SCIENCE AND NATURAL HAIR
No matter how careful I am, the front of my hair just will not grow past 4-5 inches. The back of my hair is reaching my armpit, but the front constantly breaks and there are always little "hair bubbles." Is it possible that some parts of the hair have a very short growth cycle and therefore they will not get past a few inches?
Natural hair doesn't mean natural soul.Some people just wear natural hair. So outwardly they're natural. Inwardly they're not.I see sistas with naturAL hair but contacts in their eyes, fake nails, face caked up with Makeup.I don't know if you have addressed this but can you have amazingly long hair and eat junk food all the time. In other words, does it matter if you eat healthy or not>?
hello JC!i need to know if aleppo soap is gentler than shampoos for hair?TIAMarie grace
After I wash (or co-wash) my hair and allow it to air dry in a ponytail, it dries crunchy, stiff and tangled regardless of how much conditioner, leave-in, moisturizer and/or oil I use. What could be causing this?
So many questions, so little time. : ) I have very thick/coarse relaxed hair with highlights but I suffered some hair loss when I self-permed. I love color but I'm frightened after my last experience so I'm considering cassia or henna. I've read that you can color after henna but what about cassia? Will it dry my hair out?What about semi-perm color? Can that cause damage to the hair?Thanks in advance and I love your blog! The EVOO and coconut oil mix that you suggested has really helped my hair!
Can we talk about safflower oil.
Thanks ladies!Emme - I have to address part of your comment. I think that natural hair simply is just that - allowing your hair to grow out of your scalp naturally. People can live their lives as they choose (green contact lenses, heavy make up, wear black all day, dye hair blonde etc) and still choose to have natural hair. I think it is a lie that having natural hair means you have to embrace everything natural. We have to try to be more inclusive in the natural hair world.
Hi JcYour comment to Emme gave me something to think about. The natural hair world does need to try to be more inclusive. Because your right, natural hair does not mean a person have to embrace everything natural. That would be a good message you can address, I think, in your future post. (SW)
Hi JC: Just wanted to co-sign on your response to Emme. Why are black women the only ones in the world that cannot wear their hair the way it grows out of their scalp with it being politicized? I would hope we all start challenging the assumptions we make about people based on how they carry their hair.*A natural rocking her too-much-for-daytime-but-doesn't-care Mac Cyber lipstick and All My Purple Life gloss.
I am also interesting in knowing why loose natural hair becomes crunchy and brilo-pad like when it air dries despite the use of leave-ins and conditioner.I'd also like to know whether its possible to increase the breaking point (the point at which the hair breaks from force) of hair strands. My hair seems to snap very easily.
More about the natural hair experience from non-US people. Americans tends to dominate a lot, (I know there is a lot of them), but I do find a lot of their issues don't always apply outside the US. It seems more political for them
Hi JC -Your blog is a fantastic resource! Silk Proteins - What are they? I read on another blog that you can apply a silk protein to your hair prior to a relaxer to prohibit breakage. Does that ring true to you?Thanks!
I've been wondering if there's any truth to the notion that rinsing your hair with cool/cold water significantly affects the hair and the hair's ability to retain moisture or anything else. I've read about cold rinsing encouraging the cuticles to lie flat (whereas heat encourages them to swell), and as well, I've read that using cold water to rinse out conditioner helps your hair to retain the benefits from the conditioner better. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this and find out if it's a bunch of hooey or not!
Heyy, I have a question. What do you think about our hair having a terminal length? is there any evidence to suggest this is true?love the sciencey edge on your blog btw
Is it possible to maintain natural kinky hair without the use of oils (whether it be for pre-poo, sealing, etc.)? My hair seems to reject oils no matter how I use them, and EVOO and coconut oil in particular made my scalp itchy and inflamed.
Hello Sis, how are you?....I have a question, why do people use the term "natural" to try to put other people in the box? Why do people put more thought into their hair as a lifestyle than in their character?
What about tiny pin-holes on the hair shaft? Should the strand be cut above the holes? I ended up cutting about two inches of my hair because the were MANY on one strand of hair.
