Articles By naturallychelsea

At one point or another almost all of us have suffered with a sensitive scalp whether from a tight hairstyle, medical condition, seasonal changes, or hair products. Whatever the reason, there is no need to suffer in silence or use harsh chemicals in an attempt to alleviate the itch. If you're a curly with a sensitive scalp, here are some all-natural remedies that you should try.


It's official; the afro is back!!! The fro is no longer a hairstyle relegated to the 60’s and 70’s and reminiscent of the Jackson 5. It’s a look worn by everyday women like yourself who dare to wear their hair up and out rather than down. So if you’ve ever craved a fro that defied gravity, blocked out the sun, and made those around you green with envy you can get the look  but you’re going to have to do some prep work first.


Henna for Hair

What is Henna?

Henna powder comes from the, dried and powdered leaves of the lawsonia inermis plant found in hot, dry climates. The red dye molecule, lawsone, in henna penetrates the hair shaft and binds to the keratin in the hair, making it stronger. It also fills in gaps in the cuticle of the hair shaft making it smoother which in turn makes the hair appear shinier. Henna is also known to cure dandruff because of its anti-fungal properties. So for naturals who suffer from time to time with it this is a great natural alternative to harsh, drying shampoos.

How to Prepare

  • 100-200 grams of henna (usually 100 grams for medium length hair and 150-200 grams for longer hair)

  • ½ - 1 cup of warm water

  • ½ -1 cup of lemon juice

  • 2-3 tablespoons of honey/sugar

  • a plastic spoon

  • plastic gloves

  • a plastic or glass bowl

(Do not use a metal spoon or bowl as this could affect the colour)

Directions
  1. Place your henna powder in the bowl.

  1. Add the lemon juice to the warm water in a one to one ratio and stir.

  1. Add the warm water and lemon juice mixture to your henna powder slowly adding a little liquid at a time and mixing until the mixture resembles smooth mashed potatoes.

  1.  Place a lid or cling-film over your bowl and place it in a warm area of your house overnight to allow the red dye to be released from the henna.

  1.  After 24 hours have passed add 2-3 tbsp of honey or sugar to your mix and stir. This should make the mixture smoother which will make application easier.

  1.  Your henna is now ready to use by sectioning your hair and smoothing the paste on. Do not attempt to rake the henna through your hair as it is really thick and provides no slip whatsoever. Remember to use gloves for this step as henna will dye your hands orange but don’t worry it’s not permanent and it should fade in under a week.

  1.  To cover your head you could wrap your hair around it then cover your hair in cling film to trap your body heat to encourage more dye release and prevent the henna from dripping. However, if you dread using cling film because of its finicky nature then an alternative is to use a shower cap, cotton balls and a head scarf. Use the shower cap to cover your head and tuck cotton balls around the perimeter of the shower cap to catch any drips. Then wrap your head with a scarf to keep it all in place.

  1.  You should leave the henna on your head for no less than 4 hours to get all the benefits and for good dye release. However, many curlies sleep with henna ensuring that they use the old pillow shams that week of course.

  1.  To rinse the henna one of the best methods I have come across is to fill a bathtub with water and dip your head inside and gently massage the henna out of your hair. Then run your head beneath the stream of your bathtubs faucet. Thereafter, wash the henna out with conditioner until the water runs clear and there are no visible traces of henna left in your hair. It is important that you use conditioner and not shampoo for this step as most curlies experience dryness after a henna session so multiple shampoo washes on already dry hair could create tangles that nightmares are made of.

  1. Some people experience dryness after henna so you might want to do a moisturizing deep condition then feel free to style your hair as usual.

Please note that the henna process can be a messy one so for your first few attempts you might want to put some newspaper on the floor and your countertops. Also you might want to wrap your shoulders with an old towel to prevent any splotches that fall on you from giving you leopard spots.

Also remember that left over henna can be stored in an airtight container and frozen for up to 5 months for future use.

How to get the most out of it

  • CN henna gloss

To take your henna session to the next level and get the most out of it you can add 1 cup of your favorite deep conditioner or regular conditioner to your already prepared henna mix. This treatment will not only give you the benefits of henna but will allow you to distribute it easier, will cut down rinsing time and avoid the drying effect you get right after the henna is rinsed out.

  • Green tea

For curlies who fear the acidity of lime and what it could do to your hair then you could use gentler green tea instead which is slightly acidic and still effective at bringing out the red colour of henna. To use it simply substitute it for the warm water and lemon juice.

  • Hibiscus to increase red

If you're really looking to make those curls pop with a red tint then why not add hibiscus petal powder to your henna mix. To use it mix about 3 tbsp of hibiscus powder for every 100 grams of henna in your bowl and thoroughly combine the two powders before adding your water and other ingredients.

  • Amla to reduce curl loosening

Henna does have a curl loosening effect for some women so if you're worried about that then don't write off henna just yet. Adding amla to your henna mix can counteract its loosening so you won’t feel like you got an accidental texturizer. To do this substitute 1/4 of your henna powder for amla powder. Also if you do use amla you won’t need to use lemon or any other acidic liquid as the amla is already acidic.

