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wash and go

Product Battle: IC vs. Eco

You cannot choose your battlefield; God does that for you, but you can plant a standard where a standard never flew.” ~ Nathalia Crane, The Singing Crow And Other Poems MyCurlyMane_Product_Battle_Tennis_sized

Wash and go’s are the way to go for many of us naturally curly girls. Often this means turning to a fave gel to help capture our curls and waves. The choices vary, but only a few products truly come in swinging and rank towards the top. Curlies, grab your tennis rackets and werk your fiercest ‘fros. It’s time for another Product Battle!

On the left, we have Fantasia IC Gel. This contender is familiar with the battle scene. IC is often compared to the likes of many similar products, but its results are easily remembered. According to the package, IC “delivers the greatest shine on earth and revitalizes and strengthens damaged hair.” IC also has a variation that includes olive oil, sparkle lites (for shimmer), as well as a line for color-treated hair.

On the right, we have Eco Styler Protein Styling Gel aka “black gel” aka “brown gel.” Also a longtime opponent, this gel is known for having a smooth start and a firm finish. Eco comes in a range of rainbow-colored lines geared towards a wide range of hair needs – from color-treated tresses to active, sporty manes. According to its package, Eco is “for all hair types and Eco Styler Krystal Styling Gelused by professionals.” You can also click here to read my review of Eco.

The Rules

Both products will be measured according to My Curly Mane’s criteria. A full point will be given for successful completion of each category. A half point will be given for satisfactory results. The categories are: price, ingredients, scent, application, look, feel, and the wild card—ability to produce second day hair. Final scores can range from zero to 7 (perfect) points.

Let’s get ready to battle!

1. Price

Both products are really affordable! It’s just about as good as it gets. These competitors each deliver a drop volley and backspin their game to earn full points.

IC
Point = 1/Total = 1

Eco
Point = 1 / Total = 1

2. Ingredients

IC and Eco are water based, since this is the first ingredient in both of their listing. In fact, these gels contain similar items, including protein. If you are protein sensitive, stand clear! Let’s move closer to the court and see how these players stack up.

  • Fantasia IC Hair Polisher is “formulated for color treated and chemically damaged hair. It repairs, restores, and resurfaces hair. This polisher seals, smooths, shines and locks in color for semi-permanent and permanent hair color.” This gel is also touted for its aloe vitamins and wheat proteins. The full list of ingredients is: Purified Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Aloe Vera Gel, Dimethicone Copolyol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Polysorbate-20, Benzopehonoe-4, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance.
    This product is free from: silicone, sulfates, and paraben. Updated 8/4/13: This product actually does contain silicone in the form of Dimethicone. Nearly missed this one! Thank you, DrSelina for the catch! Since this is my oversight, I’ll allow IC to maintain its point … for now. ;)

    IC Gel-vs-Eco Styler Gel_Day1

    On left, Fantasia IC Gel. On right, Eco Styler Gel. Both images show 1st day results. IC defines tiny curls. Eco clumps curls for big-haired results.

  • Eco Styler has an olive oil version that “contains 100% Pure Olive Oil for deep down conditioning while maintaining maximum hold.” Most of its formulations “contain UV Protection and help your scalp regulate its natural moisture system.” The full list of ingredients is: Water, Carbomer, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, PVP, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance, Love and Pride (nice).
    This product is free from: silicones, sulfates, and alcohol.

Both products hit hard and deliver when it comes to their ingredients. Deuce!

IC
Point = 1/Total = 2

Eco
Point = 1 / Total = 2

 3. Scent

  • IC has a light, clean fragrance.
  • Eco’s assortment of gels varies in aroma, from yummy grape (Eco Protein) to fresh laundry (Eco Krystal).

Both IC and Eco go easy on the nostrils. No fainting spells from these two! In fact, they’re equally able to hit the “sweet spot.” IC and ECO serve it up and earn a full point.

