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Curly Girl Friendly Ingredient Shopping List*

Curly Girl Friendly Ingredient Shopping List*

 

Print this list use it to take shopping with you, or sort the products you already have.  It’s time to keep only what is good for your curls…

Avoid sulfates in your shampoos. Sulfates are harsh foaming detergents that are found in many commercial shampoos and dish detergents. They can be extremely drying for curly hair, so choose sulfate free shampoos. Sulfates contain “sulfate” somewhere in the ingredient name (usually). Also keep in mind that there are some cleansers that are as harsh as sulfates but are not sulfates. If you decide to use a shampoo, avoiding sulfates is best. Sulfates are also difficult to remove off the scalp, so remember you need to scrub to clean your scalp, but also scrub while rinsing your hair to help remove them fully from the hair. Just rinsing out your shampoo isn’t enough.

Here is a list of sulfates to avoid:

Alkylbenzene sulfonates                                                     Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate

Ammonium laureth sulfate                                                 Ammonium lauryl sulfate

Ammonium Xylenesulfonate                                               Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate

Sodium cocoyl sarcosinate                                                 Sodium laureth sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate                                                         Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate

Sodium myreth sulfate                                                       Sodium Xylenesulfonate

TEA-dodecylbenzenesulfonate                                            Ethyl PEG-15 cocamine sulfate

Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate

Here is a list of gentle cleansers to look for:

Cocamidopropyl betaine                                                     Coco betaine

Cocoamphoacetate                                                            Cocoamphodipropionate

Disodium cocoamphodiacetate                                            Disodium cocoamphodipropionate

Lauroamphoacetate                                                           Sodium cocoyl isethionate

behentrimonium methosulfate                                            disodium lautreth sulfosuccinate

babassuamidopropyl betaine

Avoid silicones, waxes, non-natural oils, or any other non-soluble ingredients in your conditioners and any styling products. This is key to making sure your products do not build up on your hair. Without shampoo, many of the following ingredients will build up in your hair over time. Remember that a silicone is any ingredient that ends with the suffixes -one, -conol, or -xane. Waxes are easily identified because they have “wax” in the ingredient name (usually).  They act as a barrier to water, or a repellent of sorts.  Water is our moisture, so if your hair is feeling dry then likely water is having a hard time getting into the hair and it could be due to some of these ingredients in your haircare product.

Here is a list of silicones to avoid:

Dimethicone                                                                        Bisaminopropyl dimethicone

Cetearyl methicone                                                              Cetyl Dimethicone

Cyclopentasiloxane                                                              Stearoxy Dimethicone

Stearyl Dimethicone                                                             Trimethylsilylamodimethicone

Amodimethicone Dimethicone

Dimethiconol Behenoxy                                                         Phenyl trimethicone

Here is a list of waxes and non-natural oils to avoid:

Castor oil                                                                            Mineral oil (parrifidium liquidium)

Petrolatum                                                                          Waxes: bees wax, candelia wax, etc.

Here’s a list of ingredients that look like silicones, or are water soluble silicones. These are exceptions that are OK:

Lauryl methicone copolyol (water soluble) Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Hydroxypropyl Polysiloxane (water soluble)

Dimethicone Copolyol (water soluble)

PEG-Dimethicone, or any other ‘cone with “PEG-” suffix (water soluble)

Emulsifying Wax PEG-Hydrogenated Castor Oil

Natural oils: Avocado oil, Olive oil, Coconut oil, etc.

Benzophenone-2, ( or 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) – sunscreen

Methychloroisothiazolinone – preservative

Methylisothiazolinone – preservative

Avoid drying alcohols, if at all possible, in your conditioners and stylers. Drying alcohols are commonly found in conditioners, leave in conditioners, gels, mousses, and hairsprays as fillers. For products that you are going to rinse out, this is not as big of a deal, but for products that are going to sit in your hair all day, or for several days, they should not contain drying alcohols. There are also moisturizing or fatty alcohols however, that sound similar, so be sure not to confuse those with drying alcohols.

