Monday, August 24, 2009

Slooooooow Down

Whenever I get a new client, one of my main focuses is teaching her or him how to wash, condition, and style her hair independently. My thinking is that I see her maybe 4-6 times a year, and she is on her own for the remaining 360-odd days.

The hardest lesson to impart is to SLOW DOWN in terms of how we treat our hair. Most of us are much too aggressive in the shower, agitating our scalp and hair much too much and furthering problems such as frizz. What we do in the shower does effect how our hair will look once it dries.

A slow, deliberate, circular massaging motion on the scalp is all it takes to cleanse the scalp. A cleanser needs only be scrunched into the hair itself in order to break up product; there is no need to "scrub" the lengths.

Conditioning is much the same. Once conditioner is applied, work through slowly with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb. Once hair has been detangled and the hair feels slick and "noodly," gently scrunch the conditioner into the lengths to cultivate your curl. You are essentially re-setting your hair when you wet it down; this is the time to help reshape your curls. It helps to either lean from side to side to let the hair fall freely from the scalp, or to bend forward at the waist while detangling and scrunching. Rinse with COOL water.

When you scrunch-blot your hair, again--SLOW IT DOWN. One should do this without a sense of rush. Don't over-blot and make sure to leave a bit of water in the hair to better aid in application of a styler.

When applying your styler (gel, leave-in moisturizer, hair dressing) work from the ends up, in a similar fashion as you would your conditioner, scrunching slowing from ends to scalp. You should hear a definite "squish" sound as the styler is integrated into your curls. When the product has left your hands, you're done. Don't overwork your curls.

It is crucial to bear in mind that slowing things down takes practice, as we are used to (often) feeling rushed when getting ready. It may not feel completely natural at first to be this gentle with your hair, but give it time and a bit of patience. It may seem like you're spending longer on your hair because you're moving more slowly. In actuality, it takes less time utilizing a gentler, more methodical approach, as your motions are simplified and you spend less time futzing with your hair. Eliminate your wasted motion.

Each day you will become more and more familiar with how your hair feels at certain points along the process of cleansing, conditioning, towel-blotting, and styling. You are basically getting to know your hair all over again. :)

Friday, July 31, 2009

The News!!

Ok, the news is coming a bit early. :)

As of tomorrow, August 1st, I will be the new Curly Education Director at East 42nd Street Salon.

What does this mean?

I will be developing a curriculum to teach the junior stylists on how to cut, color, and care for curly hair. I also will be in charge of product research, trends, and will have many more opportunities to improve my own education.

I will still be working behind the chair as a stylist on the same days as I have been previously.

Although my training at Devachan Salon will be part of the developing curriculum, it will be but one piece of a much larger focus on how to truly understand and appreciate curly hair and the clients who have it. :)

What does this mean to YOU??

I need your input!

I have learned just as much (if not more) working with each and every one of my clients than in all of my formal training in curly hair. Below is a very short questionnaire, asking you your basic impressions of stylists who have worked on your hair, past and present. I feel I would be highly remiss to not consult the heart of the matter -- the curly client -- when writing this curriculum.

Please send your responses to, and thank you in advance!

I am very, VERY excited about this opportunity and greatly appreciate the chance to take what I love to the next level. :)

Peace and love.


Curly Client Questionnaire

  1. What do you think is the first mistake a stylist makes when cutting your hair?

  1. How would you rate the average stylist’s product knowledge when it comes to daily curly hair care?

  1. What is your biggest fear when it comes to seeing a new stylist, in terms of how your hair will look at the end of the service?

  1. Has a stylist ever told you to wear your hair straight? If so, why do you think she/he suggested this?

  1. Give me three words that describe how you wish your hair to be treated by a stylist as a curly client.

If there is any additional input you would like to share, please do!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Exciting News Forthcoming....

I plan to have something to announce to the blog on Saturday or Sunday, that will involve all of you...

Stay tuned!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Adjunct: Yoga Love

I have several clients who are interested in yoga, so I thought I would write a bit on why I love yoga, as well as talk a bit about where I do it....

My job is standing-intensive. One doesn't realize this fully until you do yoga. :) In that sense, yoga is ESSENTIAL to my performance as a stylist.

