Ask Kcurly–Moisture Help in Iraq

by kcurly on August 21, 2009

in Ask Kcurly

From Denise (not to be confused wit Denise who won the idol giveaway)   in Iraq:

Hello Kcurly,
My name is Denise and I am a soldier in the US Army and currently deployed to Iraq. My best friend is natural and also a PJ. She is always searching the net for natural hair sites and she found yours and told me about it. I am in month 8 of transitioning. I had been thinking about going natural for a while, but decided not to do it because of the fact that I am in the Army and I have to wear a hat everyday and that I do PT (physical training) everyday and didn’t want my hair to puff up because of the sweat. As I said in the beginning, I am currently deployed to Iraq. Back in Jan of this year, I had a relaxer put in my hair. The person who did it, did not rinse all of the relaxer out on my nape and needless to say, I had bad chemical burns. That did it for me, it was time to go natural.
My best friend has helped me tremendously. She has given me a lot of good advice about taking care of natural hair. My staple hair style is twists. Sometimes, I braid it, but twists are my style of choice. I have been twisting my children hair for years now, so I feel that I am a pro at that hairstyle. The only problem that I am having is keeping my hair from drying out. It is very hot here. Sometimes it gets up to 120 deg F. I plan on transitioning for at least 18 months because I do not want to lose a lot of length. I love my between SL and APL hair.
So, my question to you or any of your readers who can help, is, what products do you recommend that will keep the moisture in my hair in this very hot and dry Iraq desert? Thank you for taking the time to read my email and also, thank you for taking the time to develop and maintain this site. It is very helpful, supportive and informative. I really appreciate it and you.
God Bless You,
Denise

All we have to do is step out on faith and God will lead us the rest of the way!!

Denise, first of all, thank you for serving our country overseas. I appreciate each of your hard working folks over there and pray for you everyday. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’m sorry about the burns you received from the relaxer (been there done that!) but so happy that you’ve started your journey to being natural.  I am also in a very hot environment though it’s more of a wet heat than I think you’re experiencing. Probably one of the most moisturizing things I can think of is Qhemet’s Heavy Cream though some of my readers may be able to suggest other products. I don’t know about the shipping from Qhemet.
It’s great that you’re in protective styles because that will help a lot, but I was wondering if you’ve tried baggying at night (if possible). You simply apply a good moisturizer to your hair and then cover with a plastic cap or bag (or shower cap) and let it sit overnight. This helps a lot of people with moisture issues. Also I would deep condition (if possible) as much as you can.
You may also want to eliminate glycerin from your hair care routine if you are using any. I say may because not everyone agrees with this. From this article on NC.com:

In weather that is extremely dry, glycerin will seek out moisture from your hair and actually dehydrate it, which can cause damage and breakage.

Good luck and maybe some of the lovely readers will have suggestions or words of encouragement for you!

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  • CurlyKye

    Hi Denise – This is totally unrelated to hair but I want to say God Bless you and Thank you and your fellow soldiers for all that you do. Keeping you all in my prayers for a safe return home!!

  • http://diaryofakinkycurlytransition.blogspot.com/ Alice

    Firstly, thank you for everything. Come home safe! :)

    And hopefully to answer your question: keeping your hair in twists is GREAT. Like Kcurly made some really good points (avoid glycerin, bagging, etc). I know nothing about Qhemet’s shipping, but you might be able to have a family member buy it and ship it to you if they don’t ship internationally. You can look into getting shea butter too, there are some ebay sellers that offer free shipping to anyone on a military base too!

  • http://diaryofakinkycurlytransition.blogspot.com/ Alice

    ugh, grammar fail >.<

  • Denise

    First of all, let me say you are welcome to all of you. I serve my country freely and proudly. Thanks Kcurly and your readers for the advice and the encouragement. God bless you all!!!!

  • TIA

    I am proud of you and your hair journey. Sharing it with you has been a great experience. Love you!
    If there are any other Military Folks out here in the desert yes Qhemet’s does ship overseas to APO/FPO. They even have sample sizes which is great for PJs. I have used with great success.
    Kcurly-Thank you for your site. Keep doing what your doing.
    Take Care and God Bless!

  • Teresa

    Hi Denise,

    I also did a tour in Iraq, and boy did my hair suffer! I deployed with shoulder-length, thick natural African American hair. However, it came out in clumps due to the exposure to sun, poor eating habits, and time limits in the shower which kept my hair from getting the water it needed. One year later, my hair is still recovering, but definitely getting better and stronger.

    Here are my recommendations, with all products available from drugstore (dot) com, which ships to APO addresses:

    1) Use a moisturizing shampoo like Creme of Nature Ultra Moisturizing Shampoo. Your hair will instantly feel soft, even before you can rinse out the shampoo.

    2) Load on the conditioner. Toward the end of my deployment, I learned to use at least twice as much conditioner in my hair as I did CONUS. Your hair will need the moisture. Be sure to comb it through to completely cover all the strands. If possible, put a shower cap on and let it sit in your hair for half an hour before rinsing. I used Pantene conditioner, but I would also recommend Neutrogena’s Triple Moisture Deep Conditioner. The only problem is that the Neutrogena one comes in a small container, and you really need to go overboard with the conditioner.

    3) Rinse the conditioner from your hair with cool/cold water to seal the hair cuticle.

    4) Use Cantu Grow Strong Strengthening Treatment as a leave-in conditioner. It’s light enough to use to style your twists.

    5) After a heavy workout, rinse your hair with cold water as soon as possible to get rid of the sweat that accumulated in your scalp. Then follow with an application of the Cantu Treatment. You may have to figure out how to do it without untwisting your hair.

    Finally, when you return to the States, be sure to get a professional haircut to trim your split ends to prevent breakage. Also, if your hair seems like it still needs serious recovery, use Joico’s K-Pac Reconstructor. It’s expensive, so opt for the generic brand available at Sally Beauty Supply.

    Best of luck!

    KH

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