Search Results: Chelsea Fregis

What is Your Hair Width? (And Why You Should Care)


So you’ve determined your curl pattern, but we all know that your Type 4A coils may be nothing like the Type 4A coils of the next woman. Beyond curl pattern, there are four more unique properties that can help you understand the complexity of curls: porosity, density, width and length. Knowing these characteristics of your curls will help you find the right products and techniques to suit them.

Not sure what your hair type is? Take our quiz!

One of the curl attributes that is often misunderstood and even left completely out of the curl conversation is hair width.

What is Hair Width?

Hair width is the measure of the thickness or circumference of the individual hair strands and can also be referred to as texture which should not be confused with the way the hair feels. “fine

Fine strands have a small circumference and width and when held up to light appear thin and barely there. These strands tend to be weak and easily damaged.


Medium strands have a circumference between that of fine and coarse strands.


Coarse strands have the largest circumference and width and the most strength. When held up to the light the strands are very visible and when pulled on do not snap easily. Also it is important not to confuse the word coarse with the way hair feels.

How to Measure Your Hair Width

If you don’t know what your curl width is it is very easy to find out.

The Thread Method

1. Tape a strand of hair

To begin gather shed hair strands from your comb or brush to examine and use tape to stick the strands to a piece of white paper on either end ensuring that they are pulled taut.

2. Tape a strand of thread

Take a piece of thread and pull it apart to separate it into two strands, and also stick one of those strands to the paper on either end.

3. Compare the widths

Once done compare your hair strands to the piece of thread. If your hair is thinner than the piece of thread then your hair is fine. If it is around the same thickness then your hair is of medium width and if it is thicker than the strand then your hair is referred to as coarse.

However, it is important to note that with most things curly hair related your hair width is relative and not a set measurement.

Is thicker hair stronger?

Hair width is so important when discussing your hair because it plays a major role in determining the strength of it, its susceptibility to damage and therefore your ability to retain length. The thickness of your strands is what helps to determine its strength and usually the thicker the strand the stronger it is. Thus, curlies with coarse hair may find that their hair is very strong and is not easily damaged, whereas fine haired curlies may find that their strands break and split easily.

How to treat fine curly hair

If you are a fine-haired curly you may need to be more careful when you handle your hair to ensure that you retain length. As a fine-haired curly looking for longer hair, you should be limiting the use of hair tools like brushes and combs, and using very little heat. Also curlies should note that many of us do fall into the fine-haired category.


How Hair Width Affects Hair Coloring

Curl width is also important to note when getting chemical services done. You may notice that some women are able to get away with doing things like coloring their hair back to back and still have hair whilst other women experiment with chemicals once and have catastrophic results. The reason being that fine hair processes much faster than coarse hair, and many hairdressers over-process fine hair inadvertently.

Also as mentioned before coarse hair tends to be stronger than fine hair and can tolerate a lot more damage, so the ladies rocking fire engine red and Barbie blonde probably have coarse hair.

So now that you understand hair width you can take this facet of your hair type into account when you’re deciding whether to go lighter, picking out your next haircut, and developing a regimen that works for your unique curls!

Have you figured out your hair width yet?


This article has been updated for grammar and clarity.


How to Dry Low and High Porosity Hair
How to Dry Low and High Porosity Hair

Before we delve into anything, let’s do some quick educating for any new naturals out there. Hair porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb water and hold onto it and is affected by the cuticle of the hair. However, since there are a number of articles about this you can visit this page about hair porosity that really helps to explain it all.


Drying Low Porosity Hair

As a low porosity curly, coily, or wavy, you have probably spent hours locked up inside of your house because of hair that simply refused to dry or woken up to damp hair. This can be very annoying, so if you want to cut down on your drying time, here are some things to consider.

How to Dry Low and High Porosity Hair
A Curl Towel

While using your ordinary towel to dry your hair may seem okay, the fibers of the towel are just too rough on the hair and contribute to frizz and curl pattern disruption since they raise the hair cuticle. However, if you want to get the same drying benefits of a towel minus the drama, there are several options out there made of super absorbent but gentle microfiber or cotton.

How to Dry Low and High Porosity Hair

Now I know many women fear the use of heat, but I propose that this method be used in emergency cases. Sometimes you’ve just gotta go, and when those times come around, you don’t want to risk leaving the house and having wet shoulders or leaving stains everywhere. A hair diffuser drastically cuts down on drying time. If you really fear the heat, simply keep it low or use the cool setting.


This method is amazing for curlies who want to maintain their curl pattern during the drying process because it allows the excess water to be removed from the hair without disrupting the curls. This method can be used both before and after the application of products. Some of you are probably wondering what plopping is, so allow me to break it down for you:

  1. Grab a cotton t-shirt. It should be has cotton, so that it will absorb the water.
  2. Bend over at the waist.
  3. Push your hair through the large end of the shirt and allow the bottom of the shirt to rest snugly at the nape of your neck.
  4. Wrap the t-shirt around itself. This helps to squeeze the water out of your hair and into the shirt.
  5. Spin the twirled end on top of your head to create a bun and tuck the ends under.

Lastly as a low porosity natural it is important that you try to at least get some of the water out before applying moisturizing products. The hair has the ability to only absorb so much so if it is already saturated with water the product added on top may just sit there and help to prevent your hair from drying.

Drying High Porosity Hair

If you are a high porosity natural, then your hair dries quickly, sometimes too quickly, while you’re trying to style it. As opposed to methods for drying your hair, here are a few methods for keeping it moist during styling:

  1. Keep your spray bottle handy. If you get to a section and it has completely dried before you are able to style it then a few sprays should do the trick.
  2. Use a creamy conditioner and consider leaving it in. The thickness of the product will help to keep your strands wet long after you step out of the shower. Just make sure it is moisturizing and that your other products play well with it to avoid white balls.
  3. Use an apple cider vinegar rinse after showering to help close your cuticles to prevent your hair from losing water too quickly.

Drying Medium Porosity Hair

Lastly, if you have medium porosity hair then you’re one lucky curly. Your hair neither dries too quickly or too slowly, so you can take your pick of what method you want to use to dry your curls.

I hope this article helps, and as always, remember to have love, peace and curly haired bliss.

Do you know what level of porosity your curls have? How do you dry your curls?

This article was originally published in 2012 and has been updated.
The Ultimate LOC Method Shopping List

The LOC Method has been a hot topic in the natural hair world for a minute now and has been praised by many as the solution for curls crying out for moisture. For many naturals, it is the go-to technique right after washing their hair

But finding the right product for each step is a battle whether you’re a longtime LOC-er or are new to the LOC way of life. So, we’ve drawn on years of curly Product Junkie experience to help a curlfriend out!

We’ve compiled a list of the best products for each step of the LOC Method. Try these out to figure out which products are playing best together!

As always, there’s no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to wavy, curly, and coily hair. This is a guide for the products that have been known to work for NaturallyCurly editors and many other curlies, so they’ll serve as a great starting point for you to experimenting with. Remember when trying out product combinations to always mix a small batch in your palm first to ensure that the two products do not congeal and form white balls. Also ensure that you try out a product or product combination in at least two different ways and ratios before delivering your final verdict!

Read More: What is the LOC Method?

Best Products for LOC Method

Should You Sleep with a Satin Scarf or Bonnet?

One of the most beneficial things you can do to maintain the health of your hair is to cover it at night. Whether you wrap it with a scarf or don a bonnet, protecting your hair from your bed sheets is important. You may be unaware, but your cotton bed sheets are leaching the moisture right out of your hair when you sleep at night. So when you moisturize before bed and lay your head to rest, you could wake up with dry frizzy hair. Also the friction between your strands and the cotton fibers could cause damage.

Choosing the Right Scarf

Now that you know of the benefits of covering your hair at night, the quick fix would be to go down to your local beauty supply store and pick up one of their satin scarves or bonnets. While those are the easy solution, they are not the best. Many of us have been lead to believe that these products have been made from satin but they are not. Instead they have been manufactured with cheaper nylon. This deception is very reminiscent of products that claim to have amazing ingredients but are padded with cheap fillers like mineral oil and petrolatum.

While nylon is not detrimental to your hair, it doesn’t provide the adequate protection it needs. The nylon used has a very loose weave which means that there are lots of gaps in the fabric where the moisture can escape as opposed to real satin that is created with a much tighter weave. The difference is very evident when the two fabrics are held up to the light. Nylon appears to be semi transparent as it allows a lot of light to peek through, whereas real satin, which is woven more tightly, should block most if not all of the light. Also, in terms of creating a smooth surface to prevent friction, nylon cannot hold a candle to the real satin.

MORE: 7 Ways to Sleep With Curly Hair

Lastly and most importantly, real satin is far more durable than the fake satin. I’m sure many of you out there can relate to having to buy several scarves and bonnets because they quickly tear and get damaged. This is a testament to the low quality of the material. Real satin, however, is a sturdier fabric that is not easily stretched or torn. Because of real satin’s superiority, it’s more expensive than the fake. To some this may be a deterrent, but as my mother always says, cheap things are not always good, and good things are not always cheap.

Now that you curlies know the difference, the choice is up to you as to which scarves and bonnets you want to invest in. Since experiencing real satin I simply cannot go back. When I wake up my hair is softer and more moisturized. I may just be seeing things, but my edges also seem to be in better shape too.

I made the switch, so the question now is, will you? Also, if you have already made the switch, did you notice a difference in the health of your hair? Feel free to share below.


This is Why You Need a Nighttime Routine

7 Ways to Store Your Curly Hair Products

The top question curly haired women have: How do I find my Holy Grail products? The next question? How do I organize my Holy Grail products.

For naturals who have bathrooms of their own this answer is simpler. But, when you’re a young natural it becomes more complicated if your bathroom is small or you have to share it with siblings or roommates. Also, if you are like me, then your family has long since banned you from storing your stash in the bathroom after having products tumble out of cupboards and leaving no counter space for anyone else. If you are in dire need of organizational tips for your hair care items then read on — I promise it will be good.

Did you know that storing curly hair products in your room might actually be better for lengthening their shelf life? The constant temperature change in your bathroom from sauna hot to room temp can actually cause your products to spoil. So don’t be mad that you have no bathroom space, consider yourself ahead of the game.

Cheap & Easy Storage Ideas


Shower caddies

If you share a bathroom you may not be able to store your curly hair products in your bathroom, but you will still need to use them when you’re there. This dilemma is easily solved by purchasing a shower caddy. If you buy one that is large enough, you can transport all of your hair cleansing products, styling products and tools that you will use into the bathroom. Then when you’re done, you can transport everything back to your room. The shower caddy also comes in handy as a place to rest your shampoo and conditioner in the shower when you wash your hair. No more groping around for stray bottles when your eyes are covered with suds. It means you can shop your product stash every wash day and choose only the products you’ll be using to take with you to the shower.


Storage Bins

I love storage bins, and try to have as many of these on hand as possible. They come in a variety of sizes to store even the largest of bottles and tools. If you lack floor space, get the stackable ones to prevent cluttering your room. Plus they can be found in so many styles to fit any décor, so if plastic isn’t your thing, try wicker or cloth baskets for a more chic look. When you downsize your stash (like that will ever happen”>, you will probably be able to fit one bin inside the other so that they do not take up a lot of space. Then, when the next sale rolls around you’ll still have plenty of storage space.


