Deva's Shari Harbinger answers your curly questions.
Q: I have very long (waist-length) curly red hair. I have not used a brush or comb on it in 30 years. I run my fingers through it to detangle after putting on a conditioner. My question: I wear it up in a ponytail (with a scrunchy) at night to keep it out of my way. But the ponytail is so long (past the nape of my neck) that it gets little knots on the ends by morning. I have even tried a breathable cap, but nothing works. How can I keep away the knots and keep my curls?
Harbinger: Hair at this length (whether it is curly or worn straight) is difficult to maintain. Some knots are going to happen no matter what. However, my suggestion is to invest in a satin pillowcase and make sure your pony tail is high on the top of your head, not at the nape when you go to sleep. In addition, perhaps you can leave some conditioner in your hair on the ends to help keep them moist and prevent them from tangling during the night.
Q: With hair that's already been styled and dried, how do you solve flat head? My hair gets SUPER flat at the roots. Hints? Advice?
Harbinger: Try reactivating your curls with e Mist-er Right, and then re-clipping the curls at the root. Apply some e Angell styling gel on the clips before inserting them on the scalp. You can also keep the clips in your hair until you get to where you need to go, or just keep them in and hide them well when clipping! They will keep the roots lifted.
Q: I wanted to know how to clip my hair to get volume. What type of clips should I use and what is the correct technique?
Harbinger: There is no one correct way to clip, but the clips should be placed parallel to the scalp and directly on the scalp to release the hair of its own weight and give height. Trust your eye when clipping and refer to our DeVa D, which is available on youtube.com for visual instructions. I suggest double-pronged pin-curl clips, or try the DevaClips. They come in three different colors — red, brown and blond.
Q: A few years ago, before I went CG, I relaxed regularly and used chemical dyes. I also would use lots of heat so my usually thick hair thinned some at the top. I have lots of halo baby hairs. I have been CG since 2005, and am wondering if I should still have broken hairs coming in? It still feels a little thinner on top than I remember, so I'm guessing it is still thickening up.
Harbinger: You must make sure you only using a no-sulfate cleanser like Deva No-Poo with added botanically derived conditioning benefits. More important, you should be conditioning the scalp every day until maximum hydration is accomplished. Never use a comb on your hair and never use a blowfryer or flat iron again! The key ingredient for you is a little patience, moisture and a gentle approach to your curls. Treat them like you would treat your cashmere sweater!
Q: For the past few years, my curls have been amazing — pretty much my signature. All I ever did was shampoo and condition with any products lying around, throw in some gel, diffuse, and go. But I've ruined my hair now! I have naturally very black hair, and decided to get it dyed brown, with bleach-blond highlights put in. There were complications, causing lots of toner to be put in to get it to the desired color. This was two months ago, in which my hair fell out, is now damaged, and my scalp itches and burns all of the time. I feel terrible because I've lost a lot of my curls, my hair is just wavy and slightly curly now (more 2c, i used to be 3A). I need to go through so much effort to get my hair curly now. My doctor gave me a shampoo for scalp irritation and dandruff, which kind of works but i hate shampoo as I feel like it never comes out of my hair! I was wondering if going shampoo-free will help with the scalp irritation?
Harbinger: Let me understand. First you bleached your curls (which compromised the moisture and the integrity of it). Then you dyed your hair again to try and fix the color ( a second dose of chemicals which further compromised the moisture and integrity of your curls). To make matters worse, you used a poor shampoo and conventional gel? What were you thinking? First, stop using the doctor-prescribed shampoo or any shampoo that has sulfates, as it is only worsening the scenario, further dehydrating and drying your hair and scalp. Only condition your hair for the next two months! Use botanically drenched Deva Heaven In Hair deep moisture remedy. With a little bit of patience, your hair will begin to recover and your scalp will stop itching. Your dandruff, in my opinion is not dandruff but simply a dehydrated scalp begging for moisture!
Q: I have extremely fine 2c/3a hair and am on the beginning of my fourth week of CG. My problem is that my curls look GREAT right when they are styled and dry after the shower. But by the end of the day, they fall and straighten. Would this be a build-up issue?
Harbinger: It is a build-up issue if you are using conventional shampoos and gels as they seem to dehydrate and weigh down the hair. Or, you could be touching your hair throughout the day, which is also disturbing and loosening the curl. Use only sulfate-free Deva cleansers and try a firmer holding gel such as Deva Arc Angell for more hold and curl definition. I suggest clipping the hair at the roots while it is wet so that when it dries, it dries with more volume.