What’s the difference?
Straighter hair reflects light easier, so it reveals more shine. Hair with a tighter curl or zig zag pattern does not reflect like as well, so it may not shine as much.
That’s why your hair may have looked shinier when you had a relaxer.
Nevertheless, if you have tightly coiled hair, there are still ways to unleash a nice sheen. It may take a little more work and product. But if your hair is healthy, you will be able to floss a healthy glow.
Keep the Cuticles Down
Raised/open cuticles mimic the appearance of shingles on a roof. When they are raised, the hair won’t shine and it often looks dull. Hair that is damaged also has raised cuticles, which is why it may look dry and lifeless.
To smooth your cuticles you can do many things:
a) Do a final cold-water rinse. Shampooing the hair raises the cuticle so the cold water will help them lie back down.
b) Final rinse with apple cider vinegar. I use 2 parts water to 2 parts vinegar (8 ounces). I do not rinse it out.
Be sure to test a small section before applying it to your entire head. You may have to adjust the mixture concentration for your hair.
c) Trim any damaged ends because they will travel up the hair shaft.
d) Minimize heat styling because that opens the cuticle.
e) Set your hair on perm rods while wet for a straighter finish
Seal in Moisture
I like to moisturize my hair with a water-based moisturizer. When I first started transitioning, I assumed water would be the enemy, but I see that it really is the foundation for moisture and sheen.
Water based moisturizers could be anything from leave-in conditioners (check the label to make sure water is one of the first ingredients), water/glycerin combos or aloe vera gel. Once my hair is properly moisturized, I’ll seal it with a natural oil like jojoba or castor oil. Castor oil is my favorite.
Results Will Vary
Because everyone’s hair is different, your level of sheen will be different from the next natural, so be careful about comparing your texture to someone else’s.
You could use the exact same products as someone else, but have very different results because of your curl pattern.
The bottom line is, learn to embrace the texture you have because you can’t change it.