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Dark & Lovely’s Au Naturale Anti-breakage Super Softening Hair Butter 

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon or eBay), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

 

SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Length Retention Super Softening Hair Butter, 8 oz

Ingredients:

Aqua / Water / Eau, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cocos Nucifera Oil / Coconut Oil, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Parfum / Fragrance, Steareth-100, Polyacrylamide, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Steareth-2, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey, Laureth-7, Mannan, Xanthan Gum, Paullinia Cupana Seed Extract, Methylisothiazolinone, Citronellol, Citral, Geraniol, Benzyl Alcohol, Linalool, Ci 19140 / Yellow 5, Ci 15985 / Yellow 6, Ci 14700 / Red 4, Ci 17200 / Red 33, Ci 42090 / Blue 1

 

Directions:

After shampooing and conditioning with Tension Release Hair Wash and Strength Restoring Conditioner, apply a quarter size amount of Super Softening Hair Butter to damp or dry hair. Do not rinse. Use daily or as often as needed.

 

Dark & Lovely’s Super Softening Hair Butter from their anti-breakage Au Naturale line is pretty phenomenal! Even though coconut oil is the third ingredient, my hair was left soft and moisturized. I think this might be a first for me after using a commercial product with coconut oil within the first 10 ingredients! I’m kind of shocked! My biggest hurdle in my natural hair journey has been length retention and preventing split ends. I have spent most of my time either experiencing breakage or trimming off single strand knots (SSKs), mid-shaft splits, and split ends. Because the ends of our hair are the oldest part of our mane, they are quite fragile and, therefore, more prone to breakage than the rest of our hair. After using Dark & Lovely’s Root to Tip Mender with great success, I set my sights on trying their Hair Butter to develop a plan of attack against hair breakage and damage BEFORE it has a chance to even begin!

It claims to reverse dry, damaged hair and transform it into moisturized strands that are supple and full of shine. This Hair Butter also promises to reconstruct damaged strands sans drying alcohols, mineral oil, parabens, or petrolatum … talk about beautiful hair without compromise! After using the Hair Butter for a few weeks now, I am quite pleased! It worked well in an uber moisturized twist-out and even gave me an angelically soft bomb wash ‘n go—no gel required! I liked this Hair Butter so much that when I saw a Dark & Lovely coupon in my Sunday paper for $2 off, I immediately purchased a second jar despite still having half of my first jar left.

Dark & Lovely’s Super Softening Hair Butter has a similar fresh, clean scent as the Root to Tip Mender (except milder).  The product is extremely thick and creamy. I can turn the entire jar upside down without fear of product waste. However, it doesn’t weigh down my fine hair or make it feel oily! Even after using it every day for an entire week before washing my hair, I had zero product buildup on my scalp and absolutely no residual “gunk” on my hair follicles. Honestly, this works light years better than any SheaMoisture leave-in I’ve tried, and I’ve tried quite a few! So, I have ZERO complaints.

The Super Softening Hair Butter contains guarana root (aka paullinia cupana seed extract), a caffeinated berry, which helps to stimulate blood circulation in the scalp. It also contains honey, a natural humectant that helps to regulate and retain moisture in the hair. As a result, when the Hair Butter is combined with the Hair Wash and Conditioner, it will aid in preventing hair breakage so that each strand can grow healthier, stronger, and longer.

Although this Hair Butter  is a hair moisturizer Dark & Lovely specifically designed to quench dry, breaking transitioning hair, I find that it has worked wonders for my parched, extremely low porosity, natural hair. And, if used in an appropriate quantity, I think it would work equally well for relaxed hair, too.

