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Curly Nikki

Mo Hair, Mo Problems

By January 27th, 202172 Comments

Mo Hair, Mo Problems

Antwanette writes:

Hi Nikki!

First, let me say that I absolutely love your blog! Since stumbling upon it last year, it has become both an obsession (I visit the site several times daily – yikes!) and an amazing resource. Thanks for all that you do! Now, on to my burning question…

When I first went natural, I dreamed of the day my closely cropped head would overflow with a huge mass of springy coils. Deep down, I hoped what sprouted from my head would mirror that of Tracee Ellis Ross (aka Joan from “Girlfriends), but I digress. Anyway, I eventually got my wish… the growth, that is, and, three years later, am proud to have APL hair and all of the versatility it brings.
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much where the happiness ends. I’m NOT at all excited about the other drama that seems to have come as a “package deal” with the increased length – lots of tangles, including tons of single strand knots, increased shedding and just enough breakage in the past couple of months to become concerned. A part of me wonders if the breakage/shedding is similar to the same issue I had with relaxed hair – it would grow to a certain length and, like clockwork, begin to break off.
Add to my list grueling, hours long wash/condition/styling sessions every two weeks – probably the worst part! I spend at least an hour in the shower just washing my hair to the point that I become nauseated by all of the steam and can barely complete the task! I use some of the popular techniques like washing my hair in sections and pre-pooing to try to make things easier but to no avail. This is part of the reason I switched to washing every two weeks, yet I still find myself dreading wash day as if it’s a trip to the dentist.
By no means am I tempted to go back to the relaxer. But, admittedly, I have been tempted to whack off several inches of hair in the hopes of solving my problems. I don’t know what to do! So, my questions are:

Have you experienced similar “growing pains”?

If so, how did you cope?

How do you combat breakage, shedding and single strand knots?

What trusted techniques do you use to wash your hair?

I look forward to getting some much-needed advice/feedback. I need help – stat!


  • Anonymous says:

    I read that steam rooms/steam from showers actually lower the blood pressure. That is probably the reason for the nausea..I know that I feel funny after being in an steamy hot shower for too long as well. I feel faint as if I am going to lose my breath. They actually recommend that you not be exposed to too much steam for more than 15 minutes. You all be careful. I detangle before the shower/shampoo process.

  • Mahogany Soul says:

    i feel you on the show nausea. i have to keep my bathroom ventilated and limit my time to 30minutes max in the shower. My hair is 4a/4b and reaches just past my shoulder blade (b/n apl and bsl) and here's what i do:

    -i divide my hair in 4 section and dampen each section. i then coat each section with oil and condition. i go under the dryer for a good 30 min.
    -once in the shower i comb through a section, shampoo,bg rinse and apply conditioner. i repeat with each section.
    -i then rinse the hair and i'm done.

    -when REALLY lazy i apply my leave in and put my hair in 10 or 12 big twists, braiding two small sections in the front for a nice little bang piece the next day. this takes 20 minutes max.
    -the next day the hair w/ the twists is still damp but i scoop it up into a bun,style my little bang and i'm good to go.

  • MojaveMochaa says:

    Ok – sorry I don't have any useful suggestions to offer – I had NO IDEA that nearly everyone suffers from shower-nausea! I actually thought it was just me…I get dizzy and lightheaded after awhile, and when I'm done and in my room twisting I still feel it. I've got to remind myself to take deep breaths.

  • NaturalK says:

    I too suffer from tangles, SSKs, and maddening wash days. However, I'm hoping I've found a routine that works. My major problems are PJism and actually sticking to a routine and the products used. I have to say that I have now become a henna head and after one application I definitely see a difference in SSKs and tangles and it's easier to detangle my hair now. As of now I'm thinking I need to henna once a month because now I'm starting to get a few (not many) SSKs back. As I run on and on, my process is as follows:

    1. I spray my hair with distilled water & peppermint oil (10-20 drops), then I put a plastic cap on. I do this because it makes it easier for me to apply my pre-poo and my hair just acts better with some water. I leave the cap on for at least 10min

    2. After my hair has softened, I apply a pre-poo. Right now I'm using MyHoneyChild's Honey Hair Mask as a pre-poo, but normally I use a mixture of cheapy conditionser, EVOO, and honey. I ONLY WORK IN SECTIONS ON MY HAIR because I just have too much hair (I love it!) to do it any other way. I apply the pre-poo and detangle at that point with my fingers and then a wide-tooth comb. I then plait my hair in however many plaits are needed, and now my hair is somewhat detangled. I put the plastic cap back on for at least another 10min.

    2. Then I get in the shower and rinse the plaits and if it's time for my once a month poo, I shampoo my scalp once. I then take down the plaits and part my hair down the middle. I slather HH Totally Twisted to both sides, and then start working on one side at a time. I section my hair and apply more conditioner and then I use a wide-tooth comb and twist that section. I put a plastic cap on and then take my shower.

    ***I do NOT detangle with the shower water running. However, I do run hot/warm water in the tub and stop up the tub so my feet-ankles will remain warm and thus helps the rest of my body to maintain some semblance of warmth. I could just be dillusional but it works for me =) LOL!***

    3. After I'm done with my shower, I rinse my twists with cool water and get out of the shower.

    4. I then apply my DC and put my plastic cap on for 30-45min. I have a detachable shower head, so I don't get back in the shower, I just lean over the tub and rinse my hair out.

    5. I use a cotton t-shirt to blot dry my hair. I then spray my moisturizer spray that already contains an oil for sealing, and then I twist my hair with my hair butter and I'm done.

