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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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    Tell me a little about yourself and your hair journey.
    I’m Nacketia Knight, mother of one from the beautiful paradise island of Jamaica. I have been natural for most of my life but did not start my journey until October 2011. I transitioned for a year, did a small chop ( there really wasn’t much left to cut off) and never looked back since.

    Read On!>>>

    How long have you been natural? Have you always embraced your curls?
    I have been natural for most of my life and did not get my first relaxer until I was 18. I did not however always consider my natural hair to be beautiful, prior to my relaxer i kept my hair natural mainly because it seemed cheaper. I did not go to salons so I learned how to style my hair myself but I lacked the knowledge I now have in keeping my hair moisturized and therefore my hair never grew to even shoulder length. At 18 I believed i was mature enough to handle relaxed hair. I was in love! My hair flourished for the first year or so then it started breaking. Then came the weaves to add volume and serve as a protective style but my hair kept breaking so I went short with a mohawk. It was edgy and cute and low maintenance however when I came due for a relaxer in October 2011, I had a rude awakening. For some reason my hair did not favor the relaxer and a couple of days later, all my edges and nape was completely gone. At this point, I was done with relaxers because it was doing more harm than good.

    What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
    Having no hair on my edges and nape was my biggest motivation to transition. Looking back, I wished I had just big chopped but at the time, I did not have the courage to walk around with a bald head reason being I know this head is bigger than average and shaped weirdly plus have you seen my ears, they stick right out the sides sooo I was very self conscious.  Instead, I opted to wear braids for a year and then just cut off what relaxed ends that were left at that point.

    How would you describe your hair?
    I would describe my hair as thick 4c hair that requires gentle and patient handling or else she will act out.

    What do you love most about your hair?
    I love the attention and adoration that my hair gets. She is like her own person and inspires people on a daily. I also like the versatility I can be kinky and curly with a wash and go or a flat twist out this week and next week I can flat iron and have straight hair. What i do love the most about my natural hair is how healthy it is! Ditching the relaxer and starting a healthy natural hair journey has allowed me to experience the healthiest longest hair I have had in my life. I can truly say going natural was the best choice for my hair.

    What has been the most memorable part of your journey?Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
    The journey did not start out easy but the longer you are natural the more you learn about your hair and it does get easier. Plus there is so much information available that you don’t have to rush into a total panic when you hair isn’t acting right. My most memorable part of the journey is off course when i decided to wear my natural hair. The reign of the braids were over and i was excited yet hesitant because i didn’t know how people would react. The feedback was mixed but i rocked it out as best as I could and here I am today a proud naturalista.

    What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos’?
    During my transition I only wore braids which is still a great protective style for me but my favorite styles right now are updo’s because they can last a while , they turn a lot of heads and are great for any occasion.

    What have your experiences been as a ‘natural’? Any memorable reactions from family or others?
    The reactions have been great and not so great. People in general are afraid of change and when I decided to rock my natural hair after a year of growing it out not everyone was as enthused as I was. A couple family members questioned what was going on with my hair and were not very encouraging. Fast forward 2 years later and those same family member are in awe and one even took the step to go natural herself.

    What is your hair regimen?
    I don’t have a hair regimen that I stick to religiously. I just try to give my hair what it needs keeping it moisturized and keeping heat usage and styling to a moderate level. I try to add shea butter to my hair every chance I get ( my hair loves that thing) and coconut oil and caster oil have been a staple since I started my journey. I keep experimenting with styling products and so far the creme of nature with Argan oil line has been great especially their shampoo ( so moisturizing to the hair).

    What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
    I learned most that I know about natural hair through Youtube and the first youtuber I used to watch is Kimmay youtube. She really inspired me and gave me hope that my natural hair could grow past shoulder length. My favorite more recent youtubers include Naptural85 , naturalme4c , blackizbeautiful , kinkystyles1980, fusionofcultures, toyaloves, nikkimae2003 iknowlee and Joulzey


    Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
    Natural hair is fun and beautiful, does require some time and patience but once you get the hang of it is so rewarding. If your afraid to take that step to go natural, don’t be there are so many curl friends out here to help you along the way and a plethora of information to answer all your questions. So take the step be creative and stay inspired!

    Where can people find you for more information?
    You can find me on youtube @Jamaican Jairgoddess where I share creative natural hairstyles as well as on IG and twitter @jahairgoddess


    Global Couture is trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair. Love your HAIR, if it is wavy, curly, kinky or coily.
    Are you naturally fierce? Email us to share your hair journey at globalcouture@aol.com


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    Hair teas have grown in popularity in recent years. If you are having issues with growth, strength, shedding or softness it is defiantly worth a try. It is very simple and inexpensive.

    Teas are also rich in antioxidants, amino acids and contain some caffeine. The rinse naturally softens hair, increase sheen and restores lusters to the strands. Also works wonderfully for calming scalp issues and irritations.

    Read On!>>>

     The rinse should always be room temperature before using. Never pour hot tea in your hair….no bueno. Just let it cool and then use it Apply the tea, massage your scalp, let it sit for a few minutes and rinse out.

    THE GREEN TEA RINSE:
    Green tea contains vitamins B5, C, D, and E. Green tea stimulates the hair follicle. Increased blood flow also aids in reducing shedding and increasing hair growth. Many people experience stiffness from black tea rinses. This is not a negative thing. Just follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner and your hair will return back to being very soft again. Green tea on the other had is strengthening and softening…making it the best of both worlds. Honey is a humectant and provides moisture to the hair. It is added to the rinse for this reason. This is tea is brewed strong and is very effective.

    Supplies:
    -2-3 bags of green tea (must have caffeine)
    -2 cups of water
    -1 teaspoon of honey
    * You can add any other herbs or florals of choice at this point. Customizing the rinses is what makes it fun.

    Steps:
    -Cleanse your hair. Can cleanse with a shampoo, cleansing conditioner, or product of choice.
    -Heat the 2 cups of water.
    -Pour the water over the tea, add the honey, stir, cover and allow it to steep until cool.
    -Strain out the tea. Pour into a bottle/container.
    -Apply to the hair dry or wet hair.
    -Allow it to stay in the hair for 5-15 minutes.
    -Gently massage the scalp in a circular motion.
    -Rinse out with clean cold water.
    Optional: Follow up with an ACV rinse, if needed. If you have low porosity hair there is no need to use an ACV rinse. 

    I do tea rinses on a weekly or biweekly basis. Let us know how you like it in the comment section. Share your favorite rinses too.

    NOTE: If you have any health issues that would not be conducive to trying these rinses please do not do so. I am not a physician. This article only contains information from my own experiences with tea rinsing.

    Do you do tea rinses?

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    Hola Chicas!
    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, etc.!

    This past weekend I celebrated my Birthday & turned 22 @livenaturallylove

     READ MORE>>

    It took me a long time to learn to love this hair of mine, but my journey to self-confidence and love has been a rewarding one. Happy Friday! #curlynikki #fiercefriday @sherelle_naturelle



    My twist out is unravelling into a beautiful 'fro. Damn my hair is growing so fast. A year and a half since my last relaxer and look at all that length @itenoria


    This twist out didn't stand a chance in this heat today!!! Love the volume though! And finally starting to see some growth in her hair!!! I'm doing something right!!! @amyaappleofficial


    Find the beauty in the ugliest thing in life. Carpe Diem! #naturalhair @discoveringnatural



    On that natural hair braid out life. I swear my hair is growing so fast I can't keep up. #productjunkies #naturalhairproducts #indynaturals #naturalistasinnap #indy #curlbox #curlynikki  @daricerene

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    Photo Courtesy of Natasha Leeds

    Achieving a wash and go on Type 4 hair can be challenging if you don’t know what you’re doing. It is even more challenging if you are trying to use the same products and technique as someone who does not share your curl pattern. The first thing to note is whether your hair actually has curl definition. Anyone can do a wash and go, but not everyone can createnatural curl definition. Curl definers can only enhance what you already have. If your hair is curly while wet but frizzy when dry, then this can eliminate your problems.

