Nature vs. Nurture—A Lesson in Hair Care
By: Adina Moskowitz
I spent a good portion of my teenage years trying to figure out how to manage my unruly hair. My natural hair is thick, full, curly, crimpy, frizzy, and dry. Finding the right products to nurture my hair and keep it healthy was trial and error. I grew up before you could really Google anything you wanted, check reviews, or ask your social media groups for advice. I found that the trick was understanding my hair. What is its texture? What is the texture of my scalp: moist and oily or flaky and dry—or somewhere in between? What kind of heat can my hair take, and what products should I use to protect it from the heat? You didn’t realize there were so many details to know about how to tame and take care of your hair, did you?
Many of you will tell me, “I am not good with hair—that’s why I come to you!” or “I can’t even figure out a blow dryer, let alone make my daughter's hair look nice!” or “Who has time in the morning?” These are all real questions I get. Do you know what my response is? It’s the response I give my kids when they use those two fateful words that will keep you from learning—“I can’t.”
You can only do what you believe you can do. You believe it, you can achieve it. Words to live by, my dear readers. Being that I am a self-taught hair stylist, relying on trial and error, G-d's gift to humanity (aka YouTube), and advice from fellow hairstylists, I have learned the breakdown of how to take care of hair, beginning with the average “layman's” (or should I say “layWOMAN'S”) knowledge. So, listen up! I have some secrets to share!
First, it’s important to know there is a massive difference between wigs and your actual hair—even wigs made from the best quality human hair. One difference is just that—wigs are made from the best hair, so the texture and hold is more predictable than your natural hair. Your natural hair evolves and changes as you age. Some of you may remember having straight blonde hair as a toddler, wavy light brown hair in grade school, and when you began going through puberty, suddenly your hair became dark brown with thick curls! Then you started having children, and your hair got thinner or fuller, and the texture may have changed again and gotten straighter or curlier. Our bodies and hormones are a funny thing! Just because one hair-care regimen worked when you were in high school doesn’t mean the same regimen will work in your 20s or 30s. However, a wig generally stays the same texture throughout most of its lifespan, only losing its textured hold toward the end.
Now, as a disclaimer for all my tips, every head of hair is different, and there is no one way that works across the board for everyone in these categories. We are human beings, not clones. Our uniqueness and differences are what make us interesting. The world would be a pretty boring place if we were that predictable. Don’t you think?
So let’s identify hair textures, tricks and products to use to hold our favorite styles.
Thick and curly:
First of all, there is a basic rule EVERY curly-haired girl knows—ONLY BRUSH CURLY HAIR WHEN WET! Brushing curly hair after it has dried results in what I call a “frizz bomb”. You don’t want that.
This texture of hair does not need to be washed every day. As long as you don’t have extra oily hair, the oil your scalp emits will generally stay trapped at the roots and fall slowly through the hair to give it softness and shine.
To help maintain that softness and vitality, you need some good hair products. After you shower, a detangler like Style the Runway's Urban Defense will help prime the hair before adding any more products. Fortified with pro-vitamin B5 and other botanical ingredients, this kind of detangler is built to condition and soothe the scalp. Then, to keep those lustrous curls soft, moveable, and without that crunchy feeling, avoid hairspray and mousse which leave sticky residue. It’s better to go with light hold cream which conditions and keeps the adorable bounce in your curls that everyone envies! A cream, such as Style the Runway’s Luscious Curls, which has jojoba and sunflower oils to give that soft and moveable bounce, keeps the curls frizz-free, and for any processed or dyed hair or wigs, it will keep the color from fading.
When straightening thick and curly hair, the trick is at the roots. To keep your hair flat and from “poofing up” five minutes after you’re finished styling, you must make sure the roots are straight and flat. I will say that again—you MUST straighten from the roots! Any crease or crimp by the roots means your hair is not completely straight and flat. You accomplish this, and you will have a beautiful, thick head of straight hair.
Thin and curly: This texture has its advantage. Although the hairs themselves may be thin, and you may not have as much hair as your thick-haired friends, your curls can be used to make your hair look fuller. While there is an exception to every rule, I find most people with thin hair have a more oily scalp. For the sake of this article, we will use that scalp texture with thin hair.
While products are useful, they can make your scalp, and therefore your hair, get that greasy feeling quicker. It is recommended to use products sparingly with this texture. Again, brush only when wet, and then scrunch your hair with a product like Style the Runway’s Luscious Curls to give that conditioned, yet moveable, hold in your curls.
