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Perfecting the Wash-N-Go

Being a natural is something to be very proud of because in today’s world, the natural elements of who we are don’t get celebrated enough. It is something to take that step in your life and say “no more chemicals, I’m going natural.” It is definitely a process and can test everything you thought you knew about yourself, but if you can make it through the ransition stage, you can make it all the way. And once you do get to the place where your hair is healthy and beautiful in its natural state, there is something that you will want to master that countless naturals have learned to do flawlessly – the wash-n-go.

It is probably the easiest hairstyle for a natural to rock, but it also one of the hardest to perfect. You can get out of the shower with your hair looking amazing only to suffer from shrinkage, dryness, and more an hour later. Believe it or not, there are all kinds of tips and tricks you should learn if you really want to get to a place where you can walk out of your house, confidently, wearing a wash-n-go. From products to technique to method, there are things you can incorporate that can help you better manage.

So, if you haven’t quite gotten it down pat and want to be amongst the scores of naturals that can wash and go, here are some tips on how to accomplish that hair goal.

The Right Shampoo

All hair cleansers are not created equally. There are some that work better than others and knowing which they are comes down to knowing your hair. Understanding how it functions will help you choose the right shampoos, which serves as the foundation for a killer wash-n-go. I like Shae Moisture’s line of porosity based shampoos and conditioners because they affect your hair according to its porosity.

The Right Method

One of the ways to maintain your curls’ pattern right out of the shower comes down to how you dry your hair. Most folks just use a regular bath towel to remove the excess water from their hair after washing and rinsing it. There is a growing trend, however, where naturals are drying their hair with a plain cotton t-shirt. This method is said to retain the curls better as well as the moisture in your hair. Most of those that use this method tie a long sleeve cotton tee around wet hair for about 15 minutes then let it air dry.

The Right Leave-in Conditioner

This is one of the most important (some argue the most) aspects of nailing the wash-n-go. You want to get something that is going to set your hair in just the right way. The product should be one that leaves your hair soft, shiny, moisturized, and in place. The leave-in conditioner also serves as a sealant, so it’s pretty important to make sure you get one that functions as such. This aspect of the process is trial and error as you may have to go through a few leave-ins before you find the one that really works for you. Nonetheless, to give you an idea of what’s out there, Miss Jessie’s Pillow Soft CurlsShea Moisture Curling Souffle, and Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner are some good places to start.

Extra Tips

The above are basics that will serve to give you a nice wash-n-go. You can also use a blow dryer in a low setting to help set your curls. This is especially true for those whose hair is more prone to frizz. Another important thing to remember is tying your hair at night. It’s not a good idea to just go to sleep without covering your head. Make sure to use your silk or satin scarf to maintain your hairstyle.

Having the best wash-n-go is within your reach so make sure to keep these things in mind.

 

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Reviving Natural Hair

There is a lot that goes into maintaining natural hair. In fact, there is so much that some might say it is an around the clock job ensuring that natural hair looks, feels, and acts right. Nonetheless, all the effort that you put into your hair does not go unnoticed. And even if no one tells you that your hair looks great, just knowing that you take care of it should be assurance enough that your natural hair is everything it could and should be.

With that, while I am sure that you put in work to make your hair look amazing, there are times still where a rejuvenation is necessary. Let’s face it, things happen and even if you don’t accidentally neglect your hair, sometimes routines need to be reevaluated and updated. This doesn’t mean that you’ve done anything wrong it just simply means that things change and you have to change with them. So as much as you feel you have your regimen down to a science, maybe there is something you can learn to take your hair to the next level.

Let’s look at some suggestions on how to rejuvenate your tresses.

It’s in What You Eat

We know that what we put into our bodies affects our whole bodies. Make sure to put good things in so good things, like enviable hair, will come out. Drink the water, eat the veggies, and cut back on the bad stuff. All of that plays a role in how your hair acts and looks and you will see the difference. A great way to make what you eat positively affect your hair is by consuming foods high in vitamins B, A and C. The latter of which gives you a collagen boost that helps keep the hair strands vibrant and healthy. Eat citrus fruits and things like red peppers to get this important vitamin naturally.

