5 of the Most Annoying Natural Hair Questions #Staaahp



 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!>>>

Cassia and Natural Hair

The winner is...

Anon July 27 1:34pm

Email me with your name and address so I can get your goodies in the mail!



Below is a re-post from early 2009. Lately, I've been receiving tons of inquires about Cassia... as well as questions about using henna without a change in color. Hopefully this will clear up any confusion!


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Anonymous writes:

Hey Nikki!

I know you're a Henna girl, but I saw your comment for one of your pictures, and you mentioned using Cassia. I'm curious about henna but there are a few things that have me nervous about taking the plunge to try it, one of them is the coloring effects. I know Cassia is supposed to be similar without altering hair color, if you don't mind, can you share your experience with Cassia?
Thanks a bunch!


CN Responds;


I tried cassia about 4 times before moving on to henna. Initially, like you, I was afraid of the red color, especially since I had a considerable amount of brown highlights throughout- I wasn't going for 'fire engine red'.

Again, henna red is translucent. I liken it to coloring on a black (or brown) sheet of construction paper with a reddish-orange crayon. In most lighting, the paper sill looks black, just shinier. However, if you hold it just right under the light, or step outside, you can see the hint of color. It's the same with my hair. Indoors, the hair is a shiny, rich, black, but outside it looks as if I did an auburn rinse. For my brown haired curlies, your hair will appear auburn, no matter the lighting. So, if you're still reluctant about that red tint, Cassia may be the answer.

Cassia is similar to henna...although it's a different plant altogether, it has some of the same conditioning effects, sans color. Like henna, cassia strengthens the hair shaft, improves overall health, and adds lots of shine. It doesn't, however, reduce shrinkage or drastically thicken the hair up. It's effects are far more fleeting- lasting at the most 1-2 weeks. The mixing, application, and rinsing process is a bit less taxing as well. For starters, you don't have to wear gloves! Also, you only have to leave it in for 30 minutes to get the conditioning effects. Since you're not worried about dye release, you can mix in everything but the kitchen sink- I used to mix in oils, conditioner, and honey. Some blonde and gray haired ladies use Cassia for the slight yellow tint that it gives off. If you have dark hair, you don't have to worry about this effect.

I left cassia for henna for one reason- I wanted bigger hair. I didn't, and still don't mind the red. You're going to get improved hair health with both cassia and henna, but henna's effects will last upwards of 3-4 weeks, depending on how often you wash.

In my honest opinion, Cassia is just a REALLY good conditioning treatment.

Good luck!
Nik

Have you used Cassia? Share your experiences below...

... and win 200g of Mehandi's Cassia from my personal stash!

The contest will close tomorrow at 5pm EST. At that time, a winner will be randomly chosen and announced soon thereafter!

Good Luck!

F.A.Q.--Henna and Dark Natural Hair


A curlynikki.com reader writes:
"...your hair looks like it is jet black, is that all from henna? I'd love to get that dark shiny look."

I know it sounds weird, but the color changes depending on the setting. It's sort of like a rinse...a transparent copper-y rinse. Imagine drawing with an orange crayon on black construction paper- under most indoor lighting, the paper still looks black (albeit shinier), but if held under the light, just right, you'll catch a glimpse of orange. Outdoors, in sunlight, my hair glows auburn, so much so that my sis and hubby call me 'red head', but indoors it's a rich black. There are some instances (back lighting, etc.) where you can really see the red indoors, but I can never really catch it on camera.

With that said, if your hair is lighter than mine naturally (sandy brown, etc) the henna red will be very evident--your hair may appear auburn in most lighting conditions.

Many women use a two step indigo treatment to cover stubborn grays and dye the hair a rich, shiny, blue-black. I've never used indigo and don't plan to, but the results I've seen look gorgeous. Hope this helps!

Later Gator,
Nik

Please leave your henna/indigo mix experiences below!

Hair Tip of the Day- The Styling Edition

1. Hey Nik-

Ummm Yeah, how do you sleep with all those curlers in your hair??!!! I did a Twist N Curl once, and while I favored the results, the curlers gave me a headache in the morning!! Please dish how you keep your head from hurting but your curls ever-so-tight!

