Search Results: Charlene Walton

This is Why Your Coily Wash and Go’s a Mess
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When I first decided to transition to natural hair eight years ago I was all about the wash and go hairstyle. All I wanted was for my curls to flourish and to have a head full of flowing, bouncing curls. Not surprisingly, this is the same sentiment many other women have that choose to transition to natural hair. However, before you get your hopes up and dive in head first, there are a few things you must know in order to achieve a flawless wash and go. My wash and go was previously a mess and now I’ve finally succeeded in getting this style to work for me. If your wash and go is a mess now, try making these changes to your regimen. 

You’ve been fooled by the name

The term wash and go can be quite the oxymoron depending on your curl type and texture. The first mistake I made when trying to successfully implement a wash and go was thinking I could literally shampoo my hair, toss in some conditioner, curl enhancing product, and roll out of the house for the rest of the day. No. While this method does work for some women really well, my thick and tight Type 4b coils requires product to be applied strategically. In the beginning I decided to take huge scoops of curl cream and apply it to four sections of my hair.

The solution

While the name “wash and go” sounds like you can wash your hair and walk out the door with little to no effort, this is not likely to work for most people. Be patient and figure out what styling techniques give you your best wash and go, and then take the time to carefully follow through each time you style your hair. For me, after several failed attempts I quickly realized my best results occurred once the products were applied to very small sections. The key for me was to apply curl enhancing products in small sections to thoroughly work it down the entire hair shaft, which is also known as shingling. In addition, my best results occur on soaking wet hair so I usually apply products in the shower. This process is not a quick task and can take up to 30 minutes.

It may take longer, but you will be happier with the results and they will last longer between washes.

Products enhance the curls you already have; products will not magically create curls that do not exist.

You think a product will “create curls” for you

The second mistake I made when trying to attempt a wash and go was thinking a singular product would help to create curls for my hair. What I did not realize was that I first needed to create a healthy hair regimen to build a strong foundation. Products enhance the curls you already have, not magically create curls that do not exist.

The solution

In order to help your curls form naturally here are a few things you can do:

  • Cut all damaged ends. Do no sacrifice health for length.
  • Improve elasticity by understanding protein/moisture balance
  • Use products that are properly pH balanced
  • Limit the use of heat or do not use at all
  • Develop a consistent deep conditioning routine for increased moisture

Overall, I’ve seen the biggest change in my hair since starting my No Heat 2016 Challenge. There was no way I could have a successful wash and go while still holding on to heat damaged ends. My hair is the healthiest and curliest it has ever been, and so far I have forgone direct heat use for five months.

You’re using the perfect regimen – for someone else’s hair

The third mistake I made at attempting a wash and go was trying to mimic every hair tutorial I saw versus figuring out a strategy that worked for my unique texture. I literally ran to the store and bought every product I could find or every product I saw another blogger use. While utilizing bloggers and influencers is great, you must look beyond the gorgeous results.

The solution

Take some time to see if your hair type mimics their curls and pay attention to their technique. Unfortunately, the best way to figure this out is trial and error. Lighter creams do not work for my curls and mousses do not provide enough moisture. The winning combination I’ve found is lightweight serums like the Curls Gel-Les’C and gels. Serums can ease through my fine texture and coat each strand quickly. Heavy gels on the other hand are perfect for when I want a more defined, long-lasting hold. Below are a few of my favorite wash and go products that work well for a variety of hair types and textures.

My favorite wash & go products

Have you achieved an amazing wash and go? What struggles do you have with this style?

How to Start a Successful Hair Blog Today

It seems as if every day there is a new blog that pops ups and grabs our attention. Health and beauty blogs especially are just about everywhere because there is vast amount of content to share. Personal blogs more specifically are extremely engaging because readers visit the site and are ultimately drawn to the person who is doing the storytelling. Starting a blog is one of the most rewarding things I have done. Not only do I have the chance to connect with so many people but I also have the chance to help and educate women about natural hair care more than I could have ever done before by myself. While the task of starting a blog might seem daunting, it is really not as hard as you think. The process can be extremely fun but it is also a ton of work. To help you take your first steps, here are five tips to start a hair care blog. 

Know your purpose. Know your audience.

The first question you should ask yourself is why. Blogging sounds super cool, but you must know your purpose for starting a hair care blog. Do you want to educate? Do you want to become the next big influencer and strictly work with brands? Are you looking to monetize and become a full-time blogger? The answers to these questions are needed in order to create a streamlined content plan.

Understanding the purpose of your blog will also lead you into narrowing your ideal reader profile also known as your audience. Each blog post published should speak directly to their needs and provide value in order to retain visitors as readers and long time followers of your work. With creating a hair care blog especially, think about how you can format your platform differently than the 100 or so other hair care blogs on the internet.

Secure your blog name/brand across social media

This tip is especially important if you plan to become a full-time blogger. Consistency across all social media platforms makes it easy for readers to follow and find you everywhere. In addition, name consistency is great for SEO purposes and will help your blog name/brand rank with Google. Once you’ve decided on a name, search to make sure it is available via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. If you are really serious about becoming a full-time blogger and turning it into a profitable business, look into trademarking your blog name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Build an email list

Relying on social media to promote your blog is not enough. Seeing that every social media platforms decides to change algorithms what seem like every other month, you can not be naive to think people will see our blog simply because you share it to Facebook and Twitter once. Start building your email list from day one by having readers subscribe to your blog and offer them something in return. The sweetest thing about having an email list is that it serves as a direct connection to your readers. This is the prime opportunity to direct them to your blog and remind them to read. Trust me, people will not magically scroll on over to your blog just because you have a domain address. Not even your family or your best friends. Do not take this personal but realize they probably are not your ideal readers or target audience. If Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all crashed today and there was no way to let your readers know you are still alive and blogging, at least you will have an email list.

Understand how to research

Credibility in creating a hair care blog is a crucial part of your content. Be careful not to reiterate things you have heard other people say without taking the time to properly conduct research. Using outside sources like medical journals and referencing studies conducted at different universities will position your blog as a credible platform and build trust with your readers. In addition, develop a relationship with a professional stylist you trust to bounce ideas and fact check topics you are uncertain about writing. Within your blog posts, also state that you referenced a stylist as a way to show readers you sought professional insight to help bring the best information to your hair care platform

Engage on social media, focus less on numbers

Like, comment, subscribe! Once you start your hair care blog make an effort to engage with other bloggers in your community. Comment on pictures on Instagram. Read other blogs you love and leave meaningful comments at the end of the post, then reshare to your social media outlets. If brands are not sending free product for you to promote, purchase the products yourself. Next, post your experience with the product on social media and be sure to tag the brand. Hair care brands look to social media for feedback and real opinions of people who use their products. This is a way for you to be seen as a blogger by hair care companies and other bloggers in the hair and beauty community. Engagement on social media is far more important than number of followers, likes, and subscribers. If you can show that people are visiting your blog, actually reading content and leaving a comment, that engagement is far more rewarding than a ton of followers who may never stop to read a word you have written. Once you engage with people on social, you will slowly start to see that engagement reciprocated to you as well.

The last piece of advice I would give is just start. Realize things do not have to be perfect and you will continue to grow and make your platform better each day. What other things would you like to know about starting a hair care blog? Leave your comment below!

