Transitioner’s Struggle: Hydration vs. Low Manipulation

I felt like I found my groove for a minute. I don’t have the most versatile styling regimen, but it definitely works for me. It’s simple, a twist out (with the ends set on rollers, or pin-curled). However, I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately (check out Blog Lovin, it’s a great way to get all of your blogs in one place for an easy read!), particularly on how to retain length, or keep a healthy head of hair. What I’ve read simplifies to hydrating the hair and low manipulation styling. But as a transitioner, I feel like it’s hard to do one without giving on the other.

Just to make sure every knows what I’m talking about:

1. Keep the hair moisturized (hydrating) – This can only be done with water (makes sense right?), but washing often is frowned upon because wetting and drying the hair causes the hair shaft to expand and contract. It is believed that, over time, this can be too much for our hair and can cause damage, splitting, etc. So many ladies stretch their washes, and mist their hair and seal with butters/oils to keep it moisturized between washes.

2. Low manipulation styling – Simply put, keeping your hands out of your hair means less chance of breakage. Keeping the ends tucked away preserves them from the daily damaging elements.

There are a lot more things that are done to retain length (staying away from heat, deep conditioning weekly, keeping split ends and single strand knots at bay), but the two above are arguably the cornerstones of a healthy regimen.

Seems simple right? I don’t know why I struggle so much, then! 🙂

My styling limitations

1. I’ve been transitioning for about 9 months now. Before that I wore my bone-straight hair either in a wrap or a pony-tail, so I’ve never been the creative stylist. But after learning to flat twist, I haven’t turned back.

2. I am not too into extensions. Trust me, I have nothing against them, but I have never really liked them on me. I’ve always liked wearing my own hair.

3. Having transitioned for 9 months, I have about 4-4.5 inches of new growth and still plenty of relaxed ends left. So blending the two textures is my best bet at looking decent for work. Thus, twist outs, bantu knot-outs, etc. have been my go-tos.

6-7 flat twists the night before. I either set the ends on rollers or pin curl them with pins. Takes ~30 mins!

I love my twist out, but I can’t maintain it without re-twisting, every night. Especially if I’m misting my hair to hydrate it. I mist my hair and the relaxed ends straighten out and the style is ruined. So then I have to re-twist, but I’m pretty sure re-twisting every night is high manipulation lol. So I feel stuck.

If I had to choose one, I choose to hydrate my hair and manipulate every day until I can figure out styles that are low manipulation. I tried the reverse this past week and it didn’t go well (didn’t mist the hair because I tried to have my twist out last a few days). Yea, dry hair is not happy hair!

So there’s my dilemma. I’m probably making it more difficult than need be because of my limited ability to style lol, but hey, I’ve only been at this for 9 months, right? 🙂

What do you do to keep your hair hydrated and keep low manipulation styling?



2 thoughts on “Transitioner’s Struggle: Hydration vs. Low Manipulation

  1. Pingback: Breakage: Bare Sides Exposed! « curlstories

  2. Pingback: In Love with my Hair (top 3 things since being fully natural) « curlstories

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