LOL! It can definitely be uncomfortable at times, but I'm a 'beauty hurts' person, so I deal with it. I usually make sure to roll the magnetic or rod rollers to my chin, or just below. That way, when I lay down on my side, I can flip the twists and rollers over the pillow so that I lay flat and comfortably. During the night, if any of the clips (at the roots) begin to hurt or dig into my scalp, I yank them out and throw them on the floor!

2. Hello Nikki,

Whenever I do a Twist-n-Curl, the twists look great, but they look so dry. I am using the exact same products you use (Pantene R & N for the deep treatment, Devacare One & Jessicurl WDT to set the twists.) Is there something else I am missing to make it look shiny (like yours! :)

Maybe she's born with it...maybe it's HENNA! My hair is naturally sheeny, and the henna has definitely enhanced this (along with rich conditioners). You're already using moisture rich products, so you've got that covered, but sometimes, less is more. Every now and then, when I'm heavy handed with products, I get a dull cast over my hair. Maybe your hair would fair better if you use DevaCare One (quarter size amount for each half), and simply seal the ends with Shea? See how that treats you and report back!

Also, if henna's color scares you, check into Cassia--you'll get the shine without the red.

3. When I comb through my wet hair it is shoulder length but, when it dries, it shrinks to about ear lobe length. What can I do/use to prevent some shrinkage?

Shrinkage comes with the territory of natural hair. Henna can help reduce shrinkage for short periods of time, but this isn't necessarily the case for every curly. If you're currently Wash & Going, try twisting, roller-setting, TnC'ing, or braiding your wet hair. Let it air dry completely, take it down, and fluff. Wet setting greatly reduces shrinkage.

I used to stretch my roots on occassion to achieve a fuller, longer look. This Hair Tip definitely works, but please use it sparingly. A blow fryer should not become a staple of your arsenal!

After my Wash & Go was fully dry (this is very important), I'd grab chunks of hair and blast the roots (with warm air) with a diffuser or air concentrator attachment. See step 8 of this Miss Jessie's Tutorial for a visual. I'd do this until most of the hair was stretched...taking about 5 minutes total. The end result was a bigger, fluffier curly fro that would last until humidity hit it, or it got wet :D

Recently, I discovered that pulling your freshly set and dried hair up into a loose pony overnight, yields the same results as the blow dryer trick above...with much less stress and damage of course! This is my new bedtime routine...I either leave it out, or pull it into a high pony.

4. How do you moisturize your hair without ruining your style?

This is a toughy, and I must admit that there are days that I choose beauty over moisture, lol. Not good. When I opt for bigger curls (magnetic rollers), it's much easier to apply Shea butter or Deva Set it Free to the ends. But, when I want a shorter, fuller curly bob (rod rollers), I never want to disturb the litte curls, so I usually leave them alone :( The key is to start with properly moisturized hair. Deep treat/condition with a moisturizing conditioner, rinse, and apply your rich leave-in, and be sure to seal the ends. Those steps are crucial, and make moistruzing on day 2, 3, or 4 less important.
When I choose to moisturize my ends, I use a product that clumps the curls (shea or Deva), rather than one that would weigh it down or frizz it out (water based moisturizer or oil based moisturizer).

5. Do you tell us ALL your hair secrets?

Of course! Ya'll know about every favorite product, every failed product, every successful styling attempt, every botched styling attempt... even my sex/bedtime routine (which has changed by the way--no more bonnet!!!). I dish all because it's therapeutic for me, and benefits you gorgeous chicas!

Later Gators,
Nik

Hair Tip of the Day- The Styling Edition



Hola Chicas,

Leave your curly hair styling questions (Twist-n-Curl, Knot-Out, Bunning, etc.) below in the comments section. I'll choose two to answer each day, for the rest of the week!

Later Gators,
Nik

F.A.Q.- Split End Help....

Hey Nikki,

The author of the following email requested that I pose this question to all of you. Help her out!