    ***OH! I also forgot to mention that whenever I'm using the wide tooth comb, I only comb each section no more than 3-4 times. This is also why I comb again in the shower, at which I only comb twice.

    I'm not sure if any of this will help, but I do suggest trying standing in warm water versus allowing your shower to run. I had to opt for this route for the simple fact that my hot water doesn't last that long in my apt lol.


    P.S. I just have to say how much I love this site. Thanks to Curly Nikki and all the ladies!!! I've learned so much, and it's just so motivating and inspiring to keep moving forward πŸ™‚

  • natural mommy says:

    I forgot to mention…Ms. Jessie's shampoos/cleansers were great to use, BUT the stretching cream and the curly pudding left flakes no matter how I used it.

    I lot of people are showing the use of ECO Styler…It always left me with crunch, curl definition, and FLAKES.

    Carol's daughter has great pommades but either you love or hate the fragrance.

    AND…Don'y forget to trim your ends on a regular basis if you are prone to split end like me! (thick strands!)

  • natural mommy says:

    I feel your pain. My hair twnds to be very dry and is 4b texture (with a few other annoying strands mixed in). The length is 3 inches below my shoulder but it shrinks like crazy.
    I am still experimenting.
    Let me just let you know the things that consistiently work for me and have worked since 2003.
    I can rock a fro for about a week after a twist out, but if the hair starts to shrink rapidly as the days go on, I use my hands to create four sections and band with scruncies for bedtime…every other day.
    Two strand twists are my favorite. ( I just have to be sure I make time to do them…I have two toddlers…girls). I have tried more than a dozen products for twists, but I keep coming back to ORGANIC Root Stimulator Lock and Twist Gel…no flakes, no strong scent, can be used with most braid spray moisturizers, adds sheen, not sticky on the hair unless you use too much, cost less than 5 bucks and does not leave my hair crunchy!

    I always use a sulfate free shampoo. Shea Moisture (at select Target locations) is my favorite right now…it's not tear free but I even use it on my kids' hair.

    If I have been rocing a fro or other style that have left me with lots of tangles…I SATURATE my hair with a cheap conditioner that's not too thick and cover with a plastic cap and do housework or read for at least an hour. (Conditioners: White Rain, Suave, Tressame, Pantene, anything that can be easily distributed in my 4b hair…)

    I remove the plastic cap and detangle with fingers and a wide tooth comb. I have plastic clips that I use to hold the sections….no more than four sections usually…

    Then I get in the shower and remove the clips and massage my scalp vigorously while rinsing with warm water to get all the conditioner out.Sometimes this is enought to get my hair clean…if not, I follow up with sulfate free shampoo.

    LIGHTY towel blot to dry.

    After shampoo or co-poo time, I HAVE TO USE A LEAVE IN conditioner immediately…still experimenting with this…I like bronner brothers castor oil moisturizer…a little goes a long way….Bronner Brothers M.O.M.(miriacle oil moisturizer) or a little Dudley's hair moisturizer lotion or Dudley's curl moisturizer lotion. I am open to suggestions on a leave in…

    I usually seal the moisture in with a little coconut oil and warm shea butter…a little goes a long way!
    I sleep with a satin bonnet or scarf depending on what style I have.

  • Anonymous says:

  • All That Chit Chat says:

    When my hair gets to the length where it takes too much time, I happily revert back to my TWA. I've done it too many times to count over the past 20 years.

    This time, I'm actually trying to grow past that point. Just for something new. I'll see how it goes. If it becomes a big hassle…. you know what happens next. One of the reasons I like natural hair is for the easy maintenance. So if it gets to be drama…. kinda defeats the purpose. We'll see what happens…

  • Anonymous says:

    Goodarticle.I think the key is to do work in sections and calmly.Having more hair means more time has to be taken with it,i see it as a blessing to have big hair and its medium thick so even though its more work its worth it. anothjer thing is how you view it i found in my earler transtioning days i was excited to wash my hair and now 9 months post that excitment has faded so i need to go back to basics real quick.

  • Anonymous says:

    and i also use the tightly curly method πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, could be some long term missing vitamins. Might not generally show, but your hair might be mirriring this. Try some complementary medicine, like holistic or such. It sure did help me, when my hair shed in masses after my pregnancy (anemia etc)! Keep hair care and products to minimum. I do curly girl method and take vit. supplements(boitin etc). My hair is thriving, growing really fast, no problems! Sorry for my english, donΕ₯ use it much πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    OMG! I am so happy that you've posted this. I thought I was the only one experiencing this same problem. My hair is not as long as yours. It's passed my shoulders when stretched. However, I have too much. I don't know what to do. I feel like a horrible person for even feeling this way, when having big hair is what I wanted to begin with.

  • Anonymous says:

    For me, going natural was in part about finding a shorter less hectic process than what I had to when it was relaxed. The first thing that shocked me when I started reading the natural boards is how much stuff people do to their natural hair! I was like WOW. I guess it has to do with texture but the most beautiful, long, healthy and easy to manage natural hair I've seen is hair that is not heavily managed.

    By this I mean, the less one does to it, the better off it seems to be. I literally get stopped by Natural sisters at least 3 times per week, getting compliments & questions about what I put in my hair, how I do it, what's my routine, etc. When I tell them, they stare at me blankly & some have even suggested I was wearing a weave or a track! They really don't believe that I have long healthy hair from such a simple routine.

    I'm not saying this to brag about my hair. I'm saying this to say maybe you are doing too much? Your process seems long and tedious and I can't blame you for dreading it, girl!

