How To Use Mango Butter for Hair Health and Shine

Raw Mango Butter -- 8 oz
BGLH Marketplace raw mango butter

By Alondra

Along with my handy-dandy shea butter, I’ve come across yet another natural product to add to the team: 100% All Natural Mango Butter. Now, I’ve always seen this butter listed as an ingredient in hair care products, but never had I seen it in its natural form until recently.

I’ll be completely honest. When I purchased it, I had no idea of exactly how to use it. I was completely lost and decided to do some research before I turned myself into a chemistry lab. Here’s what I found:

1. Mango butter is extracted from the kernels of the mango

2. Mango butter is an emollient and moisturizer and has a high content of fatty acids (this helps keep your skin moisturized and promotes cell regeneration)

3. It contains vitamins A, C, D, E, and group B vitamins: folic acid, calcium, iron, and magnesium (vitamins A, C, and E are known to be beneficial to hair)

4. It protects the skin from UV rays (this is also a great component for your hair to help decrease chances any possible sun damage)

5. It can hydrate the skin and hair for a long period of time (it can help balance the moisture in your hair for an even longer period of time)

I was completely impressed! I knew that mango butter had to be good for you, but honey, I didn’t know it was working with all that! I swear my mind was on overload thinking of all the ways I could use this for my hair AND skin. I didn’t know if I wanted to mix it, melt it, rub it or pour it…I was all over the place!

Raw Mango Butter -- 8 oz
BGLH Marketplace raw mango butter

Eventually, I decided that I would try it as a pre-poo/hot oil treatment…and in turn, I got my life! The process was really quick and easy. Below are the steps I took to create an amazing treatment:

  • I put some of the butter in another container to prepare it for melting. I then boiled some water, removed the pot from the stove and placed the container in the pot. (I removed the pot from the stove to ensure that the oil wouldn’t over heat). The butter melted pretty easily, I just stirred it a little bit and in a matter of minutes it had the consistency of melted coconut oil.
  • I then poured the butter into an applicator bottle to make the application process easier and less messy.
  • I first applied the butter directly to my scalp and massaged it in. I was really trying to reap the benefits of its moisturizing and cell regeneration attributes! I did this for about 3–5 minutes.
  • I then applied the butter down the length of my hair. I made sure to saturate the hair. Oh and I never used a hair tool. I just used my hands to get it all through the strands (and THAT just rhymed, baby I’ve got BARS…any who…)
  • I placed a plastic cap over my head and let the butter marinate. I planned on letting it sit for 30 minutes but I got sidetracked watching “Orange Is the New Black”…that show is everything, but I digress…
  • After I let it sit, I proceeded to shampoo my hair as I normally do. My hair was VERY manageable in the shower and it didn’t feel as stripped as it usually does. (I prefer sulfate shampoos over non-sulfate by the way)
  • Once my hair was clean, it was time for me to deep condition. One thing I will say, my hair did have a shine to it with no product and my curls weren’t frizzy or anything! It looked really moisturized so I was quite pleased. I knew then that the mango butter had done its magic.

To make a long story short, I ended up styling my hair as usual. My hair’s manageability, softness and sheen were ON POINT! I didn’t have to add any more moisture for about 3 days (compared to my normal 2). That’s not a significant amount of time; however it did last longer as the property list suggested.

Here’s my hair after it was all said and done! Oh and this was a twist out…

All in all, I give mango butter the “Yaassss” stamp of approval! If you’ve already tried mango butter for your hair, tell me how you used it and what you thought of it!

Click here to try our raw mango butter (pictured in the article above)
Click here to try our whipped mango butter (pictured below)

About Alondra: Joke telling, hair pick toting, life-living Southern Bell by way of Memphis, Tennessee. I’m a young,educated black woman pursuing dreams by day and a super hero by night; my powers reside in my mind. To state it simply, I plan to save the world one conversation at a time. @Color_Me_Diva @MyManeThang

Sources: https://www.nenonatural.com/hair-blog/what-is-mango-butter-what-are-its-benefits-to-natural-hair
http://mango-butter.com/

*This post was originally published on June 15, 2014

6 Incredibly Moisturizing Natural Hair Products From Black-Owned Brands

In keeping with our theme of hooking your beauty up routine during winter, I wanted to share some of my favorite natural hair products that have insane moisturizing properties. During winter, I make sure I stay away from humectants like glycerin (I explain why in the last video) and tend to use heavier products that pack more of a moisture punch.