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Wondering if you can pose a question to your readers for me. I'm terribly confused at how to identify split ends on my head. When I was relaxed it was easy. The ends were not as smooth and looked frayed. Now that I'm natural. I really have no earthly idea how to tell. I suppose if I had a looser texture it might be easier because the ends would be rougher than the rest of the hair. But I am a 4A so my hair naturally has a coarser texture, so I can't tell. If I go strictly by the feel than my whole head would be a split end and I'd have to have myself bald. lol. How do I tell? I did trim my hair today and it feels and looks a lot better and combs out nicely. Before I was getting a lot of those single strand knots and the ends had the tendency to look straggly. I believe I cut off 1/4 to 1/2 inch. All I did was just trim each piece until it was even. my ends were very uneven. I couldn't tell what was split end and what wasn't. I just trimmed until it looked good to my eye. Any advice would be appreciated. Would love to hear from those with hair patterns like mine especially but all advice is appreciated.

Henna F.A.Q.


Nik,

So I finally got my hands on some real henna from
mehandi.com, and I was looking around online to see how/what you were supposed to mix your henna with. I noticed that on most sites, it says to mix with lemon or lime juice and honey, but you only mix with green tea. Is there something in green tea that you think works better in henna? Or is that just how you do it because it was how you were taught?

Hi,

Green tea is slightly acidic (which is adequate for dye release) and actually imparts a bit of moisture. ACV (what I used to use), lemon juice, and other acids are way too harsh for my dry strands. Green or chamomile tea work just as well. I routinely mix green tea and honey into my BAQ Henna. This is the brand I use: http://www.mehandi.com/shop/personalstash/

Later,
Nik

F.A.Q.- The Henna Edition

It's Monday already. Sad. I seriously live for the weekend.

I really enjoyed focusing on one topic for the' Hair Tip of the Day' last week (thanks Libra08!). So let's keep it going...this time, with HENNA.

Submit your questions below, and I'll do my best to answer them. Henna week will include all things mud, including cassia, indigo, and amla.
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While browsing Hennaforhair.com the other day, I ran across a thread about a woman who wants to use henna for conditioning purposes, but avoid the 'loosening' effect and red color. She wants to keep her dark shiny hair. Many of you have asked me this question as well.

Carrie, the resident of expert over at Hennaforhair, responded with what I thought was the best answer:

Adding a little amla (about 1/4 of your mix or less) instead of lemon or other acid (amla is plenty acidic) to the henna powder before dye release helps maintain curl. After 2-3 hours of henna, then you rinse and apply indigo paste for 1 hour for a true rich black.

If it's conditioning you want, Cassia is also an option. The effects are shorter lived (compared to henna), but it does impart shine, and strength. Curlies with gray hair should be careful because Cassia, if mixed with acid, will leave behind a yellow tint. Like henna, it's transparent, and while your color may remain unchanged indoors, it will be visible in the sun. For naturally dark haired curlies, cassia will not affect your color at all. For more information on Cassia, check out this post from a couple of weeks ago.

Later Gators,
Nik

F.A.Q.- Twist-n-Curl Edition


Hi Nik, Did you video tutorial have the end paper part in it? My hairdresser girlfriend always tells me to use end papers but I hate working with them and it takes THAT MUCH LONGER. You just wrap them around the ends and roll? Oh one more thing to buy. I have to find the pack I had a hundred years ago.

Lol, you know that I do nothing by the book. I've seen end papers used the proper way, but I choose to use them how we used toilet paper back in the day on our little pink sponge rollers. I just fold the paper, and wrap them around the roller. I trash the paper (which usually gets stained orange, lol) after a a few uses. In my mind, it keeps my ends from sticking to the plastic...plus, the consistency of the paper doesn't allow for zapping the moisture out of your ends like tissue would.


Hey CN I was wondering what do you do to your hair when you take a shower? I use a shower cap, but my curls always end up smooshed. Thanks


Like you, I put on a shower cap. I usually put a bonnet over that. As soon as I get out, I immediately take off the cap and shake my hair out to prevent flat curls. One time, in a crunch, I used a plastic grocery bag...I looked absolutely ridiculous, but it definitely didn't smash my curls :) I think I used a Goodie Ouchless Band to secure the bag on my head.

What size rollers do you use the most often, and where do you place each size? Thanks!


I like to use the 7/8" and 1 1/8"...I'll usually use the smaller ones in the back to create the 'bob' effect.

