Hair Clinic: What Hair Products Can I Use with a Wheat Allergy?

Question:

I have a known wheat allergy and my docter has told me to stop using haircare products with wheat based ingredients.  Do you know of any Shampoos and Conditioners that do not have wheat based ingredients?

Answer from our Expert Stylist:

simplyorganic shampooJessica Martignetti, Style ExpertSimply Organic shampoos and our Everyday and Moisture conditioners do not have any wheat (gluten) based ingredients. Gluten is the portion of flour that gives a porous, spongy texture to bread. It is also used as a base in many cosmetic powders and creams. Reactions in an allergic person can range from runny nose and itchy eyes to upset stomach to severe gas. Gluten allergies can also cause dermatitis herpetiformis, a chronic benign, skin disorder characterized by an intense burning and itching rash. If one has this allergy,  elimination of gluten from diet and topically applied personal care items is the best long term solution in my opinion even though there are certain medications that can be used as well to treat symptoms.

Hair Clinic: My Silver Hair Turns Brown after I Flat Iron?

Question:

“I have beautiful silver African American hair.  I just started to flat iron my hair, however, when I use my iron my beautiful silver hair turns a brownish tint.  Is there anything I can use to prevent this from happening?”

Answers from our Expert Stylists:

kazamorKaz Amor, Redken Haircare Consultant- “There are a couple of reasons why this might be happening: 1) the hair might have product buildup and when the flat iron makes contact with the residue, it is causing it to turn brown or 2) the iron’s temperature is too high, causing the hair to be scorched. If the hair has buildup, I recommend shampooing with Redken Hair Cleansing Cream. This will remove any buildup from the hair. You should also check the iron to make sure there is no product buildup on the plates that could be transferring onto the hair. I would also recommend using Redken’s Blonde Glam Color Enhancer in Perfect Platinum to keep silver hair from turning yellow. In either case, the hair should be protected from the heat regardless so I also recommend using any of our products from Redken’s Heat Styling line to strengthen and help protect the hair from the heat of the iron.”

roslynbakerRoslyn Baker, Soft & Beautiful Haircare Consultant – “Thermal implements can discolor the hair.  Because the gray hair is translucent, the appearance of the discoloration is more apparent.  What causes the discoloration?  Thermal irons release a carbon-type residue, especially when they are too hot. Always have a white cotton cloth or tissue handy BEFORE applying a curling iron or flat iron to the hair.  Test the iron on the cloth before applying it to the hair.  If the tissue turns brown, then you must wait until the iron cools down.  Keep retesting it until the cloth has no color.  You have to keep this process going throughout the styling process because electric irons can escalate in temperature if they are just sitting idle.  It’s also a great idea to use a thermal barrier on the hair to protect it against the heat of the irons.  The Soft & Beautiful STYLEPROTEC Hair Gloss is a perfect solution.  Just apply a few drops in the palm and rub throughout the hair and use a comb to evenly distribute.  If the hair is already discolored consider this homemade remedy to brighten the hair:  Mix your favorite shampoo with small amount of Hydrogen Peroxide.  Shampoo the hair and allow it to sit about 5 minutes.”

Paris Hilton Haircut Help!

Question: I am an at-home mom with 3 kids.  I try to be current without looking like I try too hard and I (think!) I have held up pretty well for 42 years – most would guess me to be at least a few years younger.  With that in mind, I am ready for a change from my long layers and am thinking about about something like Paris Hilton’s latest cut, a kind of Emo-esque bob. I don’t want to go overboard but definitely need something edgier than a typical soccer-mom bob. So two questions:  How to best convey exactly what I want to my stylist? I tried to get this across to her 1 1/2 yrs. ago but didn’t know how to describe what I wanted, she tried but I wound up going back 2 more times and never really got the style – maybe time for a change there, too?  Secondly, my hair has gotten wavier and wavier as I get older, especially in oddly random areas!  If I don’t blow it out, it will be pretty curly, and I will most likely need to invest in a flat iron to make this look work.  The good news is a blowout usually lasts me 3-5 days, so if I’m good at it, I’ll be golden..that is, if you agree this style will work w/my hair type.  If so, can you recommend a good flat iron that won’t require a second mortgage?  Thanks!  Sorry this is so wordy – love your site! – Sydney via email

Paris HiltonAnswer: Good news – you don’t need to change stylists, just try a new way to communicate what you want! When consulting with your stylist, make sure you have pictures with you of the hairstyle you like. Looking in magazines and on the internet will help you find inspiration and you can bring these photos with you to the salon. This way your stylist will be able interpret the look easily, and give you the cut of your dreams. You might like Paris Hilton’s hair cut, but she changes her style so often that her bob this week might not be the same as her bob 3 weeks ago. This might explain your why your stylist is missing the mark. Next time you go, be sure to bring your favorite photo! 

