What is The Big Chop

Truth is, long hair don’t care, but short haired naturals matter too! Recently, with everyone from celebrities to best friends opting to chop relaxed or natural hair off to start a new regimen, there are a lot of common misconceptions about the big chop. We’ve heard everything from warnings of “head shapes” to beliefs that the big chop makes natural hair grow faster. Total honesty: being natural is not a one size fits all occupation. There are many ways to be natural and fierce, but if you’re looking for a fresh start, or if you’re interested in beginning your natural hair journey, the big chop might just be for you.

This post explores the origins of the big chop natural hair method, if it’s meant for you, and a few methods to help you take the big plunge!

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Can I Go Natural Without Doing the Big Chop?

The big chop natural hair method refers to the process of cutting one’s hair to either begin or restart the process of chemical-free natural hair. If you’re like most, you probably received your first perm at a fairly early age. Reverting or transitioning natural hair can take a lot of time and TLC. Although both methods have a common goal of getting hair to its natural state, transitioning, or growing the permanent chemicals out of one’s hair, and the big chop are two completely different things. In short, yes. You can definitely go natural without doing the big chop. Here are some reasons people opt to chop it all off, though.

  • Big chop hairstyles can be empowering and a sign of new beginnings
  • Big chop natural hair can be healthier and easier to manage
  • Big chop hair has the opportunity to evenly grow out, and alter damaged curl patterns

Attention toward this method has amped up in the most recent years, thanks in part to celebs like Solange and Sanaa Lathan who big chopped for personal and professional reasons. If these women in the public spotlight can go bare, there’s nothing stopping you, girlfriend!

Sanaa Lathan shaved head

Does hair grow faster after the big chop?

Even before big chop hairstyles became mainstream, a lot of natural gurus looked to the big chop as a way to promote healthy, and faster growing natural hair. Although it is not proven to be a “quicker” alternative to transitioning, performing the big chop can definitely help you monitor growth easier. When transitioning, it can be hard to manage two different textures, and with difficult manageability, comes the desire to shortcut and rush through healthy hair growth. Remember, there is nothing more important than healthy and happy natural hair.

Chop, chop, chop it off! Raise your hand if you’re post-big chop and proud! Click To Tweet

Am I Ready for the Big Chop?

It can be a frightening baring it all, but honestly, if you’re known for trailblazing with bold and confident styles, you were probably born ready for a big chop. It will take getting used to, but after some time and some adjusting, pulling off cool and chic big chop hairstyles can be just as easy and painfree as pulling off protective transitioning styles. Here’s how to know if you’re ready for the big chop:

  • If you’ve noticed and want to be proactive about managing damaged natural hair
  • If you’re looking to try something new, or you want a fresh start to your natural hair routine
  • If you want to try short hairstyles or adding color to your curls.
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Are you a big chop naturalista? What factors led you to bare it all?

Black Hair Spot is the number one place to ask all your burning questions about black hair. We are a community of women dedicated to educating, entertaining, engaging, equipping, and empowering women to love their hair as much as we love ours!

How to Use Black Seed Oil for Hair Growth (And Prevent Hair Fall)

Black seed oil is one of the most potent plant extracts for growing thicker hair, stopping hair loss, and keeping good health in general. It has even been proven to kill cancer cells1, with no side effects besides better health. If it’s that powerful, just imagine what it can do for your scalp and hair.

Our advice? Before you scroll down and start reading the details, go pick up a bottle of cold-pressed black seed oil and start massaging it into your scalp. It’s time to grow more hair!

What is Black Seed?

Black seed is the common use name for nigella sativa. Nigella sativa has been used for thousands of years for probably a thousand different ailments. The oil has many names, including black caraway oil, black cumin seed oil and black onion seed oil. Black seed oil is more accurate, however.

In other languages, it’s called kalonji, or Indian cumin and hibbat al baraka, the blessed seed of Arabia. The Persians call it shuneiz and the Chinese, hei zhong cao.

The list goes on.

Medicinal Properties of Black Seed Oil For Body and Hair

It’s not a coincidence that the use of nigella sativa is so historically widespread. The benefits of black seed oil are:

  • pharmacologic [2]
  • antimicrobial, even when there is a resistance [3] built up to prescribed antibiotics.
  • analgesic – soothing to pain and itching, and also
  • antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-fungal, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.

The last two on this list are what distinguish black seed over other seed oils for hair growth abilities. But before we get to that, here’s a little reminder: hair and scalp specialists say hair loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Some of the most prevalent diseases these days are cardiovascular diseases, kidney disease, diabetes [4], thyroid disease [5] and cancer – among others. Each of the above-mentioned diseases can cause hair loss at some point – including some of the treatments for them, such as chemotherapy. Black seed oil is used in naturopathic medicines around the world to treat all of these ailments. The dosage is usually just a teaspoonful a day. And when the underlying cause of hair loss is treated, what happens? The hair grows back – and quicker, if you use black seed oil externally on your scalp.

#Blackseedoil combats what slows hair growth... diabetes... hypertension... cancer... thyroid disease... Really. Click To Tweet

How Is Black Seed Oil Good For Hair?

Many of the same characteristics black seed oil brings to pharmacology make it of great use for hair [6] health.

For instance:

  • Nigella sativa’s powerful antimicrobial properties help prevent scalp infections.
  • Antifungal qualities make it an ideal scalp serum for seborrheic dermatitis/eczema, the condition that usually causes dandruff. Nigella sativa heals better than anti-eczema creams [7].
  • This oil’s antioxidant properties can help protect the scalp from the normal aging process that thins the hair.
  • Black seed oil contains thymoquinone, an anti-inflammatory. Therefore it can be used to combat different alopecias. The alopecias that start with inflammation leading to hair loss are central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), frontal fibrosing alopecia and traction alopecia. Black seed oil can help halt the permanent hair loss of scarring alopecias.

The same components of black seed oil that make it useful for fighting hair loss also make it great for hair growth.

Thinning hair? Bald spot? Find out why #blackseedoil is the best hair growth oil. Click To Tweet

How Black Seed Oil Grows Hair

Whether you have issues with hair loss or not, black seed oil grows new hair in either scenario.

  1. Because of nigellone and other antihistamine components found in black seed oil, it has similar properties as the antihistamine cetirizine [8], which has been found to regrow hair. Black seed helps increase the circumference of the hair strands and the density [9] of hair. Therefore, it can literally make your hair thicker and also give you more of it.The photograph below are before/after pictures of those who used the antihistamine cetirizine while suffering from androgenetic alopecia – genetic male or female pattern hair loss.
hair loss talk

Before and after. Black seed has similar properties as cetirizine, an antihistamine which grew the hair back of the individuals above during a 6 month period in an Italian study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatments [10].

2.  Because of its anti-inflammatory components, black seed oil decreases internal scalp swelling that can interfere with hair growth.

3. The antihistamines in black seed oil can give you more hair by moving dormant hair follicles (we all have them) into the active growth phase.

4. Nigella sativa is particularly useful for those suffering from Telogen Effluvium6 (TE) alopecia, in which the hair follicle moves into the dormant, hair shedding phase (telogen) too early – and all over the head. Black seed preserves the hair follicles in the active phase in this case.

#Blackseedoil grows hair AND counters underlying medical conditions behind alopecia. Click To Tweet

What Type Of Black Seed Oil Should You Use For Hair Growth?

Cold pressed is the best form to use, whether you’re using it straight, or in a formula. Cold-pressed black seed oil is said to have a 100% skin absorption rate, whereas many other oils do not.

Toasting oil seeds usually increases their benefits, but not for black seed. Roasting [11] reduces the volatile oil content of black seeds, which include the active antihistamines nigellone and thymoquinone and other components that encourage hair growth.

How To Apply Black Seed Oil

Apply black seed oil to your scalp with clean fingers or a cotton ball once or twice a day, and massage it into the scalp for about 10 minutes. This method is followed, whether you’re using straight black seed oil or formulas that contain it.

Is It Better to Use It Straight?

It isn’t necessary to use black seed oil straight out of the bottle. For one, it’s expensive!

Based on that factor, alone, it isn’t better to use black seed oil straight (wink).  And based on a Routi Pharmaceuticals study conducted in Bangladesh, a test oil that contained only 5% black seed oil was still very effective at growing hair [12]. It can be blended with various other hair growth substances, or just in a plain carrier oil or natural lotion.

Apparently, the hair follicles don’t have to be smothered in black seed oil. But as long as the oil is present and able to spread easily across the scalp, the active ingredients do their job.

The key is to apply it directly to the scalp, and take the time to massage it in.

Beating Hair Loss With Black Seed and Herbal Oil

We know black seed grows hair, but if you’re suffering from excessive hair loss, what about keeping the ones that are already on your head. Sometimes those are more important!

The Routi study had excellent results with their test oil for hair loss. As mentioned above, it contained 5% black seed oil, but it also carried 5% Indian gooseberry (amla fruit) and 1.25% each of bermuda grass, fenugreek and henna.

The process to make the hair loss oil was very involved, so only the results are included below. In 90 days, the test oil reduced shed hairs from almost 400 a day, down into the acceptable range of less than 100 a day.

When left alone, the volunteers experienced a slow and steady increase of shed hairs.

Screen Shot 2017 12 28 at 11.37.48 PM

What Are Some Black Seed Oil Treatments For Hair Growth?

There are some black seed oil treatments that give excellent results at home, as well. The table below shows, in numbers, hair growth caused by nigella sativa when used alone. This is demonstrated by increased density of hair over a 3 month period. Hair growth continued for three more months after the treatment had stopped. The percentage of black seed oil used here, also, was a mere 0.5%. The study, from Italy, was published in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications in 20139.

Screen Shot 2017 12 29 at 2.23.15 AM

So if you combine black seed with other hair growth ingredients, it might work even better. In eastern traditions, black seed oil for hair growth is combined in the following ways:

  1. Black seed oil can be mixed into a carrier oil like coconut oil or castor oil as a hair growth oil. Castor oil will certainly help speed the results along, as it is a hair growth oil in itself. Not much black seed oil is needed to be effective, and a carrier oil helps the active ingredients spread over the scalp easily. You can mix in equal proportions, or put a teaspoon of each into a cup of water and shake well before using. It’s up to you!
  2. You can also cleanse and stimulate your hair follicles first by applying lemon or vinegar to your scalp. This is a traditional eastern practice. Or you can be lazy and mix one of these Vitamin C infused liquids in with the black seed oil. It’s fine either way. The main thing is to clear scalp buildup and clogged follicles, as these can work against your hair growth routine.
  3. Infuse an Indian hair growth herb, like fenugreek, into the black seed oil. For added power, grind dry fenugreek seeds and toss them into a bottle or jar you can seal. Cover the ground seeds with black seed oil and seal with the lid of the jar or bottle. As long as the oil is kept in a semi-warm, dark place, the active essences from the fenugreek will seep into the oil. Strain with a cheesecloth after two weeks. Then add a carrier oil to the strained off oil, if you wish.
  4. You can even do a modified version of all of those steps in one formula. Blend and strain fresh arugula leaves for their juice. It’s a hair growth herb, not just for salads! Add black seed, olive oil and vinegar to the juice for an Arabian hair loss formula [6].

Other Natural Oils For Hair Growth And Thickness

If you’re heavy into DIY, you won’t be shy to try out other oils that encourage hair growth. Try adding Jamaican black castor oil,  pumpkin seed oil or flaxseed oil to your black seed oil formula.

The Top 4 Black Seed Oil Brands

Each of these brands sells unrefined cold pressed black seed oil. They have been on the market for a while and are well-trusted by consumers for their unadulterated oil.

Sweet Sunnah (US):

Cost: $45 for 16 oz.

100% Pure Cold-Pressed Black Seed Oil 16 oz.

Amazing Herbs (US):

Cost: $49.99 for 16 oz.

Amazing Herbs™ Premium Black Seed Oil - 16oz

Panaseeda Black Cumin Oil (Canadian):

Cost: $49 for 8.5 oz (250 ml)

Black Cumin Oil can revolutionize your immunity and health!

Nabi Blackseed (UK):

Cost: About $9.50 for roughly 3.5 oz (700 ml)

Black Seed Oil Virgin 100 ml Cold Pressed

How To Remove Black Seed Oil From Hair Easily?

Of course you can use black seed oil as-is. Because the skin absorbs cold pressed black seed oil completely, it does not cause build-up when used alone on the scalp. However if you use it twice daily in a formula with other oils, cleanse with a non-sulfate shampoo at least twice a week.

An Olfactory Word Of Caution

Black seed oil has a strong, resinous sort of smell. If you want to mask the smell, use less, or choose essential essences that are more or less in the same olfactory category, such as camphor, cedar or eucalyptus.

Want to know more about hair growth and hair growth formulas that work? Keep dropping by  BHS. Don’t forget to share!


1. Anticancer Activities of Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin)

Md Asaduzzaman Khan, Han-chun Chen, Mousumi Tania, Dian-zheng Zhang

Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011; 8(5 Suppl): 226–232. Published online 2011 Jul 3. doi: 10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.10

2. Thymoquinone: an emerging natural drug with a wide range of medical applications

Mohannad Khader, Peter M Eckl

Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2014 Dec; 17(12): 950–957.