IC
Point = 1 /Total = 3

IC Gel-vs-Eco Styler Gel_Day2

On left, Fantasia IC Gel. On right, Eco Styler Gel. Both images show 2nd day results. Note the droopy, curly effect of IC compared with the fluffier look of Eco.

Eco
Point = 1 / Total = 3

4. Application

For wash and go results, each product must be applied to damp, freshly washed hair. You can see my 10 steps for a wash and go for details. I rake and smooth each item onto my hair, applying them over Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Leave-in Conditioner and topping them with Vatika oil. They can also be used to slick down your hairline. For their similar skills, IC and Eco keep it neck and neck. They each drop shot and earn a point.

IC
Point = 1 /Total = 4

Eco
Point = 1 / Total = 4

 5. Look

Worried about flakes? No need. IC and Eco are flake free. Both gels also do a great job of defining curls and keeping frizz at bay. However, each delivers a different look.

IC lives up to its promise and makes curls shine. It’s reminiscent of aloe vera gel (AVG)–yet another comparison as mentioned above–but this is because AVG is one of its main ingredients. However, IC differs from AVG by making my curly mane look limp in appearance. My curls have more hang time, which isn’t quite what I’m going for.

Eco comes in formulations with holding strengths that range from 1 to 10 (the strongest hold). It dries crunchier than IC, so you will need to scrunch out the crunch from this gel. This same holding property also captures and clumps together bigger curls. It also creates more lift as each day goes by. By the third day, my curly mane is at its optimal, full effect. We’re talking about big hair, which I love!

Eco takes a deep shot and literally gets the “advantage.”

IC
Point = 0/Total = 4

IC Gel-vs-Eco Styler Gel_Day3

On left, Fantasia IC Gel. On right, Eco Styler Gel. Both images show 3rd day results. Note how much fuller Eco makes my curly mane. It also looks a little bit more defined with Eco.

Eco
Point = 1 / Total = 5

 6. Moisture & Feel

Like AVG, IC immediately softens my hair. This is thanks to (you guessed it!) AVG and glycerin! Eco instantly leaves hair crunchy, but it gets softer once the gel cast is removed (through scrunching). You can also oil your hair to soften the look.

For its uber cushiony-ness, IC aces it. Eco gets a half point.

IC
Point = 1 /Total = 5

Eco
Point = 0.5 / Total = 5.5

7. Wild Card/Tie Breaker: Second day hair

With IC and Eco, my curly mane is able to get second and third day hair! You’ll need to pineapple overnight to preserve the look. At the very least, sleep on a silk/satin pillow case or use a silk/satin cap. Both players take a backhand shot and lob for a point. Match point.Eco.MyCurlyMane_Eco Styler Gel

IC
Point = 1/Total = 6 out of 7

Eco
Point = 1 / Total =6.5 out of 7

And the winner is: I have spent many times going back and forth between the two (picture head continuously moving left and right as I watch the rally), and both products are impressive. After watching how each plays with my hair, it all comes down to the look. I “love” bigger, more defined curls, which Eco delivers. I also know that I can get a softer feel by scrunching out the gel cast and applying oil to Eco. If you oil your hair on the second and third days, you’re pretty much good to go. Game. Set. Match. Eco is the winner!

Product Review: Eco Styler Gels

 We only live once, but once is enough if we do it right. Live your life with class, dignity, and style so that an exclamation, rather than a question mark signifies it” ~  Gary Ryan Blair

Eco Styler Gel

From bottom to top: Eco Styler Styler Protein, Eco Krystal, and Eco Curl and Wave.

At some point in your hair journey, you may embark on an endless quest for the ideal hair product. You will most likely cross a bridge from the land of puddings to a field of hair gels. Even more challenging, this field includes a vast plain called Eco Styler Gel. Have no fear! My Curly Mane is here as your guide.

