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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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    by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

    Swimming is fun and relaxing whether you're doing it for exercise or just to cool off. You don't have to limit your pool time for your hair, but you do have to take some extra precautions. Chlorinated water and constant friction from swimming will take a toll on African American hair. Spend a few minutes before and after swimming to help your hair survive the summer.

    Key Tips
    • Rinse your hair with tap water before you get in the pool.
    • Don't wear a swim cap if it pulls too tightly or rips out your hair at the hairline.
    • Always shampoo after you swim, chlorine does not rinse out.
    Step 1: Always rinse your hair in the shower before getting in the pool. If your hair is "filled up" with clean tap water it won't be able to absorb as much chlorinated pool water. There's usually a shower right near the pool that you can use to rinse your hair before and after diving in.

    Step 2: Apply a thorough coating of a silicone serum to your dripping wet hair. The serum will help protect your hair from the force of the water. Choose an inexpensive serum like John Frieda Frizz-Ease Original Serum, $7.50.

    Step 3: (Optional) Put on a swim cap. Many swim caps are so tight that they pull your hair out when you take them on and off. Try a Speedo Silicone Swim Cap, $7.99. If a swim cap causes you to lose hair, don't use it. Just let your strands hang free instead.

    Step 4: After you swim, rinse your hair with tap water again. It's best to wear a hat if you plan to stay in the sun after you exit the pool.

    Step 5: Always shampoo your hair after you're done swimming for the day. It's important to use a shampoo that gets rid of chlorine and mineral build up. If your regular shampoo contains EDTA or Phytic Acid it will provide thorough enough cleansing. If your regular shampoo doesn't contain EDTA or Phytic Acid, buy UltraSwim Chlorine Removal Shampoo, $15.21 for a pack of 4 ($4.99 each MSRP) for pool days.

    Step 6: Continue with your usual shampoo and condition routine. You must take the time to condition your hair every time you shampoo it, even if you swim every day.

    Step 7: When you style your hair it would be best to avoid direct or high heat. Try to limit your use of heat to a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment or a bonnet dryer on low.

    Are you a swimmer? What's your hair care regimen?

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  • 06/15/16--06:26: I Cheated... and Loved It!
    IG @candicoatedcurls 

    by Tiffani Greenaway of

    Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved experimenting with different hairstyles.

    My mom would send me to school with two neat plaits, and I'd step off the bus with a Solange-esque 'fro. In 8th grade, I'd rock my hair in a half up, half down style with the bang falling over my eye, like Aaliyah. In college, I colored it honey blonde in the dorm bathroom. I've always been impulsive with my hair, figuring if I hate it, I can always grow it/weave it/dye it/go bald and start over.


    Although I've gone to one gifted stylist for the past 7 years (with occasional Dominican blowouts in between), I wasn't worried when I stepped into a new salon, looking for a cute summer cut. I saw a two-toned pixie style that I loved on IG, and had to get it done, like, yesterday.

    The stylist behind the original cut was located in Virginia, so I searched @TheCutLife to helped me find styles from a salon in my area. I looked on Yelp to see reviews from real customers, and one name kept popping up--KiKi.

    I was able to text KiKi, and send her a screenshot of the style I wanted. I let her know that my hair was natural, and we made an appointment after work.

    I left with a cut that will keep me on point all summer '16.

    If you're considering giving a new stylist a try, here are my tips:

    Research, research, research.
    Find as much info as you can. Read Yelp reviews, look at pictures on social media, and Google your potential stylist. I was able to find out that KiKi had been doing hair for 19 years, and that the salon was unisex--something I wasn't used to.

    Go in for a consultation.
    If you're not as impulsive as I am with your strands, make an appointment for a consultation. You'll get a chance to see the salon in person, and feel out the vibe of the person who will be doing your hair.

    Come prepared.
    I texted KiKi a picture of the style I wanted, but forgot to mention that I was growing out my shaved sides--she improvised when I got there, but was able to shape my cut a little better so that it can grow out into a bob. Bring pictures, and tell your potential stylist everything he or she needs to know up front.

    I love my hair, and can't wait to play around in it! I'll go back to my regular stylist, but it's good to know that I have another option that will keep me in style.

    Have you ever cheated?


    Tiffani Greenway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at

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    NaturalMetra writes:

    With so many naturals looking for protective styles, I wanted to share a video tutorial of a quick and easy crown braid without adding any hair.  Easy, chic and classy, this style is appropriate for any and every occasion!

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    IG @nicoleelise 

    by Emilia Obiekea of

    Frizz can be caused by many factors such as humectant heavy leave-in products and using items that are very alkaline. This causes the cuticle layer to open and swell. Tired of the hot and humid weather causing your wash n go's, twist outs and braid outs to look tragic by midday? A simple solution to this common problem is carbonated water.

    The low pH of carbonated water smooths the hair and deters frizz from occurring. After washing and conditioning your hair do a final rinse with carbonate water. Be sure it is plain (no flavors). It also leaves the hair with more sheen. What's not to love right?

    What's the science behind this? The normal pH of the scalp is approximately 4 1/2 to 5 1/2. Acidic rinses cause the cuticle to contract tightly (like shingles on a roof). You will want the rinse to have a pH of 4 or 5. Check out how to do this below.

    Infused Carbonated Water Rinse

    -Brew 1 1/2 cups of your favorite hair tea in distilled water (green tea is fine).
    -Blend tea with 1 1/2 cups of carbonated or sparkling water.
    -If you have pH strips feel free to test the pH level. If not just be sure to use equal parts of regular water. If the pH level is too high, add more water.
    -Pour it over your hair repeatedly. Be sure to have a bowl to catch the run off from your hair.

