Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Delights from CURL JUNKIE--your curls will thank you

I love the Curl Junkie line. No secret.

Well, now they have launched new products and a revamped website (still being tweaked, so if you have great suggestions on what  you'd like to see on the site, might wanna email them.) They've lowered their shipping charges (considerably!) and if you order over $75 in products, shipping is free.

If you have dry hair issues, do read the latest blog entry at the Curl Junkie blog: "How to prevent your curls from drying out"   If you have dry to uberdry hair (when I began the "natural" journey back in November of 2009, my hair (which is porous and has damage from years of high-heat blowdrying and straightening) was uberdry. So dry, that I'd need to reapply conditioner throughout the day or it would turn crunchy.

The main line of products that got me to a nicely conditioned state is, yes, CURL JUNKIE. Very moisturizing. Curlies all need moisture, but some of us need a lot more than others. This line serves us well. And now with the addition of new products, there are more products for us fine wavies/curlies who need a bit (or a lot) more protein and who may not like glycerin a lot (or at all). Hooray.

I've been doing a bit of an experiment this week: I had done a protein treatment (see previous post on it), then I had my hair trimmed and colored (permanent on roots, laminate glaze on rest). So, I wanted to enjoy my refreshed hair. I've been cowashing with Curl Junkie Daily Fix (the only cowash I will use these days, although I might throw in some Suave Naturals in the coconut scent occasionally with the Daily Fix, just cause I have a bottle to finish using up.)  Then I've been conditioning (rinse out) with either Beauti-Curls Daily r/o or Curl Rehab, then I use some CJ Curl Assurance Leave-In (that lovely orangey scent, mmmm, so sorry it's discontinued. Great Leave In).  My hair has felt..young.

I'm 50. And my hair has thinned with age and thyroid disease and menopause. But, just that minimal regimen and my hair is silky soft, voluminous, looks longer (from less curling up due to not using stylers). It's like the hair I had when I was 20, only less thick. :)

It's nice to enjoy my hair in a more healthy state. And CJ is a big part of that. Thanks, Marsha!

So, if you have hair like mine (or just wanna try a natural-ingredients-heavy line of quality products formulated by a lovely lady who has curly hair), or just have waves and curls and want to pamper them into soft, springy health, do visit the Curl Junkie site.

If you cowash, you owe it to yourself to try the Daily Fix cleansing conditioner, cause it's gentle, cleans very well (scalp feels good afterwards), and has chelating agent for those who deal with hard water. You do need to keep adding water to this, as this makes it work better.

If you want a bit more cleansing action than a cowash, there is a lowpoo available at the site (though I do believe it will be revamped to be even better). Marsha does listen to feedback.

The very best products in the line, imo, are hard to choose, as this is  a terrific line, but they are, imo again:

Daily Fix
Curl Rehab
Curl Queen Gel

I've already touched on Daily Fix.

The Curl Rehab can do anything--precondish, rinse out, leave in, deep condish.

The Curl Queen Gel has no glycerin, has some protein, and works amazing to smooth frizz and provide medium hold (ie, non crunchy) to my fine hair. It works great over my curl enhancers--Spiral Solutions CEJ, Botticelli Botanicals FSG, AG Re:coil. It's a beautiful product. Non-drying, smoothing, nice hold, lovely.  It's one of the new products and has a light scent that is not cloyingly fruity or floral. (A tea scent)

If you only get three, I recommend those.

If you can get more:

~Curls in a Bottle: a fabulous "finishing" product for me (others use it as a styler on wet hair, I like it as a finisher on damp to almost dry hair, and a refresher on dry hair). This baby gives SHINE SHINE SHINE.

~Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion (a Leave-In condish): It's a new product. I got to test it and it works well on fine, dry hair. (Though if you can get the discontinued CJ CALI, do get it. It's reduced in price and it's wonderful.)

~The Protein Treatment that will come out in November: to be named. Strong and effective. No mineral oil. Some curlies didn't need to follow with condish. I used heat to activate it, so I did need Curl Rehab after.

