Picking Your Brain Responses



Evalyne asks:

Hi Jen, Happy new year! Which camera do you use? And which photo editing software do you use? Do you take your own pictures? I love your photos. They are clear and well edited.

Happy New Year Evalyne, thank you! I use Sony NEX-3 to take pictures. On my laptop, I use Picasa and Pixelmator to edit photos. On my iPad I use Adobe PS Touch and PixlrExpress+ to edit photos.

Zenna asks:

Hi Jeni, love your blog thanks for sharing your journey. My question is I want to start my journey off as a natural and was wondering if you would still use the products you are currently using (as stated in your regimen) on natural hair. Or would there be anything you’d change?

Thanks Hi Zenna, yes I would. Nearly all my staple products are products that are created and marketed for natural hair.

Britt asks:

The past few months I’ve been suffering from thinning, relaxed ends. It’s caused me to trim back from MBL to just past APL. I’d like to focus on preventing more thinning as I trim the remaining thin ends out over time. Do you have any tips for thinning prevention?

Hi Britt, there are couple things you can try/focus on:

  • Protective styles that pull your ends away from your clothes. Cotton and wool can rob our hair of moisture, as well as cause breakage when our hair rubs against our clothes.
  • Strengthing your ends with protein. Three things I’ve found that work for me are: Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum, CHI Keratin Mist, or protein treatment on just my ends.
  • Keep your ends moisturized.
Hope that helps!

Faith asks:

I love your site! What do you do with you edges while you’re stretching between relaxers? Thank you.

Thank you Faith! I use either aloe vera gel or Eco Styler Gel. After applying it to my edges, I gently brush it in with a damp soft bristle brush and tie my hair down with a silk scarf. Check out this post and this post.

Kaye asks:

Hi! When you shampoo or co-wash your hair do you shampoo your ends as well or just your roots and scalp? I’ve heard of some people just shampoo the roots and scalp because it helps lessen the problems of having extremely dry ends from the shampoo stripping.

Hi Kaye, when I use shampoo I apply it only to my roots and scalp. The shampoo cleanses the rest of my hair as it runs down the length of my hair. When I co-wash (I’ve been using As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner) I apply first to my roots and scalp and work the conditioner down the length of my hair. My approach is different when I co-wash because the cleansing conditioner isn’t drying/stripping the way shampoo is.

Jessica asks:

Hi Jen! I love love your blog! My question/questions are do you still use the organix coconut ant-breakage serum? and how do you use it? can I add it to the ends of my hair if I wear my hair down? I’m 5 months post and wanted to flat iron my hair n wear it down. Thanks in advance!

Hi Jessica, yes I still use Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakae Serum. I use it a number of different ways. I mostly use it on my ends when I wear it down to strengthen mmy hair against breakage (so yes you can certainly apply it to your ends), but sometimes I use it as a sealant, and sometimes I apply it to my ends before I bun my hair.

Rodrozez asks:

Hey Jen thank you so much for sharing your hair successes, tips and blogs. You are an inspiration for growing long HH. I have MBL hair that has many textures from texlaxing and old relaxers. I have some portions that are straight then curly then straight on the ends. Any ideas for correcting?

Aw it’s my pleasure! To correct your texture you’d have to do a “corrective relaxer,” which essentially means you’d go back and re-relax the sections that have too much texture, processing them just enough so that they match the other sections. If you choose to do a scorrective relaxer and self-relax, I recommend practicing on shed hair.

Jessica asks:

Hi Jen I have anther question haha. How do you balance moisture and protein? also can a protein based shampoo (Organix ant breakage keratin oil shampoo) be used as a weekly protein? I am really lost at how to incorporate protein in my regimen. 

I focus on lots of moisture and a bit of protein from time to time to prevent moisture overload. I do not have a set schedule I follow to keep my moisture/protein balance in check but I do strand tests every wash day to check whether my hair needs more moisture or more protein. Here’s an old post of a great article by Audrey Sivasothy on moisture/protein balance: The Fine Art of Protein and Moisture Balance for Black Hair Care. Also, protein shampoo is not a substitute for a protein treatment because shampoos do not penetrate into the hair as conditioners do.

A reader asks:

Hi, I want to know should you moisturize your new growth the night before you relax your hair and if so will it effect the results of your relaxer (will this may your results telaxed).

Hi there, yes I do, for two reasons:

  1. The night before I relax my hair, I completely detangle my new growth. Moisturizing my new growth before detangling helps prevent breakage at the line of demarcatioon.
  2. Because I telax my hair, having product on my new growth helps me achieve my desired texlaxed results. The more product on the new growth when it is relaxed (and the less smoothing), the less it is processed.

Stacie asks:

I love love love your blog and admire everything you are doing!!!! Question. What motivated you in your early hair journey years to keep pushing. how did YOU deal with doubters and haters? What inspired you? : )

Thank you Stacie! When I first started my hair journey, my family doubted whether I’d be able to care for my own hair. I was determined to prove them wrong and that kept me going. I joined Long Hair Care Forum when I started my hair journey and I saw so many women with long, relaxed hair. I believed that if they could it, then so could I. As for the doubters and haters, I ignored them all. I hate being told I can’t do something; it only makes me want to prove the person wrong . . . as the saying goes, haters became motivators.

Debbie asks:

Hello, I recently went from natural to slightly texlaxed. However, I’d like to smooth my texture out a little more. Should I re-relax and what are some lye relaxers you recommend? Last question, how can I trim without straightening my hair? Thanks:)

Hi Debbie, yes re-relaxing is the route you would take. I have tried three brands of lye relaxers: Mizani (Butter Blend and Classic, for fine strands), Paul Mitchell, and ORS. Of the three, ORS is the best “texlaxing” lye relaxer I’ve used. The Mizani relaxers processed my hair much more than the Paul Mitchell relaxer.

To trim without straightening (and I think you mean using direct heat from a flat iron?) you could roller set your hair and then wrap it to remove the curls. The roller set would smooth and straighten your hair without using direct heat. If you want to avoid heat altogether (both direct heat from a flat iron or indirect heat from a hooded dryer for your roller set) you could simply stretch your hair with your hand as much as possible, or twist your hair to trim your ends.Cindy asks:

Hi Jen, Happy new year and all the best with your goals! I flat iron my hair every 3 months on relaxer day, but my new growth has become thicker and visible by week 3 of my stretch. Would I be damaging my hair/new growth if I flat iron only my new growth every wash day, which is every Saturday.

Happy New Year! I would not recommend flat ironing your new growth weekly. Hair is weakest at the line of demarcation, where new growth and relaxed hair meet. Weekly use of direct heat would further weaken your hair, causing breakage and damage. To stretch your new growth without using direct heat, you could:

  • Do a roller set,
  • Flexi rod set,
  • Use the banding method if you air dry your hair, or
  • Use the tension method to stretch your new growth while blow drying with cool air.

Vanessa asks:

Hi Jen, I’ve been following you blog for just over a year now, but I’ve scrolled back to start reading from your first posts. I know you hair had a love affair with PM products and now not so much. What happened to that?

Hi Vanessa, I simply found other products that worked better for me.

Lola asks:

Hello Jenny, if you could only buy PM and Redken products, what would be your staple products? Thanx

Hi Lola, that’s a hard one to answer because I haven’t tried enough Paul Mitchell or Redken products to have one for every category, but here’s a list from what I’ve tried:


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