How to Rebound from Color-Treated Hair Damage December 21 2018
If you recently dyed your hair and are wondering if you’ll ever recover from your color-treated hair damage… the good news is that it’s possible.
Are you unknowingly causing damage to your hair? Get the Natural Hair Mistakes Free E-Guide to make sure!
Dying your hair a different color is exciting, and it’s something many naturals tend to think about when they get bored with the status quo.
Everybody needs to have a little fun at least once in their hair journey, right?
Whether you’re trying to maintain a lighter hair color, trying to cover up grays, or are wanting to get back to your natural color… you can get your healthy hair back.
But getting healthy hair takes a lot of work, dedication, and know-how. This post will help guide you along the way.
What Happens When You Color Your Hair?
First thing is to understand exactly what’s going on when you go to the hairdresser or apply a box of dye from a do-it-yourself kit.
All color treatments involve either depositing color or lifting it. Depositing color would mean that you’re applying color to the strand. If you’re only depositing color on to the strand, there won’t be much damage.
Depositing color is about the same as depositing any styling product on your hair. It may be moisturizing, or it could be drying, but it probably won’t permanently damage your hair. And even if it’s drying, you can always turn it around by moisturizing. It’s not a big deal to deposit color, and it could even be strengthening (as in the case of henna).
Lifting the color is much trickier. To lift the color, your own natural hair needs to be stripped away first. After your hair is stripped, the pigment lightens, and a color like red or yellow can then be deposited.
When naturals seek to color the hair, many will lift the color, or lighten the hair. And that’s where the damage comes in.
When the hair is stripped, it has lost some of its integrity. Read below to see symptoms of color damage and how it can be fixed.
Do You Have Color Damage?
If you’re hair feels dry and you’ve recently had a color job, it’s probably stripped. Here are some signs of color damage:
- Hair is Dry. This is the most obvious sign. Your hair is dry and it’s hard to get it to hold moisture. Lightening your hair can strip away the cuticles, leaving the cortex permanently open. This means moisture can easily enter and exit the shaft. In fact, most color-treated hair can be automatically classified as high porosity hair.
- Hair is Dull. Stripping away portions of the hair strand will result in less shiny hair because the hair has holes. The numerous holes and open cuticles reflect light less and give your hair fewer opportunities to shine.
- Lots of Breakage. Coloring the hair means that you’ll have to break the integrity of it, and this results in a weakened state. You’ll see lots of split ends, and it will be difficult to comb your hair without it breaking.
- Hard to Manage. When the cuticles are open, they tend to stick out and snag the other hairs more. You’ll see increased friction, tangles, and breakage when you lift the color of your hair.
Protein Repairs Color-Treated Hair
Dryness, damage, and breakage sound daunting, right? The good news is that you don’t have to completely abandon coloring your hair. You only need to be extra diligent about caring for it afterwards.
Applying protein to your color-treated hair is one of the best things you can do to recover from the damage. Protein patches up the holes and strengthens the strands, resulting in healthier and more vibrant hair that doesn’t break as easily.
Note that protein doesn’t provide a permanent fix to color-treated hair. Once your hair has been lightened, there’s no way to return the hair components that have been lost.
However, protein does help to temporarily patch with amino acids, and this will be the next best thing to a complete reversal of the damage.
Protein should always be followed by deep conditioning unless it is a brand which already contains deep moisture added in.
You’ll need to repair your hair with protein every 4-6 weeks, depending on the extent of the damage and how long you intend to keep coloring your hair.
If you only color-treat your hair once in a blue moon, expect less damage than repetitive coloring.
Use Deep Conditioning to Add Moisture
You’ll need to do more deep conditioning than normal because your hair is now damaged. You can learn how to make your own deep conditioners, or you can add moisturizing ingredients like glycerin to spruce up a store-bought conditioner.
Aim to do deep conditioning once per week if you have color-treated natural hair. Hour-long deep conditioning treatments will help to add in the moisture you’ve lost through the open cuticles. Combine your deep conditioning with steaming for extra benefits.
Steam Your Hair to Hydrate
Steaming is gaining popularity among naturals, probably because it’s an easy and effective way to hydrate, without having to hop in the shower.
You can either buy a handheld steamer like the Q-Redew, or you can purchase an overhead steamer that you can sit under. Buying a steamer can be a bit pricey, but you have options. If you don’t want to buy a steamer at all, try creating steam in the shower and allowing your hair to soak up the hydration.
Steaming gives quick hydration and it’s excellent to do in between wash days. You can steam your hair as often as you’d like because there are no drawbacks. Curly hair needs moisture, and steam provides pure hydration.
Remember, it’s not the end if you have color-treated hair.
You can make a comeback from color-treated damage if you incorporate protein, deep conditioning, and steam treatments into your natural hair routine.
What about you? Do you have color-treated hair damage?
4 Ways to Maintain Your Hair at Night December 17 2018
The way you maintain your natural hair at night can make a big difference to how your hair looks and feels. Not just for tomorrow, but for many weeks, months, and years to come!
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Sleep takes up 8 hours of the day. That’s one-third of the day you could spend making your hair look fantastic, without tons of effort.
It’s the perfect time to set the hair for the next day, and it will make your morning routine MUCH easier because you won’t be dealing with frizz and unmanageable hair.
Of course, you should always moisturize your hair and put a satin bonnet or silk scarf on… but what else can you do? In this post, you’ll find out 4 things you can do to make sure you have great hair in the morning.
1 Twists or Braids
This one is a favorite of many naturals because it’s an easy way to keep the hair organized, and it makes an interesting manipulated curl pattern by the time it dries.
If you’re already familiar with twists on a long wash day, then you know how long it takes to set this style on wet hair. If you do twists at night, will it dry by morning, or will you be left with damp frizz?
The key to setting a great twist-out or braid-out overnight, is to start with slightly damp hair and to avoid applying heavy products.
You won’t have a lot of extra product that needs to dry, and you won’t have any product buildup and flaking that comes from re-applying heavy curl creams.
Simply spray your hair until slightly damp, and then re-twist and put your bonnet on before you lay down at night. Be careful with how much you spray. If you spray too much, it won’t be dry by morning.
Also, experiment with how many twists or braids you make for this redo session. Can you get away with spending only 5 minutes each night and making very few twists?
It could be that 3-4 chunky twists are enough to mold a nice frizz-free look that you can then wear in a puff or updo with your Snappees the following day.
The pineapple is one of the most popular ways to maintain natural hair at night and it does an amazing job of preserving the volume of natural hair because you’re placing all of the hair on top of your head.
Have you noticed that the back or top-back part of your hair is constantly flat? This is a common trait in naturals because of the friction that happens while we sleep.