This anti-breakage Au Naturale line also has an Anti-breakage Tension Release Wash (a shampoo free of sulfates, parabens, and silicones), an Anti-breakage Strength Restoring Conditioner (a 2-in-1 rinse-out conditioner and deep conditioning treatment free of mineral oil, parabens, and petrolatum), a Length Retention Melt in Softness Detangling Co-Wash (a co-wash free of mineral oil, parabens, and petrolatum that promises to gently melt away both brittleness and tangles) , a Length Retention Inch by Inch Strengthening Balm (a product free of mineral oil, parabens, and petrolatum that rebuilds hair fibers by reinforcing weak strands from the inside out), a Length Retention Nice & Neat Braiding Custard (a styler free of mineral oil, parabens, and petrolatum that claims to keep braids looking fresher longer), and an Anti-breakage Root to Tip Mender  (a hair treatment free of mineral oil, parabens, and petrolatum that resuscitates frazzled, frayed hair back to life by eradicating split ends and breakage before it has a chance to begin).

Try one or all of the products … But, the Super Softening Hair Butter pairs extremely well with the Root to Tip Mender.

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Dark & Lovely’s Au Naturale Anti-breakage Root to Tip Mender

 

FTC Disclaimer

This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon or eBay), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!
Dark and Lovely Au Natural Anti-Breakage Root to Tip Mender, 4 oz (Pack of 2)

Ingredients:

Aqua / Water / Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Aminopropyl Triethoxysilane, Parfum / Fragrance, Cetyl Esters, Amodimethicone, Behentrimonium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Alcohol, Trideceth-6, Linalool, Paullinia Cupana Seed Extract, Limonene, Cetrimonium Chloride, 2-Oleamido-1,3-Octadecanediol, Coumarin, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Geraniol, Isoeugenol, Citronellol.

 

Directions:

After shampooing and conditioning with Tension Release Hair Wash and Strength Restoring Conditioner, apply Root to Tip Mender to roots and pull through to ends. Proceed with your styling regimen. For a daily moisturizing treatment, follow up with our Super Softening Hair Butter.

 

Dark & Lovely’s Root to Tip Mender from their anti-breakage Au Naturale line is amazing! My biggest hurdle in my natural hair journey has been length retention and preventing split ends. I have spent most of my time either experiencing breakage or trimming off single strand knots (SSKs), mid-shaft splits, and split ends. Because the ends of our hair are the oldest part of our mane, they are quite fragile and, therefore, more prone to breakage than the rest of our hair. This  Root to Tip Mender promises to allow you to “skip your next snip appointment,” by preventing hair breakage and damage BEFORE it has a chance to even begin! It claims to resuscitate “frazzled, frayed hair” back to baby smooth strands.

I must say the Root to Tip Mender lived up to the hype. I have been using this product for almost two months now, and since dusting my ends, I have noticed 75% fewer SSKs and split ends. Now, keep in mind, I have VERY fragile, super fine, low porosity hair that tends to become dry, frizzy, and broken at the gentlest whisper of the wind! So, this is NO small feat. In fact, I liked my Root to Tip Mender results so much that when I ran out, I purchased a pack of 4!

I love the fresh, clean scent of the Root to Tip Mender. The product is light enough to moisturize my parched ends yet thick and creamy. However, it doesn’t weigh my fine hair down or make it feel greasy! Honestly, my only complaint is that it comes in such a small bottle (4 oz. to be exact). As a result, I don’t think it’s exactly conducive for “root to tip” use. If your natural hair is anything like mine, it would soak up the product in a couple of weeks if used all over your head as suggested by the moniker on the label. Instead, I use it exclusively to combat split ends and mid-shaft splits. And, so far, the Root to Tip Mender has worked wonderfully for that purpose.

The Root to Tip Mender contains guarana root (aka paullinia cupana seed extract), a caffeinated berry, which helps to stimulate blood circulation in the scalp. It also contains honey, a natural humectant that helps to regulate and retain moisture in the hair. As a result, when the Root to Tip Mender is combined with the Hair Wash and Conditioner, it will aid in preventing hair breakage so that each strand can grow healthier, stronger, and longer.

