These 10 Hairstyle Helpers Keep Your Do Looking Fresh
Whether you need to perfect a pony, detangle with ease, protect your edges at night or keep out the rain, these affordable tools can handle all our textures.
Black women may rock a press-and-curl or a leonine ’fro, or we can pull off chunky box braids, fuzzy teenage locs or neat micro-braids with equal swagger. And for generations, we’ve relied on tried-and-true hair accessories (elastic hair ties, satin scarves, etc.) to perfect our crowning glory.
We stock up on them because they work. But check out some updates or alternatives appearing in beauty-supply-store aisles. Many of them are made for our hair textures and hair-care concerns by sisters. Consider these “fubu” (for us, by us) style solutions as another great way to raise your hair game.
Old school: Remember the banana clip? If you came of age in the late ’80s and had more than six inches of hair, you probably do. The elongated hair clasp with comb-like teeth is still a go-to for sweeping relaxed or pressed hair into a full pony. The four-count banana clips pack from Goody are classics. $2.85
New tool: The PuffCuff is a similar hair clamp made with curly and kinky hair in mind. Featuring widely spaced teeth that won’t pull or break textured hair, the circular clips were created by Ceata E. Lash when she couldn’t find anything to contain her naturally thick curls without damaging them. PuffCuffs come in four sizes — suitable for everything from micro-locs to a full afro — and two colors, black and clear. Prices start at $3.99. Find them online. (Puffcuff.com)
Old school: Classic black elastic bands like those from Scünci ($4) are longtime staples for buns and ponytails.
New tool: If you’ve ever tried to wrap a hair tie around the base of your ponytail and had it break or stretch, Swirly Curly Snappee hair ties might be the answer. Inventor Keziah Dhamma’s ties are made of a stretchy knit fabric band, the ends of which are joined together by plastic press studs. Wear one for a small ponytail, pair two for thick hair or triple up and make a headband. And when it’s time to take your hair down, forget about breakage from yanking. Simply open the snaps. Snappees come in packs with five black or brown ties for $19.99. (SwirlyCurlyHair.com)
Old school: A fresh do’s mortal enemy is moisture, whether it’s humidity, a drizzle of rain or a full-fledged storm. If you forget your umbrella, you may use a plastic bag in a pinch (yes, we’ve been there!) or a handy portable rain bonnet like the Donna Premium Collection rain bonnet ($2.50).
New tool: Think of Tracey Pickett’s hairbrella as a hybrid of a hat and visor. It’s made from waterproof microfiber that’s lined with satin. A transparent visor shields your face from sprinkles, and the whole shebang folds up into a pouch. The hairbrella comes in two adult sizes and three colors. Prices start at $4. (hairbrella.com)
Old school: A wide-tooth comb is a simple and effective way to detangle knots and snarls. The Gold Rush Limited Edition Amber Waves wide-tooth comb from Eternally in Amber, has chic gold accents we love ($17).
New tool: Natural hairstylist to the stars Felicia Leatherwood, who boasts Issa Rae, Jill Scott and Ava DuVernay as clients, created her eponymous detangler brush to smooth curls and kinks without pulling or breakage. Unlike most other brushes, which are fused at all sides, Leatherwood’s brush is open at the top so that each vertical row of plastic bristles can glide effortlessly through the hair. Try it on wash day — slide the brush through your hair when its saturated with conditioner. But the brush works on dry hair, too. Available in three colors and regular and travel sizes. Prices start at $12. (BrushWithTheBest.com)
Old school: At bedtime, protecting your hairstyle (and those edges!) is a must. My aunt uses a scarf to preserve her silk press, my girlfriends prefer to sleep on satin pillowcases and I’ve been known to rock a bonnet like the Amara ankara silk bonnet ($30) to contain my locs. (IsokenEnofe.com)
New tool: Grace Eleyae’s slap cap is a solution that could work for all of us. The beanie-like cap is made from a soft knit fabric that is lined with satin so it doesn’t rob hair of moisture overnight. Wide elastic at the edges ensures that the cap stays put, no matter how much you toss and turn. It’s fashionable enough to be worn outside the house, too. From $24. (GraceEleyae.com)