I do yoga because it makes me aware of where my body is in space. It brings my consciousness back to the building blocks-- breath, muscle, movement, heart. When I finish with a yoga class, I carry it with me throughout the week. I remember to tuck my pelvis forward when my back hurts after a long day on my feet. I remember to slide my shoulder blades down my back to help my arms release and move better around a head of hair. I feel more grounded in my work; I breathe slower and deeper.

I also do yoga because I have found no better way to obtain and maintain strength. Using one's own body weight as resistance is an experience in intensity that working with weights and machines can't duplicate. The first time you truly feel your arm muscles engage in a pose like plank is exhilarating. I feel powerful as well as fluid.

I practice yoga at The Yoga Center of Minneapolis in the warehouse district on 3rd Avenue North. It is a lovely, airy, natural studio with a very calming and grounding atmosphere. I chose that studio because they offer a class aimed at larger women and men that is designed to keep the psychics of your body in mind when you go through poses and breath work. It's inspiring to see women of all sizes being so strong and flexible and graceful. It is essential in a yoga class to feel completely comfortable in your own skin, and being a bigger woman it is encouraging that such a place exists.

The Yoga Center also offers classes that range from deep meditation to the most vigorous of yoga flows. Countless workshops and events are offered, and the studio strives to really build a community out of its practitioners.

If you are looking for a yoga studio, I can't recommend The Yoga Center enough. Visit their website and look around-- you will most likely find something that speaks directly to you. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Curly Meet-Up...

I'm toying with the idea of starting a local meet-up group for curly folks to get together and talk hair, culture, etc.

Still working out the details, like where to have it. :)

More to come...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Humor in Hair...

One of the best things about my job is that I get to laugh a lot.  When one sits in the stylist’s chair, the various goings-on of the past few weeks come pouring out, often with a great deal of shared humor.  But the one thing that all of my clients seem to have a great sense of humor about is their curls.  This, to me, is no coincidence.

            When one grows up as a curly kid, we get noticed because of it.  From adults it is usually favorable (until you reach a certain age and a few people get it into their head that curls aren’t “appropriate” for a grown, professional woman or man).  From fellow children it can be a mix that ranges from envy to curiosity to taunting.  A lot is often assumed about the kid with curly hair—she/he’s going to be a bit quirkier, a bit nuttier.  When you get older and start getting real haircuts, you get used to hearing the phrases “it will grow out” and “it doesn’t look that bad, honey.”  You might cry a bit, but you learn to toughen up after a few of these haircuts and roll with the punches, as it were.

            As an adult, your hair is often one of the first indicators used to describe you.  You are often known as the “friend with the curls.”  At this point, if you have grown to not only accept but love your hair, you wear this label with pride.  If you then find a stylist who understands and respects curls, you will eventually relay your entire hair history to her.   And if she also has curls she’ll relay her own stories right back to you.  But we all do this with a knowing look and a slightly sarcastic grin.  This is a common, shared history. 

            When people ask me about my clients, one of the first things I think of to describe them as a whole is “personality.”  Each one of my clients has one or several hair horror stories to tell, and I in turn will share my own.  Laughing and joking about it helps us realize that in the end we are the ones victorious, for we have thrown down the round brush and flat iron, looked our crazy, curly self right in the mirror and laughed our head off in celebration. 

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Word About Hairspray...

The product line I use at the salon (Deva) does not have a hairspray.  It is one of the few curl-specific lines that does not.  That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a spray within a year (the recent deep conditioner--Heaven in Hair--and pomade/hair dressing--Set Me Up--were added due to customer demand).  

I get asked about hairspray ever so often by my clients, and I feel that if a curly client wants to use it, she or he feels that it will produce a very specific feel or look that runs contrary to a natural, soft fall of curls.  What I have found through experimenting on my own hair is that one CAN utilize spray in a very effective manner while still keeping a soft feel and appearance.  Again, it's a combination of two aspects:  product type and method of application.

When would one use a spray?

Hairspray on curly hair is best employed when you desire your curls to have a more specific placement, e.g., curls moved away from the face so they don't fall forward, or, keeping a bit of height on top.  Also, for finer hair, spray works as an added hold factor to help stave off mid-day drooping.

What type of spray do I use?

For all curly types, I recommend aerosol over pump spray.  Aerosol dispenses in a much finer mist and goes on much dryer than a pump.  It is easier to control the amount of spray applied with an aerosol as well as where it is applied on the head.  Pump sprays are far too concentrated and prone to heaviness, which may weigh your curls down.