This anti-breakage Au Natural line also has an Anti-breakage Tension Release Wash (a shampoo free of sulfates, parabens, and silicones), an Anti-breakage Strength Restoring Conditioner (a 2-in-1 rinse-out conditioner and deep conditioning treatment free of mineral oil, parabens, and petrolatum), a Length Retention Melt in Softness Detangling Co-Wash (a co-wash free of mineral oil, parabens, and petrolatum that promises to gently melt away both brittleness and tangles) , a Length Retention Inch by Inch Strengthening Balm (a product free of mineral oil, parabens, and petrolatum that rebuilds hair fibers by reinforcing weak strands from the inside out), a Length Retention Nice & Neat Braiding Custard (a styler free of mineral oil, parabens, and petrolatum that claims to keep braids looking fresher longer), and an Anti-breakage Super Softening Hair Butter (a hair moisturizer free of alcohol, mineral oil, parabens, and petrolatum that is specifically designed to quench dry, breaking transitioning hair).

Try one or all of the products … I’ve got my sights set on the Anti-breakage Super Softening Hair Butter next!

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Quick Tip #20: Keep your Hair Shears Sharp!

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

Tweezerman Stainless 2000 Shear with Finger Rest, 5 1/2 InchHave (a) single strand knots, (b) split ends, (c) incomplete spits, or (d) mid-shaft splits? Or, maybe worse, you may be like me and have (e) ALL OF THE ABOVE! Well, your hair regimen may not be to blame, after all. The culprit just might be … your dull hair shears ! Has it been a while since you resharpened them? I know it has been for me. In fact, I think I only sharpened mine (ahem) ONCE in the three years since I purchased them! 😳 Shout out to Fine Natural Hair & Faith for the reminder to upkeep our hair tools. Watch her informative video below for additional insight.

You can get hair shears for as little as $7  (e.g., 6.5″ Goody Hair Cutting Shears) or splurge on ones selling for the price of a used, mid-sized SUV (at thousands of dollars) in the shape of dragons, snakes, or scorpions complete with sterling silver handles. Or, you can go the practical route and choose a pair of professional Tweezerman shears for under $20 with a FREE lifetime sharpening guarantee! Whatever you decide, keep your shears sharp to make sure that your hair woes aren’t self-inflicted!

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Hair Moisture 301: What to Do If Your Hair Just Won’t Stay Moisturized

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

Okay, so you’ve been moisturizing your hair like a pro, have found the perfect products for your hair’s type, texture, density, length, and porosity, but your hair is still dry as a bone at day’s end! What gives? Let’s investigate!

It’s time to read your product labels more carefully. Are there any drying ingredients listed (i.e., alcohol)? Are you applying enough product? If you’re not applying enough product, the product is likely evaporating before it can do your hair any good. I was guilty of this during the first year of my natural hair journey! Still at a loss? Your water may be to blame. Watch the video below for tell-tale signs …

Do you live in a hard water area? This is a big one! Not sure? Get your water tested! You can request a free water test strip from Morton Salt, the leading provider of water softener salts.

Hard water is water with a high mineral content. It leaves a scaly finish on your bathroom tiles as well as your skin and hair. While not hazardous to your health, it can cause hair and skin to be dull, dry, tangled, brittle, and even strangely colored. I recently found out that hard water is the reason I have been struggling with tangled, single-strand knotted, constantly parched hair. I uprooted from an area in Seattle with a soft to normal water table. When I first moved to Alabama, my hair was still partially relaxed, so I just thought my hair woes were due to transitioning from chemically-treated hair to my natural curls. After I Big Chopped, my hair was so short, it was super easy to moisturize and stay moisturized. It wasn’t until I started gaining length and needed to moisturize my hair incessantly that I realized something else had to be going on.

Here’s what my test strip revealed …

Hard Water Results

As you can see from my test strip, unfortunately for me, I now live in a hard water area. This has wreaked havoc on my hair’s health (in terms of retaining moisture and length). But, at least now I know what the culprit is. So many well-intentioned (but sometimes downright rude naturals and relaxed hair divas) have made comments about my hair and what I need to do … telling me I need to moisturize more, stop doing this, or start doing that! The problem with giving blanket advice is that it is done without knowledge of all the facts and individual- and situation-specific information. The truth is I moisturize my hair a lot! But, as anyone who has hard or very hard water like I do knows, extra steps are required to just maintain the health of your hair, let alone grow it, when you don’t live in a soft water area.

