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Q: My hair is naturally curly but it needs the help of hair gel to make it more defined. I've heard rumors that lots of hair gels might eventually make the hair fall out! Is this true? Are there any products I can use instead of hair gel?

PS: My budget is tight so I don' want to go spending tons on some fancy product which doesn' t even work! Help me please!

Ouidad: In order to be successful with styling curly hair you must use styling products. In my years of experience I never have seen a client’s hair fall out because of hair gels. I don’t think it's true, but if you have reservations, use a daily conditioner as a styling tool. It won’t hold your hair well, but it’s better than nothing at all. I think you should search for a good water-soluble styling product.

Q: My daughter is 5 (biracial) with very loopy, curly hair. Athough it's fine, she has a lot of it. I read the comments about instilling confidence in children and I have tried to do that. But her friends have straight hair and it sometimes seems to be an issue for her. But for the most part she is accustomed to receiving lots of positive comments about her hair. I do tend to braid it daily or put it up or in a pony tail because of the time it takes to brush it. Wearing it loose tends to be a special-occasion thing -- which in a sense reinforces that it is extra special. She likes her hair loose but hates the prep the following day.Until now I have been afraid to cut it because I have heard so many horror stories of the curl completely leaving. Her cousin, also biracial, had his color and curls disappear after a particularly short haircut. The most I have ever cut is about a half inch off my daughter. It is now mid-back length. I believe she needs a cut because her ends look a bit damaged. The curls are also being weighed down, so unless I really soak it, it is looking wavier at the top. Any ideas on this? --Josée Fonseca

Ouidad: There are several things you can do to help your precious daughter wear her hair loose. First, congratulations on instilling confidence in her about her hair. It’s very important. Second, you should never brush her hair out. Third, shampooing once a week is OK.You should style her hair by using gel and applying it in sections to help the curl pattern and diffuse on low heat, or let it dry naturally. If applied thoroughly, your daughter should be able to wear her hair loose for the next three days. When she’s going to sleep, pull her hair into a low ponytail very loosely and use a scrunchee to loosely hold the hair to prevent tangles. In the morning take off the scrunchee and her hair will keep its shape. By the fourth day you can pull it back and braid it. Your daughter will have the best of both hair styles and it’s easier for you. Now as far as her cousin’s hair color disappearing after a haircut, I’ve never seen or heard of that before. A hair cut should not take the curl away if your hair is curly from the roots out. And yes, I would get a little trim for your daughter. Its good to clean it up once in a while, every three to four months.

Q: I'm an 18-year-old college student with quite a few curly girl problems. First, I have yet to figure out if my hair is wavy or curly! I'm multiracial and my hair is both fine and thick. Also, when I leave my hair with nothing in it, it doesn't make curls, and I find that I have to use a lot of product to keep the curl in my hair. Also, when I was little, the front of my hair was very prone to breakage. In an act of desperation, I took a pair of scissors to my hairline and cut big bald spots in my head. Fortunately, my hair grew back, but the texture of it was completely different than the rest of my head. I used to relax the front of my hair, but after a few years it stopped working. Now I'm stuck with tiny stunted curls that drive me crazy. Do you have any suggestions for how I can disguise the short hairs? Also, is there anything I can do so they'll grow like the rest of my hair does? Thanks a lot. --Allysha R.

Ouidad: In a curly head of hair, it’s natural to have many textures. Having fine and thick hair, you must treat it with Deep Treatment every two weeks to help the spring in your curl so it can have a healthy pulse and bounce. Be sure to use a styling product to style fine curls. When your hair is in a good condition, you’ll find you will not need to use a lot of product to keep the curl in and your hair will not expand as much. Also by doing your Deep Treatment, your tiny curls will grow a bit. Eventually when they are well-conditioned, you may (chemically) soften the front to match the rest of your hair.

Q: I would love to have the loosening process performed on my spiral curls but my hair is already color-treated. Is the loosening process safe on this type of hair?

Ouidad: If, when you say “the loosening process,” you are referring to the Ouidad Softening System, then the answer is yes. But only if you do the Deep Treatment every two weeks for three treatments before the process. The Ouidad Softening System is a very gentle form of loosening the curl. With the Deep Treatment, you are strengthening your hair But you must be disciplined and do it every two weeks. Many of my clients do both processes (coloring and softening).

Q:Ouidad, I just recently purchased your starter set and after a week of using it decided to order some more products. My question is about the Deep Treatment. I have used it just once and did notice a difference in my hair's softness, but I did not use a hood style dryer or hair bonnet as I do not have access to either. Instead I placed the recommended plastic cap around my head and used a hand held blow dryer for 20 minutes. Will this technique of applying the Deep Treatment be just as effective or am I wasting time and money? Do you have a better technique to suggest as an alternative?Also, I've been using the Climate Control Gel. Although I am really liking it, my hair is still feeling somewhat crunchy. What do you suggest to keep my curls defined but give them softness? Thank you!--Anna in NM

Ouidad: Using a hand-held blow dryer also works well. The only difference from a hood dryer is that while you are heating one side of the head, the other is still cold. So it just takes longer to heat the hair thoroughly.. Also, you can go into a steam room for 20 minutes if you have access to one at a gym. Some clients have told me that while they run on their treadmill in the privacy of their own home, they do the Deep Treatment. Just apply the Deep Treatment and cover your hair with the plastic cap and run. If you can find a cheap heating cap at a pharmacy, that works too.As far as crunchiness from the Climate Control Gel, I would finish your hair with a dollop of Clear Control. Place it in the palm of your hands and run your hands over your hair in a ponytail effect all the way to the ends. That will define your curls and give you the softness and shine you seek. Good luck.

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