1. How diet (or poor nutrition) may affect hair growth rates.2.Ayurvedic medicines and hair
Hi Jc! Is it possible that tangle hair ends is a sign of damaged hair ends? My natural hair strand catches on to my other hair strands and gets tangled at the ends. Is that common or a sign of damaged hair? (SW)
I second SweetBonita on the Ayurvedic stuff as well all these plants - Hibiscus, Burdock Root, Marshmallow Root, Nettle etc. Do they really have an impact on hair.Also tensile strength for different hair textures. If someone with fine hair has to trim ever 3 months does that mean someone with coarse hair texture have to trim once a year or biannually?
Hi JC:I suppose that this has already been addressed in the Good Hair movie, but I would want people to understand the harmful effects of relaxers. This is especially so, as the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) recently deemed Brazillian keratin treatments dangerous due to formaldehyde (sp). Also, in regards to your comment to Emme, I stopped using nail polish, because I didn't like the stain that was left on my nails. I stopped using make-up due to skin sensitivity. I found it more beneficial to work on achieving a clearer complexion, which I did by experimenting with raw shea butter. The last step was to cease relaxing. This I did because I fell in love with the new growth, after having relaxed for 7 years. In adjusting my "beauty" regimen, I've defined what natural means to me.
Thank you all for your commentsAnon - I am not anti-relaxer or pro natural products. I am pro unbiased information. This means that I do not take a stand against relaxers. Women who relax their hair (as I did in the past) do so because they want to. A significant number of women who read this 'natural' blog are actually relaxed, seeking information on how to care for their hair. They are not stupid or uninformed, they know the risks posed by a relaxer and take steps to reduce it (relaxing less often, preventing burns etc).I think it is perfectly fine for you to say that you like natural products and say how they worked well for you. Great!My issue was only with part of Emme's comment - i.e 'I see sistas with natural hair but contacts in their eyes, fake nails, face caked up with Makeup.'In my opinion someone else's life and choices should be respected for no other reason than they are free and independent. There is a clear line that I draw on this blog about that.
Can we talk about how to get shiny hair
Hi again JC:I should have prefaced my comments by stating that I am not a natural patrol-woman. When asked, I often explain my "natural" choices to people, not with the intention of them emulating me; but along the lines of this is what led me to this point on my journey. I also think, (and know), that my frustration is more FDA directed, (and to which I'm contemplating sending a letter). It just seemed imbalanced of them to make a judgment on the "relatively new" Brazillian treatment, but yet not present one to users of relaxers, (I stand corrected if they've done otherwise). It should be more than a label on a box saying to watch out for one's eyes, irritations, or burns. It's not to suggest that any one is stupid or uninformed. However, users of relaxers are not guinea pigs, and should be regarded with the same courtesy as non-users, enabling them to make sound, and factual based decisions regarding relaxer choice and brand. *End of rant. Thanks for letting me vent!*Peace,Renee
I'd like an explanation of why blow drying or flat ironing wet hair with high heat can cause "bubble hair" but wet to dry flat irons do not despite using direct heat. Thanks!
Studies have been and are still being conducted to try to link chemical relaxers to breast cancer (when African American women, as compared to Caucasian American women develop breast cancer, it's more aggressive and more fatal). So far, no clear link has been found. However, in general, African American women use more beauty products than Caucasian American women. There are probably too many factors to control for anyone to come up with a definitive answer anytime soon. Don't blame the FDA; just strive to be an informed consumer! Remember, the FDA employees are only human and don't know everything, nor can they predict the future. They are not saying that anything on the market is 100% safe. FDA approval only says that benefit(s) outweigh risk(s).
I, similar to another Anonymous commenter have pin holes or Incomplete Splits throughout my strands. My hair is kinky curly texture and very dense. My stands are about medium length. When i run my fingers down the last 2 inches of my hair it drives me nuts because I can feel the pin holes on the strands... What is this all about? Is this what happens before your hair actually "Splits". Sometimes it seems moisturizing isn't enough... :(
I read that sulphur causes hair growth, and that using a product like Sulfur 8 will make the hair longer. Is this true?? (I ran right out and bought a small jar..!!) :-)
Is there any way to do an all natural protein treatment at home with easy to find supplies or is hydrolyzed protein really the only way to get an effective protein treatment?
Also! How long to the benefits of a protein treatment last?
How about fruit extracts in hair products do they have any benefits and how can you use them in your own products.
