Articles By Jacquelyn Walent

Q: Hi, my name is Simone, I'm 14 years old, and I live in the Dominican Republic—a small island in the Caribbean. I was browsing through NaturallyCurly.com today, looking for some advice for my rebellious curls. According to the site, I have type 3B hair, and I have to say, it's a mess. Near the scalp it's wavy, and it slowly turns curly from the ears down. My hair gets really frizzy whenever there's the merest sign of humidity, and it always tangles up when I sleep. However, none of these is my problem. Recently I've been wanting to get bangs, because my face is so oval-shaped, and I think bangs would help me look a little better. The problem is that I don't know which kind of bangs should I get, or if I should get any at all. I'm afraid that if I cut some bangs, they will curl up like little spring toys on my forehead. However, I'm also thinking that maybe they won't curl up, and they will stay wavy if I apply some hair products. What would you recommend to do? I really think I need a new hairstyle, but no one around seems to understand the complexity of naturally curly hair.

A: Sorry you can't find anyone to understand your beautiful hair. As for your hair getting tangled while your sleep, a good solution is to put it up in a high ponytail. To combat frizziness in the humidity, moisture is your only solution -- you need to have very moisturized curls. You can do deep conditioning treatments a couple times a week on dry hair. Work a non-silicone but high-moisture-based conditioner through your hair at night, cover with a scarf and sleep with it on. In the morning rinse and go through regular cleansing routine. Everyday, as you style, leave some conditioner in as part your styling product along with gel. 

In terms of the bangs -- it is hard to give specifics without seeing your hair. But there is a pretty safe solution: while your hair is dry and in it’s natural state, you can cut a little side fringe one curl at a time, always leaving it much longer then you think you want allowing for the natural spring of the curl. You should also know that a typical "across the forehead bang" is not a possibility.

Q: I have 3a curly hair and wanted to get some layers put into it to keep the length but take away some of the volume. But I want to keep it so I can wear my hair curly as I usually do. How do I explain this to a hairdresser?

A: First off, research stylists. If you like somebody's hair, ask her where she got it done. You need to do a little detective work. Always be specific in asking a stylist what you want, and ask them to cut your hair dry. The best way to calm that volume is to have well-moisturized curls. The healthier and more moisturized your hair is, the less puffy it will be. Always remind your stylist how much your curls spring up.

Q: I am a 12-year-old curly girl and I hate how my hair brings me attention. Everyone who talks to me is talking about how they love my hair. In the summer it gets frizzy and hot. I don't like using hair products such as hairspray because of the smell and how it makes my hair feel. Can you please give me some advice that might make my hair more tame and lovable? Did I mention the fact I straighten my hair almost every day? But I wanted you to know I pretty much stopped doing it every day toward the end of my school year and during the summer. I only straighten it when I go to our local coffee shop.

A: Congratulations on not straightening your hair as much, and let’s see if you can wear it curly all the time. You will definitely have better results if you are not beating it up with a blow dryer or flat iron. First, you need to get off shampoo detergents. They are always going to be a hazard and a breeding ground for frizz. The next step is to be generous with conditioning. While you're in the shower, scrub your scalp with conditioner, and detangle your hair with the conditioner and fingers (no comb). Don’t rinse out all of the conditioner. Apply styling products without silicones. Your curls will be so beautiful, you won't even want to straighten them anymore.

Q: I've been CG for almost six months now, and my hair looks awful. It's frizzy, and my scalp flakes. I have been using VO5 for conditioner washing and Back to Basics Peach Pomegranite for conditioning. I color my hair occasionally, and once in a while I do a deep treatment. Do you have any ideas before I give up on the whole idea?

A: Don’t give up. Let’s try a new angle. Your flaking scalp is either dry scalp, product build up or improper cleansing. Stop using shampoo. Scrub you scalp with a non-silicone conditioner. You must massage your scalp well and exfoliate anything on your scalp. Rinse and then work in a generous amount of conditioner on your hair, combing with your fingers to detangle and distribute the conditioner. Let it sit while you finish your shower and rinse, leaving some conditioner in. You need to use a very moisturizing conditioner without silicone. After your shower, scrunch your hair with the conditioner that was left in and with a clear gel. Your hair should be in good shape before you color. Do deep conditioning treatments more often. It sounds like you need to heal and repair your hair.

Q: I'm trying the CG routine again (I might even get the book this time) because I like the waves/curls better than the straight, frizzy mess I otherwise get. 

can get nice waves/curls, but they are usually not on purpose. And I cannot get them when and how I want. At what point in the routine do you style your hair and how ? I do have to rearrange my part, and that totally messes up the curls that I do have. I hate my natural part (it goes down the cneter splitting at the crown into a Y shape) because it only accentuates my oblong face and high forehead. I therefore wear a slight sidepart with bangs that I have to recreate after wetting. Any suggestions about how to preserve the waves/curls while still recreating that part?

A: Styling begins immediately after you are done cleansing. Don’t let it dry or squeeze any water out. After cleansing the scalp with conditioner and conditioning the hair, flip your head over and scrunch with a little more conditioner and clear gel (no silicone in anything). Scrunch with an old cotton t-shirt or paper towel and flip back up. You can rearrange the part at this point, but be very gentle. Curls are delicate and can frizz easily. They are more forgiving when well-moisturized and wet. The book will help a lot.

Q: I'm curious to find out: What are the most notable changes your hair has undergone when going CG? Are there any variations in texture, rate of growth, clumping or definition, versatility, or even negative changes? Also, how long does it take before your hair starts to respond to CG? Just trying to get a taste of what I have to look forward to.

A: The most notable changes include less frizz, more curl definition and no more dry or brittle hair. The hair is healthier, so it no longer breaks and growth is more obvious. The only negative, if you can call it that, is how you will be bombarded with compliments!

Q: I started CG in the hot/humid summer. Now, as the seasons begin to change, I was wondering if I need to change my products/routine with the seasons. Do you need more/less conditioning? More/less product? Different products?<

A: How daring of you to start in the summer. If you made it through this summer, and live in a high humidity area, you just made it through the toughest season. The rest of the year will be a breeze unless you have a lot of rain. In that case. take care of it like you did in the summer. For winter or drier, colder weather, we usually cut back on conditioning. Everything else can stay the same.

Q: My hair never stays put. It starts off gorgeous when it's about 90 percent dry. Halfway through the school day, it's like a lion's mane turning into a giant mound of poof (Might I add that my hair is so thick that I break about two regular-sized hairbands a day trying to put it all into a ponytail?). I currently use gel and curl cream, but apparently it's not enough. At the same time, I don't want the "crunchy curl" look either. Suggestions?

A: Try leaving conditioner in instead using a heavy curl cream. It sounds like you have a lot of hair, so be generous with conditioner. Scrunch in a gentle clear gel along with the conditioner. Conditioner should be your best friend. You would be surprised how much your hair really needs. Stay away from shampoo (detergents), but don’t forget to cleanse your scalp. Massage well and exfoliate with conditioner.



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