Search Results: Vinny Calzone

How to Prime Your Hair for Color (No Matter Your Porosity)
” alt=”How to Prime Your Hair for Color (No Matter Your Porosity”>” src=””>
Image: @aixajahara

I have never put color on my hair, and I probably never will because I’m terrified.

Yeah, all my dye dreams involve white-blond or cotton candy-pink hair, so…mm. I know, I know, it’s a bit like being afraid of cell phones replacing the fax machine—the beauty industry has actual scientists behind it, and compared to the peroxide and paint of say, the ‘80s, we’ve definitely come a long way in terms of gentler, longer lasting, less-toxic hair color. What can I say though — old worries dye hard. Pun intended.

But it does make me feel a little better knowing that there are steps you can take to get your hair ready to receive color and bleach, even if you have my Swiss cheese level of porosity.  

Curly hair expert and color specialist April Kayganich says, “When wanting to change your hair color at all, make sure your hair is in a healthy state. If you are not sure, you can book a consultation with your stylist so they can evaluate your hair health, talk about your current hair routine, prior chemical services and what to expect with this new color change.”

So what do the experts say to do?


We all use a fair number of products, right? Mousses, gels, whips, pomades, lard, etc., we all know the drill. Well, believe it or not, without thorough washing, a lot of those materials are left behind on our strands, especially if you have low porosity hair.

No matter what your curl type, or density, clarification before a color job is key because the colors need an even surface to stick to in order to take proper effect. Following the old-school wisdom of only dyeing dirty hair will only lead to uneven coloration in the modern day, so be sure to grab the right clarifier for you and scrub up a few days beforehand, then go easy on products leading up to the day of.


At first, this is going to seem like it’s in opposition to the clarification step, but we really are going somewhere with this. Clarifying is going to free your hair of products and your natural oils, but the high-powered shampoos by themselves can leave your curls dry and brittle if you don’t follow up. And considering the level of chemical work it takes to permanently alter your hair color, even if it’s not a drastic change, doubling up on your hair’s fragility is the last thing you want. Condition your hair well post-wash, and skip out on breakage.  

” alt=”How to Prime Your Hair for Color (No Matter Your Porosity”>” src=””>

Use Protection

If basic deep cleansing and conditioning were all curly hair really needed, we wouldn’t be here as a site, would we? What exactly do you do in the days leading up to your appointment, now that your strands have been evened out?

Kayganich told us the best way to prep for a hair color appointment. “So, contrary to popular belief, I prefer for clients to come to a color appointment with clean hair. I think everyone has heard the opposite and when I was a receptionist, I would always preach the gospel about how dirty hair was better than clean prior to a color service. That doesn’t necessarily mean shampooed and conditioned that day, but within the last day or two and little to no product in the hair,” she says.

“I have taken countless advanced color classes and all of them talk about how important it is to start any chemical service with a clean slate. You don’t want the color to have to work harder. This will result in an uneven color result or the color appearing different than what was expected.” she adds. “With that being said, if for some reason you are not able to come with little to no product in the hair or cleansed within the last few days, your stylist may choose to add a treatment to prep your hair for the service. This will require additional time for your appointment and will add an extra cost.”

Skip the styling products, since you JUST got most of them rinsed out of your curls, and use the lightest leave-ins your hair can take. If you can get away with just water (or rose water if you’re fancy like me”> for the upcoming days, do it. If you have high porosity hair, do use a leave-in, but put your thicker, conditioning styling products, like puddings and butters, aside. Pay extra attention to how well your bonnets and pillowcases stay on at night, and if you can protect your ends with a quick braided style, your wig collection, or a silky scarf leading up to your ‘do date (badumtssh”>, do so!

I’m still personally afraid of coloring my hair; I won’t act like I’m not. But I’m seeing more and more coily bottle blondes, deep blue-dyed afros, and rockin’ redheads, and it does give my cowardly lion mane a little more hope.

If you were ever on the fence about coloring, do these steps put your worries to rest? Let us know in the comments!