Here is a list of drying alcohols to avoid:

Denatured alcohol SD alcohol 40

Witch hazel Isopropanol

Ethanol SD alcohol

Propanol Propyl alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol

Here is a list of moisturizing alcohols to look for:

Behenyl alcohol                                                               Cetearyl alcohol

Cetyl alcohol                                                                   Isocetyl alcohol

Isostearyl alcohol                                                            Lauryl alcohol

Myristyl alcohol                                                               Stearyl alcohol

C30-50 Alcohols                                                              Lanolin alcohol

Consider the effect proteins in your hair products may have on your hair. Most hair needs some amount of protein in its diet, especially damaged hair. However, normal hair, or protein sensitive hair does not need large doses of protein all the time. If your hair feels stiff, frizzy, and dry, then your hair is getting to much protein.

Here is a list of proteins that you can avoid or look for, depending on your hair type:

Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed casein

Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed collagen

Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed hair keratin

Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed keratin

Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed rice protein

Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed silk

Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed soy protein

Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed wheat protein

Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl silk amino acids

Cocoyl hydrolyzed collagen Cocoyl hydrolyzed keratin

Hydrolyzed keratin Hydrolyzed oat flour

Hydrolyzed silk Hydrolyzed silk protein

Hydrolyzed soy protein Hydrolyzed wheat protein

Hydrolyzed wheat protein Keratin

Potassium cocoyl hydrolyzed collagen TEA-cocoyl hydrolyzed collagen

TEA-cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein

Print off this list to help you find curly girl approved products and keep it with you when you go hair product shopping. Remember, sulfates are ingredients that contain “sulfate” or “sulfonate”; silicones end in -one, -conol, or -xane but PEG modified silicones are acceptable but still build up on the hair over time.  I suggest using a Clarifying Shampoo about once a month as a curl boost just incase!  Also, a reminder that waxes contain the word “wax”; and drying alcohols often contain propyl, prop, eth, or denatured in the name. Have fun shopping!  Remember, some shelters will take opened products so donate when you can!

*Credit for this detailed list goes to many. I have had this information stored on my computer for so long that I can’t remember exactly where I pulled all the details from.  If you know the original author(s), please let me know so I can credit them for their hard work.  I would rather share these details then sit on them any longer; I have also added to the text my two cents and will update this blog when I have more info.  I am in no way a scientist so I cannot answer any further on this information shared, but I do know how important ingredients in products can either help or harm your hair. My goal for you is healthy hair and this is a great place to start.

xo Krista

Curly Kids Hair Care Routine

A curly girl and her Mama

 

Two out of three of my kids are curly, and I often have parents/guardians ask me what to do with their curly kids hair.  I thought I’d share with you some tips to help you at home since curly hair can sometimes be a mystery, especially to straight haired parents of curly hair kids.  Let’s get right down to it!

Things you will need (feel free to support a small business and order any of the products or accesories I mention in this blog here if you live within Canada)

~Sulfate free Shampoo ( like DevaCurl No Poo, Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream, Fuzzy Duck Shampoo & Body Wash)

~Silicone Free Conditioner ( like DevaCurl One Condition, Jessicurl Too Shea Extra Moisturizing Conditioner, Fuzzy Duck Kids Conditioner)

~Silicone Free Detangler ( optional-like DevaCurls No Comb Detangler, Fuzzy Duck Leave in Conditioner & Detangler)

~REALLY Wide Toothed Comb ( or use your fingers)

~Fine Mist Spray Bottle

~Large Old long sleeved t-shirt

~Satin Pillowcase (a MUST!)

~Satin scrunchie, one-tie hair elastics, Buff or hair tube

~Gel or Styler ( Optional-like DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel, Jessicurl Spiralicious, Fuzzy Duck Kids Gel) nice to use for special occasions and events, or for tweens who are starting to want to style their hair)

With young active curly kids, it’s best to get their hair fully wet and detangled about every two days.  This keeps the detangle-and-crying sessions to a minimum if you can keep on top of the rats nests that like to grow in their hair.   As they get older and can start maintaining their own curls (12 and up), they can add a few more days of spritzing before they need to wash again.  Until then, you are primary curl-giver and they need your guidance, so here’s what you do…

How to get multiple curly hair days out of one wash

How to get multiple curly hair days out of one wash

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“Your tolerance for frizz and lack of definition determines how many days you can go before you wash and reset your hair. Everyone is different and it’s okay if you need to wash and reset each day, as long as you’re using sulfate and silicone free products to do it. ” ~ Krista Leavitt

