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Is Olive Oil Good for Your Hair

You’re likely familiar with using olive oil within a variety of food recipes. For example, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is often used as a flavorful, fruitful salad dressing.

Although, can you use olive oil for hair growth? Is olive oil safe for your hair? Will it cause damage to your hair? Can it be used on curly hair? 

Within this article, we’ll answer these questions in detail, provide additional information on how to use olive oil on your hair and share our recommended products.

Let’s not waste any time and dive right in!

Is Olive Oil Good for Your Hair?

Yes, although most evidence about the benefits of using olive oil are anecdotes. Even though the scientific evidence is somewhat limited, it does exist and olive oil has proven to be a versatile product that has many hair-related benefits. 

While olive oil is often used for cooking, it can also be used for deep conditioning treatments.

In a recent study that reviewed the significant of olive phytochemicals, it was determined that olive oil may have moisturizing benefits.

It is also thought to make your hair feel softer and strengthen your hair strands. In fact, the oil contains several emollients (e.g., squalene, palmitic acid, and oleic acid), which are known for their softening qualities.

While there are many hair-related benefits, olive oil is not considered to be a cleansing agent or shampoo, so it should not replace your shampoo when you wash your hair.

With that said, olive oil can be used during scalp massages or deep conditioning treatments. 

What Do the Studies Say?

What Do the Studies Say

While there is limited research on olive oil and the benefits it has on curly hair, there is research that is intriguing. 

In 2015, studies from the International Journal of Trichology showed that oils are important in helping to protect the hair from damage that may occur.

In fact, certain oils can penetrate the hair strand and reduce how much water is absorbed, which works to protect the hair shaft and in return reduce stress and damage caused to the hair. 

The same study also showed that monounsaturated oils are absorbed better into the skin and olive oil is a monounsaturated oil. 

So, in short, olive oil should be safe to use on your hair, smooth the hair’s cuticles, reduce frizziness, and moisturize the follicles. 

How to Use Olive Oil as a Hair Treatment: 5 Quick Steps (DIY)

Hair Treatment: 5 Quick Steps

If you have never used olive oil in your hair, you may be wondering what the right steps are or how you can get started. Below we’ve included a quick conditioning treatment. 

Prior to using olive oil as a conditioning treatment in your hair, you want to make sure that you choose a good quality olive oil to use. 

There are several quality oils available, although we prefer this oil available on Amazon. It’s USDA certified, organic, unrefined 100% pure oil and doesn’t include any added chemicals or preservatives.

It’s important to use a high-quality product. If you use a poor quality product, you will likely find that it only causes your hair to feel greasy (or oily). 

Below, we will discuss how you can use olive oil as a hair conditioning treatment:

Step 1: Measure out a small amount of olive oil to be used in your hair. 

If this is your first time using olive oil in your hair, you don’t want to use a lot. It is recommended that you only use one or two tablespoons the first time. 

It’s always recommended to start with a small amount and increase usage over time. Eventually, you can expect to use approximately a 1/4 cup of the oil to treat your entire head.

Note: The amount of oil you use is directly related to the amount of hair on your head. If you currently have a TWA, you’ll likely use less oil than someone with middle back length hair. The measurements provided are only rough estimates, we recommend following the directions on the product packaging.

Step 2: Apply the oil to your hair. 

You should start by applying the oil to areas of your hair and scalp that feel dry. In general, you will usually find that the ends of your hair and the roots of your hair require the most focus and attention. 

Step 3: Massage the oil into your hair and scalp. 

This is one of the most important steps and should not be skipped. You should take a few minutes to massage the oil into your scalp and roots. 

Besides the fact that scalp massages feel amazing, there are many other benefits of incorporating scalp massages into your hair regimen, especially if you’re also trying to grow longer hair.

Note: If you want to use olive oil to promote hair growth, read this article.

Step 4: Let the oil sit for 15-30 minutes. 

Once you have massaged the oil into your hair and scalp, you should cover your hair with a shower cap and allow the oil to sit for 15-30 minutes. This allows the oil to be properly absorbed by your hair. 

Step 5: Rinse out your hair. 

After 15-30 minutes, you can remove the shower cap and rinse your hair in the shower with warm water. Take a couple of minutes to finger detangle if necessary, to remove any knots or kinks. 

Once you have rinsed and detangled your hair, you can either let your air dry or use a hair dryer to dry your hair more quickly.

In the video below, My Natural Sistas shows a slightly modified version of the process outlined above. As you practice with various techniques, you’ll be prepared to customize the approach to work best for your hair care needs.

Easy Olive Oil Hair Treatment that You Can Do at Home

One of the nice things about olive oil is that it works to condition your hair without the cost of salon prices. You can treat your hair with olive oil both affordably and easily. 

To help you get started, here is another quick DIY home recipe for an olive oil conditioning treatment. 

Ingredients: 

Directions:

  1. Place both the conditioner and olive oil in a bowl and mix until well blended. The goal is to create a yogurt-like consistency. 
  2. Apply the mixture throughout your hair, including the ends of your hair, and massage the mixture into your scalp.
  3. Place a shower cap on your head and allow the mixture to sit for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Rinse your hair thoroughly to remove any excess mixture and allow your hair to air dry.

Is Olive Oil Good for All Hair Types? Do All Hair Types Benefit from Its Use?

Yes, although everyone’s hair is different. Depending on your hair type, the results that you receive from using olive oil on your hair may vary from exactly what’s described in this article. 

If your hair fits into one of the following categories, we recommend trying olive oil to determine if you like how it makes your hair look and feel:

  • Curly, wavy and kinky hair
  • Dry or damaged hair
  • Hair with split-ends or excessive breakage
  • Hair that’s been heavily processed or relaxed hair

Should I Apply the Oil to Wet or Dry Curly Hair?