This Is What 20 Photos of 3b Hair Looks Like

If you’re a 3b, you’re right-smack-dab-in-the-middle of all the wavies, curlies and coilies. Some days your hair is more on the wavy side and some days you swear it became 3 times curlier overnight. As a 3b curly, you are no stranger to the scrunching, but can also throw it up in a pineapple whenever you want.

You’ve most likely already found the NaturallyCurly Texture Typing System in an effort to get answers for all your curly/wavy questions. However, if you haven’t, this system breaks hair down into 3 categories – 2s, 3s, and 4s, with 3 subgroups within those categories – As, Bs, and Cs. Type 3b hair usually has ringlets that have the circumference of a Sharpie, and a big goal for 3b ladies is to fight frizz by using moisturizing products and to avoid drying ingredients.

Most people have multiple textures on their head, so it is very common to have majority 3b curls, with 3a and 3c mixed in as well. It’s important to understand that just because you have 3b hair does not mean that your hair will look and act like all 3bs, there are other characteristics of your hair type like porosity, density and width that play major roles. Curious as to the different manifestations of 3b hair? We’ve compiled 20 photos of women blessed with 3b curls!

1. @dailiperez


Photo Courtesy of @dailiperez

2. @celmatique


Photo courtesy of @celmatique

@celmatique wears her 3b curls with bangs and some lovely blonde highlights!

3. @somegirlfromtexas


Photo courtesy of @somegirlfromtexas

Fran, one of our Naturally Curly graphic designers, just so happens to be the “poster child” for 3b curls. Here, she rocks a deep side part with bantu knots!

4. @lenipaperboats


Photo courtesy of @lenipaperboats

@lenipaperboats has a mixture of 3b and 3a curls. Check out her great rose gold color!

5. @honestlizhere


Photo courtesy of @honestlizhere

6. @flaviaesantiago


Photo courtesy of @flaviaesantiago

The gorgeous @flaviaesantiago has all of the 3s on her head!

7. @niathelight


Photo courtesy of @niathelight

One of our biggest curl-spirations! Nia was hugely popular in the natural hair movement because of her big curly fro, but she recently cut it all off on a journey of healthier self-image. We love her new pixie cut! Read about her hair journey here.

8. @curlymichelle62


Photo courtesy of @curlymichelle62

NaturallyCurly’s own co-founder Michelle Breyer has 3b curls!

9. @tiffanytattooz


Photo courtesy of @tiffanytattooz

@tiffanytattooz wears her 3b curls in an adorable high puff with her baby hairs slicked down.

10. @namedafterahat


Photo courtesy of @namedafterahat

11. @curlsandthecity


Photo courtesy of @curlsandthecity

12. @tylalauren


Photo courtesy of @tylalauren

13. @kassalaholdsclaw


Photo courtesy of @kassalaholdsclaw

@kassalaholdsclaw is the perfect example of what it looks like to have a mix of textures! She has 3c and 4a curls on the bottom layers of her hair and framing her face, but the crown of her head is 3b!

14. @carla_jeanine


Photo courtesy of @carla_jeanine

15. @justdaniela1


Photo courtesy of @justdaniela1

@justdaniela1 has a mix of 2c, 3a, and 3b waves and curls.

16. @_thehalfrican


Photo courtesy of @_thehalfrican

@_thehalfrican is a NaturallyCurly favorite! April is a stylist in Austin, Texas who cuts the hair of multiple NaturallyCurly employees.

17. @lipstickncurls


Photo courtesy of @lipstickncurls

18. @stylefeen


Photo courtesy of @stylefeen

NaturallyCurly Contributer @stylefeen has mostly 3c curls, but her 3b texture pops out a bit at the top!

19. @nicolemeline


Photo courtesy of @nicolemeline

20. @christinavega_


Photo courtesy of @christinavega_

Who is your Curl Crush? Tell us below!

