Dr. Perry on Hair Loss

Our Resident MD is back, and this time she's talking hair loss and possible solutions.


STRANDED

Tied up, tied down, burned with a hot iron, pulled, and pushed – I feel totally neglected. Why can’t I just be left alone? Why can’t I just be massaged with special care, set free and treated with respect and kindness? I may just break and leave this place. Better yet, I could totally drop out of sight where no one can find me.

Sound like a victim of domestic abuse? Not exactly, this may be your hair crying out for rescue.

Alopecia (hair loss) is frustrating, demoralizing and downright scary. Society puts a great deal of pressure on us to achieve and maintain a glorious mane. Unfortunately, circumstances sometimes arise which causes one to lose hair.

There are two basic categories of hair loss: Scarring and Non-scarring Alopecia. Within each category, there are multiple causes. It is possible to achieve hair regrowth in many cases of non-scarring alopecia. Scarring alopecia portends a more permanent and emotionally devastating situation, as it means that the hair follicles have been sufficiently destroyed so that regrowth is not likely. Non-scarring alopecia is more common than scarring form; therefore, my discussion will be limited to this type of hair loss. Scarring forms can be the result of extensive and prolonged destructive hair care practices, or a medical condition (i.e. lupus). The skin on the scarred area of the scalp will usually be shiny in appearance and thin in texture. A dermatologist should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.

The most common causes of Non-scarring alopecia are:

Traction alopecia- Hair loss due to traumatic hair care practices such as braiding, twisting the hair too tight or wearing binding hairstyles frequently. This common type of hair loss is usually most prominent around the hairline. Hair is more fragile and subject to breakage in these areas. Solution: Loosen up that hair! You’d probably fall out too if you were bound down too tight. Braiding/Twisting should be done loosely. If small bumps and or pain may appear in newly styled and affected areas, the braid/twist should be immediately removed. If you’ve already been a victim of traction alopecia and are looking for regrowth, treat affected areas with gentle hair care practices. Avoid the use of drying gels and products which may irritate/ dry out the hair and scalp skin. A dermatologist may be able to assist in providing medical treatments which can encourage a better environment for hair regrowth.

Telogen Effluvium- Hair loss due to major hormonal shifts related to pregnancy, stress and major illness. This type of hair loss is frustrating because the hair tends to thin diffusely throughout the scalp. It is normal to lose up to 100 hairs per day, but this condition results in an enhanced rate of shedding causing much more hair to fall out on a daily basis. Characteristic “club hairs” can be detected among the shed hair. They have a small white bulb at the end. Fortunately, this condition resolves on its own without medical treatment. Unfortunately, it can take several months after the hormones have become regulated that adequate regrowth is noted. Solution: Be gentle with your hair and patient for resolution.

Anagen Effluvium: Hair loss as a result of chemotherapy. This is another temporary hair loss state which usually occurs in response to medications used in cancer treatments. Hair will regrow in most cases, after offending medication is stopped.

Androgenetic Alopecia (Genetics): Women can also lose hair in a specific pattern in the crown region of the scalp due to hereditary causes. Some hair follicles in this region are genetically predestined to become smaller and eventually inactive. The hair then falls out. In women with this type of hair loss, the front hairline is usually spared with balding most pronounced in the crown region. Solution: Rogaine (minoxidil) has been used successfully in some cases to achieve a bit of regrowth. Seek the advice of a dermatologist for evaluation of and treatment for this type of alopecia.

Alopecia Areata : Hair loss thought to be associated with immune factors. This type of hair loss can cause solitary bald patches on the scalp (in its mild form) to complete loss of all body hair (most severe form). Solution: Most individuals with the mild form are successful at achieving hair regrowth with the assistance of cortisone injections and/or topical prescription agents. A visit to the dermatologist would be required for these treatments.

Hair breakage: On average, hair grows a half an inch per month. The terminal length of hair (the maximum length) is genetically determined. A major key to being able to fully appreciate increasing hair length is preventing breakage. Eliminating or minimizing traumatic hair care practices (i.e. direct heat styling), and moisturizing sufficiently are the best ways to retain length. Shampooing, Conditioning regularly and deep conditioning treatments with supple moisturizing agents help maintain hair moisture. Curly hair makes it more of a challenge for natural scalp oils to effectively move down the strand. The curlier the hair, the more difficult this process becomes. Therefore, adding moisture to the strands (especially the ends), sealing and protecting them with various styling techniques can really benefit your hair. Fortunately, there are many conditioning products available. Avoid petroleum and mineral oil containing products. These ingredients occlude pores and can lead to facial breakouts.

Treat yourself to a scalp massage regularly to stimulate the hair follicles. This is very relaxing and can help improve circulation which is always a good thing for hair health!

Until next time . . .

Take care of yourself, so you can care for others. Do your best to be your best. The better you are, the brighter the world gets.



Disclaimer: This information does not serve as a substitute for individual medical care by a physician. This article is an informative guide to point you in the right direction. All product recommendations and advice are suggestions which may or may not work for your individual needs. Specific medical issues and concerns should be addressed by your health care provider. Patricia Perry, M.D. is a dermatologist in private practice in Southern California who can be reached for consultation at 2625 W. Alameda Ave., Suite 504, Burbank, CA 91505. Phone: (818)559- SKIN (7546).

Top 10 Ingredients to Look For in Natural Hair Products



The more we embrace our natural texture, the more we learn that organic and natural hair products work best. There are hundreds of ingredients found in nature that can be used in hair products. Healthy ingredients aren't for textured hair alone! These ingredients work to make everybody's hair healthier. Below is a list of ten popular ingredients in natural hair products and what they provide for our hair.
1. Shea Butter
High in fatty acids, shea butter is an emollient — meaning it provides a layer of oil on top of the surface of a hair strand, significantly reducing the amount of moisture (water) lost. This is what Naturally Curly girls mean when using products like this to "seal" their hair.

