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Top 5 Reasons You’re Still Struggling With Your Natural Hair

Top 5 Reasons You’re Still Struggling With Your Natural Hair

The Naturalistas Have Spoken

I've had natural hair for two years, and I have to say, it was the best decision I could have ever made. I love that my hair has a mind of its own; it never ceases to amaze me. I have more fun with my hair now than I ever have, but I've had my share of trials and tribulations with this curly mane of mine. After some research and polls, I conducted on my Instagram @stylesuitbeyty. I got the lowdown on the top five things that naturalistas struggle regularly.

You Compare your Progress to Others

The first and biggest struggle I found among the natural hair community is that you may be comparing your progress to someone else’s. I know! Typically people think that women with natural hair are somehow more fearless and less affected by social norms, but honestly, we're not. The same way everyone else sees something picturesque and perfect in the "it" girls on the gram, some of us are the same way about curls. You can’t go a day without seeing someone's natural hair progression photos, and sometimes that can be a little intimidating. There’s always a post like "I did the big chop two years ago and my hair has grown from shoulder length to butt length. I love being natural!” Like what? Unrealistic post like that whether true or not can mess with your Self-esteem. You’ll spend obscene amounts of time thinking, why isn't my hair this long, I've been natural for four years? What am I doing wrong? Then spend this week’s grocery budget on a dozen products and treatments chasing “the look.” Stop worrying about everyone else’s progress! I know when I went natural, my end goal was healthy hair. When your hair is healthy, the length comes in time. Enjoy learning about your hair and experimenting with your new versatility. Once you’ve learned to enjoy what you have, everything else becomes small milestones along the way.

You Haven’t Figured Out YOUR Natural Hair Style

The second reason you may be struggling with being natural is that you haven't figured out your staple style. Know that your natural your hair is capable of so much! The versatility of your hair is going to allow you to switch up your look whenever you want, but first, you have to find what works best for you. In the beginning, figuring out the style that fits you best may be a little intimidating, but it's essential to work through it and perfect a technique. You’ll go crazy trying to decide if you want to try a braid out, twist out, or Bantu knots because those looked cute on someone else. Hopping from style to style like that before mastering one is only going to lead to you going and buying creamy crack or having a Brittney Spears meltdown and shaving your head. Getting discouraged is easy. We’ve all been there. Take your time learning how to achieve one style at a time. Once you’ve perfected it, move on to another method and then the next. Experimenting is the best way to find that style that fits you best. Here are a few styles you should try perfecting first:
  • Wash and Go
  • Flat Twist
  • Two Strand Twist
  • Braid Out
  • Perm Rod Set

You Have No Self Care Routine

The third reason you are struggling with your natural hair is that you don’t have a self-care routine. Self-care should be a significant part of everyone’s weekly routine. It gives you the opportunity to recharge and refresh yourself before the next week of your busy lifestyle comes around. When you have natural hair you have to style your hair reasonably often unless you're wearing a protective style , so why not make the styling process less of a hassle and more like clockwork? Create a self-care routine that allows you to decompressed as well as prepare for the upcoming week. My self-care routine involves taking a long shower and Co-washing my hair. Then I apply my favorite face mask and decide on how I wear my hair the upcoming week. I'll spend the next hour styling my hair taking my time and not feeling rushed or under pressure. This is my favorite part of my self-care routine because come Monday morning I know my hair is going to slay! That’s a way better feeling than knowing you fumbled through your hair the night before between cooking and doing homework.

You Think One Product Will Fix Everything

The third reason I found that you may be struggling because you think one product will fix everything. As much as I have hoped and prayed for one product that deep conditions, defines my curls, and two strand twists my hair all on its own, it just does not exist. Trying different products is apart of the process. I learned that my 4c hair loves a thick leave-in versus a liquid. I’ve also concluded that my hair thrives on all natural products. Research products and determine what ingredients your hair needs most. As long as the products you use work, there’s no need to stress over just one.

You Refuse to See a Professional

Lastly, if you are still struggling with your natural hair, you need to visit a professional. I will be the first to admit that going to the hair salon and getting my hair done by a professional is NOT my favorite thing to do, but I won't deny that having a trusted professional to go to is super important. A natural hair stylist will help you work through those last few things your struggling with and reach your hair goals with fewer tears than you struggling alone. They are there to educate and support you. I also Suggest leaving the major stuff up to the professionals. Trims, > cuts, colors, and treatments are things you probably shouldn't do if you're new to being natural. Those skills take time and practice to get pretty good at, perhaps a little too intimidating for beginners.

Being Natural Isn’t That Hard

Having natural hair isn’t that hard! Yes, you may have to shed some insecurities about the length and things or spend time getting to know your hair but in the long run it so worth it. Allowing my hair to do its thing and grow freely is one of the best decisions I ever made. Going through a few of these struggles myself made me appreciate it even more. Thank you to everyone who participated in my poll on Instagram! Also, if you struggle with being natural, tell me why in the comments down below. I’d love to ask your questions and give some advice!
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Can I Really Get Straight Natural Hair Minus The Heat?

Can I Really Get Straight Natural Hair Minus The Heat?

Is Straight Hair With No Heat Possible?

Natural hair gurus and enthusiasts across the globe want to know, is it possible to achieve a straight, sleek look without the heat? The answer is yes… and no. As much as we all would love a straight answer, the science behind heat-free straight hair has many variables. Let’s debunk this mystery together!

Is Heat All That Bad?

The day you transitioned to natural hair you learned that heat is the enemy, almost as bad as the creamy crack! The truth is, merely using heat tools does n’t automatically damage your hair. Your hair can withstand temperatures up to 450 degrees, and heat damage doesn’t usually occur until that temperature is surpassed and applied excessively. Heat styling your natural hair is a great way to achieve new looks without chemical treatment. If used correctly, heat styling should not damage your hair. Proper heat styling should create a temporary change in the hair, and your curl pattern should completely revert with water. Excessive reapplication of heat can cause your curl pattern to loosen over time. Although a looser curl pattern is not heat-damaged, you may not want to sacrifice your precious curls for the sake of a short style.

How To Achieve Straight Natural Hair Without Heat

Not everyone can achieve sleek natural hair without the heat, only because everyone has a different hair type. To accomplish a straighter hair texture temporarily, you can use tools to stretch your curl pattern to mimic a heat style. Here are a few options:

1. Curlformers

If you haven’t mastered the art of flexi rods, twist out, or other hair curlers, you may enjoy CurlFormers. CurlFormers are a revolutionary tool that hit the market a few years ago that allows women with natural hair to achieve stretched curls easily. This tool may seem a little tricky at first. But I'm here to break it down to you so that you can obtain a straighter hairstyle with no heat.

Benefits of CurlFormers

  • Easy to install
  • Quick drying time
  • Easy to sleep with
  • Provides heatless style

What You Need To Get Started

Choose a size based on your hair length and the type of stretch you’d like. The bigger the curl, the more straight your hair will fall. CurlFormers come in a variety of sizes. I recommend the long or extra long barrel curls for this technique. Once you have picked out your CurlFormer set, it is super easy to achieve the style. Just wash your hair with your favorite shampoo and conditioner. Then separate your hair into sections, thoroughly detangle, and apply your favorite styling products. Use a comb to separate a smaller section out of the more substantial part gently; this will be your first curl. Use the latch hook to grip the base of this subsection and pull through the CurlFormer. Repeat this across your entire head. Check out this YouTube video for a more detailed explanation on how to quickly install your CurlFormers. Allow your CurlFormer set to dry thoroughly overnight, or you may use a hood dried for faster drying time. Gently remove using a light oil on your fingertips to prevent excess frizz. Viola! Now you have beautifully stretched barrel curls! As the days pass, your curls will fall into a loose wave.

2. Roller Set

This roller set (Check out this article: roller set natural hair) technique is excellent for those with a looser curl pattern.

