Do You Have Hair Breakage, or New Growth?

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.
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5 Uses and Benefits of Shea Butter You Haven't Thought of Yet

by Veronica Jacobi via NaturalBella

What is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a natural conditioner for hair. It is produced from the Shea-Karite tree nut, which is a native tree found in the tropics of East and West Africa. It provides extraordinary moisturizing properties and is therefore known as “mother nature's conditioner”.

It’s been utilized for decades in areas of Africa not only for the hair but also because of its skincare and therapeutic qualities. Shea butter is also known to heal burns and injuries, and to get rid of surgical marks, dermatitis, and stretch marks. Apart from medicinal uses, some of the most common uses for Shea butter include using as a natural moisturizer for your body and face, and as a conditioner for dry hair.

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Creating a Regimen for your Growing TWA

by Naeeri of Your Africa is Showing

When I originally started my natural journey, I had no idea how much I would learn about my hair. I've never been one of those girls who was good at sticking to a regimen, so I never even tried. I became a product junkie, buying every good product I researched, and just did my hair from day to day. Through much trial and error (and wasted time, hair, and money), I learned that my hair taught me what it needed, wanted, and very much created its own regimen!

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7 Mistakes Many Naturals Make

by Tammy of CurlyChics

1. Not detangling
Never, not once did I properly detangle my hair, if at all. I would simply shampoo and condition my hair, throw some Motions foam wrap lotion and Paul Mitchell foaming pomade and keep it moving. I barely used a comb! Now, it was cute but that’s it. It was not healthy in the least bit. Surprisingly I didn’t lose a lot of hair; however, I was not retaining length either.

2. Sleeping without a satin cap/scarf
At night I would lay my head down straight gorilla style! The only time I slept with a satin cap/scarf was when I straightened my hair. WTW? I know...makes no sense, which leads me to the next mistake on my list…using excessive heat.

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Protect Your Cuticle: The First Line of Defense for Natural Hair

Fig. 1: Undamaged hair

Tonya McKay writes:

As a polymer scientist with a love for biological structures, I find hair and skin to be extremely fascinating systems. Human hair is an intricate composite structure comprised of keratin proteins, lipids, polysaccharides, water and pigment particles. All of the individual components are complex and perform very specific functions. Those of us with curly hair are concerned a lot about our hair’s texture and porosity (a popular buzz word of late). These two factors are primarily based upon the structure of the cuticle — the outer layer of our hair.  

The scanning electron microscope image in Figure 1 shows highly magnified detail of the exterior surface of a strand of human hair. The external layer is called the cuticle, and is much like bark on a tree. Both the cuticle layer and tree bark are made up of many smaller, individual pieces (called scales when referring to the cuticle) that work together as one overall unit to perform a function. The job of the cuticle is to provide protection to the hair shaft from mechanical and thermal damage, while allowing moisture in and out as needed. The cuticle structure is an amazing work of nature, because it is strong, yet flexible, and is made up of many pieces, which allows it to act as a seal to protect the inner cortex of the hair, and yet also allows it to be permeable, or porous.

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Curly Hair Tips for Spring & Summer Humidity

Tonya Mckay writes;

As we move into spring and summer — our favorite seasons for fun outdoor activities — we face challenges with our curly hair that are unique to the climate and activities.

There’s no denying that the change in seasons can be tough on our hair care routines. Products and processes that were working so well suddenly seem to have the opposite effect. Often, at the heart of these issues is a change in the environmental moisture content (humidity). High humidity is especially harsh on curly hair.

The reason for its susceptibility to humidity fluctuations lies in the physical structure of curly hair. Straight hair, undamaged by environmental or treatment factors, has a protective outer layer of cuticle scales that overlap and lie fairly flat against one another. Curly hair, even in very good condition, is much more porous because those cuticle scales do not always lie flat. This porosity allows more water to migrate out of curly hair into the environment in dry weather (not good), and also allows more moisture from the environment to migrate into the cortex of the hair strands in humid weather (also not good).

Read on for tips and ingredient recommendations>>>

Elasticity and Healthy Natural Hair

by Tonya McKay via

One of the primary indicators of the health of your hair is its elasticity. Healthy hair has a high level of elasticity, which gives it body, bounce and curl formation. Elasticity makes it possible to style hair and also is responsible for curl retention. But what exactly does the term elasticity mean? We know it has to do with the stretchiness of our hair, and we know it is a desirable property, but it may not be entirely clear what it is.

Also, what contributes to elasticity of hair, and how can we maintain or improve the quality in our own locks? These are important questions, and as always, much insight can be gleaned by an examination of the fundamental principles as well as the molecular structures that make up the hair.