Read On!>>>

Curls 101- FAQs


Hola Chicas!

This is a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions. The first few were written by RCC of Pittsburgh Curly, and the last few were written by CurlyNikki. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section so that we may add to this article and make it all the more comprehensive!

CURLY GIRL

RCC writes:

So, you have curly hair that you been straightening, whether through heat or chemicals. Or, maybe you’re the straight haired Mom (or Mum) or any other caretaker of a little curly, and all of that boinginess has made you wonder what to do. While chemically relaxed hair may require its own special needs, those of you who heat straighten will probably notice a difference in curl pattern while using the method below. Those who are chemically relaxed go through a longer transition process, unless you just decide to do the big chop and start with a fresh head of hair. Those of you who are transitioning will find lots of support from curlynikki’s blog. Those of you who are already curly, but looking for help will find a little bit here, with links to give you more help.

This in an evolving page (because it will take some time to do) on the basics of dealing with curly hair. You may have seen curly haired sites and curly haired blogs and been flabbergasted by all of the crazy terms, wondering why some people are freaking out about silicone, others about protein, and others about humectants. Hopefully this will give you a place to start in your adventures in Curly World.

When dealing with curly hair, one of the most common hair care methods you will run into will be the Curly Girl method which is also known as CG, or no-poo. No, this doesn’t mean you no longer need the toilet, but that you may choose to no longer use conventional sulfate shampoos. In avoiding sulfate shampoos, there are also other ingredients that you may need to avoid. These will eventually all be covered. For a short review, check this nc.com link.

Curly Girl is a book by Lorraine Massey, a British born curly who used her own experience as a curly along with her hair training (and it seems that training in the UK is more comprehensive than training in the US) to start anew and forge her own way of taking care of curly hair. She also has her own line of hair care products and founded the curl friendly Devachan Salon. Like many other curlies, her book made me think about what type of care curly hair needs, and how those needs won’t be met by caring for my hair in the same way that I had been for over three decades. After that, I found naturallycurly.com, which led me into the depths of curl care issues, but, more importantly, gave me access to a whole world of others like me who were also dealing with our sometimes unruly hair.

Is shampoo really bad for you or not?
The first premise of the CG method is that sulfates are bad for most curly hair. Curly hair is often more dry than other hairtypes, and sulfates can just be too harsh for dry, delicate curls. The prime culrpits in this are Sodium Lauyl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. It’s interesting to note that these detergents are also found in many liquid dish detergents. Since most of us do not have hair that is as greasy as our pots and pans, this seems to be a bit of overkill. But, they do produce lots of lather, and we are all taught that lather is good and luxurious, that lather means that we’re getting the dirt off. Bah. For the most part, you won’t need these sulfates, and even those of you who do end up liking a sulfate here and there will not need one daily.

If I don’t use shampoo, how do I wash my hair?
If you are not using regular shampoos to wash your hair, what DO you use? Conditioner. Seriously. Conditioner. When I first read this, I thought it was nuts. I thought that I would have dirty, smelly, lanky, greasy hair. But, I started using conditioner to wash my hair. I had about a month of transition where my hair and scalp were a bit weird, but, then, bam, I started sporting curls that looked like curls, and not a huge mass of frizz. They also felt more like hair and less like dead grass. Many scalps seem to suffer from a low grade irritation from sulfates, and the scalp needs time to heal. The hair shaft is often dry in those who have been using sulfates frequently, and it takes some time for your hair to get proper moisture restored.

So, you really can wash your hair with conditioner. Many inexpensive condtioners (the Suave and Vo5 lines come to mind) contain cetrimonium chloride, which is a conditioning agent, but is also a surfactant, which means that normal sweat, dust, and environmental dirt can be removed with this. The key is that you do have to pay some attention to your scalp and rub. After all, most people don’t wash their faces and bodies by slapping on some bodywash and just leaving it there. The scalp is no different.

So, how do I wash my hair with conditioner?
If I am using a conditioner to wash my scalp and hair, this is what I do. I get my hair wet, and squish in a few blobs of conditioner into my hair and ends. How many blobs you need depends on the length and thickness of your hair. I work out the large tangles with my fingers, and then use a seamless, wide toothed combed to comb out any other tangles. I then apply another quarter sized blob to my scalp and scrub with the pads of my fingers. I use enough pressure to get off the dirt and gunk, but not so hard as to irritate my scalp and traumatize my roots. Then, I rinse throughly to get all of the loosened dust and grime out of my hair. Some choose to not rinse all the way, but leave a little conditioner in. I prefer to totally rinse becuase I want all of the dirt rinsed out. I don’t mind adding more conditioner later.

I always follow this up with a stronger, more moisturizing conditioner, but my hair is somewhat coarse, and pretty thick. Those with finer, thinner curls may notice that their hair feels moisturized enough after the initial wash and detangling.

When you are first transitioning from a shampoo to a no-poo routine, you may need daily, or every other day scalp scrubs. As time goes on, you may notice that your scalp only needs scrubbed one or twice a week. Even though the scalp may be fine, many curlies still wet and condition the length of their hair daily or every other day. Some just prefer the looks of fresh curls, some need daily moisture, and others aren’t able to go to sleep and then wake up with decent curls unless they fully wet their head first. Others are fine with a daily misting to re-set the curl pattern without getting the whole head wet. After some trial and error, you’ll find what works best for you, and this may change with the seasons.

After some time, some curlies notice that they want something a bit stronger to clean their scalps, or to remove product residues from their gels or curl creams. If this is the case, try to look for cleansers with cocobetaine or cocamidopropyl betaine. DevaCurl Low-poo uses these, and many curlies seem to do well with it. These are gentle cleansers that some use monthly or weekly for an extra cleansing. Others have hardier scalps and hair and can use these with every scalp wash. While I do feel that most curlies can benefit by going their first month on conditioners alone, every curly head is different, and you’ll have to go by what your scalp and hair are telling you. There are also many sulfate free shampoos out there on the market. Just be careful. Many feel just as drying on your hair as sulfate shampoo, so your milegae may vary on that one.


