New Product Review: Just Great Curls

Been a while since I reviewed a product.  As a somewhat reformed product junkie, I don’t any more — not at first, second, or even eighth use.  After almost 5 years as a natural curly and literally hundreds of products used, it takes a lot to impress me these days.  Just Great Curls from Delineation Hair & Skin Essentials is doing it for me.  I got a free bottle as thanks from an editorial contact, loved it at first use, said “okay” and continued to use.

Continue reading


SBB’s Top 20 Hair Products for 2010

Top 10 is so restricting.  I had some great finds in 2010 that I share with you here as well as my long time favorites like Devacurl Set it Free, in use for 3 years. All  products have been in constant use for at least 6 months:

New for 2010-

  1. All-Nutrient ClarpHx clarifiying shampoo (sulfate free)
  2. Onesta Moisture Balancing Conditioner
  3. Curl Junkie Curls in a Bottle
  4. Aquage Illuminating Gellade
  5. Vigorol Curls Curl Cream
  6. Loma Fortifying Repairative Serum
  7. Goody Spin pin – For you bunners,  the coolest pin evah!
  8. T3 Evolution –  a dryer that doesn’t blow my hair around, dries fast and with zero frizz

Perennial favorites:

  1. Mop Top Deep Conditioner
  2. Mop Top Conditioner
  3. Abba Pure Gentle Conditioner/leave-in
  4. Qhemet Biologics Olive &  Honey Hydrating Balm
  5. Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream
  6. GVP Biolage Matrix Conditioning Balm (as a no-poo)
  7. Theraneem Maximum Strength Neem Soap with ylang ylang and sweet orange
  8. Loma Imply
  9. Shea Terra Organics Shea Gold (butter)
  10. Castor oil
  11. Devacurl Set it Free
  12. Kinky-Curly Curling Custard

Harsh Winter Hair Saves — What’s your strategy?

I’ve developed a few strategies to keep my snappy dry ends moisturized. Extending my wash and gos  to 6-7 days (or 4 if I’m sweating a workout) helps a lot. But to do that, my medium-high porous hair needs the right products:

Wet styling:
In my wet wash and go I layer either shea butter, castor oil, QB Olive Honey Hydrating balm or QB Burdock root butter cream over my leave in, before gelling.

Smoothing Curl Junkie Curls in a Bottle over Kinky Curly Curling custard over a leave in has helped my hair stay moisturized over 3 days of wearing it out.

Dry styling:
Night before day 4 I’ll dry twist, using a tiny spritz of water, a couple drops of Loma Pearatin Repairative Hair Serum for whole head, and Devacurl Set it Free for each twist. I re-moisturize and smooth ends with Afroveda Curl Define and Qhemet Biologics Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm before finishing the twist and setting ends on foam rollers.

After a day or two of wearing a dry twist out, the curl is gone.  I may moisturize dry hair with either a Kimmaytube-type leave in, Karen’s Body Beautiful Ambrosia, Afroveda Moringa Leave in or Afro Detangler,plus a couple  drops of Loma Pearatin Repairative Serum and Qhemet Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm. Then I will brush in sections  with a Mason Pearson Junior boar bristle/nylon brush and bantu knot. Next day, I can bun it, or wash it.

What’s your winter routine?


Hair Q&A: Maintaining Gray Hair

Q.  Hi SBB: Do you use any particular products for your grey hair? I am salt/pepper with more salt than pepper and wonder if I should use any products designed specifically for grey hair. I use KC Come Clean Shampoo & Knot Today leave-in, the Aubrey line, and natural oils and butters. My hair is in pretty good condition, but I’m always looking for ways to improve. Thanks much. – Zatubi

A. Hi Zatubi.   The Kinky Curly, Aubrey products, and oils/butters — all good for your hair.  Kudos on your choice of healthy products. Gray strands may grow in coarser and be more dry than the rest of your hair. They may have a different curl or texture pattern.  And those gray hairs may get a yellow tinge.   The yellow tinge can be neutralized with periodic use of a conditioner or leave in made for blondes or gray haired women.