The truth is that no amount of styling products can rescue your bad hair day when the root of the problem is your tap water. So, here’s some suggestions that can help lessen your hair woes.

Game Plan Steps

  1. Using bottled (or filtered) water as a final rinse after shampooing and conditioning your hair will reduce the number of minerals that attach to your strands. This will create a more neutral environment for developing and maintaining moisturized hair. However, it can be a bit cumbersome to always have bottled (or filtered) water at the ready.
  2. I like to buy Bragg’s organic raw apple cider vinegar (with the mother) because it is unfiltered and contains “mother” strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that help to naturally balance your scalp’s pH, increase shine, and prevent limp, lackluster hair. I usually use a 60:40 ratio of bottled (or filtered) water to apple cider vinegar (ACV). But, you can play around with the ratios if it is too strong or weak for you.
  3. An oil rinse can effectively counter one of the primary side effects of hard water—dry, parched hair. It helps to seal in the moisture from water and prevent frizz. Use light oils like unrefined coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil for best results.
  4. Chelating shampoos prevent and remove buildup in hair. My favorite is ion’s Hard Water Shampoo and Hard Water Conditioner. This has been a complete game changer for me and an absolute must. I noticed a difference in the texture of my hair the first time I used it. I think this will definitely become one of my product staples. However, be careful what brand you choose as many chelating shampoos remove buildup and strip the hair of most of its nutrients. One of the reasons I love ion’s hard water shampoo and conditioner is because it removes mineral buildup on my hair without zapping it of every ounce of moisture.
  5. Although more costly, the most direct way to reverse and prevent hard water hair damage is to invest in a good shower filter or water softener system.

I currently consistently use two of the five above recommendations: an ACV rinse and chelating shampoo. I am also thinking of incorporating an oil rinse into my routine as well. The point is to try a couple of the suggestions to see what methods you prefer and to determine what combination of techniques will ultimately work for you and your hair.

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Single Strand Knots: Woes and Cures

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
Thank you for your support!

Single strand knots (SSKs) are exactly that … knots that form on a single strand of hair. Still don’t understand? Well, consider yourself blessed. The tangles they create are so pesky that they are often called “fairy knots” because the knots are so small that only an evil fairy could manage to tie them! They’re actually quite common among naturalistas because of the texture and coily structure of natural hair.

I never really experienced them very often until my hair started to get a little longer (around the 6″ to 7″ mark). But, even then, I only saw one or two. Recently, though, they’ve been appearing a lot more. Those fairies have really been working overtime!!!

I mostly ignored them, but the more I did, the more I noticed a flux in the growth and length retention of my hair. One month my hair would be 7″, then a week later only 6.75″. I thought I was out of my mind until I was detangling my hair a couple of days ago before bed and felt my comb snag at the end of my hair. That never happens! So, I immediately looked closer to investigate. And, lo and behold, I saw a fairy knot. I rolled my eyes in annoyance until I realized that what I thought was a single knot had many cousins. In fact, my head was FULL of them!

I’m not going to lie. I panicked. I tried the needle method to try to untie each knot, but it was too cumbersome, and each knot was next to impossible to unravel. So, I took out my shears and did what I knew I had to do. I’ve always believed in the health of my hair over length. So, numerous snips later, the knots are gone, but my hair is a lot shorter … almost a full inch shorter, in fact! I basically lost an entire month of growth! Thankfully, my hair grew a full inch in December. But, those dangerous SSKs took my hair from 9.0″/9.25″ to 8.25″/8.5″  in just one day. YIKES! Needless to say, I was incredibly disappointed, especially since I have been babying my hair and only using a minimal amount of heat (only twice in 2013).