The answer is simple: it’s up to you. There are pros and cons to each method. It just depends on your personal preference. You may need to try it both ways to see which you prefer better. 

To benefit the most from the olive oil treatment, it is best to apply the treatment to hair that has already been washed and moisturized, as the oil will help to seal in the moisture. 

The biggest downside to applying olive oil to wet hair is that it can be difficult to properly apply it since the hair is wet and slippery. It can honestly create a significant mess if you’re not careful. 

If you’re using this method in the shower, please be careful not to get any oil on the floor or you will potentially risk falling and hurting yourself.

Applying olive oil to dry hair can be easier because you can see where you have and haven’t applied the oil. 

Unfortunately, some women say that their hair does not absorb moisture very well when the oil is applied to dry hair. So, the process of trial and error is important to learn how the oil works best on your hair. 

Other Uses

Just as olive oil is beneficial for your hair, many individuals experience great results when using the oil within their beauty routines. 

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamins and is known to help fight bacteria and moisturize the skin. 

Olive oil, as part of your beauty routine, can:

  • Help remove dry skin from your lips when mixed with sugar
  • Moisturize damaged skin
  • Prevent premature aging
  • Soften dry heels and callouses
  • Soothe and calm rashes

Some Final Considerations

While there is a significant amount of anecdotal evidence supporting the hair and skin benefits of olive oil, there isn’t as much supporting scientific evidence.

Although, we were able to find a few scientific studies and journals that we referenced in the article.

Whenever you try a new hair product or treatment, we always recommend starting out with a very small amount.

If you have sensitive skin, you will want to avoid olive oil in large quantities until you know how your body will react to it. 

Some studies have discovered that olive oil can exacerbate skin conditions and individuals may experience heightened irritation (source). So, be careful and patch test the oil if you’re using it for the first time.

Finally, we know that taking care of your hair can be difficult, there is no doubt about that. That’s one of the primary reasons that we started Curl Centric.

Knowing what products to use on your hair is a great start to healthy, beautiful hair. We know how important your curls are to you and our goal is to help you keep them healthy.

how to grow back your thinning hair edges (i.e., baby hair)

Your hair edges (also known as baby hairs) are the little wispy hairs that grow around your forehead, along your hairline, and around your face. They’re short, soft, and delicate.

Unfortunately, they’re also more fragile than the rest of your hair, and they break easily.

Whether you’re curious about ways to maintain healthy edges or you’re actively looking to grow back your thinning edges, you’ve come to the right place.

What Causes Thin or Damaged Hair Edges?

What Causes Thin or Damaged Hair Edges

A wide variety of conditions can increase the likelihood of hair loss, including pregnancy, stress, drastic weight loss, thyroid conditions, anemia, hormone imbalances, scalp conditions, and excessively tight hairstyles.

Hair loss might also be hereditary or caused by a scalp condition such as seborrheic dermatitis or alopecia areata.

If you want to learn more about hair loss causes and treatment options or the best shampoos for hair loss, we’ve written comprehensive articles on those topics.

If you’re concerned about an underlying health condition or you can’t determine the cause of sudden or dramatic hair loss, be sure to reach out to your doctor or seek professional medical advice.

You’re not alone in your journey. 

According to the American Hair Loss Association, women make up 40% of Americans suffering from hair loss, and many feel embarrassed or upset (source).

It’s important to stay positive. Remember that you’re not alone. While healthy hair is a worthwhile pursuit, you’re beautiful either way.

What Can I Use to Grow My Hair Edges Back?

What Can I Use to Grow My Hair Edges Back

Don’t blame yourself for having thinning or damaged edges. Lots of women will experience the problem at some point in their lives.

Even if you’re doing everything right, your edges can still give you trouble.

That said, taking good care of your hair and adjusting a few key aspects of your hair care routine can help, so we’ve put together a list of ideas to get you started.

1. Be Gentle with Your Hair

be gentle with your hair

When washing, styling, and handling your hair, be gentle, especially around your hairline. Scrubbing, scratching or pulling your hair too tight can easily damage your edges.

If you find yourself absentmindedly pulling or twisting your hair, do your best to break the habit (i.e., hand in hair syndrome). If you have hand in hair syndrome, see how long you can go without touching your hair at all.

The goal is to keep your hands out of your hair as much as possible. Treat your edges with patience and care, like a little garden you’re growing on your head.

2. Keep Your Hair Edges Moisturized (and Conditioned)

Keep Your Hair Edges Moisturized (and Conditioned)

There is a reason why people often refer to their hair edges as their “remaining baby hair”, and it’s partly because the hair around your edges often has a different texture or curl pattern than the remainder of the hair on your head.

Because of these differences in hair textures, you may need to consider creating a “customized” unique regimen for your edges, especially if you’re experiencing breakage along your edges

It could be caused by improper moisturizing and conditioning.

Your edges are delicate, and unless your hair is covered, they’re almost always exposed to environmental elements. So, it’s important to ensure that your edges are being regularly moisturized and conditioned.

As we’ve mentioned, your edges are already fragile, but they’re especially likely to break when your hair is dry.

We recommend that you incorporate a deep conditioning process in your natural hair regimen, moisturize regularly and limit the use of heat on your hair to help prevent heat damage.

If you need to use a hair dryer, flat iron or other heating tools, always use a heat protectant on your hair and use the lowest temperature possible to produce your desired results.

Heat styling tools can be damaging to your hair, and it’s important to learn what you can do to stop your hair from breaking and shedding.

For more information and tips on finding the right moisturizer, revisit our previous article on how to avoid hair breakage.

