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.

The Edit | Curly Girl Method Gels

Now that I’ve gotten back into following The Curly Girl Method with renewed vigour, I’m really noticing that I’m going through a good amount of the products I’ve been hoarding. My bag of empty products has rapidly been filling with hair products and as a true product junkie, I have lots of thoughts to share on them. Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gels that I have finished up. This is going to seem like a lot of product but in all honesty, my hair eats up gel and I need lots of it to have consistently defined hair. Otherwise, my hair willjust wilt, tangle and frizz. It’s worth noting that I have a ton of fine long hair, a mix of waves and some curls in terms of texture and hair that is quite porous.

DevaCurl Arc AnGel ($60 CDN/ 946 mLs)

This gel is my absolute favourite in the humid summer because my hair frizzes out and wilts overnight and throughout the day the least with this gel. It provides great almost firm hold and isn’t particularly drying, crunchy or heavy for that level of hold but doesn’t give my curls the enhancing boost that Ultra Defining Gel does, especially in the cooler months when my curls need more encouragement. It’s a gel heavy in glycerin but it has nowhere near the amount of protein that the other gels in the line have, so it could be very good for hair that doesn’t love protein as much as mine does. I also frustratingly find that by the time I get towards the end of these large bottles, the texture of the gel starts to change and doesn’t seem to work quite so well. As it gets closer to the summer, I want to experiment with this one again.

DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel ($30 CDN/ 355 mLs)

Probably because my hair absorbs everything and seems to resist forming a protective cast like nothing else, I find that I need a good amount of this gel but I also find that my waves and curls are a bit bouncier and more spirally with this gel, especially in the cooler months when my curls tend to lie flat and wilt. It’s a touch more than medium hold and can enhance and tighten up my curls, without being drying or weighing my hair down. I wish I didn’t have to use quite so much and that it gave slightly more hold on my temperamental hair that resists looking decent by the next day. It has loads of protein which my fine porous hair loves and also is glycerin heavy. It’s my favourite of the gels in the cooler months, I reckon.

Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel ($34.76 CDN/ 250 mLs)

I think this was actually the product that started my love of traditional gels, back when I tried it years ago. I found it for a great price at Winners and tried it again and remember why I liked it. My gripe with this product is that it’s expensive at full retail price, especially because the hold is on the lower-end of medium and in order to get good results, I have to use so much of this gel. It’s really hydrating and helps my curls to clump nicely but doesn’t quite have the structure and enhancement of the Deva gels. I will note that I don’t experience much frizz with this one and that I’ve had good hair days with it. This gel might be better for those who prefer a lighter hold or with a tighter curl pattern. I do love the fresh and clean scent. Glycerin is towards the bottom of the ingredient list with this one and protein appears near there as well.

Shea Moisture Mongogo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-Seal Styling Gel ($14.99 CDN/ 236 mLs)

I didn’t love this gel but that was because of first time buyer error mainly. I bought the gel along with the other products in the high porosity line that I adore because I felt some sort of need to complete the collection. It didn’t work for me as a harder hold gel because it has a soft hold, as it’s marketed to. It’s smoothing and moisturizing but lacks the hard hold that I need. I do think those with tighter curls would like this if they want moisture and softer hair. I didn’t mind it as a refresher on damp hair. It has glycerin, shea butter, aloe and a variety of oils.

Shea Moisture Raw Shea & Cupacu Frizz Defense Styling Gel-Cream ($13.99 CDN/ 236 mLs)

I bought this cream gel because it was designed for a wavier texture and remembered liking cream gel products in the past, but it wasn’t right for me either as a main styler. I think it might work for those with coarser hair textures but not for my finer hair as a holding product. It didn’t weigh my hair down and it did add moisture but I didn’t find that it had much for hold or curl clumping ability. I did find it worked quite well on damp hair to refresh because it added that moisture and enough hold to bring curls back to life.

Equate Hard Hold Styling Gel ($2.27 CDN/ 350 mLs)

I purchased this affordable gel after seeing that its ingredients were similar to the cheapie gels available in the United States that those who follow the Curly Girl Method seem to adore such as the LA Looks offerings. The hold was moderate and it was somewhat curl clumping but I wasn’t blown away by this one. I did get fairly good results using this gel in combination with another cream or enhancing product but I think that the Sport Gel variation was my favourite out of the three varieties I tried. It’s glycerin free and contains a small amount of protein.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

 

Curly Girl Method Thoughts & Current Favourites

Long time no post, eh? Truth be told, I’ve been busy planning and writing out my 2018 favourites post – so stay tuned for that – and I’ve been stressed and limited by the few daylight hours we have for taking pictures. Something I have been doing the last month or so is giving myself back into the curly girl method. Regardless, I never use sulphates and rarely heat style my hair (like a few times a year) but I can be guilty and use silicones on occasion and have been wearing my hair up in a bun often in recent months, giving up on my hair entirely. However, in the last month I’ve been strictly following my semi-modified routine.

