CQA Interview: Emily

cqa-emilyCurly Q&A: What was the hardest thing about having curly hair when you were young? Any funny or meaningful memories?
Emily: I’d say the hardest thing about having curly hair when you are young is accepting its beauty and rarity. When you are young, you’re more absorbed by being accepted, so you try to look like every other Tom, Dick and Harry. Curly hair is like a relationship — you need know how to work it so that it looks good and maintains its health. When you are younger you are less aware of how to style it, as this comes with time and experience.

The funniest memory was in high school when people tried to stick things in my curls – having big hair back then was like being an extraterrestrial.

CQA: Have you ever felt that having curly hair was a hindrance, either socially or professionally?
E: I like my hair big and frizzy! In today’s finely groomed society, there are times when you think, “Why can’t I look like I’ve walked out of the Golden Globes, rather than a Crufts dog show?” Then you soon realize that these people are all following the media’s dictatorship. At the end of the day, these people are all wearing the same pair of dentures, sporting Brazilian blow outs, skyscraper heels, and Victoria Beckham couture (if they are lucky). There’s not much more to it — which brings me back to my point above about being different.

I believe that you can tell a lot about a person’s personality through the way they style their hair! Boring is out.

CQA: What products do you use?
E: I try to take the best care of my hair as possible in the time I have – which is not a great deal. I recently discovered a fantastic hair balm – Aesop: Violet Leaf Hair Balm! It’s great for the days that your hair needs extra hydration.

lentmud2cCQA: I know that you’ve had curly hair extensions; did you like them?
E: My experience wasn’t great. I bought two more packs of real hair than I should have, and it was weaved into my real hair. It was unmanageable and impossible to tame — it was like brushing out a horse’s mane. I would recommend investing the time to grow your real hair out.

CQA: Do you have any tips or suggestions for someone who is considering curly hair extensions?
E: Be clued up on where you go to get them, what kind of extensions you will be getting, the process, and the type and amount of hair being used.

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There are so many things that I want to say on a regular basis, and not everything is worthy of a full blog post. In light of that, Curly Q&A has entered the 21st century and joined Facebook! Please like my page and keep up on everything new that I and my curly friends have tried, seen, smelled, used, learned, visited; all in relation to wonderful curly hair. I’m a busy bee living in the greatest city in the world and I travel a lot and get to meet all kinds of people, so there’s always something new to share. Go ahead, give us a like, you won’t be disappointed!

LOL – and Happy Tuesday!

Here is some comic relief to make your Tuesday afternoon a little bit rosier! Enjoy.

Haven’t you ever wished for a mini tornado in a cup that could create smooth, soft curls for you? Look no further!

Hair-Curl31 Problems that only women with curly hair (and those who love us) can understand!

lol

Product Update: Curl Creme

frizz-cremeThis past weekend I had the pleasure of partaking in a new hair maintenance product thanks to Sephora samples that were sent to me along with my most recent perfume purchase. (They sent me like, 8 amazing samples, btw. The best two were birthday gifts, but the others were just included in my purchase.) Now, if you’ve been reading my blog, you probably know that, for me, the basics have always been rich conditioner and a hearty gel. I’ve most definitely learned that mousse is not a friend of mine (leaves hair frizzy and sticky), and creams have always left my hair feeling overdone and clumpy.

I decided to try this curl creme sample because I was going for a post-oil-treatment, post-chlorine-and-sun-abuse lazy Sunday afternoon look. I figured it would just give me some nice shine and maybe eventually I’d have to put my hair up when it got insanely frizzy. Friends, I couldn’t bring myself to put it up, even later when I’d gone for a long sweaty bike ride! I don’t know the last time my hair has looked that good, seriously. It was definitely post-treatment too, which made it feel less product-y, but it was above and beyond the norm. I highly recommend it.

Below is how I used: Living Proof Nourishing Styling Cream

  1. Aprés-swim, I used some Devachan No-Poo to rid my hair of chlorine without drying it out even further with a detergent-heavy shampoo.
  2. I saturated my wrung-dry hair with MoroccanOil Restorative Hair Mask, and rubbed it into my scalp. Note: I alternate my treatments so that my hair doesn’t get too used to any one thing. The most effective is the homemade oil treatment, but it’s best to switch it up now and then for maximum benefit. Heavy oils are less needed in the summer months.
  3. I covered my hair with the usual treatment cap, tied it on with a bandana over the top, and went to sleep.
  4. The next morning I concocted the 4 tbsp. conditioner/4 tbsp. lemon juice mixture and poured that over my hair, concentrating on working it into my scalp, distributing it through my hair, and then thoroughly rinsing it all out. You don’t want any lemon juice left in your hair. I used my Aussie Moist conditioner for the cleansing mixture since it’s a decent and inexpensive conditioner that won’t be sitting on your hair for too long anyway.
  5. After rinsing, I applied one more slap of one of my new favorite conditioners, Avalon Organics Conditioner Volumizing Rosemary. It smells like I’m in a spa and works really well in rotation with my other two favorites: Creme of Nature Argan Oil Intensive Conditioning Treatment and Devachan’s One Condition. Again, you don’t want to use the same exact products every day. Rotating products, while keeping one styling product and one conditioner as your staples, keeps hair fresh and moisturized. I always apply conditioner to the middle and ends of my hair while my head is upside down in the shower, and then rinse it out about half way. Wring hair dry with your hands.
  6. I normally add in my base gel at this point, but instead I got out of the shower, toweled off, and raked Living Proof’s creme through my hair in a very haphazard way. Some of you may have noticed before, this is often the beginning of great hair days — not caring! Curly hair definitely has a sense of humor.

