If your curls, coils or waves...

If your curls, coils or waves have spent the last year up in a pineapple pony, you’re not alone. This summer has us feeling inspired and confident to give our curls the love and attention they deserve. We have recently been introduced to new products to test, fun haircuts to try, and bold semi permanent colors to experiment with! One line of products we’re most excited to share with the NaturallyCurly community is Beautiful Curls by Alaffia.

Alaffia offers natural, plant-based and fair trade products for skin and body. This year, they released a line of products specifically formulated for textured hair. There’s a wavy/curly range, a curly/kinky range, and products to bring definition to all curl patterns and porosities. If you’ve been taking a closer look at your ingredient lists, you’ll be happy to know that Beautiful Curls contains no silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, artificial coloring or mineral oil—AND it’s cruelty-free! Additionally, many of the ingredients are sourced from Alaffia’s West African women’s cooperatives, which handcraft indigenous ingredients such as unrefined shea butter, coconut oil, neem oil, and African black soap. All for less than $15 each.

Here to share how we can achieve our best definition this summer is Celebrity Hairstylist and Alaffia Brand Ambassador, Allyn Antoine. He’s been working with textured hair for over 20 years in New York City’s top-tier salons and you’ve seen his work on the big screen, TV shows, magazines and more. We brought Antoine some of your top curl concerns from making a twist-out last to the frizz-causing mistakes to avoid, here are the expert tips he had for us.

One line of products we’re most excited to share with the NaturallyCurly community is Beautiful Curls by Alaffia.

Alaffia offers natural, plant-based and fair trade products for skin and body. This year, they released a line of products specifically formulated for textured hair. There’s a wavy/curly range, a curly/kinky range, and products to bring definition to all curl patterns and porosities. If you’ve been taking a closer look at your ingredient lists, you’ll be happy to know that Beautiful Curls contains no silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, artificial coloring or mineral oil—AND it’s cruelty-free! Additionally, many of the ingredients are sourced from Alaffia’s West African women’s cooperatives, which handcraft indigenous ingredients such as unrefined shea butter, coconut oil, neem oil, and African black soap. All for less than $15 each.

Here to share how we can achieve our best definition this summer is Celebrity Hairstylist and Alaffia Brand Ambassador, Allyn Antoine. He’s been working with textured hair for over 20 years in New York City’s top-tier salons and you’ve seen his work on the big screen, TV shows, magazines and more. We brought Antoine some of your top curl concerns from making a twist-out last to the frizz-causing mistakes to avoid, here are the expert tips he had for us.

Do you have any tips for those with waves or curls and with fine hair who need moisture but find that moisturizing products can weigh their hair down or make the roots look oily sooner?

A curly girl’s best friend is water, but thin curls can easily become their enemy if they apply too much product. My clients ask me this question all the time, usually after much trial and error. I always recommend that those with fine textures start applying product at the mid-shaft to the ends of the hair. This way, you are giving your curls the moisture they need without the risk of weighing them down. Make sure that you apply while the hair is still wet—this allows the product to soak into each strand properly and gives the best result. This is exactly how I like to apply the Beautiful Curls Curl Enhancing Leave-in Conditioner to ensure curls are enhanced and defined every time.”

Do you have any unique finger styling or curl defining techniques that you use on wavy or curly clients for applying the Beautiful Curls Curl Defining Gel?

Antoine: “Get it wet! Just like your leave-in, you definitely want to make sure you are applying the Beautiful Curls Curl Defining Gel to completely wet hair. As you apply the defining gel, take small sections at a time and finger comb them from roots to ends. Your curls will be shaped and defined all over as a result. After that, air dry your hair, or use a diffuser to add more volume.”

How do you recommend curly haired folks refresh their second- or third-day curls with Beautiful Curls?

Antoine: “You have to get your hands on the Beautiful Curls Curl Reviving Tonic—it’s a texturizing mist that rehydrates and re-shapes your curls without adding too much product that could weigh them down. It is an easy way to restore your curls at home that I recommend at the salon all the time. Use your fingers to recurl small sections at a time after misting all over. As a result, you will be able to define your hair while removing any excess frizz. On days when your curls need a little more moisture, mix a little Curl Enhancing Leave-in with water in a spray bottle, shake it up and use it as a moisture mist. The frizz disappears easily, and I’ve done it for years. When I’m on set for a photoshoot and the curls of my client get unruly from all the hot lights, this method works like a charm.”

