Most of this month’s questions regarding curly hair care were very basic in nature. The answers provided where taken from my ‘Curly Girl Cardinal Rules.’ What are the Curly Girl Cardinal Rules? Let’s just say, these rules are your new 7 Commandments to curly girl hair care.
7 Curly Girl Cardinal Rules:

  1. Moisturize daily – this is the key to great curl health.
  2. Avoid drying products (e.g. hairspray, mousse, etc.) and ingredients (e.g. drying alcohols, mineral, petrolatum oil, etc.) that rob the hair of its much-needed moisture.
  3. Deep condition curly locks with heat, at least once a month.
  4. NEVER shampoo daily…1 time a week should suffice.
  5. Always use products geared for your hair type. Curly hair needs natural oils (compared to our straight haired counterparts), as our curly coils prevent even distribution of serum (natural oil produced in sebaceous glands in the scalp).
  6. When styling, treat your hair like you would a fine silk blouse — delicately.
  7. Enlist the help of a professional. Find someone you can trust to properly trim your hair every 2-3 months. Nothing is more unattractive than sparse, stringy end,.especially on curly heads.

Q: My niece is 9 years old and is multi-racial. She is Puerto-Rican, Black, and East Indian. She has beautiful curly hair, but no one can agree on the best products for her little head. Her parents wash her hair every other day and the only product they use is a detangler. They also use a brush on her hair, which in my opinion is the wrong tool because it is breaking her ends and also causes frizziness. I was wondering if you could recommend a regimen and the correct products to use to help her hair not look so dry and frizzy, but also allow the curls to stay soft and curly through the whole day. Her parents have a tendency to braid her hair or just tie it back in a pony tail because if they leave it down, it is a frizzy mess by the end of the day. Please help. I would love to see her beautiful curls become an asset to her instead of a burden. — Jennifer

Mahisha: Jennifer, you have pointed out all of the right and wrong things they are doing. You should forward this response directly to her parents.

  1. Over shampooing and under conditioning are common culprits for dry, frizzy hair. Therefore, shampooing more than one time a week is not recommended. On the other ‘shampoo-less’ days, do a conditioning rinse — rinse hair to remove styling products (this is where using the right products that are water soluble come in….such as our products), apply an ample amount of our Coconut Dream conditionercomb through, rinse and proceed with styling. Doing so will pump much needed moisture back into her hair without stripping away essential nutrients, rinse away unnecessary dirt and oil and give her a fresh clean start.
  2. Using a quality, daily moisturizer is VERY important. Our Moist Curls Moisturizer is a great option. It softens the hair, eases combability, moisturizes,conditions, preps it for the next step, and leaves a little goodness behind. Use this daily.
  3. Brushing a curly girl’s locks is a BIG NO NO. The only time a brush and curls should meet is when smoothing ponytails…and even then, brushing (with a natural boar bristle brush) should be kept to a minimum. As you stated, it can cause frizzines and breakage.

Q: I am a 14-year old African-American girl. My hair has all sorts of different textures to it, but then I got a texturizer. My Mom got tired of my hair looking a mess, so she took me to beautician. I know she did it for my own good because I had a lot of new growth and bad split ends. The fact of it is, I used Sun-In to lighten my hair. But now that I want to grow it out, I’m afraid it’ll take the rest of my high school years. My hair used to be down past my waist, then it was mid-back, now it’s shorter than ever. I want to know which products I can use to help my hair grow out faster since it naturally grows at a fast rate. Can you help me? I’m also on a budget.

Mahisha: Regarding hair growth, there isn’t a magic way to grow hair any faster than normal. What is normal? Our hair grows, on average, 1/2 inch per month. However, there is something to keep in mind while your hair is growing that may cause it to break off, thus defeating the purpose. These include drying hair products such as Sun-In, chemical processes that dry out our hair, and repetitive damage all cause breakage so that we don’t realize the growth.

So we are back to cardinal rule #1 – Good Hair Regimen is Key! Use only quality products (with quality ingredients) that moisturize and condition the hair, drink plenty of water,take multivitamins, and eat a healthy diet. There isn’t a magic ‘grow your hair’ trick beyond treating your hair like a fine silk blouse. Shampoo delicately (while avoiding over shampooing), deep condition with heat regularly, and moisturize daily.