Also, you want to avoid sprays that are labelled "soft hold," "moisture hold," or "flexible/movable hold."  These softer sprays contain a higher level of humectant, and since your cleanser, conditioner, and styler all contain softeners, a moisturizing spray is overkill and will weigh down the hair and not set properly.  Look for a spray labeled "firm," "finishing," "volumizing," or "freezing."  These sprays will often have the softest mist and the lowest level of moisture, so your spray will not be adding any weight to your hair.

What about silicones?

Since we are in an era where shine is everything, one is hard-pressed to find stylers without one or more type of silicone, including hairspray.  Most curlies look to avoid silicones as they have a cumulative coating effect on the hair that is hard to remove and eventually leads to a dull appearance and feel.  I have yet to find a hairspray that does not contain silicone.  HOWEVER...the amount of silicone in a firm-hold hairspray is minimal and since you are applying only about 1/4 teaspoon total of product, only trace amounts will be applied to the hair.  This is another reason to chose a firm-hold spray-- the lesser the hold factor, the higher the amount of silicone.

How do I apply hairspray?

Never apply spray wet.  Wait for your hair to completely dry and for the curls to be set.  My favorite method is to bend forward at the waist, shake my hair out, and spray a fine, even, quick mist all over the hair from about 6-8" away.  Then, quickly scrunch your curls to avoid a "cast" feeling and to help distribute the spray.  Be mindful not to over-scrunch-- stop when you feel the product is integrated.  Next, flip your hair back over and tilt slightly back, shaking your curls out.  Once more, mist all over about 6-8" away to set the hair away from your face.  Wait a few seconds, then tilt back up to normal.  If desired, you can then target specific spots, making sure to hold the product at least a few inches away to avoid over-saturation.  

As with any product application, practice makes perfect.  You will learn quickly what is too much and what is not enough.

As for specific brand recommendations, my personal favorite is Kenra, with either their no. 25 Volume Spray or no.26 Finishing Spray.  Both products have an extremely fine mist, as well as a non-obtrusive fragrance.  Kenra is a professional brand so one can purchase it from either a salon or a professional beauty supply store.

In short, if you have wanted to try a spray, but have been fearful of the look, fear not!  One can indeed successfully integrate hairspray into daily styling.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Curl Nostalgia...

While recently thrifting for some new kitchen wares, I stumbled upon a copy of Modern Salon Styles from 1972.  It was seventy pages filled with all sorts of sprayed and meticulously coifed creations, which by the early 70s were on their way out.

On the back page was a feature titled "7 Steps to a more beautiful you!"  Among the pearls of wisdom was step 3:

"Perm, Baby, Perm!  Today's hair fashion world is a curly world.  To keep up with curl, a perm's the answer ... unless you're a too-curly girl ... then it's straightening for you.  Let your professional curl specialist show you the way to natural looking locks full of body and bounce."

Damned if you have, damned if you have not, indeed.

The wondrous irony of it all is the notion of using chemical alteration for "natural looking locks."  The sad realization, however, is how much of the professional styling world still sees hair as something to be controlled, lest it get out of hand and take over one's head.  ;)

Slowly but surely, I feel we're getting better at this.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to hear the follow-up to "I love your curls!" be "I bet you love them, too!", rather than, "I bet you hate them"...  

I eagerly await that day.  :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Important read... Complex Curls: Issues of Race and Curly Hair

This is an unpublished piece presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in San Francisco by author Ja'Nean Palacios of San Jose State University.  

Her paper does a fantastic job of linking our perceptions of race with those of curly hair, analyzing how women and men of various cultural backgrounds connect with their own curls. 

I am hoping to locate Palacios' master's thesis which deals with the experience of having curly hair.  If I locate it, I will post the information here.

The link below is to the paper's abstract.  Scroll down the page to "Get This Document" for two links to a PDF file:

Monday, May 4, 2009

All Sorts of Curly Heads!

As I mentioned in a previous entry, I recently worked with Genevieve Ruebel on my first photo shoot featuring my clients.  It was a TREMENDOUS success!  The pictures came out beautifully and I hope to see them up on the salon's website very soon.  But until then, I can share some of them here...

Thanks goes out to all the participants for your time and your lovely hair!

All photography by Genevieve Ruebel

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Curls Up!

It’s slowly becoming warmer and more humid, and the desire to throw our hair up and out of the way is increasing right along with it. :)

There is a bit of method involved in putting our curls up, and being mindful of a few things will help our hair not only stay in place but stay healthy in the process.