Later Gators,
Nik

F.A.Q.- Twist-n-Curl and Frizz Fighting

Hey Nikki! Just had a quick question about your twist-n-curl. When you take apart your twists how are you combating the frizz? Between fluffing and pulling apart the twists I just can get around the frizz! Also, are you twisting all the way down to the ends, or are you leaving the ends untwisted? I notice that your ends come out in perfect spirals and thats the look i want. Thanks !


Do you have any DevaCurl Set it Free or 100% Shea Butter? If you don't, please invest in one or both. I use these products to smooth the frizz that develops after separating and fluffing. My separation process usually involves quickly taking down the twists, and then separating some of those into 4 (the original 'two strands' become 4). Finally, I use my fingers like a pic to fluff, separate and add volume. Some frizz is going to happen...I embrace it because it adds character to my hair. The 'bad' frizz is abolished by squirting Deva Set it Free on my fingers and smoothing, or finger twirling the stubborn curls, or doing the same action with Shea butter. Both work equally well- Shea butter elongates the curl, while DevaCurl shrinks it some.

Also, day 3 or 4 hair usually has halo frizz, and applying Shea butter really helps fix this problem too! I simply scoop up a pea sized amount, melt between my hands, and apply to the crown of my hair with my hands in a downward motion. It lays down all the flyaways.

Oh, and yes, I twist to the tip...not that I think it matters. The roller completely smooths the hair out anyway.

hth!
Nik

F.A.Q.

Nik,

Why do you henna overnight? what is the shortest time you have henna'ed and still gotten the same/similar results as an overnight henna?

I henna overnight out of convenience and laziness. According to the experts over at Hennaforhair, 4 hours is adequate time to reap the conditioning and coloring benefits. I've done several successful 4 hour treatments. I just couldn't get with the mixing, applying, rinsing, DTing, and styling all in one day. Drove me nuts...and I was in and out of the shower like 5 times!

If you opt for the 4 hour treatment, you might want to let the mix sit for half a day prior to applying. I get away with mixing and immediately applying because I'm letting it sit in my hair upwards of 12 hours. Although some of the dye releases immediately, the rest of it releases while it's on my head, overnight. So, if you opt for a 4 hour treatment, please mix it up earlier in the day to achieve optimal results, and consider sitting under a heating cap or bonnet for part of that time.

Later Gators,
Nik

It's in the Water...

JC, our resident chemist's special report on water:


Shower filters are mainly used to remove chlorine from water but can also be used to remove heavy metals and the salts that cause hard water. So why remove chlorine? It has been linked to changing protein structures (such as hair) and stripping oil (from skin and hair). Chlorine is the gold standard disinfectant and without which, we would more than likely have water with all kinds of bacteria and parasites.

As a guide, pick a brand that lists it claims with testing (for example 99% chlorine removal tested by xyz). Also pick a brand that gives you a guide as to how long you can use the filter effectively (9 -12 months usually).

There are many reports of people stating that their hair and skin conditioned improved instantaneously after using a shower filter. I don't however think that shower filters are the answer to instantly moisturised skin and hair. If your skin and hair was dry before using a shower filter and is still dry afterwards, then you need to look to other answers.

These can include at the first level diet and exercise and then at the next level daily care. Try changing your conditioner, porosity treatments and moisturising oils. I would also let you know that having long hot showers is not recommended for your skin or hair. Hot water opens up the hair cuticle allowing moisture in but if the cuticle is not closed back down then this same moisture is driven back out (dry hair!). Ideally with washing your hair, you should use tepid water (just warm to the touch). Also consider if your hair needs frequent protein conditioning. With natural hair, if you are not colouring or heat treating, you could reduce the frequency of protein conditioning. If you feel your hair is quite hard after washing, it could be excess protein.

As for the rotten eggs smell (hydrogen sulphide) it is most likely caused by a blocked or partially blocked pipe (Does the water take some time to drain?). This could happen if you have hair trapped in the pipes causing everything else that you try to drain down to get caught. If you don't already have one, get a filter to catch your hair and avoid it getting down the drain. You can also try some home solutions to fix the problem like bleach or buy a drain unblocker. I feel that I should add a disclaimer that I'm not a plumber so you may want to get one to look at it for proper advise!

