Texture defines every single aspect of a hairstyle, from what it will look like to how long it will hold. The right texture can take the simplest hairstyle and make it look runway worthy. On the flipside, you could spend hours putting together an intricate hairstyle only to find that it looks boring and woefully limp because the texture was off. In my last post from the texturising series I discussed the various products you can use to achieve different textures and finishes. In this post we are going to take a look at the various hairstyling tools you can use to create all sorts of fabulous hair textures and styles.
Hair dryers are a staple, must-have item in your dresser. Whether you like sporting a different style every day or you’re just a wash-and-dry kinda girl you simply cannot do without a hairdryer. At its most basic a hairdryer will help you dry your hair and keep it from getting unruly, tangled and damaged. For smooth, manageable everyday texture, nothing beats a hairdryer. And if you are little bit more adventurous than that and you want to achieve all sorts of hairstyles and play around with different looks, a hairdryer will guarantee that you have a great base to start with.
Contrary to popular belief, you can get smooth AND curly hair textures with a blow dryer. Use an attachment with a concentrated airflow nozzle for when you want smooth, sleek hair and a diffuser attachment for curlier styles.
Brushes & Combs
Brushes and combs form the very basic units of hairstyling. Without these you cannot hope to get anywhere with your hair. From achieving a problem-free, smooth base to start working with to detangling your backcombed hair at the end of a long day, brushes and combs are the building blocks of your texturising and styling arsenal. They help you take care of your hair, target styling and texture problems and ensure that your hair stays strong and healthy.
One of the most basic and most glamorous ways to wear your hair is to blow-dry it well. With a round-barrelled vented brush and a hairdryer you can get all kinds of blowouts: sleek, flipped-in, flipped-out, you name it! If you’re using a texturising product and you don’t want to get your hands dirty use a flat, padded brush with nylon bristles. These brushes will help detangle your hair and make sure all your hair is properly coated with texturising product without any clumps weighing it down. If you’re going after a curly/ wavy texture and you want to be able to brush it but you want to keep the bounce and the curls I recommend using a wide-toothed comb. These combs will do the needful by going through any knots and by adding a nice polished finish to the final look but they won’t break up the curls.
Always use combs and brushes that have rounded tips because this minimises damage and keeps your hair from breaking and catching.
Specialised combs will help you achieve very precise textures and effects. For instance, a rattail comb can be used for teasing or backcombing your hair for when you want a lot of volume and height. A dressing comb can be used to gently smoothen any flyaways after you’ve finished your hairstyle. Fork combs are great for lifting curls and waves and for rearranging them or making them slightly messy for a rougher, more lived-in or grungy texture. Specialised combs can be used to create and perfect texture, volume, height and finishes.
Flat irons are some of the most popular texturising and styling tools in the market. That’s because they are so easy to use and sleek, straight hair is one of the simplest and yet most stylish hair textures to wear. Apart from being a great look in itself, making sure that your hair is sleek and straight is the first step to hairstyling. Indeed, a lot of hairstyles (think updos, twists and buns) look much better in straight hair than they do in any other texture. If you are buying a straightening iron look for one with 3-inch wide plates. These are neither too thin nor too thick and should work well with most hair lengths and densities.
I prefer working with ceramic flat irons because they get the job done but they significantly reduce the damage done to your hair with heat styling.
If the phrase ‘hot rollers’ immediately conjures up a mental image of Mad Men-esque style and retro fabulousness and you like the idea, hot rollers are just the things for you. Sometimes old is gold, and once you try these babies on for size you will know why!
Hot rollers are fantastic when you want curls and you want them to last. There is no end to the texture options you can play around with but you have to admit nothing screams ‘old fashioned glamour’ quite like curls do. Did you know that there are different kinds of hot rollers to choose from? If it is tight, springy ringlets that you want then I recommend choosing velveteen hot rollers. For some good, old va-va-volume pick Velcro rollers and add some great lift and texture to your hair. Also, hot rollers come in a variety of barrel sizes, just like curling irons and this decides the size of the curls.
If you’re investing in a quality brand I recommend picking one of those sets that include a variety of small, medium, large and extra-large hot rollers and holding clips.
If you don’t have a lot of time on hand and you can’t put hot rollers in and sit around or leave foam rollers in your hair overnight, a curling iron can be a godsend. Curling irons are a great way to get quick curls anytime, anywhere. Curling irons are easy to work with, they give you results fast and you can carry them around with you, which makes them a really neat texturising tool to travel with.
When you are buying a curling iron I recommend looking for one that offers you at least three heat settings because this will give you a wider number of styling and texturising options to work with.
Begin with a standard 1-inch barrel if this is your first curling iron. This will give you regular-sized curls. However, you will find that over time you are going to want to add at least two more to your collection: a ½-inch barrel for smaller ringlets and a 1½-inch barrel for flowing, loose waves.
Crimpers and Wave Makers
Crimpers and wave makers are very popular in salons and with professional hairstylists but they are yet to achieve the status of flat irons with most at-home users. If you already have some experience with other texturising tools or you are perfectionist and can tell (and don’t like) the difference between loosened curls and actual waves or ringlets and actual crimps, you might want to look into these texturising tools. They’re great for people who experiment regularly and want spot-on textures for different hairstyles.
Hooded dryers are great for boosting texture and health in natural as well as relaxed African American hair. Do you remember the big hooded dryers you’d see in salons and parlours as a kid? They are still used in vintage-inspired salons and street-corner beauty parlours all over the world. The smaller counter-top version of these bonnet dryers, as they are otherwise known, is a great addition to your at-home styling and texturising paraphernalia. One of the greatest advantages is that it leaves your hands free, so you can relax or do something else while the machine works its magic.
If you want long-lasting curls and you aren’t too keen about the idea of exposing your hair to too much heat styling regularly, foam rollers are a fantastic option. I personally love them for a number of reasons. To begin with, you get to style your hair without heat and it is a good thing to give your hair a rest. This is especially important if you style your hair very frequently. Secondly, foam rollers give you really long-lasting curls and you don’t have to worry about your hair going limp through the day. And finally, they are very easy to use and they are pretty comfortable. Since they’re made of foam they’re soft and bendable which means you don’t have to worry about your head hurting or the rollers jutting out uncomfortably.
All you have to do is take sections of your hair and hold each bendable roller at the end and then start rolling it upwards, towards the roots. Stop at the point you want the curls to begin (this could be halfway down or way up at the roots) and just turn the ends of the roller down, shaping it into a U. Repeat this step with all your hair. Add a soft hairnet or tie a scarf around your head for convenience. Go to sleep and wake up next morning to beautiful curls.
The only downside that I can think of (and it really isn’t a disadvantage considering how great this technique works) is the fact that you’ll have to keep your hair in the rollers all night, so it might not work for you if you’re short on time.
Fasteners & Aids
This last section is devoted to certain tools that are instrumental to styling and texturising, even though they don’t contribute to the texture itself. They help in making the process easier or holding a look together. For instance, without sectioning clips and pins you cannot hope to texturise and style your hair properly. These tools are absolutely essential for keeping hair out of the way for easy styling and making sure you don’t overwork individual sections. The same holds true for elastic bands. Bobby pins and clamp clips can be used for dividing hair while you are adding texturising products or using tools to style your hair and they also go one step further and help hold intricate patterns and styles together through the day.
That covers most of the texturising tools you can use to style and shape your hair. The great thing about this list is you probably already have some (or most) of these items at home so you don’t have to feel bad about spending money on a lot of new styling tools and gadgets. Just remember to invest in quality items so that they last long and you can look forward to great results every time.