10 Best Headbands For Curly Hair


by Mary Wolff

For any type of hair, hair accessories are a part of the routine. For curlies, it can be fun to introduce a new hair accessory into the mix. One of the easiest accessories to add in is headbands. They are great for keeping hair out of your face and come in many options. How do you know which ones are best for you? Here is a list of the 10 best headbands for curly hair!

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Dear Natural Hair Care Brands...

 

If this world were mine…yeah right, but it is not so I begrudgingly share it with the billions of others on the planet. I am not a control freak (I promise) but I would like a few things to be catered to only me. Who wouldn’t? For instance, how amazing it would be if I could have natural hair brands that were only interested in marketing to me! I am used to searching high and low for products, that the thought of someone wanting to cater to me is flattering. Here are my six ways brands could make products more appealing.

Read On!>>>

White, Flaky Hair Gel and Other Misadventures


Tonya McKay writes:

It is not uncommon for various users of the same hair gel to report different performance results, sometimes drastically so. It can be very unnerving and discouraging to try a popular, highly recommended hair gel, only to discover that your own hair becomes completely unmanageable or develops a case of highly unattractive white, flaky mess. What can be even more frustrating is the fact that the same product that yielded perfect hair one day might produce really undesirable properties another day. It can be discouraging enough to make a person question their ability to properly use a product, or perhaps even begin to think their hair is just flawed or something. However, there typically is a good reason for this type of unreliability, and it can be found by examining the ingredient list.

So, what is the source of this variability, and how can an ingredient-savvy person select a product that will yield a predictable outcome? The answer lies in the chemistry and materials science of the ingredients, of course, most specifically the polymers.

Read More>>>

Decoding Natural Hair Products

A Rough Guide to Hair Product Naming Conventions

by Joyful Mom of Happy Girl Hair

A reader (Hi Sarah!) emailed me with a terrific question. She asked me how to tell the difference between hair products and how to figure out what each one does. Shampoos and rinse out conditioners are obvious, and detangler is usually right on the bottle, but when it comes to other types of products you can buy for curly hair, it can quickly become confusing.

Of course, every company uses individual product names, but there are many commonalities between natural hair care companies. How many butters, creams, milks and hair puddings have you tried? So many seem to favor names of dairy products, and that can actually be helpful once you decode it. Sometimes, both the name and the bottle shape give great clues about how the product is intended to be used.

Here is a rough guide to product names and uses. The words in bold are those commonly found in the product name.

Detangler - These are meant to provide "slip" and moisturize lightly, so the strands of hair can glide past each other as the hair is combed. They can be sprays, have a lotion-like consistency, or they can come in tub.

Spray/Spritz/Juice/Mist/product that comes in a spray bottle - These products usually provide light conditioning and unless they have very specific instructions for use, they can used as a daily light leave-in for looser curls and/or fine hair, braids, twists, or locs, or as a curl revitalizer on non wash days. Sometimes they can also be used as detanglers. They can also be layered under heavier leave-ins or styling aids.
Pictured Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave-In-Conditioner

Hair Milk/Milkshake/Shake/Hair Lotion/Leave-in -These products are meant to be used to provide daily moisture or refresh hair after sleeping. They can also be used after washing. While they are sometimes all that's needed for loose hair, they are not styling aids. Some companies make both hair milks and leave-ins. It can be hard to know which is lighter and which richer. If you can't tell from the ingredient listing, contact the company for clarification. Sometimes, you'll find a milk leave-in, or a leave-in milk - just to make it interesting.



Butter/Cream/Creme/Pudding/Custard - These usually come in a tub and have a creamy consistency, sometimes they are whipped. These are generally heavier moisturizers. The word butter often refers to cocoa butter, shea butter, tucuma butter, cupuaƧu butter, mango butter, or other natural butters. These products can be used every day for those with dry, tightly coiled hair, or as an occasional treat for others. They can also be used under styling aids. Pictured: Curly Q Custard (this does have light hold



This where it gets trickier. The words Butter, Cream, Creme, Custard, and Pudding often appear in the names of highly moisturizing styling products. If you are unsure of whether or not the product is purely a moisturizer or a styling aid, look for the word "hold" or look for a list of product uses. If it's described as having hold and/or it's recommended for use in twisting, braiding, locing, or setting- it's also a styling aid. Read product descriptions carefully!
Pictured: Carol's Daughter Loc Butter





