A weave is the quickest way to completely change your regular hair routine. Whether you want long, flowing locks or a short, curly 'do, your options are endless. "Weaves are a great hair accessory...you get instant gratification," says top celebrity hairstylist Kiyah Wright, the mastermind behind coiffures of notables like Ciara, Gabrielle Union and Tyra Banks.
However, if not careful, a bad weave can make your look change for the worse. Follow this rundown (with tips from Kiyah) to keep your new tresses looking just as fierce as they did when you walked out of the salon.
1-2 WEEKS BEFORE THE SALON VISIT:
- Give your hair a break. According to Kiyah, you should avoid chemical treatments and other weaves for at least one week prior. "A fresh base is always great to work from," she says.
- Find what you want. Go through magazines or blogs (such as BV on Beauty!) for inspiration. Think about how your weave will fit into your lifestyle.
- Meet with your stylist to discuss your desired look. For best results, allow your stylist to prepare in advance, as certain hairstyles and colors work best with specific weave textures. For example, if you're going on a tropical vacation, get a wet and wavy style to swim around in. "When you go [back to] work in a corporate environment, the hair can transition over easily to straight," Kiyah says.
- Plan your future hair appointments. "A typical hair weave usually lasts between one-and-a-half to three-and-a-half months," says Kiyah. By creating a solid maintenance plan, you can avoid last-minute panic styles (like that half silky/half crazy ponytail that really isn't fooling anyone!).
- Make sure that your stylist cuts and styles your weave with a razor, not scissors. A razor cut flattens out the texture to give it a natural look. According to Kiyah, a razor will also prevent the tracks from showing because it cuts the weave more evenly.
1.5 WEEKS AFTER THE SALON VISIT:
- Wash your mane every week and a half using the "Kiyah Tip": "Use [antiseptic] with a bottle tip applicator to squeeze in between the tracks," she says. With the antiseptic on your scalp, apply a cleansing (not moisturizing) shampoo and wash. For the antiseptic, try Sea Breeze Astringent for Skin & Scalp, $10, houseofbeautyworld.com
- Skip the conditioner on your weave; it weighs it down. "I put a little regular conditioner on the natural hair, like on top, or on the edges," Kiyah says.
- Instead of conditioner, use a detangler. After you apply the detangling leave-in conditioner, break your hair into sections, then run a paddle brush through the hair, which makes it more manageable. Kiyah likes the Unite Eurotherapy 7 Seconds Condition Leave-in Detangler ($20.95, howardjonessalon.com)
1-6 WEEKS AFTER THE SALON VISIT:
- Keep your tracks tight. The texture, length and style of the weave determine how often you'll have to tighten it. "Tighten it up when things begin to shift," instructs Kiyah. "Make sure that your hair texture matches the weave texture." It's best to leave that part to the pros. "If you're in the salon, your stylist is going to tell you exactly what to do."
SPECIAL STYLING TIPS:
Kiyah doesn't like anything too oily on curly styles. She recommends the Kinky-Curly line because it moisturizes without grease. For styling, use a blow dryer with a diffuser. "Lean over and put the hair right into it," she says, then crunch the hair as it dries.
For straight styles, Kiyah recommends using minimal product for lasting results. An aerosol spray, such as Paul Mitchell Super Clean Spray ($15.50, amazon.com) locks in freshly styled hair. To prevent frizz, use a light hair serum with silicone, such as Simply Stylin' Silk ($10, shop.simplystylinhair.com). One of Kiyah's favorite hair products is the Tancho Tique Stick ($14, beautycollection.com), a wax-based hair pomade."It's really good for the edges and to blend the [natural] hair in with the extensions," she says. But keep in mind that that the Tancho Tique should only be used on DRY, STRAIGHT hair!
Ladies, what are your tried-and-true weave maintenance secrets?