Mix Things Up

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to mix up a healthy hair concoction with the items you have in your fridge. Avocado, eggs, mayonnaise, and honey are all good items you can use, along with olive or coconut oil, to give your hair a little something extra; something different. You can whip them up as deep conditioners that you leave on for a few minutes to really get the benefits of the ingredients.

Get a Trim

This is one of the best ways to improve the overall function and look of your hair. Trimming your ends is something that you should do every two to three months in order to maintain healthy hair that acts right when you want to style it and that appears strong and pretty. It may seem counterproductive to some people, but getting those ends cut makes a big difference in so many areas pertaining to your hair.

Take a Supplement

Hair vitamins are very popular nowadays. They definitely have their advantages. Taking supplements specially formulated for the hair is a great way to give it nutrients that it may not get through your regular regimen. There are all kinds out there you can try and as with other things, it comes down to doing research and then trying products to see what works for you. Hair vitamins are an ideal way to add some rejuvenation to your tresses. Some good supplements to try are biotin and niacin.

It never hurts to add things to your routine that only serve to boost your hair. Try some of these and see how they work for you.

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Managing Gray Hair

As life carries on for all of us, there is one thing that just about everyone will deal with at one point in this existence – gray hair. Some people, believe it or not, embrace it and that is something to admire. But while there are those who say, “Bring it on life” there are many, many others who don’t like the idea of gray hair because it is a sign that they are, indeed, getting older. There is also the notion of aesthetics. For some folks, they just don’t like the way gray hair makes them look.

If you are a person who prides yourself on your locs and wants to fight gray hair as much as possible, of course, there are things that you can do. You can color your hair, which is what majority of people do to hide the fact that they are going gray. But if you want to get rid of and or limit a number of grays that you get, there are a few natural ways to do just that.

Let’s look at some tips and tricks on what you can use to ease the grays without using harmful chemicals that could end up hurting your hair in the long run.

Onion Juice

This vegetable is not just good for hamburgers and salads. Onions have some amazing healing properties that are beneficial for a plethora of things. They are high in sulfur and allicin which makes them great for getting rid of ailments like infections and yes, helping to better manage gray hair. The main way it does that is by decreasing inflammation and removing hydrogen peroxide, both of which are known factors that cause gray hair.

B12

Too many people walk around with all kinds of deficiencies. B12 is one of those vitamins that most folks don’t get enough of. If you are deficient in this area, it can be a cause of your hair turning the color that so many dread. B12 gives you energy and without enough of the vitamin working in your body, it can definitely cause premature graying. If you find that your gray hairs are increasing in numbers, check to see if you are deficient in B12. If so, get you some supplements or eat foods high in B12 (fish, soy, milk, and eggs just to name a few) so that you can get what you need to stop the gray.

Amla

If there ever were a superfood for hair, Amla is one for sure. Known as a hair tonic, this berry packs a huge nutritional punch. The way that Amla works is that it strengthens the hair follicles and stabilizes the free radicals that are the culprits of gray hair. Who doesn’t want to have this working for them?

Vitamins

You can never go wrong with taking a good vitamin. Nowadays, there are all kinds out there to help with whatever you want to address in your body and you can best believe that there are more than enough that deal with graying hair. Now, if you have never taken vitamins before, it will behoove you to do your research because it can be overwhelming. But trust and believe there are also kinds to help, stop, prevent or slow the graying process. Along with B12, you can also try VB9 for folic acid benefits and B5.

Going gray doesn’t have to be a bad or scary thing. If it matters to you and if you want to keep it under control, these are just a few of the things you can do to achieve your goals.

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Four Reasons to Trim Your Ends

In the world of natural hair, there are some dos and don’ts that people follow according to, well, how they feel. But is that really the best thing to do? In my opinion, not always because when it comes down to it, there are some tried and true tips that can really help women with natural hair. One of the best pieces of advice that too many do not like to follow is trimming of the hair. It may seem counter-intuitive but adding this process to your routine can work wonders.

I get it. For too many black women, cutting the hair does not make sense especially since a lot of you work so hard to get the little bit of length that you have. But when you consider the many reasons why it’s a good idea to get a regular trim, you might change your mind about the whole process. Cutting your ends is not about taking away your length. That has nothing to do with it. It is a maintenance measure that will go a long way when performed regularly.

