Dear Rebecca: I had my last relaxer in May ’08, and big chopped on August 1, 2009. In between that period, I only professionally had my hair blown out and flat ironed 3 times. The reason I said that, is to rule out heat damage. Now, I have about a 4 inch x 4 inch patch of hair smack dab in the front of my head (bang area) that will not bend. The rest of my hair will curl. I’m open to all suggestions to help me fix this.

A: Unfortunately, this can be due to your natural growth and curl patterns. For example, some people’s hair grows faster on the right side than the left. Others, like you, experience varying curl patterns (kinky, curly, wavy, and straight) from area of the head to another. And you may not know this. But heat damage can still occur with limited usage. Too high heat can permanently straighten hair.

To achieve a more consistent curl or wave pattern, try manipulating wet hair with a foaming mousse like Design Essentials Compositions. Work the mousse into your hair, and set the curl with a diffuser on a low heat setting. This will help enhance and force the wave or curl pattern in your hair to create a more even, defined texture.

Dear Rebecca: I feel like I have too much hair. My hair is very dense and dry, and "underneath" my hair gets really tight, dry, and knotted. Another thing is, even though I have kind of fine hair I feel like I have too many individual hairs on my head. But I feel like even when my hair is soaking wet, it's not REALLY wet and just the top got wet. I've tried texturizing my hair and that just made my hair curlier than I wanted and when it grew out it looked really fuzzy and still dense, dry, and too many hairs. I haven't texturized my hair in about a year. Thoughts?

A: Think moisture, moisture, and more moisture. Typically, dry or damaged hair lacks moisture, and the lack of moisture can cause the hair cuticle to become rough. Rough hair tangles easily and creates knots, which is what you have experienced.

Start with intensive moisture maintenance and treatments. I always recommend starting with a good cleansing shampoo like Design Essentials Organic Cleanse Deep Cleansing Shampoo. Organic Cleanse gently removes buildup from the hair, without stripping or drying the hair. Then follow with a moisture intensive shampoo like Design Essentials Moisture Retention which helps to re-nourish the hair with conditioning agents. Finally, towel dry the hair (so it’s better prepared to receive moisture), then apply a deep moisturizing conditioner like Design Essentials Stimulations Super Moisturizing Conditioner. Proceed to comb through the hair starting at the ends and working to the roots. Follow by placing a plastic cap on the head, or wrapping the hair with plastic wrap. Allow the conditioner to penetrate for about 10-15 minutes, rinse with Luke Warm - COOL water which will help close the cuticle and lock in the moisture. Initially, I suggest applying this treatment every other week for about 2 months or until your hair feels soft, and more manageable. When you are ready I would recommend a good cut, this will help to remove those dry, frizzy ends, and rejuvenate the curl pattern you have. Don’t think I’m recommending a serious cut. 1 to 2 inches off should give you a good shape.

Begin the styling process by applying a leave in conditioner to your hair while wet. Leave in conditioners help the hair to better absorb styling products, and also work as a thermal protectant against heated styling tools. Try Design Essentials Therapeutics Leave-In Hydrating Conditioner. It’s a great product that helps detangle, and add moisture back to the hair.

Lastly learn to love your strands!!! You can create a variety of looks with “too much hair”. Experiment with several styles until you find one that works for your lifestyle and personality. Be sure to maintain your styles by sleeping in a satin bonnet. Rejuvenate your curl on a needed basis with a product like Design Essentials Silk Essentials. Silk Essentials adds moisture, shine, and eliminates flyaways.

Dear Rebecca: Is mineral oil bad? Why or why not?

A: I’m sure you’ve noticed there is lots of conflicting information about mineral oil. Mineral oil in hair care products work as a moisture sealing agent. According to our chemist, mineral oil is an Eclusion. This means it seals the hair shaft after it has absorbed all the necessary moisture and protein from conditioners or conditioning agents. Not surprisingly, mineral oil can be very beneficial to extremely curly hair because the various coils on excessively curly hair prevent natural oils from traveling down the entire strand.

Typically the negatives of mineral oil come from over usage of a product that contains mineral oil. Just like anything when you overuse a product, you may find that the hair isn’t as manageable. So always keep that in mind, a little product can go a long way.