Eco Styler Gel comes in a variety of rainbow-colored lines geared towards a wide range of hair needs – from color-treated tresses to active, sporty manes. Some variations even contain argan and olive oil, and each gel type has a holding strength that ranges from 1 to 10 (the strongest hold). From my experience and those of my friends, Eco seems to works for different hair types and styles. It can be used for braid/twist-outs, wash-and-go’s, or to “get that hairline laid!” LOL!

If you read my hair story, you’ll know that I first became acquainted with Eco Styler Protein Gel as the “black gel” that saved my life. I used Eco for several years until my foray into straightening addiction. Once I tried to embrace my curls again, Eco didn’t give me the results I desired due to my poor hair health and improper routine for wearing my hair out (as opposed to my former trademark afro pigtails).

With a 32oz jar of Eco Protein still decorating my bathroom cabinet (it’s crowded in there!) and one curlie’s questions about the gel (yes, I’m looking out for ya), I decided to revisit this gel. In fact, I’m comparing three of Eco’s most popular gels:

  • Eco Styler Protein – Although it looks like “black gel” upon initial impressions, this gel is actually dark brown in color and packed with Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein. It has a level 7 hold and comes in two versions—super protein (has a black lid) and regular protein (has a white lid). I’ve always used the regular version, but if your hair is really weak or desperately over moisturized (click here to read my post on moisturizing natural hair), you may want to test out the super protein version.
  • Eco Styler Krystal – This gel is clear in color and has a level 10 hold, the strongest holding level. This version was recommended to me by another curlie who gets incredible results from it … and will be featured on this site soon!
  • Eco Styler Curl and Wave – I snagged this product from the shop because of… its pretty pink color. Yeah, I admit that I’m sometimes a sucker for bells and whistles. The bonus is that this gel is specifically formulated for textured hair.  Uh, huh. There was a method to the madness. It also has a level 8 hold, one notch above my “black gel.”

Price – How much?

No need to wait til pay day or rummage through your clothes’ pockets for extra change. Eco is extremely affordable (relatively speaking). Sizes include:

  • 8 oz for approximately $1.39 – This is a prefect trial size.
  • 16 oz for approximately $2.50 – Once you’ve committed to one of the gel types, you may want to purchase this size.
  • 32 oz for approximately $4 – Okay, now you’ve gone a little haywire like me and decided you need to stock up for winter! This size is perfect if the product works for you and you’re not prone to switching or experimenting with other products. It’s also ideal if you are traveling overseas and can’t find this gel, going away for college, or just dislike frequent shopping trips.

Ingredients –What’s in this stuff?

Hard to believe but Eco’s formulation appears to be quite simple, and it is water-based (1st ingredient in the list).

Ingredients are: Water, Carbomer, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, PVP, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance, Love and Pride (nice). This product is free from:sulfates, silicones, and alcohol.

Take caution if you are:

  • Protein sensitive
  • Need to UV protect your mane (try the Krystal or Curl and Wave versions)
  • Health conscious -According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), there are moderate concerns for allergies and immunotoxicity and low concerns relating this product to cancer. Click here to read more from EWG.

Scent – Run or relish?

Overall, Eco has a light scent, but each product line differs.

  • Protein (black/brown version) – It smells like yummy grape. This is my favorite out of the three.
  • Krystal (clear version) – With this, fresh laundry or soap comes to mind. Ranks #2.
  • Curl and Wave (pink version) – Think of chemically infused strawberry gum … if there is such a thing. This is my least favorite out of the group.

Application – How to work it?

Eco Styler Gel

Top left: Day 1 of using Eco Styler Protein on my curly mane. Top right: Day 2 of using Eco. Note the increased volume. Bottom: Day 3 with Eco.