What You Will Need To Get Started

  • Larger Magnetic Rollers
  • Foaming Mousse
  • Light Oil
  • Comb
  • Brush
You will need to freshly wash your hair with your favorite smoothing shampoo and conditioner. After you wash your hair, separate your hair into large sections and wrap them into Bantu knots. These large Bantu knots will stretch your curl pattern into smooth waves. These Bantu knots are the start of the stretching process. Allow your Bantu knots to dry about 80% before taking them down. Apply a small about of foaming mousse to each section and wrap around a sizeable magnetic roller. Repeat this neatly around your entire head. Allow your hair to dry completely throughout the day before removing the rollers. For a faster dry time, use a hooded dryer. Coat your fingertips with a light hair oil before removing the rollers to prevent frizz. Wrap your hair at nighttime to maintain this straight look and to increase smoothness.

3. African Banding

This method is excellent for kinkier hair types. Africans have been using this method for centuries to create a stretched hairstyle without the use of electric styling tools. The banding method is excellent to use to achieve a heatless blowout or to use as a base for other styles.

What You Will Need To Get Started

  • Roll of Thread
  • Scissors
  • Shea butter
  • Comb
  • Brush
  • Clips
I recommend starting this style on freshly washed hair. Thoroughly detangle your hair before styling. Gently separate your hair into sections using clips. Use a generous about of shea butter and apply to the first section. Use the thread to wrap around the base of the section multiple times. Once the base is secured, wrap the thread down the remainder of the section. Repeat this on all sections of your hair. The larger the part, the straighter the stretch will be. Allow your hair to air dry overnight thoroughly. Coat your fingertips with a light oil when removing the thread to avoid excess frizz.

Will Any Of These Methods Work For Me?

As stated earlier, everyone’s hair type will react differently to these methods. You may need to switch things up to get the perfect result for your hair type. It is unlikely that you will achieve an ideal straight hairstyle without the use of any heat tools, but these methods are excellent ways to get closer and make a similar look. You can also choose to use a blow dryer or a flat iron to perfect the result. Have you successfully straightened your hair without the use of heat tools? Let us know about your methods in the comments below!
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What Your Shedding Amount Says About Your Natural Hair

What Your Shedding Amount Says About Your Natural Hair
How much hair are you looking at after each day? Find out how to understand if your shedding is normal or not, and what you can do to lessen it.

Is My Hair Shedding or Breaking?

It is normal to experience shedding daily. On average, we shed from at least 50 to 150 hairs a day.

If you notice any more than that, you might be experiencing excessive shedding or even hair loss. No worries though, because as women we may shed more hairs from pregnancy, stress, changes in birth control, weight, or recovering illness.

Your mental state takes a toll on your body, and your hair is not exempt. Usually, excessive shedding remains temporary since stress levels, and health conditions can progress. Once you begin to feel like yourself again, your natural hair does as well.

You can tell when you’re naturally shedding if you can see or feel the bulb at the end of fallen strands. It comes directly from the scalp. The Bulb Test allows you to check the health of your hair by checking a small section from your brush or comb. If you see most hairs are ripped or broken off, then you can indicate that you are experiencing breakage.

If it’s not because of improper manipulation when detangling or styling, then it could be because of heat or chemical damage to your hair.

The weaker your hair is, the more it breaks when handled.

shocked-at-shedding

shedding-hair-on-comb

 

Controlling Your Breakage

Breakage differs from shedding since it is unnatural.

Unlike shedding it is caused by our own hair manipulation, but can be controlled. If your hair suffers from constant breakage, split ends, or unruly strands, then it could be due to how you detangle.

Make sure to check out these tips to regain strength:

Finger detangling

I’m hearing a lot about finger detangling and its benefits, but for me, it’s not beneficial on its own.

However, I’ve learned that if finger detangling doesn’t get every knot out, it’s okay! I have 4C hair, so I have very tight coils that tangle easily. It makes it much easier to detangle with a comb when I do so beforehand with my leave-in conditioner and my fingers.

In sections, I try to separate any significant knots in my hair so that when I do comb, it never gets stuck. Although it is very time consuming, there is indeed a vast difference in the amount of hair lost after I detangle entirely.

Proper detangling

Detangling helps to remove tangles and loose hairs that may become matted or cause knots.

A lot of women become frustrated with constant breakage when trying to grow their hair out. Looking to retain length? I might have a solution for you! If you are looking for ways to detangle and minimize damaged strands, follow these guidelines below.

Wet or dry hair

Did you know hair is weakest when wet? For some, it is easier to detangle on damp hair rather than dry before styling.

Depending on your hair type and method, you can decide what is better for your hair. No way is superior to another, just whatever allows for the least amount of hair shed.

For dry, kinky hair, thoroughly applying a water-based conditioner helps to lubricate your strands. If necessary, you can ease the process even more by finger detangling with coconut oil or conditioner beforehand. As long as you comb through gently, you will be able to glide through without ripping hairs apart.

Looser curls and those with high porosity hair types can benefit from added oils to brush through on the regular. On wash day, adding conditioner is fine, but not needed every time. The hair lacks the flexibility it gains with added moisture, so you want to be gentle and work from the ends up.

Sections

When you begin to detangle, you want to ensure you do so in sections to give all areas of your head special attention.

When you try to detangle at once, you never fully get every single knot and tangle out without pulling out half your scalp. It takes more time, but patience is vital with natural hair to ensure each strand thrives on its own.

braiding-hair

Being Smart with Products and Tools

When it comes to changing up your look, you want always to do so carefully. We use different products and tools to help bring hair to our desired styles, but anything in excess could cause harm to your strands.

Hot tools and chemical usage

The use of heat and chemicals on your hair are not always wrong; however, the overuse of both without proper protection can cause breakage.

If you have naturally curly hair and are looking to straighten, curl, relax, or color your hair, then find a professional! Your stylist should be able to inform you how to care for your hairstyle outside the salon.

If you are keeping up with your look and taking breaks in between, you are less likely to experience damage. Giving your hair a break and making sure you are using protectants can make all the difference for your hair’s overall health.

Best-Heat-Protectant-for-Natural-Hair

Combs and brushes

Every single thing that comes into contact with your natural hair has some effect on it.

Even the tools that you use to separate and style your tresses could negatively impact your hair’s strength. When you detangle, use a wide tooth comb, starting from the ends.

If you need to use a brush, consider combing before you do to help loosen any tangles. Brushing helps to smooth the hair after combing, and there are many different types to choose from.

Wooden combs and natural brushes are better options for your hair’s improvement.

Trim Split Ends

Growing your hair out includes regular trims. Though it may seem like it is counterproductive, the end goal is to have long hair that is also strong.

Keeping split or damaged ends eventually starts to affect the state of your natural hair. Constant manipulation, the weather, and your lifestyle can all cause ends to split. Damaged ends can go through treatments, but the best way to deal with them is by trimming them.

Giving your stands a fresh start from the bottom up will guarantee a healthier look and feel overall.

Keeping Moisture in Strands

The tighter your curls and coils are, the harder it is for moisture to penetrate through your strands.

So if you are dealing with dryness, there are many ways to restore the hydration in your hair. When you know your hair, you can alter your regimen to include moisture retention.

For added moisture, you can pre-poo before washing, or wash with organic products. Most of the time the chemicals within our wash products can strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving us with even drier hair. You can also make sure when you deep condition, you do so either overnight or with low heat.

Any method that leaves your hair feeling softer and more manageable afterward will ease the styling process. Using the LOC method or sealants to trap moisture will help keep the moisture in your hair all day. Not every technique works for everyone, so keep experimenting until you find the perfect way to add moisture while preventing breakage and shedding.

It is definitely possible to over-saturate your hair with moisturizers. Although you are looking to find better ways to soften your strands, overdoing it with products will only do more harm than good.

Balance is key, which is why we have our ways to ensure moisture throughout our routine. You must ensure you are using enough product that can dry fairly quickly on its own.

Trying to keep hair basically damp all day throws off your protein balance and leaves your hair prone to weakening.

moisturize-hair

Clean Scalp

I hope none of you think you can have great hair without proper maintenance.