For dryness, use a butter or oil over your styler or leave in, and/or over your rinse out conditioner before rinsing out with cool water. Cool water helps seal the cuticle, enhance texture and minimize the frizz.  For my wash and go, I layer products: conditioner then oil or butter, then rinse out.  Leave-in conditioner (or styler), more oil or butter on ends, then gel.  This is a very protective routine for loose styles.

And speaking of protection, my hair never hits my silk pillowcase without being tied loosely in a scrunci and protected by a scarf at the hairline. Each day I wear that same wash and go without re-wetting, I keep the hair soft with moisturizing products like Devacurl Set it Free and Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream.  To soften up dry ends I use Qhemet Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm mixed with Loma Imply Molding Creme (more like a lotion).

To soften hair that’s 3 or more days from water, especially if I intend to put it into large twists or bantu knots, water spritz hair very lightly,  smooth in a little Karen’s Body Beautiful Ambrosia (unscented), Afro Detangler or similar water based moisturizer, then rub a few drops of Loma Pearatin Fortifying Repairative Serum into ends.  What I lose in curl definition, I gain with soft, manageable, detangled hair that I can actually brush before twisting into bantu knots.

To neutralize any yellow and brighten my natural silver/gray, I occasionally use Roux Fancifull Temporary Color Leave in Rinse in White Minx. L’Oreal makes a moisturizing conditioner that neutralizes yellow tones – L’Oreal Colorist Collection White Violet conditioner. I just purchased this  and will do a review when I use it; it has very nice ingredients.  I don’t recommend a neutralizing shampoo because most contain moisture-leeching sulfates.

To add shine on dry hair and smooth surface frizz, Aquage Illuminating Gellade or Devacurl Set Up and Above does the trick.  Jojoba oil is also nice to induce shine.

Happy New Year!

Comment Hi SBB: Do you use any particular products for your grey hair? I am salt/pepper with more salt than pepper and wonder if I should use any products designed specificallly for grey hair. I use KC Come Clean Shampoo & Knot Today leave-in, the Aubrey line, and natural oils and butters. My hair is in pretty good condition, but I’m always looking for ways to improve. Thanks much.

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

30-day No Buy Product Detox – Blessings from my stash

I started a product detox right after Labor Day with some sister curlies on The rules were no buying unless it was to replace something used up.  I’m not calling it a challenge because that word for me is an invitation to fail.

Couple of things going against me – for one, new product releases:  Curl Junkie,  Curlisto’s  new line for tight curls/kinks, and Jonathan Torch’s new incredible unshrinking leave in. For two, the Hairveda sale in mid-September. Continue reading

Q&A – Natural and long, but too thin!

 Dora writes:

Q.  I am completely natural and have been for about 7 years now. I have bra length, fine soft hair. My hair does not like to be twisted. When I did wear twists, I did not like them because you could see my scalp. When I wear a ponytail I have to make sure I brush my hair a certain way, so that my scalp won’t show. Is there anything that I can use or do to thicken my hair up. I henna once a month or every 3 weeks and sometimes it depends on how fast the grays decide to show up. I thought by being natural my hair would become thicker on its own.

A.  As a natural for 7 years, your hair has gone through all the phases of growth, probably several times. Let’s just review:

Anagen – active growth – new hair is pushing out the old fiber and the follicle is growing deep for nourishment
Catagen – the transitional phase. Hair detaches from the blood supply and the hair follicle shrinks
Telogen – Resting. Hair fibre easily pulls out
And there is one more phase, mesanagen — a returning to growth.

A full cycle can last anywhere from 2 to 5 years per follicle. And sometimes hair or patches of hair can get stuck in the resting, or telogen phase.

Everything you put into your body eventually comes out in your hair, usually within three to six months. . Hair grows from living follicles in the skin of the scalp. At the shaft, or root of the hair, all of your major systems are at work, including your circulatory, endocrine and central nervous system.

Other factors for thin hair and ways to improve hair health:

Age – as women age our hormone levels decrease, and hormone levels affect almost every part of the body, including hair. My hair became thin during perimenopause and menopause when my hormonal levels hit the floor. I have been on prescribed bio-identical hormones (that don’t affect the liver) and this has helped hair, memory, alertness, sexual desire, and more.

