Liberated Locks: Be free to wear whatever hair you want

Now, whether you’re team natural or team wig, use heat when styling or prefer texturising treatments, you can feel free to wear your hair however you want. There’s no shame, no matter what team you’re on.

12 April 2022 - 11:00
By Nokubonga Thusi
Tresemme x Jason Wu.
Image: Getty Images Tresemme x Jason Wu.

We have had society tell us just about every way our hair should be. When we were told that straight, sleek hair was the definition of beauty, hair relaxing dominated. Unfortunately, without the proper education on caring for relaxed hair, the damage done by improper relaxing resulted in an unhealthy relationship with our hair.

This signalled the return to natural, where embracing and respecting your curl pattern became top priority. But, along with a renewed pride in our natural curls and coils, it became frowned upon to want to be anything but natural.

So, the freedom to choose your natural hair also took away your freedom to choose to relax your hair again, this time armed with the knowledge on how to care for relaxed hair, or wear a wig. Now, whether you’re team natural or team wig, use heat when styling or prefer texturising treatments, you can feel free to wear your hair however you want. There’s no shame, no matter what team you’re on.

3 tips if you’re using heat: 

While heat is useful in styling, creating texture or defining your curls, excessive heat can also be very damaging, especially on curls and coils. When it comes to blow-drying or flat ironing, even if it’s just occasional, it’s important to practise extreme caution. Heat styling too often or at too high a temperature can turn healthy curls and coils into dry and unmanageable hair with split ends. When you straighten or blow-dry curly hair, the bonds that make it curly, relax. Extreme heat can break these the same way that chemical relaxers do, and once those bonds are broken, they cannot be reformed, leaving curls dry and limp. 

  1. Always heat protect: Apply a good-quality thermal or heat-protecting spray to your hair or wig every time before using a heat-styling tool.
  2. Reduce heat: Go for a styling tool that allows you to control the temperature, rather than one that only has a single heat setting. The recommended optimal heat setting is 185°C.
  3. Don’t heat style daily: Limit the frequency at which you heat style your hair and, if possible, don’t do it more than a handful of occasions per year. Give your hair regular breaks to prevent damage, and focus on a nourishing hair-care routine. Regular trims can also help to remove visible damage and split ends.

  4 tips if you are relaxing:

Image: Getty Images
  1. Beware of over-relaxing: Mark sure to wait at least 8-16 weeks before having another relaxing treatment. While it is tempting to re-apply relaxer to new growth, it’s important not to over-relax, as this is the quickest way to damage your hair.
  2. Minimise heat styling: It’s tempting to try just about any hairstyle with the manageability of relaxed hair, but reduce the frequency of heat styling with hairdryers, flat irons, and curling tongs. Where possible, try to incorporate heatless styles to reduce the risk of damage.
  3. Deep conditioning is your best friend: Perform a deep condition at least once a week, or use leave-in conditioners containing natural oils such as coconut oil or shea butter, to hydrate hair.
  4. Balance oil and moisture: Help restore shine and give relaxed hair an extra moisture boost by applying a leave-in conditioner and hair oil, with ingredients such as Jamaican black castor oil, sweet almond oil or coconut oil.

Try this if you wear wigs: The Modern Mullet

Image: Getty Images

One of the most wanted hair styles, spotted on celebrities such as Rihanna and Khanyi Mbau, is the modern mullet. The new mullet is much softer, more feminine, and textured, and its DNA includes elements of the 1970s shag haircut.

“When considering a mullet, your natural texture needs to be kept in mind and easy styling is a must. Make sure to visit a stylist who has a solid understanding of cutting short hair, as well as how to use layers to enhance facial features,” advises Candice Mckay of Wyatt Hairdressing and Barbering.


  1. If going shorter, go for longer, face-framing lengths: The short, very straight version of the mullet tends to make the style look dated, so ask your hairdresser to give your wig longer, face-framing lengths that will soften it up. Going for a longer fringe length with choppy, framing pieces around the ears will give it a more flattering, longer-length pixie look that’s still within mullet realm, just updated.

  2. Add texture, for a feminine softness: Use wig bundles with a body wave to elevate the style and give it a cool, modern update. It’s important to keep the cut quite short at the crown and focus most of the texture on the mid-lengths. When styling, try working in some extra texture and wavy bends with a straightener to redefine existing waves and give the cut a lived-in texture.