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Q & A

Here are some of the commonly asked questions we've received over the years.
We've organized them by category so you can easily find answers.

ISSUE: Fine and Wavy Hair

June 2, 2009 | Curly Hair, Fine & Limp Hair, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

My hair is very fine, a mixture of curly and wavy. It’s also flat on top with overall puffiness and the ‘ear muffs’ on the side. Recently I’ve noticed some thinning along my hairline and at the crown of my head: I used to have to search for my part; now it’s a bit more apparent. (I attribute the hair loss to peri-menopause — I’m in my late 40s — and heredity.)  I want to nourish my hair and scalp and get it in the best condition possible. I like to wear my straight on most days, but want to be able to wear it curly (without frizz), too. What products do you recommend?

I love fine, wavy hair because it can look so angelic — while it’s silky, the natural bend gives it built-in volume. The catch, as you’ve found, is that it’s crazily prone to frizz. To keep the poufiness factor to a minimum, you need to plump your hair up with moisture before you style. I recommend a 4-Step Hair & Scalp Facial to start, followed by a Katira Hair Masque. Here’s how to do it: Once you complete Step 3 in the 4-Step kit, rinse off the Light-weight Deep Conditioning Creme and comb a generous dose of Katira through towel-dried hair. From there, blow it dry or let it dry naturally till the masque hardens; then rinse. Finally, spray on a bit of the pH Detangling & Toning Mist (included in the 4-Step Kit) and style. You won’t believe how manageable, thick and unpuffy your hair will be.

A side note: If your hair loss progresses, please see your doctor to make sure there’s not a hormonal issue or underlying medical condition at fault. And talk to a dermatologist, too: There are a few promising hair-growth treatments out there; used consistently, they might help stop your thinning or even reverse it a bit.

ISSUE: Extreme Breakage

March 15, 2009 | Damaged Hair, Dry Hair, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

My hair used to be thick and healthy. Now it’s thin, brittle and broken starting about 3 inches from the root. I attribute this to using a flat iron set on 400 degrees for six years now. The sides of my hair don’t grow at all and are filled with split, frayed ends. I’d like to not have to use the flat iron but if I don’t, my hair is so fried and frizzy I couldn’t possibly go out in public!

First off, you need to turn down the heat. I set my flat iron at 160-180; 400 degrees is way over the top – you’re literally frying your hair. I’d prefer that you blow your hair out with a paddle brush or Mason Pearson-type brush, and then go over the hair in sections with a small barrel curling iron. (Glide it from from roots to ends and smooth out the hair with your hands as you go). You’ll get a straight finish with a nice little bend – and all for a fraction of the heat damage you’re currently inflicting on your dry strands.

As for daily care, someone with your degree of breakage needs an ultra-nourishing, restructuring cleanser like Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo (or White Truffle Moisturizing Shampoo) and the White Truffle Nourishing Hair Conditioner. I also recommend a weekly Katira Masque to fill in broken areas of the cuticle with light, oil-free moisture, lending you a smooth texture that never feels greasy. And Lovin’ Leave-In Conditioner would make a nice finishing – and healing – touch that you can use day or night. The bottom line? If you want to have fantastic, long, goddess hair again, soap and water won’t cut it. You need to feed your hair to bring it back to life.

ISSUE: Thin, Fine Ethnic Hair

March 15, 2009 | African-American Hair, Curly Hair, Fine & Limp Hair, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

What products are best for my thin, fine, curly, black hair? I’ve been using Samy Big Curls Curl Defining Creme. It works pretty well, but I’m over 50 now and would like more volume and curl definition.

It’s not always about the finishing product. Your situation is a case in point: Volume and defined curls start at the roots and with the condition of the hair itself. First, please give it a strong foundation with weekly deep conditioning – a Rejuvenating Oil treatment followed by the Katira Masque. That combination will make all the difference. And finish your hair by putting a leave-in conditioning cream like Lovin’ Leave-In on the ends. Alternately, try Anti-Frizz Formula 57: Rub 2-3 pumps of it between your palms, work it through wet hair, and let it air-dry. Your curls will look soft, bouncy and shiny – in other words, naturally gorgeous.