3. Antimicrobial activity of Nigella sativa L. seed oil against multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolated from diabetic wounds.

Lorina Badger Emeka, Promise Madu Emeka, Tahir Mehmood Khan

Pak J Pharm Sci. 2015 Nov; 28(6): 1985–1990.

4. A review on therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa: A miracle herb

Aftab Ahmad, Asif Husain, Mohd Mujeeb, Shah Alam Khan, Abul Kalam Najmi, Nasir Ali Siddique, Zoheir A. Damanhouri, Firoz Anwar

Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2013 May; 3(5): 337–352. doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(13)60075-1

5. The effects of Nigella sativa on thyroid function, serum Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) – 1, Nesfatin-1 and anthropometric features in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: a randomized controlled trial.

Farhangi MA, Dehghan P, Tajmiri S, Abbasi MM.

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2016;16:471. doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1432-2.

6. Nigella Sativa Seed, a Novel Beauty Care Ingredient: A Review

Sudhir SP, Deshmukh VO and Verma HN

Int J Pharm Sci Res 2016; 7(8): 3185-96.doi: 10.13040/IJPSR.0975-8232.7(8).3185-96.

7. Comparison of therapeutic effect of topical Nigella with Betamethasone and Eucerin in hand eczema.

M. Yousefi, B. Barikbin, M. Kamalinejad, E. Abolhasani, A. Ebadi, S. Younespour, M. Manouchehrian, S. Hejazi

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2013 Dec; 27(12): 1498–1504. Published online 2012 Dec 1. doi: 10.1111/jdv.12033

8. Evaluation of Therapeutic Efficacy of Nigella sativa (Black Seed) for Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis
Abdulghani Mohamed Alsamarai, Mohamed Abdul Satar and Amina Hamed Ahmed Alobaidi

InTech 2012, Prof. Marek Kowalski (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0288-5

9. Evaluation of a Therapeutic Alternative for Telogen Effluvium: A Pilot Study

Alfredo Rossi, Lara Priolo, Alessandra Iorio, Enrica Vescarelli, Martina Gerardi, Daniele Campo,

Donato Di Nunno, Simona Ceccarelli, Stefano Calvieri, Antonio Angeloni, Cinzia Marchese

Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 2013, 3, 9-16

10. A preliminary study on topical cetirizine in the therapeutic management of androgenetic alopecia

A. Rossi, D. Campo, M. C. Fortuna, V. Garelli, G. Pranteda, G. De Vita, L. Sorriso-Valvo, D. Di Nunno & M. Carlesimo

Journal of Dermatological Treatment 2017 Jun 29:1-3

11. Volatile Compounds of Black Cumin Seeds (Nigella sativa L.) from Microwave-Heating and Conventional Roasting

Mustafa Kirala

J Food Sci. 2012 Apr;77(4):C481-4


Md. Shahinoor Rahaman Dulal*, Hasib Sheikh , Mohammad Abu Taher , Mohammad Sayeed Ur Rahaman , Zakia Rahman and M.A. Malek

International Journal Of Pharmaceutical Sciences And Research 24 March, 2014

What is Trichology (And When You Should See a Trichologist)


Dr. Linda Amerson - Trichologist Dr. Linda Amerson, founder of performs a microscopic assessment. Trichologist Dr. Linda Amerson, founder of performs a microscopic assessment.

Trichology is the science of the hair and scalp, their structures, diseases and functions. Every stylist should have a decent foundation in trichology, even if you’re the stylist working on your own hair.  And if you’re aspiring to be a hair genius, there’s no way around trichology!

For example, if you’re trying out a new style you’ve seen on YouTube, it’s important to know your hair type as compared to the hair type of the vlogger, right? If you have Type 3 hair, it isn’t going to do what Type 4 hair can do, and vice versa. Well, hair typing is only a very, very small part of trichology, as it deals with hair structure.

Hair structure also has to do with the components of the hair, such as the hair cuticle and hair cortex. With regard to the scalp, there is the hair root, the hair follicle and the surrounding supportive structures.

Why is this important? Knowledge of the structure of the hair and scalp lays the foundation for understanding their function. The healthy structures and proper functioning of the hair and scalp, in turn, help trichologists recognize the disease state, when it occurs.

Hair conditions usually start with the scalp. If the scalp isn’t doing its job correctly, there may be some obstructions to the hair growing out properly, and hair loss or hair breakage could be the end result. Alopecia fall into this category. 

However, there are scalp ailments that affect the hair only as secondary symptoms when left untreated, like dandruff.

So the scalp is very important. We’ll talk more about the scalp and its disease states a little later.

History of Trichology

If you thought a trichologist was a hair specialist, you’re right, literally. The “trich” part of trichology started off as “trikhos” in Greek, which means hair.

It looks like the British of the early 1900s thought “trich” sounded way better than “capillum,” which is Latin for hair. Capillum-ology is definitely a mouthful for “the science of hair.” And of course it had to sound scientific, not like hair-ology…

Speculation aside, para-medical (non-physician) hair science practitioners have been called trichologists since 1902. This is the year when the landmark College for Diseases of the Hair was founded in Britain. It would later be known as The Institute of Trichologists, as it is still called today.

And why did they go through all the trouble of founding such an institute? It’s simple: to beat hair loss.

Why Do People See a Trichologist?

Primarily, folks go to a trichologist because their hair is falling out. Ideally, a person with the symptoms of hair loss will go to a trichologist right away. Unfortunately, not many people know what the symptoms are. (The symptoms of hair loss are listed below, under Conditions That Affect the Hair.)

On the other hand, a person might go to a trichologist if they have itchy, burning scalp or  dandruff that’s way out of control.

In other words, if the problem isn’t super obvious, like hair that’s already falling out, or scalp that needs a brillo pad to scratch, we don’t usually look up a specialist.

It’s better to visit a trichologist when you first notice continued symptoms, than to wait until the issue develops into something that affects your social life and tampers with your self esteem – hair loss.

What Does a Trichologist Treat?

A trichologist treats the hair and scalp conditions mentioned above, and many others. Here are the main categories.

Conditions That Affect the Hair

With regards to the hair, a trichologist looks into the causes behind hair breakage, hair miniaturization (thinning in diameter) and hair thinning in density. All of these can be precursors to hair loss. A trichologist should be able to tell you which of these are:

  • Leading to hair loss
  • Standalone conditions not leading to hair loss
  • Due to genetics, and leading to hair loss
  • Symptoms of an internal medical issue, such as a hormonal imbalance, which may or may not lead to hair loss, depending on the condition.

So yes, it’s complicated. That’s why a trichologist is a specialist.

If the trichologist determines the hair symptoms you are experiencing i.e., breakage, miniaturization or thinning, are due to a form of alopecia/hair loss, or not, she will treat you accordingly.

Below are the different types of alopecias. Each alopecia originates in the hair follicles of the scalp.

Included are notes on the alopecias that greatly affect African American women.

  1. Cicatricial, or scarring, alopecias. Unfortunately, scarring alopecias are synonymous with  permanent hair loss.Note: Out of the different kinds of cicatricial alopecias, one form, central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), affects 30-40% of black women. It begins at the top or crown of the head. Like other forms of cicatricial alopecias, once the hair is shed, the loss is permanent.Note: Frontal fibrosing alopecia is another cicatricial alopecia that affects black women. With this, the hairline recedes and leaves scarring.Hair chemicals and tension are possible causes for both of these scarring alopecias.
  2. Noncicatricial – non-scarring alopecias. This can be genetic, female pattern hair loss, which is characterized by hair loss in the crown for women. If the cause isn’t genetic, non-scarring alopecias usually have an underlying medical reason.
  3. Diffuse alopecias. These instances of heavy breakage or shedding can be caused by underlying health issues or chemotherapy.
  4. Trauma alopecias. This signifies some type of physical harm done to the hair or scalp.Note: Traction alopecia, breakage and hair loss around the scalp margin due to tension and inflammation of the hair follicles, falls into this category. Approximately 1/3 of African American women have traction alopecia due to chemical and style-related trauma like relaxers and tight braids. Traction alopecia does not usually signify permanent hair loss, but if the traction continues, it can lead to it.

While the word alopecia means hair loss, normally the hair doesn’t fall out right away. Instead it passes through different stages of breaking, miniaturization and thinning until it eventually falls out. If your hair is already falling out by the time you visit a trichologist, you may have already reached the latter stages of the condition that’s causing it.

Conditions That Primarily Affect the Scalp

Scalp conditions are different from alopecias, but conditions like dry scalp can cause hair loss or slowed hair growth as secondary symptoms, if left untreated. If allowed, some scalp conditions can cause hair loss.

Notes are again added to indicate issues that pertain to African American women, specifically.

  1. Seborrheic dermatitis. Also known as seborrheic eczema, seborrheic dermatitis is the most common form of dandruff and is caused by a genetic sensitivity to malassezia yeast.Note: This dandruff, characterized by greasy scales, affects people of different races equally. However, there are differentiated treatments for people of African descent, owing to the dry nature of our hair that isn’t shampooed as frequently as the hair of other ethnicities.
  2. Irritant or contact dermatitis. Skin-irritating chemicals found in relaxers and some shampoos, conditioners and other hair treatments can cause itchy, dry scalp and flakes. Depending on the severity, inflammation and pustules may also develop. Irritation can also be caused by excessive heat used near the scalp, or cold and dryness in the environment.Note: Dry scalp, which is so rampant in the black community, is sometimes a manifestation of irritant dermatitis. This may be due to a single cause, or a combination of irritating product chemicals, excessive heat used during styling and living in cold and dry climates.
  3. Psoriasis. This is an autoimmune condition that is characterized, in the scalp, by small, dry, silvery flakes attached to the skin. It is believed to be primarily a genetic condition that has environmental triggers, like stress.
  4. Pityriasis amiantacea. These are layers of scales that adhere to the hairs. This is usually accompanied by the presence of staphylococcus bacteria. In other words, it is a staph infection.
  5. Folliculitis. This is the infection and inflammation of hair follicles.Note: The form known as folliculitis keloidalis primarily affects black men, and at times black women, in the occipital area at the back of the scalp. This is believed to be caused by the sensitive nature of the occipital area of the scalp combined with the use of hair clippers.
  6. Acne miliaris necrotica is a sparse form of acne of the hair follicles.
  7. Ringworm of the scalp, or tinea capitis, is a circular fungal infection that can cause hair breakage and loss in the area.Note: Scalp ringworm likes dark, damp conditions. So if you’re protective styling, don’t leave the style in past the recommended time period, and make sure your scalp dries thoroughly when you cleanse it.

As mentioned above, it’s important to note that untreated scalp conditions can trigger others. For example, when scratched, the itchy flakes of seborrheic dermatitis, irritant dermatitis and psoriasis can develop into a bacterial infection of the scalp – pityriasis amiantacea. Irritant/contact dermatitis can develop into hair loss.

Time for Trichology Q&A!

Q. Can’t hair loss just be treated with natural remedies? When there are oils around that can help stop hair loss and encourage hair growth, like castor oil, why is a trichologist even needed?

A. If you choose to use natural remedies, remember that there is often more power in a formula that contains multiple hair growth and scalp health ingredients.

Another reason to see a trichologist is that if you have alopecia, there might be an underlying health condition behind it. Hair loss can be battled with natural formulas. But any underlying medical condition should be identified, also, to ensure the war is won.

A trichologist will team up with a medical doctor, or refer you to another specialist, if he or she suspects there to be an underlying medical condition.

Q. What happens at a trichologist visit?

A. Of course, a trichologist will examine your hair and scalp. A trichologist also looks at hair and scalp conditions holistically, so you can expect questions that will help the trichologist determine whether your personal environment and genetics are affecting your hair and scalp.

After the trichologist completes the evaluation, treatment may be suggested or dietary and lifestyle advice offered that will improve the state of your hair and scalp.

Q. What is the difference between a trichologist and a dermatologist?

A. A trichologist is a licensed specialist, but not a medical doctor. A dermatologist is a medical doctor that can practice  trichology, when necessary, but may not have the same level of experience dealing with hair and scalp issues as a trichologist would.

A trichologist can only recommend over the counter medication. A dermatologist can prescribe medication or perform biopsies or other medical procedures.

Do Natural Trichologists Exist?

Yes! Many sell their own anti-hair loss/healthy scalp product regimens online. Others even focus on black hair.

Trichologist Dr. Linda Amerson and, Arlington, Texas

Dr. Linda Amerson specializes in black hair. Visits can be scheduled through her website and Dr. Amerson’s products are also available for sale there.

Patou Salon And Spa, Washington, DC

French owner of Patou Salon and Spa, trichologist Patou Castay, gives free trichology examinations with every salon appointment. She also crafts relaxers and other products with botanicals and lower percentages of hair straightening chemicals.

Trichologist Lisa Akbari of Lisa Akbari Salon, Memphis TN

Lisa Akbari sells natural products and regimen kits, does hair consultations and offers natural hair licensing. Check out her radio show Ask the Hair Doctor!

The Trichology Clinic at TrichOOrganics, Westmeath, Ireland

TrichOOrganics owns the Davines brand of organic hair products, including the NaturalTech line that complements their trichology practice. Luckily Naturaltech is also sold in the U.S.

