the easy attack, instead I took the comment and internalised it. I had made a stupid mistake – my hair was a catastrophe, and I should have known better. No more bushy hair for me.
Until about a year ago. Accidentally, and exhaustedly, after having our 3rd baby, I found that keeping my curly hair curly was one task too many. Even hair washing was an alien concept. The most I could manage was scooping my barnet up into a scarf, or a tie. Until one day, without thinking, I took a brush to it (I know – a brush!) … And magically there it was – a wild mane of glorious fuzz.
And, it was everything I’d understood to be wrong.
If you’ve got curls you want them articulated and defined – NOT brushed into a botch of follicle fuzz.
And yet here I was questioning, why? My halo of brown was ROCKING – it was huge, and amAZing! It’s also what happened to my eldest daughter’s hair when it was loose – and she loved it. So too my youngest who would actually ASK for her hair to be loose, so she could enjoy her “curly cushion” as she called it.
I’ve never felt more gorgeous in my life, nor more intensely me. In fact, I’ve been wearing my hair frizzy for 6 months or so – it’s my current favourite style option. I feel strong, beautiful, fuzzy and free.
and something which is no longer taboo. Talking of taboos, let’s go back to Miss O’Donohue – the woman who helped me lock up Rapunzel for all those years. How do I feel about her comment now, or her? Well, who knows her motivation for saying such a thing – and I feel compassion for her; choosing to hurt a young woman. How sad to be the bringer of shame and distrust. She died soon after – no husband, no children and a 40 a day cigarette habit as her only friend. Who knows what sadness darkened her journey to that point.
So to her memory I say “The fear that caused you to recoil from me is no longer present in my body; the buck stopped with me. The world is a better place Miss O’Donohue – if you were here I’d help you, and we’d encourage the damaged child inside of you to come out and play”.
Funnily enough, I was talking to my dear friend Eve Ensler recently, about witches – Joan of Arc, and all those girls burnt at the stake. Bold, uncompromising women; feared by the status quo for revealing the wild magic of the unknown universe. Sounds like the woman I’m striving to be. So, thanks for the compliment – I’m proud to be a witch.
Post by Thandie
I stopped chemically straightening my hair 4 years ago. The final release from relaxing addiction came when my friend Zadie Smith said “But if you want to wear it straight you just blow it out, right?”.
Zadie is mixed heritage and makes hair wrapping, natural, or a smooth blow dry look effortless. Of COURSE I didn’t have to chemically straighten my hair to create the perfect blow dry, or any other style for that matter…
But when I was a teen, years of hair horror growing up amongst straighties had driven the desire for flaxen hair deep into the marrow of my wishbone. I not only wanted straight hair, I wanted the straightness growing from my ROOTS. I mean, how bonkers is it that at 5 years old I took my ‘fro to a Catholic school run by Irish nuns – women who barely even HAD hair under their wimples (Did you see the movie ‘Philomena’?). And there I was with hair like a wild bush of virility – the nuns must have been salivating with desire to punish that Bantu ‘fro into submission. I’ve chuckled to myself about how my black presence in the school gave the nuns the missionary vibe they were famous for overseas.
Thankfully a degree in anthropology, Toni Morrison and Buddha lead me out of the darkness, and I’ve come to realise that my desire for straight hair was a desperate desire to be ‘normal’, to be loved. I wanted to melt my curl, my fuzz, my brittle, kinky, messy, awkward, eye catching, different, sigh-worthy, brush-hating curl away forever. Once I’d christened my head with poisonous dollops of Lye, I could be closer to God. And I spent the years that followed fearing water like the witch that I supposedly was – never swimming, never laughing in the rain, never going too near a sneeze for fear of the fuzz revealing me as a charlatan. I was like Daryl Hannah in ‘Splash’, terrified of her tail-turning legs and Tom Hank’s shame. I smile as I write – the crazy, ego drama of my hair is a long way past – and so is the pain. The pain of a little girl, with beautiful hair that should have been wild and free; like bird wings, or tall grass, or kisses. I’m making up for it now – seeing my daughters’ hair rave all over their happy heads, and me having FUN with my curls for the first time in my life.
And here we are – a blow dry is no longer a necessity for me, or a style to make me ‘normal’ or ‘better’. It’s one of many looks that I have fun achieving – it’s artistry, and a celebration of the medium that we all have growing out of our skulls. Let hair be our yarn, our weaving materials, our feathers, turban, crown. Let hair bring us closer to God, not further away.
After taking my hair to Hair Heaven I wrap it in a towel for a while. The extra heat from the towel further softens my hair, and leaves it damp rather than wet. Less wetness means less time under the heat of the dryer – and make no mistake, heat on the hair is not a good thing.
