Is Diet Soda Making Your Hair Fall Out?

Here’s a thought provoking article from Hair Boutique on the possible effects of artificial sweeteners.


“Liver malfunction from high toxic filtering of the artificial sweetener particles has definitely been linked to hair loss.”



Qhemet Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm; 5 days of use, from wash to wash

Qhemet Biologics Olive Honey Hydrating Balm

I remember opening my first jar of this product  and wondering “WTF”?  It looked slimy and shiny and greasy and I had no idea what to do with it or how to use it.  A styler? Nope.  Conditioner? Nope.  Leave-in?  Nope.  On my dry hair at the time, I found it too greasy.  In my first year or so of naturally curly hair, oil and I did not agree.

Fast forward to 2010 and wet hands.  Wet hands and wet hair – light bulb moment!  Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm is water-soluble, yet it clings! It is a moisture booster and hair softener par excellence. On my wet hair it works beautifully over conditioner or leave in, before I gel. And it mixes well with other leave in products.

How do I love you, OHHB?  Let me count the ways:

Day 1: On freshly washed, wet, detangled hair, apply right over conditioner, before cool rinsing. Rub a 1/2 tsp. in palms, scrunch into hair and finger smooth your strands.  Let sit for a few minutes, then bend over and cool water rinse, with emphasis on getting all conditioner off your scalp and roots.  A cool water rinse leaves some OHHB on your ends. Continue reading

10 Most Important Steps for Growing Healthy, Hypercurly, Natural Hair

Acceptance and Clarity – Take off the “mental wig.” Once I accepted that I would never have Botticelli curls, I began to see that my hair could be even more beautiful. To actually see my hair, I need to look at photos. Mental distortion can occur when I look in the mirror, but the camera doesn’t lie.

Understanding – Observe your hair under different circumstances, different climates. Learn to understand what your hair does, not what you want it to do and build on that. Look inward at your own hair, not outward at someone else’s.

Look, listen and learn – It’s a given that other naturals know more than I do, especially if their hair is thick and long and beautiful, right? I’m so teachable!

Protection: At night, protect the hairline with a silk head wrap, guard against friction with a silk pillowcase. Anchor the hair in a loose puff or large twists so it doesn’t shift or rub against itself. During the day, I wear my hair out 95% of the time. Protection means the right products applied to each strand and a soft, aloe-vera based gel for hold. And no touching! (that one is hard.)

Know your hair’s width and porosity – More important than knowing if your curl type is 3c, 4a or 4b is knowing whether your strands are fine, medium or coarse and how porous they are. Fine and coarse refers to the diameter of your hair strand, not the feel of your hair. Porous refers to how open or smoothed (closed) the surface (cuticle) of your hair is. Fine, porous hair reacts differently to products and the environment than does coarse, non-porous hair. It also needs to be handled differently. Each hair type has its own issues. Fine, porous hair tends to need more moisturizing and strengthening products. Coarse, smooth hair can be subject to quicker product build up.

Layers of moisture – This means water. Moisturizing shampoos like shampoo bars or cleansing creams or a gentle castile soap (they aren’t all equal). And liberal doses of conditioners with great slip, moisture and a little of the right protein for my hair. A little butter or oil. More conditioner. And those aloe-vera based gels. Dirt-based deep treatments (Rhassoul clay, sisyphus spina christi) year round, moisturizing deep treatments in the winter.

Gentle detangling – if my cleanser is cleansing without stripping and my conditioner is loaded with slip and moisture, then I can finger detangle easily. A little KBB Hair Milk added to conditioner boosts its detangling ability. I do this at most twice a week.

Regular trims – I get ends trimmed and shape adjusted 3 times a year. My hair is easiest to style a month after a cut.

Low manipulation – After I style my hair wet, I leave it alone for up to 3 days, except to gather it into a pony puff at night, let it down in the morning and scrunch a little Set it Free and butter into it. No combing or brushing. When I dry twist at night, I use my fingers only to separate, and a little more product to smooth.

Forget about growth, learn how to retain length
If you’re healthy, growth is a given. Retaining length is the hard part. Transitioning to gray showed me just how fast my hair grows — and how fast the ends break. By babying my ends and boosting moisture to keep them hydrated, smooth and soft, I help my fragile ends stay put instead of snapping off like dry twigs. If I’m doing dry twists, a moisturizing custard or lotion gets smoothed on the ends of those twists. If I’m bunning, the ends get moisturized with a lotion and a little baobab oil. On the second and third day of my wash and go I scrunch a moisture lock lotion and a little butter onto my ends. When my ends stay soft, my hair retains length.

Celebrate each success, and learn from the challenges.

Celebrating 3 years of Natural Hair – 10/21/06 to 10/21/09

October 21, 2006 was the day I got my third and last “little chop” — 3 cuts I had gotten between then and August of 2005 when I stopped texlaxing. (My texlax had been a medium-strength sodium hydroxide relaxer kept on only as long as it took for the hairdresser to apply it). With the last of my texlaxed ends cut off, I walked out onto Church Street in Cambridge, MA with naturally curly hair for the first time in my adult life.

December 2006 – A rainy day of shrinkage

This year I became aware the date was creeping up sometime in September. I began to mentally mark the days to my natural anniversary. It would pop up in my mind periodically. I thought about possibly celebrating it, at least with a “woohoo!”. I looked forward to being 3 years a natural, one more year of knowledge and increased love for my hair.

October 4. 2009 length check – wet and styled. I lose 2 inches when it dries.

I remembered the tough spots I faced in those 3 years: a bald spot on my temple, thinning hair from menopause and dropping hormone levels; having a major cut mid-2008 to get rid of some bad ends; and finally, the painful 16+ month transition from brown, color-treated hair to fully and naturally gray.