I Tried Batiste Dry Shampoo on 4C Hair, Here’s What Happened

Thousands of NaturallyCurly readers voted on this year’s Best of the Best product awards, and one of the most surprising (to me”> items that won you all over was Batiste dry shampoo.

hand holding bottle of batiste dry shampoo in front of yellow brick wall

Granted, I am a woman with 4C hair, the tightest of the curl patterns. Additionally, my hair strands are stubborn due to their low porosity and thickness. These attributes are precisely why I love my coils, and the reason I’ve been wearing them in protective styles — to avoid environmental and manipulation-based damage to my ends. As I continue rocking cool protective styles, I am extending their wear with each installation. When this happens, my scalp needs extra special attention, but sometimes… I get tired, y’all. After eight hours of work, 1 hour of kitty cat-playtime, two hours of band practice, and texting loved ones at any given moment throughout the day and night, I don’t have time left to oil, massage, treat, rinse, and repeat a washing regimen on my scalp. It ain’t happenin’.

That’s why I said to myself, “I’m going to try Batiste dry shampoo. The curlies like it; maybe I’ll like it, too!”

So… here’s what happened…

NaturallyCurly Sr Copywriter Gerilyn Hayes holds bottle of Batiste Dry Shampoo in front of North Loop Food Store wall


Skepticism: My knee-jerk reaction to the Best of the Best selection.

Visions of teeny bopping girls clamoring over pop star-buzz magazines flashed before my eyes when I saw the swirling seafoam green aerosol spray bottle. Upon receiving it, I shook the bottle and felt as if I were about to put 100% opaque white spray-deodorant onto my scalp. Skepticism turned into remorse. Why did I choose to try this?

Well, first impressions can be wrong? Right?

In this case, only one spritz told me what I needed to know.


Oryza Sativa Starch, also known as Rice Starch, is the only ingredient that stood out to me. It is absorbent, which makes it perfect for those that have oily scalp and hair.

Following the CG Method? You need to know that this dry shampoo contains Denatured alcohol, one of the many ingredients that help makes the product efficient for those with oily scalp and hair.

The spray liquid is feather-light, which instantly surprised me, especially since I was expecting a weighty spray that would cake onto my scalp. It sprays on with ease and is cool to the touch, which is a bonus for those that live in either arid or humid climate. Since I have never used a dry shampoo before, I was very excited about this product’s attributes.

NaturallyCurly Sr Copywriter Gerilyn Hayes holds bottle of Batiste Dry Shampoo in front of North Loop Food Store wall


The bottle shows a 3-step application process with illustrations and numbered bullets that instructed me to shake the contents and spray it on sections of hair. Concentrating on the roots, I massaged the dry shampoo into them. Because my hair was in box braids, I could not follow the third step of brushing the dry shampoo through to remove any residue that may have built up. As it turns out, this is a critical step in applying a dry shampoo.

Typically, I pre-poo, or massage a blended-herb scalp oil, into my scalp before cleansing my curls. In this instance, I wanted to get straight to freshening up my scalp and box braids, so it was the very first step I took in my routine. Because my Spidey Senses signaled that I might get a lot of white, chalky build up and a dry scalp, I reached for Jane Carter Curls to GO! Shine On Curl Elixir in case I would need to add moisture to my scalp.


My scalp and roots were covered in the dry shampoo, even though I rubbed in it in between my braids to reduce the residue’s appearance. Although I knew Batiste refreshed my scalp and made my braids smell pleasant, I couldn’t walk around with a technically clean crown that looked like a powdered donut. Alas, I reached for my curl elixir and sprayed it onto the white areas. It helped by getting rid of the residue while simultaneously adding moisture back into my roots and scalp with its argan and macadamia oils and aloe vera.

This is my first time trying a dry shampoo of any brand, and after my initial use I felt like this product was so simple to use (with the addition of a little oil to remove the white cast”> and is a reasonable alternative to a full scalp and braids washing session.

I continued to use the product with the addition of oil, and after several days I found that the product was working too well! It truly does absorb oil, even a couple of days after use. In my case, my scalp continued to get dryer no matter what type of hydrating spray or oils I applied. Fortunately, I had a couple of secret weapons in my kit: Long Aid Naturals Tea Tree Detox Clarifying Spray and FORM Beauty Clarify Detoxing Shampoo. These were legitimate lifesavers for my scalp! 