3. Avoid Tight Braids, Ponytails and Other Hairstyles That Pull Your Edges

Avoid Tight Braids, Ponytails and Other Hairstyles That Pull Your Edges

Buns, twists, braids, and ponytails can pull on your edges, damaging these baby hairs or stretching them to the point of breaking.

Consider limiting how much you pull your hair back, and when you do, consider a looser look when possible. The tighter the hairstyle, the more it will pull on your edges, potentially leading to damage and breakage.

If you decide to get extensions, be sure to ask your stylist to avoid your edges or treat them with extra care.

During the installation process, you should notify your stylist if you experience any pain. Notifying them quickly allows them to make adjustments to the style before it’s finished.

Likewise, if you continue to experience pain more than twenty-four hours after installation, we recommend removing the braids. This prolonged discomfort is a warning signal from your body, communicating to you that something is wrong.

Here are some examples of hairstyles, treatments, styling tools and techniques that can cause physical trauma to your hairline (i.e., hair edges):

  • braids, weaves, sew-ins and other styles that pull the hairline tightly or place additional weight on the hairline (e.g., heavy braids)
  • combs or hair picks that aren’t used gently can damage your edges. For example, if you often wear hair buns and use a comb to make your bun neat around your edges, it’s important that you’re being gentle. We don’t recommend styling your hair while you in a rush, for instance, while you’re running late for work.
  • overlapping damaging chemical treatments, like coloring treatments, relaxers, and texturizes are very damaging to your hair.

If your edges are thinning, we recommend discontinuing processes that can potentially cause physical trauma to your hairline.

While eliminating tight hairstyles is often an easy step towards growing back your edges, it’s also important to note that wigs have the potential to damage your baby hair too.

The constant rubbing (i.e., “friction”) often caused by wearing a wig can cause your edges to rub away.

4. Avoid Hair Damaged Caused by Friction (e.g., via Headbands, Hats, etc.)

Avoid Hair Damaged Caused by Friction (e.g., via Headbands, Hats, etc.)

You might be tempted to cover up thinning or missing edges, but it’s important to let them breathe when possible.

If you want to wear hats or headbands, try to find ones with silk linings. Alternatively, wear silk or satin scarves in between your hat and your hair.

This will protect your edges from the friction of rougher materials.

Similarly, you can wrap your hair with a silk scarf at night. Silk will help to protect your hair, whereas other types of fabric may absorb the moisture and natural oils from your hair.

It’s probably worth investing in silk pillowcases, to avoid the harsh friction between your hair and cotton pillowcases, which can break and dry out your hairs.

5. Give Yourself a Scalp Massage

Give Yourself a Scalp Massage

Although in most cases it’s best to avoid any contact with your edges, you can make exceptions for the occasional scalp massage.

Slow, gentle rubbing will encourage hair growth by increasing blood flow to your scalp and boosting circulation, which will bring oxygen to your hair follicles.

Using oils when you do this comes with the additional perks of moisturizing, strengthening, and adding a protective layer to your edges.

6. Stay Healthy

stay healthy

It’s important to consider your overall health. Generally speaking, it’s easier to improve the health of your hair if you’re also taking care of your body.

Be sure that your diet includes an ample amount of vitamins and nutrients, and take a multi-vitamin daily.

If you’re interested in experimenting with supplements, consider talking to your doctor about the pros and cons of biotin and other hair vitamins.

Experts have mixed opinions on the effectiveness of these treatments, but many women swear by these methods.

Regardless, do your best to maintain a strong, hydrated, healthy body, and you’ll see improvements in your hair, including your edges.

7. Eat Foods for Hair Growth and Thickness

Eat Foods for Hair Growth and Thickness

Meats, like steak and chicken, oysters, seeds, shrimp, fatty fish, eggs, beans, avocados, soybeans, nuts, sweet peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, and berries are food that we recommend for encouraging hair growth and thickness. Learn more about the best foods for hair growth and thickness with this article.

8. Avoid Product Hype

Avoid Product Hype

Regardless of what you might hear during televisions commercials or read on the product packaging for some hair products, you don’t need to purchase any “special” products designed specifically to regrow your edges.

The same shampoos, conditioners, oils, and moisturizers that are designed for other parts of your hair, can also be applied to your hairline.

We believe it’s best to be gentle with your edges. Don’t pull them, brush them daily or constantly use gel or vaseline to lay your edges down.

If you’re looking for a few gentle hair products, these are a few that we recommend:

I also recommend keeping facial cleansers and makeup removal creams away from your hairline, as these products can potentially cause damage to your edges.

For example, if you’re using an acne facial wash, it may advise that the product doesn’t contact your hairline. Be sure to read the directions on the product packaging.

9. Be Patient

Be Patient

The reality is that hair growth takes time. Studies show that an average person will grow 1/2 inch of hair per month, which adds up to six inches per year.

Assuming that these estimates are accurate (for you), there’s no substitute for patience. Hair growth takes time.

The concepts, techniques, and advice provided within this article are provided to help encourage and enhance the hair growth process, but keep in mind that it will take time.

Final Thoughts

Thinning edges and the fear of continued hair loss can be a traumatic experience, especially if you’re not sure how you can regrow your edges.

Just remember that wearing tight hairstyles, like ponytails, braids and other styles that pull on the hairline, is often the cause of issues with thinning hair edges or breakage along the hairline.

Use preventative measures to ensure that you’re properly moisturizing and conditioning your hair and aren’t introducing unnecessary trauma.

9 ways to grow back your baby hairs

Do you have chewing gum stuck in your hair? If you’re a gum fanatic, then you’ve probably experienced a couple of sticky situations.

Those who aren’t careful with their chewing gum can end up getting into quite a mess. This scenario isn’t just pertinent to children, either.

