BRAIDS AND HAIR GROWTH FOR NATURAL HAIR AND BRAIDED HAIR STYLES

After you read some of these horror stories, you just may be convinced that BRAIDS are causing many of our hair care/growth problems!

1. My hair on the left side of the head is thinning. This was due to years of braids and the stress around the hairline. Presently I am seeing a dermatologist who injects my scalp and gives me minoxidil (not Rogaine itself) to apply topically twice a day. So far, it seems like there is a little growth, but my question to you is, is there anything that can help thicken the hair around the temples? I don't believe in anything that has petroleum, I do not have a relaxer and haven't had one in 3 years. I am currently wearing a weave to camoflage this. I also take vitamins and vitamin supplements. Please help.

Your hair being thin around the edges could be caused by previous relaxer misapplications (see my book Thinning Edges) and/or braids. Braids are one of the worst styles for our hair because those that are put in too tightly and continually pull on the hair roots. (I personally have witnessed the devastation caused by them where sisters end up with hairlines back to their ears.) If you continually pluck hair, the hair cells will eventually die. If the hair has been gone for about a year, the hair cells are probably dead. There is no reviving them even with the injections. If the hair cells are simply retarded from the pulling, they can again produce and get rid of waste if a stimulant is used. So is there anything that can thicken the hair? Protein builds on the hair that is there, increasing the circumference of the hair. It does nothing for the hair that is not there already and nor does taking the vitamins!

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2. How long before I start seeing results? my hair is short by choice. I keep it cut because everytime I started letting my hair grow it gets to a stage where I have problems w/styles. Are braids good for your hair??

I do not recommend braids or any fake hair if you want the maximum benefits of the UBH system.

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3. I am noticing that the hair around my temples is almost gone! I often brush it back and wear my hair in a bun, even though now I am trying not to brush the hairs around my temples at all. Should I see doctor for this condition? Is this commonly seen in African American women? Also, is there any chance that it will grow back?

Have you ever worn braids or weaves? Are you wearing permanent color with relaxed hair brushing it around the temples to cover gray? It is your call to see a doctor or not. This condition is very common not only in women but children and teens who wear braids, weaves and glued on hair. Also if your relaxer is pushed onto the scalp when it is applied, this will cause hair thinning and balding.

On the chances of it growing back, that depends on what has caused the problem and how long the hair has been gone. If the hair cells underneath the scalp are dead, nothing will bring them back to life. If they are simply retarded there is a possibility that a product with a stimulant can make them reproduce, provided the hair cells underneath the scalp are nourished.

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4. I just got my hair relaxed on October 4th and already I am seeing a lot of new growth. I am assuming that this is a good sign. Thanks for your book and products, I have never seen new growth this early before. My question is this, I did the regular washing and conditioning routine on Thursday. I need to wash my hair today but I have a concert to go to on Thursday and I am busy all the way up until Sunday morning. I was wondering should I wash my hair on Tuesday and air dry it and get it braided with synthetic hair added in until Sunday morning and then do the regular washing and conditioning routine? Would me putting braids in my hair using synthetic hair added, mess up the growing process? I have worn braids using synthetic hair since December of 2001 until Aug of 2002 when I started your process. I really need to put my hair in a braided style so that I don't have to worry about it until Sunday. Is this okay?

Jacqueline, since traveling around the country with my method, I see the destruction braids do to our hair - receding hair lines back to the ears, bald patches and 3/4 inch spaces between braids. I dont recommend braids at all! If you choose to do so it will be a decision you need to make on your own.

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5. My hairline has been damaged from wrong braiding over 2 years and I am seeing a dramatic improvement by rubbing a little bit of your conditioner (the oil that settles at the top) into the areas at night. I guess it is the stimulants.

The stimulant is what makes the hair cells produce if the hair cells underneath the scalp are not dead. (some of the stimulant is in the oil you are seeing) It is sad to see our sisters who wear this fake hair alternative. The long term effects are horrifying. All because of braids! I dont recommend anybody get those things. One lady told me braids are part of our culture. This is true - at first we had dry breaking hair now we have added receding hairlines and bald spots which are not pretty! I am glad you are finding the benefits of the products (although it was not intended to be used that way - just dont put the conditioner on your hair and leave it as it contains protein and should be rinsed out after deep conditioning)

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6. Hello again Ms. Kathy this is Mike. I sent u a message the other day. I wanted ask you if this is the proper way I should be doing my hair because I wear braids. Do I still need to wash my hair every 3 days?

Braid wearers dont like to wash the braids for fear of manipulating them too much. Not being a braid wearer but speaking from a common sense approach - go no longer than once a week in any style without washing your hair - braids included.

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7. When I take the braids out do i need to wash 1st or deep condition?

Wash 1st THEN deep condition.

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8. It's kind of frustrating that the other guys in my school who are white and hispanic are getting braids and then there braids are coming way past their shoulders in like a year, year in a half and my hair is no where near that length.

