Articles By Dickey

Q. I have kept my type 4A hair very short for two years. I'm growing out my hair now but I'm not sure how often I should get my hair cut.

Dickey: Your first cut, depending on how short your hair is, might require clippers. The second cut should be two-and-a-half to three months later, once your hair becomes long enough to blow dry with a comb attachment and lightly flat iron so that the dead ends can be seen and cut bluntly. Then, cut your hair religiously every two and a half to three months thereafter. Once your hair becomes tangled and coarse on the ends, that's a good indicator of your ends need to be trimmed again. You should have rapid growth if you follow these rules for cutting.

Q: I have super kinky hair (currently a medium-sized 'fro) which I love. It is beautiful when it is soft pressed out and easy to manage. This is my first time going natural. Braiding it every night to keep it from matting and the dryness of it — and the stress of it when I do not press it out — is getting to me. I do not know what products to use and what to do. Please help. I love my hair and do not want to go back to relaxing it. I need help on how to maintain, strengthen and moisturize it as well as info on how to manage my hair myself.

Dickey: I love that you love your super-kinky medium 'fro. That’s a journey unto itself with your texture having been overlooked for so long. I’m glad to see you on the other side. The goal for you is to get your hair in its optimal condition.

For starters, stay far away from conventional shampoos with sulfate-based surfactants that dry out your particular hair texture. No amount of any conditioner will replenish what those old dinosaur formulas strip away from kinky hair. Your hair should never ever — not even after cleansing — be left feeling hard, dry or coarse. Instead, use Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream, a non-sudsing cleanser formulated and designed with principles similar to those established by the skin-care industry. Squeaky clean no more! You wouldn’t wash your face with bar soap, so why dry your hair out with those old formulations that are particularly damaging to kinky hair. Also, you cannot over-condition your hair, and water is not the enemy. So do both often if you’re wearing your hair natural. Rinsing with just water is also a great way to keep kinks detangled for wash and wear results! To get a better understanding of what I mean, go to and look at the Kinky Curling Cream application video. It will help to further liberate your gorgeous kinks.

As far as haircuts go, skipping regular cuts can make kinky hair feel coarser than it really is. Also, kinky curly, tightly-wound, springy hair needs to be blown out straight to more accurately see the split ends that need to be cut. Never go beyond two and a half to three months before getting a hair cut or trim if you’re growing it long. That’s four to five haircuts a year. Be sure that your hair is the same thickness from root to ends. It is a misconception that kinky hair will not grow long or grows slowly.

Before Hair Rules, there was no a standard of hair care offering easy, wash and wear styling results for the truest classification of kinky hair. But, we do know the process for women with textured hair, especially kinky, has been fraught with struggle and frustration fueled by misinformation and marketing hype. Now, you just need to learn the rules, and you can learn to love and embrace your natural texture, and it seems you’re on your way!

Q: I'm in my mid-40s and have pencil-size corkscrew curls that I would love to embrace. My problem, whether hereditary or other, is that my hair is very thin on top. It's not quite male pattern baldness, but my scalp definitely shows. I usually let my hair dry naturally and then I use a curling iron to straighten the top, to me this makes my hair look fuller. I'm sure this is damaging what hair is there, but I don't know what else to do. Would you possibly have a suggestion on styling or products to use?

Q: Dickey: I’m assuming you’re wearing your hair in a straight style? The great news is that your hair is curly and can camouflage much of your baldness if you can just break the habit of straightening, and embrace the curl. Perhaps you should experiment with styling the curls on your day off (or on the weekend), placing them in a position that best masks the sparseness. Once hair is dry, fluff the top, and see if that doesn’t fill in the top. Then get a cut that will support that result. The longer you get your hair to grow, the more it will cover and draw less attention to the top. But you’re correct: the more you apply heat to those curls, the more fragile and weak the hair on top will become. Consult and try to find the texture that most closely matches yours. Then follow the product recommendation on the site.

Q: Are there any products or secrets to keep curly hair from frizzing up?

Dickey: The answer is yes. Frizz is a natural characteristic of curly hair simply because the texture itself is naturally drier, and dry hair wants to expand and separate, becoming flyaway and frizzy. Soft, nourished hair, on the other hand, wants to unite and stay together, forming a neat, defined curl pattern. So:

Rule 1: Use Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream to cleanse without drying out hair. Stay away from shampoos that contain sulfates and strip the hair, leaving it hard and dry.