Check out this video on Paris Hilton’s bob – it shows some great styling tips!

As for the flat iron, you want to make sure the iron you choose will straighten your curly hair without ‘breaking the bank’. My top flat iron picks for you are all under $100:

Hai Convertable Ceramic Flat Iron
FHI Heat Ceramic Flat Iron

Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Flat Iron

-StraightBelle

Ask an Expert: Hot Combing/Pressing Your Hair

Question: I was wondering if hot combing would work for me so I tried it, however, the hot combing style doesn’t last on my hair for more than two days, my ends are also very resistant. Is it because it was done incorrectly or it needs to be done more frequently? My hair is typical African American hair however much more kinkier/dry than normal and relaxers easily damages it after many usages. Thanks a lot.

Hot Pressing CombAnswer: Hi. My goal in writing about hot combing is not to convince all black women that they need to wear their hair straight, it is simply to show another method of taking care of our hair without chemicals or synthetic hair. What I have found with hair straightening is that the products you use on your hair and the tools you use to press your hair really make a difference. Here are some tips that have worked for me:

1. The products that you use make a difference. I have gotten the best hair growth after I started using Northwest Scents products, because these are designed to be very moisturizing and gentle. My hair doesn’t press “bone” straight, but it is much softer and easier to detangle than it was before.

2. The tools that you use make a difference. If you choose to straighten your hair I recommend an electric pressing comb or a flat iron at a temperature that will gently straighten your hair, but not cause it to burn or to become permanently straight. For me that is setting 14 on my comb with 20 settings. Lately I have been experimenting with a flat iron. The flat iron will get your hair much straighter than the pressing comb, but you have to be really really really careful with it because it gets much hotter than the pressing comb, and I think it has a greater potential to do irreparable damage to the hair if it is used improperly. If you decide to experiment with a flat iron, please keep the temperature low.

3. The condition of your hair makes a difference. If you are trying to press hair that is in a weakened state from chemical relaxers or something else, you will not get the best results. You should first focus on nurturing your hair back to health, without chemicals, and then if you still want to press your hair, try it. I do not have any chemical treatments in my hair.

I hope I have answered your questions. If pressing doesn’t work out for you, don’t despair. Healthy black hair is beautiful both with its natural texture and straight. If you visit Natural Black Hair Care and click on the link titled “Natural Hair Styling Ideas” you will see what I’m talking about. The two pictures at the top are my mom and sister wearing their hair naturally. They have dry, kinky type hair too (my sister’s is softer than my hair or my mom’s).

-Ololade Franklin, My Black Hair Journey

Which Chi for Posh Perfection?

“Ok, I took the plunge and got Posh’s haircut, but my hair is curly and I still need a flat iron. Should I use the little Chi iron or the one inch?”  – Caitlyn via telephone

Hello Caitlyn – congrats on the new ‘do, I’m sure it looks fabulous! To keep this new look in Posh perfection you still need to straighten your strands. Posh likes ’em sleek you know. But hmmm, which iron?

First, the Wee Chi. This iron has 1/2″ plates that are really meant for smoothing super short hair and for getting close to the roots. While this may be great for part of your hairstyle, it’s really just way too small to style your longer lengths.

CHI 3/4On the other hand, the Chi Original has a 1″ plate width which is great for the longer hair but it’s not really helping you out with the shorter strands is it? I’m sure you can guess where this is headed goldilocks… go for the Chi Volume 3/4″ Flat Iron

This iron is part of the Chi Original happy family, yet not too big or too small for your new style. It’s also got a rounded barrel design to help boost the body with a flick of the wrist at the ends. I’d flip the iron under if you want your hair to live up to its full Posh potential. You might also want to see our Celeb Style feature on Victoria Beckham.