Hope this helped naturalistas and as always remember to have love, peace and curly haired bliss!

WATCH: Silky Smooth: 3 Ways to Protect Your Curls This Winter

For more curly mixology recipes, or to share your own favorite at-home treatments, go to our Recipes section.


As naturals with curls, coils and kinks wash day can sometimes feel like a battle. A war is waged in the bathrooms of many naturals between them and their hair. Every curly should know that to win this fight she needs to come prepared with a good conditioner, leave-in or moisturizer with slip that will help her get out even the most stubborn of tangles.

But what can really help to tip the scales is one seemingly magical ingredient that gives products their slip: Behentrimonium Methosulfate (BTMS).

So if you're tired of products that are severely lacking in the slip department and in need of a change then take a look at some of the products that we think have won the slip award because they contain this amazing ingredients.

 


As our coils, curls and kinks grow, some of us may find ourselves experiencing feelings we never had with straight hair.  If at any point you were confused about them keep reading to see if they fit into any of the categories below and get a free hair therapy session.


As naturals we are spoiled for choice when it comes to our products - specifically our gels. No matter how picky our curls are there is something for everyone be it all natural, paraben free or silicon laden for extra slip.

Because of all of this choice, when the time comes to try something new, we often find ourselves with a ridiculously long wish-list trying to make the hard decision between groceries or hair products.

While we can't tell you exactly what products will work for your hair we can give you some pointers to help you choose a great new gel to experiment with by letting you know which one outshine the others in each category.


Cutting off all your hair can be the stuff nightmares are made of for most women. Despite that fact, more and more women are big chopping to join team natural.

As they should be! Going natural can be the most exhilarating, and according to many women, the best decision one can make. A little preparation will help to make the journey to natural as smooth as possible. Read on for a few must-haves you'll need in your big chopper arsenal.


Sometimes you've just gotta chop it all off... again. So much focus is placed on the first big chop. Everything from articles to YouTube videos are dedicated to guiding would-be naturals through their first big chop. But there's a different big chop story that is never told. The story of the second, third or even fourth time big chopper. When it seems like every natural is either trying to grow her hair to unattainable lengths or maintain her beloved tresses there are naturals out there choosing to cut it all without reservation. Ultimately whilst each curly will have a different reason for doing her second BC here are a few popular ones.

 

1. You never stopped to smell the roses

As a new curly you had a mission. You wanted to grow long, healthy hair and maybe even prove a few haters wrong. In the process you got so wrapped up in meeting hair goals and achieving hair lengths that you forget to savour every stage of their naturalness.

And so many of us are guilty of this. We forget to enjoy the fierceness of a TWA and tap into our creativity to get us over the styling hump of having hair in that awkward length. Like children, we can’t wait to grow up (or at least we want our hair to) but when we finally do, we realise that we long for the days of childhood. This may be especially true for long term protective stylers.

Being natural isn't just about the having the biggest hair and the perfect curl it's about the journey and for those women who may feel that they robbed themselves of the experience they find it necessary to cut it all off and start again- but this time around they plan on taking the scenic route.

2. Damage

Hair, unlike other parts of our body, doesn't regenerate itself. Once damaged it can only be patched up but never fully repaired. For the adventurous curlies out there who never met a hair treatment, tool or product they didn't want to try they found themselves suffering from a serious case of hair damage. Now some curlies would rather hold onto every inch of damaged hair rather than rock a short cut.

Curlies who were outgoing enough to dye their hair Barbie blonde, try exotic hair treatments or were too rebellious to follow any of the natural hair rules may face the need to cut it all off, again. For these curlies, gradually growing out their hair, babying their ends and protective styling is way too tame! At least this way for a couple of months they get to try yet another fabulous hairstyle- the TWA.

3. Do it right this time (whatever right means)

Going natural can be hard and for some the learning curve is very steep. With all the information out there and differing opinions about everything it can be hard to figure it all out. Some naturals hit the ground running, others start off slow and take off but a few never really got the hang of it- and that's ok. However, a head full of damaged hair when all you've ever craved is a gravity defying fro can really be a let-down for those women. In fact some women have chosen instead to return to more familiar territory; their wigs weaves and relaxers. However rather than raising the white flag and exiting the natural haired community stage left some women chose to be brave, chop it all off and start fresh. They chose to give natural hair a second try but this time armed with a little more information and an excellent strategy to win the war that is natural hair and go from TWA to BAA without the need for a third Big Chop. 

4. Ain't nobody got time for that

We are mothers, wives, students, career women and sometimes all of the above. We don't always have time to engage in all-out battle with our hair come wash day, or set aside school and housework to set our hair for the perfect twist out. Hair should never be this all-consuming black hole where our free time goes to die. Like applying makeup or picking the perfect outfit we should look forward to styling our hair so that it can help to portray our personality or be the perfect accessory. However, some naturals found that their hair took up way too much time in their schedule and avoided doing it at all costs or simply never had time for it. Once they reached their hair goals and proved to themselves and others that they could do it they wanted to free themselves of all that extra hair. A lot of new moms or naturals who have found themselves going through new or stressful stages in their lives have chosen to do their second BC. Those who have are now loving the 10 minute daily wash and go sessions, the fact that products last forever and that they no longer really need to detangle. In fact they love their new, simpler hair so much many have vowed never to have long hair again.