Wash day is vital for your hair regimen, that’s why we spend a whole day for it! No part of your cleansing process should be rushed, skipped, or neglected. Your scalp itself has to be clean and moisturized to be able to produce new (and greater) growth.

How often you choose to clean your hair is dependent on you and how fast your hair becomes dirty. Proper shampooing and conditioning refine your hair, allowing for more elasticity and less breakage.

A basic wash day routine can consist of a pre-poo, shampoo, deep condition, moisturizing, and styling.

washing-hair

Noticing Excess Shedding

Don’t panic when you notice more hairs on your pillow and comb than usual. Worrying will only cause you to lose more hair!

If you begin to become unhappy with the state of your natural hair, then you must take the necessary steps to restore its strength, but also your own. Building your physical and mental capacity can help improve your hair’s condition. Usually, the main reasons for excessive shedding stem from stress. To lower your tension levels, engage in positive behaviors.

Exercise helps those suffering from anxiety and depression. Endorphins are responses that are created by the brain to aid in body boosts or pleasure. The more you help yourself feel better, the more you will begin to look better.

Clear skin and strong tresses do not appear overnight so that a detailed daily routine can increase your overall health. Being kind to yourself can be more than working out and eating right; you can also eat dark chocolate, laugh, try something spicy, spend time doing something you love, or even have sex.

Yes. All good!

Know Your Hair

So what if you’re taking care of yourself, but still experience shedding? Be sure to know if your fallen strands are merely following the hair cycle or not. It all just depends on your hair, including the length, density, and care consistency.

Length

It may appear as though you are losing more hair, but remember, your hair grows. Especially for those growing their hair out, the same amount of hairs will shed naturally. The only difference becomes the size of your hairball since long hair is obviously way bigger. Relax, my friend, it’s natural!

Density

The more hairs you have on your head, the more strands you will shed by nature.

Your hair color and type will determine how many hairs on your head. What may be reasonable to you, may be a lot or a little to someone else. Usually, for dark-haired, curly cuties, we have about 100,000 hairs on our head.

So if we are shedding roughly 100 hairs a day, that’s less than one percent of our hair’s volume.

Consistency

You don’t need to be counting hairs or storing hairballs to compare them as weeks go by.

Just make sure you have a proper routine to control how much hair that may shed and/or break during maintenance. If the clumps of hair are relatively the same size each time, then you should be good.

Anytime you notice more hair than usual coming from your scalp, evaluate your hair care from that week. Sometimes unnecessary breakage adds on to your shedding, which is why it is best always to take your time while handling natural hair.

Think about the past six months of your life. Did you experience anything life-changing? Change up your diet? Have you been trying out new hair products? Any lifestyle or physical changes might have caused you to start losing more hair than usual, and you can do more to bring your hair back to its peak.

Taking hair vitamins with loads of calcium and iron, and undergoing protein treatments are also ways women who shed can lessen their problem.

healthyfood

Shedding vs. Hair Loss, What’s the Difference?

Shedding is part of the hair growth cycle because even as you shed, new hairs begin to grow in place.

With hair loss, after hairs fall out, there is no regrowth. This could be hereditary, due to unhealthy habits, or because of constant tension-based hairstyles and products. Whatever the cause is, with the help of a dermatologist, it can remain regulated. They specialize in skin, hair, and nails, so if you notice any thinning or balding over time, consult one.

The issue with hair loss is that if the cause is not easily reversible, you might need to start considering medication. I can’t tell you exactly what it is you need to do since hair loss is more severe and depends on the source.

Don’t try to pile up on supplements and online remedies, for many doctors have stressed to seek professional help before more damage appears. Alopecia is the medical term for the most common type of hair loss, but there are levels to it. Only a professional would be able to tell you your exact type to help with the correct medication.

Just be sure not to let the hair loss worry you, as stress doesn’t help your situation.

hair-frizz-healthy

S.O.S (Save Our Strands)

The only way to control your hair’s behavior is by controlling how you take care of it and yourself.

It is clear that the only way to ensure secure, healthy hair is to take up the methods that cater to your hair type. Having all the right products won't make a difference if you aren't careful with your manipulations.

Only you know when your hair is happy or not, and even if you are unsure about products or methods, always consult a professional. It is better to be safe than sorry. Catching all your bad habits early can lead to a longer life of beautiful hair.

By detangling and styling gently, as well as maintaining a clean and nourished scalp, you'll be able to know whether you need to take extraordinary measures. There's always a solution to help the overall state of your hair; you just have to be dedicated enough to take all the necessary precautions for your hair to flourish.

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Why Shea Butter Isn’t All That Great for Natural Hair

Why Shea Butter Isn’t All That Great for Natural Hair

Don’t Always Believe the Hair Hype

So here it is, the words that no one in the natural hair community wants to hear and that is, shea butter is not all that great for your natural hair! I know, that sad statement mixed with the hundreds of dollars invested on your bathroom counter and shelves is a complete letdown, but let me explain. It is not that shea butter is not a great asset for your hair, but it is the manner in which you are using it that will make or break your strands. We have to use it in moderation! Stay with me on this and understand that this is not a “shaming” article but is one that is going to bring you information to the forefront for you to alter your routine. Shea butter is a natural ingredient that many of us have grown accustomed to over the years. In the last five or six years specifically, we see that shea butter has taken on a life of its own. This life is so grand that many big-name companies and businesses have made it the staple ingredient plastered on the front of different leave-ins, curling creme’s, shampoos and moisturizers. While a little bit does go a long way, shea butter and shea butter infused ingredients are products that you should use less than often, and here’s why!

Shea Butter is Heavy on your Hair

I cannot be the only one who hates the feeling of heavy, lifeless hair. It is honestly the worst and will turn a wash day into a wash weekend. Do you know that feeling of lathering up on shea butter after you hop out the shower? How silky smooth yet shiny our body becomes? While it gives us that luster in our hair, we also have to admit that even on our body it feels a little greasy sometimes. This has the same effect on your hair! Raw shea butter specifically is a butter that you should not be reaching for unless you do not mind the feel super oily strands. And while shea butter infused products are great for lathering up your follicles, they do not always give us the best results for styling. If you find yourself using shea butter or shea butter products, ease up on them and use them every once in a while. Remember that some companies advertising these products to you do not always know your hair or what is good for the health of it!

Shea Butter Contributes to Product Build-up

Do you remember that thing I said about greasy hair? Well, product build-up comes in tow with that problem. Imagine if you poured a can of oil on your hair and expected it to wash out efficiently with your usual shampoo and conditioner. Sorry to say, it is not that easy. Like many things, with an action, you get a reaction, and when it comes to washing out shea butter, you sometimes find yourself reaching for a bottle of shampoo with sulfates that many of us are told to avoid to get the product completely out. With each use of the harmful sulfates, we do more damage by stripping away our natural moisture which leaves us with dry and damaged hair over time. However, you do not always have to use sulfates! Sulfate free shampoo gets the job done, but with a little more effort. I know that no one’s hair goal is to have brittle hair, so listen up! When trying to strip away the extra layers of product, opt to steam treat your hair first, ensuring that they eventually slip out. When steaming try to co-wash method by applying your favorite cleansing conditioner. This will help to remove the extra products in your hair while maintaining its healthy structure. Another massive plus for giving yourself a steam treatment is that it gets your scalp clean and healthy and ready for your next style!

Refined vs. Unrefined

Did you know that there is a difference in these two shea butters? If you hit your local beauty supply store, you will see both. Unrefined being the vivid yellow color with the noticeable smell and then refined being the white, odorless jar not too far away from its original packaging. In many of our staple beauty products, we see that the main shea ingredient found are refined shea butter which preserves many products’ color choice without the natural yellow tint. Rarely will you ever see unrefined shea butter used in mainstream products and that could be because of the smell and color. The problem that many people find with refined shea butter in their products is that manufacturers use chemicals to begin the stripping process of those nutrients that give shea butter its natural yellow hue and smell. In return, this compromises the benefits that many people look for. While both are a choice, it is essential to know what are in your products and how they affect certain types of hair!