Do look at the Curl Junkies (examples of product usage on actual people) to see which hair is most like yours and how you can apply products:

And the Selection Guide is very handy to decide which products best suit your hair type.

Definitely check out this great line of products. My hair says "You'll love em!"

And if you want a chance to win more than $100 bucks' worth of these great hair products, be sure to check out Day #7 in the NaturallyCurly.Com's October month giveaway. I almost don't wanna pass the word as I want to win it myself! :) I'm greedy and wanna keep the entry numbers low for that day. HAH. But seriously, it's worth entering. Good stuff from CJ.

Would Not Recommend You Get The "Formaldehyde Free" Brazilian BlowOut

Not for frizz-free curls. Not for straighter hair.

Cause, well, it may have formaldehyde after all. Several lab tests of bottles of BB Solution labeled "formaldehyde free" have found SIGNIFICANT amount of formaldehyde (several results in the 10%+.

If your salon has been doing the Brazilian Blowout without using the OSHA required special ventilation and handling (gloves, etc), then this is a health hazard.

Read the scientific reports on the BB products here:

There have been discussions on the CurlTalk forum, as well, and some stylists and clients reporting adverse affects. So, yes: Eyes open, people.

I'm sure this will continue to play out. BB has to offer their side, and more tests will likely be forthcoming. So, if this is a procedure you'd planned to do, reconsider. Be informed.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

If You Need a Great Protein Treatment (a strong one), It's coming In November!

I'm a fan of the CURL JUNKIE line of products. I got to test the upcoming new protein treatment by this line, and it was VERY strong (like Joico K-Pak deep penetrating reconstructor, without the mineral oil).

It's white, creamy, with a scent that hit me like a sweet vanilla coconut. Don't know what the final scent might be. It really gave my curls amazing SPROING, and even though I do non-clumping type of styling (cause I prefer volume), my hair wanted to clump after this treatment. :)  I didn't clip and still got root lift just from the sproing of the hair itself.

I used it the way I'd use Joico K-pak's hardcore protein. I put it on generously on all hair and covered with a processing cap and used heat (soft bonnet dryer) for 20 mins. Then rinsed and added condish (Curl Rehab this time as that's no protein condish). I didn't do the 20+ minutes of it (my hurry), and still it felt good.

I'll need to have a deep conditioning soon, cause I didn't deep condish long enough after this protein treatment (only 10 mins). I liked the result and pics are up on my Fotki for September 2010 (I did the treatment 9/22).

Note that there is shine. My hair is not naturally very shiney, though I enhance that with Curls in a Bottle (which I normally use as a finishing product for taming frizz and shine, or for refreshing curls). This protein treatment somehow added shine. I like that:

Oh, I needed a trim. Hadn't had my hair trimmed in FIVE months in the pics.

Good stuff.

The protein treatment should be out in November of this year.  Other new Curl Junkie products will be out October 1, and I strongly recommend the Curl Queen gel for fine-haired ladies whose hair doesn't respond well to glycerin. My hair loved it.

If you have weak/easily broken hair and need a strengthening rinse out condish (and you have normal to oily hair, not dry), then consider the upcoming strengthening condish by this line.

A lovely leave-in is due out, too. So make sure to visit their website on October 1 to see what's new.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

That whole "Curl Type" thing aka The question curly newbies like to ask first!

First thing that a lot of people want to know when they begin to hang out in sites that specialize in natural texture/curly hair is....what type curls they have.

If you aren't familiar with the lingo, it's referring to a way that some sites use to classify a curl size/shape.

Interestingly, it's the LEAST important aspect of getting to know your textured hair for purposes of hair care. The more important aspects deal with your hair's porosity, elasticity, density, texture, dryness, etc. These properties are key to finding people with hair like yours and getting product recommendations. Styling techniques and products--well, it's more important to know if you have dry and porous fine hair with low density (like me) than coarse, protein-sensitive hair with high density.

But in talking about curl types, it generally refers to whether it's wavy (loose curling type) or curly (ringlets and coils and spirals) or kinky ( very tight small diameter coils), zig-zaggy. Type 1 is straight hair types. You can see pics and a chart here.