If you’re a back-sleeper, you’re most likely flattening your hair for 5-8 hours during the night. It gets difficult to make a come-back after laying on your hair in one spot for so long.
The pineapple allows you to get good shut-eye without compromising the volume of your curls. The only drawback to the pineapple method is that you may end up with a ponytail holder crease, but this shouldn’t matter if you’ll be doing a high puff or other updo style in the morning.
Pineapples are easy to do if you’re tired and need a quick way to protect your curls for the night. To do a pineapple, gather your hair to the front of your head and wrap 1-2 Snappees around the bunch.
Then put your satin bonnet on or wrap your hair in a silk scarf, allowing the ponytail or puff to come out at the top.
3 Preserving an Afro or Wash and Go
Making an afro or wash and go last for longer than just one day is tricky because you’re not using any manipulated setting or curl patterns. It’s just you and your curls that need preserving, and it takes some effort to make sure they don’t tangle, mat, or flatten overnight.
The key is to strategically place loose and chunky twists in areas likely to flatten or mat—like the back. Use your Snappees for this technique, and don’t make them tight or too organized. In fact, you want them uneven and you’ll want to avoid fully parting or dividing the hair.
You can also use bobby pins to hold the twists, to maintain volume, and to keep the curls in clumps.
Then, place a jumbo satin bonnet on your hair overnight. The large bonnet will help to avoid flattening your curls. In the morning, spritz your hair with a little water and remove your twists or hair ties. Fluff or pick out your hair, and voila!
Here’s a great video on this method:
How to preserve your Afro at night | Night time routine for thick, kinky, curly hair by Keziah Dhamma.
4 Maintaining Straight Natural Hair
It takes time to blow dry or flat iron your hair, and every straightening session carries a risk that you may be damaging your hair.
So, the last thing you want is a bout of frizz to come in and revert it prematurely. If you’re going to do it, do it right. Getting the most out of your straight hair means preserving it each night so that it stays straight until you’re ready for a wash.
Wraps suit straight-haired naturals very well, because they keep the hair stretched, but they don’t create a curl pattern like twists or braids would.
Plus, wraps are very protective and even stylish. If Rihanna can rock her wrap out in public, so can we.
Wraps cover the front part of your hair well. To make the wrap, begin by parting your hair on the side, and wrapping your hair completely around your head. Secure it with bobby pins as you go.
Straight hair works well with silk scarves instead of bonnets because they compress the hair and help to keep it straight.
Using these night maintenance routines will preserve your hairstyle and make next-day styling breezy. They serve to protect the hair so that it stays organized and free of tangles.
Developing a good night routine is one of the best choices you can make as a natural. What do you do to maintain your hair at night?
5 Ways to Boost Hair Growth This Winter December 09 2018
Cold weather is here, and you might be thinking about some ways to protect your hair and boost hair growth this winter.
Are you unknowingly causing damage to your hair? Get the Natural Hair Mistakes Free E-Guide to make sure!
Everyone has different growth rates, all dependent on health, age, hormones, genetics, and other factors. But if you think that your hair takes forever to grow during the winter months… you might be right.
Researchers have found that the release of hormones during the summer months can increase hair growth. That means you could see slower growth during the colder months.
If you’re trying to grow your hair out, this can be bad news. Especially if it seems like your hair doesn’t grow, or it takes forever to see length.
Try these remedies this winter:
1 Cover Your Hair
What’s the best way to avoid the cold? Make sure your hair never sees it! If you live in a harsh winter climate, you need to be taking advantage of all the cute winter scarves and hats on the market.
A scarf or a hat will protect your hair from the cold and it will make your hairstyles last longer because your hair is not blowing around in the wind.
What kind of scarf or hat should you buy? You may be tempted to purchase the same winter gear that everyone else buys because it’s easy to find and super cheap. But winter knits can be drying to natural hair and they can even be abrasive and cause friction.
There are a number of hat manufacturers that place silky satin inside as a soft lining. Purchase one of these as an investment and you’ll end up saving money on hair repair products.
Besides covering the strands to retain length, using a hat will trap in body heat. That’s exactly what you need to counteract the cold winters. Keeping your head warmer will help your blood circulate to the hair follicles. Hence, follicle stimulation and new growth!
During cold seasons, your blood may circulate less and cause a lack of nutrients being supplied to the scalp. This lack of circulation can result in slowed hair growth.
So, what can you do to turn it around? Get moving!
Exercise will get your blood circulating, so that it can feed your follicle cells nutrients and oxygen. Heavy exercise with sweating will help to unclog the pores of the scalp too.
However, your exercise doesn’t always have to be an all-out sweat fest. Try increasing the number of days you practice yoga this winter. Yoga is a discipline that gets the blood circulating.
Feeling discouraged because you can’t do complex yoga moves? You don’t need to be a full-on yogi master. One of the most basic poses in yoga, down dog, will do a lot to send oxygen and nutrients to the scalp.
Water is life-giving. You probably already know to drink water during the summer to replace lost fluids, but what about the winter?
Water is a curly girl’s best friend. Cold weather seasons are a good time to double up on your water intake. Using water is one of the easiest ways to combat lack of hair growth in the winter.
A lot of people don’t feel thirsty during cold weather, but the body needs water during the winter too, especially if you live in a dry climate. Even just having the heater on all day can make the atmosphere dry.
You need at least 8 cups of water per day, but you should try taking in a little more if you’re on a beauty regimen to improve hair and skin. If it feels odd to drink a lot of water in the winter, try sipping hot tea all day.
Besides drinking water, you could try adding a water-only rinse or a cowash to your routine between wash days. Cowashing will help your hair and scalp soak up water during the week. If cowashing is too much work or you’re worried about product buildup, try doing water-only rinses.
4 Scalp Massage
Massaging your scalp is an excellent way to stimulate cellular activity and promote more hair growth this winter. You can do scalp massage with a tool, but an easier way is to just use your fingertips.
Using essential oils will also help to grow your hair in the winter. Four essential oils--lavender, peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus—have been scientifically proven to stimulate the scalp and help hair growth.
Plus, lubricating your fingers with essential oils will help your fingers to glide over the roots instead of tangling the strands.
To massage, use 5-15 drops of the growth promoting oils, and stand in an inverted position. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, and bend over with unlocked knees while you gently press your fingertips into your scalp.
Be gentle when you massage. Hard rubbing will only cause an irritated scalp, and the inflammation will slow hair growth.
Do your scalp massage 3 days per week for 5-15 minutes each day to promote hair growth in the winter.
5 Add Heat!
You know you should be counteracting the cold weather with heat, but how do you pull it off without damaging your hair?
You need to choose your heat method carefully. Heat from blow dryers and flat irons can damage your curls and disrupt the curl pattern, leading to dull and lifeless hair or even split ends.
