type 4 700

Source @freddieharrel

Hey coilies!

We have a reputation for having the most unmanageable hair types, don’t we?

Our hair’s ‘too breakable’, ‘too rough’, ‘too hard to make professional’, and a whole slew of other dirty lies you might be pressured to believe if you’re chronically short on time.

Unlearning the stigma that still surrounds our hair type will take time in and of itself, but for now, the least I can do is leave y’all with a few tips I’ve picked up that are going to save you a lot of effort.

1. Invest in a hook for your bonnet

‘April’, you’re asking, ‘How exactly does putting a hole in my wall help anything?’. Believe me, O’ Skeptic One, it will. Having a dedicated hook—not a drawer, not a lamp, not a spot on the nightstand, not on my pillow—but an actual ‘it’s on me to spackle this if I move’ hook in my bedroom to keep my bonnet on has saved me HOURS in searching for it when it inevitably slips, folds, crumples, or wedges itself somewhere with every other place I’ve had it. Get a real one that sticks out, curves, and holds your bonnet (yes, I see y’all trying to get away with just the pushpin, and that’s not going to work), and you’ll be snoozing away on time more nights than not, I guarantee it.

2. Find a spray bottle that works and buy multiples

You know how when you find shirts, pants, bras, etc that really work for you you’re supposed to buy a few in different colors? The same thing goes for spray bottles. I can’t tell you that having a minimalist house and one dedicated bottle that you put back in the same place every time won’t help save the same amount of time. I will tell you that unlike a bonnet, you’re going to be using your spray bottle in different rooms of the house, and you’re going to put it down, and lose it, and waste time tracking it down. Buy a few, keep them strategically spread out, and save yourself the pain.

3. Keep a hair shelf by your desk

As I write this, I’m working off of a converted bar shelf. Converted meaning...I did absolutely nothing to it, except plop my pens, laptop setup, and inspirational Funko Pops on top. But because I spend a lot of time here both for work and play, I keep a comb, leave-in, and one of my many spray bottles nearby. I can easily take a writing break, fire up my Hulu account and be twisted up for bed before hitting the keyboard again without having to lug everything into my workspace and then be pressed about making sure it goes back. Marie Kondo wouldn’t approve of this method I’m sure, but the time I’ve wasted chasing bottles and losing things didn’t exactly spark joy in me either, so here we are!

4. Get used to complete coverage protective styles

I can’t begin to tell y’all how much time and effort wigs have saved me. You wake up, you see it’s humid out, and you just feel like the time spent untwisting and styling is going to be a waste, but then BAM. You just slip the wig on, and you’re polished in exactly no time. I have the same love for headwraps! Learn a few stylish knots, and now you’re not being a “lazy natural”, you’re doing it for the culture, with enough time to make a healthy breakfast before you head out. Can’t beat that.

5. Embrace your night-time protection as a style

Hands up, y’all, do we know that Bantu knots are a look in and of themselves? And twists? And regular degular braids? The same curl-prep under your scarf at night can be just as lovely with a finished look in the AM if you’ve already parted everything evenly. Save yourself the time spent taking down your night’s work and turn a few heads!

6. Try leave-in mists instead of liquids or creams

This tip’s fairly easy to embrace! Working a product in takes longer than spraying—it’s the same philosophy behind using a power washer instead of hand-scrubbing your driveway. If your hair is dry and in need of extra protection, don’t throw out your puddings entirely of course. But alternating can be a good way to grab an extra few minutes here and there, especially if you’ve saved your nighttime style for a daytime look, and you’re going right to bed on top of it!

7. Read reviews. No, really.

I have a rule that’s saved me a lot of money and time so far: if a product has 10% or more negative reviews, I just don’t buy it. The great thing about hair-care is that no matter what, you will find something that makes your curls cute, there are too many products out there for there NOT to be a line for you. But if you’re not taking the time to do a little research, you’re going to end up wasting time (and cash) on what just doesn’t work for you in the long run. Make the investment and study up!

8. Stick with what you love

There’s nothing wrong with being tempted by new products as long as you’re making good use of them. But as the natural hair care market continues to expand, we’re staring down more choices than ever, and not all of them are going to be right for all of us. Gerilyn and I are both type 4s, but I still have waking nightmares of what one of the co-washes she absolutely LOVED did to my hair. If you’re trying to save time on shopping and on repairing damage, it pains my hoarding tendencies to say, you’ve got to put the product junkie in the same place with your inner child, and squish it down. Now it’s straight in and out at the beauty aisle, and no needing to take days to pare down what you already have, because you know it works for you.

Last tip I’ve got for you? This is probably going to be the one I wrestle with the most myself, but…

9. Just buy the snacks

I won’t be going back to our no-sugar challenge’s rules any time soon, but since then, I have been trying to buy smarter. That’s always included just skipping out on the snack aisle entirely, which sounded good on the surface, but for me, there was a catch. I ended up wasting a lot of time being hangry on wash-day. We joke about needing to meal prep, order in, and keep a pile of our favorite cravings on hand, but y’all, it’s real, especially if you’re like me and you struggle with getting things perfect before you can move forward. Do yourself a favor, get something ‘cheat day’ worthy and save yourself the pain.

And if all else fails with your hair and you’re running out of time, coilistas, just pick it out, put a flower in it, and try again the next day.

Do you have any time-saving tips to share with the class? Don’t hold back in the comments section!