But the success outweigh them: having a stylist I trust with my haircuts; the first time I got dry 2nd day hair (worth a post of its own, it’s so huge); my first bun; my first roller set; my first twist and curl (the later ones sucked); my increasing proficiency with dry twistouts; my ability to retain more length; and finally, hair that reflects back my love and care of it by growing thicker, longer and healthier.

Today I got to the computer, saw the date and realized my anniversary had passed me by with absolutely no distinction. No bells, no whistles. I had been totally clueless on the big day, the entire week in fact! I was more focused on the moment. On Wednesday 10/21 I was rocking a dry twistout I had done on a 4-day old wash and go, and feeling very good about that, thank you. No thoughts of anniversary there!

So to celebrate my journey, let me make up for this oversight with this post and photos – SBB from then to now. I didn’t begin photo-documenting my hair until the following April of 2007 but I did find a scanned photo of me from December of 2006. I doubt two months will show much difference. Hope you enjoy! And don’t let your hair milestones pass by without celebrating them.

2007 Top right April, Top left mid year; Bottom left and right early year/late year comparisons.

May 2008 after a major cut and shape that ended my growth challenge. I really needed it.

December 2008, a twist and curl

October 21, 2009. A dry twist out done on a 4-day old wash and go.

I dreamed I had long hair

Other women have hair dreams, not me. I’ve read of women who dreamed they were straightening their hair, going bald, like that. These kinds of hair dreams seem to help the dreamer release or expose a fear she may not be able to feel when awake. My dream, the first hair dream I’ve ever had, wasn’t about fear and it was very short.

I was looking in the mirror in the bathroom. My hair was down, looked like I had taken it down from a bun and fluffed it out. It was white and fluffy, bushy and frizzy, and somewhat straight from the bun rather than curly like a wash and go. And it fell right to the middle of my arm between shoulder and elbow. In the dream I am surprised to see myself like this, and pleased.

This dream may be about more than hair, I think. This dream is a vehicle my subconscious used to bring me a sense of abundance, to reach within me and draw forth my richness and connection to wealth. Yup. Long hair is all that, at least in my dream.

Hair questions: Help me with my daughter’s hair please?

This is a real question from, and here is my actual answer to it, and what I didn’t say below it. I had to bite my tongue–

I have two mixed daughters. One is three the other is two and for the life of me I cannot seem to get their hair to look shiny or decent. I have tried greasing it, I have tried baby oil, Pink lotion. The oldest daughters hair is very rough and brittle while the youngest has very soft hair. It won’t grow and it won’t stay in place; the curls are out of whack. Mind you I have curly hair as well as their father. My mother tries to brush it and gets annoyed when the curls dry out right away. I see all tons of little girls with beautiful locks of curls hanging past their shoulders, but unfortunately my girls have a little fro. My son on the other hand has beautiful hair that doesn’t stop growing. I use the same items on his hair, any advice will be greatly appreciated thanks in advance.:)


Not sure what effect you are going for, but if your daughters’ hair is kinky or coily, it will sheen when healthy but won’t shine like straight hair. It refracts light much differently.

Baby oil, Pink lotion and other products containing mineral oil are not good for hair. To help add moisture to their hair, try cleansing with a light conditioner, like Suave Naturals, or a light shampoo like Dr. Woods Castile Soap, then conditioning with a heavier more moisturizing conditioner such as Clairol Herbal Essences or Garnier Fructis. You may choose to leave the conditioner in, or rinse hair and add a little more conditioner back. Then try smoothing/scrunching in some castor oil on their ends, then letting dry naturally. This method helps hydrate the hair and emphasize the natural texture.

Retire the mineral oil laced products and try using natural oils like castor oil, avocado, coconut or jojoba oil. Natural fruit butters are also very beneficial to the hair (avocado, mango). But remember that any oil alone will not soften or moisturize the hair. Conditioning is key.

There are so many different textures to natural hair, especially in multi-racial children. All of them are beautiful, not just the locks of curls that hang past the shoulders. I hope you can help your girls learn to appreciate their hair. I’ve included some helpful links

Additional Resources:

Here is what I didn’t say:

Your negative attitudes about hair that doesn’t meet your unrealistic standards of curly are potentially harmful to the self-esteem of your baby girls. They are still toddlers, yet toddlers can pick up dislike as well as an adult. You are setting them up for failure, mom. Please get a grip, and educate yourself — for the sake of your girls.

Hair Q&A – Castor Oil

Got a PM from pulchri2dinous (is that a cool name or what?) —

Q— I remember you commenting on a thread saying that castor oil should be avoided in the winter (I’ve heard others say this too). I am wondering if it would not be a good idea to use a creamy moisturizer containing castor oil (like Qhemet’s AOHC) during winter?

Thank you

A–You know? I don’t recall writing that. If I did I was talking about my hair a few years ago perhaps. Hair changes over time and the products I used in my first natural year are not moisturizing enough on their own for my hair today. It’s like someone who has been fasting or is very, very thirsty and dehydrated. You can only give them a bite of food and a sip of water at first. Then as their system gets accustomed to nourishment again, you can feed them more. So in my third year as a natural my hair is soaking up butters and oils, whereas it could not tolerate them in my first natural year.

Many women use castor oil year round. The way I use it is to apply it right over my conditioner (after detangling) before cold water rinsing. I prefer Jamaican Black Castor Oil for its down-home nutty goodness. However the lower-priced American cold-pressed castor oil is just as good albeit a tad thicker, and has no smell.

Qhemet Biologic Amla & Olive Heavy Cream (AOHC) was a bit heavy for me back then, but on my hair today it probably work for me the way Hairveda Almond Glaze works – on wet hair, again over conditioner.

Experiment and see what your hair likes. It will tell you pretty quickly.

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