My hair has been both my best friend and the bane of my life for as long as I can remember. In its natural state, it’s a curly, tangle-prone mess that often resembles a bird’s nest. It’s not a fan of humidity or rain and can’t be brushed when dry without exploding into a frizzy, fluffy eyesore.
We’ve been on a long and turbulent journey together, through many different lengths and styles and colours. There was an interesting “emo” phase when I was 13 (a pin-straight fringe that covered my eyes, back-combed roots and way too thin ends), blue hair one week, purple the next and an awful bleached blonde for two days (I refused to leave the house until my mum bought brown hair dye to cover it up). When I cut my hair into a bob, I was lovingly given the nickname “hat hair” after the ridiculous shape it would mould into when rain touched it.
The dyeing and burning and tugging for so many years eventually took its toll and I was left with an unhealthy, damaged head of hair by the time I started uni.
Buying hair products had always been lower priority for me than things like makeup and skincare – I didn’t want to spend £20 on a nice conditioner when I could buy a new contour palette instead! But when I realised how damaged and crap it looked, I decided it was time to get to grips with my curly barnet and figure out a way to maintain it (on a budget, if I could).
Today’s post is going to be about the products that saved my locks and restored my appreciation for my curly mess.
The maskCurly hair is typically drier than straight hair because the natural oils produced at the root don’t make it down the full length of the curl. When curly hair gets dehydrated it often goes frizzy and one of the best ways to tackle this is with masks!
I’ve tried countless masks over the years but the Kérastase Oléo-Curl Intense mask is the one I end up re-purchasing.
It smells yummy and has a gorgeous creamy texture. It’s pricier than your average pot of goo so I save this one for special occasions or when my hair is feeling particularly brittle. I try to leave it on my hair for at least five hours to get the ultimate conditioning treatment. It’s magical – even after coating my hair in dye and burning it with straighteners this mask restores moisture, shine and smoothness after just one session.
The creamThis Kérastase Elixir Ultime Beautifying Oil Cream came free with a pot of the Kérastase hair mask and I fell in love immediately – I’ve got another tube waiting for me when this one runs out! It has a gorgeous clean scent and works like a leave-in conditioner. You can apply it to damp or dry hair (I prefer damp!) to it adds moisture and nourish.
This cream is meant to be particularly good for fine, sensitive hair but I’d recommend it for any hair type!
The oilThe first thing you’ll notice about this amazing MoroccanOil Treatment when you unscrew the lid is its smell – ooooh I could bathe in it, it’s heavenly! When I first tried this oil though I wasn’t the biggest fan – it’s a little pricey for such a small bottle (£12.50 for 25ml) but after using it a couple of times I was quickly converted. You only need a tiny amount to cover your hair so the bottle lasts an age and it adds the most amazing shine to your locks.
The balmMy heart broke a little when I found out that this Umberto Giannini Silky Curls Smoothing Balm was discontinued but I couldn’t resist including this dreamy product in my hair-saving collection.
I’ve been savouring this bottle for ages and am on the final dregs, but smoothing balms designed for curly hair are a product to consider if you’re looking for a cheap ‘n easy way to tame your locks.
It works a bit like the Kérastase cream but instead is only applied to dry curls to add shine and smooth down frizz. While this product isn’t available anymore, Shea Moisture and Percy & Reed also do great balms for curly hair.
The protectantIf you’re a straightener / curler / blow dry fanatic like me, it’s really important to keep your hair protected whenever you put heat on it.
Heat protectant sprays or shampoos help prevent the natural moisture in your hair from evaporating when heat is applied. It forms a kind of protective coating around the hair’s cuticle, stops it getting damaged and maintains its natural shine. These special formulas can also make your hair less porous and subsequently less prone to becoming frizzy when it’s humid or rainy.
While protecting your hair from heat is important, I wasn’t ready to spend more than a fiver on a spray so I scoured the Superdrug shelves and picked up this bright pink VO5 Heat Protect Spray (NGL, it was the packaging that did it for me 🙊). It does the trick perfectly – maintains shine and moisture, and makes me feel a tad less guilty about giving my hair a heat-beating every day.
I hope my curly-haired pals enjoyed this post, and maybe discovered a new product or two to try!