Styles for Black Hair

Question: I read your book and found lots of good information. I am going to begin the system. I always wrap my hair at night. Should I still do that or what do you do?

Answer: Wrapping your hair at night is an excellent way to put your hair up at night. I do a couple different things at night, depending on what style I am wearing. Normally I will pull my hair up on top of my head and put a clip in it to hold it there. Then I tie a long scarf around the back and front leaving the clip and whatever curls there are hanging out of the scarf at the top. I find this method very helpful in saving my style for wear up to about 3-4 days after washing.

Question: I wear my hair in a ponytail or bun most of the time. Do you think that will damage my hair at all?

Answer: How you wear your hair is not the problem, if you are careful and use tools that do not damage the hair. I do not wear buns, and I avoid rubber bands like the plague. I will use the elastic bands that are covered in the cloths (scrunches). If you think your hair is being damaged by your styles, by all means stop doing it!

Question: I have your book and it has helped me with the understanding of taking care of my relaxed-hair. I also purchased the conditioner and the Dew moisturizer; they both are good on my hair. My only question to you is that I exercise just about every day and sweat real bad in my hair. Do you have any suggestions on styling? Also what is protective styling?

Answer: On suggestions for styling I feel styles are personal and I do not speak to them unless you ask me specifically about a certain style. You should be able to wear any style you choose as long as you care for the hair. My opinion on "protective styles" is that - "protective styles" are not anything I recommend. That idea came from Wanakee (black spokes model in mid-90’s). I wear my hair down EVERY DAY which means it is not in the "protective style" idea that she advocates. Protective styles like French rolls and buns where the ends are "tucked in" actually rob my ends of moisture and oil. When my hair was relaxed, every time I wore a French roll, after I toke my hair down my ends were crisp and easy to break if I did not immediately add moisture to them! The "protective styles" is a method that I do not use and DO NOT recommend. Some of my customers have also remarked that this method does not work. You be the judge if you think it might work, by all means try it but it IS NOT my recommendation.

Question: I'm worried that my ends are going to break off. I don't blow dry my hair, I always air dry, I deep condition once a week. I use Motions as a lotion moisturizer and your spray afterwards or just your spray. How should I style my hair so that I can keep my ends safe, but not have a horrible hair style since I'm going to college at Robert Morris University, PA?

Answer: If you are getting a lot of broken ends when you comb your hair there could be a number of reasons that is happening. Your deep conditioner may not be improving your hair. At the time of this writing, Motions will help somewhat when you moisturize but because it contains protein, repeated use between washing will make you have hard hair which is not what want. Motion’s also contains mineral oil which is a bad ingredient for our hair that locks moisture out! Sorry can’t help you with a style.

Question: I just ordered your book and I'm waiting for it to arrive. I've been browsing your website and I'm very excited. I just have one question for you. You mentioned several times NOT to use a curling iron on your hair every day. I'm a professional woman and have unfortunately gotten into this nasty habit. I'm at a loss for how to style my hair and maintain my professional look without using the curling iron. I don't have really long hair. Do you have any suggestions? Also have you ever heard of a spray or a gel that is supposed to give your relaxed hair a wavy look? I've thought about trying that.

Answer: I have not heard of the products you mentioned that is supposed to give you a relaxed look so I can’t comment on that. I will say that styles are personal. My focus is on hair care before and after the style. Try getting rid of the curling or using it no more than twice a week. Right after you wash your hair only (which should be 2X per week). Wrap your hair or wear a bonnet to bed and moisturize after you comb your hair the next day. The curls will be looser but it is much better for your hair than everyday heat.

Question: First I want to thank you for all of the time and effort you have put into your book, and products. My question is: since it is winter right now, what kind of hair style should I wear to protect my ends?

Answer: Do not concern yourself with the changing seasons, or "protecting" your ends during changes of seasons. If you care for your hair appropriately there is no need to focus entirely on protecting the ends from the elements. Even though they are the oldest hair, your weekly treatments, if done religiously will keep them in relatively good condition. As far as a style, (when I relaxed my hair) I did not encourage nor recommend French rolls, buns or any of those styles because I learned from personal experience that when the ends are tucked against the other hair, the other hair takes all the moisture from the ends making them crisp (other clients have experienced the same).

Question: How do you feel about wrapping hair in order to dry it and using mousse's before wrapping?

Answer: How you dry your hair is a person preference. Using mousse is a No-No since it contains alcohol. And you should be very careful about using drying agent on your already dry hair.