When to put your curls up...

Never wet!!  Next to the hair being pulled too tightly, pulling your curls back when wet is the quickest path to breakage.  Curls are naturally prone to porosity which reduces hair strength, and significantly weaker when wet.  Once hair is dry the stretch-factor of the strand decreases immensely, and it is much easier to tell when the hair is being pulled too tightly.  If you must put your curls up when wet, scrunch as much water as possible out of your hair with a microfiber towel or t-shirt, and tie back loosely with a non-binding fabric tie, such as silk.  Or, gather your curls up into a silk scarf to hold the curls in place without stretching them.  Which leads to...

How to put your curls up...

There are lots of very beautiful and fun ways to put your hair up or back without losing its curliness.  I have a few favorite tools for this, which are...

Bobbi Pins-- These are a personal favorite because when placed properly they are invisible in the hair and will not pull.  I have bobbi pins in two sizes:  normal size and “jumbo” which is a bit thicker and longer and holds more hair.  One of the easiest, quickest ways to put your hair up is to gather it in the back, twist gently a few times and pin up into place.  Shorter curly styles can also utilize bobbi pins well to simulate a headband look by placing them around the forehead about 2 inches back.  My advice?  Buy a box of pins and play in front of the mirror.  Move your curls around in different positions and see which ones catch your eye.

Fabric headbands-- These are very fast, very lovely accessories for your hair.  No matter the length of your hair, a fabric headband is a great way to move hair away from the face and showcase the spill of curls in the back. sells a nice variety of these in all sorts of colors and patterns:

Scarves-- Hair scarves are finally getting a bit more recognition for their versatility and easy of use.  Like fabric headbands, they safely hold the hair back without pulling.  The benefit of a scarf is that your styling possibilities are endless.  You can tie it around your curls as you would wear a headband.  You can weave it throughout a long pony tail or braid.   You can wear it like a bandana.   As with bobbi pins, the style possibilities are endless.

The above image comes from an Etsy shop named Watsijiru.  She makes beautiful and elegant hair scarves and her shop url is at this link:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Every now and then I will post something not directly related to curly interests. :)  

I recently completed a photo shoot featuring my curly clients and was aided by the wonderful and innovative Genevieve Ruebel.

In May, Genevieve will be receiving her BFA in Graphic Design with a minor in Digital Photography and Conceptual Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.  She has done work with the Crate & Barrel photography studio as well as worked on catalogs for Best Buy.  I suggest perusing her portfolio online to get a taste of some of her work:

I would not hesitate to work with Genevieve again on future projects...she is a FANTASTIC Minneapolis-based resource for photography, graphic design, and illustration.

Image is mixed media- illustration and photography- by Genevieve Ruebel.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Microfiber of it All.

I can't stress this you cleanse, condition, and DRY your hair has just as much effect on your finished curls as how you style it.  

Having the proper tool to towel-dry your hair will make a huge difference in the overall appearance (and condition) of your hair.

My number one recommendation is a microfiber towel.  Microfibers are great because they absorb a tremendous amount of water while at the same time keeping your curls calm and frizz-free.  When you towel-dry with a conventional terry cloth towel, the fiber loops will grab and pull at your hair, causing a bit of a "halo" effect and disrupting the natural fall of your locks.  

In a pinch, an old t-shirt is also a good choice.  Since it has no nap to pull at the hair, it is an effective scrunching device.  Your only compromise is absorption so if you have longer, fuller curls that hold a LOT of water, a t-shirt might not quite get the job done.

I have tried quite a few microfibers, and my favorite is the Plunking Towel offered by JessiCurl.  It is a big 24" x 32", so even the longest, thickest hair can be properly dried.  It has a good thickness and holds up very well to repeat washings.  For $15, not a bad deal.  :)  JessiCurl also sells a smaller, thinner version called the Scrunching Towel, which might be more appropriate for shorter, finer hair.

You can purchase the Plunking Towel at the link below:

The smaller Scrunching Towel:

Also of note... Jessica (who runs Jessicurl) has some great videos on her site demonstrating various drying techniques with a microfiber... be sure to check them out!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hair Dryer Recommendation

It's interesting how the same question can pop up from several clients at relatively the same time.  I've been asked lately for hair dryer recommendations, and I figured I'd share it here.  :)

My pick...the CHI Pro Low EMF hair dryer (pictured below with concentrator nozzle attachment).