Trichologist David Satchell at the Eucaderm Hair Loss Clinic, Eastbourne, UK

David Satchell treats patients using his all natural, hand-crafted products and vitamin supplements for the hair and scalp. His products are sold internationally. There’s a marvellous selection of testimonials on his site. Having practiced trichology for some 40 years, Mr. Satchell is convinced that natural regimens work better than medicinal prescriptions.

Are you are experiencing unusual hair breakage, hair loss or hair miniaturization? Does your scalp itch, burn or flake? See a trichologist as soon as possible!

If you’ve already been to one, share with our readers what recommendations you received in the comments. You can help us spread the word about trichology and give hope to others suffering from hair loss by sharing this article on social media.

What are Malaysian Hair Extensions

What are Malaysian Hair Extensions and, when the ethnicity of hair matters

We’ve walked you through Brazilian hair and Peruvian hair extensions.

Now we’re back again talking to you about Malaysian human hair. You’ve read all of our articles on hair extensions yet still have lingering questions on how to distinguish between all of these types of hair. I don’t know anything about my own hair and even less about  hair on somebody else’s head, you say. We heard you politely make the point that you’ve never even been to Brazil or Peru, and now we’re sending you to Malaysia? For what? Hair?  You weren’t trying to be rude or anything, it’s just that honestly, why do they have to turn a simple weave into rocket science?

Hair extension gurus know how to easily switch from Brazilian to Peruvian, to Malaysian, and back again, in the twinkling of an eye. But even you gurus were once in her shoes. So, hopefully you can still relate.  Besides, you probably know someone in this same situation and it’s always a positive thing to share your knowledge, particularly if it will help someone.

A lot of people will tell you to only shop Brazilian virgin hair because it’s top quality. Though this is true, don’t turn your nose up  at Malaysian virgin hair just yet. In fact, before you hate on it, contemplate this:

Malaysian virgin is another type of hair extension or weave that’s popular on the market right

alongside Brazilian and Peruvian. As the name suggests, it comes from the south-east Asian country of Malaysia. What’s important here is that Malaysian virgin hair holds its own right up there with the others. It’s one of the best quality hair extensions available.  It’s the extension of choice for women who like low-maintenance hair that looks authentic and retains this authenticity over time.

The hair extension itself was invented by an American hairdresser named Christina Jenkins.  When it comes to weaves, the ethnicity of the hair, meaning its source, is a very important consideration because certain features and characteristics including texture and lustre (among others) can be peculiar to each type of virgin hair.

Key Characteristics of Malaysian Virgin Hair

Long curl life: Curls are long-lasting and don’t require extra products in order to maintain them.

Extremely silky and soft, with high natural luster: This is a very prominent characteristic. Added to this is its long life-span .

Low maintenance:  Because of its density, Malaysian remy hair extensions need less washing compared to other kinds of virgin hair, and can be reused over and over again while retaining its softness, smoothness, and fullness of texture.

Exceptional strength: This is one of the strongest types of virgin hair available, which is why it holds curls so well.

Highly voluminous and luxuriously thick: Malaysian virgin hair is your best bet when volume and thickness are critical. For example, go Malaysian if your hair is thin and needs an extra boost of  volume. It provides beautiful bounce and dense body.

But let’s be honest, these hair extensions are not cheap, and with so many types of virgin hair out there, you want to make sure that you know what you’re buying, how to care for it, and above all, that it works well for your hair and the look or looks that you’re trying to achieve.

Malaysian hair extensions come in 7 types:

Malaysian Virgin Remy Straight Hair – beautiful shine; long and sleek

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Malaysian Natural Wave Hair – delicate and light-weight, natural shine

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Malaysian Body Wave Hair – silky to touch, holds wavy curls beautifully

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Deep Wave Malaysian Hair Weave – naturally flowing curl pattern; easily styled into wet and wavy

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Malaysian Deep Curly Hair –  strong, long-lasting, S curl pattern

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Kinky Curly Malaysian Weave – tangle-free; tight, thick, neat curls

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Afro Kinky Curly Malaysian Weave – bouncy and shiny, one-directional cuticles

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With Malaysian virgin hair you have a plethora of style options

Be adventurous and keep experimenting until you find the looks that compliment you best:

msbeauty-weave-hair-malaysian-hair-grade-7a-remy-hair-extensions-virgin-straight-hair-products_p_269.html from Malaysian Remy Straight Hair – bone-straight, long and sexy




Malaysian Natural Wave Hair - looking the part - authentic, strong and glamorous Malaysian Natural Wave Hair – looking the part – authentic, strong and glamorous

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Deep Wave Malaysian Virgin Hair -  helps in your quest for a more youthful appearance Deep Wave Malaysian Virgin Hair –  helps in your quest for a more youthful appearance

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Malaysian Kinky Curly Hair - kinky yet feminine; cool-as-a-cucumber appeal - Amazing 7a Malaysian Kinky Curly Hair Weave 4 Bundles 18 Inch Curly Human Hair Weave Discount Malaysian Kinky Curly Hair – kinky yet feminine; cool-as-a-cucumber appeal


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Now that you’re armed with some inspiration, the next thing to do is gain an understanding of how to install and remove your weave. If you can install Peruvian virgin hair, then removing Malaysian hair will be just as easy.

How To Uninstall Your Malaysian Hair Weave

Care & Styling Tips for Malaysian Virgin Hair Extensions

  • A lot of people don’t like it when their hair shines too much. Remember that Virgin Malaysian hair takes on a more natural look and lustre after the second or third wash.
  • Due to its natural shine and luster, using oils on Malaysian virgin hair can make it look fake.
  • Since Malaysian hair is endowed with thickness, it easily takes on a dry appearance, so it’s important to keep it properly moisturized.
  • Avoid drying your hair with high heat. Instead, air dry it as much as possible.
  • Protect your hair by wrapping it before you go to bed. Malaysian virgin hair is not known to tangle. Treat it well and you won’t get any bad surprises.

Benefits of using Malaysian Hair Extensions

  • Malaysian hair blends very well with relaxed hair.
  •  Malaysian wavy hair is great for women of African/Afro-Caribbean descent.
  • Malaysian virgin hair blends very well with African-American hair
  • Available in shades ranging from dark brown to natural off black.
  • Curls remain firmly intact, even after 2 or 3 washes.
  • Because it’s virgin hair, Malaysian hair suffers very little shedding and is tangle free

You have a right to look beautiful in your weave, so don’t let anybody force a look or weave on you, just because they use it and it works for them. If you’ve made up your mind to go for a  Malaysian weave, think about what sort of look you want, and one that matches your personality and dress style.

Next, consider which type would help create that look – Malaysian curly hair, straight, kinky, or even wavy, for example.

Decide on a method of installation. We talked about this in our article on Peruvian hair. Once you’ve installed your Malaysian hair, concentrate on proper care and maintenance to ensure you get the longevity out of your weave that Malaysian virgin hair is known for.

When it comes to styling your Malaysian virgin hair, the sky is your limit. As far as you can imagine, you can create it. Stay inspired through the tons of resources on our hair talk blog right here at your fingertips.

Do you have a question or a comment? Tell us. We want to hear from you.

What are Peruvian hair extensions

Is A Peruvian Weave Worth Trying?

Nina: A never ending barrage… That’s all it is. People assume just because you’re black, you ought to know everything about black hair.

But the reality is that there are many of us out there who are black. or have hair that acts black and we do want to evolve and experiment with our locks, but we can’t. Why? Because we just don’t know how, period!

To complicate things, on one hand they tell you Brazilian hair is excellent quality, and in the same breath they swear that Peruvian virgin hair is the best for your hair. So if everything is so excellent, how am I supposed to know which is which? How do I even know who to believe?

In fact Nina, while you’re putting your honesty on front street, you admit you can count the number of times you’ve been tempted to try a Peruvian hair weave, but then chickened out when you realized just how little you know about hair extensions, and your own hair in general.

All you really want is  some reliable advice that’s simple, clear and googleable.

BHS: We totally get you Nina.  Believe us when we tell you that we do understand. Even Einstein started from somewhere, so you can too.  But calm down and stop ranting. Grab a coffee. Take a power sip, and read on.

The first thing you need to know is what we mean by hair extensions. These are artificial hair integrations that add length and fullness to human hair  You attach them in different ways that include clipping, taping bonding or micro linking them onto your own hair.

We’re not asking you to go there, but just know that Peruvian virgin hair comes from the South American country of Peru. What is important to know is that the hair extension itself was invented and patented in the 1950s by an African-American hairdresser named Cristina Jenkins.

Nina, don’t let anybody confuse you. Virgin Brazilian hair is NOT the only quality hair extension out there. Depending on your hair texture, structure and preferences, some even prefer Peruvian virgin hair to Brazilian virgin hair. If you’re highlighting as you read, note that:

Virgin Peruvian hair is one of the best types of hair extensions on the market. 

Characteristics of Peruvian Virgin Hair:

  1. Coarseness – It’s mostly negative whenever we think of the word coarse. But Peruvian hair is dense and coarse, meaning  it blends more easily with your hair. This is one of its biggest pluses.  It’s also coarser than Brazilian and Indian hair.  Again due to its coarseness,  Peruvian hair works very well with thicker hair.
  2. Manageability – Hair is shiny and can be styled in many different ways. It’s easy to color, and holds curls extremely well. This is very important for those who prefer a curly look.
  3. Virgin Peruvian hair is durable and combines the strength and body of Brazilian hair, and the smoothness of European hair. 
  4. Volume –  Provides incredible volume, yet still lightweight and soft enough to retain its beautiful, silky texture.
  5. Easy Maintenance – Can still look presentable even during those busy times when we tend to not care for our hair the way we should.  As long as you follow the care instructions, virgin Peruvian hair does not stress you by shedding and tangling.

Ok. Here’s a common scenario: You know lots of women who wear a Peruvian weave, and it rocks on them. You’ve heard a lot of positive things and since personal testimonies are the best, you’re sold on the  Peruvian weave. That’s the one you want because you like it.

Nothing wrong with that, but before you sprint out and spend your hard earned money, pause. What kind of Peruvian hair extension would be best for you or more importantly, for your hair?

Types of Peruvian Hair Extensions

Peruvian hair comes in 3 types

Peruvian straight: beautiful, long-lasting shine and luster

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Peruvian wavy: looks and feels really natural when touched, more so than even Brazilian or Indian hair.

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Peruvian curly hair:  easy to maintain; good choice to give you that youthful, fresh look.

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Peruvian virgin hair extensions  – silky soft and natural-looking with lustrous bounce-back body –  great for African-American hair textures. 

Regardless of the kind of Peruvian hair extensions you choose, these short videos will show you:

How To Install A Peruvian Weave  

Peruvian hair – full sew in weave

Peruvian hair – seamless quick weave install  

Peruvian full weave braid-in bundles – no glue, thread or clips

Know What Hair Extensions You’re Buying

What does Virgin Peruvian hair look like when you purchase it?

Peruvian deep wave hair with frontal closure

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Fourteen inch straight natural color Peruvian hair clip hair

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Whether you’re just starting out with weaves or even if you’re a seasoned adventurer when it comes to styling, virgin Peruvian hair gives you lots of elbow room for look, style and even color. Remember that your look is not just about hair. Partner your choice of hair extension and style, with your skin undertone, face-shape,  eye-color, and makeup. It’s the total look that counts.

Be Inspired to Explore

Peruvian straight hair – jet black with bangs – striking contrast with hair and lip color

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Peruvian curly virgin hair – kinky flame candy color with graded roots; fuses flawlessly with skin tone

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Peruvian body wave hair – slick & shine; for that feminine, reliable go-to look

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Peruvian virgin wavy rocks!

Common FAQs About Peruvian Hair Extensions

Q: I’m starting to understand, but still a little confused. What are the differences between Peruvian hair extensions and Brazilian hair extensions?

A: Compared to Brazilian hair, Peruvian hair is more coarse. It can come in light brown, deep brown or darker colors. Although both have similar characteristics, Peruvian hair is  known to withstand varying degrees of temperature better and tends to curl more when wet. Also, because of its natural fullness and body, fewer bundles are needed for a full installation.

Q: I was told to look for a hair color that matches the skin undertone – warm, cool or neutral.  What colors are available?
A: Peruvian hair is available in many colors. These include:

  • Black
  • Dark Brown
  • Medium Brown
  • Red

Q: What are the differences between Peruvian wavy, curly, and straight?A: Good question. Here’s what you should know:

  • Peruvian curly hair has a characteristic tight wavy pattern, which is why it’s often steam curled.
  • Peruvian wavy hair is your best bet if you want looser waves that are not as tight or curly as Peruvian curly hair.
  • Peruvian straight hair has a silky smooth feel and is typically straight.

Q: I live in a hot and humid climate.  I was told that Peruvian hair is one of the best options. Is this true?

A: Absolutely. Durability in hot and humid conditions is one of the strongest qualities of Peruvian virgin hair.

