Search Results: Evelyn

How to Do Bantu Knots
Gerilyn Bantu Knot 1

Photo by Brio Photography

Bantu knots and the resulting bantu knot out are my favorite hairstyle! Any hair type or texture can do bantu knots – for some, it’ll create looser waves, and for others it will have a cute “curly q” effect with a head of tight, springy curls. Since it totally changes the look and curl of your hair, it’s perfect to do on day 3 hair to change up your look mid-week. To do this style, follow these step-by-step instructions:

How to Set Bantu Knots

Divide into manageable sections

Those with longer hair need fewer sections. Also, the curlier you want the bantu knot out to be, the more sections you want. It’ll take some trial and error, but to start, use the same number of sections you usually use to apply gels or do twist outs.


Whether it’s a simple spritz of water and yummy oils or a complete co-wash, hydrate your coils! It makes it more pliable and it will hold the shape of the bantu knot better.

This is optional, as some naturally curlies don’t use hair tools, or your hair may simple be very stretched or tangle-free already. This step is just to ensure you get a smooth, shiny curl and that your ends look neat. Hair should just be damp, not sopping wet. Otherwise, it will take forever to dry!

Apply a styler or curl cream

I suggest something with medium hold, because crunchy bantu knots are a pain to fluff out the next day! Smooth the product down from root to tip.

Here are some styler suggestions:

Roll-twist each section of hair and wind it on top of itself

The goal is to create tiny buns (they’re not really “knots””> on top of your head a la Lauryn Hill or Scary Spice from the Spice Girls. Once you get to the end of the rolled section, you can tuck it under the bantu knot and the pressure should keep it in place. If not, use a bobby pin or hair pin to keep it from unraveling.

How to Style Bantu Knots

Gerilyn Bantu Knot 2

Photo by Brio Photography

At this point, you have a choice. You can wear the bantu knots as a style themselves or you can blowdry or sit under a dryer to set the style immediately. I usually do this style at night, and by morning it’s air-dried.

The Take Down

Lightly lubricate your hands with your favorite oil or anti-humidity serum. This will prevent frizz if you’re a bit rough taking down the bantu knots.

Gently unravel each bantu knot.

Separate each section and fluff. Try not to cause frizz by constantly pulling apart each section, but manipulate the hair enough to cover the parts in your hair. Some people use an afro pick to lift the roots and hide the parts. If you have a looser texture, just run your hands through your roots and stop when you get to the curl formation.

You’re done! Enjoy your new ‘do!

Read More:

Our Favorite Bantu Knot Outs

Forget-Me-Not: Bantu Knots

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

Color Me Curly: How to Dye Type 4 Hair

Image: @iknowleee

Coloring curly hair is like caring for a baby’s skin.
Nicola Forbes Martin, Design Essentials

Type 4 hair is versatile in many ways—certain products and styles, such as twists or braids, can achieve different curl patterns, from tight coils to waves and anywhere in between. Experimenting with these techniques is part of the naturally curly experience, but sometimes what you really crave is a burst of color, right?

Dyeing any type of hair may involve a chemical process that should be taken seriously. Fortunately, there are many ways to ensure that your new color comes out right, and the health of your hair stays intact.

Permanent vs. Temporary Hair Color

There are 3 main types of color—permanent, semi or demi permanent, and temporary.

Permanent color requires the hair cuticle to be lifted and alters the proteins that give us our natural hair color. Temporary color, on the other hand, puts a layer of color on top of the hair strand. These are usually sold as “rinses,” and will fade with several shampoos.

Coloring hair has less to do with texture (coarse, fine, etc.”> and more to do with porosity. Porosity is the hair’s ability to hold and retain moisture. So not only do the layers of your cuticle have to lift to let color/moisture in, they have to close back down to keep it in.

Coloring hair has less to do with texture (coarse, fine, etc.”> and more to do with porosity.

Titi Branch, Co-Founder of Miss Jessie’s, told NaturallyCurly, “A cuticle that is rougher (kinkier textures”> is actually more porous and more likely to take color faster. Wavier textures tend to have a smoother cuticle (and are more likely to be more resistant to color”> unless there has been some chemical processing to cause a looser curl pattern to be more porous.”

“Coloring curly hair is like caring for a baby’s skin. Curly hair is more fragile and requires more moisture than other hair textures. It is healthiest when lifted/lightened no more than 3 levels,” says stylist Nicola Forbes Martin, an educator atDesign Essentials. “Remember, slow and steady wins the race when coloring curly hair.”

While it’s true that coily hair can be more porous, which is good for retaining color, hair can also be overly porous—the cuticle’s layers don’t close back tight enough to hold moisture in. This means extremely dry hair. Remember! Different porosity, texture, curl pattern are something we have naturally. Learn to maintain, not complain.

Which is right for you?

What color do you want? Beach blond? Auburn? Red? If your hair is naturally dark, coloring hair very light is “always a risk,” according to Branch.

Hair must be bleached, meaning a chemical (usually ammonia”> will “decolorize” the hair, then add the lighter color to the “blank slate.” This is pure chemistry. Professional expertise is advised.

“Hair that is dark typically bleaches to an orange or yellow stage, which is usually unflattering. The colorist must have a grasp of color theory to know what colors to deposit on hair to remove the unwanted yellow or orange tone,” Branch says.

But if you want to go with a color that is less drastic, there’s always the do-it-yourself store-bought color. Do-it-yourself jobs should really only be for temporary rinses and semi-permanent color. Regardless, read and follow the instructions to the tee. Just like you wouldn’t disregard instructions for a major reconstructive protein treatment, you shouldn’t ignore box directions.

Before You Color
  • Test a strand!
  • Dyeing to a very light color? Go to a professional.
  • If you don’t know how a color will look, set up a color consultation. Take a picture with you.
  • Be sure to have a deep conditioner on hand for after-color care

Deep condition after any permanent chemical dye. Coloring means opening up those hair cuticles—make sure they close back down! Bear in mind permanent color is not for everyone, Branch says. Chemicals will only further damage dry, over-porous hair.