  • Qhemet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee — Let me tell you, Qhemet has been giving my hair LIFE this winter. They’re products are so moisturizing and have absolutely amazing ingredients like ayurvedic herbs. They’re the perfect way to get into ayurveda without having to do drawn out treatments and mixing on your own. The Detangling Ghee has become a reclaimed favorite of mine for a leave-in or boost of moisture in between washes.
  • Qhemet Biologics Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee — If you want something lighter than the Detangling Ghee or you have fine hair, the Conditioning Ghee may be the way to go for you. However, even if you have coarser hair, the moisture will still be bomb. I can even use it to slick back a bun in lieu of gel (I mean no, it’s not going to be as slicked down as with gel but it’s soft and smooth).
  • Kinky Curly Curling Custard — Even though it’s sticky, I can’t deny that KCCC (the first natural hair product I ever used) gives a great dose of moisture and perfect for winter wash and gos. No drying glycerin and no weird ingredients will help your hair stay moisturized for days. If you have hair that touches your shoulders, you might want to wipe off the excess when your hair is half dry because it will leave a residue.
  • Hairizon You Go Curl! Gel — Hairizon’s gel to me is kind of like Kinky Curly’s little sister — a tad lighter but I get similar results. It definitely passed the 3-day hair test during summer and is just as good during winter. You can see my full review below.

  • Oyin Handmade Ginger Mint Cowash — This cowash is my new holy grail boo thang, it totally replaced my previous #1 HG, Devacurl Decadence. The thing is, in addition to the awesome moisture, you can detangle with it and it makes my hair feed slightly stronger when I use it. This is great because my hair is color treated. I absolutely love it!

  • Miche Indulge Deep Conditioner — We all know that deep conditioning is essential during winter, and Miche’s conditioner will do just that with its blend of emollients and oils. It does contain glycerin, but usually that’s fine even in winter as long as it’s rinsed out. It also used to be called Lush, but don’t get it twisted — the ingredients are the same and still dope.

For additional products and information about winter haircare, you can check out the video below. As you can see, winter haircare is a priority of mine, especially when the dew points are hitting single digits and the wind feels like knives on your face!

What are your favorite moisturizing products from black-owned brands? Leave them in the comments!

5 Instagram Gurus Who Focus on Healthy Natural Hair Regimens

Instagram is full of veteran naturals with drool worthy hair. Their photos are inspiring and encouraging, but some end there without giving much advice. Instagram can be a source for inspiration, but these 5 beauties also offer information and push a healthy hair narrative.

DayelaSoul

https://www.instagram.com/dayelasoul/

This beauty is known for her large, red ombre curls. She is the queen of roller sets and her hair is so full, that you can’ t tell the difference between her protective hair styles and her natural hair styles! She gives great advice on how to maintain the health of your hair and she’s big on locking in that moisture. Her followers respect the fact that she’s cautious about the advice that she gives. Want to see what products she loves? Follow #DaylaSoulReview to see her faves!

CoolCalmCurly

https://www.instagram.com/CoolCalmCurly/

AMerie is a beast with wash-n-go’s and perm rod sets. She gives great tips on how to stretch your wash-n-go and keep your curls poppin’. She doesn’t mind a little frizz and keeps her healthy hair routine very simple. A girl who can make a perm-rod set last 7 days is someone I want to know!

TriniVixen1127

https://www.instagram.com/TriniVixen1127/

After four years of growing and cutting her natural hair, Appolonia decided it was time to grow it long. She started training her hair to retain length by deep conditioning and doing two strand twist protective styles. It looks like her hair training paid off because her hair is flowing and healthy.

HuneyBflyy

Portia (that’s me!) is a natural hair veteran who has learned a lot on her journey. She doesn’t mind sharing her experiences with others and encourages them to embrace their kinks and curls. She recommends products to her followers and has the twist-out down to a science. Portia is big on moisture and prefers her fro to be free. She follows less natural hair styling trends and focuses more on the health of her natural hair.

TheImperfectNatural

https://www.instagram.com/theimperfectnatural/

Although Chanel is very versatile with her natural hair styles, she doesn’t skimp on healthy hair practices. She pays attention to her hair’s needs and adjusts her regimen as her hair changes. She is also big on communicating that there is no overnight hair growth pill. Retaining length through healthy hair practices is the key to her success.