___________________________________________________________

CN Answers:


TRANSITIONING

What are all the weird Natural Hair abbreviations (TWA, BSL, AOHSR, EVOO)?
Check out our Natural Hair Dictionary for clarification :) The jargon can be difficult to detangle at times. I hope that helps!

Is there a right or wrong way to transition?

No ma'am. As with everything else in life, you must do what is right for you. Big Chopping before you're mentally and physically prepared can be disastrous. Take your time, research, and decide what route (long or short term transition) is right for you.

I've decided to transition, what hair styles should I try?
Luckily, many of the styles you will wear as a natural, you can start wearing now! Check out the following:

Rod Set
Flexi Rod Set
Curlformer Set
No Heat Roller Set
Curly Fro 1
Curly Fro 2
Dry Braid-n-Curl
Dry Braid-n-Curl 2
Twist-n-Curl
Braid-Out
Bantu Knot-Out
Bantu Knot-Out 2
Flat Twist-Out
Faux Bun
Messy Side Bun
High Bun- The same basic steps found in THIS VIDEO, but done on dry, previously twisted hair.
Double Buns- Princess Leia



HEAT STYLING

Is there a safe way to flat iron?
One hundred percent protection from heat damage with protectant products simply doesn't exist. Period. Many flat and curling irons can reach excesses of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no way to prevent that kind of heat from causing some form of damage to your hair. Paula Begoun said it best, "Could you imagine protecting skin from that kind of heat with a hair-care product?" Right...it's not gonna happen.

So, please my curly divas, heat style with caution- definitely utilize a heat protectant, but know that you're not completely protected. Also, use the coolest temperature possible to achieve results, and don't pass the iron through each section of your hair more than once. And the most important tip- save heat styling for special occasions, it shouldn't be your go-to hairstyle on regular days. Take it from a past abuser...heat is nothing to play with.

How can I restore curl to heat damaged ends?
Unfortunately there is no way to restore curl to heat damaged hair...it sucks, but its true.

You have two options:

1. Chop the ends all at once
2. Chop a little bit over the next year---so that its not a drastic loss of length. During this time you could wear bantu knot outs, flexi rod sets, and twist-n-curls to help the ends along.

Some people report that a protein treatment followed by a moisturizing DT has restored some of the curl...you can give that a try too.


INGREDIENTS



Are all alcohols drying?

Simply put... no. All alcohols are not created equally.

Here's a list of the 'okay' or 'fatty' alcohols:

Behenyl alcohol
Cetearyl alcohol
Cetyl alcohol
Isocetyl alcohol
Isostearyl alcohol
Lauryl alcohol
Myristyl alcohol
Stearyl alcohol
C30-50 Alcohols
Lanolin alcohol

Fatty alcohols provide an emollient effect, and bind water and oil to give our favorite conditioners their slip and creaminess.

Cetyl and/or Sterayl alcohols are present in most of my favorite products (Pantene R&N Breakage Defense Mask, Herbal Essence Hello Hydration, DevaCare One C). I found the following descrptions on Treasured Locks:

* Cetyl Alcohol- This is a fatty alcohol that is derived from coconut and palm oils. Far from drying, this alcohol is actually an emollient (makes hair and skin softer).

* Stearyl Alcohol- another fatty alcohol. It is nothing like ethanol, it is is actually a white solid and is insoluble in water. Stearyl alcohol is often used in conditioners and shampoos and acts as an emollient (softener).

Which alcohols should I avoid?
Short chain alcohols-- SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40, Alcohol denat, Propanol, Propyl alcohol and Isopropyl alcohol.

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.

How do I identify proteins on a product label?
Protein treatments are often used for porous or damaged hair. Make sure to use a moisturizing deep treatment afterward!

Look for the following:

Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed casein
Cocodimonium hydroxypropyorl hydrolyzed collagen
Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed hair keratin
Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed keratin
Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed rice protein
Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed silk
Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed soy protein
Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed wheat protein
Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl silk amino acids
Cocoyl hydrolyzed collagen
Cocoyl hydrolyzed keratin
Hydrolyzed keratin
Hydrolyzed oat flour
Hydrolyzed silk
Hydrolyzed silk protein
Hydrolyzed soy protein
Hydrolyzed wheat protein
Hydrolyzed wheat protein
Keratin
Potassium cocoyl hydrolyzed collagen
TEA-cocoyl hydrolyzed collagen
TEA-cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein

How do I know if I'm protein sensitive?
The red flag for me was hard brittle hair. After using certain products, namely Sebastian Potion 9, my hair would look good, but feel very hard and dry to the touch. Eventually I realized that my hair only reacted that way, when I used products containing hydrolized wheat protein and soy protein. Now, I avoid it like the plague! To test my own theory, I revisited Sebastian Potion 9 last year, and needless to say, my hair looked great, but felt horrible. Bottom line- listen to your hair.

How do I identify humectants on a product label?
Humectants are included in many hair care product formulations to promote moisture retention within the hair shaft by absorbing water from the atmosphere. Great for humid and/or tropical climates.

