[Valid Atom 1.0] BarbaraEllen: Looks. Save v. Spend: (curly) hair.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Looks. Save v. Spend: (curly) hair.

.(curly) hair.
In the Humidity, Nonetheless
Clockwise from Left: Freshly styled (L'Oreal s&c, Elixir
Serum, Garnier Gel Cream); Fresh out of Bed Crown;
Fresh out of Bed Fall.

We've had a tumultuous past. And we've come a long way. When I was younger, I used to sob myself to sleep with damp-enough hair so that when I used my back to tug it, I actually thought that it would be straight when I awoke the next morning. In high school,

I only wore it pulled--slicked--back after meticulously hand separating each curl so that, starched ribbons, they obediently hung from my pony. It must've been mid-semester my freshman year of college when I began to wear it down. Attempted to. I rarely had a stylist cut it, & I shampooed just about every day. If that doesn't spell damage & breakage & dry. Well then, my friends, you need a spelling lesson. Finally, a few Halloween's ago, my dream came true. I used my  mom's straightener & her CHI (which stands for Cationic Hydration Interlink!) spray--essential--and, poof!. Pin. Straight. For days. Even in the rain! (Not if it got soaked. But humidity didn't stand a chance.) Unruly, disheveled, frizzy curls: gone.

So to do this day, I wear it curly. Just me. BarbaraEllen. Curly Hair. How the universe wants it. Although I have to admit, there was a peace treaty. And it all began at that famous dude's name. You know. That guy. ...Scott Miller. (Bah! I die.) Oh Scott Miller. My stylist, Sydney, works miracles. The cut of my hair, alone, contributes to at least 90% of its curl. As opposed to frizz. Which is the only other option. She also hydrates my hair & teaches me to do the same.

Especially for my curly haired friends (who are few & far between, I have to say), I'd like to share all of the product secrets I've gleaned throughout the years. Because if there is one thing I've learned to know: it's how to love my curly hair. (Before this blog, I had a curly hair blog. Eeep!!!)

.Save v. Spend.

Shampoos & Conditioners. It all begins here. Before dancing 'round products & expenses, I have a few key pointers:
1. Shampoo 1-3x/week max. Even if you're super athletic or sweaty.
2. Do use sulfate-free shampoo. Must. Must. Must.
3. Don't spend a ton of money. If anything, shampoo is where I'd save.

Shall We?
1.  L'Oreal  drug store. On top. Both sulfate free.

2. L'Oreal salon, or Kerastase : tre chic/Fashion week. On bottom. One a shampoo, not sulfate free, and the other a mask.
(To give you an idea of how expensive the salon version is: shampoo, conditioner, and the below serum were about $85 on sale! Double on sale. ... Yah... I did. I bought it. But just so I could bring you the most accurate Sv.S info.)
Shampoos & Conditioners
From Top:
Drug Store L'Oreal;
Salon L'Oreal (Kerastase)

Verdict. Save. 
L'Oreal. Go with the drug store, sulfate free. As I shampoo, my tresses feel silky: clean but not stripped. After I condition, nourished. When I style ... well you see the results! (Above.) Conversely, when I use the $$$ ... hair feels striped & mask doesn't moisturize as I'd expect. Not. Worth. It. Oh, and the L'Oreal drug store brands smell sooooo good.

 Addendum. If you are going to spend... 
Buy Bumble & Bumble! 
My stylist rec's the Super Rich. Not just for my curls, but also for her straight-straight-straight hair. It smells fresh, is super thick, and hydrates. (Word of the post.) Since I have just a tiny bit left & refuse to discard any, I'm lacing my spray water with it. Great tip & keeps hair super protected.
Favorite Conditioner
Bumble & Bumble Super Rich

Serums. These are the next thing to touch your hair & the first to begin styling while hydrating while protecting. Plus, you'll probably use them every day.
1. Kerastase Ultime Elixir. (pictured.) I use.
2. Moroccan Oil. (not pictured.) Great for straight hair.

3. Josie Maran Argan Oil. (not pictured.) Mom uses.
The latter is what tuned me onto Argan (or Moroccan) Oils in the first. I purchased this for my mom c/o Sephora, and she loves it. But when I tried it, it didn't have all of the styling bonuses the Kerastase touts. The Argan, which is truly 100% Argan oil, can't compete with the styling capabilities of silicon, which is present within the Kerastase. If you're all natural and less style, opt for the Josie Maran. As for the Moroccan Brand ... I've never personally tried. But I hear the light version is amazing for straight or fine hair. Either way, all hair types should be protecting their tresses before using any heat prodcut or styling goop. All.

Verdict. Spend.
Elixir Ultime
Travel Sized Kerastase
Kerastase. I rarely go a day without hydrating my roots or ends with this elixir. Some days, it's all I use! A few (or 5) dabs will do me, and it truly does last. I forget how much I actually spend on this, and it's because I don't care! I'd buy it anyway. This travel size is just perfect for flying to North Carolina this weekend!!!!!!

Cream Gels
Styling. Cream gels. These are where it's at. Must use.
1. Garnier Cream Gel. I use.
2. Miss Jessie's Quick Curls. c/o Birchbox. 
3. Kerastase Oleo Complex.  (not pictured.)
I would love an excuse to spend on my curls, but when it comes to styling products, I have never found the need. Truly--much like make-up--when you use a quality serum or base, you're pretty set. Even before I found Garnier Cream Gel (which is luxurious, delicious, and a miracle worker. It is.), I opted for L.A. Looks gel over the more pricey competitors. If you're going to spend, opt for the Kerastase. It is light and refreshing. Miss Jessie's, which I received c/o Birchbox, smells tangy and definitely styles curls as though in their natural state (which, according to Miss Jessie's, is when wet, and I couldn't agree more). But. Miss Jessie's has dried my hair outtt. Something terrible. Think I'll try to travel with it this weekend (that meets FAA guidelines for carry-ons, yeah?), but not use it for much else other than emergencies.
Verdict. Save.
Garnier. In love. I use a quarter size dab to distribute throughout my hair when wet &, even if the humidity--humidity!!!--it comes out defined. And smelling delish, if I do say so.

Oribe Impermeable
Pretty Amazing
Sprays. I don't use these often. Only in the dire, such as weather & occasions.
1. Oribe Impermeable.  On occasion.
Since I don't use them often, I don't buy them hardly ever. Though I can honestly say that this spray is so amazing at keeping humidity at bay and at smelling tantalizingly tantalizing, I'm not sure I'd name another contender even if I saw one. However. This is incredibly expensive. So if you have any drug store substitutes out there... I'd be willing to try.
Verdict. Undecided.
I need more of a pool to choose from. But if you're, say, getting married, or going to prom, or love to straighten your hair even in the summer, go with Oribe. You won't regret.

Here's to Happy, Healthy Hair.


  1. Hey Barbara! I find this post very appropriate since you were the first person to help me get a handle on my crazy frizzy curls :P While it looks like our strategies have changed a bit over the last 6 years, you were the first person to help me tame the monster! Might I recommend Aveda Smooth Infusions line? You don't need the Shampoo (like you said, Sulfate free is all you need!) but the conditioner is really lovely (I don't wash it out) and so is the glossing straightening creme (which is great for those days you don't shower, to get the frizz down and re-unite some curls...)I have had a lot of success with it in the last year and am even considering growing my hair back out, which would have been too overwhelming in the past. Anyways, thanks!

  2. Hey! Thanks so much for the rec. Oh man, if our curls survived Ireland... And yours, truly fabulous. I can't wait to try the Aveda: glossing straightening creme sounds delish. I'll def let you know how it goes. Thanks for reading!


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