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Happy new year, curly beauties.

We are happy to announce that after a few changes, and some wonderful additions, the Diane Da Costa’s American Beauty Tour is launching on March 16 in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time to come out and truly see what texture is all about. This one-of-a-kind event will feature my techniques and top stylists executing makeovers on winners to completely transform “everyday women” into textured Divas, right before your eyes.

As if that weren't enough, audience members will have the privilege of interacting with our esteemed beauty editor panelists, discovering all the beauty insider secrets needed to revamp or optimize their own look. And we have a little something for the product junkies. Everyone will receive a goody bag filled with the fiercest arsenal to totally transform your look at home, including luxury hair products, makeup, and an autographed copy of my book, "Textured Tresses".

This beauty experience is meant to enhance all women’s lives from the inside out. The American Beauty Tour has partnered with DIVABETICS to enrich the lives of women with diabetes, giving them the opportunity to participate in the tour while experiencing total inner and outer beauty transformations. In addition, I will host a Charity Benefit Silent Auction and Cocktail Party held in New York, March 10, 2008. All are welcome! Proceeds will go to the American Diabetes Association. This is one of the best beauty events of the year! For more information and details on how to purchase tickets, go to www.ddabtour.com.

Naturally Curly FAQ

Q: I want to grow my hair out. It's very short, and when it grows out, I want to have a textured curly look without the chemicals. What products do you suggest for beginners? My hair is very, very coarse.

Diane: The first routine to incorporate into your hair care regime is to cleanse and condition your with nourishing and hydrating product that soften your very course texture. You can grow out your short hair with twists, coils and/or extension braids until you have enough hair to style into a longer curl pattern. Use moisturizing products like, Jane Carter Nourish & Shine to add moisture and shine to your curly coif. However, if your curl pattern is very tight and you want more manageability and length as your hair grows longer, you might consider a softener that contains no-lye (sodium or calcium hydroxide), like, PhytoSpecific Beauty Relaxer, a non-chemical, non-irritating, odorless relaxing process.

Q: I have natural hair right now. My hair is very kinky, and I was wondering how can i mold it into a curly/puffy look without using chemicals. I'm going for the Kelis puffy hair look.M

Diane: The best way to achieve texture on tightly coiled hair is by setting your hair with a natural set, such as a flat-twist or two-strand twist-out. You can find more styles in my book, "Textured Tresses." After cleansing and conditioning with hydrating products like Kerastase Oleo-Curl Vita Lait, apply a setting foam, such as Jane Carter Wrap & Roll. Then twist with Nourish & Shine for more hold.

Q: I'm thinking of trying henna. My current color is growing out and I don't want to do highlights anymore. What do you think?

Diane: Pure Henna is a natural powder used to color hair and comes in a red-orange color. Other natural plant dyes are mixed with henna powder to create many different colors. Henna is considered a rinse and will wash out of the hair over a period of time when you shampoo. Henna does not lift and cannot create lighter hues on dark hair, whether black, dark brown or brown. If the hair is lighter – light brown, dark blondes etc. – then you will see lighter results. Natural pure henna does not have metals or lead, and does not “coat the hair." Natural Henna leaves the hair thick, strong and silky! Only pre-made boxes of “henna colors” have toxic metals that can damage and dry out the hair. Combining hair bleach, permanent hair color, and permanent wave solution can be a disastrous combination with compound (metallic salt) henna dyes. These can result in green or purple shades and can dry out and break the hair shaft. Therefore, it is important to only use pure natural henna with pre-existing chemical processes. You may also try semi-permanent hair colors, without ammonia or peroxide, that will create an even tone and blend the old color with your new growth.

Q: I'm concerned about the kinky/curly parts of my hair. I was combing my hair today and I noticed that some parts of my individual strands were thinner than others. It's thin enough to notice with my naked eye. I was starting to get a little freaked. But I was running late so I said a quick prayer and ran out the door. Is that normal? should I be worried? What can I do to fix that?

Diane: It's hard to say since I don't have many facts. However, I venture to say you might have dry, brittle hair from a lack of conditioning with a hydrating conditioner. Instead you might be using a protein-based conditioner that is inappropriate for curly textured hair. Also, if you have split ends, you are overdue for a trim and this may have caused your breakage from combing through your tresses with a thin- tooth comb. Textured hair should only be combed with a wide-tooth comb. Again, take the time to condition and trim your hair, and use products that moisturize the hair with nourishing and hydrating ingredients.

Q: I'm protein-sensitive so I try to stay away from them. But I think my hair needs some protein (It just feels all mushy). Any suggestions for mild protein treatments?

Diane:Actually, naturally curly hair does not require a lot of protein at all. You should be conditioning your hair with botanical and essential oils and with hydrating and nourishing conditions like PhytoSpecific Nourishing Conditioners. Protein actually repairs brittle and over-processed hair. Then you must follow up with a leave-in conditioner to soften the hair. Protein will harden soft, cottony hair, and eventually the hair shaft will begin to break.

Q: I have 4b hair and want to do a wet set. What products smooth the hair and give good results when used for setting? How long do roller set curls last on a 4b coil, and do you use rollers or flexible perm rods for denser coils? Also, can cottony hair types do wet sets or do they have to do dry sets post flat-ironing?

Diane:Type 4b curl or cottony tight coils will not retain wet sets with rollers effectively. If you want to achieve a curly look with a wet set, then you can create soft curls with small, medium or large hard rollers. depending on your length. However, you probably will have to use a flat iron to smooth the roller marks out of the curl. A better method would be to create a soft curl with the coil-out and twist-out set, or wrap flat, dry under a dryer and curl with a flat iron or curling iron. My book, "Textured Tresses," has step-by-step instructions to help you learn these sets. All sets should last about 5-10 days, unless you have contact with any water or workout activities that produce perspiration. Some letting lotions and foams that work well are Jane Carters Solution Wrap & Roll, Design Essentials Setting Foam and Mizani Styling Products.

Q: I'm transitioning, and I'm finding it hard to keep both textures happy at the moment. I understand why some of us get frustrated and do the "Big Chop" only a few months in, but I'm not ready for that yet. My new growth is really moisture thirsty, but the relaxed ends aren't. Ideally, I'd like to wash/wet my hair everyday, but when I comb my hair while it's wet, I'm getting too much breakage from the relaxed part. How can I minimize this damage? I'd like to hang onto the relaxed part until I'm ready to part with it. I can see it's thinning already. My hair is thick and coarse. I also have to use a hairdryer with a diffuser because my hair just won't air dry at all.

Diane: While you want to hold on to your relaxed hair, it is really not benefiting your style or length if it is breaking. Transitioning can be tricky! However, you should not try to wear the wash and wear look quite yet, unless you are prepared to part with the relaxed hair. Wetting the hair every day with water can dry out the hair more than anything else. Try misting the hair with a leave-in conditioner like, Jane Carter Solutions Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner Two textures have to be treated differently at the same time. The natural texture must have conditioning treatments designed for natural hair. That means using botanical hydrating and moisturizing conditioners. Then use protein moisturizing conditioners for the relaxed hair that is breaking and shedding. This can be a quite a bit of work. You might find it much easier to finally let go. However, if you're really not ready, you should create curly sets with rods, flat-twists or two-strand twists.Then create the twist out. These styles don't require wetting the hair everyday, and last at least 7-10 days. There are also curly hair extensions that can help you transition easily as you wear a fabulous curly style and grow out your healthy hair.

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