This site compares 3 popular brands, side by side: http://www.discountjuicers.com/showercompare.html

F.A.Q.- Bentonite Clay and Silicones

Hello Nikki,

I love your blog! I have a question that maybe either you or JC (the "resident chemist") could answer. Do you know if Bentonite clay removes silicones from the hair? See, I've been CG for about three weeks and I've been less than pleased. My hair is poofy, stringy, and the curls have shrunk up tremendously. I just do not like the effects so far. From my understanding of the reasoning behind CG, silicones are not the problem for our hair, it's the harsh sulfates in shampoos that are used to remove them. So, I've been doing my research on bentonite clay and found that SUPPOSEDLY it can replace clarifying shampoos. All I want to know is if this is true, and if it can remove silicones so they don't build up.


JC: Just as a side note, I'm not really sure that silicones are the problem for this poster. I'm almost certain she has a porosity or moisturising issue. Shrinkage is pretty normal but when the hair is porous, it tends to shrink up really tight as the hair loses moisture quickly. I don't tend to give hair care advice since I'm not a trichologist and I haven't seen her hair but what she is describing is not consistent with silicone related issues. Excess silicone ends up as greasy hair.

Okay to the question

Betonite clay is not really researched for use in hair but it has been used as an industrial cleaner. Most forms of the clay have been shown to be able to remove ions (for example dissolved salts such as table salt/sodium chloride). There are definite pointers that it can adsorb proteins, fats and grease .This means that the fat/grease gets stuck onto (adsorbed) the clay and therefore removed away from the surface.

There is nothing that I could find to say that it can remove silicone (the kind found in hair products). Silicone does tend to be in grease form so it is a possibility that Betonite can lift this from hair.

I'd like to mention that Betonite clay does contain silicon in the form of silica (SiO silicon and oxygen) and not the classic silicone/siloxane (SiO with Carbon groups). The two forms are quite different in behaviour. The silicon in betonite clay is more similar to what you find in glass or sand while that in hair products is more similar to the sealing stuff used in bathrooms.

F.A.Q.- Can Split Ends be Fixed?

" Nikki, I love your blog! I have a question: I'm wondering if it is possible to repair damage done to my hair. I've used permanent dye, and heat, and my ends are splitting, and breaking. I also have white specs on the ends of my hair. I'm really scared, and I don't want to start over again. What products can I use?"

Unfortunately, there are no products that can 'repair' damage. What's done is done. Products that claim to heal or fix split ends are simply a temporary solution. They hide the damage by sealing your ends together- usually with silicones or other plastics. In order to truly fix your damaged hair, you need to get a trim, and baby those ends. You can use protein treatments to fill in some of the holes on the length of your hair shaft, but if you have splits and "white dots" on your hair, you may need to cut off the damage to start over. Now, if you are like me, only cut off what you can stand to lose. My colored and heat damaged hair was the source of great stress over the past 2 years. I've been growing out my highlights for what seems like forever. It takes time, dedication and lots of trial and error. But the bottom line is, you need to start trimming. Oh, and weekly deep treatments won't hurt either! I'll touch on the White Dot phenomenon tomorrow.

F.A.Q.- White vs. Yellow Shea Butter

"Nikki, what's the difference between yellow and white/gray Shea Butter? How can I tell if it is refined?"

The color of unrefined Shea Butter depends on the Shea Nut itself. The color can vary from off-white/beige to medium yellow. I've now tried Shea of both the beige and yellow varieties and can detect no discernible difference. As far as benefits are concerned, there is no difference between the various colors yielded by the different Shea nuts. Which means that yellow Shea is no better than beige. In spite of this fact, one can still quickly distinguish unrefined Shea Butter from bleached or processed Shea Butter, because refined Shea Butter is usually odorless, white, and creamy in texture. It looks completely different that unrefined Shea, and is usually more costly.

Polyquats?

"Nikki, what are polyquats, and why are they considered a no-no?"