Have you heard about the coconut creme relaxer? If you have, what are your thoughts? Its a DIY conditioner made up of coconut creme, coconut oil and yogurt. It doesn't necessarily straighten the hair but it based on comments it serves as a really good conditioner. I think it more 4a/4bs were able to detangle their natural hair, more people would become natural.
I'd like to see more images of like the length of people's hair at different benchmarks - 1yr, 2yr, 3yr. My shrinkage/jump is so dramatic that sometimes I feel like my hair is not growing out all, other times I feel like I am right on track.Then of course, I see some of the people on the Youtube who transitioned and also just seem to have some sort of deal with the Supergro company and I just don't know where normal is anymore...It'd be great to start compiling a chart.
Hi JC, I posted this question before on your last "What questions would you like answered?" post, still hoping to get it answered!:My question is regarding the usage of Essential Oils for hair growth. Many Naturalistas often state that there is nothing that can be applied topically to the scalp that will stimulate hair growth. Yet just as many others swear by stimulating oils like Rosemary and Peppermint for hair growth, and I've heard Aromatherapy experts swear that certain oils (like Rosemary and Sage) can "increase cellular metabolism" and "regenerate cells." Is there scientific evidence supporting either theory? Or lacking actual scientific studies, what is your opinion on using Essential Oils on the scalp specifically for hair growth?For the record, I got my info on essential oils specifically for hair growth here:http://www.anandaapothecary.com/aromatherapy-essential-oils-news/2009/05/using-essential-oils-for-hair-growth.htmlThanks again!
Oops, I see that u already answered my question about coconut creme relaxers. Sorry, I should have used the search button. So I have another question - During the summer, my hair loves aloe vera gel with shea butter but since aloe vera gel is a humectant, will it not perform as well to keep my hair moist in the winter?
I know excessive direct heat is the devil but what about low prolonged heat? I purchased a hair steamer several months ago and use it weekly. Am I inadvertently damaging my newly natural hair???
Hi JC! Love your scientific approach, a breath of fresh (h)air! ;)I have a question about heatprotectants. I found a study (J Cosmet Sci. 2011 Jan-Feb;62(1):15-27) stating that "dry" ethanol based sprays are more effective than "wet" sprays. This is because they prevent ironing wet hair, thus avoiding rapid water evaporation.I thought that was interesting since ethanol is always touted as bad for the hair. It does help clarify that many heatprotectants contain SD Alcohol/alcohol denat.My questions:- It seems they applied the wet spray and then directly applied heat without letting the hair dry. Would the heatprotection of wet and dry sprays become the same as long as you make sure you let the wet hair dry before flatironing?- The study only used a flat iron. Do you think ethanol would also be beneficial for blowdrying? Wouldn't that be too drying = bad for hair?- What does the study's outcome mean for the desirability of humectants in heat protectants for flat ironing (and blow drying)? Since they attract water do they help prevent the rapid evaporation, thus preventing damage or are they damaging since they help keep hair wet? - Many heat protectants contain both SD alcohol and humectants. Doesn't the humectant's water attraction counteract the dryness of the ethanol?wow this became a long comment but I'd love to hear your thoughts! ;)
I checked the archives but couldn't find this answer -- hopefully I didn't just miss it. I have read that the smoke point of unrefined coconut oil is 350°F (and refined coconut oil at 450°F). If I keep my flatiron below 350°F (I usually stay below 300°F), can I safely use unrefined coconut oil as a heat protectant? Neither texture of my transitioning hair is a fan of the cones, but both love the coconut oil.Thanks for providing this great source of hair science!
Should you use an entire product line or is it okay to mix product lines? For example a conditioner from one product line but a shampoo from another because it works better?
I am an anomaly. I am a young black women with trichotillomania. I have been pulling for 14 years of my 22 years on this earth and it has been a traumatizing ride for me. Despite the myriad of questions I have about my condition, I think one question that you could probably help me with is why after a bout of pulling, i.e. creating a bald patch, does it take almost a year for my hair to grow back normally; the rate of growth is terribly slow. And is there anything I could do to encourage faster growth?