Hooded dryers are a little better, but they can also damage hair if it becomes too dry or if the heat blows from the top on to your crown section.
So, what’s a curly girl to do? Hair steaming!
Hair steaming will heat your hair while emitting small water droplets on to the hair, resulting in a fabulous heated hydrotherapy session for your curls.
You can benefit from steam from your shower, or you can purchase a hair steamer. Carefully using the hair steamer on your scalp will open pores and get your blood circulating. Using the steam on your hair will help you retain length during the winter.
Which methods will you do to boost hair growth this winter?
Should You Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Natural Hair? December 02 2018
If you’re new to using apple cider vinegar for natural hair, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth it, and if it will benefit your curls.
After all, apple cider vinegar is a pricey vinegar, and it is one more thing that you’d have to add on to your wash day routine.
But many experts praise apple cider vinegar for its ability to beautify the hair and skin. So, should you buy it?
In this article, you’ll find out information about apple cider vinegar. By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll know if you want to add this common kitchen ingredient to your natural hair regimen.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a unique by-product made from the juice of fermented apples. It is sour in taste, just like all vinegars, but it is milder and more natural than white distilled vinegar.
It also smells like vinegar, but don’t worry about the sour aroma sticking around. You won’t smell like vinegar after rinsing it away.
Apple cider vinegar is proven to improve the health when taken internally, and many women apply ACV topically in DIY remedies to improve the hair, skin, and nails.
How does Apple Cider Vinegar Benefit Natural Hair?
If you’re looking for a magical beauty liquid, ACV comes close. Here are some of the hair benefits of this scientifically proven home remedy:
- Balances pH of the Scalp & Hair. Many hair products are not pH balanced and can throw off your scalp’s pH. Using ACV is a good way to bring your pH back to normal at the end of your shower. ACV has a pH range of 3.1 to 5, while the scalp has a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. This makes it a highly effective way to balance your scalp’s pH.
- Has Antibacterial & Antifungal Properties. ACV is great for fighting microbes lurking on the scalp. Many microbes thrive in neutral environments, but using some apple cider vinegar will help to restore your scalp’s ability to fight conditions like scalp fungus and dandruff.
- Adds shine. While more alkaline ingredients open the cuticle, apple cider vinegar’s acetic acid content helps to close the cuticle. When the cuticle closes, your hair strands can reflect light better and look shinier.
- Combats Scalp Acne, Shedding, and Itchiness. Have an itchy scalp? Regular use of apple cider vinegar can help. Its raw enzymes and good bacteria can easily fight any predators that could be causing itchiness and shedding. Be sure to follow the instructions below and dilute before you use it.
- Makes Hair More Manageable. ACV closes the cuticle and makes your hair strands smoother. They’ll be less likely to latch on to other strands or snag them and cause friction. This smoothening of the hair leads to fewer tangles and breakage.
- Contains Good Hair Nutrients. Apple cider vinegar contains vitamins B and C and potassium, all of which are great for hair.
- Reverses the Effects of Hard Water. Does your city have hard water or is it very chlorinated? Hard water can damage your hair strands and cause breakage because it places a hard mineral layer over the strand, causing it to become brittle. Chlorine can also damage hair. Using apple cider vinegar will help to soften the hair and return it to its original state of health.
Best Apple Cider Vinegar to Use for Curly Hair
The best apple cider vinegar to use for curly and kinky hair is raw apple cider vinegar that contains ‘the mother’.
Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar is an excellent brand and it’s easy to find. There are several other great organic makers of ACV that are just as good as Braggs, so don’t be afraid to experiment with smaller organic brands.
‘The mother’ term sounds weird, but it’s actually the most powerful component in your ACV bottle. The mother contains proteins, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria that help your scalp and hair.
You’ll want to avoid conventional supermarket or dollar store imitations of ACV. Imitation apple cider vinegar is just white distilled vinegar with food coloring added.
Always make sure your bottle contains the mother. It will either be written on the bottle, or you’ll know by examining the vinegar inside. Does it have murky brown stuff floating at the bottom? That’s the good stuff.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Natural Hair
Rinsing with apple cider vinegar can be very helpful for softening and conditioning hair. It can help to treat itchy and irritated scalp and it can smoothen the cuticle, making your hair shinier.
The best way to use apple cider vinegar is by rinsing the hair with it at the end of wash time.
Apple cider vinegar is a milder vinegar, but it is still a strong acid for the skin. You need to dilute the vinegar with water, otherwise, you’ll just bring pain and irritation to your scalp.
Dilute your vinegar rinse with two parts water. In other words, if you’re using a small plastic water bottle, fill it with 2/3 water and 1/3 apple cider vinegar.
Here’s a recipe to follow:
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse for Natural Hair
8 oz water
4 oz raw apple cider vinegar
1. Pour water into an applicator bottle or an empty plastic water bottle.
2. Pour in the apple cider vinegar.
3. Shake vigorously to mix.
4. Shampoo and condition your hair, as usual.
5. Rinse the conditioner from your hair.
6. Squeeze the excess water from your hair.
7. Pour the apple cider vinegar rinse over your scalp and hair.
8. Massage the ACV into your scalp and hair and allow it to sit for 1-2 minutes.
9. Rinse with cool water.
Organic ACV will be a bit pricey, but a little bit of this goodness will go a long way. Plus, you could end up saving money in the long run if your hair becomes more manageable.
Using apple cider vinegar could quickly become one of your absolute favorites.
Time to discuss! Have you tried apple cider vinegar for natural hair?
How to Use Bentonite Clay for Natural Hair November 23 2018
If you have product build-up or irritating scalp conditions, you might be wondering how to use bentonite clay for natural hair.
Filmy hair and itchy scalp can be annoying and even embarrassing. It can be VERY frustrating if you’ve tried different shampoos and nothing seems to work.
In this post, you’ll find out about the benefits of bentonite clay and how to use it for natural hair. If you’re interested in a total detox treatment for kinky and curly hair, keep reading.
What is Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite is an absorbent clay that typically forms from aging volcanic ash. It was named after Fort Benton, Wyoming which has the largest source of bentonite clay in the world.
Bentonite can absorb negatively charge toxins from the body when consumed. It can also be used topically on the skin and hair for beauty treatments.
This post is about using the clay for your hair, but make sure you choose a food-grade bentonite clay if you’re wanting to take it internally.
Bentonite clay is also known as Montmorillonite clay.
What are the Benefits of Bentonite Clay for Natural Hair?
Bentonite clay has numerous benefits for the scalp and hair. Here are a few:
Draws out impurities from hair and scalp. Bentonite is a negatively charged clay that attracts positively charged product build-up and heavy metal toxins. Using it on your curls results in 100% cleansed hair.
