Are You Damaging Your Hair From OVER-Moisturizing?

(Are You Damaging Your Hair From OVER-Moisturizing? By Dr. Phoenyx of

Like the saying goes: You can have too much of a good thing. OK, so you’ve crossed over to natural hair and everyone’s talking about how important it is to moisturize your hair on a regular basis. I mean, you don’t want hair that tangles and breaks easily, do you? Of course not! But there’s a catch when it comes to moisture: While moisture is great for hair, it is also possible to OVER-moisturize your hair to the point that it’ll be just as weak and prone to breakage as hair that’s dry. Sounds odd doesn’t it? But it’s true. We all know that dry hair is something to avoid. And we also know how dry hair usually looks and feels like- usually dull, straw-like and easily breaks when pulled or combed. But what about over-moisturized hair? What does that look like? And what does it feel like? Well, over-moisturized hair tends to look limp, oily and my even have a “mushy” feel when rubbed between your fingers. Over-moisturized hair is also very elastic and stretchable. And at its extreme, over-moisturized hair is basically Soul Glo or Jheri Curl-like. Still don’t know what I’m getting at?

Anyhoo, both dry and over-moisturized are weak and prone to breakage. Hair is a fiber- a fiber that’s made of long strings of protein that are “braided’ together- kind of like cable wire. Hair’s funny in a way because it is quite strong and resilient, but still very delicate at the same time. And basically, if you want to have healthy hair that doesn’t break easily, you’ll need to find a balance where you’re moisturizing it just enough to help it maintain elasticity. Elasticity is a word that describes hair’s ability to stretch and recoil. Ultimately, when it comes to keeping hair strong and healthy, protein-moisture balance becomes key.

So how do you find a balance? And how do you keep from moisturizing hair too much? Here are a few tips: ■Avoid daily wash-n-go’s, especially if you’re not regularly giving your hair protein, i.e. protein treatments

■Cut back on lengthy deep conditioning treatments. Most conditioners don’t need to be held in hair for longer than 15 minutes, and depending on what type of conditioner it is, keeping one in hair longer than that, could actually weaken your hair

■Regularly balance moisturize with protein by using products with hydrolyzed proteins (i.e. hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed quinoa protein) and/or amino acids. These all help to strengthen hair and counteract the effects of over-moisturizing Remember, hair needs moisture, but it’s all about balance. Having over-moisturized hair is just as bad as overly dry hair. So when moisturizing your hair, make sure to do it regularly and sensibly. As great as moisture is for hair, it is possible to overdue a good thing.

How often do you moisturize your hair? What are your favorite hair moisturizers?

Reblogged from

Why Trim Hair?

Trimming hair when growth appears to be slow or stagnant can allow hair to reach a new longer length (read the first part here!). When the cuticle layer (outside covering of the hair) is thinned down, it no longer offers as much protection to the internal cortex. The hair at the end therefore becomes a split end hot spot (see the diagram below!!)


Low Heat Styling Tips for Natural Hair


RE-blogged from CURLYNIKKI | Labels:  ,  ,  ,  , 


by NaturallyChelsea of NaturallyCurly

I love my natural hair and the versatility that comes with it — one day curly, the next day straight. But going from curly to straight can be a hassle and wash day can leave you anxious as you wait to see if your curls will revert. Contrary to popular belief, heat is not the worst thing for your hair—the  improper use of heat is. So if you want to try a new look, but are a little afraid of heat damage, here are some techniques to minimize the heat and protect your strands.

Tension blow-drying

We all know that blow-drying can cause a lot of damage, not only because of the heat, but because of the manipulation. In order to straighten the hair, it needs to be kept taut. The tighter the curl the more tautly it needs to be pulled. In order to do this, many women use some type of brush that causes constant tugging and pulling on the hair creating split ends and breakage. Tension blow-drying is a more gentle way to blow-dry the hair that involves simply holding hair taut while you blow-dry. The hair will dry in the stretched state without the need for damaging tools.


Many people mistakenly believe that the only way to get a straighter look is to pull out the good old heat tools, but there is a better alternative, roller setting. If done correctly you can be left with soft shiny bouncy curls that can be worn as is or wrapped to make the hair completely straight.

