Articles By Megan Dorcey


There was a time that the very mention of oils in hair products was considered a negative, but an oil boom has transformed the category, with curlies everywhere clamoring for the latest and greatest in oils for their locks.

“Traditionally, hair oils weren’t considered desirable because they added weight and tackiness," recalled John Davis, co-founder and CEO of AG Hair Cosmetics. “Had you asked me two years ago, I would have told you that all of our products were oil free. People see oils differently now.”

Oils themselves aren’t new. For centuries, women around the world have used botanical oils for their hair, giving it a healthy sheen and appealing fragrance.

“Botanicals have been around for a long time,” says Dr. Ali Syed, president of Avlon Industries and master chemist for Syntonics formulations.

Fact is, curly-haired women everywhere are now asking for more ways to calm their frizz while ensuring health and shine, and the product companies are answering the call with a plethora of oils to choose from.

Consumers Change the Industry

AG Hair Cosmetics will launch The Oil this month, an argan-infused product. The new product is designed to smooth and hydrate your hair without weighing it down. The Oil is part of a boom in professional hair-care botanical oil-based products that have hit the market. It is one of the hottest, most buzzed about categories in the natural industry.

Argania spinosa kernel oil - argan oil – has been the superstar of oils, with companies such as Moroccan Oil , Argadir, Amika and DermOrganic creating entire lines based on the oil.

Argan oil is produced form the kernals of the argan tree, which is indigenous to southwestern Morocco. The oil softens thick, coarse and unruly hair, bringing shine to lifeless dull hair and, even, to skin.

CurlChemist Oil Breakdown

Intensive Oil Treatment

Josie Maran has a full line of oil products including a bronzing argon oil for the body that boasts the ability to leave the skin with a healthy, moisturized glow.

Argan oils are definitely the most popular in this consumer-driven market, but many companies have been infusing argan seed oil with other popular health-boosting ingredients, such as Pequi and Amla oil. Macadamia Natural Oil, which combines macadamia and argan seed oils.

Michael Cain, the Macadamia Natural Oil’s education manager, says, “With the matching of those two oils, the performance of the product is unparalleled as far as the absorbency and as far as the great benefits you get from it.”

Vitamin E provides natural UV protection, which is especially beneficial for color-treated hair, but works on all hair types. According to Cain, the combination also “gives your hair elasticity which prevents breakage and split ends.”

Although some people expect hair oils to leave a greasy residue, Cain says these oils can actually have the opposite effect, even with daily use.

“A lot of people that have finer hair will typically have an oilier scalp,” he explains. “This helps even out the porosity in your hair.” The oils also speed up blow-drying time, similar to the way oil and water separate.

Certain extracts like aloe vera, which is said to heal minor skin injuries, can help repair a scalp that’s been damaged by chemical processing when combined with oils.

“If the scalp is on the dry side, most of the time, you have to have a combination of the natural and some of the synthetic materials,” Syed says. “Botanicals have been around for a long time, and as the passions and styles changed, things become sort of cyclical.”

He adds that botanical oils are gaining popularity among health-conscious consumers who have been “pushing the envelope towards natural ingredients in food, personal care, and health.”

Dana Amador, who works in business development at Amika believes hair oils serve a number of functions.

“Not only do [oils] make your hair smell wonderful, but they also protect your hair against the elements,” Amador says. “Oils are a very natural way to not only condition the hair, but to style it and make it look effortlessly perfect.”

Oils can also help to define curls without making the hair look greasy or weighing them down, adds Amador, who happens to have curly hair herself.

One of the pioneers in the recent oil boom is Moroccanoil, which introduced its signature Moroccanoil Treatment three years ago. Driven by the success of the initial products, the company has been introducing new products ever since, says Moroccanoil artistic Director Antonio Corral Calero.

The popularity was especially evident among curly stylists and the stylists who work with them. As a result, the company answered with several curl-specific products containing their argan oil. The popular line now boasts a curl defining mousse, curl control cream, and intense curl cream. Moroccanoil infuses their argan oil with Vitamin F, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E to protect against free-radicals.

