Articles By Cassidy Blackwell

Cassidy showing her fine Hair

Contrary to popular belief, not every natural has coarse hair. It took me months to figure out that while I have extremely thick hair, my strands are very fine. Discovering that I’m a fine-haired gal was one of the most important lessons I’ve learned on my natural hair journey. Here are 10 tips for women with fine curly hair.

1. Treat Your Hair Like It's Antique Lace

I read this on the CurlTalk forums years ago and it is my mantra when it comes to how treat my hair. You wouldn’t pull and yank and shred fine lace would you? Nope. Same goes for your hair.

2. Beware of Protective Styles

Many naturals believe that protective styles are key to growing and retaining length. I have found that keeping my hair OUT of protective styles is how I can grow my hair. Protective styles can require a lot of manipulation, which can be extremely damaging for fine hair.

3. Pro-protein

My fine hair loves a dose of protein. It fortifies my strands and helps to clump my curls together. I love both conditioners and stylers that with a touch of amino acids, protein or keratin.

4. Detangle With Care

There are a lot of detangling options out there, but removing knots is one of the times your fine hair is most susceptible to damage. Begin first with your fingers, then with a wide-tooth comb. Once a month, I like to use a Denman Brush or Tangle Teezer to thoroughly remove shed hairs.

5. Easy on the Oils

When I was first figuring out my hair routine, I thought that sealing was an essential part of the process, but my hair was always left greasy and weighed down. Once I found out I was fine-haired, I stopped using butters and oils and my hair, not to mention my pillowcase, is much happier.

6. Keep it Light

Moisturizers are key, but make sure you use one that’s not too heavy, not to light, but just right, Goldicurls! My favorites are translucent, water-based and more liquid than creamy in consistency like Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia or Bee Mine’s Deja’s Hair Milk.

7. Be Gentle

I know I already listed this one, but it is so important. Try not to tug your coils while you idly sit at your desk or rough them up while drying. Antique lace, ladies! Antique lace!

8. Protect While You Sleep

Yes, all curlies should protect their hair while they catch their Z’s, but this especially goes for fine hair. Cotton will tangle, break and dry out your fine strands so make sure to use a sleep cap or satin pillowcase!

9. Deep Condition Once a Week

My fine coils need all the nourishment and moisture they can get. I try to steam or deep condition under a hooded dryer at least once a week to keep my hair hydrated and prevent splits on my fragile ends

10. Trim Regularly

Because your strands are more prone to damage, make sure to keep splits in check by trimming every 3-4 months. I can tell when my fine strands are ready to be clipped when I see more tangles at the tips because the ends have become more ragged from daily wear and tear. 2013 Update: If you're wanting to save money on the salon, learn to cut your own hair with this video.

What special treatment have you noticed that your fine hair needs?

This past Saturday, almost 500 fabulous naturalistas from all over the Midwest gathered for the first ever CurlyNikki Chicago Meet Up.  Sponsored by top hair care brand Motions, all attendees received a goodie bag filled with products from the new natural hair care called Naturally You!  Attendees also received a deluxe gift set of Strawllers, a unique hair tool that creates perfect spiral curls on all textures of hair.  (Even NaturallyCurly's own Michelle Breyer tried them out and rocked a Strawller-do to the event!)  Motions' Celebrity Stylist Ursula Stephen, who has worked on starlettes such as Rhianna, demonstrated three signature styles on models, showing how to use the new products to create two-strand twists, Strawllers sets and up-do's.

CurlyNikki, rocking a 4-day-old wash'n'go, was a-glow in the midst of sharing this special experience of meeting her Chicagoland fans with her St. Louis-based family who joined for the event.  As always, Gia a.k.a. "Boogie" was in the mix cheesing for the camera and generally being adorable for her adoring fans.

Check out some of our favorite snaps from the event!

CurlyNikki Chicago Meet Up

sponsored by Motions


Want More Pictures??

Stay tuned to the NaturallyCurly Facebook Page for the official album to be posted soon!  For Tweeters and 'Grammers, check out the official event hashtag #curlynikkimotions for more photos and updates from the event.