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Deep Conditioning Tips for Long Natural Hair- Cool and Seal!

by Shelli of Hairscapades

Several years ago, my youngest sister gave me a couple little deep conditioning tips. You see, I had been ogling the Ouidad Deep Treatment, because I had been reading so many rave reviews about it. However, the joker was $50 for 8 ounces (8.5 now)!  I just couldn’t see myself spending that much for a conditioner. $18 for 8 ounces of Carol’s Daughter Tui Hair Smoothie was already hurting my wallet!
So, my sister says to me one day, “I don’t think it’s the conditioner per se, I think it might be the technique.” She tells me to allow my DC to cool for 15 minutes after I remove the heat source and then, put my regular daily conditioner over the DC before rinsing them both. Well, I tried this shortly thereafter and it really seemed to make a difference in how my hair felt after rinsing the DC!

3 "Secrets" to Natural Hair Growth You're Overlooking

by Danielle of

The general consensus from women seems to be that ladies with long hair have some secrets they’re holding on to. There must be some mystical combination of tools, products or techniques they use in order to get hair that grows past your shoulder blades. As of today my hair is just slightly past my waist and I’m still growing.

Unavoidable Damage and Length Retention- Natural Hair Care

glam idol, Mia!

Mo' Hair, Mo' Problems
Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

When you're enthusiastic about hair care and dedicated to a healthy hair journey it can be difficult to be objective about your hair. It's easy to talk about things that keep the hair healthy like gentle handling, good conditioners, and low manipulation, but if those were the only things that mattered, everyone's hair would be doing great. In reality, despite meticulous efforts to grow a long, thick head of hair, many women still struggle to maintain length and reach their other hair goals. To get past a length hurdle or stop persistent breakage you have to realize one important thing: Damage is unavoidable. If your hair isn't making progress that means it's being damaged faster than it can recover. Many natural women already steer clear of heat and chemical treatments, but mechanical damage is still an issue and it can be difficult to recognize.

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Things to Consider Before You Color Your Natural Hair


Color Smart: 4 Things You Should Consider Before You Color Your Natural Hair
by Audrey Sivasothy of The Science of Black Hair

Taking your hair to the next level with color can be a really exciting experience. Color can jazz up a boring puff, add dimension to locs and twistouts or really turn heads as a simple statement piece on TWAs. While going darker, adding lowlights or coloring within your natural color range won’t cause you too many problems—the drastic color leaps upward (more than 3 shades beyond your natural color) can really take a toll on your hair. Before you engage in any hair altering experience, first understand and weigh the risks. Never ever color your hair on a whim or without a gameplan for aftercare. Finally, decide if you trust yourself enough to do it yourself. Be honest with yourself and say, Self— do you really know what you are doing? What if this color is unsuccessful? Am I prepared for breakage? Am I prepared for a weird color result? Before you take the color plunge, here are some things to consider.

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The Basics of Natural Care- All You Really Need.

The Compound Effect in Healthy Hair Care Avoiding the Fluff and Sticking to Key Healthy Hair Principles

by Audrey Sivasothy 

Most writers will tell you that they are also avid readers. I am no exception to the rule. Interestingly, one book that has informed my understanding of hair care is not really a hair care book at all. It’s a little book called, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. In the book, Hardy states that, “Success is not doing 5,000 things really well. Success is doing a half dozen things really well— 5,000 times.” And it’s true. When I heard this, it immediately made me think of the very well intentioned but over the top, bank-breaking hair care regimens and routines I’ve seen over the years. We are doing too much, and we get to this point because we really don’t know or want to accept the basics of healthy hair care. Let’s face it— the basics are boring. Cleanse, condition, moisturize and keep my hands out of my hair can’t be all, right?

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Should I Transition or Should I Big Chop?

by Danielle of Long Natural Hair Care

I’m honestly surprised at how often I am asked this question by future-naturals. I love being asked for advice and helping when I can, but this question is so personal it’s really hardly my place to say. In the past I have answered this question with something evasive yet friendly…but now that feels like too much of a cop out. In my first go round as a natural, I did a big chop after a 6 month transition taking me from below bra-strap length up to a little afro. In my second (and final) conversion back to natural, I did a long transition of almost 2 years.

While it’s true, only YOU can determine whether you should transition or do a big chop, there are some important things to consider when making your decision.

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Scalp Massage & Stimulation for Hair Growth

by Dr. Phoenyx Austin

Are scalp massages part of your hair care regimen?

They’re part of mine! I love scalp massages. I’m addicted to them. I love giving them to myself and I love receiving them.