    You can enjoy doing this simple rinse on a weekly basis. Give it a try and share your results.

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    IG @modelsque_nic

    by Sabrina Perkins of

    Olive oil has been used for centuries as a tool for beautiful hair, skin and nails. Olive oil is often used for hair care because of its natural conditioning and hydrating properties and is especially helpful in repairing damage to dry, brittle hair.

    While the smell can be quite off-putting, the one downside pales in comparison to the several benefits it brings to dry, thirsty strands. This is a great natural oil for dandruff and dryness and ideal for hot oil treatments. If you suffer from dry hair – then these 3 hair masks are perfect for you.


    Avocados are rich in healthy fats, which make them very useful in treating dry, damaged hair. When combined with olive oil, avocados add moisture and bring life back to severely dry hair.

    -1 small, very ripe avocado
    -1/4 cup milk
    -2 tbsp. olive oil
    -Plastic shower cap
    -Hand mixer (optional)

    Peel and remove the seed from the avocado. Place the peeled avocado in a mixing bowl and blend thoroughly. Be sure to mash the avocado very well to remove any chunks and small pieces. Add the milk to the avocado a little bit at a time in order to achieve a smooth, thick consistency. You may not need to use the entire ¼ cup of milk.

    Next, add the olive oil and mix well. Apply the mixture to the hair, paying close attention to areas that are very dry and damaged. Cover the hair with a shower cap and let the mask sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

    While rinsing, comb through the hair to make sure all traces of avocado have been removed.


    Eggs are an excellent source of protein and while the proteins are too bit to penetrate the hair shaft, it is still a widely used ingredient in popular hair masks. This hair mask uses eggs and olive oil to give your hair added shine and moisture.

    -1-2 eggs (depending on the length/thickness of your hair)
    -2 tbsp. olive oil
    -¼ cup milk
    -Plastic shower cap
    -Hand mixer (optional)

    Crack eggs into a mixing bowl and mix well using a whisk or an egg beater. Add the milk and olive oil to the bowl and whisk well. Apply the mixture to the hair, working in small sections. Massage the mask into the scalp and make sure that your ends are thoroughly coated.

    Cover the hair with a shower cap and then wrap your head in an old towel to catch any leaks or drips. Let the mask sit on the hair for at least 20 minutes before rinsing with cold or lukewarm water. Don’t use hot water – it will cook the eggs into your hair, which isn’t good. After rinsing, cowash your hair and comb through to remove any traces of egg.

    Olive oil alone packs enough conditioning power to treat and repair even the most dry, damaged hair. For this mask the only thing you’ll need is a bottle of your favorite virgin olive oil and a disposable shower cap.

    Begin by applying olive oil to clean, damp hair. Be sure to work in small sections and make sure that every part of the hair is thoroughly coated with oil. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let the oil sit for at least 30-45 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

    Are you harnessing the power of olive oil for your hair? Share your favorite olive oil hair mask recipe.

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    by Cree Brown

    In 2010, when I started my natural hair journey, I was at the gym and a curlfriend recommended I try SheaMoisture products because the ingredients were better than what I was using. From 2010 until late 2015, SheaMoisture was all that I used. I had SheaMoisture erythang. But, in November 2015, I noticed what I believed to be a change in their product’s consistency, more specifically with the Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I was in panic mode because the consistency was so off I was afraid to use it. I had no idea what to do. The ends of my hair were becoming increasingly drier, and every bit of growth was being trimmed off because my ends were so dry and damaged. I had to do something, but what?...

    I had been in a relationship with SheaMoisture for most of the five years of my natural journey and the thought of changing hair products was overwhelming, but I knew something had to be done. I had to make the decision to choose my hair’s health over product loyalty. From November 2015 to March of 2016, I, aka Poor Little Much Afraid (a character in Hinds Feet on High Places, by H. Hurnard), decided to try different brands of styling products. Although that seems simple enough it was a huge deal for me. When I’m committed I am committed.

    At the behest of another curlfriend I tried Qhemet Biologics (Aethiopika Hydrate & Twist Butter, Amla & Olive Heavy Cream and the Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm) and suddenly life was filled with unicorns, fairies and rainbows. The Qhemet line has honey, olive oil and castor oil, among some other great ingredients, all of which my hair loves. Now, my hair stays hydrated for nearly a week which hadn’t happened in EVER! My curls keep their definition for days after I take down my braids and it’s the healthiest my hair has ever been.

    When applying the products to my hair I mix the Amla & Olive Heavy Cream and the Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm together in my palm and apply to freshly cleansed and sectioned hair, over my leave-in conditioner. The Amla & Olive Heavy Cream is rich, creamy, smooth and smells amazing, like a faint hint of citrus. The Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm also has an amazing citrusy smell and has the consistency of a thick serum. The combination of the two products really smooths my hair. Next, I apply the Aethiopika Hydrate & Twist Butter and seal with an oil mixture of my choice-did I mention my hair loves oil. The Aethiopika has granules that are melted from the warmth of my palms. The granules dissolve more easily if I mix oils with it. Any residual is absorbed into my hair. Then, I install 5 to 7 seven braids and let it dry overnight. The Aethiopika has great hold without drying my hair. I only apply the products once per week on wash-day. I mist with water and may apply a little oil during the week to keep my situation fresh. I have high porosity, fine, type 3c to 4b strands with medium density.

