Look, I had some pretty majestically curly hair when I was younger. I’m talking epic ringlets.
Unfortunately, as I got older and the universe began to dislike me, those ringlets started to unfurl. For years, I put up with my triangle-shaped frizzball hair because I had no idea what curling products to use.
Then I discovered Garnier Fructis Curl Control mousse and my life was pretty great. I mean, check these curls.
Now, I don’t know if they changed the formula or if my hair just developed an immunity (does that even happen?) but it stopped working as well. It was a slow change and I didn’t notice how different my hair was until I was looking through old photos and someone said, “Oi, your hair used to be so curly!”
I didn’t like the “used to” bit. Unacceptable, in my opinion. Since then, I’ve been on the hunt for a curling product that will return me to a state of excellence.
During my research, I learned these things:
1. I should probably switch to sulphate-free shampoo
Sodium lauryl sulphate, which is an ingredient in most shampoos is really great at cleaning your hair. It’s also great at drying out your hair and stripping your hair of various nutrients which are needed to keep it looking plump and bouncy. So basically it’s a massive deterrent for people with curly hair.
2. My hair actually COULD be thinner
I mean, I get it thinned out at every hair appointment but when I mentioned to my hairdresser that it hadn’t been as curly as it should be, she was like “Heck yes, we gon’ have fun” and thinned it out so much I felt like my head was an actual cloud.
3. There are different ways to wash your hair to encourage curling
One of them is to not use a towel to dry your hair because it’s just going to create frizz and static. Instead, you should wet it and either style immediately or use a wide-toothed comb to get rid of tangles before styling. No brushes allowed.
4. Diffusers are a must when blow-drying
It might take longer but using a diffuser on low to medium heat while blow-drying your hair will result in way less frizz.
5. Technique is key
When applying product, mime pulling your hair into a ponytail, moving product from the hair at the base of your neck towards the ends. It takes a long time for natural oils and goodness to move from your roots to the ends of your hair so avoid applying products right at the roots – they already have the nutrients they need.
With those things in mind, I started trialling as many products as I could get my hands on. I’m more of an air-dry human so I skipped right over the blow-drying step and tested all the products when I was fresh out of the shower to see how everything could work with as little maintenance as possible.
Everyone was RAVING about sea salt spray and how it gives you curls straight from heaven above. I think this might only be true if you have naturally straight hair because it did absolutely nada to enhance my natural curls. They were actually less formed than if I had gone without product altogether. The coconut fragrance smells really darn good, though, and I’m almost tempted to use the rest of the bottle as an air-freshener or something.
This comes in a teeny tiny bottle and I felt like a couple of uses would finish it off. I practiced restraint, though. In the end, it really didn’t do much – maybe I should’ve been using more or maybe the formula is just too light for what I need.
By the time my hair had dried, I looked exactly as I would if I hadn’t used any product at all: I had loose, unformed curls with a bit of frizz. Not a hideous result but definitely not as luxe and refined as I would have liked.
There seems to be a bit of a conflict about whether or not gel is actually good for curly hair. Some say yes, some scream no but I was determined to try it for myself. This one smells of men’s cologne, which was weird but also nice? Just go with it. On a positive note, it gave me some pretty neat curls. The negatives? It took a while to look dry – it technically WAS dry but people kept asking me if my hair was wet for four or five hours.
This was my OG product and these days it gives me mostly OK curls but it’s nothing amazing for my hair (*sobs*). The great thing about this mousse, though, is that it lasts for aaaaages and you really don’t need to use a huge amount for coverage.
This is the product my hairdresser always uses on me after we’re finished. I feel like I need to have a longer test run to be sure of the results on a day-to-day basis. Can I trust how majestic my hair looks when a professional has just finished with it?
This actually gave me the most incredible curls of the lot but it has the downside of making my hair feel quite gross. After an hour, it feels like my hair has increased in volume 120 per cent. After two hours, my hair starts to feel thick, clumpy and even greasy – pretty much as though I haven’t washed it in about seven years. Can I deal with that for beauty? Maybe. Maybe I can. Unclear.
I didn’t actually know that this was for coloured hair when I picked it up but it’s now one of my favourite products. It gives me nice curls with minimal frizz. It’s a serum and treatment in one and the two products don’t combine until the last second, like some kind of awesome haircare Priori Incantatem. The only downside is that a lot of space is taken up by the serum’s separate packaging inside the tube. So while it seems like there’s an abundance of product it actually disappears quite quickly.
This looks like WITCHCRAFT. So much swirliness in a bottle. This is my second favourite product for curly results (without the gross heavy feeling from the Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream) but it wins out because of longevity. I used it for a week straight and barely went through a quarter of the bottle, which seems like a great start, especially considering how small it is!