Ladies, who are some of your favorite healthy hair Instagrammers.

3 Incredible Things That Happened When I Protective Styled with Crochet Braids for 6 Months

If you’ve been reading my posts you know that I’m a huge fan of crochet braids and any crochet style in general. I’m such a fan that I’ve been getting crochet styles since August 2017! For some that’s a long time to be without loose hair, but with my busy life, I needed a style that is pretty much get up and go. I don’t really have the time or energy to style my hair every morning — especially since my son started school — and crochet hair gives me the chance to feel and look great, while saving a lot of time. This is the longest I’ve kept in any protective style and my hair has thanked me in several ways.

Less Seborrheic Dermatitis Flare Ups

You are probably tired of hearing me talk about this topic, but if you have this same scalp issue, you may be intrigued. I’ve noticed that over time I have less seborrheic dermatitis flare ups. Even with the proper scalp treatments while my hair is loose, my scalp hasn’t been this clear. This is leading me to believe that the styling products I use on my natural hair may contribute to flare ups. Since putting my crochet style in, I’ve been focusing on my scalp and less on my actual hair – only applying medication and natural oils to my scalp every few days. In the future, I’m going to steer clear of putting products too close to my scalp, even after I get my sister locs.

My Hair is Noticeably Thicker

I didn’t think this was actually possible, but my hair is thicker! My hair isn’t thin by any means, but I’ve noticed a difference in the thickness of my hair, even towards the ends. Before each crochet install, I made sure to dust my ends and coat them with shea butter since your ends can get a little ratty when in protective styles (at least mine do). I also deep condition and do a hot oil treatment over night before my install. Additionally, instead of my usual blow dry, I detangled my hair and let it air dry in large twists. After drying I easily combed through each twist in preparation for my crochet style. I believe this regimen in between styles has contributed to an increase in thickness. Or maybe I was losing some hair all along and the protective style helped with replacing the strands? Either way, I’m diggin’ the results.

Hair Growth is Poppin’

I know this is probably a given for most, but for me, hair growth isn’t very noticeable after a month or two while my hair is loose. I need solid proof that follicles are stimulated and length is being retained. While in my crochet style, I’ve noticed an abundance of new growth. As I said, I haven’t been blow drying my hair lately, just air drying, and I can tell that my hair has grown a lot by where it hits on my shoulders. I’ve never struggled with hair growth in the past, but it’s always nice to have a little extra! My hair is not only getting larger (I have real afro hair and this is how I determine growth), but it’s also starting to grow down. I’m not used to my hair growing down and I’m almost certain it’s because my hair has quite a bit of growth.

I’m a twist out gal whose hair can stand the blow dryer, but my latest protective style has shown me that everyone’s mane can stand a long break from time to time. This is the longest I’ve worn a protective style and until I get my sister locs I will be making a habit of giving my hair long breaks. This break has me re-thinking my hair regimen and I’m going to be switching up a few products in the future. I’ll be spending more time on my scalp and less time on my hair. Sometimes you don’t realize what your hair needs until you simply leave it alone.

How do you give your natural hair a break? What benefits have you noticed?

From Flax to Pumpkin, How Seeds Can Promote Natural Hair Health

If you use stylers and gels, then you’ve probably heard of flax seed. Flax seed is full of Omega-3 essential fatty acids and other amazing nutrients and, when boiled, it creates a gel that can be used as a styler and definer. But gel is just one of the ways you can incorporate the super food into your hair regimen. The same goes for chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Take a look at the various ways you can use these in your natural hair regimen.

Chia Seeds

Like flax seeds, chia seeds create a gel when heated. They are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and contain 9 essential amino acids that promote stronger hair and nails including l-lysine, which is known to promote hair growth. Vlogger Jungle Naps took the plunge and made some chia seed gel for her hair. Although the gel wasn’t thick, she loved the results after using it on her 4C curls.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin has some pretty awesome benefits besides spicing up your latte or muffin. The seeds? Even more benefits! Pumpkin seeds can be made into an oil that is really beneficial to hair and scalp. Pumpkin seed oil is full of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help retain moisture in the on the scalp, skin, and hair. High amounts of zinc and vitamin E can be found as well. Vitamin E helps wounds heal faster (dermatitis suffers take note!) and zinc helps to keep an itchy scalp calm and flakes at bay.  Check out this pumpkin seed hot oil treatment and hair mask by TwoLaLa.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seed oil isn’t just for cooking! Applying the light oil to your scalp can improve its health by preventing breakage and promoting hair growth. You can thank the protein, magnesium, and oleic acid the seeds contain. The oil also reduces frizz because of its deep moisturizing properties. This video by Conecia explains how sunflower seed oil can promote hair growth.