Flat ironing

The mere mention of the flat iron has the ability to bring fear into the hearts of many naturals who have heard the many stories of limp, lifeless, heat damaged hair. But like I said earlier, it’s all in the technique. When flat ironing, consider using a heatless method of stretching your hair prior to flat ironing, like roller setting, banding or braiding your hair. Also, turn down the heat! There is a nasty rumor going around that tight coils and curls require a lot of heat to straighten. The truth is, if you use thinner sections and implement the brush chase method (using a soft boar bristle brush to smooth out the sectioned hair prior to flat ironing) then the heat can be evenly distributed to each strand, and the hair will straighten with less heat. Also, remember that the more passes of the flat iron over your hair, the greater the chance for damage, so go over a section slowly (twice if you need to), then keep it moving. Don’t go over a section repeatedly and most definitely do not ‘touch up’ your hair in between flat ironing sessions when it begins to revert. Instead, rock styles like twist and braid outs instead until it’s time to wash again.

Heat protectant

I cannot stress enough the importance of a good heat protectant when blow-drying and flat ironing. Many of us have experienced the pain and discomfort of sunburn from a day spent out in the sun without sunscreen, so imagine what direct heat can do to your hair. A good heat protectant contains some kind of ingredient that will create a barrier between your hair and the heat of the flat iron thus preventing damage. However, keep in mind that there is no such thing as 100% protection. Be careful if you choose to use any oils as for heat protection as they can literally fry the hair.


Coconut: 101 Reasons

Here’s a start! 

Green coconut water uses:

–Natural, healthy source for hydration, energy and endurance, making it the perfect sports drink.
–Restores electrolytes after exercise, vomiting, diarrhea.
–Antiseptic properties provide antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agents to purify blood — killing measles, herpes, influenza, AIDS, SARS, hepatitis C…
–Useful for emergency transfusions due to being close in composition to human plasma.
–Used to prevent vomiting, nausea and replace lost fluids in cases of malaria, typhoid, influenza…
–Dissolves kidney stones alkalizing urine pH.
–Used as a natural cleanse, coconut water mixed with olive oil eliminates intestinal parasites.

Coconut oil medicinal uses:

Virgin coconut oil tastes and smells like coconut. Expeller pressed oil has no scent or taste and both types can be used medicinally.

–Kills bacteria causing urinary tract infections, gonorrhea, gum disease, staphylococcus, MRSA
–Destroys fungus causing candida.
–Kills viruses causing flu, infectious disease, typhoid, HIV
–Inhibits parasite growth such as tapeworm, liver flukes, giardia…
–Eases acid reflux, relieves gallbladder disease.
–Enhances proper bowel function and lowers incidence of hemorrhoids when oil is consumed.
–Relieves and heals intestinal disorders, ulcers, colitis, IBS, and Crohn’s disease.
–Stabilizes blood sugar and insulin production.
–Eases neuropathies and itching from diabetes.
–Protects against osteoporosis and reduces problems from cystic fibrosis.
–Enhances pancreatic function, enzyme production and reduces pancreatitis.
–Improves magnesium and calcium absorption, promoting stronger bones.
–Reduces joint and muscle inflammation, supporting repair of tissues.
–Regulates thyroid function.
–Protects against cancers of colon, breast, and digestive tract.
Medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) protect against development of Alzheimer’s disease.
–MCFA strengthen heart and circulatory system protecting against artherosclerosis and heart disease.
–Prevents oxidation of fatty acids.
–Provides antioxidants to fight free radicals slowing aging and degenerative diseases such as arthritis.
–Relieves symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
–Reduces incidence and intensity of epileptic seizures.
–Stabilizes female hormones reducing hot flashes and vaginal dryness during menopause.
–Lessens symptoms associated with prostate enlargement.
–Strengthens the liver and protects against degeneration.
–Soothes earaches when mixed with garlic and olive oil.

