I have always had thick, curly hair. Growing up in New York City in the 90s when stick straight hair was en vogue, I always felt like the odd woman out.
Strong anti-curly cues
Many women of the curly persuasion seem to feel societal pressure to straighten their hair or even worse, pull it back in an effort to hide it. It’s as if a message has been communicated that straight hair is preferable. Is curly hair not good enough? I have observed this phenomenon in all types of woman: Caucasian, Afro-Caribbean, Asian, Hispanic…the list goes on. This message is so strong that demand has created not only straightening balms, industrial strength blow dryers and flat irons, but also more permanent solutions, like hair straightening processes – some taking 6-7 hours.
Today, on the precipice of 40
I have learned to appreciate my curly situation. Every day is a little different and even if you have the best products – you’ll always have a day where a little frizz infiltrates the system. That said, there is very little maintenance involved. I never have to blow out my hair; just wash, scrunch and go. Make no mistake, when dealing with thick, curly hair, curating the right product selection is a process and finding a hair care expert that is intimately familiar with cutting curls and how they behave is an imperative. At the end of the day my curls are never a surprise.
Let your hair be
The best way to care for any type of hair is to let it do what it does naturally – if you are forever straightening your hair, it will never look as good straight as it would if you let it do its thing. Commit to who you are naturally and let your hair be. As soon as you start going with the flow of your hair texture, working with it instead of against it, your hair will look superb. Finding the right products is a huge piece of the puzzle, especially as we move into summer.
It’s all about the products
Finding the right products for curls can be akin to a science experiment. You have to be patient and willing to try different combinations of products to see how they work together with your hair. I have tried so many different products in so many different categories. To some extent, I tweak my regimen depending on the weather or season and recently due to new product finds.
I’ve just revamped my regimen and wanted to share.
I typically use Caretrico’s Type H Shampoo. Give your scalp most of the attention in this step. Do let the shampoo run down the length of your hair though and give your scalp a 5 second massage. Twice a week I alternate with Christophe Robin’s Cleansing Mask with Lemon. This line has been around for years. Christophe Robin is a world renowned, Paris based, hair colorist to the stars. His client roster includes Natalie Portman, Catherine Deneuve, Tilda Swinton, Kylie Minogue, Kristin Scott Thomas and my mother. I stumbled upon this particular product last month while in St. Barths. I have not changed any part of my hair regimen in 7 years – so this is a monumental occasion. I leave this in for at least 15 minutes before I get into the shower and use it as a shampoo. Once in the shower, apply a little bit of water and mush it around your scalp and hair. Carry on with your shower routine and then add a little more water to the hair, scrub it around and rinse. This product leaves hair silky and smooth, which any curly cue will tell you, is an oxymoron.
Use a leave-in conditioner or leave your conditioner in
This particular step is one that many hair care professionals will not advise. But if this is wrong, I don’t want to be right. My favorite absolutely can’t live without hair product is Caretrico Privy Treatment Slim Through. If your hair is on the medium to finer side, try Caretrico Treatment Moist Sleek. Ishi introduced this line to me. It is meant to be used as a conditioner or 10-20 minute hair treatment. Since there is not enough moisture for my hair, I leave it in, and once applied, run a Du-Boa Scalp Massager through my hair to distribute the product and rid my scalp of any excess product residue that may have built up.
Start with a quick spritz of Vine’s Care Water. This boosts the efficacy of all the styling products that you use subsequently. It also adds moisture, defrizzes and adds volume to fine hair! If it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for me! Next I apply 3 – 4 pumps of Caretrico After Treatment Enrich Milk. This is a leave in conditioner that is light enough for even fine hair. It contains hyaluronic acid and infuses the extra dose of moisture that dry, curly, bleached hair needs. This can be used as a styling product for men or those with short hair.
Another Christophe Robin must have for thick and/or curly hair is the Intense Regenerating Balm with with Rare Prickly Pear Oil. It’s magic! It is almost the texture of a thick facial cleansing balm with a little more of a pomade feel yet not so vaseliney. It is all natural and is meant to be used as a hair, body, cuticle, feet and lip balm. I use it as a styling and moisturizing product. Take a quarter size dollop (use less if if your hair is medium thick), warm it up between your hands and scrunch it in your hair while standing upright and then repeat with your head flipped. I follow this with a nickel size of Ouidad Climate Control Heat and Humidity Drops. Just scrunch that on right on top.
Believe it or not, this is the paired down version – I’ve cut out a number of steps.
By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter @AlyssaBarrie