Over the past several years, the beauty industry has been revolutionized by the introduction of keratin smoothing treatments. With an ever-growing demand for this texture management solution, the keratin market has flourished. In just the past two years, the keratin landscape has undergone a rapid evolution bringing with it not just new treatments, but also a suite of keratin-infused retail products and tools geared toward providing and maintaining smoothing solutions for all textures of hair. As keratin smoothing treatments have evolved, so have consumer need and demand for aftercare products.

The Evolution of Smooth

Keratin treatments were first introduced to the market as a nonpermanent solution for those who wanted to straighten their textured hair. There are now a plethora of available keratin options ranging from in-salon thermal applications to retail products that allow clients to choose from a variety of finished looks, from frizz free curls to sleek, smooth hair. “When GK Hair was founded, we had a high demand for poker straight hair,” explains Ashley Fenice, marketing coordinator for the company. “Everybody wanted the sleek, super-tamed look. Today’s consumer now is mainly looking for flexibility. More and more women are starting to embrace their curls and they want to be able to easily change from curls to straight hair.”

The keratin retail product and aftercare market has evolved as a response to the shift in demand.“It’s no longer about having just straight hair,” says Farouk VP of Shows and Education, Lisa Marie. “Clients want controlled volume and body. Keratin products are about providing your clients with the versatility to wear their curls naturally or blow dry them straight in a fraction of the time it formerly took, while making sure that the hair stays healthy and the treatment lasts.”

Read More: Texture! Behind the Cover

Specially Formulated


Many of the keratin treatment aftercare products contain small amounts of the protein complexes that are in the treatment itself, so with each wash-and-condition keratin is re-deposited into the hair, prolonging the smoothing effects. Products in the CHI Enviro Home Care Maintenance System are enriched with the same pearl and silk proteins found in the CHI Enviro Smoothing Treatment. In addition, the CHI products are formulated with a low pH to reduce frizz and add shine.

Brands such as Bio Ionic’s Agave, use sulfate- and sodium chloride-free technology in their aftercare products to extend the results of the treatment. We know that sulfates and salts have the ability to strip color and we are applying this same concept to making sure we’re not stripping the keratin from the hair,” explains Ian Murphy, senior VP of sales and marketing at Bio Ionic.

Read More: 2012 NAHA Texture Stylist of the Year

Empowering and Educating


Because keratin is adhered to the cuticle of the hair with heat, the smoothing effects eventually wear off. “Working to maintain a keratin treatment is like protecting an investment,” says Fenice. If used regularly, at-home aftercare products allow clients to extend the life of their keratin treatments to their maximum potential. According to INOAR marketing and sales director, Fabiana Allegro, when the company asked two models to use two different sets of products following their smoothing treatments, the model who used the targeted aftercare products saw smoothing results for five months — twice as long as the other model’s results lasted.

For stylists hoping to establish a connection with keratin clientele, aftercare products provide a special opportunity as stylists teach the clients how to maintain their treated hair at home. “If a client goes home and doesn’t do anything special to maintain her hair, it’s like going to a doctor and then not filling your prescription,” says Farouk’s Lisa Marie. “Give clients the tools and the products they need to keep their hair in good shape after a treatment. Many stylists aren’t comfortable with selling products, but don’t think of it as retailing; it’s educating your clients and helping them to maintain their keratin treatment.”

In addition to products, tools also support the maintenance of a keratin treatment. Bio Ionic’s brushes, flat irons and blow dryers are infused with a blend of 32 minerals called a Nano Ionic Complex, which reconditions and rehydrates as hair is dried and styled.

Stylists can further educate clients about lifestyle hazards that can potentially shorten the lifespan of a keratin treatment. “Swimming can have the same effects on a keratin treatment that a harsh shampoo may have,” explains Allegro. “Salt water and chlorine can strip away the keratin, cutting the length of the treatment in half if extra measures are not taken to protect the hair.” Allegro suggests saturating the hair with tap water and slicking on a leave-in conditioner before swimming. This technique will allow the hair to absorb less of the harmful salt water or chlorine and protect the keratin treatment. Similarly, after working out, the client should cleanse the hair thoroughly of sweat and replenish moisture with a leave-in treatment.

