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With the best articles on caring for natural hair, Curly Nikki is your source for inspiration and advice. Find out about the latest styles and trends today!

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  • 02/23/16--10:15: Salvage Your Twist-Out

  • by Ariane of BlackNaps.org

    We’ve all been there. What we thought was going to be a dope twist out turns out to be a dud. If you start to take down your twists and can see your style isn’t turning out so hot you can take action to prevent things from going further downhill.

    Continue!>>>


    Here are the top 3 reasons why your twist out results suck:

    1.  The product you used didn’t work out for you (more about finding the best natural hair product)
    2.  Your ends need to be trimmed (stringy ends will ruin this style)
    3.  Your hair didn’t dry completely

    Once you see that the twist out isn’t going to be what you had hoped, unfortunately there isn’t any going back. You don’t want to make the situation any worse and hopefully the goal is to save the style; get ready to do some damage control!

    #1 Avoid over fluffing and picking your hair, this will make it more frizzy.

    #2 Do separate your strands a max of only 2 times and make sure you lightly oil your hands before going to work.

    #3 If your hair isn’t dry and you don’t have time to wait, blow dry your hair (ideally with a diffuser attachment for even heat distribution). Try to wait until it is thoroughly dry if at all possible.

    Try These Style Savers

    Tuck n Roll Natural Hairstyle

    Create a textured updo by tucking, rolling and pinning your hair into place. It’s the perfect way to hide a potential hair disaster.

    Kurly Klips

    Use an elastic stretchy headband for a curly ponytail puff or textured bun.

    How do you salvage a disrespectful twist-out?

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    Q: I was looking online for a hair steamer. I did some research and found a site that said there are not many studies for hair steaming. Is this true?

    Continue!>>>


    TheBeautyBrains Answer  In case you’re not familiar with that this process, hair steaming it is exactly what it sounds like. You apply steam to your hair because it supposedly makes it smoother, softer, and more moisturized. The practice is especially popular for natural hair. Typically this is done with a bonnet like device into which steam is pumped or from a handheld device that puffs steam directly into your hair as you comb through it. I assume the practice goes back much further but I remember seeing hair steaming units for the first in the 1970s .

    This has such a commonsense kitchen logic to it that I’m surprised the beauty industry hasn’t exploited this idea more. There really aren’t very many hair steamers on the market. Why is that? Probably because it doesn’t work as well as expected. The idea that “injecting” your hair with steam is good for it doesn’t hold up scientifically. If you’re trying to moisturize your hair, just soaking in water works perfectly fine. Steam doesn’t provide any additional benefit in terms of getting moisture to penetrate more deeply.

    In fact, too much exposure to high temperature steam can actually damage hair. There’s some classic research done by the hair care ingredient company Croda that showed when you apply a flat iron to wet hair you get little blisters or bumps in the hair shaft from, presumably from the steam evaporating. Granted, flat irons provide a higher temperature than just exposure to steam but still this could be an indication that heat and steam are not friends of your hair.

    There hasn’t been very much written about hair steaming in the scientific literature but The Natural Haven blog does reference one study from 1934 that looked at the effect of steaming on wool fibers. (X-Ray Studies of the Structure of Hair, Wool, and Related Fibres. II. The Molecular Structure and Elastic Properties of Hair Keratin) In case you didn’t know wool is a pretty good surrogate for testing human hair. It’s not exactly the same but there is some overlap.

    Anyway, the study wasn’t focused on hair care benefits but rather on manipulating the fiber for using it in fabrics. In particular they look at fiber stretching. The researchers found that if you take a wool fiber put a weight on the end of it and then expose it to steam, the fiber will stretch it out longer than its original length and it won’t shrink back afterwards. In other words the fiber was permanently straightened and lengthened. They hypothesized that the combination of heat and stress severed some of the disulfide bonds that control the structure of hair.

    This might lead you to think that steaming hair could help straighten out your curls however there’s two problems with that. First of all the time of steam exposure in the study was something like 15 hours. There’s no way you’ll be able to expose your hair to steam for that period of time. And secondly they only saw a straightening result when weight was applied to the fiber. Even if you’re brushing or combing your hair while you steam it it’s difficult to reproduce the effect of applying the force of a weight to each strand of hair. Also, I would think that since you’re not re-oxidizing the bonds to lock in the new straight configuration, there could be some reversion. Hard to say, again this isn’t very well studied. According to The Natural Haven, the long and short of hair steaming for natural hair--

    1. Steaming hair for under 30 minutes is generally considered safe in terms of not damaging hair
    2. Steaming hair is pretty similar to wetting hair meaning hair absorbs moisture and swells. It can feel smoother as a result of the swelling.
    3. Steaming will allow hair to stretch a little more than wetting hair would with the same force (therefore be gentle when handling steamed or wet hair)
    4. Steamed hair will remain elastic provided you use reasonable gradual force and remain under the 30 minutes.
    5. Steaming over 30 minutes can induce disulphide (disulfide if you are on the other side of the pond) bonds to break - essentially, yes, steaming for long times CAN relax your hair



    Share your experiences in steaming!

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    Q: How do you reduce breakage/shedding other than trimming?

    A: Let’s start by discussing the difference between shedding and breakage.


    What is hair loss?
    "When your hair naturally falls from the root, you are experiencing hair loss. Some amount of hair loss normal and to be expected.

