2019 Favourites | The Haircare

Having started my Curly Girl Method journey — for the second time — at the tail end of 2018, I was always planning on sharing my favourite product discoveries at the end of 2019. I had done so much research, so much experimentation and had definitely found some products that really did work. I even had fairly extensive notes saved on my phone. However, I then realized there were almost too many products. Also, the DevaCurl drama then unfolded and I was torn whether or not to still include my favourite products from the line when others were experiencing horrific results. Regardless, here I am sharing my favourites. For reference I have long high porosity hair thats pattern most closely resembles a 2c. My mixture of curls and waves are fine in texture but I have high density hair, overall. Oh, and I live in a humid east coast environment and my hair tends to just eat product and tangle up like nothing in this world.

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As I Am Coconut Cowash ($11.99 CDN): I’m just not a traditional co-wash or conditioner washing kind of girl but I do enjoy using this product in between shampoos. I swear this is a bit more cleansing than a traditional conditioner and doesn’t piss off my scalp. It has amazing slip and leaves my hair smooth and shiny. Best of all is that I don’t have to use a separate product to condition. It has a weird thick oatmeal-y consistency and my only complaint is that I go through the tub rather quickly. This is why I don’t have one to include in the picture. I have a new one on the way, though…

Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Conditioner ($13.49 CDN): As someone who finds that their hair clumps and spirals the most nicely after using a deep conditioner, I’m used to often using masques and deep conditioners in the standard conditioner stage. However, this old school Shea Moisture offering gets me the curl clumps, moisture and control without requiring me to use a deep conditioner. It’s a medium weight conditioner that my fine hair eats up with enough slip to cut through tangles — but not the most slip in the world — and leaves my waves and curls moisturized for days. I like the mixture of conditioning agents, plant oils, shea butters and hydrolyzed protein the product contains.

Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Protein Power Treatment ($15.49 CDN): I really found myself enjoying this easily accessible deep conditioner, but it is not a protein treatment by any stretch of the imagination. Real protein doesn’t make an appearance until the end of the ingredient list in the form of a protein-water-soluble-silicone polymer and hydrolyzed keratin. This is the thickest deep conditioner I’ve ever tried but it doesn’t weigh down my curls and waves. It uses hydrogenated castor oil, shea butter, honey, yogurt powder, coconut oil, baobab seed oil and mafura oil to moisturize the hair. Due to the thick texture, it doesn’t have the most slip but still works to detangle my tangly hair.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask ($46 CDN): I absolutely adore this deep conditioner. It’s pricy but extremely concentrated. It both offers amazing slip and a balanced moisture and protein. With just a minimal amount of product used, the fatty alcohols and plant oils melt tangles and leave my hair smooth and hydrated. The hefty dose of biotin and hydrolyzed keratin leave my hair full of bounce and leaves my curls and waves nicely clumped together. It’s definitely lightweight but works wonders, even on thirsty strands.

DevaCurl Deep Sea Repair Seaweed Strengthening Hair Mask ($49 CDN): Another mask that I adore using both as a deep conditioner left in the hair for a notable amount of time or in the place of normal conditioner is this one. Despite being brought out by DevaCurl, it’s not actually entirely water soluble, with sunflower seed wax in the ingredients and potentially enough coconut oil to require a sulfate-free shampoo for removal; this is okay with me because my scalp and I are on board with regular use of gentle shampoo. It has amazing slip, making detangling a breeze — even in knotty hair — and adds a great balance of moisture and protein without being heavy. It leaves my hair hydrated, smooth and lends a bit of control and help with clumping my waves and curls. It uses loads of coconut oil, your traditional slip agents, hydrolyzed proteins in good concentrations and amino acids.

Curl Junkie Repair Me Reconstructive Hair Treatment ($36 CDN): This was one of those products I discovered and instantly fell in love; my thoughts haven’t changed. It’s a product that’s lightweight and incredibly nourishing and might have the most slip I’ve ever experienced in a product. The miraculous part is that it’s incredibly moisturizing without weighing the hair down and contains hydrolyzed keratin protein as the fourth ingredient, along with hydrolyzed yeast and amino acids further down the list. As a result, I find using this has added so much elasticity and bounce to my hair and has made a significant difference in getting my ends to curl nicely again. Whenever my hair is limp and lifeless, I reach for this product and it always improves matters. It helps the hair to spiral and clump nicely, without requiring a separate hydrating treatment. It contains your usual slip agents, the hydrolyzed proteins and a plant oil or two.