Flax Seeds 

Gel is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you hear flax seeds. Flax seed gel is really good for styling and smoothing down edges, but it also has great moisturizing properties and leaves the hair looking shiny. Flax seed oil is also an option for your hair if gel isn’t your thing. It decreases dry scalp and increase the elasticity of hair. You can thank the Omega-3 fatty acids in the flax seeds for that. This tutorial by PrettieMajor shows how you can use flax seeds for a wash and go.

Ladies, how do you use seeds in your hair regimen? 

I Went Ahead and Tried the Vicks VapoRub on My Natural Hair. Here’s What Happened.

When I heard that ladies were using Vicks VapoRub to stimulate hair growth, I just had to test it out myself. I had to see what all the hype was about and if you could really get incredible growth after applying it to your scalp.

Lately, my hair has been hidden under a head full of crochet hair. I’ve had my hair in a crochet style since August and plan on keeping it that way until I see fit. However, before my latest install, I decided to apply the generic version of Vicks VapoRub (Walmart’s Equate version) to my scalp and hair line. After I let my hair air dry and picked it out, I applied the ointment. The minute it touched my scalp, I felt the expected cooling sensation. My scalp felt as if it was getting extra air (if that makes sense), as though a cool ocean breeze was running through my hair. I loved the feeling and I could tell that my pores were wide open. I probably should have done a patch test first, but even after sleeping with ointment on my scalp overnight, I had no negative reactions.

Once my new crochet style was put in, I noticed that my scalp felt a lot less itchy. I usually have an itchy scalp for a few days after I get any kind of protective style, but not this time. My scalp truly felt amazing and didn’t smell of Vicks. I know this for a fact because I asked my stylist if she smelled anything strong on my hair and she said no. This means that the smell must have dissipated overnight.

During week 1 of my crochet style.

Almost a week and a half after applying the ointment, I noticed that my scalp was a bit grimy. My scalp was getting dirty a lot sooner than it would have if I didn’t use the Vicks. I always used coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil on my scalp every few days, but that wasn’t what was making my scalp feel dirty. The only difference in my routine was the ointment. It wasn’t awful, but I definitely noticed. I wasn’t too surprised that my scalp was dirty because Vicks has petroleum in it, which in my experience, attracts unwanted dirt and debris. After realizing this, I wanted to wash my scalp, but I didn’t because I still wanted to see if Vicks VapoRub promotes hair growth. If I washed my hair, the water would naturally expose my new growth by swelling my hair and I didn’t want that.

After 3 weeks, I noticed that my new growth appeared to be a lot thicker than what I was used to at that stage.  It looked like my crochet style had been in for 6 weeks, not 3 weeks. I really wasn’t expecting such a drastic difference, but there was no denying it. My cornrows were super visible and the crochet hair looked pushed back.

3 weeks after applying the generic Vicks VapoRub.

Overall, it was exciting to actually see real results from my experiment. I thought the women who reviewed the product were either exaggerating or plain old lying. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were telling the truth. Vicks VapoRub can help promote hair growth ya’ll. I’m not sure if I would have had the same results if my hair was loose, but it definitely was a sight to see with my protective style.

Would I try it again? Probably not. I didn’t like the fact that my scalp seemed to attract dirt. I also realized that if I want to extend my hair growth journey, then it’s probably best to just mix up a batch of the active ingredients that are in Vicks VapoRub and call it a day. I’m sure I can get the same results with a concoction that is a lot more natural. Take a look at this recipe that I found below!

DIY: Vicks VapoRub Recipe

  • 12 drops of eucalyptus, rosemary or peppermint
  • 12 drops of lavender or tea tree
  • 12 drops of fir needle, spruce or pine
  • 2 tablespoons of shea butter

In a double boiler (or a stainless steel bowl set in side a pot of boiling water), gently melt shea butter. As soon as it is completely melted, remove it from heat and stir in the essential oils. Transfer the mixture to a container with a tight fitting lid and store in a cool area when not in use.

And there you have it! What do you think of my little adventure?