You're Using it Wrong

Yes, there is a way to use shea butter and shea butter products. Got dry hair? Shea butter and other popular oils may fix it, but not by merely slapping it onto your roots. A stylist explained to me a while back how moisture gets into your hair and how to eventually have healthier hair. Moisture and shiny hair come when you open up the cuticle of your hair by way of washing and steam treatments. Start by steaming your hair for about 15 minutes; you will notice how the texture is soft and moisturized. Of course, you want to do this on clean hair so make sure that you wash and condition your hair before. Next, take your favorite shea oil or hair butter with shea in it and evenly apply it to your hair. Do not over manipulate or add too much because you do not want your hair to flow as natural as possible. Continue styling as, and you will see and feel the difference! So no, shea butter is not the end all be all for your hair, sometimes you just have to use it and its products sparingly. Many of us know shea butter as a product that gives our hair face and skin so much life! It is, however, imperative to stay mindful in the way that you use it for the health of your hair in the long run.

You're Using the Wrong Products

In the world of natural hair, the amount of hits and misses in terms of hair products are just way too much to count and quite frankly, something that many of us familiar with hair disasters knows so well. But if you are struggling with shea products, then here are a few tips to help you out.

Tip #1:

Less is more! The less product you use, the better! Utilizing an overload of shea butter products or shea butter, in general, creates that stringy looks that are not only uncomfortable but will get a little itchy over the course of a few days.

Tip #2:

Wash your hair often! Keep up with your hair routine by washing your hair on a regular schedule to alleviate product build up. This ensures that you are not only keeping it healthy on the outside but that you are keeping it healthy as it grows.

Tip #3:

Use products that benefit the current need of your hair Now, this may seem daunting, but you have to know your hair to know what to use. It is not enough to only buy the newest product because of the smell and the packaging. You have to know the current state of your hair to determine what it needs. To start, understand the difference between raw, whipped and refined shea butter and watch your locks flourish! Adhere to these simple tips, and you are sure to see a significant difference in the health and look of your hair.

Shea Butter has Some Good and Not So Good Points

What have we learned here? So much to say the least but if anything, we have learned that shea butter is a super complex ingredient in terms of natural hair. It is no secret that you can use it for your hair, but you must do so sparingly. Anything in excess is never a good thing, especially when it comes to beauty products. Looking for products to use that have shea butter in them come in several varieties, but reading that label on the back in detail will help you understand that process a little bit more and will ultimately help you decide if this is the product that you need to use. Every day, we become won over with advertisements showing us the hottest new ingredient and while it is appealing, we always have to ask is it good for our hair? Overall, different things work for different hair types and opting to use shea butter is not a bad thing! No, we will not “hair shame” you, if anything what works for you simply works for you! Take these tips with you like a grain of salt the next time you go shopping for hair products because you never know what you will find.
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Silicone and Natural Hair: What's Okay and What to Avoid

Silicone and Natural Hair: What's Okay and What to Avoid

The Good, the Bad, But the Not So Ugly

In 2011 I was working in a salon in Orange, NJ where a stylist used a shampoo and conditioner called the Silicone mix. Silicone Mix is supposed to be the best product to use on clients that have course natural hair. I was curious because so many of her clients were transitioning and I needed to see if this product was worth it. On a Saturday afternoon the stylist pulled me to the side and said " Charlie, I have a client coming in at 1 pm, and I am going to be using the product I told you about" she went on to say " this client has very coarse hair and she wants her hair to look as if she has a relaxer". As the stylist went along, she told me what she'd be doing step by step. Once she was finished with the entire treating and styling process, I noticed that the client's hair was full of life! But what I couldn't wrap my mind around was the amount of heat used to achieve it. So I had a client that was transitioning, and I told her about the new product that a stylist used on her client. She asked if I could use the products that I usually use and declined the Silicone mix! Instead of asking the client why she didn't want to use the Silicone Mix I decided to go to a natural source which is my sister who has been natural for five years. She gave me the good, bad and the not so ugly on the silicone mix.

Convo about The Cones

Before speaking to my sister Sade, I did my research. I read a couple of articles and made some mental notes. Writing this article is personal because I am a woman who wants to transition and maintain healthy hair. What I have to understand is every hair texture is different, and when you decide to become natural it's a commitment that you made to yourself. Sade has been natural for five years, and she said that this was one of the best decisions she has made and seen it through. She was excited that I came to her to get some advice on how being natural can be a task but one of the rules of being natural having patience. I went right into it and asked her about the Silicone mix and if she has ever used it. She said the first shampoo and conditioner she used was shea moisture which can is in Walmart or any local beauty supply store. Her hair responds well to the product. Another product she uses is Mielle Organics. This product is a bit pricey, but she's okay with spending the money if she knows it will work for her hair.

Salon Decision

At the beginning of the article, I mentioned stylists who choose to use the Silicone mix, but I wonder if she knew what was in the product. Some stylist wants to get the job done instead of doing the research. I want to get the job done, but hair care is just as necessary. So I asked my sister how she chose her salon when she decided to transition. Of course, she read the reviews, but she also said that once she gave them a try, she enjoyed their process. The salon that she goes to not only specialize in natural hair but African American curly hair. As for the heat, the stylist didn't use the heat on the highest temperature which she said is a big no-no for her. I asked if the salon used the silicone mix and her response was no. Her stylist doesn't use anything sold over the counter all shampoos and conditioners are sent to the salon by a distributor. So let's break this down. Let's talk about the good bad and the not so ugly silicones and how we can avoid them!

Avoiding Silicones

The first thing I asked Sade was why something that makes the hair looks so healthy is so harmful? Can the ingredients to the shampoo and conditioner do that much harm? Her response was YES! Besides the components, it's the buildup that can be a concern. Most silicones are not water soluble, and it causes build up that will weigh the hair down also known as the "bad silicones." I took a moment to research the good, bad and the worst silicones.

The Good Cone

The cones mentioned below are water soluble cones that will not weigh down the hair. When looking at ingredients if you see these two listed you are good to go!
  • Stearoxy Dimethicone
  • Behenoxy Dimethicone

The Bad Cone

Listed below are the non-water soluble. They can build up if you're not washing your hair once or twice a week.
  • Trimthylsilyamodimethicone
  • Amodimethicone
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Cyclomethicone

The Ugly Cone

Listed below are the worst that build up quickly and hard to remove. Please read the ingredients before purchasing a product for your hair.
  • Dimethicone
  • Cetyl Dimethicone
  • Cetearyl Methicone
  • Dimethiconol
  • Stearyl Dimethicone

Bye-bye Build Up

Clarifying shampoo will do the trick! Clarifying shampoo is a deep cleansing that will remove all the build up in the hair. If you are using the product silicone mix, I suggest you wash your hair once or twice a week.

The Not So Ugly

What did you learn from this article? I learned that Silicone mix isn't the right product for everyone. I also learned more about the ingredients that are in the shampoo and the conditioner could do just as much damage to the hair as the heat can. Most importantly I learned that transitioning to becoming natural isn't easy either. For those of you who are in the process of becoming a natural beauty tell me how your journey is going. What products are you using and what products are the salon using on your hair. I'm interested to know because I can probably learn a trick or two from you!
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How to Correct Your Heat Damaged Hair

How to Correct Your Heat Damaged Hair

Put Down the Heated Styling Tools

Hey, naturalistas! A lot of people have been transitioning to their natural textured hair recently. However, contrary to what most people may perceive, women have been wearing their hair natural for a long time. Think about women such as Erykah Badu, Ledisi, and the fantastic Jill Scott who have fiercely worn their natural coils and inspired women just like you and me to do the same. I applaud you for your decision and whether it's inspiration from a celebrity, wanting to eliminate the use of chemicals on your hair, or a more purpose-driven reason you’re in for a fantastic journey. The big chop for some can be a liberating experience, and for others, it can be a traumatic experience. However, you start to learn how to take care of your natural hair, and you begin to see its personality, and you begin to see more curl definition. I believe the least amount of manipulation is best for your natural hair. One habit you will have to get rid of is the use of heated styling tools. I know you will want to wear your hair straight every now and them, so you will use your flat iron. You may decide to stretch your hair by using a blow dryer for a particular style, but this repetitive styling can cause heat damage to your hair. In this article, I am going to help you keep your natural curls healthy by telling you how to correct heat damaged natural hair. Press play on your India Arie playlist and let's reminisce for a lil bit. I went back in time on you, but it's always good to do something that is nostalgic and inspirational.

