Paula Begoun's Recent Hair Advice for Curlies...
Aaah! I just got this in my inbox. I know she loves 'cones, but has she ever TALKED to someone who has curly hair?? John Freida?? I normally love Paula, but oh my goodness...
I have naturally curly and frizzy hair. I am confused with all the anti-frizz products sold out there. What is the difference between silicone hair serum and straightening lotion/balm/gel? Do we need both? Assuming that a hair dryer is used to dry the hair and a ceramic flat iron is used to straighten the hair, does one with frizzy hair need a complete set of straightening products (from anti-frizz shampoo to anti-frizz styling spray, five or six steps altogether) to achieve and maintain healthy, straight hair? I don't want to have too much product deposited on my hair. What would be the simplest and yet most efficient way of achieving manageable straight hair (that is not limp, fried, and lifeless) but still healthy-looking?
Eny, via e-mail
Hair-care products designed to help you straighten, smooth, and prevent frizz are everywhere, but the fact is you don't need a straight-hair, curly hair, or frizz-free hair routine to get great results. Actually, you don't need to focus solely on anti-frizz shampoos and conditioners, because they rarely differ from other shampoos and conditioners designed for other hair types, such as dry or color-treated (and when they do differ you are not going to see a difference in the results you get). It's more of a marketing angle than anything else. In the long run, the most important aspect of your hair care routine is the styling tools you use. There are no products that can make hair smooth or put curls in place neatly all by themselves. You certainly have never seen a hair stylist put some shampoo, conditioner, and styling products in someone's hair and then send them on their way.
None of this means that there aren't some good shampoos and conditioners available to help make dry, frizzy hair smoother. Dove, Pantene, L'Oreal, and Garnier Fructis have brilliant (I mean really, really excellent) inexpensive options, as does John Frieda (which is a bit pricier but still is more reasonable than salon products). You may need to experiment to find which products work best for you--and they needn't be from the same brand.
A silicone hair serum is a concentrated product that is almost always non-aqueous and composed primarily of a silicone, such as cyclomethicone, dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane or phenyl trimethicone. These silicones are crucial for making hair look and feel healthy. In fact, they are so important that almost 85% of all hair care products contain them. For fine or thin hair silicone serums are best used sparingly and for thick, coarse hair you can be a bit more generous. You can apply these on damp hair before heat styling and/or after styling to add more shine and reinforce a smooth, sleek style. If you are using a flat iron always keep in mind that hair must be completely dry (bone dry) before you use it. If hair is even slightly damp this can cause significant damage resulting in hair breakage and split ends (the only exception to this is if you are using one of the specialty flat irons designed to be used on damp hair). You can also use a straightening balm, gel, or lotion after the silicone serum to help hold hair in place. Combining them makes for smoother results and ensures greater heat protection than using either alone. Most women with curly, frizzy hair will find both products are needed to create and maintain a stick-straight hairstyle. You may also want to try applying the straightening balm, gel, or lotion first, and follow with a couple drops of silicone serum prior to heat styling. Experiment to see which order of application works best for you.
Just to reinforce the basics, be careful to use the silicone serum sparingly and not apply directly to roots, as this can make hair limp and create a greasy appearance. You may want to dispense a couple pumps of silicone serum in the palm of your hand, then mix with your straightening balm or lotion. The blend can be distributed through hair, beginning in the middle of hair's length, then working down toward the hair tips, then back up toward the roots (but stopping short of them for the reason mentioned earlier). After styling is finished, you can tame minor flyaway strands or frizzies with a dab more of either your straightening balm, lotion, or a teeny bit more of the silicone serum.
2a/b. I love AOHR!