    In fact, while you may not be aware of it, you’re likely losing up to 100 strands each day. The “100 strands” theory is based on the assumption that we have approximately 100, 000 hairs on our scalp and lose around 1% of them daily.

    Additionally, the rate at which you’re losing hair can vary based on gender, diet and genetics.

    What is hair breakage?

    Curly hair is especially prone to breakage. You may experience breakage when combing, detangling, or styling your curls. Breakage is most noticeable when brushing or combing your hair, removing a hair band, or in the shower.

    Continue!>>>

    Which do you have?
    If you look closely at a strand of your hair, hair that has been lost through the natural process of shedding will still have the root attached. Hairs that have suffered from breakage will be in shorter sections, and will not include the root". - Tasha Swearingen 

    If you are experiencing shedding, it is best to monitor the amount of hair that comes out. Keep in mind since curly girls do not wash their hair as often as girls with straight hair, shedding may seem excessive when really it has been shedding at a normal rate and accumulating until wash day.

    Deep condition
    You mentioned that you wanted other ways to reduce shedding before resorting to trimming. Try deep conditioning your hair each wash day. This will help maintain your hair’s strength to keep it healthy. Sitting under a hooded dryer or steamer for better results.

    Try a rinse
    If you want to try a natural approach, hair rinses are great options to stop shedding. Check out this article.

    Examine your habits
    You can experience breakage from a variety of practices like not protecting your hair at night with a satin cap or pillowcase or not handling your hair with care while detangling. When you are experiencing breakage, you have to look at the way you are manipulating your hair. If you are still not sure why your hair is experiencing breakage, check out these 10 habits that can cause it.

    Keep your hair moisturized
    There are so many products on the market now that you have your pick of the litter when it comes to moisturizers. Whether you prefer co-washing, moisturizers, refreshers, DIYs or deep treatments, there is a moisturizer for every regimen and lifestyle. You just have to choose the one that works for you.  Check out this article for what makes an effective moisturizer!

    Wear low manipulation styles
    If you are pulling your hair into a tight hairstyle every day, then there is a good chance you will experience breakage as a result. Opt for low manipulation styles instead-- twist and braid-outs, roller sets and undos that don't strain your edges.

    Deep treatments and healthy practices are the way to go, but if you continue to experience breakage it will be best to schedule an appointment at least for a consultation to see if a trim is absolutely necessary. Once you remove the damaged hair, you can have a fresh start and treat your healthy hair with much care and prevent future damage.

    What are ways that you prevent and treat shedding and breakage? 

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    @CLATODD writes:

    This look was inspired by Meagan Good's Goddess Faux Locs!  I hope you enjoy and try it out yourself!

    What you'll need:
    -5 Packs of 1B Marley HAIR $4.99
    -3 PACKS of crochet/braiding curly hair I used Freetress Brand Hair-$5.99 a pack
    -2 packs of deep curl
    -1 pack of loose deep curl
    -Nail Glue to seal the ends IT DRIES CLEAR! (Hair glue gets lumpy and burning the ends is a no go for the goddess loc effect!)




    IG: @CLATODD
    Facebook : Clarissa Todd

    Have you tried Goddess Locs yet? 

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    by Sabrina Perkins of SeriouslyNatural.org

    We are naturals right? We are conscious about everything that we do, so much so that we feast on all forms of advice and information we can find that will give us the edge we need for healthier, longer, shinier tresses. The problem with that is, we do not all have the same problems, needs or techniques that actually work and will benefit us.

    Even the so-called experts have problems or make dire mistakes in their journeys and the honest and smart ones will share their failures to help educate others. My motto is nothing is a mistake if you learn from it, so I share in hopes of saving someone else the grief I have put upon myself.

    Continue!>>>
    So, despite all of our best intentions, we do deal with some damage and many times it is our own misinformation that causes it. All we need is a little guidance to make us aware and figure out how to stop it before it causes any more damage. Here are some common mistakes many are making which are doing us no favors and causing tons of damage.

    Not using a heat protectant
    Believe it or not but there are still some out there that feel a heat protectant is not necessary because they never used one before and their hair is not damaged. *sigh*. Heat protectants are products that protect your hair from the direct heat of blow dryers, curling wands, flat irons and other heated styling tools.

    Heat protectants will form a protective barrier between your hair and the heat appliance, they will add shine and they fight off heat damage. No if, ands, or buts about it. Use the protectant if you do not want heat damage...period.

    Not washing your hair enough
    There are some of us out here still thinking they only need to wash their hair monthly. When you leave product build-up, dirt, sweat and pollutants in too long you can clog the pores so much that it could even keep it from growing. Hair grows in a clean scalp and environment and can only thrive that way.

    Washing or cleansing your hair too often
    Washing too often (especially with harsh ingredients in your shampoo like SLS) can be too drying and can strip the natural oils from your tresses that you actually need. Squeaky clean hair is not necessary and more damaging to textured hair than straight hair. Incorporate co-washes or use a sulfate-free shampoo if you feel you must wash more than once a week.