Bananas, Horse Oil and Vicks VapoRub: My Review of 5 of the Weirdest Hair Treatments I’ve Tried

I’ve been natural for over 11 years, and within that time I’ve tried a lot of weird recipes and products on my hair. Some of the things I’ve used have worked wonderfully and others left me wishing I never attempted them. Here is my review of 5 of the weirdest hair treatments I’ve tried.

Shapely’s Original MTG Oil… for Horses
This oil was never intended for human use. If you go to Shapely’s website, you’ll see that the original oil was intended for horses with skin infections, as well as thinning manes and tails. It doesn’t sound like something you would use on a human, but the owner once emailed a customer stating that the products are safe for humans and that she uses their line of shampoos and conditioners for her tail bone length hair.

I stumbled across the product after a year and a half of being natural. I was reading up on hair growth and was desperate for anything that would speed up the process of my awkward stage. Reviews stated that MTG oil gave them excellent hair growth, so I purchased a bottle and used it for one month before I formulated an opinion. Obviously, my hair didn’t grow at the rate I expected. There really is no overnight hair growth pill or potion.

However, I did notice that my seborrhea dermatitis was calm and my scalp didn’t itch. Because it smelled like bacon (yes, you read correctly), I decided to stop using it regularly. But I still use it when I have a protective in (box braids, crochet, etc.), as it keeps the flakes and itchies at bay. To combat the smell, I put a few drops of peppermint and eucalyptus oil in the MTG oil before I apply it to my scalp. Now, the company has created a version of the original MTG oil that has more of an herbal smell. Even though hair growth wasn’t evident, the product was still a triumph for me.

Bananas
I’m not sure if you guys have heard of E’tae’s Carmel Treatment, but I used to use the product once upon a time. It made my hair soft and super moisturized. Before E’tae started selling their products in stores, you could only purchase online. One day, I decided that I didn’t want to wait for the caramel treatment to arrive in the mail (they sometimes had backed up orders) and decided to create my own. How hard could it be? After all, I found a recipe online that seemed fool proof.

The recipe called for bananas, olive oil, and molasses. I put it all in a blender and slathered it on my head. When I tell y’all this was a MISTAKE. Instead of incredibly soft and manageable hair, I ended up with dry hair that had tiny bits of banana still in it. I tried to pick it out, but that didn’t work. I also tried washing it again, but the banana was still there. I ended up having to leave it in there and just wait until the banana eventually washed out. This was an absolute fail.

Lemon Juice Hair Cleanser
I usually stick to VO5’s clarifying shampoo when I want a deep clean. After watching Chescalocs and her deep cleaning hair regimen for her locs, I decided to try something different. The ingredients for the hair cleanser looked like a recipe for dry and hard hair – lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and salt. I decided to give it a try anyway. I mixed all the ingredients in the sink with water and sat my hair in the mixture for about 10 minutes. Not really expecting it to work, I was shocked when I lifted my head to see a sink full of brown water. The cleanser removed a lot of build-up and left me with squeaky clean hair. I followed up with a deep conditioning and hot oil treatment. My hair felt very lightweight after drying and styling. This recipe was a total win for me. Check out the tutorial below!

Mayonnaise and Egg Protein Treatment
I once blended mayonnaise, eggs, and vinegar (white) and applied it to my hair. Why? Because I was convinced that I absolutely needed a protein treatment and the only way to do it was to do it was with a natural recipe. When I think of how my hair reacted after trying this recipe, the word solid comes to mind. My hair was an actual steel wool pad. Not only did my hair smell like vinegar, but I had pieces of egg in my hair because the water was too hot when I was rinsing it out. Did I mention that I left this foolishness in my hair for 30 minutes? I think the white vinegar is what left my hair so hard, but at the time, I knew nothing about natural hair. I’m not sure if this is a fail for everyone, but it was definitely a fail for me.

Honorable Mention: Vicks VapoRub
You might have read our post about women who use Vicks VapoRub to re-grow their edges. While reading through reviews, I noticed that women were saying the ointment can relieve an itchy scalp. I decided to test it out before I had my crochet hair installed. I applied a thin layer to my scalp and was pleasantly surprised. My scalp felt open and cool. I also noticed that my scalp didn’t itch after I had my crochet braids installed. I was thinking about applying the ointment before every install, but then remembered that the active ingredients (eucalyptus, camphor, lavender, and menthol) are probably what contribute to keeping the scalp itch free. IF you want the same results, you can easily purchase the active ingredients and create your own mixture at home. However, the Vicks VapoRub ointment would be less expensive. Not a fail, but not necessarily a triumph for me either.