Read More: 10 Worst Things Your Stylist Can Say

New Benefits for Non-Keratin-Treated Hair


Hair is made up of about 90 percent keratin and 10 percent moisture, but environmental factors, heat straightening and color processing all can work to deplete hair’s naturally existing keratin. This is why stylists are discovering that even clients who have not had a heat-applied keratin treatment may find advantages to using keratin-infused cleansers, conditioners and styling products to reverse some of the effects of damage or simply to strengthen the hair. In some cases, these products can replace a blow-dry treatment.

CHI Keratin Mist is ideal for those who want the benefits of protein to help strengthen the hair. The product adds strength, controls porosity and makes treated or untreated hair easier to detangle.

“Sometimes a ‘keratin treatment’ can simply be using the Simply Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner to give the client a dose of the smoothing properties of keratin,” says Doreen Guarneri, co-founder of American Culture. She suggests clients shampoo and condition with keratin products on only one side of the hair to see the difference. “Finer hair generally responds to softer smoothing treatments, while tighter, curlier textures really need the full in-salon professional keratin treatment,” she adds.

Read More: Texture Watch: Oprah, Wow Wands and Textured Men 

Rapidly Changing Category


Although keratin treatments are relatively new, the product offerings have already seen significant development and change, with the latest keratin retail offering an option to ensure that the treatment will last as long as possible. “Product delivery is the responsibility of the stylist, so it’s important that we stay informed,” says Robert Santana, platform artist for Matrix. With the right knowledge, tools and products to maintain your treatment, you are also addressing the long-term health of your hair.

“You can customize a keratin treatment to suit a client’s specific needs and wants,” says Guarneri. “It’s about finding the combination treatment and aftercare that works for your client’s needs and lifestyle.”

Want More?

Read all of this quarter’s Texture! articles.

Professional with curly hair

Every stylist has had a curly-haired client ask for a smooth blow-out in order to look professional at a work conference or to make a good impression at a job interview.

“I find that clients with curly hair believe that they’re taken more seriously if their hair is straight,” explains Morgan Wilheite, creative director at Ouidad. Having frizzy and unruly hair at a business meeting can be the equivalent of showing up wearing a tank top and shorts, so curlies either straighten their hair or slick it back into a ponytail.

But curls and briefcases need not be mutually exclusive. By getting a curl-specific cut and color and using the skills, tools and care routines you need to maintain it, your curls will be workplace-ready. “Professional curly hair is all about maintenance and how you present it,” says Marie France, owner of Madusalon in San Francisco. “Dry hair tied back in a ponytail is not professional; it just shows lack of attention. What says ‘professional’ is moisture. It’s a cut, it’s style, it’s care.”

Doctor with curly hair

The Foundation: A Good Cut

Whether you plan on wearing your hair loose or pinned up in a style, your hair must be cut in a way that enhances your texture, not works against it. The cutting of textured hair presents a unique opportunity not only to create volume, shape and dimension, but also to control the curl. “The key is to make sure the hair is cut in a way that is conducive to the curl pattern, especially if the client plans on wearing her hair curly,” explains Rafe Hardy, artistic creative director at Sexy Hair Concepts. “If you’re cutting waves, for example, don’t cut the hair in the middle of the S-pattern, because that’s when it will kick out. Make sure to cut at the beginning of the wave so that it naturally curves under.”

Executing a proper curly hair cut using techniques you wouldn’t use on straight hair presents an opportunity for you to develop and demonstrate an expertise in texture. “Stylists who specialize in curly cuts tend to have a cult following,” Hardy notes. “If you can build up a business that includes people with textured hair, you’ll be sure to gain influence in this specific curly niche.”

Read More: Texture! Behind the Cover

Curly bun

9-to-5 Styling + Care

Once your curls are clipped into shape, the next step is determining a maintenance routine and some workday styling options. “When a client is in your chair, this is the opportunity to show her results and teach her how to achieve them on her own,” explains Hardy. “More than with any other client, styling curly hair should be about education. Show these clients how to diffuse their curls and scrunch in product so that they can take the good curl care habits home with them.”