    Read On!>>>


    Smoothing without shingling or raking

    Puffy roots are a result of not thoroughly applying products. It is important to evenly shingle throughout your hair with your fingers. There is nothing wrong with using a comb for the detangling process, but it is important to switch to your fingers during the styling process. Using your fingers to distribute product will help to clump the curls, which reduces frizz and increases elongation. Make sure your fingers penetrate each section and then proceed to smooth between your palms.

    Using a blow-dryer

    Leave the blow-dryer to the ladies with Type 2 and Type 3 hair. Since our coils are more prone to frizz, we want to decrease as much movement as possible as the hair sets. I know the diffuser looks tempting, but I have always gotten the most moisturized, defined, and elongated wash and go’s by allowing my hair to air-dry all day. If you need place a microfiber towel or t-shirt on your shoulder on the way to work to catch the dripping product then so be it. The blow-dryer, even when used on cool air and low speed, always depletes moisture from my hair. 
    Worried about volume? You shouldn’t be. Wait until your coils are 80%-100% dry and then shake your head. Doing this while the hair is predominately wet can create encourage frizz.  

    Skipping the moisturizer or leave-in conditioner

    Unless your products claim to be a dual moisturizer and styler, then you should not rely on your styler to be comparable to leave-in conditioners or moisturizers. Even when products claim to be formulated with moisturizing properties, I would still advise using a separate product to ensure that your hair gets as much nourishment as possible. Remember that dry curls tend to expand in an attempt to absorb moisture, which usually results in frizz, so give your hair what it needs from the start.

    Styling at night

    I have learned this lesson one too many times. Please reserve this styling session for the mornings. Styling in the morning is not as unrealistic as you think. At night I detangle my hair with a little water, conditioner, and my favorite comb (i.e. Ouidad Detangling Comb) and sleep with my hair in loose twists. I rise 30 min. early to shampoo and let the deep conditioner sit while I cook breakfast. After eating breakfast, I rinse the conditioner and apply my leave-in conditioner and styler. Matting and frizz is inevitable when styling a wash and go at night. Even when I completely diffused my hair with a blow-dryer, my hair would not make it through the night without matting.

    Skipping your trims

    If layering moisturizers, leave-in conditioners, butters, and oils still won’t tame your frizz ends, then that is an indication that it’s time for a trim. If your ends are so porous that they take forever to absorb water and products then it is time for them to go. Ends that are tapered, bountiful with too many single strands knots, and vary in lengths have got to go. Please do not hold on to damage for length. It doesn’t look as good as your think. We want crisp, popping coils!

    Styling on dry or damp hair

    The goal of a wash and go is to capture your curl definition. Curl definition is most pronounced when the hair is saturated with moisture (i.e. water). Trying to achieve a wash and go on dry or damp hair will not give the same results or style longevity. If volume is the concern remember your can shake, flip, and pick your hair once it is completely dry. For extreme volume you can always use a blow-dryer with a concentration nozzle. Do not forget that if you want this wash and go to last for a week, then your hair will naturally rise over time. Don’t forget that we have Type 4 hair. We are the queens of volume. Third and fourth day hair are my favorite.

    Follow Natasha (pictured above) here:
    Stylish Lee and Instagram

    What are your Type 4 wash and go tips?

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     by Kanisha of BlackNaps.org

    As we all know, natural hair and oil are pretty much the perfect match. When it comes to Type 4 hair, particularly 4c, this match becomes especially important. Oil can be used for a multitude of purposes for natural hair, including:
    • Prepooing
    • Detangling
    • Hot Oil Treatments
    • Scalp Massages/treatments
    • Adding to conditioners/deep conditioners
    • Adding to your spray bottle mix
    • Sealing in Moisture

    Read On!>>>

     1. Coconut Oil (Pure & Unrefined)
    Properties: You’ve probably heard all the rage about coconut oil by now. Well, it doesn’t disappoint! This oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E, which both help promote hair growth and length retention, decrease breakage, and strengthen the hair. Coconut oil has a low weight (which helps seal the hair) and consists of hydrophobic properties that allow it to draw moisture from the atmosphere into the hair, which helps the hair retain moisture.

    Uses: Coconut oil is definitely one of the best and most versatile oils for natural hair and can be used for all of the purposes we listed at the beginning. It’s great to use as a prepoo or mixed into your favorite conditioner because it will naturally help melt the tangles out of your hair. You can apply coconut oil to your scalp to assist in alleviating dandruff, or simply apply it to your hair to style, add shine, combat frizz, moisturize, and seal.
     
    2. Castor Oil (Jamaican Black)
    Properties: Castor oil consists of unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, protein, and minerals that work together to make it one of the best oils for boosting hair growth. You’ve probably heard of using Jamaican Black Castor Oil to help regrow your edges or simply to kickstart your growth journey. The rumors are true: this unrefined and nutrient-rich oil increases blood flow to the scalp, resulting in thicker, stronger, and longer hair. This is because castor oil has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that remove dead skin cells from the scalp and stimulate hair follicles for growth.

    Uses:
    Take caution when applying castor oil- especially if you plan on wearing your hair out. This oil is super thick so a little goes a long way. And if you don’t like it at first, don’t give up on it: you may just have been a little too heavy-handed with the product. Apply it to your edges to get them in tiptop shape. If you find that your hair is dry, brittle, prone to breakage, or balding in any areas, Jamaican Black Castor Oil is a great natural way to combat all of these issues.
     
    3. Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)
    Properties:Olive oil is its own natural conditioner: it penetrates the hair shaft better than some other oils and nourishes, softens, and strengthens the hair. Olive oil also has an anti-inflammatory property that helps rid the hair of dandruff and product build-up on the scalp. It also assists in reducing hair loss by fortifying the hair against any kind of wear and tear.

    Uses:
    Make sure you purchase extra virgin olive oil from your local grocery store for best results. Olive oil works very well for scalp massages: it will help you stimulate hair growth and maintain a healthy scalp. Add it to your spray bottle mix to help keep your hair moisturized throughout the week. Since olive oil penetrates the hair shaft, it also works great for hot oil treatments and will result in hair that looks and feels softer and stronger.
     
    4. Avocado Oil
    Properties: Jam-packed with vitamins A, B, D, and E, protein, amino acids, magnesium, iron, copper, folic acid and fatty acids, avocado oil is superb for protecting and preventing damage to the hair. It also helps the hair lock in moisture and protects your strands against sun damage. Avocado oil has an even higher content (72%) of monounsaturated fats than coconut oil: these fats provide nourishment and make your hair super shiny.

    Uses: Adding avocado oil to your shampoo will treat dry, itchy scalp and adding it to your conditioner will give you excellent slip to make detangling a breeze. It’s not heavy enough to be ideal for being used to seal moisture into the hair, but it does actually help moisturize the hair so always keep it handy to fight dryness.