    I went natural almost 3 years ago. I have below armpit level hair. I think it's 3b/3c mix. My daily routine is this: I wash it with SheaMoisture shampoo for curly hair every other day. I condition it with SheaMoisture conditioner every day. I towel dry, put a quarter size amount of Curls Kukinut oil in my palm and run it through my hair from front to back, shaping it with my fingers as I go. That is it for daily. It takes 5 extra minutes in the shower. At night, I sleep with satin cap.

    My maintenance routine is this: On Wednesday nights, I put a TON of Elasta QP or SheaMoisture curl conditioner on it while dry, working it through loosely divided quandrants. I put a satin cap on it and go to bed. Thursday morning, I wet it in shower, put normal conditioner on it and comb it out with wide tooth comb. It's very easily detangled due to conditioner. I don't tear through occasional tangles. I massage them out with conditioner and keep combing in random sections. Theres normal hair shedding. This routine takes 10 minutes extra in shower.

    Finally, every 12 weeks, I do a 2 week blow out and flat iron. It helps me 'see' the condition of my cuticles better as well length check. My stylist trims my ends then.

    In nutshell, I have 4 total products, 5 minutes per day and 10 minutes per week on maintenance. If I do a style, that's different but mostly I'm a wash and wear, rarely comb girl and my hair is still my friend. Try downsizing your routine and see if it helps. Best of luck to you! PS* I wanted Joans hair too. lol

  • LoveLaughLiveLife says:

    **addition to my comment above**

    After applying conditioner, I also run my head back under the water to distribute it throughout. I loose some conditioner, but I feel it helps with detangling

    **end** πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    I think washing in the shower is part of the problem. Get a spray nozle (Sally's has them) that you can attach to your kitchen sink and lean over the sink so you wont have to stay wet and nauseated in the shower for hours. Folks shouldn't have to hop in and out the shower to do hair. Spray nozles can save much time and water… You can also purchase a shower nozle with the adjustable hose if you want to do hair in the bathroom and just lean over the tub.

    Saturate your hair with oil first, detangle and section hair in at least 10 loose plaits or ponytails. Then proceed to wash and condition the sectioned hair with the steps others have provided. KEEP THE HAIR SECTIONED OFF or it will be too massive and frustrating to tackle.

  • Anonymous says:

    Shorter is not necessarily better. I had BSL hair and similar problems with shedding, breakage, tangling,etc. I also had (have) some color remaining from 02/10; so went to a stylist and had 7" cut off. My hair is now neck-length and although I no longer spend 1-2 hrs in the shower, I'm still having some shedding and tangling… I just needed the many suggestons for conditioning, so tomorrow I'll pick up the guntlet and start again.

  • luvmylocs says:

    i started locs when my hair got tedious. locs were easy breezy. i've since cut my locs and i'm right back where i was with wanting longer hair without the hassles that go along with it. some good tips here.

  • Anonymous says:

    @skittledittle – pls don't cut it out of frustration. Peruse this site and you tube for low maintenance/no fuss styles. If you haven't already, check out Kimmaytubes channel on you tube. Her hair is long as well. Stay encouraged b/c if you cut it, you'll prob miss your tresses.

  • Anonymous says:

    Has anyone ever tried Giovanni Direct Leave In (DLI) for shower detangling?

    I decided to put the Giovanni products "back into rotation" last week, and used the DLI to detangle in the shower after shampooing with the SAS.

    I'm 4c, ELL (ear lobe length), yeah yall!

    Wowsers, it detangled well and left my broom brush ends very soft and compliant. Will try it again.

  • skittledittle11 says:

    I was just telling my friend about this. I had the worst detangling session the other day and I was tempted to chop off a section of my hair right there. I refrained but, i really want to cut all my hair off and start over. I'm bra strap length now and while I do take pride in my length its aggravating. Also BSL was my ultimate goal and now that I've reached it I feel like I have nothing to look forward to lol. I'm afraid that if i cut it off, i'll miss the long hair. IDK what to do.

  • Julissa says:

    For me it works to detangle out of the shower with my fingers and dry hair. I’ve also noticed for the past 3-4 weeks that I’ve been doing flat twists on all my hair, that my hair does not tangle as much as before and it makes finger detangling much much easier and shedding is a lot let. Now that I’ve been doing this I don’t dread wetting my hair and it takes me about 15 min to finger detangle and about 10 in the shower. I do this every week.

    Someone mentioned music before, I think this is a very good idea and I’ve done that too

  • Natural Newbie's says:

    When I get lazy or frustrated with my hair I take short cuts. Along with the recommendations of protective styles and ponys as a few have mentioned, I cut my care time down. I pre condition, basically I put conditioner on dry hair. Before I shampoo, Ill slather on tons of conditioner(more than I would to wet hair)and then I put on a plastic cap and leave for an hour or two while I do other things. When I take the bag off my hair is much easier to detangle and I detangle, then I get in the shower and wash my scalp with shampoo and rinse both the shampoo and condish out at the same time then I style as usual. Doing the condish before cuts down alot of the shower work. It really helps me when Im not in the mood but dont want to totally neglect my hair. hth

  • Camille says:

    I could have written that question. I love it when it's done and dry, but the detangling/styling/drying process makes me want to hack off a few inches. I just got out of the shower, and with all the hair that's in my shower comb and my Denman, Locks of Love could make a baby wig. I oil rinse, detangle with conditioner in my hair, and do it section by section. I don't know how much longer I'm going to want to put up with this. I'm thinking shorter is better.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am 23 year old. I have problem with my hair its very dull . i want to use a herbal products bcoz they don't have side effects one day friend tell me about the natural hair product and I was use the natural herbal product this product is very good for my hair and now my hair is very smooth thanks hairscareproductsinfo.

