How do you give natural hair sheen?

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This question comes from longtime reader Tonya of newnaturalista.com

I’m totally in love with my natural hair, but there’s one thing…shine! I can’t get my hair to shine for anything. I think the big issue for me is that once a style is set (two stand twists or wash n go) I’m afraid to mess with it for fear that it will get really frizzy. For a moment this morning I was longing for some sheen spray! (Don’t worry, I no longer have mineral oil products in my house.)

Any advice on maintaining shine without giving up curl definition?

What are your remedies ladies?

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founding editor of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008), social media and black beauty enthusiast. When I'm not here, I'm blogging at my new mommy site, babyandblog.com

 

36 thoughts on “How do you give natural hair sheen?

  1. I’m interested in the honey in the deep conditioner – doesn’t your hair get sticky? I know honey is good for hair – my grandfather used to raise bees and make honey and he used to put the honey on his scalp – he died with a full head of hair at almost 80 years old! but i digress…and i’m just realizing i never asked *him* about his honey practice! lol. anyway, i would love to know more about that.

    and while i agree with a lot of the comments about acceptance, i don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting shine. but i do think that no matter what we should definitely accept what we have. anything else we do to enhance it should be the icing!

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  2. props to Luna & Maria, bringing knowledge.

    I’d agree that coily hair doesn’t *shine*, but if you’re talking about a dull look to the hair then I’d suggest being less heavy-handed with products, especially leave-in conditioners or heavy white conditioners that you use as leave-in, they can leave a dull cast over your hair.

    I will also say that using Henna & Cassia I notice my hair looking brighter/deeper/richer. Castor Oil also gives hold to my hair and adds a luxurious sheen (and softness) in those hairstyles where the hair is stretched or pulled fairly taut (twists, braids, bantu knots & the subsequent -out styles). But in twistouts/braidouts I just tend to retwist in bigger sections every other night with a bit of water and castor oil.

    Work with what you got, & from what I can see you got a lot!

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  3. Someone has got to explain to me what is meant by curl pattern. I am a 4b and I thought I had tons of curls in my hair. Tons… As far as sheen goes, that really isnt important to me. I have just wanted the softness that I am now achieving with enough moisture.

    With regard to hair typing, I have noticed about it is hardly ever brought up that our hair is of a different shape than straight hair. Our hair is a flat strand of hair while others is tubular. I believe that is how our hair achieves its immense coils. In fact our hair is like the curling ribbon for balloons. You know when you slide a scissor’s blade against the curling ribbon it then curls up? That is our hair.

    “The main reason hair is curly is because the keratin proteins contain amino acids called cysteines. These cysteines link to each other by disulfide bonds (two sulfur atoms connected to each other). The more disulfide bonds, the curlier the hair. All hair has disulfide bonds but it is the shape of the hair strand itself which determines both how many and in what way the disulfide bonds are put together. Hair strands that are round have fewer disulfide bonds and the bonds are more aligned with one another thus the hair is straight. Hair strands that are flattened and look more oval like have a greater number of disulfide bonds, which are also connected askew, there fore the hair is more curly. The shapes of hair strands depend on the person, some people have round pores from which their hair grows, others have more flattened pores. Round pores make round hairs, flat pores make flattened hairs. ”

    http://www.ccmr.cornell.edu/education/ask/index.html?quid=708

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  4. Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I wrote this a while ago and have since found the magic of coconut oil and shea butter!

    I agree with Maria and Luna others regarding accepting my hair the way it is. I’ve done away with chemicals and I only use natural products. I don’t see anything wrong however with changing up styles, by adding sheen naturally, adding henna, doing two strand twists or braids…the list can go on and one. For me all of these things are part of the grooming and styling process and it doesn’t negate my natural state. Because really, to be truly natural would mean I’d just get up every morning and walk out of the house! :)

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  5. What I forgot to add was that since asking the question I’ve realized that I was piling on the products which made my hair really lifeless looking – pretty dull. Now I use a little coconute oil and shea butter and my hair is very healthy looking with a sheen to it – not a bounce off the wall sheen but a healthy sheen.

    Thanks everyone!