    Not deep conditioning regularly or at all
    Regular conditioners or daily conditioners are just surface conditioners which are just for absorbing ingredients into the surface of your hair. They only do part of the job of conditioning your tresses. Deep conditioners or pack conditioners that have ingredients with low molecular weight. "These ingredients penetrate the hair, nourishing between the cuticles, within the cuticle layers and/or within the cortex." Naturallycurly.com

    The deep penetrating effects allow proteins, amino acids and oils, etc. to replenish and restore the hair from it's damaged state longer than regular conditioners. This is a necessary step after every wash and missing it can detrimental to the moisture levels in your hair. If the hair is brittle, dry and easily snapping, then you probably have been missing on your deep conditionings!

    Washing and rinsing hair with hot water
    Hair should never be washed or rinsed with hot water as the hot water dehydrates your hair just like it does with our skin. This can lead to dry, brittle hair that will easier to snap off and break.

    Holding onto split ends
    Some naturals are not trimming your ends regularly or whenever they see raggedy ends. This is not allowing your hair to grow or retain length because slpit ends never go away and can actually travel up your hair shaft splitting even more and giving your hair see-through sections and frayed ends.

    If your hair needs trimming then either seek a professional or watch Naptural85 below on how to do it without heat.


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    by Susan Walker of Earthtone Naturals

    Deep conditioning is an extremely important practice for many naturals and as a result there are various ways women deep condition their hair. But what is the proper way to deep condition the hair? Why are some methods more important than others and what is a complete waste of time. The purpose of this article is to sift through all of the information to give the real truth about this process, and how to get the results your looking for.

    Why Deep Condition?
    What you’re trying to accomplish with conditioning is to restore or maintain the elasticity of the hair so that it’s better able to withstand combing, brushing, cleansing etc. without too much damage. Conditioning can also improve the appearance of the hair causing it to appear healthy.  Conditioning in general should accomplish the following:
    • Ease combing (both wet and dry)
    • Increase softness to the hair
    • Minimize flyaways
    • Reduce the porosity of the hair
    • Improve the manageability of the hair
    Should I Deep Condition? 
    For the most part, a regular moisturizing or hydrating conditioner is able to give these results. However if you hair is damaged then deep conditioning should be a part of your regimen. Once hair has been damaged there is no way to repair it. The only way to rid the hair of damaged areas is by cutting. What products actually do is temporarily improve the state of the hair to make it look, feel and perform like hair that is healthier, as well as prevent future damage. Damaged hair typically has the following characteristics:
    • Loss of elasticity
    • Breaking hair
    • Dull-looking hair
    • Dry and brittle
    • Highly porous
    • Split ends or mid-shaft splits
    • A lot of tangling

    What type of conditioner do you need?

    The type of conditioner you use for your hair will depend on your hair texture and the state of your hair.
    • Fine limp hair will need a conditioner that can increase body
    • Thick, dry hair will require a conditioner that can be used for softness and moisture.
    • Reconstructors containing a lot of protein should be used on hair that is fine, limp and damaged. 
    • Moisturizing deep conditioners with a lot of oils, emollients and moisturizers should be used on hair that requires softening or is very dry. 

    How to Get the Most Moisture Possible

    If your focus is on real deep conditioning then the type of product you use will be important, as well as how that conditioner is used on the hair. In order to get the best results enough of the conditioning agents must bind to the hair and sufficient amounts of active ingredients must penetrate into the cortex of the hair. This occurs under one or a combination of the following situations:
    • High pH
    • Heat
    • Time

    High pH

    A higher pH results in cuticles that are more open. Hair is most vulnerable in this state but it’s also a great opportunity for the conditioner to really penetrate into the cortex of the hair rather than if the cuticles are closed. Cuticles are typically opened when hair is relaxed or chemically processed in some way. For natural hair, the cuticles are typically not really open unless the hair is very porous or damaged in some way. Using baking soda and castile soap (which are high pH ranges) for cleaning can result in the cuticles opening. I don’t have any experience with either one of these cleansing agents to recommend how to properly use them and as a result, time and the use of heat with the conditioner will be discussed in order to maximize conditioning results.

    The amount of time the conditioner is left of the hair

    The longer the contact between the conditioner and the hair, the more the conditioning agents can bind to the hair, and active ingredients can penetrate into the cortex. Every ingredient in a conditioner has its own ability to adsorb (adhere) to the surface of the hair and/or penetrate into the hair. Many factors depend on the use of high or low molecular weight proteins, the use of oils with long or short fatty acid chains etc. The key ingredients that can stick to hair like the surfactants, hydrolyzed proteins and polyquats will do so within a few seconds of applying the conditioner. If left on hair for longer the more they will be absorbed. In general the conditioning effect is present for up to 25-30 minutes. After this time absorption of active ingredients has reach its maximum and there is no real added benefit to leaving a conditioner on the hair after 30 minutes.

    The Use of Heat

    As the hair increases in temperature the possibility of the conditioners penetrating the cortex also increases. What temperature are we talking about? The hair should be at about 60 degrees Celcius (about 140 degrees Fahrenheit) which can be achieved at the medium setting of an electric heat cap.

    In Part 2 of this series we’ll take a look at the ingredients you need to look for in an great deep conditioner and the steps you should take to get the most out of your deep conditioning.

    What is your experience with deep conditioning?

    This article was originally published in November 2011 and has recently been updated for grammar and clarity. 