How to Use Bentonite Clay on Natural Hair
The most popular way to use the clay is by doing a mask. The clay can be used plain, but you may want to mix it with aloe vera, apple cider vinegar (ACV) or a mix of therapeutic oils.
The clay is a natural ingredient, but it is by no means weak. It truly clarifies, and that could mean stripping natural oils from your hair too.
So, you’ll want to do a deep conditioning treatment after you use the clay. You won’t need to shampoo when you do your clay treatment because the clay is so cleansing.
However, the great thing about bentonite clay is that it can give you a clean slate to apply your products. You’ll find that your products work a lot better after using the clay because they can effectively reach the shaft.
Always use a wooden spoon when you’re making your clay mixture, as clay reacts to metal.
Recipe for Bentonite Clay on Natural Hair
If you have scalp irritations or itchiness, you may be getting frustrated or annoyed that the regular dandruff shampoos aren’t working.
Or maybe you’re fearful of using the conventional sulfate and clarifying shampoos because they’re too harsh for your natural curls. And rightly so, common shampoos can wreak havoc on your strands.
Bentonite clay is a natural way of clarifying your skin and hair without using harsh shampoos. It can make scalp conditions disappear quickly as it draws toxins away from the scalp.
Want to try it out?
Here is a great recipe:
Easy Bentonite Clay Detox Recipe for Natural Hair
½ cup bentonite clay
½ cup apple cider vinegar (ACV)
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon of rosemary or lavender essential oils (optional)
1. Place clay in a plastic or ceramic bowl.
2. Pour the ACV and water into the bowl.
3. Mix until smooth and creamy like the texture of yogurt.
4. Your bentonite clay recipe is ready to use!
How to Apply Bentonite Clay to Natural Hair
Doing a bentonite clay treatment may sound intimidating, but it is super easy to apply. It will probably be well worth your time, especially after you see how well this treatment can define your curls.
Begin your bentonite clay treatment by sectioning your hair and spraying warm water onto your curls to hydrate them. It’s always a good idea to hydrate before working with your hair to prevent tangles and breakage.
Apply the clay mixture onto your hair from root to tip. Massage the clay into your scalp and hair until every strand is coated. Avoid allowing the clay to dry onto your curls. Keep them moist, soft, and hydrated while you do the treatment.
You can prevent the clay from drying by placing a shower cap over your head while you’re waiting for the time to pass. Spraying the water on your hair beforehand will help too.
How long should you leave bentonite clay on natural hair? Bentonite clay works very quickly to draw out toxins and heavy metals from your hair and you’ll only need to apply it for 5-20 minutes before hopping in the shower.
Rinse the clay from your hair thoroughly. Then apply a deep conditioner to moisturize. You’ll probably find that your hair really soaks up the deep conditioner after being thoroughly cleansed of all build-up.
Bentonite clay can make a wonderful addition to your natural hair regimen. Do it once per month, or whenever you need a complete reset on your natural curls.
Have you tried bentonite clay for natural hair?
Top 5 Ways to Keep Natural Hair Moisturized November 16 2018
If you have kinky or curly hair, one of the things you may be struggling the most with is how to keep your hair moisturized.
Curls need moisture to thrive, and if you’re suffering from breakage or your hair has no bounce… dryness could be the #1 reason.
It’s difficult for curly hair to hang on to moisture because of all the tight curls. And the kinkier your hair is, the faster it can develop dryness.
If you’re suffering from dryness, pay close attention to how your hair handles water and product. Does it absorb it easily and become dry a few hours later? If so, you have high porosity hair. Look for ways to hydrate the hair, and then seal the cuticle shut right afterward.
If you can’t seem to get water and product into your hair at all, you have low porosity hair. Look for ways to open the cuticle before you apply product. Then allow your hair to naturally seal shut.
Here are five ways to keep your natural hair moisturized:
Plain water is one of the most underestimated beauty items on the planet and many naturals overlook what this one element does for hair. Before you look to spend money on more products or oils, look for ways to get more water into your hair and body.
Grow stronger, healthier, and more elastic hair by hydrating your body. Drink 8-12 cups quality water throughout the day to grow better hair from the root. Your scalp and follicles will improve, and your hair will grow in healthier.
Apply water to your strands more often too. You don’t always need to use shampoo or conditioner when you get in the shower. Take frequent water-only showers.
If your curls are super-dry, try doing water-rinses every day. Using warm water-rinses in the shower will help open the cuticles, and your hair will get a good dose of daily moisture.
Plus, using water only means your hair won’t be smothered under product build up. It’s just pure hydration only.
If you’re too busy to rinse your hair every day, another method you can do is to spray your hair with water or aloe vera juice daily. It’s not quite as effective as fully immersing your whole head in water, but it’s better than doing nothing at all.
2. Deep Conditioning
Doing regular deep conditioning treatments is a great way to stay on top of moisture. Deep conditioning allows your strands to soak in hair softeners and nutrients. Always choose water-based conditioners and get them with as few chemicals as possible. You can also try making your own.
Heat is the best way to get deep conditioners to work, especially if you have low porosity hair. But even if you have high porosity hair, you’ll find that your conditioners work much better.
You can add heat by placing a shower cap over your head and a towel over it to trap in body heat. Another way is to purchase a thermal cap that you can put over your head and then heat the product onto your curls.
Another way to add heat is by soaking your hair in product and then using an overhead dryer to heat the conditioner. However, be careful not to let the appliance dry the product onto your hair. This could cause your hair to become dry. It is a dry heat tool, after all.
Hair steaming is getting BIG among naturals. It’s a way of letting in a moderate amount of heat to open the cuticles and allowing small droplets of water to reach the shaft.
You can do steaming midweek without having to step into the shower and completely submerge your head in water. It will save your hair between styles and allow you to refresh your curls without the hassle of a full wash day.
Using a handheld steamer will allow you to focus on certain parts of your hair where you’re having problems. Is your crown hair breaking too much? Place the steamer there for more time than you would for other sections.
4. Protective Styling
Protective styling is often overlooked as a way to keep moisture intact. With these types of styles, you can fully or partially cover your ends. This guarding helps the moisture stay inside the hair shaft and not be carried away by dry air, wind, and the sun.
Beware of protective styles which pull the root too tight and hurt your follicles. Protective styles like box braids don’t help to keep your hair moisturized because your hair spends 2-3 months underneath the extensions without seeing much water.
The best protective styling includes twists, braids, bantu knots, and updos. These are hairstyles that you can unravel easily during the week.
5. Avoiding Friction on Your Curls
Friction is something that a lot of naturals don’t think about, but it can make or break your curls. Literally.
When you have something rubbing up against your hair, you’re going to have some of the moisture rub off too. Friction can easily cause frizz and make you lose your definition and elasticity.