Look for the following:

1,2,6 hexanetriol
Butylene Glycol
Dipropylene glycol
Glycerin
Hexylene Glycol
Panthenol
Phytantriol — enhances moisture-retention, increases absorption of vitamins, panthenol, and amino acids into hair shaft, imparts gloss
Propylene glycol
Sodium PCA
Sorbitol
Triethylene glycol
Polyglyceryl sorbitol
Glucose
Fructose
Polydextrose
Potassium PCA
Urea
Hydrogenated Honey
Hyaluronic Acid
Inositol
Hexanediol beeswax
Hexanetriol Beeswax
Hydrolyzed Elastin
Hydrolyzed Collagen
Hydrolyzed Silk
Hydrolyzed Keratin
Erythritol
Capryl glycol
Isoceteth-(3-10, 20, 30)
Isolaureth-(3-10, 20, 30)
Laneth-(5-50)
Laureth-(1-30)
Steareth-(4-20)
Trideceth-(5-50)

What ingredients act as anti-humectants?
According to Tanya of NaturallyCurly.com-- The most common ingredient in anti-humectant formulations are silicones. This is because they not only perform the anti-humectant duties in a superior manner, but they also provide excellent lubrication of the hair and add a high degree of gloss (shine). Esters (such as isopropyl palmitate) are another category of ingredient used for their water-resistant properties in products designed to function well in high humidity climates. There are also many natural ingredients that work well for this purpose, such as hydrogenated castor oil, beeswax, and plant triglycerides such as coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, and shea butter.

Are all silicones bad?
There are few product ingredient subjects that inspire as much debate as silicones. Silicones are polymers used used to coat the hair shaft to provide a smoothing effect. All silicones, however, are not created equal. Check out the following article:
http://www.curlynikki.com/2009/09/curl-whisperer-on-silicones.html

Many curlies avoid them like the plague, but my curls seem to thrive with them. A routine devoid of cones results in dry, brittle hair for me. So no, I'm not a CG'er... I tried it, but it didn't work for me. I consider myself a modified Curly Girl-- I use some silicones, co-wash regularly, and wash with shampoo twice a month. As always, experiment and see what works best for you.

"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-

What is an ACV rinse?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinses are one of most cost-effective and beneficial ways in existence to improve hair health. A good ACV rinse can remove product buildup, restore the pH balance of the scalp and hair, promote blood circulation in the scalp--which can stimulate new hair growth--and give the hair a soft, healthy sheen.

Where do you buy your shea butter?
I purchase organic, unrefined shea butter from Butters-n-Bars.com

Any good homemade spritz recipes?
Check out this article!

Any good homemade deep treatment recipes?
Check out this article!

HENNA

What is henna?
Henna, lawsonia inermis, is a plant. It is a large bush, or small tree, that grows in hot, dry climates. There is evidence from Egypt that henna was regularly used to dye hair five thousand years ago, and may have been used in Jericho as early as eight thousand years ago. Henna was used to keep hair healthy and to color gray hair. Source.
The dye inside this plant produces a red/brown stain on skin and various hues of red on hair. Henna can't lighten your hair, ever. On some colors of hair it may appear to brighten it, but you should count on any color you get with henna, being darker than what is already on your head.

Can henna lighten your hair color?
No henna does not lift color. I know it sounds weird, but the color changes you will experience with henna actually depend 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!

How has henna changed your hair texture?
If anything, henna has made my hair smoother and THICKER. My waves are slightly looser, but only noticeably so, the week after henna. After a couple of weeks or so, it bounces back, but the frizz control and strength remain. Again, the major difference (besides the auburn glow in the sun!), is smoother, heavier hair :D

Where do you buy your henna?
I love bridal art quality Jamila henna from Mehandi.


HEALTHY HAIR

What is porosity and why is it important?
Porosity is the hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Porosity is a critically important factor in determining one's curly hair care. Since moisture is what defines and shapes our curls, the inability to keep moisture within the hair shaft will defeat the most valiant efforts to maximize curl potential. Check out this article-- The Curl Whisperer on Porosity.

Do you take vitamins? Which ones should I take?
Check out this article!

Are there any home remedies for hair loss?

See the Curl Whisperer on Hair Loss Remedies article.

Do hair growth serums work?
In the cyber world, there are several concoctions and magical serums floating around that promise to swiftly grow your hair to great lengths. I'm not in the position to review any of them...not even Boundless Tresses, which I used intermittently for 2 weeks. I believe that growth happens from the inside out...Obviously, we can't override our genes, but we can MOST CERTAINLY maximize our growing potential!

The truth is, TLC and patience, are the only sure things. However, from my personal experiences, I've learned that the following were correlated with faster than average (and/or healthier) hair growth:

1. Physical Exercise-Running or any other moderate/high intensity exercise (yay for Cardio) increases the blood flow to your scalp. Increased blood flow means that more nutrients are brought to your hair follicle. I purchased a treadmill last year, and used it regularly for 5 months. I'd put in a Deep Treatment (DT), don a plastic cap, and walk briskly (I don't run, lol) for 30-45 minutes, 3 days a week. Killed two birds with one stone!Between the cardio, and the frequent DTs, my hair flourished!

2. Healthy Diet- Hair consists of protein, so it is essential that you consume enough. Incorporate foods from all the groups - especially protein. Nuts, poultry, vegetables, fruits, grains, eggs, etc. All contribute to healthy, growing hair.

3. Dietary Supplements- Biotin and MSM are ingredients every hair vitamin should contain. Biotin promotes cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and metabolism of fats. MSM lengthens the hair growth phase (which means that you keep more hair on your head). Using a combination of the two is beneficial for healthy hair. This winning combo, plus a quality Multivitamin will definitely aid in the hair growing process. Check out this article.

4.Henna- If you do a search for 'henna + hair growth' on the hennaforhair.com forum, you'll see that many women truly believe that henna has resulted in increased hair growth. I'm a believer too! My jump from shoulder length to APL last year was directly preceded by my first henna applications. Some ladies think that the actual process of applying henna stimulates the scalp (which we now know, aids in hair growth). One could argue that henna stretches the curl, and gives the illusion of longer hair....whatever the mechanisms are, for me, it produced faster hair growth.

5. Scalp Massages- Nightly scalp massages increase blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles. 5 minutes should suffice.

Of course, hair growth is nothing without an understanding of retention. Protective styling, moisturizing and sealing, frequent deep treatments, and delicate handling all aid in retaining the length you've worked so hard for!

Is sweat damaging my hair?
Yes and no. The lactic acid in sweat can break down the cuticle of the hair shaft, but only in great quantities. Water rinsing or co-washing after exercise sessions is recommended but many curlies (myself included) get along fine without it.