    5. Jojoba Oil (Pure & Unrefined)
    Properties: Jojoba oil doesn’t always get as much “shine” (no pun intended) as it deserves. Much like avocado oil, it is great for addressing dry scalp but also hair loss, and in preventing split ends. But unlike any other oil, jojoba mimics your hair’s own natural oil (sebum) which causes your strands to respond quite positively by absorbing it into the hair shaft, which results in more moisturized and shinier hair. It contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and E, which work together to protect against damage. It has an even higher content of monounsaturated fats than avocado oil (98%!) which of course make it excellent for strengthening the hair against breakage. It adds volume, encourages hair growth, and helps the hair revert from damage.

    Uses: Jojoba oil also works great for scalp massages because it gives you great benefits without weighing your hair down. It is excellent when used in deep conditioners because it helps the hair bounce back, especially from heat styling.

    The best thing about oil for natural hair is that you don’t need them all at the same time but the more you have, the better! All of them are versatile and beneficial for the hair. Try one, try them all, and watch your hair prosper.

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    CN says- that's my Boogie rockin' two-strands!

    by Keora Bernard

    About a year ago, I experienced naturalism in a profound way. I was confronted with the recycled mentalities that still exist among households of color about having coarser textured natural strands. Instead of doing my own hair, I decided that I would let my next door neighbor do my hair. Like many naturals, doing our hair is a laborious process and we relish the idea of having our scalps massaged and letting another person work through our dense terrain of curls, kinks, and coils.

    Additionally, my girlfriend who is Latina, also decided to get her hair done by my next door neighbor. My girlfriend wanted bangs to be cut and her hair to be curled. On the other hand, I opted for a braided hairstyle, choosing to continue with my weekly protective styling routine. At the household, there were two younger girls who watched my girlfriend and me in awe.

    Read On!>>>

     After sectioning and combing my hair out, I placed it into some loose twists. One of the little girls said to me “I wished I had curly hair like you.” I reassured her that she did have curly hair but that her hair was more tightly coiled which gave it a kinkier appearance. She listened and meditated on what I said.

    Afterwards, I helped comb out and section the other little girls’ hair. As I gently combed through her luscious tight coils, I thought to myself this is so beautiful. I made sure that I mentioned how strong and beautiful her mane was to her mother who faintly acknowledged it. In the past, I heard her mother mention her daughter’s hair in less enthusiastic terms telling me my hair wasn’t like her daughter’s to make a comparison of unfavorable standards.

    Later on, the other little girl mentioned to me how my girlfriend, who has very fine and straight hair had beautiful hair. Now don’t get me wrong, I think there is beauty in different hair textures, facial features, and races but because European and more presently exotic features tend to be the standard of beauty, I felt compelled to remind her that her African features were just as appealing.

    These two little girls reminded me that the natural hair movement isn’t simply a fad, a fight the power move, or the quest for healthier hair but it’s about development and enlightenment. Being natural forces women of color to become conscientious about the footprint they are leaving on society in both personal and public ways. The naturals of this era are making an impact, helping to turn the tide of beauty perceptions and setting an example for future generations to come.

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    DiscoveringNatural writes:

    It's back to school time! Here's a quick age appropriate hairstyle for those busy mornings. It is great for pre-teens and teens that don't want to wear twists to school.  I hope you like it and can add it to your arsenal of go-to styles. I did it on my 10 years old daughter,  Big Sis.

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  • 08/11/15--09:13: Charm Is Naturally Glam!

  • Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
    I was definitely a short term transitioner. Initially I desired to transition long term. After watching many YouTube channels on long term transitioning, I was eager to begin my transition. However, after eight months of transitioning, I became very frustrated with the two textures and I really wanted to be completely natural so I decided to big chop. I haven’t looked back since.


    READ MORE>>


    When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
    I had watched so many YouTube videos on transitioning and the BC and found that many people became emotional after the BC. I honestly did not want to cry or become emotional about cutting off my relaxed ends. The night that I took the big plunge and did the BC I found that I was just ready to be completely natural and I didn’t become teary eyed. In fact, I was exhilarated by my new hairdo.

    How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
    My husband is the biggest fan of my natural hair. He was just as excited as I was when I decided to transition, and he was looking forward to my big reveal once I big chopped. When he came home from work the night I BC'd, he laughed and then asked me how I felt about it. I told him I was tired of transitioning and I am ready to wear my natural hair in all its glory.  He said that he liked it so I knew everything was going to be fine.

    What was your transition routine (products included)?
    I liked doing the flat twist outs and the bantu-knots outs because these styles blended my two textures and they sealed my ends at night which created less breakage. I really like to use the Nene’s Secret Curly and Cute Crème because I believe it makes my hair more moisturized and softer. I also like the aromatic scent of the product. My relaxed hair was a little pass my shoulders, so I would part my hair down the middle of my head into two equal sections, then I would part my hair horizontally in smaller sections, apply the Nene’s Secret Cute and Curly and then flat twist my hair. I would place about 6-8 flat twists on each side of my head. I am not a product junkie. I try to keep it simple. I would alternate between the Nene’s Secret Curly and Cute and the Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioner during my styling process.

    What was your staple hair style during the transition?
    I definitely liked the flat twist outs and the Bantu Knot Outs. They were my go-to hair styles because they lasted up to three days and blended my natural hair well with my relaxed hair, plus the look was cute. I could create up-dos or let the curls/waves do their thing depending on what day it was.

    How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
    I would alternate between the Nene’s Secret Curly and Cute Crème and the Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioner to keep my hair moisturized. When I washed my hair, I would use a lot of conditioner and slowly detangle while the conditioner was in my hair, then I would rinse the conditioner out and style. It allowed me to stretch my transition for eight months.


    Why did you choose to go natural?
    It started out almost like an indirect dare. My brother-in-law made a comment to me about natural hair not being acceptable in corporate America. I wanted to prove him wrong. The problem with that challenge was I was not a part of corporate America and thus was unable to prove my point and the dare became irrelevant. However, as I continued to transition, it became a personal journey and eventually, I became so obsessed with the natural hair movement that it gave me great pride to be a part of the natural hair community. I was even more inspired by the natural hair journey stories on YouTube and other blog sites that I started evaluating why it took me so long to go natural. I ultimately continued with my journey for personal satisfaction. To date, going natural was the best and healthiest decision I have ever made. I love my natural hair and with the overflow of information that is now available on how to care for natural hair along with the natural hair movement, going natural is now easier than ever before and more acceptable than ever before. I would love for all my sisters to develop the impetus to go natural as well.


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    Tina Munzu writes:

    Today we're taking it back to the basics. I get a lot of questions on how I do my twist outs to get big volume so I'm sharing my easy routine plus night time maintenance. I also share a great tip for what to do when you need a trim and those ends start getting unruly and frizzy when you separate your twists. It is a pretty simple and straightforward routine. Enjoy!
     
     

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     Photo Courtesy of Getty Images


    Starting your hair care journey on the right foot is essential. The worst way to go about this is asking questions the wrong questions and undermining the mental and emotional transition of potentially accepting your self. Misplaced expectations and poor hair care practices can be detrimental to your journey, so make sure you're asking the right questions, ie not these.

    Read On!>>>


    How can I make my hair grow?

    Nothing "makes your hair grow." If your health is in good condition, meaning your are eating a balanced diet and exercising according to your doctor’s orders, then your body is performing at its optimal health, which cannot be surpassed. If you have improved your diet, incorporated vitamins and supplements, and started cleaning your scalp regularly and noticed increased growth, then that is evidence that your health or regimen was lacking before. Things that impede hair growth are medication, poor diet, alopecia, dirty scalp, poor blood circulation, physical trauma, and stress, which all affect the hair follicle. In the event that you have experienced physical trauma to the scalp, then consult a trichologist so he or she advise you on the next steps. 