For the client, the benefits of a good session with her stylist are both immediate and long-lasting. “My hair used to be dry and frizzy so I always pulled it back at work because I didn’t know how to give it the attention it needs,” confides one salon client, Paloma Herman, who became loyal to a salon once she found a stylist who specializes in textured hair. Co-director of admissions at the San Francisco School, Herman says this was the first stylist who’d ever given her a cut that was “intentional and mature.” She adds, “The stylist showed me how to maintain it with only a couple of products. Since then, I’ve been much more comfortable with wearing my curls loose in the office.”

Salon client Bianca Ummat, a Resident MD in Washington, DC, interacts with patients on a daily basis and, to prevent a health hazard, needs to have her hair pulled back from her face. Still, she wants style. “I like to switch it up,” Bianca says. “I do loose buns, ponytails and braids to keep my curls from being in the way.” To secure curls away from the face, Wilheite advises using pins as opposed to ponytail holders. “A slick ponytail is a very severe look and potentially damaging to curls,” she says. “Instead, use larger bobby pins to pull pieces back and secure pieces section by section for a professional style that is also gentle on curls.” For longer curls from loose to tight, Wilheite suggests an on-trend high bun, again using bobby pins to secure the hair around the base.

For tighter curls that have the tendency to shrink up to 80 percent of their length, Product Specialist and Celebrity Stylist Felicia Leatherwood suggests styles allowing the back section of the hair to remain loose while the front sections are pulled away from the face in a half ponytail or bouffant, or sweeping just one side back and securing with a pin. “This allows your clients and colleagues to focus on the face, eyes and smile, not the hair,” says Leatherwood, who offers chemical-free solutions to her ethnic clients who struggle with trying to wear their natural hair at the office.

Read More: Texture!


Some Like it Straight

Even with the right curly cut and maintenance routine available to them, many curly-haired professionals prefer to wear their hair straight. “That’s the beauty of curls,” says Hardy. “They’re so versatile. One day they can be full and voluminous, and the next they can be sleek and straight.”

Consult with your stylist to determine how to incorporate a straight look into a curly styling routine.

Some options:

  1. Schedule a blow-out as part of your regular visit so you can leave with sleek hair and wear it straight for a few days.
  2. Find a blow-out bar so you can walk in for a professional blow-out at your convenience between cuts.
  3. Use a professional smoothing treatment to reduce frizz while allowing you to easily toggle between straight and curly styles. “There are many women who do not have a preference for work between straight or curly,” says Hardy. “They just love having the option to do both!”

Read More: Texture!


Put Your Best Curl Forward

Your looks can be almost as important as your PowerPoint presentation for navigating your career path. Professional curly hair is about mitigating the hair’s tendency to be unkempt, which means keeping frizz, dryness and flyaways in check by promoting the hair’s health and hydration. It's important to take the extra step for your curls, such as deep conditioning before an interview, or even style and diffuse them before a presentation.

“Your clients’ curls represent their personality, so you really want them looking their best,” encourages Wilheite. “Curls show off a distinctive personality and self-confidence, which is critical in business.” By starting with a proper cut, style and color to enhance texture and you can ensure that you look great on every rung of the career ladder — from the interview to the boardroom. “I used to think of my hair as something that detracted from my professional appearance,” says Paloma Herman. “Now that I know how to take care of my curls, they’ve become an asset.”


Want More?

Read all of this quarter’s Texture! articles.


Cassidy's coily wedding hairstyle

Last September, my best friend asked me to stand up as a bridesmaid in her wedding. On the one hand, I was thrilled to play an important role in her special day, but on the other, the natural hair blogger side of me had great concern about what to do with my hair. Not only do I have an asymmetrical hair cut, a style that doesn’t easily lend itself to updos, but my trusted San Francisco stylist at Madusalon wouldn’t fit in my suitcase to make the trek back home to Minneapolis for the event. I considered just wearing my signature wash’n’go, but wanted to do something special for the black tie event.

