ALL ABOUT ME & THE BLOG
Hey! My name is Allie and I am on the journey to perfecting my natural hair. Growing up, I never learned how to properly take care of my curls. My hair was always messy, dry, and frizzy. During the 2020 quarantine, I box dyed my hair with bleach twice and completely ruined it. Since then I have made it my goal to fix my hair and learn how to manage my curls. Over the course of the past few months I have tested out many products and have started to really figure out what works for my hair. Now I am here to help others learn how to take care of their curls and understand what products they should and should not use. I will be covering a variety of topics which include but are not limited to; shampoo, conditioner, gels/creams, combs, hair masks/treatments, Olaplex, affordable brands from CVS and Target, oils/hydrating products, dyeing hair, and fixing damaged hair. All of these topics will include products reviewed by myself, along with why, how, and when to use the products. I have a huge passion for this topic because it is so important for everyone to love how they look. As a young girl I did not like my curls and I wanted straight hair. I want to be able to teach girls to do their hair in a way that allows them to love themselves and appreciate their natural beauty. I also know that often times beauty products are super expensive, so that is why I will be covering cheaper brands that can be found at Target or CVS, and are easily accessible to college students like myself. I am so excited to have the opportunity to teach people how to embrace their natural beauty!
When I started my curl journey about eight months ago, I knew that a good shampoo would be essential to bettering my hair. I spent a lot of time and effort trying to figure out which shampoos worked best for my dry and damaged hair. I needed a trustworthy brand of shampoo that would protect, heal, and moisturize my hair. Early on the brand, SheaMositure, really stood out to me because of their excellent ingredients, plus it made my hair look and feel better. I began to notice that if I started my washed with a good shampoo, my hair would be less frizzy later on when my hair was dry. SheaMoisture has a variety of different types of shampoos. There are various types for dry hair, for light curls, for hydration, for coil curls, and for severely damaged curls. I have tried all of these and each one is amazing. But, for my hair the one that works the best is the Intense hydration Shampoo for extra dry, and damaged hair, which contains Manuka honey, mafura oil and fig extract. This product helped me save my hair. One other shampoo brand that has always been good for my hair is HASK. I have tried so many of their shampoo and conditioners, and each one has its own specialty. Right now I am using the Moisturizing Shampoo which contains hemp oil and agave. This product makes my hair so shiny and soft. Both of these brands, HASK and SheaMoisture, contain no sulfates and no parabens, which is great because are both bad for your hair. You can also find both of these items at Target, which is my GO-TO place for hair products. A good shampoo is essential for curly hair because it cleans and hydrates your scalp and your hair. I have found that both of these brands have helped me revive my curls, but other brands might be right for you. It is important to understand and test out different products to find out which ones are right for you and your curls!
One of my favorite ways to revive my hair is through experimenting with conditioner. There are so many different types created by so many different brands. Over the course of the eight months, while trying to nourish and fix my curls I have found that the right conditioner is essential to having soft, healthy curls. One of the best brands that I have found for people with curly hair is SheaMoisture, and they are so many different types of conditioners. The two specific ones I use that have helped me revive my hair are “Curl and Shine” and “Power Greens”. I have found that switching these conditioners every other wash is the most beneficial for my hair. The “Curl and Shine” conditioner contains coconut, hibiscus, silk protein, and neem oil. All of these ingredients help moisturize and soften thick, curl hair like my own. The second conditioner that I use is the “Power Greens” product from SheaMoisture that nourishes weak and dull curly hair. This product contains kale, matcha, green algae, and avocado. These ingredients help curls by keeping them healthy and moisturized. I have experimented with many conditioners from multiple different brands and these are the two best products for my hair. Due to the fact that I box dyed my hair twice with bleach in the span of three months, my hair was very unhealthy. Before my journey of reviving my curls, I had no moisture in my hair and my hair felt like hay. These conditioners have helped my hair become moisturized, healthier, and easier to manage. While I have these conditioners in my hair, I comb through my hair. This helps me get rid of all the tangles that have happened during the day. I never comb my hair when it is dry because that it when it is so vulnerable. The conditioner helps create a better glide through the hair so I don’t have to put so much force on my hair, which if I use too much force, could damage it. The right conditioner is so important for good hair care, especially for people with curly hair!