Why I Decided NOT to Cut My Heat Damage

After a year of successfully growing out my hair and achieving the quickest amount of growth I had in years, I faced a serious set back. Deep conditioning treatments, protective styles, and moisturizing around the clock resulted in popping curls, but all of that was destroyed after an unfortunate meeting with an extremely hot flat iron.

Leaving the salon, I should have known something was wrong. Although my hair was super straight, it was also SO straight it felt thin. Since I have an extremely fine texture it does not take much heat to get the job done. But the stylist had previously straightened my hair before, so I thought no big deal. After shampoo and deep conditioning one week later, I discovered not only did I have heat damage on a section of my hair, the damage started at the root and traveled all the way down to my ends. Completely and utterly in shock, I quickly started to think of my options. Do the big chop? No. Get a tapered cut? No. Maybe shave a side of my head like Cassie? No. No. No! I decided to roll up my sleeves and grow out my heat damage for the rest of the year. Looking at the glass half-full, growing out my heat damage would allow me to do a few things.

The damage started at the root and traveled all the way down to my ends.

First, this allowed me to test new products for performance as it pertains to damage recovery. Heat damage occurs when the keratin bonds within the hair are broken, resulting in a permanent physical change of your hair structure. Heat damage at this level is irreversible, but there are products that can help to strengthen the hair after damage. My goal during my time of growing out my heat damaged hair was to make sure the newly growing naturally curly hair was healthy and without breakage. Products like Ouidad Curl Recovery Melt Down Mask Extreme Repair Mask helped to promote the health of my hair and prevent future breakage. The product is also said to help repair elasticity, which was really needed on other areas of my hair didn’t have as much damage but still needed some TLC. This product definitely got the job done, although on the pricey side. Not sure what elasticity means? Click here to find out more. 

Secondly and most important, I wanted to connect with readers. As a blogger, readers look to us to be authentic and provide real-life solutions that they are unaware of for hair care. Not every woman has a dedicated stylist nor can some women afford one, so blogs serve as their primary source for natural hair education. One of the things I’ve heard since becoming a blogger is “that blogger’s hair is always perfect, I can’t relate to her.” Since I use my platform to educate, I figured what better way than to experience a situation a lot of other naturals go through as a way to properly inform others from first hand experience.

Although I decided to grow out my heat damage for nine months, this January I finally cut the remaining straight pieces off and embarked on a full year No Heat Challenge. Since then my hair has been flourishing and growing back faster than ever. Whether you decide to big chop after heat damage or grow it out gradually like me, there is no right or wrong strategy. Do what you want, fits your lifestyle, and works best for your hair.

Have you experienced heat damage? How did you deal with this? 

How to Maintain a Textured Human Hair Wig

Although I love my natural curls, twist-outs, and braid-outs every now and then, I love the element of surprise. On any occasion you can find me rocking a curly u-part wig, clip-in extensions, or a sleek and straight full lace unit. I love variety and switching up my look. In addition, I have purchased wigs and extensions from about five different companies, so I’ve learned a few key tricks to taking care of textured wigs. So far I’ve successfully maintained human hair extensions for over a year, which I made into a u-part wig, clip-in extensions for six months, and other units by following a few cardinal rules.

Cleanse & Condition First

Always wash and deep condition the hair after receiving the extensions or wig unit. Although most extension companies pre-wash the hair before it is shipped, when ordering online, it is always best to shampoo and deep condition your hair again before installing. Little information is known about the conditions the hair is being kept before purchasing, environments of travel, packaging, etc. Cleansing and deep conditioning the hair once more is just an extra precaution and will ensure you have a clean slate for styling. Additionally, this will help to enhance the natural curl pattern before installing.

If you choose to purchase weft extensions in preparation for constructing your own wig vs. purchasing a pre-made unit, use a weft sealer to minimize shedding. This clear-like bonding product will not eliminate shedding completely, but it will reduce shedding significantly. Weft sealer should also be used prior to shampoo and conditioning the unit.

Treat your human hair textured wigs just as well as your real hair for the unit to last longer.

Use Quality Products

Chances are you have invested a pretty penny into your textured hair unit, so this is no time to skip on quality for products. My rule of thumb is to treat your human hair wigs just as well as you treat your real hair for it to last longer. When selecting a textured hair wig unit, most women opt to choose a curl pattern closest to their real texture. This makes the maintenance process even easier. Use the products currently in your possession to enhance the curls for wash and go’s, moisturize daily, and deep condition. You are familiar with these products and already how know how to use each one. All of the key factors you search for in products to treat your real hair, such as sulfate free, paraben free, mineral oil free, etc., should be used when sourcing products for your wig. Also look for key ingredients such as aloe vera and glycerin as moisture agents.

Maintain A Regular Regimen

In order to preserve the longevity of your unit, maintaining a quality regimen will be imperative just as your real hair. Whichever day you designate as wash day for your real hair also make this the wash day for your unit. Your extensions and wigs should be deep conditioned weekly, detangled often, and moisturized daily. For detangling, choose conditioners with tons of slip. More than likely, the wig unit will be more hair to handle than you have ever maintained before and you will want this process to be easy and hassle free. For daily maintenance, each morning I also spray my human hair wig with fresh water and aloe vera juice to revitalize for a fresh look. Again, this is a similar process I use on my real hair every day.

Store Properly When Not in Use

It may seem like no big deal to toss your wig into a drawer when it is not in use, but properly storing your wig is another small way to take care of your unit over long periods of time. Using a Styrofoam wig head or wig stand is great for keeping the natural shape of your unit. This also comes in handy for easy of styling. Store the unit within a satin bag or bonnet to help prevent extreme drying when not in use. Once the textured wig unit is removed from your head, section the hair into four sections to install 2-3 twists for each section as somewhat of a protective style. This “protective style” does not help protect your real hair of course, but more so protects the wig from further detangling when it is stored away.  

Overall takeaways

Maintaining human hair textured wigs should be no different than taking care of your natural curls. However, many women make the mistake of thinking their wigs are invincible and can withstand any type of treatment. If you do not currently have a productive healthy hair regimen, I would think twice about purchasing a textured hair unit. Caring for a unit can be a lot of work, oftentimes more than your real hair because you are handling twice the amount of volume and density. You might even find it harder to maintain and resent your purchase overall, so do your research, understand what you can handle, and follow these four rules for weave success.

Have you tried any textured wigs? What is your regimen and what works best for you?

5 Ways I’m Surviving My No Heat Challenge
At the beginning of 2016 I made a huge promise to myself. I decided to give up heat styling for the remainder of the year and I started a challenge to help me stay accountable. Fresh off a horrible heat damage experience and spending seven months growing out the damaged pieces, in January I cut what was left of the straight hair. Here are five ways I have been surviving the No Heat 2016 challenge. 

Head wraps

My first time wearing a head wrap was this year and I immediately thought why didn’t I try this sooner! Not only are most of them beautifully patterned, but wearing a head wrap is a great way to spend a whole day letting your twist-out set or deep condition on the go. The best part is of course no one will ever know what’s going on underneath. I usually preserve my head wrap for the weekend if I’m having a lazy Sunday or to spruce up an old hairstyle. As you can tell this style definitely requires no heat at all. This wrap is by The Wrap Life.