Obviously your hair texture will determine how you straighten your natural hair. My hair is very curly, but soft enough to blow-dry straight quite easily. So, I don’t need to spend long with the flat-irons – in fact I could get away with just using the hair dryer (but I wouldn’t achieve the nice shiny finish that a flat iron gives).
So, to protect the hair from the damaging heat I always put some sort of lotion through it. Depending on time of year, and climate you will need to figure out what you need. If my hair is in need of extra volume I’ll use John Masters – Deep Follicle Treatment and Volumizer, or Aveda’s – Volumizing Tonic spread evenly through. Also a good serum on the ends is a must – at the moment I’m using Giovanni’s Eco Chic Hair Potion. This step needs to be done quickly – it’s important not to let your hair completely dry before blow drying – in fact I always have a spray bottle filled with hot water nearby in case I need to re-wet the ends.
A good hair dryer is obviously important. I love GHD‘s tools, used throughout this Post. Always start with the hair that’s most kinky, or that dries the quickest. I always start with my hairline. Don’t rush this, and be patient. Section a piece out from the front, and always put the hair not being worked on back into a twist (to keep it damp). Take your front piece, gently brush it through (I use a Tangle Teezer) and then with a round brush, brush it FORWARDS over your face, following with the hairdryer a few inches behind the brush bristles. Repeat this until your section is dry, paying special attention to the ends. I always blow dry the hair on the front half of my head FORWARD because it makes the hair fall much more naturally around my face. If you blow dry it BACKWARDS, away from your face, it gives an 80s crest at the hairline, straight out of The Cosby Show.
I flat iron each section after I’ve blow dried it. Sometimes I’ll add a little extra serum on the ends before I hit it with the devil’s paddle – my daughters are always aghast when they see the plume of smoke twirl away from my hair – “It’s just the product” I reassure them.
For styling I always use Tancho Lavender Hair Wax – a little warmed up in my fingertips to smooth down fly-aways, seal fluffy ends and give the hair a bit more ‘weight’. It’s also great for accentuating a bend. I tend to use the wax a bit like moveable hair spray – it’s brilliant stuff.
Thank You Billie Scheepers for your beautiful photography! billiescheepers.com
Hair by Thandie, assisted by Ayo Laguda
Make-Up by Kay
Posted by Kay
Thandie and I have worked with hairdresser Jennie Roberts many times over the years, and I’ve always admired her well-maintained, tight and beautifully conditioned curls. I bumped into her the other day on the 1st floor of London’s Corinthia Hotel, amidst the flurry of a press junket we were both working on – and her curls looked particuarly good. Unlike Thandie, I’ve been behind the scenes all my life, so am no pro when it comes to my own hair. I still struggle with getting my wild froth into smooth curls. So, I had to ask her how she did it.
She was also raving about Ojon (she’s now an ambassador-on meeting her for the first time I took one look at her and said ‘oh my, it’s Mrs Ojon’),
So it was all too good not to share….
“I have naturally frizzy curly hair that needs some smoothing out in order to create the perfect curl.
My ritual starts with Ojon Damage Reverse Shampoo and Conditioner.
Once I do the initial brush through of my wet hair, I then start to layer the various products that give me perfectly smooth curls. An important ‘rule of curl’ is that I never brush my hair again once the layering starts as this tends to pull my curls straighter instead of bouncy.
After shampooing, I smooth Ojon Rare Blend Deep Conditioner through my hair-this helps to keep the cuticle tightly closed and weighs down my hair just enough to hold the curl in place.
After this I then use a small dollop of Ojon Pro Fade Glossing Cream, I have coloured hair so this protects the colour and also smooths the cuticle for a perfect curl.
The final layer of product is Mousse. This seals in everything and really smooths the cuticle for frizz-free curls.
This particular method of application should be used on hair that is very wet and just hand-squeezed dry. Hair can either be left to dry (handle as little as possible whilst it expands and only touch hair from underneath, so not to effect texture), or dry using a diffuser.
Gently place hair in diffuser without moving around, just have patience and let each section dry before moving on and make sure you dry the roots too-this gives it lift.
About once a week I’ll use the Damage Reverse Restorative Treatment for added smoothness.
Apply to dry hair and leave for at least half an hour-longer if possible. Wash out and style as normal. This will leave your locks smoother and super shiny.
When my curls are past their best and need wetting to revitalise the texture I wash with the Ojon Co Wash.
This is a great product if you need to wash hair that’s not dirty but just needs to be restyled. Great for in-between regular shampoo as it’s a gentle cleanser and will condition hair with its coconut derived base.”