    My only complaint about Qhemet Biologics is they don’t have a deep conditioner. The Cocoa Tree Detangleing Ghee can be used as a conditioner, but you leave it in. I prefer a deep conditioner that must be rinsed. Soooo, I’m still searching for a deep conditioner. Any suggestions?

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    by Tiffani Greenaway of

    The woman known for throwing shade is a few shades lighter herself.

    Possibly shamed so much by the public dragging she got from 14-year old Disney star Skai Jackson, Azealia Banks seems to be taking on a whole new identity altogether.

    The originator of your favorite Twitter beefs confirmed that she's been bleaching her beautiful brown skin with Whitenicious, a controversial lightening cream.

    While Banks doesn't seem to care what you think about her, it's clear in tweets from her banned account that she feels lighter skin could help her music career and her romantic life (or a better attitude, maybe?).

    All jokes aside, I wish Azealia could see her skin the way we do--as a gift. It's important that we teach our little brown girls to embrace the skin they're in, so that they can celebrate their beauty in the face of society's outdated standards.

    Love her or hate her, Azealia Banks is an example of why we need to love ourselves.

    What say you?


    Tiffani Greenway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at

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    IG @loverasheeda 

    by Sabrina Perkins of

    Now, every natural girl, curly girl, kinky girl and coily girl HATES tangles. They are annoying, time-consuming (to remove carefully) and counterproductive to our hair growth goals. They can make washday a hellish nightmare, and can be a transitioners biggest problem.

    Who wants that? I am not saying washday should be an orgasmic experience (as the old Herbal Essence commercials would have you believe) but they should at least not be something we hate and put off doing. It seems I have slowly moved away from tangles becoming a weekly occurrence and I just realized this the past few weeks. There are a few tips I've learned over the past year but there are also some vital tools that have really kept those tangles at bay.


    Water is so essential for our hair. Water is hands down the best moisturizer and our hair craves it! Now, it should come as no surprise that water is a valued tool for combating tangles. While I am in the shower, on either wash do or just reviving my curls, I first allow the water to run through and down my hair. I let it saturate the hair and bring it back to life.

    I then, even before applying any product, gently run my fingers through the hair while the water is running. This is allowing the water to move through all the hairs and allowing it to help remove any tangles that are even THINKING about forming. Now, I'm not yanking and if I feel resistance, I stop and move on to the next section. This is just supposed to be waking up my hair. The water is moisturizing my hair and making it easier to manage without breakage.

    Leave-in conditioner, deep conditioner, cheap conditioner, ultra expensive conditioner....whatever, it truly does not matter as long as it works. Conditioner is made to condition the hair and once you place it in your hair it should help the tangles melt away.

    After the water has worked its way through your hair it's now time to help breakdown some more stubborn tangles and you need to slather it on. I mean slather it! I would rather use too much conditioner than fight with my hair so I don't mind using a lot and it's part of the Curly Girl Method. Smooth the conditioner through the hair and if you have one with a great slip then you have found gold!

    Finger detangling is amazing. My fingers work better than any comb created by man. Even though I used to detangle with a wide-tooth comb, I've only used a comb to create a part in my hair in almost a year! Finger detangling allows you to feel the tangle prior to yanking it and it is far more gentle than a comb. It's cheaper too and you don't have to try and find it! I have also found less shed hair by using my fingers.

    Natural Oils
    Applying oils to our natural tresses is nothing new to most naturals but have you tried it when working with tangles? Try applying an oil of your choosing to the conditioner before applying to sectioned hair. This allows the conditioner to maximize its softness and glide. I like to use few sprays of Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Reconstructive Finishing Elixir. My sister hipped me to this tidbit and I've been using it ever since.

    Water, conditioner, fingers and oils. All four tools have pretty much eliminated tangles from my wash day and co-wash routines. I have less shed hairs too because there are less tangles to fight. My 4 tools prep my hair for maximum softness and manageability. Sounds like a lot of work? Well, think about all the time you spend tugging and tearing at your hair and then let me know what sounds like a lot. My wash day may be long but it is drama free and when you think about it...who that heck wants hair drama in the shower?

    How do you keep tangles at bay?

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    IG @embodiedbeauty 

    by Taymer Mason of

    Summer is upon us and many of us will choose a protective style to help us combat the humidity which can spoil any great twist out! Box Braids and crochet braids are going to be popular and if you choose to wear them, proper hair care must start from pre-treatment through installation and maintenance.

    Pre Treatment of Your Hair
    Before you install braids, give your hair a full deep conditioning treatment. The foundation must good so it can take the weight of the braids. Stretch your hair with a blow dryer on low heat before getting it braided because it will allow your hair to blend better with the braiding hair.

    Pre Treatment of Braiding Hair
    Synthetic hair for braiding comes with a preservative on it. This can cause itching for susceptible people. To get rid of the preservative you must wash the braids before installation. Remove the hair from the package but do not detach it from the rubber band. Soak hair for 15 minutes in one gallon of warm water to ½ cup apple cider vinegar. Make sure that the water is not too warm or it would change the texture of the hair to straight. You do not have to rewash after soaking in apple cider vinegar. The smell will go away after drying. Alternatively you can dip hair in warm water with 2 tablespoons castile soap and leave for 20 minutes soaking and wash off with warm water. Hang the hair to dry like laundry, place it back into the packaging until installation time.

    Installation Tips

    When installing braids the key is not to braid hair too tight. If you feel discomfort after braiding it is too tight. Getting box braids or cornrows installed should be a pleasant experience. When braiding around the hairline place your index finger on the area of the attachment of the braid to your hair and scalp and secure it until the braiding process is over. This prevents excess pulling around the fragile hairline.

