Tag Archives: hair problems

“What am I supposed to do with this hot, tangled mess?” Best Practices for Detangling

Come on…don’t tell me you’ve never had this moment before.

Having long, kinky hair is a blessing and a challenge at times. With longer hair comes more styling options, but also longer detangling time. Leaving the hair loose in an afro or old twistout for too long is a recipe for disaster. The strands of hair and shed hair start to tangle into each other, forming knots. Long gone are the days when getting your short hair to bounce back with water and leave-in conditioner was all you needed. Sectioning, patience and TLC are the best ways to deal with hair that is having a hard time. My average pre-shampoo detangling time is about 30 min. In the shower time is about 30 minutes and out of the shower time (detangling) is about 30 minutes. Here are some detangling practices that I find most helpful.

1. Pre-poo
It is so necessary to use an emollient oil or conditioner to smooth and soften the hair prior to shampooing. Take the hair section by section (I do at least 1 or 2 square inches at a time) and GENTLY work and comb the product through the hair and loosen tangles and knots. I used to use olive oil (or whatever was available) to pre-poo, but I find that conditioner works better because I’m adding moisture at the same time. It’s also helpful to add oil (just pick one…) to your conditioner for extra “slip” to combat resistance and breakage when loosening tangles.

2. Finger detangle
Your fingers can feel for knots and maneuver to loosen them better than a comb. Be sure to use your fingers first to detangle before applying a wide-tooth comb to prevent breakage.

3. Wide-tooth Comb
I’m not sure of the name for this comb, but I love to use the “feather” comb with the larger teeth on one side, smaller teeth on the other and 3-tooth pick on the end. If my hair is really jacked up, I’ll start with the pick end first on a small section to loosen hair, then work on it with the large-tooth side, and then further smooth out that section with the smaller tooth side. This method has really cut down my detangling time.

4. Two-strand twist detangle
So, once you smooth out a section of hair, it is helpful to put it in a two-strand twist to keep it out of the way, and to keep the hair stretched. It is also helpful to wash your hair with the two-strand twist installed and cleanse the hair section by section to reducing tangling.

5. After shampoo sectioning
Once the hair is washed, I personally find it necessary to repeat this process of sectioning and twisting on wet hair with a good leave-in conditioner or milk and oil. I leave the twist in to keep the hair stretched until I am ready to style because my hair immediately shrinks down into a small (tangled) afro after washing. And, if I let that happen, what was the point in all the detangling I did before?

Share your detangling tips (or woes) with us!

“I think my hair is giving me an allergy attack…”

Many women speak of the love/hate relationship they have with their natural hair. There are many things on the list of natural hair “hassles” from clogged drains to oily skin. Now, you may be able to add to that list, allergies. For the allergy sufferers like me any number things could set off an allergy attack. This time I really think it was my hair and I’ll tell you why.

Here’s what happened. I’m sitting at work, when my eyes begin to water and itch, before you know it, I’m into a full-blown allergy attack with uncontrollable sneezing. I was like, “Oh, God what is making me like this? I can’t even see!” The eye irritation was unbelievable. Then I thought about how minutes earlier I was playing around in my hair. I wondered if it could be my hair causing the attack. Please note that hair itself is not an allergen, which is, any substance that can cause an allergy attack. (So, stop blaming the dog or cat hair for your allergies.)

Now, since we know that the hair itself did not trigger the attack, what else could it be? I have a strong theory that it was the allergens trapped in my hair that caused the attack. My schedule got out of control, so I had not washed my hair in a while. Instead just washing and re-twisting my hair for a twistout, I did a big no-no. I put new product (in this case curly pudding, hair milk, etc) on top of dirty hair. I’m being very transparent about my missteps because this is real life. I noticed that my jacket was dusty and that the flakes were coming from my hair. Clearly, the product buildup (now dirt) was just falling from my head. Can you say embarrassing? I’m very certain that all the dust, products and dead skin that had built over a period of weeks is what was causing my allergic reaction.

I’m not trying to leave the impression that natural hair (and my hair) is nasty and dirty. Certainly, if you develop and maintain a routine to keep your hair clean at least once a week, and go no more than two weeks without washing, you will be fine. Also, be sure to wear a hair bonnet at night, not only protect the hair from breakage, but to keep lint and dust from flying into your hair at night. Lastly, don’t use hair products with harsh chemicals as they can trigger eye allergies. If you suffer from allergies like me, then keeping the hair clean and free of debris, chemicals and allergens is a must, no matter how crazy your schedule gets. Lesson learned.

Please share your thoughts or other hair hassles below.

Osbessed with Straight Edges and Kitchens?…Check out this greeting card I saw at the store

Are we this obsessed with straight edges and kitchens? I remember back in the day I would let a relaxer stay on my head for as long as it took for my edges to get straight. And yes, that “kitchen” in the back of my head seemed like it took FOREVER to get straight. I suffered chemical scalp burns ans scabs, for what? Straight edges and kitchens?

Thankfully, I never developed alopecia (hair loss) on my edges (however, all the hair in my kitchen fell out in 2008 from a bad perm and stress). I know many women who have. Many developed hair loss not just from relaxers, but also from pulling the hair too tight with braids. Why? To make sure their edges are neat and straight. Some women with locs have also experienced this traction alopecia from re-twisting their locs too tight and too frequently. The loc then becomes too heavy and falls off.

So, I ask, why are are we so obsessed with straight edges and kitchens? 

QOD: “My hair has grown a lot and it’s super thick and curly!! I have …”

…to use A LOT of conditioner and olive oil to keep moisture .. I usually cut it but I want it to grow long.. I like the dreds but don’t want to commit to that style.. I like change too much .. What to do???
Another confused nappy head”
Dear “Another confused nappy head” (Lol/smh)
There are a few approaches that I would use to accelerate hair growth. The main thing is to protect the hair at all costs. You are doing a good job at keeping it well conditioned and moisturized. However, make sure you are not getting too much gunk build up in the scalp, because that can actually inhibit hair growth. As for styling I would say two-strand twists every 2 weeks or so to protect the hair from the daily styling damage of combing and heat styling. You don’t have to do this forever, but the hair needs a break every now and then. You also may want to get it blow-dried straight about once every one to two months and have your ends clips. Split ends cause breakage and though you may see a lot of new growth at the top, if your ends keep breaking off, you’ll never see any length.  Hope that helps you be more happy nappy!
-Love, Cj
Feel free to share your suggestions for her as well! Contact me if you would like to post your hair question.