CARE AND STYLING

How can I successfully deal with humidity and other weather conditions?
Check out THIS ARTICLE!

Nikki, how do you fluff your hair to create volume?

I've slowly come to the realization that allowing my hair to 'just be', allows it to fluff up naturally with minimal frizz. The day after my styling session (usually a Twist-n-Curl), I remove the curlers and gently unravel the twists. Since the twists are so chunky, I sometimes break them apart to help it look more natural, but that's all I do... no finger combing, picking, or massaging the roots. This no fluffing routine gets me to four day hair, which I greatly appreciate.

The problem is that my hair is fine, and walking around for a day with a flat TnC drives me insane- it's scalpy, and overly defined. However, come day two, it's twice as big, still chunky, defined, and frizz free!

There are times when I need it to be the three F's (funky, fabulous, and flyy) on day 1, so I do the following:
  • Remove the curlers
  • Unravel the twists
  • Break twisted sections apart (turning 1 crinkle into two and so on)
  • Spread my fingers and use them as a pick/comb to gently break up the roots
  • Sometimes I'll flip my head over, still using my fingers as a pick... running them from my roots to 1/4 down the strands
  • Massage the roots at the crown to help hide any parts
  • I never use combs or any other tools to fluff... just my fingers
Finally, for easier fluffing and bigger hair, remember to use less product! Preferably no styler (gel/mousse, curl cream), and only a silver dollar sized amount of your 'styling conditioner'.

What's the best detangling method?
Over the years I've tried many detangling methods-- dry, wet, with a paddle brush, using a denman, fingers only, in sections, under the water stream, hell, I've even tried oil rinsing! I've done it all, but with my current length and density, the following works best for me:

* I get in the shower with loose, dry hair (usually an old Twist-n-Curl).
* I wet it down, apply loads of conditioner, and let it marinate.
* I then split my hair down the middle, and start with the left side.
* I section out the back (pinning the rest of the left side up and out of the way) and detangle with my fingers and Ouidad comb under the shower stream.
* I two strand twist that section and repeat with the other two sections on that side (one above my ear, and one by my face).
* Repeat with the right side.
* I end up with three product free, thoroughly detangled, twisted sections on each side-- 6 total.
* I then get out of the shower,and blot dry. I take down one twisted section at a time, and apply my leave-in/styler prior to re-twisting it (I usually turn one twisted section into two twists).

This routine allows me to slowly and gently detangle small sections at a time, resulting in fewer hairs loss. Twisting the detangled sections keeps my curls from knotting back up (I used to skip this step, making my efforts futile), and makes for a much quicker styling session.

Know that what works for some won't work for all. Browse the site to check out others detangling routines.

What's the difference in the results between a braid-out and a twist-out?
Honestly, *wet set* braid-outs and twist-outs yield astonishingly similar results on my hair. The difference is so minute, that I prefer to twist, due to my terrible braiding skills (I hate braiding wet hair, it takes me twice as long and has more of a tendency to frizz upon take down). If I'm styling dry hair, a braid-out is the only set that will hold. For me, the curl definition is all about the products used and the size of the twists or braids. I have observed, however, that some naturals get very different results from twisting (s curls) versus braiding (zig zags). For responses to this question from the CN community, CLICK HERE!

What is the Twist-n-Curl?
This video explains it all. Basically, it's a twist-out with rollers on the end. I now use flexi-rods instead of magnetic rollers.

How can I achieve smooth edges?
Check out this article!

How do you trim?
Check out this article!

How can I achieve the perfect Twist-out?
Check out this article!

How can I achieve the BOSSIEST afro?
Check out this article!

How can I achieve excellent curl definition?
Check out this article!

How can I achieve the perfect Bantu knot-out?
Check out this article!

How can I achieve the perfect bun?
Check out this article!

How much product should I use?
Check out this article!

Best rollers for natural hair?
Check out this article!

5 Amazing Benefits of Mango for Natural Hair


by Sabrina of SeriouslyNatural.org

Summer is almost here and you know what that means, mango season is in full effect. One of the most popular fruits eaten around the world, the mango, is best known for its fragrant smell and sweet, juicy flesh. These fruit carries a host of different essential vitamins and nutrients that help ward off heart disease and diabetes, as well as preventing asthma, protect against certain types of cancers, and even aids in calcium absorption.

Aside from being incredibly delicious, mangoes have also proven valuable when it comes to skin and hair health. Everything from the skins to the seed have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic treatments for conditions ranging from dandruff to hair loss.

Continue!>>>

Oil Rinsing and Hot Oil Treatments- Know the Difference!


photo courtesy of Nelly


Ever wondered the difference between an oil rinse and a hot oil treatment? While both of these curly hair treatments might appear to be the same thing, they are actually quite different.

One major difference is that hot oil treatments are typically applied before shampooing your hair, while oil rinsing is usually done after shampooing the hair, right before applying conditioner. The differences don't stop there, keep reading to determine what's best for you!

Read On!>>>

5 Homemade TREATments for Natural Hair


By Dr. Phoenyx Austin via DrPhoenyx.com

Today I wanted to put you on to a few hair “TREAT”ments for fuller and healthier hair. When it comes to hair, sometimes the best treatments are actually quite simple and quite yummy! Have you ever tried foods like bananas and papaya as deep conditioners? I have- and these foods are amazing for keeping hair moisturized and conditioned.
So if your curls, coils and kinks are in need of some sweet lovin’, you should check out these 5 Yummy Homemade Hair “Treat”ments. And let me know how they work for you!

Coconut Milk Treatment
Coconut milk is rich in protein and fatty acids, which makes it great for conditioning, strengthening and minimizing hair breakage. It also protects you hair from the UV damage of constant sun exposure. Personally, I’ve loved using coconut milk on my hair during the summer because it has been great for restoring shine and softness to my beach hair.

