Search Results: Christina Patrice

How to Get the Most Out of a Sauna for Your Hair

I joined a new gym recently and am so excited to have finally been reunited with the sauna!

For me, it’s the perfect ending to a workout and a wonderful way to be still, breathe, sit in silence, and think. Truth be told, before recent months, it had been years before I last sat in a sauna. Back then (like seriously, 2009/2010″), I was rocking straight hair, and didn’t pay too much attention one way or another to my hair (except for the obvious concern of sweating out my roots). Fast forward to now, and I’m well into my natural hair journey and rocking a head full of curls.

Because moisture is so important to the health and vitality of our hair, protecting our kinks, coils, curls, and waves from the dry heat of the sauna is a must.

Luckily, these past several weeks have afforded me many opportunities to experiment with different methods of protecting my hair, and now I have some tips to share!

Before Stepping In, Check Your Regimen

I’m all about preventative measures, so whatever I can do to give myself a leg up is a no-brainer. If sauna time is or will be a part of your health and wellness journey, ensure your normal haircare regimen reflects it. What I mean here is to make sure that you’re deep conditioning regularly and sealing in moisture.

Image Source: @cinammoncurls

Deep conditioning restores and helps maintain internal hydration within the hair, while using leave-ins, oils, and creams (LOC method) helps to keep moisture in and form a barrier between your tresses and the dry heat. Making a regular practice of deep conditioning and the LOC method will help prevent your hair from drying out in the long run.

Before You Enter the Sauna

Image Source: @auntiejey

Prior to entering the sauna, you have a few options to help protect your hair. You can rinse your hair and apply a deep conditioner of your choosing, or clip your hair up, and cover it with a plastic cap and beanie, and use your sauna time to double as deep conditioning time. Don’t turn your lip up; plenty of naturalistas have admitted to using saunas and steam rooms to get their deep condition on.

If that’s not quite your cup of tea, you can opt for a simpler method of hydration by lightly wetting your hair with plain water or applying a DIY cocktail spritz (like water + conditioner + oil) to your hair prior to entering. This will help prevent your hair from drying out and keep the sauna from zapping your internal moisture.

After You’re Done

How to Get the Most Out of a Sauna for Your Hair

When you come out of the sauna, restoring hydration, moisture, and softness to the hair is important. You can again apply your DIY cocktail spritz or a water-based moisturizer to your hair to re-invigorate and soften. Don’t wait too long after exiting to put moisture back into your hair, or else it will seem like it’s getting progressively drier as time passes. It’s best to rehydrate the hair immediately.

Keep In Mind

Lastly, there are a few miscellaneous tips to keep in mind for optimal protection:

Image Source: @laybaymonet
  • Avoid glycerin and other humectants (or at least ensure they’re not within the first 5 ingredients after water) when it comes to spritzes and moisturizers. In dry air conditions, humectants may remove water from the hair’s cortex, exacerbating the problem they are intended to prevent.
  • Don’t wear loose hair in the sauna. I tried it once, and I never will again (use me as an example of what not to do). A compact bun (not the big cute fluffy ones that we love) or pinned up twists work best to help the hair hold on to moisture. The less hair that is exposed, the better.
  • Covering hair with a satin-lined beanie or even a t-shirt can help delay or defer direct contact with dry heat.

Remember: stay well hydrated before entering the sauna, and don’t stay in there for too long…Happy sauna-ing!

Do you regularly visit the sauna? How do you protect your hair? Share with us in the comments below!

This article was originally published in 2015 and has been updated.

The Dos & Don'ts of Deep Conditioning

If your deep conditioning sessions consist of a lot of trial and even more error, then you need these no-fuss dos and don’ts of successful deep conditioning. Learn how to moisturize your curls, and retain that moisture. Should you leave your conditioner on for 30 minutes, or 3 hours? Protein or moisture based? Does a $8 deep conditioner work just as well as a $38 one? Can I use food to deep condition my hair? We have answers to help you get the most out of your deep conditioner.

The Dos of Deep Conditioning

DO Keep it Regular

Hair that is deep conditioned regularly is more manageable, softer, less prone to breakage and frizz, and is able to retain length.

Remember that whatever “regularly” means is determined by you. Some naturals and transitioners deep condition their hair every 3-4 days. Some, every 2 weeks. I personally aim for once a week, twice a week if I’m lucky. My recommendation is to start out weekly – if your hair begins feeling weak and limp, lessen to every two or three weeks. If it still feels dry, pump it up to twice a week.

DO Heat it Up

If you want your deep conditioner to work double duty and make your hair feel super soft and smooth (or super strong if it is protein based), heat it up. According to this article by JC of The Natural Haven, heating your deep conditioner up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) increases the amount and effectiveness of adsorption (the good stuff that sticks to the hair) of said conditioner. Long story short, warm conditioner works better.

Try heating your deep conditioner in a hot water bath instead of the microwave for best results.

DO Alternate

One of the keys to healthier hair is a proper protein to moisture balance. Alternating your deep conditioning sessions between moisture and protein will help keep your hair soft, strong, nourished, and minimize breakage, aiding in growth and length retention. For moisture and softness, stick to conditioners that have fatty alcohols like cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl, plus emollient butters and oils, humectants like glycerin and aloe vera, and ceramides. For strengthening treatments, look for ingredients like hydrolyzed proteins, amino acids, keratin, and henna.

DO Get Steamy

My pre-poo, detangling, and deep conditioning life forever changed when I got my hands on the Q-Redew. Steam is one of the major ways I keep my hair hydrated and give myself a moisture boost during deep conditioning sessions, and for mid-week refreshing. Steam not only heats up conditioner (bounce back to #2), but it also lifts the cuticle gently to allow for better penetration of conditioning ingredients. Steaming hair while covered in deep conditioner also helps improve elasticity, and moisture retention. Even if you don’t have a steamer, you can DIY your own at-home steam treatment when you follow this tutorial.

DO Focus On Your Ends

Have you ever actually read the directions on the back of your jar of deep conditioner? Most of them say to start and concentrate on the ends of your hair first. I know personally, I’m guilty of the exact opposite. However, starting with the ends of your hair is the most beneficial, because your ends are the oldest, driest, and most prone to breakage and splitting. By starting with your ends, you allow them a little more time to soak up and adsorb all of the deep conditioning goodness your product has to offer.

And now, for the don’ts…

Mistakes to avoid when deep conditioning

DON’T Overdo It

Don’t deep condition overnight or for hours on end. The obvious exception to this rule is treatments like henna, that require hours to take to the hair.

But for your everyday run-of-the-mill deep conditioner, it should begin to work instantly, and reach maximum capacity at around the 20 or 30 minute mark. If your deep conditioner doesn’t work after 30 minutes, it’s time to ditch it for one that’s more effective. Also, there is a such thing as over-conditioning the hair that can result in mushy, weak hair that has a more fragile keratin coiling. This is called hygral fatigue.

DON’T Multi-Task

Don’t use your DC to co-wash or as a leave-in conditioner. Deep conditioners are specially formulated to be especially adept at what they do – providing intense conditioning to the hair. And while they may feel nice in the hair, and can in some cases make pretty sweet curl definers, using them to cowash or as leave-ins is generally a no-no. Deep conditioners tend to contain higher concentrations of cationic surfactants (their primary function is to stick to the hair), and will likely lead to even more buildup if used as a cowash or leave-in.

DON’T Blow Your Budget

For the most part, deep conditioner base recipes tend to be the same:

  • water
  • fatty alcohol (ceteryl, stearyl, cetearyl)
  • gentle surfactant (behentrimonium chloride, methosulfate, etc.)
  • humectant (glycerin, propylene glycol, honey, sugar, aloe vera, etc.)
  • emollients (oils, butters)
  • hydrolyzed protein (optional)

The order in which these ingredients appear may differ, as will the concentration and types of ingredients. This does not mean all deep conditioners are the same – these variations in formulation can mean the difference between a holy grail product and a horror. What this does mean, is to be price savvy. Take some time and compare the ingredient lists from your favorite expensive deep conditioners with a few drugstore brands. Often times, you’ll discover the cheaper brand will be just as good, if not better.

DON’T Invite Bacteria

Don’t let your DCs sit in storage long-term. Whether it’s a DIY mix of avocados, greek yogurt, and Hello Hydration, or you stir your two favorite conditioners together, it is never a good idea to keep mixes for longer than a few days.

Refrigeration may buy you a week but no longer — unless it is a henna mix that you can freeze for months. The general idea here is that all store-bought conditioners are formulated with a certain concentration of antimicrobials and preservatives that keep them from molding on the shelves. Home DIY mixes have no preservatives, unless you just happen to keep food grade preservatives on hand (essential oils only last so long). To keep the mold away from your mane, only mix enough deep conditioner for a single use every time, and use clean kitchen utensils to mix and stir.

DON’T Be Fooled

Don’t be fooled by marketing gimmicks and pixie dust. As you may know, only the first 5 ingredients after water (with a few exceptions) have the most impact on your hair.

Given point #3 about most deep conditioner bases being similar, spending tons of cash may not be the wisest thing. Add to that, not falling for marketing gimmicks and pixie dust. There are tons of products that will showcase exotic ingredients and extracts emblazoned across the label, but when you turn that label over, said ingredient is 32nd on the list right before the preservatives. Unless the miracle ingredient you’re looking for is in the top 6 (top 10 to stretch) ingredients, you’re setting yourself up to become a victim of a marketing ploy. If it is an oil or butter you’re after (like coconut, jojoba, olive, macadamia, or sweet almond), you might be better off buying a cheapie conditioner and adding said oil in pure form yourself.


