Going Gray and Going Natural – The Transitioning Double Down

Are you are a woman of a certain age who is thinking about going gray and going natural?  Check out these helpful tips in my article:

8 Simple Tips for Transitioning to Natural Hair While You’re Going Gray


Natural Hair in the News

Rochelle Ritchie is the reporter and also featured in the report. A striking statistic – Black people spend $9 billion a year on hair products and services.   That’s the GDP of a small to medium-sized nation, the revenue of a large corporation.  Holy Moly!



Ritchie weaved



Ritchie after BC



Winner, Winner! 4th Anniversary Giveaway

I am so pleased to announce the winner of my 4th natural hair anniversary giveaway.  And it is (drum roll)–

Durelene from California!

This natural beauty has a story that will move, inspire and encourage you.  Someone said the greatest gift you can give someone is to share your story with honesty.  Durelene congratulations for sharing yours and for winning a jar of Vigorol Curls Curling Cream. Durelene’s story will be published in the post just after this one. Happy reading!

What is Up With Those Darn Grays!

Kinise contacted me about her desire for a gray look and how hard it is to control her gray hairs:

Q. I have such a challenge with my hair. I have had white hair since high school– just a few streaks at  first. Now the entire front is white with about 10 strands of black in the center front- oh- I guess I now have a black streak in the front.  Now it’s sooooooo unruly- resistant to perm- resistant to color–
when I use curling irons or flat irons it turns yellow- when I shampoo with the purple shampoo, my hair turns purple or lavender.
I dyed the back of my hair black–blue black-
and now I am just not sure what I am going to do-
I wear a wig- my natural hair is arm pit length braided- It’s layered- and half relaxed- half natural-
that’s my story-but your hair is beautiful-
I was just about to color it all black-
I am 47 now, over half my life I have had white hair for more than 30 years- and I think I look younger with my hair colored- of course-
but you look fabulous–
I know I am just rambling now- but I have never seen a woman with hair like yours- funky and yet sophisticated at the same time–
So I guess I will hang on for a while longer and leave the color and chemical alone.

Thank You for your inspiration.

A.   Kinise, if you truly want that look — THEN GO AFTER IT! Give your soul and spirit what they thirst for.

Gray hair is indeed resistant. Mine was more wiry and it was grizzled/crispy in some places, but no more.  It responds very well to frequent conditioning; in fact it drinks it up. It loves butters and aloe vera too.

I don’t think gray hair likes heat, which is why the curling iron is yellowing it. And I don’t use the blue/purple shampoo because I co-wash mostly. Too much shampooing dries the hair out. I do use Roux Fanci-Full  Temporary  Color Rinse in White Minx, every so often. It’s a leave in more than a mousse. I plan to switch to a red-gold corrector from Sally’s added to my usual conditioner. Gray curlies over at www.naturallycurly.com have been having success with that and it seems easier.

If your hair is half-relaxed, half-natural and you want to fully transition to natural, do that first. I was fully natural from 2006. Then rather suddenly, I decided to let the gray grow out in 2008 after seeing the Going Gray Looking Great Blog. The gray transition was hard, I won’t lie; but there are ways to get through it. You can see photos of my transition on my Fotki

Thanks for reaching out.

Clay– Going the All Natural Route Without the Big Expense

Keisha writes:
Q.: I am a 9 month transitioner and loving the process. I will BC in 3 months on my one year anniversary.

I had a couple of questions dealing with natural hair clays and masks. I really want to go the all natural route without the big expense. I have been using amla and shikakai mixtures, henna and honey mixess, bentonite clay, ACV; honey and EVOO  mixes; shea butter, coconut oil, evoo, jojoba oil mixtures.

But I have been hearing about the rhassoul clays, zisyphus spina christi, and marshmallow root.  Where do you order these things from?  What are the uses of these products? Can I use them now on my transitioning hair or should I wait until completely naturally? What recipes do you use with these products? Do you know of any other clays?

A.: Many of the herbs and plants we use for our hair are also used for herbal detoxification, elimination and removal of toxins from the the liver and digestive system. These include burdock root, fenugreek, ginger root,  marshmallow root, as well as Bentonite clay (Monmorillonite).

