5 of the Most Annoying Natural Hair Questions #Staaahp

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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!

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!

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,

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,

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,

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!


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.

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