Products with the word "Styling"/Pomade/ Jelly/Gel/Definer
- These are always styling products. They are useful in helping braids and twists stay together, or for defining curls. Most have some conditioning properties as well. You will find these products in all types of bottles, tubes, tubs and tins.
Pictured: Original Little Sprout Whipped Styling Balm



Words like balm, nectar, and serum can apply to apply to many types of products so I'll say it again, read descriptions carefully! If you are still unsure about what a product does or how to use products together, never hesitate to call or email the company that makes it.

I want to be clear that it isn't necessary to have products from every category. Everyone is different and so much depends on individual needs and styling preferences. I hope I've made it just a little easier to choose the product you really want the next time you are looking to try something new. Happy curls!

© 2010 Happy Girl Hair

Looking for a Clarifying Shampoo

Mala Responds: AfroVeda Price Hikes


Mala has read last weekend's article by Redd and the CN community's comments. Check out her response and weigh in!


Hi Nikki,

I completely understand the feelings of many of the customers who have commented on my reasons for the price increase. I've ready many responses that suggest that the reasons I listed were untrue. Nevertheless, they are true. In March of this year, the vendor that I purchase aloe vera products from (juice, gel and oil) increased their price from $40/gallon to $70/gallon. They gave no explanation why. I decided to look for another vendor and tried 3 different companies, only to find that their quality was not what I wanted for my products. In the end, I went back with the original company and paid the additional money because I liked the fact that what they offered was pure and organic. The same thing happened with the vendor that I purchase unprocessed Fair Trade shea butter and cocoa butter from. Their price increase wasn't as drastic, but it was considerably more than I had been paying. Those are not the only items that increased in price, only the two most dramatic ones.

I made the decision, despite the recommendation of my advisor, to absorb these additional costs and as I posted on the website, am now unable to continue this process. I could have stayed with the "inferior" products (which I don't really think are inferior, they were just not the highest quality), or used much less of the more expensive products in my formulas. Either way, in my mind, it would have yielded an AfroVeda product that did not meet my own standards -- which is unacceptable to me.

It has been recommended to me on numerous occasions that I find a "lab" to reproduce my products to cut down on costs. However, when researching this option I have found that it would actually be more expensive for me, especially since I have already developed specific formulas for them to follow. What makes this option cost effective is when a person uses the already-formulated bases designed by the lab, and then only add a few additional ingredients to make it "their own". It is easy to do because there are labs everywhere, but that is not the AfroVeda way.

I am committed to making products that perform the way they are intended, and will never compromise on quality. With the help of my chemist/consultant, I have improved the formulas for the hair butters so that there are no more issues with separating. I have also switched to eco-friendly packaging, and have upgraded the bottle labels so that they are now smudge-proof and water resistant. I have added a customer service phone number (which is posted on the website) and am now offering customers the option to call in orders, which wasn't an option before. All of these things I handle (with the help of an occasional intern/contract employee) while hand-making, processing, packaging and shipping 30-40 orders per day.

This explanation may not diminish the frustration of the customers who have supported me and AfroVeda to this point, but it is the truth. It is never my intent (or any business's intent I hope) to anger the very ones who have kept me in business. I greatly appreciate the customers who have embraced AfroVeda and apologize that this business decision has left them with unfavorable emotions about the company. It is my sincere hope that they have a prosperous hair journey, and that they would reconsider AfroVeda in the future.

Thank you again Nikki, for allowing me the opportunity to respond.

In perfect peace,

Mala Rhodes
Founder and CEO of Afroveda

AfroVeda Price Hikes- An Opposing View


Redd writes:



Dear Nikki,

I just wanted to respond to the backlash of the natural community regarding the price increases of Afroveda products and get your opinion as well...

The blogosphere is on fire with commentary on the recent price hikes at Afroveda, that have in some cases, doubled the original prices of many of their most popular products.

Do I understand the aggravation, angry comments and promises to never buy this company's hair products again? Sure I do! It's disheartening to realize that 2 months ago, your favorite product was an affordable $12 and is now $24. It seems unconscionable. How could a business owner hike up prices that drastically, with no concern for their customers?

