Articles By Gretchenuu

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Dear Oudiad: I was reading your Q&A on and you answered one of the girls saying that she should not wash her hair every day because it dries it out. My problem is that I use gel, mousse and hair spray—all TRESemme products—to style my hair, otherwise the volume gets out of control. Usually I wash it to get the products out and so that I can do anything with it. Otherwise it's unmanageable.

My hair is Type 3b, mid-back length. The curls are very defined and bouncy; it's not very thick but I do have an obscene amount of hair. I don't have dry hair, except for the ends, but that is usually normal especially around the time I'm due for a haircut. I can only brush it wet. Otherwise it will straighten out my curls, and I'll look like I'm ready for Halloween! I really don't know what to do.

If I didn't wash my hair every day, I'd have to wear it in a ponytail. But I love wearing my hair down! I want to know how I can do that without washing it every day. Also does it damage your hair to leave gel, mousse and hair spray in your hair overnight?

Dear Unmanageable: It’s important to use water-soluble products that will not leave product build up and are easily washed out. Try a lightweight refreshing conditioning spray made for curly hair to define curls on the day after washing. You can also wet your hair and try co-washing with specially formulated curly hair conditioner on the ends to keep your curls looking fresh without having to shampoo every day.


Is your hair ready for sex?

You've done it. You've crossed home plate with the hottest guy you've met in a long time. But you're still not quite to the I'm-comfortable-being-around-you-with-my-hair-sticking-every-which-way stage. You need to look good, and fast!

How to make yourself look presentable in a serious hurry? How to prevent the mess in the first place?

  1. Put your hair up in a sexy, but easy, 'do before you do the deed.
  2. Opt for the uppermost vantage point. Your curls are less likely to be crushed or smooshed if you're hovering above rather than writhing about on a pillowcase.
  3. Offer something else for clutching, so that your hair is left untouched.
  4. All curlies should always carry an emergency-fix-it product or two in her purse. While the cover of dark is still nigh, sneak into the bathroom for some quick repairs.
  5. You can always opt for the mysterious middle-of-the-night departure. Send him daisies the next day and keep him guessing.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Design Essentials launched its new Natural line of hair care products this weekend at the Bronner Bros. International Hair Show in Atlanta.

The line, which consists of five products, is free of sulfates, silicones and parabens, mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum and fragrance, says Director of Education Rebecca Mariolis.

"One of the things that we wanted to make sure with the new line was that we really paid attention to our ingredients—using botanicals and essential oils. What we found when we were testing is that is really makes a difference. A positive difference. Now, you can use product with those more-traditional ingredients and be fine. But hair is softer without those ingredients," Mariolis says.

The Natural line includes Curl Cleanser Sulfate Free Shampoo ($12.95/8 oz), Moisturizing Conditioner ($10.95/8 oz), Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($11.95/8 oz), Defining Crème Gel ($25.95/16 oz) and Curl Stretching Cream ($26.95/16 oz).

design essentials

The Natural line includes Curl Stretching Cream, Curl Cleanser Sulfate Free Shampoo, Moisturizing Conditioner, Daily Moisturizing Lotion and Defining Crème Gel.

Comprised of nourishing ingredients like jojoba, cocoa butter and almond oil, the company says, "you are sure to produce beautiful healthy hairstyles that are rich in moisture, high sheen and strong hold."

Sholanda Armstrong, Design Essential's Director of Marketing, says, "We found that the new products give such as much moisture and shine. Hair looks just as beautiful."

"You may have to pay a little more. It’s a more about a personal choice. The others aren’t bad ingredients, just not as close to earth," Armstrong adds.

The line was developed to meet market demand, says Mariolis. "The research shows that the number of people who are getting away from relaxers and going holistic is growing. If they go natural, we’re there with them."

The line is aimed mainly at Type 3s and 4s, says Armstrong. "Our consumer is a woman of texture. Anyone with some curl and wave; it's probably not for people with straight hair."

The pair of Design Essentials execs had a hard time picking their favorites from the line.

"I love the Daily Moisturizing Lotion; it's curl-defining and a great leave-in conditioner," says Mariolis. "It's also a great second-day hair fixer. It's really lightweight —it's not going to make the hair feel heavy."

Armstrong raves about the Natural Defining Crème Gel, "The great thing is that is good for all textures. Great definition and hold, without a lot of crunch. The way to control that is to apply the Daily Moisturizing Lotion and then the Defining Crème Gel. Best hold and best sheen.

Mariolis says of the line, "We recommend you use the line as a system. Work your way through the line, product by product. The products work really well together. We definitely noticed a difference when the line is used as a system."

