Five Commandments for Healthy Curls

Five Commandments for Healthy Curls

I’ve done my own hair for about 25 of my years on this Earth and I’ve got epic tales of trauma suffered by my hair: knots, awkward layers, bangs, heat, chemicals, and that one time I thought it would be great to let my friend in beauty school give me peek-a-boo highlights to be edgy; my hair fell out. I’ve earned these pearls of wisdom through trial & error, burns, sweat and tears. But my hair and I are finally buddies, and have been for the past eight years and these are most valuable things I’ve learned along the way.

The Five Curly Hair Commandments

1. Get your hair cut by a stylist that specializes in curly hair

If you follow one thing on this list, please, DO THIS!  Getting your curls properly shaped will make styling so much easier, minimizing the amount of time you need to spend on your hair.

Ask questions about their process before they take the shears to your hair. If a stylist wants to cut your hair while it’s wet, or god forbid, straighten it and then cut it, save your money and walk out of that salon; they don’t know what they’re doing.

A curly stylist who is good at their craft will know how to layer your hair, cutting each single curl while it is dry to lay nicely while also factoring in shrinkage. Yes, you’ll have to pay upwards of $100-$150, but it is so worth it.

Finding a good curly hair stylist means researching and asking around.  My stylist is certified in the Deva Cut technique, and you can find a certified stylist in your area. If you think you’ve found The One, look for before and after pictures of their clients. A reputable stylist should have an online portfolio their past work or post on social media. See someone in your coffee shop with great curls? Ask her where she gets her hair done! It’s not weird.

2. Comb/detangle only while in the shower

  • Hair should be soaking wet and have conditioner applied to minimize breakage.
  • NEVER attempt to comb or detangle outside of the shower.
  • Always use a wide-tooth comb or pick, never a brush.
  • Set your part while detangling in the shower to minimize any fiddling you have to do to style, once outside of the shower.
  • Once out of the shower, immediately apply styling products to soaking wet hair.
  • Now, hands off until it’s dry. This is the secret to minimizing frizz and getting hair to air dry in perfect corkscrew coils.

3. Do not use silicones

If you’ve read my post about 10 ingredients to avoid, you know how gross silicones are, but it’s one of the most tempting rules to break. Yes, products with silicone initially feel great since your comb whisks through the hair, but for the next three days, my curls are limp and weighed down. Hair gets dry because strands are coated with the plastic-derived ingredient, preventing moisture from getting in. I then have to use a clarifying shampoo, which dries out my strands, creating a vicious cycle.

If you need lots of slip for detangling, try these go-to products: Innnersense Botanicals Cream Conditioner or Rare El’ements Conditioner

4. Use shampoo/clarify periodically (with sulfate-free, natural, clean and gentle products, of course)

You are probably inundated with bloggers/websites preaching the gospel of shirking shampoo for the rest of time. I tried it, but guys…there is such a thing as too much shea butter. I know, I know: blasphemy. Yes, I still co-wash, but no longer swear off shampoo.

Even natural products can build up, especially when using super moisturizing products with rich butters and oils usually incorporated into formulas for curly hair. When my hair is not responding to anything, I know it’s because it needs a deep cleaning. I shampoo then spray my ACV solution from roots to ends, let it sit for about 3-5 minutes, then rinse out. While there are great D.I.Y. shampoos out there, just be careful using these if you have colored hair as ingredients like baking soda can dull color.

5. Color on curls = zero heat

I made the decision to get highlights at my wonderful organic salon, The Local, in North Hollywood. They use an organic color system (in this case, organic meaning not as harsh as traditional formulas and ammonia-free) which swayed me to switch things up. When I had virgin hair, I could get away with using a curling iron to perk up lazy curls around my face sometimes 2-3 times per week and even straighten my hair about once or twice a month.  But with this decision, I knew I would have to stop using any heat.  I’m so happy with my color and with weekly deep conditioning, my curls remain soft and healthy. I know this would not be the case if I were up to my old habits. Again, the technique for applying color to curly hair is completely different from straight, so make sure to find a colorist that has experience working with curls.

Do you have a commandment to add to the list? Leave a comment; I love learning tips from other curlies!

 

Apple Cider Vinegar 101: Uses for Beauty and Wellness

Apple Cider Vinegar 101: Uses for Beauty and Wellness

apple cider vinegar uses for beauty ans wellness, immunity boost

Apple cider vinegar is a beauty and health wonder juice that I believe to be straight from Mother Earth’s bosom. Thanks, girl.  Its benefits have been touted by both the naturopath community and supermodels.  I will try anything in the middle of that Venn diagram (if you haven’t read Miranda Kerr’s Top Shelf, enhance your quality of life and do it now!).