DevaCurl Leave In Decadence Ultra Moisturizing Leave In Conditioner ($36 CDN): As someone who tends to use fairly intense conditioners in the shower and doesn’t rinse it all out, I’m not into heavier leave ins. This one smells heavenly (like a musky natural coconut) and adds a nice dose of hydrolyzed protein and lightweight moisture. It’s on the lighter end of things, however. It helps my hair clump nicely without added weight. It features coconut oil, hydrolyzed quinoa, argan oil, aloe and a few other oils. It’s kind of a small container, however, and I have gone through it fairly quickly.

DevaCurl B’ Leave In Miracle Curl Plumper ($27 CDN): This is actually a product that I have a deep love for that started way before 2019. However, it was a contributing factor on most of my good hair days so I couldn’t write this post without  including it. It’s my favourite curl enhancer. I use it after a curl cream and before gel to help my fragile curls clump together and stay clumped and add some bounce. It contains an emollient, a whole lot of hydrolyzed protein and some botanical extracts. It really helps my curls and waves to have bounce that lasts.

DevaCurl Styling Cream Touchable Curl Definer and DevaCurl Supercream Coconut Curl Styler ($38 CDN): I couldn’t decide between these two Devacurl curl creams that I discovered in 2019, mainly because they are so incredibly similar. They both really help to clump and define curls while adding moisture to the hair and a substantial light hold on their own. Styling Cream lends a little bit more hold and might be slightly lighter and Supercream might give me slightly clumpier curls with the coconut oil it contains. It works for me year round and while I can use the creams on their own, I get the best results paired with a gel on top. They both lend the hair control, definition and smoothness.

DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel ($32/$60 CDN): Throughout 2019, I was using and loving this medium-firm hold gel. Among the first few ingredients are glycerin and hydrolyzed proteins, both of which are polarizing ingredients. I find that the glycerin and hydrolyzed proteins lend some curl enhancement and bounce to my hair. My favourite thing about this gel is that it’s lightweight enough to dry quickly while adding enough hold to give me multi day hair — I have hair that soaks up everything and many products leave it without hold. I’ve discovered that I’m a curl cream kind of girl and this pairs really well with them. It also leaves me with some volume. I will note, however, that it works best for me in spring, summer, fall and early winter. Note: I actually did better with the Ouidad Vitalcurl Tress Effects last winter. However, I haven’t tried the newer formula so I didn’t want to include it. I think I kind of just did though…

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

Curly Girl Method Update | 9 Months

I’ve been following the Curly Girl Method for a solid nine months now and while the journey has definitely had its ups and downs and I’ve had my good days and bad days, I’ve gotten to a place where I can really enjoy experimenting with hair products and learning about them without it feeling like it’s taken over my life. I did cut five inches off my hair, which has definitely helped and relayered my hair. In all my trials with my hair, these are my favourite products at this point in my journey. As a frame of reference my hair is fine, I have high density hair, high porosity and hair that falls into mainly a 2c kind of pattern with the right kind of products. For reasons I don’t entirely understand, my hair always looks straighter in pictures…

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As I Am Coconut Cowash ($11.99 CDN | Sally’s Beauty Supply): I’ve discussed this cleansing conditioner before in a fairly recent post, so I’ll do my best to keep this brief. As someone who has fine hair (but loads of it) and a scalp that can get easily pissed off, cowashing has not been for me for the most part. However, I really like this one. It’s slightly more cleansing than the traditional cleansing conditioner and has out of this world slip. I like using it in between washes with a sulfate-free cleanser, especially in the cooler seasons. It’s also nourishing enough that I can use it as my one product to cleanse and condition when I’m feeling lazy.

Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Conditioner ($11.96 CDN | Walmart): Shea Moisture conditioners, shampoos and masks have been a favourite of mine for a long time but this easily accessible conditioner was an impulse purchase that I don’t regret in the slightest. It won’t be for everyone because it has a bit of weight – which is why I find it curl clumping – and doesn’t have the most slip that I’ve ever experiences. However, I like how concentrated it is, how much moisture it brings to my thirsty hair and the juicy clumps it helps bring to life without weighing my fine waves and curls down. It uses shea butter, argan oil, coconut oil and a touch of hydrolyzed silk protein.