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    Takesha writes:

    This was a photoshoot with my daughters and I (ages 6, 22, 21 and my 19 year old stepdaughter). I love doing different themed shoots with them to showcase all of our natural hair looks. Not only is it a memorable bonding experience, but it's also an excellent way to celebrate naturalness.

    Continue!>>>
    Although we all have different textures and lengths, it's still beautiful. My main reason behind this natural mothers and daughters journey is to instill in my 6 year old that her natural hair is beautiful... a symbol of her beauty. By her witnessing her big sisters and I rocking our fros, it makes her embrace her natural hair even more.

    Our favorite products are Cantu's line for natural hair. I love how the Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo cleanses the hair without leaving it dull. Also the Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream and the Conditioning Creamy Hair Lotion are always in high demand in our household. Although our hair textures are different, Cantu seems to work well for all of us.

    For my baby girl, I use the Cantu line for kids and I love giving her hot oil treatments with Coconut Oil. I love how it moisturizes her hair and she loves how it smells. Due to my busy schedule, I like to keep her hair in braids/twists. However, I love watching her rock her signature afro between braiding. Allowing her to sport her afro not only helps to instill a positive body image, but builds her self-esteem as well.

    How are you helping the ladies in your life to embrace their natural beauty?


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    by Emilia Obiekea of AdoreBotanicals.com

    Circulation and healthy habits are key elements to having your best skin and hair. It is important to stimulate your blood flow on a regular basis. A simple way to do this is with oil massages.

    Just to tackle two tasks at once why not do a facial massage then one for your scalp right? This massage cream will be your beauty BFF. Check it out.

    Continue!>>>
    Ingredients
    -1 tablespoon of your favorite oil (like Olive, Coconut or Avocado oil)
    -7 drops of your favorite essential oil (like grapefruit, lavender, rosemary or tea tree)
    -1 oz aloe vera gel

    Steps
    1.  Blend all ingredients together in a bowl very well. It will create an opaque cream.
    2. Apply light amount to the face and massage in a circular motion for a minute or two. *Avoid the eye and mouth areas.
    3. Part the hair and apply the cream directly to the scalp, nape of neck and around hairline. Massage very well with the pads of your fingers for about two minutes.

    For the face: Wipe off face and wash well with a cleanser of choice. Can follow up with a toner and moisturize.

    For the hair: You can leave this mixture on the scalp as a prepoo, moisturizer, or just wash out and proceed with your wash day.

    Results
    Prolonged use results in smooth, glowing and healthy skin and a healthier scalp and hair.  It is fine to do this a few times a week or once a week.

    This is a very simple yet effective recipe due to the soothing and moisturizing nature of the aloe vera gel and the nourishing effect of the oils. Share your results in the comment section below!

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    Hola Chicas!

    Watch as Shades of Chelsea demonstrates how she achieves a sleek bun on her short & thick, natural hair!

    Continue!>>>


    Blog: Shadesofchelsea.com
    Instagram: @shadesofchelsea
    Twitter: @shadesofchelsea

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    by Sunshyne of Hairlicious Inc

    Is your hair feeling dry, rigid and rough? You may be suffering from overly porous hair! Not sure what porous hair means? It's your hair's ability or inability to absorb and retain moisture.

    To learn more about porosity and to test your hair's porosity, click HERE.

    As for treatments, coconut oil may be the natural remedy for you!

    Since coconut oil is able to bind to the natural protein structure of the hair, this helps the hair retain its natural moisture content and reinforces the hair fiber, making it stronger.

    Read On>>>
    This form of protection helps preserve the cuticle layer and keep it in tact, thus allowing the cuticle to remain closed and hold on to moisture. In addition, it smooths raised cuticles reducing tangles, enhancing shine, and softness. Only use a finger tip amount, nothing more, or your hair may feel stiff.

    Retaining moisture and lowering the pH level of your products (4.5 level) is key in eliminating porosity issues.

    Coconut oil's ability to prevent protein loss and reduce hair porosity makes it valuable for those who relax, color, blow dry, brush hard, sun exposure, and regularly flat iron their hair.

    Source

    Are you a coconut oil fan? How do you use it? What has your experience been?


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  • 02/29/16--07:42: I'm Magic.
  • 'we cannot be in the present moment and run our story lines at the same time'- Pema Chodron 
    #DeepestShitIHeardThisMonth 

    In transit today, but wanted to set this right here...




    Rollers are magic.  I can go from my signature shoulder length Twist-n-Curl to ear length, bobbed-out  awesomeness without scissors or heat.  Also, if you're like me and for some reason find roller setting to be absolutely dreadful, try rolling your two- strand twists instead.  It's less daunting and feels... more efficient?   

    For rod set glory, I started on cleansed, detangled and moisturized damp hair (I dried it for 5-10 minutes in a t-shirt).  I then separated my hair into two sections-- front and back (parted from ear to ear) and pinned the front half up and out of the way (after applying a little amla oil throughout the length).  Next, I applied a little amla oil to the entire back section and then began sectioning off smaller pieces to two strand twist.  Prior to twisting each smaller section, I'd apply one pump of Jane Carter's Twist-Out Foam to the length.  Before rolling that twist on a perm rod, I'd apply a little Deva Curl Set it Free to the ends.  I rolled all the way to the root in the back and side sections and almost to the root in the front/top section (leaving about 1-2 inches out) to give height and volume for the resulting look.  Basically, you want the sides and back to be short and fierce and the top to be tall and bossy.  