    If you want longer hair, the first item to address is your health. After evaluating your health, the next question is how do I retain length? If you are not experiencing permanent hair loss or scalp trauma, then evaluate your regimen. Are you using moisturizing products? Are you handling your hair roughly or too often? Are you keeping your scalp clean and trimming your ends when necessary? These will provide answers to why you are experiencing breakage. Notice I said breakage and not reduced hair growth. If you are not retaining length, then you are experiencing breakage not loss  or slowed growth.

    How do I make my hair curl?

    Gels, creams, custards, and mousses all capture and enhance the definition that you already have; they do not create curls. If you see curl or coil definition while your hair is wet, then the goal is to maintain that definition as it dries. The only way to manufacture a curl is through styles like roller sets. There is such thing as having no curl definition and that does not make your hair any less healthy than the next person. But if you used to have curl definition and it seems to have disappeared, then that may be evidence of dryness, heat damage, and an elasticity issue.

    How do I loosen my curl pattern?

    The only way to permanently loosen your curl pattern is through chemical processing. Loosening your curl patterns requires a relaxer or texturizer, but even using those means will not provide you the looser curls or waves (I assume) you are aspiring to. A relaxer will never make 4b coils 3c. The chemicals will merely relax/stretch/elongate the curl, but they do not alter the circumference of the curl to create a new one. There is possibility for your hair becoming limp and even more susceptible to dryness and breakage, so I do not think that is the solution.

    Which texturizer or relaxer would you recommend?

    Neither. NaturallyCurly celebrates, educates, and empowers the influencers of curls, coils, and waves. Any questions regarding permanent chemical straightening can be sought from the awesome ladies at the Hairlista.com forum.

    How can I make my hair look like hers?

    Asking the right questions is important to reducing the frustration of finding the root of your hair problem and the proper solution. Sometimes the root cannot be sought from an outside source. Self-acceptance plays a huge roll and is the biggest part of the journey. Going about your hair care with hair envy is miserable and no one should value someone else's beauty over their own. Learn how to be the best you and not a replication of someone else.

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    by Michelle Thames of HappilyEverNatural.com

    The phrase, 'heat damage' is a something that we all fear in the Natural Hair community! I recently interviewed natural hair vlogger Elle at Curls Unbothered about her experiences with Heat Damage.


    1. How long have you dealt with heat damage?
    I went “natural” in 2010, my sophomore year of college which for me meant removing all heated appliances from my regimen. I grew tired of having to straighten my edges and roots everyday because I was sweating every time I stepped outside. From 2010 to 2012, I did not let a single morsel of direct heat touch my hair. NO blowdryers, flat irons, curl irons/wands NOTHING! I decided in October 2012 for my first alumni homecoming appearance (HU!) I would straighten my hair, and that was the beginning of the end. I wish I had taken pictures of my hair back then, it grew from shoulder length to mid back length! I was completely amazed and quite frankly feeling myself to the highest degree. I got so many compliments on my hair (its health and growth) that I decided to keep it straight for “a little while longer.” Well, that little while turned into a full year in which I straightened my hair once a week which included:
    • Blow-drying on the HIGHEST heat setting my CHI blowdryer could achieve
    • Flat ironing on 450 degrees sans heat protectant or deep conditioning
    During that year of straight hair I didn’t experience any breakage and my hair continued to grow but my curls slowly diminished. I washed my hair one day and thought to myself “I’m tired of straight hair I’m going back curly,” only to realize I had no curls left. Thus, my heat damage journey was born!

    2. What steps did you take to combat your heat damage?
    When my brain finally clicked that my hair was pretty much damaged, I finally decided to put all my heating tools away (for the second time). I got on YouTube and researched protein treatments that would possibly help to repair my hair. I went to Sally Beauty and purchased the perm rods that I thought mimicked my curl pattern best and I got to work. I committed myself to only doing perm rod sets, deep conditioning every wash day and consistent protein treatments and trims. 
    The protein treatment that I began my journey with was the Aphogee Two Step Protein Treatment . This really helped in strengthening my weak hair and I even saw some of my curls trying to bounce back. Through research I found another protein treatment option called Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein (Amazon) which is what I’ve been using since. 
    It is also important to note that I did get trims on a consistent basis. I would get trims every 8-12 weeks allowing the stylist to take between 1/2 inch to an inch each time. I did straighten my hair to get it trimmed, but I was much more knowledgeable on how to properly heat style my hair so that I didn’t cause further damage.


     
    3. What advice would you give naturalista’s dealing with heat damage?
    My biggest piece of advice to those dealing with heat damage is be patient. While the situation can see dire and unrepairable things ALWAYS change over time. If you want to work with heat damaged natural hair you have to be patient and committed. I am over two years in and I am still dealing with heat damaged areas. It is also good to remember that hair grows back!
    Any other advice?
    I’m ALLLLL about low manipulation hair styles! For those who know me or are following me on any social media platforms I am all about the twists! Doing hair styles that don’t require a ton of brushing or combing really aides in length retention. So if you have heat damaged hair, doing protective styles like braids, twists, perm/flexi rod sets will really help in the transition.
     
    You can Find Elle on YouTube as CurlsUnbothed

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    by Sunshyne of Hairliciousinc.com

    Why is EVOO So Amazing?  


    Have you tried Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) in your hair regimen? If not, wait no longer! When used on the hair, extra virgin olive oil can nourish, condition and improve the strength and elasticity.

    Due to it's ability to penetrate the hair shaft, this rich moisturizing oil can reach the cortex of the hair, allowing the hair to feel conditioned, nourished, and healthy with each use.

    Extra virgin olive oil contains antioxidant vitamin E, vitamin A and helps heal dry flaky scalp, also known as dandruff.

    Read On!>>>

    How to Use Olive Oil in Your Natural Hair Regimen: 


    1. Pre-Poo treatment - Add 2-4 tbsps of EVOO to your dry unwashed hair. Apply to the ends first. Use the rest in your scalp. Cover your hair with a plastic cap for 15-20mins (with or without heat). Wash and condition as usual.

    2. Hot Oil Treatment - Add 2 tbsps of EVOO to a applicator bottle. Place bottle in warm water to heat up. Test on wrist until desired temp is reached. Apply to the scalp and massage for 10-15 mins. The oil will help dandruff and dryness and the massage will promote growth.

    3. Leave-in - You can use a dab of EVOO over your leave-in conditioner to lock in moisture thus helping to retain a proper moisture balance.

    4. Mixed into your deep conditioner - Add 1-2 tbsps of EVOO to your desired deep conditioner for soft, conditioned, smooth hair. This is my favorite method!

    CurlyNikki commenter Dana uses it as a pre-poo by mixing it with sweet almond oil and jojoba:

    And commenter Yazzy has her own DIY EVOO Deep Conditioner. Just mix 1/4 cup of EVOO, 1/4 cup of honey and a 1/4 cup of conditioner.

      Are you an EVOO girl? How do you use it? How often?

      This article was originally published on July 10th 2013 and has been updated for grammar and clarity. 