If you are looking to straighten your curls using heat, start with combing a light blow-dry lotion (such as Style the Runway's Fresh Pressed Lotion). This can be used with any blow-dry styling; straight, waves, etc., but in this particular case, the vitamin E and antioxidants in Fresh Pressed will accomplish 3 things: 1) quicken the blow-dry process 2) keep the hair humidity-resistant 3) moisturize your hair. All 3 are important for the delicately thin shafts of hair that are at risk of drying out quicker and getting brittle from the heat appliances.
To add volume when straightening, there are a few techniques to employ. Using a round, ventilated brush, blow the hair from the roots on the underside of the hair, or in the opposite direction from which you want the hair to lay. This will lift the roots of the hair up, creating a sort of bubble above your head, making it look like your hair is much fuller than it is. To help the roots stay up and not fall flat after a short time, you will need to spray the roots with a volumizing spray before you blow-dry. Products such as Style the Runway’s High Heels Volumizing Spritzer is formulated with ingredients like grapefruit extract and collagen, which give the roots that lift and volume.
Discussion of the last two textures of thick and straight and thin and straight hair will be quick, as many of the products and tricks mentioned above apply the same way. What I will speak about is how to get a curl to hold in straight hair of any thickness. This is all about the products.
As I mentioned with thick and curly hair, a primer such as Style the Runway’s Urban Defense should be applied—but use less of it on thinner hair. Then Luscious Curls Creme can be combed throughout. However, before using any curling irons or curlers, apply a soft hold spray like Style the Runway’s Beauty Queen 3-in-1 Hairspray on the “L” setting. This hairspray is one of the best! There is no residue or build up on any of the levels, and it does not weigh down your hair. Once you are finished curling your hair in whichever type of curls you desire, just give one more spritz of Beauty Queen on the “H” setting. It is easy to use and fool-proof.
For any of these looks, you can finish up with a small amount of hair serum or argan oil. Style the Runway’s Silk Veil or Oil Therapy will do the trick. They will smooth down any frizz, giving shine and luster to your finished look. While a serum will define your texture, the argan oil will moisturize and condition the hair on the spot. Both are important if you want that runway or shampoo commercial look.
The last thing I will address is the five ways to keep your hair out of your face. These tricks work for wigs too:
1) Hold a blow dryer at the roots of your hairline for about 10 seconds. The heat will train the hairs to stay back.
2) Give the hair at your hairline a bit of a tease. By that I mean, hold the hair that is falling in your face and back-comb or comb the hair toward your scalp, as opposed to the way you would normally comb—in the direction the hair grows.
3) Put the front hair section that keeps falling in your face in a Velcro curler while it is still wet, rolling it toward the back of your head. Let it air dry, then remove the curler, and viola—no falling hair.
4) This is the easiest and quickest way, and it works every time. Use the power of friction. Using the tips of your fingers or palms of your hand, vigorously rub your hairline to get the roots to stand up. (Credit for this trick must be given where credit is due—Woody Michleb. So obvious, yet so brilliant.)
5) The last way to keep that hair from falling in your eyes is to blow-dry the hair at your hairline toward the back of your hair after spraying the roots with Style the Runway’s High Heels Volumizing Spritzer.
These tips and products are targeted for everyone and anyone. They are easy to do and to use. You don’t need to be “good” with hair to be able to do them. Women spend so much money and time on their hair and wigs that it's only fair that they should be able to maintain them easily and feel confident in their look every single day. I truly believe that the way a woman feels about herself on the outside is a reflection of how she feels on the inside and vice versa. These feelings, in turn, reflect toward everyone she encounters during the day. It is a pleasure for me to be able to provide the “perfect” that each woman who crosses my threshold desires, and to contribute to her happy, confident, and successful day.
is a wife, mother, the owner of Hair Styling by Adina and the creator of the Bandina lightweight hat-fall line. She specializes in wig wash and sets and hair and wig styling for any occasion in Baltimore, MD. She is the first boutique to start selling Style the Runway hair care products by Woody and Amy Michleb—leading fashion stylists at LA and NY fashion week and the owners of the Woody Michleb salon. To make an appointment for styling, or to purchase products, you can DM her on Instagram or Facebook @hair_styling_by_adina. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text/Whatsapp her at 216-255-8970.