What odd products/recipes have you tried on your hair? Were they triumphs or fails? 

How I Fit Natural Hair Care Into My Crazy Life as a Working Professional, New Mom and Grad Student Completing Her Dissertation

When I first went natural, I had all the time in the world. I was unmarried and had no children. I was finished with school. I worked a “9 to 5” job, which meant my weekday evenings and weekends were typically free. Thus, spending a full day or two – or three – on my hair was very realistic and doable. I could experiment – literally – with mini twists today then change my mind and try a completely different style tomorrow.

Me, my niece, and my hair.

Fast forward to today, and every minute – no, every second – counts. I work in a challenging, fast-paced career (that I love). I am also a mom to a newborn who depends on my husband and me – but mostly me – to eat, sleep, and overall, to live. Additionally, I’m completing my dissertation so that I don’t stay in the A.B.D. (code for, “all but dissertation”) category any longer. That all being said: “What time for hair?”

Somehow, someway I manage to keep my natural hair from looking a natural mess and suffering from little care. Moreover, believe it or not, it requires little effort from me on a daily basis. At the bare minimum, I spend less than an hour on my hair once every three to four weeks. But this juggling of natural hair care and life did not happen overnight. It has been a few years in the making.

1: Wash every 3 to 4 weeks – with no shampoo and no deep conditioner though?

If I could get away with never washing my hair, I would, but it has got to get done. So I merge my washing and conditioning into one session to save on time. In the past, I have tried co-washing but that just results in residue buildup and leaves my scalp itchy over time. I have also tried shampoos that contain conditioners but they leave my hair drier than I’d like. So, what has worked for me has been a moisturizing but cleansing product like As I Am Cleansing Pudding. (Read my honest, unsponsored thoughts on As I Am Cleansing Pudding.) All in all, the washing process takes under an hour and there is no need to follow up with a deep conditioner. This partially has to do with the product and partially with how I maintain my hair throughout the month.

2: Twist my hair into 8 sections and 2 flat twists, then call it a style

Enough said? Once my hair has been washed, I allow it to airdry up to 70% dry in a few twists under a scarf. Then I moisturize and seal my hair with Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter and a homemade whipped butter, respectively. This is followed by styling my hair into eight jumbo twists (sometimes, less) with two flat twists in the front and wrapping it in a scarf for the day. From that moment until my next wash day, I wear the twists pinned up with Ficcare clips I bought years ago. (I don’t sleep with my hair pinned. I pin it up every morning in under a minute. Every night, I wrap a scarf around my twists to minimize frizz and dryness. Once a week, I re-touch the two flat twists in the front.)

Sleepy mom. My hair usually isn’t flat ironed for the hairstyle. However, I needed to give y’all a visual so I worked with what I had.

3: Switch it up every couple of months – got to keep it fresh

Every now and then, I need to switch up my hair style (temporarily) for my own sanity. However, even my switchups are kept low maintenance. One alternative I like to do is a twist out bang. The style will start with smaller twists in the front that are worn for a week or two followed by a week of twist outs in the front.

Another style I like to do, though not too often because of time, is flat-ironed double buns. The time-consuming part is the blow drying and flat ironing. However, once that is done, I just maintain the style by wrapping my hair nightly until the next wash day. I have literally taken off the wrap and gone into work without having to comb my hair.

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Ten Gripes Long-Haired Naturals Won’t Tell You


Before you read this post, I want to make one thing clear — I like my hair, and I like having long hair. If I truly couldn’t stand my hair, I would cut it without issue. This isn’t meant to be a “woe is me” post. I came up with it because I know so many women with shorter natural hair who often gripe about having short hair or tell me that they are anxious to have hair the same length as mine. All hair comes with some type of annoying little gripes here and there, so I think it’s important that we love our hair at each stage it’s in, because without a doubt, there will something that you miss when your hair changes.

Like, I didn’t love it when my fro started flopping over but it was still too short to look like anything more than a curly bowl cut, but at the same time it took less than a day to dry. And now, while the ease and convenience of a bun is unmatched, there are several annoying things about having long hair. We always see the grass as being greener on the other side, but the grass may be a different type and just as green. So here are the most aggravating things that I find about having long hair. This is also based on my routine and hair care practices, so not everyone will have these issues.