You’ll need: 1 cup coconut milk, 1 peeled and mashed avocado, 1 tbsp of honey (Be sure to apply to freshly shampooed hair).

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. You can apply cool mixture directly to hair, or preheat mixture in microwave for 30-45 seconds. When applying, massage mixture into hair and scalp. Wrap hair in a hot towel or cover with shower cap for 15 min-60 min. Rinse out with shampoo/conditioner and style as usual.

Avocado Treatment
Avocado is great for quick softening, moisturizing and deep conditioning. They are rich in fatty acids which are very nourishing for dry, brittle hair. Avocados are also rich in vitamins, protein and amino acids to promote healthy and stronger hair.

You’ll need: 1 avocado (peeled), 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon jojoba oil (Be sure to apply to freshly shampooed hair)

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Massage mixture into scalp and hair. Leave in for 20 minutes. Rinse out with conditioner and style as usual.

Banana Treatment
Bananas are rich in natural oils and vitamins that help to restore hair’s natural elasticity- which will prevent breakage and split ends. Bananas, when used as a deep conditioning treatment, will also soften, restore shine and control dandruff.

You’ll need: 1 banana (peeled), 1 egg, tablespoons milk, 5 tablespoons olive oil (Be sure to apply to freshly shampooed hair).

Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Apply the mixture to your hair- from root to end. Let soak into your hair for about 15- 30 minutes. Rinse out with conditioner and style as usual.

Honey Treatment
Honey is a natural humectant, which means that it holds on to water molecules. This makes it a great moisturizer. Honey hair treatments are great for conditioning hair and adding sheen. Honey is also super rich in sulfur, iron, zinc and vitamins B1, B2, B3- all nutrients that aid in hair growth.

You’ll need: ½ cup honey, 2 tablespoon olive oil (Be sure to apply to freshly shampooed hair)

Mix honey with olive oil. Heat mixture in microwave for 30 seconds. Apply to hair, then cover head with shower cap for 15-30 minutes. Rinse out with conditioner and style as usual.

Papaya Treatment
Papaya is great for maintaining the natural shine and softness of hair. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes that help nourish hair and remove unwanted residues from product buildup.

You’ll need: 1 raw papaya, ½ cup yogurt (Be sure to apply to freshly shampooed hair)

Remove seeds and skin of papaya. Blend it in a blender and add half a cup of yogurt to mix. Apply this paste to your hair and scalp. Cover hair with a shower cap for 15-30 minutes. Rinse out with conditioner and style as usual.


If you’d like to send a comment/question to Dr. Phoenyx, you can find her on her Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a writer, media personality, and physician who has been featured on numerous natural hair blogs and print publications for her gorgeous natural hair.

Stop Doing This to Your Natural Hair

Photo Courtesy of Lorado -- Getty Images


Hair care is all about preservation. Your hair is not living like your scalp; it can be temporarily repaired but not permanently restored. Everything in hair care is meant to help maintain and style it. As your hair grows and you retain length, your hair is healthiest at the roots and usually the most damaged at the ends, which is why trims help to retain length. Before purchasing products and building a new regimen, it is helpful to understand how damage occurs and basic ways to maintain your curls.

Read On!>>>

DIY Hair Treatments To Avoid



By Mary Wolff

When it comes to taking a do-it-yourself approach, it can be a lot of fun and really effective. Since you can tailor the ingredients to meet your exact hair needs at any given moment in time, you can get more personalized results than using a store-bought product. They are also great for when you need a quick treatment, but run out of your favorite product! However, there are a few DIY hair treatments to avoid, and some might surprise you.

Continue Reading 

Curly Kids: The Basic Guide to Natural Hair Care for Children

 
by Bee of 83toinfinity.com
Do you have memories of sitting in between your mother’s legs while she parted your hair, oiled your scalp, and styled you up in some plaits and twists, perhaps with pretty clips and bubbles and elastics? Are those memories fond or fearful? For me, they’re all warm and fuzzy. Having my mom wash and braid me up for school was usually something I looked forward to – her hands were gentle, I loved the smell of the African Pride scalp oils she used (remember the yellow ones filled with petroleum and “herbs”?), and we had fun watching TV or talking while she got me ready for the next day of school.

I know that for others, the memories aren’t so sweet. Hair being scraped back and torn with rough combing, singes from irons used to “tame” naps, and harsh comments about how tough, nappy, and bad one’s hair was. I’ve seen the after-effects of negative treatment pass down much more visibly than the positive – mothers who were told their hair was “bad” have practiced the same with their own children, especially their daughters. Seeing 4 year olds with relaxed hair makes me sad. Hearing mothers talk about how terrible their child’s hair is in front of the child makes me cringe.

I have heard Black women admit to choosing fathers of another race in order to ensure that her daughter didn’t have “nappy-ass hair” like she did. I’ve spoken with White mothers who have children with Black men, but have absolutely no clue what to do with their baby’s hair.

Read More!!>>>>

FAQs- Deep Conditioning and Natural Hair

Hair Liberty's Nicole Harmon, our Resident Curl Chemist, is answering your most urgent hair questions. Got one for her? Email me at [email protected] using "Hair Liberty" in the subject line and she may answer your question right here on the blog.

What is deep conditioning?

“Deep Conditioning” is often suggested as a remedy for dry or damaged hair. The goal of deep conditioning is to strengthen damaged hair and prevent breakage. To deep condition you must use a conditioner that contains ingredients that can absorb into the hair strand. Examples of penetrating ingredients include hydrolyzed protein, amino acids, cetrimonium bromide, panthenol and some silicones.

Does deep conditioning require heat?

No, it’s a common myth that deep conditioning requires heat. If a conditioner works with heat, its instructions will tell you to apply heat for a specific amount of time. Heat will only increase the effect of a conditioner if it has been formulated with penetrating ingredients. Conditioners that require heat don’t work better than conditioners that tell you to apply and rinse after a few minutes. It all depends on the ingredients.