Peruvian Hair & Ethnicity

  • blends well with almost all hair types
  • blends perfectly with African American, relaxed and natural hair
  • particularly well- suited for Afro-Caribbean hair and textures

Care & Styling Tips For Peruvian Virgin Hair Extensions

  • Resists sun and heat damage, but remember that it does have a tendency to curl slightly when it’s wet. This means you might need to straighten it a little after styling.
  • Though strong and durable, it’s important to wash and moisturize Peruvian hair regularly.
  • Due to its rich, deep color, it can be can be dyed without losing its shine and hair quality.
  • When styling, use a heat protector to promote hair longevity and prevent it from frizzing, especially in humid temperatures.
  • For straight Peruvian hair weaves, brushing is best done with a paddle brush.  You should brush your hair regularly (at least in the morning, and before going to sleep).
  • For curly Peruvian hair weaves, brushing is best done with your fingers or with a wide tooth finger comb.  Remember to start from the tips of the hair and work your way towards the roots and scalp.
  • Use a pre-conditioning treatment before shampooing, to lock in as much moisture  as possible in the hair.
  • Wash your hair extensions once per week or once every two weeks.   Before washing, make sure the hair is  brushed and tangle free.

A lot of people just go straight out and purchase a Brazilian weave because their friends say it’s the best. Yet isn’t it  interesting that what is really best is often subjective?  Even when this isn’t the case, every individual’s experience with hair extensions is unique.

So, rather than take a hit and miss approach and purchase based on hearsay or friend-say, why not invest some time and digest what you’ve learned here on BHS, about Peruvian and other types of hair weaves. This way, even if  you’re new to hair extensions, or just considering trying something different, you can do so armed with the info that you need to make the best hair decisions for YOU.

We’re here to help you every step of the way. We’ve created some very informative articles to help you gain a better understanding of virgin hair extensions, as well as other resources to help you take better care of your hair in general.

You know what they say: Ask and ye shall receive. So, even after reading these articles, you might still need some more info to help you decide whether to go for a curly, wavy or straight Peruvian weave.

Questions? Just ask. We’re right here and you will get an answer.  BHS is our nest. We live and breathe black hair. So track us, and stay connected. We’re hair for you.


What is the Baggy Method

Moisture might just be a natural girl’s favorite word. Everywhere you look, new techniques and methods pop up to teach us how to get our curls popping and more importantly, to promote healthy hair. But if you’re like most, you’ve tried all the products and methods there are for maintaining luscious and hydrated curls. Or have you? The baggy hair method combines simple steps and infrequent use to bring you a new way to deliver those much needed nutrients to your hair.

Keep reading to find out how easy it is to use the baggy hair method!

Are you just over split ends and brittle hair? Try the baggy hair method and thank us later. Click To Tweet

How do you do the baggy hair method?

The actual process of “bagging” natural hair is very simple. On dry and already clean hair, section into large braids, twists, or whatever form you typically use for bedtime protective styles. Make sure your sections are not too tightly secured; breaking hair before you even begin this method is a no no!

Once done with the sectioning, depending on your hair type, apply a butter, pomade, cream, or oil to the ends of your braids. The key here is to use a product that you already know works on your hair when it’s a little dry. Wrap the saturated hair in saran wrap or completely cover the ends with small plastic storage bags. Secure the bags with an ouchless hair tie, and you’re done! You can wear this method for a few hours while you’re doing chores around the house, or you can put them in right before bed. Just make sure not to leave the house before it is completely dry.

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Dos and Don’t for First Timers

  • Don’t overdo it. Only treat ends you believe are in dire need of moisture.
  • Don’t leave the baggies in for longer than an overnight period. If you let your hair saturate this way for too long, you might cause damage, plus, it’s going to create a little mess.
  • Don’t forget to do this method on hair that is already clean.
  • Do make sure your hair ties aren’t too tight. At the end of the day, this is about creating healthy hair.
  • Do use a moisturizer you know works for you! The baggy method with coconut oil is helpful for some, but not all! If you have tighter curls, try a hair butter, instead.
  • Do allow this hair method time to dry. If your ends are not fully dry before you wear them out, some of your moisture might be lost.
  • Do try this during the winter months, or any time of the year when the elements are at odds with your hair.
When it comes to moisture, how much is too much? Click To Tweet

How do I know this is the method for me?

The best baggy method hair growth tip is to know when you need to repair your ends, and when you don’t. If you have noticed any breakage or splitting, or if your hair just feels brittle to the touch, you might need to try this method.

Also, if you aren’t happy with your length, trying new moisturizing methods might be a good way to inspire a little growth. 9 times out of 10, your stylist has told you maintaining your ends is an excellent way to allow your hair the health it needs to grow. The baggy hair method can create results!

Whether you try out this new method or not, the main ingredient of healthy natural hair remains the same: know what works for you. As much as we hate to hear that, natural hair is a unique journey that we each embrace differently.

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Have you tried the baggy hair method? If so, let us know your results in the comments section!

Black Hair Spot is the number one place to ask all your burning questions about black hair. We are a community of women dedicated to educating and empowering women to love their hair as much as we love ours!

What is Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Castor Oil VS. Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Surprise! Jamaican black castor oil is made from the same castor beans as regular castor oil. There is no darker, more beautiful, especially-for-textured-hair variety of the castor plant made just for our use. Sigh. Castor oil is castor oil. It’s still great stuff and perfect for hair growth…

And one kind does happen to have a higher rate of nutrition. Which one, which one…

Well, when it comes down to castor oil vs. Jamaican black castor oil, we’re a little color biased.

The Cultural Traditions Behind Black Jamaican Castor Oil

And, of course, Jamaican black castor has higher nutrient levels. But, really, you already  knew that, right?

Jamaican black castor oil is processed using the longstanding African tradition of improving nutritional content by roasting oil seeds for consumption and cosmetic use.

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And sometimes, raw cosmetic materials are actually burnt. Did you know black soap is made of burnt palm leaves or plantain peels? The ashes are mixed with shea butter and palm oil to form a chemical reaction that creates black soap. The distinguishing characteristics of this soap are its rich creamy lather, potent cleansing ability and… high nutrient levels.

Both black castor oil and black soap originated in ancient Egypt. No surprises there.

So, yes, Jamaicans took over the black castor name, but not without improving the original product. To extract the oil, Jamaicans grind, then boil, the toasted beans. Boiling improves the moisturizing quality of the oil and adds softness to it. So after a long time at boiling, what we know as Jamaican black castor oil is finally skimmed off the top.

The Egyptians didn’t go through all this. They simply pressed the roasted beans.

The Jamaican Method Refines Castor Oil

You could say roasting the castor beans, then boiling them, is a true process of refinement. One that certainly can’t be achieved by soaking the beans in chemical solvents, which is the common standard of “refining” oils.

Refined castor oil is what’s normally sold in pharmacies. It still contains the active component for hair growth, ricinoleic acid, but at a meagre level of 20%. Admittedly, 20% doesn’t sound small at all, until you compare it with the other two types of castor. Cold pressed and black castor oils both contain 80-89% ricinoleic acid.

Because refined castor oil is extracted using harmful, volatile fuels that decrease the nutritional value and active components – it is actually degraded (not refined).

Castor Oil: It’s All About The Color

African cultures roast other seeds, as well, for consumption and cosmetic use. These include sesame, soybean, wild gourd, pumpkin, African wild yam and watermelon seeds. In some countries, seed mash is a daily staple, and roasting the seeds prior to mashing serves to increase their nutritional value.

Of course, when beans or seeds are toasted for oil, the resulting color of the oil will be different than when the seeds are cold pressed. Toasted castor beans leave the oil a transparent brown or black color, whereas cold pressed castor oil is slightly yellowish. (Refined castor oil is usually clear.)

If you think of it in terms of sugar, the least healthy is ultra-refined white sugar. After white sugar, comes turbinado sugar. It still has a good amount of brown coloring from its inherent molasses, and has been minimally processed. The molasses itself, which comes from the same plant, is very healthy, indeed.

Molasses retains the best essences of the sugarcane plant. Oh, by the way! That same plant, before making sugar or molasses, is normally scorched during harvesting. Similar to black castor oil, molasses is higher in iron and other nutrients than turbinado sugar, which for our purposes is similar to cold-pressed castor oil.

From a burnt plant or not, refined white sugar has had all the nutrients removed from it and will never be even a little bit healthy.

Castor Oil VS. Black Castor Oil: A Look at the Nutrients

While both cold pressed castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil spark hair growth and renew follicles, as black women, we also want to make sure our hair grows out from the follicles in the healthiest state possible.

Let’s face it. The maintenance and style routines for black hair are not always gentle. Yet our curly and coily hair is more prone to breakage than any other! We manipulate our hair into styles A, B and C with twists, perms, braids, blowouts, weaves… The list goes on. To maintain such heavy manipulation, it’s key for our hair to grow out of the follicles strong and less prone to breakage.  The benefits of Jamaican black castor oil can help us achieve this. Here’s why:

  1. Jamaican castor oil naturally retains a small amount of ash after processing. This gives it its distinctive color — and also mild cleansing and clarifying abilities for the scalp and hair.
  2. Black castor is more alkaline than castor oil that’s made from unroasted beans.
  3. A more alkaline scalp means less room for growth of seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff)
  4. Alkaline substances increase blood flow to the scalp for more nourished follicles.
  5. The alkalinity of black castor oil also lifts the hair cuticle, to allow other nourishing ingredients in a formula to penetrate the hair shaft. (Castor molecules themselves are too large to enter.)
  6. Mineral levels are increased from toasting the raw materials used to make oils. For castor beans, this includes magnesium and zinc – which contributes to hair growth.
  7. According to the same research conducted in Nigerian universities, toasting and boiling castor beans also increases protein content, a building block of hair that also provides strength.
  8. But it’s probably the most important aspect that roasting reduces anti-nutrient levels. Anti-nutrients are plant components that block or interfere with the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals.

With anti-nutrients removed, even if the mineral and protein levels of Jamaican black castor oil were on the same level as cold pressed castor oil, they would still be more active.

Where To Find The Best Jamaican Black Castor Oil?

The best is going to come from Jamaicans. Tropic Isle Living was the first company to produce (and name) Jamaican black castor oil for the U.S. market. The company warns against producers who jump on the black castor’s popularity bandwagon, but use  colorants like cinnamon instead of the Jamaican process. Tropic Isle Living also offers a wide variety of products that are made with their Jamaican Black Castor Oil.

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Shea Moisture has a Jamaican black castor oil line as well. The product that demonstrates a high level of effectiveness (according to reviews) is the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Leave-In Conditioner. After this product in the Strengthen and Restore line is the alkaline cleansing of Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo.

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How To Use Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Generally speaking, plain black castor oil is best used as a sealant. It locks in moisture, and is also a humectant. When used as a sealing oil, it helps keep your hair soft and draws added moisture to it.

Pre- or post-shampoo, black Jamaican also castor oil works well as part of a hair masque.

For a great DIY protein hair masque that strengthens and encourages growth, try blending egg whites then add a tablespoon of Jamaican black castor oil. Drench hair, apply and cover with a shower cap for 20 minutes. During and after rinsing, you’ll be able to feel the added strength in your hair strands. And the castor adds a nice sheen, too.

Whatever way you incorporate Jamaican castor into your regimen, don’t forget to massage the product into your scalp for added hair growth benefits.

Do you have a favorite Jamaican black castor oil product or do you prefer use it as a straight oil? Have you seen any hair growth results from using the oil? Share with us in the comments!

What is Castor Oil?

Can Castor Oil Grow Hair, For Real?

There’s a lot of contradictory information out there about castor oil. One side says castor oil grows hair like weeds, the opposing side claims castor oil doesn’t stimulate hair growth at all. Huh? Is there no middle ground in this? We think not. Read on to find out why.

But wait, first things first: castor oil DOES grow hair. Just wanted to clear that up. Now let’s see why it does, and why some people say it absolutely doesn’t.

What Is Castor Oil And How Is It Good For The Hair?

Castor oil is derived from the seeds of the castor plant, the botanical name of which is ricinus communis. In this article, we’re referring to regular, cold-pressed castor oilJamaican black castor oil is discussed in a different article.

Castor oil has a number of benefits for the scalp, in particular. And of course, the scalp is responsible for producing healthy hair, and for holding on to it so it doesn’t fall out.

Some common scalp problems are: dandruff, dry scalp, psoriasis, scalp that’s suffering from heat/chemical burns or gene-related alopecia. These ailments cause your scalp to produce hair that’s less optimal – or can cause it to drop your hair strands altogether.

Consider this: Say a friend of yours just gave you a beautifully smooth blowout. She handles that round bristle brush like a pro. The session was so relaxing you nearly fell asleep. A few hours later you feel little prickles in your scalp, then bumps – right in the area where your hair likes to break off. There’s trouble brewing, but here’s how castor oil might help.

  1. You may not have felt it, but your scalp might be burnt. This is highly likely, since the troubled, and therefore sensitive, area of the head is prickling. Castor oil is anti-inflammatory. It can help relieve the inflammation that’s causing the bumps.When a hair follicle is in distress, the skin surrounding it swells as a protective measure. But while the follicle is focusing on saving itself, the swelling could loosen the hair strand from the follicle. And tragedy ensues.
  2. As for the prickling of the burnt follicles, castor oil, too, helps relieve discomfort.
  3. It could be that the brush wasn’t clean. This can cause a similar reaction on your scalp. Castor oil is antibacterial and antifungal, as well.