  • CashmereKinks says:

    WHY did you guys just make me read ALL of these comments? πŸ™‚ i have homework.

    this was a great post. thank you guys for the tips!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey πŸ™‚ I too had long enough but super thick!hair. The way I coped before I chopped was to just stop combing brushing and detangling in the traditional sense. I went a step above finger combing and started doing something ical smoothing which just consisted of me running my hands through my hair while it was wet and full of condish. Whatever didnt come out came out with my second "save me time and hassle" technique which was and still is protective styling. I dont have time to keep doing my hair so pretty braids twists sew-in's etc saves the day πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    @ Diamond it looks like a 4a/4b to me

  • Sdot says:

    Since my hair has grown I've noticed my washing and detangling process is much more work. Yesterday my neice came in the bathroom and said "Geez Lala, you been in the shower for ever" lol. I have to detangle in sections now lol. I don't get many knots because I style my hair dry most of the time.

  • Antwanette says:

    Wow, ladies! Thanks a thousand times for all of the great tips, insight and support. I only wish I had posed this question sooner instead of allowing myself to become overwhelmed and extremely frustrated!

    Today is actually wash day so my hair and I have date in just a bit – LOL. Fortunately, I don't have to get all dolled up for this one.;) For starters, I definitely plan to take some of your suggestions for a spin and alter my current wash & detangle techniques. I think I'll even take my husband up on his long-standing offer to help wash my hair! I don't want to try too many techniques at once, though. Baby steps…

    As far as a trim/cut – I let my old stylist (from when I had relaxed hair) do this the first year and, for the past two years, have trimmed it myself every 3 months and dusted SSKs as needed. This has worked fine for the past two years. The shedding/breakage issue really just popped up in the last few months. I'm going to do another trim in the meantime but also look for a local natural hairstylist *cringe*. That brings me to a whole 'nother level of anxiety – yikes! I definitely plan to throw up the deuces to this last inch of color on my ends, be more consistent with doing (and actually keeping my hair in) protective styles and will begin incorporating Henna treatments into my regimen. Whew – sounds like I just made a list of New Year's resolutions!

    Once again, thanks SOOO much for all of the suggestions. I'm actually looking forward to washing my hair..who 'da thunk it? You guys are great!!!

  • LoveLaughLiveLife says:

    Aaahhhh I feel your pain!! I've been recently asking myself similar questions…"How long am I going to let this hair grow??" I am currently about 3-4 inches below BSL (3b/c) and have been experiencing more shedding and detangling nightmares as it grows!! I have employed the following methods to stop the madness:

    1. pre-poo with olive oil, section, braid.
    2. Condition with high-slip conditioner (currently Trader Joe's Moisture Condish)
    3. TURN OFF THE SHOWER when detangling!! This def can suck…esp in the winter time…but it's anti-nauseating and environmentally friendly!
    4. Detangle in sections using fingers. Much more control over the shedding issues with a little bit of patience!
    5. Afterwards, I usually throw my hair up in some sort of protective style if it's during the week, or leave it out and free if it's the weekend.

    A session like this takes me 20-30 min, so it's not too bad. As far as the SSK, regular trims are certainly the answer for that.

    I hope this has been helpful! Best of luck to you and your hair endeavors!!

  • Anonymous says:

    What is 'apl'?

  • Anonymous says:

    May I suggest…. have a seat at your bathroom mirror to de-tangle prior to hopping in the shower to wash/condition. This cuts way down on shower time. I don't allow the water to run continuously as I am poo'ing/condish. To cut down on getting chilly, I use a plug-in space heater in the bathroom. My routine consists of the following (for the sake of typing I have 4a/b hair.)

    – spritz hair [to dampen] with water first, which will allow separating easier; separate into four to six sections
    – one section at a time, lightly oil your hands and run hands down each section to get rid of shed hairs
    – next, apply semi-generous amount of cheapie condish (I use .99 cents VO5) to finger de-tangle, follow with wide-tooth comb, dust ends to remove SSK's as needed, twist section and move on to the next. ….. de-tangling session ends at this point

    – when in shower, apply poo to the scalp using a bottle with an applicator tip; massage scalp thoroughly w/twists are still in; rinse scalp and gently squeeze the twists to remove poo (poo x2)
    – to condition, saturate twists with conditioner and don shower cap
    * move on to shower duties *
    – to rinse conditioner, gently untwist each section and rinse, rinse, rinse …. with little to no manipulation of the hair to avoid re-tangling
    – once out of the shower, I wrap my head with a cotton t-shirt until ready to style

  • Unknown says:

    So I did this routine for the first time 3 weeks ago and it worked wonders for me. I had had my hair in mini-twists for almost a month, so there were a good amount of tangles and lots of shed hair.

    One day I separated my twists with a little oil. The next day I wore it in a puff. That night I put in Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Condish for a pre-poo. I put a shower cap on, wrapped a towel around my head & let it sit like that for an hour. (This was so much easier than sitting under the dryer for a half hour because i was able to do laundry, clean, etc.)

    Next, I took a spray bottle with some water, split my hair into 8 sections, and detangled each section, spritzing with water as needed, and twisting up each section.

    After that I applied a bentonite clay mask to each section (taking out the twists). Let that sit for about 15 minutes.