Even adults can find themselves with gum on the soles of their shoes, on their pants, and yes, even in their hair.

It’s easy to panic if you find yourself with gum stuck to your hair strands, but this guide will teach you how to get gum out of your hair without cutting it.

Why Does Gum Stick to Your Hair?

why does gum stick to your hair

What makes gum so sticky? Love it or hate it, chewing gum is one delightfully sticky concoction. Yet, what is it that actually makes gum, gummy?

This substance gets its chewy texture from the synthetic rubbers and resins that it’s made out of. This is why you can blow bubbles with your gum or place it in your hands and stretch it.

The resins in chewing gum work as stabilizers, preventing the gum from breaking down as you chew it. There can also be plasticizers in gum, such as natural wax or paraffin, which also work to stabilize the gum and make it well, gummy.

The elasticity and stickiness of chewing gum are all thanks to the strong chemical bonds, called polymers, that keep the rubbers and resins stuck together.

That’s why it’s so hard to get gum off of a surface, such as a desk, clothing, or your hair. Some of the polymers in chewing gum are elastomers, a polymer with weak bonds between molecules, but high elasticity and viscosity.

In addition, many types of chewing gum are hydrophobic, meaning they don’t dissolve in water, which can make it extremely difficult to remove it from hair and clothes.

The polymers in the chewing gum repel water, sort of how our own saliva does. On the other hand, polymers will cling to oils.

What this does tell us, however, is that we can use another hydrophobic substance to get that gum out.

If you think back to your school science fair days, you might remember that oil doesn’t dissolve in water. Bingo! This gives us a clue as to how to get gum out of hair.

Now let’s check out some tips and tricks, some of which come from professional dermatologists who have experienced this kind of gum-in-the-hair catastrophe.

Getting Gum Out of Your Hair: First Things First

getting gum out of your hair

You’re having fun blowing some harmless bubbles with your chewing gum when POP! The bubble bursts all over your face, making its way into your hair.

Your first line of defense is to get any unaffected hair out of the way. Save as many strands as you can and see if you can get any of the sticky pieces of hair free from the gum.

Keep your unaffected hair separated (e.g., in a ponytail) so you can focus only on the affected area.

You may have heard that you should use an ice cube to freeze the gum that’s stuck to your hair. This is actually an old wive’s tale and there isn’t any evidence that this will help you get the gum out any faster or more successfully.

You may think that freezing the gum will harden it enough that it will detach from your strands and fall off.

The thing is, you won’t be able to get the gum hard enough with an ice cube, plus we want to use hydrophobic materials to get the gum out, remember?

Trying to get the gum out with ice (which is water) won’t help much. Now, if you have liquid nitrogen you might be able to freeze the gum, but we’re pretty sure that’s not the case for you.

Instead, you might want to try exposing the gum to some heat, just a little bit. If you have a blow dryer nearby, that’s perfect. Put some heat on the gum to soften it so that it’s easier to pry from your hair.

Just be sure that you’re careful when applying the heat. You don’t want to burn yourself and you definitely don’t want the softened gum to sneak into any other parts of your hair.

It might help to have a friend assist you with this process. It also helps to use a blunt butter knife to scrape off excess gum.

You might want to use a comb, but just be careful that you don’t yank out big clumps of your hair as you’re combing the gum out. You could end up doing more damage to your hair than good.

Once you have softened the gum and extracted as much hair as you can from the gummy mess, check out these additional methods for getting gum out of your hair. Give one or more of these methods a try to eradicate the gum completely. 

How to Get Gum Out of Your Hair: 6 Recommended Methods

How to Get Gum Out of Your Hair: 6 Recommended Methods

Method #1: Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar gets a lot of love from health and beauty gurus, and for good reason. It has antimicrobial properties and can be used in a variety of DIY products, from at-home cleansers to facial toner.

If you want to go all out, you can use the apple cider vinegar all over your hair as an anti-dandruff treatment.

That being said, we will focus on using it to get gum out of hair. Pour a quarter-cup of the apple cider vinegar in a microwave-safe cup and heat it on high for 30 seconds.

Then, grab the strands of hair that are covered in gum and carefully dip them into the cup of apple cider vinegar. Again, it helps to have a friend here!

After you drench that section of hair, use a butter knife to get large pieces of gum out, and then use a toothbrush to gently brush away the gummy residue.

Then, you can wash your hair as you normally would. Note that if you do not have apple cider vinegar at home, you can also use white vinegar.

Keep in mind that it will be smelly, so make sure you wash your hair afterwards!

Method #2: Use an Oil-Based Cleanser

Remember what we said earlier about using a hydrophobic substance since gum is hydrophobic? Well, oils and fats are two perfect examples.

Use an oil-based cleanser, such as something from Neutrogena or Burt’s Bees (these links take you to Amazon).

Many oil-based cleansers include liquid paraffin in the ingredients list. This is a type of mineral oil made from complex saturated hydrocarbons.

Paraffin is used in some types of rubber, so you can see why it would work against something such as chewing gum.

To try out this method, apply a few drops directly to your hair and use a toothbrush to work the cleanser into your strands. You should see the gum starting to thin out and slide out of your hair.

Method #3: Use Olive Oil

Canola oil or coconut oil can work here too, but we’re partial to olive oil thanks to its beneficial properties.

The fats in olive oil have hydrophobic properties just like chewing gum, so they sort of cancel each other out, resulting in easier gum removal from the hair.

To avoid making a huge mess (or a bigger mess than you currently have), pour a bit of olive oil in a cup and then dip your gum-infested hair into it.

Soak the strands and then lift your hair out of the cup and use your fingers to slide off any excess oil. Then you can use your fingers and/or a toothbrush to work the olive oil into your hair and loosen the gum.