Moms With Castor Oil

Castor Oil image from Flickr - Black Hair Spot[email protected]/25740150891

Up until now, you’ve probably been wondering: “Is castor oil the stuff my mother used to give me when my stomach hurt?” Yes, it’s the very same stuff from the bottle that lived in the back of her linen closet or pantry.

When you were forced to down it as a kid, you didn’t know all the goodness it contained. Your mother may not have either! That’s how traditions are. Only the old folks know. We just knew, never get a stomach ache because Mom would hold out that nasty spoon of thick and rich castor oil.

The memories.

Castor oil has been used for thousands of years for good health. Like other natural substances, castor oil and its derivatives are widely used by pharmaceutical and other industries. The full range of its capabilities, however, are not made public. When castor oil is discussed, allegations of toxicity are thrown in somewhere. Declarations about its safety from the International Journal of Toxicity, on the other hand, are ignored.

Ricin, a toxin, is only found in the raw, watery bean mash. Because ricin is not oil soluble, it does not filter into the oil during processing, whether the oil is cold pressed, refined, or refined using the Jamaican black castor method.

Castor Oil’s Active Ingredient Is ‘Concentrated’

The full properties of castor oil are too lengthy to be mentioned here. But one of the reasons castor oil is so good at what it does is because its active ingredient is concentrated naturally within the oil.

The active component in castor oil is primarily ricinoleic acid, which is an Omega 9 fatty acid. Ricinoleic acid makes up 90% of castor oil. This gives castor oil increased abilities as compared to other oils. It is on the level of a serum. It can also be mixed with other ingredients and still remain very effective.

Which brings us to the meat of the matter or, rather, the hairy hair of it.

How Does Castor Oil Grow Hair?

Ricinoleic acid is close enough in structure and action to stand in for the scalp’s hair growth activator, a prostaglandin called PGE2. When massaged into the scalp, castor oil (via its active component ricinoleic acid) literally mimics the hair growth stimulator PGE2. In the most important ways, i.e., for hair growth (right?), the scalp cannot tell the difference between PGE2 and ricinoleic acid.

In case you’ve come across one of the hater websites that says castor does NOT grow hair, let’s get a little more specific with proof that it DOES. Remember, while sifting through this information, that castor oil mimics the function of the hair growth prostaglandin, PGE2.

  1. There are four receptors that PGE2 normally binds to, in order to initiate certain bodily functions. Ricinoleic acid only binds with two of those receptors. These two receptors, EP3 and EP4, are the same ones that are responsible for hair growth.
  2. PGE2 stimulates hair follicles in the early phase of growth.
  3. The common hair growth drug, minoxidil (Rogaine), works to increase PGE2 production and also normalize its production in those who are combatting hair loss. Findings suggest that the mechanism behind the hair-growth stimulating effect of minoxidil is the stimulation of PGE2 synthesis.
  4. Higher levels of PGE2 helps keep cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy from losing their hair

Castor oil works on the scalp because PGE2 is naturally present there. It just needs a boost. PGE2 is not present on every surface of your body. So don’t worry, it won’t be growing hair on your lips. It’s serum quality for eyelashes and brows, however. (Yes!)

How To Use Castor Oil

If you remember Mom’s spoonful of castor oil, you’ll also remember how thick it is. It can act like the opposite of a detangler with all the friction it can cause between hairs. The last thing you want to do when applying a castor oil hair mask for growth, is to lose hair due to the way you apply it! Maybe that’s what happened to the castor oil haters.

Anyways! Blend castor oil with a lighter oil to reduce the viscosity. Add olive oil or jojoba, bit by bit, stirring with your finger, until it the castor oil no longer feels sticky. Then massage it into your scalp for a few minutes.

From here you can leave the oil blend on for twenty minutes to an hour. You can cover your hair with a shower cap, if you like. Then wash it out with a nourishing shampoo (sulfate free). Castor oil is NOT the type of oil you should continue to reapply, over and over, without washing it out. Unless the castor oil is part of a water-based lotion or cream, wash it out before re-applying. This is because it converts into a gum easier than other oils.

If you are serious about growing/regrowing your hair, massage it in daily. But if your scalp starts to get a little tacky, cleanse it.

If you just want general benefits and a slightly increased rate of growth, use castor oil as your pre-poo on wash day.

Note: All things considered, hair growth is still a complicated process. You can compound it’s effects with a well-researched formula that contains castor oil as the main ingredient. A synergistic formula will grow your hair faster.

What Are The Best Castor Oil Hair Growth Products?

When you have a well-made product, the other oils and ingredients work together with the castor oil to increase its benefits, as if there weren’t enough already! Castor oil penetrates easily into the scalp and also helps other ingredients penetrate better, too.

Try the following:

  1. Hair Regrowth Serum - Black Hair Spot

    Eden Kingdom Essential Formula D Hair Regrowth Serum. The recommended use is once daily. Very helpfully, this company includes before and after hair growth testimonials.

  2. Hair Topical Wick and Strom Bottle - Black Hair Spot

    Wick & Strom Apex Crown Extra Strength Hair Revitalizing Topical Solution. The company claims their product works as good as, or better than, products like Rogaine. They also have a 30 day guarantee if you’re not pleased with the results. They say your hair will definitely be fuller in four weeks time.

    Both the above products are also anti-dandruff. These companies know well that issues like dandruff or dry scalp can hamper growth.

  3. Apricot Castor Oil from Thirsty Roots - Black Hair Spot

    Thirsty Roots Apricot Castor Oil. Another all-natural hair growth (and strengthener) oil. This product is appropriate for all hair types and styles. This includes relaxed hair and for use under protective styles.

  4. Amla &Olive Heavy Cream with Castor Oil and Ayurvedic Botanicals - Black Hair Spot

    If you’d also like to layer in the benefits of castor oil for the scalp (and hair), try Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream. It contains castor oil, too, along with a lot of other good stuff.

As far as the information that reaches the public from the scientific world, castor oil seems to be a well guarded secret. Most published studies are sponsored by the mega corporations in different industries – who themselves use what’s being studied. Depending on the market, they might publish material that supports something or rejects it. Or they won’t publish anything at all on the subject. That’s what we found.

And it’s understandable. We can see how castor oil might pose competition to the already popular regrowth products on the market. (Wink!)

Do you suffer from hair breakage or alopecia? What do you use for regrowth? Do you know someone who wants more new growth or thicker hair? Share this article!  

Dandruff, Dry Scalp and Cradle Cap – What is it and Why does it happen?

What’s With the Flakes… Is It Dry Scalp or Dandruff?

In almost every culture, dandruff is lumped in with a lack of good hygiene. That’s a dangerous thing! Not just in social terms, but for the health of the scalp, itself. People see flakes and get to scrubbing their scalp with shampoo, sometimes daily, or (horrors!) twice daily. Over time, what happens? If your scalp is sensitive or dry, it is only prone to becoming moreso.

Yet people with dandruff do, indeed, need to shampoo more often than those with dry scalp. The thing is, it’s extra important to know which condition it is when you’re seeing flakes. Seek a dermatologist’s advice if you’re unsure. You don’t want to end up washing dry scalp with shampoo twice a week, right?

Is Dandruff Different From Dry Scalp That’s Itching And Flaking?

There’s a pretty big difference between dry scalp and actual dandruff. A lot of the time, when people think they have dandruff, what they have is a severe form of dry scalp. That’s because when the dryness gets extreme, the outer skin cells die of dehydration on the surface of the scalp. Then flakes begin to fall.

Dandruff is quite a different thing. It can feel like dry scalp and itch like mad, but the formal name for dandruff is Seborrheic Dermatitis, which is yeast-related. When Seborrheic Dermatitis appears in babies, it is referred to as cradle cap. Adult cradle cap, then, is Seborrheic Dermatitis.  

This form of dermatitis feeds on the scalp’s natural oil production: its sebum. Sebum is waxy and greasy. So applying wax-based and oily products to the scalp for moisture is a mega no-no here! You’ll be feeding the production of dandruff instead of relieving the itch.

The yeast that triggers dandruff in some people is called malassez and is actually present on everyone’s scalp. Those who have a predisposition to sensitivity for this yeast develop dandruff. So you know, you can’t “get dandruff,” if you’re not predisposed to it – no matter how much malassez yeast is present on your scalp (Journal of Investigative Dermatology).

What Causes Dry Scalp?

It’s weird, though, because even though dry scalp and dandruff are two separate conditions, flaking up happens for many of the same reasons. That’s because a person can have Seborrheic Dermatitis, but won’t necessarily have flare-ups 24/7. Many times, dandruff flare-ups are triggered, just like dry scalp flakes are. Here are the most common reasons why:

  1. According to Audrey Davis-Sivasothy, author of The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair, a deficiency of B vitamins can cause a predisposition to both dandruff and dry scalp.
  2. Stress puts your bodily systems under tension, causes some ailments and exacerbates others. If you have itchy scalp, Murphy’s Law likes to play with stress in embarrassing ways: meaning, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong! Have you ever noticed that in the middle of stressful conversations – right when it’s going to look real bad – your scalp starts itching like mad? Stress causes scalp flare-ups.
  3. Of course, genetics can give you a predisposition to either dry scalp or dandruff. There’s still relief, though. As you’ll see further down in this article.
  4. Climate can also aggravate symptoms. If you live in a dry climate, the moisture in your scalp is getting whisked away regularly. If your scalp is already dry, this can spell a lot of irritation to your scalp. (One major irritant: flakey, dry, itchy scalp has trouble growing healthy, nourished hair!)
    Cold and frigid climates also dry out the scalp, the same way they dry out your skin. A scalp with Seborrheic Dermatitis needs moisture, too. So what happens if it doesn’t get hydration? Your scalp will then increase sebum production when it gets cold, which in turn increases your dandruff!
  5. Too-frequent cleansing, whether it’s with a gentle shampoo, dry shampoo, natural cleanser, cowash formula, conditioner or a vinegar solution… anything that is removing the natural oils from your scalp and hair is going to leave them dry, to some degree or other.
    We found that black girls with Seborrheic Dermatitis are able to keep dandruff away by cleansing and exfoliating twice a week. More than that might irritate your scalp, but of course, this depends on the person. If you have dry scalp, once a week is the maximum.
  6. That said, beware of product buildup! Flaking product buildup can mimic dandruff. More importantly if a heavy, wax- or petroleum-based product builds up on the scalp, it can irritate both dry scalp and dandruff.
  7. Seborrheic Dermatitis makes the scalp highly sensitive: to stress and also to product ingredients. The chemicals, and even some natural ingredients, found in shampoos, conditioners and stylers can irritate the symptoms and cause a dandruff flare-up.
    On the other hand, the condition of dry scalp, as well as its symptoms, can be caused by harsh chemical ingredients in hair care products.
    Let’s take a closer look, below.

The Traditional Use of Harsh Chemicals (Or Long Live Flakes and Itch)

The products used in traditional styling and care methods of black hair contribute to the discomfort of dandruff and dry scalp. Here are some examples:

  1. The usual suspects! Permanents in their various forms for black hair: relaxers, Jheri Curls (and offshoots), and texturizers can all adversely affect the scalp. The Department of Dermatology & Venereology College of Health Sciences in Nigeria found varying adverse effects on the hair and scalp after the use of relaxers.  (All three permanent variations use similarly harsh chemicals to permanently alter the hair.) Out of 250 participants in a relaxer study, 60 women (24%) suffered from scalp itching/irritation and 37 (14.8%) from dandruff. The study only included women who had relaxers done professionally.
  2. Shampoos that contain the foaming agents sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate or similarly drying chemicals tend to be very drying and even irritating. Unfortunately, this includes many popular dandruff shampoos. If you have Seborrheic Dermatitis, some better care choices are included in the next section. There are also many alternatives to shampoo, for those with dry scalp.
  3. Because Seborrheic Dermatitis is a more complicated form of sensitive scalp, it’s a good idea to steer away from products that have allergy-causing chemicals, period. If you are a research buff, EWG Skindeep is a cosmetic product and ingredient index that rates the toxicity of ingredients and can satisfy your need to know. If you’re not a research buff, we sure are. Check back for more articles on product ingredients.

So How Can You Nix Dry Scalp?

Despite the similarities in how the conditions of dry scalp and dandruff are provoked, the treatments of the two conditions are entirely different.

How to Get Rid of Dry Scalp

If you’re looking for dry scalp remedies, the rule of thumb is to moisturize inside and out. That means:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Fortifying your scalp by using an oil treatment prior to cleansing. Shea butter mixed with a natural oil like sesame is great for this purpose.
    • Note!  Ever “got dandruff” after applying shea butter to your scalp? Even if lightened up with an oil, shea butter contains oleic acid, which is great for dry scalp. But the yeast that causes Seborrheic Dermatitis loves it, too! So if you have dandruff, stay away from Madame Shea.
  • Consuming foods with healthy fats: salmon, avocado and the like. The goodness will make it around to your skin, scalp and hair, too.
  • LOC-ing your scalp. Because dry hair is epidemic for us, almost all products made by black companies for our hair are, by default, made to combat dryness. They are very nourishing! When you find a good formula that’s void of drying chemicals, massage it well into your scalp, and afterwards apply it to your hair. If you use the LOC (liquid, oil, cream) method of locking moisture into your hair, don’t forget to the same on your scalp.