1st Day

  1. Start with freshly washed hair.
  2. Smooth the leave-in conditioner of choice through your hair. I like to use Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Leave-in Conditioner and concentrate my efforts on my ends. Some curlies skip this process, but my hair dries out easily so I use a leave-in. Plus, it helps to soften the gel.
  3. Start at back of head and smooth gel onto hair in sections. I use the good old fashioned rake and smooth technique. This consists of literally raking the gel through a section of hair and then smoothing it down the shaft. This helps to remove excess product and encourage curl clumping and formation.
  4. Optional: Smooth gel on hairline to enhance overall look.
  5. Do not touch!
  6. You can air dry, but I like to blow dry my hair for predictable results. When doing so, I direct the dryer down my hair shaft and do not shake my hair about. It’s only when my hair is more than half way dry that I begin to slightly separate the hair, so I can dry the roots.
  7. Once nearly dried, I lightly tug on my hair and blast the air at my roots. This is in an effort to stretch my hair/gain some length.
  8. Once fully dried, your hair will look crunchy. If this is your desired look, you’re all done! If you’re going for a softer look, this is when you will need to scrunch out the crunch. Remember to wait until your hair is completely dried. This may be right after blow drying up until 30 minutes afterwards. Literally take clumps of hair and gently scrunch your hair. You’ll note the floating particles of product as the gel cast (crystalize coating) leaves your hair. This is also when I like to separate and fluff my hair.

Guess what. I’ve been skipping oils on the 1st day and had great results, but this may be the result of my oil infused leave-in. As always, you will need to experiment and adjust to suit your hair needs.

To preserve this look, I pineapple my hair overnight, literally piling my hair at the tippidity top of my head like a unicorn. I also sleep on a satin pillow case.

2nd Day

  1. Take down hair. I like to tie my hair back in a scrunchie while I apply my makeup.
  2. Smooth oil over the hair.
  3. To help your hair hang down further and gain some length, briefly blow dry your hair on a warm setting. I also apply the tug and stretch method to gain length.

That’s it. You’re good to go. During this day, your hair will have greater volume = big hair!

To preserve this look, see the steps above.

3rd Day

Repeat the steps used on day 2. Your hair will be even bigger!

This product lasts me for 3 days. Afterwards, my curls are bit frizzy and dull. You can co-wash, as the gel can be easily removed. However, I like to use a moisturizing shampoo and start again with a clean slate. Plus, I’ve noticed that there is a slight build up on my scalp when using this. I think this is the actual product, as I apply it close to the scalp.

Moisture & feel – The goodies?

My Curly Mane with Eco Styler Protein Gel.

All Eco gels are smooth to the touch. If you rub it between your fingers, it feels moisturizing. It does dry slightly tacking on the hands. On my hair, I don’t find it very moisturizing, although the ingredients include glycerin. If you are seeking a more moisturizing product, I recommend aloe vera gel or just layer this over a leave-in.

Also, this gel does not give you a producty feel. However, your hair will still feel slightly crunchy. It is a gel, after all. ;)

Look – Thumbs up or down?

For me, Eco does a great job of defining my hair. It does not flake when paired with my leave-in, although it can react with other brands. This will take some play to get the right combo for you. As mentioned prior, my curly mane is shinier on the first day in its crunchy form. Once scrunched, my curly mane is slightly dull. Try oils to assist with obtaining sheen. If applied properly, Eco also does not make your hair frizzy.

When comparing Eco Protein, Krystal, and Curl and Wave, I find little difference among them. Krystal dries hair very hard, so I place this one in second place. Curl and Wave tends to cause the most shrinkage out of the group, coming in third place. Eco Styler Protein reacts best to my curly mane, providing the best of all needs—length, definition, volume, and 3rd day hair!

With such great results, Eco is shaking up my hair routine. I’ve been using this more often than aloe vera gel. I’ll let you know how it stacks up in the cooler months and against other products. Hmmm … perhaps it just might make for a solid entry into another Hair/Product Battle! Stay tuned!

UPDATED (1-9-13): I’ve been using Eco Krystal more regularly than the Protein version. You can’t go wrong with these gels. Check out how Eco Styler Gel stacks up against Fantasia IC Gel in my latest Hair Battle!

