After I whittled down my magazines into what inspired me, I categorised the articles into themes. There was some overlap but at the time I felt the groupings made sense. Now, I have written this blog post beginning with the body of text, rather than the title which I have never done before. I just wasn’t sure how to introduce this collection of cuttings.
In the June 2016 edition of Cosmopolitan there was a full feature on hair, or more specifically, “hairitage”. To my delight it focused on mixed-heritage hair which for the most part was curly. I could identify with the piece and also find it useful for product recommendations that I could use on my hair.
For nearly all of my life I have had long, curly hair. I love my curls but I’ve always wanted a sleek chin length bob. To get one I would have had to cut off most of my hair and use hair straighteners daily and I wanted to do neither. The shorter my hair gets, the more of a triangle shape my hair goes. Hardly the making of a cool bob. Also, straightening my hair everyday would just damage it. Added to that, I don’t think I could spare the time every single day to force my hair to do something it didn’t want to. Curly hair has a mind of its own and it’s not worth arguing with it!
Despite this, recently I have been seduced by the long bob, or “lob” as seen on Kim Kardashian West and Jourdan Dunn. In fact, it was Jourdan’s gorgeous brown and honey lob which made me take the plunge. She really shows off the versatility of the lob, wearing it straight, curly and wavy. It gave me hope, so I booked an appointment at the Sassoon Academy in London to get my hair chopped off!
I chose the Sassoon Academy for several reasons. First I didn’t want to pay a fortune for a haircut just in case I didn’t like it. Secondly, as I was going for a dramatic change, I thought I might as well let someone learn from it. Third, I visited the Sassoon Academy many years ago and I knew that although the stylists are students, they are closely supervised so I knew I would end up with a precision Sassoon haircut which works with my natural hair for a fraction of the price. The real price paid is that the appointment took about three hours instead of one but it was totally worth it.
If you follow me on Instagram, you would have already seen the picture of the dramatic change. Ok, so I didn’t dye my hair brown and honey blonde which was mainly because I hadn’t had a skin test, but also because I needed to take my style change one step at a time!
I was given a cut which worked with my natural curls with the lob length at the front and extra short at the back, all nicely sculpted the Sassoon way. Although it was a bit of a shock seeing most of my hair on the floor, the cut made me feel like I was walking on air. This is the best I could ask for. Perhaps next time I’ll be brave enough to colour my hair too…
Do you remember when hair elastics used to be sealed with metal? I do. Our hair would get caught in the metal and broken and the only way to avoid this was to wear a satin scrunchie instead. I know scrunchies have somehow made a comeback since I wore them in the 90s (when bigger was better) but I cannot bring myself to wear them again, even if they have popped up in Vogue magazine in the past couple of years.
These days I stick to simple black hair elastics to tie my long, dark, curly hair. As hair elastics are so simple, I try to pay as little as possible for them and I actively avoided brand names. I have tried several types of non-metal hair elastics but they all break way too soon under the weight of my hair. I began to think this is just how hair elastics are until I decided to pay a little more and buy Scünci hair elastics.
I am very happy with my decision to upgrade! The Scünci hair elastics are strong enough to hold my hair in a tight ponytail as none have broken and my hair seldom gets caught on the hair elastic (sometimes it happens, probably because curly hair is disobedient).
I know that the pack of 18 will last me a long time- I’ll probably lose the hair elastics before I manage to break them. You definitely get what you pay for with these Scünci hair elastics and I am happy I tried them.
I bought the Lee Stafford Arganoil from Morocco set because I thought if it contained argan oil, it must be nourishing for curly hair. I also wanted to try something from the high street rather than a luxury salon brand, in an attempt to save some money!
My initial concern was that it was a four step regime rather than a three step. In these times of co-washing when we’re trying to get our hair care down to as few steps as possible, this seemed like a step the wrong way! I decided to give it a go anyway.
The shampoo, as with everything else in the range, has a chemically scent. That aside, it lathers well and leaves my hair feeling very clean.
Deep Nourishing Treatment
I usually use a treatment instead of a conditioner but you use this treatment between the shampoo and conditioner. This is something new for me but it was worth a try. Unfortunately, my hair did not feel “treated” at all. I don’t think this treatment made any difference so for me it was an added extra step which I did not need.
The conditioner made my hair nice and smooth and seemed to work better when I did not use the treatment. I used to skip the treatment and just leave the conditioner in for a few minutes straight after shampooing.
This is my favourite part of the regime. It makes my curls soft, bouncy and defined without making them stiff. My curls do need refining and smoothing with hair oil but this curl cream left me with gorgeous curls.
I had to stop using the shampoo and conditioner because whilst they left my hair nice and curly, they left my sensitive scalp very dry. Overall, I would probably buy the curl cream again but not the rest of the products. Back to the luxury salon brands!
