Black Hair Styles and Care Old Questions - 5
Dear Asha:

l recently gave birth to twin daughters and have noticed that my hair continues to fall out in clumps. My children are five months old, so I am surprised that at this point my hair continues to fall out. To make matters worse my hair is extremely dry. I was wondering what is the standard recommendation on how often I should be washing and conditioning my hair .

Please help!

Methuen, MA

Dear Andrea:

The first thing I want to say is to try not to over worry. I know you're going to say that's easy for me to say, I am not he one with their hair coming out. This is quite true. However, over the years I have had a number of my clients that have gone through what you are going through now and I can assure you that your hair will eventually be alright.

I'm going to get a little technical for a minute. Our hair goes through three stages of development. These stages are called anagen, catagen and telogen. The anagen stage is where the hair is being produced and is very actively growing. The catagen stage is where the hair has almost finished it's growth cycle and in a transition phase. The final stage is the telogen stage where our body tells the new hair to push the old hair out and a new cycle is started at that follicle. In a normal scalp approximately 80% to 85% of the hairs are in anagen, 1% to 2% are in catagen and 10% to 20% are in telogen. You may not be aware of the fact that we all have anywhere from 50-100 hairs a day going through the final part of the telogen stage. That's why you will see some hair in your brush or comb as you style your hair daily. This whole cycle is governed by hormones that our bodies produce.


As I'm sure you are already aware, a pregnant women's body is going through a very complex set of changes all governed and regulated by hormones. Her body during pregnancy and after is a vast reservoir of changed hormones and altered chemistry. Although not always and to varying degrees, what happens with some women after they give birth is that a signal is given by their body by this altered chemistry for their hair to enter the telogen cycle. This does not happen in a normal way for these women where this signal only goes to 50-100 hairs but to different degrees with different women it can be much more intense so it may even appear they are losing all their hair and this may go on for many months after they have given birth in some instances.

Eventually, their bodies do come back to a normal hormonal and chemical state and the hair cycle returns back to normalcy. How long it takes is different for each woman going through this, but it has been my experience that all I have known returned to a normal cycle, and with eventually normal full heads of hair again. You can shampoo and condition once a week to every ten days but more often if you work out and perspire or there are other reasons for your hair to become more dirty than normal. You may also want to try a moisturizing treatment it may help with the dryness but there are no treatments or conditioners that will help the shedding problem you are experiencing.

Although I know it's hard but try to be patient, this condition is self limiting and you will be all right in time.

Asha McLeod


Dear Asha:

My name is Tammy and I have relaxed hair and I am having trouble with breakage at the back area of my hair please help.

Tammy Washington
Buffalo, New York
Dear Tammy: 

Your problem is a fairly common one and is most likely caused by some relaxer being left in your hair at the back. This usually happens because small trace amounts of relaxer are inadvertently left in the hair from your relaxing service. These small traces of relaxer cause residual chemical action on the hair. It means therefore that this left in relaxer continues to process your hair, which in turn causes the hair to over process and then break. This is especially true at the back and nape area of the head when the relaxer is being shampooed out. The back area of the head is the most awkward area to shampoo thoroughly.

If you are doing your own relaxing, be extremely thorough with your shampooing in this area. Don't be rough. If you are having your hair done at a salon, you know in your heart when they aren't being completely thorough with your neutralizing shampoos. If you feel they are not, raise this concern with your stylist. My feeling is that a professional will take your concerns seriously and not make you feel as if you are trying to tell her/him how to do their job.  If for any reason your stylist does not heed your concerns and not do what she should,  you need to find yourself a new hair stylist. Go here to find out how I recommend that people do this.


Dear Asha:

I try to maintain my hair's health by eating right and visiting a professional hair stylist every 8 weeks for my perm service. I shampoo and treat it then blow & curl it myself at home and go to the salon for trims on a regular basis. However, I am still having problems with my hair breaking. I've tried adding vitamins to my diet as well as some really expensive treatments. What's wrong?

Suzanne Wilkins
Dallas, Texas



Dear Suzanne:

I congratulate you on the effort you are making to get your hair in tip top shape. I think I may have an answer for you. The problem you are experiencing may be caused by overly high heat or improper technique when ironing and curling your hair. When you iron and curl Black hair it's not that much different from ironing a silk blouse. If the heat is too high or you remain in one spot too long you are going to burn or scorch the blouse. The same is true for your hair.  The difference however is that these burnt areas are going to break, and depending on how scorched they are some will break sooner and some later.  What you will then experience is a process of continual breakage.

The different degrees of damage you have present,  causes your hair to break at different areas and at different times. Now you get caught in a loop as you continue to damage more hair as you do your daily styling. Your regular stylist may not have been able to pick this up unless she examines your hair under a microscope as we have here at Jazma. Turn the heat down and keep your iron moving!   Do not keep the iron at a high heat and stationary and please, please use a thermal styling spray.

Dear Asha:

I have an extremely dry scalp and dry brittle hair, nothing I have tried so far seems to help.

Vanessa King
London, England.

Dear Vanessa:

If you are using heavy petroleum, mineral oil, or wax based products as part of your hair care regimen this may be your problem. Products formulated with these ingredients can clog the pores of your scalp and build up on your hair where the natural oil your body produces (sebum) is made. This sebum is important because it lubricates both your scalp and hair. Some people naturally have low sebum production.  In these instances we recommend that you use a natural essential oils product which contains jojoba oil such as our Kerasoft Primoils. Studies show that of all oils, jojoba is the one which most chemically resembles our own natural sebum. 

Your hair seems to be missing moisture!  Black hair needs moisture! Moisture is water.  Oil of any kind including natural ones are not . When you are thirsty you want a glass of water, not oil.  The same goes for your hair. Time and time again we have clients come to our salon and say that they are using this dressing or that lotion to moisturize their hair or that they are doing hot oil treatments. I try to explain to them that almost all traditional hair dressings I've encountered so far, contain mineral oils and petrolatum. These add little or no moisture to the hair. For an every day dressing they are much better off using a botanical oils product.  A vast majority of our clients grew up with their mothers using petroleum jelly on their hair every day.  Old habits die hard!  We ask them to remind themselves  every day "only water is moisture - oils are not". You need products that contain humectants - ingredients that attract and bind water to themselves. They can even do this right out of the air from the natural  humidity. 

You want products that contain such ingredients as glycerin or glycerol, NaPCA, propylene glycol, urea, chitosan, Acetamide MEA, hydrolyzed silk, panthenol, shea butter and sorbitol.  These are some of the more common ones used in making hair care products.  You need to find a conditioning treatment that contains some of these ingredients such as our Kerasoft Moisturizing Treatment. When you rinse the treatment off, some of these ingredients will have penetrated deep into your hair and remained there,  attracting and binding moisture to themselves. 

I would like you to deep-condition first and rinse well. Towel blot your hair well.  Do not rub!   Since you say that your hair is so dry and brittle I want you to follow this advice closely. Take a dime to quarter size amount of your treatment depending on the length of your hair and apply it to your already shampooed and conditioned damp hair. Comb through with a large tooth comb or pick and leave it in.  I know that you will not find this instruction anywhere on the bottle but it's a secret we use in salon with extremely dry, brittle hair.

Now you can proceed to wet-set your hair.  I would strongly recommend that you do wet-sets as they are preferable to blow drying when the hair is in a damaged state. When your hair is dry use a small amount of botanical oils all over your scalp but not on your hair.  Style as usual. A small amount will work it's way to the ends of your hair and the humectants found in the conditioner will do the rest. You're now on your way to softer more supple hair!