Via naturalhairslays on instagram
By Mary Wolff

Curls are beautiful in all their variations. While they are beautiful, they may require a good amount of care to stay healthy and looking their best. One of the biggest problems in curly hair, especially for those with thicker hair, is shrinkage. Shrinkage can make your strands look smaller, shorter, and flat. When it comes to preventing shrinkage in natural hair, here are a few tips to help you keep hair looking its best.

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1. Blow Dry Roots 
Heat is a tricky thing for curlies. It can damage hair when used too often and without properly moisturizing strands. When dealing with shrinkage, it can be your best weapon of defense.  Blow drying at the roots is a good way of preventing shrinkage in natural hair because heat causes hair to expand. The key here is to let your hair mostly dry on its own before using the blow dryer. You will get the best anti-shrinkage results if you blow dry roots that are only slightly damp as opposed to soaking wet.

2. Blow Out
With the same principle as blow-drying roots, a complete blowout might help prevent some shrinkage. This will help show off your length, but you should use this method in moderation to avoid long term hair damage. Also, make sure you use a heat protectant to be on the safe side. One of my favorites for this is Every Strand Coconut Oil & Pure Shea Protective Leave-In Hair Treatment because it is a two-in-one moisturizing treatment and heat protectant.

3. Banding 
If you want to forgo heat altogether, another option is banding. This is a method that uses hair ties to gently stretch out either wet or damp hair. You simply section hair and place the hair ties from root to tip to stretch out hair.  Let hair air dry and wrap in a satin scarf to help with fizz. It is important to note this method can lead to breakage so only use it occasionally.

4. Pull it into a High Bun 
This method of preventing shrinkage also uses the same principle of stretching hair. When you pull your hair into a high bun, you are essentially stretching the hair to avoid shrinkage. You want to pull the bun tight enough to give a good stretch but not so tight that it hurts or breaks your strands.  After a few hours in the bun, take hair down and be shrink-free!

When dealing with shrinkage there are few ways to handle the matter. With these tried and true methods, never worry about shrinkage again!

 Finally Fiona
By Mary Wolff

Heat can be useful in achieving certain styles. However, heat often comes at a price to your strands. When you overuse heat tools, you can weaken your hair and dry it out leaving it a frizzy, damaged mess. Whether you are going totally heat free, or just looking to cut back on your usage, these heatless natural hairstyles give you great looks without compromising on the health of your curls.

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1. Heatless Waves

When looking for a style that lets you create a wave pattern, this one is easy and heat free. Best of all, it’s super easy to achieve. This hairstyle gives you full body similar to a blowout, but without the damaging effects of heat. To find out more, check out this quick tutorial.

  

NaturallyChea

2. Halo Curls

Since a lot of naturalistas wrap their hair at night to avoid damage to their strands, this method of achieving halo curls is perfect. With tools you already have on hand, including an old t-shirt, follow a few basic steps, and wake up with gorgeous curls full of body sans heat.


3. Heatless Faux Wand Curls

Using a heat wand can give you perfect ringlets. When looking for a heatless option to achieve the same look, flexi rods are your new best friend. They help you get that perfect curl without potential damage and they are super easy to use.

  


4. Heatless Curls Updo

Wearing your curls down in fun, but sometimes you might want an updo instead. This style uses curlformers to help get the desired shape without the use of heat tools. The updo is easy to do and the face frame pieces give it a laid-back vibe perfect for a casual style.


5. Bantu Knot Out

Another easy option you can wear overnight and then wake up with beautiful curls, this style gives you two looks in one. Wear your bantu knots out for girl’s night and then the next day take them out for beautiful full-bodied curls to last all day.


Sooooo, what style will you be trying?
Photo: nftips.com
By Mary Wolff

We all want long, healthy hair. When it comes to generating new growth, it can feel like a slow, painful journey. Many naturals turn to supplements as a way to get the results they want with a little more speed. However, a lot of what you read online may just be hype or hearsay, neither of which really do you any good. When it comes to supplements, there are several which are touted as hair miracles. What about zinc? Does zinc help hair grow longer?

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Zinc is a nutrient the body uses in several ways. According to the National Institutes of Health fact sheet on zinc, “It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells. During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood, the body needs zinc to grow and develop properly. Zinc also helps wounds heal and is important for proper senses of taste and smell.” While the correlation between this nutrient and health have been long established, the effect it has on helping hair growth is still under investigation. Studies are finding that it looks promising that zinc can help with hair growth. In fact, a pilot study was performed by researchers in Thailand to examine the effects of zinc for hair loss in women. The results were published in a journal called Hair Therapy and Transplantation with the researchers reporting that, “For the patient self-assessment, it showed that 55.5% of patients had significantly improved, 27.7% had moderately improved and 16.7% had minimally improved.” These women also showed signs of hair growth which makes the connection between zinc and hair growth. There are other studies currently being done to continue this line of investigation into the powers of zinc and hair health.