When I get in the habit of drinking ACV for an energy boost (described, below), I swear my skin looks brighter and I feel less congested when I wake up. It has worked wonders for my hair. It detoxifies, closes the cuticle, which softens and adds shine. Raw, fermented ACV (a.k.a with the mother, like Braggs) is simply apple juice sugar that has tuned into vinegar. It is rich in enzymes, minerals, specifically potassium, which alkalizes, and balances and prevents inflammation in many parts of the body. ACV acts as an antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, which is why it’s great for everything from boosting immunity to curing candida.

Skin

The acidity of apple cider vinegar actually balances your skin and hair’s natural pH levels.

D.I.Y. toner: use this ratio to start – 1 part ACV to 4 parts water. Those with sensitive skin will stick to this ratio. If you want to power up, use a 1:3 ratio. Acne, skin irritation are treated with this solution and has been said to fade acne scars.

Hair

I use this D.I.Y. to balance my scalp, remove product build-up and increase shine:

Mix 1 part ACV with 2-3 parts water in a spray bottle. After shampooing or co-washing, apply to wet hair and let it sit for 3-5 minutes then rinse out. I prefer not to use conditioner on the days I use this ACV rinse since I’m trying to let my hair “breathe’ for a day or so. It does smell, but it will fade away. Hair will feel bouncy and light, once dry.

Wellness

Morning energy boost: Dilute a tablespoon of ACV with 8 oz of water and drink on an empty stomach.

Immunity boost:  Add a tablespoon of ACV to a cup of hot water with lemon and honey.

Coconut Oil Solves Everything

Coconut Oil Solves Everything

Curly hair, 3b, 3c, biracial, multiracial, curly, coconut oil, DIY, Jessicurl

My hair has been wrecked the last week or so.

On many every weekday morning, at 7:30 am, I have the mind of a root canal patient awakening from anesthesia and see no value in doing my hair so I throw it up in a bun. At 10:30 am, when I get a good look at myself in bathroom mirror at the office, I remember why doing my hair is good for my emotional well being and my career.

Then at 7:30 am the next day, I’ve forgotten everything I learned in the bathroom mirror the previous day and throw that mess in a bun.  Then I went to the beach all day and thought it would be cool to just let my hair go, like an exotic mermaid, only to return home with a tangled mess.

So anyway, the point of this post is to show off the miracle results of nature’s beauty cream that is available to humans via my hair. Humor me.

The cure for my once beach-attacked/neglected strands? An overnight treatment with a batch of my DIY deep conditioner, this time, with extra coconut oil. There’s no situation that a smidgen of coconut oil can’t solve or at least improve.

 

coconut oil

Review: The Miraculous Rare El’ements Essential Conditioner

Review: The Miraculous Rare El’ements Essential Conditioner

All my fellow curlies understand the miraculous nature of finding a clean, effective product that helps you tame your curls, resulting in the oft-sought after Good Curl Day (GCD). When experiencing a GCD, It almost makes one believe that there is a god solely dedicated to doling out justice by way of human hair and that you need to sacrifice a small rodent, or something, to keep the good fortune coming. OOH-kay, off  topic.

Let me introduce you to Rare Elements Essential Conditioner. It will give you a GCD. Over and over again. It is, by far, one of the thickest, most luxurious, rich and moisturizing producst I’ve found. My curls feel completely hydrated after letting it soak for about 5 minutes in the shower. Last night, I left it in for two hours and the only way to put it is that my curls emerged hydrated to the 6th power. Oh, and it has SLIP. You’ll be able to detangle in half the time, compared to whatever conditioner you are using now.  Essential oils give it a lovely, unique scent, yet does not overwhelm.

If you’ve clicked the link to the Rare Elements site, you’re probably suffering from sticker shock and cursing my name whilst shaking your fist to the heavens. Okay – this conditioner has a ton of hype, and I had read nothing but praise about it, especially from women with thick, curly hair like mine. I had wanted to try it for months, but never felt comfortable with shelling out $44 on conditioner. I am planning my wedding and every penny I spend elsewhere, I self-guilt into feeling like I should have saved it for the wedding budget. Me in line paying for anything: “That’s the cost of my Aunt Dottie’s dinner, “This is the cost of a portion of a centerpiece purchased on Etsy”. So, yeah, I get that I’m pushing some expensive-ass hair goop.

However, in my opinion, the conditioner is completely worth the money. I finally caved and purchased it at The Detox Market, (along with my new FAVORITE summer lip color by Ilia – review to come!) but it is available on plenty of green beauty sites.

I received a few compliments on my curls last week, which is when I started using the stuff. No co-inky-dink there! Oh yeah, and I noticed that I don’t need to use as much styling product because there’s not as much frizz to control.  The consistency is also very thick and concentrated and I only use about a quarter sized dollup, which is nothing compared to the amount I have to use for most products (think: a laundry load’s worth of quarters – or 1/4 of the cost of Crazy Uncle Pete’s Jack and Coke he will drink at my wedding that I will pay for).