After every time I wash my hair, I immediately dry it with a t-shirt to get some excess what out of it before I being my hair styling routine. The first product I use in my hair after a good wash is leave-in conditioner because it is a great base to soften, moisturize, and protect your hair before you put styling products in it. I did not start using leave-in conditioner until few months ago when I learned that it is super important if you want to have soft, refreshed hair. Ever since then, I have tried about four different products to see which one helps my hair best. I began using “Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Immensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioner”, and I really liked it, but it also made my hair feel dry and even more hay-like after about a day. So, I decided to look into my favorite brand, SheaMoisture, and see what good products they had for after shower hair care. I found their “Strength and Restore Leave-In Conditioner” that had amazing natural ingredients. This amazing product contains Jamaican black castor oil, shea butter, peppermint, and apple cider vinegar. I was able to find it at my local target for a good price and it helps my hair! Since I started to use this product at the beginning of my styling routine, I have noticed a huge difference. My hair feels healthier and softer even days after I use it. I am still looking into trying SheaMoisture’s other leave-in conditioner products. Using a natural, moisturizing, and nourishing product creates a great base before putting on styling products such as creams or gels. I have found myself using a lot of SheaMoisture’s products because of their amazing ingredients and awesome price.
INTERVIEW WITH BEN HORNER
Upon starting my curly hair journey, I got a lot of advice from friends and family about what products they think I should use, along with how I should style my hair. A close friend of mine, Ben Horner, who has curly hair, started giving me tips and tricks on how to take care of my curls. I was able to sit down with Ben and ask him some questions about his curls, what products he uses, and how he manages to always have perfect hair.
Question One: Have you always had curly hair, or did it become curly later in life?
“I did not always have curly hair, it always has been wavy, but when puberty started my hair started to curl. When my hair got curly, taking care of it helped it stay healthily curly.”
Question Two: What products do you use to hold your curls?
“For me to hold my curls, I use Ouidad Weightless Cleansing Conditioner for shampoo and Ouidad Anti-Frizz Control for conditioner. To hold my curls throughout the day, I use Curls Rock Curl Amplifier Leave In Conditioner.”
Question Three: How often do you wash your hair?
“I try to wash my hair every three to four days. In between those days I just condition my hair.”
Question Four: Who taught you how to properly manage your curls?
“My mom who has very, very curly hair. She has shown me what maintaining healthy hair can look like.”
Question Five: What is one pice of advice you would give to someone who is starting to learn how to manage their curly hair?
“One piece of advice I would give to someone is to never use box dye. To make sure your hair stays healthy, don’t put use any harsh chemicals. Having healthy hair is crucial for hair hydration and beauty.”
Over the course of my curl journey, I also made it a goal to have super soft hair, along with it being very healthy. I have found that the best way to make your hair soft and moisturized for days is a good hair mask. The two best masks that I have been using recently are both by SheaMoisture, because of their fabulous ingredients that nourish dry, damaged hair. The first one I use is the Coconut and Hibiscus Curl and Shine Hair Masque with silk protein and neem oil. This made may hair smell amazing and it left my hair feeling soft and hydrated. The second mask I have been using, is my go-to mask, is the Manuka Honey and Marfura Oil Intensive Hydration Hair Masque with fig extract and baobab oil. This hair mask has completely transformed my hair journey. It soften, moisturized, and perfects my hair every time I use it. The directions say to leave it in for five minutes, but I normally leave it in my washed, wet hair for about thirty to forty minutes. This mask can also be used as a deep condoning treatment if you read the direction on the label. Both fo these masks do not contain parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or petrolatum. Also, neither of these products are animal tested. I was able to buy these at my local target, along with many other affordable, quality hair masks. I use these masks about one to two times a week, and I won’t wash my hair everyday. After leaving the product in your hair at least five minutes, you rinse your hair with water. I have seriously felt and seen a difference in my hair’s length and health since I started using these products. I recommend using hair masks during your curl journey to freshen up your curls, leaving them soft. moisturizing, and healthy.
FIXING THE DAMAGE
Oh no! It’s March 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic has shaken the world. You decide you want to dye your hair. STOP! If there is anything I can suggest to people with curly hair, it is to not box dye your hair. In March 2020, I box dyed my hair, then again in July 2020 I box dyed it again. My hair was ruined and the curls were gone. I have been on the journey to fixing the damage and over the course of the past year, I have found many tips and tricks that have helped me. The perfect shampoo and conditioner completely changed my hair, making it healthier and moisturized. Still, a year later, there is a lot of damage, but I have a strict hair care routine to help me get my hair back to being long, strong, healthy, and moisturized. I begin with a good curly hair shampoo that I massage into my scalp. Then, I use a moisturizing conditioner that I leave in my hair for up to five minutes. Right after I am finished washing my hair, I use a cotton T-shirt to dry my hair a bit before starting my after shower hair care routine. First, I apply a generous amount of leave-in conditioner and begin to brush my hair with a wide tooth comb. If I have somewhere to be I will add a curl cream into my hair, plop my hair using a cotton T-shirt on top of my head for about 30 minutes while I do my makeup and find an outfit for work or hanging out with my friends. After 30 minutes or so, I diffuse my hair so the curls stay put all day or all night. If I do not have anywhere to be, I only apply the leave-in conditioner and plop my hair in a cotton T-shirt on my head. I only wash my hair every 2-3 days so I give it a break from all the water and soap. Also, about 1-2 times a week I use a hair mask to freshen up my curls, giving them a soft, moisturized look and feel. After a year of a lot of trial and error, I have found that this routine works best for me and my goal to fix my damaged curls.