What is Heat Damage?

Heat damage occurs when you continuously use heated styling tools on your hair. Excessive heat on your natural hair can cause damage to the protein that protects your hair and gives it its strength. Therefore, if you are someone who likes to use curling irons, flat irons and blow dryers on your hair, it’s probably already heat damaged. Whether you set the flat iron temperature low or to 450 degrees Fahrenheit you still can damage the cuticle of the hair. The most obvious sign is the smell of burning hair. By the way, heat protectants don't protect your hair entirely from heat damage when you're using styling tools.

Signs of Heat Damage

There are signs that you will start to see as your hair becomes more damage from the use of heated styling tools. Below are the most visible signs:
  • An increase in split ends
  • Dull hair
  • Hair feeling brittle or crunchy
  • Easily tangled hair
  • Increase in hair breakage
A good test for your hair is to pull it straight and let it go. If your curl doesn't return to its naturally curly state, your hair has heat damage.

What To Do If You Have Heat Damaged Hair

Your first instinct may be to cut it all off but don’t! Below are tons of tips on how to correct your heat damaged hair (Check out this article: best hair color for damaged hair) without having to go through the big chop again. Before I get into any treatments your first step will be to assess your hair to get an idea of how heat damaged your hair is. I’ve listed a few tips below for you. Keep reading after because I also include an easy 90-Day regimen for you to follow.

Tips to Correct the Heat Damage

Tip #1

Co-wash your hair with a moisturizing conditioner

Tip #2

Use a hair mask to deep condition your hair

Tip #3

Use an oil like coconut oil to seal moisture into the hair

Tip #4

Massage your scalp with the oil to increase blood flow and encourage hair growth

Tip #5

Create a schedule for your hair care routine so you can alternate between protein treatments and deep conditioning treatments

DIY Protein Treatment

You will need to include a protein treatment (Check out this article: protein treatment for hair) in your hair regimen. Apply the treatment every other week. Below are some at-home recipes you can try:

1. Egg mask

Eggs are by far the best treatment you can use for damaged natural hair. Eggs are a great natural protein, and you get the bonus of enzymes. Beat one egg white until it’s light and frothy. Apply the egg to your hair and scalp, cover with a plastic cap, and allow to sit for 20 minutes.

2. Yogurt

Use yogurt as a weekly treatment that will bring the shine back to your hair. It cleanses your hair while keeping moisture in. You can add an egg white to your yogurt and apply it to your hair and scalp, cover with a plastic cap, and allow to sit for 20 minutes.

3. Avocado

Avocados are perfect for our natural hair because they are high in protein, fat, and nutrients. Use this treatment once a week. Combine half of the smashed avocado, two tablespoons of mayonnaise, and apply o your hair. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
Try one of these techniques to revive your curls The following techniques are recommended to try. I suggest you pick one and use it for about a month before switching to something different.

Beer Rinse

A beer rinse is beneficial for some reasons. Beer contains essential oils with fortifying and strengthening antioxidants. It also includes sugars that help to tighten the cuticle resulting in shine and body. The proteins and B-vitamins condition the hair. Before you start the process make sure you leave the beer uncovered overnight.

Step 1.

Co-wash your hair

Step 2.

Pour the beer over your entire head. Make sure you coat the hair from root to tip. If your hair is longer than shoulder length, you may need two cans.

Step 3.

Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes

Step 4.

Rinse your hair with warm water

Step 5.

Rinse again with cool water

Step 6.

Add a palm size amount of conditioner to your hair

Step 7.

Rinse the conditioner out with cold water

Step 8.

Dry your hair with an old t-shirt

Step 9.

Apply your leave-in conditioner

Deep condition

Step 1.

Apply your conditioner to your entire head

Step 2.

Put on a shower cap

Step 3.

Allow to sit for about 30 minutes

Step 4.

Rinse with cold water

Step 5.

Style as desired If you want to get the most out of deep conditioning try one the tips below:
  • Sit under a hooded dryer with a shower cap
  • Put your conditioner and shower cap on before exercising

Hot Oil Treatment

Your hair deserves a hot oil treatment whether it has damage or not. These treatments are beneficial to natural hair because they strengthen the hair and can halt further damage by preventing split ends as well as dry hair. Hot oil treatments are great for stimulating hair blood flow and hair growth to see results. The following process will help revive your hair but complete after you have shampooed your hair.

Step 1.

Put your oil in a squeeze bottle or bowl

Step 2.

Immerse your bottle in hot water or microwave your bowl

Step 3.

Make sure oil is cool enough before applying to your hair

Step 4.

Apply the oil to your hair and scalp

Step 5.

Put on a shower cap and leave in for 15 minutes

Step 6.

Rinse your hair

Step 7.

Apply a leave-in conditioner

90-Day Regimen

This regimen is going to help you revitalize your heat damaged hair. You cannot expect results overnight, so I suggest you give it about 90 days. Below is my recommended regimen:

Tip 1.

Stop using heat, sulfate shampoos, and over manipulation

Tip 2.

Shampoo your hair with a clarifying product.

Tip 3.

On co-wash days, use a good deep conditioner to add moisture back to the hair. Conditioners should be left on for 20 minutes. These should be used every 1-2 weeks to see a noticeable change in your hair.

Tip 4.

Use a hot oil treatment weekly

Tip 5.

Apply a leave-in conditioner after every shampoo or co-wash

Product Recommendations

1. ApHogee Two Step Protein Treatment

The treatment is a salon quality product with a blend of magnesium and protein to repair heat damaged cuticles.

2. Creme Of Nature Straight From Eden Repairing Oil

A repairing oil that seals in moisture and gives hair a fantastic shine. This product has avocado, coconut, and olive oil.

3. Shea Moisture Extra Moisture Deep Treatment Masque

The all-natural product is infused with argan and raw shea butter to help over-processed hair.

4. Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Wash

The hair treatment restores dull hair and promotes growth.

5. Koils By Nature Ultra-Moisturizing Cocoaloe Deep Conditioner

The moisturizing conditioner helps your hair retain moisture and makes your hair more manageable.

6. Carol's Daughter Monoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum

This serum reduces frizz and adds shine while repairing your hair.

Repair and Change your Habits to Prevent the Big Chop

I think the hardest transition for most of us is the fact we can no longer use heat on our hair regularly. A silk wrap or blow dry style is okay every 4-6 months but using heated styling tools regularly will cause damage to your curls as well as the cuticles of the hair strand. Protective styles are going to help you keep your natural hair healthy. However, if you already have heat damaged hair try the suggestions above to correct it and get back on the road to shiny hair. Learn from your previous mistakes, make sure your hairstylist is knowledgeable about styling natural hair and take care of your curls. Your hair is a crown for you to be proud of at all times. Take care of it! Thanks for continuing to rock with PLE! You are important to us, and we will continue to bring you information and resources to help you be your best self and live your best life!
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Lupita Nyong'o Shares Being "Shunned" for Her Natural Hair

Lupita Nyong'o Shares Being "Shunned" for Her Natural Hair

“Don't Touch My Hair. When It’s The Feelings, I Wear.”