However (and you knew this was coming, right? LOL!) I don't think it's fair to question this business owner's motives without examining all the facts. Anyone who has ever ran a business knows that you often have to make decisions that are best for the business but make others unhappy. Of course, in a customer focused business, you would hope that the customer concerns come first. But we have to be realistic. No one spends their time, effort and money to ONLY make customers happy. Unless you are running a non-profit organization, your goal is to make enough money to sustain yourself and your business.

When I first saw all this noise in the blog universe about the change in Afroveda pricing, I did a Google search to see who else out there was raising a ruckus. Plenty of bloggers and forum posters were raising hell. And they all promised the same thing: to never buy the products again. Despite the product effectiveness and quality (and the fact that the quality was great enough to make people tolerate a 3-4 week turnaround on the items actually shipping), not one person was willing to accept the fact that that the Afroveda owner is entitled to do what she wants with her business (if only this amount of anger was applied to the recent teacher layoffs across the country... yeah, I went there...).

After the Google search, I went to the Afroveda website and discovered there was a letter from the owner explaining why she chose to increase prices. She said it was primarily due to the increase in her raw goods. Eh... yeah, I kind of had to call B.S. on that. Granted, I don't know where she gets her products, if she is buying wholesale, buying in bulk, etc, but I think it is safe to say that most of her ingredients such as shea butter, amla oil and aloe vera have not doubled in price suddenly across the globe. So for the people who believe they are being fed a line on that, I might have to agree.

On the other hand, when I was researching doing my own mix-tress products, what I most realized is that the packaging almost costs as much as what you are putting in the bottles and jars. When I realized that, I decided not to go ahead with my business plan. But based on that research, I can easily see where she might have determined to adjust her pricing to increase her profit margin (don't forget, this sister is running a FOR PROFIT BUSINESS, not a non-profit organization).

I also discovered during my Google search that a group of students developed a business plan for Afroveda to help address the slow turnaround fulfilling orders. The link is HERE.

After reading this, I realized that when we think of a business, we assume that is is running full-time. Turns out, this lady is working a full time job and filling her Afroveda orders at night, mixing it all up herself in her kitchen, after feeding her family at night. So those high quality products that everyone loved at $10 to $12 a pop? They really did contain that often quoted ingredient of "LOVE". Because as a wife and mother who is a full time student with a full time job, you best believe, I have nothing but respect for this sister after reading this. Shoot. I would love to hear from anyone who is doing what this lady is doing and still producing quality products while maintaining a full time job and keeping up the family.

Anyway... my final conclusion is, while I think blaming the price hike on the ingredients might not be completely true, I do think this sister wants to grow her business, dedicate herself to it full time, hire some staff and make some money. If she had said that, people would still be mad. But I don't care what you say, I cannot be mad at that. Especially since it appears she wants to maintain her high quality standards and not start switching the "good" stuff out and replacing it with cheap crap like mineral oil (*cough* Miss Jessie's *cough*) and still charge the same price.

I've never even bought Afroveda products before and yes, even though the prices are HIGH, I may buy some sample sets to support this business owner. I will always try to support small businesses. I'm not saying that everyone should do as I do but I do ask that before we stop supporting small businesses that make quality products, we look at the alternative. If we stop supporting businesses like Afroveda, we will end up at the mercy of big businesses who won't care about OUR needs or add a drop of love to their products. Remember 10 years ago when there were NO natural hair products? Yeah, don't think it couldn't happen again.

Weigh in divas!

Do you use AfroVeda products? How do you feel about the price hikes?

Overstock.com for Natural Hair Products? Sweet!


Melanie T. writes:

Hi Curly Nikki Community,

I just wanted to drop you a line about an unusual place to find hair products online. I just saw a commercial for Overstock.com talking about free shipping for the month of October. Since I'm all about saving money and was looking for a new earpiece for my phone, I decided to check them out. While on their site, I noticed they now have a health and beauty section! Tell me why I was able to find some great hair products in bulk, for excellent prices! Everything from Devacurl, 4 packs of Garnier Fructis products, even Morrocan Oil products! Even after October, their shipping is always $2.95 for your whole order! While they don't have as many options as shops like Curlmart, I thought I'd give everyone a head's up on some deals they might be missing!!

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