Image: istock

Natural alternatives to hair color

Dyes with harsh chemicals are not the only option if you want colorful tresses. Buy box (or ask your stylist if he/she uses”> dyes without ammonia or PPD. Not only can they damage your hair over time, but some are allergic to PPD.

There are also natural alternatives, such as henna.

You may have seen henna used as body art on the hands, but it can also be used as a hair color. Henna is a plant native to subtropical regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia. It’s already been used for centuries as a way to add color to skin and hair.

Henna should be available at any African or Asian ethnic market, but you can order it online as well. Just like ordering anything organic or natural, be cautious of what you’re purchasing. “Body Art Quality Henna” is what you’re looking for. Otherwise, there could be other chemicals/pigments added that will alter your henna experience. The amount of henna to use depends on the thickness and length of your hair. Start with 100 g to be safe, or ask a natural stylist what she would recommend.

It will come as a powder, and must be made into a paste for hair application. Henna gives a red tint to hair. But for dark hair, it will simply give a delicate red highlight you can see in the sunlight. Though it adds reddish tint, the paste itself is not red at all! This is normal! If the package claims to color hair blonde or black, it is not natural henna.

Hair Henna Recipe

Henna is also said to provide a deep conditioning treatment. Some say it “loosens up the curl.” Everyone’s experience will be different.

You will need:
  • mixing bowl
  • plastic wrap
  • spoon/spatula
  • water
  • lemon or lime juice
  • package of henna
  • a shower cap
  1. Mix henna, 1 cup water and lemon/lime juice into a thick paste, like toothpaste or cake frosting. The citrus activates the natural dye.
  2. Cover mixture with plastic wrap and let sit until you see a physical difference in the color (overnight, to be safe — maybe 24 hours”>. It may change from a greenish to a browner color.
  3. Next day, on damp, freshly washed/detangled hair, apply henna to hair. It helps if you section off the hair. Smooth it, don’t comb it, through the hair. Like, dare I say, applying a relaxer…
  4. Put a shower cap tightly around your hair (if your ‘fro is larger, plastic wrap may be necessary as well”>. Leave on for 4 hours.
  5. Rinse out. This may take a while, since henna is thick and weighs the hair down. There’s potential for a mess! Take your time—maybe just let the water run over your hair first, then methodically rinse it out.

Coloring hair definitely has an effect on the moisture protein balance because with permanent color a chemical reaction is taking place inside the strand weakening the cuticle layer causing the hair to be more porous. The more porous the quicker your hair absorbs moisture. If it’s too porous the hair doesn’t retain any moisture and remains dry to the touch. This is always a risk with coloring hair.

Extend your color

Since we love it when our hair grows and prospers, what about touch-ups?

“As far as color maintenance, luckily for us curlies we don’t feel the pressure to retouch a root as quickly as our straighter haired counterparts,” Branch says. As our natural color grows in—because the strand is growing from the root in a curly formation—it takes a longer time for that natural root color to be exposed, thereby extending the time that we need a root touch-up, she adds.

To extend the life of your color, don’t use sulfate shampoos—it will strip the hair more easily. Try any moisture-rich, sulfate-free shampoo.

“When curly or kinky hair is colored properly nothing could be more beautiful,” Titi said. “The way a curl is accented with the addition of color is simply stunning. Is coloring good for your hair? No. But does it make it look good? Absolutely.”

The possibilities are endless with hair color. Just prioritize healthy hair over “hip” hair. And ask a professional!

How to Do a Natural Hair Blowout

Wanna take your ‘fro to new heights? Try a natural hair blow out! Using a blow dryer with a comb attachment will stretch out your coils and show off more of your length. You can rock it as is, or style it for a larger, longer version of your staple styles.

Everyone’s technique for blowouts is different — it depends on the how long your hair is, how textured it is, and how much shrinkage you’d be trying to stretch out. My hair shrinks to about one-third of its real length, so my blowout process requires a bit of hard work

I recommended oils that have a very high smoke point, and can withstand high temperatures without frying your hair!

Read more: Why Oil Doesn’t Work As a Good Heat Protectant

Essential Blowout Tools

  • Blow dryer with comb attachment
  • Butterfly or duck bill clips
  • Heat protectant

Watch my “creative solutions” for making my blowout work and hear my thoughts on what life as a natural is really like.

Blowout Tips


Ideally, a blowout is done on freshly washed, conditioned, and detangled hair. That will cut down the time needed to comb it dry. The less time exposed to heat, the better, because while this style can be pretty fabulous (you’ll definitely get compliments…or at least comments”>, heat can really damage fragile hair.

Heat protect

Excessive heat on the hair can (1″> weaken and destroy the hair proteins (2″> change the natural oils in hair that help hold it together (3″> dry up internal moisture of the strand. To prevent heat damage, you’ll need a heat protectant. While some products are labeled ‘heat protectant,’ any product that coats the hair before you apply heat is essentially protecting the strands from damage. You can start by giving your washed and detangled hair a deep conditioning treatment.

Related: Top 10 Products for Your Best Blowout

After that, divide your hair into manageable sections. Personally, I detangle, shampoo, and deep condition my hair in two-strand twists, so my hair is never really loose anyway during the process. I grab a twist to start and clip the rest back.

Undo the twist and run a bit of your heat protectant from root to tip, focusing on the ends, which are the oldest and weakest part of your hair. If using a spray, don’t saturate the hair—it’ll leave a sticky feeling and will make the hair too wet to blow dry quickly and efficiently. Using medium heat (because using cool would take forever on my length and curl pattern”>, run the comb attachment through your hair just like you would a wide-toothed comb — gently and from root to tip, working your way up. Continue with the other twists/sections.

For blowouts, you’re looking to stretch the hair, like a huge undefined twist out. Blow it out too much, and it may look more like you’ve passed a flat iron over it. Many people actually blow out their hair before flat ironing it. So just stop when you’ve reach your desired fro!