#DTMH. Solange’s lyrics to "Don't Touch My Hair" is smoothly playing through my speakers as I write this article. It is also the hashtag that Lupita Nyong'o used when expressing her distaste at Grazia Magazine a few months ago. The publication is guilty of photoshopping her textured hair into a smooth buzz cut without the permission of her or her team. Most may not have seen that as an issue, but originally her hairstyle composed of her natural kinks in a slick bun graced the cover of the magazine. But I guess the bun wasn't slick enough because they decided that it wasn't worthy to be on the cover. This is a sentiment that is both disappointing but true of this day and age. Because Lupita spoke out on the drastic editing of her photograph it brought up feelings that prompted self-reflection in the African and African American community. These feelings are ones that people without color may or may not have known were a problem for people of color. They are feelings that affected employment and the day to day life for the people who refuse to straighten and contain their natural tresses. After the Grazia scandal, Lupita sat down to let Porter magazine know that it wasn't just the photoshopping of the image that was the issue. The issue is that black women hear about the wildness or the uncivilized nature of their black hair on the day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, we deal with a constant serving of reminders that it could be difficult to get a job wearing our hair in its natural state. Many of us straighten our hair for interviews then slowly show our true textures as we've settled into our new places of employment.

"They Don't Understand What It Means To Me."

In a world that favors traditional western standards of beauty, it's no wonder that kinky hair is shunned in the eyes of traditional western Hollywood. Sadly, because of this amazing stars like Lupita Nyong'o have struggled with accepting themselves and the hair that they were born with. In Allure magazine Lupita spoke about not liking or accepting her own hair texture. Growing up in her home in Kenya and seeing girls at school with hair that was easier to manage due to chemical straightening forced Lupita to want to chemically straighten her hair and upkeep it. However, she did not know that it was such an expensive task. Instead of loving straighter hair and its flexibility, she began to loathe it. She even went so far as hurting her neck to ensure that her style stayed in its most perfect form when she went to sleep. Most may not know this, but Lupita's signature shortcut came from a joke her father made when he spoke about how much money her hair costs. He said that she should just cut all of her hair off! Taking that advice, Lupita went to her hair stylist and did just that! She cut every single insecurity, rude name, and kinky coil off of her head so that she no longer had to deal with it. However bold that decision was, the new hair and the new confidence is something she had to get used to.

“Don't touch my crown. They say the vision, I’ve found.”

The ironic thing about Lupita's drastic change in her physical appearance is her own response to it. She refers to her big chop as a liberating change; she did not have to hide behind anything anymore. Even though her mother did not approve of this new hairstyle, Lupita was able to accept the hair that she was naturally born with although she had to cut it all off to realize it. Currently, in Tinseltown, the world of movies, lights, and glimmering sparks of fame Lupita has the Vernon Francis. Vernon is a celebrity hair stylist, who not only specializes in hair care but also has his own product line. This is something that she didn't have when initially coming to America to study because she was in Boston, Massachusetts and as you can imagine Boston, Massachusetts does not have a lot of variety of stylist for people of color. She used to go to Kenya and braid her hair up so that she can come back to the States and live here for months without having to do her hair. Because she was born in a different climate, Lupita's hair needed water and moisture to be able to grow and thrive. However, in Boston Massachusetts it was nothing but cold weather, so Lupita’s hair had to get used to that! Again, this was another transition period for Lupita and her journey to self-acceptance. For Lupita, the braids and protective styling helped her to get through her beginning days of school when she was without fame and access. Nevertheless, after Twelve Days a Slave and meeting Vernon Francis, he was able to pick up where the braids left off and grow her hair out. This is amazing and something that all of us wish for, a stylist with growing hands who could help our hair reach its full potential and its healthiest state. “Clay can be dirt in the wrong hands, but clay can be art in the right hands." - Lupita

A Full Circle Moment

It is incredible to see someone go from self-hate to self-love. That is what we were able to experience when Lupita spoke out against Grazia magazine and the Photoshop job they did to her naturally kinky hair. Even though we all know it was more than just hair that Lupita was standing up for she affected more than the young children that she aims to impact. In this world of unrealistic beauty standards, she changed young women who compare themselves to Instagram models on a daily basis. The same young women who buy bundles of hair not for the use of protective styling and the need for a new look but because of their self-loathing and need to camouflage their identity. Her stance against the fake buzz cut that Grazia forced upon her image is not saying that there's anything wrong with a western society look, but it's saying that everything is right about her ethnicity and features. #DTMH In the words of Solo “What You Say to Me?” Comment below with your stories of kinky hair acceptance!
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Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Natural Hair Salon

Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Natural Hair Salon

What to Know Before Setting Your Next Hair Appointment

As a Naturalista, I can relate when I hear others expressing their frustration with the quality of natural hair salons. A lot of salons portray themselves to be skilled when it comes to this type of hair only to ride the wave of the natural hair “trend.” In reality, a lot of these salons and stylists are not the ones for the job. Because of this, many of us opt for at-home hair treatments and styles because we would rather learn how to properly care for our hair rather than trusting a stylist with our precious tresses. Well, my fellow Naturalistas, there is hope! Although the search for the perfect natural hair salon may get tedious and lengthy, there are many out there that have the experience to cater to our locs and coils. Don’t give up yet. I have a few helpful tips that will make your search a lot easier!

Tip #1: Go into FBI Mode on Social Media

Here’s a tip that I want to dive into because it is prevalent. One of the primary resources for locating new salons of all sorts is social media. We honestly turn to social media to find almost everything in this day in time. Although social media is a great tool that will allow you to search for nearby natural hair salons and stylists, it’s essential that you don’t jump at the first nicely laid out profile page that you see. There are a few things to look out for when researching natural hair salons on social media.
  • We know that it is essential to check the photos that the salon (or stylist at a salon) posts.But it’s also necessary to pay attention to small details. For instance, check for similarities in the background, photo quality and even techniques that a stylist uses.These are indicators that the salon is producing organic photos instead of stealing Google images or using stock photos. (Salons and stylists can also catfish you – no one is safe!)
  • Also, be sure to check the comments under the posts. A lot of current clients will comment on posts to candidly share their experience with the salon. The more comments, the easier it is to determine the salon’s reputation.
  • Profile tags are also helpful because you can visit the client’s page and see how long they kept a style and if they visit this salon regularly.Viewing the profile pages of the clients will also help you gauge what type of clientele the salon serves and if their hair is like yours (fullness, texture, etc.).

Tip #2: Read the Reviews

As we illustrated above with the social media tips, customer feedback is everything! When checking the reviews for a salon, don’t just look at the comments that appear on the salon’s website. Most companies pick and choose the best reviews for obvious reasons. Be sure to Google the name of the natural hair salon and look at the feedback that comes up in the search because Google My Business reviews are typically a little more authentic. Also, dig into review sites such as Yelp and Facebook for further insight into the salon. The downside to reviews is that most people leave comments when they’ve had a bad experience. That is when quantity plays a considerable role. If you find an excessive amount of negative reviews, then there’s an issue with the salon. However, don’t count a salon out if you only see a bad review here and there. The key is to read thoroughly.

Tip #3: “Date” a Salon Before Committing to It

Before you get married, you date your partner, correct? You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, right? Well, guess what? You can do this with a natural hair salon also! Reach out to a salon that you’re interested in and find out if they offer consultations. The best way to know if an establishment or a stylist is right for you is to go and feel it out in person. I am big on vibes and personalities, so consultations give you the opportunity to experience that before committing to a hair appointment. That is also a great time to scope out the tools and products that they use, which we’ll discuss a little later! Consultations are the perfect time to express what you expect from a hair service. You should also use this time to discuss any hair issues you may have experienced in the past as well as what your hair is currently lacking. “Dating” a salon first will help you weed out the bad ones before having a horrible experience.

Tip #4: Get to Know the Stylists

You may have found a natural hair salon that you think you want to try, but how well do you know their staff? The business may offer the best deals on services, complimentary refreshments, a clean environment, great products for natural hair and many other perks. However, none of that means a thing if the stylists are up to par. Before visiting a natural hair salon, be sure to research the stylists that work there. You may be able to find them listed on the company’s website or social media pages. As mentioned previously, use social media and other digital platforms to do a deep dive into their portfolio. Read their bios thoroughly to get a feel for how well they know about caring for natural hair. You should make sure that the stylist is a licensed professional trained in this area of hair care. Bonus Tip: You may be easier to stick to natural hair salons that have stylists with…natural hair (just saying). Who better to care for your type of hair than someone who has the same kind?