Rule 2: You can’t over-condition curly, naturally dryer hair, so apply conditioner daily and don’t rinse it out entirely.

Rule 3: Apply your styling product to soft, wet curls IN THE SHOWER. Your curls look best when wet, so apply your product, place curls into the position you like them and DO NOT TOUCH the hair until its completely dry. Either let it air dry, gently diffuse (again not touching curls until dry) or sit under a portable hood dryer.

Q: I'm at my wits end with my hair. It's dry, really rough to the touch, the curl formation is horrible, and the tangles are phenomenal. What on earth is going on? I can't understand what my hair needs, and I can't seem to find a conditioner that delivers moisture my hair will accept.

Dickey: I’m sorry you’re frustrated. When was your last haircut? Your stylist should be cutting your ends so that you’re not feeling the coarseness, which is really old hair that should have been cut. Also, try washing your hair with Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream, or at the very least, use a no-suds/sulfate-free formula for one month. Condition with Hair Rules Quench Ultra Rich Conditioner, and leave it in for 15 minutes or so. Then, slowly rinse it out. You should feel a difference immediately. For good curl definition, apply (saturate in fact) your soft, very wet curls with Hair Rules Curly Whip in the shower. What you see wet is how your curls will set. Then, sit under a pre-heated portable hood dryer for 15 minutes or diffuse with a blow dryer — but DO NOT TOUCH your hair until completely dry.

Q: I have naturally curly hair, but since I have been straightening it every day for quite a while, and now it doesn't curl right. This is so sad; I really want my curly hair back. Is there anyway of getting it back to curly? Do I need to chop it all off?

Dickey: No, don’t chop it off, but DO get a healthy haircut and take off as much of the straight stuff as you can handle. Then, start cleansing right away with Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream to help re-hydrate your hair. Shampooing with conventional shampoos can strip the hair of its natural oils. When compounded by excessive heat styling, the combination completely zaps hair of all moisture, leaving it dry, brittle and inflexible — which is why it won’t revert easily to its curl pattern. Start deep conditioning to add moisture back into the hair. Try Hair Rules Quench Ultra Rich Conditioner and a super-hydrating styling product like Curly Whip. In addition to reinvigorating curl definition, it will help to re-condition and hydrate your parched, heat-styled hair And, if you want to continue straight styling, then always use a lightly moisturizing leave-in conditioner as a protective buffer — so that you burn off the product rather than the natural oils in your hair — or worse yet, the hair itself. Hair Rules makes a great one: Nourishment Leave In Conditioner.

Q: How do I preserve a twist for more than one day? Whenever I do a twist out, it looks great the first day but once I sleep on it and wake up in the morning it is all over the place. Some parts matted to my head, and others just sticking out all over the place so I end up either re-washing or slapping on a headband.

Dickey: Try sleeping with a silk scarf, or re-twisting larger sections loosely with Hair Rules Hydrating Finishing Cream the night before.

Contact Anthony or read his bio.

Anthony Dickey

Anthony Dickey

Q: I have a major problem with my hair. I was careless with my styling for a couple of years, and now there is a lot of damage. Basically, on the top of my head, my hair has gone straight. I have very curly hair with pretty tight curls, but I basically can't wear it down anymore without using a curling iron because so much of it is straight. I've been getting regular haircuts to cut off the damage, but there is still a lot of straight hair that looks terrible. The roots are curly, though. What can I do for now about the straight parts? Would perming them be possible? I'm just not sure what the best option is. I have been making sure I deep condition it often but I don't think there's any hope of actually repairing the straight ones. What would you suggest?

Dickey: The good news is that you’ve acknowledged why your ends are straight (too much thermal straightening). Regular hair cuts do little to help your problem unless you're cutting all the straight stuff off at some point. You are going to have to decide for yourself what it is you want in the end for your hair. What is the goal? Straight? Curly? Both? Straight ends come from blow drying and flat ironing hair that has no more natural oils and moisture left. This leaves the hair exasperated by old conventional shampoos that strip away even more. In the meantime, try shampooing with Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream Moisturizing No Suds Shampoo, a new-generation shampoo that is formulated for dryer natural textures. It gently cleans and refreshes hair while leaving hair hydrated and moisturized, which adds more flexibility and elasticity. Also, try wet setting and wrapping your hair to cut down on the intense heat I assume you're using.