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      by Charlene Walton of TexturedTalk.com

      Last year I was so frustrated with my hair. After years of being natural I just did not understand why my natural curl pattern was not defined because I thought I was doing all the right things. I did not use heat often, I deep conditioned now and then and generally took “great” care of my hair. Thankfully, since I’ve started blogging I’ve become exposed to tons of new information I never knew about hair care. Around January, after months of frustration, I finally got serious. I read everything I could about the science of hair, created a regime and followed it consistently. Last week when I tried a wash & go for the 100 millionth time my results were amazing! So today I’m sharing 4 ways to enhance your natural curl pattern, all which are super easy to follow. I used these strategies religiously and went from frustration in November to popping curls by June.

      Read On!>>>

      1. Do not sacrifice length for hair health. Cut all dead or heat damaged ends
      If you do not remember I received a major hair cut back in January. I was desperate for a new look and even more I knew I needed to cut ties with all dead and heat damaged ends. As fellow blogger Sister Scientist so eloquently stated,
      “Unlike skin, hair does not have living cells; therefore, once the hair is damaged it cannot biologically repair itself. The damage can only be concealed or further damage can be prevented.”
      Let go of those ends and let your curls flourish. Weak ends will continue to break creating more frustration on your journey to a healthy head of curls. You will also find that after cutting your dead ends completing styles like twist-outs and braid-outs will become a lot easier.



      2. Enhance your elasticity by understanding protein/moisture balance
      Everything is about balance and moderation and your hair is no exception. Too much protein will make your hair hard with the possibility of breakage just as over-moisturizing can lead to hygral fatigue and breakage because the strands are weak. Elasticity measures the “stretchiness” of your hair. If your hair has a hard time stretching when wet and does not return to its natural state after pulling, your hair more than likely has low elasticity. Research shows elasticity cannot exist when there is an imbalance of moisture and protein. My hair has flourished since rotating between protein and moisturizing deep conditioners every week. Check for ingredients in your deep conditioners such as hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed keratin, and hydrolyzed silk protein, which will help restore the needed balance and repair weakness all in one step. In April I started using the Aphogee 2 Min Keratin Re-constructor once a week in addition to my moisturizing conditioners, which has made a HUGE difference. Not only is my hair thicker, but it is also more curly.


      3. Use products that are properly pH balanced to enhance curls, reduce frizz, and properly close the hair cuticle to retain moisture
      This tip is very important but often overlooked because quite frankly it requires you to do a bit more research than normal. In fact, I may be the only person who becomes extremely excited when brands list the pH on the actual packaging. The potential of hydrogen, also known as pH, is the measurement of how alkaline or acidic a substance is and significantly controls how the cuticle layers of the hair react to products. I try to use brands that state their products are pH balanced as much as a I can. If a product does not state its pH level, to define my curls I look for key ingredients in my curl enhancing products such as aloe vera juice.




      Aloe Vera juice is a great natural ingredient with a low pH of about 4, which is very close to the natural pH of healthy hair (4.5-5.5). I know this will help enhance my natural curls while also closing the hair cuticle. My most recent wash & go product to help enhance my curls is the Curls Gel-Les’C Serum. Aloe vera juice is one of the main ingredients.

      4. Use heat sparingly…or not at all
      I’m a realist and I know for some women avoiding heat forever is not an option. Using heat is totally fine, especially if used correctly, but from November to June I only blew out my hair about 4 times. I was on a mission to healthy curls so heat was something I had to give up for a while. Train your curls just as you train in the gym meaning consistency is key.



      The more I wore my hair without heat the more my curls continued to enhance naturally (no pun intended) over time. I also started to moisturize my hair daily unlike when I wore straight styles because I wanted to preserve my blowout as long as possible. If you choose to use heat more often do not skip using heat protectants and always deep condition before using high heat. The key tip to avoiding heat damage is to ensure the hair is properly moisturized from within.

      What are some ways you enhance your natural curl pattern? Comment and let me know!

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      When it comes to getting great curl definition that lasts, there are two important factors to consider: your product selection and application technique.

      Even though I'm a product junkie with no rehab stint in sight, even I can admit that technique is more important. You can have the best curl defining products at your fingertips, but if you're not utilizing and applying them properly, you'll blame the product for the outcome of your style.

      There are several methods for applying curl definers to hair, raking, smoothing, praying hands, and more. But there is one method that has been delivering the best results -- defined curls from root to tip that are plump, juicy, de-frizzed, and far from stringy ramen noodle style.
       
      Read On!>>>

      Ouidad's Rake & Shake Method
      The Rake & Shake was developed as a technique to define curls, encourage clumping without sacrificing too much in the way of volume. The method guarantees even distribution of product and minimal frizz--and promises perfect curls every time.

      I came across the Rake & Shake Method about a year ago while poking around online learning more about Ouidad as a brand and salon. I became curious about the method, but wasn't quite sold on how successful it would be with my multi-textured, type 3-something curls. The videos I found from Ouidad showed ladies with looser textures (like 2A hair) getting their Rake & Shake on--but I was hard pressed to find a video of it on more highly textured hair. So I decided to do what I always do when I get curious about the claims a brand, product, or method makes--try it out myself!

      The Rake & Shake method is really simple, and involves only a few minor adaptations from how you probably already apply product to your hair for wash and go styling. Really, it's modified shingling.

      What you'll need

      In this video, I styled my wash and go with As I Am Leave-In Conditioner, Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil, and Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel -- the yellow one. You can use Ouidad styling products to do the Rake & Shake (the consistency and slip of their Tress Effects and Climate Control gels is perfect for raking and shaking), or experiment and get the technique down with products you already have at home.

      In this video, my hair is freshly co-washed and deep conditioned, and divided into five sections to make things easier. I applied my leave-in and JBCO in the shower, so I'm keeping a spray bottle handy just in case my hair starts to dry.

      Remember, the best wash and go's happen on WET hair! Capturing the curl while it's still wet will guarantee you a longer lasting result.

      Got your products ready? Let's go!

      How to Rake & Shake


      1. Take a generous amount of your curl definer of choice and apply it to the root, then smooth and rake it through the entirety of the larger section. Really work it in so it coats all the strands. Then, take a smaller section within that larger section and move the rest of the hair out of your way.


      2. Starting at the root, rake your fingers through your hair. Rake thoroughly 3 or 4 times, so that your hair is evenly clumped between your fingers. This is going to give you more plump clumps of curls.


      3. On the last rake, stop just short of letting the hair go. Holding on to the ends, gently shake the hair up and down a few times to set the curl. Make sure that you're holding the hair in an outward motion, away from your scalp. This ensures that your curls will be defined to the root, but won't fall flat.


      4. Repeat steps 1-3 throughout each section of your hair.


      5. Air dry, diffuse, or use a combination of both. I personally prefer to air dry (I live in LA. it's still 80 degrees every day).
      Drying

      Took me all of 15 minutes to rake and shake my entire head. Now air drying, that's another story. Regardless of what product I use, it's an all day process. As you can see, the results in this video really cosign on the claims that the Ouidad folks make. Rake & Shake has given my curls new life! No more frizzy roots, no more randomly stringy ramen noodle curls. I even found that while letting my curls air dry, I didn't have to pin them back like I normally would to create that elongation in the front (thanks to the fact that it shrinks considerably more than the back half of my hair). For all the ladies like me with multiple textures, this is a total game changer.
      Watch my tutorial


      A lot of times, we naturalistas get comfortable in our styling boxes based on texture and type. I'm sure many type 3 and 4 ladies have heard of the Rake & Shake, but skipped past it based upon not being able to identify with the hair model in the video. Hopefully my video can help bridge the information gap a little--some techniques and methods can be universally applicable.

      Will you be trying the Rake & Shake?

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    1. 08/13/15--07:45: Amber Is Naturally Glam!