If you have curls like me, or thick, thirsty hair, I promise this conditioner will do the trick for you. Enjoy!

 

 

May Day Glow’s DIY Natural Conditioner Recipe for Curly Hair

May Day Glow’s DIY Natural Conditioner Recipe for Curly Hair

This amazingly rich deep conditioner has lived on to become a staple in my hair care regimen.  This wonderful formula of hair glop is like a curl whisperer, revitalizing my strands when they look sad and they just can’t even. Before I share my recipe, here are a few tips:

This will not have the same amount of slip as commercial conditioners. This is because this recipe is just oils and butters. Don’t worry: your strands will be much more amenable to your comb after this treatment!

Here’s a secret, my little duckies: beauty and cosmetic companies will add an ingredient, like argan oil, to their products. Yes, that “miracle” condish you just dropped serious funds on does have argan oil in it, but very little; it is probably one of the last items in the list of ingredients. This is because run of the mill ingredients, like glycerin, are cheaper and will be at the top of the list of ingredients, acting as filler. Making your own conditioner (and any DIY products) enables you to eliminate the filler ingredients and use the precious oils and butters more effectively than if they were diluted with other ingredients like many off-the-shelf products. Pay attention curly hair friends: If you have hair like mine (3a-c curls), then you probably feel as though most products do not offer enough moisture – I promise you that this conditioner will deliver!

– This recipe yields 1 treatment for my Diana Ross-esque mane (i.e. I have a shit-ton of hair). So if you aren’t cursed blessed with as many strands as I, you might be able to squeeze 2 treatments out of this.

– This formula has been adapted from various deep conditioner recipes for my hair (3a/b, thick, curly, THIRSTAY).   If your hair is not as coarse, you may want to decrease the amount of shea butter used. Another option is to only apply to the shaft and ends of hair, skipping the scalp. Your hair will probably feel a bit greasy right after you wash this out, but that’s okay. Give your hair a day to soak up the excess conditioner and you will have bouncy, quenched curls/locks/whatever your jazz is.

Now to the good stuff!

Natural Conditioner for Curly Hair

2 tbsp shea butter

1 tbsp coconut oil

1tsp jojoba oil (or another carrier oil like grapeseed, sweet almond, etc.)

1 tsp argan oil

Essential oils (optional – I like to add 2 drops of tea tree, 1-2 drops of rosemary, and 3-4 drops of lavender, but customize to your preference)

PLUMP ingredients

Directions:

1.Combine the shea butter and coconut oil,  leaving out the jojoba, argan, and essential oils, in a heat-safe glass container, like a Pyrex cup, and melt using a double boiler. If you’re an impatient spazz like me, microwave just until everything has melted, about 15 seconds. Careful! – don’t let the mixture boil or get too hot.

2. Remove from heat or microwave. Wait about a couple minutes for the mixture to cool then add the argan, jojoba, and your blend of essential oils (essential oils loose efficacy when heated so always wait for your base formula to cool prior to adding).

3. Place the Pyrex cup in a bowl of ice and wait for it to thicken, about 3-5 minutes. Or, for the aforementioned impatient, spazzy crowd, pop in the freezer for 5 minutes. Once the formula begins to cool and thicken, whip vigorously until fluffy and creamy. Overachievers can whip using a hand mixer for an even fluffier consistency. Dweebs.

4. You’ll want to apply this to wet hair. Shampoo hair, then slather on the conditioner. Seriously. Don’t be skurrd. Let your hair have at that conditioner. I squeeze out excess water and then slather any remaining conditioner on the ends of my hair. **Note to Curly Girl Method followers – I find that the conditioner absorbs better if I “shampoo” with my most cleansing product (currently in love with Jessicurl Cleansing Cream) to cleanse my hair’s palette, starting with a clean slate.

5. Use a gentle hair tie or scrunchie to make a loose top knot. If you have a general hunger for life and love lifting your arms above your head for extended periods of time, you can also wrap hair in a scarf and use a hair dryer to apply low heat, enhancing the conditioning effect.

6. Leave the treatment in for at least 1 hour. Bonus points if you leave in overnight. Oh, and if you do, make sure to use an old t-shirt to cover your pillow because your butter and oil-saturated head will grease everything it comes into contact with. Now come to terms with the fact that you probably will not get any action from the S.O. tonight.

7. Rinse off the conditioner, getting as much out with just water and finger-combing. If you don’t mind your hair feeling a little heavy, then just co-wash. Those with fine hair will definitely want to shampoo. Style hair as usual and marvel at how luscious your locks are. You are now the “after’ picture!

photo 2