Tupperware Containers

Use these to store the small things that you always lose and always have to repurchase — bobby pins, small claw clips, slides, hair elastics, etc.. Tupperware containers are cheap, and everyone has a collection of them in their cupboards collecting dust. Grab a few small ones and repurpose them for holding your small hair tools and accessories. Be sure to get the ones that close securely on the sides rather than the ones that you just place the lids on. Trust me, you will remember this advice when your hands are slippery with product and you drop one of the containers and bobby pins go flying everywhere!


Earring Stands

This is a fun and cute way to showcase your accessories and have them act as decoration for your room. Instead of using them to hang your dangly earrings, use them to hang headbands, tiaras, berets, etc. All the extra sparkle and color will also help to enhance the décor of your room. Plus, it will be easy to just grab an accessory and go rather than rummaging around for it in cupboards or drawers.


Door Hangers


They are not just for your shoes. The pockets are wide enough to fit cumbersome items like brushes, combs and even curling and flat irons. This helps you get your stuff out of their boxes, off the floor and removed from stuffed cupboards.


Wall Hooks


Every girl has at least a few hats, headbands and scarves for those bad hair days. Now that you have a good collection to match every outfit you are wondering where to put it all. Try hanging them up! Install a few hooks on your wall and use them to organize your bad-hair-day solutions. Best of all is that most can be mounted without ever picking up a hammer or nails. Just stick them to the wall using adhesive.


Headband Holders

These are somewhat of a new creation and are perfect for getting all your headbands together in a stylish and fabulous way.  The holder displays your entire collection so that choosing the right headband for every outfit is a synch and the round shape enables you to slip the headbands off and on with ease.

I hope this helped all the product junkies and accessorizing divas out there! Until then remember to have love peace and curly haired bliss…

How To Rope Twist Natural Hair
Beautifully twisted braids by PeopleImages

I bet you didn’t know that, besides the regular method of twisting, there is another way to twist your hair called rope twisting.

It’s simple, easy-to-style look, yet so much better than regularly twisting your coils. If you haven’t already been clued in on this method, here’s a simple how-to that will have you rope twisting like a pro in no time.

Step 1 of a rope twist tutorial

Step 1

    • First, section a small piece of hair like you would if you were twisting normally. Next, secure the rest of your hair so that it doesn’t get in the way.
    • Split that section into two equal pieces.
    • With one hand, twirl one section using your index finger and do the same to the other piece in the other hand. Hold the sections securely to ensure that they do not unwind.
    Step 2 of a rope twist tutorial

    Step 2

    • Once done twirling both sections, twist them together as you would a normal twist ensuring that the twirled sections do not unwind. Once you get to the end of the twist, use your index finger to spin the hair around the finger to coil the ends and prevent them from unraveling.
    • And there you have it: one rope twist.
    Rope twist compared to an ordinary twist

    Rope Twist vs. Ordinary Twist

    Some of you may be wondering what the difference is between rope twisting and ordinary twisting. The twist on the left is a normal one, and the twist on the right is a rope twist. This is what the technique of an ordinary twist looks like.

    Rope twist compared to an ordinary twist
    As you can see, a rope twist:

    • Makes a twirlier twist because of the method used to create it.
    • Lasts longer because the hair is wound first then twisted, so it’s more bound and therefore harder to unravel midway down the twist like normal twists would do after a few days.
    • Reduces frizz because the hair is first twirled before twisted. Thus, it is tightly bound reducing frizz. Normal twists are known for frizzing out after a few days or a wash, but this method will help to combat this.
    • The twists are more stretched, hang better and are shinier.

    To see rope twists in action, watch this tutorial by Brown Girls Hair

    Isn’t that lovely?

    To DIY Senegalese Twists, watch this tutorial by Breanna Rutter

    I hope this tutorial was helpful, and next time you twist, try a rope twist! Then, come back and tell me what your results were like. I’m all ears!

    And as always, remember to have love, peace and curly haired bliss!

DIY Homemade Detangler Recipes
Natural aloe leaves, oil and candles

As curly girls, we all have those days when no detangling tool can make it through our hair. After lots of tugging and pulling you may want to give up, but have no fear. Just take a deep breath, relax and grab your favorite detangler. If you don’t have one or if you are just looking to save a buck or two, here are four easy homemade detangler recipes you can try yourself.

Aloe Vera Gel Detangler

Our first homemade detangler is a very simple one to make and will help to get out the easy tangles. All you will need to do is combine the following ingredients in a spray bottle:

  • 8 oz distilled water
  • 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
  • 1-2 drops glycerin
  • 1-2 drops essential oil (e.g., lavender, jojoba”>
  • 10-15 drops grapefruit seed extract

To use this detangler, spray it on sections of your hair and detangle as usual.

Diluted Conditioner Detangler

This is also another easy homemade detangler to make. Combine your favorite conditioner with a few drops of oil in a spray bottle. Then add water until it is thinned enough to be sprayed.

Marshmallow Root Detangler

Marshmallow root is known for its detangling abilities because of its mucinogenic properties which soften the hair naturally and give good slip. The prep work for this detangler is a little more involved, but it’s still super easy to make. To get started grab:

  • 1 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup dried marshmallow root
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive or jojoba oil
  • Grapefruit seed extract or any essential oils

To Make It: 

  1. Place the marshmallow root in a pot with the water and heat it for 15 to 30 minutes on low heat until it begins to thicken and form a gel. The longer it heats the thicker it will be. Make sure that you stir the mixture throughout to ensure that you have an even consistency.
  2. When your mixture is as thick as you want it to be, turn off the heat and allow it to cool.
  3. To strain it, place a knee high panty hose over a cup and pour the mixture over the pantyhose. Remove the pantyhose from the cup and squeeze it in a downward motion to strain the gel and separate it from the dried marshmallow root.
  4. Add vinegar, oil and the grapefruit seed extract to the marshmallow root gel.
  5. You can use the gel as is to detangle provided that it is not too thick, or you can pour the gel into a spray bottle and add water until it is thin enough to spray. Remember to shake well before each use.

Please note that this mixture must be stored in the fridge and will last for about 3 weeks.

Flax Seed Detangler

  • 1/4 cup flax seed
  • 2 cups water
  • Grapefruit seed extract or any essential oils

To Make It: 

  1. Place the flax seeds in a pot with the water and heat it on low heat until it begins to thicken and form a gel. Make sure that you stir the mixture throughout to ensure that you have an even consistency. The longer it heats the thicker it will be.
  2. When your mixture is as thick as you want it to be turn off the heat and allow it to cool.
  3. To strain the mixture place a knee high panty hose over a cup and pour it over the pantyhose. Remove the pantyhose from the cup and squeeze it in a downward motion to strain the gel and separate it from the seeds.
  4. Add the grapefruit seed extract to the gel, stir it and store in an airtight container.
  5. You can use the gel as is to detangle provided that it is not too thick or you can add the gel to a spray bottle and add water until it is thin enough to spray. Remember to shake well before each use.

Remember that this mixture must be stored in the fridge and will last for about 3 weeks.

Enjoy these detangler recipes and as always remember to have love, peace and curly haired bliss.

Do you have your own homemade detangler that works well for you?

LOC Method: The Routine EVERY Curly Should Know

If your curls absorb more water than a Sham Wow towel yet they’re forever crying out for more moisture, then it may just be time to try out the LOC method. It has been abuzz on the natural hair forums for its ability to let curlies go days without having to remoisturize their curls.

What does LOC stand for?

LOC is an abbreviation for leave in conditioner, oil and cream.  The name itself signifies the products a curly should apply, as well as the order in which to apply them, making it an easy-to-remember curly routine.

LOC is an abbreviation for leave in conditioner, oil and cream.

What sets the LOC method apart from other methods is the layering of products in a specific order to maximize moisture retention. The layer of moisture is effectively sealed in by two products which are both known to be excellent sealants: oil and butter.

Both oil and butter are praised for their ability to create a layer along the hair shaft that helps to prevent water from being evaporated from it and lost to the atmosphere thus helping the hair to stay moisturized for longer. By using oil followed by a thicker, heavier butter-based moisturizer on top you are ensuring that as much moisture as possible remains on the hair shaft which is beneficial for curlies who struggle to maintain moisturized hair.

How to do the LOC method

The method is so easy to incorporate into your routine because it involves using products you probably already own and simply changing the order in which you apply them to your hair. If you would like to start using the LOC method then simply follow these easy steps below.

Step 1: Leave-in conditioner (or liquid”>

L stands for leave-in or liquid, as both are used by curlies to provide the moisture that will be sealed in. We recommend applying a moisturizing, water-based, leave-in conditioner to cleansed hair.  Many women also use water in a spray bottle for this step. Popular leave-ins in our community are SheaMoisture Curl and Style Milk, Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing LotionCurl Junkie Beauticurls Leave In Hair ConditionerOyin Handmade Hair Dew and CURLS Curl Milkshake

Step 2: Oil

Next, apply a thin layer of oil to your hair to help lock in the moisture. The oil you apply will vary depending on the porosity of your hair. For a full list of oils divided by low, medium and high porosity click here. If you’re unsure what your porosity is,  here for 3 methods for determining yours

Step 3: Cream

The final step is to apply a butter-based, creamy moisturizer to your hair to seal that moisture in. The cream can also provide your curls with definition and hold, so pick a styling cream that works for your hairstyle. If your curls require more hold than a creamy moisturizer can give, then feel free to finish up with your regular styling products to style your hair as normal. Some popular curl creams include Avocado & Rose Oil Clump and Define CreamOyin Whipped PuddingRizos Curls Curl Defining Cream and Zotos Professional All About Curls Bouncy Cream

For more on these product recommendations, read The Ultimate LOC Method Shopping List.

Who should do the LOC method?

The LOC method will work best for high porosity hair or hair that always feels dry. Many Type 4 coilies use it as our coils and kinks are typically very thirsty. However, keep in mind that porosity will play a major role in whether or not this method works for you.

No matter what your curl pattern is, if your hair is chemically processed or color treated then you likely have high porosity and struggle with moisture retention. If you are a low porosity curly and attempt this method you could run the risk of having hair that is limp and oily and experience a lot of product build up. If you try the LOC method and find that it weighs down your hair (for example if you have loose waves or fine hair”> then you may want to layer the products and wear your hair in a bun or braid for the day or overnight.


As with all things curly hair related it’s all about trial and error so if your current routine isn’t quite cutting it then give this method a try and modify it to suit your needs.

  • Many women find success with switching up the order and doing an LCO method. If LOC doesn’t work for you, give this a try.
  • If your curls are easily weighed down, or if you suffer from product build up you can limit the number of products you apply to your hair by applying a creamy or buttery product as your styler.
  • Also for curlies who are not strictly au naturel, you could swap out the oil for a silicone serum and replace the cream layer with grease which has since made a comeback in the natural haired community.

Make sure you try it out for at least two weeks or three wash sessions before deciding if it works.

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What’s your experience with the LOC method?
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This article has been updated due to discontinued products

3 Steps To Making A Whipped Hair & Skin Butter

As naturals, many of us have tried our hand at whipping up some of our own hair products, namely a whipped hair and skin butter. Not only are they are easy to make, but for the curly on a budget who does not have easy access to some of the well known all-natural brands out there, this is a great alternative. Are you thinking of making your own hair and skin butter? Here’s an easy guide to get you started.

Step 1. Choose your key ingredients

Begin with some butter of your choice, like shea, cocoa or mango, and your favorite natural hair oil. Do some research to make sure you are getting the purest kind out there, and be especially weary of commercial oils that are laden with things your hair doesn’t need–like silicone and mineral oil. Also keep in mind what you want to use your butter for.

Remember: oil and water do not mix. In order for liquids and oils to mix, emulsifiers must be used. Adding any water-based ingredient to your mix will drastically shorten its shelf life so it might be better to stick with the butters and oils.

Step 2. Use the right proportions 

First, plan out what proportions of oil to butter you want to use. Keep in mind that less liquid oil will make a firmer thicker butter and more oil will keep it fluffy and light. When creating your own DIY hair butter, mixing in heavy oils may leave your strands weighed down and oily. Likewise, if you are trying to create a body butter, using light oils may not be heavy enough to keep your skin moisturized–especially in a colder climate.

Step 3. Be gentle when using heat

When heating your butters and oils, never place them directly into the pan as it may cause them to boil and burn. Instead, place about a cup and a half of water in a small pan and place a glass bowl over it then place your ingredients in the glass bowl. This is called a double boiler and is a much gentler way of heating up your oils and melting your butter.

After the butter has melted, turn off your burner and remove the bowl from on top of the pan. Stir the mixture to ensure that all of the oils and butters are thoroughly combined and allow it to cool for a while. Don’t wait too long, however, since you do not want it to begin to harden before you start to whip it. Now is the time to add your essential and fragrance oils. Remember, you only need a few drops as these are concentrated oils.

Once your ingredients are melted, mix until it’s nice and fluffy. It is much easier and faster to use a stand or electric hand mixer but if you don’t have one then a whisk will work just as well and tone your arms nicely. In order to make your butter nice and fluffy you will have to leave the mixer on or whisk continuously until it is no longer in the liquid form. If for some reason you stop the mixer or stop hand whisking for too long it could harden and not create the whipped mousse-like consistency that you want.  Once your butter is whipped transfer it to a clean container with an air tight lid and store it in a cool dry place.

Try our 2 easy DIY hair and skin butters

How to Use Shampoo Bars

Looking to ditch your harsh shampoo for a gentler all natural cleanser? Here’s our quick guide answering all of your questions about shampoo bars.

What are shampoo bars?

Shampoo bars are soaps made from a process called saponification where a fat is reacted with a base. What makes all natural soaps superior to your garden variety bar soap is the moisturizing qualities they have because of their ingredients.

Most natural shampoo bars are made with a lot of oil which helps to moisturize while cleansing to prevent your hair from feeling stripped after cleansing.

MORE: All About Shampoo Bars

How do you use one?

  1. Cut the bar into single-use pieces.
  2. Glide the bar over and through your wet hair, making sure the soap is evenly distributed.
  3. Lather until your entire head is covered with suds. Remember, a little goes a long way with shampoo bars because they lather a lot. 
  4. Massage your scalp with the pads of your fingers to lift away any dirt particles. Be gentle to avoid handling it roughly and prevent tangles. 
  5. Rinse and condition as normal. 

Is your water hard?

Soap does not work well with hard water, so it’s important to know what kind of water you have in your area.

Hard water contains a lot of mineral salts like calcium and magnesium ions which react with the soap to form an invisible insoluble film on the hair that feels waxy to the touch. This film can cause frizz, an overproduction of oil and attract dust particles.

If you do have hard water, you can still get in on the action by using either bottled water to wash your hair, or by finishing off your cleansing routine with an apple cider vinegar rinse.

MORE: How to Prevent Hair Build Up from Hard Water

Deep Cleansing Bars

If you’re looking for a poo bar that is great for clarifying — especially if you produce a lot of oil, use a lot of product or have hair that is easily weighed down — then you should try these bars:

Moisturizing Bars

For curls that dry out easily you should use cleansers that contain a lot of oils to act as emollients and prevent your curls from drying out whilst you cleanse. Some shampoo bars that fall into this category are:

  • Bobeam Honey and Oats Shampoo Bar — This poo bar has received a lot of rave reviews for being extremely moisturizing.
  • Cream and CocoMallow Cowash Bar — This bar has received a lot of rave reviews for its gentleness. The cocoa butter helps to moisturize as you cleanse but is washed away cleanly whilst the marshmallow root helps with detangling.
  • Chagrin Valley Butter Bar — Unrefined cocoa, shea, and mango butter help to add moisture back into the hair as you cleanse, so this feels more like a cowash than a shampoo.
  • Chagrin Valley Coconut Milk Shampoo Bar — If you are a curly who loves the richness and softness you get after a deep condition with coconut milk, then this poo bar is for you.

Don’t let it go to waste

Just like a soap bar, shampoo bars will start to melt over time if left in the shower. That’s why it is important to cut it up into smaller, single-use chunks before you use them.

To extend the life of a big shampoo bar, take the pieces you are not using and wrap them in plastic or place them in a Ziploc and store them in a cool dry place.

Related: Top 15 Shampoo Bars


This article was originally published in February 2013 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.

How to Use Henna for Healthier Hair

What is Henna?

Henna powder comes from the, dried and powdered leaves of the lawsonia inermis plant found in hot, dry climates. The red dye molecule, lawsone, in henna penetrates the hair shaft and binds to the keratin in the hair, making it stronger. It also fills in gaps in the cuticle of the hair shaft making it smoother which in turn makes the hair appear shinier. Henna is also known to cure dandruff because of its anti-fungal properties. So for naturals who suffer from time to time with it this is a great natural alternative to harsh, drying shampoos.

