In Case You Missed It: MVL Hair Chat

December 20, 2011

By Katrice 

My Vicarious Life hosted its second Beauty Chat yesterday on facebook, this time focusing on hair with Dr. Kari Williams as the featured expert. The Q&A was phenomenal. Thank you to everyone who participated, including Dr. Kari. If you weren't able to be on, here is a transcript of the chat. 

Be sure to visit the Dr. Kari on facebook on the Mahogany Revolution page and follower her on Twitter @DrKariWilliams.

Q: How do you determine the right amount of time between washes for your specific hair / type?
Dr. Kari: How often you shampoo your hair depends on how much product you use and how active you are. If you use a lot of product on a daily basis you might need to wash your hair twice a week...make sure you are conditioning as well. If you dont use a lot of product but are very active I recommend co-washing then shampooing once a week. Lastly, looser curl patterns/straighter hair may need to be washed more frequently because of the natural sebum that travels down the hair shaft a lot easier than it does with curlier patterns.

Q: What products would you recommend to use for dry deep conditioning?
Dr. Kari: If I understand your question correctly, an excellent product for deep conditioning the hair is Shea Moisture's Anti-breakage hair mask, Shea Moisture's Reconstructing hair mask, and Sebastian's Penetraitt hair mask and conditioner are some of my favorite deep conditioners.

Q: I usually only twist my hair a couple times a week at night. Should I plait or twist my hair every night or or is it okay for me to just sleep with my fro covered by a bonnet?
Dr. Kari: Covering your hair at night is sufficient. As long as you are setting your hair with a product that offers a flexible hold, you don't need to re-twist every night.

Q: I have eczema on my hands and dry skin all over, what can I do to keep my scalp from being irritated as well since I can't use my normal products in my hair?
Dr. Kari: For eczema of the scalp I like to recommend shampoos that have salicylic acid in it because this ingredient slows down the replication of skin cells that can cause flaking in the scalp. An accessible shampoo with this ingredient is Neutrogena's T-Sal. You can find this at a local drug store. Apply it directly to your scalp, massage it in, allow it to sit for 10-15minutes then rinse it out. Follow up with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner because medicated shampoos can dry the hair out. Stick to light oils when lubricating the scalp, such as tea tree and jojoba.

Q: How often should we add moisturizer to our hair? And what's the best product to use? Oil or cream?
Dr. Kari: You should add moisture to your hair on a daily basis. Moisture means water, but because of our curly hair patterns we have to balance that with lubrication=oil. I love the Roots Naturelle Braid sheen Spray. Don't be fooled by the name, you can use it on braids, twists, natural hair and locs. It has the perfect balance of moisture and lubrication and its not too oily.

Q: Any advice as to which essential oils contribute most towards accelerated growth?
Dr. Kari: Essential oils that give you that tingling feeling such as: tea tree, peppermint, ylang ylang and rosemary oils. These oils have been found to increase circulation in the scalp.

Q: I have been natural completely for about 1 year and I began transitioning away from perms in 2009 while I was college. Before the transition, I began to notice some mid scalp balding and shedding. So I thought going natural would hinder/stop the shedding. I wore weaves (sew-ins) and now its gotten worse. My questions are what can I do to stop shedding? How can I get hair to grow in the balding area? And my hair is extremely dry so what can I use to moisturize my hair other than greasing my scalp? Because oil weights it down but my scalp is still dry.

Dr. Kari: How long ago did you stop wearing weaves? Based on the area of hair loss in your picture, it looks like it may have been caused by a combination of chemical burn from the use of relaxers then complicated by traction alopecia because of the weave. Aside from the dryness of your hair are there any other symptoms associated with your hair loss? (ie. itching, itchy crawly, flaking, tenderness, etc.)

MVL Fan: October was the last time I wore a sew-in. And March of 2009 was my last perm. And yes, I do have all of those symptoms... When you say itchy crawly, you mean it feels like something is crawling in my scalp? If so, YES!!! Shedding is occurring as well - full strands.

Q: If you had to give ONE hair care MUST do tip... what would it be?
Dr. Kari: You MUST moisturize and lubricate your hair daily....especially if you are wearing it natural.