    Avoid getting the braids styled directly after installation. This can cause discomfort and strain on the scalp. Leave the braids for a week before styling this. The hair would have grown out a bit and be more flexible around the area of attachment.

    Wet your hair after braiding. Yes! Wet it in the shower. This allow the braids to set into place and any minor discomfort that you may have will subside.

    Avoid heavy oils and butters when you are wearing braids. Less product is best when wearing this style. Light sprays are the only thing recommended during this style and braids that prevent itch. A great formula is anything that contains aloe vera and hibiscus. These are great for getting to the root of itchy scalp. Here is an easy formula for a braid spray. As you are using water you should use a broad spectrum preservative like Germall Plus at around 1.5 percent. Or you can store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

    Citrus Hibiscus Anti Itch Spray

    -½ cup aloe vera juice
    -½ cup distilled water
    -1 tablespoon Hibiscus powder
    -1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
    -1 teaspoon jojoba oil
    -A few drops of sweet orange essential oil
    *Preservative if storing outside of the fridge

    Mix all of the ingredients together and strain the liquid through a piece of cheese cloth. Transfer into a clean spray bottle. Shake before using and mist on braids and scalp daily.

    One last note, do not be afraid to wash your braids! It is going to hot and sticky and clean hair and scalp is always welcomed. Rub about two tablespoons of shampoo on your scalp and allow the water from the shower to wash the hair. Do not do anything to disturb the braids like excess scalp massaging. Squeeze out water and let hair air dry.

    More Natural Hair Product Recipes Can Be Found in My Book

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    IG @chamstyle

    by Vineetha Reddy

    Caring for your hair involves more than just protecting it from dust and pollution, and using external applicants to nourish it. The biggest factor that determines the quality of your hair is what you consume. For your hair to be nourished from the inside, you need to eat foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals that are essential for hair health. Here is a list of fruits and vegetables that provide your curls with the nutrients they need to be healthy and gorgeous.


    1. Spinach
    Iron is one of the essential minerals that your hair requires. It is responsible for carrying oxygen to your hair and also involved in various processes that take place in the hair follicle. There have been many links drawn in between the deficiency of iron and hair loss. Spinach is a vegetable known for its high iron content. It also contains folate, which is a B vitamin that helps in the creation of red blood cells. The red blood cells, with the aid of iron, can carry oxygen more efficiently.
    The health benefits of consuming spinach are many and not limited to your hair. Spinach juice is a good way to absorb all the beneficial nutrients that are present in this vegetable.

    2. Lemon
    Because of its high vitamin C content, lemon is considered to be an important fruit to consume to maintain your curls. It not only makes you feel better when you are sick but also keeps your scalp healthy. If you have oily hair, you can also use lemon as a hair rinse after you shower. For this, add two teaspoons of lemon in a cup of water and use it to wash your hair after you shampoo.

    3. Carrot
    We know the pain of having hair that tends to be dry and brittle. Carrots help with curly hair's tendency to be dry as the beta carotene in them turn into vitamin A when ingested by the body. This vitamin A, in turn, promotes the production of sebum in your scalp. Sebum is the oily substance that forms a protective layer around your hair shafts to keep them moisturized. For this reason, carrots, when combined with bananas, make an effective deep conditioning hair mask.

    4. Avocado
    Avocados contain omega-3 fatty acids and other proteins that are essential for hair growth. You could also mash up some avocados and apply the resulting paste to your scalp for an effective hair mask that will condition your hair and scalp. This can also be used for your skin. Avocado has many properties that make it an ideal fruit for hair and skin care.

    5. Sweet potato
    Sweet potato is another vegetable, like carrot, that promotes hair growth because of its high beta-carotene content. Vitamin A encourages cell development. Sweet potatoes are also packed with iron, protein, and vitamin C. Sweet potato combats not only dry hair but also hair loss. The best way to cook sweet potato without losing out on its nutrients is to bake it. One sweet potato provides you with double the recommended daily intake amount of vitamin A.

    6. Apple
    Apples can be very beneficial for curly hair because of their high vitamin content. They contain vitamins A, B, and E, all of which are extremely useful for hair. Raw apples are good for new hair growth as they contain Procyanidin B-2. It can also prevent graying because of its ability to retain melanin, the pigment that gives your hair and skin their color.

    Treat your gorgeous curls to these delicious fruits and vegetables that will boost their health and improve their appearance.


    About Vineetha Reddy:

    Being a regular practitioner and adviser of everything related to health, fitness and yoga, I also have begun to write and contribute to this knowledge ecosystem. I strongly believe that the organic food you find in your pantry provide the best benefits for good health. Follow me for my best ideas and solutions:

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    IG @ab.k_

    Question: Is No Poo a good way to clean hair?

    Allie asks…What’s the deal with this “no poo” craze? Does the hair get more healthy because of the natural oils you use? I’ve seen on Pinterest people talking about using baking soda as a cleanser and apple cider vinegar as a conditioner.

    To answer Allie’s question we review several alternate ways to wash your hair.

    The Ultimate No Poo
    This means you don’t clean your hair AT ALL. Not even rinse it with water.

    Does it work? Sure. You don’t actually have to shampoo your hair. Of course, it won’t be clean either. It will be less damaged and probably look more shiny. However, it may also look and feel greasy, smell funny, and be difficult to style in any way except laying flat on your head.

    Shampoo free poo
    This is rinsing your hair with water.

    Does it work? It will certainly refresh your hair but it won’t remove heavy styling residue. (And, as we’ll explain, you’re still damaging your hair even without the shampoo.)

    Read On!>>>
    Also known as conditioner washing or “co-poo” this simply using a conditioner to wash your hair.

    Does it work? Yes, because conditioners contain surfactants (although a different kind than the ones used in shampoos.) Also, they are used at much lower levels so they don’t clean as well and conditioners may have more oily materials which leave your hair feeling dirty. For everyday cleaning you’ll likely be disappointed by using conditioner as your hair cleanser. It can also start to build up on hair and feel heavy. It will also attract a lot more dust, pollen, and dirt from the air. The WEN brand is probably most popular in this regard but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to try this. Look for an inexpensive silicone free conditioner like the traditional VO5 and Suave products.

    Reverse shampooing
    This involves applying conditioner or an oil to your hair BEFORE you shampoo. The idea is that you’re “using up” some of the detergency of the shampoo on the “fake oils” so less of the “natural oils” are stripped away.

    Does it work? Yes, to some extent. We did some experiments and saw some reduction in color fading. But it has the same negatives as cowashing.

    Dry shampoo
    This is typically an aerosolized powder (for example, starch) that you spray onto your hair and brush out. (also sprinkle in versions)

    Does it work? Absolutely. The powder absorbs excess oils from your hair and then you brush the powder out. It also is scented so it’ll leave a bit of that fragrance behind. But it doesn’t clean your hair nearly as well as a regular shampooing. It also may leave a white residue and can leave hair feeling gross. However, if you want to skip a shampooing day or two this product is good in a pinch. It’s also good for color treated hair because it will help reduce the amount of color lost. We developed one of the first mass market dry shampoos and saw a secondary benefit which was “second day hair.” Gave hair better texture on the second day so it styled better.

    Alternative shampoos
    This is washing your hair with something other than shampoo (like baking soda or vinegar.)

    Does it work? It depends on what your shampoo substitute is. Some people think they can use body wash instead of shampoo. And you can…but chemically body wash is almost identical to shampoo so there’s no extra benefit. (In fact if anything it will leave your hair feeling worse.) What about baking soda and/or vinegar? Baking soda is NOT a good idea. It’s not a good oil absorber so it won’t work like the starch in a dry shampoo. Plus, it has a very high pH which can slow down the restoration of the acid mantle on your scalp. Theoretically the high pH can damage the hair as well by causing additional swelling. Vinegar has a low pH but other than helping to remove mineral buildup, it doesn’t really provide any benefit. The idea that the low pH closes up the cuticle and makes hair shinier is just a myth.

    No-Rinse shampoos
    What is it? Here’s another way to wash your hair without water. The formula is a real shampoo except you don’t rinse it out. The most popular brand is No Rinse Shampoo. The formula is much runnier than a regular shampoo so you don’t need water to make it lather. Just put it on dry hair, work through with your fingers and watch it foam. Then wipe out the foam with a towel for clean hair.

    Does it work? This formula will work better than the dry shampoos. It can clean your hair better than a conditioner. But it won’t be nearly as good as a regular shampoo. But if water is in short supply or you just don’t feel like hopping in a shower, this no-rinse shampoo might be for you. Also, you may find the residual surfactant that’s left on your scalp can be irritating.

    Sulfate free shampoo
    Honorary mention: Again it’s a matter of personal preference. Sulfates are excellent cleansers and if you have very greasy hair or use a lot of styling products will probably will welcome them. On the other hand if your scalp is easily irritated or if you think you’re prone to dryness you may not like the way they leave your hair and scalp feeling. The sad thing is that most sulfate free products work very similarly to sulfates. There are only a few detergents that have really been proven to be demonstrably milder.

    Why is washing and drying damaging?
    Two reasons: the hair fiber swells when saturated with water which causes uplifting of the cuticle. Drying the hair does not reverse all of this cuticle lifting and once the cuticle is lifted it can become loose.

    The second reason is that you have to dry your hair. If you’re using a towel to any extent you’re causing a lot of friction by rubbing the hair. If you’re using a blow dryer the high heat can cause damage. Of course if air drying your hair must be perfectly safe, right? Not necessarily.

    One study found that air dried hair sustains more damage to the Cell Membrane Complex (CMC), the sandwich-y layer of proteins, lipids, and covalently bonded fatty acids that is the “glue” that binds cuticles together. Once the CMC is damaged cuticles can become dislodged more easily which leads to rough damaged hair which may eventually split and break. The authors hypothesize that because air drying takes so much longer than blow drying that some internal components of the CMC are exposed to water for much longer time. This water exposure over time causes a buckling in the CMC layer. Blow drying removes the water more quickly so the CMC doesn’t have a chance to buckle. While this is intriguing discover there are two major caveats: first, this is a single study and one should never completely believe a surprising finding that comes from only one study; more research needs to be done. Second, even though blow drying appears to cause less damage to the CMC, it does cause MORE surface damage. Therefore you’re trading one kind of damage for another by air drying hair.

    Is No Poo better for hair’s natural oils?
    This is another myth. Let’s talk about how oil (also known as sebum) gets on your scalp in the first place. Sebum is generated in tiny sebaceous glands beneath the surface of the skin. These glands produce an oily substance that reaches the skin’s surface through hair follicles. Some sebum is a good thing – it’s a natural moisturizer and it keeps your skin and hair soft and supple. (Of course some people are prone to excess sebum production and that can be too much of a good thing.) The proponents of this myth must think that washing your hair strips away the natural oils so that NOT washing hair leaves more natural oil on your hair. Right? No, not really.

    Actually, stripping away oil with a shampoo will make your glands produce more oil. To understand how this works, you have understand how sebum production is regulated – in other words what turns the sebum glands on and off. It turns out that it’s the presence of sebum on the surface of skin that controls sebum production. How is that possible?

    If you want all the details check out this study in which scientists stripped oil off skin and then measured how long it took the skin to re-oil itself. But their bottom line is that the presence of oil on the skin’s surface sends a signal to the sebaceous glands to turn off. This signal is caused by either the pressure of the oil in the follicle or by the creation of a chemical signal that travels back down through the skin. But then why doesn’t shampooing make your scalp oilier and oilier? That’s because the oil production levels off very quickly.

    *The Beauty Brains bottom line*
    To sum up the science: Any time you’re wetting and drying your hair you’re damaging the fibers and stripping color. Therefore, any alternative that eliminates water will reduce damage and keep color from fading. But there is certainly no evidence showing that at home solutions like baking soda and vinegar are better for your hair than shampoo. In fact, some alternatives (like using baking soda) may do more harm than good but other than that it’s really just a matter of personal taste.

    What's your method of cleansing? What has your results been?

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    IG @kentekinks 

    CN Says: 
    Although this article focuses on skin care, we use these same ingredients in our hair! I hope it helps! Spoiler alert- shea butter, rice bran and olive oil are the winners ;) 

    Q:  Rebecca asks us to recommend the most effective, longest lasting, all around best plant-based moisturizer for skin. In our response we talk about the different methods of moisturization and what it means to be “plant-based.”

    A: 3 methods of moisturization.

    1. Occlusives
    Purpose: To reduce how much water evaporates through your skin. (Cosmetic scientists refer to this as TransEpidermal Moisture Loss or TEWL.) Occlusive agents form a hydrophobic barrier on your skin that keeps the water on the inside. The most effective examples include petrolatum, mineral oil, and dimethicone. Some plant oils help occlude the skin but typically they are included more for their emolliency.

    Read On!>>>
    2. Hydrators
    Purpose: In this context I’m talking about adding water to skin and the only ingredient that can really do that is…water. For some product types (like shampoo) water is just a carrier or solvent for other ingredients. But in the case of moisturizing lotions the water contained in the product is also hydrating your skin.

    3. Humectants
    Purpose: To bind (or even attract) moisture to your skin.
    Ingredients known as “polyols” have the ability to hold on to large amounts of water and keep it close to your skin. In some cases they can even absorb moisture from the atmosphere. These ingredients have two drawbacks: they can make your skin feel sticky and when the air is REALLY dry they can actually pull water out of your skin instead of the atmosphere. Examples include glycerin, sorbitol, and hyaluronic acid. Glycerin and sorbitol work pretty well and they’re cheap. Hyaluronic acid can hold hundreds of times its weight in water but it’s really expensive.

    What does it mean to be “plant-based”
    For example, if the “lauryl” part of a surfactant like sodium lauryl sulfate is made from coconut oil, does that mean that SLS is a natural, plant-based ingredient?

    Are plant-based ingredients good moisturizers?
    We found an “occlusivity rating” of various oils that compares plant-based moisturizers with petrolatum and mineral oil. In this evaluation a higher scorer is better so clearly petrolatum and mineral oil are the best. But plant oils (like olive oil, rice bran oil, and shea butter) do a pretty good job as well.

    Petrolatum 80+
    Mineral oil 75+
    Olive oil 70
    Rice bran 70
    Shea butter 70
    Macadamia oil 70
    Castor oil 68
    Soybean oil 68

    What about other ingredients?
    To determine if a product is plant-based you need to look at more than just the moisturizing ingredients. You have to evaluate the emulsifiers, thickeners, pH control agents, and so on. So pick one of your favorite “natural” brands, preferably one that lists the sources of their ingredients in parenthesis. For example, Seventh Generation puts an “*” next to each plant derived ingredient. Some examples:

    caprylic/capric triglyceride*
    glyceryl stearate*
    stearyl alcohol*

    cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose (plant-based),
    xanthan gum*

    Control agents
    lactic acid*
    essential oils and botanical extracts*

    The Beauty Brains bottom line
    The best plant based moisturizing ingredients are olive oil, rice bran oil and shea butter. Look for a natural brand that you trust that discloses the source of their ingredients and then look for these as the first few ingredients.

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    IG @hennasooq

    by sointocurls via

    While Henna is a natural plant based alternative to using permanent hair dye, you should be informed prior to applying so you set the right expections. Here are some things you should know about using Henna for hair color:


    #1 You will not get a drastic change

    The color does not dramatically change your hair color unless your hair is already a medium shade of brown or lighter. In other words, it provides a hue to your dark hair, but that’s about it. I will say that when I’m in the sun, the color is very vibrant – which is really nice – especially during summertime. But unless your hair is already light, don’t expect a drastic color change. I’ve been told that, over time, the color will deepen, and I’m planning to continue to color with henna at least once a month to see how deep the color will become. (My hair is not black, but it is dark brown naturally.)

    #2 Hennas remain in your hair permanently

    The other con is the fact that henna stays in your hair permanently. However, unlike chemical dyes it coats the outside surface and not the inner structure. Overtime (4-6 weeks) the color fades.

    #3 It is advised not to apply chemical dyes after you have used Henna

    This is because the chemicals can react with the Henna which in turn may not leave you with your desired hair color result and in some cases could cause damage.