    Only then did i get in the shower. I rinsed out the clay, put in some Oyin condish, ran my comb through my hair again, which was super easy cause it was already detangled. Then I rinsed & got out!

    I was only in the shower for about 10 min, my hair felt amazing, and it was completely detangled. The entire process took me about 2 hours, but for about an hour & a half I was multi-tasking, yay!

    Hope this is helpful!

  • Anonymous says:

    A good trim sounds like it'll help but don't do it after you've flat ironed it or you'll be making more problems for yourself. Find someone who can trim it w/o causing more damage to your hair. If you hate washing it yourself, how 'bout finding a salon that would wash it condition it and mini-twist it up for you that could last you 4-6 weeks. I have a friend that does that and she's a happy camper. Cost from $80-$100 but well worth the 4-6 weeks of freedom….Just throwing out ideas πŸ™‚ Love the post and love this website!!!! It's so nice to see everyone being so helpful to each other.

  • Anonymous says:

    you also have to be willing to adapt your routine as your hair grows. there has been a ton of great advice given here.

    it was harder for me to detangle when my hair was shorter. i would go through conditioner by the case. the problem for me was that my ends were always exposed. now that im apl i can easily tuck detangled length under into a protective bun, thus prevevnting the hair coiling around itself and tangling. because of that, i can now easily detangle under a running shower stream without conditioner. i also learned that detangling in sections works wonders.

    when my hair becomes more difficult to detangle and i see lots of ssk, i take that as a cue to do a henna treatment and/or a trim. now that i can pull the ends around to be able to see them, instead of full trims, im cutting the individual splits and knots, hopefully saving more length.

    my particular issue is that my puffs and twist/braid outs dont look as good as they did when my hair was shorter. so, until i figure out how to style this length, its all buns for me…

  • ashley says:

    I know ur frustrations. I permed my hair after 16 months b/c it was too thick and extremely dry. I didn't think to look at the web for sources like But, as my hair grows (this second time around), sectioning the hair really works. I accept the fact that my hair is going to take time to take care of. Even if you dread it, you have to make time b/c healthy hair is happy hair! πŸ™‚ I use Wednesdays and Saturdays as my deep condish/experiment w/new products days. Keep hope alive!

  • Anonymous says:

    I am giving shampoo a break for a few weeks and started to use a mix of Shikakai and Aritha powders adding both olive and castor oils to this. I then make a paste by adding warm water. After sectioning my hair, I would rub this paste on my scalp and throughout each section and finger detangle. After this loosely braid your hair, and put on a plastic cap for about 30 minutes. Then rinse, condition and detangle once more with a wide tooth comb. Rebraid and DC, after which you can add your leave in. The main thing I noticed is that when I use oil, my hair has less SSKs.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ive heard that Kimmytube's leave-in cuts down on single strand knots.

  • Channing says:

    @ Dolores

    UGH too much!! This was back in the beginning when i didn't know about sectioning and all of that, I've always had a head full of hair and i think just trying to work through all of it in the shower at once was overwhelming for me, id detangle, shampoo, have to redetangle, condition, detangle, get out, comb through it again, lol just way too much manipulation, i didn't know any better.

  • ImperialDiamond says:


    what is the lady's hair type in the photo. i think i might have found my hair twin πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    Love hair and post. I agree with Channing, especially if you want to wear your hair. I also braid my hair every night after misting and sealing the ends. BTW, you need to drink more water before taking long showers or you will get dehydrated. Hope this helps.
    P.S. Love the new look of your site Curly Nikki and thank you for all the information.

  • Anonymous says:

    I've used a steamer for a couple of months now and cannot live without it now! My 4b hair feels so soft and detangles 50% easier. I purchased it from Sam's Club for about $220 with shipping and tax. I see fewer knots and my detangling time has decreased dramatically. I'm a huge fan of Jonathan IB Purifier Shampoo (sulfate-free) when I shampoo every 3 weeks. I use Silk Elements MegaSilk Moisturizing Treatment every 5 – 7 days as my primary cleanser with the steamer (it's inexpensive, but you would never know from the feel of your hair – $10.99/Sally's). Enjoy your hair and I'm enjoying the advice!

  • Anonymous says:

    I have BSL 4b (nappy, extremely coily) hair and I am lazy! I wear my hair in mostly twists and twist outs (protective styles).

    I only fully wash and detangle once a month because I am that lazy. I usually wear my hair in very small twists for 3 weeks and then wear a twist-out for the last week.

    I rinse my hair with conditioner weekly with the twists in and moisturize with a leave-in or spritz of water and jojoba oil the ends daily.

    I also divided washing into a two day event… The first day at night I prepoo and finger detangle, wash, condition and fully detangle with a comb. Then go to bed. The next day I get up early in the morning and rinse the conditioner out, and twist away for about 4 hours while watching movies. Then I have the afternoon and evening to do whatever. This way I don't ever feel like I'm spending the whole day doing my hair.

    I tried upping the frequency of washing, but the time commitment makes it not possible.

    Of course this is only my routine and it would not work for most people, but it works for me.

  • Anonymous says:

    great post!!! I just trimmed my hair and think SSKs and tangled ends are probably a sign of damage and a trim is in order. It means you probably made a mistake somewhere down the line. Maybe this is the long term result of the permanent color? Trimming and cutting is like an opportunity to try something different. I believe that with proper care, you may NEVER need a trim but sometimes, stuff happens. It'll grow back.