    After removing all the rollers and twists (I ended up with 28) and fluffing,  I picked out the top and front (leaving the back and sides alone) and pinned any stray curls in the back, up, to create a bob effect.  Another trick to really exaggerate and dramatize the top/front is to pineapple just that section for like 20 minutes. 

    Real quick-- I love the JC foam.  It sets fast as hell (like 3-5 hours on damp hair), gives a medium hold with crazy shine and stupid volume. It feels weightless too, which I appreciate.  I also like that you can apply it to dry hair for a stretched twist or braid-out.  I've used it many times and it doesn't start to build up until after the third or fourth set (leaving teeny tiny yellow flakes).  The DC Set it Free is a throw back favorite-- I love it to smooth and moisturize my ends as well as to smooth dry, wayward curls on day 2 or 3.  I spray it into my hands before applying to individual curls.  

    If you've got fine, thin hair, try out this product combo for your next twist-out or roller set.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised :)  #ThankMeLater

    Later Gators,
    Nik 

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    Detangling
    For many of us, it might as well be a four letter word. Some of us avoid it until our hair is on the brink of disaster, while others may do some form of it a few times a week or even daily. We all know the dangers of pushing detangling sessions too far back -- from breakage and matting to cutting out clumps of knots. But what about detangling too frequently? Is there a such thing as doing too much detangling?

    There's an old adage that says, too much of anything is bad for you. By and large, that tends to be true. Detangling is great for releasing shed hairs, making the removal of buildup easier, and not to mention, it is the cornerstone of every fabulous natural hair style. But when done too often, detangling can lead to the following:

    HYGRAL FATIGUE
    Every time we douse our hair in water, the shaft expands to accommodate the uptake in water. As it dries, the shaft contracts and returns to normal. This is a regular thing for all hair, and does not typically cause damage--except for when done in excess. Constant expansion and contraction (from doing daily wash and go's or daily soaking wet detangling) can cause damage to the cuticles and cortex of the hair, weakening them to the point of premature breakage. This does not mean that you should avoid moisture at all costs -- just pull back to spritzes of water or a refresher, or light moisturizers and creams instead of dunking your hair in water. The best way to tell if you have hygral fatigue is to take a few strands of hair the next time you wet it, and pull them gently. If your hair springs right back to its kinky, coily, or curly self, then you're good to go. If the hair takes a while to retract back (like an overstretched scrunchie), or just breaks in your hand, you've got hygral fatigue.

    EXCESSIVE CUTICLE WEAR/THINNING ENDS
    Another pitfall of excessive manipulation via detangling is wear on the cuticles -- especially the ends. Every time we touch our hair, we take a little cuticle with us. So even if you're doing the most gentle, coconut oil-only, 3 hour painstakingly slow detangling session, you're still causing your hair damage. When done on a regular basis (not excessive), the results should not significantly impact your hair health and length retention. But if your hands are in your hair detangling constantly, expect every move of a comb, fingers, or denman to chip away at the cuticle of your hair. You may not notice it at first, but gradually the ends will begin to thin out and look wiry.

    You may even find that your hair is having difficulty retaining moisture, because excessive detangling/combing has led to chipped cuticles along the shaft, causing moisture to be lost. If it's not too late, cut back on detangling and combing sessions now. To prevent further damage, begin incorporating protein treatments (like Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask, Hydratherma Naturals Amino Plus Protein Deep Conditioner, or ApHogee Curlific Texture Treatment) into your deep conditioning regimen, and use leave-ins with protein (like It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin, and ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer Spray) to help patch up the cuticle.

    How often do you detangle? Are you detangling wet or dry?
    What's your process and fav products?

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  • 03/01/16--08:20: Jade Is Naturally Glam!

  • A little about me.
    My name is Jade, and I am 26 years old. I just recently married and completed a Masters degree in school counseling, two accomplishments that I am so proud of! They both were a lot of work. :-/ I live in NJ with my husband and mini poodle puppy, who is like my son for right now

    READ MORE>>
    A little about my hair journey.
    I have actually been natural my entire life. I nor my sister have ever gotten a perm, but when I was younger, I hated my natural hair. I always referred to it as "poofy hair." All of my friends had straight hair and I wanted that too. This was way before having curly hair was "accepted." It was hard to be attractive with "poofy" hair, and I figured if my hair were straight then more boys would like me. I was tall and skinny and just a little awkward looking. The style that I wore pretty much 350 days out of each year was a sock bun. I had so many different styles with that bun that I could have created a picture calendar and fashion show showing them off! I never went to the hair salon (except to get my hair cornrowed twice a year or a Dominican blow out every now and then). That "poofed up anyway. I was the only one that styled my hair and buns were the only thing I knew.

    But my junior year of high school, my teacher gave me something that truly changed my life. She had a sister that owned a hair salon and was always giving away products and tools that she got from hair shows. My teacher had an extra ceramic flat iron laying around and gifted it to me.
    From that point on YOU COULDN'T TELL ME NOTHING!
    I was obsessed with straightening my hair because I was finally able to look the way I wanted to, without getting a perm. My hair is fairly easy to manage, so it didn't take long for me to master the flat ironing process. As I moved into my college years, I kept up the same regimen. Wash my hair; blow dry my hair; straighten my hair. There was no deep conditioning, hot oil treatments, leave-ins or "sealing." The funny thing is, my hair was still very healthy. Between constant permanent hair color/dye and flat ironing, you would think my head would be bald or full of damaged strands. It is surprisingly still good.