    2. Tell me about yourself!
      My name is Amber. I’m 21, a student, and have been natural for 2 years. I study international affairs and economics at Northeastern University in Boston. I love to travel and have been to quite a few places (Spain, France, Italy, China, Mexico, and the Caribbean Islands). I also write and perform spoken word poetry. A link to my YouTube page is below for anyone who’d like to listen.



      Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
      I transitioned for about a year and a half before I cut all my permed hair off. Trying to work with two textures was really difficult. By month 6, my permed hair was really thinning and I was frying my natural hair by straightening it all the time. In January of 2014, I did a semester abroad in Barcelona. It was impossible to keep my hair straight with foreign products made for European hair, so I cut all the permed hair out. Working with shorter hair was so much fun and 1000x times easier. Plus, the short length was a great way to try out different styles and see the versatility of my natural hair. 

      Had you always embraced your texture?
      As a child, all I wanted was straight hair. I can appropriate that to a family with processed hair, and everything I saw on TV. Once my permed hair was cut off, I committed to wearing my hair natural. It was weird at first with my hair being extremely short, but I got used to it. I just recently looked back at a picture of myself from a year ago, right after I cut out the perm, and it’s amazing to see how long and healthy my hair has become. I’m in love with my curls.

      How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them? 
      My sister was actually my inspiration. She was natural for a year before I decided to give up relaxers. We both were big supporters of each other, but our mother is still a creamy crack queen. Our family loves our natural hair, and most of them are natural or have locs. It was more so a decision I made for myself, so their support was not my priority. I know I wanted to find beauty in the way my hair is intended to look, and I have. 

      Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
      I have really thick hair. I don’t get into the numbers and letters of 3a or 4a etc. I think all of that is way too confusing. My curls are really tight at the crown of my head, and get looser further out. Now that my hair is colored, my curls are looser all around. 

      What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair? 
      During the process of messing with colors on my hair, I made the tragic decision to put a blond on top of the copper/bronze color I had. What I ended up with was bright yellowish pink hair. Needless to say, hair scarves and I got pretty familiar during this stage.

      What’s your biggest hair related regret?
      Coloring my hair! Overall it was such a traumatic experience, but you live and learn. I wanted to have auburn hair, so I went to a natural hair salon that I trusted to get the color done. Not only did they over-process my hair, permanently loosening my curl pattern, but I ended up with a rusty blond color. After that point, I stuck to doing my hair myself. While I love the color that I have now, which is courtesy of my mother, I know my curl pattern will probably never revert. Switching things up with color can be fun, but I don’t think the risk is worth it. 

      What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
      I wash my hair once every week and a half to two weeks. I start off with a deep conditioning mask that I blend myself (Mayo, avocado, egg, honey, evoo, coconut oil, and banana). I let that sit on my hair for at least an hour. Then I wash my hair with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo once or twice, depending how my hair feels. Finally, I use Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Condition, which provides great slip and allows me to easily detangle. 

      I let my hair air dry as is, or in twists. I am big on low manipulation, so whatever style I do after wash day (high puff or front twist with the back out) is what I keep until I wash it next. 

      What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
      The high puff is my go to! I was too excited once my hair grew long enough to create this style. It’s so easy to do and a great low manipulation style. I always make sure to have a loose fitting band, so I don’t put stress on my edges. Other than that, this style is perfect. 

      Pinterest is my go to for all of my hair ideas. They have great pins for hair recipes, styles, and products.   

      Who is your curl crush?
      Mini Marley! Her hair gives me life!!

      How do you maintain your hair at night?
      Bonnet or satin scarf with the pineapple method.

      How do you maintain healthy length?
      I trim my hair every time I straighten it, or when I twist it and see uneven ends.
      What's the best thing about being natural?
      Being able to wake up, spritz and fluff my hair, and GO! 

      Where can folks find you on the web?
      Instagram – AmberShantae
      Twitter – Am_BuRRRRRR


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      by Michelle of Radiant-Brown-Beauty 

      Here are 25 things you can do to improve your natural hair and prevent damage.  The goal here- to keep your hair on your head!

      Not including the obvious elimination of chemical treatments, this list contains all you need to maintain a healthy head of hair. They are categorized by care/maintenance and styling.

      Cleansing, Conditioning, and Drying: 


      • Nix shampoos with sulfates. Sulfates strip the hair of needed moisture and natural oil, drying it out.  
      • Pre-poo (pre-shampoo) your hair with coconut oil or olive oil. Coconut oil helps hair retain its protein levels, thus preventing damage.  It also limits the amount of water the strands absorb, preventing wear and tear (from expansion and contraction) over time. Both natural oils protect the hair from being stripped when you shampoo.
      • Deep condition your hair with a moisturizing deep conditioner after every wash.  Consider using a gentle heat source like a microwave cap or by wrapping a towel around your head (or rocking a  wool cap) to generate some body heat of your own. 

      • Use an old t-shirt for drying. No microfiber or towel drying. Contrary to popular belief, microfiber rips the hair out. It acts like velcro to our tresses! Towel drying frizzes the hair. Either air dry or use an old t-shirt.
      • Refrigerate your leave in conditioner.A cold leave in will help to seal your hair’s cuticle after washing. This is extremely helpful if you can’t take a cold water rinse. It will also increase the shine in your hair.
      • Oil your hair with a light natural oil daily. Jojoba is light and helps keep the hair tangle free.
      • Seal your ends with Jamaican Black Castor Oil. I have found this oil to be the best at protecting the ends from splitting. It’s so thick and protective, causing the ends to clump together. Seal after every wash and before styling.
      • Moisturize your hair as needed. Use your sense of touch to tell. If it feels dry... moisturize! 
      • Don’t use too many different brands. When your hair begins responding, you want to know what’s working. In other words, curtail your PJ (product junkie) ways.
      • Do a henna treatment. I’ve been giving my hair henna treatments for about 6 months as of the writing of this post. My hair health is improved along with an amazing strength and shine.
      • Clarify monthly. Hair products build up on the hair and every now and then the hair needs to be thoroughly cleansed. Especially, if you only co-wash (condition wash). You can either use a clarifying shampoo once a month or add a tablespoon of baking soda to your hair while shampooing. Apple cider vinegar is another option. 


      Styling


      • Stop heat styling completely.Air drying is the best thing you can do to keep your hair on your head. Limit heat styling to rare, special occasions.
      • Comb hair from the bottom up. When your hair is soaking wet and coated in conditioner, you can comb it with a large tooth comb or Denman brush to detangle. Do so carefully, working from the bottom up. Of all the detangling gadgets on the market, your 10 fingers remain your best tools.
      • Never ever tease your hair.This is a cardinal sin against highly textured hair (well hair in general but some don’t know it).
      • Don’t pull hair apart like a wishbone. If your hair is tangled, gently pull it up and apart in stead of pulling it apart like would a wishbone.
      • Use hair accessories with no hanging parts or exposed metal. Banana clips, Satin Scrunchies, Goodie Flex Barrettes, Ouchless bobby pins & Ouchless elastic bands are the best for styling hair so that it does not get damaged.
      • Avoid pulling hair tight at the hairline. Doing so will recede your hairline and damage the follicles permanently.  Not a good look. 