1. When a product doesn’t work on your hair, you can’t simply hop in the shower and redo it because it takes an hour to wash and style your hair, plus drying. When I was testing products with short hair, I redid my hair multiple times a day SO many times, it’s nearly impossible to count. I can’t do that at all now, because for one, it usually takes a couple of hours for me to realize that a combination isn’t drying so nicely and by that time, my schedule isn’t going to allow for a re-style. Also, who wants to use up that much water for multiple 45-minute showers?

2. Your hair won’t fit under your hooded dryer because it gets an indent as it grows. For a while, I thought my hooded dryer was the BEST! I sat under my dryer for an hour or so and my hair would be dry enough where I knew that it would finish drying during the day, especially at the roots because they dry last when I air dry. But when my hair got longer, the wet hair that fit inside the dryer obviously would dry quicker than what was left out, and it left this ugly dent in my hair that takes a lot of effort to scrunch out. I still use my dryer in a pinch, but diffusing is better for preventing that dent. You can see my dryer and diffuser in this video here:

3. First day hair often leaves your hair flat. With natural hair, you really shouldn’t be scrunching or fluffing your hair out until it is fully dry to prevent frizz and hold your curl shape. So with heavy, longer hair, wet cat hair might happen. It always takes my hair a day or two to get to a point where I like the volume when using a gel, so if I have plans I make a point to do my hair the day before so it’s dry and bigger. I don’t even bother filming on days with first day hair because someone will always comment on my hair looking thinner or flat.

First day hair (right) and second day hair (left). And it keeps getting bigger as the days go on.

4. It takes over 24 hours for your hair to dry. Now, I’ve had an issue with how long my hair takes to dry even with short hair because my hair is pretty low porosity, but with long hair, I find it 100x more annoying. I don’t even like to work out with wet hair so a lot of the time I don’t work out on styling days, or I won’t even leave the house until my ends stop dripping on my clothes so I’m not out in public looking like I got caught in the rain. And sometimes, depending on humidity and products used, it can take my hair three days to fully dry, and by that time I’m usually ready to re-style!

5. Multi-day hair is a must but the weather doesn’t always agree with you. Because of what I mentioned above, there’s just no way that I can do my hair everyday. My hair would always be wet and I’d spend 85% of my life in my “hair drying clothes.” I’ve gotten pretty good at my routine, but I can’t control rain, and on first day, semi-damp hair, the humidity affects it even more and sometimes hinders my goal for three-day hair at minimum. This is where longer hair does come in handy though, because it’s most likely going to be a bun day.

6. You use up products quickly and it can get expensive. I’m seeing more and more luxury natural hair lines pop up (meaning $25+ for most products), and I just can’t do it. Shampoos, pomades, and treatments I am usually okay with being more expensive, but I can’t use a $25 8oz gel or styler because it’s probably going to be gone in three uses. I even find myself running out of leave-in conditioner frequently and I’m lucky that I have some staples that I can buy locally.

7. Samples of anything are completely pointless if you’re testing a product on your hair. I said what I said, and I’ll say it again. I hate natural hair samples. I usually use something at minimum 3 times before I draw a conclusion about it, and samples just aren’t going to do it. Most I can barely use once on my whole head. And yes, I’m quite aware that a lot of samples are meant to be used once, but unless somethings is AH-MAZE-ING, I’m usually not going to buy a full size to keep testing it.

8. You can’t get dressed until your hair is somewhat dry unless you want to soak the top you’re wearing. See reference to “hair drying clothes” above. When I had short hair, even if it was wet, it wasn’t an issue. I sat at meetings with wet hair, went out with friends with wet hair…everything. Now when my hair is wet it’s like I’m banished from society (okay, I’m being dramatic) until it’s kind of dry, because it sits on my shirt/skin and makes everything wet. Sometimes I even shower again once my hair is half dry to rinse any gel/leave-in residue that’s on my shoulders, chest, and back.

9. Your hair has the ability to get more tangled in your sleep when it’s out, and if you put it in a bun, it gets stretched out. A couple of years ago I got into bunning while sleeping, and that was cool when my hair was a bit shorter and I couldn’t fit much in a bun. But now, unless the bun is very loose (and basically worthless), it stretches out my hair too much. On the other hand, if I sleep with it out, it’s always much more tangled on my next detangling/wash day. My night routine is currently a hot mess hybrid that includes two scarves and a hair hood.