    But after a few years, my lucky strike ended. I had heat trained my hair and didn't realize it because it was too late. My curls would not revert. At the time that it happened, I didn't mind because my goal was straight hair and I could care less about curls. It never occurred to me to try to wear it curly. But I came across YouTube in 2011 and I found TheKGLifestyle's channel. She talked about her heat damage story and that's when I realized that I might be suffering from the same thing. So though my hair still looked pretty healthy, I decided that I wanted to get my curls back and explore styles with my naturally curly hair.

    So here began my 4 year journey of: cutting off heat damage gradually, doing a 1 year no heat challenge, experimenting with protective styles (twist and curls, braid outs, bantu knot outs, etc.), getting a layered haircut to add "spunk" then having to get a Deva cut to fix the spunk, hair color, etc.
    Here I am with today with a head full of healthy hair and more versatility than I could have ever imagined. I certainly still straighten my hair because at heart I absolutely adore my straight hair, but I also have come to LOVE my curly hair. I can do anything from 3 strand twists, perm rod sets, curlformer sets and my new favorite a wash n go. My goal is to grow my hair longer than I've ever been able to grow it while being healthy at the same time.

    I have recently started a YouTube channel (SimplyJade101) in which my objective is to encourage girls and women with simple hair regimen's and styling ideas, hence the name SimplyJade. I don't agree with a lot of the information out there, that gives the impression that natural hair has to pretty much take up your life. I believe that you can still have healthy hair without having to spend 4 hours deep conditioning, 2 hours with hot oil treatments and redoing that process by way of co-washing every 2 days.

    Natural hair is actually a lot easier than we think! There are plenty of bloggers and YouTubers out there that value simplicity. Through the experimenting I've done and tips and tricks I've learned, I would like to help others in the same way. I love my hair no matter how it looks now, because I LOVE ME!

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    by SOINTOCURLS of BlackNaps.org

    Are fatty alcohols good for natural hair?  It depends. It is true that fatty alcohols are an improvement over short short chain alcohols like SD alcohol, alcohol denat and isopropyl alcohol.

    Fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol – just to name a few – tend to have lubricating properties that in the short term, seem to make hair more pliable and more flexible.

    In contrast, short chain alcohols are extremely lightweight and very drying. Additionally, these alcohols break up oils that they come into contact with. That is precisely why they are so pervasively used in hair products that are marketed for people who have oily hair. Unfortunately, short chain alcohols are also prominently featured in African American and natural hair care products, rendering hair that is already naturally dry and non-pliable even more dry.

    Continue!>>>


    But I digress. Fatty alcohols are okay – not great – just okay – if used in moderation. Speaking from personal experience, I have found that these alcohols are still very drying when the composition of the hair care product reflects a sizable amount of fatty alcohol. Let me explain…

    For a while, I was using an organic moisturizing shampoo to cleanse my daughter’s curls. This product contained no alcohol, so her hair felt great – except it tangled easily because of the amount of glycerin that the product contained. (My daughter has a very dense mix of 3c/4a hair.)

    Seeking an alternative that resulted in fewer tangles, I decided to use bentonite clay and aloe vera gel to cleanse her hair for a while. The tangles definitely decreased, but her hair just never felt thoroughly clean. So after using an organic clarifying shampoo that was also alcohol free, I shopped around and decided to try a cleansing conditioner that contained lots of good stuff – but cetyl alcohol was the first ingredient in its ingredient list.

    I used it for the first wash, and her hair felt amazing. With each subsequent wash, however, I began to notice a definite change in the texture of her hair. Instead of feeling soft and supple, it gradually began to feel hard, wiry and extremely dry. Sadly, every wash with the cleansing conditioner amplified these results. I looked at the ingredient list again and noticed that, even though the product contained a nice amount of moisturizing ingredients, it contained much more cetyl alcohol than moisturizers.

    Remember, fatty alcohols may make your hair feel good for a while by providing lubrication, but they do NOT add moisture to the hair. In other words, they do not nourish hair or even replenish lost moisture that very dry natural hair needs.

    The bottom line? Buy products that have a low percentage of fatty alcohols in their ingredient lists. After all, at the end of the day, alcohol is alcohol.

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    by Sabrina Perkins of SeriouslyNatural.org

    Our hair needs a balance of moisture and protein.  And achieving and maintaining the perfect balance can be quite challenging.   The best thing you can do is listen to your hair-- if your hair is limp, mushy and overly moist it needs protein, and if it's dry, hard, and easily broken, then it most likely needs moisture.

    Protein should not be used on a daily or even on a weekly basis. If you are not exposing your hair to heat styling tools, color or chemicals then most likely a monthly or even less than monthly protein treatment is enough. It depends on your routine and as I rarely do any of those things I usually use a protein treatment or a protein conditioner every 2 to 3 months.

    So which ones to try? It is a preference so if you are in need of one then check out this list of hugely popular protein conditioners that get the job done. What is ever better is that all are very gentle to your strands even if you choose to use them monthly or bi-weekly.