CUTTING YOUR HAIR
A huge part of fixing your hairs damage is removing the dead ends and the dead hair. After bleaching, dyeing, or having severe heat damage, a nice hair cut would do justice. Often times cutting off multiple inches of dead hair off is called “the big chop”. There have been a few times of my life where I looked in the mirror and thought, my hair has too much damage to fix, it needs to be cut. After a year and a half of not going to the hair salon, I looked in the mirror last weekend and decided I needed to make an appointment to cut my severely damaged hair. After 10 months of using a large variety of high quality products for color damaged hair, I finally knew that it was time to cut off a big portion of the damage. Although my hair has come a long way since the last time I box dyed it in July 2020, I knew the ends were unfixable. So, at the salon I got a deep conditioning treatment that helped moisturized my dry hair, and also I got an inch and half off the bottom with layers to add definition. One thing that is really good for curls is layers because it helps define curls by chopping off more on the bottom to help not way down your hair. In the front of my hair I cut my “bangs” to my chin. This hair cut has done wonders for my hair, my hair has not felt this healthy in years! If you are not noticing a big difference after months of proper hair care, not using heat, and washing your hair every few days, I recommend going to the salon to get your hair deep conditioned and chopped. I know some people who have cut their hair due to heat damage and after their cut, their hair is curl, healthy, and moisturized. Bleach, dye, and heat can damage your curls, and damaged curls can weigh the health curls down. If no salons are open, you can try to cut your hair yourself, there are many tips and tricks on how to properly cut curls on Youtube!
BRUSHING VS COMBING HAIR
All throughout my life, I would brush my curly hair and it would get very frizzy and fluffy. I never had anyone to teach me how to properly detangle my hair, so I would just wake up and brush the knots out, which would ruin the curls and cause frizz. I always hated my frizzy hair but I never knew how to fix it. It was not until the beginning of my curl hair journey that I learned to never brush my hair when it is dry. At first, I was confused as to why I should not do that, but I noticed that if I used a wide tooth in the shower with conditioner in my hair, I would not be damaging my hair. After months of only combing my hair in the shower, I wanted to see if using a brush to detangle my hair would do any damage. Yes, my frizz came back and the curls were not holding for the next few days. Wide tooth combs are really good for curly hair because it they separate the curls into even pieces and give structure to the hair. Another very popular detangling product is a Denman Brush which separates the curls and detangles at the same time. I have not tried this brush yet but I have heard many good reviews of this, so I plan on trying this very soon. Detangling curly hair is very important because it helps evenly distribute products such as leave in conditioner and curl cream. Purchasing a good wide tooth comb for very cheap at Walmart or Target is essential to properly detangling curly hair. Also, after you apply your products after a wash day, you must comb through your hair to evenly distribute the creams and gels. Fixing the way you take care of your hair will help you feel more confident and beautiful!
WHERE TO FIND GOOD PRODUCTS
Over the course of my curl journey, finding the right products for my hair has been a long process. The majority of the items I buy; shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner, hair oils, masks, combs, and styling products have been from either CVS, Walmart, or Target. Almost all of my new products are from Target because they have a huge variety of products for low prices. An online store that carries even more products is Ulta, where you can order any product involving hair, skin, nails, makeup, and much more. When stores were closed during quarantine I ordered some items from their online store. Many of the most useful products that I use are under $15 including tax, so they are very affordable. SheaMoisture, a brand I use a lot, sells many of their awesome products at Target, but if Target does not carry them, you can do an online order from Ulta. There are few brands that I use occasionally that are a bit more pricey and can be bought at Ulta. Ouidad is around $35 for a big bottle of conditioner and I purchase it at Ulta either in store or in person. Unfortunately, trying to figure out what products work best for your hair can often times be very expensive, but if you go to the right places and do your research, you can eliminate a lot of items that won’t work due to their bad formula or poor ingredients. It has taken me almost a year to figure out what works for me, and I still find products that work better than the ones I am using. Curly hair will always be a work in progress for me, but I find that fun because I can always test out new products and when I find one that works really well, it makes me super happy.
Some links to websites/products I find the most useful:
Ulta’s Website – https://www.ulta.com
SheaMoisture Leave In Conditioner – https://www.ulta.com/jamaican-black-castor-oil-strengthen-restore-leave-in-conditioner?productId=xlsImpprod11361003
Wide Tooth Comb – https://www.ulta.com/tame-condition-comb?productId=pimprod2006022
Not Your Mothers Curl Gel – https://www.ulta.com/curl-talk-frizz-control-sculpting-gel?productId=xlsImpprod18721179
SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie – https://www.ulta.com/coconut-hibiscus-curl-enhancing-smoothie?productId=xlsImpprod6390361
Images of some of the products: