How I Handle the Inconvenience of Product Flaking in My Natural Hair

April 27, 2017

So it happened again.  The dreaded product flaking.  And it wasn’t the mixing of two different products that have nothing to do with the other… I mixed two products from the same product line according to the directions they provided on their labels.  Exactly.  Again.  And still… product flaking.  So what did I do?

First let’s review.  What exactly is product flaking?

What is Product Flaking?

Well it’s really those white flakes or sometimes hail-sized balls that fall from your hair, and have nothing to do with dandruff or any other scalp-related issues.  It comes from product, whether new or old, and how that product dries.  Or doesn’t.

Product flaking can occur for different reasons:

You used products that don’t mix and they formed clumpy sticky balls of goo in your strands.

You used quite a bit of gel and it dried hard and crusted all over your awesome black top.

Or you didn’t use much, but your hair type and that gel type don’t play well together and it stayed white for hours and then dried white.  And clumpy.  And flaky.

Actually I name seven reasons why product flaking occurs in my previous post, which is a great pre-cursor to the rest of this post.

Go ahead, take a read.  I’ll wait right for you to get back.

Now that you’re back, I realize I never really gave a detailed explanation to the question of how to deal with product flaking when it occurs… so…

So What Happened?

Here’s how it happened.  Again:

I received a handful of Alikay Naturals products in one of my CurlKits.  I was UBER excited because I’ve always wanted to try these products, so I put them aside until I had a little more hair to work with.  Right.  I kept cutting.

Well I have been wearing my TWA out, and wanted to try something other than EcoStyler gel.  Enter Alikay Naturals’ Aloe Berry Gel.  And its sidekick Lemongrass Leave In Conditioner.

oooooh-weeeeee I was excited to finally get my strands on this stuff!

So I read the directions on each product.

Then I read them again.

I like to make sure I’m following the directions that are given, especially when I’m using a product for the first time.  I mean you can’t blame a company when their products don’t work if you didn’t follow their directions, right?


Right.  So I shampooed my hair – have to have a clean palette to start, especially when you’re using a new product.  And then I conditioned.  Aussie Naturals is my duo of choice for my spring routine.  And then I came out the shower with wet hair.

Because the leave in conditioner said to use on wet hair that had been freshly washed; and to saturate each strand of hair to ensure proper coverage.  So I did that.

And then I applied the Aloe Berry gel, as instructed, and finished getting dressed to let my hair air dry, as I always do.


An hour after I applied the leave in and gel, I still had a significant amount of white on my hair (first image).  I figured, ‘okay, it’ll dry, I’ll just wait.’  Nope.  It dried, alright; but that afternoon I had white flakes in my hair, indicating that these products didn’t dry clear (second image).

So there I sat – all day – with white residue in my hair.  #nothappy

Fine.  So I figured that I would try something else the next morning.  So instead of applying the gel right after the leave in, I applied the leave in while still in the shower (since the directions say to apply it to wet hair) and then wrapped my hair in a t-shirt-towel.  And I got out, got ready  for work, and then took the t-shirt off.

To find this…

Yellow (first image).  Siiigh.  So I said to myself, ‘well let’s try the gel on one section… maybe it will cancel the yellow out.  After all, I did let it dry a bit and the gel directions say it can be applied to both wet or dry hair.’  So I took very little gel (second image) and applied it to just one section of my hair.  Yep.  Yellow-ER (third image).

‘Nope!’  I thought.  ‘Not going to do this again, today.  What are my other options?’

So I rinsed everything out of my hair.  All of it.

As if I have time for all this in the morning when I have to get to work!

And then I decided to apply just the gel onto my hair with no leave in.

It looked a bit better…

It’s still damp in this picture (second image), but it looked like I would have no white residue from the amount I used (first image), so I grabbed my shoes and purse and ran out the door.

**Since this is not an official Curlie Review, I will reserve my thoughts on these products for a later post.

So when I got to work (on time, but by the skin of my teeth), I let the gel dry and then went to the bathroom to check out the results:

No flaking.  Whew!

Shouldn’t have taken all that, but whatever; at least I wasn’t sitting in my office looking like it snowed indoors.