So, what causes SSKs? And, how can you learn from my fairy-induced hair woes? Unfortunately, in all the research I’ve done, I have yet to come across a method that can claim to completely eliminate SSKs all-together. But, there are ways to minimize and prevent them. Here’s what you need to know …

Fairy #1

SOME CAUSES

  • Wearing your hair “out” too frequently
  • Not “stretching” your hair after you have retained a certain length
  • Lack of moisture (dry ends)

YOUR OPTIONS

  • Ignore them: Ignorance IS NOT bliss! Ignoring SSKs can damage your hair! The longer you ignore them, the greater the tendency SSKs have of latching onto neighboring healthy strands. When SSKs become entangled with other hair, the size of the knot and the number of knots can increase. Your hair will become more difficult to detangle and more likely to break mid-shaft (by snapping above the knot). Ignoring them can also create rougher edges and make your hair more prone to develop split ends.
  • Unravel them: If you have the patience (and the skill), you can try to unravel SSKs with a needle by slowly releasing the hair trapped within. However, this IS NOT as easy as it sounds. Moreover, constantly jabbing at your strands with a sharp object can put undue stress on your strands.
  • Cut them: This is the easiest option and also the most effective for preventing future damage since SSKs can cause your hair (especially the ends) to fray.

Fairy #2

DEVELOPING A PLAN OF ATTACK

  • Choose the Right Shampoo. Most shampoos contain harsh detergent agents that strip the hair of their natural oils. Your hair should never feel “squeaky” clean. If it does, the cleanser has likely raised your hair cuticles too much, which makes it more fragile and prone to breakage. So, try to use sulfate-free shampoos whenever possible.  
  • Consider Using a Pre-poo or an Oil Rinse. Saturate your hair with an oil of your choice prior to shampooing (pre-poo) or just after shampooing (oil rinse). This will provide extra “slip” by creating less friction between your strands during the washing process.
  • Section Your Hair. I’ve seen many people wash and style their hair in sections, but I always thought that was for naturals with 20+ inches of hair. But, truth be told, once your hair reaches shoulder length, you should probably consider sectioning your hair, especially if you have thick hair. Depending on your preference, you can wash your hair in quadrants of chunky twists or loose braids. Doing so will discourage SSKs and prevent tangles.
  • Use Low Manipulation Hairstyles. Protect your ends by tucking them in (a.k.a. any style where the hair is not worn loose). This includes braids, twists, bantu knots, buns, etc).  While protective styles will not make your hair grow, they can help you to retain precious length. This is because they require little manipulation of the hair over an extended period of time. So, protect your hair from potentially damaging elements (i.e., the weather or even shirt collars). Natural hair tends to thrive the less it is manipulated. Less manipulation equals minimal tension and fewer tangles. Just, don’t forget to moisturize and seal your hair before protective styling.
  • Baby (and S-T-R-E-T-C-H) Your Ends. The ends of our hair are the oldest and driest part of our hair. As a result, they are delicate and need to be handled with love and care. Moreover, shrunken curls and coils are a breeding ground for SSKs. Moisturized ends are smoother, more manageable, and less prone to breakage. Stretching your hair also reduces fairy knots and keeps them from readily forming. There are multiple ways to stretch your hair: (1) with heat (via blow dryers or flat irons), (2) flat or two-strand twists, (3) braids, (4) bantu knots, (5) roller sets, etc. Use the method that best works for you, your schedule, and your hair type.

MY SELF-DIAGNOSIS

I think the primary cause for my mountain of fairy knots was created from wearing my hair “out” too much. I literally wore my hair in a wash ‘n go every day for the last three to four months! So, from now on, I will be saying, “No!” to the wash ‘n go. Instead, I will be washing and stretching. This doesn’t mean that I will no longer wear my hair down, but I will try to be more cognizant of how often I do. I think balance is key. I now know for certain that wash ‘n gos increase the number of tangles and SSKs in MY hair. As a result, I plan to section my hair more frequently (during the wash and styling process) and start to use protective styles.

Have you ever fallen victim to SSKs? What’s your plan of attack?

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