My hair journey began when I was very young. As a child my hair had a soft afro-like texture and appearance and as I have grown older, the texture has changed to springy curls which spiral at the ends.
I remember using olive oil, coconut oil, gel curl activators, Moisture Max, Pink Moisturiser, Organic Root Stimulator (now ORS) Olive Oil Moisturiser (cream and lotion), Organic Root Stimulator Jojoba Oil, KeraCare and anything else in the black hair shops that I decided to try which would moisturise my hair.
The olive oil and coconut oil were good for the hair and the scalp. This was not the stuff made for cooking – you bought these oils at the pharmacy. I love the smell of both of them and as a child, I was great fun to see the solid coconut oil melt as my mum or grandma rubbed it in their hands – it was like magic! They were both also completely natural.
I grew up in the 90s where hair was slick and gel was everywhere. Mousses made hair curly and stiff. Goodness only knows what chemicals were going into my hair!
Moisture Max and Pink were thick moisturising lotions. They look, smell and feel quite artificial and looking back, they were too heavy for my hair at that stage. I moved on the lighter Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil moisturiser which can now be found in Boots. I chose it as it was more natural – it contains the oil of olives! It was still a bit too heavy – it weighed my hair down, but I did use it for a long time. Big bouncy afro shaped curls were not the look in the 90s so slicked back, weighed down locks was fine with me!
As a teen, not only did my hair still need moisturising, I needed to style it. When I straightened my hair I used KeraCare Silken Seal Liquid Sheen for protection against the heat. It was nice and light and left my hair very glossy but it felt and smelt artificial so I switched to KeraCare Essential Oils for the Hair. This hair oil was available well before the latest hair oil trends. This was heavier than the Silken Seal Liquid Sheen but I preferred it. I also used VO5 wax, a soft pink one and a hard colourless one.
I also liked my glossers – they put an amazing artificial shine on my hair! I used ones by Pink and by Organic Root Stimulator. Even now something I think a spritz of glosser would be a nice change!
When I decided to start going to the hairdresser in my early twenties, I moved on to salon products. I first used Vidal Sassoon Curl Form (now Sassoon) to define my curls. This is the first specific curl defining product I used and I liked it. I didn’t realise what a difference a specific curly hair product could make! It smelled nice and certainly did the job. However, being a mousse type product, it held my hair in place which is fine for some people but I like to play with my hair and feel it blow in the wind.
At that time I also had an irritated scalp so my hairstylist recommended I use Philip Kingsley Itchy Flaky Scalp Shampoo (which I still ensure I have in the bathroom just in case) and Kerastase Age Recharge mask as a conditioner. I needed the Age Recharge as my hair had become incredibly dry. It is almost gel like and it was the first time I had used a mask, and the most expensive product I had used in my hair. It was worth it, it completely transformed my hair!
In keeping with the get-my-hair-healthy-again theme, I then tried out Moroccanoil on the advice of the receptionist at my favourite but now closed down beauty salon, HQ Hair & Beauty in London. She said that shampoos like Head and Shoulders strip the scalp (which sounds horrible!) and other cheaper shampoos which say they give healthy “looking” hair simply coat the hair in silicone. She said the best brand to use was Moroccanoil as it does neither as it is all natural. When I ran out of Age Recharge, I replaced it with Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask and used this with my Philip Kingsley shampoo. I used Moroccanoil Treatment oil to moisturise my hair. I didn’t see instant results but it felt nice in my hair, like it was more natural. I also used the oil in my skin. In fact, I prefer it as a skin oil!
When I was able to stop my Philip Kingsley regime, I then tried out Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner. These were ok but they didn’t give me the bounce in my hair that I wanted. I decided I needed to go back to products specifically for curly hair.
I first tried John Frieda’s range for curly hair but it just made my hair dry, and the styling products made it crispy. A solid step backwards.
I then tried Kerastase’s Oleo-Curl range and I still use this. This is great – I use the Kerastase Nutritive Bain Oleo-Curl shampoo, Masque Intense Oleo-Curl as a conditioner and style with Crème D’Huile Oleo-Curl curl cream. I then used to follow that with Kerastase Elixir Ultime to lock in moisture and add a little shine but when this ran out I could not bring myself to pay another £30. It was good but not perfect for me. By chance I stumbled across L’Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil (it was in the wrong place in Boots and I was in the checkout queue but I grabbed it anyway) and I’ve not looked back. It is the cheaper version of the Elixir Ultime – Kerastase is the L’Oreal salon brand, but the formula is better for my hair.
I then tried the Trevor Sorbie Curls and Waves shampoo and conditioner followed by the Trevor Sorbie Curl Cream. My hair and scalp did not like this at all. My curls were limp, crisp and dry and my scalp ended up irritated again. Maybe this regime works better for wavy hair.
My final attempt at the cheaper salon brands was Charles Worthington Curl Definer Shampoo and Curl Definer Conditioner. This really did not work for me. My curls ended up tangled and dry and completely lacking in bounce. My scalp was also dry. I will not be using this range again!
I ended up back with my trusty Oleo-Curl. I will post about this regime separately. I have run out of it now and have decided to try Aveda’s Be Curly range. I’ll be sure to let you know how this goes.
Although I’m a wash, moisturise and go girl (I seldom blow dry my hair) I now use a range of styling products which I think can go in a separate post as this one is quite long.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my hair journey. I’ll be blogging about more curly hair products so keep following!
(photos from: http://www.philipkingsley.com/all-philip-kingsley-haircare-products/philip-kingsley-flaky-itchy-scalp-shampoo.html, http://www.lusterproducts.com/products/pink/glosser.html, http://www.moroccanoil.com/united-kingdom/h_uk_en/hydrating-styling-cream, http://www.kerastase.co.uk/products/nutritive/for-dry-curly-hair/oleo-curl-intense.aspx, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Organic-Root-Stimulator-Olive-Creme/dp/B005776IOS/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1390082797&sr=8-12&keywords=organic+root+stimulator, http://www.pakswholesale.com/brand/lustrasilk/lustrasilk/lustrasilk-moisture-max-oil-moisturizing-hair-lotion.html, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lusters-Pink-Moisturizer-Lotion-475ml/dp/B000P9G0XW)