Christo at Premiere Orlando

The thousands of stylists attending this weekend's Premiere Orlando trade show weren't Mickey-Mousing around; they were there to shop and learn, and shop and learn they did!

NaturallyCurly spent Sunday on the floor of the show, checking out all the new products, old favorites and the educational events.

The big news? Once again: keratin treatments. We could hardly believe it possible, but there were actually even MORE keratin treatment vendors at this show than at shows past. We counted 20 manufacturers selling keratin straightening treatments. 20! And several of these keratin product manufacturers also offered well-attended educational sessions at the show.

And while the keratin booths were popular, stylists flocked to a number of other booths that proved popular throughout the day, including Matrix, Arrojo, Michael O'Rourke, L'Oreal (where the company touted its new INOA coloring system) and Morrocconoil, which has recently released a new curl creme.

Argan treatments were also popular, though they didn't have as big as presence as at some previous shows.

Main stage performances dazzled, too, with shows featuring Takashi Kitamura, Anthony Mascolo, Martin Parsons, Sherri Jessee and more.

Celebrity Stylist Nick Arrojo

The educational events for the first time featured several that focused on curly hair.

Curly hair legend Ouidad's morning presentation was jammed to the rafters with eager stylists occupying every inch of available space in the room. "Curly hair is regal. It is beautiful," Ouidad enthusiastically told the rapt crowd. "Curly haired people have a soul," she added.

The Queen of Curl described her trademark Carve & Slice Method, with assistant Alex demonstrating the cutting technique on a model whose hair had been poorly cut by another stylist. "Carve & Slice is strategically designed to work with the curly pattern you have. It's designed to cut with the curvature of your hair."

"Look for the weight when deciding where to cut," said Alex.

Time slipped by as Alex continued to cut and style the model's hair, yielding a beautiful look that had the pumped-up and curl-friendly audience cheering.

Back at Ouidad's booth on the floor, industry color master Cypriano dazzled passing stylists with his makeovers.

At another education event, Christo Fifth Avenue's Christo thrilled the crowd with his own stunning makeovers—transforming frizz to fabulousness. Of his curl philosophy, he said, "When I design a client's hair, I design to her texture. And I give her a prescription especially for her texture."

Kim Vo of "Sheer Genius" fame

Christo also revealed that he will soon be introducing a line of hair care products for tight, coily hair.

At another training event, hair care company Surface pushed its root-volumizing product, Push. The room gasped as company rep Wayne Grund demonstrated how the powdery product instantly offers lift at the root and how smooshed-down hair can be revived quickly.

We saw several new product lines we can't wait to try out: Amika, Obliphica, Angel Professional and Milk_Shake. We'll be sure to keep you posted on these hot hair care products.

Obedience, from celebrity stylist Charlene Spiller, is a "light, high-performing straightening serum that allows women of any ethnicity to naturally straighten their curly, wavy or resistant hair."

Celebrity stylists Nick Arrojo and Kim Vo were surrounded by a pack of admirers everywhere they went, and Vo even had a take-a-picture-with-me booth set up outside the main floor. Dozens of giddy stylists eagerly awaiting their turn to have their photos taken with Vo, as the "Shear Genius" star smiled, chatted and treated each one like his long-lost friend.

Most mother-of-the-bride hairstyles are just a step up from your everyday look. You most definitely want to be careful that your style does not outshine the bride's. Generally the mother of the bride wears her hair down. Trying to be too formal or going so far as to wear a wedding updo will steal the spotlight from the bride on her special day.

Searching for a wedding-day stylist? Read this woman's story.

Get a professional cut and color (if applicable) a couple weeks before the event, so it will have time to settle back to "normal." Then, on the big day, you'll be ready to simply take your everyday look up a few notches. And plan to make a trip back to the salon on the big day for a professional 'do—you have enough to worry about without having to fuss about your hair!

You might want to go with a soft curl look, which can be achieved with a set of hot rollers or curling iron. Gently break up the curls with the fingers to soften the curl and add body. You might also want to add a fancy hair clip or barrette to keep the hair off the face while adding just a spark of formality to your style.

natural hair show

Many in the curly community are eagerly anticipating the 2010 World Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Show, to be held April 10-11 this year.

The show, which takes place at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta, includes new consumer and professional workshops, the best natural hair, braiding, locing and barber competitions, Da Poetz Corner, The Children's Corner, WNHH&BS CoverHealthy eating and nutrition information, the latest in healthy hair and beauty products and services and so much more.

The Natural Hair, Health and Beauty Show is always filled with excitement, beautiful people, beautiful fragrances, music and a sea of information on natural hair, health and beauty.