Thanks for asking!

-StraightBelle

Do I Need a Humectant?

“I’m going on a trip to Miami and it’s very hot and humid there. I love the sunshine, but whenever I go there I have very bad hair days. I never know what to put on my hair in that weather. Should I use a humectant or an anti-humectant? What is the difference?” – Betsy, via email

Hi Betsy! I have thick, curly hair and I definitely consider humidity my #1 arch enemy. It’s one of the biggest contributors to bad hair days everywhere and it’s very hard to avoid. Face it, you can’t escape the weather. Even when you’re inside the humidity will find you, but there are certain products to help you repel it.

On humid days, hair seems to quickly soak in the extra moisture from the air leaving you looking like the top contender in a frizzy hair contest. But what to do? You want to find a product that provides a barrier between your hair and the air’s moisture. Curly or straight, you want an anti-humectant.

A good anti-humectant is a non-water based product (obviously you don’t want more moisture) that will coat your hair strands and keep the moisture out. Think waxes, serums, silicones and shine products. Anything that provides a barrier between your hair and the environment. Top anti-humectants are:

Frederic Fekkai Glossing CreamBioSilk Silk Therapy, Terax Gloss Finishing Serum, Bumble and bumble Sumotech Pomade, Biolage Smoothing Serum, Frederic Fekkai Glossing Cream (pictured).

A humectant product does just the opposite, it preserves moisture in the hair. If your hair is dry, parched and lacks hydration you want a product that will help increase the moisture content. You should be on the lookout for any water based products dedicated to hydrating and conditioning your hair. These products will help moisturize the hair strands:

L'anza Tamanu Cream ShampooL’anza Tamanu Cream Shampoo, Kerastase Nutritive Bain Satin 3 Shampoo, L’anza Kukui Nut Conditioner, Bumble and bumble Tonic Lotion.

Don’t be surprised if you need both at the same time, especially if your hair is on the dry side. Try a hydrating shampoo and conditioner (humectants) to replace the moisture in your hair, and then follow with a smoothing balm and shine serum (anti-humectants) to style your strands and lock out the dreaded “H” word – humidity.

-CurlyBelle

My Flat Iron Plates Don’t Match Up

Question:
My flat iron plates don’t match up, is that normal? I bought the FHI Pink Flat iron and the plates don’t touch, is it supposed to be this way? – Crystal

Answer:
It’s totally normal!
We have noticed that not all of the flat irons on the market have plates that match up exactly when you close them. Many irons have plates that are up to ½” away, and some flat irons have plates that do not touch each other at all. Rest assured this is a natural occurrence with the way many flat irons are manufactured in the factories and will not interfere with the performance of your flat iron in any way.

As long as the plates of your flat iron keep contact with either side of your hair section while styling, you will achieve your desired results. In general, I always recommend a section thick enough so there is no plate to plate contact at all. This helps ensure you are not causing any potential heat damage to your hair by taking a section that is too thin, and it avoids unnecessary iron friction that can cause wear on the plates over time.

Great question, thanks Crystal!

-CurlyBelle

My Color-Treated Hair is Dull!

Question:
I have dry, color-treated hair that looks dull. What products will work for me to make my hair look healthy and keep the color looking good? I don’t want my color to oxidize, it cost me a lot! – Karen via email

Answer:
As you know, dry hair that is also color treated needs special attention. You want your hair to be soft, shiny and healthy without stripping and causing more dryness, or fading and ruining your color. The good news for you is that there are a lot of color-treated lines of hair care that are created especially for hair like yours. You should definitely check out the color protection hair care from CHI, they have an entire product line that will treat any hair concern, not just dryness, while keeping your color vibrant. For your particular concern I’d go for the moisturizing system. It’s a three part program that will fight dryness and keep your color strong and shiny:
With these three easy steps your hair will be soft and vibrant in no time! You should also check out our Color Protection Hair Care section, it’s full of products dedicated to keeping color-treated hair looking its best. You spend good money on your color and we know you don’t want it to fade out or dry out. These products will keep your hair and your wallet happy!

-Straight Belle