Wigs and Protective Styles

If you are planning to give up heat for a year, then protective styling will become your best friend. The definition of a protective style is one that will tuck away your ends and does not require daily manipulation to truly protect your hair. I plan to experiment with box braids later this year, but so far my protective style of choice is wearing wigs. Wigs allow me to achieve big voluminous curly hair while my hair is safely guarded underneath. However, before running out to purchase a wig, let’s discuss the options for what will be best suited for your hair:

  • U-Part Wig– Minimal leave out. Requires you to blend your natural hair with the wig. Best option in my opinion for the most natural looking results due to the real parting.
  • Full Wig– No leave out and no distinctive part. Blending not necessary.
  • Full Lace Wig – No leave out but has the ability to part anywhere desired. Can look extremely natural if installed correctly.

Perm Rods

Perm rods definitely aren’t a new style, but the style works well for flawless, heatless curls. With several sizing options you can get either big curls or small spiral curls. I usually choose the grey color of perm rods, which gives me the perfect curl that can last up to four days. On the last days when the curls start to become a little too frizzy, I toss my hair into a high puff and wear that style for another day or so.

Natural Updos 

Up until now, the only updo I’ve ever really worn was probably a bun. However, this no heat challenge has brought out my creative juices. After stalking Instagram and YouTube for a few days, I can across a ton of natural updos and decided to give one a try. The best part about a twisted or braided updo is this protective style that you can wear for up to a week without manipulating to your hair. There’s nothing better than having a set style, which requires absolutely no daily upkeep.

“Tuck & Roll” Styling

I’ve talked a lot about low manipulation styling so far because it’s the best for my hair texture. As a woman with very fine hair, over manipulation leads to breakage and thinning for my hair. Since my goal during the no heat challenge is to have a healthier set of curls, 85% of the time my hair is in a “tuck and roll” style, which I wear to work Monday through Friday. Every day I moisturize with a hydration spray and hair lotion to ensure my hair remains healthy. Just because you are not styling daily, doesn’t mean you can slack on your regimen.

What styles do you wear to abstain from heat styling? Let me know!

How I Turned My Natural Hair Hobby into a Career
Photo Courtesy of Rhea Whitney Photography
The earliest memories of my being completely obsessed with hair were around the 4th grade. There I stood in front of the mirror for hours trying to get the perfect ponytail ensuring my edges laid perfectly flat before I even knew there was a such thing as edge control. Fast forward a couple of hot-comb presses, relaxers, weaves, box braids and years later to my second career as a freelance writer and editor-in-chief of my very own natural hair blog and a store owner. To some, it may have happened overnight, but I have always known I would be in the business of helping others. Hair care has always been the thing I can talk about all day, hence my blog’s name Textured Talk, so a career educating women about the very thing that captivated my attention at 9 years old came quite naturally. Here are five ways I turned my hobby into a lucrative second career. 
Truthfully, I never expected to be compensated as a freelance writer, because I thought I needed a journalism degree.

Passion rules everything

Truthfully, I never expected anyone to compensate me to be a freelance writer.  My main goal was to write simply because I loved to do so and because I wanted to share hair care advice and information to others. Because I didn’t hold a journalism degree, I assumed my contribution would be on a voluntary basis and I was perfectly fine with that. Naive yes, but passion is the #1 factor that allowed me to kick-start being able to freelance for NaturallyCurly, book speaking engagements, and produce quality content. If you’re attempting to pursue a secondary career, make sure it is something you are passionate about versus being driven by money.


Once I nailed down the content piece, I made a personal goal to myself to be consistent to my readers. I needed to let others know I was serious about healthy hair education and I wanted readers to see me as a go-to resource. Consistency not only allowed me to develop self-discipline for my craft, it also provided a way for readers to know what to expect from my platform. Vowing to write a new article every week, quickly turned into two articles a week and so forth. As a result, each week readers knew they would learn something new from me about natural hair that would be waiting in their inboxes. Once I could make the connection between my current blogging audience and show proof of my current following, it was easier for brands to believe in my idea for a store and really understand my passion for hair care. I wasn’t just a random person on the street wanting to buy and resell products for the heck of it. They could tell this is something I truly love and work hard doing everyday to spread natural hair education as much as possible.

Continuing education

Living in the information age where everything is easily accessible via a Google search, it is very easy to get caught up just repeating what everyone else has already written. In order to position myself as a subject matter expert, I decided to go above and beyond. Since I’m not a licensed stylist I’ve always felt the importance of seeking the counsel of professionals or site professional publications for complex subjects. In the past I’ve referenced medical journals from the National Institute of Health and purchased cosmetology books to make sure I’m providing the most honest information. Outside of writing, to become a successful blogger and boutique store owner, webinars and conferences have served as my “graduate school” for both industries. Never let the fact you do not know something hold you back from fulfilling your purpose. Chances are there are a couple of YouTube videos, e-books and podcasts out there to help get you started.

Developed organic relationships & supporting others 

Developing organic relationships is by far one of the most influential parts to my being able to start a second career in the natural hair care industry. The people and women I’ve met along the way have helped me in so many ways. Someone I met at natural hair event introduced me to my editor at here at NaturallyCurly. Attending other natural hair events gave me to opportunity to met directly with CEOs, stylists, social media managers, etc. But aside from networking, supporting others bloggers, writers, and helping new bloggers along the way helped too. This allowed me to establish relationships and get to know others outside of social media.  Networking is more than swapping business cards. Connect with people you have a genuine interest in and do not expect to automatically receive something in return.

What’s holding you back from being an entrepreneur?

How to Beat Hard Water in 3 Easy Steps
Photo by Uwe Bauch — Getty Images
We all know water is the most important ingredient when it comes to moisturizing our natural curls but did you know that not all water is created equally? Depending on your area, there are several environmental factors that can transform your water into hard water. Hard water is high mineral content, specifically magnesium and calcium. When rainwater hits the ground, the water interacts with limestone, chalk, and other elements. After interacting with the elements and also traveling through lakes and streams the water ultimately becomes hard.  
Mineral buildup from hard water causes major issues for detangling, conditioning, softness, and the overall look of your hair.

While these minerals are not considered harmful to your health, they do alter how well the water cleans your household items and your hair. According to the US Geological survey, hard water can have some benefits, since humans need minerals to stay healthy. In addition, hard water generally contributes a small amount toward total calcium and magnesium for human dietary needs. But when it comes to your hair, hard water is not your friend. Due to the mineral buildup that is deposited onto the hair cuticle from hard water, this causes major issues for detangling, conditioning, the softness and overall look of your hair. So what’s a girl to do if you live in a hard water area? Here are some key tips to building your regimen.

3 Steps to building a hard water regimen

1. First, test your water

If you are unsure if you live in a hard water area, conduct a quick lather test. Hard water usually leaves behind a white residue on glasses after rinses or washing. When lathering with dish soap, hard water will result into somewhat of a white film vs. a rich lather right away. If you for sure have hard water, the less expensive solution is to install a water filtering showerhead. The filtration will help to remove chlorine and other deposits before they interact with your hair. The more effective but also more expensive option is installing a water softener system for your home.

2. Always pre-poo

Pre-pooing is a pre-shampoo process, usually completed with oils or your favorite deep conditioner to help with manageability and detangling before the actual shampoo process. Common forms of pre-pooing include hot oil treatments or a DIY mixture of coconut oil, honey, and a banana for extra slip and conditioning. While you don’t have to be a DIY mixtress every time you shampoo, instilling a pre-poo regimen into your weekly process will help soften the hair to combat what the hard water left behind. Instead of spending hours to get through your wash day, pre-pooing can help cut that time in half.