The result should be fluffy, soft, huge hair! Questions? Comments? Talk to me below!

This article was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for grammar and clarity. 

Baking Soda: How Does it Actually Work?

Perusing the thousands of YouTube videos about natural hair, I’ve stumbled upon many mixtures and concoctions, all using ingredients found in the fridge or pantry. “Great,” I thought, “No more trips to the store — no more product junkie!”

I was so eager to try the first thing that promoted soft hair or springy coils. But what I failed to do was research exactly what I was putting into my hair, and how my hair would react. We have to dive a little into chemistry and biology to truly understand why our hair reacts the way it does, no matter if the ingredient is “natural” or good enough to eat.

First up is the baking soda shampoo and conditioner mix. Is it actually good for our hair? Why or not? After receiving lackluster results, I decided to find out.

Many naturals have promoted baking soda because it cleanses the hair as a shampoo and softens the hair as a conditioner. Some have even promoted it as something to loosen the curl pattern.

It’s all about the pH

Many naturals have promoted baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, as an ingredient that cleanses the hair as a shampoo and softens the hair as a conditioner. Some have even promoted it as something to loosen the curl pattern.

Baking soda is in fact, a chemical, so to understand its effects on our hair, we need to understand its pH. If you think back to good ol’ high school chemistry, pH ranges from 0–14, acid to base (alkaline”>. If something is an acid, it has more hydrogen ions. If something is alkaline, it has more hydroxide ions. A neutral pH is 7.0—the pH of distilled water.

A common example of an acid is lemon juice, with a pH of 2 or 3. Sodium hydroxide, the chemical used in lye relaxers for hair, is extremely alkaline with a pH of 14 (yikes!”>.

Our hair, when wet, has a pH of about 4.5-5.5. As you can see, human hair is slightly acidic when in its natural state. When applying products to our hair, the key is BALANCE. For our hair to stay natural and healthy, the pH must remain the same. Even the water we use in the shower will raise the pH of our hair! This is why hair products are usually pH balanced. The company takes pH into consideration when creating the product.

What baking soda actually does to your hair

With this newfound respect for balance, here is the most important piece of information. Baking soda, the product I was putting in my hair, has a whopping pH of 9.0! It was raising the pH of my hair! The fact that something is acidic or alkaline is more than just a label. It actually affects our strands in a certain way.

Picture each strand of hair as a tube of layers. The outermost layer is called the cuticle. An acid will close the cuticle layers, while a base will open them. Neither action is bad on its own. But once again, balance is key.

When the cuticle is raised, moisture is allowed into the hair, but it is also let out. If something isn’t done to close the cuticle back up, any moisture that was applied is lost. Things like temperature even affect the hair cuticle. For example, hot water opens the cuticle, while cold water shocks it shut. That is why most naturals shampoo their hair with warm water, but rinse the conditioner out with cold.

So, alkalines open the cuticle, while acids close it. Baking soda mixtures like the rinse and conditioner will cause our hair to absorb too much water (yes there is such a thing as too much moisture!”>. Without anything to lower the pH of our hair back to normal 4.5- 5.5 and close those layers, the moisture will not be retained. As a result, those layers will stay raised and jagged, making the hair feel rough and unmanageable.

How to find the balance

If you have tried the baking soda mixtures, you probably noticed the grittiness of the concoction. On the molecular level, baking soda is actual quite abrasive. After all, we use it to scrub the grime off our pots and pans, right?

When we use it for heavy cleaning, we are also taking advantage of its absorbency. In fact, our straight-haired friends can use it as a dry shampoo. Applied to the roots, it soaks up the oil that visibly travels down the strands of a straight hair.

This led me to question: if it is used to soak up oily hair, how is it possible that it would benefit my coily, dry 4b hair? I admit, this would be a good strong cleanser after a protective style like kinky-twist extensions. But that’s when I haven’t been able to wash my hair for 2 months!

I thought back to my experience with the baking soda conditioner. It is important to note that the mixture did consist of my favorite store-bought conditioner, so the pH was probably not as alkaline as pure baking soda. Nonetheless, the goal of our hair products should be to leave the pH of our hair balanced, or at least move it in the acidic direction where it belongs, so the cuticle will lie flat, locking precious moisture in.

According to my research and experience, the curlier/kinkier the hair, the more beneficial it would be to just leave this product in your pantry.

Do It Yourself

If you’re looking to see how baking soda affects your hair, try one of these DIY recipes and tell us how it goes!

Baking Soda Rinse

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 1 cup warm water

Allow to dissolve, and apply to scalp and hair. Massage. Can be used after regular shampooing or in place of it.

Baking Soda Conditioner

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 1 cup of your favorite conditioner

Mix thoroughly and smooth onto hair. let sit with shower cap for 15-20 minutes. Rinse.

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What’s your experience with baking soda?
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This article was originally published in 2011 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.
Top 10 Curl-Defining Hair Products

Looking for a product that will define your natural curl pattern?

There are so many gels, custards and curl creams, that it can be confusing and frustrating to find the right one, so we’ve put together a list of our favorite top curl definers. If you test any of these products out please remember: no two heads of hair are the same, even if they fall in the same curl category. What works for thin 4b hair may not work for thick 4b hair, and what you thought wouldn’t work on your hair texture may turn out to be a Holy Grail!

And keep reading for more information about each product.

1. Tigi Catwalk Curlesque Curls Rock Amplifier

Tigi’s Curls Rock Amplifier has the texture of a creamy hair lotion. Curlies with different curl patterns love it and agree on one thing: you only need about a pea-sized amount to get defined hair. If you apply too much to each section, expect crunchy curls! Make sure to use your favorite leave-in conditioner underneath so the styler doesn’t dry out your hair.

2. Kinky-Curly Curling Custard

Most naturals tell us that Kinky-Curly Curling Custard is a tough product to master. It’s full of nourishing botanicals like agave nectar extract, aloe vera juice and marshmallow, and has a very slippery and goopy texture. A little goes a long way, as it instantly clumps and smoothes your coils. Expect extremely shiny and springy coils. Although it works best on very tight, coarse coils in the “4” category, it might pack too much of a punch for loose curls. Be sure to pair it with a leave in conditioner like Kinky-Curly Knot Today.

3. Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Gel

The Ouidad brand is on many a holy grail list and it’s because their products don’t make you choose between defined and moisturized hair – you can have both! Meadowfoam seed oil helps hydrate and clump, leaving you with juicy curls. Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Gel is great for thick Type 3 curls.

4. Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

It’s dense, rich, and packed with nourishing ingredients like aloe, vitamin E, and coconut oil. If you don’t like the crunch of gels, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie provides a more natural, touchable look. Since it’s not a gel, it might be difficult to define tighter coils and springs. Those with looser curls can expect soft, shiny, and light curls instead of the wet, heavy look that gels might give.

5. AG Re:coil

Re:coil is a creamy, lightweight frizz fighter. Those who’ve had great results gush about bouncy, shiny, carefree curls. Those who had to pass said it wasn’t heavy enough for coarser hair textures. In humid months, use it under your favorite gel to keep the frizzies at bay. As it gets colder, it’s great as a standalone product.

6. Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper

Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper is a water-based styler fights frizz and gently clumps curls, so those with thick, 3b and up hair may want to pair it with a gel for more definition and hold. It’s smooth like a serum, but creates definition like a gel. If you don’t like layering products or it doesn’t take much to define your waves or curls, give Curl Keeper a try. You can reactivate it with water as the week progresses!

7. Miss Jessie’s Quick Curls

Give Quick Curls a try if you have waves and loose curls or fine, thin curlier hair. It’s a light cream, so it won’t weigh down your hair. If your hair regimen has more scrunching than meticulous raking and finger styling, your hair might love this product.

8. Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Creme

Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Creme combines the moisturizing benefits of a leave-in conditioner with the smoothing and holding properties of a gel. It’s lighter than dense creams or stiff gels, and can act as your leave-in and styler in one! Those with 3c-4a hair seem to love this product. Give it a try if you want a light, bouncy wash and go.

9. Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue

A lot thicker than Quick Curls, Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue is meant for dense, thick heads of highly textured hair! The Miss Jessie’s website says this medium hold styling cream is perfect for “pogo stick oingy boingy curls”. Rake and smooth it onto your hair section by section and watch the curls bounce back!

10. Curls Curl Gel-les’C

Curls Curl Gel-les’C is a very lightweight, serum-like gel, perfect for preventing frizz on looser curls and defining fine (as opposed to coarse”>, tight coils. If you need high hold and staying power, this might be better to use on top of a conventional gel.

What’s your favorite curl defining product?


This article was originally published in August 2010 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.

Top 10 Ingredients to Look For in Natural Hair Products

The more we embrace our natural texture, the more we learn that organic and natural hair products work best. There are hundreds of ingredients found in nature that can be used in hair products. Healthy ingredients aren’t for textured hair alone! These ingredients work to make everybody’s hair healthier. Below is a list of ten popular ingredients in natural hair products and what they provide for our hair.

Natural Hair Product Ingredients

10 Tips for Transitioning to Natural Hair

Image: istockphoto

Want to go natural without doing the Big Chop? Transitioning to natural hair is a simple process of growing out your natural texture before cutting off the processed or damaged ends.

1. Don’t set a time just yet

You don’t have to know when you’ll rock your 100% natural hair right away! Give yourself about 4 months — by then, you should have enough growth to get excited!

More: Curly Hair Growth Chart 

2. Find your go-to transitioning style

The goal is to blend two VERY different textures of hair into one. Try a bantu knot out or a natural girl’s favorite: the twist out. These stretched styles will help make your two different textures have a unified curl pattern.

3. Detangle when hair is wet

Always detangle when your hair is wet and slippery with conditioner using a wide-toothed comb or your fingers. Start at the ends and work your way up. This process takes patience, so only attempt this when you have the time to be gentle with your hair – rushing can lead to frustration and breakage.

More: How to Detangle Coily Hair

4. Keep your scalp clean

You’ll have to do some experimenting, but cleanse your scalp anywhere from every two days to every two weeks.

5. Keep your hair moisturized

Dry hair breaks. Nothing beats water when it comes to moisturizing hair, but you can also add your favorite moisturizing natural hair products on top to seal it in.

More: 9 of the Best Moisturizers for Transitioning Hair

6. Get used to deep conditioning

Hair masks are no longer a special treat! Naturally curly hair usually doesn’t lack protein, so stick with deep moisturizing treatments.

More: Top 10 Deep Conditioners for Transitioning Hair

7. Wind down your heat usage

No need for a blow dryer or flat iron any more. Try air drying all of your styles instead.

More: How to Dry Curly Hair

8. Protect your edges

Avoid transitioning styles that put too much tension on your temples and the nape of your neck. The hair there is usually finer, thinner and more delicate!

9. Be gentle

The point where your natural texture meets your straight hair (it’s called the line of demarcation”> is THE weakest part of you hair. Take your time when you detangle and style your hair so as to avoid breakage here.

10. Gradually cut damaged ends

Depending on the length you had to start with, get a good trim each month. Remember to use hair shears and not regular scissors!

Remember: these tips are designed to nurture your naturally curly hair, because in the end, THAT is what you’ll be keeping. Good luck and congrats on going natural! We’re here to help!

This article was originally published in August 2010 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.

Repairing Thin Edges

When it comes to being natural, there are a few concerns most of us share. We need tips for detangling, moisturizing, and styling our hair. But there’s one thing some of us (me included”> have just not gotten the hang of: Thinning edges.

I’m sure we all saw Naomi Campbell’s picture floating around the Internet, on some natural hair thread or at the bottom of a very long forwarding list.

We all winced. | Photo credit: XPOSURE

When we talk about thinning hair, we mean that the number of hairs on our head is decreasing. We are losing (or failing to grow”> whole strands of hair. Hair loss is mostly a result of a damaged hair follicle. The follicle is a part of the skin/scalp that packs old cells together to form a strand of hair. It starts below the visible surface of the skin but sticks up a tiny bit (that’s why we get goosebumps”>.