So let’s look at a few instances in which trimming your ends is necessary and helpful.

Uneven Layers

If you see that your hair has uneven layers, then you may need a trim. Too often a lack of trimming will cause your hair to appear lopsided, uneven and formless. Getting it trimmed will give you shape and will make your hair more manageable. From holding curls better to maintaining a style better, getting rid of the dead hair will tremendously give your tresses a boost.

Raggedly Looking Hair

There is no getting around the fact that when you have raggedy ends it affects the overall look of your entire hair. I have seen this time and time again with women who refuse to cut their ends. This happens a lot too if you apply heat to your hair often. Over time, it damages your hair and makes it extremely hard to deal with. It also makes it not so nice to look at as well. Trimming your ends does so much more than you realize.

Lack of Growth

This is one of the main reasons to trim your ends. Not doing so can greatly stunt your hair’s growth. If you find that your hair does not grow or that it has been stuck at one length for a long time, then you may just need a trim. Damaged ends are a great hindrance to healthy and strong hair. The potential that your hair has to reach its max length will never fully be realized when you don’t trim your ends.

Split Ends

These are never fun. Who really wants to walk around with split ends? The frayed look that so many have as a result of this is unattractive and makes doing your hair a hassle because no matter what you do, it just doesn’t want to act right. Now, if you think getting a trim is going to stunt your growth, just imagine what happens when you don’t and then have to deal with breakage. It’s a real thing that many don’t understand can happen. Split ends are a major cause of so many bad things that happen to your hair.

Try not to look at it like cutting your hair. Instead, consider trimming your ends as a means to achieve the real hair goals that you want and deserve.

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Natural Hair Growth Tips to Keep in Mind

When it comes to taking care of natural hair, there is a science to it. Or that seems to be the case because there is so much trial and error associated with making sure your hair is what you want it to be. There is no doubt that things are different from person to person, but when it comes down to it, there are some methods and tips that are universal and can help you make the most out of the effort that you put into taking care of your hair.

One of the things that most naturals want to see is healthy hair that grows. While growth may not always be the goal for everyone, for those that do want to see their hair gain some inches, you can use some tried and true methods that have worked for countless women who want to see their tresses reach a certain length. Now, of course, you don’t have to follow everything that “experts” suggest, but if you find that something works for you, it’s a good idea to keep it going in order to see the results you want.

So here are a few tips and methods on how to make your natural hair grow.

Manage Your Expectations

Before we really get into the meat of things, let me stop and say this – You have to manage your expectations. If you think that what you’re doing is going to give you lightning fast results, then you have the wrong mindset. Growing and taking care of natural hair is all about the steady repeating of steps that work. If you expect overnight results, you will be disappointed immediately and probably give up hope on reaching your goals.

Vitamins

You take vitamins for other things in your life, so why not do it for your hair too? There are many on the market from which to choose. The thing here is to do the research and find out what might work for you based on reviews, ingredients and other pertinent details that matter for you and your situation. I have heard about and seen for myself great results through this method.

Planning is Key

Not creating a plan on how you expect your hair to grow will leave you with hair that does not grow. I don’t want to be a cliché here, but the saying is very true: “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.” Natural hair is so fragile. Neglect, usually of any kind, is not good for your hair. That’s where a regimen comes into play. A hair routine consists of timelines including when you wash your hair when you deep condition it, how you moisturize it and even things you may not think about such as steaming your hair. What you plan for your tresses comes down to what you’ve found works for them; so, pay attention.

Know your Type and Porosity

These two pieces of the natural hair game are something that most women probably don’t think about often. Knowing your type (whether you have type 2,3,4 hair and so on) and your porosity (how your hair reacts, retains, etc. moisture) are two determining factors of how you should manage it. It will give you an idea of the kinds of products you need to buy and how often you should wash, condition and treat it. There is a load of information on the Internet and on YouTube that can help you understand hair types and porosity. Put in the time to learn a little something more about natural hair than just the basics.

It’s a journey when working with natural hair. And have no doubt, that more times than not, it’s worth it.