    If you don't want to go to a salon, hit YouTube. I have seen great demos there. That way you can control how much comes off if you feel confident about trying it yourself.

    My hair isn't long but the part of my hair that was worrying me was the hair I "learned" on. Right after the last relaxer I was in a major learning phase – I bet I made a bunch of mistakes with products and detangling and such.

    I now also detangle outside of the shower. Sometimes I wash and condition at the sink only. I hear you about the nausea. People with allergies and asthma especially have this problem but lots of other people have it too. It's probably not even a problem, we just shouldn't be in a hot steamy shower that long. Plus after so much exposure to water your hair will be pretty vulnerable and you can accidentally do a lot of damage.

    There are a lot of great ideas on here. (!Thanks ladies :)!)Detangling in stages, hand detangling before shampooing, using the right comb or a modified denman to detangle conditioner soaked hair and wearing protective styles may help you after a trim.

    There are so many gorgeous hair styles out there for all lengths so if you go shorter, you'll still be hot. But in the meantime, maybe you can try a small trim first, and a few new techniques, then make a decision.

  • Dolores says:

    @ Channing: what in the world were you doing for 3.5 hrs EXCLUDING styling?!? I can't believe it. I know that finger de-tangling makes things much longer, bust sheesh it takes me 45 min to 1.5 hrs to finger de-tangle (depending on whether I protective styled that week).

  • Unknown says:

    Hey OP! I spritz each section with water then load up on condish. I definitely don't do this on dry hair, yikes. On the other hand sopping wet hair seems susceptible to breakage too. I prefer damp–happy medium.

  • NaturallyU says:

    I wash/condition my hair in four ponytails. I detangle out of the shower in the same four ponytails. I style my hair using the same four ponytails. Needless to say the four ponytails or sectioning method has saved me from lengthy detangling sessions and I don't have to stay in the shower long. For ssk, I usually wear my hair in protective styles that are stretched styles (most often twists)

  • Anonymous says:

    This could not come at a better time. I too am at the same point as the poster! I always wanted long hair and now that's apl I'm trying to do everything I can from wacking it off! It takes hrs to wash and deep condition and detangle. I turn into a raisin in the shower!

  • Renise B says:

    Ita w/Chantel. This was the first I'd heard about becoming nauseated. Granted, my hair is just hitting shoulder length stretched, I wasn't aware this was an issue. Is the steam making pple light-headed?

  • Ikiah says:

    Hi there!

    One tip that helps me as I also have to take elongated showers when washing my hair- try listening to music to make the experience more enjoyable. I hook up speakers to my phone, play pandora, and sing my little heart out as I co-wash, no poo, and all that jazz πŸ™‚

  • Channing says:

    little past BSL 4a/3c hair here.

    My first suggestion would be to get rid of those colored ends, trust me, they are what's holding you back. keeping a nice blunt cut no matter what the length also is a big factor.

    As far as a routine, from someone who used to spend 3 1/2 hours on it [not counting styling] and has actually gotten so nauseaous I passed out in the shower, here is what I do:

    seperate hair into manageable sections and detangle BEFORE you step foot in the shower. oil your hair down really well, apply some watter and work w/fingers first then apply your conditioner or detangling spray and use whatever detangling tool you use [most of the time i can get away w/just fingers especially if i wasn't doing a lot with my hair]

    **this takes about 15min or so depending on how my hair was styled**

    Once detangled section and clip hair into 4 parts and proceed with wash routine one section at a time.

    **takes maybe 10mins**

    -I don't shampoo my hair
    -i work the conditioner through as if i was smoothing product down, then rinse.
    -fingers only!

    After i complete a section i twist it up as if i were doing a loose bantu knot and then clip it out of the way. Then i'm done, i'm out the shower and proceed to styling.

    So im in and out in under 20mins-30mins. Deep conditioning treatments and henna obviously add more time to the routine but that's to be expected and I prepare for that when I do them.
    The bulk of my time is spent detangling, but it goes MUCH faster when you're not in the shower, for me even faster when i'm in the mirror.

    I haven't had an excessive amount of shed hairs [i pesonally think that's due to me cutting out stlying tools to detangle, i avoided it for-ever, but it's true, fingers are the best!!]

    I don't get tangles ever, to this day i've never had one, and i would have to attribute that 100% to my wash routine.

    As far as ssk's, split ends. and shedding…

    -Henna, Aloe Vera, Jojoba/coconut/olive oil
    -Using natural or water souluable products only. [The above 4 are really the only things i use for everything with the exception of honey]
    -Doing the water only [yes WATER only] method on my scalp and CO only on the mid-ends.
    -DT every week or two
    -LOW manipulation, even if I don't do protective styles, breaking my hand in hair disease was the best thing i ever did for my hair [after the water only method]

    Ok this was super long but hoepfully you found some things helpful, these literally saved me from relaxing again.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would definitely suggest investing in a hair steamer. It has dramatically cut my detangle time in more than 1/2! Its absolutely amazing and the best investment I ever made for my hair.

  • Unknown says:

    Great post!
    I was having similar issues and since I like to keep things simple it was really driving me crazy so I did what you are contemplating. I cut it! I went from APL in the front/BSL in the back to barely APL all over. I was afraid to cut because I know now what I need to do for my hair to grow back. It wasn't too shocking that the ppl most upset by my cut were the ones that DID NOT have to do my hair on a weekly basis.