And while hair loss can be a sign of a more serious problem or a result of medications (think: chemotherapy”>, the average person can work to correct thinning hair.

The follicle can be damaged by a number of things: chemicals from hair color, relaxers, and vitamin deficiencies. Constant tension on the hair can stress the follicle as well.

Learn what caused your thinning edges.

Braids too tight? Loosen up! – Photo credit:

If it is in your control, STOP doing whatever it was that caused it altogether. Again, if it is a result of a more serious condition, consult your physician.

No matter the texture, everybody has some “baby hair”—the shorter, finer, wispier hair that frames our face…and sticks out of ponytails. But I think those of us with coily or kinky hair experience thinning edges because of the wider variety of styling options we use. I really wanted kinky twists this summer, but I knew my edges couldn’t take it. The twists may have been cute … but a bald spot in the corner wouldn’t be. The type of thinning edges caused by hair styling is called mechanical or traction alopecia.

Healthy hair will flourish. So we must create and preserve healthy conditions.

The first thing to understand is that there is NO set “regimen” for growing your hair in general or edges in particular. No product, whether natural or man-made will cause the hair to safely grow faster. It is true, however, that certain ingredients allow the hair to grow better. All they do is create the best possible conditions for your hair to grow to it’s fullest potential.

Thinning edges? Growth aids can make all the difference! – Photo credit:

Apply growth aids & DHT blockers directly to the hair or scalp!

Growth aids can include oils that you may already be familiar with: grape seed, castor, vatika, avocado, and henna amla oil. Natural growth aids like cinnamon and peppermint extract must be mixed with a carrier oil. They are so potent they may cause irritation, even after dilution so perform a patch test to avoid allergic reactions.

For hair thinning prevention and to reduce hair loss, you will need a DHT blocker. DHT, or Dihydrotestosterone, is a hormone produced by all human beings. When DHT binds to the hair follicle, hair thins and falls out. Since your goal is to reduce the likelihood of thinning edges and hair, you absolutely need DHT blocking treatments like Groganics Hair Growth Treatment to help to increase blood flow to your scalp, prevent breakage, and maintain follicle health.

As nourishing your body indirectly nourishes your hair, you can also apply certain ingredients directly to the scalp and hair. Products that promote a healthy hair and hair follicle either:

  1. Keep the follicle clean, prevent clogged follicles

  2. Stimulate the scalp

  3. Seal in moisture, prevent breakage

  4. Provide protein, fill gaps in the hair cuticle, give it strength

Try one or two of these oils and/or treatments in moderation. Start off slowly, changing maybe one or two things in your regimen, whether more exercise or doing monthly egg deep conditioning treatments.

NOTE: Too much protein can actually give the hair too much structure, and not enough moisture and flexibility. We’re looking for long-term results, not a quick fix.

It’s not uncommon to start looking for natural and/or organic products for your hair. After all, your natural curls are relatively new (especially if you Big Chopped”>. You haven’t developed any habits for your new hair, so it’s easier to begin forming healthier ones. And as the above tips show, trying to thicken your hair will most certainly cause a healthier body in the process.

Happy growing!

Evelyn’s Natural Hair Favorites | February 2016

Working at NaturallyCurly, you can’t help but have somewhat expensive taste. These products are my fave the past couple of months. 

Alikay Naturals Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo

It has a super helpful twist-nozzle that you can apply directly to your scalp. My hair is so soft afterwards.

Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner

I’m not picky about conditioners, but I had to revisit this one. It’s like, the Times New Roman of conditioners. Lots of slip, not too much fragrance. It works on dry hair before shampoo and wet hair after I shampoo!

Camille Rose Naturals Coconut Water Leave-in Detangling Hair Treatment

I use leave-ins two ways. Sometimes I use a spray leave-in, sometimes I’ll use a cream one. If I’ve just shampooed, conditioned, detangled and ready for styling, I’ll go for a creamy one. I believe it’s thick enough to use by itself. It’s not too heavy, absorbs into my hair and refines my coils.

G-Natural Caribbean Coconut Milk Black Honey Leave In Conditioner Spray

If my hair is super dry during the middle of the week, I gravitate toward a leave-in conditioner spray. I don’t want to just use water to refresh. I work hard, so I want to use this. It’s bomb, and not so runny that I might as well have used water.

Bumble & bumble Anti-Humidity Gel Oil

I know what you’re thinking. But I was pleasantly surprised that it was the consistency of some of my favorite stylers. For 7 ounces, it’s $34. I know, but I think it’s important to show yourself some ‘self-care’. My coils and kinks are always super defined and juicy.


What are your favorites right now?

Watch more videos on our channel, The Twist by NaturallyCurly | Follow me on Instagram @EvelynFromTheInternets

How to Create a Healthy Hair Regimen

For those new to the natural scene as well as old time curlies who just haven’t gotten the hang of it, there’s nothing more overwhelming (and time consuming”> than figuring out a healthy hair regimen! Returning or transitioning to natural hair is usually a time of education and experimentation. To avoid wasting products, money and energy, here is a starting point for creating and maintaining a healthy hair regimen.

The object of a hair regimen (in our case”> is to maintain healthy, curly hair. The regimen will change depending on the qualities of your own hair (thick/thin, fine/course, curly/kinky, long/short just to name a few!”> but we all need to achieve certain things with hair maintenance and hygiene.

1. Cleanse

Shampoo is meant to lift the hair cuticle, break up oil and dirt, and suspend it so it can be rinsed away. The goal is to remove environmental debris, product buildup, and production of sebum — the oil our skin naturally secretes.

Our straight-haired counterparts probably can’t go one day without cleansing the hair because it is very easy for oil to travel down a straight strand. But in our case, oil has a harder time traveling down a loose wave, a tight curl, or a fro that sticks up & out! This is why the more textured your hair is, the dryer it feels. Our scalps are creating oil normally — it just cannot reach our hair!