Q: I have naturally curly hair which I inherited from my Mom, who inherited it from my Grandfather. It is very thick and FRIZZY! I have tried everything to tame it: long, short, shoulder length; gel, hair spray, mousse; wearing it down, wearing it up, wearing it down with the top up. Nothing works! I will be starting high school next year (I’m 13) and I really want to have nice,manageable hair! I get so jealous when I see all the other girls brushing their hair during class and knowing how mine would look if I did. Can you help me? PS- I have a very low budget (Like $5 max!).

Mahisha: Sounds like a big dilemma. I’m not sure that $5 can cover all that you are looking to do. You will need a set of quality products…a hydrating shampoo, intense conditioner and a daily moisturizer to keep your beautiful curls in the best shape they can be. Certainly gel, mousse, and hairsprays just won’t cut it. In fact, they will have the opposite affect your curly tresses.

Q: My 10-year-old daughter has curly hair, and washing and comb out is an ordeal neither one of us can stand. She screams no matter how gentle I am and I am about to just let her do whatever she wants with it, even if that means staying horribly tangled and looking awful! Short of cutting if all off (it is below her shoulders and she wants it long), what can we do? We have detangling products that help, but nothing helps enough.

Mahisha: Remember, you are the parent and she is the child. I would not recommend that you simply ‘let her hair go’ to avoid the shampooing ordeal. The endless tangles will result in a massive chopping off in the long run, or dread locks if she is into that look. Seriously, your angel is 10 years old — not 4 or 5. Explain to her the importance of properly caring for her beautiful locks, with regular shampooing, conditioning, and moisturizing. Once you get her hair properly detangled, keeping it detangled can be easy, if it is done daily…thus minimizing the shampooing ordeal.

Q: My hair is naturally curly but when I let it curl and leave it down it gets huge, even if I put products in. I have tried shampoos and conditioners, serums and creams, sprays and gels and everything in between. I have a stlylist who can make it beautiful but I can never get the same results she does even though she has told me how to do it. and I can’t afford to go to her everyday so I just pull my hair up into a ponytail and slick it back…HELP! — Jennifer, 16

Mahisha: Jennifer, have you tried using a daily moisturizer? Also, I would ask your stylist to teach you how to get salon fabulous hair at home. Simply ask her what she uses on your hair to achieve the results you love and ask her to SHOW you how to do the same at home (not just tell you). If you have found someone that can control your curls all you need to learn is her tricks of the trade. Maybe you can even give it a test run while in her salon to see what you are doing wrong. I would suggest that you book an appointment and do so right after so that she will be opt to help you.

Q: I have a 5-year-old daughter who has curly hair — spiral curls — and her hair is about mid back. It also gets frizzy if I don’t put anything in it. I’ve been using Sauve Detangling Spray, but I don’t know if I’m damaging her hair. If I don’t put anything in it, it’s just too wild. I also wash her hair everyday. What would be a good thing for her hair, if anything?

Mahisha: I noticed 2 curly girl cardinal sins:

#1 – Daily shampooing (read my response to question #1)

#2 – Lack of daily moisture. CURLY HAIR – MOISTURE = FRIZZY DRY HAIR. Adding moisture every step of the way is critical — from the shampoo/conditioner to the styling products you use. I am not aware of the quality of Suave’s detangling spray, nor am I aware of the ingredients. However, I do recommend that you try our Curly Q’s Moist Curls moisturizer, it’s GREAT! It softens, defrizzes, and conditions the hair all in one.

Q: I have a 2-year-old-year old biracial (black and white) daughter. I have recently started using your Curly Q’s shampoo and conditioner. My problem is her hair won’t grow. It will grow long in the back but not on the sides or the front. It is still baby fine on the top front. It is so short on the side that even in two pigtails, there are serious flyaways in the front and sides. What can I do to help her hair grow?

Mahisha: First, read my response to question #2 regarding hair growth. I do have a question for you. Do you take her pigtails down and night before she goes to bed? If not, please do so EVERY night. Are you using rubber bands, or elastics? If the latter, I do recommend using elastics without the metal covering. It sounds as if you are pulling her hair too tight. This seems to be the culprit as to why her hair is breaking. Trust me, it’s growing. But it is breaking off just as fast. She is only 2 years old and she still has baby fine hair that needs to be treated as such. Instead of securing her hair with elastics, can you try braiding her hair loosely to give it a break? If her hair continues to be pulled too tightly, it may cause permanent hair loss.