How to Prepare

  • 100-200 grams of henna (usually 100 grams for medium length hair and 150-200 grams for longer hair”>

  • ½ – 1 cup of warm water

  • ½ -1 cup of lemon juice

  • 2-3 tablespoons of honey/sugar

  • a plastic spoon

  • plastic gloves

  • a plastic or glass bowl

(Do not use a metal spoon or bowl as this could affect the colour”>


  1. Place your henna powder in the bowl.

  1. Add the lemon juice to the warm water in a one to one ratio and stir.

  1. Add the warm water and lemon juice mixture to your henna powder slowly adding a little liquid at a time and mixing until the mixture resembles smooth mashed potatoes.

  1.  Place a lid or cling-film over your bowl and place it in a warm area of your house overnight to allow the red dye to be released from the henna.

  1.  After 24 hours have passed add 2-3 tbsp of honey or sugar to your mix and stir. This should make the mixture smoother which will make application easier.

  1.  Your henna is now ready to use by sectioning your hair and smoothing the paste on. Do not attempt to rake the henna through your hair as it is really thick and provides no slip whatsoever. Remember to use gloves for this step as henna will dye your hands orange but don’t worry it’s not permanent and it should fade in under a week.

  1.  To cover your head you could wrap your hair around it then cover your hair in cling film to trap your body heat to encourage more dye release and prevent the henna from dripping. However, if you dread using cling film because of its finicky nature then an alternative is to use a shower cap, cotton balls and a head scarf. Use the shower cap to cover your head and tuck cotton balls around the perimeter of the shower cap to catch any drips. Then wrap your head with a scarf to keep it all in place.

  1.  You should leave the henna on your head for no less than 4 hours to get all the benefits and for good dye release. However, many curlies sleep with henna ensuring that they use the old pillow shams that week of course.

  1.  To rinse the henna one of the best methods I have come across is to fill a bathtub with water and dip your head inside and gently massage the henna out of your hair. Then run your head beneath the stream of your bathtubs faucet. Thereafter, wash the henna out with conditioner until the water runs clear and there are no visible traces of henna left in your hair. It is important that you use conditioner and not shampoo for this step as most curlies experience dryness after a henna session so multiple shampoo washes on already dry hair could create tangles that nightmares are made of.

  1. Some people experience dryness after henna so you might want to do a moisturizing deep condition then feel free to style your hair as usual.

Please note that the henna process can be a messy one so for your first few attempts you might want to put some newspaper on the floor and your countertops. Also you might want to wrap your shoulders with an old towel to prevent any splotches that fall on you from giving you leopard spots.

Also remember that left over henna can be stored in an airtight container and frozen for up to 5 months for future use.


5 more ways to use henna

Henna gloss

To take your henna session to the next level and get the most out of it you can add 1 cup of your favorite deep conditioner or regular conditioner to your already prepared henna mix. This treatment will not only give you the benefits of henna but will allow you to distribute it easier, will cut down rinsing time and avoid the drying effect you get right after the henna is rinsed out.

Green tea

For curlies who fear the acidity of lemon and what it could do to your hair, you can substitute gentler green tea instead which is slightly acidic and still effective at bringing out the red color of henna. To use it simply substitute it for the warm water and lemon juice.

Hibiscus to increase red

If you’re really looking to make those curls pop with a red tint then why not add hibiscus petal powder to your henna mix. To use it mix about 3 tbsp of hibiscus powder for every 100 grams of henna in your bowl and thoroughly combine the two powders before adding your water and other ingredients.

Amla to reduce curl loosening

Henna does have a curl loosening effect for some women so if you’re worried about that then don’t write off henna just yet. Adding amla to your henna mix can counteract its loosening so you won’t feel like you got an accidental texturizer. To do this substitute 1/4 of your henna powder for amla powder. Also if you do use amla you won’t need to use lemon or any other acidic liquid as the amla is already acidic.

Hope this helped naturalistas and as always remember to have love, peace and curly haired bliss! For more curly mixology recipes, or to share your own favorite at-home treatments, go to our Recipes section.

Have you tried henna? How did it work for you?

9 Cleansing Conditioners that Leave You Clean & Moisturized

Many coily-haired women have noticed that after shampooing their hair they are left with dry, tangled, frizzy tresses and curls that have to be coaxed back to life. If you’re that curly debating between dirty or moisturized hair then there is a solution – cleansing conditioners.

A cleansing conditioner is exactly what the name implies, a conditioner which has the ability to cleanse the scalp and hair.  But what makes them a favorite of many coily haired naturals is the fact that they can effectively clean the hair without stripping it like traditional shampoos. But not all cleansing conditioners are created equally and some cleanse and moisturize more effectively than others. So to find out what conditioners are raved about read on for our top picks.

As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner, $8

Many ladies have flocked to the forums to rave about this conditioner and its ability to cleanse thoroughly. Because of a unique blend of tangerine, coconut and castor oil as well saw palmetto and phytosetrols the cream lifts the dirt from the scalp whilst leaving behind the natural oils your hair needs to remain moisturized and prevent frizz. This product is great for Type 4 curlies.

More: CurlySuzy Q&A: Tell Me About Co-Washing 

L`Oreal Paris EverCurl Hydracharge Cleansing Conditioner, $6.99

Another inexpensive drugstore conditioner to try is the L`Oreal Paris EverCurl Hydracharge Cleansing Conditioner. This conditioner boasts an ingredient list that contains orange peel, grapeseed and coconut oil so curls are left hydrated long after cleansing. And you get all of this for under $10. This is a must try for any curly who wants to jump on the cleansing conditioner bandwagon. Type 2 and 3 curlies and women with fine hair will find that this leaves you feeling clean without the use of sulfates.

As I Am Cleansing Pudding, $10.50

Like the coconut cowash the cleansing pudding from this line is also an effective yet gentle cleanser.  Also ingredients like tangerine extract and serenoa serrulata fruit extract help to stimulate the scalp to promote growth and prevent thinning. This product is great for Type 4 curlies.

Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Conditioner$19

As a cleanser this works wonders on the hair and is so gentle that it can be used daily. This product is perfect for curlies who workout often and sweat a lot in their scalps or curlies who style frequently and don’t want to shampoo too often but need to get rid of sweat and product build up. Daily fix seems to work best for curlies who are Type 3C-4A.

More: Shampoo Free with Cleansing Conditioners 

Darcy’s Botanicals Daily Cleansing Conditioner Cream, $12

With ingredients like rice bran oil, grapeseed oil and shea butter this cleansing conditioner will help to restore moisture to the hair after the cleansing process. As an added bonus the company left out any harsh and additional cleaning agents so that the conditioner can be left in the hair. Curlies who leave their conditioners in as leave ins will benefit from this product that can do double duty. This conditioner is very thick and concentrated thus it is great for Type 4 curlies as a little goes a long way.

More: Clarifying Shampoos & Co-Washing Conditioners

L’Oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner, $6.99

For curlies looking for a good cleansing conditioner that is inexpensive and easily available from most drug stores then this conditioner is it. It is sulfate and paraben free and contains moisturizing ingredients like camelina, apricot and grapeseed oil that will leave your hair clean yet soft. This product is light enough for Type 2 and Type 3a/b curlies to use without being left feeling greasy, and is great for any curly on a budget.

Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream$16.95

It is easy to see why this product claimed Naturally Curly’s Editor’s Choice award as the reviews speak for themselves. As a cleanser this conditioner gets the job done but what makes it unique is that it also packs a mean slippery punch.  With Behentrimonium Methosulfate as one of the ingredients it is easy to see why it is so slippery so you can cleanse and detangle in one step. This product is perfect for Type 3 curlies.

Blended Beauty Soy Cream Shampoo, $18.50

If you’re looking for a cleanser that has many benefits then look no further than this creamy cleanser. Not only does it cleanse and moisturize but it strengthens the hair with ingredients like hydrolyzed corn, wheat and soy protein which can penetrate the hair shaft to repair damage from the inside out. After using this product you should notice hair that is frizz free, more defined and stronger. Based on reviews curlies who are Type 3C to 4A seem to love this product.

MORE: 9 Wavy Cleansing Conditioners Under $20 

Curly Q’s Curlie Cutie Cleansing Cream, $12

This cream is perfect for cleansing regularly as the carrot seed oil, horse chestnut, sage leaf and Arnica montana flower extract ensures that this product hydrates as it cleanses. This product also contains silk amino acid which is a protein that has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft and repair and protect it. Also for the conscious curly you can rest easy knowing that this product is organic, paraben, silicone, sulfate, and cruelty free. Curlies who are in the Type 4 range should give this conditioner a try.

Beginner’s Guide to Hair Porosity & Width

Whenever I peruse the hair forums there always seems to be at least one thread asking about hair type created by a confused, newly natural who wants to know where to begin. She usually wants to know her hair type or curl pattern so that she can go to the appropriate forum and be with women who seemingly share her hair struggles.

Whenever I see these threads, I cringe because I absolutely abhor, not hate but abhor, the hair typing system where women are placed into categories based on their curl pattern. Not only is it misleading, but it is also divisive. Simply knowing your hair pattern does not help you to weather the storm that is being a newly natural because there are two far more important factors to consider – hair porosity and density.


Porosity is the measure of the hairs ability to absorb moisture. To better understand hair porosity, think of your hair strand as the roof of a house and the outer layer or the cuticle as the shingles on the roof. When the shingles lay completely flat, it’s difficult for water to enter or exit the hair shaft – this is low porosity hair. If the shingles are completely raised then moisture will easily enter and escape – this is high porosity hair. In normal porosity hair, the shingles or cuticles are neither completely flat nor raised, but at an optimum angle to allow moisture to enter and remain there.

Knowing your hair porosity is far more important than knowing your curl pattern since it will greatly affect your ability to have moisturized healthy looking hair.

For those with low hair porosity, it is imperative that you use lighter more liquid based products that will not just sit on top of your hair making it oily or greasy. Also, you will be able to get away with fewer moisturizing sessions to avoid build up.

However, with high hair porosity that easily loses moisture, layering on products to retain moisture is a necessity.

Many high porosity naturals, after washing their hair, apply a leave-in conditioner, then a thick water based moisturizer followed by a heavy butter. By layering your products, you are providing your hair with the moisture it needs from the leave-in and moisturizer, and ensuring that the moisture remains near the hair shaft by using a heavy butter or oil to act as a protective layer to prevent the moisture from being lost to the atmosphere. High porosity naturals may also find it necessary to moisturize often and some high porosity naturals moisturize once or twice daily.

In order to find out what your hair porosity is, take a piece of shed hair from your comb or brush. It’s important that you get a shed and not broken hair to test. In order to determine if the hair was broken or shed naturally, examine the ends.

If you see a little white ball on one of the ends, it means that it was shed. Take the hair and drop it in a glass of water. If the hair immediately sinks it means that it readily absorbed the water and has high porosity. If the hair remains at the top, floating, it means that it is unable to absorb the water and has low porosity. If it floats to the bottom slowly then it has normal porosity.


Coarse: the strands are very wide and have a large circumference making it the strongest of all the hair types. Hair width is the defined as the circumference and width of individual hair strands. There are 2 categories of hair width:

  • Medium: the strands are neither too thick nor thin and are strong and elastic.
  • Fine: the strands have a small circumference and width and are therefore delicate and easily damaged.

It is important to know your width because it affects your ability to retain length. Curlies with coarse and medium hair width find it easier to retain length since it’s harder to damage their hair strands given that they are so strong. It stands to reason that if the hair breaks less then the you will see more hair growth and length retention.