Dry hair – Dry hair is simply dehydrated hair. Investing in more moisture in your hair and scalp is also a good way to stimulate growth and enhance the health of your existing strands. This is easy to correct both internally and externally. Check your water intake to make sure you are getting enough, a good guideline is 1 oz for half of your body weight. Example — a women weighing 150 lbs drinks 75 oz of water. That’s a lot more than the standard 8 glasses of day. Also water and condition your hair more frequently. If you shampoo every time you cleanse, try cleansing your hair with conditioner and shampoo less often. Get a good leave in conditioner and a natural butter or butter product. Both help lock in moisture. 

Illness – Illness unbalances the body. If you are recovering from even a cold or the flu, make sure your food intake is really nutritious, take a vitamin supplement and a probiotic.

Genetics – Sometimes we have to thank our ancestors for that thin hair. If you have siblings with thick hair and yours is thin, there may be other factors at work. I’ve observed that overweight can also result in thinning hair.  It’s as if the body is taking nourishment from areas it considers non-critical, like hair, to maintain the body..

Medications – Just like illness, the medications we take to bring us back to health and relieve symptoms can also unbalance our bodies. Not just hair but good bacterial in the digestive system gets kill by may antibiotics.  A daily probiotic goes is effective to help your digestive tract get back in balance.

Diet – Nutritional deficiencies affect hair, especially Iron, Vitamin A and vitamin D, water, fruits and veggies, protein. Eat well!

Exercise – Heat up your body daily to increase your metabolism. Increase blood flow to the scalp with exercise, scalp massage, inverted yoga poses.

Stress –  Sometimes this alone can help the hair’s condition.  Get enough sleep! Examine your emotional health and how you express and process emotions. Healthy expression of anger and other “uncomfortable” emotions goes a long way to restoring emotional balance and relieving stress.

Chemical sensitivities – In general, as Black women who have straightened their hair most of their life, we tend to have a lower awareness of the effect of the chemicals we use. How else could we have used sodium hydroxide and high heat for years and years and smothered our fragile locks with mineral oil laden products?  Get in the habit of examining ingredients.  Check out cosmetic databases for toxicity levels of products. Use natural carrier oils, and non-volatile, non-irritating essential oils.

Styling – No matter how well we treat ourselves, some hair can be thin all around, especially the fine soft stuff like yours.  My fine strands tends to thinness as well, and for that reason I do not twist my hair from wet because it does tend to emphasize my scalp rather than my hair. Instead, I wear a wash and go for a few days, then dry twist right over that. I will section my hair with my fingers and dry twist – about 11-14 twists.  I water spritz just a little to soften, not even dampen the hair, and use a little product.  In the morning I untwist and divide each twist.  Both the wash and go and large dry twist outs maximize my volume. I get comments in my Fotki about how much hair I have, and I just snicker ’cause I know the truth.

If your hair is thin in certain places and not others, brushing it back and pulling it into a ponytail may not be the best thing for it. That may be part of why it’s thinning.  The strain from this can thin it out in some places, and that is called traction alopecia.

Coloring with Henna – you’re using Body art quality Henna, right? If you are not please switch to it.  Many products marketed as “henna” contain harmful chemicals.  Body art quality henna is pure henna and is said to strengthen the hair as well as impart natural color.

– Many naturals swear by ayurvedic herbs. I don’t know much about them, but I’m a firm fan of neem, a plant that’s extremely high in anti-oxidants. Other herbs and substances said to decrease hair loss and/or enhance growth: algae extract, ginkgo biloba, green tea (camellia sinensis), nettle, garlic, hemp seed, wheat germ, burdock root, rosemary, horsetail, and aloe are some.

Oils and butters: Many women cannot say enough about natural oils such as castor, jojoba, coconut, extra virgin olive oil, baobab oil.  An oil rinse after cleansing and before conditioning gives you an instant hydration boost.  Just make sure to rinse it all out and thoroughly condition after, or you may be a greasy mess all day.  Shea, avocado and other butters are wonderful for helping hair retain moisture.

Congratulations on your bra length natural tresses and I hope the next 7 years enhance your crowning glory.

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 54 other followers