As an added bonus, olive oil is a great natural moisturizer for dry, brittle hair. This substance penetrates the hair shafts and goes in deep to moisturize strands from the inside out.

So, while you’re getting the gum out, keep in mind that you’re also getting a bit of a deep conditioner for your tresses.

Method #4: Use Peanut Butter

We know, it seems like such a shame to waste your delicious peanut butter on your hair, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Much like olive oil, the fats in peanut butter work as a similar hydrophobic substance, helping to loosen the gum from your locks.

Chemically speaking, peanut butter contains lots of carbon and hydrogen molecules, so it’s a wonderful material to use as a natural gum remover.

Make sure that you are using a creamy variety, as the chunky version will make a bigger mess and be harder to work with.

Start by spooning out a tablespoon or so of the peanut butter and applying it to the gum in your hair. Work it in a bit and then let it sit for about eight to 10 minutes.

Afterwards, you should be able to use a butter knife or your fingers to work the gum out of your hair. Then, wash your hair as normal.

Obviously, if you’re allergic to peanuts, give one of the other methods a try.

Method #5: Use Petroleum Jelly

Got some petroleum jelly or Vaseline in the house?

Great!

These substances are gentle enough to use on your hair, but they also work to loosen and soften the gum while making it less sticky.

You want your hair to be dry when you put on the Vaseline or petroleum jelly so that it can adhere more to the gum and less to your hair.

Grab the jar of petroleum jelly or Vaseline and use your finger to scoop out a dollop. Place it on the gum and work it into the sticky area of your hair.

You should feel it softening up, and then you can use your fingers or a comb to remove it from your hair. Then, shampoo and condition as normal.

Method #6: Use Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol works to neutralize the tackiness of chewing gum by breaking down the gum’s polymers, which will be a huge help in getting it out of your hair.

Polymers are essentially large molecules that are chemically bonded together. The keratin in your hair is a polymer, as is the protein that makes up your fingernails. 

To try the rubbing alcohol method, use a cotton round, cotton ball, or Q-tip and pour a bit of rubbing alcohol on it.

Then, apply it to the gum and use your fingers to work it in and totally saturate the gum and the affected hair.

You should then be able to use your fingers or a toothbrush to coax the gum out. Then, wash your hair as you normally would.

Aftercare: Some Final Considerations

Aftercare: Some Final Considerations

You might have to try more than one of these methods, or alternatively, you might need to repeat a method to get all of the gum out.

Once you get the majority of the gum out, hop in the shower and start washing your hair.

You can shampoo and condition your hair as you normally would, but just take some extra precautions to make sure there are not any gummy stragglers remaining in your hair.

Ideally, you will use a gentle shampoo, and for best results, you might need to repeat the lathering process one or more times, especially with all of that oil in your hair.

Then, you can moisturize and condition your hair. Even if you did your very best to get the gum out of your hair, there might still be some tiny pieces in there.

So, just be patient and work your fingers through the length of your hair, starting from the crown of your head all the way down to the ends. Rinse with warm water and dry as you normally would.

Now that you know how to get gum out of hair, you can chew your gum and blow your bubbles with more peace of mind.

Do you have chewing gum stuck in your hair? This scenario isn’t just pertinent to children (or kids), either. It’s easy to panic if you find yourself with gum stuck to your hair strands, but this guide will teach you how to get gum out of your hair without cutting it with DIY home remedies. Methods include apple cider vinegar, oil-based cleansers, olive oil, peanut butter, ice, petroleum jelly, and rubbing alcohol. #howtoremove #peanutbutter #homeremedies #ice #oil #kids #children #tips #products

How to French Braid Hair

A French braid always looks classy and cute, and although it seems complicated, it’s pretty simple once you get the steps down. 

This tutorial will show you how to french braid as well as which hair braiding tools will help you maintain the look, whether it’s for weekend shopping, a wedding or a night out on the town.

What Is French Braid?

A French braid is a type of braiding style that actually originated in North Africa before being adopted by the French.

The braid is also known as the tresse africaine, although it started being identified largely as a French braid around the 1870s.

Although the French braid is regularly attributed to North Africa (and rightfully so), especially Algeria, there are also early depictions of similar hairstyles in Greek and Celtic history, as well as imperial China.

The traditional French braid isn’t only pretty, but it incorporates all of your hair, easing the strain on your hair strands and causing less breakage than a traditional braid.

Throughout the years, variations on the French braid have emerged, such as the Dutch braid and the Fishtail braid.

A Dutch braid involves a nearly identical process as a French braid, except you cross the sections of hair under each other instead of over each other.

The result is an “inside-out” braid that has more dimension and thickness. A Fishtail braid involves crossing two strands of hair instead of three.

Step-by-Step Guide to French Braiding

Below are some simple steps to creating a basic French braid. Start with this tutorial and as you get more comfortable with the process, you can try out other variations on the French braid.

You can try starting from the side of your head, creating French braid pigtails, or even trying a Dutch braid. The styling options are only limited by your imagination.

1. How to Prep Your Hair for French Braiding

We always recommend starting with clean hair (i.e., freshly washed hair). Although depending on your hair type, how often you need to wash your hair could vary.

Our research indicates that straight hair needs to be washed more often than other hair types since straight hair tends to more oily than wavy, curly or kinky hair types.

Start by using a wide-tooth comb or a hair brush designed for curly hair to detangle your hair and remove any kinks.

This will make your hair easier to work with as you start french braiding.

If you want a single braid down the back of your head, brush your hair back so there is no part. You can following the tutorial above by Lisette.

If you want a French braid on either side of your head, part your hair down the middle and follow Lisette’s video tutorial below.