Question: I ordered your book yesterday from Amazon.com and I can't wait to get it. The reason I did is because one of the excerpt mentioned a theory I was concerned about. That wetting hair everyday will dry it out. You said water adds moisture and that's what I thought to be true. Well this year I realized that when I let my hair air dry it leaves nice curly spirals waves and if I use gel they are more defined. I do use a relaxer but to sport this look I have to wet my hair every day. I do use a conditioner and anti-frizz serum and the gel is a conditioning gel. What is your opinion? Or what has research proven about this? I definitely want my hair longer, which last year it grow past my shoulders but it was very stringy because of constant blow-drying and I cut it shoulder length to get it back healthy. I also go to a Dominican salon.

Answer: Camille, Congratulations on purchasing my book and I know that once you get it your eyes will be immediately opened to perhaps things that you used to take for granted and to an instruction that will honestly help you grow your hair longer. I have just been having conversations with another lady that goes to the Dominican salons. Based on her concerns, and your question, this is what I offer.

Avoid letting them dry your hair with the blow dryer AND use an iron on your hair that is smoking hot on you EVERY week if you are a weekly customer. Yeah it looks nice but you destroying the hair structure, causing it to weaken and break. Opt for an occasional roller set to avoid excessive amounts of heat on a regular basis.

Washing the hair (wetting) does not dry out the oils, it is what you wash the hair with that dries it out. You will understand why when you get my book.

Your relaxer is okay if you like it and you do not allow the stylist to switch back and forth with different chemical products when your hair is retouched.

Anti-frizz serum, aka hair polish is a wonderful invention and I use it to smooth my hair too.

Gels should be used only when you are willing to wash your hair within the next couple of days because they generally contain alcohol and aid in drying our already dry hair.

Question: I've just recently purchased your products. I'm very excited about getting started. Like most black woman, I've always dreamed of having long flowing hair. What should I do before I go to bed? Does wrapping your hair at night help with dryness? I wet my hair and pull it into a ponytail daily with a cloth band does that damage it?

Answer: Wrapping your hair at night does not have any effect on whether your hair will be dry or not. Depending on my style, I may wrap my hair or use a bonnet at night. When I want it flattened, I wrap and tie with a scarf. No, the ponytail is not damaging but how you get the hair in the ponytail could be if you use a brush.

Question: Cathy, I believe that the wrapping of my hair at night is making my hair become thin. I can't sleep with my hair just out because it will sweat and be a mess in the morning. What do you advise black women to do with their hair at night?

Answer: It is okay to wrap your hair or use a bonnet or night cap on your hair at night to prevent the hair from matting. The wrapping is not making it thin. Thinning is caused by a number of reasons including lacking protein and relaxer chemicals being pushed against your scalp. There is no way that I can think of that wrapping could cause that to happen.

Question: I just shaved my shoulder length relaxed hair off. I stumbled onto your site looking for advice on how to grow and maintain healthy NATURAL hair but was somewhat disappointed. I think that you may have stumbled upon a real gem for women who want to continue relaxing their hair but you haven't spent any time, it seems, researching or uplifting the true nature of African hair. Perhaps your FAQ section needs to begin by acknowledging that our hair is always so brittle and miserable because we refuse to let it grow in its natural state.

Answer: Hair is hair in that the chemical composition is the same for all hair. It is the characteristics (natural, curly, color) that are different. Sisters just want to grow their hair, it does not matter what style, they just want hair! I developed my hair care system on the worst case scenario which is chemically processed hair. Hair that is not chemically processed is still dry for African Americans but not as dry. You can still use this method but eliminate any steps that talk about chemicals. My system is for all Black women wanting to grow their own hair. It is a personal preference if they choose to wear it natural or relaxed. As of 2004 I gave up chemical relaxers and have been natural ever since and love it!

Question: How do you achieve your look that I see on the website?

Answer: My hair does not look like that all the time, it is only for pictures and appearances to show the length. Depending on which pictures you are looking at, when I did my hair myself, it was blown dry or dried with the hooded dryer then I used the curling iron or flat iron to straightening as I discuss in the book to make my hair straighter and smoother. I don’t do that every day because I KNOW it would result in NO hair. I have posted the exact why how I get this look on my blog at www.ultrablackhair.blogspot.com and look for the post “How does Cathy Howse get her natural hair straight”. The link to our blog is at the bottom of the page.

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