I have this issue too! i went to a website dedicated to weirdos like us lol and apparently a LOT of ppl out there do this, just off and on. i've been battling this since i was 10 years old- now, 12 years later, i'm worse than i've ever been! i don't pull the hairs on my scalp- i only target my eyelashes. i hate it and i look dreadful, but i don't know what to do to stop it. lately i've been more stressed than i've ever been before, so i think stress is a big reason for why i haven't been able to stop. but i think it has to do with willpower. i just wanted to let you know you're not alone! others of us suffer from this problem too. my eyelashes grow back after a month, though...and have shown no signs of slowing down, but idk if the growth principles are different for eyelashes than for scalp hairs. on the forum i read, though, there were women who'd been pulling for decades and they were still able to grow hair just fine.
I'm not sure if anyone's suggested this already but I would like to see more posts on natural treatments of skin ailments such as dandruff, seborrhea dermatitis, and psoriasis. I would also like to see what are some naturally based ingredients, emphasis on essential oils, that can help with thinning hair or bald spots. :-)
How to prevent single strand knots?
Hi Jc - I've been meaning to comment on a couple of questions I have. I hope it's not too late!1. General info on how hair changes over the first couple of years of a person's life Now that I have a little one, I'm paying close attention to her hair and how it changes. It's getting more curly every day...Does our hair change dramatically in the first couple of years? If so - how? Moisture content? Curl pattern?2. Hydrated hair and heat styling: When you straighten your hair, it appears that products are very important in maintaining the style. Do oil-based heat protectants help prevent moisture from entering the strand and thus help reduce frizz? Is frizz a matter of moisture in the strand not being sealed, thus moisture in the air penetrates the shaft?Thanks Jc!!!
What do you recommend for non-toxic grey-hair coverage, or is that not possible? Thank you.
I second an earlier comment about growth cycles...back of my hair grows but the front is SOOOO much shorter. Also, would you be able to address this genectics vs care for hair growth. For example, people rave about protective styling but what if genetically you are unable to grow your hair past a certain length. Thanks
Why does my hair NOT like being sealed in straight oil? Besides castor oil, my hair balks at oil as a sealant. It seems to never penetrate the strands, leaving my hair oily and somewhat crispy, no matter how little or a lot I apply.My hair prefers to be sealed in some butter-based mix or castor oil.I have very fine hair, 4a. Is this a viscous/thickness issue? If so, shouldn't my fine strands crave something lighter like an oil?I've tried them all: olive, sweet almond, jojoba, apricot, avocado...
I'm not sure if someone has already mentioned this and if so I apologize; just point me in the direction of he article I can read :) but I'm extremely curious of the idea behind "training" hair. Not heat training specifically, but I grew up being taught that If I didn't wrap my hair at night in the same direction everY time, It wouldn't be trained properly; and I also know YouTube gurus who accredit Their hair growth with training their hair by rolling it up the same way every night. Is this true? I thought hair was dead matter. Can you really teach or train your hair to lay flat without heat? Can repetitive movements carryover pat wash days?
Really tired of the only protective styles airing more on the side of college microbraids days.. They were looonngg ago.. Please show some grown and sexy protective styles for short to medium-short (4-6inchs) length hair that can actually be worn. Thanks :)
Hello JC,Thanks for doing what you do! My questions are about the "beer rinse" that I stumbled upon while randomly surfing youtube. I don't use any heat on my hair so I really haven't thought about ways, aside from trimming, to most effectively restore the hair. Many of my [re]newly natural friends (like those who are pressing while transitioning) have the issue of their hair not reverting to its natural texture due to heat damage. I have not been able to find a conclusive scientific explanation as to why the "beer rinse" works. Women of many ethnic backgrounds, including those with no obvious heat damage, swear by it. Have you heard/read anything about this? Is there actually enough protein in the beer to fortify the hair? Do the sugars in beer actually tighten lifted cuticles? Why is flat beer recommended? Many claim it leaves their hair shinier...is beer acidic enough to clarify the hair? One subject, so many questions...LOLThanks again
I would like to see an article on the consequences of flat ironing over the relaxer. I relaxed my hair for 20yrs without many issues (of course there were some :). As soon as I started flat ironing my hair, it went down in about a year or two. I feel that the culprit may have been the combo of the two but more the flat ironing. It seems, to me, that the flat iron may be way worse than the chemicals....Can that be studied or talked about? As a relaxed girl I could still wear my hair curly but when I started flat ironing it would straighten my hair permanently. Something my relaxers never did. Could the flat iron be worse than the chemicals?
CSI - there is a post on this topic - http://thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com/2010/05/straightening-hair-relax-or-heat.html
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