Although prices vary by retailer, I’ve seen it online and priced under $9.

So, would I recommend this to those wearing protective styles? No. Would I toss this bottle in the hands of you with honest-to-goodness oily scalps? In a heartbeat. Although I cannot say that it is a win for every single hair texture and curl pattern, I did find that it works for its intended purpose: efficiently fixing oily roots and refreshing the scalp between washes. If you have fine or loose curls that easily get weighed down by products and need help stretching out your wash days, give this a try. If you’re an adventurous coily like me, you can give this a try too, but just be warned that if you have coarse hair that’s prone to dryness, this product was made to soak up oil and might not be the best for thirsty hair.

NaturallyCurly Sr Copywriter Gerilyn Hayes holds bottle of Batiste Dry Shampoo in front of North Loop Food Store wall

Did you vote for Batiste Instant Hair Refresh Dry Shampoo – Original as this year’s Best of the Best awards? If so, tell why and what you love about it in the comments!

It’s now available on SHOPNaturallyCurly if you need to restock on your HG, or if you’re on the hunt for a new dry shampoo.

And many thanks to those of you who shared your stories and reviews with me about dry shampoo on Instagram! Click over to @naturallycurly’s feed to see what your fellow curlies have to say about it.

,0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15″>; margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px”>; width:calc(100% – 2px”>;”>
; display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;”>

Senior Copywriter, @gerilynhayes tried @batiste_hair Dry Shampoo on her 4C Hair and created a way to make it work for her. Let us know in the comments, do you use dry shampoo? ⠀ ⠀ Catch Gerilyn's full review in the link in our bio. ⠀ ⠀

A post shared by (@naturallycurly”> on

As ever, stay adventurous!

4 Ways to Make Your Hair Less Greasy
Photo by ozgurdonmaz — Getty Images
Everyone wants soft, touchable hair with no greasy residue. Some of the most beloved curly hair products contain high amounts of oils and butters to ensure that our hair receives the best nourishing benefits possible. In addition to using cleansers, conditioners, and moisturizers, there are practices that many curlies do to further combat dryness that may not be applicable to everyone. When unsure about expanding your regimen, consider these characteristics of your texture: 

All of these aspects will affect how your hair responds to certain products and ingredients. Low porosity strands have an intact cuticle layer, making them less tolerant to thick products, heavy applications, or frequent product layering between washes. Fine strands maintain more movement with lighter, thinner products like milks, lotions, and liquid moisturizers or refreshers. Similar to finer strands, using thicker products on a looser curl pattern can cause the hair to be weighed down, especially when applied too often and too close to the scalp.

Here are four things in your regimen you may want to reconsider to put this greasy situation at bay. 


You may want to discontinue your pre-poo sessions. If you find shampoo too stripping for your texture, consider a gentler one. It is easy to think all shampoos yield the same, drying results, and most do, but there are a few gems that are worth searching for. Here are some of my favorite cleansers that leave my low porosity, 4a coils tangle free and clean:

Oiling your scalp

Sometimes a dry scalp is the result of cleansing too often or a response to a certain ingredient or not using the right shampoo for your hair and scalp needs. Again, finding the right cleanser can take time, especially with textured hair. If you are still experiencing a dry scalp, try using lighter carrier oils blended with peppermint oil, rosemary oil, or tea tree oil. If that does not work, consider seeing a trichologist for professional guidance.

Read more: Ask Dr. Kari: Should You Grease and Oil Your Scalp?


Co-washing is not for everyone. Hair that is prone to accumulating buildup relatively quickly and oily scalps benefit from more thorough cleansing that co-washing will not provide. Again, gentle cleansers are essential but co-washing and cleansing conditioners may be exacerbating your oily problem.

Read more: Does Too Much Shampoo Cause an Oily Scalp?