This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.

Under-$5 Curly Conditioners for Naturals on a Budget

Natural hair products can get expensive. With all the botanical extracts, rare herbs, and essential oils, sometimes the price point is justified. But sometimes, our budgets get a little tight. Or we don’t have the time to go anywhere else but a local grocery store. And online ordering is simply out of the question. In spite of all that, it is still possible to get a great conditioner without breaking the bank. Check out this list of 5 conditioners that won’t hit your wallet where it hurts!

suave almond shea conditioner

Suave Professionals Almond & Shea Butter Conditioner

Price: $3.99 for 28 fl oz

A personal favorite, this conditioner not only packs an intense moisturizing punch, but it has tons of slip – making it incredibly versatile. It can be used as a pre-shampoo treatment, to detangle hair, to co-wash, and of course, condition! The sweet almond oil and shea butter (which are both very high on the ingredient list”> help soften and nourish the hair, while the aloe vera juice helps the hair cuticle to lay down – improving moisture retention, strength, and shine. Oh, and did I mention the 28oz bottle is still under $4?

herbal essences hello hydration

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner

Price: $3.99 for 11.7 fl oz

When I first began transitioning, I looked up the best conditioners for natural hair. Undoubtedly, this product was on everyone’s hot list. It smells great, has tons of slip, and is perfect for all types of hair. It provides moisture without weighing the hair down, making it a great co-wash and conditioning product. The purple orchid extract soothes scalp and conditions the hair, while the coconut oil helps to nourish, moisturize, and prevent protein loss during washing.

trader joe's tea tree tingle conditioner

Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner

Price: $3.99 for 16 fl oz

Another hot-list conditioner, loved by many and popularized by YouTube’s Naptural85 and the famous Curly Nikki. After seeing her use this conditioner in tons of videos, I was convinced it would work miracles for me – and it did. Ringing in at $3.99 for a 16oz bottle, you can definitely purchase a long-term supply without feeling the pinch. Packed with certified organic extracts and essential oils, it is a perfect option for ingredient-conscious naturals seeking to condition or co-wash without all the ingredient fuss. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area you can buy this online from other retailers, but it won’t come with the under-$5 price tag. 

tresemme flawless curls conditioner

Tresemme Curl Hydrate Conditioner

Price: $3.89 for 10 fl oz

Tresemme Naturals was an OG beloved line by naturals popularized by the likes of vloggers Jess of Mahogany Curls and Kala of The KG Lifestyle. When it was discontinued back in 2016 it got replaced with Tresemme Botanique – which is highly rated by curlies, but at $5.99 it’s been priced off of this list. This Tresemme Flawless Curls conditioner on the other hand comes in under $5 and packs a moisturizing punch. A note for any Curly Girl Method followers, this one does contain Dimethicone and Adimethicone, but the Tresemme Botanique Coconut Nourish Conditioner for $5.99 is CG-friendly.

aussie miracle moist conditioner

Aussie Moist Conditioner 

Price: $2.99 for 12.1 fl oz

Aussie Moist will always hold a place near and dear to my heart. Seriously, Aussie helped me manage my transitioning tresses for at least 9 months consistently. I used this conditioner to pre-poo, detangle, co-wash, and even to deep condition (with a little added help from some coconut oil”>. I also like that it comes in two sizes – regular and gargantuan. Perfect for on-the-go and at home.

What are your favorite cheapie conditioners? Let us know!

This article has been updated.
Repair Your Heat Damage With These 6 Steps

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

But don’t worry, all hope is not lost on your short-term straightened hair. Try taking these six steps to rehabilitate your curls after a heat binge. You don’t have to do all six at once, feel free to pick and choose which ones may work for you!

1. Cleanse with Shampoo

As much as we love our co-washes and conditioners, the first wash going back to your waves, curls, and coils after straightening should always involve a shampoo. You can still avoid a sulfate shampoo to make sure you treat your curls gently, but the key here is that you will need a deep cleansing. Try the Bounce Curl Pure Silk Moisturizing Shampoo, which won a 2018 NaturallyCurly Editor’s Choice award for being an effective clarifying shampoo while still leaving your strands with some hydration!

Shampoo is important for a first wash for two major reasons:

One–buildup removal. If you’ve ever had that semi-frightening moment where you first rinse your straightened hair and it doesn’t immediately revert, you’ll understand why shampoo is necessary. Most heat protectants and anti-frizz products have silicones and other occlusives that work to keep moisture out of the hair. Many oils and butters act in the same fashion, hence their propensity to seal the hair. Using a shampoo helps lift the moisture-blocking product buildup, so that the water can penetrate the hair and help restore the original texture.

Two–since shampoo has a negative charge (anionic”>, it binds all of the positively charged (cationic”> buildup to itself, removing it from your hair, which also has a negative charge. Since the hair is stripped, the next positively charged conditioner you place on your hair will be more effective than if you had not used shampoo to cleanse. 

2. Use a Reconstructor

Heat straightening, combing, and just general wear and tear can cause cuticle damage to the hair. An intensive protein treatment (reconstructor”> will help patch up those chips, cracks, and breaks in the cuticle of the hair temporarily. At some level, heat straightening (especially if you cranked the heat up a little too much”> can alter the structure of the proteins in the hair, and a reconstructor has the potential to help them bounce back to normal – which in turn encourages your old texture return.

Looking for a good reconstructor? Try:

3. Deep Condition

Moisture is an integral step in getting your hair to return to normal. And of course, this step will work better if it follows a good cleanse. When hair is blow dried and flat ironed, moisture leaves the hair. And after slathering hair with products to keep frizz at bay, natural hair begins craving moisture. Restoring moisture balance to the hair with a super nourishing and penetrating deep conditioner will put parched strands back on the right track. Although most deep conditioners are designed to reach maximum effectiveness in 30 minutes or less, I recommend that after a flat-iron driven draught, an hour or more is perfectly fine. Just don’t deep condition overnight to avoid hygral fatigue.

Looking for a good deep conditioner? Try:

4. Do a Hot Oil Treatment

If your hair still isn’t feeling or looking quite up to par, a hot oil treatment may help get things back in order. Nourishing the hair with a warm concoction of oils can help restore shine and elasticity, enhance smoothness, penetrate the hair, nourish the scalp, and more. A hot oil treatment can penetrate the hair, moisturizing and nourishing on the inside and out. Different oils can boost the effectiveness of your curl, coil, and kink loving concoction.

  • Place the oils inside of a plastic applicator bottle (which can be purchased at a local beauty supply store”>
  • Melt them together in a hot water bath (don’t microwave them”>
  • Apply to hair and scalp
  • Cover hair in a plastic cap or saran wrap.
  • You can sit under a dryer with the oil, or use a satin scarf or bonnet to help keep your head-generated heat in.

5. Use the Greenhouse Effect

If your hair still isn’t responding like you had hoped, the greenhouse effect may help. A spinoff of sorts of the hot oil treatment, greenhousing involves trapping hair in an ultra-moisturizing environment to aid in absorbing as much moisture as possible. This can be achieved at simplest, by covering damp hair with a plastic cap and scarf.

You can add to the greenhouse effect by incorporating a little bit of butter, oil, or conditioner of your choice to the damp hair, or by steaming your hair with a handheld or tabletop steamer. You can greenhouse your hair for as little as 30 minutes, or as much as overnight. Since the hair is not soaking wet, it is at less risk for hygral fatigue, over-conditioning, and becoming limp and mushy.

6. Last Resort: Cut/Trim

If you’ve done everything you possibly can and your texture just won’t come back, a trim or cut may be in order. Since the ends of the hair are the oldest, it is likely that most of the damage to heat straightened hair is concentrated at the ends. Luckily, that can be resolved with a quick or gradual trimming away. More severe heat damage will require more cutting.

Ultimately, severe heat damage cannot be undone. If you are at this point, determine what method will work best for growing out more healthy hair and getting rid of what is damaged – either with a major or big chop, or long term transitioning.

This article was originally published in 2015 and was updated in 2018 to reflect new recommendations.

The 9 Must-Haves For Active Curlies

It happens all the time. Ladies trade in their relaxers and flat irons for natural hair, with the hopes of more freedom to do things like work out, swim, and walk in the rain without being concerned about hair.

After an intense workout, you realize your have sweated profusely at the roots of your hair, and your epic Sumetra Reed twistout is ruined. Instead of being Instagram ready when you leave the gym, you silently hope a Pharrell hat will fall from the sky. One hour of working out doesn’t have to ruin the style you waited 8 hours to dry and fluff.

Check out these 9 tools and products to keep in your gym bag, and keep your style protected while you sweat.

Active Curly Must Haves

The Clay Mask Recipe that Will Give You(r Hair) Life
clay mask for healthy hair

I’m more product junkie than DIY mixtress, but every so often I copycat or stumble upon a DIY recipe that makes me think I could launch the next big natural hair product line.

Maybe I’m exaggerating a little. Maybe.

But this DIY clay mask has forever changed my regimen. It hydrates, moisturizes, de-frizzes, softens, and banishes dryness, while encouraging curl clumping and shine. Any problems you’re having with your hair, this mask can probably solve.  I’ve been doing it on a twice a week basis as a part of my Max Hydration Method experiment (although you can do it as infrequently as you like”>, and my hair has never looked better. My frizzy, unruly patches are history, and my rough, dry, tangly ends have practically vanished. For the ladies that are curious, my personal recipe deviates from that of the Max Hydration Method, swapping out ingredients and adding others. You can feel free to do the same.