Here are three ways to reduce friction:
Use Snappee Hair Ties. Always avoid abrasive hair ties and other accessories. Snappees are made of stretchy yoga pants material, so they are soft on your curls.
Dry Your Hair with an Old T-Shirt. Thick cotton towels were made to absorb moisture and they do a good job of drying your body after a shower. However, they’re a little too good at leaching all the hydration from your hair. Pat your hair dry with an old t-shirt instead.
Use a Satin Bonnet. Have you noticed that the back of your hair looks frizzy and damaged? This is a result of not resting your head on satin or silk fabric. Always use a satin bonnet or silk scarf to reduce friction and retain moisture.
Do you have any special products or methods you like to use to moisturize natural hair?
6 Tips for Straightening Natural Hair without Damage November 08 2018
The holidays are coming up and you might be thinking about some ways to straighten natural hair without damage.
The good news is that your hair is already substantially less damaged than relaxed hair, and you should be able to pull off a straightening session with little or no damage if you do it right.
Straightening your hair is a skill, like any other hairstyling method, and it takes some practice. Don’t worry too much if it doesn’t go as smoothly as planned on the first couple tries. It WILL come slowly and naturally if you’re careful.
Just being aware of the potential damage and taking the proactive measures mentioned here in this article will keep your hair healthy.
Here are 6 tips for straightening your hair without damage:
1. Don’t Use Heat
This one might seem pretty obvious, but the best way to avoid damage is to not use heat at all. It doesn’t mean you can’t straighten your hair. It just means you’d be using an alternative method to straighten.
The African Threading Method is one of the best ways to straighten without heat. Your hair won’t turn out bone straight, but it will look like a natural blowout. It will give you a chance to achieve the straightened look without any risk of damage.
You’ll be able to wear it down, or use it as the beginning for a more elaborate style, like an updo.
Use either thread or pantyhose for this method. You’ll get the best results if you finger detangle first. Wrap the thread or the nylon stockings around small clumps of hair. Make sure you begin while the hair is wet. Don’t unravel the thread until your strands are completely dry.
Other ways to straighten without heat include banding and gelling your hair into an elegant high or low bun puff with your Snappees.
2. Use a Heat Protectant
If you want to use heat, the best way to guard your curls is to place a protective shield around each strand. You can achieve this with a silicone-based heat protectant.
You’ve probably heard tons of bad talk about silicones. It’s true that you shouldn’t use them regularly in your shampoos, conditioners, and styling products because they can place a hard shield around the shaft.
Silicones can make hair look shiny with the hardened layer on top, but if you use them too frequently, it will result in water not being able to reach the shaft.
However, using them once or twice every few months for heat protection won’t do much harm. In fact, they will help protect. You may need to use a clarifying shampoo to remove the cone, but this is still better than allowing the heat to touch your hair.
3. Use Blow Dryer instead of the Flat Iron
Blow drying is easier on the hair than flat ironing, and it makes sense if you really think about it. With blow drying, you are holding the heat a few inches away from your head.
With flat ironing, you are forcing the hair to sit between two hot ceramic or metal plates. Ouch! If it has the potential to burn your fingers, it’s also going to be hot for your hair.
So, if you have to choose between the blow-out and the silk press, go for the first option because it’s far less damaging.
If you must use a flat iron, choose one with less-damaging ceramic plates and get one with a digital temperature reader so you can set it to the precise degree.
4. Use Low Heat
When you’re flat ironing, you might be tempted to turn up the heat to make sure you get the most bang. After all, you only straighten your hair every once in a while, so you might as well crank the heat, right?
Truth is, if you turn up the heat too much, you can actually boil the water inside the cortex of your hair. This is a surefire way to damage your hair.
Don’t sacrifice your hard-earned efforts of growing healthy hair for short-term gratification. Yes, your hair will be smooth and straight for the week, but then you may end up paying for it for years to come!
Instead, keep the heat no higher than 450 (°F). An even better temperature would be 350 (°F). There are no guarantees you won’t get heat damage, but placing the iron at 350 (°F) will help you play it safe.
5. Only One Pass
Are you doing too many passes when you flat iron your hair? Passing over your hair more than once will cause it to become even hotter. It’s kind of like a skillet on the stove. The more time it spends being heated, the hotter it will become.
It’s the same with your hair. Sure, it’s nice to give it that final touch, but you could be causing more damage than it’s worth.
6. Focus on the After Care
Preventing damage extends to after you’ve already straightened. Why? Because that’s when the breakage can happen.
Blow drying and flat ironing can dry your hair out. So, your hair may look great for a week right after you straighten it, but then it can start to break as more weeks follow.
The top two ways to combat the damaging after-effect is to do deep conditioning and protein masks. These two treatments will put the moisture back into your hair and patch up any holes that happened as a result of straightening. The patch up session will serve to prevent breakage.
Plan on doing both the deep conditioning and the protein treatments the week before and the week after you do your straightening session.
Damage doesn’t automatically happen just because you’ve heated your hair. In fact, there are tons of straight-haired naturals in the world who have long, healthy hair.
If you follow the above steps and are very careful with your regimen, you can probably get away with straightening your hair more than a few times per year.
What are your favorite tips on straightening natural hair without damage?
How to Deal with Hard Water on Curly Hair November 01 2018 1 Comment
If your city has subpar water, you might be wondering how to deal with hard water on curly hair. Hard water isn’t necessarily bad for your health, although some experts claim that it can contribute to kidney stones.
Rather, it’s horrendous for performing tasks like washing your hair and face, doing laundry, and cleaning. Basically, all cleansing tasks.
Fortunately, it’s easy to make a comeback from hard water on bathroom fixtures and clothing. It won’t permanently wreck your new shirt.
Hair, however… that’s another problem.
In this post, you’ll find out about hard water and some ways you can prevent or counteract the damage that hard water does to hair. If you want to know how to avoid breakage and hard water damage, read on!
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is the common term for water that has a high mineral content. Minerals are necessary for the human body, but too many minerals can cause buildup in your home’s water pipes.
For most hard water cities, the minerals are calcium and magnesium, and they come from limestone and chalk deposits.
When water passes through the pipe, the buildup leaches into the water. This buildup causes the water to become hard, and makes it difficult to do everyday tasks, like washing your hair, body, clothing, dishes and shower doors.
How Does Hard Water Affect Hair?
Every city has a different level of mineral content, and some are much worse than others. If you’re doing everything you can to care for your hair, and it still breaks, it’s time to look at your water.
If you’re dealing with hard water right now, you probably have the following symptoms:
How Do You Know if You Have Hard Water?
If it’s still too difficult to know for sure by looking at your hair, take a quick peek at your bathroom faucets, glass, and other surfaces.