10. Doing many natural hair styles on your hair can take forever. For instance, it takes me around 4 hours to flat iron my hair or do a set of twists. That’s why I rarely do them. When my hair was shorter, twists took maybe an hour and a half. Years ago, when my hair shorter but still past my shoulders, it took me 6–7 hours to do mini-twists on blown out hair. I was obsessed with the style but I’m too traumatized to attempt it again. I know that some people don’t mind and even find doing their hair therapeutic, but anything that takes longer than an hour has me at my wits end.

I was literally over the initiative at this point.

So yes, while long can be wonderful, it is certainly not without fault. If you’re on a grow out journey, love your shorter hair while you can, and have fun with it! I still regret not dyeing my TWA platinum blonde (which would have likely made more sense than to bleach my hair now).

What hair gripes do you have?

Co-Washing Instead of Shampooing, No Flat-Ironing and 3 Other Natural Hair ‘Rules’ I’ve Ditched

Ladies, how many times have you heard a new natural go down the list of natural hair don’ts like it’s the Bible? Now, how many of you were once that new natural? Don’t be embarrassed, I was once that natural too. I believed that everything I did to my hair while relaxed, was absolutely not allowed with my kinks, coils, and curls. Flat irons were the devil, blow dryers were a close second, and coloring/lightening my hair was out of the question. Now that I’ve been on this journey for a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that every natural hair commandment can be broken and nothing is ever set in stone. Here are 5 natural hair rules I’ve totally decided to ditch!

Co-washing is better than Shampooing

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this from both new and seasoned naturals. In fact, I was a sucker and fell for the co-washing, but I realized that my hair didn’t like it all that much. While co-washing was great for locking in moisture, my hair wasn’t clean. I have the kind of hair that traps everything that I put in it. So after a week of butters, oils, and gels, I need shampoo. Not just any shampoo, but shampoo with sulfates — think V05. Yes, I said it. I use shampoo with sulfates and my hair isn’t thirsty or brittle.

No flat ironing

This is another rule that should be ignored. I think it’s been proven over and over again that you can safely flat iron your hair without damaging your natural curl pattern. Of course if you flat iron every other day, damage will be a given. However, using a flat iron a few times per year shouldn’t create worry. As long as you prep your hair prior to flat ironing and use a gentle heat setting, you will be fine. Courtney Adeleye, CEO and creator of The Mane Choice, is famous for getting her beautiful natural hair flat ironed twice per year and her curl pattern always returns.

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

No tension styles for extended periods of time

Here is another rule that should be taken with a grain of salt. The theory is that if braids, weaves, or wigs are worn for an extended period of time your hair line will weaken. In theory, this is true. Pulling on the hair line excessively and constantly will weaken your hair line over time. However, I’ve been known to wear protective styles (braids, twists, crochet braids, corn rows, etc.) throughout the spring and summer, without a break. My hair line has never suffered because I always make sure that my stylist is aware of how important it is for me to keep my edges. I make sure that my styles aren’t too tight and have no problem asking my stylist to loosen a few braids. If you make sure that your hair isn’t so tight that it’s giving you a headache, then you should be able to rock your braids or weaves repeatedly.

No blow drying

I figured out a while ago that my hair thrives if I blow dry it before styling it. My hair actually ended up matted and tangled from styling it while wet. What works for one will not work for all, but it works for me. I talk heavily about my experience here.

No coloring

Most believe that if you are natural, then that means no color. For years I was afraid to lighten or color my natural hair due to fear of hair breakage and a change in curl pattern. But last summer I lightened my hair a little and put a rinse in it. Guess what? I still have hair! Of course you have to take care of your hair a little differently than before your color, but it really isn’t that difficult. It’s possible to have thriving hair after coloring.

Instagram Photo

Trimming Every 4 months is best

This is a rule that I started breaking years ago. I don’t believe that everyone needs to adhere to the 4 month trimming rule. I think how often you trim your hair should depend on how it grows. My hair grows at a normal rate, so I trim my hair once per year and that’s usually in the spring/summer. I once tried to trim it every 4 months and ended up cutting off hair unnecessarily. This is why it’s important to pay attention to your hair’s health and growth rate. You will easily be able to figure out when you need a trim if you’ve taken the time to truly get to know your hair.

What natural hair rules have you decided to ditch?