Watch: DIY Olive Oil Pre-Poo

Chelating shampoos are designed to bind to metals, minerals and pool water chemicals in order to remove those elements from the hair.
3. Switch up your shampoos 

If you live in a hard water area, consider stepping up your shampoo game to include clarifying and chelating shampoos. If you swear by the Curly Girl Method of no-pooing, combining the no-poo method with hard water could be a problem. Perpetual co-washing, partnered with metals and minerals left behind by hard water proposes a serious problem for moisture retention and product effectiveness. Chelating shampoos like the Ion Hard Water Shampoo are designed to bind to metals, minerals, and pool water chemicals in order to remove those elements from the hair. Implement a chelating shampoo into your regimen once a month to ensure your hair is clarified and clean for healthy hair growth and optimal conditioning. Also, remember not to skip the deep conditioning sessions since clarifying and chelating shampoos can be extremely drying to the hair.

Do you live in a hard water area? What ways have you changed your regimen to ensure healthy hair? 

5 Questions Everyone Has About the LOC Method

If you have been natural for a few years more than likely you have heard of the LOC method by now.  The famous moisturizing method, coined by Alikay Naturals Founder and CEO Rochelle Graham, has become super popular in the natural hair community. The LOC method, which stands for liquid, oil and cream, is used to seal moisture into the hair. Often cited by naturalistas as a staple in their regimen, hair companies have also begun to use the LOC method to their advantage, even promoting products that align with the method. However, if you are still a little lost on how to apply the LOC method to your natural hair regimen here are a few frequently asked questions.  

What exactly is the LOC method?

LOC is an acronym for liquid, oil, and cream. It is a 3-step product application process used to seal moisture into the hair by layering products in acronym order. The liquid product serves as a foundation for moisture. Oil is used second during the process as a way to seal the moisture into the hair. The third and final step, cream, is used for styling and definition and can also be used to further seal moisture into the hair.

What products should I use for each step?

Liquid: water, leave-in conditioner, curl refresher, or hydration spray. Some choose to also start with freshly washed hair and then proceed to use an oil and cream.

Oil: carrier oils such as coconut oil, castor oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, olive oil are best. Carrier oils are suggested because essential oils are too light to seal moisture into the hair. Essential oils also evaporate quickly and are best used with a carrier oil to “carry” the oil onto the scalp and skin. Some choose to use natural butters like shea butter or mango butter for this step as well.

Cream: curling cream, twist and define cream, moisturizing creams, etc.

Read more: The Ultimate LOC Shopping List

What are the benefits of the LOC method?

Moisture retention is the top benefit of using the LOC method. Moisturized hair leads to less breakage because the hair is more pliable for manipulation, which in return also means less shedding. Applying products through the LOC method allows your hairs to remain moisturized for longer periods of time without the need to refresh the style. When it seems like your hair dries out after one day, the LOC method can provide up to 2-3 days of hydrated hair is applied correctly.

What is LCO? And is this method better?

LCO is a similar method used by applying the liquid first, cream product second, then the oil-based product as the third step. Several women prefer this method since most creams are water-based products. By using the oil-based product last, some believe this will ensure all of the moisture is locked into the hair. Both the LOC and the LCO method work well. This is more of a personal preference than golden rule. My suggestion: try both to see which method works best for your texture.

Should I use the LOC method every day?

This is also a personal preference; however, application of the LOC method depends on how much product is used on a daily basis. The last thing you want is a ton of product buildup, which will prevent other products and ingredients from penetrating the hair properly for conditioning. In an attempt not to load your hair with too many heavy oils and butters one option is to refresh hair with just a liquid and cream to revamp twist-outs or braid-outs. This will get at a few more days out of your style before wash day rolls around again. Don’t forget to incorporate a clarifying shampoo into your regimen if you are using heavy oils and butters, especially with multiple applications between wash days.

Do I need to use both an oil & a cream?

Since we know each set of hair is different due to texture, density, and porosity, it is best to find a regimen that works best for your hairstyle. I often use two parts of the method depending on the ingredients. If I am using a heavy shea butter based product that has a lot of natural oils already infused, all I need to add is a liquid. Just the liquid and butter is enough to seal moisture into my strands for the next few days.

Overall, there are several natural hair regimens and methods used to maintain healthy hair.  From DIY protein conditioners, to henna, banana, and honey deep conditioners to tea rinses. There will always be something new to try. Figure out what works for your hair and work from there.

Do you enjoy the LOC method? Why or why not? If no, what other methods do you use?

I Think These Are the Best Styling Products of 2016

Like many women, there are hundreds of hair products sitting in my bathroom; however, I keep coming back to the same brands over and over. As I continue to work through my pile of never-ending products, I sometimes come across new styling products I wrote off just based on packaging. But, I’m quickly realizing you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover in life or hair products. So, here are my favorite styling products of 2016…so far. 

Curls Twist and Shout Cream & Blueberry Bliss Reparative Leave In Conditioner

I have been a fan of Curls products for a while, especially their Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Paste. However, their recent addition of Blueberry Bliss items have been heaven sent! The Blueberry Bliss Twist & Shout Cream is a favorite and the first cream based product for the Blueberry Bliss Curls collection. Filled with organic coconut oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, mango seed butter (which is one of my favorites”>, and organic shea butter, this cream works wonders for my twist outs and braid-outs.

Curls products are usually light, but this heavier cream appears to be a favorite among women with coarser, Type 4 textures like myself. The Blueberry Bliss Reparative Leave-In Conditioner is a great pair to the Twist & Shout Cream. Using both together is a great way to seal moisture into my curls for a lasting style throughout the week. Curls is launching more products from the Blueberry Bliss collection soon and I’ll be sure to report my findings after using.

Eco Curl ‘n Styling Cocktail 

I stumbled upon this product by accident. In my bathroom full of products from natural hair events and expos, it took me months to even notice I had this styling cream. In an attempt to re-do a perm rod set gone wrong, I grabbed this out of my bag of products that never see the light of day. To my surprise, I was met with well defined, hydrated curls the next day. I installed the perm rods on dry hair, just spritzing water on each section and using a tad of the Eco Cocktail Cream for each rod. No flaking, no white residue buildup, no crunchiness, nothing! Just soft curls. Now, I can’t keep my hands out of this cream.

Mixed Chicks Oil Replenishing Oil 

I have not met a natural woman who doesn’t love a good oil. However, I always wonder if I’m the only one who gets annoyed when my coconut oil is running low and I have to force my hand into the bottom of the tiny jar just to get a scoop? Nevertheless, Mixed Chicks sent me a few products and I really like the idea of an oil blend that is housed in a pump bottle. The replenishing oil is not too heavy or too light, but just the right combination when you need to refresh any dullness to your stands. Since my texture is fine and coily, it is important to find an oil that is not too heavy and this product is perfect. Key oil ingredients in this blend include carrot oil, rosehip oil, jojoba oil, and macadamia oil. Bonus points because this blend also smells very yummy, thanks to the rosehip oil.

Fro Butter

I’m also obsessed with butters, and Fro Butter has fit into my styling mix very nicely so far in 2016. Styling butters, usually shea based, work well for high porosity hair as a way to seal moisture into the hair cuticle, but they also work great to seal moisture into low porosity curlies, especially for tighter textures. I like to think of it as the best of both worlds.

