Tips for Handling Natural Hair with Two or More Textures

Day 2 wash and go hair. Used my nighttime routine method to combat mushroom hair syndrome! Keep reading for more...
Article also available on Black Girl with Long Hair!

Typically, when I talk about managing multiple textures, I'm referring to transitioning and the delicate dance between old, damaged hair and new growth. This time around, I'm talking about all natural hair-- although some transitioners could surely stand to benefit. One of the limitations to the texture typing system (2a - 4c) is that it fails to take into account naturals that are challenged with managing multiple textures. It's really difficult to take a one size fits all approach to haircare, when on the same head you can have hair that ranges from 2c to 4b -- and none of it is damaged!

Although texture typing can be useful in some instances, I'm hesitant to label myself because my textures are personally all over the place. The right side of my hair tends to curl,whereas the left side is more inclined to wave. The back half of my hair has a looser texture and less shrinkage (around 30%), while the front half shrinks at least 50 - 60%. In addition, the front/center has a tighter wave, and the crown is kinky and frizzy. If I had to label it, I'd say my hair is a mix of 3a,3b,3c, and 4a. I say all this to say, having several different textures on one head of hair is completely normal (although the picture-perfect selfies on Instagram would lead you to believe otherwise).

So how do you manage multiple textures on one head? It can get a little frustrating, but with some trial and error, and a little ingenuity, you will be able to work with what you've got and make the most of every style.

On Wash Day
When it comes to managing multiple textures on wash day, the same general information holds true. Handle with care. Cleanse gently, and deep condition often. For hair that is more coily and kinky than loosely curled, extra, extra gentle care is required. Each bend, whether it be zig-zag or spiral, is a structural weak point within the hair. So when detangling and working cleansers and conditioners through, take a little more time and use a little less force on those more tightly wound sections. Also, put your deep conditioner on those areas first, so they can remain on the hair the longest. The extra few minutes of deep conditioning will help soften, hydrate, and keep the hair pliable -- which sets you up for great styling.

Hair pinned back to dry...
When it comes to managing multiple textures, finding styles that work all the way around can be a challenge. Texture blending styles like satin strip braidouts,and bantu knot outs can definitely be useful. but you shouldn't feel pressured to rely on those styles if you like to wear wash and go's. If you opt for a texture-blending style like those mentioned above, make sure your hair is 100% dry before take-down. To get more stretch from twist-outs, use Naptural85's method and stretch them across your head to dry. If you're like me and really just don't have it in you to set up styles, the wash and go works perfectly fine with multi-textured hair. If I just wash, add product and go, my hair will shrink into a mushrooom-esque shape while it dries, because of my previously mentioned multi-textured struggles.So typically, for the first day or half day of my wash and go, I will wear the front/center sections pinned back to help stretch the roots and make that mushroom shape go away.

Other helpful styles and tools for multiple textures:
To help get a handle on uneven shrinkage, diffusing is also really helpful. Just be mindful of scrunching the diffuser full of hair up toward the scalp, which facilitates increased shrinkage. Instead, lay the diffuser flat against sections of hair, moving it around until the hair is dry to your preferred amount.

Nighttime Preservation

Banding + Pineappling
Nighttime routines are where things get a little tricky for managing multiple textures. Pineappling can result in uneven stretching, bonnets equal uneven smooshing, and sometimes satin pillowcase only is not an option. This is where creativity and really knowing your hair comes in handy. I know that if I scarf pineapple only, the back half of my hair will stretch more (thanks to where the knot is tied) while the front draws up into itself. This is problematic for me, because my mornings will inevitably result in even more uneven hair. To help combat this, some nights I sleep with the front/center of my hair banded, and the rest scarf pineappled. This method works great to help more shrinkage-prone areas of the hair "catch up" with the looser hair. For more on this approach, see my Nighttime Routine video. Preserve multiple texture blending styles by following the regular scarf pineapple, or tying the scarf over the head old-fashion styled.

Lastly, one of the biggest lessons I learned about managing multiple textures is to do as much as you can in the way of refreshing and moisturizing during your nighttime routine. Because the hair is going straight into preservation mode (via scarf, banding, etc.), there is less of a chance or opportunity for uneven shrinkage to occur. And in the morning, when you shake and fluff, you will have to add little to no product to your hair to get it right.

What are some tips and tricks you've picked up along the way to help manage your multiple textures of hair?