So when we use shampoo, the focus should be on our scalps, since that’s where the dirt’s at. Apply the product to your roots and scalp, scrub with the fingertips, and the lather will make its way down your hair. Don’t toussle or scrunch the hair when shampooing. That could result in tangles!

When you slather shampoo all over your HAIR instead of the scalp, you can expect a rough, “squeaky clean” feeling. Use shampoos that don’t contain sodium laurel (or laureth”> sulfate. These ingredients are much too harsh for hair that isn’t that dirty, and have been known to cause irritation.

Favorite cleansers:

2. Condition/Detangle

Conditioning and detangling are an essential part of a healthy hair regimen since one task helps the other out. Conditioning the hair closes the cuticle, making it smooth, slippery and easier to comb through. Conditioner is supposed to coat the hair.

Remember: conditioner can also be used to gently cleanse the hair! Often times, conditioners have enough cleaning agents to remove dirt, especially if there’s little build up in the hair. If you exercise every day, for example, use a conditioner to wash your hair.

Note that if you use conditioners containing silicones, eventually you will have to use a clarifying shampoo to remove the buildup from your hair. If you don’t, the hair will be dull and lose body.

Favorite conditioners & detanglers

3. Moisturize

As described in the first step, naturally curly hair has a tendency to be dry. Fitting a moisturizer into your healthy hair regimen is as simple as a morning spritz or mid-day pick me up! First and foremost, nothing will replace water. Not all curlies have to completely soak their hair every morning — thick curls or a ‘fro will take forever to air dry! You can simply put the water in a spray bottle and dampen the hair.

When searching for a moisturizing product, water must be pretty high up in the ingredients list. Many moisturizers also contain vitamins and oils that can be soaked into the hair and scalp.

Favorite moisturizers

4. Seal

Sealing ensures that the moisture you put into your hair stays there. Moisture is lost when the cuticle is raised and water leaves the hair. By laying a sealant on top of the hair, moisture is locked in, keeping your hair soft and shiny all day! There are a variety of oils to choose from.

Many popular ingredients in natural hair products are great for adding moisture to your hair. You can even add your favorite oil to the spray bottle of water and knock out steps 3 and 4 at the same time!

Favorite sealants

  • Coconut oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Shea butter

5. Deep Treat/Repair

Nobody’s hair is perfect! We all get breakage, lack moisture, and need help! Treat your hair to something nice! Whether it’s henna to strengthen, or avocado to moisturize, curly hair will benefit from extended exposure to certain ingredients.

Natural hair that has not been processed (color, relaxer, etc”> usually doesn’t lack protein, but the curlier the hair, the more moisture it needs. So to start off, try one of these tasty deep conditioning treatments.This step of your healthy regimen should always be done to clean hair, so all the nutrients and benefits of the treatment are received.

Favorite deep treatments

How Often Should You Do Your Hair Regimen?

Only you know your hair and habits best. The weather, your exercise routine, your styling options, will all effect how frequently you do a certain step in your regimen. If you go to the gym every day, steps 2, 3, & 4 will happen daily. If you live in a cold environment, step 4 is vital to keeping moisture in your hair during the cold, dry months.

What you need to achieve in your regimen will probably change depending on the season. Give yourself at least one month to test it out. Stick with the same products to see true results!

Example Hair Regimen


  • Moisturize w/ aloe vera + water
  • Seal w/ coconut oil


  • Add condition (detangling optional”> with favorite conditioner


  • Add Cleanse & Deep Treatment/Repair
  • Use shampoo
  • Strengthen your hair with a henna treatment followed by a moisture mask of your choosing

Have you found a hair regimen that works for you yet?


The photo above was submitted by our NaturallyCurly reader Rochelle Hyman, if you’d like to submit your own curly selfies (and the steps you used to achieve your look”> post your photos here!
This article was originally published August 2010 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.
I Tried Apple Cider Vinegar as a Hair Cleanser, This is What Happened

One of the reasons I’m glad I went natural is the versatility and experimentation that my coily hair offers. I don’t have to worry about washing my flat iron job out or ruining my perm. I can try different products and techniques, secure in the fact that I can just wash it out if I don’t like it. So cruising through the aisles of my local organic food store, I stumbled upon some apple cider vinegar and remembered a YouTube video from one of my favorite naturals, naptural85.

In her quest to use more natural ingredients in her hair, naptural85 used apple cider vinegar as a shampoo or hair cleanser. It is a great way for naturals to naturally remove product buildup and dirt that accumulates on our hair and scalp over time. She said it added the bounce and shine back to her coils. I bought a bottle (a little over 3 bucks”> and decided to find out if it was just as good as she said.

My afro-textured, Type 4 hair is thiner and fineer than it is thick and coarse, but one thing naptural85 and I share is the coiliness of our hair, which tends to get fuzzy if neglected.

My ACV rinse

I followed naptural85’s recipe of 3 parts water to 1 part apple cider vinegar. She recommends that you pour the mixture generously onto your scalp and massaging the roots to cleanse.

I followed naptural85’s recipe of 3 parts water to 1 part apple cider vinegar.

I did an ACV rinse in place of my weekly shampoo, and I have to admit, my hair was not that dirty, which affected my results. I was distracted by the smell of the ACV, which can be quite strong. I think the ACV rinse would be better after a long stint with braids or kinky twists, or after a rough summer day outside. I am definitely going to try this rinse again, but as for this trial – I didn’t experience any noticeable results. Sometimes (or a lot of the time”> this is just the way natural hair trial and error goes!

What does an ACV rinse actually do?

In my last Pantry Products article, I talked about the importance of pH in restoring health to your hair. In that article, I talked about baking soda and how it is alkaline, or a base. Apple cider vinegar on the other hand, is quite acidic. It has a pH of about 3. Wet hair has a pH of 4.5-5.5. If you add an acidic rinse like apple cider vinegar to the hair, it will further reduce the pH of your hair strands. Making your hair slightly more acidic will close the cuticles of the hair, making the layers lay down flat.