We know that Beautiful Curls Curl Activating Leave-In Conditioner can be used to moisturize and detangle, do you have any other detangling tips for those with  curls to reach maximum potential curl definition with this product?

Antoine: “The Beautiful Curls Curl Activating Leave-in Conditioner is a fantastic product that can be used in a few different ways. Firstly, you can apply this as a pre-poo to detangle before you wash. Then, it can be used after shampooing—apply the product in sections and comb through to ensure even distribution of the product throughout your hair. Keep in mind that because this product is lightweight for tighter textures, your curl will start expanding shortly after the hair is dry.”

Is it possible to make a twist-out or braid-out last longer when using the Curl Activating Cream?

Antoine: Make sure to use Beautiful Curls Curl Activating Cream after applying the Curl Activating Leave-in when your hair is wet. Together, these two products give your hair maximum hydration and definition while minimizing frizz. Then, leave it in for at least a full day before you take it down. Your curls will remain the longer you leave the style in, and the more defined your curls will be.”

The Curl Activating Cream can be used with a diffuser for volume, do you have tips for those with curls who find that when they diffuse it can create frizz?

Antoine: Moving the diffuser rapidly is what causes the frizz.  Getting into the habit of taking your time is all it takes to make a huge difference while diffusing.” Hold the diffuser in one position for 20 seconds before moving to the next section of hair.

How often would you recommend people who use the Beautiful Curls Shampoos to remove product buildup, sweat or oil, but who also want to retain moisture and not dry out their curls, coils or waves?

Antoine: Looser curl patterns and waves can be washed more frequently than tighter curls and coils. Since Beautiful Curls shampoos are sulfate-free, it means that using the product will not strip your hair the way a traditional shampoo would, however,  limit your wash days to every 7 to 10 days for best results.” “I recommend washing once a week or once every week and a half, depending on your hair type.

What coil defining techniques would you recommend while using the Curl Control Custard for a lasting and defined wash-and-go?

Antoine: “When you are looking to do a wash-and-go, you want to make sure you thoroughly detangle your hair all over before applying any styler. This will make the application of the Curl Control Custard an easier and smoother process. Always apply the product from root to ends in small sections. Once the hair is dry, scrunch for added volume.”

Any other frizz fighting tips for the summer?

Antoine: “Cocktails were made for the summertime—and I’m not just talking about happy hour. Cocktailing stylers together can help to give your curls a surge of hydration to minimize frizz and keep them looking their best. I like to pair something super hydrating, like one of our Beautiful Curls Leave-Ins with a styler that helps to retain the moisture and give your curls enough hold, like the Curl Defining Gel or Curl Activating Cream (when you need extra hold). Always, make sure you choose products like Beautiful Curls that are clean—meaning no sulfates, silicones, parabens and phthalates.”

This post is sponsored by Alaffia.


Stop Making These Tangle-Causing Mistakes

It is quite disappointing to discover that your hair is tangled shortly after washday. Especially when your curl friends do not really face the same challenge with their curls.

“How does my hair tangle so quickly?” you may wonder.

Luckily, we will share the most common causes of tangled curls in this article and how to avoid tearing your hair out.

1. Not using the right deep-conditioner

Knowing the porosity of your hair is key when purchasing a deep-conditioner. Many curlies base their purchase decision on reviews of a popular blogger, who may have a different hair porosity. A suitable deep-conditioner will restore the condition of the cuticle and improve its ability to absorb and restore moisture. For instance, someone who has low porosity hair should avoid using protein deep-conditioners. On the other hand, someone who has high porosity hair needs protein to restore the damaged cuticles.

2. Not detangling your hair correctly

There are many ways of detangling curls incorrectly. For instance, some people mostly detangle the ends of their hair, but fail to detangle the roots thoroughly. As a result, they often have tangles in their roots. Others do not section their hair prior to detangling. Consequently, it is easy to overlook areas to detangle. When detangling incorrectly, your strands will get cluttered with other strands. As a result, there will be knots in the hair.

Prior to detangling your hair you should divide your hair into sections. Start detangling your hair at the ends and carefully detangle up to the roots. If you are able to smoothly run the comb from the roots to the ends you have detangle your hair correctly.

