Hair Q & A: Still Dry After 2-year Transition and BC

Q. I ran across your blog recently, and your hair is gorgeous!  I started transitioning November 2009 and finally BC ‘d January 2011.  My Hair is extremely dry and I don’t know how to fix it!  I’ve tried so many deep conditioners but it feels brittle once it dries, and the frizz is crazy extreme!  I think I have a mix of texture ranging from 3c-4a maybe 4b?  I really don’t know.  If there are any tips you could give me to help my hair, please let me know!  Thanks in advance, Elle

A. Hi Elle,

Not knowing what your routine or product use is, I can’t be specific.  But if you have been transitioning and working with your natural hair for 2 years and it’s still dry, I suspect the products you use may have drying or building up ingredients.   Here are some general tips:

– If you shampoo regularly, begin to condition wash instead.  And when you do shampoo occasionally, use a sulfate-free non-stripping shampoo.  One I like a lot is All-Nutrient ClarpHX clarifying shampoo. My favorite co-wash is GVP Biolage Matrix Conditioner, from Sally Beauty.  Co-wash a lot, every day or other day.

– Be very discriminating about ingredients.  Weed out any products with mineral oil (liquid paraffin), lanolin, and silicones (search for a list of silicones.  They typically ending with -cone or -xane), heavy waxes.  Isopropyl myristate can also be drying.

– You may be overloading your hair with protein.  Protein in leave-ins is very effective, but can build up on hair if you use protein treatments, shampoos with protein or protein-heavy rinse-out conditioners.

– Splurge on the best rinse-out conditioner and deep treatment your budget allows.  They have more good ingredients per ounce than the drugstore ones and you end up using less.  My favorites are Mop Top Deep Conditioner and Onesta Moisture Balancing Conditioner. I have been using both regularly for almost a year and have no intention of changing to anything else.

– Take Omega-3 supplements and use olive oil in your diet.

– Add castor oil or other natural oil and a little honey to your conditioners.  I (and a lot of 3c/4a’s) am a big fan of Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream and Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm as add-ins over my rinseouts and leave-ins. Just as many 4a/b’s swear by Qhemet Amla & Olive Heavy Cream.   For more moisture I also use Karen’s Body Beautiful Ambrosia. KBB Ambrosia can also be applied to dry hair to remoisturize.  I use it when dry twisting my 2nd and 3rd day hair.

– Before you wash, try lightly spritzing hair with water and applying conditioner.   Then sleep on it or wait a few hours before cleansing.  This softens and hydrates the hair, and makes it easier to detangle and more able to absorb good conditioners.

– You may be using too much oil without using moisturizing conditioner first.  OIl by itself can dry out the hair, discourage clumping and cause frizz.

Good luck! Let me know in 4-6 weeks how things are going, what changes you made and what’s working.



  1. i have a 3 year old ith beautiful curly hair. Im looking for a product that will allow her curls to stay put after a washing, rather thasn dry up, kink up and frizz up. Essentially, keeping the lengthned curls she has when her hair is wet. any suggestions? her lookssimilar to your picture, but only when its wet.

    • Shrinkage is a fact of life us us curlies. Your daughter’s hair when wet is weighed down by the water. Once that dries the hair becomes more lightweight and shrinks up. I would keep it simple for her — cleanse with very gentle cleanser, moisurizing conditioner (leave in some), a little castor oil or buttery creamy product scrunched on ends and a soft gel. For me the gel “sets” my curls.

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