Q: I have been reading over your Q&A and have realized what a big mistake i have been making with my daughter’s hair. Practically everything I have used on her has contained alcohol. And to make matters worse, I have always washed her hair once a week, never conditioning it on the off days. All the moisturizers have mineral oil, petroleum and or alcohol. Her hair and scalp are soooo badly dried out I don’t know what to do any more. Her scalp is beginning to severely flake up by the end of the same day I wash it. This web site has sooo many different products that I’m overwhelmed. What can I use to repair the damage caused, and what can I use to keep her hair and scalp healthy. I need to know ASAP PLEASE.

Mahisha: First of all, I would like to clarify the confusion around alcohol in hair care products. Not all alcohols are bad for the hair. For example, Cetyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, and Cetearyl Alcohol are alcohols that don’t dry the hair out, in fact. they act as conditioning agents. Ethyl and SD 40 alcohols are examples of drying alcohols commonly found in many gels and hairsprays.

Regarding how often you shampoo and condition rinse, shampooing once is week is ideal. However it isn’t always necessary to do a conditioning rinse during the off days…unless her hair calls for it (by this I mean, it feels dry and/or dirty).

I am concerned, however, about her dry scalp. The mineral- and petroleum-based products can contribute to the dryness of her hair and scalp in the long run. However, she might just have very dry skin that requires a little TLC. I recommend the following: purchase an essential oil (e.g. rosemary, tea tree, peppermint oil) and a “carrier” oil (e.g. almond, avocado, jojoba oil) from a natural food store to create an inexpensive scalp treatment at home. Mix three parts of the carrier oil to one part essential oil in a bottle with a spout (like the bottles used to distribute perm solution). Shake well and apply directly to her scalp. This mixture will provide an instant soothing effect for her scalp and help to heal the dryness. NOTE: Essential oils have very strong odors, so you might want to apply them at night after you moisturize her hair for the evening.

Regarding repairing damage, there isn’t a magical way to repair broken, damaged hair, no matter what marketers try to sell you. Once the hair is damaged you cannot undo the damage with a miracle product. I recommend getting her a good trim and follow up with weekly deep treatments with heat for the first 4-6 weeks. After that, do so every 2-3 weeks. For her deep conditioning treatments with heat, I recommend Curly Q Coconut Dream conditioner. It’s great! It is guaranteed to soften, moisturize, detangle, and condition the driest curl. You will also need a hard hood dryer (and a few plastic caps to use to cover her hair), that you can purchase from your local Sally’s for around $40. This will be a great investment for your angel’s hair. If you were to take her to local stylist to do a deep treatment, they would charge you anywhere from $30-$60. Why pay them when you can do it yourself and home as often as you like?

Also, make sure you moisturize her hair daily. I have a 10-year-old with long, thick, coarse-curly hair. She moisturizes her hair and puts it in braids every evening before bed…and she applies more moisturizer when she combs her hair in the morning before school. She uses our Moist Curls moisturizer. It softens the hair, eases combability, moisturizes and conditions, and leaves a little goodness behind. I recommend that you do the same for your angel.

Q: I have naturally curly hair that I inherited from my Mom who inherited it from my grandfather. It is also very thick and FRIZZY! I hove tried everything to tame it: long, short, shoulder length; gel, hair spray, mousse; wearing it down, up, 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? P.S. How do I keep my curls from frizzing by lunchtime? I’ve tried too many things to count.

Mahisha: Based on your input, you have been using all of the wrong products on your hair. In fact, the products you are using are contributing to the frizz. Gel, hair spray, mousse are all extremely drying. These are the types of products that contain the bad alcohols that dry the hair out (see my response to the first question above). Remember this: CURLY HAIR – MOISTURE = FRIZZY DRY HAIR. NOTE: There are some gels on the market, typically sold in salons and in specialty and natural food stores that are what I call “wholesome gels” because they aren’t the typical drying, mass-produced drug store gels. However, these gels are not the norm by any means. NaturallyCurly.com is a great source for finding and learning about such gels.

Remember you have curly hair that is BEAUTIFUL in its own right. Don’t compare your hair to those with straight tresses. You will never be able to run a brush through your hair as they do (unless your goal is to create a Diana Ross look). But guess what? Your hair has more texture, character and is much more versatile. You can wear your hair straight or curly whenever you like. Straight hair can only be worn straight…unless chemically altered. The key for you is to know how to take care of your locks so that they stay healthy and beautiful. Here are a few key tips for you to remember. They were posted in last month’s issue.