Scalp massages have been used for over 5,000 years ago as part Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on preventing and treating disease with noninvasive therapies like nutrition, herbal therapy, mediation, massage and yoga. The premise of Ayurvedic medicine is that disease is the result of physical, mental and spiritual imbalance. And scalp massages (along with massages in general) are a method to restore balance and improve our health.

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6 Natural Hair Warnings

by Tammy Goodson of CurlyChics

So you’re ready to go natural. You’ve grown bored with your relaxer and impatient with the current state of your hair and you’ve decided to take the plunge. Armed with the information you’ve read from a few blogs (namely Curly Nikki and Curly Chics - *shameless plug*), you think you’re ready. Here are a few warnings of things you may experience once you do the deed.

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Common Hair Conditioner Ingredients

I received a few questions yesterday about ingredients in conditioners, especially alcohols.  Remember alcohols like Cetearyl, Cetyl and Stearyl are fatty and act as softeners or emollients.  They're not drying like SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40, Alcohol denat, Propanol, Propyl alcohol and Isopropyl alcohol. Check out this re-post for clarification! 

Most of us with curly hair are pretty well-versed now in the need for our hair to be very well hydrated and conditioned. But what exactly does this mean? There are so many products on the market that claim to be the solution for our dry, frizzy tresses, but which do we really need? Also plentiful are the words used by marketers and hair care experts when telling us what we need for our hair to be healthy and beautiful. Among these are humectant, moisturizer, emollient, detangler, reconstruct/repair, and color protecting. What do these terms really mean, and what ingredients should we be looking for if we desire some of these properties?

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How to Make Fine Natural Hair Appear Thick

CN says:
re-posting since we're talking about fine hurr! 

Hola Chicas!

Last night's post got me thinking...

Many of us (not erry'body, tho) want thicker looking hair. I'm talking BIG, voluminous, heavy, block-people's-line-of-vision tresses. I too fancy big hair, and even go so far as to henna regularly to achieve it. Score! It totally works, but what happens when you can't henna (due to time constraints, side effects such as curl loosening or the red tint)? Or, if henna simply didn't work for you? Obviously, growing more hair per square inch would be sorcery... so we have to work with what we've got.

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Tips for the DIY Natural Hair Product Mixtress

by Tammy Goodson of CurlyChics
  • Less is More-- Products with no preservatives do not have a long shelf life (1 to 2 weeks, depending on the ingredients). When mixing up batches of your favorite hair food, be sure to do so in small quantities and small batches to ensure you are able to make use of it all.
  • Refrigerate-- Products without preservatives should always be kept in a cool place. Since most DIY products are natural ingredients without preservatives, they must be kept at a certain temperature to avoid spoiling and potential for microbial contamination.

Understanding Fine Natural Hair

by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

After studying African American hair in depth, doctors and scientists have found a lot of common features. Hair of African descent is likely to be very curly, dry, and fragile by nature. Those are the more universal characteristics, but obviously every black woman's hair isn't the same. One of the most important differences between hair types is one that's often overlooked when discussing black hair: strand thickness. Strand thickness or diameter refers to the size of each individual strand of hair on your head. That's different than the number of strands on your head. You may have a lot of hair, but each of those hairs can be fine, medium, or thick.

This picture shows actual strands of hair that were photographed using a special imaging system. The hair on the left is much finer (or thinner) than the hair on the right.

Strand thickness is important because it's closely tied to which products work well for your hair. Differences in strand thickness can result in one person loving a product and another person hating it, especially with regard to leave-in conditioners and stylers. Fine hair requires the most care, so it's important to figure out if your hair falls into that category. Even though black hair needs lots of moisture, using too much product or one that's too heavy, can make fine hair look stringy or sparse.

The most accurate way to determine your hair's diameter is to measure a few strands using a machine similar to the one used for the picture above, but you really don't need to be that exact. See if any of these scenarios sound familiar...


Minimizing Natural Hair Damage

by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

When you're enthusiastic about hair care and dedicated to a healthy hair journey it can be difficult to be objective about your hair. It's easy to talk about things that keep the hair healthy like gentle handling, good conditioners, and low manipulation, but if those were the only things that mattered, everyone's hair would be doing great. In reality, despite meticulous efforts to grow a long, thick head of hair, many women still struggle to maintain length and reach their other hair goals. To get past a length hurdle or stop persistent breakage you have to realize one important thing: Damage is unavoidable. If your hair isn't making progress that means it's being damaged faster than it can recover. Many natural women already steer clear of heat and chemical treatments, but mechanical damage is still an issue and it can be difficult to recognize.

Read On>>>

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