Q. I flat-ironed my hair religiously for two years. A few months ago, I decided to go natural. I've been wearing my hair natural, and I haven't used heat on it at all for the past three months. But it still hasn't grown at all! Since school started, I do flat iron it once or twice a week. I use a deep conditioner and a heat-protecting spray. And every two weeks, I get a deep-conditioning treatment and a trim every month. So why is my hair not growing?

Dickey: I am a bit unclear as to what you want your hair to do? Do you want curly hair, long curly hair, straight hair, or hair that is long and curly that you can wear straight as well? Are you assuming that it should grow faster because you have not used heat on it for the past three months? How long was the break between the three-month mark and the start of school, when you began using heat on your hair again? I recommend deep-conditioning your hair everyday. You cannot over-condition naturally dry hair because it loves it, and soaks it into the hair follicles. Think more, more, more. Do not think that because you are deep conditioning your hair every two weeks that it you are doing something special to your hair. Also, using a heat-protecting spray to your hair just adds shine and hold. In most cases, it works best for straight styles and makes your flat iron work more effectively. If you are trying to grow your hair, I recommend lightly trimming the ends of your hair every two and a half to three months. This maintenance helps get rid of all the bad hair. You are not destroying it by too much thermal manipulation in between hair cuts. But just so you know: monthly hair cuts will not produce any length.

Q: I'm looking for a product that can revive my curls when they're a bit off. Maybe just a spritz of something? Any ideas?

Dickey: Depending on your curl pattern — kinky, curly or wavy — lightly reapply your favorite styling product by adding a little to a water bottle, shake it up and mist and scrunch it, or flip your head over and shake it. You might also want to try moisturizing Hair Rules Hydrating Finishing Cream, which can be used in much the same way. Lightly mist dry, parched curls as you shake them, and apply the finishing cream a pea-sized amount at a time to your curls with an open hand. Be careful not to rake your fingers through your hair because this can cause frizz, and you'll need to go through the whole process again.

Q: Please suggest a light oil to leave in my 3a/b hair. I have been using olive oil overnight before using low sulfate shampoo, which has helped me enormously. So I'd like to try a very light oil to leave in. Please suggest the best routine for this. I'm looking for extra moisture and shine. Castor oil was my first try, and while it certainly helped moisturize, it is too thick for me as a leave in. My hair is thin overall.

Dickey: Refrain from any shampoo! Switch to Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream Moisturizing No Suds Shampoo followed by Hair Rules Quench Ultra Rich Conditioner for as long as you desire. To soften your hair, add a little water to it and emulsify. The more you lather it, the softer your hair will be. Rinse and apply Hair Rules Nourishment Leave-In conditioner. After that, apply your favorite styling product followed with Hair Rules Hydrating Finishing Cream. Your hard, dry, parched hair should be a thing of the past.

Q: I have a problem with some curls that have become really stringy and are absolutely refusing to fuse together to form ringlets. Think Shirley Temple ringlets with thin pieces that sticking out. How do I deal with this?

Dickey: You say that you have some curls that have become very stringy. How long has it taken them to become stringy — weeks, months, years? I ask because regular haircuts are essential for springy hair, and if proper haircuts have not been taking place, the the curl pattern can be destroyed.

Q: What can I do to control frizz? I have 4a hair, and when I wake up in the morning, my hair is a huge frizz ball unless I wash it, apply gel and pin curl it. What can I do at night to prevent the frizz?

Dickey: Hopefully you're wearing a satin scarf and/or a bonnet or sleeping on a satin pillowcase, and you're not letting too much time elapse between restyling — say two to three days. Also, the gel you're using — if not formulated with moisturizers and hydrators — will dry out and cause more frizz. Try Hair Rules Curly Whip.

Q: How do I style my son's hair when it has several different types of curls? His hair is at least 3b/3c/4a. Should I put different products on different parts, layer them or what? Thanks for helping me get it "straightened" out.

Dickey: Everyone has at least two to three textures on one head. As long as you start with a very wet head of hair when applying your styling products, this will at least make all three textures look somewhat similar. Try Hair Rules Curly Whip, using enough to saturate the hair.

Contact Anthony or read his bio.

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