“What makes our curl line so unique is that the formulas work on dry and/or wet hair,” says Calero. “Their formulations not only make styling so much easier, but they also decrease frizz, make curls more manageable, and restore moisture back into the hair. We are all about having the hair feel soft and natural, with no sticky residue.”

Now, there are a number of great oils available, including Mizani Supreme Oil, Oscar Blandi’s oil product containing Jasmine oil and Alterna’s Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil, which are said to promote healthy hair while delivering shine.


Top Carrier Oils and Their Benefits

  • Argan Oil – Argan oil hydrates the hair, penetrating into the hair shaft and enhancing elasticity of hair. It is especially good for uncontrollable and unmanageable hair, restoring the and repairing damage.
  • Abyssinian Oil – This natural vegetable oil contains a high percentage of unsaturated C22 fatty acids. is proven to produce a natural radiant luster to the hair and it will glide onto the surface forming a light continuous lipid layer. Those qualities provide lubricity to help detangle the hair and lock in essential moisture.
  • Amla OilAmla oil is considered one of the world's oldest natural hair conditioners. It stimulates hair growth and pigmentation. It prevents premature graying of hair, dandruff, increases the strength of hair follicles.
  • Olive Oil – Olive oil strengthens and nourishes your hair as well as adds loads of shine and smoothes the cuticles. Great for fizzy hair! Just a note: You might want to use a conditioner after an hot olive oil hair treatment as I have found hair still tangles.
  • Macadamia Nut Oil – Rare and unique composition with an incredible compatibility to the bodies’ own natural oils, allowing for extraordinary absorption and rapid penetration into hair and skin. 
Incredibly rich concentration of essential fatty acids, natural antioxidants and vitamins penetrate, smooth and coat hair shaft, improving elasticity and strength, leaving hair deeply nourished and revitalized.
  • Coconut Oil – is one of the oil which helps in the lubrication of the hair. It softens the hair and conditions the scalp. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair. It is very useful for damaged hair due to its ability to strengthen it. Also said to be a wonderful oil for dandruff.
  • Rosemary Herbal Oil – is very useful for the unwanted and flaky dandruff problems. Rosemary oil helps in stimulating follicles, as a result of which, hair grow longer and stronger.
  • Kendi Oil – This is a robust source of multiple essential fatty acids (Omega 3, 6 & 9) that repair and maintain your hair’s natural lipid layer while anti-oxidant powerhouse Tocopherol fights free radicals protecting hair from future damage.
  • Castor Oil – Rich in ricinoleic acid (triglyceride of fatty acid), castor oil can be used to treat skin conditions such as fungal infections. It nourish hair and prevent the scalp from drying by retaining moisture Castor oil added to hair care products helps to seal moisture, soften, and thicken hair.
  • Vitamin E Oil – Vitamin E is a well-known antioxidant and when added to homemade products, helps extend their shelf life. Vitamin E acts as a rejuvenator and protection for scalp and skin.
  • Avocado Oil – Perfect for dry hair, avocado oil is full of vitamins your hair needs like vitamins A, E, D and potassium. This added to other carrier oils makes a perfect deep treatment.
  • Hemp Seed Oil – Brings gloss and manageability to hair as well as relief from dry scalp or hair damage caused by blow-dryer heat, chemical perms, coloring or sunlight. Loaded with moisturizing and replenishing essential fatty acids.

Some of the Hottest New Oil Products:

Find Your Perfect Oil

CurlMart has a constantly expanding array of hair oils, along with reviews to help you find which one suits you best.

Final Thoughts

Read all of this quarter's Texture! articles. 


The Curltastrophe contest sponsored by Pantene asked all of you to share that embarrassing moment in your life when you may not have been so "in-control" of your gorgeous curls. In the NaturallyCurly offices, we share embarrassing hair moments almost daily, so it got us thinking: why not give our audience a hypothetical couch to unload their bad hair day baggage and get the opportunity to win big?