Switch oils

Sometimes the solution is not ruling out oils altogether. If you are using butters and heavy oils like castor oil and olive oil to seal your ends, consider lighter oils like sweet almond oil and jojoba oil. Remember, you want to seal your ends. It is not always necessary to apply oil along the entire hair shaft, so generous applications may not be the best for you.

Read more: 5 Best Oils for Fine Hair (Yes, Fine Hair”>

How do you prevent your hair and scalp from being greasy?

Wavy Beginner’s Guide: Two-Strand Twist for Volume & Curl
Tracey Wallace“Over, not under” twist that increases curl and volume and gets 37 Facebook likes!

As the content editor at NaturallyCurly, I was pretty positive that I knew all there was to know about natural hair, be you wavy, curly or coily. Seriously, the vast amount of tips that I contain within my brain and share with all those who dare to step into a space in which I exist with textured hair is impressive, even by my standards.

I am consistently mocked by friends on weekend nights when I say, “Oh my gosh, her hair is amazing! Be right back!” Upon returning, without them having to ever look in my direction, they respond often in a monotone cacophony, “Was her hair curly? Did she let you touch it? Was it natural? What type was she?”

Most of my friends don’t even have textured hair, but they would be able to tell you that their hair is a type 1 and be able to give detailed instructions on how to use a curling iron combined with a heat protectant to get waves for a night out.

This is my life. That, and trying to convince men with curly hair to get a curly cut and let me document it for the community — you know who you are!

Anyway, yesterday when I left the office to meet up with the Huetiful team, I was expecting to come back with a flurry of stories about how to straighten your hair without chemicals, how their products are sulfate and paraben-free and how their steamer seriously, SERIOUSLY, rocks! Of course, if you pay any attention to’s Facebook page, you know that instead, I got myself a wavy hair lesson from a natural hair model.

Tracey WallaceAn “under, not over” twist that stretches curls.

Here is an outtake of the conversation that has, only a day later, changed my wavy hair life:

“I WISH I had hair like yours!”

“Are you kidding? Those loose waves are in right now. Everyone wants that!”

“Well, I want more curl. I have the waves, I want a different look. More like yours.”

“Okay, then just two-strand twist,” Pash said, so non-chalantaly, as if this piece of information should have been something I was born knowing.

“What? That’s for stretching your curls out. That wouldn’t work on my hair.”

“You don’t know how to use them to get more curl? Seriously? Sit down. Let me show you.”

And so the schooling began. First, she did an “over, not under” two-strand twist. That’s the photo you see above. Then, to prove to me that I was wrong about two-strand twisting, she did an “under, not over” two-strand twist. This slight differentiation in hand movement is apparently what changes a two-strand twist from a hairstyle that stretches your curl to a hairstyle that increases it. Who knew?

So today, follow me on my “I don’t have Pash here to help me do this two-strand twist TIGHTER” journey. Even without her expertise, I managed a two-strand twist on my second-day hair and it was easy! Coming from a girl who can’t braid, that’s saying a lot!

Tracey Wallace with second day hairMy “roll out of bed,” second day hair look. I’m a true wavy in that second day hair is generally ridiculous hair.

Two-Strand Twisting for More Curl and Volume

This is me with second day hair. Let me begin by saying that Pash showed me how to do this style on dry hair because my hair was dry at the time of meeting her. Doing a two-strand twist on dry hair will get you more volume, but it will not increase curl. To increase curl, you must do it on wet hair.

For a wet hair two-strand twist, part your hair into four sections. Comb the product through, and then two-strand twist following the same instructions that you would for dry hair.

Let hair air dry in the style, or sleep on it, and then gently unravel in the morning and shake it out. BOOM — more curl and more volume.

Step one on a two-strand twist
Step one on a two-strand twist, twisting over.

Step One

To begin, take a small section of your hair and separate it into two pieces. Then simply begin twisting, moving one piece of hair to the other hand.

Now, here is the tricky part. This has to be done TIGHTLY. You must begin at the root and move in small sections, keeping hair as tight as possible.

