4C hair is magical. Despite what society, the beauty industry, advertising, or even people close to us say — our kinky coils are beautiful and versatile. Since I've been natural, I've tried so many different styles with my hair —from rolling it on rods (which I gave up because I was doing it to make my hair "acceptable"), wearing braids, twisting it out, slicking it back, wash and go's (which is currently my go-to), and the blowout.
I initially stayed away from blowing out my hair because I was afraid of heat damage. But now I've found the right tools and products that can be purchased at any drugstore to keep my hair healthy when I want to go for a full-on 70s vibe.
Here are the drugstore products and my process for getting the blowout look without damaging my hair:
Step 1: Wash hair
My stylist always said great hair starts in the shower. I think she was right. Having clean hair and a healthy scalp makes styling and maintaining 4C hair easier to manage. I always start with a shampoo like Eden BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo that washes away build-up without stripping my hair.
Step 2: Co-wash
I then follow up with Shea Moisture's High PorosityMoisture-Seal Co-Wash. I've been trying a few different co-washing options, but I'm enjoying this one now since it makes it easy for me to detangle during my wash and leaves my hair baby soft.
Step 3: Deep condition
Deep conditioning each week with Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Treatment Masque is a weekly staple. I buy this in bulk because it truly keeps my hair moisturized and my scalp healthy. After I use my fingers to detangle my hair and smooth the conditioner through my coils, I cover it in a shower cap and wrap a hot towel around my head. I would typically use a hooded dryer, but I haven't replaced the one that broke a couple of months ago.
I leave it on for thirty minutes to an hour, depending on how much time I have and then rinse with cold water. On weeks that my hair needs a little extra TLC, I follow up my deep conditioner with ApHogee's Intensive 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor.
Step 4: Air dry and hydrate
After I use my AQUIS Lisse Luxe Desert Rose Hair Turban (which has become my new favorite thing) to get the excess moisture out of my hair, I part my hair into eight sections and secure them with alligator hair clips. Then, I spray each section with African Pride's Coconut Milk & Honey Hydrate & Shine Leave-In Conditioner. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this leave-in, but it makes my hair feel moisturized without weighing it down — and the price tag isn't bad either.
Step 5: Lock in moisture
Lastly, I lock everything in with Cantu's Shea Butter Super Shine Hair Silk. I typically try to stick with pure argan oil, but I bought this on a whim, and it has been a staple for me ever since. Some might think 4C hair can't be light and bouncy, but it can, and this product helps make the possible while protecting my hair from the heat of the blow dryer.
Step 6: Brush and blow dry hair
Then I blow dry each section on medium heat with my Denman Brush using the tension method. One thing I've learned along the way is that investing in the original Denman is the way to go. I've bought knock-offs and have had to stop in the middle of stretching my hair to put the brush back together. Using medium heat does make my process a little longer since each section dries slower than if I were using the highest level of heat, but I want the look without damaging my hair in the process.
Step 7: Wrap hair
Once each section is dry, I twist my hair Susie Carmichael style and wrap it up with a silk scarf although I need something that won't slip off my head at night like Grace Eleyae's silk-lined caps. I've woken up in the morning with my scarf covering on one side of my head, which makes me question what kind of sleeping I'm doing.
There are also no-heat ways to give your hair a similar look, but I personally enjoy having different options of stretching my hair. There is no one size fits all, and I'm no expert, but I think it is okay to use heat on your hair from time to time.
Happy Wash Day!
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports