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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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  • 03/02/15--05:58: A New Hair Social Order

  • by Dori Phelps

    So, first of all I want to state some givens. I’ve been black all my life. I don’t know what it is like to be anything else. My life experience consists of the fact that I have never been skinny: never very large but svelte is not a category I would fit in. Nor have I ever been reserved or without opinion; my personality bubbles into every situation. And I’ve never met a stranger.

    However, I am in American culture, the other; too dark, too big and too loud. Basically, I am taking up too much room, heard too much and seen as well. That thought experiment can be parked for now. I mention that only to say I am not stranger to otherness. For to add to that, I have short hair and wear it naturally.

    Read On!>>>
     Now when I went for the look, I never thought a black woman with short hair would be controversial. For me, if my hair grows out half an inch, it is too long for me. My hair is so thick, each strand as it grows begins to curl into the strand next to it and it pulls at my scalp. The tight curls, traditionally called “naps,” feels like an itch because the hair is pulling steadily at my scalp and causing irritation. So for comfort and convenience, I keep my hair short. My hair tells me when it is time to cut it by the amount of discomfort. Sleeping on an afro is like sleeping with a throw pillow strapped to my head. The strange circumstance of this hair style is the amount of discrimination I’ve received from all the above named “descriptions” of me. So one of the givens is that women must have long hair. I didn’t know this when I decided to chop all my hair at thirty-five. Even amongst black people, I am perceived as aggressive because of my hair length. I thought only Samson needed hair for strength but women, I’ve picked up, need long hair to be seen as beautiful and safe.

    Dori

    What generally happens when I feel hair hostility, I start to take note of the people around me. There is usually a lot of synthetic hair, whether braids or full wigs. I am generally the only woman wearing my hair naturally. Thus the wigged woman rules the day. The natural haired woman is seen as the risk taker, the interloper, judging all “real” wigged women as invalid. The odd pervasive ickiness is that they see me as judging them and give this strange authority over them. As this judge they’ve made me into, they seek to thumb their nose at my self-righteous confidence. This makes my hair style more about not wanting to be bothered and less about how culturally pleasing I want to be to the world around me. My hair thought process is never longer than a half an inch. I cannot be bothered. Should I choose the group thought?

    Now, as a young lass, I drank the hair koolaid for years. My younger years took place in the era of the gherri curl. I had hair down to my shoulders and spent over $6,000 or $600 a year for about ten years of having a person wrangle my hair with this yicky hair product. The other accoutrements, the hair gel and silk pillow case (so the hair product would not be absorbed while sleeping), rounded out a lifestyle. The curl allowed for the taming of the hair with the use of lye, of which I was no stranger having endured the relaxers for ten years prior to that. So $15,000 worth of hair wrangling, which was just too much trouble! I could have gone to the wig but I just could not be bothered because wigs have a certain level of upkeep also.

    I decided to chop off my hair/leave my hair dresser. Even in asking my hair dresser to cut my hair, she cut off as little as possible, wanting to keep as much length as she could. Perhaps she thought I would wake up crying the next day. My first glimmer of change came in the awareness of tones of voice. I found that anger would escalate in situations that seemed unnecessary. Friends told me to wear more make-up and jewelry but I, being from the school of “I can’t be bothered,” did not listen.
    I remember when Anne Hathaway cut her hair for “Les Miserable” in 2012, she said, “I looked like my gay brother.” On first blush, I was struck by the fact that by cutting her hair, she became a different gender and her sexual orientation changed. Now her brother happens to be gay, so there’s that. Yet, her reaction helped me to understand a perception people were giving to me. I’ve long been aware of the cultural controls over everyone in our society. I am also a person who enjoys my citizenry, neighborhood and life in general. I’m just wondering what the need to keep me in line says about them. I’m always amazed at how much of a polarizing figure I am, how much I seem to occupy an image seen as dominant and to be scapegoated simultaneously. What all this means, what can be done? 

    Let’s talk.

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    Watch as Michelle T. sets her natural hair on rods and then gets them thangs to last 5 whole days! Spoiler alert- the pineapple goes hard. 

    Watch Now!>>>


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     by NappyFu

    The twist-out is a battle for many but a breeze for some. If your healthy tresses are anything like mine, you’re lucky if you get a full day from a twist-out on your kinky coily curly hair. Isn't it frustrating? You begin a “real quick” twisting session. Then a few snacks, a couple of bottles of water and several TV shows later, you’re finally finished twisting your natural hair. Now it’s the next day-- you untwist your hair to reveal your results which is giving you "I woke up like this” beautiful today. Unfortunately, by the end of the day your hair has completely declared war on you and is puffed out in the worst way. Where they do that at! Lol. Well I might have a solution. I’ve tested this technique out on my hair for a few weeks before sharing with you all. I used different products and I still received the same great results. So my name is Nappyfu and I approve this message. Its not so much the products you use its more so the technique. Both hold weight towards the success of your twist out.

    Read On!>>>
    My hair is type 4c. It's thick, coily for days and has a high density. Using this twistout and separation method has my twist-outs thriving. Yes! It is clear across the board successful for type 4 natural hair. It gives me awesome results each time I do it. Let’s be real, our kinky hair can have definition when it comes to these styles but it tends not to hold for long. With what I like to call the “Tightly Twist Method” you can have your perfect twistout last. From the installation to the take down, I'll show you how to do it in order to achieve longer lasting definition without frizz!

    Checkout the video and if you like the method, please share it. We want everyone to have an “I woke up like this” twist-out situation. Starting with freshly washed hair, let’s get this twist-out going…"Easy Twist-out Method for Type 4 Hair


    How do you maintain your twist-outs?

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  • 03/03/15--07:59: Elle Is Naturally Glam!

  • Tell me about yourself!
    I am a full time graduate student, full time Office Manager, and full time natural hair enthusiast. You can call me Elle! 

    Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
    I transitioned. I'm too chicken to have short hair. Lol. My journey was more about breaking my habit of relying on heat to style my hair. I was stuck for a very long time at just below shoulder length, but as soon as I removed heat from the equation my hair grew like a weed. I went two years with no flat iron or blow dryer that was when I learned the most about my hair and the best way to care for it.


    Had you always embraced your texture?
    Honestly, I didn't even realize I had curly hair until college. I'd always had my hair braided or flat ironed so when I finally started paying attention, I was shocked! 

    How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them? 
    My family was accepting of it. I actually convinced my mom (almost 8 years ago) to go natural, and she hasn't looked back since! Actually, my whole immediate family has natural hair !


    Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
    I have very thick and dense hair. I do a decent job of making it look sleek (since I have a small head) but when I want it big it can get BIG!

    What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair?
    The craziest thing I've ever done was flat iron it so much that my hair looked relaxed. :(

    What’s your biggest hair related regret?
    My biggest hair related regret is causing severe heat damage to it.
    What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
    I wash once a week, and that consists of me washing 2 times with a shampoo of my choice, condition with Dare to Have Hair Candy Crush conditioner, deep condition with Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Masque and style with Camille Rose Naturals Moisture Milk and Curl Maker gel.

    Everything listed above are my ABSOLUTE favorite items that I grab and repurchase every time.
     

    What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
    My absolute FAVORITE hairstyle is a two strand twist with the finger coils at the end. I love this style because I don't have to touch my hair for a week. And when I am tired of twists, I can take it out and have a BOMB twist out or even make a Mega Puff!
    Who is your curl crush?
    Naptural85 is hands down my favorite. Even though we have different curl patterns, the hairstyles she comes up with are AWESOME! 

    How do you maintain your hair at night?
    I pineapple at night and put a satin bonnet over the curls (sounds weird I know.) I also sleep on a satin pillow case. 

    How do you maintain healthy length?
    The easiest way for me to maintain length is to do low manipulation hair styles (usually 2 strand twists.) This allows me to keep my hands out of my hair for a week or more.


    What's the best thing about being natural?
    The best thing about being natural is the versatility of my hair. And being natural has extended far beyond my hair but helped me to question everything that I put in/on my body. It's a lifestyle! 

    Where can folks find you on the web?
    Instagram: @curls_unbothered

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    by Kanisha Parks of BlackNaps.org

    Have you ever felt as though you had to compete with someone else in order to succeed, be recognized, noticed, or loved?

    It’s amazing the intense amount of pressure we put on or allow to be put on ourselves in regards to surpassing others in our professional and personal lives.

    Read On!>>>
    Believe it or not, when you feel as though you have to outdo someone else in order to be promoted, to be liked/loved, to be successful, or to simply survive/thrive, you will begin to act out of character. You will say and do things that aren’t true to you at all just so that the person you seek to please will pick you, choose you, love you, or want you. Even if you gain favor in their sight by doing so, you’ll have to constantly pretend to be someone you aren’t in order to maintain the false pretense you created so that you would “win.”

    Aren’t you tired of trying to be someone that you simply aren’t?

    If you have to change or even slightly alter your character for someone or something, it isn’t worth it. Remaining true to yourself may be one of the harder things to do in a world where conformity seems as though it guarantees security or favor in the sight of others but when the dust clears, will you really be happy with yourself?

    Compromise is a choice. By no means do you have to become someone else in order to be successful. As women, it seems we are constantly competing with one another, even in menial matters, but it’s time to set the record straight. There is a path for each and every one of us. Your destiny and purpose is yours alone, and you shouldn’t live in fear of losing out on something just because someone else seems better for the job, so get that out of your head.

    Do things to the best of your ability because you want to do them, because you love to do them, not with a competitive mindset. Because before you know it, all of your energy and effort will be geared towards outdoing someone, and your integrity will walk out the door.

    Instead of pinning yourself against another person, strive to just be yourself and to stay true to who you are. Remember why you started: was it for the love of the job/game/person? Was it because you couldn’t see yourself doing anything else? Was it your passion, your dream? Then don’t let the presence of another cause you to feel threatened.

    Rest assured, there is nothing wrong with being aware of the competition if it exists. Just knowing that someone else is hungry for your position can help reawaken any part of you that got complacent or lazy- but don’t allow this knowledge to become toxic in your life.

    Decide everyday to be the best you possible. That, my friend, is true success.

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    Hola Chicas!

    So y'all went hard in the paint and I appreciate the initiation of discussion and helpful advice you shared with one another. Thanks to everyone for your participation!

    The February winners are--
    Brigite
    Jessenia J.
    Beautynique
    Bridget
    Paula
    Tieasha

    Each winner will receive:

    (1)Hair Therapy Wrap: $21.95
    (1)Aubrey Organics HoneySuckle Rose Conditioner: $10.93
    (1)Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo 10oz: $6.00
    (1)Curl Junkie Curl Rehab - Gardenia: $20.00
    (1)Oyin Handmade Hair Dew 8.4oz: $13.99
    (1)Oyin Handmade Juices & Berries: $13.99

    Please email me at nikki@curlynikki.com with your full name and home address using 'February Winner' in the subject line. Oh, and I'm hosting the exact same giveaway for March! Past winners are eligible! Remember, no 'one word responses'! Ask questions, get answers, foster positive discussion! Love y'all! 

    Later Gators,
    Nik

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    How many times have you walked into a store to buy your monthly dose of hair products, picked up a product off the shelf, and immediately turned it around to analyze the ingredient panel? It is probably second nature at this point!

    Read On!>>>

    It has been proven that ingredients are considered to be one of the highest determining factors when a consumer is deciding whether she will purchase a hair product. TextureMedia surveyed 6,000 women and found that 95% of coily consumers and 85% of curly consumers avoid certain ingredients in their hair care products, while only 64% of straight-hair consumers were this conscious.

    Why has the naturally curly consumer been programmed to avoid the no-no ingredients like sulfates, silicones, parabens, and mineral oil, while other consumers seem unbothered? It seems like one blog post can turn any ingredient into public enemy #1 in a matter of days. I support consumers educating themselves about the products they use and consume, but it is important to consult reliable and fact-based information to make informed decisions. I believe it is part of my responsibility as a cosmetic chemist to present consumers with more fact-based knowledge and allow her to choose the path that makes sense for her lifestyle.
    What do parabens do?

    In that spirit, let’s talk about the nasty p word…Parabens. Imagine dipping your hands in your jar of leave-in conditioner and pulling out green, fury objects. Not a pretty picture right? Parabens are chemicals that prevent microorganisms and fungi from growing in our favorite products. They are typically used anywhere from 0.01 – 0.3% by weight in a product formulation. They most commonly are identified as methyl-, ethyl-, propyl- and butylparaben on the product ingredient panel. However, parabens can also be used to preserve other ingredients that are commonly found in consumer products. This means it may not be listed at all on the ingredient panel because it is technically not an intentional ingredient of the final product, and would most likely be at a low percentage in the final formulation.

    Parabens are not the only preservatives that can prevent fury mold from appearing in your product jars, but they are considered to be some of the most cost effective, broad-spectrum preservatives approved for use in consumer goods. Read the back…approved for consumer goods. This means that parabens are also used in our food, skin care, and pharmaceutical products. Surprised? You have spent all of this time avoiding parabens in your hair products, when you could easily be putting them on your skin or in your mouth. The irony.
    Parabens and breast cancer

    In 2004, the Journal of Applied Toxicology was the first to report the appearance of parabens in breast cancer tumors. Researchers from the University of Reading in United Kingdom found that nearly 99% of cancerous breast tumors had evidence of some form of parabens. On top of that, another study in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology reported that parabens have the ability to impersonate estrogen, forcing the body to believe that it has high levels of the hormone, which may increase the risk for breast cancer. Parabens have also been associated with early onset of puberty in girls and low sperm count in men, due to the aggregation of this estrogen-like chemical in the body. There is an entire catalogue of these types of studies at Cornell University through its Breast Cancer and Environmental Factors program. These studies alone have painted parabens to be the evil houseguest that won’t leave after dinner. However, there’s still the question of who invited them?

    Due to the fact that parabens are used universally, it has not been determined how these parabens are reaching these breast tumors. Are we absorbing them through our skin? Are we digesting them? Furthermore, to date, studies have been able to show strong epidemiological evidence that the parabens are the cause of cancer, especially since some of these same parabens have been found in normal, healthy breast tissue. Most experts agree that more research is needed to better understand whether parabens are truly a catalyst to breast cancer.
    Parabens and your hair

    What I can tell you is that the effect of parabens on the hair is insignificant, especially at the low levels that they are used at in various beauty products. They do not cause buildup or breakage, and rinse out fairly easy. The reason why parabens are avoided like the plague is because of the alleged health problems they can cause through the chemical being absorbed through the skin. If this is indeed the case, why aren’t we crucifying hand soaps, deodorants, and body lotion in the same way that we condemn our hair products? Well, some are which is a reason why some people are now shopping at Whole Foods. Only concerned about hair products? Maybe you should take all of this into consideration the next time you put your hands in soapy water or even wash your clothes.


    Do you avoid parabens in your hair and beauty products?

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  • 03/04/15--09:29: I Got a Date.
  • #TheWashDaySituation  #OnlyItWasNighttime #AndTuesday

    Hola Chicas,

    I'm coming to you live from #ProcrastinationNation and it's absolutely going down... all hands on deck.  I'm on some next level, multi-tasking ish-- simultaneously blogging (hey guh!), editing, emailing, cleaning, packing, eating and henna glossin'.  And in 'bout #4FiveSeconds, I may be pinot grigio'ing.  Why all the shenaniganry for?

    I got a date! 

    Tomorrow morning, Gia and I are boarding the first thing smokin' to turn up with Grandma Maxine!  We're #Ferguson bound and I'm not sure who is more excited... momma said Gma has been asking, 'is Nikki coming home today?' for nearly a week, Gia could barely sleep last night and all I want to do is lay my head in Gma's lap, lol!

    The nursing home gave us us free a few weeks ago and my parents moved her in with them! They have been working hard all day, up all night, getting her to and from doctor's appointments and loving all on her, even when she's spitting that hot fire.  She's unbelievably mobile considering the circumstances, full of energy and itching to get to the casino.  Hats off to my parents for what they're doing... I'm going to relieve them for a stint and tear up the Lou with the young lady. 

    I'll check back in soon!
    Nik

    p.s. Thanks for all of the Dr. Oz show love and support!  Love you guys! Here's a link if you missed the latest one.


    p.p.s. Here's a pic of Gia's hair this morning after removing the perm rods, french braiding and pinning it up.  #SheReady We used Giovanni Direct and a little coconut oil.  Her hair is THRIVING and she's so, so proud, lol!  When her hair isn't braided, it's in two twisted pony tails or two buns.  We keep it simple and keep manipulation to a minimum (washing only once or twice a month, moisturizing every few days and rocking satin at night).  I'll be updating her regimen (and mine) soon along with an update on our holy grail products! 



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    Check out how the lovely missT1806 achieves a heatless, curly fro using perm rods on an old twist-out. 



    What products do you use on your perm rod sets?

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  • 03/05/15--06:34: Charity is Naturally Glam!

  • Tell me about yourself!
    Hey lovelies! My name is Charity. I’m an adventure loving free spirit from the gorgeous Caribbean island of Antigua. I’m working on finishing a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of the Southern Caribbean in Trinidad, yet, unfortunately, all my favorite foods are fried! Besides heading out on adventures favorite, my hobbies include surfing the net and reading murder mysteries. I’ve been natural for one year and six months and I’m definitely excited for my two year anniversary!


    Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
    I big chopped! Actually I went natural by accident. Here’s the condensed version! After an absolutely horrible experience with at home color my relaxed hair started to fall out! Most of the damage was at the sides and back so I shaved those areas and rocked kinky twists on the remaining hair. It was fierce and edgy! Absolutely loved it! A few months, while taking out the twists I realized how thick and healthy my roots were compared to the relaxed ends so I grabbed a scissor and cut the stringy damaged ends off! Only after did, I realized that by doing that I’d gone natural!  

    READ MORE>>

    My journey has been and still is a learning experience. I’ve learned so much about my hair, myself and those I surround myself with. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve made mistakes but I’m so grateful for all of it! Returning natural definitely helped improve my self-confidence!

    Had you always embraced your texture?
    Honestly, before I went natural I was that girl. The “my hair is too nappy/dry/thick to go natural” girl. As child society taught me that all of those things were bad and nothing my mama or daddy said could make me believe differently. Now the thing I love most about my hair is its thick, coily nature!

    How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them? 
    My mother was thrilled! My friends and family were super supportive; quite a few of them were already natural and gave tons of great tips and suggestions.

    Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
    It’s on the 4c end of the spectrum. I’ve got fine strands in the front and coarser hair towards the back.  My hair is pretty thick except for the temple area. I keep getting different results when I do porosity test so I’ve given up for now!


    What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair? 
    I live for shaved sides and under cuts, but have decided to try growing my hair out for a few years.

    What’s your biggest hair related regret?
    My biggest hair related regret is living for so many years with the belief that my thick, coily hair was ugly and wearing it in its natural state would be inappropriate and cause me to be perceived as less beautiful.

    What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
    Currently I’m on a six month protective style challenge. So I protective style for 4-6 weeks; I spritz my hair with a water and conditioner mix daily and clean my scalp, moisturize and seal weekly. Then I remove the protective style, do a hot oil treatment, cleanse, deep condition and rock my natural hair for a week or two before putting in another style.


    When not protective styling I do a hot oil treatment, cleanse and deep condition every two weeks, moisturize and seal weekly and spritz with the water conditioner mix daily. I’ll do a protein treatment every few months.

    My absolute favorite products are Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in conditioner, DIY African Black Soap Cleanser, DIY Shea Butter Mix and a variety of oils especially Coconut oil, JBCO, Olive oil, peppermint oil and rosemary oil. My hair loves oils!


    What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
    There are so many great ones! Probably a high puff with a French braid in the back or yarn braids if I’m protective styling. The best places to get style inspiration are from the either residents of Instagram or YouTube.

    Who is your curl crush?
    Wow! This is another hard one! Probably Cipriana Quann from Urban Bush Babes (her up do’s are amazing!) and Asha from NaturallyHigh.

    How do you maintain your hair at night?
    Very lightly mist with water and cover with a satin bonnet.


    How do you maintain healthy length?
    Adequate moisture, occasional dusting sessions and low manipulation styles.

    What’s the best thing about being natural?
    The versatility and not getting burned by relaxers!

    Where can folks find you on the web?
    Instagram: instagram.com/chari_luv
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/DeepFriedStilettos
    Website: www.deepfriedstilettos.com 

    I’ve also very recently started a YouTube channel so I’d be thrilled if you came and checked it out!: www.youtube.com/channel/UCyZID7ZmuIxLil2gNaPsbpA

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    YoutuberChizi Duruoffers up her super simple step-by-step tutorial on achieving a top bun on a braid-out. This style also works well if you are growing out your bangs and are having trouble blending them in to the length of the rest of your hair.
     
     

    How to get the look

    Step 1. Spritz water onto hair to dampen it and separate the hair into 2 top and bottom halves. I will focus on the bottom half first.


    Step 2. Section the back half into another top and bottom row. Spritz some more water till it is damp (but not soaking wet).


    Step 3. Apply a leave-in for moisture and a gel for hold. I am using Cantu Leave-In and CURLS Goddess Glaze.


    Step 4. Split hair into 3 sections. Starting at the root of one section, braid downward. Add more holding product at the end for better definition in the end result. Don't braid all the way down the end--twist it instead. Repeat for the rest of the sections.


    Step 5. If I notice my twists curling up, I use a Goody headband to keep all my braids in place and stretch them at the same time.


    Step 6. I saturate my hands with coconut oil and start untwisting my braids. I then separate each braid by running my finger down the braid. For more volume, I flip my hair over and give it a little shake.


    Step 7. My bang area looked a little weird, so I took the front sections of my hair and bunned it up into a top/ninja bun.

    Watch Now!


    Follow me online-  Youtube @ChiziDuru | Instagram @ChiziDuru


    What are your tips for awesome braid-outs?!

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     byAmanda

    The main reason people struggle to transition is because of their expectations, not their hair. Transitioning hair requires extremely low manipulation and proper moisture and protein balance. The line of demarcation is vulnerable to break when it is not properly moisturized, strengthened, and handled too frequently. Most successful long-term transitioners have a bare bones regimen. They sacrifice frequent styling for length retention. So what is a long-term transitioning? I consider long-term transitioning anywhere from 1.5-2.5 years. Anything past that time frame is probably a new head of hair that likely to break along the length of the virgin hair, if the relaxed hair is not cut off. Here are the observations, tips, and commitments I encourage you to accept if you want to be a successful long-term transitioner.




    Read On!>>>

    Buns and braided updos are your best friend. A lot of transitioners like to do roller sets to blend the two textures, but what happens when the weather is not ideal (i.e. high dew points and high humidity)? You are left with an afro and limp strands on the ends. Daily styling is not in the best interest of anyone who is trying to combat breakage and retain length, so this is even more applicable to transitioning hair. Try committing to a style that will last you an entire week and does not require much handling or touch-ups.
     
    You're obsessed with frizz
    Leave your edges alone. A frizzy hairline is not the end of the world. Wanting your transitioning hair to lay flat like a fresh relaxer is not going to happen. If boar bristle brushes are to be used sparingly and with caution on natural hair, then it is best to just eliminate them with transitioning hair. If you want your hair to be as flat as possible, styling the night before will be key. Simply smooth your hair down with water and either a pomade or edge control product, secure with a satin scarf, and allow it to set overnight.
     
    You went for the comb
    If you reach for a comb, you might as well reach for the scissors and big chop. Never comb your hair dry, ever. Just don’t do it. Forgot to style the night before? You can work some magic with bobby pins and a headband or shoelace. Simply use a headband or shoelace to arrange your hair atop your crown and secure the ends down with bobby pins. Need a visual Check out the video below. No, she is not transitioning but this style can be achieved on transitioning hair.
     
    You don't deep condition enough
    Moisture is essential. You need to invest in a deep conditioner that comes in a large quantity with lots of slip. Remember, this regimen is about increasing moisture and decreasing breakage so it is important that your comb can glide through your strands while detangling (remember, no dry combing). I suggest deep conditioning either weekly or every other week. Transitioning is a great time to test products that are formulated for curly and coily hair. It can be challenging to find products that keep both the virgin and relaxed hair moisturized for the same extended period, so take your time exploring.

    You skipped your protein treatment

    Continue with the same protein treatment schedule you had with relaxed hair. Didn’t have one then? Well, create one now. The hydrolyzed proteins will temporarily adsorb or bind to holes in the hair shaft helping to strengthen it. Since the line of demarcation is vulnerable to breakage, it is important to reinforce it with proteins. A monthly protein treatment should help maintain a proper moisture and protein balance, but this frequency will vary depending on the strength of your treatment. Not sure where to start? Check out Jenell’s article, "Does Natural Hair Need Proteins."

    You heat style too often

    As someone who worked at a natural hair salon, I have witnessed many women who transitioned for two years with heat and had to big chop because of breakage and split ends that traveled up past the relaxed ends. If you do experience heat damage, not only will it be hard to determine where the line of demarcation is, but you also might mistake the heat damage hair for your healthy, natural texture, which then leads to wondering why your hair is so dry. I am not discouraging all heat styling, but I would limit it to 1-3 times a year. Plus, blow-drying transitioning hair is not doing your hair any favors.

    Want to avoid panic when it is time to cut the relaxed ends? Use your transitioning period to read up on your hair care literature and learn which products work well for your hair.
     
    Bonus
    If you are struggling with your transition, try watching these videos by vloggers who long-term transitioned
    FusionofCultures (check old videos)
    KISSseventyseven
    MyHairFetish (check old videos)  

    Are you struggling with transitioning?

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  • 03/06/15--05:30: Tawana is Naturally Glam!

  •  
    Tell me a little about yourself and your hair journey.
    My name is Tawana. I was born and raised in Jamaica in a small family with just me and my parents. I love everything freeing, so having natural hair that’s wild and free was just bound for me.

    How long have you been natural? Have you always embraced your curls?
    I’ve been natural since 2012. My hair was texturized prior to that, so no, I have not always embraced my natural curls because I knew nothing about how to properly care for it.


    Read On!>>>

    What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? Why?
    Deciding not to texturize my hair again was something that was an impulsive decision one day, as a result of built of frustration with my hairdresser and how easily my hair would break no matter what I did. After feeling like I took excellent care of my hair over a summer, I traveled abroad. I came back to a rude awakening from my hairdresser saying my hair was damaged and breaking, and I would need to come back for several treatments to get it healthy again. I grew extremely annoyed and vowed to her and myself that I would not process it ever again. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, I just knew that I wasn’t gonna process it again. I eventually stumbled on some YouTube videos that opened my eyes to the natural hair community and I decided then that going back natural was what I was going do. After 9 months of transitioning, I big chopped.

    How would you describe your hair?
    My hair is big, wild, soft, free, and the perfect representation of me.


    What do you love most about your hair?
    I love how versatile it is. I can get so many different types of curls with different techniques! And it’s also very effortless. I don’t necessarily need to do much to wear my hair out, its very low manipulation; all I really need to do is moisturize and fluff it.

    What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy, difficult, or both?!
    The most memorable part has to be when I impulsively big chopped one day in my room. I cut off all the relaxed ends and went to show my parents and the shock on their faces was just hilarious. It hasn’t really been hard at all. The hardest part was finding techniques that worked for me as my length changed. Once I found those, it was pretty easy. I wouldn’t say natural hair has ever been hard, just time consuming at times.


    What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current do’s?
    I loved bantu knot outs when I was transitioning. It made me start getting used to curly hair again and made the new growth and texturized ends blend well together. I used coconut oil a lot during this period also, which helped me significantly with softening my new growth. I also did a lot of flat twists and buns.

    What have your experiences been as a ‘natural’? Any memorable reactions from family or others?
    Fortunately, everyone around me has loved my hair in its natural state. All my friends and family now say they can’t even remember me with texturized hair. People are always always always asking me to touch it.

    What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
    I have a pretty simple regimen. I wash and deep condition weekly with conditioner and use shampoo to clarify once per month. I also do one protein treatment per month with an egg and some extra virgin carrier oils. My current conditioner and shampoo of choice is Body Blends. After washing and deep conditioning, I use Cantu Shea butter and Candy Moisture Mousse to moisturize and seal. I do either twists or flat twists, then unravel them the next day. To keep my hair moisturized during the week I usually put it in a bun at night, then spritz with conditioner water in the morning and reapply my moisturizer.

    What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
    I love Naptural85. She helped me a great deal in my transitioning and newly natural phase. I also love Ambrosia Malbrough.

    Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
    Hair is nice, but it doesn’t define you or your beauty.

    Where can people find you for more information?
    Instagram is: @tawana_aj
    Tumblr is: softeyedbull

    Global Couture is trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair. Love your HAIR, if it is wavy, curly, kinky or coily. Shop http://www.globalcouture.net/ and Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Are you naturally fierce? Email us to share your hair journey at blog@globalcouture.net

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    Hola Chicas!
    For those of you that are new to CN, Fierce Friday is a way to celebrate our natural hair, displaying our dopest styles and best hair days... for inspiration and motivation. Wanna be featured? All you have to do is upload your favorite pics to Instagram with the tags #FierceFriday and #CurlyNikki. Be sure to share a brief description of the style, where you were headed, why you felt amazing, and thangs of that nature!
     
    Leather, White, and Black all over... New Blog Post Up! If you are interested take a look, the link is in my bio! #theintellectualfashionista #naturalhair @msvogue2009

    hey curl hey! @jasmineleann



    #headshot #lacasting #sdcasting #casting @amyaappleofficial
    Twistout puff with a bang…@imsokinky


    The best accessory a girl can own is CONFIDENCE!!! @gabbysfablife




    That moment when you realize that your #fro is too #sick #curlynikki #curls #nappiology #naturalhair #nofilter #afro @chki_blu


    Hello Mississippi! Can't wait to get the @Swmnaturals show started! Sidenote: I tried the @AlikayNaturals products and everything is amazing! This is the best gel I have ever used for shingling my hair! @strawberricurls

    "Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks. Not in what they say. Just in what they are." @posh_syd


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  • 03/06/15--16:01: #BoneThugsAndBoog

  • Hola Chicas,

    Sorry for the delay... but this post was re-routed through LaGuardia, cancelled, re-scheduled twice, delayed for a couple of hours, put on standby and finally came in for a struggly touch down at Lambert International an hour ago.  #FergusonStrong

    And I only almost cried twice! 

    My luggage is still M.I.A. but I couldn't care less (my coconut oil is in there, tho).  Let the games begin!  #RunningThroughTheSixWithMyWoes

    Later Gators,
    Nik

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     Adeola Adegbusi of www.coilsandglory.com

    Anyone who recently embarked on a healthy hair journey-- either a relaxed or natural-- can attest to the significant improvement in which the consistent use of natural oils has made on their hair. The use of oils is nothing new in the Black hair community, as many of us can remember getting our hair greased after every hairstyle, and as soon as we started to see our scalp flaking.

    Read On!>>>
     However, the improper use of oils and hair grease led many of us to eliminate it from our regimen as soon as we were old enough to make our own hair decisions. But after exploring many other “non-greasy” hair products, many of us are now starting to explore the benefits in various cooking oils and we are now in love with these oils and adding them to most of our hair concoctions.

    So why do we love our oils so much?

    1. They soften our hair. Oils, such as castor oil, is very good at making the hair feel soft, smooth and silky. I know this from experience. Hair oils also help to maintain the moisture level in our hair, which in turn will help to keep the hair feeling soft and supple. Jc of Natural Haven explains the importance of sealing the hair in this post.

    2. They lubricate our hair, which helps to reduce knots and tangles. To reduce single strand knots (SSKs), it is advised to oil the ends of the hair in order to reduce friction and the chances of the ends of our hair from forming annoying knots.

    3. They detangle. The lubricative property of oils helps to loosen knots and effectively separate tangles without damaging the hair. Whenever I come across tangles in my hair, I just apply drops of oil to that section of the hair and allow it to slip off. This is a more gentle method, instead of forcefully combing them out.

    4. They regulate a healthy sebum production and a clean scalp. Oils such as jojoba oil and avocado oils are known to regulate the natural oils on the scalp to a level which stimulates growth and nourishes the new growth which sprouts out of the scalp.

    5. They can help thicken our hair and reduce breakage. Many naturals who took on the castor oil challenge have said that they’ve noticed a thickness in their hair after prolonged and consistent use.

    6. They promote growth, restore hair loss and increases length retention. Who needs hair drugs when you can massage your scalp with oils such as jojoba oil or castor oil daily? Many women have been able to revive hair growth along their hairline after consistently applying castor oil on their balded hairline. Many have also seen accelerated hair growth and an increase in length retention after using natural oils for a prolonged period of time.

    7. They give our hair a healthy shine. Who doesn’t want hair that stays shiny?!   Penetrating oils such as avocado oil, unrefined coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil gives the hair sheen without leaving it too greasy.

    8. They keep our scalp happy, fostering an environment for healthy hair growth. Naturals with itchy and troubled scalp are often advised to add a few drops of scalp soothing essential oils such as peppermint oil, tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil to their scalp oil blends. This oil blend will not only soothe the scalp, it will also unclog the pores, may reduce bacterial or fungal overgrowth and promote blood circulation to the scal.

    9. They assist our hair products to do their job well. Bloggers such as Jc of www.naturalhavenbloom.com often recommend adding a few drops of our favorite hair oil to our deep conditioning treatment and even shampoo to give the products more slip. Whitney of Naptural85 made an oil blend out of many hair benefiting oils which she recommends for the hair and skin. This oil blend can be used as a pre-poo treatment, added to a deep conditioning treatment, applied to the scalp and for sealing the hair.

    10. They make our hair smell so good! Since many of the oils are derived from the fruit seed or nuts which can smell nutty, you can upgrade the fragrance of your oil by simply adding a few drops of sweet smelling essential oils such as lemon grass, lemon oil, rosemary oil, lavender oil and any essential oils which fancies you.

    Do you have a favorite hair oil or set of favorites? What are they and why do you love using them?

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    We love using different oils on our hair for various reasons--pre-pooing, deep treatments, sealing, adding shine--to name a few. Massaging our hair and scalps with oils feels wonderful and provides us with many benefits such as increased hair growth, shinier and stronger hair. Dr. Rohini Wadhwani of Skin Essentials says “oiling hair has a multi-dimensional effect. And it helps by increasing the tensile strength of the hair, reducing the frizziness and preventing breakage.”

    Read On!>>>
    How often do I need to use it till I notice a difference?
    You do not need to oil your hair every single day to start experiencing the benefits. As little as one time a week would be good but a nice rule of thumb to follow is to oil your hair the nights before you will wash it. For example, I wash my hair 2 or 3 times a week so the nights before I will wash the next morning are when I will oil my hair. Sleeping with oils in your hair can be messy so I recommend placing a towel over your pillow or sleep in a satin bonnet. If you do not want to oil your hair overnight, another option is to oil it and leave it on a few hours prior to washing--also known as pre-pooing.

    What is the most effective way of using oil on my hair?

    Massaging hair oils into your scalp while oiling can help promote healthy hair growth. Sharon Hopkins of Pioneer Thinking says “ The massaging and oiling of your hair stimulates the blood circulation, which in return helps your hair. Due to the oil, your hair is protected from the strong and hot sun rays. The oil also gives your hair that extra shine.” Massaging your scalp while oiling your hair, or even better getting a partner to do so for you can help ease stress and tension which can attribute to excess hair loss. Some good essential oils for hair growth include rosemary, peppermint, tea tree, castor and lavender.

    Note: Essential oils are extremely potent, so it is important to use a few drops in carrier base oil such as jojoba or sweet almond to dilute them so they are safer to use for hair and skin.

    Which oil does my hair need?
    You may want to do a patch test to make sure you do not have any allergies before trying any new oil on your hair and/or skin. Always consult with your physician if you have any concerns or are unsure.
    • Coconut oil can be beneficial for those with damaged hair. Coconut oil is one of the only oils that penetrate into the center of the hair shaft and using it regularly may help strengthen the hair fibers.
    • Jojoba oil is a good option if you hair is very dry as it can help to moisturize and soften your hair. This oil may also help make detangling easier during pre pooing.
    • Argan Oil is high in Vitamin E. This oil can help improve hair’s elasticity and also lead to softness and shine.
    What if I use too much oil?
    If your hair is prone to frizz, you can use your favorite oil on dry hair as a styler with added treatment benefits. A little goes a long way with this, as using too much oil for styling purposes may result in hair looking greasier than you hope. If you do overuse oil as a styler, a good dry shampoo such as Devacurl No Poo Quick Cleanser, can help fix that mistake.
    How do I oil my hair?

    Start by rubbing a small amount (nickel-sized to begin with) of oil or oil mix between your hands (see our Top 20 Carrier Oils list for recommendations based on your hair type). Then scrunch the oil through the lengths of your hair. Depending on what your scalp needs, you can also use a small amount of oil to massage your scalp.

    What is an oil pre-poo?- Watch CurlyNikki's Dr. Oz episode to learn the benefits of pre-poos!

    To sum it up
    Oils have so many benefits for your hair and there are so many out there- different mixes and essential oils with great benefits. Try some out and see what ones your hair likes the best!

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    by Susan Walker of DrWalkerWellness.com


    Quite possibly one of my favourite foods because of the distinctive, nutty flavour it gives to dishes and smoothies (yum!) is coconut. It seems to be en vogue these days as consumers are realizing the benefits of this wonderful superfood and food companies are meeting the demand to provide it in various forms. We have the whole food coconut; but now we’ve been introduced to coconut flour, coconut sugar, coconut milk, coconut yogurt. You name it, the food companies have created it. And that may be not such a great thing. But that’s another post for another day.

    What I really want to discuss is the application of coconut – and more specifically the oil – to hair care.

    Coconut has been used for thousands of years by people native to the tropical areas coconut is found. So it’s nothing new. It’s just new to the North American culture. And “newly” discovered by many naturals, even though our parents and grandparents were using it on our hair for years.

    So what is the REAL deal with this unique oil? Why is it such an important ingredient to use in hair care?

    It all has to do with its fatty acid composition. All fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids. There are two methods of classifying fatty acids. The first is based on saturation which many of you have probably heard of. You have saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats.

    Another system of classification is based on molecular size or length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid. Fatty acids consist of long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. In this system you have short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).

    The main fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid. In fact it’s about 44-52% lauric acid. What’s so special about this fatty acid? It has an affinity for hair proteins. This means that lauric acid LOVES, LOVES, LOVES hair protein. It has a low molecular weight and straight chained structure. This means that it can penetrate INTO the hair shaft.

    The cuticle of the hair shaft is the outer protective covering. It consists of flat overlapping cells or scales. It is the hair structure that allows substances like water and oils, into and out of the hair. It also protects the delicate proteins which is great.

    However the cuticle can become damaged. And it textured and curly hair, this damage occurs at less force compared to Caucasian and Asian hair textures. Cuticle damage is evidence by broken scale edges several cm away from the scalp caused by weathering, mechanical damage, combing, brushing and shampooing. The longer the hair is, the older it is and the more cuticle damage it has sustained. This is one of the reasons the ends of your hair often feels dry, brittle and hard compared to the middle sections or those sections closer to your scalp. The cuticle is especially susceptible to damage from combing the hair when it’s wet.

    If you have long natural hair then good for you! We’re talking 25 cm or longer. It took a lot of work, care and likely some protective styling to get you there. However you may want to keep in mind that the structural integrity of your hair may be impaired because of chipping away of the cuticle. This leads to split ends and fractures and can limit the length you can actually retain, how shiny it is and how smooth it looks.

    Before discussing what may be the most important step in your hair care regimen, I want to touch on an important practice that could make a huge difference in how your hair looks and feels after it’s washed and conditioned.

    Coconut oil has been known to lead to healthy looking long hair and it likely prevents damage to the cuticle when combing and brushing or using any procedure that involves abrasion. The lubricating effect of the oil on the hair fiber reduces friction which in turn will reduce damage from any abrasion.

    Okay so what else? Any oil can do that right? Yes and no. all oils are not created equally and each oil has its own unique ability to penetrate into the hair shaft. Or not. And those oils that do penetrate will actually increase the softness and manageability and hydration of the hair. Those oils that can’t penetrate won’t.

    So let’s discuss – in some detail – the effect coconut oil has on hair damage and in order to understand this you’ll need to know a little bit about the cuticle.

    Structure of the Cuticle
    The cuticle is the outer part of the hair shaft. It is a hard shingle-like layer of overlapping cells, some five to twelve deep. It is formed from dead cells which form scales that gives the hair shaft strength and do the best job of providing protection for it. The hair cuticle is the first line of defense against all forms of damage; it acts as a protective barrier for the softer inner structure. The cuticle is responsible for much of the mechanical strength of the hair fiber. A healthy cuticle is more than just a protective layer. The cuticle controls the water content of the hair fiber; it allows water into and out of the hair.

    Here is a description of each layer:
    • Epicuticle— This surface layer of the cuticle is made up of lipids and proteins and is also found on the bottom of the stacks of layers.
    • A-Layer — This layer is comprised of proteins very high (35%) in cystine, which enables the layer to be highly crosslinked. This layer gives toughness to the hair and also provides physical protection from heat and other factors that can damage the hair.
    • Exocuticle — This layer has approximately 15% cystine, so it is less strong and tough than the A-Layer, but provides similar protection. This layer is cross-linked as well.
    • Endocuticle — This layer contains only 3% cystine, and so is only very lightly crosslinked. This means that this layer is the only cuticle layer to swell in the presence of water. This causes the entire cuticle to swell and lift away from the hair shaft, resulting in a ruffled cuticle that allows the passage of material both into and out of the hair.
    • Cuticular Cell membrane Complex (CMC) — This layer is made up of polysaccharides and several lipids (fatty acids). This layer acts as the glue that holds the cuticle together and holds it to the hair shaft.
    Let’s go back to the exocuticle for a moment. Because of this cross-linking this area of the cuticle is brittle and doesn’t swell. The endocuticle and the cell membrane complex have less cross-linking. As a result they swell a lot which increases the tendency for the surface cuticle cells to curve upwards and break when combed.

    Cuticle chipping from friction due to combing or friction between hair strands is a major factor in hair damage. The proteins that make up the cuticle cells are lost during combing the hair wet.

    Keep in mind that the protein loss that occurs is mainly from the cuticle and not really from the precious inner parts of the hair. However with the understanding that the cuticle’s role is critical in maintaining the hair’s healthy appearance and the integrity of the hair structure, the loss of it can be bad. Really bad.

    Here is where the use of coconut oil gets really interesting. If you’ve read my articles or have heard me present you know I’m all about the “why”. Even if you’re not interested in “why” I am because then I can more accurately assess the issues that may be going on with my clients’ hair make intelligent recommendations based on this assessment.

    We want to prevent or reduce the chipping away of the cuticle right? We’ve established that in naturally curly hair – especially afro-textured hair – less force is needed for the cuticle to be damaged compared with other hair textures. You know that damage to the cuticle can lead to split ends, breakage and damage because the integrity of the hair fiber is compromised. So what needs to be part of a healthy natural hair regimen is to maintain the cuticle structure as much as possible. This is where coconut oil rises the the occasion and outperforms other oils. Coconut oil, when used as a PRE-WASH treatment, helps to reduce protein loss from the hair.

    So when it comes to breakage from combing the hair when wet, here is the take home message:
    Preventing or minimizing the swelling of the hair shaft IS MORE important than the hair being lubricated.
    This is likely a huge reason why women who are part of the 7 Day Hair Rehydration Challenge have experienced less breakage.

    Coconut oil also has the great ability to reduce what is called the Water Retention Index (WRI). What is this exactly? It’s the propensity of the hair to swell. The repeated swelling and contraction of the hair damages the cuticle so….minimizing this is a good thing!

    How much does the WRI get reduced by? In UNDAMAGED hair, it’s as much as 44%. In DAMAGED hair this value is much higher. Another point for coconut oil!

    Okay now for the mechanism of HOW coconut oil protects the hair.

    So how does coconut oil work exactly?
    As a pre-shampoo treatment or conditioner it coats the hair and blocks the entry of water into the hair. A small amount of coconut oil is absorbed into the hair during washing when the hair fiber is swollen. Oils are hydrophobic or “water-fearing”; they repel water. So coconut oil on the hair reduces the swelling tendency of the cuticle. This reduces the UPWARD CURVING of the surface of the cuticle. This in turn reduces the CHIPPING AWAY of the cuticle. This reduces PROTEIN LOSS.
    It’s important to understand that the reason coconut oil is able to have this powerful effect on the hair is because of its linear structure and low molecular weight, which allows it to actually penetrate into the cortex.

    **This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: NOT ALL OILS HAVE THE ABILITY TO PENETRATE INTO THE HAIR DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN STRUCTURE!**

    One of the great things about being natural is the ability to use various types of ingredients and oils on your hair. However not all oils are created equally and each oil will have a different effect on the hair.

    Have you been using coconut oil for healthy hair? Share your experiences below!

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    by Shelli of HairScapades

    If you are one of those lucky souls who barely seems to shed a hair during the week or on wash day, this post is not for you. *lol* Seriously!! I’m sooooo jealous when I read statements like, “My shedding is almost non-existent.” Or when I see a YouTuber doing her hair and don’t see even one strand on her hands. I’ll be squinting hard, nose to the screen, just hoping to see one or two to make me feel better about the ball of hair that is inevitable any time I detangle my hair, wet or dry. So, this is a shout-out to all my ladies who see those dang shed hairs every step of their wash day and styling process!! HOLLA!!! *lol*

    Read On!>>>
    Okay, let me stop being silly. I really do have a point. I know many of us are often concerned about the amount of shed hair that we see, me included! And, we’ve probably all heard that shedding 50-100 hairs a day is normal. And, we know that most of the hairs we are seeing are shed and not broken, because we see and/or feel the bulb on one end of the strand.


    But, despite all that, when we see those strands falling free on days that we wear our hair down (HIH is often an accomplice) and see that hair ball getting bigger on wash day as strands litter the bathroom floor, shower walls and drain, it can be unnerving and anxiety-inducing. Well, at least it can be for me!

    And, when I become concerned about my hair, I put on my research cap and try to understand what is happening. Hopefully, what I’ve learned will be of benefit to others! So, here is a little information about the three phases of the hair life cycle.

    Anagen Phase – Growth Phase
    Approximately 85% of all hairs are in the growing phase at any one time. The Anagen phase or growth phase can vary from two to six years. Hair grows approximately 10cm per year and any individual hair is unlikely to grow more than one meter long.
    Catagen Phase – Transitional Phase
    At the end of the Anagen phase the hairs enters into a Catagen phase which lasts about one or two weeks, during the Catagen phase the hair follicle shrinks to about 1/6 of the normal length. The lower part is destroyed and the dermal papilla breaks away to rest below.
    Telogen Phase – Resting Phase
    The resting phase follows the catagen phase and normally lasts about 5-6 weeks. During this time the hair does not grow but stays attached to the follicle while the dermal papilla stays in a resting phase below. Approximately 10-15 percent of all hairs are in this phase at an one time.
    Now, I’ll issue a couple of disclaimers here. First, all sources don’t agree on the length of time of the Telogen Phase. I’ve found other sites that indicate that it can last as long as 3-4 months. However, the point is that this phase lasts a significant amount of time. In fact, one of my hennaed grey shed hairs is what prompted me to find information on how long the Catagen and Telogen phases last. I had a hair that was red to the tip and I hadn’t hennaed in two months. So, if that hair had been growing, I would have expected to see an inch of grey at the roots. But I didn’t. Now I know why.


    The second disclaimer is in relation to the Anagen phase. The sources can’t seem to agree on how long this lasts either. Some indicate 2-6 years, whereas others indicate 3-5. However, what is even more interesting to note is that the studies that determined this were extremely limited.