Installing a typical braid out with a butter-type product can yield up to three days of moisturized hair. Recently, I’ve been able to try a little bit of each butter from the fro butter line due to their convenient trial size offers for just $5.00. The butters are infused with emu oil, peppermint oil, and Jamaican black castor oil. Emu oil, also rich in linoleic acid, has been sited with aiding in hair growth because it promotes cell regeneration and awakens hair follicles.

What are your favorite styling products of 2016?


The Difference Between Faux Locs and Loc Extensions, According to a Professional
Photo Courtesy of Gina
If you haven’t noticed faux locs have been everywhere over the past year and has quickly made their prominence as highly sought out protective style. However, many seem to confuse faux locs and loc extensions, sometimes using the term interchangeably. So, before you run to the nearest beauty supply store to pick up a few packs of Marley hair or go to a stylist, here is the full scoop on the difference.   

Faux locs

Faux locs are a temporary protective style similar to box braids whereas loc extensions are intended to be a permanent extension of your hair. Faux locs are installed by twisting or braiding the real hair and then wrapping additional hair around the shaft of the braid/twist. Usually installed with Marley hair, Kanekalon hair, or yarn, the wrapping technique creates the appearance of locs. This is temporary protective style similar to box braids whereas loc extensions are intended to be a permanent extension of your hair.

Loc extensions

Loc extensions on the other are more extensive, so I reached out to a professional to make sure all the correct details are provided. According to Paulette Anderson, owner of LocStar! Natural Hair Salon and Spa, loc extensions are installed with only human hair, and it is important that the density ratio of the attached hair matches the ratio density of the real hair growing from the scalp. Also, when properly done loc extensions can be left in permanently as the natural locs grow.

Which style is best for me?

Faux locs are great for those who want the appearance of locs without the permanent commitment. This style is also a great way to try a new protective style if you are going on vacation or have thought about getting permanent locs and want to test out the style first.

Loc extensions might be for you if you have always wanted locs but were hesitant to make a full commitment. Extensions will allow you to achieve your desired length immediately. These are also perfect for the person who has had a difficult time in the past transitioning from loose to locked hair. They are also great if you currently have locs that are damaged due to color or thinning.

How should loc extensions be maintained?

Maintaining your loc extensions mimics the real locking process. Maintenance is normally done every 2-4 weeks: cleansing the scalp, palm rolling the new growth, drying, hydrating, and then locking in moisture with a light oil. But, the best thing you can do is actually leave them alone.

“Although loc extensions are a quick fix for an immediate desired look, they still need to mat and intertwine just as if it was the customer’s real hair.” says Paulette. “Less is more, meaning the less the manipulation the better.”

Best practices for maintaining loc extensions, according to Paulette 

  • The first 3-4 months the focus should be on scalp health and hair growth. Keep the hair extremely clean with witch hazel, Sea Breeze, or a sulfate-free shampoo.
  • Use a spray bottle with water to keep the scalp hydrated and moisturize with conditioning spray like Amazing Botanicals Aloe Mint Spritzer, Obia Natural Hair Care Curl Hydration Spray, and LRC Hair Care Shake N Go. This is important after using extremely drying products like witch hazel and Sea Breeze.
  • Lock in moisture with light oils and cover the hair at night with satin scarf or bonnet. Try Amazing Botanical Blend Oil, Alikay Naturals Loc OilAlikay Naturals 17 Essentials Hair Growth Oil, vitamin E oil, argan oil, or jojoba oil.
  • After installation your stylist should do the first saturated shampoo around week 8. At this time the stylist is checking the progress of the matting and intertwining of the loc extensions and overall growth. By this time the new growth hair should now be able to start palm rolling, beginning the locking process on the client’s natural hair.

Finding a salon or stylist to install faux locs or loc extensions

Remember consultations are your best friend. Take time to really research the stylist to know if they are qualified and trained in performing these styles. Ask about past clients, look for reviews, and pay attention to pictures.

“Although the faux loc and loc extension installation process is similar, just because a person can do faux locs doesn’t mean they understand the concept of properly installing permanent loc extensions.” – Paulette Anderson, Owner of Loc Star! Natural Hair and Spa

Be sure to seek out pictures of how the style looks after extended periods of time like after 6 months, 12 months, and over a year. Schedule a consultation and have the stylist demonstrate an install of at least one loc extension so that desired size, length, and look can be agreed upon.

What are your thoughts? Will you try either one of these styles?

Follow Gina (pictured above”> here:

Natural Belle and Instagram

Why Did SheaMoisture Add New Tubes to Their Packaging?

Like many of you with textured hair, I am used to SheaMoisture rolling out new product lines every year. I am always curious to know what magical concoction they will come up with to make my hair jump for joy. Earlier this year, SheaMoisture released their porosity sensitive line, which definitely piqued my interest. However, it was the release of their new tube packaging three weeks ago that caused me to do a double take. The Instagram post announcement garnered over 500 comments alone. SheaMoisture has been listening to their community and taking customer feedback seriously. In case you missed it, we have the full breakdown on everything you want to know about the new SheaMoisture packaging. 

According to SheaMoisture, the new convenient tubes are easier to squeeze, address bathroom storage space, and are conducive for long-term travel needs with more streamlined full-size packaging. Also, SheaMoisture updated the labels for more legibility to clearly point out what’s not included in their products, like no parabens, phthalates, paraffin formaldehyde, propylene glycol, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, synthetic color, DEA, petroleum, and no animal testing. The Community Commerce heart logo also serves as a reminder that community empowerment is at the center of everything SheaMoisture does.

Our community members are co-creators at SheaMoisture and factor into everything we do.”-Richelieu Dennis, Founder and CEO of Sundial Brands

After reading through the 500 plus comments on their Instagram post, including Shea Moisture’s response to just about every comment, question, and concern, here are the top things you should know.

  • Customers asked for smaller sizes because the old bottles took up too much space in their bathroom. As a result, new 10 oz. tubes were created.
  • What about the price? Not to worry, the smaller tubes also come with a lower price.
  • The new tube packaging is more travel friendly than the classic bottles and jars.
  • However, SheaMoisture will continue to have the classic bottles and jars originally released.
  • Customers also asked for the lotion to be in a squeezable tube, especially for the SheaMoisture Baby collection, and people are now extremely happy for this change.
  • The new tube packaging is slowly rolling out so continue to check your local stores. If you cannot find what you need locally, remember you can always get the new tubes online.

As for the customer feedback Dennis further added, “We love to hear from our amazing community about their needs, what does and doesn’t work, and ways that we can serve them better. We appreciate hearing from them on our social media channels, through their video reviews, at our events and shows, as well as via our customer service through inquiries and input.”

If you want to continue to provide feedback to SheaMoisture about your concerns and provide personal feedback email – or leave a comment on their Instagram. Trust me, someone will answer. If you do not believe me, check out the comments section.

What do you think about the new tube packaging from SheaMoisture? 

Why I’m Giving Up Heat for a Year

There is nothing I love more than a great blow-out on my natural hair. My hair is fuller than my relaxed hair days and the shine is amazing. However, in 2016 I am giving up my love for the flat iron and going heatless for a whole year. Why? Heat damage.  

The initial damage occurred in early 2015.  After a routine trim and blow-out I noticed the back, left side of my hair was permanently straight post wash day a week later. Although precautions with deep conditioning and heat protectants were used, the particular flat ironed used was simply too hot for my fine texture. Finely textured hair is delicate, more prone to breakage and does not require a lot of heat to become straight. Depending on your hair’s texture, width, and elasticity, certain tools, even with precautions, can still cause heat damage if the temperature is too hot.