Step one on a two-strand twist
Step one on a two-strand twist, switching braids.

Step Two

As you begin to move down your hairline, be sure that, with each twist (or with each time that you switch a piece of your hair to the other hand”> you are grabbing another piece of hair as you go, much like you would when you French braid.

Depending on your dominant hand (mine is my right”> grab another piece each time you switch strands and at it to the strand in your hand.

Step three on a two-strand twist
Final step of a two-strand twist

Step Three

Continue twisting all the way down. Once you get to the end, you can either use a rubber brand to hold the twist in place, like I do here, or simply let the wave/curl in your hair hold it. The second option here works best on wet hair. Don’t add a rubber band to wet hair, as it could possibly pull it. Instead, simply let it hold it on its own.

Tracey Wallace
Tracey Wallace and Michelle Breyer with Pash of Huetiful Salon

Final Outcome

And at the end, you will have an amazing twist hairstyle that looks like a French braid (which is impossible for me to do on my own”>!

Just for reference for all of you ladies, take a gander at all that volume in my hair with Pash and Michelle. I left the two-strand twist in for about an hour, and when I took it out, volume galore!

Happy styling, curlies!

Why You Should Get a Curly Cut & Color, Now!
BunMy final cut result — and I made it look like that myself!

Over six months in to my editor position here at, I finally gave in to a curly cut.

For those of you who don’t peruse the CurlTalk forums, or at least the forums I’m in, I’m a type 2B that CANNOT be easily straightened. What I mean here is that while, yes, I can easily get a flat iron through my hair, my hair will not stay straight for longer than an hour.

I’ve been natural since I stopped fighting my hair my sophomore year of high school. My family, like many of yours, was not supportive of the decision, which I felt was more of a requirement at the time than a decision on my part. They all have stick straight hair, and my “rat’s nest,” as my mother called it, could possibly get me kicked off the list for potential debutante candidates (yes, I’m from the deep south and no, that was not an empty threat”>.

Two years after deciding to embrace my natural texture, I swore off haircuts. Stylists always cut off way more than I wanted them to, and would straighten my hair against my will in their chairs just “to show me the way the cut really looks!”

My waves before — in dire need of a trim! Oh, and my niece!

The ONE time that I convinced a stylist to just let my curls go free after a cut, she pulled out a blow dryer on high heat and high power and went to town. I warned her that the heat and the high speed were going to make my hair frizz. She told me that the amount of product in my hair wouldn’t allow for that.

I don’t think I have to tell you who won that argument.

Nonetheless, I’ve been a strong advocate for no-trims for years. I don’t put heat to my hair, I deep condition, I don’t color — I just simply thought my hair was healthy. But since working at NaturallyCurly, I’ve been consistently convinced otherwise.

My lifeless waves were literally weighed down. At first I switched to better products without sulfates, slept on a satin pillowcase, religiously used rose oil and dried my hair with a micro-fiber towel. But eventually the sad truth came out — my hair needed a cut, BAD!

Going for the Cut

Getting my hair bayalaged and looking crazy!

I decided that if I was going to go to a salon, I was going to GO to a salon. I was going to do it all: the curly cut, the curly color, the nice experience I never had growing up surrounded by straighties.

So I did it. I went to the Ron King Salon here in NaturallyCurly’s hometown, a salon famous for their curly hair experts, and found me a stylist who had JUST finished her extensive training in the Deva curl cut and bayalage.

The consultation started out normally.

“I want you to cut it all off, and I want you to make the color look better,” I said. Yea, I’m super specific like that.

She took the cue and explained that she was going to cut my hair dry first and then even it up after the color, a wash and setting. Cool. That sounded fine.

Once the “big chop” was done, she moved me over to the color bar and explained the bayalage process. For those of you also new to curly hair coloring, this process (and Deva’s Pintura”> rocks!

Basically, bayalage is painting the color on your curls using plastic wrap and cotton balls instead of harsh chemicals, heat and foil, which can dry your curls out and cause frizz. It isn’t pretty (just take a gander at that photo!”>, but it works wonders!