Topical uses for coconut oil:

–Forms a chemical barrier on skin to protect and heal infections.
–Topical applications relieve pain and swelling from hemorrhoids.
–Moisturizes and softens dry skin.
–Reduces bags, puffiness and wrinkles under eyes.
–Lessens occurrence and appearance of varicose veins.
–Preps skin before shaving.
–Mixed with baking soda, coconut oil makes an effective toothpaste.
–Soothes sunburned skin and promotes healing of burns and blisters.
–Heals psoriasis and eczema lesions.
–Stops pain, burning, and itching of bug and snake bites.
–Prevents itching from poison ivy, oak, and sumac.
–Promotes firm skin tone, preventing age spots, sagging and wrinkles.
–Eliminates head lice.
–Removes makeup easily.
–Heals nail fungus under finger and toenails.
–Prevent nosebleeds by applying light film inside nostrils.
–In combination with cornstarch and baking soda, coconut oil makes an effective deodorant.
–Makes an excellent massage oil, a natural personal lubricant, and great sunscreen.
–Conditions hair, prevents split ends, reduces frizz, controls flaky scalp and dandruff.
–Removes scars and stretch marks.
–Repairs cracked, sore, dry nipples from nursing.
–Heals diaper rash and removes cradle cap on babies.

Nutritional uses for coconut oil:

–Enhances absorption of nutrients and improves digestion.
–Provides a quick energy source and stimulates metabolism.
–Produces immediate, usable energy source rather than being stored as fat.
–Increases metabolic rate, stabilizes body weight, and controls food cravings.
–Enriches milk supply for breast-feeding women.
–Doesn’t form harmful by-products during cooking when used at high heat.

Learn more:

Can I Over-Condition?


Re-blogged from hairscapades

Can I Over-Condition?

Posted on June 19, 2012 by 


Back in the day … like 2 years ago ;) , you couldn’t tell me that there was such a thing as over-conditioning. As a 12 year natural, the first thing that I would tell anyone transitioning, newly natural or interested in natural was, “Condition, condition and condition again! There is no such thing as over-conditioning!” Well, to tell you the truth, I still pretty much stand by that statement. Buuuuutttttt, here’s the thing. That’s because I think the term “over-conditioned” is a bit of a misnomer. I think most of us, when we are seeking an answer to that question, want to know whether we can over-moisturize our hair. And the answer to that is yes … a fact that I learned the hard way.

via The Science of Black Hair

Out in the “real world” overconditioning, or “tipping too far” on the moisture side of the protein/moisture balance, is virtually rare …

The problem of overconditioning seems to arise once the individual has been indoctrinated into all things hair. By now, she has figured out which products are protein-based and which are more moisture leaning-and here, the tendency to over moisturize tends to develop. She develops an aversion to protein and throws all of her resources into achieving a perpetual “moisture high.” The proliferation of true “protein overload” stories may have gotten her to this point! She knows that there is a gentle, often tricky balance to maintain but she puts all of her eggs in her moisturizing basket just to be safe. She may even realize that different proteins have different properties, and some actually improve the hair’s elasticity rather than toughen the strands-but she’s not taking any chances with protein period. This aversion causes her to moisturize and overcondition her hair until the cows come home.

In 2010, I discovered the term, “protein sensitivity” and thought that I’d finally diagnosed the problem that I had with many products formulated for black/”ethnic” hair. These products, especially the conditioners, most often made my hair hard when wet and brittle and hay-like once dry. So, when I discovered that this was because they contained protein, I started to avoid anything with protein like the plague. Instead, I began using henna as my strengthening treatment. However, an over-zealous henna routine (i.e. multiple full-length treatments in a short period of time) resulted in significant curl-loosening.

Therefore, in 2011, I started doing roots only treatments of henna, for color and strength without the resultant curl-loosening. But, I didn’t incorporate anything else to strengthen the length of my strands. By October 2011, my hair felt incredibly soft, but it was also flyaway, snagged at the slightest touch and was shedding (and probably breaking) like crazy. Every time I touched my hair, strands were littering my hands. At this point, I realized that I had omitted an important part of my regimen: strength. I began researching protein and revisited it after learning how to use it the right way (see this post for deets).