The show's official website says: "Come and see why Natural Hair is the official other choice for hair care. Natural hair is mainstream. Actors, sports figures, models, doctors, anchormen/women, children, etc. are wearing a variety of styles with natural textures. Even weave-wearers are choosing hair with tighter curl patterns as they too want the look of natural hair. More people are embracing their natural beauty-and history repeats itself again as other nationalities desire the look of natural styles as well. Now the show has even more to offer as larger numbers of people both nationally and globally embrace the beauty of natural hair."


Don't you feel empowered, reading that? There will be several representatives at the show; you'll know them by their NaturallyCurly bags and t-shirts. If you see one, walk up and introduce yourself! Share some curl love! And then add a comment below, telling us about your experience. We can't wait to hear from you!

Austin stylist and L'Oreal spokesman Ron King will soon open a second salon in Austin. This is a rendering of the INOA station in his new salon, which will be called Ron King.

More than a century ago, L’Oréal Professionnel introduced the first safe hair dye, “Auréale,” created from mineral salts, to the industry. This month, the company debuts INOA, a revolutionary new ammonia-free permanent hair color.

The color contains an odorless alkaline agent called MEA (monoethanolamine) that replaces ammonia, which opens the hair cuticle slightly to allow for colorants and oxidants to penetrate the cortex to start the coloring process. "It's more conditioning for the hair and scalp," says Ron King, L'Oreal spokesperson and owner of Bo Salon in Austin, Texas. "It's like a treatment for the hair," he says.

INOA—which stands for "innovation"—works with the ODS technology (Oil Delivery System): an oil base that increases the active potential of the haircolor system while preserving the hair's natural protective layer twice as much as traditional ammonia-based permanent hair color.

"This is going to stand the color world on end," says King. "There's nothing else like it."

Other color lines have been ammonia-free, says King, but they were semi- or demi-permanent color. "INOA is permanent hair color," he says. "You get the shine and gloss of a demi but the permanence of a permanent color."

When using INOA, the stylist and client will choose the color together at a special "bar" area in the salon. "It's no longer 'The Wizard of Oz' scenario, where the stylist disappears behind a curtain to mix up the potion," says King. It's a collaborative process, he says. "You interact to choose the color."

The cost to the customer for INOA is about $50 to $75 more than a regular color service, says King. "But clients are OK with this because they're getting shine and conditioning. Also, the color doesn't fade as fast because of the oil delivery system," so clients can go a bit longer between services, he says.

King's Bo Salon was one of the first salons in the nation to get the new coloring system; he's been using it on customers since September. Clients, he says, "feel more comfortable coming into the salon and having their hair colored because the color is completely balanced. They love the way it feels on the scalp. They feel like it’s holding the color better than it ever had."

Here's a quick video snippet from L'Oreal's INOA stage at America's Beauty Show:

Texture! Panel

“Texture!”—a programming event presented by, and Modern Salon Magazine—is being heralded as one of the most interesting and successful panels at this year’s American Beauty Show.

The Texture! panel featured a veritable who’s who of the curly hair industry, including Dickey of Hair Rules, Titi and Miko Branch of Miss Jessie’s, Veronique Morrison of Mizani, Ouidad, Shari Harbinger of DevaConcepts, Jonathan Torch of Curly Hair Solutions and Edwin Johnson of KMS California.

America’s Beauty Show is a large (tens of thousands in attendance) trade show for beauty industry professionals that draws stylists and manufacturers from around the world. It was held this year in Chicago March 27-29.

The panel, held Sunday, was a longtime dream of NaturallyCurly co-founders Gretchen Heber and Michelle Breyer, who long wished for the opportunity to get so many curl experts in the same room together.

Judging from the audience’s reaction, the dream was successfully fulfilled. Dozens of stylists piled into the chilly convention center room to hear these legends of the industry describe their background, talk about their philosophies and offer concrete advice.

And while not all curl experts think alike, the event was a harmonious one, with the panelists all realizing the significance of the gathering.

“This meeting is a wonderful example of the shift in our customers’ belief in their natural hair,” said Harbinger.

Other ABS Highlights

•  See our ABS blog!
•  L’Oreal launches INOA
•  Keratin treatment companies were plentiful
•  Tabatha Coffey’s quickfire stylist challenge was wildly popular
•  Kim Vo and Nick Arrojo cruised the floor of the show, pausing for photos and chats
•  Mizani's new True Textures line made a big splash

“No two people are the same. The left side is different from the right side. You have to deal with each person differently,” said Torch, as several panelists’ heads bobbed in agreement.

More practical tips came from Titi Branch: “The consultation is so important. Typically, the curly hair client is traumatized, skeptical. You have to patiently work with her.”