Q: I've been natural for six months and I'm experiencing some breakage. I condition twice a day, apply oils every other day, sleep in a satin bonnet every night, and mostly do wash n goes (My TWA is growing out). Is there something else I need to be doing? And oh, I have fine 4b hair with some 4a's mixed in there.

Dr. Kari: When you condition your hair are you using leave-in conditioner?

MVL Fan: Yes I use Cantu's Leave In Conditioner at night and after washing, Shea Moisture Curl Milk during the day, I co-wash with Aussie Moist once a week, and shampoo and condition once a week.

Dr. Kari: I'm always a little skeptical about certain leave-in conditioners especially if they have protein in them. Too much protein on the hair can dry it out and cause breakage. I would recommend to slow down on your use of the leave-in conditioners. Focus on lubricating your hair with oil based products and adding the moisture (I like the Curl Milk) daily, the co-wash is fine and do your shampoo and condition weekly. Make sure its a deep conditioner that you are rinsing out and not leaving in. Follow up with lubricating your strands after this. If you adjust your shampoo regimen to this and still are experiencing breakage you may have to trim your hair more frequently or need to have your strands examined because of a possible hair shaft disorder.

Q: What is a product that can add sheen to my twa? No matter what I put on my hair (creams/oils) my hair tends to appear dull.
Dr. Kari: I know lack of shine is something us natural girls struggle with. Its first important to understand that curly hair does not reflect light as well as straight hair does so it will always be difficult to achieve ultra shine. But... you can get some gloss by looking for products that have been manufactured for shine like I.C. polisher sheen spray. Normally shine/sheen sprays have glycerin in them. This is great because glycerin is not only a humectant but its a natural sunscreen. Lastly, as long as your hair feels good (soft and moisturized) your hair is probably healthy.

Q: I have extremely thin hair at the middle of my head. I do not have a relaxer, but I do have color treated hair. Do you have any suggestions as to what I may be able to do to thicken my hair and help it become healthier. Products I use include Dr. Miracles shampoo and conditioner. My hair is naturally oily there I do not use any oils in it. I use heat occasionally, but only about once a week. I do use rollers (plastic) at night for curl and volume. I was really shooting for a kinky looks at one time, but because my hair is naturally curly I could never fully develop that look. I think too because my hair has thinned so much I have never been able to come up with the kinky natural look.

Dr. Kari: Color is a chemical and can have an affect on the strength of your hair strand. Also, the heat you are applying to your hair once a week may be too aggressive for your hair texture. Although you do not have a perm, extreme forms of heat on a consistent basis can still permanently alter the texture of your hair. Heat styling tools break the bonds in our hair shaft and can cause the hair strands to become weak and more susceptible to breakage. Your plastic rollers may also be playing a role in your hair thinning because of the tension this can cause to your hair shaft. I recommend you decrease how often you are straightening your hair if your goal is fuller hair. If you can straighten once a month you may begin to see a significant difference in the fullness of your hair if there is no trauma to your scalp. Also consider some other techniques of styling your hair for volume such as roller sets. With this technique you can set your hair without having to sleep with rollers at night.

MVL Fan: How can I accomplish the look of a roller set w/o rollers. Should I use rods? And if so how often? Is Dr. Miracles okay to use or should I try to use something else?

Dr. Kari: Yes you can use rods and a setting foam. We use Motions setting foam in the salon. The key is to make sure your hair is completely dry before removing the rollers. Dr. Miracles is fine for you to use. If your not experiencing any problems with the use of the product, by all means, continue to use it.

Q: I have issues with my edges and the sides of my hair growing in thinner. I have (Poly cystic ovarian syndrome) PCOS and have struggled for years to get growth in those areas. I've changed my diet drastically to encourage a total and whole healthy body - is there any way to recover from the kind of trauma that PCOS and medicines in the past have caused? Any products/recommendations/supplements?

Dr. Kari: Do you have low levels of estrogen?

MVL Fan: Yes and irregular levels of testosterone. So just all around irregular hormonal issues.