After eight months of being fed up with trying to style my heat damaged curls, spending extra time getting the damaged strands to mimic my healthy curls, I finally cut the remaining pieces in January 2016. This officially started my year of no heat. I launched the #NoHeatChallenge2016 on social media with other women to build a community of support and surprisingly the response has been amazing! There were so many other women who also wanted to reduce the use of heat styling on their hair but felt lost or nervous to do so.

What exactly is considered no heat?

  • No flat ironing
  • No blow-outs, unless otherwise noted by a professional for trims
  • No curling irons or curling wands

What do I hope to get from this challenge?

  • Healthier, thicker hair
  • Enhanced curl definition   
  • A new arsenal of hairstyling options. From twisted updos, crown braids, buns, and cute head wraps I plan to have a ton of fun styling this year. 

5 Rules to Minimize Heat Damage

If a giving up heat for complete year is not an option for you, here are five cardinal rules to help minimize your exposure to heat damage.

Be smart about heat styling options
All flat irons are not created equal. The heat distribution between a ceramic and titanium flat iron differs and could result in damage if not used correctly depending on your texture. Limit daily heat styling. If you are wearing a sew-in to transition, opt for using a scarf and edge control to lay down your edges versus heat. 
Always start with a clean slate

Clean moisturized hair is the first step to combating heat damaged hair. The hair should be washed thoroughly with a clarifying shampoo to remove all buildup, which will allow for a quick smooth pass when straightening. 

Focus on conditioners with protein

These will to help bring a healthy level of elasticity back to your curls. Healthy, strong strands require a balance of protein and moisture. The absence of either will produce weak strands that snap easily. Hydrolyzed proteins are the best at attaching to the hair shaft for strengthening.

Read more: 6 Proteins that Must Be Hydrolyzed…If You Want Them to Work

Use heat protectant labeled products

Although natural oils work wonders for conditioning and moisturizing your hair not all natural oils protect the inner cortex of the hair cuticle from heat. A high smoke point of a natural oil does make it a heat protectant. Heat protectants contain silicone ingredients like amodimethicone that create a thin barrier to minimize the damage of heat due to the silicone’s low thermal conductivity.

Read more: Heat Protectants: The Buildup that Actually Saves Your Hair and Why Oil Doesn’t Work As a Heat Protectant

Maintain consistency!

Consistently deep condition, consistently moisturize, etc. Overall, you have to train your curls all over again. Naturally curly hair loves moisture so give your hair what it needs.

Want to join give up heat and join the #NoHeat2016Challenge with me? Visit here for more info! 

But Do Mayonnaise Hair Treatments Work?

Homemade conditioners have been popular for some time, and as more women look to approaching their hair care needs from a health perspective first, I assume that the popularity will not subside.  There are several popular DIY conditioning recipes and common everyday kitchen ingredients naturally curly women use from avocado, honey, and of course, the often raved about mayonnaise. Our recipe for How To Do a Mayonnaise is one of the most popular articles on NaturallyCurly, and has been for years. We know women love doing them, but do mayonnaise treatments actually work?

Does mayonnaise work as a protein treatment?

No. Though the eggs and mayonnaise combination has been touted as a quick homemade protein treatment to strengthen the hair and prevent breakage, this is a false claim. This combination does not work as a protein treatment because the protein in eggs is too large to fit into the cuticle. In order for these amino acids to make it into your hair shaft, they must be hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzed proteins can be found in protein treatments and deep conditioners, read here for a list of the proteins that will work. Unfortunately, an egg or mayonnaise treatment is not going to do the job.

Does mayonnaise make your hair softer and shinier?

Yes it can. Anecdotally, many of our readers have noted that their hair was softer and shinier after using a mayonnaise treatment, but to validate this claim let’s take a closer look at what is actually in mayonnaise and how those ingredients affect the hair.

Ingredients of mayonnaise

We looked at the label of a regular jar of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and found that it contains:
  • Soybean oil
  • Water
  • Whole eggs and egg yolks
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Calcium disodium EDTA
  • Natural flavors

The benefits

Soybean oil
Soybean oil is a vegetable oil made from extracting the seeds of the soybean. It has nutrients such as vitamin K and lipids that helps to fight against breakage, split ends, and dryness. With one of the highest amounts of omega 6 fatty acids than any other oil, according to the University of Marylandsoybean oil also helps to stimulate skin and hair growth. The most obvious benefit of soybean oil is its ability to provide amazing and unparalleled shine, another reason why it is a popular ingredient in the hair industry. Soybean oil is not as greasy as other oils and for this reason is commonly used in shampoos and conditioners to keep the moisture balance and add softness. 
Women love to use eggs on our hair and for good reason, as there are numerous qualities about this common kitchen ingredient.  Although the proteins in eggs are too large to attach to the hair’s cuticle, the array of vitamins found in eggs makes up for that loss and both the egg white and the yolk are beneficial to use on the hair. Vitamin A helps with hair loss and to prevent dandruff by increasing your natural sebum production.  Vitamin B found in the yolk of the egg supplies oxygen to the hair and improve blood circulation.  Lack of vitamin B can lead to malnourished hair and has the potential to stunt hair growth, making the hair brittle.  Eggs also contain vitamin D and E as well as fatty acids, which all help with healthy hair growth, flaky scalp and shine.  Eggs work so well with mayonnaise because it is said both work together to seal the cuticle and lock in moisture for longer lasting results. Since both the egg white and yolk have benefits, there’s no need to choose in order to reap the full benefits. 
Although white vinegar is sometimes used as a common household cleaner and apple cider vinegar is more popular among curlies, the actual process of making both are similar.  White vinegar is made from fermenting grains and apple cider vinegar from fermenting fruit such as apples. Distilled white vinegar usually has a pH around 2.4, while apple cider vinegar will have a pH of about 4.25 to 5.0. A lower pH means the solution is more acidic. Since apple cider vinegar is closer to the natural pH healthy hair, it is more popular among naturally curly women and used for clarifying and restoring pH balance to the hair. Overall, due to the low pH of white vinegar it has the potential to play a role in mayonnaise to further help seal the hair cuticle to retain moisture. 
Lemon juice

Lemon juice is amazing because it contains high amounts of folic acid, vitamin B, and calcium. It is commonly used to treat dry, itchy scalp when combined with olive oil and honey as a pre-poo treatment, it is also extremely drying due to the citric acid. Always combine lemon juice with another carrier oil for added moisture. Another option is combining lemon juice and coconut water for another quick homemade conditioning mix. Lemon juice is also commonly known to be a safe way to lighten your hair.

Similar to apple cider vinegar, use lemon juice diluted with water to remove product buildup from the scalp followed by shampoo and deep conditioning.

Calcium Disodium EDTA

According to the FDA, calcium disodium EDTA is a food additive used as a preservative in certain foods and use to promote color retention. EDTA in hair products, however, is used to bind metal ions and prevent metals from being deposited onto the hair, scalp and skin. EDTA is very popular in chelating shampoos, which are of great use if you live in a hard water area. Hard water is water with high mineral content, specifically magnesium and calcium, so the EDTA ingredient helps to remove those metals and create softer, tangle-free hair. Just in case you are suspicious about EDTA, also notes this ingredient is widely used and can be found in moisturizers, skin care and cleansing products, personal cleanliness products, bath soaps, shampoos and conditioners, hair dyes, hair bleaches, and many other product types.