“You’ll have a client for life if you do what you say you’re going to do,“ said Harbinger.

Added Jonathan Torch, “There’s a lot of common sense to working with curly hair. With certain techniques you can remove bulk. The next challenge is to remove frizz. Everybody with curly hair has frizz issues. You can have the greatest haircut but if you don’t know how to manage the frizz, it’s no good.”

At one point, Breyer, who moderated the event, asked the audience how many of them had received specific training in working with textured hair when they were in cosmetology school. Only four raised their hands.

Mizani Demostration

Mizani demostration

The panel lauded the audience members for attending the session to gain more education. “We all need to be educated so that we can all deal with all types of hair,” said Morrison. “As our culture has evolved, we’re looking at curly hair as being more accepted now. The more we know curls, the better.”

“I was self-taught. I needed to develop special techniques to cut curly hair,” Johnston said.

Torch stressed the importance of today’s experts helping the next generation of stylists, “A curly hair style is always moving, from morning to noon to night. It’s hard for a new stylist to fathom. Now that curly hair is mainstream, it’s our responsibility to teach the next generation.”

Curlyheads, too, need special training to work with their curls, said Ouidad. “Many people with curly hair have never been taught; they’ve never been guided to work with their curly hair. It’s important that you stylists educate their clients. Every human being who has curly hair is able to learn to manage their chair.”

Following the panel were demonstrations by some of the panelists, a very popular part of the programming where the stylists were invited to come up close and have a back-and-forth with the presenters.

Each audience member received an enormous bag filled with hair care products, brochures and a super-cool CurlStylist apron.

Miko Branch offered perhaps the loveliest line of the day: “Bringing beauty to natural hair is my goal,” she said.

miko titi branch

Miko and Titi of Miss Jessie's and panelists at Texture!, pose with an audience member.

A recently released book dealing with menopause might initially seem like an unlikely topic for a website about curly hair.

For the book’s author, however, who goes simply by “E”, her curly hair was very much a part of her personal journey through perimenopause and menopause (which she shortens to a handy “PM&M”).

“Shmirshky: think inside the box” is the title of this seriously fun and easy-to-read guide to surviving PM&M, which few women are truly prepared for. E (which stands for “everyone” — that’s who the book is for, she says) says her friend Marcia referred to both vaginas and women as “shmirskys.” (“Erlick”, by the way, was her friend’s nickname for penises and men.)

“Marcia was a dear friend and mentor of mine and I wanted to dedicate the book to her and in memory of her, so I chose ‘Shmirshky’ as the title,” says E. “It makes the conversation a lot lighter, though it really is a serious topic.”

PM&M isn’t talked about much. It’s a totally not-fun time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop working, she stops having periods, her hormone levels change dramatically, and, says E, “your brain, your body and your life transform into something you’re totally unfamiliar with. You begin to questions your sanity, relationships, hormones, genetics, sex drive, age, food clothes, underwear, everything!”

Shmirshky” is broken into humorous, quick, easy-to-read chapters addressing topics such as choosing the right doctor, hormone replacement therapy, thyroid issues, acupuncture, raving lunacy and more.


The author, "E"

E emphasizes the book is not just for women. Husbands, sons, daughters should also read the book, to understand what their beloved shmirshkys are enduring.

“This book is written for the ordinary shmirshy and the people who love her. There’s no book that I could hand to my husband and say ‘Honey, please read this’,” E says. Ordinary menopause books are “long and technical,” she says.

E tells a story about how she was having some remodeling work done on her home, and one by one, as the burly construction workers got wind of the subject of her book, they sheepishly approached her, asking to buy the book. She generously gave each a copy, telling the men that they had to read it first, before sharing it with their wives. The men were grateful and eager to better understand what was happening to the woman they’d been married to for so many years.

“One person at a time, we can make a difference,” E says. “We can change the conversation.”

One of the book’s biggest themes is the need to love your new self—to recognize that PM&M will change you and that you should embrace this new self. E says that one of the most significant ways she changed during her own PM&M was to embrace her curly hair.

Her whole life, E had fought her curls, straightening and beating them into submission. “I used to use this humongous orange juice can and use Dippity-Do,” she says, in a refrain all too familiar to many curlygirls. “I would sit under a hair dryer forever,” she says. “This is how I lived my life for years. The hours I spent blow drying, flat ironing . . . ”

“Going through PM&M allows you to embrace yourself. You feel like an alien has taken over your body. You look at yourself in a new way. I said to myself, ‘You know what? I have curly hair, and it’s great.’ I learned a lot about myself.”

“When we embrace, we have a lot more joy in our lives,” she says. She now proudly embraces her beautiful curly hair.

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