Dr. Kari: The irregularity of your hormonal levels is definitely affecting your hair growth cycle. Therefore, you will see the areas of thinning as pictured here. I recommend you talk to your health care provider about ways you can balance your hormones. Birth control pill may help but confirm with your doctor. In the meantime, continue to lead a healthy lifestyle with your diet changes, supplementation and the choice of chemical and heat free styling options. You are beautiful and an inspiration to many women who are dealing with hair loss due to health issues.

Q: My 8 year old daughter has been wearing two strand twists extensions for the past 3 years. The longest break she gets is for a week during school breaks. I do them myself so that they are not tight and do them loose around her hairline. She was one of those kids that didn't have much hair until she turned 5 so it has helped with length and thickness. Is there any caution to wearing extensions for so long?
Dr. Kari: No the use of extensions is fine, just be sure you are lubricating her hair while its in the extensions; continue to attach them loosely and without excessive tension; make sure you are re-twisting her hair after 8 weeks and deep conditioning her hair before putting the twists back in; make sure her ends are not weathered, if so trim them. If you do all of these things your baby girl should be fine.

Q: I love to wear my hair in up styles and do a couple days a week. I have recently noticed some thinning about two inches back from my hair line. Should I stop pulling it up as often?
Dr. Kari: Yes. If you are noticing thinning, take a break from the ponytail. You dont want to continue to add stress to that area.

Q: What multi-vitamins and/or essential oils do you recommend using/taking daily for healthy hair & growth?

Dr. Kari: I dont have a particular brand of multi-vitamins I recommend but if you can purchase vitamins that are chelated, this means they will absorb better in your system. If you want to add a hair,skin and nail vitamin to your supplementation that is fine, but make sure you are still taking the multi-vitamin. I believe in holistic health. If your body is flourishing your hair will flourish. Some great essential oils are: jojoba, tea tree, rosemary, ylang ylang, peppermint.

MVL Fan:  I've heard biotin is good to take. Do you recommend that as well?

Dr. Kari: Yes, biotin is one of the b-complex vitamins that has been shown to help in the replication of cells...this means more hair cells.

Q: My longtime hairdresser has always told me that I appear to have "three different hair textures," each with its own distinct curl pattern and degree of coarseness/fineness. It's been like that as long as I can remember. Is there anything that can be done to get my entire head on one accord?
Dr. Kari: That's what we call genetics. There is nothing that you can do to change this physiologically, but setting your hair with rods, braids or twists can help bring some continuity with your curls.

Q: What is a good product to use for setting my hair that won't make it rock hard but give me a flexible hold on my twists and twists outs? And I want to pair it with an oil but not take away from the hold.
Dr. Kari: I like to use Shea moisture's Curl Enhancing Smoothie or Souffle. The trick is drying time....make sure your hair is completely dry before untwisting it. This may require you to sit under a dryer a little longer or wear your twists a day or two more to make sure the crimp sets in. If you're pressed for time after twisting your hair rub a little Motions setting foam over your twists. You can also blow out your hair with a blow dryer before twisting to remove the moisture so that it wont take so long to dry.

Q: My daughter's curl pattern is so loose now! I guess its from her getting it flat ironed every 2 weeks. Will it go back tight? 
Dr. Kari: The hair that is looser may not retract back because the heat applied to her hair has broken some of the chemical bonds in her strands. Stay away from the flat iron for some time and allow her hair to grow back in. Her new growth should be the curl pattern that you are used to seeing. You may find yourself going through a process similar to women who are transitioning back to natural. Give her hair some extra TLC by keeping it lubricated and not putting any heat on it.

Q: I've been natural for about 8yrs and I don't feel like my hair is the length that it could be. I don't trim as I should could that be a factor?
Dr. Kari: First let me state....Trimming does not affect hair growth. Typically women who wear their hair natural only need to trim once every 3-4 months depending on how tight their curl pattern is. If you aren't seeing the length you would like, your hair could be breaking at the ends. Do you feel any knots on the ends of your strands? 

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  1. Love every tip! I hate that I was out during the chat!!! When will you have another? I have so many questions!!


  2. We'll definitely do it again in the late spring.
    : ))


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