The curl classification system most used over at CurlTalk/ is outlined here: CURL TYPES

I find it helpful to actually LOOK at a HAIR STRAND and compare it to the colorful little illustrations for each type. Sometimes, you head may have various hair types mixed in, and sometimes looking at a picture is frustrating, so go by the hair strand illustrations. Get a strand from your head (if you run your fingers gently through your hair, loose strands should stick to your hand/fingers). Which illustration most fits your curl pattern? Does it look also similar to the accompanying photo? Well, there you go. Easy. Click on the general type and read more detailed info.

For example, if you notice you are squiggly like a "3", you click that and get more info HERE.

So, you get to see if you're more 3a or 3b. Or you may have both.

I'm mostly 3b. :) But if I diffuse and get a lot of air shaking in my curls, they can look more like 3a. Anyway, a pic from July at left. (I used all AG products, since Re:coil works really well to keep my hair from going ballistically poufy and frizzy in summer humidity.)

My curls tend to be well-defined, tighter in some spots, and very much need moisture and frizz control.

Curly hair types can also be referred to in more general (less numerical) terms: wavy, curly, kinky.  You can read a bit about this here.

But as far as that sort of typing (and there are other sorts which you can discover by googling it up), here is what Tiffany (a curly hair expert and hair stylist) has to say:

The only thing—and I mean the only thing—that matters when it comes to the care of curly hair are your particular hair properties: your texture, porosity, elasticity and density. Your wave pattern has absolutely nothing to do with any other hair property. That means knowing if you have “corkscrew” or “spiral” curls, or you are a “5K” or “9T” means a big fat nothing when it comes to the big picture.

So, let's move on to the more important (and trickier) things to discover about your hair---its blog post....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Do You Love or Hate Your Curls?

Hair is a passionate topic, and we spend a lot of cash and emotion and time--and I say this from personal experience and observation over a half century--on trying to get our hair to look and feel a certain way, either according to fashion or according to our own ideas of what suits us. Some of us grew up with hair ideals out there in fashion and media that was the opposite to what grew out of our heads. Angst. Struggles. New products. New Tools. Maybe with rough-on-strands chemicals.

I've heard stories from gals of mothers who'd practically hit a  Biblical-level of mourning and rage--wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth, maybe some rending of housecoats-- if daughters got "natural" with their hair (ie, let their kinks or coils or curls just fly out untamed). Boyfriends who clearly stated a preference for weaves, extensions, or "relaxed" hair.

Then there's the racial level of hair prejudice, where "kinks" are "bad" and smooth and straight is "good".

Whatever stew pot of issues and emotions, personal and socio-political,  that come into play, it ultimately comes down to this: Do you love or hate your hair's texture the way it grows from your scalp?

I am particularly interested in those who have hair that can be classified as curly to kinky asking this question...and finding the answer, honestly.

If you can't even remember what your hair looks like in its natural state, that says something, huh?

Maybe you've been altering the texture for so long, it's hard to really pinpoint what your hair is like in a healthy, unprocessed form. Maybe you've keratin straightened and  kept doing it. Or you relaxed it old-school style and kept relaxingi it. Or  you blow-dry it from when it's sopping wet,  and soyou  never see it air-dried in all it's "realness." Why not ask yourself  "Why?" Maybe it's simple and has no agenda (racial, feminist, religious, historical, cultural, relational or otherwise): You just like it straightened.

I like my hair in many forms. The important thing is I don't HATE it or deny it in its natural form. I really, really love that it has its coiling properties. I don't love that it's dry or porous or easily breaks (years of harsh blow-drying no doubt contributed to the fragility) or that it's thinned with age and health issues. BUT...I enjoy my curls. (And I enjoy it set and blown-dried, too, because variety is fun, but I do love its natural curl.)  I consider it as it is and, then, if I wear it natural or do something to it, there's not denial or self-loathing or social pressures involved.

And, not too strangely, really, I feel more myself when my hair is its curly self.