  • Chantel says:

    Wowww please dont think me ignorant but this is the first time Im hearing of becoming nauseated from the steam in the shower. I have thick 3C,4A hair that is apl. Ive been wearing my hair it protective styles lately and my detangling sessions have been a lot easier. I also moisturize and seal my ends frequently during the week and keep it braided and stretched at night. I believe that has helped with the SSKs and spilt ends.

  • Nikki Aimee says:

    HEY! Who said you could climb in my head and then write about me and my hair?? :

    LOL. But seriously, I felt like I wrote this word for word. I use to dream of my hair being as long as it is now (APL unstretched & a little pass BSL stretched). It's a hassle at times and I loathe coming across a ssk (which I don't get much of if I bun my hair) but what keeps me motivated and avoiding the scissors is the admiration from young black or biracial girls who don't believe that they too can have long/pretty hair.

  • Brey says:

    I can definitely agree with you. I even had to laugh at the part when you said u got sick in the shower from the steam, that's how I am every single time I wash my hair (feels good not to be alone, i thought I had a much bigger issue), and i'm lucky if I can make it out of the shower in an hour #tragic. And lets not even get on the styling sessions 2 hours minimum. But through all of the hassle I dont think I would trade it for anything even though like you I have contemplated whacking off an inch or two, but my BF isn't having that lol. The best thing I have found to make detangling easier in the shower is the hot oil pre-poo every two weeks, this helps my shampoo and in shower detangling sessions go a lot smoother.

  • Kristen says:

    I blow dry my hair or wear it straight. The single strand knots were too much. I tried everything (oil rinses, braid outs, twist outs..) nothing really worked.


    Same situation here, have you tried the Liquid Keratin shampoo…ended all of my problems.

  • Anonymous says:

    This was actually part of the reason I went back to perms when I wore my hair natural before. I had SOOO much hair that I dreaded doing anything to it. I had too much going on to spend so much time on it. I wish I would have thought to cut it!! I think this is usually not even considered an option to us and it would have saved me so much trouble. And the trouble of growing out my twa this time.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with the previous post; it sounds as if you may need to cut a few inches….treat yourself to a nice cut by a highly recommended stylist. When my hair was APL I was dealing with horrible tangles and single strand knots; my detangling time in the shower was ridiculous! I got a couple of inches cut off; it's slightly pass my shoulders now and WOW, what a difference. I noticed an immediate improvement after the first several washes in the shower!

    To maintain my 'new' healthier ends… I spray/mist my hair with water, apply a bit of oil (whatever is handy: coconut, jojoba, olive, etc.) to my ends and slightly detangle with my fingers BEFORE getting in the shower…no excessive pulling or anything. My shower and thorough detangle time has decreased dramatically AND I noticed I don't get as many SSK as the oil really helps to smooth and moisturize my ends.

    Wish I'd known about this technique years ago!

    Hope this helps. Good Luck!


  • Balls Of Beauty says:

    wow! i feel the same way and im just gettin pass the BAA length! when i had my amber rose cut i couldnt wait to get joan's hair too! im not close n actually dont think i'll ever get there without some kinky weave becuz im ready to do another BC like NOW!!! the longer its gettin the more work it is and im just losing patience with it. i cant help to reminisce about my twa days everytime i wash!

    sorry i cant offer better advice other than CUT IT, lol.

  • LittleOne says:

    To echo what others have said, it sounds like it's time for a professional hair trim or cut. I was having similar growing pains, but I was doing regular self trims, so I thought knots and tangles were just part of having longer hair. When I finally got a professional trim (a true 1/2 inch) life was so much better.

    You are probably doing everything right, but your ends are soo fragile (especially since they are color-treated). Once they get really weak and start to split there's no turning back…and as you can see weak, tangly ends are not worth keeping.

    Get a 1/2 inch or an inch taken off and then keep a regular trim schedule. Maybe every 8 weeks or so? As long as your hair grows more than you get trimmed, you'll still get more length.

    Thanks for sharing your struggles with us! I think this is a common issue that sneaks up on naturals πŸ™‚

  • JazBNatural says:

    Don't detangle in the shower! I stopped doing that. now my feet dont hurt, im not wasting hours worth of water and im not nauseas and tired when im done. i just bought a spray attachment that attaches to the sink (i bought it on amazon
    ) and i wash my hair in the sink then go to my bathroom to detangle, sitting down on my comfortable stool.

    i also do a lot of protective styles. braids last at least a month for me. i dont wear my hair "out" a lot and that prevents ssks and breakage and dry ends. you cant get breakage if you are moisturizing and not manipulating it a lot. hope that helps.

    another thing–since i have so much hair but i dont want to waste product, i wash my hair, deep condition it with conditioner, honey and olive oil, and then detangle with the deep conditioner still in. i like it because i save conditioner and it weighs my hair down a lot. i squeez some of it out before i start so its not messy, but i leave a lot in and it works perfectly.

  • Janel says:

    I've been having the same issues lately. My thick (4a) hair is at apl and I've found that what really helps is my ouidad dentangling comb. It isn't the cheapest comb but the double set of teeth make combing so much easier. I separate my hair into about 6 sections and use hehh. It takes me 15-20 min. I've also found that letting oil sit for a little while in the shower helps with detangling too. I've used avocado oil with good results

  • Anonymous says:

    Disclaimer – my hair is NOT long. However it is 4b and difficult to manage so here's how I tackle wash day.

    – I use scunci bands and section dry hair into manageable sections then put the bands in. I make sure I leave room to cleanse the scalp at the roots of each section
    – I finger detangle each section to rid myself of shed hair.
    – I wash my hair in these sections
    – I apply my con/deep con and detangle with a goody ouchless wide tooth comb
    – I used to then rinse and style but now put my twists in and then DC under the steamer or just with a plastic cap and later rinse with those same twists still in.