      Extra Care and Maintenance

       
        • Clip your nails before detangling. Hanging nails will damage hair. Always make sure your nails are smooth and even before hair styling.
        • Get a protein treatment once a month.  For maintenance, you can do this once a month or more if your hair is breaking.
        • Trim away split ends as necessary but don’t get a trim for the sake of trimming.If your goal is to retain length, you’ll only be cutting off perfectly good hair. The less you do to damage your hair, the less you’ll need to trim it.  
        • Massage your scalp to stimulate your hair follicles 2-3 times a week. Some believe this encourages hair growth. I have not found it to be, but it certainly can’t hurt and it does increase the blood flow to your scalp.
        • Take a multi-vitamin with Methylosulfonylmethame (MSM). MSM is believed to extend the lifespan of your individual hairs while also alleviating dry scalp. Always ask your doctor before taking vitamins to make sure it's right for you.
        • Tie up your hair at night. Never sleep on your hair loose. It’s more prone to tangling and breakage. 
        • Make satin your hair’s best friend. Sleeping in a satin scarf, bonnet or on a satin pillowcase prevents your hair’s moisture from being robbed. It also prevents unnecessary tangling.
        •  Eat a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Good for your hair and skin too. Keeps both pliable.

        Got any hair tips you’d like to add to the list? Do share how you take care of and do YOUR hair in the comments below!

        This article was originally published on June 2013 and has been updated for grammar and clarity. 

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        My hair has definitely seen brighter days. Those days I’ve gently massaged my scalp, covered it in olive oil and sat under the dryer. It’s even remembered the days I would religiously wear my satin scarf and take my Vivscal hair vitamins for extra nutrients.

        Now, each day is a fight. At some point I aspire to hire a glam squad to visit me every morning to give me fierce hair and beat my face into red carpet-ready glamour. Until then, my hair (which I call Angela), will see more dark days then usual.

        Caring for my hair is sometimes a dreadful task. From keeping it moisturized to keeping up with the latest trends and surfing CurlyNikki.com for style inspiration, I’m ready to retire.

        Nonetheless if I want to keep the hair on my head I’ve got to whip my hair into shape pronto. This month I’ve made a commitment to take better care of my hair by doing the following:

        Read On!>>>


        • Drinking water– Since my experience in the ER a few days ago I’ve made drinking water a priority. You would NOT believe how much shine and luster my hair has with just tripling my water consumption. My skin is supple, my scalp is moisturized and my locs could not glisten any more beautifully in the sunshine. It’s a cheap beauty trick. Get on it pronto!
        • Regular moisturizing– I used to only moisturize my hair when it got dry. It was a tremendous hassle and I don’t like to have gooey or oily residue on my hands. My quirks left my locs looking crunchy and ashy. Now I hydrate at least every three days before bed with some olive oil I spread through my hair and cover with my scarf.
        • Steaming - I know that most of you are on that amazing huetiful system and steaming your hair to perfection. I’ve turned my shower into my personal oasis and letting the water get nice and steamy before stepping in. I’ve recently ditched my shower cap in favor of some shower TLC. At some point I’ll break down and get the real steamer but I’m loving the extra bit of time in the bathroom that gives me the opportunity to treat my hair and sing along to my Solange station on Pandora.
        Don’t give up on your hair care maintenance plan. It can be tedious but not impossible!

        In a hair rut? What are your plans to jump start a healthy hair routine?

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         by Christina via GlobalCoutureblog.net

        Every decision has its reasons…what would be the reason to go natural?

        For me personally, going to the salon got way too expensive-- I wanted to learn my own hair, and I absolutely loved the versatility of natural hair. If you make the decision to go natural, make sure that it is your own decision and not anyone pressuring you. Remember that this is your hair and your journey.  Here are a few reasons why you would want to go natural:

        Read On!>>>

        Want A Change
        This could be from having straight hair all the time to wanting a different look. If you are looking for a change, you will definitely get that with natural hair. If you are tired of the same style over and over, going natural can give you endless options to cater to that change you are looking for.

        Debunks European And Western Standards Of Beauty
        When I was younger, I was taught that straight hair was the standard for beauty and poise. Kinky and coily hair was not accepted as beautiful, lovely, or appropriate. But now... natural hair is everywhere!  Companies want to be part of the movement, models and designers are for it, and the standard of “what is beautiful” is changing. Straight hair, what? Straight hair, who?

        Healthier For You
        Nothing against relaxers and other processing methods, but harsh chemicals are just not healthy for you. No matter how the box is sugar-coated with added oils, herbs, and cute pictures, it’s still a harsh chemical that can affect your health in the long run.

        Embrace New Growth
        Gone are the days of dreading new growth.  If you're looking to achieve and retain length, you will rejoice when new growth shows up!

        Hair Versatility
        You can be 4 different women in one week! Flat Ironed Beauty, Afrostatic Diva, Lioness Blowout and Fierce Female Twistout. With the right care, natural hair can really give you any style you are feeling for any day you want.

        Flexibility for previous Lifestyle Conflicts
        For all of you swimmers, exercisers, and yoga masters, this would be a great change for you. The one thing that you are going to do is sweat when you exercise. Yes, that’s surely inevitable. Natural hair can definitely give you the versatility to wash daily or style your hair for exercise. Also, if you are on-the-go, going natural has great options for styling: wash n go, afro, bun, etc.

        You Will Really Learn Your Hair
        When I was relaxed, I never took care of my hair. The reason was not because I did not feel like it or didn't know how, but because I had someone there who could just do it for me. Once I went natural, there was no salon I went to that knew how to do natural hair (probably have changed now or could have just been my city). So I was forced to really learn my hair. When you go natural, you will learn that not everyone can do natural hair. Not everyone will know how to even care for natural hair. So it will be up to you to learn your hair. Who better to do your hair, than you? Be your own hair guru!

        Time And Money Saver
        Other than saving money on going to the salon weekly, going natural can save you lots of money. Unless you are a product junkie or you literally have a wash day full of oils after herbs after treatments after other treatments, having natural hair is not that costly. All you need is a shampoo and/or co-wash, conditioner, leave-in, styler, and bobby pins (lots and lots of them). You may have other products depending on your styling and hair care preference, but that’s basically it.

        Pride In Afrotastic History
        If you are into the history of natural hair, then going natural would definitely be for you. Personally, I love the history and the timeline of Black Hair and how it evolved through history to the present time. Having natural hair makes me feel like I’m part of a great history. My hair has awesome roots (pun intended) and that makes me so proud to be Afrotastic in my own right and history.

        Great Sense In Natural Community
        When you become natural, you will inherit a bunch of sisters, aunties, mommas, and even brothers. The natural hair community is very welcoming and full of love when it comes to newbie naturals and those who are considering going natural. You can join natural hair groups on Facebook, chat in forums, add your comments and opinions on natural hair online publications, or even check out the family atmosphere of natural hair on other social media sites. Having natural hair comes with family who are willing to aid you in your healthy hair journey.

        Inspires The Next Generation
        Your little ones already want to be just like mommy! Your daughters, nieces, and grand-babies are definitely looking at you to see what is important to you. When you embrace your natural hair, they will see that natural hair signifies grace and beauty. They will learn to love their own curls, coils, kinks, and naps from the beginning of their lives. Help them take the first step in loving their hair by seeing you love your own natural hair.

        Controls Our Economics And Businesses
        Seriously though! Do you see how many businesses are wanting to take part in the natural hair industry? Most of the companies are brick and mortar ones, but there are rising and emerging companies who are black and natural-hair owned. Isn’t that something to celebrate in its own right?!

        Unique And Special
        Today, natural hair is seen as something so unique and special from everyone who passes by. Whether your natural hair is flowing and springy or fluffy and bountiful, natural hair is basically beautiful. People want to touch your hair, talk about your hair, ask you questions about your hair, and even smell your hair (seriously, I had that happen before). Natural hair is something that is praised about and loved on. It seems so new to other cultures and even some of us. Natural hair is the new girl in town and everyone wants a piece of her.