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The Benefits of Fruit and Vegetable Juice For Your Hair

Let’s be honest – there is probably no statement truer than the cliché, “You are what you eat.” We know this to be the case for most people, although I do know a few folks who can literally eat whatever they want and not gain a single pound. They may not be the healthiest individuals, but what they eat doesn’t show up physically. Nonetheless, just because all the fried chicken they consume doesn’t affect their appearance, that doesn’t mean their bad eating habits doesn’t do a number on other parts of their body.

No matter who you are, the need for a relatively healthy, balanced diet is beneficial on so many levels. It’s not just about how you look. What you eat affects how you feel, how you are able to operate on a daily basis and yes, your eating habits even affect your hair. I know people who understand this fact and purposefully eat certain foods for their hair’s sake.

One of the best ways to get nutrients into your body is through juicing. I’ve done this off and on throughout the years and I’ve always been able to see a difference in how I feel and other benefits for my body.

If you have never considered juicing or if you have and are interested in how it can help strengthen, grow and affect the overall health of your hair, here are some juice ideas to do just that.

Aloe Vera Juice

This plant boasts so many great benefits it’s hard to know where to begin. But if you drink Aloe Vera or add it to your juice, it can help with preventing hair loss. Remember, men are not the only ones who lose their hair. Aloe Vera makes your hair stronger, which makes it less prone to breakage. Of course, you can also apply it directly to your hair if you prefer not to drink it.

Kiwi Juice

I love kiwi! I discovered it in elementary school and have been eating it ever since. You can incorporate this fruit, that’s rich in vitamin E, into a nice, delicious blended drink that you can make right in the comfort of your own home. Vitamin E is the thing that helps your hair grow faster. Plus, kiwi is great for boosting your immune system and minimizing hair breakage.

Onion Juice

Okay, I know this sounds gross and I would never really encourage anyone to drink onion juice by itself, but if you include it in your fruit/vegetable blended juices, you will reap tremendous benefits. Onions have properties that provide nourishment for your follicles. If you drink onion juice, it will help detox your lungs as well. If you apply it directly to your scalp, it can help cleanse your hair of parasites and other harmful build up.

Spinach Juice

Who doesn’t love some spinach? I like to put it in my omelets and in my spaghetti. There are too many benefits to list, but when it comes to what it can do for your hair, there are minerals, vitamins, and iron that mesh together to make it a superfood for your life. Along with working wonders for your hair, the same elements at play that make spinach amazing for your tresses, are also the same ones that make it great for your skin too. The vitamin B in it helps soothes itchiness and also works to restore and promote hair growth.

Eating for your hair health is something that will help every part of your body. Try these juices and see the difference that veggies and fruits can make on your hair.

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A Simple Hair Routine

When you have natural hair, it can seem like doing it and taking care of it is too much to handle at times. There are some ins and outs that you have to remember but when you know your hair, it makes it much easier to achieve the goals you want. That’s what it all comes down to – knowing your hair. And when you understand your hair type, how it functions, what works for it and what does not, then you are on your way to having great natural hair.

With knowing your tresses, you are able to do what’s best for them and that starts with your regimen. Everyone’s hair is different and there are probably no two people who share the exact same type. There may be similarities but not identical situations that call for the same regimen. Through it all, to have success, you need to simplify your routine as much as possible. This involves a variety of things and knowing what they are will save you a world of trouble. So let’s look at what you can do to simplify and or build a more doable regimen so that your natural hair can live its best life.

Incorporate Scalp Massages

You get them done for your body and your feet because it relaxes and stimulates. This is the same reason you should massage your scalp. You want the blood in your scalp to better circulate. When this happens, it puts your hair in a better position to grow and be as healthy as possible. You can do this yourself by using your favorite oil or hair butter to give your scalp some much-appreciated rubbing.

Add in the Moisture

No matter what you do or what you think, you have to add in the moisture. You cannot skimp, neglect or forego. This is not something you can do every now and then. You have to commit to doing it on a consistent basis. In other words, pay attention to your hair and moisturize as much as needed. You don’t have to do it every day but you do need to understand your hair and act accordingly. Not moisturizing enough is one of the things that too many women do and that will affect your hair more than you know. You can do this after you get out of the shower for the initial moisturizing session. After that, see what your hair needs in between washes to keep things together.