3. Postponing wash days

Making the washday results last as long as possible is preferred by many curlies. However, your hair really needs moisture. Without moisture, your hair will be brittle and rough. As a result, your strands will get tangled. To prevent this from happening, schedule a wash morning, afternoon or evening during the week.

4. Product build up

LOC or LCO are curly hair methods, which are often recommended by many curly hair gurus. Unfortunately, these curly hair care methods are not suitable for every hair porosity. For instance, applying too many products on low porosity hair will cause product build-up. As a result, the hair will get tangled easily. Curious about which type of products would match your curly hair needs? Then you should read this article.

5. The wrong nighttime routine

Hair tangling can be caused by friction between the hair cuticles as they move and rub against each other. The friction occurs when your head moves during your sleep. Braids, a pineapple bun, wearing a satin scarf or bonnet are ways to prevent your hair from tangling.

6. You do not trim your hair consistently

It may be tempting to avoid a visit to the hairdresser, but trimming your curls prevents your strands from tangling. Split ends will cause friction with other ends. As a result, you will have tangles and fairy knots. Visit the hairdresser every three months to prevent this from happening.

7. You should try low manipulation styling

Wash and go may be perceived as a never-ending battle. Especially, when the washday results last less than two days. If you want to give yourself a break, you should try low manipulation styling, such as flexi-rods, roller sets, banding, curlformers and heatless blowouts. To achieve excellent results you will have to detangle every strand carefully. Low manipulation hair styling will not require lots of effort the days after washdays. Besides, you will be tempted to follow most of the good habits. For instance, to achieve beautiful results you will encourage yourself to detangle your hair correctly. Not to forget, as it took quite some effort to achieve excellent results, you will follow the right nighttime routine to make sure that you will continue having good hair days.

8. Your clothing causes friction

Wearing a scarf or a jacket or top with a high collar can be warm, fashionable and comfortable; however, if you are not wearing a silk scarf the moisture will be absorbed by the material of the garment. Thus, the hair will tangle. Try not to wear your hair down when rocking a scarf or clothing that will rub on your hair.


How Elaine Gets Her Naturally Wavy Hair to Look Like This

This answer is easy as they had such a noticeable effect! The trick that has made the biggest difference is protecting my curls overnight with a silk scarf, as my hair has always been too fine for pineappling. Then I hydrate daily by spritzing my hair every morning with a mix of water and leave-in conditioner. Can you believe I actually used to avoid conditioning as I thought it weighed my curls down? But only because I had been using generic cosmetic conditioners that were laden with heavy silicones. Lush curls need hydration!

Another fave is nightly scalp massages. This has massively improved the health of my scalp, my issues with protein sensitive itching, hair growth, achieving 2nd, 3rd and 4th day curls and the benefits go on. I will never not do this now.

What piece of advice would you give to a curly who's just starting out in their journey?

My advice to those starting their journey, or restarting for the umpteenth time, would be to not get too caught up in others' routines, products and methods. It is so inspiring to follow other curly girls, and there is no doubt that you will gain valuable support and help from the amazing curl community, but everyone's curls are so unique and what works for others wont necessarily work for you! There are no wonder products to reverse damage, so take the time to nourish and care for your curls until they are healthy, learn what feels good, and what doesn't, pay attention to what ingredients feature in your fave products to help determine what to look for in others. Oh and take lots of selfies... any time you're having a bad hair day, or feeling frustrated, remind yourself just how far you have come, and I guarantee that pic from 3 months ago will help you realize that your curls are improving every day. Even on your worst curl day, there will be another girl 6 months behind you who dreams of getting to where you are now!

My advice to those starting their journey, or restarting for the umpteenth time, would be to not get too caught up in others' routines

 


6 Must-Know Tips For Softer Summer Curls

Dry, crunchy, crispy hair isn’t cute.

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

1. Drink water

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

2. Pre-poo

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

3. Shampoo (instead of co-wash)

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

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

4. Deeply treat with steam

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

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

5. Deep condition more frequently

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

6. Layer with a leave-in

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


Repairing Thin Edges

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

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

@EPA

@Xclusive Pix

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

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

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

Learn what caused your thinning edges.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Keep the follicle clean, prevent clogged follicles

  2. Stimulate the scalp

  3. Seal in moisture, prevent breakage

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

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

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

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

Happy growing!