 – Curl Specialist


Here are my thoughts on how you can go longer between shampooing:

Every day after your first initial wash day, your hair will get bigger and bigger (more voluminous and more frizz) and your curls will lose definition and flatten from sleeping. Your personal tolerance tell you when you need to wet-down/wash again.  Some curly girls who can go longer between washing either:

Healthy Hair IS a Curl Type

Healthy Hair IS a Curl Type

 

HEALTHY HAIR IS A CURL TYPE

As curly girls, wear our hair in it’s natural state, whether it’s loose wave or tight coils.  Maybe we’ve been on the search for the perfect product, the perfect routine to make our curls pop over the time of our curly journey.   Here’s a tough question though…what if you’ve exhausted all your efforts and resources and you’re just not getting the results you hoped for?  Do you feel the pull to do something drastic because you’re so frustrated with your natural textures?   

Jessicurl Curly Hair Artist Feature

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To learn more about Krista through her interview with Jessicurl, one of the leading curly hair product companies; click on this link below:

https://www.jessicurl.com/post/interview-krista-leavitt-canadian-curly-hair-stylist

Curly Girl Secret #6

Curly Girl Secret #6

CLIPPING

There are many ways to clip and there are also many different types of clips on the market you can use.  I prefer to use DevaClips on most hair types due to their heavy duty hold, but some baby fine haired clients may benefit from using the old fashioned smaller type pin curl clips as the Devaclips can sometimes be too heavy for their hair and fall over.  I’ll likely post some more video’s on You Tube in future with an in-depth description of many different ways to clip and the different clips you can use to do it.  There is no wrong way to clip, as long as YOU’RE happy with the results!

Clipping will release the hair of it’s own weight so curls can start up closer to the scalp, it helps the air to flow through the hair for faster drying time, and also gives volume to curly hair which usually lays quite flat.  It’s one of the most valuable styling methods to s’wavy, wavy and curly girls for helping the hair visually look curlier.  Tighter curl patterns don’t always see a ton of benefit from clipping as their curls start close to the root and give them lots of volume naturally, but ANYONE with texture in their hair can clip and see benefit of some sort.  Personally, I don’t feel like my hair is completely styled unless I’ve clipped it.  Here’s a quick experiment in the picture below about clipping (diffusing tips will come later) that will show you the difference between not clipping versus clipping… and why if you’re not currently doing it in your routine, you may want to start…

ClippingResults

And without further ado…watch my video to learn some valuable tips on clipping at home…

Many thanks to my willing clients who helped me create the video.  Hair model Sandy and my camera person Lorelie!

How To Reduce Frizz in Curly Hair

How To Reduce Frizz in Curly Hair

Did the title catch your eye?  I was hoping so, because I’ve got some thoughts to share with you on frizz before I tell you how you can reduce it…

Did you know that having frizz is part of having curly hair? Did you know that you’ll never fully be able to get rid of it?  Did you know there’s no such thing as frizz free curls? Well, I take that back…you can have frizz free curls for about the first hour after freshly styling your hair…then the frizz starts to creep your day.  I want to let you in on a few things I’ve realized.  Frizz IS a curl waiting to happen.  Once you’ve figured out how to work with your curls and they’re looking pretty good, you may find you’re still obsessed with trying to get rid of your frizz.  Here’s a big secret I have to tell you… 

You will NEVER totally get rid of frizz and you don’t really want toA little bit of frizz makes your hair look touchable, lived in, shows you’re carefree, like you just ‘woke up like this’, and also could translate that you look like you just had a romp in the hay 😉 Frizz is functional; it allows you to have volume, plus it makes you look like an angel because you have a halo! Want to have more sensual hair? Embrace your frizz and just watch this video.

You can’t really have body or volume without some functional frizz helping you get it that way.  And honestly, you are the only one who notices the frizz.  No one else sees it!  Think back to how many compliments you still receive, even when you feel your hair is frizzy that particular day?  Everyone else sees your beautiful curls and wishes they were so lucky.  It’s time to give yourself a break, it’s time to ease off on perfecting your routine or adding to your product graveyard under your bathroom sink.  Maybe you don’t even realize you’ve already figured out the best curls you’re ever going to have…relax and enjoy your hair.  I know I have started to just enjoy the journey. There’s a confidence you exude when you’ve accepted every part of yourself (including your frizz) and that is what other people find attractive.