Here are some telltale signs:
How to Prevent Hard Water from Damaging Your Hair
If you’re in a city that has hard water, you’re going to want to save your hair from the damage the minerals can cause.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent damage on your hair:
If you have hard water and your hair is breaking, just add a couple of the above items to your regimen and watch your hair flourish.
Remember, not everybody has the same water. A friend who lives in the next town over might think you’re overreacting because she doesn’t have a water issue at all.
And you might be seen as being a little eccentric for wanting to use bottled water on your hair. But if it helps give you long and healthy strands, then who cares what others think? It’s your hair, and you’re the one managing it!
It’s your turn to leave a comment below and discuss. Have you tried any of these methods for dealing with hard water on curly hair?
Aloe Vera Part 2: How to Use Aloe Vera On Natural Hair October 27 2018 4 Comments
Welcome to Part 2: How to Use Aloe Vera on Natural Hair. If you haven’t checked out the first part in the Aloe Vera Series, see Part 1: The Benefits of Aloe for Hair.
There are so many benefits to using aloe vera for natural hair, and once you learn about them, you’re going to want to run out and get a bottle of pure aloe, so you can start using it for your natural hair recipes.
In this post, you’ll find out about different ways you can use aloe vera, and how to fit it into your natural hair regimen.
Use Aloe in Your Deep Conditioner
Are you making your deep conditioner from scratch? If so, you’re going to want to use aloe vera gel. Why? Because it hydrates hair and it has a lot more nutrition to offer than plain water.
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant, which means it retains water by nature. This is the ideal ingredient for you if you’re experiencing dry hair. It comes loaded with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, and it’s ideal for retaining moisture on natural hair.
You can either cocktail aloe vera gel into your store-bought deep conditioners, or you can try this DIY aloe vera deep conditioner:
Easy Aloe Deep Conditioner for Natural Hair
¼ cup aloe vera gel
¼ cup coconut oil
1. Melt the coconut oil for a few seconds in the microwave.
2. Add aloe vera gel to the coconut oil.
3. Whisk together until smooth.
4. Use after shampooing and leave on hair 30-60 minutes.
Refresh with DIY Aloe Leave-In Conditioner Spray for Natural Hair
Distilled aloe vera juice makes a great mid-week refresher spray because it hydrates your hair while supplying nutrition and shine.
This spray is easy to make because it contains 2 tablespoons of your favorite conditioner, glycerin, and castor oil for lubricant.
Getting the amount of conditioner just right is tricky, because it comes down to personal preference and whether you want to be able to use the spray to detangle your hair. You’ll want to use less conditioner if you have low-porosity hair and are concerned about build-up.
Glycerin is optional. You’ll want to avoid glycerin if you live in a dry climate because it can make your hair too dry. If you live in a moderately humid city, glycerin should help draw in moisture and add slip.
Aloe itself does not contain enough slip to detangle hair, but your conditioner will help with this job.
Using distilled aloe vera juice means you can store your spray bottle on your bathroom counter instead of the fridge.
Aloe Vera Leave-In Conditioning Spray
1 cup distilled aloe vera juice
2 tablespoons favorite conditioner
2 tablespoons Jamaican Black Castor Oil
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin (optional)
5-15 drops lavender or eucalyptus essential oils
1. Pour the distilled aloe vera juice into a clean spray bottle
2. Add your favorite conditioner and Jamaican Black Castor oil.
3. Add glycerin and lavender or eucalyptus essential oil.
4. Close the spray bottle and shake vigorously.
5. Use this leave-in after conditioning your hair and as a mid-week refresher.
Hydrate your hair with an Aloe Vera Pre-Poo
If you have breakage, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of it occurs on wash day. Shampoos were made to cut excess sebum and dirt. It’s a good thing, but the lack of natural oils means your hair can easily become dry and tangled.
If you’ve waited too long between wash days and haven’t done your mid-week refreshing, your hair may be dry and break too easily. You can still do a moisturization session before you get in the shower!
Applying a pre-poo right before you shampoo is a good way to counteract the breakage that can occur on wash day. Pre-pooing isn’t necessary with co-washing, but it can really help to retain length on natural hair while shampooing.
This pre-poo recipe contains coconut milk, which also hydrates dry hair and adds enough protein to combat breakage during shampooing. Coconut milk’s molecules are small enough to fit through the cuticle and penetrate the hair shaft, so it will help feed your hair nutrition before using cleansers.
Coconut milk does go rancid quickly, so this isn’t the kind of recipe that you can store and keep on hand. Instead, open a can of coconut milk and freeze the rest in small portions to use later.
Try this pre-poo to hydrate your strands before you step into the shower on wash day:
Moisturizing Aloe Vera Pre-Poo
2 tbs Aloe Vera gel
2 tbs coconut milk (full fat)
2 tbs favorite conditioner
1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
2. Apply onto your strands.
3. Leave on your hair for 10-20 minutes.
4. Rinse and follow with shampoo.
Aloe Vera Hair Growth and Scalp Treatment
Is your scalp itchy? Aloe vera is amazing for hydrating and healing skin—and that includes the scalp. Aloe vera is a succulent plant that retains water within its leaves. It hydrates like water does, and then it has healing components that can help to restore a healthy scalp too.
Aloe can heal old scars from relaxer burns, reduce dryness, and fix overproduction of sebum. It has a pH balance of 4.5-5.5, so it can help with your scalp’s immunity to predators like fungus.
This scalp treatment recipe below also contains witch hazel, a natural antiseptic that can cleanse the scalp and unclog hair follicles and prevent shedding. Witch hazel can be drying to natural hair, so you should only use this spray on your scalp and not your strands.
The recipe also contains peppermint and rosemary essential oils, two ingredients that have been scientifically proven to stimulate the follicles and speed hair growth.
Use this recipe whenever you experience itching, or to help grow hair. The spray does not need refrigeration if you use distilled aloe vera juice.
Aloe Vera Scalp Treatment
½ cup distilled aloe vera juice
¼ cup witch hazel
5 drops peppermint essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
1. Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle.
2. Shake the bottle vigorously.
3. Spray on your scalp and massage into the follicles.
Thanks for tuning in to this extra-special Aloe Vera Series! Do you use aloe vera on your natural hair?
Should You Use Gel in Your Natural Hair Regimen? October 20 2018
Curious about using gel in your natural hair regimen? We curlies have A LOT of products and brands to choose from. It can be VERY overwhelming, and it gets expensive when you have to experiment with so many different items.
Gels come in all flavors. They can be good or bad, depending on ingredients. But your hair type and the way in which you use the gel can also play a big role.
In this post, we’ll look at different gel types and uses so you can decide whether to purchase gel for your natural hair.
Do You Need Gel for Your Natural Hair?
The first thing is to ask yourself, do you really need gel? Or will a curling cream or a simple leave-in conditioner work?
The answer is… it depends on the task.