I'm by no means a chemist, so I did a search on Google and NaturallyCurly and came up with the following:

Polyquats = polyquaternium polymers found in many styling products
Major Concerns= Water insolubility and build-up

Polyquaternium materials range from water miscible to water soluble, in varying degrees. However, it is important to realize that these are used in products because they form a complex with your hair due to electrostatic interactions. The resultant complex between the hair keratin and the polymer can actually be more stable than any complex that might be formed by attraction between a Polyquaternium polymer and an anionic surfactant such as sodium lauryl sulfate. This means that some of these polymers can be resistant to removal, even with clarifying shampoos. Polystyrene sulfonate, a negatively charged polymer, has been found to aid in removal of these polymers in cases where they are resistant to removal by traditional means. Some studies have shown that Polyquaternium-4 is particularly good about not causing build-up.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there...I don't really pay much attention to polyquats, because most of my products are devoid of them. However, if you're a gel user, you may want to check out the following list of polyquats and what they're used for:

Cationic polymers (Polyquaternium)– These positively-charged polymers are very substantive to the negatively-charged surfaces of human hair. For this reason, some cationic polymers have been found to be useful in hair styling applications. They form clear, glossy films and decrease static-charge buildup and fly-away hair. They typically provide good wet and dry combing results and impart a smooth feel to the hair.

Polyquaternium-4 is a superior film-former on the hair, and has been found to exhibit very high curl retention even in humidity. It is very substantive to hair, but exhibits little build-up. It is very stiff due to its molecular structure, and is thus outstanding for use in hair gels.

Polyquaternium-11 is copolymer of VP/DMAEMA (vinyl pyrrolidone and dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate). As a copolymer of VP and an acrylate, it is less susceptible to humidity than VP homopolymer. However, it may have more potential for failure due to humidity than polyquaternium-4. Polyquaternium-11 is generally recommended for mousses and creams, where it can moisturize as well as aid in styling. This polymer is water miscible, but not water soluble. This could lead to some build-up over time if one were not using a clarifying shampoo occasionally. There are many more polymers, copolymers, combinations of polymers, and new additives for hair gels that are being used in commercially available formulas, and even more being developed in laboratories. Many of these provide better rinsability, more softness, and a tougher film with better hold.

The above is extracted from THIS ARTICLE.

It looks like many curlies are concerned about quats for the same reasons that they are concerned about cones. However, if you live in a humid climate, like NC or GA, polyquat4 may be worth checking in to!

Later Gators,
Nik

Nightly Routine

I was chatting with a reader on GMAIL yesterday, and she asked me how I preserve my Twist-n-Curl style at night. Specifically, she wanted to know if I re-twist, and how I moisturize.

At night, I apply a teeny bit of Shea Butter to my ends for extra hold and moisture. I never, ever re-twist.

I found a miracle bonnet at Sally's about 7 months ago. I couldn't find the exact image online, but here's a similar one:
http://www.sallybeauty.com/Lacy-Secret-Cap/ANDRE26,default,pd.html


It pretty much looks the same...same woman on the front, only the lining of the cap is satin, and the color is beige. It is very sturdy, and most certainly looks absurd, but it gets the job done. Unlike the flimsier black ones from the 'other side' of Sally's, it really holds my Twist-n-Curl in place. I simply pull my hair into a low pony with one hand, and guide the cap on with the other. In the morning, I wake up, remove the cap, fluff, and GO!

For my Wash-n-Go nightly routine, click HERE.

Later Gators,
Nik

P.S. I'm on day 3 hair, and it still looks fab. I think it's the bentonite clay.

Henna is drying?!

Hello Nikki,
Your hair is so beautiful.....I can't wait till mine gets that long so that I can do things with it...right now I'm in transition and with my ends having perm on them, there is only so much I can do...so I'm taking notes so when the time comes I'm ready to have healthy full of napptural hair.
I also love BIG hair..but anyways I have a question...my hair is dry and I'm looking forward to doing my Henna. But, I see in your last review about the bentonite clay that henna made your hair dry..so now I'm scared to death to do this now...I was going to henna my hair and then put lots of shea buttter on and go under the dryer for 30-60 mins or so to do a moisturizing conditioning after the henna treatment...but I keep seeing about sealing your ends with shea butter...I thought shea butter was a moisturizer and not a sealent. Can you help me and let me know what's a moisturizers and what is a sealant. I need a heavy cream moisturizer for my after henna treatments if I decide to go ahead with it....
Thank You.