 

 

I’m sure that many of us can relate to how nerve-racking it is to do the big chop so a round of applause needs to go out to the women who have chosen to do it again and prove that the TWA can be a style choice and a fierce one at that.

 

Have you done the BC more than once? Let us know below.

Ever since one of our favourite curly YouTubers, Naptural85, started singing the praises of flaxseed gel it has quickly become popular in the natural haired community. Many curlies have reported amazing results with this all natural gel and have jumped off the aloe vera ship swam ashore and hopped on the flaxseed bandwagon. But the all-important question still remains- which one is better? Is good old faithful aloe vera gel still number one or has its popularity been stolen by the new kid on the block flaxseed gel? To answer this question we will have to assess this issue from all sides so let the battle of the gels begin. 

Hold

A gel that does not provide good hold is hard to incorporate into a hair regimen after all what do you use it for? Whilst aloe vera gel does provide slight hold flaxseed gel definitely wins this round. Pure aloe gel that has not had other ingredients, like thickeners, added to it simply does not have the ability to really set the hair for that amazing twist or braid out. Flaxseed on the other hand provides great hold which is surprising because of its watery consistency. I've seen curlies use this gel for everything from twist outs to roller sets with results that left me with serious cases of hair envy.

Also for our wash and go curlies flax seed gel will not disappoint. Many naturalistas have claimed to get defined curls that were still soft and touchable. Aloe on the other hand, although thicker, doesn't seem to have the same hold and doesn’t do a good job of clumping and defining the curls. 

Verdict

If you crave big fluffy hair over curl definition then try aloe vera but if you want hold that will withstand the most vigorous of fluffing and serious case of hand in hair syndrome then flaxseed gel is the better option for you.

Ease of use

I shall not tell a lie- flaxseed is a real pain to use! Its slimy consistency and ability to slide right through your fingers will have you wanting to throw it away and reach for your nearest, thicker, styler. Aloe on the other hand is a lot easier to apply. However, one tip for flaxseed users that really helps is to put the gel into a pump or squeeze bottle. The gel will be easier to dispense than sticking your hand into a jar and trying to get a hold of Flubber.

Verdict

If your favourite phrase is "ain't nobody got time for that" then I suggest you steer clear of flaxseed and try aloe.

Can it be layered?

It seems that this is usually the deal breaker for a lot of curlies when trying new products because so many of us rely on using multiple products to get out curls, kinks and waves just right. Nothing is more annoying than your hair creating a blizzard around you whenever you touch it and white hair boogers can ruin even the best hairstyle. Aloe vera gel is infamous for being picky and choosy about the products it will mix well with. It seems to think that it’s the crème de la crème of gels and simply will not associate with just any hair product. On the other hand some women have complained that their flaxseed gel has flaked on them but after doing a little research it seems that the issue can usually be boiled down to 3 reasons; using too much gel, not incorporating oil into the mixture, or using the gel on unclean hair- all of which are fixable.

Verdict

If you’re going to use either of these gels as your styler, before applying them on your hair, be sure to mix them in the palm of your hand with your other hair products to ensure that they do not create white balls. When trying both gels for the first time make sure you have nowhere to go so if you do get flakes you can wash and restyle. Also if they do flake on you the first time before writing them off make sure you try the gels with several different products in different ratios.

Other points

  • Flaxseed gel is extremely cost efficient. One bag of flaxseeds can be bought for less than $5 and several batches of gel can be made from one bag. 
  • Unlike aloe vera gel which can be bought you're going to have to make your own flaxseed gel which can be a pain for curlies who run away from pots and pans like they were diseased (myself included) or find it hard to even boil water.
  • Aloe tends to be slightly acidic which helps to close the cuticle of the hair which makes it shinier. This is why many curlies love to add aloe vera gel or juice into their regimens. Some even use the gel as a leave in.

 

Final Thoughts

Both these gels are great and have excellent qualities but in the Battle of the Gels there can only be one winner and it is (drumroll please)...

Flaxseed gel!!! Flaxseed gel just does what a gel is supposed to do. It provides hold without the crunch factor. But that's not to say that aloe vera gel has no purpose in the regimens of curlies. I have found that incorporating a little aloe vera gel or juice to my leave ins has worked wonders in making my hair shinier and smoother. It even helped to fix my raggedy ends.

For the curlies who have tried both which gel do you prefer?

Now that the cold weather is here some of you can probably relate to scratching your scalp inconspicuously while you're trying to prevent flakes from settling on your shoulders. However, there is no need to suffer silently. If you have had flakes and dryness for a while, you can finally get some relief from dry scalp without all of the expensive products and treatments.




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