Mike understand that our hair can grow as long as our natural life cycle allows. Scientist say that is 2-6 years. If your hair grows at 6" per year which is the average than you too can have 12-36 inches of hair provided your growth rate is average (6"). Also take into consideration that we have type 4 hair while Hispanics and Whites have 1, 2 and 3 hair types which is not dry as our 4. Dry hair breaks easily if not handled and cared for properly. If it is cared for properly we can keep it our our heads and achieve our maximum lengths!

If you are going to wear braids, braid your own hair as I dont recommend fake braids. Just ensure that the choices you make temporarily dont cause long term problems that can not be fixed.

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9. I am an Africian Americian women in my middle forty's. I have worn braids for years, due to the fact when I put a perm in my hair after about six months to a year my hair falls out. My hair grows really good as long as I wear the braids, which can become very costly. What I would like to know how do you save your hair when you want to come out of the braids and go to a perm? My hair has always been short most of my life, so does that mean it will stay short if I come out of the braids? I would like some advice on what to do to keep my hair a nice length. I would like to know what to buy and what to do to keep my hair up when I come out of the braids. There are a thousand plus products which promise you any and every thing for your hair, but can you tell me which is really a true product for Africian American Hair, as you know our hair is truly NAPPY!

The requirements (washing, conditioning etc.) are detailed in my UBH book which you really must read. The problem you will have is that the fake hair covers your hair and the UBH products can not get to that hair underneath. The UBH conditioner actually builds on the hair making it thicker. With repeated use, your hair closest to the scalp will become thicker while the hair underneath the fake hair will be thin when the braids are removed. The requirements are the same for you as everyone else if you want to grow your own hair. Just ensure you use the program religiously to get the quickest results.

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10. Until I receive your book can you give me a jump start on caring for my hair. I wore individual braids for 3 months. When I took the braids out I noticed about a 1/2 inch of my ends broke off. So, now I'm trying to reconstruct my hair back to health. I've been washing my hair once a week with a shampoo for damage hair by aphogee along with the 6 week reconstructing conditioner.

That conditioner you are using provides no benefit for your hair. Please wait until you get the book as the requirements for caring for your hair are detailed there.

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11. I received your book and i must add that it has very good information in it...one thing i wanted to ask you is can the ultra black hair conditioner, and the ultra black hair dew grow bald edges and if i apply these products on my bald edges should i massage it?

Balding caused by tight braids and weaves is a problem for black women. We used to enhance our short hair with wigs and clip on hair pieces, now with the fake hair weaves and braids we are seeing balding temples and sides, hairlines back to our ears and patches out all over. Fake hair in my opinion is bad news!

If the hair cells underneath the scalp are NOT dead the stimulant in the conditioner can help them reproduce again. If they are dead, nothing will help them grow again. How can you tell if they are dead? If the hair has been missing from the spots for more than several months, the cells may be dead. If it has only been recently gone, the hair cells could be simply retarded from the constant pulling of the hair from the root. If hair is still in the spot but is very little, it is possible that this will help.

As far as putting the conditioner on your scalp, the product is actually intended for the hair. The stimulation will get to the scalp from the product being put on the hair. If you put it on your scalp it will not hurt you, however, the hair will benefit most by its application. Using it on your scalp to stimulate hair growth in the bald spots will not hurt but also may not help either.

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12. I have read the question and answer session and I wanted to ask my own questions. I wear braids twisty braids to be exact. Can you use your products with any kind of braids.

Yes

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13. Do you have to wash the braids every three days?

You can not go longer than 1X per week with any style - braids included!

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14. I haven't read your book yet but I wanted to know if you have anything about braids in your book?

No - braids are a style. I dont discuss style. I discuss hair care before and after what ever style you want to wear.

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15. I wear braids a lot, but I have no idea if they are growing or damaging my hair. My hair seems really strong when it is unpermed, but really weak once it is permed. What is the problem?

If your hair is growing, it has nothing to do with the braids. Hair grows anyway about 6" per year. If you still get your hair relaxed and new growth is being retouched, then your hair is growing. If you are going bald then your hair is not growing. Most weak hair due to relaxers results from improper application and being left unmaintained.

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16. Thank you for your response. I just finished reading the shampoo section of your book. Since I wear braids, I usually clean my hair with Sea Breeze antiseptic or Dudley's antiseptic, but I don't actually wet it with water and shampoo. Is this an okay method for shampooing or do I actually need to lather with shampoo and water. What shampoo do you currently use for dry hair?

Oh my goodness! What a mistake you are making! YES you need to actually shampoo. The methods you are using are the reasons we have no hair! I recommend Herbal Essence for color treated, dry damaged hair or Aubrey Organics shampoo if my scalp itches too much.

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17. I'm thinking that maybe I wore the braids too long. The maximum time that I usually wear the braids is between 4 and 6 months and I have never had any problems. I probably went too long in between braids without washing my hair and using your conditioner. My hair is very thin after my relaxer..