ISSUE: Thick, Prematurely Gray Hair That’s Thinning

March 15, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Damaged Hair, Special Cases, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

I’m a 32-year-old Polish American woman with long, ash-brown hair that’s curly and very, very thick. I don’t blow dry it or use any styling products. Nevertheless, in the last year or two, I’ve noticed that while my hair is still thick, the top is thinning in a few places. Also, I’ve had my hair colored in expensive salons, and after the last trip I’m seeing what looks like gray cowlicks, like the hair broke off or something. I’ve very concerned and so is my panicked mother. (She says that I have no reason to have thinning hair or gray hair – all the women in my family gray at 50.) Whatever. I need an exact product prescription, before the family drama kicks in at the next Polish wedding. I’m lean and healthy and have been checked for hormonal imbalances. I don’t take any medications. Help, help, help. Also, should I stop coloring my hair for now?

Ring the alarm for Hair 911. We have two issues here. One is the health of your hair. I’d get a second opinion from a dermatologist and/or endocrinologist, just to make sure there’s nothing going on internally. If not, you might want to look into using Rogaine, an over-the-counter, topical hair-loss treatment that can be very effective when used consistently. My Peppermint & Avocado Shampoo is a very good scalp stimulator – I’d get that for your regular shampoo. And proper brushing – with a boar-bristle brush, from roots to ends – can help, too. The second issue is addressing your breakage. That means Rejuvenating Oil Treatments and the Katira Masque: Both of those will help to replenish your hair’s moisture levels from the inside out, leaving each strand shinier, stronger and more resilient. Finally, I’d recommend a nourishing conditioner like the White Truffle Conditioner. For now, stick to single-process color with built-in conditioners; your colorist should be able to steer you to the gentlest formula. And let me know how it goes. I’m rooting for you.

ISSUE: Shin Shine

March 15, 2009 | Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

I have a question about my recently purchased Shin Shine. I bought it as a pure shine spray, but it just makes my hair limp and look like it has a plastic coating on top… hair that can only be described as Wig Hair! I have fine, cropped, choppy hair with a lot of texture. Am I using the product the right way, or should I do something else with it instead of spraying it straight onto my hair after styling?

Don’t ever spray Shin Shine directly onto dry hair. The effect will be much more flattering if you mist a cloud above your hair, shake your head beneath it, and then work the product through with your fingers. (My clients call this the Shin Shine Shake.) If that doesn’t work for you, please send back the product and ask for Shinade Pomade instead. It’s wonderful for creating that choppy, sexy look. Plus, it has a water-base, so it’s very light.

ISSUE: Fine & Fluffy

March 15, 2009 | Fine & Limp Hair, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

I’m looking for products – including shampoo and conditioner – to make my hair sleek and shiny. My hair is shoulder-length and fine, although I have a lot of it. I think it’s in reasonably good condition, but no matter how I try to style it, my hair always seems to look fluffy.

To take the fluff out of fine hair and make it look shinier and healthier, the way to go is with some light conditioning agents. The African Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner would be perfect for you – nourishing but not at all heavy. I’d follow up with a nice lightweight styling cream like Lovin’ Leave-In or Anti-Frizz 57. Just rub some into your hands after you blow-dry and work it through your hair from the mid-section to the ends. If you need even more sleekifying, try the White Truffle Conditioner – you’ll go from poufy to polished in no time.

ISSUE: Thin Hair

December 31, 2008 | Special Cases, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

I’m a 27-year old mother of four and have androgenic alopecia. My hair is very thin and just keeps getting thinner. Will you be making anything that will regrow hair or make hair thicker?

I assume you’re under a dermatologist’s care. Androgenic alopecia is tricky. The leading dermatologist I work with – Los Angeles’s Dr. Ava Shamban – says that the first thing you should do is get your hormones checked. If there’s no clear hormonal imbalance behind your hair loss, consider trying Rogaine for Women. It contains 2% minoxidil, the highest percentage approved by the FDA for women. (Depending on the severity of your problem, you might want to ask your doctor about stepping up to Extra-Strength Rogaine for Men, which contains 5% minoxidil.) A Four-Step Hair & Scalp Facial Treatment would be good for you, too. After the oil and shampooing steps, just be sure to apply the conditioning cream rinse and pH Balancing Mist to the hair only (not your scalp). Towel dry and apply the Rogaine to thinning areas. You’ll have to do this twice a day, morning and night, and hang in there: It usually takes 3-6 months to see results, and that’s with conscientious and continuous use.

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