Curlies with fine hair are susceptible to damage and may have to be extra careful to baby their hair to ensure that they do not damage their ends and maintain their length.

Determining your hair width is simple. Get a shed hair from your hair brush or comb and hold it up to the light. If it is so thin that it almost appears to not be there, then you have fine hair. If it is very thick and easily visible, then it’s coarse. If it’s neither fat nor extremely thin, then you fall under medium width.

If you are more of a visual creature and need a real life comparison, then look no further than your nether regions. This may be a bit TMI, but the hair “down there” is naturally coarse, so you can pluck one and compare it to the hair on your head. If it is around the same thickness then your hair is coarse. If it is slightly finer then your hair is medium but if it is dramatically thinner then your hair is fine.

If you do happen to fall into the fine hair category, have no fear.

Your hair is not going to fall out in clumps, and achieving long healthy hair is possible. It will just require a little more work. You will have to ensure that you stay up to date with your deep conditioning sessions. Try to aim at doing one every time you wash your hair to keep it strong. Also, you will need to keep the manipulation of your hair down to a minimum to avoid unnecessary breakage — fewer long elaborate hairstyles, and reducing your use of a comb and brush. Lastly, you could try cassia and henna as a means of naturally thickening the hair strand itself.

This article was originally published March 2012. 

Split End & Dry Scalp Natural Remedy: Manuka Honey

manuka honey dripping

For thousands of years, honey has been used extensively for a variety of tasks: cleaning wounds because of its antibacterial property, as a dietary supplement, as a gel for hold on updos, and much more. 

While your everyday honey is great for all of these uses, there is a new type of honey out there that is quickly gaining popularity for its purity and potency: Manuka honey from Australia and New Zealand.

Using Manuka Honey for Skin

Many women who suffer from dry skin due to harsh commercial cleansers, acne and rosacea swear by the use of honey for washing their faces. Honey is suitable for use as a daily cleanser because of its antibacterial properties which allow it to gently cleanse the skin without stripping it of all of its natural oils. But the benefits of Manuka honey come from it’s increased antibacterial potency. Since honey is has a low pH of around 4.5 it is said to be pH balanced and helps to maintain the optimum pH of the skin.

To use Manuka honey as a cleanser, place a dime sized amount on your hand and rub it on your face using circular motions. Then grab a wash cloth and soak it with warm (not hot”> water and place the cloth on your face. The heat of the cloth should open up your pores for deeper cleansing. Remove the wash cloth from your face and rewet it and gently wipe the honey off of your face. The heat of the water and the wiping motion should remove all the honey from your face. Then feel free to moisturize your face like normal.

Using Manuka Honey for Hair

To know how to get the most out of your Manuka honey for your specific hair issue, try one of these yummy recipes:
  • To prevent split ends: Mix 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise and 1 egg in a bowl and apply it to the ends of your hair. This treatment provides both the moisture and protein the hair needs to avoid damage.
  • To avoid hair loss and regrow thinning hair: Many men and women have sworn by a mixture of 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon applied to the scalp and gently rubbed in before each wash session. Although it is not scientifically proven, the testimonials speak for themselves.
  • To prevent dry scalp and remove build up: Mix 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, apply it to the scalp and gently exfoliate. Then cleanse your hair normally. This gentle scrub will rid the scalp of dead skin and excess hair product and provide it with moisture to help prevent flakes and itchiness.
  • To fight frizz and give your hair shine: Mix about a teaspoon of honey to your conditioner or deep conditioner in a bowl then use it like you would normally. Since honey is a humectant, it will help to draw moisture from out of the atmosphere and into your hair.

There are many reputable providers and you can do a quick search to find them. However, please note that there are two types of Manuka honey, the normal and UMF kind. If you are purchasing the honey for its antibacterial properties, be sure you purchase the UMF variety.

However, if you’re like a lot of naturals who don’t like to whip up their own goodies, you can find Manuka honey in L’ANZA Healing Strength Manuka Honey Conditioner and a few other products.

Your everyday honey is still a great addition to your hair care routine and you can be found in the following hair care products:


Do you use Manuka Honey in your natural hair regimen? 

This article was originally published in August 2012 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.

10 Remedies for Sensitive Scalp
At one point or another almost all of us have suffered with a sensitive scalp whether from a tight hairstyle, medical condition, seasonal changes, or hair products. Whatever the reason, there is no need to suffer in silence or use harsh chemicals in an attempt to alleviate the itch. If you’re a curly with a sensitive scalp, here are some all-natural remedies that you should try.

10 Products for Sensitive Scalp

Get In Shape! 5 Tips for The Perfect Afro Puff

It’s official; the afro is back!!! The fro is no longer a hairstyle relegated to the 60’s and 70’s and reminiscent of the Jackson 5. It’s a look worn by everyday women like yourself who dare to wear their hair up and out rather than down. So if you’ve ever craved a fro that defied gravity, blocked out the sun, and made those around you green with envy you can get the look  but you’re going to have to do some prep work first.

The Perfect Afro Puff

We Need To Talk: Natural Hair Intervention

As our coils, curls and kinks grow, some of us may find ourselves experiencing feelings we never had with straight hair.  If at any point you were confused about them keep reading to see if they fit into any of the categories below and get a free hair therapy session.

Natural Hair Therapy

You Jelly? 6 Gels for Natural Hair

As naturals we are spoiled for choice when it comes to our products – specifically our gels. No matter how picky our curls are there is something for everyone be it all natural, paraben free or silicon laden for extra slip.

Because of all of this choice, when the time comes to try something new, we often find ourselves with a ridiculously long wish-list trying to make the hard decision between groceries or hair products.

While we can’t tell you exactly what products will work for your hair we can give you some pointers to help you choose a great new gel to experiment with by letting you know which one outshine the others in each category.

6 Essential Gels for Natural Hair