The importance of a flat cuticle

A smooth, flat cuticle will do four things:

  1. Lock in protein and moisture. Flat cuticles will not let out moisture and protein through evaporation.
  2. Add shine to your hair. Light reflects off of smooth surfaces. While you may not have as much shine as a person with bone straight hair, shine is an indicator that your cuticles are smooth and closed.
  3. Flatten the hair for detangling. Raised cuticles give the hair that jagged, rough feeling we often talk about with shampoos that “strip.” These raised cuticles are more likely to grab and snag on each other.
  4. Add elasticity. Remember that low pH substances have more hydrogen ions (as opposed to hydroxide ions”>. The more hydrogen bonds, the more manageable and elastic your hair will be over time.

If your hair tends to get fuzzy and tangled, or loses its luster over time, test out an apple cider vinegar rinse, followed by a thorough conditioning and detangling session. After you’ve perfected your ACV rinse recipe, and used in moderation, apple cider vinegar can be a very beneficial pantry product for our wavy, curly, coily, and kinky hair.

Before You Complain That Your Hair is Dry, Consider This

Evaluate Your Regimen

A basic hair care regimen consists of cleansing, conditioning, and moisturizing. Are you doing those basic things? You need to clarify at least once a month so if you are avoiding shampoo then consider using a sulfate-free shampoo, baking soda, or a co-wash conditioner. Most licensed cosmetologist will advise you to cleanse once a week. Are you following up your cleanser with a conditioner and giving it time to penetrate? Using a daily conditioner, deep conditioner, or masque after cleansing and giving it time to sit for at least 15 min. allows your hair to adjust back to its proper pH level. After rinsing your conditioner, make sure you apply a moisturizer, leave-in conditioner, or milk to help maintain the moisture from the conditioning process. This is not a requirement but most naturals will also seal their hair with an oil or butter as an extra barrier for protection.

Evaluate Your Products

If your regimen consists of a cleanser, conditioner, and moisturizer, then the next thing to evaluate are the ingredients. Pay attention to the ingredients in products that your hair responds well to and the ingredients in products that your hair responds adversely to.

For starters, the main ingredients that most (not all”> naturals will veer away from are sulfates, silicones, and petroleum. Sulfates are used in standard shampoos to help remove buildup and tend to be too harsh for textured hair. Silicones are typically formulated in conditioners (and some shampoos”> to help make your hair easier to comb and seal in moisture. The issue with non-water soluble silicones is that if you do not clarify regularly or cleanse with a sulfate shampoo, then they can build up on the hair and cause dryness. Petroleum and petrolatum is usually formulated in moisturizers (and some conditioner”> to seal moisture in your hair but they leave the hair greasy and dry because moisture from the air cannot penetrate. 

Evaluate Your Styling

How you style your hair can also play a role in how well your hair retains moisture. Wearing loose styles like a picked out afro, twist out, braid out, and Bantu-knot out can leave your hair more vulnerable to being dry because your ends are not protected. Try wearing styles that protect your ends like a bun, French braid, or the roll, tuck, and pin. Regularly using heat tools on high heat can deplete the moisture from your hair. When heat styling, it is important to use a heat protectant to maintain your hair’s moisture and reduce the risk of thermal damage. For a flat iron you want to try to stay under 375 degrees. When using a blow-dryer, it is best to use it while the hair is damp (not wet”> and use low heat with a diffuser attachment. The diffuser attachment will help to evenly disperse the air so that the air is not concentrated on one section.

These are great starting points if you are newly natural and cannot seem to combat dryness. Clean hair, quality products, and mindful styling are the keys maintaining luscious locks. 

What are your keys to combatting dryness?

10 Times #TeamNatural Showed Out At Essence Fest
My Big Easy Celebrity Weekend with Design Essentials!

This year, Essence Fest turned 20! Over 500,000 people touched down in New Orleans for four days of empowerment, musical performances, and parties! The folks at Design Essentials invited me to take part in their Big Easy festivities, and I wanted to share the experience with you, #NaturallyCurly World!

Watch the Video

Below, watch my quick travel vlog from the weekend and click through to read more about my Big Easy weekend with Design Essentials.

Big Easy Celebrity Style Lounge with Ledisi

On Friday, I joined the Design Essentials crew at The W French Quarter for the Big Easy Celebrity Style Lounge. Not going to lie — I made a beeline for the food first! Guests enjoyed a spread of red beans & rice, seafood, and other Louisiana fare.

The lounge was great for pampering and relaxation. Joi Mebane, creator of The Look By Joi was there to minister to your eyebrows. You could sit down for a massage and use luxurious body products from Jones & Rose, enjoy Morning Glamour satin pillowcases for your natural tresses and a free Design Essentials gifting station! The Natural line holds a special place in my heart — the Moisturizing Conditioner was the first product that helped me realize I could finger detangle! No small accomplishment for a #4Chairchick! Guests could stock up on faves or form a custom regimen with the help of the Design Essentials team!

Grammy nominated (and New Orleans born & raised!”> singer Ledisi was the special guest for the afternoon and she is just as magical in person as she is on stage! I saw her here in Austin a few weeks ago, and I left our short interview with the same bubbly feeling that I had at the end of her show.

We all love Ledisi’s locs, and this time they were in chunky bantu knots.

Sounds like a simple look to recreate at home for all you loc’d readers! I’d do it too, if my loose natural hair was that thick and full…

Ledisi added a cute scarf and it gave her whole look a fun 50s vibe. Now onto products: Ledisi’s fav Design Essentials products for locs are the Twist & Set Settling Lotion and Sleek Edge Control, which won our NaturallyCurly Editors’ Choice award this year!


All White Affair with Omari Hardwick

I donned my all white everything and made my way to Metropolitan at Generations Hall for Insight Marketing’s 16th annual All White Affair. Two DJs, multiple bars, and dancing for hours? Sounds good to me!