If your dry scalp is genetic, you will find relief from using these methods. Still you might not get rid of the dryness completely. A lot depends on the individual person.

Looking to calm Seborrheic Dermatitis? Try anti-fungal ingredients like zinc pyrithione in your care products. This will help lessen the discomfort and flakes.

Here are a few products to try:

Mild Dandruff: Dead Sea Spa MAGIK Mineral Shampoo

Dead Sea Spa Magik Mineral Shampoo 59074


This product has salicylic acid, to aid exfoliation, and zinc pyrithione, which is antifungal. The shampoo is for mild dandruff.

Moderate Dandruff: BIOM8 – Skin Conditioning Oil



This is an all natural, oil-based product that is anti-fungal in nature. It’s great for moderate Seborrheic Dermatitis of the scalp or skin. Most anti-dandruff products are very drying, and therefore best to be used sparingly. Because this is an anti-fungal, moisturizing oil, it’s great for Seborrheic Dermatitis. It’s even perfect to use as a dry scalp treatment.

Severe Dandruff: Extina® (ketoconazole) Foam, 2%

product extina


Ketoconazole is also very effective against severe cases of dandruff. It is available by prescription as a leave-in foam, so you won’t have to wash your hair more frequently than our hair and scalp can tolerate. It was developed for black women as an alternative prescription to ketoconazole 2% shampoo. Like the shampoo, this foam still requires twice daily usage.

Despite the similarities in how the conditions of dry scalp and dandruff are provoked, the treatments of the two conditions are entirely different. #bhs #hairtreatment Click To Tweet

Recap and… Quiz!

To recap, dandruff and dry scalp are very different conditions; although, both might give you flakes and itching.

  1. Technically, dandruff is Seborrheic Dermatitis – basically a yeast allergy. You have to have a predisposition to it, either because of genetics or due to a vitamin deficiency. You can’t “get dandruff.”
  2. Dry scalp, on the other hand, can also be genetic or even climate-based. But there are many things you can do to alleviate it or get rid of it entirely. This depends on the person.

If you look after your scalp consistently, with knowledge and care, you will see a difference in its health. This will also positively affect the hair that grows out of your scalp.

Okay, it’s quiz time everyone! Listen to what vlogger JustJamiexo says about how cowashing affects her scalp. Would you guess that her flakes are due to dry scalp… or dandruff? (Hint: The vlogger says she must cleanse with a stripping, sulfate shampoo.)

Post your answer in the comments, and visit us again for more learning fun!

Does your baby have cradle cap? If so he/she also might have eczema cropping up, too. Why? Seborrheic Dermatitis is the same as Seborrheic Eczema, according to the New Zealand Dermatological Society. Ignore the haters. It’s not that your baby is dirty! It’s a predisposition to yeast sensitivity. And don’t let auntie so-and-so give him a lollipop, either. Cradle cap can be triggered by sugar (wink).

What is Hair Plopping

Revisiting Hair Plopping (And Why It Works On All Hair Types)

“Extra curls, extra curls. No frizz, low frizz.” (singing) Ever tried hair plopping? Either way, sing it with me. “Extra curls, extra curls…”

This is exciting! We reviewed hair plopping and found it works wonders to bring out your natural curl pattern, whether you’ve got cottony strands or loose waves. Like us, you probably thought plopping was only for white chicks and Latinas, right? That’s because most of the hype has been around Type 2 hair. It’s a bit of a secret that hair plopping helps define Type 3 and Type 4 hair into voluminous clumps and curls, too.

Hair Plopping: The Things We’ve Seen…

The problem, though, is if you’ve done a search on hair plopping, you probably came out with a whole lot of 10 Step Complications To Life. Why do people get into so many different positions just to tie their hair up: yoga, prayer, acrobatics… confusing! Then there are the fabrics: T shirt, long sleeved T shirt, microfiber towel, regular towel, hair plopping towel… too much! It’s really unnecessary to make things so complicated, when they are really so easy.

For us, a lot of the confusion arose from watching those videos of ladies with Type 2, very long hair. To create super-defined curls out of hair that’s wavy and doesn’t hold a curl easily, they have to do a sort of upside down accordion thing on their hair before wrapping it.

Most of us with tightly curled hair never tried plopping because it looked too complicated to get our coils just so. And with all of that, would it even work? Well, that’s the million dollar question.

Why Hair Plopping is So Simple, And Gives Such Great Results

Hair plopping is definitely worth a try. You don’t need to press your hair down accordion-style if your hair isn’t like waterlily716, above. Here are the reasons hair plopping works perfectly by simply dropping your head and wrapping:

  1. When you drop your head, and gather your hair up at the top of your head, it will dry with volume, shake and bounce. A regular wash and go, sans plopping, isn’t going to give you the same kind of curls. That’s because wash and go hair dries in a downward direction with the hair weighed down by product.
  2. Getting your curls mostly dry, in one position – without touching them, means your curl definition stays in tact pretty much as if it were still drenched with water. Oh!
  3. The fabric wrapped around your hair absorbs excess moisture so that the curls dry quicker and more intact than when air drying.

That’s simple, right? Drop and wrap. Product choices and other details are up to you. Now, let’s see some hair plopping, before and after.

How to Get Plopping

Videos help the method stick in your brain after watching just a few times. Below, women with different hair types get to plopping their hair. Check them out.

Plopping Type 3 Hair With Thick Strands: Adaeze Tula

Adaeze starts out with deep conditioned curls. “Plop a T shirt on your head, and it’s supposed to create curls…” she says. And it did! That smile alone is enough reason to watch the video.

Plopping Type 4 Hair With Thick Strands: Kimberly Cherrell

Kimberly starts out with a semi-defined puff on wash day and got amazing curls and more loveliness than a little bit. She doesn’t mention what products she used, only that’s she is heavy-handed with them.

Plopping Type 3 Hair With Fine Strands: Colored Curly

Colored Curly gives a cute before and after of hair plopping on her fine, Type 3 strands. She’s got a different prep. method, which is more like doing a wash and go. It just proves that you can do this the way that works best for you. The main thing is plopping the T shirt on while your head is dropped.

She didn’t look too pleased with the volume, initially, though. Using gel might have weighed her thin strands down too much. It’s okay to find what works for you.

Plopping Type 4 Hair With Fine Strands: NappyliciousTV

Like Colored Curly, NappyliciousTV also used gel and found she wanted more volume for her thin strands. She got killer definition, though!

Clumping Curl Science: Hydration Is Important!

Let’s take note, sis. All the ladies in these videos have hair that’s pretty hydrated to start. We can tell they take good care of their hair. (Otherwise they wouldn’t be showing it off vlogging, right?) They are moisturizing their hair effectively, on a regular basis, because their hair has no issue clumping. Hair that’s not hydrated clumps easily.

Whether or not your hair clumps easily, here’s something you can do to get it going: plop your hair when it’s soaking wet. When the hair strands are saturated with water, the hair shaft can be easily manipulated into holding a form that lasts longer. This is how Type 2 hair that’s wavy can be made to hold a decent curl (without heat). It is also how Type 4 hair that’s curly in structure, but normally frizzy, can stay clumped into defined curls. Water is no joke.

The number one curl definer is water. So you’ll get even better results if your hair is dripping wet right before you plop on a T shirt – even if you have to drench it again after the product is in it. (Did she just say that?) Products aren’t cheap! If you’re concerned about waste, add water to the product before using. This will help keep your hair saturated while you’re applying it, before plopping.

Plopping as a Hair Care Method (Part Of It Anyway)

We know that in general, black hair tends to be dry. Hair plopping is actually part and parcel of a hair routine that gives natural hair a double dose of hydration. It’s called the Curly Girl Method and was founded by Lorraine Massey in 2011. This method gives the boot to dryness as the first step in helping curls and coils to clump on their own.

So you have a better idea how plopping originated, here’s a quick, basic explanation of what Massey’s method involves:

  • The basic steps are hydration, locking in moisture and plopping.
    1. Hydration is done on wash day, using conditioner to cleanse the hair and scalp.
    2. Moisture is locked into the hair using gel. But if you’re looking for volume while plopping, being heavy-handed with a gel or custard might not be the best idea – especially on fine strands.
    3. The soaking wet curls are then plopped, so they can dry with minimum frizz and excellent volume.
  • Use of products that contain drying ingredients like the foaming agents sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, silicones (chemicals ending in “-one” like “-silicone” or “-methicone” ) and stripping alcohols are avoided. The point is to saturate the hair with moisture and drying chemicals go a long way to counter moisture.

Hydration Has Evolved

Over time, so many products have been created to support our needs for hydration. They’ve given us naturals more flexibility. Strictly following one method or another isn’t as key as it was  when we first discovered, say, cowashing – a term Massey invented as part of the same Curly Girl Method.

The natural hair care industry has evolved so that there are sulfate-free shampoos, prevalent use of moisturizing cetearyl alcohol and a great many conditioners and styling agents that don’t use silicones. Curl definers are also largely replacing gels for creating lightweight bouncy curls for all hair types. Some of the plasticising agents in gel can make it into the hair follicles. Clogged follicles can cause alopecia and subsequently weakened hair strands causing hair breakage.

It’s a beautiful thing to see all types of curls in a healthy state, hydrated and clumping. A huge thanks to innovators like Ms. Massey and all the black companies that keep the natural hair movement zooming. Their creativity helps us style and love our natural hair. So grab your favorite curl definers and get plopping!

Have you plopped your hair before? What did your results look like? Did you use gel, a curl definer or just a leave-in conditioner?

What are your favorites products for the season?

Check back with Black Hair Spot to discover the best tips and secrets to styling your hair.

What Is Natural Hair Breakage? (And How To STOP It)

Got a ton of hair in your comb or brush, and still wondering if shed hair is normal? It is, but… breakage is different from shedding. Shedding is a normal part of the growth process. If the hair that fell still has the little white bulb at the end, it’s a shed hair. If that little sucker broke off, call an ambulance. This is a breakage emergency!

Well, maybe not that serious. But breaking strands is your hair’s way of telling you something’s not right. Hair breakage is the result of hair damage. And if you’re seeing a hair snapped here, and there, chances are high that your hair is more damaged than you realize. After all, whatever caused the breakage isn’t happening to just one hair.

Unfortunately, a whole lot of hair has been breaking off as part of our collective history. This brings hair breakage close to being part of the black cultural experience.

A Little History Behind Black Hair Breakage

Photo source:

One of the first recorded instances of follicular damage in black people was in 1968 (Dermatology Service, Walter Reed Medical Center). The cause was suspected to be the hot, petroleum-laden hair grease that would clog hair follicles when pressing the hair with a hot comb. In 1983, also due to pressing (heat damage), microscopes uncovered bubbles on the surface of hot-combed hair strands. Hot combs were literally frying our hair, and the broken strands were there on the kitchen floor for all to see.

Then hair straightening trends switched to relaxers (chemical damage). Perms dissolve the main strength of hair strands – their protein. Chemical damage is often coupled with the more modern forms of heat damage. Because, of course, to get that hair to swing, the next phase would be to blow dry it, then to flat iron or heat curl it.

These hair styling practices cause the protective layer of our strands to be compromised. The initial phases of relaxing start out with a healthy cuticle that has all its shingles fully present, laying down nicely and reflecting light for a nice sheen. As time passes, the cuticle and the inner hair shaft become damaged, because hair cuticle shingles are missing, allowing the inner core of the hair shaft to absorb more harsh chemicals and lose moisture.

Over time,your hair becomes easy to straighten and heat curl, but this is due to severe damage. Basically, your hair has given up the struggle to maintain its original state. In the old terminology of hot comb kitchens, the hair is now “trained.” It is also thinned from breakage.

Self-Diagnosing Natural Hair Breakage

Hair breakage is the natural result of over processing and mistreatment. Most of us went natural to avoid the cultural practices that cause hair and scalp damage. So we cut off our damaged strands, or transitioned them out, and beautiful curls and coils started popping up everywhere. We’re all floating around on a cloud of loveliness, then BAM! One day, little half strands start appearing in the tub on wash day.

What happened?! If your natural hair is breaking, it’s time to analyze what might have caused it. So ask yourself when the problem started, then figure out what caused the breakage based on the four types of damage below.

  1. Mechanical damage. There is some form of excessive manipulation, here, due to the accessories you use, the way you style, detangle, comb, brush, dress and sleep. Anything that comes into contact with your hair and pushes, pulls, gathers or sits against it is manipulating it. Maybe one style is being done too much in your hair, or too tightly? Or maybe you are using the same type of hair accessories all the time? Perhaps a little more patience is needed to detangle properly?
  2. Chemical damage. Relaxers are the most common form of chemical damage, but it doesn’t stop there. What about hair products that contain harsh chemicals? Maybe your hair can take it. Maybe not. Has a new product entered your routine that could be causing your hair to break?
  3. Heat damage. Diffusers, dryer hoods/caps, blow dryers, flat irons – using heat regularly, even for naturalistas, increases the risk of breakage.
  4. Follicle damage. Hair follicles can become damaged due to chemicals or tension. When damaged, hair grows in an already weakened state and breaks much easier than it normally would have. Do you have a care routine for your scalp that cleanses, deep conditions and stimulates it for new, healthy growth? It’s worth it.

How To Prevent Breakage?