Curl Junkie Repair Me Reconstructive Hair Treatment ($34 CDN | honeyfig.com): This is a deep conditioner that is both protein rich and deeply nourishing. It’s not easy to get a hold of in Canada but it has been worth the hassle in my opinion. I’ve been using it since January on a regular basis and I love how nourishing (and detangling) it is, while containing hydrolyzed keratin protein as the fourth ingredient. My hair was never in dire health or anything but it responds well to protein, being fine and porous. I don’t notice a sudden huge increase in elasticity and bounce but it’s always smooth, shiny and forms nicely clumped up curls after I’ve used it. I think it would appeal to many, especially because it’s a treatment that works but doesn’t even contain shea butter, coconut oil or any of those ingredients that are too heavy for some.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask ($47 CDN | Sephora): Honestly, I’ve only had this hyped-up deep conditioner for about a month but it’s given me such happy hair that I couldn’t compile this post without including. It has a bunch of fatty alcohols, which lend slip, panthenol, biotin, argan and avocado oils, aloe and some hydrolyzed keratin protein. The texture of it is light and fluffy whilst deeply hydrating my curls and helping them clump together. It’s a nice balance of protein and moisture, as everyone seems to say and the slip was really nice. It’s a lighter weight deep conditioner that doesn’t sacrifice on the nourishment it lends.

Devacurl Leave-In Decadence ($36 CDN | Chatters and select Sephoras): As someone who has finer and wavier strands and who tends to use heavier conditioners – without rinsing them completely out – I often find leave ins heavy and dismiss them as an overpriced, needless step. However, I like this newer product from Devacurl. It’s much lighter weight than the rest of the Decadence line and features coconut oil, pequi fruit oil, hydrolyzed quinoa protein, argan oil, avocado oil and aloe in the top of the ingredient list. It smells amazing, even from someone who typically does not enjoy the smell of coconuts; it’s a musky coconut and baby powder kind of scent. It helps my hair remained clumped, smooth and moisturized without compromising volume and bounce.

Devacurl B’Leave In Miracle Curl Plumper ($26.55 CDN | Chatters and select Sephoras): When I want to spend a bit of extra time and effort on my hair and to get my best curls and waves, I apply this protein-rich gelee before my gel. It relies on glycerin, wheat amino acids and a couple of different kinds of hydrolyzed protein to enhance curls. It really helps my fragile curls to clump together and adds additional bounce.

Devacurl Supercream Coconut Curl Styler ($38 CDN | Chatters and select Sephoras): This hot and humid summer has helped me rediscover my love of curl cream, with a little help from a Sephora 100 point perk. This curl cream is definitely intended for tighter and drier textures than mine. However, I love the curl clumping and control it provides without weighing down my hair. I find I can actually get away with using it as a standalone product but I get my best results pairing it with a gel. It provides light hold on its own and adds the right touch of moisture to my waves and curls. It’s glycerin heavy and also has coconut oil and jojoba protein in it.

Devacurl Ultra Defining Gel ($32 CDN | Chatters and select Sephoras): Writing this post has made me realize how much I’ve been enjoying Devacurl products this summer. I’ve been consistently pairing this gel with a curl cream either on wet or damp hair and I don’t really have any complaints. It’s a gel that’s loaded with hydrolyzed proteins, which are known to be curl enhancing, lending structure to the hair and protective in the sense that they work to block out humidity. It’s glycerin rich — my hair likes glycerin at all dew points — and offers medium-firm hold without much crunch, while being lightweight. It’s also a godsend that this gel doesn’t leave my hair wet for hours like some do.

AG Re:coil Curl Activator ($22/$38 CDN | Chatters and select salons): This cream-gel of sorts was something I had added to my collection when I started the Curly Girl Method for the first time, but it wasn’t until restarting the journey last December that I really began to enjoy the product. In fact, this is even a repurchase. It sits somewhere between a traditional cream and a gel, with more hold than a cream whilst still lending enhancement. This is a product that I find can help encourage the hair to spiral when paired with a harder hold product on day one but really shines as a product used to refresh my curls and waves combined with water. Also, it performs well for me in all dew points.