Plus, because the treatment is a painting technique, you never have to re-process the ends. When you go in for a touch-up, the stylist simply picks up where he or she left off near the roots, saving you time, money and your curls!

Another finished look. This was after the stylist styled it!

After 15 minutes under a hood dryer on low-heat, my hair was low-pooed, conditioned and gelled (Ron King Salon uses all DevaCurl products for their curly clients”>. Duckbill clips were put in and I was back under the dryer for 15 more minutes.

Back at the chair, the stylist diffused my hair until dry, removed the duckbill clips, applied a leave-in conditioner and started cutting again.

I was in some major need of volume, and no triangle-head, so the layers came first. Then she evened out of the ends.

To be honest, six inches of hair gone didn’t even matter — it was looking awesome!

So here I am a week later — I purposefully waited a week, because we all know how hair can look great at a salon but not at home – and I am still loving it, getting compliments on it, and totally regretting not doing this six months ago!

All of this, curlies, to get to this end point: your hair does need to be trimmed and it doesn’t have to be scary! Trims are a healthy part of your hair care routine and no matter how long you want it to grow, lifeless long locks aren’t worth it. Regular trims and cuts will ensure that when your hair does reach your desired length, it’s healthy, bouncy and beautiful!

If you’re looking for an awesome coloring technique designed specifically with curl patterns in mind, you have GOT to try the bayalage (or Pintura”> method.

I promise you won’t regret it.

Want More?

Read all about Lisa Michelle’s road to natural hair!

Final Thoughts

In case any of you are worried about my familial relations because of my curly hair, today my family wouldn’t even recognize me with straight hair, though they still joke I am the milk man’s baby. Whatever. At least they love me for me, waves and all!

Silicone Hair Products: Not So Bad After All

There is no single perfect recipe for hair care, products or styling. Not even all curlies who fall under one specific curl type need the same product or have the same miracle worker. One recent trend that’s taken the curly hair product world by storm, however, is to avoid silicone hair products. As smart, curly women we must first ask ourselves and get the facts: is this needlessly limiting, or even based in fact?

The purpose of silicone hair products are to coat the hair with a micro-fine layer of conditioners creating sheen, reducing friction for easier combing and to prevent tangles and breakage. Silicones also help other ingredients in conditioners and lotions to spread easily. Silicones are not water-soluble unless they are modified to be, so they also form a water-sealing barrier to prevent loss of water from hair and help retain dye by making hair more hydrophobic (water-repellent”>.

Healthy, undamaged hair is also hydrophobic. In skin products, this effect is desirable – silicones slow down trans-epidermal water loss by sealing in moisture and slowing dehydration. Unlike vegetable oils, silicones are not likely to cause skin sensitivity reactions.

What Do Silicone Hair Products Do?

Silicones are generally used at a rate of 1 to 2 percent in hair conditioners and skin lotions. If you add one drop of dimethicone to 99 drops of hair conditioner – that is 1 percent. Diluted silicones spread around, but cannot form a 100 percent solid barrier.

Silicones bond to the hydrophobic, or undamaged, parts of hair better than the hydrophilic, or damaged, areas. When added to a conditioner containing cationic surfactants (positively charged conditioners”> such as behentrimonium chloride/methosulfate, cetrimonium chloride/bromide, the interaction of ingredients helps silicone bond to damaged areas.

Can You Remove Silicone Build Up?

It was reported in a 1994 article in the journal Skin Pharmacology that silicones deposited on hair by 2-in-1 shampoos can be removed by a single washing with a silicone-free shampoo. This removed 90 percent of silicone residue. Oils and proteins applied to hair can also be removed by shampoo, but cationic surfactants, which provide benefits similar to silicones, are resistant to shampooing because they bond more tightly to the hair. This effect has been demonstrated by several studies reported in the Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemistry.

You can remove silicone residue from hair or skin with cleansers containing Sodium or Ammonium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, Sodium C14-17 Alkyl Sulfonate (Olefin Sulfonate”>, or Cocoamidopropyl Betaine. Skin constantly sheds cells, so silicone build up is rarely an issue.