I first used clay (Bentonite) as part of a  digestive detox.  Imagine downing 8 oz. of bentonite clay and water 3 times a day for 2 weeks! Luckily, for your hair to benefit from the “mud treatment” all you need is to slap it on your hair. 

Rhassoul clay (Hectorite) comes from Morocco and is 100% naturally occurring.  It is only for external use (unlike Bentonite) and is a very popular spa treatment.  I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs. Their Rhassoul is untreated, quarry mined and sun dried from naturally occurring lake-side deposits.

Rhassoul Specifications: (from Mountain Rose Herbs)
Color- Light Gray with a hue of oxidized pink
Odor- Flat
Mesh Size- US #70-80 Mesh
Mineral Content
Silica- 58%
Aluminum- 2.47%
Iron- 0.64%
Sodium- 2.3%
Magnesium- 25.2%
Calcium- 2.34%
Moisture- <8%

Interestingly, Bentonite has way more aluminum and a higher pH.

A Rhassoul Clay hair Detox treatment is one of the easiest kitchen mixes to whip up.  And if you want to avoid the kitchen, you’ll find some excellent ommercial preparations further on.

Homemade Rhassoul Hair Mask
– 1/4 to 1/3 cup of Rhassoul Clay
– Hot water
Optional add-ins make the mixture smoother and more slippery
– 1-2 tbs. of your favorite (I like grapeseed or EVOO)
– Plain Greek-style yogurt (2-4 oz)
– Honey (couple of tsp.)
– small container of banana baby food

In a bowl or Pyrex measuring cup (2 cup size) mix the water with the clay little by little until the mix is the consistency you want. Clay swells and absorbs a lot of liquid. Your final preparation should be a creamy lotion-like consistency.    Add any other ingredients.  For an extra kicker, I add a few drops fenugreek, Burdock and Marshmallow root extract. Mix or blend until smooth.

To apply: Clay is messy. A salon cape and latex gloves will help control any spills. I usually apply a clay mask to dry dirty hair, starting from the nape of the neck. No need to detangle first. Apply in small sections, smoothing it in  from ends of hair and working up to root. Cover every strand and the hairline. Do not comb or brush. Cover with a plastic cap and wear a heat cap for half and hour to 45 minutes.

Thorough rinsing is vital with dirt-based treatments. Fill your kitchen sink to the brim with warm water and dunk your head in it to let the mix float away. Then rinse your hair thoroughly in the shower. Follow up with a moisturizing, detangling conditioner and enjoy your soft, beautiful hair!

Don’t feel like mixing your own? Anita Grant is the queen of the Rhassoul Clay treatment. Her product does one better and adds unrefined Black Cocoa Butter & natural Soya based Vitamin E. 

Botanical Spirits makes a Peppermint Mud Hair Softening Mask with some amazing and healthy ingredients in addition to the Rhassoul. The owner is based in my home town and offers generous samples on her website for the cost of shipping!

Baka Natural-laxer is one of the oldest clay hair treatments. It’s not a rhassoul based mixture but contains Sahara Clay, myrtle, rose petals, fenugreek, nettle, sage.  This is not a relaxer and is not to be confused with the chemically based product with a similar name.

Zizyphus Spina Christi
From the Henna heads over at www.naturallycurly.com I learned of a desert plant called Zizyphus Spina Christi (ZSC for short)  ZSC is also an excellent cleansing and conditioning treatment. It’s good for people who want the conditoning benefits of henna without any color deposit, so it’s great for my gray/silver hair. It’s also a good alternative to shampoo or detergent based cleansers, and enhances hair thickness and texture. ZSC is not cassia obovata. ZSC is available from Mehandi.com

                      ZSP applied

Marshmallow Root:
I don’t know as much about this root except that it is full of plant mucilage which gives it a slippery consistency. It’s good for hair as well as for internal use as an expectorant.  Kitathena over at NewlyNatural has a wonderful write up on this and other herbs and a hair spritzer recipe – check it out!

Great products with marshmallow as an ingredient:

  • Jessicurl Weekly Deep Conditioning Treatment
  • Blended Beauty Herbal Reconditioner
  • EO Chamomile and Honey Hydrating Conditioner

More information about marshmallow:

Where to buy:
Anita Grant
Marshmallow Root Powder at Mountain Rose Herbs

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