This is their basic, no-frills model, and for the money, their best.  Two speeds, cold shot button ... couldn't be easier to operate.  It comes standard with a diffuser attachment and concentrator nozzle.  But the best features of the dryer, personally, are its light weight and negative ionic charge.

What is negative ionic charge, you may ask?

Simply put, it helps to break the water molecules in your hair down into smaller particles, thus dispersing moisture more efficiently, requiring less heat to dry the hair (and thus the cuticle does not open as much and consequently compromise hair integrity) and ensuring a quicker drying time.  If you are diffusing your hair and wish your curls to stay beautifully formed and shiny, negative ionic charge is a must.

The CHI Pro Low EMF is available at many online retailers, as well as ULTA stores.  Expect to pay about $110 for the dryer.  An investment, but entirely worth it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Got Texture? Two great book recommendations!

I have had a few clients recently ask about books and resources for highly textured hair, and I have two to offer...

Textured Tresses: The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining and Styling Textured Hair
Diane Da Costa, author


No Lye:  The African-American Woman's Guide to Natural Hair Care
Tulani Kinard, author

Product Review: DevaCurl Mist-er Right and Set It Free

Type: curl enhancers
For:  all hair types

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, these two products are probably the most misunderstood of the entire Deva line.  Both products perform multiple tasks in the hair, and therefore can seem a bit confusing when it comes to proper application.  I hope that this entry helps clear a few things up on how to get the most out of these two very unique products.

Mist-er Right

Those that own Curly Girl may recognize Mist-er Right from the recipe given in the book for "Lavender Mist."  When the Deva line was developed, that homemade remedy turned into Mist-er Right.  
The product describes itself as an "herbal cleansing tonic," and in the most poetic way, this is true.  It is not, however, a "cleanser" in the traditional sense.  I think of it more as a refresher, great for second or third-day hair between washings, or as a perk-me-up in the middle of the day when the curls can go a bit flat.
The active ingredients in Mist-er Right are the lavender oil (giving it that clean, fresh scent) and the propylene glycol and castor oil, which provides just enough emulsion to give a nice, even cover when sprayed directly onto the hair.  It is not, however, a moisturizing product in the way that we thing of a leave-in conditioner.  
The best way to use Mist-er Right for refreshing hair mid-day is as follows:  Bend forward at the waist shaking your curls out.  Mist all over your hair generously, but don't SOAK the hair.  Count to ten in order to give the product time to absorb a bit into the hair, and re-scrunch your curls gently and deliberately.  Flip back over, and you're good to go.
The best way to use Mist-er Right for second or third-day hair:  Bend forward at the waist and shake out your curls.  Mist can get the hair as wet as you want, but it isn't necessary to do so.  Count to ten, and re-scrunch.  Often if the hair is a bit damp I will diffuse my hair for about two minutes as an added boost.
Also, your bottle of Mist-er Right has other fantastic can be misted on the skin to cool yourself down on a hot day.  Some clients have used it as a room or linen spray.  
My only wish is that it was sold in a smaller version for carrying around at work or for travel.  I'd suggest getting a 4 ounce spray bottle and using that for on-the-go.  Once you get the hang of Mist-er Right, it becomes addictive. :)

Set it Free

When I was doing my training at Devachan in New York, this product by far got the most questions from the class participants.  People would read down the ingredients, see beeswax, and get spooked, rightly so.  But what makes Set it Free work is given away in the small size of its 6 ounce bottle.  This is a product meant to be used very, very sparingly.  A little of this goes a long way.
I call this a "winter weight" product because it really does shine in dry, cold, windy weather.  Its job is to re-hydrate the hair while at the same time putting a seal over your curls, protecting it from the elements.  The beeswax in the product is part of this seal, and it performs remarkably well when it comes to frizz control.
Set it Free also has a slight hold--just enough to help the curls keep their shape, but not anything that will create a "cast" like that of Angell or Arc Angell.  In fact, the directions recommend using Set it Free to help break the cast of your gel.  
Set it Free can be applied wet or dry, but I only recommend dry application in two circumstances...if you have very dense, very thick hair, or if you are breaking the cast of a gel after your set is dry.  In the latter scenario you would only apply the product midway down your hair to the ends, using your hands to distribute the product throughout the hair.  In both cases, you will rarely need more than 4-6 sprays.  Make sure to hold the bottle at a bit of a distance before spraying to ensure even coverage.  Even better, spray the product directly into your hand, emulsify, and then scrunch.
So, how best to use Set it Free overall?
For fine hair...use very sparingly.  I fall into the fine hair camp, and I will use it wet BEFORE I apply my gel if my hair is feeling very dry (usually in winter).  The curls will have a softer set, but the moisture boost is well worth it.  Use it dry for second or third-day hair if you feel your curls could really use some added moisture, but only apply from midshaft downwards and scrunch VERY slowly and deliberately through the hair.
For medium hair...again, use sparingly, but you will have a bit more flexibility in application than those with finer curls.  Set it Free will work great as a cast-breaker on medium hair.
For thick/coarse hair and/or dense hair...Set it Free will work wonders to help cut the frizz on your top crown and re-hydrate dry ends, which is especially an issue with longer thick curls.   