I like sitting under the dryer. Is there any harm?

Yes, sitting under a bonnet dryer for long periods of time with conditioner in your hair can cause harm. The instructions on your conditioner tell you the safest way to use the product. Studies show that preservatives and other chemicals in cosmetic products can cause eczema and a type of alopecia called telogen effluvium.

We’re used to thinking of eczema as a skin condition that runs in families, but frequent exposure to cosmetic chemicals can cause a type of eczema called “acute contact dermatitis”. Symptoms of acute contact dermatitis include itching, bumps, tenderness, and dry patches. Studies show that acute contact dermatitis on the scalp leads to a form of short-term alopecia called telogen effluvium. The condition causes excess hair shedding for up to 6 months.

When you leave a conditioner on longer than the recommend time you may be increasing your exposure to cosmetic chemicals that have been linked to eczema, alopecia, and more serious health problems like cancer. Adding heat increases your exposure even more.

Can I sit under the dryer if I only use natural/organic products?

It will always be safest to follow the instructions on your conditioner. Just because a product is labeled “natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean it’s safer than anything else. Some natural ingredients cause more allergy problems than synthetic ingredients. There are also loopholes in FDA guidelines that allow manufacturers to omit certain ingredients from the label. The manufacturer is the only one who knows exactly what’s in the bottle and whether it’s safe or not to use the product with heat.

I think I have contact dermatitis on my scalp and excess shedding. What do I do now?

1) Make a decision today to follow the instructions on your products. Don’t leave in rinse-off products and don’t let rinse-off products sit on your scalp for long periods of time.
2) Visit a Dermatologist or Trichologist for a scalp evaluation if possible.
3) Don’t scratch your scalp when it itches. Micro-cuts on the scalp can lead to bacterial infections.
4) Be patient. Itching, bumps, and the other symptoms of acute contact dermatitis usually go away within 4 weeks after the exposure stops. Excess shedding due to telogen effluvium should stop within 6 months.
5) For extra softness and easier detangling when you wash your hair, do a pre-shampoo oil treatment each week.

References:

AetnaInteliHealth. Health A to Z: Eczema. Available at http://intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/9339/9501.html.

Antonella Tosti; Bianca Maria Piraccini; Dominique J. J. van Neste. Telogen Effluvium After Allergic Contact Dermatitis of the Scalp. Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(2):187-190.

CW Hughes, E. Telogen Effluvium. Medscape Reference. Available at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1071566-overview.

Environmental Working Group. 2008. Study: Almost Half Of All ‘Natural’ Personal Care Products Contain Known Carcinogen. Available at http://ewg.org/node/26160.

Flyvholm MA, Menné T. Allergic contact dermatitis from formaldehyde. A case study focusing on sources of formaldehyde exposure. Contact Dermatitis. 1992 Jul;27(1):27-36.

Toribo, J., et al. "Allergic Contact Dermatitis In A Girl Due To Several Cosmetics Containing Diazolidinyl-Urea Or Imidazolidinyl-Urea." Contact Dermatitis (01051873) 63.1 (2010): 49-50.



Hair Liberty (def): The freedom to rock whatever style you want, whenever you want. Curly, straight, natural, relaxed, whatever! Free yourself! For more info, visit
www.hairliberty.org

Repair Severe Heat Damage With These Easy Steps!




There is no turning back time when it comes to the severe, gradual heat damage that happens after too much heat use, at too-high temperatures, with too few heat protectants. But what about that one time you might have just made one too many passes over your hair? Or maybe you know you did everything right, but you're just nervous about the possibility of your curls and coils not bouncing back quite the same way.
But don't worry, all hope is not lost on your short-term straightened hair. Try taking these six steps to rehabilitate your curls after a heat binge. You don't have to do all six at once, feel free to pick and choose which ones may work for you!

Continue!>>>

Repair Your Heat Damage in 6 Easy Steps



There is no turning back the tresses of time when it comes to severe, gradual heat damage that happens after too frequent heat use, at too high temperatures, with too few heat protectants. But what about that one time you might have just made one too many passes over your hair? Or maybe you know you did everything right, but you're just nervous about the possibility of your curls and coils not bouncing back quite the same way.

All hope may not be lost for those short-term straightenings. Try taking these 6 steps to rehabilitate your curls after a heat binge. You don't have to do all 6 at once, feel free to pick and choose which ones may work for you!

Read On!>>>

Why My BFF Is Fighting Stage 4 Cancer With Natural Medicine

Milly Bigay 
By Ailia Coley

The worst 'medicine' I ever got as a kid was a heaping spoon full of golden seal root in powdered form. The smell alone was enough to induce vomiting; somehow I kept it down and when I was old enough to swallow whole pills, I was given all sorts of herbal supplements in capsules. Make no mistake, these smelly herbs, belching up garlic clove on barley and reeking of Castile soap, olive oil and apple cider vinegar, was gross. But fast-forward 30 years and I realize how fortunate I was to be instilled with the nontraditional, naturopathic practices of my hippy parents.

Continue

Herbal Tea for Hair Growth- Drink & Rinse Your Way to Longer, Thicker Natural Hair


curlfriend, Zhara

Hola Chicas!

I've received a bunch of emails and follow-up questions from you dolls about the Nettle Tea post and thought I'd combine three old posts (from 2009!) to give you a more comprehensive look at the power of tea for hair growth and thickening.  Below, you'll find a list of common hair issues and the herbs and oils to treat them, Zhara's Hair Growth Tea recipe and Final Rinse instructions .  Enjoy!

Hair loss/Growth Stimulating: 
Oils: seabuckthorn
Herbs: basil, burdock, nettle, parsley, rosemary, sage, yarrow, kelp (strengthens roots), horsetail, hibiscus, fenugreek, coconut milk, lavender, birch, watercress (encourages thick growth), yucca, thyme, and coltsfoot.
EO’s: basil, cajute, carrot seed, cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, orange, peppermint, rosemary, clary sage, thyme, ylang ylang, lemon, yarrow, lemon balm, parsley.