Here are some uses for gel:
Using Gel to Lay Edges. You need a gel if you want to lay down your edges. Laying edges can give your hairstyle a sleek “finished” look. But laid edges isn’t for everybody. If you’re looking for a more natural look, you won’t need gel for edges. However, if you want to tame your baby hairs, edge gel can help.
The best gels to lay edges are called “Edge Gels”. They come in small containers and they give far more hold than a regular gel. But be careful not to choose an edge gel that contains an overly drying ingredient like alcohol.
Otherwise, you’ll have trouble growing your edges out and you’ll need to constantly rely on edge gels to make your hairstyles.
Applying Gel to Slick Back Hair. One of the most common uses for gel is for laying down all hair (not just edges) and pulling it into a bun. Use caution with this hairstyle.
If you’re pulling your hair back into a sleek bun or ponytail every day, and then applying edge gel, you could develop alopecia. Gel tends to smother the follicle and hinder hair growth.
It probably won’t do much damage if you’re doing it once a week but slathering gel on your scalp every day could spell danger. Remember, hair growth slows once you reach a certain age.
If you’re in your twenties or thirties, it may seem like your follicles are invincible, but hair loss can easily show in your forties if your follicles were abused enough in your younger years.
Using Gel for a Wash and Go. You can use gel to define your curls for a wash and go. Gel usually has a better hold than curling or twisting cream, so your hairstyle will probably look more defined for a longer period of time.
However, using gel on wash and gos is not without flaws. Some of the downsides are that your hair can turn too crisp or stiff, and that you could lose moisture and softness.
Another con is that you can’t reapply gel or it will end up with build-up and flaking. Moreover, you’ll have a hard time applying any product after you’ve used gel.
In fact, you should wash the gel from your hair after 1-3 days or you’ll risk dryness.
Also, if you’re doing a wash and go, use a botanical gel. Wash and gos require you to coat your strands, and the ingredients can become deeply embedded into the hair shaft. So, make sure you choose something healthy for your mane.
What are the Best Types of Gel for Natural Hair
Steer clear of certain alcohols and other drying chemicals in gels. Knowing which alcohols to avoid in gels is confusing, because some help hair, and others hurt.
Cetyl, stearyl, behenyl, cetearyl, lauryl and myristyl alcohols are good for hair because they soften and condition.
Avoid denatured alcohol, ethanol, isopropyl, SD alcohol 40, propanol, and propyl alcohols. These “bad” alcohols will be too drying for your natural hair regimen.
Look for botanical gels, or products which contain very few chemicals. There are a few brands on the market that are low in toxins. They may not provide extreme hold, but your hair will thank you in the long run.
Plain aloe vera gel is a great option because it hydrates and smooths hair while making it easier to clump curls together. It also doesn’t harden hair and it’s chock-full of nutrition.
However, every head is different, and you’ll have to experiment on your own to see if your hair likes aloe vera gel.
Easy Flax Gel Recipe for Natural Hair
Another idea is to make a DIY gel at home. You’ll like how cost-effective it is to make gel from flaxseed. A $3-4 bag will last you for months! Plus, flaxseed gel contains a ton of good fatty acids and it is a water-based gel, so there won’t be any issues with losing moisture.
Here’s an easy recipe you can use to make your own flaxseed gel at home. Keep in mind that you may need to double the recipe if you’re using it for a wash and go, and depending on how frequently you want to use your gel.
1 1/4 cups water
1/8 cup whole raw flaxseeds (unroasted)
Clean cheesecloth or a footie from pantyhose stockings
1. Place the flaxseeds and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Stir the mixture while it boils to ensure consistency throughout the gel.
3. Allow the flaxseeds to form a thick & slippery texture, then turn off the heat.
4. Let the gel cool in its pot.
5. Strain the gel with the cheesecloth or pantyhose while holding it over a container to catch the liquid.
6. Press and squeeze all liquid into the container.
7. Discard the seeds.
8. Keep your container covered and refrigerated when you’re not using the gel.
Flaxseed gel doesn’t last very long in the fridge, but it will probably remain fresh for 5-7 days if you keep it well-sealed and cold.
How about you? Have you tried to use gel in your natural hair regimen, and which one do you like best?
How to Care for Natural Hair in a Dry Climate October 13 2018
If you live in the desert, you might be totally confused about how to care for natural hair in a dry climate. All hair behaves differently depending on the weather.
Listening to YouTube vloggers can easily steer you in the wrong direction, since their advice tends to be for their own hair. It’s not enough to follow your curl twin when you’re trying to create a good regimen.
And sometimes, it’s not about your hair at all. Rather, it’s about the climate in which you live. Humidity can make a huge difference in your routine.
Even if you’re only vacationing (and not permanently living) in a dry climate, you’re going to want to know how your hair will react to the weather.
Check Out the Humidity Percentage
First thing’s first. You need to know exactly how dry your city is before you start following any of the advice in this post. If you’re unsure whether your city is dry, just have a look at the weather report.
Humidity is defined by how much moisture there is in the air. Every day, your city’s humidity level changes, and it gets listed alongside the temperature, usually in smaller writing.
Most of us are in the habit of looking at the temperature when we check the weather report. Hot and cold does make a difference, but the humidity level plays a huge role in how dry your hair is going to react on any given day.
Water constitutes a major part of your body and hair. The average human body contains about 60% water and a hair strand contains 10 to 13%.
When the air around you are dryer than you are, you’ll start to feel your skin and hair becoming dryer and more brittle. The air is looking to your body and hair to feed it moisture.
If you live in a city that gets down below 40% humidity, your hair and skin are bound to be affected. You’ll need to drink more water and apply more of it to your skin and hair to beat the dryness.
How to Moisturize Hair in a Dry Climate
So, you’ve just found out you live in a very dry climate and your hair is so brittle that your ends are starting to break.
How do you keep your hair hydrated and moisturized? Here’s a list of helpful things to do if you’re in a dry climate, where the humidity level often dips below 40%:
Hydrate Your Hair More. You’ll need to add water to your hair much more often than other naturals do. Women who say they only wash their hair once every couple of weeks probably do not live in a dry climate like you do, so you should not follow their advice.
You need more water in your routine. You don’t always need to use shampoo; your hair isn’t necessarily dirty. It’s just dry.
Try adding cowashing and rice water rinses to your regimen between washes so that you’re getting your hair completely saturated in the shower more than once per week.
Skip excessive oils. Moisture comes from water, not oils. When you live in a dry environment, you need all the water you can get. Think about this: When you’re stranded in the middle of a desert, you’re reaching for the water, not the bottle of olive oil, right?
It’s true that oils will help to seal moisture in, but that method only works if you have a lot of water in your atmosphere and you don’t need to constantly re-hydrate your hair.