Both products, when mastered, can truly be an asset in your daily styling.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Book Recommendation!

Inventing Beauty: A History of the Innovations That Have Made us Beautiful
Teresa Riordan, author

I ran across this book sitting on the coffee table of the salon I went to before I became a stylist.  A highly addictive book, it traces the development of the modern Western beauty industry from about the 1800s forward.  As with most aspects of beauty aesthetic, the development of the beauty industry runs parallel with the social, political, and economical lives of women themselves.  Riordan does a good job of outlining the major developments in areas such as makeup, hair, and fashion while injecting thoughtful social commentary along the way.  It's educational without being argumentatively circular, and humorous without being dismissive.  


Product Review: DevaCurl and DevaCare One Condition

Type: conditioner
For: all curly hair types (DevaCare formulated for chemically treated hair)

I’m reviewing these two products together because they share many characteristics that make them One Condition. 

One Condition has a wonderfully luxurious feel to it and moves well through the hair. It rinses well and has remarkable softness.  

The differences…moisture level and an extra ingredient. DevaCare has a higher conditioning concentration, as color treated hair is in a more fragile state and needs a bit of a boost, moisture-wise. DevaCare also has vitamin C, which is a natural sunscreen and anti-oxidant that helps prevent fading.

Now--do you have to use DevaCare if your hair is colored? No. DevaCurl will in no way deplete your hair of moisture or contribute to fading, so if DevaCare feels a bit too moisturizing, DevaCurl might be an option.

Do you have to use DevaCurl if your hair isn’t colored? No. If you have a very dry scalp and your curls tend to the brittle side, DeveCare might be a better choice.

For some, it boils down to scent. Some prefer the lemon-lime fragrance of DeveCurl to the orange notes of DevaCare, and vice versa.

I have been using One Condition for over two years now and have yet to have a problem with build up. I’ve never had a conditioner hold up for that long….a true testament to the quality and perfected formula of the product.

Also remember that BOTH conditioners work as a deep-conditioner if left on for about fifteen minutes, then rinsed with cool water.  Happy conditioning!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Curly Girl Challenge: Be a Part of Curly Girl 2!

Lorraine Massey is looking for more curly folk to put in her follow-up to the wonderful book Curly Girl.  She is asking for story submissions and the information is now up at  You could be in her book!  Click the link below for details!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Another read: "Naturally Curly"

A short piece by Anita Garner on the curly women in her family:

Article: "Hair Raising"

Thought-provoking short piece by Michon Boston on the subject of hair, texture, culture and politics...


I’m listening to NPR this morning. There’s a story about hair…actually shampoo. Breaking news - “We” don’t have to shampoo our hair every day.” Who is the “we”? Who is the “us”? Who are the “Americans” all of us - the ones who shampoo daily?

Friday, March 27, 2009

The DeVaD: Promo Video

When one buys a starter kit of DevaCurl they get a copy of their "DeVaD," a short, very tongue-in-cheek how-to of the product line.  Luckily, it is also available on YouTube, and it worth watching for the humor alone.  You also might pick up some tips along the way. ;)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Experiment: Air Dry Vs. Diffuser

Nine times out of ten, when I do my hair, I use a diffuser.  Two reasons...mainly because it saves time and my curls can go flat very quickly when air dried.   My clients are generally split between those that diffuse and those that air dry, and most of them will switch back and forth depending on the circumstances.  However, several people have asked me exactly what the benefits of air drying are over diffusing--appearance-wise--and vice-versa.  