Guests could swing by the Design Essentials VIP Lounge and enjoy more free products and snap photos with their friends. The place was packed and when DJ spun that Cupid Shuffle…you know I had to put my camera down and join in!

I was having such a great time on the second dancefloor (yes, there were multiple dance floors”> that I missed special guest Omari Hardwick (Being Mary Jane”>! Tastemaker Kenny Burns also made an appearance, and the party lasted long after I had to leave for the night. Good times in the Big Easy!


Queendom with Lance Gross

I had to fly back to Austin on Sunday, so I missed the chance to hang out with my husband Lance Gross at the CoverGirl Queendom day party.

Living vicariously through Instagram, I see that I missed Biz Markie’s DJ set, CoverGirl makeovers, and the Design Essentials Pop-Up Salon! Imagine — you could get all dolled up before the night’s Essence Fest musical performances at the Superdome!

Big thank you to Design Essentials for an amazing NOLA weekend. The last time I hung out with the DE crew during Curls and Conversations, I had a blast, and this weekend was no different. Until next time!

Do you follow us on Instagram? Many of my #EssenceFest pictures are there! @naturallycurly

What It’s Like to Attend a Natural Hair Expo

As’s social media manager, I spend a lot of time “behind the screens.” I’m glued to my laptop or iPhone, making sure we connect with heads of curls, coils, and waves around the world. And let me tell you — it’s a special moment when I finally get the chance to meet these Internet friends in real life.

Needless to say, I was pumped to fly from Texas to Alabama for the Natural Hair & Health Expo by Visions Beauty Distributors! Our friends at Design Essentials invited me to speak at Curls & Conversations, one of the panels during the expo. I would join – get this – MahoganyCurls and MahoganyKnots to chat about all things natural hair. I’ve watched their YouTube videos for years!  Click through my slideshow to see more of my trip!

Chicago Naturals: Meet Here!

Holiday Beauty Bazaar


12-4pm Saturday, Dec. 7 


Kroc Community Center

1250 W. 119th St Chicago, IL

Going natural is a journey, especially if you’re the first of your friends or family to do it. Our curly community online has made the journey easier (and way more fun”> for thousands of women, so we love seeing it manifest itself in the real world in the form of meetups and events!

The Chicago Natural Beauty Meetup is Chicago’s largest natural hair community with over 2,000 members, and this December they will be hosting their third annual Holiday Beauty Bazaar. Not only is this event a fantastic way to gain knowledge and inspiration for yourself, but this year you also have the opportunity to give back to the children in the Chicago community as well.

Beauty vlogger and entrepreneur Rachel Odem, who founded the community, sat down to talk with us about what both new and seasoned naturalistas can expect from this year’s Holiday Beauty Bazaar.

What can new naturals expect to get out of going to the event?

We always try to provide a lot of inspiration and education. I often hear that people come to our events and see different ways that they can wear their hair, they also get a chance to talk to other women who have been natural for a while.

Obviously since we partner with professional hairstylists and other professionals in the industry they can get great education there. And also we have our gift bags which we’re really well known for, because sometimes you go to an event and they’re just sample sizes. We’ll have products from CURLS, Cream of Nature, As I Am, as well as samples from NaturallyCurly.

What about women who’ve been natural for years, what does your meet up offer for seasoned naturals?

The number one thing women get is examples of different ways that you can style your hair. But it’s also very encouraging to be in an environment where everyone is embracing their naturally curly hair. It’s basically like a celebration of being natural and being proud of that, and celebrating the uniqueness of multicultural women in natural hair.

Tell me about the donations you’re doing for the children this Christmas!

We partner with a daycare center located in Chicago and the children that attend the daycare are primarily coming from single parent homes and parents living in poverty. So we’re doing a toy drive to help give back to families around the holiday season since unfortunately, most of them don’t have a lot of disposable income to purchase gifts for the kids. We’ll be making a financial donation as well as giving the toys that people bring to the event. So don’t forget to bring toys with you to the event!

This event is an extension of Rachel’s meet up organization, and it’s the largest natural hair meet up in Chicago. They host four events a year and it’s a great wider community for people to get connected if you would like to attend natural hair events on a regular basis.

You can purchase your tickets to the Holiday Beauty Bazaar for a special online price of $15, or for $20 at the door.

Essential Nutrients for Healthy Curls

The timeless wisdom offered by the simple adage, “You are what you eat,” is as true today as the day it was first written.

What we take into our body—through our diet, our skin, and from the air we breathe—literally becomes us. So it’s vital that the nutrients we provide our body from the foods we choose—proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and healthy fats—are of the highest quality. These become the building blocks for every cell in our body, including our hair follicles. It’s no wonder why strong, shiny, thick hair has long been considered a hallmark of vibrant health.

The key to getting (and keeping!”> luscious locks? Fresh, whole foods (supplemented as necessary with herbs and non-food based ingredients”> that provide a full spectrum of hair-healthy nutrients. The hair follicle is one of the busiest structures in our body. Its many cells are constantly and rapidly dividing, requiring a continuous supply of nutrients to nourish and repair them, and create healthy new hair growth.

So what natural ingredients are most renowned for growing strong, healthy hair?

Vital Nutrients for Healthy Curls

How to Have a Successful Hair Blog

Every year, South by Southwest descends upon our city bringing techies, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and creatives. For almost two weeks, Austin hosts and facilitates panels, networking, concerts, and film showings. That, and free tacos. Lots of free tacos.

This year, we were super excited to attend the Naturally Social panel and learn the best practices for hair and beauty blogging! The panel was moderated by loc’d lady Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey of Youtube, and the panelists were a supergroup of ladies who are on top of their social media game: Patrice Yursik of AfrobellaKristin Braswell, Editor-In-Chief of Carol’s Daughter’s Transitioning MovementMyleik Teele, founder/CEO of curlBOX and Jamala Johns, founder/photographer behind le coil

If any of you are thinking about hair or beauty blogging, here are the major lessons I learned at SXSW!

Beauty Blogging Tips