Have you ever walked into a salon that was completely full of curly haired women, run by stylists who are experts in cutting and coloring curls? It's a transformative experience that every curly girl should have at least once in their life (but preferably every few months!). I experienced this on The Curl Revolution Book Tour, when we stopped in San Francisco's MaduSalon. Madu is a mecca for curlies all over California, and chatting with their stylists it's easy to see why.
In one conversation, Madu colorist Devon Ramirez was sharing how she likes to use deep conditioner as a styler, and I had to take notes! Our readers tend to be nonconformists, using products and kitchen items in new and innovative ways, never limiting themselves to the instructions on the label, so I asked Devon if she'd be willing to share her favorite ways to mix products. Personally, I thought it was unexpected to use a conditioner as a styler, but I'd also love to hear if you've been trying this. Here are Devon's tried and true cocktails for curly, coily and wavy hair.
For Type 2 Wavy Hair
Use leave-in conditioner as a styler
For looser wavy hair I️ really love DevaCurl B'Leave-in because it's really lightweight but it gives the waves an extra boost and lots of volume.
Apply product with water for definition
When applying product to curls, it's important to make sure the hair is still very, very wet. This way the products will mix with the water and absorb into the hair. This keeps the moisture and hold without weighing the hair down. At Madu we'll often sprinkle a little extra water when working the product through to keep the hair moist. Marie [founder of MaduSalon] calls it "baptizing the curls."
Refresh by applying product to hands
For refreshing both waves and curls I️ really love Set it Free. Although I️ like to spray it in my hand and scrunch it into the curls. It's kind of thick and doesn't always spray well.
For Type 3 Curly Hair
Use deep conditioner as a styler
For type 3 curls I️ really love using the Heaven in Hair as a styler. It's really moisturizing and has a great amount of hold on its own.
Cocktail DC with gel to fight frizz
If you want extra hold then I️ add Ultra Defining Gel.
For Type 4 Coily Hair
Cocktail gel with pomade
For type 4 coily hair, my coworker Shannon came up with the best combo that we all use now. Miss Jessie's Jelly Soft Curls with a small amount of Beautiful Mess. You mix the 2 in your hands, apply all over and detangle with your hands. The hold of the 2 helps to keeps the curls slightly elongated so you and really see the length of the coils.
For extra moisture
In order to keep curls moisturized, you want to make sure you incorporate a deep conditioner into your routine, at least twice a month. Sulfate free shampoos are a must, sulfates can over strip the hair moisture. Also, stay away from oils and most serums. Oil molecules are actually too big to actually penetrate the hair shaft and end up laying as a layer of build up on the hair while repelling actually moisture. If you do choose to use a serum, make sure it's water soluble and free of silicones.
Pretty much all of these product combos can be used for a wash and go. You can air dry, hood dry or diffuse. Whichever is more convenient. At Madu we try not to recommend anything that would require you to need a hood dryer because that's obviously unrealistic.
Now I'd love to hear from you NaturallyCurly World: How do you cocktail your products to suit your needs? Which mixes work best for you?
You can follow Devon at @hairbydev, and you can find her, along with a whole team of curl experts, at MaduSalon.