Curly Haircare on a Budget: Great Drug Store Brands

March 13, 2008 at 7:32 pm 8 comments


Here is a recent curly hair distress call from my dear blogging friend Tracy

“Hey Jen, I know you have curly hair too, and I know you’ve talked about it before- can you point me in the right direction for curly hair products and tips?”

I decided to delve a little deeper: 

“For people with curly hair, the website is a great resource. They suggest several drug store and salon brand products and the hair forum is incredible.

Tell me more about your hair and what are your specific issues?”

Tracy’s response:

“Oh, and fuzzy. And ugly. Can you help with Ugly?”

Tracy, Tracy, Tracy!  My favorite Dandelion Mama believes her hair is ugly.  Ugly?!  She went to the naturally curly website and determined her hair type, she is a very smart woman. 

“I’m a 3A on that curly site. I need some suggestions for drugstore brands, as I’m a little light on the cash right now. I didn’t see that there- it was all specialty products.

I have a hate-love-hate-hate cycle with my hair. I always feel messy and unkempt and it’s not uniformly curly. It’s really curly around the underside and my face, but looser at the crown. I hate it. Help me.”

Wow!  That is quite a statement, and can I also say, you are not alone Tracy!  Curly hair is a very misunderstood and undervalued attribute.  As God is my witness, Tracy you will learn to love, love, love your curly hair!  By using the curly girl method, some better products, a good curly cut, and time and practice, you will love your hair I promise.

  • First, run down to the library and check out Lorraine Massey’s “Curly Girl” book (a very quick and easy read), and I would also suggest watching the demonstration videos at the Jessicurl web site.  Copy the Curly Girl Commandments and post them next to your bathroom mirror.
  • Second, hide your hair dryer and brush.  Forget about them.  You don’t need them any longer!
  • Do not get your hair cut until you can find a stylist that has some curly hair sense.  If your stylist attempts to use a razor or thinning shears on your hair, RUN AWAY!  Ask them to give you a dry cut.  The Naturally Curly website does list people in your area with curly hair expertise.   If you do not have someone in your area, give a trusted stylist specific instructions about what you want, and ask if they would consider learning a bit more about the curly girl method. 
  • Understand the nature of your curly hair.  Our hair shaft is significantly different than our straight haired friends.  Curly hair is very porous and not only take in things rapidly, it looses moisture rapidly.  Without enough moisture sealed in your hair shaft, your hair will fuzz, frizz, and even be less curly.  Finding the right products takes patience.  It might take a while to find the right combination of moisture and hold so that you can achieve your optimum curl.   Some conditioners may be too heavy for your hair, others might not be conditioning enough.  Gels should help add definition, hold and shine, but you don’t want your curls to feel too crunchy or stiff when they dry.  The ideal look for me is soft, controlled definition with very little frizz.  However, a bit of frizz can be sexy!
  • Only use hairstyling products that use water soluble silicones.  Because curly hair is porous, build up is a big issue and that will weigh down your curl and make it appear dull.  There are several good inexpensive options at your drug store, and here are a few suggestions:

Conditioners for Washing or Co-Washing:

  • Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut Conditioner
  • VO5 Vanilla Mint Tea Conditioner
  • VO5 Moisture Milks Passion Fruit Smoothie
  • L’Oreal Vive Pro Nutri Gloss Conditioner
  • Garnier Fructis Curl and Shine Line

Styling Products:

  • Aussie Awesome Volume Gel
  • Herbal Essences Body Envy Gel
  • Herbal Essences Totally Twisted
  • L’Oreal Out of Bed Weightless Texturizer
  • L’Oreal Studio Line Fx Out of Bed Hair Putty
  • TIGI Curls Rock Amplifier
  • Generic Value Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam

I used my Suave Natural Conditioner this morning to co-wash my hair and finished with a cold water rinse.   I styled using only my fingers and used a quarter-size portion of Jessicurl’s Rockin’ Ringlets  and Confident Coils Styling Potion.  I used a microfiber towel to softly scrunch my hair, twisting a few small portions of hair around my crown, and placed hair clips close to the scalp around the crown to create volume and lift.  Once my hair is positioned the way I want it, I did not touch my hair until it is completely dry.  When my hair is completely dry, I used my fingers to loosely tousle my hair from underneath.