Without further fiddling, I let it dry throughout the day, and I didn’t even use clips at the roots for vertical body. It created the most beautiful curls on the hottest and most humid day that I’ve ever experienced in NYC. Zero frizz, my friends. This after a sweaty bike ride, a night sleeping on it, and a spin class the next day. Still going strong and still smelling amazing. This one is worth a try!

Sleeping Beauty

As we all know, a perfectly coiffed mane straight out of the shower doesn’t usually look as shiny and frizz-free on day two. I’ve already mentioned the wonders of reactivating your styling products by lightly running (or spritzing) some water through your hair in the morning, but still, a lot of factors go into whether this is an acceptable way to revitalize your ‘do from the day (or two) before. Here are the best ways I’ve found to make your hair last a day (or three) without a wash, and still look reasonably presentable.

1) First is managing expectations. Your hair will not be as perfectly corkscrewed and orderly as it was on day one, but that’s ok. We all know by now that if your hair is relatively healthy, it will look great even with a little more bounce and body. Most of us lose body after the first wash, I know I do, so there are ways to fluff it up. On humid days, it will look a bit messier when you wake up. It’s ok, embrace it. You have curly hair!

2) By now you probably know how much gel and conditioner to put into your hair. If you find that it seems extra greasy or oily or just kind of stringy on day two when you awaken, try using less. I find that the less product I use initially, the less perfect my hair will look right after showering. Day two, however, it looks healthy and free, and not as weighed-down by product.

Betcha didn't think you'd be using this guy again, did you?

3) When you go to sleep, take a soft, but tight enough, scrunchy. Turn your head upside down and pile your hair on top of your head, and wrap the scrunchy around once. If your hair is really thin or short, you may need to wrap the scrunchy twice, which is fine. Another option is to cut off the end of a sleeve from a shirt you’re throwing out or don’t care about (and that still has some elasticity left) and use that as a scrunchy. You can wrap that as many times as you want. The point of a soft material is that there is nothing to grab and pull out individual hairs, and the width of the band matches your curl patterns better than a thin, harsh elastic. The idea of piling your hair on your head is that the canopy, or top layer of your hair, ends up being cradled in the middle and it receives less friction. Also, the hair will have more of a north-south, rather than just southerly, direction when you wake up the next morning (read: less droopage).

4) Use silk or satin pillow cases. I can’t stress this one enough. When I sleep on anything other than a silk or satin pillow case, my hair looks twice or three times as bad the next morning. They are sweatier, but that’s the sacrifice we must make. Another option is to try a satin sleeping cap, but if you have a significant other that you sleep with every night and aren’t 80 years old, I wouldn’t recommend it. Either way, still pile your hair up with the scrunchy.

5) When you wake up the next morning your hair may look fabulous as is, or it may be too frizzy and disheveled. If the latter, wet with your fingers, pulling water lightly through your hair in a downward direction. Curl a few sections that have gotten out of whack by just twisting it with your fingers. The less contact the better. Avoid adding more gel or product, every time I’ve done this I’ve regretted it. Usually the rule of thumb is, if you find you need more product, it’s time for a wash and re-set.

6) For longer-haireds, I find it preferable to just lay on the pillow and pull my hair up over my head when I’m going to sleep. I learned this trick when I straightened my hair more in the past, and it does wonders then, too. Using elastics with straight hair causes the dreaded dent, but just piling it up over your head behind the pillow is great. The problem is, every time I toss and turn I have to make sure my hair is staying up! As soon as it comes down to my shoulders it gets completely knotted, sweaty, and ratty. Another option, if you don’t mind a slightly different style the next day, is to braid it. Loose braids aren’t harmful and are very effective at keeping hair relatively neat. You’ll lose your curls, but when you wet your hair the next morning it may take a pretty cool shape. Also, sleeping with a braid feels sort of medieval, and that’s rad.

Note: If your hair is shorter, the elastic may slip off easily. Try gently fastening it in place with those mini claw clips. If you can’t tell, I use these for almost everything, including putting my hair up during the day. Do not use bobby pins. When you use bobby pins, expect that you’ll completely frizz out any hair that crosses their paths when you pull them out. Bobby pins do have their place, don’t get me wrong, but only with a ‘do where you know you’ll be washing your hair the next day.