Routine Revamp: 6 Habit Changes to Avoid Dry Hair

Battling dry hair can be exhausting! While we are constantly looking for ways to add moisture to our hair, part of the problem can also be what we are doing everyday to unconsciously suck moisture from our strands. A few simple changes in our everyday routines, can make a major difference when it comes to helping hair retain moisture.

1. Ditch the towel.

You’ve just washed your hair and like clock work you reach for a nice fluffy towel to dry it with. Yikes! Just as that same towel eliminates moisture from your skin it eliminates moisture from your hair and can even cause breakage. Next time you wash your luxurious locks, opt for an old (but clean) cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel. You’ll be sure to just soak up the excess moisture and not all the moisture.

2. Air Dry.

Have you ever been in a public restroom and used one of those heated and dryers? Do you remember you hands feeling tight and dry after? Well thats exactly whats happening when you blow dry your wet hair. The blowdryer robs your strands of all its moisture and your left with clean, yet tight and dry hair. Air drying allows the hair to hold on to the moisture that it needs while the excess can evaporate naturally.

3.Take a Heat Pass.

Lets face it, we all need a little heat every now and then to achieve our fabulous hair styles. But do you really NEED to straighten your hair everyday? No, and if you do, chances are your hair is extremely heat damaged. If you find yourself reaching for a curling iron or flat iron more than twice a week, switch it up a bit. Try a no heat curling style (there are TONS of pins on those), a chic bun, or even a sleek ponytail. There are countless fabulous styles that you can achieve with out using heat, so give the hot tools a break! But…If you really MUST use heat styling, opt for a lower temperature setting AND a quality heat protectant.

4. Check the Label.

Contrary to popular belief, a lot of the hair products on the market today just are simply not good for your hair. Take a look at the products that you are currently using on your hair, if they contain any isopropyl alcohol, mineral oil, petroleum, sodium sulfates, parabens, or Polyethylene Glycol (or PEG)…RUN. Not only do these ingredients strip hair of its natural moisture, some of them are also guilty of causing CANCER. So ditch the commercial products and opt for more natural options such as organic oils (coconut is my favorite) and natural hair care lines.

5. Do Right at Night.

After a long busy day you could probably want nothing more than to throw your hair up into a high ponytail and pass out in bed right? Wrong! Before you lay your head down to sleep you need to make sure that your hair is properly prepared for bed. Night time is a crucial time for battling dry hair because it is the only time of day that your is truly at rest and that means its the best time to absorb nutrients. Make sure you apply moisture and protect your hair (without tension) from nightly wear and tear. A head scarf, a bonnet, or even a loosely pulled bun on a satin pillowcase should do the trick.

6. Have the Right Tools

The tools that your using on your hair can be just as guilty in causing dry brittle hair as how your using them. Opt for wider toothed combs, vent brushes, and no-snag scrunchies to avoid drying out and damaging your strands. Always remember to comb from end-to-root to avoid tangles, and wash your hair styling tools if not every time you wash your hair, at least once a month.

Remember these moisture saving tips when caring for your hair and, trust me, you will notice a huge difference in the way you hair looks and feels in no time!
Which of these habits do you think will be the hardest for you to change?

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Should I Wash My Weave?

I’ve been asked this question a million times, “Alanna, should I wash my hair before I put it in? How do I prep it for the install? What do I do to it when I first get it?” I am going to give you an outline of how I prep my hair, both new and old, for an install.

You will need:
*a basin (a bucket can work, or even just your kitchen sink with the stopper in it; it just has to be able to hold water)
*shampoo + conditioner
*leave in conditioner
*a wide tooth comb [optional]
*a large plastic bag (storage zip lock bag OR a plastic shopping bag) [optional]