2. Prepare Sections of Hair

Getting a great French braid starts with sectioning the hair off correctly. Start at the top of your head and section off a portion of hair, about three to four inches wide.

Make sure that all of the hair that you gather in this section is coming from the top of your head. You don’t want strands coming from the sides at this point, as this will mess up the look and structural integrity of your French braid. 

When you have that initial section of hair, you need to divide it into three subsections.

Just as when you are doing a regular braid, the three sections of hair should be as close to the same size as possible. Use your fingers to divide the sections and smooth them out.

3. Begin the Regular Braid

A French braid actually starts out as a regular braid. Therefore, you want to start as you normally would when braiding hair.

Keep in mind that it’s important to get your hand positions down so that you don’t get confused while continuing the braid. We recommend holding two strands of hair in your right hand and the third strand of hair in your left hand.

Try to always keep two sections in your right hand and one in your left hand, so you have an easier time completing the French braid.

It also helps to think of the sections in terms of their position: right, center, and left. Essentially, as you complete the braid, you are repeating a pattern.

You cross the “right” section over the “center” section and then cross the “left” section over the “center” section in the opposite direction.

Getting this right-to-left and left-to-right crossing pattern down can take some time, so don’t get frustrated if it takes you a few tries to get it right.

4. Begin Adding New Sections of Hair

You should start with the initial braid, which should include crossing the one strand of hair over the other about three or four times.

At this point, it is time to start adding new sections of hair to get that French braid look. Remember that you are crossing the right-most section over the center section, then crossing the left-most section over the new center section. 

Now, each time that you cross a strand of hair over, add a bit more hair to the section. You can pull this hair from the outer part of your hair, near your face.

Otherwise, your braid will get covered up as you add more hair further down the braid. It doesn’t really matter how much hair you add to each section as you cross it over.

Just focus on taking it from the outside sections so that you get a complete-looking braid. Smaller sections of hair will result in a tighter, more intricate braid.

5. Repeat the Process, Using All of Your Hair

Next, you just need to keep repeating this cross-over pattern. You should end up using all of your hair, and you will notice that you run out of sections of hair to incorporate into the braid as you work your way down.

Depending on the length of your hair, this process could take a bit of patience but hang in there. It will be worth it in the end.

Once you have added all of the hair from the sides of your face, you won’t have any more hair to add for a French braid.

At this point, you can continue the braid as a traditional braid. When you reach the end of your hair, secure the braid with a hair tie. You’re all set!

Optional: Try Different Styles and Variations

The standard French braid is just one of the ways that you can work with this braiding style.

Once you get the hang of it and can easily do the single French braid down the back of your head, why not try spicing things up a bit?

For instance, you might do French braids down the side of your head, looping it around for an elegant braid. You can also section off different parts of your hair to create multiple French braids.

If you want to try reversing the braiding process, you can end up with a lovely Dutch braid. It involves crossing the strands of hair under each other instead of over each other like in a French braid.

If you work with two strands of hair, you can create a fishtail. Incorporating ribbons into the braid will give you a delicate look, perfect for a summer wedding or just a fun weekend hairstyle. 

Remember to have fun and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get the French braid right on the first try. Just like when you learned to tie your shoes, it took time, practice, and patience. You’ll get there!

Best French Braid Hair Tools

If you’re a newbie, struggling to learn how to french braid or you simply don’t want to take the time to learn how to create intricate braids, then there are braiding tools that will make things easier.

These braiding tools can make it look like you know how to French braid even if you haven’t taken the time to learn.

French Braid Tool Topsy Tail Loop Hair Kit

For a multipurpose tool that will help you create a French braid, flip ponytails, and more, try the Topsy Tail Hair Tool. It works on many different hair types and textures and can help you achieve that elegant braided look without all of the effort.

There are different ways to use the tool on your hair so that it can help with sectioning off strands, pulling sections out, crossing them over, and adding more dimension to your hair.

DIY Braiding Hair Sponge

This braiding hair sponge is meant to give you a template to follow while braiding your hair, helping you create braided sections of hair that are equal size and width.

It can help you get a cleaner-looking braid, especially if you aren’t confident in your own French-braiding abilities. To use it, part your hair and place the initial section in the braiding hair sponge.

Use the grooves to portion out your strands of hair and then work your way down your hair, braiding as you go along and using the braiding sponge as a template.

Magic Hair Braiding Set

Another popular tool is the Magic Hair Braiding Set, which is a flexible, wavy tool that can sit in your hair to keep your braids uniform and neat.

Place it at the crown of your head and use it as a template for completing your French braid.

Your hair will cover the tool so that it stays in your hair when the braid is complete. It is invisible to others since your hair is covering it up.

This tool makes it easy to keep the structural integrity of your braid and show off a beautiful hairstyle with minimal effort.

Lightweight Detangler

You will also need a good detangler before you start French braiding your hair. Garnier’s Whole Blends 5-in-1 Lightweight Detangler Spray is a good choice.

This paraben-free formula contains green apple and green tea extracts to add strength and moisture to your hair while naturally detangling it and giving it added shine.

It is perfect for spraying onto hair as you prep it for a French braid.

Finally, you need hair ties that won’t cause breakage, these rubber hair ties usually work pretty well.

They have a protective outer layer, so your hair won’t get tangled up in the rubber, plus there aren’t any metal parts that could damage your strands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions about creating French braids? Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions that might clear things up for you.

Are French braids good for formal occasions?

Yes! A French braid can be styled for a casual outing with friends or for a more formal event, such as a wedding.

Once you learn different variations of the French braid, you can play around even more with fancier styles. In addition, you can add hair accessories to the braid to complete the look.

Can a French braid work on thick or curly hair?