Mud/clay treatments are generally a taxing process on your strands. The application and rinsing process can lead to excessive shedding if you are not gentle. Upon initially rinsing the henna, my hair is very dry...not fragile or breaking, but it feels stripped. Bentonite clay, on the other hand, rinses clean to reveal ridiculously soft and defined hair. CRAZY! It will not replace my henna treatments, as they serve two different purposes, but lets just say I was more than surprised at my touchable results.

Henna- Strengthens, smoothes, defines, colors, and temporarily loosens curls.
Bentonite- Natural, deep clarifying treatment that swells and removes impurities from the hair and scalp, revealing soft, clean (not stripped) hair. It also slightly loosened my curls. In fact my next day hair was similar to my next day henna'ed hair.

The initial dryness experienced after a henna treatment is why it is essential to do a moisturizing deep treatment immediately following. After your hair is DT'ed, the moisture is restored and your hair is left stronger and much healthier. The dryness is fleeting and is easily remedied by the moisturizing DT. Also, I wouldn't use Shea butter as my sole DT, I'd use one of the ones I mentioned yesterday:

1. Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose (Vitamin Shoppe)
2. Pantene Relaxed and Natural Breakage Defense Mask (Walmart, Target, Krogers)
3. Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment (www.curlmart.com)

If you want, you can add some Shea into the mix, but I wouldn't rely on the Shea to moisturize alone. And you're right, shea is riding the sealant/moisture fence. It does both. Its a moisturizer and emollient, which is why you find it in so many hair products. It moisturizes, softens, holds, slightly loosens curls, and seals. It's a magical butter :)

This goes back to yesterday's response...to seal, apply a water based moisturizer first, such as:

1.SheaMoisture Shea Butter Leave-in (technically NOT water based)
2. DevaCare One Condition
3. Jessicual Weekly Deep Treatment (yes you can use this as a leave-in as well...if your hair is dry like mine)

And subsequently seal (and further moisturize!) with Shea Butter. Your results will be amazing!

Later Gators,
Nik

Damaged Ends vs. Moisture Deprived Ends

"Nikki, I think I have been mistaking damaged split or breaking ends for what was actually dry ends. I trim once every other week, and I'm afraid that I'll never reach my length goals. Every time I feel a nasty end, I reach for the scissors. Recently I discovered that the ends aren't split, they just feel crackly, and probably could've been saved. I want long hair, but my ends aren't cooperating. I hate the feel of them."

I know exactly what you mean! I get those too...especially when I've been using a conditioner that contains protein. Your best bet is to start a routine of weekly Deep Treatments w/heat. My favorite moisturizing DTs are:

-Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose (Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods)
-Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment (Curlmart.com)
-Pantene Relaxed and Natural Breakage Defense Mask (Walmart, Target)

Also, getting into the habit of regularly moisturizing and sealing is essential. Sealing is adding a conditioner or leave-in to wet hair, and sealing it with a tiny bit of butter/oil, to protect the ends. I do this every time I style my hair, but other naturals do it every (other) day or so. I have to pay special attention to my ends because neglecting them in the past, led to stunted growth retention.

The important thing to remember is to catch them in the 'dry crackly' stage, because splitting is next.

Happy Moisturizing,
Nik

Another Cone Question...

"Nik,I just want to make sure I have this right! silicones always end in "cone", but what about products that end in "one"? Are they silicones too? I need to know what needs to be shampooed out."

Silicones do not always end in -cone. They can also end in -xane or -conol.

An ingredient ending in -one is not necessarily a silicone. Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone are two preservatives that are commonly mistaken as cones. They usually appear together like that, and toward the end of the ingredient list. They are simply preservatives, and can be found in conditioners such as Herbal Essence Hello Hydration, and Body Envy conditioners.

Some water soluble cones (can be easily removed with conditioner and water) are:
Lauryl methicone copolyol
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Hydroxypropyl Polysiloxane
Dimethicone Copolyol
Bisaminopropyl dimethicone
Cones that start with PEG-

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