There is absolutely no excuse for a bad weave no matter how you spin it. Technology has progressed too far, people have been so innovative in providing new techniques and companies are able to deliver on high quality hair that caters to every kink, coil and curl.
It may sound harsh but in the fast world we live in with computers having almost as much processing power as the human brain and being able to chat to your friend in Singapore while seated on the couch in Philadelphia, there is just no excuse for a bad weave. A good weave like a fine wine should only get better with age.
Even if you are a newbie to that weave life, there are loads of resources to help you install it like a real OG. With that said, here are my 8 tips to getting an outrageously natural looking weave.
1. Leave some of your own hair out
Now I know at times you may favor an old school full weave with a cute blunt bang or a gorgeous swoop bang. I won’t lie I’ve seen some really good work out there and I am sure you have too but when natural is at the top of your wishlist, nothing says natural like your own hairline and scalp.
The last thing you want is for someone with an excellent weave radar spotting that you’re rocking a weave from 20 yards away!
With the sudden popularity of lace wigs*, an artfully applied unit can be almost seamless if you have mastered the application process. Yet, it still doesn’t compare to your real scalp and hairline.
Yes I understand that this tip will lead to your protective style losing some of it’s “protective” credentials but again it depends on your priorities. A partial weave can still protect majority of your hair while you wear a gorgeous realistic looking hairstyle.
Having that little bit of leave out hair at the front to cover your tracks is a definite yes if you want it to look realistic. You should leave out a horseshoe section for the best results. This is usually a 1-2 inch section at the top for the part and a about 1/2 inch on the sides. If you want to wear your hair up in a ponytail then leave half an inch around the entire perimeter of your head as well.
2. Start with a flat base
If you go to a stylist to have your weave installed then this shouldn’t be an issue but if you choose to do it yourself, don’t underestimate the importance of having your cornrows be as flat as possible. Even if you have thick natural hair you will need to braid in such a way that it is flat and able to hide any lumps and bumps that will undermine the finished product.
3. Wear believable lengths
A good rule of thumb is to never wear a weave that’s more than 4 inches longer than your own hair. Now you may not be in agreement with this but hear me out. However good your weave is, sometimes you get that ‘separation’ of hair between the tracks and your leave out. This would not usually not be very noticeable unless your own hair is 2 inches in length while the weave is 18 inches, it just doesn’t look , well… believable. An extreme example I know but the idea holds out.
A good way to mitigate that effect is to layer your weave. If your leave out hair is 8 inches long for argument sake, you can get one pack at 12 inches and another pack at 14 inches and another one at 16-18 inches. The idea is to have the longest length, 18 inch in this case, at the bottom to give you the length and the shorter weave at the top closer to your leave out hair.
You end up with natural looking layers that you can have a good stylist refine with a bit of snipping to give it a more seamless look. As your hair grows, you can then increase the lengths of your weaves to match.
4. Go light on product use
With your own hair you are probably using 3-4 different products during your average wash day but all you need to care for a weave is a good quality shampoo and a good moisturizing conditioner*.
Maybe a bit of heat protection spray if you wish to use a flat iron*; nothing more.
I don’t know about you but I only want people knowing I’m wearing a weave when I tell them that I am! In the next article I will give you possibly the single most important tip on getting a natural looking weave. Read part 2 here.