Once you have to add water to your hair several times per week (and you do if you reside in a dry climate), you won’t want anything blocking your way and limiting the water’s chance of reaching the hair shaft.
Drink More Water. Drinking enough water is a good way to create healthier and more lustrous hair. Your body produces better hair when it’s hydrated. Most experts recommend drinking about 8 cups of water per day.
However, 8 cups may not be enough if you live in a climate where the atmosphere is constantly leaching water from your body. If you’re struggling with dry hair, you’ll want to up your water intake.
Use a Water Spray Bottle. Spray your hair with water every day. This may seem obvious but keeping a spray bottle on hand in your bathroom is a good way to make sure your hair doesn’t get parched between wash days.
A spray bottle is not as hydrating as letting the water completely saturate your head in the shower, but it will help. You can also add a couple tablespoons of conditioner to your spray bottle to make a detangler.
What About Using Glycerin on Natural Hair in a Dry Climate?
You’ll probably have a question or two about glycerin if you’re in a dry climate. Glycerin is a known humectant that can draw water from the air and into your hair.
But, if your city’s air has little humidity, then the opposite holds true. Glycerin will take the water from your hair and distribute it into the air.
Glycerin can work with climates that are not too dry or too humid. This is why glycerin works great for some people and is horrific for others.
Being in a dry climate, you probably won’t have much use for an entire bottle of glycerin. However, if you notice that glycerin is listed as an ingredient in one of your favorite products, don’t fret.
You just need to make sure you use that product along with a shower. The shower is very humid, and the glycerin can help draw water from the shower in through the cuticle.
However, you’ll want to avoid using glycerin if you live in a dry climate and you’re not planning on getting in the shower. Look for styling products that don’t contain glycerin.
As a side note, glycerin should always be mixed with water even if you live in a humid climate.
Dry climates don’t have to be a bad thing if you have natural hair. After all, you’ll probably enjoy being able to hold your natural hair styles better since there’s no humidity in the air.
However, make sure you add lots of water to your routine daily and follow the above tips to keep your curls soft and luscious.
Now, it’s your turn to discuss. How do you care for your natural hair in a dry climate?
Aloe Vera Part 1: The Benefits of Aloe Vera for Natural Hair October 06 2018
Looking for the benefits of aloe vera for natural hair? Aloe vera is huge in the beauty industry, and millions of products include this popular ingredient in their formulas.
You can, of course, purchase ready-made skin and products for your hair that contain aloe vera, but you might be interested in learning how to use it on its own. Thinking about buying a bottle to cocktail it into your store-bought hair products? Check this article out first.
In this post, you’ll discover the benefits of aloe vera and how to use it, so you can decide whether you want to add it to your natural hair regimen.
What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a plant that is native to the Arabian desert. It was traded and shipped to many parts of the world as far back as 4th century BC.
Egyptian queens, Cleopatra and Nefertiti, both used aloe vera in their beauty rituals, and this unique beauty regimen has stuck with millions of women.
The plant is an evergreen perennial that grows well in tropical climates. It is highly prized for its medicinal, cosmetic and decorative purposes.
Aloe is a succulent plant. It retains water within the leaves and it can thrive for a long period of time without additional watering—unlike our hair!
What are the Benefits of Aloe Vera for Natural Hair?
Aloe vera has numerous benefits for the scalp and hair, including:
Hydration for Dry Hair. We tend to use aloe vera in very small amounts because it’s much more expensive than water, but aloe is every bit as hydrating because it contains water. Aloe is medicinal for dry, brittle hair. It has water-retaining properties and it can help your hair retain its moisture too.
Nutritive for Weak Hair. Aloe is a powerhouse of nutrition for the hair and scalp. Aloe vera contains 75 potentially active elements, including vitamins, enzymes, minerals, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids, according to a 2008 study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology.
Heals Itchy and Irritated Scalps. Aloe vera has a medicinal power that can be used to heal skin cells, and it might help relieve the scalp of irritation and itchiness. You might even try it for scalp damage caused by relaxers and tight extensions.
Promotes Hair Growth. Aloe doesn’t exactly stimulate hair growth, but it can help repair hair follicle cells and improve the effects of aging of the scalp.
What Types of Aloe Vera Should You Use for Natural Hair?
Fresh Aloe Vera. Fresh is always best if you can find the plant. Look for aloe plants in landscaping nurseries, garden centers, and occasionally at the grocery market. You may also be able to find a large cut leaf at Asian food markets in the produce section.
Fresh aloe contains no preservatives, so you’ll have to take precaution to store your concoctions in the refrigerator. A fresh aloe leaf will last two weeks in the fridge.
However, once it is extracted for hair recipes, you should either use it or throw it out within one week.
Wondering how long you can leave fresh aloe vera on your hair? Aloe goes rancid even faster if you’re using it on your hair and scalp because of body heat. You should always rinse your hair of fresh aloe vera the same day you use it.
Aloe Vera Juice. Aloe vera juice is excellent for spray bottles and other hair DIY recipes where you’d normally use water. Aloe is ultra-hydrating for the hair, skin, and body, and it repairs better than plain water can.
You can find aloe juice at health food stores and on Amazon. Most aloe vera juice can be taken internally but be sure to eyeball the label first. Internal and external uses are both beneficial for the skin and hair.
Pay close attention to refrigeration instructions. Some brands need refrigeration after opening and some don’t. You might want to go with a distilled variety of aloe vera juice, which usually doesn’t need refrigeration.
The non-refrigerated aspect is super helpful for cosmetics because you can store your DIY products handy in your bathroom instead of the kitchen.
You may also want the distilled aloe vera juice variety for cocktailing products, so you don’t end up having to store your purchased products in the refrigerator.
Lastly, distilled aloe makes a great substitute for plain water because it won’t grow mold. You’ll also find that aloe softens your hair better than plain water if your city has hard water.
Aloe Vera Gel. You can take the gel fresh from the plant by slicing the leaf and squeezing it or scooping it out into a bowl. But if you’re concerned with the rancidity of fresh aloe, try the store-bought version. Look for a brand that contains at least 99% aloe. Organic is always preferred.
Store-bought aloe vera gel doesn’t normally need to be refrigerated because it contains a negligible amount of preservatives. That means you can easily store it in your bathroom and it will last you for months or years.
A bottle of organic aloe vera gel may look expensive on the shelf, but it’s probably more economical in the long run than buying several fresh leaves.
However, if you can find a large aloe plant, you can have it for many years. And then you can easily cut a leaf off whenever you want to do a hair treatment.
Curious about aloe vera hair treatments for curly hair? Stay tuned for Part 2 in the Aloe Vera Series: How to Use Aloe Vera On Natural Hair.
Have you used aloe vera for natural hair, and if so, what were the results?
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