Finally, the bride selected a salon at which all of the bridesmaids would be getting their hair done. I immediately hopped on the salon’s website and saw that they were a Deva retailer. “Oh joyous joy!” I thought to myself, “We’ve got a curl friendly salon!” But after a conversation with the stylist who admitted quite honestly that she didn’t want to ruin my curls with her lack of actual texture knowledge, she suggested that I should go talk to the stylists at a different salon. In a supreme stroke of awesome, she even went out of her way to find and recommend a curl-friendly salon for me: East 42nd Street Salon.

East 42nd Street not only immediately welcomed my texture, they also expressed excitement in working with my hair to create a totally unique style for uber fancy affair. During a trial run two days before the ceremony, we devised a style that would combine flat rolls and a bouffant that would compliment my texture and accommodate my asymmetrical cut. The final style was absolutely gorgeous, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out!

Here’s how we got the look:

  1. Begin on dry hair and use a rat tail comb to create half-inch vertical sections along one side of the head.
  2. Flat roll upwards using a gel or pomade and secure with a bobby pin leaving about ½” loose at the end.
  3. Continue flat rolling rolling the entire side and back of the head.
  4. Tuck the ends of the flat rolls under, creating a larger flat row “crown” around the perimeter of the smaller flat rows.
  5. Begin with the loose hair at the crown and pull sections of hair taut to create a woven look across the back.
  6. Pull the front and sides upwards and back to create a bouffant, tighter on the sides with more volume in the front. Here you can play with the shape and direction.
  7. Finish with a light hold spray to prevent any frizz or flyaways!


Final Thoughts

Updo’s require a lot of manipulation, so be sure to begin on well-conditioned hair. When removing the style, apply deep conditioner first to soften the gel and hair spray before washing and styling as normal. Good luck and happy wedding season!

What is the best curly formal hairstyle you have had? What salon did you go to or did you create the look yourself?


Coily hair styled with Curl Junkie Repair Me! Reconstructive Hair TreatmentStyled with Curl Junkie Repair Me! Reconstructive Hair Treatment

Contrary to popular belief, just because I’ve got coily hair doesn’t mean I’ve got coarse hair. In fact, my strands are the exact opposite: super fine! As a result, I rely on protein hair treatments including conditioners, moisturizers and stylers to fortify and nourish my strands leaving me with plump, defined curls. I like to deep condition with a protein conditioner and a super deep treatment once a month. Some of my favorite stylers pack a protein punch too! Here’s a round up of my favorites!

Curl Junkie Repair Me! Reconstructive Hair Treatment

Thick, creamy and protein rich, Repair Me is everything I love in a protein conditioner! Because it is infused with keratin amino acids, this heavy-duty protein conditioner is my go-to for my once-a-month super deep treatments.

Read More: All About Proteins

coily hair styled with Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Moisturizing ConditionerStyled with Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Moisturizing Conditioner

Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Moisturizing Conditioner

I had heard the buzz about Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Moisturizing Conditioner for years before giving it a whirl myself, but once I did I immediately saw what everyone was talking about! With amazing slip and an even more amazing smell, this is a great daily conditioner and can even be used for detangling.

MYHoney Child Olive You

I did a video review of MYHoney Child Olive You that you can watch right here.

Read More: Editor’s Picks: Cassidy’s Shampoos for Coily Hair

coily hair styled with Hair Rules Curly WhipStyled with Hair Rules Curly Whip

Aubrey Organics Glycogen Protein Balancing Conditioner

Aubrey Organics Glycogen Protein Balancing Conditioner is the one protein conditioner that I can get on the ground, so when I’m traveling and in need of a protein fix, I always hit up my local health food store to grab this one!

Hair Rules Curly Whip

How do I love  Hair Rules Curly Whip? Let me count the ways! First of all, it's a 3-in-1 styler meaning you can just use it with out a leave in or a sealer and BAM your curls are ready to go! It’s a gel creme which means that it has the moisture of a cream and the hold of a gel, PLUS it’s enriched with protein which helps to clump my curls together for amazing definition.

Read More: Zwitterionic Surfactants: A Milder Alternative?

What are your favorite protein-rich products for coily hair?

Yes, the new line of Paul Mitchell Curl products were the hottest thing to debut at The Gathering this year, but as every curly will surely want to know: do they actually work?