I bought this on a recommendation from a friend who warned me that Aveda products were great but at the more expensive end of the spectrum.
be curly shampoo
The first thing that caught me was the yummy scent. I thought someone was baking Christmas goodies but it was actually my hair! It smells of spiced oranges and other fruit ready to be made into mince pies or Christmas cake. This is because it is infused with Aveda’s Pure-Fume made with organic lime, bergamot and mandarin scents. It is heavenly and felt like a treat every time I washed my hair. It doesn’t lather much but it does get immediately to work in defining my curls.
be curly conditioner
This has a similar scent to the shampoo but it is not as strong. This detangles and curls which is what I expect it to do! I always left it in for a few minutes before washing it out.
be curly curl enhancer
I don’t actually like the smell of this curl cream! It smells more like chemicals than fruit. I got over that as it finished my hair by perfectly defining the curls without the need to blow dry my hair. My hair ended up big, bouncy and fun, just how I like it. It did make my hair smooth and soft so the curls did not last as long as I wanted to but that was ok as I could just use the curl enhancer on dry hair to revive the curls.
I enjoyed using this range and although it made my hair look and feel amazing, unfortunately my sensitive scalp forced me to have to stop using it. It’s so difficult to find products which are good for the scalp and dry, curly hair. On to the next regime!
In preparation for my recent holiday to the hot and humid Caribbean, I needed to look for haircare that not only protected and nourished my hair but also came in a small, travel friendly size.
I had just run out of curl cream so it gave me the perfect excuse to try something new. I decided on Philip B Oud Royal Mega-Curl Enhancer (60ml) and received a free gift of a sample sized Philip B Oud Royal Gravity-Defying Gel from lookfantastic.com. As I didn’t know how well these products would do the job, I also bought a 50ml bottle of Schwarzkopf got2b Oil-licious tame & shine styling oil, as I wasn’t able to find a mini bottle of Kérastase Elixir Ultime in time.
This turned out to be the perfect combination for the climate. My curls were shiny and defined and the gel held the style in place all day. My hair also remained hydrated throughout the day even though I was in the direct burning sun!
In case you’re wondering, I put my current shampoo and conditioner into little travel pots as I couldn’t find mini versions. I needed to maintain my scalp care so I brought Kérastase Specifique Dermo-Calm Bain Riche and my tried and tested Oléo-Curl Intense hair mask with me.
Another thing I discovered was that sea water is great for curly hair! Rather than make my hair dry as I had feared, it left it soft with defined waves which held all day. I loved this completely low maintenance look and the best thing was that there was no need for curl cream. Natural haircare at its best!
I received this Tony & Guy Glamour Firm Hold Hairspray in the previous Latest in Beauty Glamour Edit Box (the gold one) but I somehow lost it until now! Plus, I don’t really wear hairspray – I have curly hair which holds itself and a good haircut which barely needs styling.
I did try this out a couple of times when I tied my hair in a ponytail. The “glamour” probably comes from the fact that if adds a shine to your hair when you spray it on. It’s a good shine, not a greasy shine. As for hold, I would say it didn’t really hold my hair. Some wisps escaped so I had a strange sticking-up-hair look whilst shopping. This is probably fine for most hair but mine needs something stronger.
As you might have seen from my epic hair journey, this group of products has served me well. This is a range dedicated to curly hair
I use the Kérastase Bain Oléo-Curl curl definition shampoo, Kérastase Oléo-Curl Intense (a hair mask) and Kérastase Oléo-Curl curl definition cream. Products in a range are designed to work best when used together, no matter the brand. It’s a chemistry thing. This is certainly the case here and they work incredibly well.
The first thing I noticed about this was that it was see through with an orange tint. Rather than feeling soapy in the hands, it feels like an oily gel, so from the first touch you know that this will not dry out the hair. It smells soapy – a nice clean smell. It lathers up well, especially on the second shampoo (I always do two). It leaves my hair clean, fairly smooth and curly – some shampoos weigh down the hair and kill the curls. This one gets to work in defining my curls from the start.
This is the mask which I use as a conditioner. This is an opaque orange coloured rich-cream conditioner which also feels oily to touch. It contains the moisturisers I need! I towel dry my hair and apply this – I start in the middle, pay attention to the ends then wipe any leftover conditioner on the hair on the scalp. I know that some conditioners can irritate the scalp so I don’t use it on the scalp. I leave it for at least five minutes then rinse out. My hair is left feeling silky smooth but not weighed down. At this point, my curls are left well defined and nourished.
Oléo-Curl curl definition cream
After towel drying my hair, I apply this curl defining cream in the same was as I apply the mask. I then comb it through, scrunch up my hair, turn my head upside down and give a good shake from the roots! I like to leave my hair to dry naturally. This cream leaves my curls defined and soft and gently holds them in place.
Before my hair is completely dry I always run a couple of pumps of L’Oréal Elvive Extraordinary Oil through my hair to lock in moisture. They go together well, probably because Kérastase is a L’Oréal brand.
This is a great regime for my curls and although I’m now trying Aveda, I would not hesitate to return to this – it does the job of defining and protecting my curls well. It also gives me the type of curl I want – not too tight and not too limp. If you want it a little cheaper than in the salons, try lookfantastic.com – that’s where I shop!