The Suave Natural Conditioner smelled great, but I felt like it wasn’t as moisturizing and didn’t penetrate my hair like my favorite DevaCurl One ConditionerIf I could recommend one hair product to spend money on, it would be a high quality conditioner.   My current favorite conditioners are Jessicurl’s Too Shea and DevaCurl’s One Conditioner, and they could be used as both your everyday conditioner and your deep conditioning treatment. 

I predict that with a good cut, products, and styling techniques, in about 3 weeks, you should start noticing more curl, a lot less fuzz, and improved shine and softness of your hair.   And then, I want pictures Tracy, before and after 3 weeks!

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. grammhansen  |  March 13, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    Since my hair is pretty straight, I can’t relate to the curly hair issue. I just wanted to say what a cute picture of you!

  • 2. tracy m  |  March 13, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Ok, what is co-washing? And what about shampoo? And if I wash my hair in the morning, it’s so thick, it’s often still wet in late afternoon- really. Right now, my practice is to wash at night, half-dry, tie it up, and still have a mostly damp mess in the morning.

    Do I have to order those Deva or Jesi products online, or can I get them at a beauty supply store?

    And thank you Jen, Really. I’ll have Mo take a before and after pic.

  • 3. tracy m  |  March 13, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Oh, the other thing is scalp-build up. WIth really really thick hair, sometimes I get thick patches of what almost feels like s scab on my scalp. My hair also dreadlocks in under two days.

    Um, I’ve found Salcylic acid shampoo helps with built up- can I still us that? Or am I just nuts?

  • 4. jen38  |  March 14, 2008 at 7:37 am

    Thanks Marilyn, Becca has the cheesiest grin, I love it too!

    Tracy, I hope this helps:

    Co-washing is washing with a conditioner instead of a regular shampoo. You can still use your regular shampoo, but less often and dilute it so it won’t overstrip your hair.

    One of the curly commandments is to treat your scalp separately from your hair. This is tricky because your hair and scalp are so closely connected. I need to consult some sources about scalp issues okay? Massage your scalp with your fingerpads and not tips, be gentle with it.

    You can also use a diffuser to speed up your drying time. I have a neat hair dryer sock that I am going to send you. Also, because your hair is so thick, you probably should use a wide tooth comb to comb through your damp hair in the shower while you are conditioning it.

    Never rub your hair dry with your towel. Blot and gently scrunch to remove excess water. Using a microfiber towel or t-shirt is better than a regular towel, some sources even use paper towels to dry their hair (which I find wasteful).

    I understand the washing hair at night routine, but I cannot help but think the slightly damp hair while sleeping isn’t a good thing.
    I know what my hair would do, and it would not be pretty. Some people swear by sleeping on silk pillowcases at night and only wash and style their hair every other day. By only having to deal with a wet head every other day might be less annoying than every day. I have a feeling your scalp issues might improve with not sleeping in wet hair as well.

    I just wrote another chapter! I am going to send you some stuff, so don’t bother ordering any conditioner right now, I have some extra Jessicurl that I would love to have you try.

    Big hugs Tracy! You are awesome.

  • […] Mythbuster Beauty discusses Curly Haircare on a Budget: Great Drug Store Brands […]

  • 6. tracy m  |  March 14, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    All right Jen- I went out and bought the conditioners and products you recommended, I watched the video on Jessicurl, I got a micro fiber towel, I learned how to PLOP, and I’m ready.

    You’ve got three weeks!

    (David took a before picture tonight- he said my hair looked like Hagrid after I brushed it for the last time!)

  • 7. jen38  |  March 15, 2008 at 9:47 am

    You totally rock Tracy! Now I am feeling a little bit nervous, great expectations and a time constraint.

    I can relate to Hagrid, just stay away from baby dragons!

  • 8. curlysue  |  March 26, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    This is a great place! I’m about to go to sleep. I’m coming back!!!


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