Silicone build up is not a problem for everybody. If you use silicone hair products and never use shampoo, silicone will begin to accumulate on your hair. But there is a limited amount of surface on the hair for the silicone to bond to, and it will not accumulate indefinitely. If you use shampoos containing the ingredients above, you need not worry much about build up from silicone hair products. If you never use shampoo at all, or have very fine, silky hair, silicones may weigh your hair down with repeated use.

Want More?

Our CurlChemist breaks down each silicone for you, letting you decide what works best for your hair type, texture, porosity and density.

Final Thoughts

Build-up of any product is only a concern if it causes your hair or skin to do something you do not want it to do. Be your own judge about what ingredients to avoid in hair care products. Consult the science, and most importantly ­­— get feedback from your own hair and skin.

The Curly Hair Gene: Fact or Fiction?

Over on our CurlTalk forum, there’s been some discussion about whether or not textured hair is a “genetic defect,” and whether or not the so-called “curly hair gene” can be manipulated to produce straight hair. Naturally, we decided to call on some scientists to literally get to the root of this issue.

Is There a Curly Hair Gene

Every physical trait in the human body is influenced by our genes. DNA sequences affect everything from height to skin tone to eye color to hair color and, of course, hair texture. However, none of these mentioned traits are determined by single genes — some characteristics may be determined by hundreds of genes interacting in ways poorly understood by science. Curly hair, like most traits, is the result of a multi-gene interaction.

“Hair form is genetically controlled,” explains professor Erik Trinkaus from Washington University in St. Louis. “But to my knowledge nobody knows what the underlying genetic basis for it might be, and it is likely to be very complex.”

So while there is academic consensus that curly hair is largely genetically determined, there is no single curly hair gene.

The Origin of Curls?

So where do curls, kinks, and waves come from then? Most evolutionary theorists agree that human ancestry can be traced back to Sub-Saharan Africa about 500,000 years ago, but it also appears in other hot, sunny places. I sat down with Kawika Chee, a genetics tutor and genetic research regulatory committee member at the University of Hawaii, to discuss two popular theories for how and why curls helped our ancestors, based on research from Nina Jablonski’s book, “Skin: A Natural History.”

Evolutionary Advantages

  1. Sun protection and heat relief: Since humans evolved in the blazing equatorial sunlight of Sub-Saharan Africa, thick, tightly-coiled hair may have offered a sort of natural sunscreen and shade for developing brains and bodies. Also, hair that hangs straight provides an extra layer of heat insulation over the shoulders, neck, and back. In hot climates, this would be harmful to early humans or human ancestors.
  2. Preventing obstruction of vision: Before salons and bang trims, straight hair would have thwarted a hunter’s ability to see prey clearly. Tightly coiled hair sits more on top of the head and doesn’t block out one’s field of view.

Then there’s the potential that curls were just pure chance. There are instances in our evolutionary history in which a random, mass extinction of a group of individuals kills off an entire genetic lineage. There may have been a tragedy that wiped out almost everybody, regardless of their hair texture, coincidentally leaving only a tiny group of people who happen to have curly hair. The descendants of these fortunate folks would have passed along curly hair to their offspring and future generations still living today. After all, curly haired folks make up 60 percent of the current world population.

Want More?

Check out CurlyBetty’s blog, The History of Curly Hair.

Final Thoughts

  • Hair texture has been evolving for thousands upon thousands of years. Variations in hair texture — from coily to straight to kinky to wavy — are caused by evolutionary processes that favored a specific texture according to location, climate or any other host of factors.
  • There is no single curly hair gene, and there is no way to genetically alter the presence of curly hair. In fact, medical science isn’t great at altering human genes even in simple, well-understood traits.
  • Curly hair is not a defect, as its presence in geographically and ethnically disparate populations all over the world suggests that it certainly has its advantages, evolutionary and otherwise. But we already knew that, didn’t we curlies?