Homemade mayonnaise

Interested in making a DIY mayo treatment instead?  Here’s a quick homemade recipe that only requires 4 natural ingredients: 

What you’ll need:

  • 3-4 Egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • ⅔ cup of olive oil
  • ⅔ cup of warmed coconut oil

For consumption purposes mustard, salt and pepper are suggested to add to the recipe, but that is not necessary for the hair treatment.

Overall, mayonnaise treatments do work and are great for adding shine and softness to the hair. But if you prefer to not waste your kitchen ingredients, you can achieve similar results by doing traditional pre-poo or hot oil treatments and deep conditioning. Whether you prefer to purchase Hellmann’s Mayonnaise or make your own, as you can see the core ingredients and benefits are just about the same.  

What are your thoughts about mayonnaise for the hair? Does it work for you?

Oil Rinsing vs. Hot Oil Treatments: No They’re Not the Same
Photo Courtesy of Nelly
Ever wondered the difference between an oil rinse and a hot oil treatment? While both of these curly hair treatments might appear to be the same thing, they are actually quite different.

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

hot oil treatments are typically applied before shampooing your hair, while oil rinsing is usually done after shampooing

Oil rinsing

Oil rinsing is a step usually completed after shampooing the hair right before applying conditioner.  Once the hair is clean and while the hair is still soaking wet, a generous amount of oil is applied all over the hair coating everything from root to tip. Penetrating oils such as olive, coconut, and avocado oils are recommended for use due to their low molecular composition, which enable them to bind to the water inside the hair cuticle to prevent hygral fatigue. Conditioner can be applied while the oil is still in the hair followed by a final water rinsing session removing the excess oil and conditioner. Oil rinsing also helps with fighting against excessive drying during the shampoo process, as it seals moisture into the hair.  The other added benefit of oil rinsing is the ability to add natural oils back into the hair, which could have been stripped away while shampooing.

Benefits of oil rinsing
  • Prevents dryness from shampoo
  • Seals in moisture
  • Easier detangling / reduction in single strand knots
  • Increased moisture
  • Reduced frizz
  • Prevention of hygral fatigue
  • More soft, shiny, and manageable curls
The cons

Although oil rinsing reaps tons of benefits for your curls, there are drawbacks. Continuous oil rinsing without properly clarifying or cleansing the scalp at least once a month can rapidly accumulate product buildup, attracting more dirt and dust. Clarifying regularly is an important step in your curly regimen to ensure the hair and scalp are clean, which allows other products and moisture to further penetrate.

How to oil rinse

After you shampoo and before you condition, apply a carrier oil to your hair the same way you would a conditioner. Massage the oil from the roots to your ends, completely coating your hair. Allow the oil to set for a few minutes and then rinse it. Follow up with your daily conditioner. For a full guide to oil rinsing, read here.

Hot oil treatment

Hot oil treatments on the other hand are typically used as a pre-poo option, meaning the oil is applied before shampooing your hair. Pre-pooing is also a step used to combat hygral fatigue. Any oil of your choice is heated slightly and applied directly to the scalp to fight dandruff and severely dry hair.  Hot oil treatments can be applied to dry or slightly damp hair. Furthermore, once the hot oil is applied, sitting under a hooded dryer or using a plastic conditioning cap for 15 – 20 minutes will allow the oil to penetrate deeper. With this method you will still be able to obtain soft and shiny hair even though hot oil treatments focus more on the scalp.

What You Will Need
  • Oil of your choice. Try one of these top 5 oils for hot oil treatments.
  • Plastic applicator bottle
  • Plastic conditioning cap
  • Large cup, bowl, or pot of boiling water
How to do a hot oil treatment
  1. Gather 1 cup of oil or oil blend of your choice.
  2. Pour oil into plastic applicator bottle.
  3. Sit plastic applicator bottle into larger cup of hot water, bowl or pot of boiled water to warm
  4. Test temperature of oil on top the back of your hand before applying to scalp
  5. Apply warmed oil to scalp and slightly damp hair, massaging thoroughly
  6. Cover with plastic cap and allow oil to sit for 15-20 min. (Sitting under hooded dryer optional”>
  7. Shampoo and condition according to your normal routine 
Follow Nelly (pictured above”> here: Muse Uniform and Instagram

Which method do you prefer for your curls? What has been your experience? 

Can You Prevent and Reverse Gray Hair?
older ladies with gray hair
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images
According to texture specialist and professional stylist Marissa Robinson of DC’s Bill Lawrence Salon, scientifically, gray hair cannot be reverted or prevented, only coated with hair color to change appearance:

“High pigment antioxidants such as carrots can help promote pigment forming stem cells, which also aid in the production of melanin; however, gray hair cannot be prevented or reverted. As you age your body does not regenerate cells in high frequency as it does when you are younger, causing gray hair.”

Why does hair gray?

Canities, the technical term for gray hair, is the diminishing of pigment in the hair, which produces a range of colors visually perceived as gray. When the hair stops producing melanin, graying occurs. The decrease of melanin in the hair is due to the decrease of a crucial enzyme called catalase. Catalase plays an important role in breaking down hydrogen peroxide buildup in the body. When the catalase enzyme is decreased and no longer breaks down the hydrogen peroxide, it hinders melanin growth ultimately resulting in gray hair.

Does stress cause graying?

Also, contrary to popular belief, if you suddenly start to experience graying hair, do not rush to judgment thinking stress is the main factor. “Genetics are directly related to gray hair, as stress is not scientifically proven to be the sole cause, but it is a common one.” Robinson adds. While stress is a common factor, it is also important to note other factors that also lead to gray hair.

What causes gray hair:

Additional factors that contribute to gray hair and affect hair pigmentation:

  • Certain ethnicities gray faster than others
  • Daily lifestyle habits and Improper diet- smoking has is often cited as factor as well as the lack of vitamin B12, iron, and iodine 
  • Toxins, chemical exposure/hair dyes
  • Hormones and diseases 

Premature hair graying (PHG”> is another concern for not only women but men as well.  A recent study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, set out to evaluate risk factors correlated to premature hair graying. Although the study was not conducted on women, the NCIB concluded smoking, family history, and obesity were all important factors associated with premature graying.

More on reversing gray hair

Although these practices are not FDA approved, there are talks that certain Ayurvedic remedies can combat or reverse gray hair. According to, dried powder of Indian gooseberry mixed with coconut oil and amaranth leaves are both sufficient treatments since they help restore hair color.  These remedies along with countless other home concoctions such as onion juice, alma oil, sesame oil, and carrot juice are all said to reverse or prevent gray hair; however, the jury is still out on these treatments.

What home remedies have you tried for preventing gray hair?

What’s So Special About the New SheaMoisture 100% Coconut Oil?

SheaMoisture is a brand that many naturally curly women trust and depend on to expand their collections to cater to their every beauty need. This year SheaMoisture launched the Zanzibar Marine Complex for color-treated hair and protection. So, what is the recent addition to the SheaMoisture arsenal? Last month the brand introduced the SheaMoisture 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. It is no secret that coconut oil is a staple in most women’s hair regimen but the big questions is what makes the SheaMoisture coconut oil so special compared to the coconut oil available at your local grocery store?

Founder and CEO of SheaMoisture Richelieu Dennis says: “Coconut oil is so good for the hair and scalp, and is an ingredient we use in many of our SheaMoisture products to help nourish curls. Virgin coconut oil is special because it isn’t refined. This preserves all the natural goodness of this wonder oil, including a high content of vitamin E, fatty acids and minerals, which are typically lost in processing.”