So, I thought I'd do a side-by-side comparison of how this works with my own hair. :)

A few words of curls are NOT your curls. :)  My curls are looser, pretty fine-textured, and being a mohawk, they are going to lay differently than most.  A woman with crazy-tight spiral curls will have very different results than someone with big, loopy rope-like curls.  But this will give you some idea of what various elements such as water, heat, and time will do to your set.

The Experiment!

I began both sets with hair that had been cleansed with DevaCare No-Poo and conditioned with DevaCare One Condition.  

Water was scrunched out with a microfiber towel, and about a tablespoon of half DevaCurl Angell and half DevaCare Arc Angell was scrunched back in.  95% of the time, I use this 50/50 mix, as I've found it works VERY well for my hair...just enough hold, just enough moisture. :)

So at that point, my hair looks like this: 

I waited two hours, went about my day, hands never touching my hair. 

Two hours later, it was about 90% dry, which is when I will typically re-scrunch to break the cast of the gel and finish the set.

The result:

My hair felt very soft and the curls felt elongated and more "set" in one placement or another. The 2-hour dry time definitely ensured that wherever the curl dried, that's where it stayed.  

I then re-washed and conditioned my hair, scrunched with a microfiber and worked in my 50/50 gel mix, and set to diffusing.

A lovely shot of what it looks like flipped upside-down with the diffuser cup to my head ;) :
Drying time: 10 minutes.  And the result:

The biggest differences were curl placement and tightness of the curl.  The curls moved around a lot more and felt more random and "funky," if you will.  The curls had a springy, energetic formation that I tend to prefer on my own hair.  I generally tell clients that if you are going for a looser, closer-to-the-head set, air drying is the way to go.  But if volume and springiness are your goals, diffusing can do a lot for you.

Those who have seen my hair at the salon know I don't wear it down.  It is usually pinned-up into a twisty-thing of some sort.  Diffusing my hair allows for this shape-shifting to happen much easier as the curls aren't as set into a particular pattern.  

So these are my results.  I plan to do another experiment soon with a few different clipping techniques to see how they affect the set.  

Happy styling!

Product Review: DevaCurl No-Poo and Low-Poo

Type: Cleanser
For: All curly hair types


DevaCurl No-Poo is a very gentle, creamy cleanser with zero sudsing.  It relies on a nifty mix of peppermint and rose oils for a natural cleanse, while leaving the hair and scalp in a good moisture balance.  It rinses well considering the creaminess, and the scent is light and clean (a mix of peppermint and rose).  Gentle enough for every day use, if you are so inclined...of course I caution against over-washing, but your hair will ultimately tell you when it needs to be cleansed.  
My only caution is with the fine curlies out there whose hair weighs down at the drop of a hat.  There have been clients of mine who have found it too heavy.  No-Poo can take a bit of getting used to due to its consistency, so remember to rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.  Also remember that a little goes a long way (I've never used more than a tablespoon).


DevaCurl Low-Poo is also a very gentle cleanser, but a bit more "oomfed" up.  It has a slight suds factor that comes from a non-sulfate surfactant, but is nowhere near as stripping as a conventional shampoo.  The scent is best described as a bit like green apple.  A typical user of Low-Poo meets one or more of these criteria:

1.  Very fine hair
2.  Multiple product user (gel with hairspray or mousse)
3.  Oilier scalp

My own bathroom is stocked with both cleansers, and I will use one or the other depending on how my hair feels.  Do I have a LOT of spray in my hair 'cause I just spent the night out on the town?  Low-Poo.  Am I just doing my normal twice-a-week wash?  No-Poo  Am I going to be deep conditioning, and want my hair to be a bit more "prepped?"  Low-Poo.

Both are very high quality and refined cleansers that really do what they say they will.  Remember to read the directions carefully, and to always be gentle in applying the cleanser.  

As always, both products are available for purchase at East 42nd Street Salon.  :)  

Welcome to The C-Curve!

Welcome to the launch of The C-Curve, a blog created for all things curly!

This blog is all about curl education and resources, with new information posted at least once a week.

Here you will find product reviews, book reviews, article links, how-to info, style ideas, and more as the blog grows to meet the needs and wants of its readers.

I encourage all of your to give me constant feedback.  If there is a particular product you want me to review, let me know.  Have a link to a fantastic article or web clip, share it!  

You can also at any time ask me hair care questions, share your concerns, or talk amongst each other.

Enjoy the blog!