    Continue!>>>


    Alikay Naturals Honey And Sage Deep Conditioner
    Alikay Natural's deep conditioner was specifically created for damaged hair to repair and get strands back on the healthy track. This humectant based deep conditioner gives maximum moisture and strength with honey and natural proteins.

    Aubrey Organics GPB Balancing Protein Conditioner
    AO's balancing protein conditioner is my favorite protein conditioner and I have been using it for years. It smells amazing, gives me all the protein I need and is a reasonable price. Nutrient-rich, protein-based GPB re-hydrates and re-energizes your hair, strengthens hair fiber and repairs damage from salon treatments to restore softness, manageability and shine.

    Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Volumizing Conditioner
    This popular volumizing conditioner is specifically for fine, limp hair. A dual-action shampoo with a plumping formula leaves strands feeling thicker with every use!

    Carol's Daughter Cupuacu Anti-Frizz Smoothing Conditioner
    Stop frizz with this smoothing formula from Carol's Daughter smoothing conditioner that utilizes the power of cupuaçu and vegetable protein.

    Nubian Heritage EVOO & Moringa Repair & Extend Conditioner
    Nubian Heritage's EVOO and Moringa Repair conditioner works perfectly for dry, damaged, and chemically-treated hair. A great all-natural, daily conditioner contains nourishing natural oils and extracts.

    Ouidad Climate Control Defrizzing Conditioner
    A perfect conditioner for the most humid of climates, Ouidad's defrizzing conditioner defies even the highest humidity, simultaneously detangling and defrizzing curls while promoting softness and shine. Strengthen with proteins and stay frizz-free.

    Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner
    This amazing hemp conditioner has an incredibly rich array of Fatty Acids to ensure well-nourished tresses with only a touch of Silk Protein and a generous dollop of Aloe Vera Gel.

    SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk
    It's no secret how much I love this line and they do not disappoint with this style milk. The Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk is perfect for thick, curly hair to detangle, condition and control curls while restoring body and shine.

    SoCozy Boing Curl Conditioner
    SoCozy's Curl Conditioner softens and moisturizes even the most dry, unruly curls. This ultra-hydrating formula conditions without weighing curls down and easily detangles to prevent breakage and frizz.

    Alterna Caviar Repair RX Instant Recovery Conditioner
    Becoming quite popular with naturals, Alterna's recovery conditioner is a restorative, paraben-free conditioner that transforms severely damaged hair, intensely nourishing and repairing each individual strand.

    What's your favorite protein conditioner or treatment, naturals?


     CN Says:
    I keep Aphogee's 2 Minute Reconstructor and Aubrey's GPB on deck.  If I could only choose one, it would probably be Aphogee despite the less than awesome ingredient list. 

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    by Sabrina Perkins of SeriouslyNatural.org

    Dry hair is common among naturals with curly or kinky hair, but did you know that the hair becomes drier with age? As the body matures, the oil glands shrink which causes it to produce natural oils inefficiently.

    Also, as the body ages it fails to produce hairs that have a sufficient amount of elasticity, causing the hair to become brittle and prone to breakage. While these factors are out of our control, and its characteristics depend on genetics, here are a few ways to both combat and prevent dryness.

    Continue!>>>


    Shampoo with a Moisturizing Shampoo
    When cleansing the hair we tend to lose a lot of moisture. Although many naturals have turned to alternative methods of cleansing the hair (co-wash, clay wash, etc.) there are those of us who do not wish to give up on our cleansers. Choosing a moisturizing shampoo will eliminate the amount of moisture that is lost while still thoroughly cleansing the scalp and hair.

    Deep Condition Frequently
    Deep conditioning is very important when you’re trying to replenish moisture into the hair. Not only do these treatments impart moisture back into the hair, but they also give the hair protein, nutrients, and essential vitamins needed for healthy hair and scalp. Be sure to deep condition once a week, or at least every time the hair is washed in order to combat dryness.

    Moisturize
    Moisture is an important step in any naturals’ regimen, but we need more moisture as we get older. Since our sebum production drops, the amount of nutrients the hair gets decreases causing dry, brittle, and weak strands. Sebum doesn’t have the chance to reach the length of our hair, so it’s important to replenish the hair with moisturizers and seal that moisture in with oil.

    Handle Your Hair with Care
    Being gentle with your hair is a no-brainer, right? But it’s easier said than done. A lot of us have the tendency to handle our hair pretty rough, which can cause unnecessary breakage. It’s especially important to handle your hair with care as you get older because your strands gradually become weaker over time.

    So those of us who tend to brush our hair in order to detangle may need to switch to finger detangling and stay away from hairstyles that pull or tug at the roots. Heavy braids /twists or even Locs need to be avoided in order to prevent thinning.

    What are some ways you prevent dryness?

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    Chia seeds are similar to flaxseeds, and when used for hair care, promote growth, shine, moisture and fight hair loss.  Watch as JungleNapscreates an easy DIY styling gel for her natural hair!




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    Photo Courtesy of Natalie Live

    by Amanda
    When it comes to hair growth, the concern is not so much how to make your hair grow, but rather how do you retain length. Breakage is a result of excessive manipulation, heat usage, chemical application, and wearing certain hairstyles. When you want to retain length past your shoulders, it is important to first evaluate your regimen. Then, you should consider your hair type. Density and curl pattern affect whether your hair grows out or down. Sometimes it will begin to grow out and then grow downward as you retain length and gravity takes over. Some textures, especially afro-textured hair, will always hover above the shoulders in a shrunken state, even though it could be kneecap length when stretched. Regardless of texture, if you are concerned about retaining length, evaluate these three areas in your regimen.