If you still want tips on reducing your frizz ( I totally know you do!) you can read below about troubleshooting your frizz.  I’ve included some tips that are standard for all curl types and textures that I have found work well in my daily practice.  Please share this with your curly friends who are struggling!

Pre-Poo
This is when you apply olive oil, coconut oil or another type of natural oil onto the hair (or you could try Devacurl No Poo) on dry hair either overnight before your wash day, or at least about an hour beforehand. It will soften the cuticle, especially on low porosity hair and allow your cleanser and conditioners to perform better for you.  When you hop into the shower, cleanse it out and continue with your conditioner stage.

Cleansing with a sulfate free cleanser:
Sulfates in shampoos are like detergent that you wash your dishes and laundry with. They are too harsh, dehydrate your hair, and strip the hair of its natural moisture which equals more frizz.  You can find sulfate free cleansers in a lot of places now, but PLEASE, read the labels. Just because it’s sulfate free, doesn’t mean its silicone free and that’s just as bad.

Conditioning with a silicone free conditioner:
When there is silicone in your conditioner it coats the hair in a layer of liquid plastic and prevents the water (which is our hydrator) from entering the hair shaft.  When the hair cannot get enough moisture inside, it will reach out into the atmosphere to get it…ergo, frizz!  Making sure you work your conditioner into the hair, versus just letting it sit on top forever in the shower, will reduce your frizz. The more water you can pump into the hair, the less frizz you’ll have when you’re done your styling. Be careful not to leave too much in the hair, as too much conditioner left in can attribute to more frizz.

Applying silicone free styling products:
This will allow the moisture in the environment to be able to enter and exit as necessary.  Also, water soluble styling products allow your hair to ‘breath’ and will result in being able to break your gel cast and still retain your curls.  If your products contain silicones, the crunch will still be there, even after you’ve scrunched it out so read your labels!  This book has a full listing of what ingredients are good and bad in your haircare products…It also has great tips for you so it’s worth the purchase if you want to educate yourself about your hair.

Applying your products when the hair is super wet:
I mean really wet.  Think about it…when is your hair the LEAST frizzy?  It’s when it’s wet! Capturing your curls when they are SUPER wet equals less frizz.  You can always remove lots of water once the products have been applied if you want more volume…The more water you remove, the more volume you’ll have but with less frizz if you’ve done it this way.  Remember, the more you touch your hair from the time you get out of the shower to the time it’s fully dry, the more frizz you’ll create.  Less touching=less frizz.

Brushing, combing or raking your hair AFTER you get out of the shower:  
Sometimes people inflict frizz on themselves and don’t even realize they are doing it.  If you rake through your curls with a brush, comb or fingers after getting out of the shower, you are in essense shattering the curl pattern that nature (aka water) just made for you.  For people who like the look of curls that are raked through with tons of separation, that’s great!  But if you are currently raking your products through the hair and not loving all the separation that happens, then try not separating all those big curl clumps the next time you wash.  Separation of curls to some people looks like frizz…having an ah-ha moment?

Applying your products:
Close your fingers together when applying your products so that your hand looks like a fish fin, or seal flipper…grab your styling products and then apply them in a gliding motion down over the hair while keeping your fingers together.  Once applied, (and keeping fingers still together!) scrunch your curls up towards your head.  This slight tweak in your routine of keeping your fingers together can keep your curls in bigger clumps, and when that magic happens, your curls will look less frizzy. Notice how many times I recommended ‘keeping your fingers together’…it’s super important!

Choosing the right products for your hair:
This is the tough one that I cannot answer unless seeing your hair, asking you a ton of questions about it and really delving deep into your routine to see if I can help.  You may just have not chosen the right products for your porosity, density, texture and curl pattern.  If you’re still getting a lot of frizz, maybe your hair doesn’t like that styling cream so much.  There’s not too many curly girl friendly gels that you can overuse, so my rule of thumb is that it’s better to use more, than not enough. You can always scrunch out your crunch. GooseFootPrints offers a scientific analysis of your hair and can recommend some helpful tips on the properties of your hair, so you may want to check that out.