Tip #5: Inquire About the Tools and Products That the Salon Uses

It is your hair, so you have the right to know what the stylists will use while treating your hair. Many of us natural Queens have searched high and low for the perfect products for our hair, so we know what works for us and what doesn’t. We also know how much heat and what kind of heat our hair can handle when blowing it out or getting it straightened. If a salon does not have the right items that are necessary for the growth and vitality of your hair, you can always walk away and keep your search going. Don’t wait until your stylist is mid-style to realize that your hair isn’t getting what it needs to remain healthy.

Choose Your Next Natural Hair Salon Carefully

Whether your hair is transitioning or entirely natural, it is imperative that it is getting the right amount of TLC to flourish. Only a natural hair salon with proper tools and skilled stylists can give you the results that you desire. Say “no” to damaged hair and poor salon experiences by doing your research before setting up an appointment. It’s your hair and your terms – take control of it!
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Staying Natural: Tips for Fighting Perm Withdrawals

Staying Natural: Tips for Fighting Perm Withdrawals

Stay Firm, Don't Perm!

You've been natural for a few months, and now you're thinking "I'm about to perm this mess!" It's only natural (pun intended) to miss the old state your hair was in for so long. However, perming your hair and undermining all of your hard work isn't going to make your hair issues go away; stay strong, and follow these tips to fighting your perm withdrawal mind.

Utilize Alternatives To Perms

Perms are used to straighten the hair making it 'easier' to manage and silkier. There are less strenuous ways to straighten the hair without flat ironing the strands or stripping the hair follicles of its protein and changing its chemical structuring.

Keratin Treatments

Keratin Treatments range anywhere for $100 to $200 and are required to be repeated every two to three months, way longer than a blowout! Getting this treatment performed on the hair takes approximately ninety minutes. Keratin occurs naturally in hair, but when infused with heat and pressed through the hair several times it allows hair to remain in a straightened state for an extended period. The process forms a coating within the hair shaft and 'seals' the hair in a straightened state. Keratin treatments will protect the hair frizz, rain and will not fade with shampooing. Be careful when getting Keratin treatments because although healthier than perms, the flat ironing used to seal in the keratin and help the hair dry could cause thinning or permanent damage to the hair.

Hair Stretching

Stretching your hair isn't a chemical process at all. The use of plates and clips will naturally stretch out your curls out and make your hair easier to comb, style and straighten. Hair stretching is common in the hair world, but many people shy away from this method because it can be time-consuming compared to blow drying or flat ironing. However, this method takes some of the heat damage away from the hair. Hot Oil Treatments are good ways to restore moisture and strength to your hair but also a means of softening the hair and is best used on transitioning hair. Hot oils include jojoba, coconut oils or a mixture of oils to treat the weaknesses in hair and slightly loosen the curl pattern.

Extra Tips To Going and Staying Natural

1. Ease Into Being Natural

Ok, hear me out, I know a lot of people will say 'go for the big chop, start fresh, let those damaged ends go!' but my advice is the opposite! If you have never been natural before, struggle to maintain your hair, or you are conditioned to doing comfortable styles for long or straightened hair, you might want to ease into being natural. Additionally, if you are a person with extreme buyers remorse, do not make hard and fast decisions like shaving your head or chopping off six inches of your hair. Translation: Maybe you should hold off on doing the big chop. Contrary to popular belief, whether you transition or big chop, hair continues to grow at the same rate. The big chop doesn't speed up hair growth, it does, however, ensure that all hair is at the same level of length, health, and hopefully, possess the same curl pattern. I suggest transitioning for a few months before heading straight for the scissors. Transitioning will allow you to have time to get used to the texture change in your hair and work out what products are for you before you are entirely natural. Furthermore, transitioning will give you time to adjust to the idea of shorter, curlier hair over time instead of going into the salon with shoulder length and coming out with above ear length.

2. Know What You Are Signing Up For

Going natural can flood anybody with a wave of emotions. I know for myself, I looked at other naturals and believed that my hair would be super curly, grow fast and I would have a plethora of styles to rock; however, this was quickly dispelled when I the 'creamy crack' down myself. The truth is that you may be wearing the same two or three styles for a year or longer until you learn the right routine, products, and hairstyles that fit your hair. When you go natural, you are committing to adjusting your hair routine, taking time with your hair and embracing all the hair nuisances that come along with natural hair. Patience is a must when going natural; either for transitioning or for the big chop, you will need to be able to maintain your sanity as your hair grows out and requires new things from you.

3. Find A Couple Cute New Styles

Finding a new style can be difficult. But as we talked about in our last bullet, you must be willing to accept what comes with natural hair and that means stepping outside of your box. If you want to stray away from the natural fro, pineapple or french braids when you are first natural, then attempt a new look! Add in braids, twists or jewelry to your usual styles to look more flair. I liked to get a perm rod set because it is not hard on the hair, last at least two to three weeks and enhances my natural curl pattern.

4. Use Protective Styling

Another option of going natural is utilizing protective styles such as braids, twists, and weaves. Braided styles are great for natural hair because they allow you to keep your hands out of your hair and time to stop obsessing over the lack of growth while the hair tucked away.

Remember Why You Went Natural

The key to keeping your resolve and not reverting to a perm is to remember why you went natural. There is a reason you decided to leave perms whether it be for your hair health, you wanted to know your natural curl pattern or the fact that your scalp was begging for a break, you made the conscious decision for your hair and scalp to leave the perm behind. To fight your struggle against perming and stick to the new naturalista life, try new styles, get a good hair care regimen going and remind yourself why you chose this hair path in the first place.
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10 Things You Wish You'd Known Before Going Natural

10 Things You Wish You'd Known Before Going Natural

"You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman"

Taking the big step from perm/relax hair to natural curls will be a fun, stressful, and exciting journey. Along the way, you will experience a sense of empowerment and self-confidence. Learning how to love your hair is tough, and it'll only be harder if you don't know basic tips to keep you on track. You don't want to end up on the "I Wish I Would've Known List" when it comes down to going natural. Simple things like tracking down your progress and trusting your instinct will go a long way. We know that making this transition seems like the most natural thing ever, but boy can it be difficult as well. It's hard finding the right products that work on your hair type and texture. If you're a newcomer, you might struggle with how to style your curls in the awkward growing out stages. The many trials that come with going natural are enough to make any woman want to abandon the journey. But you should know that you are never alone. We have your back through the good and bad times. So, to help you out along the way here are ten things you should know before going natural.

Track Your Hair Growth

Sometimes we get so caught up in the act of going natural that we forget to track our hair growth. This tip is something I wish I did because I'm not sure how long my curl length is now. After hearing stories from other women who are going natural the process is not always rainbows and butterflies. You will have moments where you feel discouraged because you can't physically see your hair growing. There are several ways you can track the progress of your curls for when you feel like nothing is changing.

Use Measuring Tape

If you invest in a useful measuring tape, it'll only take a matter of seconds to measure and jot down the length. What you need to do is take the beginning of the tape and start from the root of your hair to the ends. You must make sure that you stretch the curl all the way out to get its actual length. I would also suggest measure three points of your head, front, back, and sides. We are not all the same; I know some people whose hair grows longer in the front, others in the back. Measuring different sections of your curls will help you decipher where your problem areas are and how to fix them.

Take Pictures

If you take the time to snap a quick photo of your locks, you'll see progress right before your eyes. The best times to take a photo is in between every four to six weeks. You will see the most changes if you spread the pictures out in a time frame of months. I feel it's safer to keep on a tight time frame that way if you do not see any progress you can switch up your hair routine. The last plus side is that keeping pictures can encourage you along your hair journey.