Absolutely. French braids work on just about any kind of hair, even certain shorter lengths, and all straight, wavy, curly or kinky textures. The only inhibitor would be the length of your hair, although you could always use weave or extensions to add additional length.

Can I French braid hair with bangs?

Yes, and it is up to you whether you want to incorporate the bangs into the braid or not. Either option is just fine and will give you a slightly different look.

Can I French braid wet hair?

Yes, and this will often result in a wavy texture when you end up taking the French braid out. That being said, wet hair can be a bit tricky to work with since it can be more prone to tangling depending on your texture. Depending on your hair texture and thickness, wet hair could easily slip out of your fingers while you’re trying to braid.

What if my hair has layers? Can I still French braid?

Yes, but just be aware that the braid may end up looking a bit different since hair might stick out of the braid at odd angles. In this case, it can help to have some bobby pins or hair spray on hand to keep those flyaways from ruining the look of the braid.

effects of hard water on hair

Lately, the natural hair community has been buzzing over the benefits of using rice water rinses, but the effects of using hard water on natural hair have been discussed for the past several years.

Frequently asked questions about include:

  • How does hard water affect your hair?
  • Can hard water damage your hair?
  • Does hard water lead to hair loss?
  • How can you protect your hair from hard water?

Let’s discuss.

An Overview of the Effects of Hard Water on Hair

hard water is ruining my hair

The International Journal of Trichology recently conducted a study that compared the tensile strength of hair that’s been treated with hard water against hair treated with distilled water.

Here is a brief breakdown of the findings:

A Scientific Case Study: Can Hard Water Damage Hair?

can hard water damage hair

During the study, strands of hair measuring at least 15 to 20 centimeters in length were taken from 15 female volunteers. Each hair sample was cut in half to allow for direct comparison.

Half of the hair samples were submerged in the hard water and the other half-submerged in the distilled water. The overall duration was only 10 minutes, but the study was conducted over the period of a month.

A strength tester was then used in order to determine how tensile and elastic each hair strand was after its corresponding treatment.

The study found that the tensile strength and elastic nature of each hair sample showed no discernible difference when treated with one form of water over the other. Therefore, according to this study, hard water doesn’t reduce the tensile strength of hair.

Although this study doesn’t completely rule out other negative effects on the hair, so we recommend operating on the safe-side and taking some precautions.

Most U.S. Households Suffer from Hard Water

united states maps of households with hard water

It’s often said that once you go natural, water should no longer be avoided like the plague. While the premise of that statement is ultimately true, there are a few things about water that you should be concerned about even after you go natural.

Over 85% of the households within the United States have hard water. This statistic was pulled from a water study performed by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

Hard water characteristically has high levels of calcium and magnesium which can really have negative impacts on your hair – leaving your hair feeling dull and lifeless.

If you believe that you have hard water, you can use water test strips or a water test meter to measure your overall water quality. To mitigate the effects of hard water build-up on your hair, you will need to use a chelating shampoo.

Chelating shampoos, which are similar to clarifying shampoos that remove product residue, are formulated to remove excess ions, minerals, chlorine, and metals from the hair.

If you’re dealing with hard water, we recommend purchasing a chelating shampoo or a hard water shampoo. Three favorites are Mizani Phormula-7 Neutralizing and Chelating Shampoo, Kenra Clarifying Shampoo and Malibu Water Wellness Treatment Kit, although some additional examples are available in our natural hair products guide and within the next section of this article.

Over the long term, we recommend using either household water filters or shower head filters designed to soften hard water (see popular water filters).

Best Shampoos for Hard Water

Below are some of the best shampoos for hard water, no matter your hair type or texture. When washing your hair with hard water, you want to use a chelating shampoo or clarifying hard water shampoo. 

Most clarifying shampoos contain EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) which helps to get rid of built-up mineral deposits in the hair. 

Even so, you might prefer a more natural solution, such as apple cider vinegar. However, there are clarifying shampoos out there with a wide range of natural ingredients, so if you are bound to find the right fit eventually. 

Just remember that some of these shampoos can dry your hair out, so be sure to pair them with a moisturizing conditioner.

1. ACURE Curiously Clarifying Lemongrass and Argan

If you have oily hair, then this clarifying shampoo from Acure is a top pick. Thanks to its botanical blend, it is the perfect combination of gentleness and strength. It includes a paraben, phthalate, silicone, and sulfate-free formula and comes at a great price point at under $10 (on average). 

The organic oils, including argan, avocado, pumpkin, and sea buckthorn work to clear away mineral buildup in the hair. Meanwhile, essential oils such as lavender, lemongrass, and rosemary help to add extra health and shine. This shampoo is great for all hair types, but it is especially good for oily hair. 

Pros:

  • Blend of organic botanical oils
  • Gently removes mineral buildup
  • Perfect for oily/greasy hair
  • Reinvigorates hair’s natural shine
  • Vegan

Cons:

  • Clarifying, but not volumizing
  • Weighs hair down a bit

2. Kenra Clarifying Shampoo

This Kenra shampoo is an all-around great choice for all hair types. Not only does it remove mineral buildup, but it won’t completely dry your hair out in the process. 

Individuals with oily, dry, and curly hair have all tried this shampoo and have given it high marks. It has plenty of EDTA, so professionals recommend using it no more than once a week if you have color-treated hair

Besides the EDTA, this formula contains nourishing wheat protein, moisturizing aloe extract, and clarifying witch hazel. The citric acid and grapefruit extract in this shampoo gives it a fruity aroma. 

One wash or two with this will reveal why experts consider it one of the best shampoos for hard water.