This DIY clay mask has forever changed my regimen.

The Ingredients

For my Bentonite Clay Mask recipe, I selected the following ingredients based upon what they can do for my hair:

Bentonite Clay

Incredibly powerful, possessing a negative charge (anionic”>. This makes it an ideal clay for cleansing and detoxifying, as it has the ability to remove positively charged (cationic”> conditioners and products that can build up on the hair and scalp. It is also said to have the ability to draw out toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, and impurities. It helps cleanse and lift impurities from the hair, aiding in conditioning, shine, softness, and definition.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Serves as an antimicrobial agent (warding off infection”>, and helps ease the itching and flakiness associated with scalp conditions such as dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis. ACV is also able to improve the shininess of hair and increase moisture retention by causing cuticles to lay flat via pH balancing the hair. Through this same mechanism, it is also believe that Apple Cider Vinegar can correct hair porosity issues.

Water

The ultimate hydrator and curly hair problem solver.

Coconut Oil

Oil with a high saturated fat content, rich in vitamins and nutrients beneficial to the hair. Due to its low molecular weight, coconut is one of the few oils proven to actually penetrate the hair shaft. It protects and coats the hair, and prevents protein loss.

Castor Oil

Has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it will help with dandruff and other scalp ailments. It is also a great moisture sealant, and promotes hair thickening and growth.Castor oil also acts as a humectant, drawing in moisture to the hair for total hydration.

Sweet Almond Oil

Oil that locks moisture into the hair while nourishing, smoothing cuticles, controlling shedding, and boosting shine. It is rich in omegas 6 and 9, which help ciment the cuticle, reduce moisture loss, and improve elasticity. 

Now that you’re familiar with the benefits of each ingredient, let’s get on with the recipe. Warning: it’s dangerously easy.

mane objective with wet hair

What You’ll Need:

  • a plastic or glass bowl

  • a plastic, wooden, or rubber stirring utensil

  • 1/2 cup (or 4oz”> of bentonite cay (I use the Indian Healing Clay”>

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

  • 1 tablespoon of castor oil

  • 1 tablespoon of sweet almond oil

  • 6 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (unfiltered, with mother”>

  • 3 tablespoons of water

Directions

  1. Add the clay first, then the oils, in your mixing bowl. You can begin stirring if you like, or leave it all until the very end (I prefer to stir after everything is all in”>. Next, add your 6 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Allow it to aerate and foam for 10-15 seconds before adding in the water. The reaction between the clay and apple cider vinegar is essential to avoiding a lumpy mix. After the mixture has foamed for a few seconds, add your 3 tablespoons of water. 
  2. Stir everything together vigorously, until you have a smooth, minimally lumpy mixture that is roughly the consistency of Greek yogurt.
  3. Apply the mask to clean, damp or wet hair from root to end. To ensure even coverage, work in small sections. If your hair begins to dry while applying the mask, keep a spray bottle nearby to spritz and keep the hair damp, but not dripping wet. After you’ve completely coated your hair with the mask, cover it with a plastic cap, saran wrap, or plastic bag for 20-30 minutes. You can use a hooded dryer or steamer for extra penetration, or just let the heat from your head do all the work.

After your mask

When you’re ready to rinse, I highly recommend hopping in the shower. It will be incredibly difficult to get the clay out under the power of a sink faucet alone. Trust me, you don’t want leftover clay in your curls. You’ll look like you lost a fight with a bag of flour when it dries.

Once the clay is 80-90% rinsed out, follow up with a conditioner of choice. It doesn’t have to be a deep conditioner, your favorite, regular, cheapie conditioner will do. My personal pick is Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner. Rake it through your hair from ends to root, and let it sit for about 5 minutes then rinse.

Your end result will be hydrated, ultra-moisturized, soft, frizz-free, uber-defined hair.

Yasssssss. #slayednaturalhair

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What’s your experience with clay masks?
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What Does "Co-Wash" Mean?
“co-wash”

I remember the first time I saw the word “co wash” on a blog. The concept didn’t make sense to me, and I couldn’t quite understand why everyone was hopping on the anti-shampoo bandwagon with this one. Then, I ran out and bought a lifetime supply of Aussie Moist because Kala of The KG Lifestyle recommended it. My life was never the same after that.

Conditioner Wash(ing”>–

What does co-wash mean?

Using conditioner or a conditioner-like cream based product to cleanse the hair, as an alternative to shampoo. Also known as co-wash, cowash, co wash, and c/w.

Used in a sentence

“I typically co-wash my hair twice a week, and then use a shampoo to clarify at the end of the month.”

How Co-Washing Affects Your Hair

The co-wash movement has picked up steam in recent years, especially for curlies who want to clean their without leaving it stripped. Conditioner has gentle surfactants that will lift light build-up, dirt, and oils from the hair while avoiding stripping it dry, The result is gently cleansed hair that is soft, smooth, and moisturized.

How Often Should You Co-wash?

Some prefer co-washing every single wash and not to touch shampoo at all; others will co-wash once a week and use regular shampoo the next. Some may only use regular shampoo once a month. It really depends on your own hair’s specific needs. Remember, everyone’s hair is different find what works best for you and stick to that.

Some curlies prefer to use a regular conditioner or an actual co-wash product, either work. Here are the best conditioners and co-washes to try on your next wash day.

As I Am Coconut CoWash

“This is a holy grail and for good reason, or a few.”This is an amazing cowash, affordable, yummy-smelling, and it makes my hair happy and hydrated. I use it once a week and alternate with sulfate-free shampoo, I have hair that’s between wavy and curly.”

Mielle Organics Detangling Co-Wash

“I took a chance with this cowash only because I have had amazing results with many of the other products from Mielle Organics. I also have had difficulty finding a proper cowash for my hair because they all make my hair feel dry. I bought this last weekend and used it for my wash day. I was laughing and Ooh’ing and Aah’ing the whole entire time. I expected that once I rinsed it out, I would feel disappointment but N O P E! My hair felt soft, it was shiny, my curls were popping, and it was detangled without the use of a comb or Denman brush. Love love love! Highly recommend it.”

DevaCurl No Poo

“Great cleanser–really cleans hair without weighing down my roots like a regular cowash.”

Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Quinoa Co-Wash

“I loved this Co wash! 16oz is a lot of product to commit to so I’m glad this worked for my 4C hair. I like the smell and thick texture, I was able to cleanse my scalp between shampoos, and your hair is so smooth after rinsing!”

Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea Cleansing Cowash

“This co-wash is amazing! I have terrible scalp eczema that gets irritated if I have buildup on my scalp. Before I started using this co-wash I had to shampoo my scalp often which lead to very dry curls. I tried co-washing with other conditioners and co-washes, but they all never fully cleansed my hair which lead to more buildup and never detangled my hair.This co-wash solved all of my problems from scalp eczema to having enough product to last me for weeks. “

This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated for clarity.

How to Do the Praying Hands Method for Smooth Curls with Less Frizz

These days, I’m all about getting the most out of my wash and go. Some people chase curl definition for curl’s sake, but I’m more of a curl convenience enthusiast. When I lay on the product, smoothing generous amounts of curl definer from root to end, I’m thinking about getting the most days out of my hair between wash days.

I’ve covered a lot of ground as far as wash and go’s are concerned. I’ve already shared my 7 secrets for the perfect wash and go, but this time around we are digging a little deeper into the Praying Hands Method.

What is the Praying Hands Method?

The Praying Hands Method is a technique for smoothing styling product over curly hair to prevent frizz. With this method, instead of raking product through your curls, you rub it between your palms, and using flattened praying hands, smooth product from root to end. It is not nearly as complicated as it sounds. 

 

Benefits of the Praying Hands Method

I like the Praying Hands Method to apply product because my curls are smoother, and they dry slightly more elongated (which is only temporary”>. Smoothing product also reduces frizz from root to tip, ensuring that your wash and go style will last longer.

 

 

In my video, I used Zotos 180PRO Foaming Smoother, Be Kekoa Kukui Nectar Hydrate Conditioner, and As I Am Smoothing Gel. You can put the Praying Hands Method into practice with whatever products work best for your hair.

 

Refreshing Curls with the Praying Hands Method

When refreshing a wash and go, you really want to avoid disturbing the curls further and creating frizz. For this reason, this method is a great option for re-applying styling product. Lulu aka @Curlicue_lu uses this method in her refresh routine on day 2 and 3, “the prayer hands application technique helps me to smoothe out frizz without breaking up my curls.” First she wets her hair with water and then gently runs her flattened hands over her hair to apply Bounce Curl Creme Gel.

 

 

Using the Praying Hands Method on Wavy Hair

Those with looser curl patterns may find that raking styling product through their hair stretches out or breaks up their curls. When this happens, Praying Hands can help encourage curls to clump again and scrunching can help to encourage the hair back into a spiral shape. In this wavy tutorial from LUS Brands the waves are soaking wet before applying a styler with flattened praying hands. 

 

Is the Praying Hands Method a part of your curl styling routine?

This article has been updated.</em

"My Hair Looks So Good When It's Wet"… Here's How to Make That Last

rake and shake styling method

When it comes to getting great curl definition that lasts, there are two important factors to consider: your product selection and application technique.

Even though I’m a product junkie with no rehab stint in sight, even I can admit that technique is more important. You can have the best curl defining products at your fingertips, but if you’re not utilizing and applying them properly, you’ll blame the product for the outcome of your style.

There are several methods for applying curl definers to hair, raking, smoothing, praying hands, and more. But there is one method that has been delivering the best results — defined curls from root to tip that are plump, juicy, de-frizzed, and far from stringy ramen noodle style.