CurlSpotting: Millie

Curlspotting Millie

I spotted this amazing mane from a distance.

It was just another Saturday dedicate to errand running with my significant other (SO), until … we turned a corner while driving in the car, and my eyes caught a bouncing mane. It was spectacular—a pillar of curls proudly resting upon the head of a young woman in a flowy yellow dress. Spotted!

I begged my SO to turn the car around. After a few of his rejections and pleas for me to reflect on my curl addiction, we whipped the car around to track down that curly mane. Was it crazy? Yeah, maybe a little, but I had to find out more about this girl’s hair. I figured I’d ask her, accept her “are you crazy” stares, and keep it moving Susan. The worst she could say was no.

We pulled over. I got out the car and walked over to her, anticipating her side eye. Instead, she turned in my direction and stared at my hair! We smiled at each other, and I went in for the kill.

“Hi, my name is Nay, and I love your curly mane,” I said, making it clear that I was not a psycho stalker.

She introduced herself as Millie, and after complementing each other’s hair, she agreed to share with us her hair story. Our interview went as follows:

 

Nay: Your hair is very pretty. Have you always been al naturale?

Millie: Thank you! No, I permed my hair from when I was 10 up until I was 20 years old.

 

Nay: Why did you decide to go natural?

Millie: A girlfriend decided to do it, so I decided to try it as well. That was in 2010. I realize now that I actually like my curls. Plus, my hair is the longest it’s ever been.

Curlspotting Mille

 

Nay: When you decided to go natural, did you immediately chop it all off, or did you grow out your perm?

Millie: I slowly transitioned for 1 ½ years.

 

Nay: How was that like?

Millie: The in between phase was tough, especially when I had two textures—curly and straight ends—but I wouldn’t relax again. I’ve been fully natural for 3 months now, with no straight ends.

 

Nay (applauding Millie): Do you straighten your hair, or are you a full-on naturalista?

Millie: In the beginning I did straighten my hair, but I rarely do it now.

 

Nay: So aside from genetics, how are you maintaining your mane?

Millie (smiles because I’m probably confirming my madness): I wash my hair every 2-3 days. I shampoo with VO5 and condition with Milk & Silk (never heard of it, but she says she gets it at Sally’s Beauty Supply – Shop SallyBeauty.com for Salon Products). I sometimes leave the conditioner in my hair. I also use Olive oil [the product].

 

Nay: That’s it??

Millie: Yes, and I towel dry. I occasionally diffuse it.

 

Nay (baffled at the simplicity of her routine): Do you have any tips for girls who are newly natural and just learning about their curly manes?

Millie: They should know that it’s [transitioning] a process, and you have to commit to it. Once you’re all natural, just let your hair do its own thing. Also, if you use lot of conditioner in the shower while combing, it’ll help to detangle your hair.

Sometimes less is actually more.

 

Aloe Vera Gel, The Scorching Summer Styler For Natural Hair

Aloe Vera Gel on Natural Hair

My curly mane’s popping curls thanks to aloe vera gel.

With the recent bout of extreme heat and high humidity, I’ve found that my usual go-to products for wash and gos just aren’t able to tame my curly mane. The perfectly styled and defined curls that I leave the house with in the morning have ended up as a frizzed out, shrunken cotton ball in the evening (whomp, whomp). While I am taking fellow curly girls’ suggestion to embrace the frizz, I am also exploring another curlie’s suggestion—seal with oil and use Fruit of the Earth 100% Aloe Vera Gel.

Three years ago, I purchased aloe vera gel (AVG) upon the suggestion of natural hair boards. At that time, it just didn’t seem to work on my hair, leaving it dry and crunchy. In hindsight, there may have been many factors which impacted the results of the gel (see if the following applies to you):

  • My hair wasn’t in its true state, as it was damaged and rehabbing from my straightening addiction.
  • I regularly rotated products in an attempt to find a holy grail, so my hair may not have been clarified enough.
  • I can’t recall, but I might have tried the gel during the winter, when humectants like aloe vera gel tend to dry out hair. Unfamiliar with humidity’s impact on curls? The basic breakdown is that humectants can either draw moisture into or out of the hair, depending on humidity. Yes, it gets a little technical. For a full breakdown, Pittsburgh Curly does a great job of explaining humidity and humectants.