Read On!>>>

DIY Luxury Hot Oil Treatment


Kavuli Nyali-Binase via TheGoodHairDiaries

I have been doing hot oil treatments since I was pretty young. I remember my mother buying these tubes of oil that was to be left in a cup of hot water for a certain amount of time. My mother would pierce the tube and squeeze wonderfully warm oil all over my head and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing out. This was always the best part of getting my hair done.

I decided to start making my own hot oil treatments, and it seems as if the gates to some wonderfully happy place just opened up. I started with warming just plain old extra virgin olive oil and applying it to my hair and scalp for about an hour or so. I would then wrap my hair in plastic cling wrap, a shower cap or a plastic bag if that was the only thing available. After rinsing the oil out and shampoo'ing once, my hair was soft like silk and shined so beautifully. I honestly couldn't believe it. I immediately went to work researching how certain oils benefit the hair and scalp

Read More!>>>

DIY Ayurvedic Conditioner for Natural Hair Growth



by Emilia Obiekea of AdoreBotanicals.com

I enjoy making and creating products when I have free time. Ayurvedic herbs are wonderful for the hair and skin.   

"According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Ayurveda is considered one of the oldest healing sciences that have a holistic approach to health. It is designed to help people live a long, healthy, and well-balanced life. It has been practiced in India for at least 5,000 years. It has recently become popular again in western cultures and is used to treat illnesses and maintain balance in the body, mind, and consciousness through proper eating, drinking, and lifestyle.  Our hair, which is a vital parameter of external beauty, can also benefit from Ayurvedic treatments to maintain its health and look beautiful. These time-tested herbal hair care remedies have been the backbones behind the healthy and long hair of Indian women. Whether dealing with scalp problems, nourishing the hair follicles, or trying to steer clear of sulfates, parabens, or ingredients you cannot pronounce, Ayurveda can bring health and beauty to your tresses."
I am sharing my own recipe for a home pre-poo/conditioning treatment that encourages healthy hair growth.

Instagram: Dunsinfaces

by Mary Wolff

There are tons of new hair care trends floating around on the Internet. While the new trends might be an exciting way to rev up your hair care routine, the classics are still a trusted route for many curlies. One of the most time-honored DIY options is rinsing hair with mayonnaise. Mayonnaise has long been heralded as a great way to easily achieve super shine for your strands. Are there any other reasons you should consider rinsing hair with mayonnaise?  Well, yes! Here are a few reasons mayonnaise is for more than just sandwiches.

Continue Reading

Stimulate Hair Growth With This Ayurvedic Treatment





Ayurvedic medicine, also known as Ayurveda, is one of the oldest holistic healing systems that originated thousands of years ago in India. It believes that health and wellness are connected and dependent on the balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Ayurveda is India’s primary healthcare system, even today, and more than 90% of the continent’s population uses some form of Ayurvedic therapy. In the United States it has more of a complementary healthcare option when many Americans employing Ayurvedic elements like meditation and cleansing therapies for the body as a whole. 

Ayurveda means “the knowledge of long life” and addresses the well-being of the entire body both spiritually and physically. One of the amazing benefits of this holistic healing system is the abundance of Ayurvedic powders that can be incorporated into our healthy hair care system that many curlies have embraced. Ayurvedic herbs or powders have a wealth of benefits and many are drawn to them for natural remedies to everyday ailments. Many curlies are looking for natural, alternatives coloring to care for and grow their tresses, so the therapeutic properties have become popular again. Many have heard of henna, amla, or marshmallow root, but there is an array of herbs that aid in the health of our bodies. One becoming a favorite would be the Bhringaraj herb.

Read On!>>>

Lemongrass Dandruff Treatment Rinse

by Kurlybella of K is for Kinky

Okay, can we keep it real? Dandruff is NOT THE BIZNESS. In high school I had dandruff – which now that I look back, think it was a side effect of relaxing. Anyway, I digress.

If you struggle with a snowflake scalp but don’t want to use a “regular” store brand dandruff shampoo, here is a pretty effective and not to mention great smelling option for you to try and one that won’t dry out your kinks or curls.

Ingredients:

1 cup of organic apple cider vinegar
1 cup of distilled or bottled water (any brand and spring water is fine)
1 tablespoon organic jojoba oil
2 tablespoons of lemongrass leaves
2 finely crushed non-coated aspirin (you can get a full bottle of generic aspirin at the dollar store)
2 tablespoons peppermint or rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons of nettle

Over low heat, bring the distilled water to just before boiling. In a 20 ounce bottle or jar with a top (you'll need a top to shake this mixture) gently add the herb and jojoba oil and apple cider vinegar. Cover your mixture and allow to steep for five days. after five days, strain out the herbs.

This is a concentrated mixture so you will need to dilute 1 part of your lemongrass dandruff rinse with 5 parts water to a new bottle and then add your asprin. after washing/co-washing and conditioning your hair and before you use a leave in, pour this mixture over your scalp being sure to put it straight on the roots so it’s highly recommended that you apply this mixture with a spray bottle or a hair color bottle with pointed tip.

Leave your lemongrass dandruff rinse on your scalp for 2-3 minutes while you shower and then rinse your hair clean with cold water to seal your hair cuticles and add your leave-ins being sure to avoid your scalp.

Each time you use your mixture be sure to add 2 aspirin.

Why apple cider vinegar?
The apple cider vinegar helps to keep your hair and scalp pH balanced.

Why aspirin?
Aspirin contains salicylates, the same active ingredient in dandruff shampoos which contain salicylic acid.

Why herbs?
The herbs provide a cooling and soothing property for your scalp not to mention they will leave your hair smelling wonderful!


Do you or have you ever struggled with dandruff? How are you dealing with the dreaded white flakes? Do you have any home remedies that you do?

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

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