Revisiting Protein – ApHogee
After my first ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor, I saw an IMMEDIATE difference in the feel of my hair … it was harder, but hard-strong, not dry or brittle … and my shedding/breakage drastically decreased. So, I was a convert and began to incorporate protein into my regimen more regularly, typically every 3-4 weeks.

Then, in February, I tried my first (and thus far, only) heavy-duty ApHogee Two Step Protein Treatment. It went well and I would have done more, except that I didn’t have the proper bonnet dryer to safely and efficiently dry the first step.

Enter Aubrey Organics GPB
Back in May, I decided to try Aubrey GPB (Glycogen Protein Balancing) Conditioner for the first time. Something happened that I haven’t seen in a long, long, looooooong time … my shed hair was curly!!! That’s right. I’m a natural with curly/wavy hair who is telling you that I couldn’t remember the last time that I’d seen curly shed hair … maybe a year or two? My strands just seemed wavy and some were essentailly straight. But, after my first GPB treatment, I looked at my shower stall and, to my surprise, saw curly strands for the first time in ages! And, I got excited!! Every wash session with Aubrey GPB, the amount of curly strands seem to increase! This past Saturday, after my haircut, I had a shed hair that was a complete, collapsed coil and I ran into the living room to show Wei! I told him, “I know that this seems silly, but I’m so excited because my curls are back!! It’s a coil!!”

Towards the middle/bottom left, you see those straightish
strands that I was used to seeing.

Now, this isn’t an entirely fair comparison, but I had to show you a pic of my “curls” (i.e. waves) in February and my curls (i.e. CURLS! *lol*) now. The reason the comparison isn’t really fair is because I got a haircut last week to get rid of my henna-loosened ends and my hair is freshly washed after being straight for 2 weeks in the pic on the left whereas, in the pic on the right, it is 7 days old and shrunken.

So, what’s my point in all of this? First, I wanted to clarify the term over-conditioned, because I think that most of us call both moisturizing and protein-based post-wash treatments “conditioners.” Therefore, when I say that “over-conditioned” is somewhat of a misnomer, it is because I think that most of us are really referring to over-moisturizing the hair and not using too much protein. We tend to refer to the latter as “protein overload.” Second, we can dip too far to either side and the key is to give our hair what it needs when it needs it. Sometimes it’s moisture, sometimes it’s strength/protein. So, how do you know what your hair needs? It’s all about elasticity.

  • Take a few strands of shed hair and hold one set of ends in the fingertips of one hand. Then lightly tug and release the other ends with your other fingers.
  • Does your hair stretch and stay there (i.e. it doesn’t shrink back like a spring)? Then you probably need protein.
  • Does your normally curly hair appear limp and curl-less? Then you probably need protein.
  • Does your hair snap/break immediately or quickly? Then you probably need moisture.
  • Does your hair stretch, then spring back? Sounds like you have the perfect balance of protein and moisture!

The above is nothing new and you’ve probably read it before. So, what I hope to add to the conversation is what I think that I’ve learned.

  • One, the fact that my shed hair no longer had any curl was an indicator that something was off. Though a variety of factors can contribute to this, over-moisturizing should have been one of the “Usual Suspects.”
  • Second, Aubrey GPB restored the curl that I thought had somehow been lost. That says to me that not all proteins are created equal for all people. Though my shedding/breakage decreased drastically with the ApHogee 2 Minute Reconstructor and the 2 Step Treatment, my shed hair still had little to no curl. However, with the introduction of Aubrey GPB, my curls are springing back to life and elasticity is returning in leaps and bounds.

So, all this to say, if you have avoided protein and your strands have become limp and lifeless and your curls have seemed to all but disappear, you may want to try experimenting with different types of protein. However, remember, just as “over-moisturizing/conditioning” is a real thing, so is protein-overload. And, it’s easier to correct over-moisturized hair than hair with too much protein. So, do your research, proceed with caution and always listen to your hair!


How do you know when you need moisture or protein? Have you experimented with protein treatments/conditioners/reconstructors? Which one(s) have you found work(s) the best for you?