Ouidad’s Rake & Shake Method

The Rake & Shake was developed as a technique to define curls, encourage clumping without sacrificing too much in the way of volume. The method guarantees even distribution of product and minimal frizz–and promises perfect curls every time.

I came across the Rake & Shake Method about a year ago while poking around online learning more about Ouidad as a brand and salon. I became curious about the method, but wasn’t quite sold on how successful it would be with my multi-textured, type 3-something curls. The videos I found from Ouidad showed ladies with looser textures (like 2A hair”> getting their Rake & Shake on–but I was hard pressed to find a video of it on more highly textured hair. So I decided to do what I always do when I get curious about the claims a brand, product, or method makes–try it out myself!

rake and shake method for coily hair

The Rake & Shake method is really simple, and involves only a few minor adaptations from how you probably already apply product to your hair for wash and go styling. Really, it’s modified shingling.

What you’ll need

In this video, I styled my wash and go with As I Am Leave-In Conditioner, Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil, and Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel — the yellow one. You can use Ouidad styling products to do the Rake & Shake (the consistency and slip of their Tress Effects and Climate Control gels is perfect for raking and shaking”>, or experiment and get the technique down with products you already have at home.

In this video, my hair is freshly co-washed and deep conditioned, and divided into five sections to make things easier. I applied my leave-in and JBCO in the shower, so I’m keeping a spray bottle handy just in case my hair starts to dry.

Remember, the best wash and go’s happen on WET hair! Capturing the curl while it’s still wet will guarantee you a longer lasting result.

Got your products ready? Let’s go!

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How to Rake & Shake

1. Take a generous amount of your curl definer of choice and apply it to the root, then smooth and rake it through the entirety of the larger section. Really work it in so it coats all the strands. Then, take a smaller section within that larger section and move the rest of the hair out of your way.

2. Starting at the root, rake your fingers through your hair. Rake thoroughly 3 or 4 times, so that your hair is evenly clumped between your fingers. This is going to give you more plump clumps of curls.

3. On the last rake, stop just short of letting the hair go. Holding on to the ends, gently shake the hair up and down a few times to set the curl. Make sure that you’re holding the hair in an outward motion, away from your scalp. This ensures that your curls will be defined to the root, but won’t fall flat.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 throughout each section of your hair.

5. Air dry, diffuse, or use a combination of both. I personally prefer to air dry (I  live in LA. it’s still 80 degrees every day”>.

Drying

Took me all of 15 minutes to rake and shake my entire head. Now air drying, that’s another story. Regardless of what product I use, it’s an all day process. As you can see, the results in this video really cosign on the claims that the Ouidad folks make. Rake & Shake has given my curls new life! No more frizzy roots, no more randomly stringy ramen noodle curls. I even found that while letting my curls air dry, I didn’t have to pin them back like I normally would to create that elongation in the front (thanks to the fact that it shrinks considerably more than the back half of my hair”>. For all the ladies like me with multiple textures, this is a total game changer.

Watch my tutorial

A lot of times, we naturalistas get comfortable in our styling boxes based on texture and type. I’m sure many type 3 and 4 ladies have heard of the Rake & Shake, but skipped past it based upon not being able to identify with the hair model in the video. Hopefully my video can help bridge the information gap a little–some techniques and methods can be universally applicable.

Will you be trying the Rake & Shake? 

6 Must-Know Tips For Softer Summer Curls

Dry, crunchy, crispy hair isn’t cute.

“DESCRIPTION”

Photo courtesy of @CELMATIQUE

No one in the history of hair has gone on record raving about having luxurious, parched curls. I’m not talking about gel casts from styling products that you can easily scrunch out with a dab of oil or serum–but inherently dry, dehydrated, borderline tumbleweed hair. Summer heat is notorious for parching our curls, here’s how to keep them soft all season.

1. Drink water

If you have chronically dry hair, your products may not be to blame. Do you drink enough water? One of the keys to healthy, soft and strong hair is keep it hydrated. That starts from the inside out. If you have dry hair, ask yourself how much water do I consume daily?  The hair shaft is comprised of about 25% water, so drink up. Your hair, skin, and insides will thank you.

2. Pre-poo

When curly girls start cutting regimen corners, one of the first things to go is the pre-poo. A good pre-poo is essential to soft hair. They are meant to prime the hair for cleansing by softening, strengthening, and easing the detangling process. They also prevent cleansing products from robbing the hair of critical moisture. 

3. Shampoo (instead of co-wash”>

You may be active or outside in the heat more during the summer, and cleansing becomes even more important for a clean hair and scalp. While co-washing is a great alternative to always using shampoo, it doesn’t quite remove all the buildup and eventually, your hair will not respond the same way to the co-wash (due to buildup”>.

Additionally, shampooing makes your conditioner work more effectively. Generally, hair carries a slight negative charge that is enhanced by use of a shampoo with a negative charge. Conditioner has a positive charge, and we all know that opposites attract. The ingredients in regular and deep conditioners are designed to stick to the hair, smoothing the cuticle, and filling in the chipped areas. This functionality and improved softness is enhanced with the use of shampoo.

4. Deeply treat with steam

Steaming the hair gently lifts the cuticle and allows the warm water to penetrate the hair, hydrating it thoroughly. Hydrated hair is soft hair, and soft hair maintains a proper moisture balance provides optimal elasticity. Steam treatments can be done on wash days, mid-week to refresh curls, or while deep conditioning.

Here’s a hack for steaming hair for free (if you don’t have a handheld one”>: let your hair hang loose during your next shower. You may also spritz it with hot water and covering with a plastic cap and sitting under a dryer for indirect heat to enhance your deep conditioner properties. 

5. Deep condition more frequently

Do you deep condition every time you wash your hair? If you don’t, you should try it. It’s the single piece of advice that unites all naturals, regardless of regimen and hair type. Deep conditioning does a curly mane good, in terms of softness and moisture. Depending on your hair type and regimen, you may not need to deep condition every time, but do consider increasing the frequency if your hair starts to feel parched or brittle. 

6. Layer with a leave-in

Whether you are using a daily conditioner or a product formulated specifically as a leave-in, having a product that is a water-based mixture of fatty alcohols, emollients, and humectants is the first line of defense in maintaining soft hair. Use a moisturizer to lock in the hydration from your leave-in and prime your hair for styling. If your hair responds well to pure oils and butter, seal your curls with an oil.

This article was originally published in June 2014. 

Beware of These 5 Ingredients

ingredients to avoid in hair products

Read any beauty product label and you will see that they’re all proud to make the statement “free of” and include a laundry list of controversial ingredients. Some of them and their functions may be familiar to curlies in the know – like silicones (occlusive and potential irritant”>, sulfates (drying surfactant”>, mineral oil and petrolatum (occlusive and potential irritant”>, and parabens (potentially toxic and carcenogenic antibacterial agents”>. But there were others, like phthalates and PABA that I wasn’t quite familiar with – so I had to do my homework. Here is a list of 5 less commonly discussed controversial ingredients to look out for when purchasing hair products:

1. DEA

Diethanolamine (can have any variations including Cocamide, Lauryl Sulfate, Lauramide, TEA, and more”>. A chemical used as a wetting agent and pH balancer in shampoos, conditioners, and other cosmetic products. It provides a rich lather in shampoos, and helps maintain the creamy consistency in lotions, conditioners, and creams. DEA in and of itself is not a harmful ingredient, but it has the potential to be. If the product containing DEA (or TEA/triethanolamine”> also contains amino acids (which are the building blocks of proteins”>, in the right conditions and over time, the ingredients can break down and recombine as nitrosamines which are highly carcinogenic. So much in fact that nitrosamines have been listed by the US EPA, US National Toxicology Program Report on Carcinogens, and in California under Prop 65 (which identifies chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects”>.

2. DMDM Hydantoin

Dimethyl Imidazoldinedione (can have any variation of number combinations around or between the words, is similar in function and concern to Imodiazolidinyl/Diazolidinyl Urea”>. A formaldehyde releasing antimicrobial agent used in hair products and cosmetics to increase shelf life. Because of the formaldehyde that is released in the product preservation process, it is believed to be of moderate to high concern according to the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. DMDM Hydantoin is known to cause eye, skin, and lung irritation (if areated”>, as well as immunotoxicity in humans. DMDM Hydantoin is banned for use in Japan.

3. PABA

Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (can come in many different “aminobenzoic” formulations”>. It functions as a UV absorber, filter, and sunscreen agent. Once a popular ingredient in sunscreen products in the 70’s, it was phased out because it commonly caused allergic dermatitis (skin”> reactions and photosensitivity. In truth, PABA hasn’t been used for years — but cosmetic and hair companies like to use “PABA-free” as a selling point to have consumers believe they are somehow purchasing a superior, more natural, or less harmful product.

4. Phthalates

A chemical group used in hundreds of plastic products (toys, vinyl, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, etc.”> and in hair and skin products including hair sprays, soaps, and shampoos. The most common phthalates used are dibutylphthalate (DBP”>, dimethylphthalate (DMP”>, and diethylphthalate (DEP”>. Phthalates are plasticizers (dispersants”> in products that reduce brittleness/cracking/stiffness in products like nail polish and hair spray, allowing them to form a flexible film. Phthalates are also used as solvents and perfume (fragrance”> fixatives in many hair and cosmetic products. Research has shown phthalates to interfere with reproductive function and hormonal systems (including male infertility and reduced sex hormones”>, as well as cause birth defects. Phthalates have also been noticed to cause proliferation of breast tumor cells, and render certain anti-estrogen treatments less effective against tumors.

5. Fragrance/Parfum

Although this isn’t a specified ingredient (we will learn why soon”>, it does pose some significant health concerns. The primary concern is that there is no full ingredient disclosure when “fragrance” or “parfum” is listed on a hair or cosmetic product. The source, and what the ingredient is comprised of, and at what concentration is unknown to the consumer. This lack of disclosure casts a wide net of health concerns, ranging from skin, respiratory, and eye allergies, to dermatitis and potential reproductive effects. Although artificial fragrances are hard to avoid, being mindful of where they fall in the ingredient list can help determine how much is present. Aim for products where fragrance is low on the list (close to last”> for a better chance at reducing potential irritation and side effects.

If you can’t avoid them…

It may be a downer to realize that some of your favorite hair and beauty products contain these ingredients. Even if you can’t totally avoid products with these ingredients, here are a few tips for safer use:

  • Generally speaking, hair products ingredients are listed in order by quantity/concentration. The lower on the list these ingredients are, the less they will contain – thereby reducing your risk.

  • If your product does contain these ingredients, be sure to rinse it off well after use.

  • If you are using a shampoo or conditioner containing any of these ingredients, cooler water during cleansing and conditioning can help reduce the amount of chemicals that are absorbed into the skin/scalp.

7 Hair Butters and Oils You've Never Heard Of Before
two natural hair women
pictured: Alanna Doherty & Kesia Estwick

Naturally curly girls get a lot of information about miracle hair oils and butters like Shea, Coconut, Argan, Sweet Almond, and more. They are all great oils and butters with unique properties that make them especially valuable to curly hair. But it’s time to expand our horizons. Let’s explore 7 exotic butters and oils that hail from the depths of the Amazon, to Southeast Asia and beyond.

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Sapote Oil

sapote oil
photo courtesy of ribeironantonio– Getty Images

Hailing from Mexico and Central America, Sapote oil is a wonder oil of the Mamey sapote tree, great for those that suffer from dry, itchy scalp or conditions such as eczema and dandruff. It is a light, non-greasy, vitamin-rich oil that helps balance sebum production – which can help those with excessively oily, or excessively dry scalps. It helps reduce skin flaking and patches, and the vitamins A, B, C, and E are amazing antioxidants and nutrients that support and aid in scalp health and hair growth.

Ucuuba Butter

Hailing from Central and South America, this dark brown and hard butter is pressed from the seeds of the Ucuuba tree. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, making it useful for relieving scalp conditions such as dandruff and eczema. Also rich in essential fatty acids, Ucuuba butter can help prevent hair damage from free-radicals, improve shine and elasticity in hair (leading to less breakage“>, and help keep hair hydrated longer.

Marula Oil

ucuuba butter
photo courtesy of riaancoetzee — Getty Images

A light and subtly sweet oil made from the seeds of  Marula tree fruit, native to South Africa and Madagascar. It contains powerful antioxidants, nutrients, minerals, and essential fatty acids that help prevent and reverse environmental and UV damage. Marula oil also has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and cellular regeneration properties, all of which make the oil ideal for scalp health and hair growth.

Kokum Butter

Used traditionally in India, Kokum butter tends to fly under the radar – but it shouldn’t. Rich in essential fatty acids and non-comodegenic (non pore-clogging”>, Kokum Butter is perfect for stimulating the scalp for healthy hair growth. It helps cell oxygenation, making nutrients more readily available for use by scalp/skin tissues – which helps promote hair growth. It also supports and enhances hair elasticity, helping to ward off breakage.

MuruMuru Butter

kokum butter
photo courtesy of Happy Olive

Native to the Amazon ecosystem, Murumru Butter is extracted from the from the kernel of the fruit that bears the same name. Light and slightly nutty, muru muru butter is rich in omegas that help soften, promote elasticity, shine, and aid in moisture retention of hair. Because it is so thick in nature, Murumuru butter can help control frizz and define curls.

Tamanu Oil

Indigenous to Southeast Asia, the oil of the Tamanu tree is pressed from the kernel of the Tamanu nut. Tamanu Oil is a powerful antimicrobial, antibiotic, and healing agent, with tons of medicinal and haircare uses. It can be used to treat skin and scalp conditions, from burns, to rashes and inflammation, scalp infections, dandruff, psoriasis, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and more. It aids in healthy skin regeneration, which is a proven pathway to a healthier scalp, and therefore, healthier hair.

Kukui Nut Oil

kukui nut oil
photo courtesy of zkruger
Cold pressed oil of the Candlenut Tree, originating in Hawaii. It is high in omegas 3 & 6, soothing, and softening to hair without leaving a greasy film. Rich in vitamins A, C, and E, it contains powerhouse antioxidants that help protect and prevent aging and damage of hair. It is believed to be beneficial for people suffering from psoriasis, eczema, acne, and other skin conditions, due to the anti-inflammatory nature of the fatty acid content.

Want to shop these butters?

Made especially for naturally curly and coily hair, these products contain the above butters to preserve the hair’s ultimate health and moisture. They are all available in Curlmart (links below”>.

Obia Naturals Twist Whip Butter, $18

Darcy’s Botanicals Tucuma Butter Moisture Whip, $12

CURLS Whipped Cream, $17

Oyin Handmade Whipped Pudding, $13.99

MyHoneyChild Honey Love Pomade, $18.99

Shea Terra Organics Certified Organic Shea Butter, $14

Naturally Brighten & Condition Your Hair with Henna
henna dye results on curly hair
PHOTO: QUEST FOR THE PERFECT CURL

Pure henna, also called lawsonia inermis, is an all-natural plant native to Africa, Southern Asia, and Australia. It has many uses, including dyeing and conditioning hair simultaneously. The leaves of the plant are crushed and a reddish-brown dye is released using a liquid such as hot water, coffee, or tea.

What does henna do?

  1. Thicken Hair, Add Weight: This is because henna molecules bind to the keratin in the hair, creating plumpness of individual strands. Note that this is not permanent, and is not a solution for rapidly thinning, breaking, or otherwise damaged.
  2. Awesome Color: 100% natural henna will always stain your hair to some degree. Depending on how long you leave it, the ingredients you mix in, and the natural color of your hair, your color will range from deep orange to burgundy or coffee brown. It is almost like a natural cellophane. The results are long-lasting and fade naturally, and won’t leave your hair looking washed out.
  3. Shiny, Strong Hair: Henna always makes my hair shine. I also notice less breakage, which can be attributed to the protein-binding action mentioned previously.
  4. Psoriasis Relief: To date, henna has been the ONLY thing to help keep my scalp psoriasis at bay. Even in the cold winter months when things get tricky, my scalp psoriasis isn’t nearly as bad. I don’t know why it works, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

Which henna should you use?

I always advocate for using 100% pure Body Art Quality (BAQ”> Henna. In my opinion not only does it work better, but it will make your life easier. I strongly advise against naturally curly girls using Light Mountain because it is not finely sifted, and contains large granules and twigs. I had the time of my life trying to get that grit and twigs out of my transitioning hair, and had to wash my hair for several days following a henna treatment just to get them out.

Body Art Quality henna on the other hand, is finely sifted and smooth. It has the consistency of baby powder. This makes for easy mixing, easy application, and rinsing out. I personally swear by Jamila BAQ Henna. I have also recently tried Reshma Natural Highlights (this is the only box that is 100% henna, by the way”> and it is the same in terms of consistency, performance, and results.

henna powder

What should you mix into your henna?

Some henna mixes just call for hot water and a spoon. That basic mix is totally fine, but it can leave your hair feeling a bit straw-like (because it acts like a protein treatment”>. To get the most out of your henna session, try playing around with the following ingredients, according to your hair’s needs.

For moisture, softness & conditioning

For shine, pH balancing & porosity correcting

  • Aloe Vera Juice or Gel

  • Apple Cider Vinegar (raw, unfiltered with mother”>

  • Bentonite Clay

For color enhancement

  • Coffee (for deeper brown”>

  • Lemon Juice (for brightness”>

  • Green Tea (for brightness”>

  • Paprika (for more red”>

For scalp health

  • Tea Tree Oil

  • Peppermint Essential Oil

  • Rosemary Essential Oil

How to apply henna

For me, the easiest way to apply henna is using my hands (protected by gloves, of course”>. It allows me to get the henna directly on my scalp (for that psoriasis relief”>, as well as work it thoroughly through the hair. Using a color applicator brush is another way to apply it through the hair as well. I’ve even seen applicator bottles (with a wide nozzle of course”> used. It all depends on what you have around, and what would be easiest. Henna should be allowed to sit after mixed for about half an hour to allow the dye to release. After that, applying it to your hair for anywhere from 1 to 8 hours is just fine. The longer you leave it on, the more color you will get out of it. I usually henna at night and sleep with my head (and pillowcases”> covered, and rinse in the morning.

Watch this quick mixing demonstration

  1. Start on freshly washed or thoroughly rinsed hair. No sense in henna sticking to product buildup!
  2. Always use plastic or wooden containers and utensils. Henna can react with some metals. Although I’ve never seen this happen, I tend to err on the side of caution.
  3. Cover everything–the table you mix on, the floor, and any surfaces within 3 feet of where you’ll be applying. It can get messy.
  4. Wear gloves. Unless you want orange fingernails.
  5. Wear a shirt you don’t mind getting stained.
  6. Rinse out your henna using water and a cheap slippery conditioner. It’ll make the removal process a lot easier.
  7. Deep condition your hair afterwards, and style as normal.

Have you used henna to brighten or condition your hair? 

This article was published in April 2014 has been updated for grammar and clarity.

How to (Safely) Stretch Curly Hair
PICTURED: NAPTURAL85

Let’s face it. At some point, you are more than likely going to stretch or straighten your natural or transitioning hair.

Whether it be a regular part of your wash day routine (like stretching your roots for a super voluminous wash and go”>, blow-drying your hair to prevent tangling during protective styling, prepping for a knock-out bantu knot-out, or even flat ironing for a sleek look, protective measures are always necessary to prevent damage.

This is how to get the most out of your heat stretching without compromising the health of your hair.

Step 1: Heat Protection

Always, always, ALWAYS protect your hair when it comes to manipulating it with heat.

Protecting your hair from dryness, cracked cuticles, breakage, and heat damage starts on wash day. A moisturizing shampoo or cowash, a great deep conditioner, and stellar heat protecting/leave-in products are a must. Making sure hair is properly moisturized and protected will guarantee a better finished product.

These products are all great heat protectants that will help moisturize, strengthen, and prevent heat damage:

MORE: Naptural85’s Heatless Blowout 

Step 2: Check The Method

Once you’ve got your product arsenal together, it’s time to discuss methods for heat stretching. There are 4 popular methods for heat stretching to choose from (okay so one of them is a little unconventional, and I totally stumbled upon it on accident one day”>.

Tension Method

The tension method is one of the least damaging ways to go from dripping wet to dry hair. All you need is a blow dryer with a concentrator nozzle. With hair parted into however many sections works for you (I do 5-6″>, apply your protection products of choice. With your hair detangled and smoothed between your fingers, gently stretch it downward. With hair in the stretched state, gently move the concentrator nozzle down the shaft of the hair repeatedly until dry. The downward motion provides a better stretch. Medium or low heat with high speeds are recommended with this method.

Blowdry with Comb/Attachment

This is your regular, run-of-the-mill blow drying session. It has the propensity to cause the most damage, but it is also the most effective if you are looking to get super straight stretched hair. This method involves applying protection product, and either with a wide-tooth comb or comb attachment, moving through the hair with the blow dryer at medium or low heat and high speed. You can use the high setting if you choose, for a straighter look. However, the hotter the blow dryer, the faster it zaps moisture from your hair.

Band/Braid Then Blow Dry

Because blow drying can literally zap the moisture out of the hair, some naturals and transitioners prefer to let their hair air dry partially first. The most effective way to air dry is with the hair completely loose, but this lends itself to massive shrinkage, tangling, and breakage. To ward off those natural hair horrors, banding the hair or putting the hair in loose braids works well. Once hair is about 75% dry, you can then use either the tension or comb/attachment blow drying method to finish the job.

Steamer Blowout

This one I stumbled upon on accident. Way back when I got my Q-Redew, I began using it to refresh, moisturize, and detangle my hair. One random evening, I decided to ditch the conditioner to detangle, and see what 100% steam-only would do to my hair. The end result: a massive blowout that was super moisturized! This is surely the way to go if you are terrified of the blow dryer. There is gentle heat, but the water infuses moisture deep into the strand which prevents drying. Will it give you better results than a blow dryer? Maybe. Will your hair be dry afterward? Absolutely not! Check out my Instagram to peep the blowout picture!

Flat Ironing

*cue horror music* This is the one straightening/stretching method that sends chills throughout the natural hair and transitioning community. After doing so much hard work to get curls healthy, everything could be for naught in one fell swoop. But if you do it right, the results are gorgeous and your curls will revert 100%. You need clean hair (shampoo clean, not cowash clean”> that has been deep condition, and dried via one of the above methods (except steaming”>. Heat protection here is SUPER important! I recommend a heat protectant before blow drying, and a serum before flat ironing. Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Moroccan Sleek Oil Treatment is my favorite flat ironing serum to use. Using a flat iron with a visible temperature gauge (no high, medium, low!”>, make 1 or 2 passes (no more than 2″> over super small sections of hair. It is CRITICAL that hair be 100% dry before flat ironing to prevent bubbling within the shaft. Also, while temperature tolerance varies head-to-head, it is generally a good idea to keep flat iron temperatures below 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, under 380 degrees. Click here for more in-depth information about flat ironing hair.

Step 3: Moisturize and Maintain

Maintaining moisture levels in heat stretched hair can be difficult. Water-based anything will cause immediate reversion. But at the same time, water is the one true moisturizer. Talk about a paradox! One of the best ways to combat this is to regularly moisturize the hair with an oil that is known to penetrate the hair shaft. Easiest, most accessible, and affordable is coconut oil. Applying it sparingly throughout your stretched hair stint will help keep the hair moisturized, and protect the ends which are incredibly prone to drying out.

Other oils that penetrate the hair shaft (although not as effectively as coconut oil”> are: grapeseed oil, argan oil, palm kernel oil, and flaxseed oil. Ucuuba butter is also known to penetrate the hair. At this stage, it is super important to avoid silicone-based serums. They don’t penetrate the hair, and they can have a mild occlusive effect and prevent other moisturizers from getting in as well. Although it may be more expensive, 100% pure oil is best. Cold pressed, virgin, and unrefined is even better.

Follow more of my tips for transitioners and curly girls on my blog, ManeObjective.com & stay in touch with me through my Instagram, @ManeObjective.

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This article was originally published in February 2014 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.

Living with Psoriasis and Curly Hair

christina patrice psoriasis

I remember it like it was yesterday.

My freshman year of high school, I woke up to prepare for school and noticed that there were scaly lesions on my arms and legs. Panicking, I showed my parents.

After a week went by, the scaly patches had spread to my face, back, and scalp — leaving me itchy and humiliated.

Was it eczema? A rash? They told me to put on some vaseline, and they’d monitor the situation. After a week went by, the scaly patches had spread to my face, back, and scalp — leaving me itchy and humiliated.

I mean, could you imagine? Starting your high school career with patches of scaly skin all over you? Needless to say, I have no pictures from my first year of high school. In the meantime, my mom took me to the doctor, who referred me to a dermatologist, who handed down the official diagnosis — psoriasis. 

At the time, I didn’t know what it meant. I just wanted it to hurry up and be over with so I could look normal and stop wearing hoodies, headbands, and long pants in 90 degree weather. I spent the next few months using topical creams like Dovonex and Clobetasol to supplement the twice per week UV light therapy sessions. I remember the one time I cranked the light up too high, and sunburned the hell out of myself. Needless to say, I was in a lot of pain and even more embarrassed when my burnt skin began to crack and peel.

Luckily, those treatments were effective, and I was able to finish high school in a fairly normal fashion. That was almost 15 years ago.

As an adult, I still live every day with psoriasis. I won’t pretend like it doesn’t impact me — because it does. There are times of the year where it’s worse, because the air is colder, the sun isn’t out as much, or because I’m under stress (or had some alcohol”>. I’m able to manage the psoriasis on my body fairly well (although I do wish it wasn’t there”>, but the most challenging place of all is to have it on my scalp.

I’m sure you’ve seen it in some of my pictures, noticed that I wash my hair frequently, or even wondered why I never do protective styles. The truth is, those are adjustments I’ve had to make to my regimen to accommodate living with psoriasis and curly hair. As much as I would love to, I can’t throw my hair in some faux locs or into a braided updo for weeks on end. I have to be able to cleanse my scalp and remove flakes every few days. It just is what it is. I wear wash and go’s because it’s the easiest style to manage when washing your hair twice per week.

I have to be mindful of what products I use in my hair, and avoid those that have skin irritants and synthetic fragrance

I have to be mindful of what products I use in my hair, and avoid those that have skin irritants and synthetic fragrance high up on the list. I don’t often wear high buns and pulled up ponytails, because well honestly, the psoriasis behind my ears is a little off-putting (and kind of embarrassing for me”>.

Most people don’t understand psoriasis, and who can blame them? Most doctors don’t understand psoriasis. Psoriasis is believed to be an auto-immune disease linked to the immune system and genetics, where scales of skin grow at an abnormally fast rate. It is most commonly seen on the elbows, knees, and scalp, although it can occur anywhere on the body. Usually something triggers psoriasis, like stress or a traumatic event. For me personally, I can’t call it trigger-wise. It sort of just happened — but from a genetic standpoint parents and relatives did suffer from other skin disorders, so there’s that. Psoriasis is not contagious, and those diagnosed with it can typically manage it through any number of treatments.

Because there is no cure for psoriasis and how it works isn’t wholly understood, the best sufferers can hope for is to manage it and isolate different triggers that cause flare-ups.

Product recommendations

Here are some of my product recommendations for the scalp specifically:

  • Henna: I don’t know why it works, how it works, or even if it’s supposed to work. But I do notice that with regular henna treatments, my scalp has less itching and flaking in the days and weeks following.

  • Be Kekoa Scalp Enzyme Spray: Loosens Plaques and soothes itching.

  • SheaMoisture African Black Soap Purification Masque: Helps manage flaking.

  • Avocado Oil: Loosens plaques and soothes itching/dryness.

  • Alaffia African Black Soap: Helps manage flaking.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar rinses: Helps manage flaking.

How to care for your hair

  1. Hot oil treatments on wash day. Before you wash your hair, let warm oil (like avocado, or grapeseed”> sit on your scalp and hair for at least 30 minutes. This will help loosen the scalp plaques and make them easier to remove during cleansing

  2. Avoid scratching roughly with nails. I know, your scalp itches. I understand. But scratching to the point of cracking already traumatized skin is a recipe for painful infection. Oh, and when you do get a little infected lump, chances are it will (at least temporarily”> become a small bald spot.