We chose three winners, based on their stories that we found either inspirational, hilarious, or a good combination of both. Congratulations to our grand prize winners, Victoria P, Felicia S, and Kristin W. They'll all receive a FLIP video camera as well as a year's supply of Pantene products for their curly hair!

We also asked a few of our video bloggers to let us know what they thought of the new Curly Hair Series from Pantene, and we put together this great mash-up of some of our favorite videos. Enjoy!

madu salon insert

Buzz at the front desk

As most of you already know, we love more than anything else to attend naturally curly hair events. There is nothing more exciting than being in a room packed with curly heads of all textures, talking and connecting with one another, learning more about themselves and the journey that they are on with their hair.

So it shouldn't be a surprise that when Cassadie Blackwell of natural hair blog invited me out to San Francisco to attend her latest and greatest event, I booked a ticket to the City By The Bay without hesitation.

naturals night out

Hair model Pal gets a last-minute trim by Marie while Jess McGuinty looks on.

The event was held at Madusalon, a chic oasis for curls of all type and texture, and the space quickly filled up with curly girls sipping champagne, noshing on nibbles and mingling with new friends.  Not only did Jess McGuinty of Jessicurl sponsor the event, she actually did a styling demo (on yours truly) to show onlookers just how to use her product line. There were hair models of all types on display —coils, locs, frizz-prone ringlets and loose waves—to illustrate how diverse the curly product line really is.

The event was a welcome retreat to a chilly Saturday night with curlies mingling, learning new techniques and shopping the beautiful jewelry available by Stella & Dot stylist Savona Jenkins.

natural hair event

Gorgeous stylist Isabel styling some curls.

We are so grateful to Natural Selection's Cassadie Blackwell for letting us be part of the event and showing us around her city for the weekend, and we can't wait to see what this rising natural hair blogger has in store for us and the rest of the texture-tressed world!

naturals night out

Cassadie Blackwell hosted the event at Madusalon; Megan Dorcey joined in the fun.

I can honestly say that not one single time in my life have I had the desire to pack only a carry-on suitcase when traveling.  Instead, I opt for the larger-than-life mondo bag that usually ends up weighing well over the regulation 50 pounds.  Let me tell you, its not fun or cute to be pulling things out of your suitcase and cramming in your purse at the check-in counter, because 99% of the time you are going to show off some undies to the disgruntled line behind you.

Last month, I took a trip to Atlanta for the World Natural Hair Show and my travel partner strolls in with the smallest of small suitcases.  After grilling her on what on earth she was thinking, I find out that not only does she normally just carry-on, but last year she did an eight city tour with only this minuscule excuse for a piece of luggage.  This is how I decided to bite the bullet.  I normally carry with me on each trip no less than 12 pounds in beauty products alone.  On top of that, I pack clothing like there may be an apocalyptic crisis while I'm traveling; you can never be over-prepared, right? My challenge to myself for my trip to San Francisco this weekend was to fit everything in my measly carry-on.

This challenge is multi-faceted, so please let me explain how serious it really is.  First, I usually forget something super-important when traveling, so this adds to the anxiety.  Second, I live in Austin which is currently a very comfortable (for me) temperature of 90 degrees.  Word on the street is that San Francisco is a bit chillier in the summer, which means there could be a 30 degree difference.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to pack light when you are thinking in layers?  Finally, I am a beauty product/hair product junkie; working for NaturallyCurly means that I have a sick abundance of beauty and hair products that go where I go…no matter what.

So packing my clothes was a little tricky but I thought back to all of my "training" of reading Glamour magazine where they show you one dress and five ways to wear it.  I basically had to do this for everything I packed.  Everything had to be versatile and layer-friendly.  Don't get me wrong, there are some random items that I don't remember throwing in, but maybe that was the old packer in me showing itself.  I took two pairs of shoes plus the sandals that I'm wearing.  Luckily, I am not a fan of high-heels, and flats are way easier to pack.