    #4 Henna acts like a protein treatment

    For those who are protein sensitive this is something to consider. To me, though, the pros outweigh the cons, since for me it is helpful for strengthening my hair.

    #5 It may alter your curl pattern

    For some Henna has been said to loosen the curl pattern of hair if used consistently – and that’s not a problem if that’s what you are going for.

    #6 Just because it is all natural doesn’t mean you are not allergic to it

    Always do a strand test to make sure it is safe for you to use.

    #7 Make sure it is real Henna there are a lot of fakes that do contain chemicals and random ingredients

    Try Jamila Henna Powder.

    Years ago, I decided to take the plunge and dye my hair. I wanted the honey blonde color, the one that EVERYONE was wearing. For a few weeks, I was on cloud nine; it felt like I was an entirely new person, and I was on top of the world! But as time went on, I started to experience hair breakage. My ends began to split, and a lot of my hair actually snapped – that’s right – snapped – off. It goes without saying that after that debacle, I was completely wary of changing my hair color due to the damage that is inevitably involved, and I refused to try any color changes to my hair for many years after that.

    Fast forward. I really wanted to change my hair color to red – not Rihanna red but reminiscent of that color – a tad deeper. I had been doing some research for quite some time, and the option of henna came to my attention. I was completely sold on the fact that it is a natural plant that deposits color AND strengthens the hair at the same time.

    I’ll definitely keep you posted with results as time goes by. Keep your eyes peeled for the next update because who knows, henna might just be the perfect hair color option!

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    Written by Mike Orie of

    Earlier this year Beyonce released her sixth studio album Lemonade. It would become her sixth straight number 1 album, selling 485,000 copies in its first week. The project premiered on HBO in an hour long video before it was officially released on Tidal, a streaming service Bey has part ownership in.
    Continue Reading

    After becoming the official summer anthem, Beyonce has now made her music video for "Sorry" available on YouTube. The all black and white video features tennis star Serena Williams and is the second official single from Lemonade. Watch the video and share your thoughts in the comment section below.


    Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture website In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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  • 06/23/16--08:13: I Got A Pixie Cut. Now What?
  • IG @connecwithlisa

    by Tiffani Greenaway of

    Short and sassy, funky and fun, pixie cuts are definitely a hot style for the summer.

    Whether relaxed or natural, the pixie cut is a cute way to set your hair free. Made popular by women like Halle Berry, Toni Braxton, Malinda Williams, and Rihanna, it's a look is for women who exude confidence. But once you've chopped your locks to rock a pixie cut, how do you keep it looking its best?


    Relaxed or pressed? Women swear by foaming wrapping lotion to help mold the perfect pixie cut. After washing and conditioning your hair, apply a wrapping lotion and comb from roots to ends to keep your silky. Layer wrapping strips or a velcro wrap over your hair before sitting under a hooded dryer to lay your pixie flat.

    Before using a flat iron to touch up your curls, be sure to use a heat protectant to keep your stands safe. Invest in a flat iron with a temperature indicator so that you can limit the amount of heat applied to your tresses.

    Moisturize your situation.The key to a cute pixie cut is moisture, especially of you've got a new color. Weekly deep conditioning can help heal the effects of heat damage and prevent further breakage. Argan, coconut or your favorite oils are a great way to add shine and keep your style intact.

    Get the right tools. Wide tooth and rat tail combs, curl cream, and edge control will help keep you looking your best whether your pixie is curly or straight.

    Put some respek' on it.  Cover your hair at night with a satin or velcro wrap to lay your edges and keep your style sassy.Trim your hair every 6-8 weeks to maintain your style and keep your ends healthy. If you've shaved your sides, you may need a trim more often.

    How will you maintain your pixie cut?

    Tiffani Greenway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at

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    Watch as MissKenK shows us how to achieve a smooth and bouncy rod set minus the heat!

    You Will Need: 
    • Spray Bottle
    • Coconut Oil 
    • Leave-In (I used Cantu Shea Butter Leave In) 
    • Styling Gel (I used Eco Styler) 
    • Combs 
    • Clips 
    Steps to a Perfect Perm Rod Set: 
    1. Wash and condition your hair. 
    2. Use a leave-in conditioner throughout your hair, using your hands to smooth it over. 
    3. Seal in moisture with coconut oil. Simply warm it by rubbing it in your hands.
    4. Detangle your hair with a comb. 
    5. Clip up your hair into sections. 
    6. Grab a small piece of hair and apply a dab of leave-in conditioner and a dab of gel to the piece. 
    7. Detangle the small section with a brush for a more polished finished look. 
    8. Grab your rod (size depends on the length of your hair) and roll from the center.
    9. Hook each of your rods and let it dry for about 8 hours (or until your hair is dry).
    10. For the take down, unhook your rods and unroll each section. 
    11. Once done, separate each curl in the direction of the curl using your fingers. 
    12. Pick at the roots with an afro pick to give your hair a little lift. 
    No Fail Tips I Like to Use: 
    • Spray sections that are drying with a water bottle. You want your hair to be damp or wet during the process. 
    • Make sure the roller is smooth on your hair so that when it dries you have a smooth curl.
    • For the take down, coat your fingers in oil (I like coconut oil) so that you don't get frizz from touching your hair!
    • When rolling, be sure to pay attention to the direction you roll. My back section is rolled down, my top rolled forward, and my sides are rolled toward my face. 
    That's it! Watch my video to see just how I do it: 

    What's your process for a dope rod set? 

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    By Mike Orie of

    For years, women of color with darker skin have always had challenges finding skin care products that are designed specifically for them. Angela Bassett wants to change that. She's teamed up with Dr. Barbara Sturm to launch a skin care line specifically designed to target darker skin tones. Titled Darker Skin Tones by Barbara Sturm, the line launches in July and will contain ingredients that aim to help the skin, reduce inflammations, even the tone and minimize pores and hyper-pigmentation.
    Continue Reading

    Bassett wants people to become more aware of their skin. “And to see what is good for it and ingredients that are helpful — and not invasive or irritating. I like them to be pleased when they look in the mirror, to feel good about themselves and the condition of their complexion.” It was Bassett's meeting with the German doctor a few years back to treat her own breakouts and irritations that would lead to the launch of this new line. After trying Sturm's original line, the two decided to team up to create the spin off Darker Skin Tones.

    According to WWD, the product will be available in a 5-item range. The five-item range includes a 150-ml. foam cleanser; a 75-gram enzyme cleanser; a 50-ml. face cream; a 50-ml. face cream rich, and a 30-ml. hyaluronic serum. It is priced from 40 pounds, or $58, for a cleanser to 230 pounds, or $335, for a hyaluronic serum. It will be sold exclusively at Harrods in-store and online in July. Stay tuned for more info.

    Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture website In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie.

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    Clarissa Todd writes:

    This picture went viral but little did everyone know, it was a WIG I created. Alot of naturals want to try color but their hair may or may not be in the best condition to handle color or they may not want the full commitment to a particular color. I would suggest to try the color of choice by creating a wig! Now-a-days weave comes in every texture and color, even ombre so have fun with it and create!

    my ig is @clatodd 
    facebook: Clarissa E Todd 

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    By Mike Orie of
    You might remember Issa Rae from her online web series Awkward Black Girl. The popular Youtube show touched on a lot of things, most notably, being a Black woman and not fitting into the traditional mode. After Season 1 of the series, Issa Rae was picked up by Pharrell's media platform iamOTHER, growing her following even more. This show would lead to the development of other shows including one of my favorites, FIRST. After multiple successful releases, news broke last year of Issa Rae getting a tv show deal with HBO. Well it's finally here.

    Continue Reading

    Insecure, which stars Issae Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis and Lisa Joyce takes a look at the friendship, experiences and tribulations of two black women. The eight episode series is set to premiere this Fall in 30-minute increments. The opening trailer scene shows Issa in a classroom, accused by her students for 'talking' white. She makes an awkward joke, causing her all-white staff members a slightly uncomfortable feeling. From the opening trailer, it appears to be pretty true to the work I've grown to know and love her for, but on a larger scale. Check out the trailer for Insecure below. Will you be tuning in? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

    Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture website In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie.

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    IG @shadesofkinky 

    by Sabrina Perkins of

    The term big chop has been coined by the natural hair community as the triumphant return to your ‘natural’ self after cutting off all traces of chemically-treated hair. Emotions run high as you say goodbye to everything you once knew, and embrace this new lifestyle as what you’ve always wanted to be.

    Confident. Beautiful. Strong.

    These feelings resonate well with those who have enjoyed the freedom of daily wash & gos without much else to worry about. Now your hair has grown in, you made it through the awkward stage, you’re loving your length until you realize just how much work long natural hair requires.

    There are so many cute short styles that we have access to now that we may not have realized back in ’06 when the natural hair community was still on the come-up. With sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, even Facebook there is a plethora of natural hair inspo that leaves us itching to do the chop again, so why are we still on the fence? Here are a few reasons why you should consider a second big chop this summer.


    It’s Hot!
    That’s a no-brainer, right? I can’t enjoy an 88 degree day with a twistout, braidout or any other kind of –out because it’s too hot for all of that! Your scalp is all sweaty, your hair is radiating the heat from the sun; acting as your own personal furnace and your curls ain’t popping no more because it’s humid. It’s like, what’s the point?! Sometimes you just want to feel a breeze on your neck!

    You're Beyond Tired of Protective Styling
    I’m someone who loves wearing her hair out all of the time. I hate, hate, hate, absolutely abhor protective styles because most of them don’t flatter me and I hate wearing weaves (I know, right? I’m a martian…) As a matter of fact, during the summer my hair pretty much stays under some type of headscarf about 89% of the time JUST so that I can go out looking presentable. I’m ti’ed, y’all…

    You Miss Wash & Gos
    Okay, I know that achieving a wash & go is still possible with my long hair, BUT with longer hair comes a longer process. The longer it takes you to finish styling a wash & go, it pretty much starts defeating the whole entire purpose of the ‘wash & go’ to begin with, right? I mean, is it still a wash & go after 45 mins? I don’t think so. We out here struggling, fam.

    Using Less Products
    Obviously. But this is important for those of us living that Shea Moisture or DevaCurl life. A tub of Leave-in will usually last me about 3 weeks or so, depending on how often I wash my hair and how I style it. With shorter hair, I remember holding on to products for months! That both saved money and helped me keep my regimen consistent. If you’re on a budget, cut it in half with a BC.

    I miss being free. I miss waking up, taking my shower, styling in 5 mins and being DONE. I miss being able to leave the house without throwing a headscarf and some scrunchies in my purse. I miss that confidence that you exude when your hair is short and for some reason you feel as though you slay everything and take over the world. Or maybe that’s just me…

    While it’s definitely a preferential thing, doing another big chop is something to greatly consider if you miss the TWA life and are tired of spending hours on your hair. It's not always about needing to do it to for damage. Sometimes you just want to live the simpler life.


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