**UPDATE:  Before going to bed, I noticed pink flaking in my hair and on my shoulder.  I think this may not be the product for my curls, after all.  I did try everything to get it to work, though; and sometimes even after trying different ways to get your product to work, you still have to say ‘no, this isn’t for me’…

How Do I Handle Product Flaking in my Natural Hair?

I don’t handle it well, I’ll tell you that.  I get a real attitude when I use products the way I’m supposed to and they still don’t work.

BUUUT, I’m learning that it isn’t always the fault of the product.  Or the company.  For heaven’s sake, how is a company supposed to account for all the hair types and textures that may use their products?  Short answer is they can’t.  There are other things to consider when a product doesn’t work for your natural hair.

One thing I’ve learned, is that it isn’t always smart for me to try a new product in my natural hair early in the mornings before work.  First, I. Am. Not. A. Morning. Person.  I don’t wake up fully right away, I walk into walk, spill things, and get flustered more easily when things don’t go as planned.  Especially hair things.  If a style goes wrong, rarely will I be in my right calm mind to handle it with grace.  I will pout, get upset at the product, and get frustrated; most of the time just going to work looking like a raving lunatic.

Just being honest here.  If it’s before coffee, it’s not happening. Right.

So if I have a new product that I’ve never used before, and if it can be helped, I wait until the weekend to try it.  A Sunday, when I’m not really doing anything and can wait around the house to see if a product will flake or not.  That way, come Monday morning, I know what works, what doesn’t, and what to do to make it so.

Another thing I’ve learned is that if at first I don’t succeed, try it again.  Another way.  I used to toss a product if it didn’t work the first time.  #foolmeonce, and all.  But this time I didn’t.  That’s why I came back the next day and tried another technique.  And then when that didn’t work, I tried a third one.  That worked.  So here we are.

Sometimes you just have to try a product a few different ways.  If it didn’t work on soaking wet hair, try it on damp hair.  Not good following a leave in?  What about applying it after an oil, instead?  Your hair type and texture will determine how a product will work for your hair – no matter what the directions say.  My hair, cold water rinses, and products are like fire and ice.  #nope  But on soaking wet hair still steaming from the shower?  Every time.

And another weird thing about my hair?  It hasn’t found a leave in conditioner that it likes, yet.  So I apply gels without any leave in.  This is why I pay particular attention to my conditioners and deep conditioning treatments.

If a product doesn't work the first time, don't give up on it. Try another way. And another. And… Click To Tweet


Know your hair's true type and what it likes and doesn't like so that you know how to apply… Click To Tweet

But What If I’m Already Out in Public?

That’s where your natural hair emergency kit comes in handy.  A little water is sometimes enough to tame the flaky beast.  If you have some time and some towels, you can wet your hair enough for the flakes and residue to disappear – depending on how much you have.  But if you’re decked out in a nice outfit and makeup, this will sometimes mess it all up.  #truestory #nottelling Some oil will also usually cancel out those flakes.  Or make them less noticeable.  Worst case scenario?  Get some pins and create a lat minute updo.  The worst of the worst case?  If you didn’t notice your hair had flakes before leaving the house or your hair wasn’t completely dry, then you may have to grit your teeth and bear it… I know.  But that’s #naturalhairlife.

What Can You Do To Prevent Product Flaking?

  • Use less product.
  • Do you use leave in conditioners?  Let them soak into your strands before applying gel.
  • Cleanse your hair.  Like really cleanse.  If you regularly use gel, you really need to use something more than a cowash.  I know.  I love my cowashes, too; but I have low porosity hair which means I’m susceptible to buildup.  I need shampoo to get it all out.
  • Rinse it out.  Get all the shampoo out and then make sure you get all the conditioner out, as well.  I found out that the gel only worked on hair that had been completely rinsed and nother applied beforehand.  Sometimes you just don’t need all the extra stuff.
  • Lighten up.  Your gel or moisturizers may be too heavy.  Your strands won’t react well to being weighed down and may not absorb the extra bulkiness.  Keep it simple, keep it light.


So that leave in is not going to work for me.  At all.  Not as it is.  So what am I going to do with it?  Well, I’m not sure; but that sounds like a future post.  Stay tuned for a product remix.

How do you handle product flaking in your hair?  Any tips to share?


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