Curly hair expert Dickey answers your questions
Q: I have a major problem with my hair. I was careless with my styling for a couple of years, and now there is a lot of damage. Basically, on the top of my head, my hair has gone straight. I have very curly hair with pretty tight curls, but I basically can't wear it down anymore without using a curling iron because so much of it is straight. I've been getting regular haircuts to cut off the damage, but there is still a lot of straight hair that looks terrible. The roots are curly, though. What can I do for now about the straight parts? Would perming them be possible? I'm just not sure what the best option is. I have been making sure I deep condition it often but I don't think there's any hope of actually repairing the straight ones. What would you suggest?
Dickey: The good news is that you’ve acknowledged why your ends are straight (too much thermal straightening). Regular hair cuts do little to help your problem unless you're cutting all the straight stuff off at some point. You are going to have to decide for yourself what it is you want in the end for your hair. What is the goal? Straight? Curly? Both? Straight ends come from blow drying and flat ironing hair that has no more natural oils and moisture left. This leaves the hair exasperated by old conventional shampoos that strip away even more. In the meantime, try shampooing with Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream Moisturizing No Suds Shampoo, a new-generation shampoo that is formulated for dryer natural textures. It gently cleans and refreshes hair while leaving hair hydrated and moisturized, which adds more flexibility and elasticity. Also, try wet setting and wrapping your hair to cut down on the intense heat I assume you're using.
Q. I flat-ironed my hair religiously for two years. A few months ago, I decided to go natural. I've been wearing my hair natural, and I haven't used heat on it at all for the past three months. But it still hasn't grown at all! Since school started, I do flat iron it once or twice a week. I use a deep conditioner and a heat-protecting spray. And every two weeks, I get a deep-conditioning treatment and a trim every month. So why is my hair not growing?
Dickey: I am a bit unclear as to what you want your hair to do? Do you want curly hair, long curly hair, straight hair, or hair that is long and curly that you can wear straight as well? Are you assuming that it should grow faster because you have not used heat on it for the past three months? How long was the break between the three-month mark and the start of school, when you began using heat on your hair again? I recommend deep-conditioning your hair everyday. You cannot over-condition naturally dry hair because it loves it, and soaks it into the hair follicles. Think more, more, more. Do not think that because you are deep conditioning your hair every two weeks that it you are doing something special to your hair. Also, using a heat-protecting spray to your hair just adds shine and hold. In most cases, it works best for straight styles and makes your flat iron work more effectively. If you are trying to grow your hair, I recommend lightly trimming the ends of your hair every two and a half to three months. This maintenance helps get rid of all the bad hair. You are not destroying it by too much thermal manipulation in between hair cuts. But just so you know: monthly hair cuts will not produce any length.
Q: I'm looking for a product that can revive my curls when they're a bit off. Maybe just a spritz of something? Any ideas?
Dickey: Depending on your curl pattern — kinky, curly or wavy — lightly reapply your favorite styling product by adding a little to a water bottle, shake it up and mist and scrunch it, or flip your head over and shake it. You might also want to try moisturizing Hair Rules Hydrating Finishing Cream, which can be used in much the same way. Lightly mist dry, parched curls as you shake them, and apply the finishing cream a pea-sized amount at a time to your curls with an open hand. Be careful not to rake your fingers through your hair because this can cause frizz, and you'll need to go through the whole process again.
Q: Please suggest a light oil to leave in my 3a/b hair. I have been using olive oil overnight before using low sulfate shampoo, which has helped me enormously. So I'd like to try a very light oil to leave in. Please suggest the best routine for this. I'm looking for extra moisture and shine. Castor oil was my first try, and while it certainly helped moisturize, it is too thick for me as a leave in. My hair is thin overall.
Dickey: Refrain from any shampoo! Switch to Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream Moisturizing No Suds Shampoo followed by Hair Rules Quench Ultra Rich Conditioner for as long as you desire. To soften your hair, add a little water to it and emulsify. The more you lather it, the softer your hair will be. Rinse and apply Hair Rules Nourishment Leave-In conditioner. After that, apply your favorite styling product followed with Hair Rules Hydrating Finishing Cream. Your hard, dry, parched hair should be a thing of the past.
Q: I have a problem with some curls that have become really stringy and are absolutely refusing to fuse together to form ringlets. Think Shirley Temple ringlets with thin pieces that sticking out. How do I deal with this?
Dickey: You say that you have some curls that have become very stringy. How long has it taken them to become stringy — weeks, months, years? I ask because regular haircuts are essential for springy hair, and if proper haircuts have not been taking place, the the curl pattern can be destroyed.
Q: What can I do to control frizz? I have 4a hair, and when I wake up in the morning, my hair is a huge frizz ball unless I wash it, apply gel and pin curl it. What can I do at night to prevent the frizz?
Dickey: Hopefully you're wearing a satin scarf and/or a bonnet or sleeping on a satin pillowcase, and you're not letting too much time elapse between restyling — say two to three days. Also, the gel you're using — if not formulated with moisturizers and hydrators — will dry out and cause more frizz. Try Hair Rules Curly Whip.
Q: How do I style my son's hair when it has several different types of curls? His hair is at least 3b/3c/4a. Should I put different products on different parts, layer them or what? Thanks for helping me get it "straightened" out.
Dickey: Everyone has at least two to three textures on one head. As long as you start with a very wet head of hair when applying your styling products, this will at least make all three textures look somewhat similar. Try Hair Rules Curly Whip, using enough to saturate the hair.