Ouidad Vitalcurl Tress Effects Styling Gel ($34.28 CDN | ulta.com): Within the first week or two of restarting the Curly Girl Method, I was lucky enough to find a litre size of the old bottle — formula is hardly any different ingredient wise — for maybe twenty dollars upon seeing it didn’t have silicones or drying alcohols in it. While it did not perform the greatest in the super humid weather this summer, I have gone back to this gel since the weather has began to simmer down and have rekindled my love of it. It’s a lightweight gel with medium hold — but can be built with a second application – that has nice slip, provides the hair with shine and moisture. I enjoy it in mild to subzero temperatures. It contains glycerin, humidity-resistant polymers, film-forming humectants and a modified form of shea butter.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

More Hair Empties

I’ve been following the Curly Girl Method for over six months now and while I certainly still have days when my hair does not cooperate, I think everything is falling into place. I even mustered up the courage to cut 5 inches off my hair and add lots of layers. I do admit, I’m getting much more bounce in my waves and curls now. I’ve certainly made dents in a lot of hair products – but I still bought more, don’t worry – and even finished some of them. Here’s the lowdown:

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As I Am Coconut Cowash ($11.99/454g): As someone with a tumultuous relationship with cleansing conditioners and co-washes, my love for this As I Am offering is surprising. It’s silicone and sulfate free with a kind of runny but thick consistency that emulsifies and suds ever so slightly when worked into the scalp. I find it to be slightly more cleansing than typical cleansing conditioners with an excellent amount of slip and moisture. I don’t find myself having to reach for a separate conditioner when I use this co-wash and I don’t find that my roots are flat or my scalp is irritated like I do with other products of this category. I was actually legitimately sad when I finished the tub of the cleanser and have repurchased a new one since.

Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Conditioner ($13.99/305 mL): I really enjoyed using this incredibly thick conditioner because it was fairly inexpensive, really helped to clump my curls and offered sufficient slip for detangling my knot-prone tresses. While the texture itself was thick, I think this is on the lighter end of the spectrum for Shea Moisture in the sense that they add less weight then some other products by the brand. When I’m around a store that actually has this conditioner in stock, I will pick it up again. For those curious, it contains slip agents, fatty alcohols, shea butter, glycerin, honey, yogurt and a few notable plant oils for the most part. It contains a very minimal amount of protein.

AG Re:Coil Curl Activator ($38/355 mL): I can confirm that this curl cream lasts far beyond its expected shelf life. I picked it up a couple of years ago and wasn’t initially overly impressed with this lightweight cream styler. When used on its own and on soaking wet hair, I didn’t find it did much but now when used on my damp hair, underneath a styler with more hold, I like the boost that it gives my finer curls and waves. It contains a film forming polymer, fatty alcohols, a starch to add grit, glycerin and a small curl-enhancing magnesium sulfate. It has a light hold on its own and lends great bounce to the hair and works quite well as a refreshing product. I repurchased on Prime Day happily for quite a discount.

Jessicurl Rockin’ Ringlets Styling Potion ($24/237 mL): Honestly, I’m on the fence whether to repurchase this thin flaxseed based curl enhancer. I used the brown liquid as intended onto soaking wet hair without noticing much of a difference – and creating a bit of a mess because of how liquid-y the product is. It wasn’t until I tried applying the product into my damp hair that it went farther and helped to tighten up droopier curls. It has virtually no hold in my experience, especially when used as directed. My one comment about this product is that it does not help to clump curls in the slightest; instead, it creates defined more separated curls with flaxeed, glycerin, aloe, jojoba oil and magnesium sulfate.

Curls Creme Brule Whipped Curl Cream ($14.99/ 240 mL): At first, I found myself quite disappointed with this product because I bought it thinking it was primarily a styler only to discover that on my hair, it performed more like a leave in or moisturizer. It doesn’t offer any hold – nor does it promise to – and while it decreases frizz, smooths the strands and adds hydration, it doesn’t do too much to help with curl formation and definition. I did quite enjoy reaching for this birthday cake scented medium-weight leave in once I stopped trying to use it as a styler. It contains aloe, glycerin, a few oils and shea butter.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.