Now onto the important part: beauty products.  This limited space obviously meant that my giant expandable, eyeshadow, lip gloss, blush, eye liner, swiss army knife, life preserver of a Sephora kit would have to stay at home.  I caught myself looking wistfully at this trusty side-kick while I was sorting through my makeup.  This was probably the hardest part of the process.  But, I was determined to finish the challenge (I thought multiple times about ditching the whole thing at the last minute).  After much editing, I took the essentials: moisturizer, eye drops (always a life-saver after a long night), tinted moisturizer, mascara, neutral shadow, and liner.  Luckily, I will be staying with a girlfriend of mine, so anything I may need in the makeup department, she's got me covered.

Like I said, I am at times overwhelmed with how many hair products I have in my arsenal, so it makes packing a bit tricky.  Also, I have never been to the Bay Area and have no idea what the weather is like or what it will do to my curls!  I didn't mention that I am a lazy traveler, which means I will probably never buy the plastic TSA regulated bottles to put products in, so I actively seek out samples in almost everything just for traveling.  I got my mits on some Ouidad Climate Control samples last week and you better believe that they are coming on this trip with me.  My hostess has a blow dryer, and I have my Hand Dry Hair Gloves just in case the dryer situation doesn't work out.

Ultimately, I learned that you can pack smart if you try.  Being a girl means getting to overpack and be obsessed with beauty products, but its a completely liberating feeling to know that all you need in life fits into this tiny square roller-bag.  I still enjoy bringing 15 different outfit choices for a two-night stay somewhere, but now I know I don't have to!

Hair by That Damn Salon

Now this is a damn gorgeous 'do!

We have heard plenty about The Damn Salon lately, and when Cassidy Blackwell, natural hair blogger and all around amazing human being, invited us to tag along for her trim, we weren't about to pass up the chance to sneak a peek at one of the hotest, invite-only, natural hair salons in Atlanta.

The term "looks can be deceiving" was definitely on our mind during the visit. When pulling up to the salon, we were instantly confused by the fact we were in a residential area. We followed our directions and found a posh salon space tucked into a beautiful home outside of Atlanta. We instantly realized that "by invitation only" also means that the salon is invisible to the average passerby. To our trained eyes, we knew there had to be something amazing lurking under the facade of this two-story subdivision home.

We were greeted by Fatima, who walked us through the different twist styles and explained where the salon who boasts a killer motto, "Who the hell said natural hair had to be boring?" originated from. The Damn Salon hails from Montreal, and has spread its wings across several cities in the US over 15 years including Atlanta and Miami. They only specialize in natural hair, and you won't find these ladies relaxing one single client.

While Cassidy was getting her hair trimmed, we were treated to a delicious lunch and a relaxing glass of white wine. The private setting is completely welcome after being at a natural hair show all weekend, giving our senses a few moments to regroup!

Damn Salon hair style

Afro fusion for a more natural look.

Not only can you get your natural hair transformed into something more runway couture, you can also shop The Damn Closet, The Damn Product, or get your damn picture taken in their beautiful photography studio. We also developed a life crush on Mushiya, the owner and the brains behind the operation. Not content to own one of the top natural hair salons in Atlanta, she'll also be opening a Charlotte, N.C., location very soon.

If you're anything like us, you appreciate the need for a little privacy. The Damn Salon does not post an address online, and if you are lucky enough to be given the information for an appointment, consider yourself damn fortunate. We truly felt like we were hidden away in a sort of natural hair haven—not having to worry about people walking in and disturbing your time of rest and relaxation is a welcome treat!

Have you ever wondered how top curl stylist and owner of Curly Hair Solutions and The Curly Hair Institute, Jonathan Torch, transforms frizzy, dry curly hair into bouncy, frizz-free, long, luscious locks?

You can now! On February 23 at 7 p.m. EST, Jonathan Torch goes lives on UStream, demonstrating his latest innovative product, Extenzz.



Extenzz is the ultimate non-chemical, curl-styling relaxer. When using the correct combing techniques, Extenzz allows you to manipulate your hair into looser, well-defined, frizz-free curls without the look or feel of heavy oils.