Pros:

  • Gentle enough for regular use on natural hair
  • Good source of EDTA for hair
  • Includes natural botanicals and oils
  • Pleasant scent
  • Produces heavy, clarifying suds

Cons:

  • Can strip color-treated hair with repeated use
  • Leaves dry hair a bit coarse

3. Milkshake Deep Cleansing Shampoo

For those with a dry or sensitive scalp, turn to this milkshake formula. It costs about twice as much as many other clarifying shampoos, but the experts say it is well worth it. 

Various forms of EDTA provide a high pH level that will get rid of mineral buildup and impurities in the hair. It’s a great shampoo to have on hand if you’re an avid swimmer, too. 

Besides the EDTA, this formula contains lots of plant proteins to keep hair hydrated. The addition of honey and fruit extracts counteract any drying that would take place in the clarifying process.

Pros:

  • Contains hydrating plant proteins
  • Great choice for those with sensitive scalps
  • Maintains pH and moisture balance
  • Removes mineral buildup and chlorine
  • Safe for all hair types

Cons:

  • A bit pricier
  • Available only in professional salons

4. Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo

This Moroccanoil shampoo is one of the best shampoos for hard water, especially for people whose hair needs some extra TLC. This formula is great for dry hair, as well as color-treated hair, and works well to diminish hard water and mineral buildup. 

It includes jojoba oil and keratin for intense moisturization, as well as hair-nourishing argan and avocado oils. Essentially, this shampoo leaves hair clean and clear, as well as revitalized.

You can also rest assured knowing that it’s free of parabens, phosphates, and sulfates. Experts often recommend this clarifying formula for color-treated hair, since it won’t strip the color.

Pros:

  • Balanced botanical blend
  • Color-safe formula
  • Designed for dry, brittle hair
  • Great option for color-treated hair
  • Nourishes and cleanses hair

Cons:

  • Expensive formula ($25+)
  • Left some clients’ hair very dry

5. Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Original Formula

A cost-effective solution, this shampoo from Neutrogena not only removes mineral buildup but flaky dandruff as well. It includes EDTA and coal tar extract to reduce inflammation and thoroughly cleanse hair. 

Whether you have scalp psoriasis, dandruff, or just need to clean your hair of impurities, this Neutrogena formula has got you covered.

Pros:

  • Affordable option
  • Good for sensitive scalps
  • Multipurpose formula
  • Proven ingredients against mineral buildup
  • Trusted brand

Cons:

  • Medicinal scent
  • Requires a leave-in period

6. R+Co Acid Wash ACV Cleansing Rinse

This clarifying shampoo costs a pretty penny, but it is totally safe for color-treated hair. R+Co has perfected this gentle floral formula to cleanse strands of lime and calcium buildup along with other impurities in hard shower water.

It’s also a vegan-friendly option and doesn’t include any parabens or sulfates. Instead of using EDTA, it contains apple fruit extract, aloe vera leaf juice, and tamanu seed oil for nourishment, strength, and cleanliness.

Pros:

  • Easy on the scalp
  • Free of harsh chemical ingredients
  • Pleasant floral aroma
  • Safe for everyday use
  • Top pick for color-treated hair

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have same effect as EDTA
  • Pricey formula

7. Shea Moisture Sacha Inchi Oil Clarifying Shampoo

Looking for something natural and free of EDTA? This Shea Moisture shampoo will remove mineral buildup without the use of chemicals and prescription-level formulas.

This natural blend includes hair-healthy omega 3s, 6s, and 9s, as well as cocoa and shea butter for extra nourishment. Tea tree oil and aloe leaf extract add more natural clarifying benefits.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • All-natural formula
  • Environmentally-safe shampoo
  • Quickly removes buildup
  • Safe for daily use

Cons:

  • Can leave hair dry
  • Not the best smell

DIY Homemade Chelating Hair Rinse

DIY Homemade Chelating Hair Rinse

Citric acid, commonly used in shampoos and conditioners to adjust the pH, is a chelating ingredient. It’s possible that it won’t work as intended to help mitigate the effects of hard water, but it’s worth trying for the do-it-yourself crowd.

The basic recipe for the homemade chelating hair rinse is to mix one part lemon juice to four parts distilled water. You can wash your hair as you normally would, use the chelating hair rinse with heat, rinse it out and condition your hair.

As per usual with do-it-yourself hair treatments, this will likely take a little trial-and-error to master.

Don’t Wash with Hot Water

hard water curly hair

Be sure not to use hot water when washing your hair to avoid stripping the sebum from your scalp. Wash your hair with lukewarm water and after conditioning be sure to do a finishing rinse with cold water to close (or smooth) the cuticle.

Wash Often Enough, But Not Too Often

Shampoos that are marketed through professional hair salons have the fastest growth rates according to consumer studies. The problem is that there various types of shampoos; one for nearly every type of situation that you can imagine.

New naturals and experienced naturals alike can easily get confused choosing a shampoo.

However, even after you settle on a shampoo that you really like, it’s important to make sure that you’re not washing your hair too often. In our natural hair 101 article, we note that you must figure out how often you need to wash your hair. There really is no “right” answer.

Everyone’s hair is different and the products and elements that you’re exposed to every day are different than any other person. If you’re over washing your hair, it might start to look dull. However, it’s important to wash often enough to remove product build-up that can adversely affect your hair.

effects of hard water on natural hair

Hard water is full of minerals such as calcium, lime, and magnesium. While not dangerous, hard water can leave your hair dull and brittle, making it more prone to breakage. It can also discolor lighter hues and strip color-treated hair. 

If you’re a new natural-looking to determine how often to wash your hair, you can begin by washing your hair once each week. Pay close attention to how your hair reacts to your washing regimen for several weeks and make changes when needed until you have perfected your natural hair regimen.

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