Watch What You Eat

You hear this all the time I am sure, but what you eat really does have a lot to do with the way your hair looks. You know that the way you eat affects your body, so you have to trust and believe that the same holds true for the condition of your hair. Drink water, lots of it; as much as you can stand within a day. This will improve your skin, nails, and your hair.

Other Things to Remember

Using heat on your hair is not a good idea. I suggest using a minimal amount of direct heat as possible because it will damage your hair without a doubt. Use products that are sulfate free if you can. Usually, that means it will be a little more expensive but it is worth it. Deep conditioning is a must. Doing it at least every other week will tremendously help your hair. Finally, trimming your ends is one of the best things you can do for your hair.

Simplify with the basics. From there, figure out what works for your hair and do it with love.

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Natural Hair Problems to Keep in Mind

Having natural hair is truly something that you should be proud to say you have. Too many black women have felt the need to fit into the European standard of beauty. While there is nothing wrong with wearing weave or straightening your hair to achieve a certain look, it always saddens me when women of color prefer those hair options to their natural state. I know that not all natural hair is created equally, but all natural hair is created worthy. Nonetheless, if you are natural and have been in the game for a few years (or a few days) then you should relish in the fact that you are still standing. The truth is, everyone who starts the journey doesn’t finish and the reasons vary. Let’s talk about some reasons.

It is a process that takes patience and time. If you don’t have either, then you might want to reconsider the natural hair lifestyle. There will be times of transition when your hair is in a weird place. Usually, that’s when many women wear wigs, weaves, and braids or abandon ship. Along with that awkward transition phase, there are some other points to keep in mind about going and or being natural.

Here are just a few of things that most (if not all) naturals experience while taking care of their hair.

Shrinkage

It is a real thing that can really be a pain in the butt. If you have gone natural because you like the idea of wearing your hair curly and especially love the way it looks when wet, just know that the shrinkage will make your tresses look shorter. Some women are okay with this while others hate it. There are products that you can buy that can help elongate your strands, but it’s up to you to use them.

Lack of Moisture

This is something that is a constant issue in the natural hair world. Woman after woman wonders how they can retain moisture. It’s a tricky thing because everyone’s hair is different. I believe that this aspect of the journey is trial and error. There are basics you can start off with to give you a kind of guide, but ultimately, trying different products, techniques and using different methods is what’s going to make you achieve your moisture goals.

Product Overload

Believe me when I say that you will become a product junkie. You just won’t be able to help yourself. When you are in the store and you see the different brands and see what they claim to do, you will build a collection to go to when you need something to do a specific job. Countless women confess to this aspect of being natural and it’s not a bad thing. Who doesn’t love having a cabinet full of goodies meant to keep your hair healthy, strong, and vibrant?

Tangles

These are never any fun. Even those who try their best to keep tangles out of their hair, these pesky little things seem to find their way in regardless. When this happens, the best thing to do is take your time to remove them. It can be frustrating and you may want to rush, pull or tug, but that is not what you want to do. You can buy products that are formulated to help remove tangles and if your hair is prone to getting them, it is in your best interest to do so.

This short list is not meant to discourage but to make you aware. There are a lot of other things to consider as a natural, but if you are good with these, then you should be okay with the other things as well.

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Fall: The Colors of the Season

One of the very best things about the change in seasons is the change in trends we see in beauty, hair, and fashion. There are different designs that are in, recommended materials that become our faves and what I get most excited about – new popular colors.

Color is all around us and if you like to mix things up, then you too understand why fall is such a great time of the year. The earth around us naturally reflects the beauty that color brings to our lives and what better time to know the hottest color trends for hair, nails, and fashion than right now?

Maybe you don’t get the big fuss about fall colors that other people seem to give a lot of attention to. I respect that, but if you’ve never really tried to understand or just don’t usually care to, believe me, you are doing yourself a great disservice. Learn all the ways that colors can unlock different aspects of who you are. From doing something different with your hair to trying something popping on your nails, it’s time to embrace something new!

So here are some of the most popular beauty, hair, and fashion color trends for fall 2017.

Color Melting

For the ones that keep up with hair trends, this one is right up your alley. Color melting is considered a new way to add color and dimension to hair as it’s a fancy process of highlighting your tresses. In essence, a colorist adds several colors to make them seamlessly blend together, which looks like they are melting together on your hair. Sounds pretty cool.

Vibrant Reds

If you don’t wear red often, change that this fall. Vibrant reds were seen all over the runways in a variety of designs. You can go and grab for yourself a super cute apple red wool coat, or some fire red boots. The trend also looks great on nails too so you can’t really go wrong with some stiletto nails in a sexy red. If you are feeling really bold, go there with your hair too, and turn heads walking down the street.

Platinum

To give you an idea of this color, think Storm from the X-Men comics. Lighter seems to be better nowadays for a lot of people when it comes to their hair and platinum is all the rage right now. Bleaching to the point of gray can be seen all over social media. I get it. It’s edgy and cool and different, but just know, while the platinum look is definitely much sought after, the process by which to obtain the trend can be costly to your hair health in the long run. It’s up to you what you are willing to risk. It sure is pretty though.

Violet

I love to see deep purples on hair. It’s dark and mysterious and fall is really the perfect time to rock this trend. Many fashion and hair experts predict that this season, ebony hair with blends of dark purple will rule and I can totally see that happening. We have seen a lot of blues, both dark and neon, rule the hair world over the last few seasons. I have seen black and white women; straight hair and naturals all rock the color in their own ways. But there is just something about a vibrant, shiny, perfectly purple hair color. It can be chic, dangerous and sleek all at the same time. Violets are also very popular right now for your nails. You can coordinate and rock out with this trend.

I love everything that colors allow us to do in our lives. These are just a few 2017 trends that you can start thinking about incorporating now.

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Hair Care Routines: Changing with the Seasons

You know how in life you have to change clothes, shoes and other aspects according to the seasons? Well, if you didn’t already know, you have to go through the same process for your hair. That’s right, it’s that time of the year to start thinking about winterizing your hair care routine.

I know that it can be a pain in the butt, but if you want hair that stays healthy and strong throughout the seasons, you have to do your part to make sure that happens. It’s not enough to just take care of your tresses with “regular” maintenance kinds of things like shampooing. If you have natural hair, you literally should have two to three game plans to implement in a 12-month period depending on the weather.

Now, because winter can be so harsh on your hair, it is a good idea to look at your routine, do some research and change things up so that you can ensure your hair goals don’t experience a set back during the coldest months of the year. It’s never too early to look at your hair routine and update it. It’s just good practice.

So because fall is right around the corner, which means winter will be knocking on your door soon, let’s talk about how to winterize your hair.

Pre-Pooing

This is just a really good way to give your hair all the moisture it can get. Pre-pooing is a much-needed process and is usually done with a good oil or oil mixture the night before you plan to wash your hair. It coats your strains and serves as a layer of protection from the stripping that can sometimes happen with shampooing. Use your favorite oil and a shower cap.

Protective Styling

Hey, protective styles are not just for summer. No matter the time of year, they work in your favor. Winter is just an ideal a time as any to get whatever protective style you see fit. You know how it goes, it’s cold outside and most people don’t want to get out of a warm, cozy bed. A protective style can give you a little more time to sleep in as you don’t have to really do your hair. It also gives a break from too much tugging and pulling.

Deep Conditioning

It’s not enough to just wash and condition your hair. The elements in the environment can be rough on your tresses and that means deep conditioning is really not up for debate. This is a process that too many women don’t do often enough. It’s paramount to the overall health of your hair as it revives it and gives it much-needed nutrients that may have been lost for one reason or another. Find a product that you like, whether it be one for deep conditioning specifically or just one that your hair responds to well, apply it and sit under a dryer with a cap on your head. It’s a good idea to do this at least once a month during winter.

Hair Sealing

The whole idea of your winter routine is to keep your hair healthy and strong. That’s why using a sealant is one of the best things you can do. A good sealing agent helps lock moisture in as it creates a barrier between the elements and your hair. Shea butter is a go-to for naturals and is great for this purpose.

Winterizing your hair routine is so important and will only serve you in positive ways in the long run.

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