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Q: I'm confused about whether I should comb my hair or not. I heard that less manipulation to the hair will make it grow. I usually wash my 4a hair twice a week and detangle my hair every time I condition wash. Now that I swim every day, I condition wash daily and I finger pick instead of combing. Is this ok? How often do should I detangle/comb my hair?

Branch: To detangle or not detangle -- that is the question. With a 4a hair type, you're sort of in a Catch 22. On one hand, less manipulation will prevent the breakage that is sometimes associated with too much detangling. On the other hand, if you don't detangle your hair, you may end up with long matted locks! I think detangling is important. If you do not detangle your Type 4 hair, the coily strands are left to do what they naturally want to do -- wrap around one another into a tight helix, which form matted balls and ultimately break off in a knotted peppercorn.
If you are doing a daily conditioning wash, I like the idea of finger combing. But once a week, slather on a slippery, moisturizing reparative deep treatment like Miss Jessie's Rapid Recovery Ultra Nourishing Deep Treatment, which will be available in February. This creamy formula helps to reinforce a smooth, tangle-free curl. Take a wide-tooth comb and approach your curls section by section, combing out the underneath layers before approaching the crown. This weekly treatment and detangling session will help to keep those hyper-spiraling helixes in check!

Q: I have a question about breakage. Earlier this year, a hairstylist told me that my hair had broken off on my right side, right in the middle. I then noticed breakage at the top of my scalp as well. Now it seems that the breakage on the right side is growing in, but the hair on the top of my head is not growing and it seems to be causing breakage on the strands around it. And that patch of broken hair seems to be getting bigger. My first thought was to get my hair braided (cornrows) to give it a rest from wearing it out all of the time. Then I thought that maybe I just need a trim. I guess I noticed the great divide (what I call it) last summer ('05), but I don't think there was any breakage then. It just seemed like my hair is growing funny. I've had to cut my hair so many times in my life because of breakage, but that was when I had a relaxer and couldn't afford to keep it up. I don't understand why or how my hair is breaking now, and I don't know what to do about it.

Branch: You need to find out the source of your breakage. Natural hair is often more fragile than relaxed hair because there can be more friction between curly natural strands than relaxed strands that have been chemically smoothed out. A lot of people are under the misconception that natural hair is easier to manage. To the contrary, you have to be more careful with natural hair. The strands tend to dry out easier, creating "crunchy breakage". The key is to handle it carefully and to use products that moisturize, penetrate and create a more slip 'n slide on the surface of the hair shaft. This helps to minimize breakage. Miss Jessie's Curly Buttercreme and Baby Buttercreme are excellent penetrating moisturizing creamy balms that hydrate the strand and help minimize friction which can cause breakage.

Q: I'm considering cutting my locks and going back to a loose, natural style. I did the big cut back in July '99 and started locking in March 2001. Do you have any tips or suggestions that can help me make up my mind? I will always be natural, and am just trying to decide if I have the time to go back to a loose natural style.

Branch: Many people are cutting their locs and opting for a loose, natural style. Most often, they just want a change. Locs are beautiful and versatile but after having them for so many years, you may just want to do something different. You make a good point when you question whether you "have the time to go back to a loose, natural style" It can be an adjustment. With locs, you had to do virtually nothing. Cut the locs and now you have to "style" your natural hair in some way. The questions you may want to ask yourself include:
Why do I want to cut the locs?Am I willing to commit to spending more time on my hair once I cut them?Once I cut the locs, what am I expecting my hair to look like?How much time am I willing to spend on my natural hair?The answers will help you make your decision. If you are willing to spend about 20 minutes on your hair daily, I would say cut them. Those 20 minutes will be spent on applying product and lightly twisting your hair in small sections. If you are not committed to spending a lot of time but you still want to cut them, then the range of styling options (and results) are more limited. The answer lies within you.

Q: I've just started to transition, and last week I asked my regular stylist for a twist set. She proceeded to to put six different types of product on my hair and spray it with hairspray before putting me under the dryer. The end result was a sticky mess that included gel crusted around the front of my head. My stylist is good at regular blow-outs, but I think transitioning is beyond the scope of her abilities. Based on the conversations with other stylists in the area, natural hair care isn't that big. Most people deal with relaxed hair, looser curly hair or hair that needs to be pressed. Is it me or do a majority of stylists simply do not know how to deal with tightly coiled hair?

Branch: You have observed something all too common in the hair industry. Natural hair styling requires a lot of expertise. and often a lot of labor. Some stylists just don't want to do the work that may be required to make natural hair look great. So they don't invest their time and energy in the skill set that is required to work with natural hair. Even if you live in a city like New York, Washington DC or Atlanta where there are emerging natural stylists, you still have to seek them out. My best advice is to get referrals. Web sites like NaturallyCurly.com are a great source of information for finding solid, qualified, natural stylists.

Q: Is there something I could use to get great curl definition with out the crunch I get using gel?

Branch:: Absolutely. I love Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding and Curly Meringue. The key is the application. Apply to damp hair. Whatever you use, you have to smooth it on in the direction that the hair grows from root to end. Air drying is helpful, too, because a minimal amount of moisture remains in your curl preventing that dry crunch!

Q: My hair is a mix between 3b/3c -- more 3c than 3b. I'm transitioning, but there's still some relaxer in it. I want to know if there's any way to get ringlets without having to use a curling iron? If so, how would it work?

Branch: It depends on your texture. Is the relaxer on the ends? If so, you will be hard pressed to create an optimized ringlet without a curling iron. Another option would be a damp set. Take small sections, pin curl them, and dry with a diffuser or overhead dryer. Yet another option is to take sections and do a slightly damp twist. Sit under an overhead dryer for 20 minutes and untwist. The bottom line is that you have to manually manipulate your hair to get it to form a ringlet curl if it doesn't have one on its own.

Q: I have 3c hair (I think) and am in need of some help. I'm having a problem with my hair matting whenever I wear it out. My poor boyfriend had to help me YANK out balls of matted hair last week. Do you have any suggestions on how to prevent it?

Branch: Deep condition and detangle every week. But most important, it sounds like you need a good trim. Uneven strands are great candidates for matting into balls. Healthy chunky strands are not. It's time for a good haircut!

0 Comments
when two strand twisting is it best to twist wet or dry with any kind of product
I cut my perm out, my hair is is about 2 1/2 to 3in when pulled out, how do I keep my hair pulled out? and what products can I use to keep it soft. I am using miss jessie bbc but it does no good for shine or frizz, when i put my hair in two strand twist and when twist out it's still course,frizzie and dull. I have type 4b thank you twenny wenny afro

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