How to Tune In To the Live Stream

Step One

There are 3 ways to catch all the curly hair action. You can either go to:
a) Curly Hair Solutions UStream page
b) Curly Hair Solutions Facebook Fan Page
c) Curly Hair Solutions Twitter Page

Step Two

If you would like to ask Jonathan Torch a question, all you need to do is log in to your Twitter or Facebook accounts and get connected with Curly Hair Solutions Twitter and Facebook fan pages.

Jonathan Torch can’t wait to talk with you! So tune in on Feb 23 at 7 pm EST for a live demonstration and question-and-answer period with the curl master himself, Jonathan Torch.

The holidays are finally here, and we want to make sure that once you have your halls decked, you spend a little time on yourself! Here are a few of our favorite sparkly accessories to make you shine this winter.

Forever 21 Ring

1. Sparkly Ring

Find this ornament at Forever 21

Sephora Headband

2. Dazzling Headband

Don this glistening headband from Sephora


3. Glistening Belt

Cinch this belt from J. Crew

Express Earrings

4. Ornamental Earrings

Score these earrings at Express

The Loft Bracelet

5. Bauble Bracelet

Find this bracelet at Ann Taylor Loft

Justin Timberlake

William Rast crew at an '09 runway show.

He's bringing sexy back, to Target, that is. Justin Timberlake's (along with friend Trace Ayala) denim- and leather-themed clothing line, William Rast, will be the next up as a featured designer for Target stores. We're used to seeing these designers hit the stores with female clothes, accessories and handbags, but we will finally see our men decked out in something a little edgier. The line will consist of men's, women's and outerwear pieces which will be available for the month of December. Just when we thought the denim and leather trend couldn't get any hotter.

Gloria Vanderbilt has been known for a lot of things over the years; actress, designer, artist, heiress, mother to incredibly handsome silver fox, Anderson Cooper. Last week, Vanderbilt sat down at a party in the Ralph Lauren Women's Boutique, filled to the gills with celebrities of all shapes and sizes to sign copies of her new book, "The World of Gloria Vanderbilt". This book, which was written by Wendy Goodman, journeyed through the many wonderfully decorated homes of Vanderbilt. How can you not admire such a fierce woman, who has seemingly done it all throughout the decades? This read is sure to inspire some redesigning in your own nest.

Gloria Vanderbilt

Gloria Vanderbilt

Book Cover

The cover of the book, showcasing a portrait of Vanderbilt.

janice hurly trailor

Image Expert Janice Hurley Trailor

Janice Hurley-Trailor, an image expert who has worked with everyone from new moms to Fortune 500 companies, shows you how to shine this holiday season.


The holidays are right around the corner. Celebrate this year by wowing them at the holiday party and looking your best throughout the holiday season. Janice Hurley-Trailor, a top image consultant who has helped hundreds of women transform their images and their lives, explains how.


Layered necklace from Nordstrom

Try on the holiday outfit you think you want to wear and make sure it truly flatters and fits the occasion. A quick update would be to add an interesting pair of new shoes or update your jewelry with either a strong statement piece or—the new rage this season—layering multiple necklaces.

fringed scarf

Elizabeth Gillett Scarf available on Bluefly.

Buy a ruffled or fringed scarf to wear with your winter coat so that you look and feel festive.

candies boots

These Candies boots found at Kohl's are perfect!

Treat yourself to those full-length boots and wear them with matching tights to update last year's little black dress.


Choose a pair of curve-slimming tights like SPANX.

Choose lacy, patterned black hose to update any holiday dress or skirt from last year.


Get the doe eyes you've always dreamed of!

Have a pair of long and dramatic false eyelashes attached at your local spa. They will last about three weeks and will make the holidays fun and more glamorous.

fall fashion gold dress

This Eliza J Jacquard Sheath Dress is a fraction of the price at Nordstrom Rack.

Go discount shopping now for something fun for the holidays. Nordstrom Rack has a wonderful designer section that carries clothes that were just recently on their department-store floor. Treat yourself before you need the dress, so you aren't rushed to make a choice.

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