Hair Treatments:
Deep moisture, protein, Olaplex.  These are three treatments I would highly recommend you all try, at least once.  Everyone can use a deep moisture treatment.  Some people’s hair will love protein, but not everyone’s hair likes it.  Olaplex is awesome and I think every curly girl’s hair could benefit from the treatment.  Call your local salon and ask if they offer it.  You can purchase some great deep moisture and protein treatments from lots of Curly Girl friendly companies such as: JessicurlDevaCurlOriginal MoxieBriogeoEarth Tones NaturalsMop Top, and Curly Hair Solutions.  Also, good old fashioned coconut oil works great seeing as it’s moisture and protein in one.  All deep moisture and protein treatments are best used when heat is included. Whether that is a hood dryer, or a plastic cap wrapped in a big thick towel…

Clarifying your hair:
When your curls are acting funky and when your frizz seems to be getting worse, you may just need to clarify your hair.  You can buy clarifying shampoos from companies such as Mop Top, Original Moxie, Malibu (Undo Goo); or you can use Apple Cider Vinegar.  The recipe ratio is 1 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar inside of 1 cup of water.  You can make as much or as little as you want.  I recommend a clarifying treatment once a month, and if your curls are on the low porosity side, I may even recommend more often as products seem to just sit on the outside of the hair shaft in low porosity hair and built up over time.

There are more reasons you could still be experiencing frizz, and if you’ve tried all of the above tips and are still stumped, I can help you in more detail.  You can book an online Curl Class with me through my website here. I would love to help you love your curls!

Love,

Krista xxx

Curly Girl Secret #5

Curly Girl Secret #5

HOW TO FIND A CURLY HAIRSTYLIST

Do you get a warm, fuzzy, happy and excited feeling that your curly hair is beautiful and accepted just the way it is, when you walk into a salon or go to visit your stylist? Or do you get the “oh lordy, we don’t have enough time to deal with your hair today look”, and you’re made to feel like your textured hair is something to be fixed?

Modern day media has been sending the message forever, that in order to be have beautiful hair you need to force your naturally textured hair into submission to be accepted.  Well, I’m here to tell you that’s a whole bunch of horse @*$# (pardon my french) and that you can wear your hair any which way that makes YOU happy! The biggest bunch of garbage I hear (that makes me so mad!) is: ‘curly hair is not professional’.  But here’s the thing…it IS professional because it’s YOUR HAIR!  You were born with it…it’s part of who you are, and you don’t need to change it for any workplace (unless you’re in the military, that’s a whole different kettle of fish).  Are people who wear their straight hair told that it’s not professional? NO!!!  So wavy, curly, and super curly hair should not be any different.  That’s called a double standard and I will not accept it.  Dr. Phil says, “you teach people how to treat you”, so let’s start teaching those around us about how our us and our curls are to be treated.

Sure, we can enhance our curls and create a more polished look with the right products and methods of applying them; but we should never feel we have to change our hair to be something it’s not, for anyone but ourselves. *Members of Curly Hair Artistry have been known to privately shed a tear for the young women who are given a brazilian blow out, or keratin straightening treatment in the stylists’ chair next to us.  Do those clients feel it’s their only option? Do they feel society has impressed upon them that their waves & curls are something to be straightened to be accepted?  Maybe they just don’t know they actually have curly options or that naturally curly hair will ALWAYS have at least a bit of frizz? (that’s what gives it it’s personality!).  As a collective group who’s passionate about helping others embrace their natural texture, we always wonder.  I have to admit I die a bit inside when I see curls being blown out beside me…

Curly Hair Specialists’ passion in life is to show people of texture their naturally beautiful hair.   Once they were shown how lovely it is, I know most wouldn’t ever feel the need to go straight again.  Yes, they may want to every once in a while for something different, but they wouldn’t feel any real need to because they’ve learned to love what natural texture they were given…If you’re someone who already knows your naturally textured hair, loves it, and you’re educated about the risks to your curls when having such procedures done and you STILL want to have it done; then all the power to you…“You do You and I’ll do me and we’ll be as happy as we can be”…sounds like a line from Dr. Seuss, but I just thought of it. HA!  Check out the image below…”Just when you thought straight was going to be your thing…and then you found your curls”.  I personally feel that what you were born with naturally, is what flatters you best. That’s just my humble opinion. 😉