  3. Wash your hair every few days with psoriasis friendly products. Avoid anything with artificial fragrance listed in the top 5-7 ingredients, because it has a high potential to irritate the scalp.

How to live with psoriasis

Here are a few general pieces of advice for living with psoriasis:

  1. Seek medical attention. First and foremost. Get a definitive diagnosis from a dermatologist before you move forward with treatments, topical steroids, vitamins, or any homeopathic solutions.
  2. Being active helps. It relieves stress, which can exacerbate the condition.
  3. Keep stress to a minimum, or try to be as stress-free as possible.
  4. Take advantage of the sun whenever possible. Sunlight/UVA exposure has been shown to help slow the growth of skin plaques.
  5. Avoid or minimize alcohol consumption. This one sucks, but alcohol dries out the skin and dehydrates the body — both of which can make psoriasis flare-ups worse.
  6. Try experimenting with your diet. Eliminating dairy, processed sugars, or even certain types of grain has been shown to help certain sufferers. Everybody is different, so just be open to trying different things.
  7. Shea butter is your friend. Not only is it soothing, but as a thick moisturizer it helps create a protective barrier on the skin to avoid drying out easily.
  8. Rotate your treatment options. Psoriasis adapts to certain treatments, so be prepared to switch it up every few months or so.

To sum it up

Living with psoriasis is difficult, but with the right tools information, you can most certainly manage it. I’m currently trying out different dietary changes, and incorporating a new supplement into my regimen. I’ll report back on how successful it was over on my blog maneobjective.com.

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How do you manage psoriasis or another skin and scalp condition with curly hair?

9 of the Best Moisturizers for Transitioning Hair

In the curly/kinky hair community, there are two streams of thought – big chop and transitioning.

Those who just want to do away with their damaged, relaxed, or heat damaged hair opt for the big chop and learn to care for their natural hair as it grows. Transitioners on the other hand, coddle along two textures of hair (natural and damaged”>, to retain length, or have their natural hair grow out to a length they feel comfortable with before cutting the rest. I am a long term transitioner – I’ve been transitioning from heat damage for 20 months (almost 21 – woo hoo!”> because honestly, I’ve never had short hair and I think my head is too big to rock a TWA (teeny weeny afro”>. In the nearly 2 years that I’ve been transitioning, I’ve gone through tons of products; some failures, and some successes. In spite of all the products I’ve tried, loved, and hated, one thing remained constant – the need to moisturize effectively.

Effective moisturizing for transitioners can be tricky.

Sometimes the natural texture is more thirsty than the relaxed or straightened ends. If your moisturizer is too heavy, your natural growth feels lovely, but the ends begin looking like wet noodles. On the other hand if your moisturizer is too light, your ends feel perfectly nourished while the natural hair looks parched. And at the same time, all transitioners are worried about preventing breakage at the line of demarcation between newly grown hair and old damaged or relaxed ends.

What’s a transitioner to do?

Check out these moisturizers that are great for transitioning hair of all types. Even the heaviest ones are light enough for transitioning tresses! Added bonus: aside from all the wonderful herbs, extracts, butters, and oils, all of these products are water-based so they are able to hydrate, nourish, and protect all at the same time.

1. Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream

Based in Olive Oil and water infused with haircare herbs like Burdock Root, Nettle and Oatstraw, this thick and creamy moisturizer is perfect for drier textures of newly grown natural hair. The entire Qhemet Biologics line is designed for super dry hair, but this gem in particular is lighter than the famed Alma and Olive Heavy Cream – making it perfect for transitioners trying to balance and moisturize two textures. The herbal infusions help strengthen hair, prevent breakage, impart shine, and improve elasticity – all things transitioners need!

2. SheaMoisture Yucca and Aloe Thickening Growth Milk

A popular brand loved by many, Shea Moisture has tons of natural product offerings for all hair types. Where curly holy grails like the Curl Enhancing Smoothie can be a little too thick or heavy for some transitioners, the Yucca and Aloe Thickening Growth Milk based in shea butter, coconut oil, and mango seed butter is just the right consistency for transitioners with thirsty hair that need nourishment, shine, elasticity, and anti-breakage help.

3. Soultanicals Fluffalicious Curl Nutricious

Fluffalicious Curl Nutricious is a lightweight, fluffy whip that packs a moisturizing punch. Although seemingly less dense than other moisturizers, it packs a nourishing punch thanks to aloe vera juice, rice bran oil, avocado oils, and water infused with botanical extracts like blue malva and calendula that help strengthen, improve elasticity, and impart shine to the hair. Fluffalicious is great for all types of hair, but works especially well for fine natural and transitioning strands that tend to be weighed down by heavier oils and butters.

4. Curls Whipped Cream

Along the same lines as Fluffalicious, Curls Whipped Cream is an incredibly light, whipped cream (hence the name”> that also moisturizes incredibly well. The sweet smelling whip is based in certified organic goodies like aloe vera juice, soybean, coconut, and sunflower oils – all of which help hydrate, nourish, balance, and improve the elasticity of the hair. Whipped cream’s blend of essential oils, extracts, and more make it ideal for any hair type. 

5. TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer

TGIN’s creamy moisturizer is really great for most textures of natural and transitioning hair. It may be a tad too heavy for super fine textures, but the shea and cocoa butters, olive, coconut, and sweet almond oils make this moisturizer an ideal hydrator and nourisher by imparting shine, improving elasticity, and softening the hair. It is a great moisturizer that can also seal without weighing transitioner hair down! For a lighter touch, TGIN’s Twist and Define Cream is a great option as well.

6. Eden Body Works Coconut Shea Pudding Soufflé

A fan favorite, Eden BodyWorks knows just how to help transitioners get over the moisturizing hump with their all-natural pudding soufflé. Blending coconut oil, shea butter, and aloe vera, this pudding is light, creamy, and works perfectly for moderately dry transitioning and natural hair by moisturizing, lightly sealing, improving elasticity and shine, while helping to balance pH. For thirstier tresses, the Coconut Shea Curl Defining Crème is a great option from the Eden BodyWorks line.

7. Hairitage Hydration Cocoaloe Hair Hydrator Lotion

This super blend of aloe vera gel, olive butter, and coconut oil is perfect for parched tresses and transitioning hair that needs TLC without being weighed down. Anything aloe based is bound to be light, moisturizing, and pH-balancing – and this lotion is no exception!

8. Camille Rose Naturals Fresh Curl

Fresh Curl will nourish any texture of hair, but it works especially well for those with thin/fine strands that need love without weighing transitioning or newly natural hair down. The castor and avocado oil blend is great for moisture, light sealing, and improving elasticity while the hydrolyzed protein gives transitioning hair a boost by locking in to chipped and damaged cuticles.

9. Kurlee Belle Kurl Defining Crème

Shea Butter, coconut, and jojoba oils bring this product to life, making it great for transitioning tresses. It moisturizes effectively, seals lightly, and helps impart shine, improve elasticity, and nourish the hair. It is on the thicker side and ideal for drier hair textures. But it can also be used for finer hair as a styling product to create definition. Talk about 2 for 1!

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Inahsi Naturals Product Line Review For 3C Hair

Founded and run by husband and wife team Brian and Rhonda Marshall, Inahsi Naturals is quickly emerging as a serious contender in the natural hair care world. Rhonda is a cosmetic chemist (and science teacher!”> by trade, with the degrees to back it up. She has been whipping up natural hair goodies for herself, her daughter, family, and friends for years, which inspired the creation of Inahsi Naturals. Simply put, Rhonda knows her stuff! All of the formulations for Inahsi Naturals are her own creation, and her husband Brian is instrumental in running the business end of the brand. 

I won’t lie, as a product junkie and avid proponent of supporting small businesses, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Inahsi Naturals products.

The Inahsi Naturals hair collection consists of three products — the Aloe Hibiscus Leave-In Conditioner, Coconut Avocado Curl Defining Custard, and Moisturizing Hair Whip. The fragrance of all three is “Island Breeze”, and let me just tell you that it smells good enough to eat! The light, sweet, tropical, and slightly fruity aroma makes using these products an even more pleasurable experience. You can get the Inahsi products online at www.inahsi.com.

Since I’m talking about experience here, how about I just dive on in to this review?

Aloe Hibiscus Leave-In

Ingredient List

Distilled Water, Aloe Vera Juice, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Panthenol-DL (Pro Vitamin B5″>, Cetyl alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Hibiscus Extract, Nettle Extract, Horsetail Extract, Marshmallow Root Extract, Silver Dihydrogen Citrate, Potassium Sorbate, Natural Fragrances.

Top Ingredient 411:

  • Aloe Vera Juice: Acts as a natural conditioning agent that restores the hair’s sheen, luster, and shine. It not only makes the hair soft, but it also enhances strength and suppleness.

  • Coconut Oil: Oil high in saturated fats (which is why when cold, it is solid”>. One of the few known oils to penetrate the hair shaft and truly moisturize hair. Coconut oil helps to moisturize, seal, and prevent breakage.

  • Castor Seed Oil: Thick, highly viscous oil with antibacterial, antifungal, and humectant properties. It is also a great moisture sealant, and promotes hair thickening and growth.

  • Hyaluronic Acid: A gel-like molecule naturally produced within the human body that hydrates the skin and hair, keeping them supple, elastic, plump, and youthful. Hyaluronic Acid applied topically to the hair, scalp, and skin boosts hydration and fights the signs of aging and damage.

  • Panthenol: Vitamin B5, known for quick absorption into hair and providing moisture control.

