NY Editors Interview with Tony S. Beckerman

I love the fact that "hair types posing textural challenges are Ellin'specialty" - that is what this story is about! We want to address the haircare concerns of women with every type of hair. What textures present the most difficulty with silkiness?

Extremely curly, damaged, or chemically treated hair tends to be the most difficult to achieve silkiness. Very curly textures often lack a good moisture content and therefore tend to become brittle. Hair that is damaged or chemically treated has an open cuticle on the surface layers of the hair. This creates a rough texture and prevents light reflection, which results in a lack of shine.



For Black women's hair, what are the best ways to achieve silkiness if
 the hair is relaxed?

Hair that is chemically relaxed has had one of the most potentially damaging services in hair care treatments. Relaxers change the internal structure of the hair and by doing so the cuticle gets damaged too. To regain the silkiness, you must use a combination of protein/moisture reconstructors plus natural oils. These must be delivered to the hair in a well-balanced formulation to give the hair back its softness and smoothness.

What if my hair is natural?

Natural hair can lack the delicate balance of protein & moisture. The outside elements of weather (sun, wind, cold, etc.) can create an imbalance. It is important to moisturize the surface layers by adding emollients to lubricate the cuticles of the hair and use a finishing rinse that has a well-balanced acid mantle, which closes down the cuticle.



Sometimes a treatment that makes the hair smooth at the time (lots of heat,
 flat irons) ultimately damages the hair. What do you suggest doing while
 styling to minimize damaging effects?

Flat or curling irons and excessively hot blow dryers can certainly damage the hair. While the styling effects look good at the time, one must be careful that the heat is not burning the hair or boiling the water inside the hair cuticle. Many flat irons reach heat levels of up to 400°F, this can be very damaging. The use of a thermal protector prior to using these heated appliances can help to protect the hair before the damage occurs.



What types of styling products (generally: gels, serums, etc) are best for
 what texture hair and why?

There are many different types of styling products for textured hair, each one made to give a different result. Serums, which contain water soluble silicones, plus good emulsifying oils. These will give wonderful results without stiffness. For those who wish to have extra body, use styling lotions that have flexible resins with a memory hold. This will give the luster, shine & body without the stiffness or flaking.



What techniques (blow-drying, towel drying, types of brushes) work the
 best to achieve luster and shine?

After using a great moisturizing shampoo, use a non-greasy daily conditioner and comb it through before rinsing it out while it’s still on the hair. This will smooth the cuticle layers and add shine. Lightly towel dry the hair, but don’t ruffle it too much, then add a small amount of serum before drying and again after the hair is dry. If blow-drying, always direct the airflow down the shaft of the hair to keep the cuticle laying down.



How often should women deep condition at home?

Although there is no set rule, it is advisable to do a deep conditioning treatment at least 2 times a month, or if possible, once a week.


What Ellin LaVar products are specifically good for silky hair and
 getting rid of frizz?

All Ellin Lavar Textures are made specifically to achieve silkiness and eliminate frizz. However, the LiquidGlass, NourishOil and PenetratingBalm will give instant gratification.



What ingredients in products should people look out for that are great for
 smooth hair? what should they avoid?

Look for natural oils, water-soluble silicones, amino acids, and proteins. Great moisturizers are Cetyl Alcohol, don’t get scared of the word “alcohol”, some of them are fatty alcohols and will help moisturization. Avoid cheap oils, they will only make the hair greasy and attract dirt and dust. 



I know Ellin has worked with a ton of celebs. Can she tell us what kind of deep conditioning treatment someone glamorous uses?

Iman uses deep penetrating moisturizing conditioners along with heat protecting styling products, i.e. Ellin LaVar Textures ReconstructMasque and ThermMist.