Picture

Source: Modern Salon on Instagram

Stylists who are dedicated to curls (like I am) really DO spread the message of, “you’re beautiful, just the way you are”.  In fact, we live it out daily with the messages we uplift our clients with.  Hairstyling is one of the few professions where we are licensed to physically touch others.  We often touch things like hearts and minds too, when we show you how to bring out your natural texture.  Often, clients are so happy with their hair for the first time in their life…all because they’ve discovered their natural texture and embraced it.  People who have embraced their natural texture, collectively  feel that we didn’t “go natural”; we decided to cherish what we’ve been given  Curl Specialists want to give the gift of curLove to every person of texture we meet.  We know the freedom of spirit, lightness of heart, and ease of mind that comes with loving, accepting and rocking what you were born with.  We also know that when we share the curLove, there’s a ripple effect…our clients love to share the curlove.  It’s so exciting to bring joy to others, and isn’t that what life is all about?

The moral of my story is:  find a salon (and a stylist) that makes you feel welcome, that makes you feel that your hair is beautiful just the way it is when you walk in.  One that wants to enhance what you’ve been given naturally, but never makes you feel you have change it to be accepted to what society has ‘dictated as beautiful’.  That is the best place for you because your hair is beautiful JUST the way it is.  Work on loving your natural texture, JUST the way it is and the rest will fall into place.  The confidence you feel in your own skin when you come as you are, and leave as you; is nothing anyone can touch.

KL

*As always thanks to my Curly Hair Artistry members for sharing their hearts and helping me to create awesome blog articles!

Curly Girl Secret #4

Curly Girl Secret #4

WATER QUALITY

One thing you may not be aware of is how water quality can affect your hair.  Soft water is usually the kind of water you want to have, but if your water is hard;  it can weigh your hair down, cause a heavy build up on your hair shaft, and cause dryness and frizz!  It can really wreak havoc on your finished style.  You may never have thought about it before, but it’s something to be consciously aware of.  Here’s an example of how it could be affecting your life and you don’t even know it!  I’ll also share some solutions to the problem and a simple test to decipher the quality of your water…
* In the last few weeks I have really been struggling with my finished look. The curls have been weighed down; there’s barely a wave where normally there are lots of waves and curls.  No matter what styling products I chose to try and boost the curl, it just was hanging there; lifeless.  It dawned on me…I hadn’t checked my water softener in a while. I went down to the basement and this is what I found. It was EMPTY! The salt had run out.

My suspicions were correct as to why my hair wasn’t behaving.  The hard water that’s left when the salt runs out of my water softener unit, causes my wavy hair to flop and the curls to be barely there.

I solved the problem by adding a few bags of salt into the unit and voila!  I can’t wait to wash my hair again and have it back to it’s old curly self.  The bonus of having soft water is that it makes my shampoo lather and my curls bounce which makes me one happy curly girl!

The short and skinny is:

Hard water will not allow your haircare products perform as they should, which results in floppy, heavy waves and curls.  If you’re a s’wavy or wavy haired girl, you will have a more difficult time getting your s’waves and waves to show up when your water is hard.  It leaves heavy mineral deposits on your hair that weigh it down, your shampoo has a hard time lathering (also really hard to get products off your hair) and conditioners will not be washed out well either.  This leaves your hair feeling greasy, or that there is something heavy sitting on the hair.  Also, hard water can wreak havoc on your colour and cause blonds to turn rusty and warm.  In general, hard water sucks the life out of your hair.