Regardless of the research, we all know a proper diet with all the essential nutrients is key to healthy hair. So, how do you make sure you are getting enough zinc? While everyone is quick to reach for a supplement, it may be smarter to look at your diet. Most nutrients are more powerful when absorbed through diet. Zinc can be found in foods such as beef, lobster, spinach, chickpeas, cashews, and more. Overloading on zinc can lead to health complications so you want to check with your doctor before making any sudden or drastic changes to your diet or adding a supplement to your routine. Getting too much, whether through diet or supplements, can lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches, and other side effects, so you want to be very careful with this one.
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 By Mary Wolff

Choosing your next hairstyle can be tricky. You obviously want something that is stylish and easy to care for, but you probably also want a look that will last a few weeks. When it comes to these 5 inexpensive ways to freshen your hairstyle, make your look go the extra mile without spending a lot of money.

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1. Add a Gloss

One of the easiest ways to change things up is to add a gloss to your hair. This is usually more affordable than a full-on color job and can add new life to your hair. Most last for only a few shampoos so they are also non-committal for those not sure if they will like it. Best of all, you don’t even need a trip to the salon! There are products that let you add gloss to your strands in the comfort of your own home such as John Frieda Clear Shine Luminous Glaze.

2. Get a Trim

This is a great way to freshen up your hair while keeping it healthy and happy. Whether you choose to do a blunt cut style trim, dusting, or step into the salon for a layered trim, cutting your hair is an inexpensive way to give things a new vibe.

3. Add an Accessory

When you are just tired of your hair in general, a great way to bring back the fun is with a stylish hair accessory. From sleek headbands and flower clip ins to elegant head wraps, there are a ton of affordable hair accessories to help set a new style for your hair.

4. Create Bangs

If you have ever wondered how you would look with bangs, but are too scared to take the plunge, create them without ever using the scissors! This look is easy to do and can make you feel like you have a whole new style. Here is a quick tutorial on how to achieve this look, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOOrNzTsjDw

5. Add a Few Highlights

If a full color job is a little too pricey at the moment, adding a few highlights is a more budget-friendly solution that can make your hair feel different and fresh. When choosing this option to freshen up your locks, aim for a few face framing highlights to really create a new look.


By Mary Wolff

When it comes to hairstyles that make life easier, braids are a top choice. They look great, last for weeks, and protect strands from damage. When it comes to care, some curlies are confused about washing braided hair. Let’s break down the basic and put your mind at ease.

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1. Use the Right Shampoo
The biggest mistake curlies make when washing braided hair is using the same shampoo they used before they braided their hair. The hair that is braided needs to be washed with a more diluted or gentler cleanser to avoid causing frizz. A good tip is to dilute the shampoo with water for a gentler clean. You should also use a gentler shampoo formula since your scalp tends to get itchy with braids in so choose an option that is gentle or consider using a co-wash only method. A few of my favorites for washing my braids are DevaCurl No-Poo Original and Carol's Daughter Marula Curl Therapy Gentle Cream Cleanser. Another great option is Alikay Natural Caribbean Coconut Milk Shampoo. This shampoo is milky and the bottle comes with a top so you can easily target the scalp.

2. Pay Attention to the Scalp 
Your scalp will be the area to give the most care while washing braided hair. The scalp is the foundation for healthy hair so you never want to neglect this important area. Make sure you spend more time washing the scalp between the braids than the actual braids themselves. Make sure you massage the scalp while cleansing to keep blood circulation flowing for a healthy scalp.

3. Squeeze Braids
When washing your braids, you may be tempted to rub them clean, but there is a much better method. After running your gentler diluted shampoo over strands in a downward motion to avoid causing friction, squeeze your braids instead of rubbing. You should especially squeeze them closer to the scalp where hard to reach dirt and residue likes to hide.


4. Rinse Without Rubbing
Again, the key here is to avoid rubbing. When rinsing a good tip is to rinse with your head upside down. This will take all the dirt and residue and move it downwards through the bottom of your braids instead of trapping it at your crown.

5. Condition 
Just because your hair is in braids, doesn’t mean you get out of this step. Make sure you use your favorite conditioner and apply it to braids one by one until saturated. A personal favorite of mine is Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream because it is super rich and repairs hair while moisturizing. After conditioning, apply a shower cap for about twenty minutes to really lock in that moisture.


6. Dry with a Towel
My final tip is to never blow-dry your braids. I know plenty of curlies that do this and they end up with flyaways and frizz. Just let it air dry or loosely wrap a large microfiber towel to soak up excess moisture.

With these easy to follow steps, washing your braided hair has never been easier. Follow these guidelines and rock your braided style with confidence!