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Frustratingly, my hair photographs straighter and flatter than it looks in real life but I will include a picture here or two. Note: I know that its length disguises the texture somewhat. The first picture is first day hair and the second is second or third day. I have the kind of hair where the individual strands are quite fine (but not baby fine) and despite being very healthy, it tangles like nothing else in this world and refuses to hold any sort of style other than the messy bun. Did I mention that I have an obscene amount of hair? I have hair that sits between the wavy side of things with some looser spirals and ringlets thrown in. I’m one of those people that have a drier underlayer of hair that is quite curly and voluminous and a flatter and straighter upper layer of hair. Also, I never know how my hair is going to look – it has a mind of its own. My hair responds well to protein and needs moisture underneath but has a tendency to get weighed down and look straight on the crown and top layer of my hair. I’m a sulfate-free shampoo kind of girl and really struggle with my curls falling flat and losing all definition in weather and after being slept on. My hair requires a lot of product to look good and takes some effort and prayers to look its best. Curl pattern wise, I seem to have the most 2c hair, with some 3a underneath and some 2b in the lazier upper sections in my hair. Before this turns into an essay, I’ll get to the product favourites:

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Deva Curl B’Leave-In ($27 CDN)

This is one of those extra products that when added to my routine make the greatest difference. It adds volume and bounce to  my curls that tend to lack life. It’s not moisturizing so the name is kind of confusing but it’s a lightweight gel textured product that adds a dose of protein to my hair, helping it create juicier spirals and curls when paired with a heavy hold gel. It’s a great product for those with finer hair that loves protein and that want to boost their curls. It’s one that helps me unify my different curl patterns.

DevaCurl One Condition Delight Weightless Waves ($30/$60 CDN)

Deva Curl’s products are hit or miss with me on an individual basis, but my hair loves protein so as a whole, my hair enjoys a variety of their products. This is a protein heavy conditioner that offers enough slip to help with the detangling process and enough hydration to help my looser curls clump their heart out. It’s also light enough that I can use it as a leave-in as well throughout my hair, without fear of weighing down even my more lazy waves and loose spirals towards the top of my hair. As with the previous product, it’s glycerin and protein heavy so your mileage may vary in terms of your hair’s response to those polarizing ingredients. I liked the conditioner so much that I bought the larger size which thankfully is only twice the price for 3x the amount of product. This is my ‘squish to condish’ conditioner that i squish into my hair with water to create that kind of wet seaweed texture that minimizes frizz and really gets the hair to clump together in curls nicely.

Curls Creme Brûlée Whipped Curl Cream ($10-15 CDN)

Cream products are a bit of a gamble for my hair but are necessary if I want to get my hair to the third or fourth day mark without having to restyle from scratch. This is an option that I have to use a light hand with when using it as a leave in because the shea butter can sometimes weigh down my hair if I use it before my stylers on soaking wet gel. However, I really like it mixed with water as a refresher or used along with a hold product to refresh damp curls. It helps my hair form those curl clumps that it needs to look polished and doesn’t weigh down my hair in the slightest used this way. However, it has no hold so I have to cocktail it. The best part is that I’ve been able to buy it at Sally’s Beauty Supply on the east coast in Canada, where it’s really difficult to find curly-girl approved products in physical stores.

Deva Curl Ultra Defining Gel ($30 CDN)

I fell in love with this gel after I had my first DevaCut because it actually gave my hair hold that didn’t weigh it down and it enhanced and unified my varying curl patterns. It’s definitely protein heavy and doesn’t always play well with every other product I’ve used but it gives me more consistently good hair days than most and I need a gel to have hair that doesn’t droop by the time its dry. I go back and forth between this gel and the Arc AnGel, which has even more hold and less protein. It’s glycerin and protein heavy but I love it on my fine hair for combatting frizz and not really giving much of a cast. My annoyance is that I go through it rather quickly and that I can’t invest in the litre sizes without the texture of the gel changing by the time I finish those larger bottles. It’s good at adding volume and lift while defining curls.

Dippity Do Girls With Curls Defrizz Gelee ($7-8 CDN)

I never expected to like a product made by Dippity-Do but I couldn’t be happier to like such an affordable and easily available hold product that’s Curly Girl Method friendly in Canada – I’m frustrated to no end how difficult it is to come across affordable options in stores here. It’s definitely smoothing and helps to clump curls with a light to moderate hold but it’s not enough for me to use on its own on wet hair  . However,  I adore how it’s lightweight and has that curl clumping ability. I prefer to use it when I refresh my hair, as it helps bring the spring back to my curls and waves without adding any weight or anything. It has a nice subtle clean scent and contains a little bit of panthenol, aloe and protein. Unlike most of the products I’ve talked about, it’s also glycerin free.

Shea Moisture Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-Seal Mask ($18.50 CDN)

Truth be told, I haven’t used this mask in a while. I have loved incorporating conditioners and masks from Shea Moisture’s line in my routine for that boost of moisture, slip and reconditioning that my somewhat porous hair needs. I threw out the bottle of the one that I used the most recently and grabbed this one because it has been my favourite long term. I can’t use it like I use lighter conditioners where I scrunch and leave them in my hair but it helps form juicy curls on the lengths of my hair and keeps things manageable. Unfortunately, I have to order most Shea Moisture products online but they are great if your hair doesn’t mind shea butter and cocoa butter. I just ordered this one again and am excited to have this mask back in my life. It’s butter-heavy but doesn’t seem to weigh down my hair when rinsed out and also has some nice oils in it and a small to moderate amount of protein that my finer hair agrees with.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.