Yes, I enhance it with moisturizers. I do use stylers to keep the curl from weather's attacks and agitation from movement and sleep, but we all do stuff to maintain health and appearance, even "natural and green" folks. Whether it's oils or creams or jellies, hair, like skin and teeth and nails, likes to be groomed. Grooming can enhance natural texture rather than deny it, though. :)

Maybe it's not simple at all an issue for some. Maybe taking a second look at your natural texture can help you find out something about yourself and why you do what you do with your hair and appearance.

Whether you go on a quest for your own curls or kinks in order to be more "green" or more "yourself" or just for a new experience, I do encourage you to give it a shot. It may not be for you, but it may be very insightful or never know.

So, yeah, do you love or hate your own natural curly hair?

I hope you love it. Or at least like it. Or at minimum...see the value in what is uniquely yours.

Maybe your neither love or hate, maybe you feel indifferent. You may be one of the few for whom hair is just this stuff you have to get trimmed (or not) and otherwise just keep clean and pay not much mind. (Really? Wow. I may envy you.)

Or maybe you're just puzzled and know very little about your hair or even how to start treating hair that coils or spirals or spins or boings or frizzes or wiggles or tangles like mad inside those clumps or kinks?

Well, you can start to learn about your hair, little by little. Yeah, maybe you can start here:

Live Curly, Live Free: The Basics.

And maybe you can find some articles of interest here:  Naturally Curly

You even might wanna go whole hog and try the Curly Girl Method (or one of its modifications): How to Follow the Curly Girl Method 
What Exactly Is the Curly Girl Method?

Some abbreviations and terms useful for those wanting to discuss the above method:

NoPoo: "No Shampoo" =  not using sulfate (or harsh) shampoos
LowPoo: using light shampoos, those without harsh sulfates
CoWash: conditioner washing--using a conditioner (usually a lighter one or one specifically for cleansing) rather than a shampoo to cleanse hair.
CG: Curly Girl, Curly Girl Method (ie, not using shampoo, washing with conditioner, using water-soluble hair products, eschewing silicones unless water soluble)
Mod CG: modified Curly Girl, doesn't follow method exactly, as may use some lighter silicones and use lowpoos
Diffusing: Using an attachment to your hair-dryer (a bowl diffuser, usually) in order to soften the air flow so curls are maintained and enhanced while drying.
Clipping: Using a variety of hair clips (jaw clips, duckbill clips, octopus clips, etc) to hold up parts of hair (usually at the crown/bangs/sides and at the hair close to the scalp) in order to add root lift and volume to hair as it dries (either air-drying or diffusing).
Scrunching: Using the hands in a "clawed- fingered action to gather up sections of hair and push hair up close to scalp in order to encourage curl pattern (done with bare hands or with a microfiber cloth or floursack towel)

Maybe you don't want to do conditioner washing (see Curly Girl method link), but you do want to use the LEAST harsh shampoo needed, which is where I fall on the spectrum. Meaning, I'm a modified CG. Then be aware of what cleanser is needed to remove what silicones (yes, see the above links for why Curly Girl method users eschew silicones): The Scoop On Silicones 

Maybe today, right now, you just want one quick sentence's worth of go here for that: Best 1 Sentence.

My best one sentence:  Treat gently and moisturize avidly!

Curly and kinky hair can be more fragile than straight hair. Dryer. Needing more conditioner and gentler handling. Many curlies (myself included) will no longer brush or comb dry hair, but only comb or brush (with proper wide-toothed combs or gentle-on-hair brushes like Denman types) when hair is wet and has conditioner in it to ease the combing/brushing. It's all about minimizing breakage and preserving texture.

I hope to blog more about my own experiences working with my natural hair and some products and techniques I've liked.

I'm not a zealot "Curly Girl" by any means. But I do think many of us with textured hair have grown up with a certain loathig of what we have, or if not loathing, then just frustration and perplexity about what the heck to do with it.

But yeah, I do want us curlies all to like or love our own matter what its genuine pattern...and not run to have it chemically altered. To give natural curls and coils and kinks and waves a shot to express themselves.

I'd like for you to have your own wonderful Curly Flair!