1.   First squirt a generous amount of shampoo across the bottom of your basin.
2.   Fill the basin halfway with lukewarm water and submerge your hair (I would recommend removing the rubber bands first, but it’s totally optional)
3.   Let the hair sit in the basin for about 1 minute. Then you want to pick up each bundle, one at a time and “swish” or “dunk” it in and out of the water a few times. This is the gentle alternative to scrubbing your hair clean!
4.   Pour the water out of the basin and rise the hair thoroughly with lukewarm water. Make sure you remove ALL traces of shampoo from the hair.
5.   Squeeze out the excess water and apply a generous amount of conditioner to each bundle, working the conditioner throughout the hair with your fingers. Take a wide tooth comb and comb through from the ends up to the weft.
6.   After all hair is thoroughly drenched in conditioner, you can either:
     (1) Let the hair sit in the basin uncovered for an hour
     (2) Seal it in a large plastic bag (squeeze out excess air) and let it sit for 30 minutes
     (3) *My Fav* Seal it in a large plastic bag (squeeze out excess air) and microwave for 1 minute, remove the bag and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
7.   Rinse thoroughly with cold water. Squeeze out excess water, apply your fav leave in conditioner & let air dry!

Try it out and let me know which conditioner method you like best!

Mixing an Amazing Leave In Conditioner

Leave in conditioners should be a staple in everyone’s virgin hair washing regimen, and a truly good leave in conditioner will keep your luxurious locks conditioned between washes and maximize the life of your extensions.

Best times to add a leave in conditioner:
* After washing & conditioning hair extensions
* After coloring hair
* After long periods of excessive heat 
* After swimming in chlorine or sea water

Quick & Easy Recipe

                  1 part leave in conditioner (any of the first two listed below)
                  2 parts water
                  Combine together in a empty spray bottle
Infusium 23 Original Formula Pro-Vitamin Leave In Treatment
* I love the original formula bust honestly any version (as long as it is a leave in treatment) will do.
Buy it here

Razac Perfect for Perms Leave in Conditioner
Buy it here

Motions Nourish Leave In Conditioner

* This one i don’t recommend diluting, you can spray this one directly onto hair from the bottle. I love this conditioner, my only complaint is that compared to the others you don’t get much bang for your buck. 
Buy it here

Hair Extensions in the video were provided courtesy of purchase yours here!

Changing The “Natural Hair” Stigma

When you hear women refer to themselves as “natural” visions of mounds of untamed hair, afro’s, and dry kinky coils may appear in your head. Now I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with wearing your hair in an fro, by all means, if you like it, we love it. I’m just saying that wasn’t the look that I was personally going for. Honestly, I believe this is one of the biggest reasons why black women are so afraid to let go of their relaxer. So, when my hair dresser suggested that I cut out my perm (which had my hair about as brittle as a saltine cracker) I looked at her like she was crazy.

After some thought and research, I finally realized, just because a woman of color chooses to wear her hair “natural” doesn’t mean she has to walk around looking like a woman of the wild. There are plenty of “glam-friendly” hairstyles that allow you to both maintain your preferred straight look AND protect the health of your NATURAL tresses.

1.) Dominican Blowouts 
Want your hair super straight, but don’t want to add too much heat? I am almost 100% sure that your local Dominican hair salon can help you out with that. This procedure usually includes, a wash & condition, getting your hair blown out with a round brush, and lightly pressed with the flat iron. The hair dressers use products that promote hair growth as well as protect your hair from the heat applied. A Dominican Blowout is very low maintenance (just requires a simple wrap & headscarf at night) and will last you anywhere between 2-3 weeks. Be consistent with this styling and you’ll start to notice your hair growing (healthy) in no time.

2.) Weaves
Of course weaves are the ultimate glam “natural” hair style. This is because weaves are so versatile that you can achieve maximum styling while majority of your real hair is protected underneath. Usually with this style, women braid their hair and sew (or glue) tracks onto those braids to create the illusion of a full head of flowing hair. When wearing a weave, you should leave out as little hair as possible, just enough to cover your tracks, and ALWAYS remember to use a heat protectant before applying heat. This style will last you anywhere from 1-3 months and with proper maintenance of your hair underneath, you should definitely experience hair growth when you remove the install.

3.) Buns
This classic up-do is super cute, and super simple to create and maintain. This style is ideal for natural hair gals because it is a great protective style and requires no heat at all. How healthy is that?! A bun can be achieved easily, and if you have trouble laying down those untamed edges, try some pomade and a tight scarf for 5-10 minutes.

4.) Wigs
When most women hear the word “wig” they automatically turn up their noses at the thought. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing a wig, especially if it is a good one. I recommend purchasing a wig (or making your own) that is made out of 100% human hair. Synthetic wigs tend to look fake and don’t last for very long, while human hair wigs look more natural and can be styled a variety of ways. If you think you’d feel uncomfortable in a wig, it may help to try one with bangs. This style is great for those transitioning because it’s removable, perfect for maintaining for your healthy hair care regimen and protecting hair.

Take Care of that Hair Under There!

Just because you have extensions in doesn’t mean you should neglect your real hair under there!
Wearing virgin hair extensions should motivate you to care for your natural hair as well as those expensive additions.

Even if you don’t feel comfortable with thoroughly washing & conditioning your braided hair underneath (because its a lot of work and absolutely MUST be done correctly to prevent mildew) you should still keep your hair and scalp well hydrated.

*Top 5 Best Scalp Oils*
1.) Extra Virgin Olive Oil– Yes the one that you cook with! This oil has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft. It nourishes, moisturizes, and conditions hair while relieving dry scalp (dandruff).
2.) Jojoba Oil– Great for all hair types, especially dry or damaged hair. This oil is the closest to the scalp’s natural secreted oils, therefore very beneficial in moisturizing both hair and scalp.
3.) Virgin Coconut Oil- With it’s antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, this oil is great for treating and preventing scalp problems. It’s great for softening & conditioning strands, as well as retaining length.
4.) Grapeseed Oil- Odorless, with a non- greasy texture, this oil is perfect if you are afraid of weighing your hair down. It’s easily absorbed, moisturizing & nourishing to reduce brittleness.
5.) Sweet Almond Oil- This natural oil is rich in vitamins A, B1, B6, and E. It contains antioxidants that promote circulation in the scalp, creating strong and healthy hair growth. 

All of these oils are very light and can be easily applied between your wefts using an applicator bottle (which can be bought at any beauty supply store).
Target the oil application directly to your scalp to avoid getting it on your extensions. Remember to squeeze the bottle very lightly, when it comes to oil, a little goes a long way!

My All Time Fav Moisturizing Serum

Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Serum
Between $6-$8 USD at Walmart or Walgreens

This serum is by far the best product that I have found to use on both my real hair AND my extensions as a daily moisturizer. 
Top 3 reasons why I love it:

1.) Non greasy and light-weight enough for daily use. 
2.) A little goes a long way so this small bottle lasts a LONG time.
3.) Instantly conditions hair leaving it softer and shinier. 
This serum is ideal for both straight AND curly styles.

Top 5 Moisturizing Shampoos & Conditioners

Hi Beauties!

Lately I have been getting a LOT of questions about which shampoos and conditioners are the best to use on your extensions. As I always say, make sure your using a shampoo that targets moisture as opposed to those that are geared more towards dandruff, color retention, volume, etc. I also recommend that you use products created for damaged hair, just because these are the products that are going to give your hair the most nutrients. Don’t go breaking the bank on expensive salon products either, the best moisturizers for your temporary tresses can be found at the nearest Walmart, drug store, or at

1. Herbal Essences Hello Hydration
Usually retails for about $3-$4 USD per bottle at 10 oz.
2. Aussie Moist
Usually retails for about $8 USD per bottle at 13 oz.
3. Motions Moisture Plus
Usually retails for about $5-$6 USD per bottle at 13 oz.
4. Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk 

Usually retails for about $6 USD per bottle at 13 oz.

5. Dove Intense 
Usually retails for about $5 for 25 oz.
Each of these products will leave your hair silky soft, moisturized, and 100% FAB!

Prevent Your Extensions From Shedding

When dealing with wefted hair extensions, one common problem that most women experience is shedding, ESPECIALLY if you cut your wefts during the install. I always advise my clients against cutting their wefts (unless your creating clip in’s) simply because once you cut the weft it unravels a bit at the seam causing minor shedding. No worries though you can easily fix this problem with $3 and about 10 minutes.

*Fray Check* 

Fray check is what people in the sewing world use to stop threat from coming undone. Its super cheap and super easy to use. Apply along the line of each side of your wefts (front AND back) concentrating on the ends. This will seal the “tracks” and help prevent unraveling as well as shedding. You could (should) also do this even if you haven’t cut your wefts, just as extra security.

Dying Your Hair (and/or Extensions) Black

One can never go wrong with black hair. It’s sexy, classic, and nearly fool-proof to achieve.
Before I start this post I want to mention the fact that if the extensions you purchase are TRULY 100% Virgin they will be “dye-able”. The unprocessed hair usually comes in a dark brown “1B” color and can be colored to any color you desire. If you have any trouble dying your hair, request a refund.
Most of my clients love their hair Jet black, but when dealing with extensions I often recommend that you use permanent dye as opposed to semi-permanent dye (or a rinse) to color your hair. This is because human hair needs to be washed very often and with a dye, you will lose some of your color with each wash, causing you re-dye very frequently.
There are two ways you can dye your extensions- Pre Install (before you put your hair in) or Installed (with your hair in)

Either way you will need:
* 2 boxes of hair dye, (depending on how many bundles you are coloring). I prefer Garnier Fructis “Black Licorice” just because I feel like it’s a bit more nourishing for the hair.
       – 1 box for up to 2 bundles
       – 2 boxes for 3 or more bundles             
* 1 ziplock freezer bag (for pre-install) OR 4 hair clips (for installed/ natural hair)
* A Comb
* A Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner
* Leave-in Conditioner Spray

Method #1 (Pre-Installed)

1.) Lay hair out in the sink and prep the hair color as instructed on the directions. (If you are coloring bundles that are size coded by rubber-bands you may want to keep them on)

2.) Make sure your hands are protected by the plastic gloves provided with the hair dye. Starting with the longest length, begin squirting the color onto your extensions.  Don’t worry if the color comes out a little grey-ish at first, it will darken as time passes.

3.) Do this for each of your bundles, making sure to apply even amounts to both front and back.

4.) Work the dye into each bundle with your protected fingers.

5.) Put each bundle into your plastic bag and add a splash of water. Seal the plastic bag squeezing out the excess air. Squish the hair around in the bag. This will help distribute the color more evenly throughout your hair.

6.) Open the bag and gently comb through each bundle. Be sure to start with the ends and work your way up the the hair shaft to avoid breakage.

7.) Put the bundles back in the bag, seal releasing excess air, and let it sit for 45 minutes.

8.) Rinse the hair with lukewarm water until the water runs clear.

9.) Apply the conditioner provided with the dye, comb through, and let sit for 3-5 minutes

10.) Rinse out the conditioner, shampoo with a moisturizing shampoo, and re-condition with a moisturizing conditioner.

11.) Rinse again apply your leave in conditioning spray. Let it air dry and enjoy your newly colored hair!

Method #2 (Installed)

1.) Start by changing into an old t-shirt that you don’t mind getting ruined. Open the box of dye and prep according to the instructions. Don’t forget to wear your gloves!

2.) Divide your hair into 4 sections and clip each section up.

3.) Begin applying dye to your hair starting with the ends first, working your way up the shaft. Do this section by section, until you’ve applied an even amount to your entire head. (I usually start with the back of my head first but you can do it in any order you want).

4.) Go back and apply a splash of water to each section. Comb through (starting with the ends first!)

5.) Clip back up and let it sit for 25 minutes.

6.) Rinse with lukewarm water until water runs clear. Apply the deep conditioner included with the dye and let it sit for 3-5 minutes.

7.) Rinse and apply your leave in conditioner spray. Let it air dry and enjoy your new sexy black hair!

*If your hair was not washed prior to coloring, follow steps 10 and 11 from the pre-install directions.