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It’s finally spring, and it’s time to let your curls down. Let them flow freely and bounce, bounce, bounce. As we enter into the spring and summer months and receive fresh new makeovers, moisturize your thirsty tresses with a Tai Botanical Treatment -- a steam vapor dryer treatment and refresh daily with Tai Texture LavenderMist (now available in CurlMart) to revive and refresh hair and skin.

Q: I have two questions. I have a relaxer, but after washing my hair it becomes wavy/kinky curly. Is there anything that I can use in my hair to help retain and increase the curl and keep it moisturized? And, my 6-month-old son has thick, gorgeous, curly (almost corkscrew curly) hair. I am looking for something that will help me comb, moisturize and keep the curl. He has a patch that, for some reason, gets drier than the rest of his hair. As he is so young, I am unsure of what to use that contains fewer chemicals, is more natural and is safe for his young age. Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated!

Diane: Anytime you can still maintain a deep wave pattern when wet, it is considered a texturizer -- a technique, which softens and elongates the natural wave for more manageability. This is a very good thing, because you are able to wear your hair curly or blow dry and flat-iron it to wear it straight. First, always use a spray or liquid leave-in conditioner to moisten the hair. Then you can use any curl booster product on the market for curl enhancing or control. Try Aveda Be Curly, MOP Pomade Mist, Cutler Curling Cream or Jessicurl Confident Coils. To keep your hair curly and moist throughout the day, try my Tai-Texture Lavender Mist. Just mist throughout the day to defrizz tresses. And for your gorgeous son, try a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner (call CurlMart for help selecting one specifically for your son: 888-249-9250). Then detangle with a wide-tooth comb. This is very important, and will start the softening process. Afterward, follow up with a spray leave-in conditioner and top it off with a botanical oil to lubricate and moisturize. No chemicals required!

Q: I am a new mom and my 8-month-old has a head full of thick, curly hair. She is not bi-racial, but African American. Her hair is constantly tangled and dry. I don't know how to style her hair. I wash her hair once a week just so it can be manageable for me to comb through and put ponytails in. But the ponytails do not last long due to frizzing, and some of the ponytail holders slip off her soft hair. When I braid her hair, the braids stick out in numerous directions. What is the best way for me to care for her hair? What products, combs, brushes, detanglers, conditioners (wash out or leave-in), hair accessories, hair styles, etc.? Should I wait until she is older before I use certain products on her hair? I have searched the web endlessly for help with my daughter's hair. I hope you have a solution for me.

Diane: Your daughter's hair sounds like what many African Americans dream of – soft, curly hair. When she grows up, she will be able to wear it free and flowing without any chemicals. For now, it’s a matter of products, tools and techniques. If the hair is soft, but dry and tangled, the best solution is to find products that are botanical in nature, and that are specifically formulated to moisten and detangle curly hair. There are a wide range of products available for children. Please have a look in CurlMart to see some of the available products (or call 888-249-9250 for guidance). Try a brush that is made from soft boar bristles, and detangle with a wide-tooth comb first on damp or wet hair. This method will apply less pressure on the scalp. Also, you can appreciate her curly hair and let it stay loose with control by using a leave-in conditioner first. Then apply a light, natural gel made from aloe vera. I think my book "Textured Tresses" will help you understand your daughter’s hair as well as provide tips on maintenance and hair care for her texture now and as she gets older. The two-strand twist – large or small – will work well for weekly styles, and is very manageable. Good luck!

Q: I went to a salon to get a trim and they combed my two-textured hair with a rat-tail comb. She did it in small rows before she trimmed it, but I hardly ever use my rat-tail comb. I was thinking she may have pulled some of my hair out. I'm scared to death to see what my hair will look like when I take down my cornrows. What do you think of rat-tail combs? If you use them, what do you use them for?

Diane: I never recommend using a fine rat-tail comb on curly hair. These combs are usually used for very fine hair, and for styling and teasing hair. Always use a wide-toothed comb on curly or coily hair. These combs detangle, and can be used for parting and separating. You probably have lost a few strands, however I wouldn’t be too concerned unless you felt extreme pulling and pain during the process. If she cut your hair while it was in the braids, you definitely will have an uneven shape. You might want to get a full shape with your hair blown out for even tresses.

Q:: Right now I am using Smooth 'n Shine strong hold curling mousse because I want my natural curls. But I find that after I apply it to my hair when it's wet and I let it air dry, it becomes more frizzy than curly after a couple of hours. I was wondering if there's something else I should be doing so that my hair can stay curly without becoming frizzy and poufy. Please help! I want my hair to be able to look nice without blowdrying it.

Diane: If you are experience a lot of frizz, this product might contain alcohol. There are many mousses, curl boosters and curl rejuvenators on the market, but remember to avoid products with alcohol. Try The Jane Carter Solution Condition & Sculpt, Foam Set & Wrap or Vavoom Mouse or Redkin’s Curl products. Tai Texture will launch curl crèmes and gels in September 2006.

Q: I will remove my cornrows this week to be redone this Friday. I had this set of cornrows approximately 2 1/2 weeks. There is buildup. I would like to do a pre-poo/deep conditioning treatment overnight that I read about on NaturallyCurly.com (w/conditioner, oils, honey, etc.) But, since I have buildup, will the pre-poo treatment be effective? Should I shampoo or at least lightly mist the hair and then apply the pre-poo? Should I do a clarifying treatment such as an apple cider vinegar rinse?

Diane: Please don’t mix different methods. All routines aren't always effective. First, if you have build up, it is very important to cleanse the scalp thoroughly. You might be able to rinse or cleanse once before your treatment. However, if you have heavy build up, always cleanse with a detoxifying or clarifying shampoo like Paul Mitchell Tea Tree shampoo, and follow with a moisturizing shampoo to soften the hair. Afterward, do a deep conditioning treatment, or the pre-poo deep conditioner, etc.If you don’t have build up – try a detoxifying oil, like Tai Texture Botanical Treatment, as a natural cleanser for the scalp. Apply to the scalp, massage the scalp, then rinse thoroughly. Follow with your pre-poo deep conditioner or any deep conditioning treatment. Botanical oils naturally remove all toxins and allow the natural sebum to flow freely. You must always cleanse the scalp before deep conditioning if there is build-up or if you have waited over a week and a half weeks to cleanse. Never clarify with apple cider. If your hair is curly or coily, you will dry out your natural sebum and the hair will become brittle. During the braiding process, it is very imperative to condition the hair while in braids or cornrows with deep conditioners before and after as well as to use liquid leave-in products and botanical moisturizers during the resting period that braids provide.

Q:: My hair is long enough and I'd really like to wear it down. But my new growth is killing me. My hair grew a few inches since my last relaxer, and the new curls are tighter than the relaxed, so this looks really dorky when I wear my hair open. I can't leave the house without at least a hair circlet or I'd have to do a straw set, which takes hours. And braiding looks dorky too because I don't have much hair.

Diane: Please pick up my book "Textured Tresses," which will assist you in styling your hair as you grow out your relaxer. There is a very easy set called the Flat Twist set, which will allow you to wear your hair loose between shampoos. Also, while you grow out your relaxer, use the following technique to straighten the new growth: Dry hair under a dryer to release moisture, lightly blow-dry it, and then straighten with a ceramic iron. That way. you are able to keep the straight look while you grow out your relaxer.

Q: My goal is to have flowing dry, curly locks like Holly Robinson-Peete's hair -- not drippy or wet or slimy or gummy. I was told that a Wave Nouveau would work well rolled with spiral rods and using a mousse to keep the curls shiny, dry and flowing.

Diane: There are several ways to achieve this look. The Wave Nouveau is one of the older methods. Depending on the texture of your hair -- and whether or not you have a relaxer -- will determine if you can receive a Wave Nouveau. You might consider a texturizer or several natural sets, suggested in "Textured Tresses." Try some products like Tai Texture LavenderMist and Botanical treatment for leave-in conditioning, and oil treatments to achieve softer, more manageable hair.

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