Here are some suggestions that will help your curls get their groove back:

  • Water softener unit: Similar to the one pictured above is an excellent long term solution if you are planning to stay a while in your home.  If a water softener is not an option, the next best thing is a shower head that filters at least chlorine, dirt and odours from your water but not necessarily the minerals.  You can buy them at your local hardware store such as Home Depot (example in link).  It’s not the same as a water softener, but can help your curls if your water has these issues. There are many brands available on the market, so shop around and do your research to see what the filter actually claim to remove.
  •  Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse:  You can also clarify your hair on a regular basis (try weekly and see what your curls tell you) with a rinse of an Apple Cider Vinegar mix (1 tsp ACV into 1 Cup of water) and apply it between your cleanser and conditioner…scrunch in, let it sit for 5 mins and rinse well and continue with your conditioner.
  • Bottled Water Rinsing: Another alternative is to wash, condition and final rinse your hair over the side of your tub, or your kitchen/bathroom sink using distilled bottled water that is more pure and won’t have the heavy mineral deposits that your tap water may have.  It’s worth a try, as you will definitely notice better finished results when your water is soft.
  • Sulfate Free Clarifying Shampoo: Another suggestion could be using a sulfate free Clarifying shampoo about once a week (or as needed); one that lathers but doesn’t dry your hair out.  I’ve had some great success with Malibu Undoo Goo, and also Mop Top has a Clarifying Rescue Treatment I am excited to try and others have had success with.
  • You can also buy Malibu packets (or ask your favourite stylist to bring some into their salon for you to purchase) that can do the trick to remove the heavy mineral build up on your hair.  A more serious addition for super hard water build up can be adding a teaspoon of powdered Absorbic Acid to your sulfate free Co-Wash and working it in, letting it sit for 5 mins or less and rinsing well, followed up by your conditioner.  Be careful with this one as it’s a really strong treatment, don’t over do it. This would be more of a once a month treatment if your water was extremely hard and all the others suggestions above were not working.

Water quality does make a huge difference in your hair!  When people contact me through my social media, I often wonder if they are not getting the results they want for their hair due to the quality (or shall I say ‘poor quality’) of the water they use.  Maybe they are doing everything right in their styling methods and product applications, but their water is hard and the curls are limp and frizzy as a result.

If you aren’t sure if you have hard water, you can always try this simple test.  Try some of these suggestions and post some feedback in the comments below!

Yours in curls,

KL

* Thank you to my Curly Hair Artistry colleagues for sharing your wisdom with me so I can share with others. A special thanks to Beverly TurnerScott Musgrave, Brianne McCoy-Prince and Melissa Stites for their additions to this blog from their excellent curly hair solutions. 

* I do not get any compensation from any product companies for my suggestions above.  These products and ideas are just what I have found in my experience working on curly hair, including my own.

Curly Girl Secret #3

Curly Girl Secret #3

CONDITIONER

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Some of my favourite conditioners and deep conditioners

If you’re a wavy and curly girl, you already know how important it is to use conditioner on your hair, and you likely go through it triple the amount that you go through your shampoo… AND there’s no way you’d get out of the shower without using some! Can you imagine?  I shudder at the thought!

There’s a big secret to what type of conditioner you use and how you use it.  Did you know that the ingredients in your conditioner can literally either make or break your finished style?  Here’s a little insight as to why choosing the right conditioner is so important…

When you are shopping for conditioner; focus on these three things:

1) That it does not contain silicones.  You can find a list of silicones to watch out for here.
2)  The first two ingredients contain: Water and/or Aloe Vera.
3) It has a thick, creamy density, and also that it will give you ‘slip’ for detangling.  You can research the brand of conditioner you’re looking for online for lots of feedback before you even buy!  Some conditioners require the use of a comb to detangle your curls, and other conditioners allow your fingers to slip through like butter.  I would always recommend you stay with the latter.  Some of my favourite conditioners are: Innersense Colour Radiance Daily ConditionerDevaCurl One ConditionLong Hair Don’t Care, and Pureganique Moisturizer which can all be used on a daily basis and have lots of ‘slip’.

It’s not so much how long you leave the conditioner on, it’s how you work it in.  Spending time working it though your hair, and then also pumping water into it will give you the best frizz free clumped curls you’ve ever seen.  When I went to DevaChan and had my hair done (pics below), the stylist assistants spent AT LEAST 20 mins working in my conditioner at the sink… Not saying you have that kind of time at home, but that’s giving you an indication as to the time it takes to have fabulous curls, because I had ZERO frizz when my hair was finished. Your daily conditioner needs to be WORKED IN.  Read this Squish to Condish article by my Curly Hair Artistry colleague Melissa Stites that explains how to work your daily conditioner and pump water into your hair shaft to create the most gorgeous curls.  That is when you’ll get the most frizz reduction in your finished style, because we know that frizz is just dehydrated hair, right?