Pre-Pooing: Step 1

Re-blogged from CURLYNIKKI

Why You Should Add Pre-Pooing to Your Routine

Water, The Great Frenemy?  …by Susan Walker of Earthtones Naturals  via ThreeNaturals

Before discussing what may be the most important step in your hair care regimen, I want to touch on an important practice that could make a huge difference in how your hair looks and feels after it’s washed and conditioned.

The reality is that if you want to have beautiful natural hair, you need to invest the time upfront to do what is necessary to take care of it. Your hair cleansing and conditioning process is not to be done hurriedly and without attention. You do need to make time for this because if it’s not done properly, dry brittle hair with resulting breakage could ensue.

Every time we shampoo and condition our hair or even add significant amounts of water to our hair the hair shaft needs to expand in order to accommodate the extra water. When our hair dries the opposite occurs – the hair contracts. Repeating this process over and over again can create damage to the hair cuticle initially because it can be chipped off. Subsequent damage can be caused to the hair fiber leading to split ends and breakage. Textured hair tends to absorb more water during this process than other hair types and is therefore more susceptible to damage. This contraction and expansion of the hair fiber is known as hygral fatigue.

Textured hair needs moisture; it thrives on it to ensure proper hydration. Additionally, when cleansing your hair water is pretty much a requirement if it’s to be done properly. So how can we minimize or prevent this damage that occurs from wetting our hair? Research has shown that using specific oils can protect the hair fiber against hygral fatigue. Not every oil has this ability but a well-researched oil is good old coconut oil.

How does this work? When coconut oil is applied to the hair as a pre-shampoo or pre-wetting treatment a small amount of the oil can be absorbed into the hair and can penetrate under the cuticle when the hair fiber swells. Coconut oil has a strong affinity for hair proteins and can protect the hair by binding to these proteins. This reduces the protein’s ability to bind to water molecules resulting in less swelling, less contracting and less trauma.

Try using coconut oil as a pre-shampoo treatment the next time you cleanse your hair. Coconut oil is typically solid at room temperature so you’ll need to heat it to liquefy it.

How to Pre-poo:

1. Apply coconut oil to the hair in sections.

2. Place a plastic cap over the hair and allow the oil to penetrate into the hair
shaft for at least 30 minutes.

3. Shampoo and condition as usual!
Pre-shampooing my hair with this treatment has improved my hair’s ability to maintain moisture and the shine softness to my styled hair. It’s made a huge difference.

What about you? Do you pre-poo? If so what are the results?

Heat Styling or Chemical Straightening? Great Tips to Fix that Damaged Hair!

If you style with heat or use any type of chemical on your hair, more than likely your hair is damaged! I found a great article on how to heal damaged hair in both situations!

One of the suggestions for chemical damage is steam treatment with a hot towel. Personally, I like to steam my hair while taking a shower. It is a quick method that can be done when you are in a hurry. Although I must admit using the towel method would come in handy if you are sitting around the house, possibly on the computer (as I almost always am), and you can “kill two birds with one stone,” as some might say.

Want to learn more? Check it out here >>> Burn Notice: Fix Hair Damaged from Beauty Tools | Women’s Health Magazine –

Defining Curls using the Curly Girl method!

I am learning to work with my 4C, corkscrew curly, hair. I’ve gotten quite frustrated at times. It’s thin, fragile and has a very tight curl pattern. A friend introduced me to a book called:

Curly Girl: The Handbook                           by Lorraine Massey

I was really happy to read a book about curly girls and their curly hair problems and solutions. There were so many great stories and solutions. What I learned was that girls with curls, no matter what nationality, have struggled with taming, styling and understanding how to maintain their curls. It was actually very comforting!

The author, Lorraine Massey, is a hair stylist who has worked with many different curly hair types – including her own – and has so much great advice! The contents range from hair type and curl pattern to styling and homemade recipes for maintenance.

At this point, I have only tried one remedy for maintaining moisture and defining my curls – conditioner! Styling with conditioner is something I would have never thought possible. I know what you’re saying “you are supposed to rinse the conditioner out, then style.” NOPE, not curly girls! See, the thing about curly hair is that it is more fragile than straight hair. So, the conditioner helps to strengthen and fill in the holes in the hair shaft. It also works like a setting lotion. BUT, you can’t just use any conditioner. It has to be alcohol free and botanical. Botanical conditioner is combined with fruit oils, plant oils, and other emollients that are good for moisturizing your hair.