Product Performance

Of all the Inahsi Naturals products, I’m pretty sure that the Aloe Hibiscus Leave-In is my favorite, for a number of reasons. Beyond the fragrance that I’m totally infatuated with, I absolutely love everything about the leave-in–from the consistency and feel, to the performance and how well it plays with other products. The leave-in is very creamy and smooth, but does not feel greasy, or waxy whatsoever. It’s the perfect hydrating foundation for whatever style you’re going for. It’s performs exceptionally well as a leave-in, and had enough slip to work effortlessly through my curls. The leave-in is pretty much foolproof–you can use a little or a lot and still get great results without your hair feeling parched or weighed down with product. I also appreciate how well the leave-in played with the Inahsi Naturals Coconut Avocado Curl Defining Custard, and other curl definers by other brands. A leave-in that works well across a number of products is a must for me!

Moisturizing Hair Whip

Ingredient List

Aloe Vera Juice, Shea Butter , Palm Oil, Mango Butter, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Castor seed Oil, Panthenol-DL (Pro Vitamin B5″>, Hibiscus Extract, Nettle Extract, Horsetail Extract, Glycerin, Palm Stearic Acid, Emulsifying Wax, Citric Acid, Silver Dihydrogen Citrate, Potassium Sorbate, Natural Fragrances.

Top Ingredient 411:

  • Aloe Vera Juice: Acts as a natural conditioning agent that restores the hair’s sheen, luster, and shine. It not only makes the hair soft, but it also enhances strength and suppleness.

  • Shea Butter: Emollient fat from the nut of the East or West African shea nut tree, used to moisturize and soften hair.

  • Palm Oil: Oil high in saturated fats that helps to moisturize, seal, and prevent damage to the hair. Contains the most vitamins A and E, which are antioxidants that help prevent and reverse signs of damage and aging in the hair.

  • Mango Butter: Rich in beta carotene, essential fatty acids and vitamins A and E. This ingredient also helps to treat dry skin and protect against future dryness.

  • Coconut Oil: Oil high in saturated fats (which is why when cold, it is solid”>. One of the few known oils to penetrate the hair shaft and truly moisturize hair. Coconut oil helps to moisturize, seal, and prevent breakage.

Product Performance

Hair whip is like the answer to my LOC/LCO sealing prayers. I love butters and oils equally when it comes to sealing my hair, but I often opt for oils because their liquidy nature makes it easier for me to not overuse. If I use too much oil or butter in my hair, it will get stringy and gross in a heartbeat. Thanks to Inahsi Naturals Hair whip, I now have a butter that’s light enough for me to use on the entirety of my hair (not just my edges and ends”>, that is lightweight and easy to distribute, and won’t cause the overuse greasies. Because it contains so many nutrient-packed oils, butters, and humectants, a very little bit goes a long way. I’ve been using Hair Whip nightly as a part of my sealing routine for almost a month now, and the jar barely is 1/4 of the way down. Hair Whip provides my hair with softness, and shine, and is a great companion to the Aloe Hibiscus Leave-In, or any other water-based product to moisturize, and lock in hydration.

Coconut Avocado Curl Defining Custard

Ingredient List

Distilled Water, Methylcellulose, Hydrolyzed Oats, Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Panthenol-DL (Pro Vitamin B5″>, Citric Acid, Silver Dihydrogen Citrate, Potassium Sorbate, Natural Fragrance.

Top Ingredient 411:

  • Methylcellulose: Water-soluble, cellulose derived polymer used as a film forming agent and thickener.

  • Hydrolyzed Oats: Carbohydrate and protein rich oats in soluble form, used to give velvety smoothness to hair when applied. It also forms a light film over the hair when it dries.

  • Avocado Oil: Moisturizing oil that can penetrate the hair’s cortex and strengthen hair, also aids in cimenting cuticle layers (maintaining hydration”>, and improving elasticity.

  • Coconut Oil: Oil high in saturated fats (which is why when cold, it is solid”>. One of the few known oils to penetrate the hair shaft and truly moisturize hair. Coconut oil helps to moisturize, seal, and prevent breakage.

  • Panthenol: Vitamin B5, known for quick absorption into hair and providing moisture control.

Product Performance

To be honest, it took a little while for me to work with the Curl Defining Custard. I’m used to generously applying products to my hair, because I want my wash and go curls to last for 3-4 days (at least”>. I went to town with the Curl Defining Custard, and ended up with some slight flaking on my curls when they dried. Rhonda reached out to me, and gave me a little more insight on using the custard (i.e. don’t overuse product, a little goes a long way”>, and then I achieved wash and go greatness! My hair was shiny, defined, soft, and not dried out at all! Unfortunately, the moment I achieved curly perfection, LA got some ridiculous rain. I was only able to rescue my style into an updo of sorts, but you can totally see that the curls were still popping majorly!

My final thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience with Inahsi Naturals. I’m over the moon with their high quality ingredients, well thought out formulas, and high powered delivery. It’s also wonderful to know that Inahsi Naturals Products are cruelty free, do not contain petroleum, mineral oil, silicones, parabens, or glycols, are non-GMO, and do not contain formaldehyde donor and other harsh preservatives. They’re curly-girl friendly, and work on any texture of hair – from wavy to kinky. And did I mention that the product smell like fulfilled dreams and sweet summer memories?

Will you be giving Inahsi Naturals a try? 
Quick and Dirty Tips: Cleaning Your Hair Tools

I know this goes without saying, but sometimes we product junkies get caught up in the thrill of the product chase and neglect our precious tools. But after weeks of getting serious mileage put on them, the tools we use on our textured tresses need a little TLC. Keep them in tip-top shape with these easy to implement tips for cleaning

Electronic tools (Steamer, Flat iron, Blow dryer”>

Electronic tools are trickier to clean, because well, they’re electronics and cannot be submerged in water like combs and brushes can. The best thing to do here is wet a cloth, towel, t-shirt, or microfiber towel, and add a little bit of soap or shampoo to it. Rub your cloth of choice against itself to create a light lather, and begin wiping your tools down. You can follow behind it with another towel that’s damp with water only to wipe up the soap residue and let the tools air-dry. For grooves around things like flat-iron plates and blow dryer buttons that have gunk and product buildup in them, grab a toothpick or remove the protective bulb from one end of a bobby pin and use the tip to trace the shape of the groove. After that, wipe with the damp soapy cloth, and repeat the process until it’s completely clean.

Insider Tip: If you own a steaming tool like the Q-Redew, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water in the reservoir, and plug it in. Once ready to use, hold the button handle down and allow the water and vinegar mix to come through the holes. The vinegar will help clear up the buildup and mineral deposits that may be impeding the flow of steam.

PHOTO COURTESY OF INDIAN BEAUTY CENTRAL

Combs & Brushes

Cleaning combs and brushes is important to do, and of all tools, they’re the easiest to clean. Combs and brushes can get some serious buildup on them from detangling, parting, curl clumping, and being used to slick edges, ponytails, and buns. To clean your combs and brushes, simply fill a sink or large bowl with warm/hot (not scalding!”> water and immerse your tools. To clean them, you can use dish soap, or even shampoo. You know that shampoo you bought that you thought was going to be great, but actually dried your hair out? Yeah, use that to clean your tools! Once they’re all gussied up, pat them dry with a towel (or paper towels”> and allow them to finish air drying before storing them away.

Insider Tips: For buildup stuck between the teeth of combs, use a nail brush soaked in water and shampoo, and run it briskly up and down the length of the comb teeth, intermittently dunking it in the water to loosen the gunk. To get gunk from your soft bristle brushes, before you clean a comb, use it to work and rake through the bristles, intermittently dunking the brush into the water to loosen buildup.

Styling Tools (Curlformers, Perm Rods, Diffusers”>

Much like combs and brushes, styling tools like flexi rods, perm rods, and Curlformers take a lot of use and abuse from creams, gels, foaming mousses, and more. So naturally, to keep them in tip-top shape, they need to be cleaned from time to time. For perm rods and Curlformers, you can follow the same practice (and even wash them at the same time”> as you would do for combs and brushes. Dunk them, add soap or shampoo, scrub gently (as necessary”>, rinse, pat dry, and allow them to dry completely before storage. Flexi rods are a bit trickier, because of their slightly porous foam material composition, and the button snaps (what are those things? lol”> on each end. There’s ample opportunity for those to become soaked in water and never dry out–rendering them useless. It’s a little more tedious–but wash them like you would your electronic tools. Wipe them down with a cloth containing warm, soapy water. You can rinse them briefly, darting them under the water, and squeeze each rod gently while towel drying. Ensure they are completely dry and there’s no water trapped inside before storage.

Insider Tip: Use your blow dryer (without an attachment”> to expedite the drying process for curling tools.

Scarves, Bonnets, and Satin Pillowcases

Your nighttime hair protection needs to be washed too! Oils, products, (and sometimes drool and sweat #behonest”> end up on our satin pillowcases, bonnets, and satin scarves.  Depending on their origin and materials, there are two different ways to handle cleaning them. If your products are on the cheaper side of life like mine (my satin scarves came from Sally’s, my satin pillowcase from Target”>, throwing them in the washer and dryer with your towels is just fine. I don’t recommend washing them with your clothes, because the product buildup and oils may stain your clothing. However, if you have a nicer, hand-made bonnet, scarf, or pillowcase made of quality materials from EboniCurls or FlorBella Boutique, hand wash it with a gentle detergent or shampoo, and allow it to air-dry on a flat surface to avoid wrinkles.

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When was the last time you cleaned your hair tools?