        Sense Of Freedom And Acceptance
        I’m not saying relaxed hair keeps you bound and chained, but it’s something about going natural that makes you feel liberated. It’s your own hair that grows out of your own head and you accept that! Your hair is on the schedule that you set for her and not on another’s time schedule. You give your hair the freedom to frizz as she pleases, fro as she grows, and spring indefinitely. There are no limits to natural hair! Everything can be achieved as long as you accept her.

        If you make the decision to go natural, make sure that it is your own decision and not anyone pressuring you. Remember that this is your hair and your journey. Make the right choice for you alone.

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        Hola Chicas!
        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, etc.!

        The Beauty of Natural Hair. Undeniable. #productjunkies #naturalhairproducts #indynaturals @daricerene

        My flexi rod set came out so bomb! Video for how I achieved this look will be up this week @takeya_monique
         READ MORE>>



        Because chunky twist outs are more fun in color. I used #maybelline color tattoo in "painted purple". Inspired by an article on #curlynikki @bmycurlfriend


        This Ain't Yo Momma's Gray Hair. @oshunsweetnsour


        My stock been going up like a crescendo. @hello_curly


        Fro’ Life @_cebelamour_


        For those that asked here is a pictorial of my #flexirodset Products used: #lottabody Style milk x Wrap Me Mouse + #mielleorganics mint almond oil for the take down @posh_syd


        The shrinkage is real. We have a love/hate relationship Mostly love tho. @sherelle_naturelle


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        by Shelli of Hairscapades

        While surfing the GOC blogs, I would often find naturals who were concerned that they were experiencing breakage because they were finding short hairs. Their posts were filled with consternation because they were practicing healthy hair habits and couldn’t understand why they were experiencing breakage. So, this made me want to write a post for those who suspect breakage when they are doing everything “right.” Guess what? Those short hairs may be new growth!

        via hairfinder-
        Q: How can I tell if the short hair I see is new growing hair or broken hair?

        A: This can often be very difficult to determine, especially if the “short hairs” are in areas where breakage can occur (around the hairline, etc.). Your first task would be to examine the hair closely and look for signs of stress on the hairs – such as split ends, stretching, etc. If there are signs of stress or damage, then breakage is the likely cause. This can be doubly certain in cases where breakage would be expected. For example: an individual wears his/her hair in, say, a tight ponytail and begins to notice short hairs at the forehead and temples.

        Breakage becomes less likely when the short hairs are found in places on the scalp that aren’t exposed to significant stress from the styles worn. For example if you generally wear your hair loose and parted in the middle, but notice hairs that “poke up” between the other hairs on the scalp that are NOT along the parting, there is a reasonable chance that the hair is simply “new growth” in follicles that have recently shed their hairs.

        This new growth of hair will not be found in great numbers. Since only 10% of the hairs on average are in a resting phase at any given time (the rest being in a growth phase) and the hairs are shed following the resting phase as the new hair pushes the old hair out of the follicle, you would generally only see 10% of the hairs on your head as these short, newly-grown hairs.
        Read On!>>>
        In addition to the above, a few things one should think about when trying to diagnose breakage are:
        • Are the ends of the short hairs tapered or blunt? Tapered hairs tend to be new growth whereas blunt and split hairs or hairs with white ends are indicative of breakage.
        • Does the majority of the hair on your sink or in your comb/brush, have “roots” (white bulbs) attached or are many/most strands rootless? Strands with white bulbs are shed hair and not breakage.
        • Do you hear *snap, crackle, pop* when combing or manipulating your hair? If you do, it’s probably breakage and the best thing to do is handle your hair more gently and ensure that it is well lubricated/saturated (with a pre-poo or conditioner – some prefer wet hair and others on dry) before attempting to detangle slowly from ends to roots. I prefer to finger detangle first as I’m able to feel the bad knots and tangles in order to gently ease them out, rather than ripping through them with a comb/brush.
        • Do you have a lot of split ends and/or SSKs? Both of these can cause breakage as the splits and knots can/will snag on adjacent hairs and cause additional damage. I’m a fan of the S&D method to keep knots and splits to a minimum.
        • Do you use heat often and/or forgo heat protection? Do you re-apply heat to “dirty” hair? Try reducing or eliminating direct heat. Opt for roller sets and silk wraps rather than a flat iron if you want straight hair and always use a heat protectant. Keep the passes over your hair to a minimum (1 0r 2) if you must use a flat iron or curling iron. Only “press” freshly clean and 100% dry hair.
        • Do you use hair tools with metal parts or materials that can snag or tear? Do you protect your hair at night? Opt for barrettes, clips and hair elastics without metal parts, such as Goody Comfort Flex Barrettes, Ouchless ponytail holders, banana clips and satin scrunchies. Sleep on a satin pillowcase and/or wear a satin scarf or bonnet.
        • Is your hair well moisturized or is it often dry and brittle to the touch? If so, are you moisturizing with a water based styler or leave-in and sealing with an oil or butter? Have you tried weekly deep conditioning treatments with a moisturizing DC? (There is an ongoing debate on the hair boards about the effectiveness of DCs and DCs with heat, but I am a believer. I believe the only way for you to know if they will make a difference for you is to give them a try.) Are you overdoing protein DCs and/or not using a moisturizing DC as a “protein chaser?
        • How do you style your hair? Too much tension on the hair, especially fine and fragile curly hair, can cause damage. I personally opt for low manipulation and protective styles that I can wear for 2-5 days. I’ve also grown MBL hair with WnGs, so it is possible. However, everyone’s hair responds differently and to different things. The key is finding what works the best for you.
        That being said, in 2010 I experienced two things. One, I had breakage along my center part in the Winter of 2010, which I suspect was caused by using a protein-based gel (my hair and protein don’t get along well). In addition, my hair began shedding like crazy and I think that was caused by using amla in my henna, which my scalp did not like. I stopped using that protein gel last Spring and it appears that I have finally resolved my excessive shedding problem by discontinuing use of amla and avoiding getting conditioner on my scalp. As I don’t see a lot of breakage, rarely hear a *snap, crackle and/or pop* and it appears that the end of my short hairs are tapered, I believe my hair is in the recovery phase where the hairs that broke and shed are regrowing. Although I’m certain the short hairs represent more than 10% of my hair, knowing that I’m taking care of my hair as well as I can and am employing a well-founded regimen and techniques, I don’t worry about it. If you think that you are experiencing mechanical damage, then take a closer look at your regimen and/or techniques. However, if your regimen and techniques are on point, breathe a sigh of relief because those shorts hairs are most likely new growth and the result of your healthy hair efforts!

        ***AN UPDATE***


        2011 (same pic from above)

        VS.

        2012
        The Tip:
        Photo documenting is invaluable! If you are concerned about a specific area or working towards a goal, pictures are a great tool that will serve you far better than memory. My immediate gut reaction to the shorter area in my crown was, “Dang!! It’s breaking badly!!” But, having an older photo that I could reference saved me from the anxiety of contemplating a potentially drastic and unnecessary cut!

        So, if you have hair goals, are working on building a regimen and/or are trying to determine what products and techniques work best for you, I’d definitely recommend taking pictures. And, don’t forget to date them! Fortunately for me, the blog is a FABULOUS log and photo journal:)! However, prior to that, I just used a Facebook album. So, do whatever works for you!

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