So here is the result of my testing this method:

I found my curl! I am so excited and have received so many compliments. Shrinkage is my only dilemma, and I’ve decided to no longer worry about that. My hair shrinks about 75-80% of it’s true length. It just is what it is!

Are you a Transitioning Newbie!

Welcome to the movement of embracing your natural self from the inside out!

My transition was simple. My last chemical relaxer was in January 2011. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next. At the time, I really thought it was going to be the perfect time for me to start the dreadlocks I had always admired on others and wanted on myself. So, I waited about three months until I had a decent amount of new growth. I went to the salon and had kinky twist extensions braided into my hair. I was so excited about making the transition! I had reached a point in my life where what people thought of me had become the least of my concerns. This new venture was going to be an investment in my personal happiness. Plus, it completed my desire to physically change my body and myself naturally. And so my motto became: “If ‘you’ do not like it – TOO BAD! Nothing personal!”

Once the extensions were in place, I began researching dreadlocks and how to start and maintain them. In my search, I came across articles and pictures of women wearing their hair natural, yet not in dreadlocks. What peaked my interest most were the pictures of women with LONG, NATURAL HAIR! I thought they looked so beautiful, and their hair and hairstyles were gorgeous! So, I was convinced that my hair could look like that too! I, too, could learn how to manage and care for my own natural hair, if I took the time to learn as they did. Hmm!

I became fixated on how I could do this. I had seen my hair in its natural state, when I was a teenager, and thought that if I studied and applied the same techniques as these women, I could manage it and have long, natural hair too.

After several months, I decided it was time. I kept the kinky twists in way too long, and it was time for them to go. In September of 2011, I grabbed the scissors and began cutting the twists out of my hair. LOL! Needless to say, I cried a lot that first week and few more times thereafter. It has been quite a journey ever since, and I am still learning!

A good friend of mine emailed me lots of links to natural hair care videos on YouTube, and YouTube became my best friend. (Janis, if you are reading this, it was such a blessing and I am forever grateful <3!) So, if you are not familiar with YouTube, now you know. There is a wealth of information out there. People have been thoughtful enough to post videos of everything you want to know. I’m sure my younger readers are probably already aware 🙂

Now there is a new resource site, created by Carol’s Daughter, that focuses primarily on transitioning to natural hair, among other things. I think it is great website, and I hope you take a moment to check it out >>>

Good luck on your transition, stay focused on your goal, and don’t give up!

Solange Knowles leads Natural Hair Movement:

Related articles

High Porosity Hair?

I read a few articles recently about porosity,

Finding the Right Identity for Your Hair Type

How to Deal with High-porosity Hair

and have concluded that my hair is very porous (or high porosity). This is a condition that most curlies have to deal with because the hair is not able to maintain moisture due to all of the twists and bends of the hair shaft. Natural hair oils are not able to travel down the hair shaft to the ends. If you are not sure, one indication that you may have high porosity is if your hair dries very quickly, after washing (or co-washing) and it becomes puffy, frizzy, brittle and crunchy. So after reading a series of other articles and watching youtube videos, like the one below,

I decided I needed to try and do something about it.

Very porous hair can be treated, but what I have learned is that the hair is damaged down to the cuticle. A damaged cuticle doesn’t close. When it doesn’t close, then the moisture received from washing is not retained and is released just as fast, if not faster, from the hair. This can actually dry your hair out even more!

The appearance of the hair depends largely on the health of the cuticle, the protective sheath of the whole hair-Dr. Neil Persadsingh-


So, I went out and bought some Roux Porosity Control Corrector and Conditioner

A product thumbnail of Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner

and decided to give it a try.  It is suppose to help restore the ph levels in the hair, as well as help the cuticles in the hair shaft to close. I can’t tell yet since I’ve only used it once, but I will use it a few more times before I report the results. So, stay tuned. . .

Want to read more about hair and porosity? >>