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Rosie Dasilva at DevaChan cutting my hair, January 2014…it was a GREAT haircut.

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The finished cut/style…I should have taken a picture close up because I’ve never seen my hair be THAT frizz free since.

How do you choose the right conditioner for you? Read on…

  • If you have fine textured, low porosity hair:  you will want to use a daily conditioner that is protein based, and use protein treatments as needed to rebuild and reinforce the structure of the hair shaft and to restore the strength of the hair (even your stylers can have protein in them).  If your conditioner doesn’t have protein in it, you can always do overnight coconut oil treatments at least weekly (which are shampooed out the next morning).  You can use a plastic bag or a plastic shower cap, then wrap your hair in a towel to keep that cuticle open and allow the protein to do it’s best work.
  • If you have normal hair texture and porosity, you can use a wide variety of ingredients in products;  sometimes daily conditioners with protein, sometimes just a regular conditioner.  You can use protein treatments and emollient based deep moisture treatments, trading them out as needed.
  • If you have high porosity and/or coarse textured hair, it likely already has lots of natural protein and won’t need regular protein treatments as much as it needs moisture.  Stick to hydrating deep treatments and ones that contain emollients such as Aloe Vera Oil Extract, Abssinnian oil, Argan Oil, Avocado Oil, Castor Oil, Coconut oil and the list goes on but you get the idea.  Apply heat over a plastic cap covered with a towel or purchase a Thermal Deep Conditioning Cap to help deepen your moisture treatment, re-hydrate dry hair, and improve moisture retention. Using steam treatments will also help with adding moisture because it’s adding water back into the hair shaft. The Q-Redew is a great steaming tool for those of you who don’t have room for a hooded steam machine at home and can be done a few times throughout the week.  Use protein only when you feel your hair is limp, it just needs a little protein pick me up.

*Some of my favorite deep moisture treatments are Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment and DevaCurl Heaven in Hair Deep Moisture Treatment.  Remember when it comes to protein treatments, they are like a semi-permanent colour; it washes out and needs to be redone as needed…usually every 6-8 weeks or so.  Also, protein treatments need to be followed up by conditioner.  Use heat with your conditioner AND deep treatments to help pry open your tight cuticle, then follow up with cold water or acidic solutions (lemon juice in your palm with conditioner-do not pour lemon juice into your bottle) to lay the cuticle down and to help moisture stay within the hair shaft.  Examples of proteins for ingredients are: hydrolyzed casein, hydrolyzed collagen, hydrolyzed hair keratin, hydrolyzed keratin, hydrolyzed rice protein, hydrolyzed silk, hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed silk amino acids, hydrolyzed oat flour, wheat amino acids, and other large complicated names…

Leaving a deep treatment or protein treatment to sit on the hair is the only time you don’t need to work your conditioner in; because that’s one type of product that works best when heat is added and it is allowed to sit on your hair.  Boughten protein treatments (Joico K-pak Recontructor, Aphogee 2 Step Treament, Redken Extreme Cat Reconstructing Protein Treatment) usually contain silicone.  Staying on the hair for longer than 20 mins can cause breakage over time and should not be used more than once a month.  Some coarse hair textures may experience dryness, brittleness, and decreased elasticity if protein is used, so be careful as your hair may be sensitive.  This is general information, so always let your hair be your guide. It will tell you what it likes and doesn’t like if you pay close attention.

As an extra piece of advice, I feel that leave in conditioners are an added expense and not a necessary purchase.  In my opinion, it’s just as good if you rinse out all of your regular conditioner and then just put a little bit of it back in as your leave in if you like your curl that way.  Usually leave in conditioners are watered down versions of regular conditioner, kind of like how lotions are a lighter version of creams.  If your hair has enough water pumped into it, you can get away with just using regular conditioner.  Just an insider tip 😉

So, there you have it.  Gone are the days of putting on your daily conditioner and letting it ‘sit’.  You’ve got to work it curly girl! 

Cheers, 
KL

Love Your Curls: #KristaLeavittCurls #campaignforcurls