    It is the styling with DC in that cut my time but then I have shorter hair and experience no tangling with this method.

    In situations like yours people usually say put your hair away for a while but to me this could exacerbate the issues you are having with breakage.

    I think you should treat yourself to a trim at a trusted salon and a style then see if you still find your hair unmanageable. It's ok not to have APL/long hair. If it really is a chore that makes you miserable, you should cut it to a more manageable length. A healthy shoulder length is better than a straggly APL.

  • Antwanette says:

    @Franki – Hydrating BEFORE getting in the shower…why didn't I think of that? LOL I usually stumble out of the shower to grab something to drink, collect myself, then get back in and hope for the best. Great tip!

    @Anonymous – I've had a similar conversation with my Mom and bestie as recently as last night. Their take is that you have to consider what's the most manageable for you. Big/long hair seems really cool and desirable but, if it's causing me this much grief, will my world crumble to pieces if I just snipped a few inches off and regained my sanity?

    @BrownEmber – No, I do not detangle before I get in the shower. I tried it once on dry hair, and perhaps I wasn't doing it quite right, but I felt like I was inducing shedding so I jumped ship. Do you do this on dry or wet hair?

    One detail I realized I left out is that I got permanent color in the spring of '09. Other than a bit of initial dryness and change in curl pattern, I feel like my hair fared pretty well. But I now have about an inch left of color at the ends and have wondered if that is to blame for the breakage.

    Thanks for the tips/insight so far, ladies. I'm anxious to hear more!

  • Unknown says:

    Great post! I've had the same problem with breakage for nearly 10 years and I feel like I've tried everything in the book! Can't wait to see more responses…

  • Anonymous says:

    I have had similiar issues with ssk's tangles, and split ends. My hair is very thick and is almost armpit length. I have a few techniques that have greatly helped me.

    1st: I do not shampoo my hair any more. I find that shamppoing my hair strips it too much, especially for hair that already has a tendency to be dry.

    2nd: To detangle: while my hair is still dry with product on it, I apply Natures Gate Herbal conditioner very generously, until my hair is completely coated and slippery. This conditioner provides a lot of slip to my hair.

    3rd: After I apply the conditioner, I divide my hair into 6 ponytails and then put on a plastic cap. I will either leave the cap on over night or I will sit under the dryer for 30 minutes. This helps to steam and melt away most of the knots and tangling in my hair.

    4th: I rinse my hair in the shower, ponytail section by section. I then apply more Natures Gate to each section to make sure the hair is properly conditioner washed.

    5th: I will then leave some of the conditioner in and then seal my cuticle with an acidic product, for example apple cider vinegar.

    If you are getting a lot of tangles it could mean your hair cuticles are rough and raised, which causes them to tangle. So sealing and soothing your cuticle down with an acidic product is a must.

    6th: Lastly I apply my styling product which is moisturizing and also has a low ph to keep my hair ph balanced.

    *It is important to trim your split ends off with sharp, preferrably hot scissors. That is really the only way to get rid of splits.

    *Also be careful of protein treatments, if you have caorse hair, because this can play a role in making your hair feel dry, brittle, and tangle.

  • Unknown says:

    First, I feel your pain on the nausea in the shower πŸ™ When I was younger and didn't know the score, I'd spend eons in there and then have to drag myself out gasping for air. Not fun.

    That said, why is it taking you a solid hour to wash your hair? Do you detangle before heading in? I detangle, braid my hair into about 10 realllly loose plaits and then hop in. I do a max of two washes. Then I unbraid each section, rinse thoroughly and apply DC. The whole process takes less than 30 mins (I timed it to Family Guy just yesterday lol). My hair reaches just below APL.

    I do seem to deal with more SSK, and split ends than most other ladies…but I always just thought that was because my hair's older (never had a perm/BC) and hasn't been subject to the same level of TLC that ladies starting from a "blank slate" lavished on their strands from the start.

    If you're taking care of your hair (sounds like you are) and you're not growing out old split ends/damage…I dunno why your hair could be breaking. No help there, sorry πŸ™

  • Anonymous says:

    This was me! After five years of growing my natural hair I recently cut about twelve inches. As a high school teacher attending graduate school full time, I didn't have an hour to wash my hair or two to three hours to twist my hair every two weeks. Something had to give, so I chose to cut my hair and possibly grow it out to apl length again AFTER I graduate. But since life won't stand still and something else may come up (baby, international travel, etc) I'm eager to hear suggestions as well.

  • Franki says:

    I have similar problems, especially in winter when I just don't want to get my hair wet, no matter how high the heat is in the house.

    To keep from shower dizziness, I drink a couple of glasses of water before I get in the shower and turn the water down to just-more-than-lukewarm, not hot. I can do hot water when washing my body, but leaving it hot long enough to do my hair is a nightmare. I also have a shower with a sliding door, and I leave the door open just a smidge to let the steam out.

    Hope that helps!

  • Anonymous says:

    –I cope with it by doing protective styles when I dont want to do my hair. I keep it in for two weeks and by then I miss my loose hair.

    –To combat just take steps to prevent it. I pre poo to make my hair more pliable during washing. I wash in sections when I feel like it. I deep condition and detangle only when rinsing out my conditioner.
    –I dont really combat shedding that much. Ive always been a big shedder and its just something that I deal with
    –If I find a SSK I just cut it out. But doing protective styles help
    –I wash in sections

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