After getting the low down on the four new products from VP of Education Stephanie Kocielski, I couldn't wait to get them on my curls! As an avid traveler and an admittedly lazy styler, I love multi-purpose products that allow me to reduce the number of products I need for my styling routine. Two stand out products in the line include:
  • The sulfate-free Detangling Shampoo that promises to both cleanse and provide sufficient slip for working a comb through it
  • The Twirl Around styler, which combines a cream and gel giving it both the moisture and hold
With a combination shampoo + conditioner and a moisturizing styler, I could maybe, just maybe, get away with using two products rather than four! What a dream!
I woke up early on the first day of The Gathering like it was Christmas morning, giddy with excitement to try out the new products. Here's how it went:

Trying the NEW Paul Mitchell Curl products

The Cleanser, Leave-In and Styling Gel Cream on my 4a coils

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Pretty groovy, right? Well we all know that you can't make a final judgement call on sopping wet hair so I recorded a second video when my curls were fully dry before I headed out for the night.

How it all turned out

My final review once my coils were fully dry

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To learn more about the products

Check out this video featuring the Paul Mitchell VP of Education.

Final Thoughts

After sleeping with a satin night cap, I woke up the next morning to enjoy superb second day hair. I was impressed again by the fact that I can go through my whole wash'n'go styling routine with only two products and how touchably soft my hair was. The Paul Mitchell educators, such as Robert Cromeans or LaDonna, all encourage the cocktailing and mixing of products and I look forward to playing with different variations, uses and applications.

Paul Mitchell hosts a yearly event in Las Vegas for all of its stylists and salon owners to come together for three days of learning and styling inspiration. Each year the event is kicked off with an opening ceremony featuring thematic showcases featuring that year's particular style initiatives. This year's opening was indescribably dazzling boasting an onstage, curl-inducing rain shower, a levitating pony ridden by a redheaded curly, a glittery female vocalist performing to the cutting of ultra-blonde locks, a gothic ballet performance, dancers, bikers, skaters and even a holographic cameo of the late Paul Mitchell himself. Sound too good to be true?

See it with your own eyes!

Paul Mitchell The Gathering

Highlights from The Grand Opening

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See more Videos

Get more tips and tricks for your curls, coils and waves on NaturallyCurly’s YouTube channel.


Team NaturallyCurly is out in Las Vegas for the annual Paul Mitchell Gathering, where thousands of stylists and salon owners from around the world have gathered for three days of hands-on education and hair fun. This year the gathering is totally curl-centric as Paul Mitchell launches a new product line called CURL. The four-product line includes a detangling shampoo, leave in conditioner and two stylers. Drawing from years of curl expertise, NaturallyCurly has been involved with the development of the product line from the start. To see so much attention and praise being given to curly hair of all textures by one of the largest product lines in the world is truly a victory for all curlies! Watch this video as NaturallyCurly's own Michelle Breyer talks about her role in helping bring these great new products to life!

Michelle on the New Paul Mitchell Curly Products

Learn about NaturallyCurly's role creating this product

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Stay tuned for more coverage from The Gathering!

See More Videos

Get more tips and tricks for your curls, coils and waves on NaturallyCurly’s YouTube channel.


Director of Marketing for Strength of Nature, Charlene Bastien, was present at the African Pride Beauty Suite at the Essence Music Festival. Cassidy talked with Bastien about the excitement surrounding the launch of their new product collection that the Director says, "celebrates women who are exploring their natural texture."

New Shea Miracle Product Launches!

More Essence Music Festival

Check out more of our Essence Music Festival Coverage here!


Total 3 results.

EClark6 Shares Her Secret to Natural Hair Growth

EClark6 explains why steam therapy is essential for natural hair growth.
April 18, 2014 Read more »

Avoid a Curly Haircut Disaster

This step will make or break your next curly haircut.
April 18, 2014 Read more »

Lush Henna Hair Dye Tutorial

Shannon from Curly Deviants shows us how she uses the Lush Caca Brun Henna to add luster to her 4c coils.
April 18, 2014 Read more »