  • Over-shampooing and under-conditioning are common culprits in dry, frizzy hair. Therefore, shampooing more than 1x a week is not recommended. I recommend shampooing 2-3x a month, for dry and/or damaged hair, and 1x a week for undamaged curly hair with our Hydrating Shampoo. 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 conditioner comb through, rinse and proceed with styling. Doing so will pump much needed moisture back into your hair without stripping away essential nutrients, rinse away unnecessary dirt and oil and give you a fresh clean start.
  • Also, using the right products, with quality ingredients, is absolutely necessary. Avoid products with drying alcohols, mineral and/or petroleum oil in them…as both of these synthetic oils coat and suffocate the hair shaft, blocking moisture out…thus drying out the hair. If applied directly to the scalp, mineral and petrolatum oil can actually retard growth. If her hair requires oil, always opt for a natural oil such as our pure avocado oil…or jojoba, coconut, almond, etc. These natural oils actually penetrate and moisturizes the hair.
  • Using a daily moisturizer is also very important. Our Moist Curls Moisturizer (for fine/medium hair) and Curly Girl Potion (formedium/coarse hair) are great options. They both soften the hair, ease comb ability, defrizz, moisturizes and conditions the hair. The Curly Girl potion is a clear serum that acts as a moisturizer and a curl enhancer all in one. It is much thicker than Moist Curls moisturizer (which is targeted to fine/medium curly hair), as it is geared to the girls with medium/coarse curly hair.

Q: My Mom sent me to this site to read. I have very curly hair. My hair gets knotted in the morning and I don’t know what to do. Also, I am on a swim team and swim four days a week with a cap, but it doesn’t help. At night, when I take my shower. I put extra conditioner in and my mother combs it out and braids it. — Tori A.

Mahisha: When you say that your swim cap doesn’t work. do you mean that your hair still gets wet all over or just along the hair line? If all of your hair is wet after you swim, I would recommend that you look for a professional-grade swim cap from your local sports store. My daughter LOVES to swim, but chlorine hates her hair. I insist that she wears her cap when she swims daily in the summer. There isn’t a better way to protect your hair from the drying effects of chlorine. I would also advise that you purchase a “swimmer’s” shampoo and conditioner.. I am not sure if you are shampooing daily or not, but if you are this can be the reason for the knots, especially if you aren’t using a moisturizing, swimmer’s shampoo and following up with a rich conditioner. Shampooing daily should definitely be avoided, whenever possible. However, if you have to choose between leaving chlorine in your hair or shampooing AND conditioning, I would advise that you do the latter. Also, it is imperative that you moisturize your hair daily, and give your hair deep conditioning treatments with heat weekly during the swim season.

Q: I hope you can help me. I have a 5-year-old daughter who has spiral curls. Her hair is midway down her back. It gets frizzy if I don’t put anything in it, so I’ve been using Suave 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: First of all, I would recommend that you stop shampooing her hair daily. As mentioned in another response above, overshampooing and underconditioning are common culprits for dry, frizzy hair. You should only shampoo her hair once a week. 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 Curly Q products), apply an ample amount of our Coconut Dream conditioner, comb 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. Secondly, moisturizing daily is very important. Are you currently using a daily moisturizer on her hair? Our Moist Curls moisturizer works wonders and is a great daily option. It softens and detangles the hair, while moisturizing, conditioning and de-frizzing. I cannot speak on the quality of the Suave Detangling spray because I am not familiar with the ingredients. However, I am interested in knowing what products you use to shampoo and condition her hair. I do hope that they are geared for her hair type.

Q: I’m in junior high and I’ve been thinking about going curly because it fits me better than straight hair. I’ve always had a thing for curls. Do you have any advice on which products I should use for my hair to be curly. My hair is kinky and afro-like, without any chemicals. Nicole, Brooklyn.

Mahisha: Nicole, congrats on going natural! There are a host of products you can use for your curly hair. There are so many lines now available to choose from. You’ve come to the right place, NaturallyCurly.com! The key for you to remember is that your hair care regime is key for healthy curls. Given your hair texture, you want to look for a rich, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, a daily moisturizer, and a styling product that provides a soft and natural curl hold that also imparts sheen. You might want to explore some of my Curls and Curly Q products.