    [W]hat many people do not know is that the widely quoted scientific figure is in fact based on 2-3 small scale studies which account for as few as 2 individuals. There are in fact no studies which actually track a reasonable group of individuals over a period of years to firmly determine how long the hair growth cycle actually is.
    Furthermore there is evidence that this 2-6 year widely accepted length could be considerably wrong. One interesting study which measured hair length of visitors to US theme parks and hair lengths recorded online on long hair sites, came to the conclusion that the average normal length of the anagen phase could be as long as 12 to 14 years.
    Interesting, right?!? Anywho, all this being said, there are a few things to consider when attempting to determine if the amount of hair you are shedding is normal for you.
    1. How dense is your hair? The more strands of hair that you have on your head, the more hair that you can expect to shed given that 10-15% of your hair is in the telogen phase at any given time. I even notice that the denser left side of my head sheds more than the right side. (Check out this article on CurlyNikk.com if you’re not certain how to determine your hair density.)
    2. How long is your hair? As your hair gets longer, it can create the “optical illusion” that your shedding is increasing. But remember, the same number of hairs that you shed when your hair is shorter will appear like more hair the longer that your hair gets. Ten waist length hairs are going to look like a lot more hair than ten TWA hairs. 
    3. Is the volume of your shedding consistent? If you’re like me, you never paid too much attention to your shedding until you started a “healthy hair journey.” You have only a vague recollection of how much your hair shed as it didn’t really concern you. Then, you discovered natural hair online. Goodness. LOL!! But, even if you don’t know what your hair shed looked like previously, evaluating it at consistent intervals can allow you to determine whether it’s increasing, decreasing or remaining constant. Some ladies go as far as counting their shed hairs and/or placing them in a baggie to compare from week to week. That would drive me crazy. So, I just look at the size of my hair ball and try to make certain it looks relatively the same from week to week on wash day.
    4. Are internal or external factors affecting your shedding rate? As many know, pregnancy hormones can cause the hair to “stick” in the anagen phase, resulting in longer, fuller, thicker hair. A few months after having a baby, all the hair that got “stuck” in the growing phase during pregnancy gets “unstuck” and shedding can decrease dramatically, resulting in bald spots. Hormonal changes due to the aging process can also cause an increase in shedding. Stress can cause excessive shedding as can nutritional deficiencies. Finally, a product that “disagrees” with your scalp and causes irritation can cause shedding above normal rates (e.g. Amla caused me to have a horrible bout of shedding for months).
    So, all that being said, although I hate seeing that dang ball of hair every wash day, I know that what I’m seeing currently is normal for me. I try not to compare my hair shed to that of others as it would drive me crazy. When I see the amount of shed hair increasing, I try to make the appropriate adjustments. Hence, when my hair was coming out like crazy after using amla for a few months, I stopped using amla. (I also tried black tea rinses, but that didn’t really do much for me.) When my hair was shedding/breaking excessively last fall, I discovered that I was over-conditioned and introduced protein into my regimen and the hair fall decreased dramatically.

    Now, I definitely don’t have all of the answers. And, if you think that the amount of hair that you are shedding is increasing or abnormal, you should consult with a medical professional. But, I just wanted to share what I have learned in hopes that it will help others understand and analyze their own hair  in order to diagnose what is normal and find solutions for what isn’t. Hope that it worked!

    *********************************
    How do you know if your shedding is normal or abnormal? 

    What techniques and/or products have you found to be effective in controlling excessive shedding?

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  • 03/10/15--07:57: Kaylyn Is Naturally Glam!

  • Tell me about yourself! 
    My name is Kaylyn Danielle. I’m a 25 year-old Cleveland native and owner of a start-up natural skincare line called Pure Òkwùma. I've been wearing my hair natural since 2011.

    Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
    I started going natural in 2011 when I was a junior in college. I was a transitioner for a little over a year and gradually cut my ends until there was no more permed hair. I literally used perm rods my entire transition journey. It was only when my entire head was 100% perm free that I began to do two-strand twists. I never looked back.

    READ MORE>>

    Had you always embraced your texture?
    Sadly in the beginning FOR SURE!  I would spend hours watching YouTube videos only to be disappointed my transitioning hair didn’t look like someone else’s. It sounds silly now but I learned very quickly that transitioning to natural was my OWN hair journey. Now? I'm 4 years in and I've grown my hair longer than it was relaxed, it’s healthy and I know exactly how to style and maintain my hair to my liking which makes me so PROUD of me and my hair!

    How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them? 
    My friends and family were supportive. All my friends are natural. That’s including all friends from my hometown and those I went to college with.  I remember the first time I used perm rods and went into work the next day. My friends and co-workers were so excited about my tiny curls.

    Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
    I have very thick hair. A mix of 4a/4b. I’ve got fine strands in the front and coarser hair towards the back.

    What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair? 
    I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to my hair. I would call it more so lazy when I try to stretch my twists a few more days. That can get a little crazy and creative. I discovered my best twisted updo from being lazy in the morning.

    What’s your biggest hair related regret?
    Using brushes and combs all last summer. It wasn’t necessarily the use of the brushes and combs, it was how I was using them.  It did a bit of damage to my ends.  This past New Year’s was my challenge to start finger detangling. It’s going great!  It’s a little time consuming, but I can see a difference.

    What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
    Twice a month I pre-poo my hair with a spray bottle mixed with water and apple cider vinegar and condition with a cheap conditioner. When my hair is completely saturated I use my fingers to detangle and section my hair in twists.  I wash my hair in twists using a mix of super diluted black soap, coconut oil, olive oil. Sometimes I use Shea Moisture shampoo.  From there, I conditioner my hair with a cheap conditioner and give myself an oil-rinse. After 30 minutes I rinse my hair and then coat my hair with aloe vera gel and dry my hair using an old t-shirt. If I’m being super fancy, once in a while I will do a black tea rinse.

    What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
    Two strand twist updo during the week and I remove the twists sometimes for the weekend. I get my hairstyle inspirations from Instagram and my Facebook newsfeed. I follow many natural hair pages. Also Pinterest! If I’m thinking of styling my twists a different way, I definitely go searching on Pinterest.

    Who is your curl crush?
    CurlyNikki, MahoganyCurls, Nikki Mae, CharyJay, Fusion of Cultures, Naptural85, MsAriella89, PRETTYDIMPLES01, BeautifulBrwnBabyDol, BlackOnyx77, HeatherNicole, westNDNbeauty.

    How do you maintain your hair at night?
    I use a velcro band to wrap around my edges and put on a satin bonnet when I have twists. When I wear my hair out, I put my hair up in a pineapple and sleep on my satin pillowcase.

    How do you maintain healthy length?
    I really think it’s the finger detangling, drinking water and taking my multivitamins. I’ve seen a difference in how much hair shed hair I collect after washing and styling my hair.

    What's the best thing about being natural?
    The best thing about being natural is that it’s uniquely me. Wearing my hair natural let me really embrace what it means to be comfortable, not only in my skin but in my willingness to accept who I am.  I'm constantly learning that embracing my authentic self is what the human experience is all about.

    Where can folks find you on the web?
    www.instagram.com/kaylyndani; www.facebook.com/pureokwuma
    www.pureokwuma.com


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