The difference between virgin coconut oil and ordinary coconut oil is in the extraction process.  Refined coconut oil is produced from dried coconuts whereas virgin coconut oil is extracted from the fresh meat of the coconut. Processes like quick drying allows the fresh coconut meat to be dried promptly and then mechanically pressed. High heat is also used with refined coconut oil to remove the distinct smell and flavor and sometimes sodium hydroxide is added to prolong shelf life. If you prefer the nutty flavor and smell than virgin, unrefined coconut oil is your best choice.

As the tagline “Head to Toe Hydration” states, the SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil is also great for the body and skin. Its emollient properties not only help to penetrate the hair, but it can also absorb quickly into the skin often helping to relieve an itchy scalp and aid with eczema and psoriasis.

Cocktail suggestion

Celebrity stylist and SheaMoisture Beauty Ambassador Diane C. Bailey adds, “Coconut oil is a curly girl elixir! I recommend this all-natural pre-shampoo treatment recipe, which helps to support healthy growth, intensely moisturize, soothe scalp irritation and leave hair shiny and silky.” Below is Bailey’s cocktail suggestion:

In a small bowl mix the following:

  • 5-10 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons of SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil (depending on length of hair”>
  • 1 tablespoon of manuka honey

After mixing follow these directions for to pre-poo.

  1. Massage into the scalp and work evenly through hair, from roots to ends.
  2. Cover hair with a plastic cap and leave on for 30 min.
  3. Shampoo thoroughly.

The Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil is can be found online at Harmon Face Values or at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Will you add this product to your list? 

Editor’s note: This post is not sponsored. 

Hair Care Myths vs. Facts: Coffee & Co-washing?

woman with poofy hair

As a girl infatuated with hair at a very young age, I cannot begin to describe the amount of hair tips, tricks and other things I have heard about hair care over the years. With the explosion of the internet information overload is at an all-time high, especially within the natural hair community. There are several hair care myths roaming around so here are four myths we choose to debunk. 

Is caffeine better applied or ingested for scalp stimulation?

Studies have shown caffeine as a key factor in the management of androgenetic alopecia (AGA”>, which is a hereditary and progressive thinning of the scalp. Caffeine stimulates the hair and helps the hair grow faster through blocking DHT, a chemical known to damage the hair follicles. However, if you want to see improved hair growth applying caffeine directly to the scalp is better than drinking 10 cups of coffee a day. The direct application penetrates faster than waiting for the caffeine to enter your bloodstream. According to the International Journal of Trichology, a recent study assessed the follicular penetration of topical caffeine in hair follicles and proved hair follicles to be faster route of drug delivery for topically applied drugs. Some topical delivery methods include coffee and green tea rinses, which are popular among women to help increase growth. Just remember to follow each rinse with a great conditioning regimen.

Read more: Caffeine for Hair Growth: Is it Better in Coffee or Shampoo?

Is solely co-washing ok?

This is probably one of the most debated topics among naturally curly women.  There are tons of women who have sworn off shampoo, but before you toss your bottle out of the shower there are a few things you should know. While conditioners are gentle enough to lightly cleanse, perpetual co-washing can lead to product buildup over time. Shampoos are formulated to open the hair cuticle and in some cases intensely clarify, resulting in clean hair and healthy scalp. Once product buildup is removed, your daily products will work properly and even better. Shampoos have gotten a bad rap over time because most contain harsh detergents that leave the hair stripped and dry, but the good news is as more women become hair health conscious, brands have formulated great shampoos to address that key concern. Most importantly think about your daily use of products. Do they consist of heavy butters, creams, and gels? If so, shampooing with a moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo or a natural shampoo bar are better options. However, if you are set on co-washing until the end of time because your hair responds well to this regimen, then choosing a product that states “cleansing conditioner” or “co-wash” is vital. All conditioners are not created equal.

Read more: Top 30 Sulfate-Free Shampoos

Will clipping my ends help my hair grow faster?

I think we have all heard this statement at some point in our lives. “Trimming your hair makes it grow faster.” Well, that is not exactly true. What that saying really means is that trims enable you to retain length because split ends are removed. The rate of hair growth does not magically speed up after a trim, however, the amount of hair breakage is dramatically reduced. As a result the rate of hair growth and breakage is not counteracting each other in what I like to call the one step forward and two steps back syndrome. Hair growth is not the result of just one factor. Multiple things are responsible for growing healthy hair including genetics, hormones, diet, lifestyle, etc.

Other ways to retain length include proper detangling, improving elasticity, and protective styling.  

Can I use a daily conditioner to deep condition my hair?

Although both conditioners include treatment to the surface of the hair there is a difference between a regular daily use conditioner and deep conditioner. Regular daily conditioners are most commonly used after shampooing and require a shorter use time, typically 3 -5 min. before rinsing. Its purpose is to moderately absorb ingredients into the hair, conditioning the cuticle for it to lay smooth, reduce frizz, and as a result increase shine. Deep conditioners on the other hand should contain ingredients that actually penetrate the hair, nourishing not only the surface of the cuticle but also within the hair shaft. Ingredients to look for in deep conditioners include amino acids, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and penetrating oils like argan oil and avocado oil, just to name a few.  These ingredients help with repairing extremely damaged or chemically treated hair.

Read more: Daily Conditioner vs. Deep Conditioner

What are some other hair myths you have encountered?

Un’ruly Explores What it Means to be "Pretty"

The documentary series Pretty produced by Un’Ruly explores different ideas of beauty across the globe. Un’Ruly founder Antonia has interviewed over a dozen women from London, Milan, and Paris gaining insight into how each woman defines the word pretty. While we often use pretty to describe someone’s outer appearance, each woman shares their in-depth perceptions of beauty, revealing how they conceive the idea of beauty. 
 “Pretty is knowing you are enough.” –Fatima, London

As I sifted through each video one by one not only did I want to hop on the first flight to London due to the insanely beautiful fashion, but I found myself connecting to the women, sharing similar experiences with accepting what the world stipulates as pretty. Unsurprisingly the media played an integral role in the acceptance of beauty in these cities too, which is an issue that transcends cultures. Although each woman described beauty by her own standards laced with extreme confidence and self-awareness, they acknowledged the lack of black representation in the media. While black beauty and fashion are often seen on the streets of a melting pot like London, the mass representation in the media does not reflect that.

“I might not feel represented in the media but I’m not heartbroken because I represent myself. I don’t need the media to represent me and the women I know and love represent themselves too.” – Melinda, London 

Still aware of what the mainstream standards of beauty are for certain areas, for example English Rose in London, these women felt comfortable in their skin knowing those typical standards do not define who they are. Fredamily, a black model in Italy, remembers signing with her agency and being told it would be difficult because she is “not so tall” and “so black”. Fredamily is taking her model opportunity to prove to herself that against all odds she can still make it in the beauty industry in Milan.

Beauty is sisterhood.” –Grazia, Milan

The increasing preference and acceptance of natural hair over the past few years has created a space for women of all tones and textures who look like me, which is very exciting. Accepting my own beauty in the beginning of my natural hair journey eight years ago took time. Platforms like NaturallyCurly and Un’Ruly continue to push for positive images, which helps women feel more comfortable with one tip and one narrative at a time.

Pretty series

Are you following this awesome series? What does pretty mean to you?

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