    Loose hairstyles
    Everyone loves wearing their curl hair big and loose, including me, but doing this consistently can come with a cost. The friction from your hair rubbing against your clothes or hand-in-hair syndrome encourages can cause split ends. The more you protect your ends, the less you have to trim. Try incorporating some updo styles every once in a while. If you prefer to completely protect your hair, consider wearing headwraps or protective styles like extension twists and braids. Remember that you want to protect your hair not neglect it. Make sure your extensions twists are properly installed, maintained, and removed with sufficient breaks in between.
     
    Chemical and mechanical manipulation

    Over manipulation will be the death of your strands. Whether you are processing your hair with permanent color or bleach, applying it improperly and too often can cause excessive dryness, which then leads to breakage. Using permanent color requires lifting the cuticle, and the damage caused by that process is irreversible, so be mindful of your hair’s state and how often you use chemicals and heat styling tools. The finer your strands, like most afro-textured hair, the less chemical and mechanical manipulation your hair can withstand. Consult a licensed cosmetologist to about color services or at-home coloring, keep your heat tools temperatures low (below 400 degrees), and do not use chemicals or heat often.

    Everyone loves a voluminous twist out and braid out, but make sure you are not handling your hair everday. Some naturals swear by re-twisting their hair every night, but this can cause your hair to break off in wisps and porous ends over time. For overnight maintenance, put your hair in chunky twists or coif your hair into a pineapple before bed.

    Skipping conditioner
    Using a shampoo and skipping the conditioner is always a bad idea. Shampoo is formulated to slightly lift the cuticle and thoroughly cleanse away debris from product buildup, sweat, excessive sebum, and elements from the air. When you proceed to style without apply a conditioner or deep conditioner, you neglect to close the cuticle, making the hair dry and susceptible to breakage. Whether you use a daily conditioner, deep conditioner, or leave-in conditioner, always condition your hair.

    Follow Natalie Live (pictured above) here:

    How did you maintain length past your shoulders?

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    by Emilia Obiekea of AdoreBotanicals.com

    DHT is a hormone that causes hair loss for both men and women. Many things can factor into it. Read here for more info about DHT. If you are having issues with stunted growth, weak strands or severe shedding then this rinse is for you. It will also soothe an itchy or irritated scalp as well. Check out my recipe below.

    Continue!>>>


    Supplies:
    -3 cups of Distilled Water

    -2 tablespoons of Horsetail

    -2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)*

    -1 tablespoon of each: Honey, Rosemary, Neem

    -3 tablespoons of Caffeinated Green Tea

    *Optional step: If you have high porosity or an itchy scalp this is a great to add to the rinse. Otherwise you can leave it out.

    Steps:
    1.  Prepoo & Cleanse your hair as normal. Can cleanse with a shampoo, cleansing conditioner, or product of choice.

    2.  Heat the distilled water. Pour it over the tea, herbs and honey. Stir, cover and allow it to steep until cool.

    3.  Strain out the infused water. Add the water and ACV into a bottle/container.

    4.  Apply directly to the scalp and length of the hair.

    5.  Massage the scalp and allow it to stay in the hair for 2-3 minutes.

    6.  Rinse out with well with cool water.

    7.  Be sure to follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner and your hair will feel gorgeous.

    Usage Tip: This rinse is very concentrated. It should only be done on an as needed basis. Do not do this rinse regularly. Results are immediate. I notice less hair shed any week that I have used it. Give it a try. Your hair will love it!


    Disclaimer If you have any health issues that would not be conducive to trying these rinses please do not do so. I am not a physician. This article only contains information I've acquired from my own knowledge and experiences. If you have any concerns or questions be sure to consult with your doctor before trying any DIY recipes.

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    by Michelle Thames of HappilyEverNatural.com

    Are you looking for an easy date night style, or want to switch up your usual wash and go? Wand curls are super easy, cute and don’t have to be a hassle.  Check out how I was able to achieve my voluminous wand curls on blow dried, natural hair.

    Continue!>>>


    I started off with freshly washed and deep conditioned hair. It’s important to condition your hair before you plan to use heat on it. I then let my hair air dry a little before blow drying. This not only helps with the blow drying process (less heat required) but it also cuts down on time. Make sure you always use a heat protectant when using heat tools on your natural hair. I used Creme Of Nature With Argan Oil Heat Defense Smooth And Shine Polisher for blow drying.



    Once my hair was completely blown out, I proceeded to wand curl my hair. I parted my hair in to 4 sections to make it easier to work with. I also spritzed more heat protectant on my hair for this step. I used the creme of nature anti-humidity gloss and shine mist for this step.

    I used the KISS hand-less blow dryer found here.

    Here were the final results! What do you think? If you want more volume take smaller sections and wand curl. I love big hair! To achieve second day hair simply pineapple your hair at the front of your head at night. Check out how I pineapple for up to 5 day hair here.



    Check out my video on the whole process below! Make sure to subscribe to my channel! More videos coming soon!


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