Create A Hair Journal

Creating a hair journal is by far the best way to track your hair growth. This tool is the combination of taking photos of your locks and writing down your length over time. Luckily, there are tons of apps on our smart devices that can do all the tracking while we sit back. A fan favorite seems to be the Hair Journal App. This application allows you to write down your feelings throughout your journey while using pictures to see progress. There is also a section where you can add product tags of your favorite hair care products. We can't forget to mention the countless videos of others on their natural journey and need-to-know advice. So, if you have any free time check out this app and many others that will help track your hair growth.

Every Curl Pattern Is different -Don't Compare

Okay, let's be honest for a moment, how many of us like to compare our curls to our friends, co-workers, even celebrities? This horrible tendency is something I wish someone would have told me not to do. Remember we all have different hair textures, lengths, and health. Try not to worry about how tight or lose your curl pattern is, keep in mind that it's ten times healthier in its natural state. While we are on the topic, don't compare anything when it comes down your mane with someone else's. If you're someone like me who experiences shrinkage, then you may not see the full length of your hair until it's blown out. On your natural journey, you will truly master the idea of being happy with your curls. Instead of focusing on how long or how coily your locks are, try to get a better understanding of your texture and how it works for you. It may help to follow people on YouTube and Instagram that has your exact hair type or very close. I'm just real; there is no point in watching videos of someone that you can't relate with at all. If you're following them for fun, then I understand, but we don't want you to deter from your hair journey. If all else fails to try to engage with new people that will inspire you to love your curl pattern. It would surprise you to hear all the excellent tips and stories from other natural ladies.

You Can Make Your Products

Any naturalists can tell you that the most expensive part of this journey is all the products you buy. If you take the time to research what works well for your mane, you can only purchase those ingredients. For example, curls do very well when they encounter coconut oil, so instead of buying a ten-dollar product that includes it, you can buy it separately in stores. You can whip up a ton of these recipes in minutes, and with tons of help from YouTube videos. You probably have most of these ingredients in your household, and if not, you can quickly get them online or at your local Whole Foods store. In a matter of months, you can create products that are amazingly effective on your tresses. This process can be addicting, so make sure that you leave plenty of room in your cabinets for all the great products you create. You'll save so much money when making your products, really wish someone would have let me know this tip beforehand. Thankfully I understand it now and can pass this beautiful gem on to you all.

Length Isn't the Most Important Thing

We can't deny it, the main reason why women want to go natural is that they want their hair to grow longer. But we are here to tell you that length is not the most important thing, how long your curls do not always determine the health. Thickness is a great way to know if your curls are growing and in a healthy state. But if you are natural and not seeing a dramatic change in length, it could be due to a couple of reasons. Sometimes the growth is not retaining, meaning your hair is growing, but the ends are breaking off at the same rate. So, make sure that you are going to the salon for monthly trimmings to avoid all split ends. Drinking water also helps, treating your hair goes further than just the products you use on your head. You want to moisturize the strands from the inside out, eating healthy veggies will help feed your follicles. When the cuticles on your head are healthy, it will promote growth and lessen the chance of breakage. In the long run, its best to remember that this is a journey and healthy hair is stellar hair no matter the length.

You Can Still Color Natural Hair

Against much popular belief, you can color natural hair. We wouldn't suggest going for a blonde or platinum, but light browns and blacks won't hurt. Most women opt for semi-permanent rinse; this gives you the color your looking for without killing your strands. I would say go to a salon or see your stylist when dealing with dyes on your curls. Even though beauty supply stores have a million and one different semi-color treatments you don't want to risk leaving chemicals on your hair for too long. We suggest using at home dyes when going for a darker hue, anything lighter you should see an expert. Some things that we should warn you about beforehand is that coloring your hair can affect the curl pattern. So, be sure to stock up on plenty of moisturizers and leave-in conditioners. Hair with color loses moisture faster, and we need oils on our strands to prevent breakage. So, wrapping your hair after an in-depth conditioning session will be ideal. Make sure to skip the shampoo before you dye your curls. The natural oils on the scalp act as a buffer between the follicles and the coloring. If you keep these tips in mind, you should have no problems dying your tresses.

Know Your Hair Has A Porosity Level

I'm sure a lot of people have no idea what this terminology means because it was all new to me. But in simple terms porosity is the way your hair absorbs moisture. You can either have a low, medium, or high level and determining which you are you'll find it easier find products. If you have low porosity, this means your hair cuticles are tight around the cortex and will repel moisture. If you can relate to lower porosity, you should purchase a deeper conditioning lotion for your strands. On the other hand, if you have a high porosity, this means your curls have gaps in the follicles. Open spaces allow for more moisture but also makes your tresses more susceptible to damage. If you want to test which level of porosity your mane is, try dropping a few strands into a bowl of water and wait for a few minutes. If the hair floats you have low porosity; if they sink it's at a higher level. This tip is essential if you want to see a tremendous change in hair growth, so test out your porosity today.

You Must Train Your Hair

Training your tresses is so important because our curls have a mind of their own. In lamens terms, our strands do what they want whenever they want. To counteract this process, we must develop strategies to keep them under control. If you want more curl definition to try wearing a bun at night, this technique will hold any style without straightening your pattern. If you are someone with naturally frizzy hair, then stay away from excessive brushing or combing out your strands. If you want to see a change in the way your curls react you must be consistent in the routines that work for you. As time goes on, you'll start to notice how your curls respond in different settings. You should use heat sparingly or not at all if you want to see a dramatic change in your curl pattern. Also moisturizing your hair will help tremendously, and if you do plan on heat training your hair make sure to invest in a great protectant. Don't give up on your natural journey just yet take some extra time to train that beautiful mane.

It's Okay to Make Mistakes

The natural hair journey isn't a straight path, its more like one with bumps, detours, and U-turns. The main point is that it is perfectly reasonable to make mistakes. Caring for your mane is a significant challenge you may stumble across breakage or dry and brittle strands. It is all a learning experience, and the more things you do wrong means there is only a matter of time before you get it right. I tell so many people that I went into the deep end the start of my journey. My hair would tangle so much because I was too lazy to unloose my braids and comb out the knots. But along the way, I started using a leave-in conditioner which leads to less breakage and split ends. The point of the matter is that all mistakes make us greater so embrace them. Your path may not be perfect, but it will surely be worth every step.

Ignore The Negative Comments

When you're walking along your natural hair care journey, you're going to have people who want to change your mind. I have had plenty of women tell me their stories and why it didn't work for them or why the style won't suit me. But the only person who needs to love your hair is you. So, ignore the naysayers, we all are different and its human nature to want to try new things. Just because something did not work for one lady doesn't mean the same goes for you. Try your best to link up with another woman on your hair care journey or follow accounts that you can relate too. You want to be free of any negative comments, and we know you can rock any look love!

Make Time for Styling

Styling natural hair is going to take little extra time and patience, so you need to prepare well enough ahead of time. Please do not think you can condition your locks, do a twist-out before hanging out with your friends in the next few hours. Sorry love it's not going to happen, most styles require you to try overnight routines. The longer you let the curl or pattern stay in, the better it will look in the end. You must be smart and plan, and if you develop a proper hair-care routine styling will become a breeze. A good twist-out will last you about a week, so taking the time to do it right the first time will be very beneficial. You'll need time to style natural hair!

What Are Some Tips That You Have for Going Natural

It seems like everyone wants to have natural hair, it's the new "wave" as some would say. But the one thing that gets left out of the conversation is what you need to know before going natural. We want you to have the best natural hair journey possible no matter how stressful or emotional you'll get. Although it takes a lot of time to research critical things to know about natural curls, it's like a rite of passage. We would hate for you to take this big leap only to figure out it doesn't work well with your lifestyle. Before you hop on this trend, you should make sure that you read up on tips and are fully equipped to handle the process. If there is anything you should take away from this blog, we hope that you embrace your natural locks. You have a whole hair community out there waiting to support you, so don't give up and enjoy your journey. If you are a naturalist what are some things you wish you knew before going natural? Let us know in the comments down below.
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