Rowena, my conditioner contains protein which builds onto the hair making it thicker. When you wear braids the hair that is covered up by the braids does not benefit from the conditioner. Leave the braids out and use my conditioner to thicken your hair. This is the only thing that I think is wrong with what you are doing. You may also want to ensure the chemical is not pushed onto your scalp as this will cause hair thinning also.

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18. I really need help with my hair. It is very thin and short. i had braids for a while, when i took them out some of my hair came out with the braid. Do you have any suggestions?

Yes - read my Ultra Black Hair book

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19. I've waited for 2 days before putting a relaxer in my hair. It's VERY dry and unmanageable. I have found a stylist that uses affirm and I NEED a relaxer. My hair is typically strong but I am concerned about it's strength since it's been braided for almost 3+ months. What would you suggest?

I would do a protein treatment before the relaxer. If your hair becomes very tangled after the protein treatment, use creme rinse (or a leave in conditioner) to smooth the cuticle and avoid combing it when it is wet! After the protein treatment put a lot of creme moisturizer on your hair to soften the hair again also wait about a week before the relaxer so your scalp wont be to irritated from pulling and tugging of the hair.

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20. I've gotten my hair braided over a year ago. The braids were too tight which caused many sores. I can not get rid of the sores. I use a box relaxer by Soft & Beautiful (Beautanical???). My hair is very coarse and I have to have something to manage it. What do you recommend?

My suggestion is get rid of the sores before you do another chemical. Occasional when I would get a burn from the chemical relaxer, I applyed Neosporin to the area until it is healed. It concerns me that you cant get rid of them. If they don't go away, this could be another issue if you are no longer doing anything to cause the sores. I don't recommend Soft and Beautiful because I have never used it. When I was relaxing my hair I only used and recommend Affirm.

21. I want to get corn row braids, how can I deep condition my hair in cornrows?

People with braids dont want to manipulate the braids to avoid messing them up. Many women have resorted to diluting the conditioner and putting in a spray bottle. This may be a successful alternative for you.

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22. Can I still take care of my hair with human hair braids as in when can I put in protein treatments, etc?

Personally I dont know what protein will do to synthetic braids however human hair will absorb the conditioner if used with heat. Unfortunately your own hair wont benefit much because the fake hair is covering your own hair. To provide the best benefit for your hair, I would suggest after taking the braids down before you do a protein treatment. Many sisters will relax their hair then put it back in braids. Right after a relaxer is a great time for a protein treatment.

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23. Is it okay to get a relaxer, wait 2 weeks, get hair washed, protein treatment, moisturize, and then get hair braided?

This is not a problem - however, you still must moisturize every day even with the braids in.

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24. My hair is shoulder length but I have nothing to do with it. I decided to just keep it braided up. I wanted to follow this routine every 6 months, is that safe?

Following this routine every 6 months will NOT help you. It must be applied not less than weekly to maximize your hair length!

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25. Does your Dew moistuizer leave your hair sticky like braid spray?

Absolutely Not! I develop my products and I use my products. I would not use a product that is "sticky" on my hair! So you can count on Dew being light, non stick and non greasy!

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26. I just got through browsing your website and I have a few questions for you before purchasing your products. First, I have natural hair and have braided my hair for three years now and it grows but it also breaks. My crown is very difficult to grow and also the center of my hair is now very thin from me constantly pulling my hair. I guess my question to you is: Can I follow your treatment with the braids? What can I do about the crown and the center of my hair?

Yes, many of my customers have braids and use my system. It is recommended that you do NOT wear hair attached to your own braids because the products will not get to the hair that needs the products. Read my UBH book and Thinning Edges to determine what may be causing your hair to look like it is "not grow" because it is growing I suspect, but breaking. The braids could also be causing some of your problems if they are being put in too tightly. My conditioner contains protein which builds on the hair making it thicker.

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27. I'm wondering if it is a good idea to just keep the relaxer going and have it braided but I see people with balding areas on their heads especially in the front area.

It is a personal choice to continue to relax or braid however, the balding in the front can be caused by braiding toooo tightly and the misapplication of the chemical relaxer. Hair cells underneath the scalp actually become retarded (even die in some cases) from continuous pulling on the hair shaft which pulls the root. It is just like tweezing your brows or hair on an upper lip, eventually the hair will become so fine that it is almost non existent. When the hair cells stop producing no hair grows at all.

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28. I brought a protein pack and I plan on getting a touch-up in a couple of days I wanted to know if after I get the touch up should I use the protein pack on my hair, I deep conditioned my hair after I took out my braids, and it is holding up pretty well but of course hair came out as I was taking out the braids and there was breakage when I was combing out tangles, It was snapping a lot (the hairs) If I shouldn't use the protein pack now when should I?

Katisha, Although I have never had braids, one of my customers just recently told me her experience after braids with using a protein treatment. Her hair actually matted to the point that she had to cut it off! The only thing that I think could have caused this problem is the hair cuticle raised (which protein will do) causing the hair to tangle. Hearing this I would avoid the protein until AFTER the retouch.

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Disclaimer: UBH products do not fix balding and alopecia problems. UBH products address dry, brittle hair that breaks.

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Last Revised: February 2010

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