How to Protect Your Hair While Swimming


by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

Swimming is fun and relaxing whether you're doing it for exercise or just to cool off. You don't have to limit your pool time for your hair, but you do have to take some extra precautions. Chlorinated water and constant friction from swimming will take a toll on African American hair. Spend a few minutes before and after swimming to help your hair survive the summer.

Key Tips
  • Rinse your hair with tap water before you get in the pool.
  • Don't wear a swim cap if it pulls too tightly or rips out your hair at the hairline.
  • Always shampoo after you swim, chlorine does not rinse out.

Is It Really Bad to Grease Your Scalp?



by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

If you grew up in a traditional African American household, a jar of hair grease was never too far away. Oiling the scalp with thick grease was thought to be a staple of any good hair care regimen. Today, experts advise against oiling the scalp, but many African American women still believe that hair grease is a part of obtaining healthy hair. But is it really helpful? Or can it cause more damage than good?

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Everything You Need to Know About the Science of Tea Rinses


by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

What is a tea rinse?
A tea rinse is done by pouring a cup of tea, commonly green or black, over the hair to reduce shedding or stimulate hair growth.

How is it supposed to work?
The caffeine in the tea penetrates the hair follicles.

Is there any proof that tea rinses make hair grow faster or reduce shedding?
One scientific study shows that caffeine can stimulate hair growth when used in tiny amounts (0.001% caffeine in water). The same study also found that applying too much caffeine to the hair follicles can actually stunt growth. A different study found that caffeine in shampoo can penetrate the hair follicles when left on for 2 minutes. Both studies were done on the hair follicles of men with androgenetic alopecia. So, no scientific studies have been done to test the effects of caffeine on a woman’s scalp who doesn’t have a hair loss disorder.

Generally, the current evidence says that caffeine definitely penetrates hair follicles and may stimulate hair growth, but no one knows for sure. It’s impossible to say how much additional growth you might see, if any. Don’t expect more than an inch or two per year. There are no published scientific studies on caffeine and shedding.

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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...

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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.

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Stunted Hair Growth & Re-Moisturizing after Sealing


Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

Q: How do I re-moisturize my hair after I seal with a silicone serum? Won’t silicone lock the moisture out?

A: Silicones are synthetic oils. They make good sealants but they don’t do a perfect job. If they did, you wouldn’t have to re-moisturize at all because moisture would stay locked into your hair. But, that’s not what happens at all. If you seal with a silicone serum your hair will still get dry within a few days because moisture (water) can escape past the silicone. Hair sealed with coconut oil might need to be re-moisturized within a day; hair sealed with a silicone serum might stay moisturized for 2 days before it needs to be replenished. If moisture can get out, it can definitely be put back in. 

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