The truth is, sometimes we don’t maintain the level of care our hair and scalp actually need. If we did, we’d probably prevent a lot of hair breakage. Here are a few things to be mindful of if you’d like to keep your hair healthy and on your head:

  • Protect your hair from friction and tangling at night, i.e., don’t rest your hair directly on a cotton pillowcase. You’ll wake up to parched, breakage-prone hair.
  • It’s not a good idea to use cotton headwraps or friction-causing hats without a silk or satin barrier. Otherwise, you’ll have similar results to sleeping on a cotton pillowcase.
  • Make sure to cleanse and condition under protective styles like weaves and braids, otherwise, your hair follicles could become clogged and the hair underneath break-ably dry.
  • Also, don’t leave a protective style in beyond its expiration date. This causes tangling and matting.
  • Don’t do white people stuff! That means staying away from oil stripping shampoos and conditioners, washing your hair like a TV commercial, drying it with a towel like in the movies or always wearing tight buns and ponytails. This rough handling causes breakage.
  • Be careful about product ingredients. Whip out your magnifying glass, because some products marketed to naturalistas contain harsh alcohols and follicle clogging petroleum derivatives.

Say you’ve skipped some or all of the above in your hair maintenance routine, and now your hair is breaking off pretty badly. Don’t give up hope! The good news is that breakage can be stopped, or at least slowed down, with henna treatments.

How To STOP Hair Breakage?

Henna isn’t just for dyeing the hair. Henna coats the entire hair shaft and effectively brings a new beginning. But by itself, henna can really dry hair out. So to avoid the inherent dryness of henna add clay powder (your choice) and raw honey with warm water to the mix.

Ever heard the adage that Cleopatra used three main ingredients to maintain her beauty: clay, henna and honey? Well, it’s a teeny bit mythical, because upper strata ancient Egyptians used wigs. Forget the wig cap, girl. They actually shaved their natural hair and were wigging it like many of us are today.

Clay, henna and honey together! Mix the three and you get crazy hydration, thicker strands (if yours are thin and prone to breakage) and cuticle repair! #bhs Click To Tweet

Wigs aside, though, there’s a lot of truth to the myth. Maybe it’s one of those little sayings that were meant to pester women with natural hair until they discovered the secret: clay, henna and honey together! Mix the three and you get crazy hydration, thicker strands (if yours are thin and prone to breakage) and cuticle repair! The cute highlights are a bonus.

Cuticle and repair in the same sentence? In a manner of speaking, yes. The henna coats the entire hair strand, including damaged and missing cuticles. #bhs Click To Tweet


Don’t forget to deep condition afterward though..

Alert! Hair Breakage Can Also Indicate a Form of Alopecia

Sometimes, hair breakage is due to a more serious and complicated issue. If you have a patch of broken hair surrounded by longer hair, and the area is starting to thin, it could be a form of alopecia called central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA). The problem here is that damaged and dying hair follicles are producing a weakened form of hair, according to the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami.

The recommended Western treatment is corticosteroids and minoxidil, to basically put your hair follicles on production overdrive.

Traditional Indian Medicine, Ayurveda -on the other hand- uses natural kitchen ingredients on the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles better than minoxidil solutions for women. Ginger juice is one, says the Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research. Here’s what to do.

  1. Grate ginger finely into a bowl and manually squeeze out the juice.
  2. Add one part juice to three parts of sesame oil.
  3. Sesame oil has high levels of copper, which strengthens fragile hair and stimulates follicles similarly to minoxidil (NY Academy of Sciences).
  4. Massage into the scalp.
  5. Leave on for two hours (or overnight.)
  6. Rinse, cleanse and condition.
Ayurveda -on the other hand- uses natural kitchen ingredients on the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles better than minoxidil solutions for women. #bhs Click To Tweet

With this method, your hair will grow out from the follicle stronger (and probably quicker too!) Combined with your monthly henna/clay/honey treatments, you should see more repair and far less breakage.

Is your hair breaking? Have you diagnosed the real reason why? What are you doing to repair the damage and keep breakage at bay? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget to share us on social media!

Does pre-poo perplex you? Minimize the stress on your tresses.

To pre-poo is to perform a restorative treatment on your hair prior to shampooing and keep stress on your hair shaft at bay.

Typical treatments include:

  • oil-based,
  • protein-based, or
  • just plain moisture-enhancing.

Knowing what your hair is lacking prior to wash day will set you on the right path to optimal hair health as you fortify and replenish what is missing.

Assess your tresses.

If your hair is lacking moisture, it will feel dry and brittle. When extended, or elasticity is tested, it will snap off rather than snap back to its original shape.

If your hair is in need of protein, Essence states it will appear limp and dull. Some even say it will have a mushy feel to it. That is the direct result of a moisture/protein imbalance.

Lock moisture in with an oil-based pre poo.

If you’re still pro poo, you’re a perfect candidate for pre-poo. Synthetic shampoos strip the hair and scalp of any natural oils (sebum) generated by the hair follicle. The result of this cleansing can leave your hair feeling dry and thirsty.

As curly-cues, our hair is naturally dry. Since gravity drives sebum down the hair shaft, the bends in our curls make that travel impossible without our purposeful intervention.

A pre-poo oil treatment allows you to coat the full length of your hair and provide a temporary shield of defense against drying. The oil coats your hair to lock in moisture and prevents direct access to the cortex, where natural moisture resides.

Try to think of it like wearing a raincoat during a monsoon. It won’t completely lock out the water but it will keep you more dry than if you hadn’t worn one at all.

If we apply that logic to a pre-poo oil treatment, it will prevent shampoo from completely penetrating your hair shaft and stripping away all natural moisture from your hair. There are a number of different natural oils recommended:

Although there are benefits to the application of any of these oil products, extra virgin coconut oil is said to have the most affinity to the chemical makeup of our hair. Because of this, coconut oil will have an easier time penetrating the cuticle and getting to the cortex where it can do its best work.

Give your keratin a kick with a protein-based pre poo.

Based on the symptoms outlined above, if you think you’re short on protein you need to pre-poo with your keratin in mind.

A couple of good natural choices for a protein boost include:

  • Raw egg wash, especially since egg yolks are high in protein and fat. You can find detailed instructions on how to apply an egg wash here. It also identifies which parts of the egg are best for different hair types
  • Beer, specifically the wheat, malt or hops leftover after the liquid has evaporated is high in protein. Woman’s Day has a recipe you can try.

Pre poo to enhance moisture.

Although oil treatments fall into the moisture-enhancing category, most oil’s don’t actually deposit moisture. They work with your hair’s natural moisture production and lock it in so that it doesn’t get lost or washed away.

The moisture-enhancement we look at here involves using products that will inject moisture into the mix. Some natural products you can use to build moisture-enhancing masks at home include:

Which pre poo is for you?

Depending on your pre-poo needs, your process for application will vary.

If your hair is in the healthy spectrum, your pre-poo intention is likely to maintain the balance you fought so hard to achieve. You’re going to want to use an oil pre-poo that locks in your current moisture. You can perform a heated oil application 30 minutes at the beginning of your hair wash day routine.

If your hair falls into the dry end of the scale, you’ll want to enhance your moisture content. Coconut oil does double duty in enhancing the moisture you have while protecting the protein.

You can also refer to any of the natural hair treatments listed above, particularly an avocado mask. Avocado is said to have an oil chemistry that most closely resembles the oils our skin naturally produces. That implies it will be easy to absorb. Follow the directions associated with the hair treatment you select.

If your hair feels overly mushy and limp, you’re probably in the over-moisturized category and require protein to restore balance to the hair shaft. Applying a raw egg wash or beer treatment will give you the boost your hair is craving.

Pre poo positives.

Inserting a pre-poo stage into your hair care routine will ultimately help you to reclaim control of your mane. The benefits include:

  • A conscious diagnosis of your hair health. It’s easy to fall into a rut with our hair and do the same thing from one wash day to the next. Putting pre-poo on your calendar will remind you to take a good look at how your hair is actually responding to your care.
  • Increased manageability. Since you’re actively restoring what’s lacking in your hair, the improved balance will make your hair more pliable.
  • Less breakage or improved strength and resilience. Adding moisture makes black hair more elastic and less prone to breakage, especially when it is done in moderation. You want to be careful not to over-moisturize and throw your balance out of whack.

Use restraint with your pre poo potions.

The one caution all pre-poo’ers need to keep in mind is balance. Balanced moisture and protein is the key to the healthiest, most responsive hair. One way to keep equilibrium at the forefront of your mind is to mark your pre-poos on your calendar. This way you will have a visual reference to what and when your last treatment was.

Co-washers and no poo’ers can pre poo too.

If you’re a co-washer or no poo’er , you’re not excluded from the pre-poo phase. Make your choice of pre-poo dependent on the cleansing method you are currently using.

You’ll want to be diligent as you assess the current state of your hair health. Remember that co-washers and no poos tend to have milder cleansing agents so some of the pre-poo options may not be necessary for your wash day routine.

There’s a particular no poo’er on who appears to advocate supplementing her baking soda and apple cider vinegar routine with a number of pre-poo treatments.

Rather than applying them right before her no poo wash, she tends to follow a wash day routine that cycles through a variety of treatments.

Remember to be attentive to subtle changes in your hair. In all cases, we need to do what works best for our personal hair care needs.

Have you ever tried a pre-poo? How has adding that step to your wash day routine improved your hair health? In the comments below, give us a rundown on your most effective pre-poo treatments.

Unraveled: All You Need to Know About Curl Definers

If there’s one thing girls with curly hair dream of, it’s hair that slays and curls that pop.

But as us natural girls know, our hair sometimes pops in the all the wrong places with frizz, split ends and annoying knots getting in the way.

For those days when your curly style could use some serious help, you may find it useful to reach for a curl defining cream, jelly or custard to help bring out your hair’s natural coily beauty.

These products can help define and manage the curls you already have making it a perfect way to appreciate your hair in its natural state. But before you go out frantically searching for products that will hopefully get you the curls you desire, we’ve taken some time to explain the basics of curl definers and what to look for when buying them.

Curl Definers Unraveled

Curl definers are products that help intensify your natural curl pattern, making curls bouncier and fuller. There are many curl defining products out there, but buying the right one depends on your hair’s type and needs. At the end of the day the best curl definers help you achieve the ultimate curly look while keeping hair moisturized and healthy.

What is the Difference Between Curl Defining Creams & Gels?

Thicker products such as creams and custards are great for moisturizing hair. For example, if you have thicker curls you may find custards more useful than gels. Because of their dense nature they provide a lot more coverage, congealing hair strands together in order to produce lush curls that stand out.

Curl defining gels or jelly are generally known for providing great hold. This means that hair stays in a defined curl pattern for longer. If you have looser type 3 curls, you will want to use a curl defining gel that won’t weigh down your hair. Many curlies like to use a combination of gels and creams for the added moisture.

The downside to using gel as a curl definer may seem pretty obvious. While keeping curls in place, defining gels can also make hair stiff to the touch. Not to mention the sea of flakes it can send cascading down your shoulder and back. If using a gel is the route you want to take when defining your curls look for products with zero alcohol and moisturizing ingredients like aloe to reduce dryness.

Do Curl Definers Help Protect My hair?

While we love letting our curls hang loose every once in awhile – constantly wearing a curly style may cause your hair to dry out and turn into a knotty mess, eventually leading to breakage. Twisting or braiding your hair over-night is a great way to keep your curls fresh while preventing damage. To refresh curls you can always add more curl defining products.

How Do I Know Which Curl Definer to Buy?

Finding the right curl definer is all about finding out what your hair needs to be its healthiest. Generally speaking a great curl definer contains these three things:

  1. Moisturizing Ingredients

    The best curl defining products are made with moisturizing ingredients that make your hair subtle and soft while creating defined curls. Look for ingredients such as coconut oil and avocado oil in your curl definer. These oils contain fatty acids that make them able to enter the hair shaft and retain moisture. Other ingredients such as aloe and shea butter, are also known for their moisturizing properties.

  2. Tight hold

    To lock your coils into ringlets of curly glory, you’ll need a product with great hold. Typically, finding the right hold means matching the thickness of the product to the thickness of your hair. If you have thick 4c hair for example, you might find it helpful to use a thicker custard or jelly with a denser texture than gel. Gel is useful for those with looser curl patterns.

  3. Controls frizz and fly-a-ways

    Anyone with curly hair knows the struggle of trying to keep strands in place. Curl definers are meant to take care of this problem by congealing hair together and reducing stray hair so curls can stand-out. But as we also know, not all products are created equal.

    When looking for a curl definer to tackle your frizzy hair, look for something designed to tackle the problem. For example, look for a product that has ‘frizz control’ in its title.

How Have Curl Definers Helped You?

What are Hair Twists?

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Black hair has gone through many cultural shifts and evolutions over the years but it continues to be a symbol of our identity and a response to the culture around us. In the 80’s and 90’s a rising cultural awareness of black power and beauty spurred the need for diversity in hair styles in the black community. Black women began embracing textured styles such as braids, twists and locs; borrowing from the cultural freedom of the 60’s to create styles that showcased black hair in unique ways. Twists became increasingly popular in the 90’s and 2000’s and have recently made a come back with even more options available with crochet styling methods.