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  6. When using coconut oil on a fresh (no older than day 2) hairstyle, my 4a hair might have a little sheen…but it never shines. By it’s nature kinky, coily, and curly hair doesn’t shine because the shape of the strands doesn’t allow it to reflect light the same way straight hair does. Most products that I’ve seen that are solely for shine are usually greasy and sticky with no-no ingredients in them.

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  7. I dont agree with the comment that natural hair is not suppose to shine. I have had locks for 6 years and expeierenced build up, build up from using any type of product to maintain your crown. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo and or conditioner, once every couple of months. The clarifying shampoo or conditioner will remove all build up from products, pollution, dirt, chlorine from the pool, hard water, oil build up etc. Once you use the clarifying treatment you must put moisture back into your hair, (whatever moisturizing treatment you may use) aphogee moisture balance is the best for adding the moisture. Nexus Aloe-rid was the best but they discontinued the treatment. Suave or any brand will do from wal-mart. Also drink plenty of water dehydration can cause dull hair and a poor diet also.

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  8. Thanks for all the info and suggestions as a newly natural since feb of this yr I have been a frustrated because im used to having hair and now its short and im sill getting used to it as some have stated I love the look when its wet but once it dried it was just a frizzy pouf no curl definition I was getting discouraged and starting to regret the decision to go natural I have spent so much money on different products tryng to get shine, definition, moisture, etc and still havent found the right mix I left the chemicals alone after my bc have have been trying different natural products some either left it with a greasy feel or hard and dry or just dry and dull I love shea products they work great for my skin not so much for the hair oils work to keep my scalp from itching but then my hair is left feeling greasy to the touch tried the honey thing it left it sticky and me frustrated once again so I will try some the suggestions like the clarifying treatment and leave ins and aphogee products and let you know how that works.Thanks again for the info!

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  9. Hi Christine, I use honey regularly as a deep conditioner, and it does really soften the hair, it has to be washed out completely though otherwise it will make hair sticky! Give it another go….its totally worth it!

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  10. Hello,
    you definitely want to make sure your last rinse after conditioning your hair, is with cold water, that has always made my hair shinier.
    Good Luck!

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  11. This may seem a bit off topic, so if anyone can point me in the right direction, I’d much appreciate it. When styling ones natural hair, in twists, etc are you supposed to twist it when damp and add an oil to twist it, or twist then add the oil after, and keep adding oil when needed. I think I have 4b/c hair and have struggled with the styling side of things, I.e., not knowing if it’s best to style when damp, and how to maintain it.

    And if people could suggest any good deep conditioners nd moisturisers that are commercial for styling, that would be great. I ask this because whenever i do a search nothing comes up, and I’ve noticed people suggest things that are only available in the U.S and I’m in the UK. Sorry if this seems long winded.

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  12. I HAVE FOUND WITH MY 4B HAIR, THAT RINSING WITH COLD ALOE VERA JUICE DOES WONDERS!! I AGREE WITH MARIA AND LUNA; HOWEVER, MY ISSUE FOR “SHEEN” AT THE TIME WAS THAT I KNEW I COULD GIVE IT THE SHINE I’VE SEEN ON OTHER 4B SISTERS, BUT JUST DIDN’T KNOW HOW. I FINALLY STOPPED A SISTER IN THE STORE, AND SINCE STARTING THE ALOE VERA REGIMEN 2 WEEKS AGO, FRIENDS AND COWORKERS HAVE COMMENTED ON THE DIFFERENCE!
    IT ALSO IMPROVED MY CURL DEFINITION. I MAKE NO QUALMS ABOUT DESIRING CURL DEFINITION– IF THAT IS WHAT MY HAIR NATURALLY DOES, THEN I’D LIKE IT TO DO SO THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE! I DONT FEEL THAT’S WRONG!
    ANYWHO, COLD ALOE VERA JUICE FROM THE FRIDGE, RIGHT AFTER EVERY CO-WASH DOES IT FOR ME! ADD A FEW DROPS OF TEA TREE, ROSEMARY, AND LEMON ESSENTIAL OILS FOR DRY SCALP AND SCENT :-)

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  13. I agree with the suggestions above, plus rosemary infusion is god for shine. I steep the rosemary in boiling water then when it’s cool i add a cup of cider vinegar and rinse with that.

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