After pregnancy, my hair is straighter!

Dear Rebecca: Since I was pregnant and had my son almost two years ago, my hair has gotten straighter and frizzier. I used to have combo 3a/3b hair. Nowadays, it is more of a 2b. I've been blowing it out myself lately but it just doesn't feel like me. Do you have any suggestions for curl activator products? I still use DevaCare Low-Poo and One Condition and the Aveda mousse which used to give me great hair. Now, frizzy waves. I also live in Los Angeles which doesn’t help, either. Any thoughts would be so appreciated!!!

A: It’s funny the way your hair changes after pregnancy. My curl pattern actually got tighter when I was pregnant with my first baby. It sounds like you may have some slight damage from thermal styling. This is very common and can happen to any woman with curly hair who wears her hair straight. I recommend giving your hair a break from the blow-dryer or styling irons. Then try a good clarifying treatment to help remove any impurities from the hair. Of course my favorite is Design Essentials Organic Cleanse Deep Cleansing Shampoo. Use this shampoo as needed to cleanse your hair of impurities such as dirt, product build-up, salt, etc. This shampoo will not strip away hair’s natural oils. Follow with your current shampoo, then towel-blot the hair and apply your conditioner. By towel blotting, you are removing excess water that can prevent your conditioner from penetrating deep within your hair shaft. Be sure to use a good moisturizing conditioner and leave it on the hair 5-20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water, too! For styling, begin first by applying a leave-in conditioner to your hair. Then follow with a styling gel. I prefer styling gels that have a medium to firm hold and large amounts of shine. Styling gel is ideal for curls you are trying to reactivate. The hold will help keep the hair from frizzing, and it will also keep the curl in place. To apply, begin first with the ends and work towards the roots. Then manipulate the hair by twisting each curl (where it lives), and allow it to air dry. I think you will be really happy with these results.

Dear Rebecca: I am getting very annoyed with my curly hair because it's not like having straight hair and I can't comb it through easily like my friends can. With my hair, if I even if I was to touch it with a brush/comb/fingers etc. it will become an afro bigger then a 1,000-pound elephant!! I condition 5 times a week and shampoo twice a week. Please help. Also, I would like to mention that I am a restless sleeper so when I wake up I literally have to dunk my hair in the bathtub and comb it. Give me products, tips, advice ANYTHING!!! I just need to have good hair ASAP!

Wave by Design 2N1 Lotion

A: Sandy, it’s ok to be a restless sleeper as long as you take care of your curly locks before you go to bed. You only need to shampoo your hair every other week. Here’s what you should do to maintain your curls. First try this combination: a clarifying shampoo and a daily moisturizing conditioner, followed by an intensive moisturizing conditioner. The goal of a clarifying shampoo is to help prepare the hair to better receive moisture. Once that has been completed, continue to prepare the hair by shampooing with a moisturizing shampoo. This helps to balance the hair and really makes the hair much more manageable. So your hair isn’t going to be like your friends'...it’s better because it’s your hair! It just takes longer to comb through. After applying your conditioners, comb through your hair while the conditioner is still on using a wide-toothed comb. Begin at the nape of your neck and gently comb the conditioner through your hair. Take small sections until you have completed the entire head.

For styling, I recommend a product mixture that will keep the hair moist and defined. Start with a leave-in conditioning cream and apply it liberally to the hair. Then for styling, apply a moisturizing and defining cream. My favorite is Wave by Design 2N1 Lotion. This product is ideal for curl type 4 hair. Just twist and manipulate your hair how you prefer. Okay now let’s talk about sleeping. Do yourself a favor and go purchase a satin bonnet… please!! Using the satin bonnet will actually keep the hair from getting tangled, or completely ruining your style. Now if you are not going to get a satin bonnet, try setting your hair with two-strand twists before your go to bed. Two-strand twists are simple to do and depending on the size it can take you only minutes to achieve. Start by taking 1/2-inch square sections of hair, divide into two and twist the hair separately. Then finish by twisting the hair together. For a really defined look, apply 2 N 1 on the hair as you are twisting it.

In the morning gently take the twists out, and define the hair with 2N1 and you will be ready to go!!

Dear Rebecca: I have a tween client whose hair is like a 1" barrel curl, but the back has a section of super-chaotic kinkyness—the kinks are approximately pencil tight, some are tighter. She likes her hair long— her beautiful dark waves cascading down—but puberty has come along and made this section poof out like it’s been backcombed. There are only a few hairs in this section with the original texture. but it’s about 6-10 months of new growth that is all kinky tight through the back above the nape. I now have her using Paul Mitchell Lab Glue...I take it in sections and twist it and it works very well, but I am brainstorming what I can do to make it easier for the client.. either I use a fat rod and perm that section to direct those curls, or I use a chemical relaxer on that section, but to smooth it, not to straighten completely. What do you advise?

Lo-Lye Relaxer with Shea Butter

A: Ok, I’m going to suggest a few options here as 'tweens change their minds like they change shoes. Really, it sounds like if you just want to reduce the amount of curl that she has. It is much easier to work with a sodium hydroxide, and I really believe that is a great option. However, you absolutely must keep in mind that coloring her hair must be done at minimum two weeks after this service. As far as preparation for the relaxer (straightening system,) she cannot shampoo, comb, brush, or manipulate her scalp in any way prior to receiving this service. This will immediately give you the results you are looking for. Try Design Essentials Lo-Lye Relaxer with Shea Butter. This shea butter infused formula slowly loosens the curl pattern (texturizing) so you are able to control the results. In fact, recommend utilizing Design Essentials entire relaxer system, as it is truly a system.

Once completed, you will be able to style her hair as usual, and have beautiful, silky hair.

Dear Rebecca: I have naturally curly hair. I wear it very short. In the morning, the left side does not lay flat and I have to wet it down. The woman who cuts my hair said to leave it longer on that side. I don't think that would look right, and it really wouldn't solve the problem. I think I should just wet it down. What do you think?

A: Wear what makes you feel your most confident! If that means you have to wet down one side of your hair in the morning, then just do it. Wet it down!