Hair Twists: Simple Yet Beautiful

Twists are created by a process of wrapping two strands of hair around each other until hair resembles a rope (hence the term ‘rope twists’.) The nature of black hair and the ability for kinky strands to wrap themselves around each other, prevents the twist from unravelling when done properly. Extensions with a coarse texture can be used to install twists if you have silky or chemically processed hair. In many cases, single twists are more versatile than single braids because they are easier to manipulate into various styles.The thickness, texture and style of your twist can also vary depending on the type of hair you use to install them.

Taking Care of Twists

This hairstyle is also great because it’s easy to maintain and can last up to 6 weeks or more. But beware of the tendency to completely ignore your hair just because it’s in a protective hair style. To ensure your hair is healthy and strong after removing your twists follow these maintenance tips:

Washing Twists

Don’t be afraid to get in there and wash your twists if you feel that there is a buildup of product and dirt. To avoid your hair getting frizzy part your hair into sections and let warm water run through it. When shampooing run hands down your twists gently letting the water do most of the work. Afterwards wrap your hair with a warm towel to seal hair strands and prevent any additional fraying caused by excessive rubbing. You can also take the dry-shampoo route to be on the safe side.

Different twists may require a slightly different maintenance routine. For example, wearing twists in your natural hair may make it easier for you to wash and moisturize. If you have extensions or crochet twists you may need to use dry-shampoo or spray moisturizers to maintain hair.

Moisturizing Twists

Find a great penetrating oil to moisturize your hair while it’s in twists. This will ensure that moisture is retained in your hair shaft which will make your hair soft and easier to manage when you take out the twists. It will also help with hair growth and reducing breakage. The ultimate goal of any protective style is not just to look cute, but to make hair stronger and healthier. You can also use leave-in conditioner on your twists by coating strands beginning at the roots.

Sleep with a Satin/Silk Scarf

If you want your twists to stay neat you’ll need to tie your hair down with a silk-scarf or bonnet each night before going to sleep. This protects your hair from fraying when rubbed against your pillow and sheets.

Wearing Twists – Different Hairstyles

There are many different ways to install and style twists, making them as diverse and resilient as black hair itself. Twists can also be styled in virtually every way you wear your own hair; you can wear them as a mohawk, up-do or ponytail – the options are limitless. There is so much to this simple hair style it’s no wonder it’s a favourite of women of all hair types.

Here are some examples of the different ways you can rock your twists:

Senegalese/Rope Twists

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Senegalese twists or ‘rope twists,’ are named after the West African country of Senegal where they originated. This style is typically achieved using Kanekalon (synthetic) braiding hair which gives it a smooth, silky look. The downside to this however is that the hair is easier to unravel if not done correctly.

Marley Twists

Marley twists are coarser than Senegalese twists, resembling the dreadlocked hair style of Mr. Bob Marley himself. Because of its coarse texture, Marley twists are a lot easier to install on your own. A simple two strand method is all you need to create this look.

Havana Twists

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Havana twists are often confused with Marley twists because both looks are created with the Marley braiding hair. The difference is in the thickness, with Havana twist being almost twice the size of Marley twists.

What are your favourite twisted hairstyles?

What is Wash Day

Wash day today for attention-getting hair tomorrow

Ahhhhhh wash day. The day we black women set aside to treat, clean and groom our locks. For some, the wash day ritual is a trip to the salon, where you gather with friends, discuss life’s challenges, and wait for your turn in the chair.

For others, wash day is your pre-determined day of self-haircare. Your chance to apply the techniques that best suit your hair type. (If you haven’t determined your hair type yet, consult our articles on the Andre Walker hair typing systemLOIS  or FIA hair typing systems.

I don’t know about you, but my wash day tends to be just that—a day with my hands in my hair. From detangling, to washing, to conditioning, oiling, drying and sometimes setting, my hair is definitely of the high-maintenance variety.

Aside from providing an excuse to stay in, introducing wash day into your routine will be the first step to your healthiest hair ever. It will help you to minimize dryness, maximize moisture retention and keep breakage at bay.

Say, “No way,” to every day hair washing

Black hair has a unique set of challenges. Because it tends to be drier than hair of other races, it should not be washed daily. Traditional hair washing can strip your hair of the natural oils, or sebum, your follicles produce and lead to dryness.

If your hair type is naturally dry, like mine, frequent washing will increase this dryness and lead to damage. If your hair is gasping for moisture, it will be less pliable and more likely to break from manual manipulation. Not enough washing and your hair may experience increased matting and tangling.

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Hair Moisture: It’s a balancing act

Between retaining moisture and injecting moisture, striking a balance is key to optimal hair health and growth.

The sebum that is produced in the hair follicle is your built-in moisture center. Sebum not only conditions the hair and skin on the surface; it also, blocks moisture loss internally.

Unfortunately, the nature of curly hair prevents sebum from easily spreading down the shaft of your hair, leaving the majority of the hair shaft dry. I wish I had known this years ago!

Adding moisture to your hair externally is only effective if you apply a moisture-locking product to your newly washed hair. Understanding the porosity of your hair is part of the process. The more porous your hair is, the more externally applied moisture will simply run out of it.

Some advocate increased water consumption and change of diet to improve hair moisture and health.

Others suggest finding and applying products that are the most similar to the chemical makeup of sebum, since sebum is 50% water.

Coconut oil has an affinity for the keratin protein found in the hair shaft. Because of that, coconut oil will naturally penetrate the hair cuticle and lock in moisture.

Wash Day: Make it personal

How often you wash your hair is entirely dependent on your hair type, not to mention your genetics. The more that your hair is washed, the more your scalp gets dried out. This leads to more oil production than before, thus negating what you’re trying to do in the first place.

Wash day doesn’t have to be groundhog day

Every wash day does not have to be the same. On the one hand, it’s nice to incorporate a routine. You can effectively zone out and turn wash day into a zen experience.

On the other hand, your wash day can potentially be a cycling through of different scheduled repair treatments.

Depending on how frequently you wash plus the overall condition of your hair, you may want to add deep conditioning, protein treatments, or even hot oil applications to your rotation.

Make washday a treat not a chore

With wash day on the calendar, remember that this day is not meant to be a chore. Treat it as an invitation to pamper yourself and call it a spa day. Aside from trying different hairstyles from one wash day to the next, you have the opportunity to enhance your spa experience while you’re in the drying phase:

  • Include a manicure or pedicure,
  • Indulge in a good book,
  • Catch up on your favorite romantic comedy, or
  • Exfoliate from head to toe and soak in a scented bath.

Approach it head first

Different hairstyles may require different products for best results, and we don’t just mean finishing products. Because of this, first determine the finished style you are trying to achieve and make sure you have an adequate supply of product on hand.

When you look good, you feel good. Your hair is ultimately a statement of your style, personality and identity.

How has scheduling wash day changed your hair health? Do you feel like you have more control and less frustration? Share your haircare routines with us in the comments below.

Dry Shampoo – Your Secret Water-free Weapon


Dry shampoo is a great alternative when you don't have water!

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Have you ever heard of dry shampoo? Truth is, many of us haven’t. When you think of shampoo, you think about getting your hair wet right? Well it seems that black hair beauty experts use dry shampoo every day for hair blow-outs. And it’s the type of hair treatment you can use anytime you want to quickly clean your hair.

Dry shampoo is powdered shampoo that provides a water-free option for cleansing your hair. This very cool product absorbs excess oils from your roots, freshens up the rest of your hair and leaves it smelling oh so fresh.

The History of Dry Shampoo

Finding alternatives to washing your hair without good old H2O goes back as far as the 15th century when Asian people used a clay powder to dry shampoo their hair.

Americans started using the water-free shampoo method in the 17th century. Back then it was a starch that colored and deodorized wigs, and busy housewives found the dry shampoo method extremely convenient, given their busy lives that included taking care of their husbands.

European women were also freshening up their up their wigs with a powder in the 18th and 19th century.

Which leads us to today, dry shampoos are now widely available and used by stylists and consumers alike.

How many kinds of Dry Shampoo are there?

Dry shampoos are available in aerosol sprays, flour-like powders and frothy mousses.

There are dry shampoos for:

  • Fine hair
  • medium to thick hair,
  • curls or wavy hair,
  • color treated hair,
  • more volume,
  • dark hair,
  • oily hair,
  • dry hair,
  • natural lift,
  • texture and hold

And yes, there are dry shampoos specifically formulated for Black Hair!

How Often Should I Dry Shampoo my hair?

If you don’t have time to wash your hair, some stylists suggest using dry shampoo once between regular washing. This hair cleansing option is really a short term solution for maintaining your hair in between washes. So, if you are camping, or on a business trip and don’t want to travel with all of your hair paraphernalia, dry shampoo may be a good option.

Are Dry Shampoos safe to use?

Another great question and the answer will depend on who you ask.

Some experts suggest that a lot of dry shampoos on the market contain talc powder, which (can be) linked to cancer, or harsh chemicals such as isobutane, butylphenyl, and distearyldimonuim chloride.

Others say that dry shampoos can coat the scalp and act as an irritant, which can then lead people to not wash their hair as often as they should, creating a buildup that leads to a red, inflamed, itchy scalp. Ouch!

Are there Organic Dry Shampoos?

There are a number of organic Dry Shampoos available that readily soak up a lot of grease and leave no visible residue.

They contain ingredients like, organic cornstarch, brown rice, horsetail, and orris root powders and essential oils, and boast a variety of pleasing natural fragrances.

Three Dry Shampoo Lessons

1. Don’t overdo it;
2. Do your homework – find a product that best suits your hair and lifestyle;
3. Use it when you need to,

and the rest of the time, learn how to rock a style that can cover up that ‘I need to wash my hair look”.

Do you use Dry Shampoo? If you do, tell us how often and what the results have been for you.

What is the LOC Method?

The LOC Method: Everything You Need to Know

For some of us kinky-curly beauties, maintaining moisturized hair can feel like a relationship that just isn’t working – we end up frustrated and our tresses thirsty for a lot more TLC. Which is why many black women, with all hair types, have been singing the praises of a hair moisturizing regime called the LOC method as a way to manage their hair’s excessive dryness.

We’ve got lots to share on the LOC method, but before we do, it’s important to understand why hair can be excessively dry.

Causes of Dryness in Black Hair

Black hair tends to be naturally dry, but excessive dryness may be due to high or low porosity.

Porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, oils and chemicals, and knowing whether your hair has high or low porosity is important if you want to maintain healthy hair.

When hair has high porosity, moisture moves in and out of the hair shaft quickly, leaving your hair frizzy, dry and coarse.

Natural Hair porosity chart

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On the flip side, when hair has low porosity, the layers of cuticles around the hair shaft are compact and flat, preventing moisture from reaching the insides of the hair strands.

So as you can see if your hair has either high or low porosity, retaining moisture may be difficult.

What is the LOC Method?

Even if you consider your hair to have normal porosity, i.e., your strands allow for easy moisture inside the cuticle, it can still be difficult to keep it moisturized. The LOC method helps add and keep moisture locked into hair for days after applying products.

LOC is an abbreviation for the trio of moisturizing basics: Liquid, Oil and Cream.

The LOC method is easy to remember (think LOC for locking in moisture) and even easier to apply as the name itself suggests the order in which to apply your products. Now, some people have found better success by reversing the order, making it the LCO method. So, deciding on the order of application will ultimately be up to you and what works best for your hair.

LOC method - liquid, oil, cream and/or gel

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How does the LOC Method Work?

The LOC method is considered by many to be successful because it contains the three essentials necessary for healthy, moisturized hair.


The first step to moisturizing your hair is adding water or a water-based leave in conditioner. Here are some moisturizers that you can use to help you get started: Camille Rose Naturals Curl Moisture Milk , Miss Jessie’s Leave-in Condish and As I am CocoShea Spray.


After adding water to your hair it’s time to begin ‘LOC-ing’ everything in with oil. While it is true that oil and water do not mix, there are some oils that penetrate the hair shaft providing a protective layer around water molecules. Some of these oils include castor , jojoba and avocado oil. You may find that adding a heavy cream (LCO method) before adding oil works better for your hair.


After applying moisture and a penetrating oil it’s time to seal everything in. But don’t take the use of the word ‘Cream’, literally. This final step calls for a natural product that coats the hair while allowing some moisture from the atmosphere in. This can include a heavy butter-based product such as Jane Carter’s Nourish and Shine.

This product contains a blend of shea, illipe, mango, and kokum butters that will give your hair a soft, supple feel. Koils by Nature Nourishing Hair and Body Butter  is another great product with penetrating, nutrient-rich butters that work well as a sealant.

If you have a finer hair texture that is easily weighed down by heavy creams, you could use rich, penetrating oils like the ones listed above instead, although it is still a good idea to find a lighter cream-based product to seal hair and maximize long-lasting moisture.

Although I’m a big LOC fan, it’s also fair to say that the LOC method is just one way you can moisturize your hair. As we all know, our hair changes over time and, this is after all a hair journey. Finding what works best for your hair today, tomorrow and into the future is a big part of the experience.

Enjoy these videos of the LOC method for keeping your dry hair moisturized during the winter!


Black Hair Spot has answers for every leg of your hair journey including protective styles

Do You Use the LOC/LCO method? If so What Products Do you Recommend?