Since a full bottle of aloe vera gel has been patiently waiting under my bathroom sink all these years (pick me, pick me!) and my hair is in a much healthier state, I decided to take up the suggestion and revisit the all-natural gel, particularly since it’s an ingredient in a lot of the stylers that I use.

Benefits

Aloe Vera Gel on Natural Hair

Wet hair styled with aloe vera gel.

1. AVG is typically 100% organic.

2. AVG moisturizes the scalp, treating dandruff problems.

3. AVG treats hair loss and promotes fast hair growth (I’m in!).

4. AVG adds sheen to dull hair.

5. AVG balances hair’s pH level, thereby sealing hair’s cuticle layer. This locks moisture into your strands and minimizes frizz.

6. AVG makes curls pop and gives a light hold.

7. AVG leaves your hair super soft.

8. AVG doesn’t contain mineral oil, so you can conditioner wash your hair, thereby adding more moisture into your strands.

9. You can snag a bottle of AVG at any Target or Walmart for under $5. I prefer to use Fruit of The Earth Aloe Vera Gel.

10. If AVG doesn’t work on your hair for styling, you can add it to your shampoo or conditioner for added moisture. If that doesn’t work, you can save it for when you or the next person you know has sun burn!


Styling Tips

Some curlies are successfully mixing aloe vera gel into their own brews. Since I’m not a mixologist, I’ve been layering the gel as I do with my stylers. Do whatever suits your fancy. Here’s how I apply aloe vera gel.

My curly mane styled with aloe vera gel and blow dried.

1. Work on wet, newly washed/co-washed hair.

2. Smooth a leave in conditioner all over your curly mane. I usually use Silicon Mix, but I recently tried Beautiful Textures’ leave in conditioner. So far, it responds well and easily absorbs into my hair. I’ll elaborate more on this product line soon.

3. Style your hair in sections, beginning in the back and working towards the front.

4. In each section, layer products, beginning with additional leave in conditioner.

5. Seal the conditioner with a layer of oil. I like to use Vatika Oil or my oil mix (Vatika Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, and Avocado Oil).

6. Layer aloe vera gel on top of your oil.

7. Repeat layering your leave in, oil, and gel on all sections.

8. Part your hair how you’d like to style it (in middle, side, etc.).

9. Blow or air dry hair. I blow dried my hair because I like to have predictable results and do additional fluffing when dried.

The final, dry haired results, of using aloe vera gel.


Results

Amazing! When I applied aloe vera gel on my wet hair, I was shocked by how smooth and defined my curls appeared (see photos). There was virtually no frizz. After drying, my curls were still seriously defined and fluffy, with minimal frizz.

I used aloe vera gel during three scorching hot, humid days, and I still had great results. I looove how soft and shiny my hair is. I can even now co-wash, since I don’t have to clarify a product to avoid build up. This has been keeping my hair extremely soft and moisturized thus far, which should aid in hair growth. We shall see!

The only downfall is that the gel doesn’t allow me to stretch my hair as well (for length), since my hair is so curly. However, I am able to still have big, fluffy hair.

I will continue to explore the wonderful world of aloe vera gel, particularly on braid/twist outs, and I’ll report back. In the meanwhile, test it out, and share your pics and tips!

UPDATE: Check out the wicked results of my braid-outs with aloe vera gel.

10 Steps For A Wash and Go

It’s summer time! Woo hoo!

It’s the perfect season to lay out in the sun and usher in your wash-and-go routine. There’s no better way to showcase your curls than through this technique. Not to mention, this basic, natural hairstyle for natural hair can also help some curlies maintain healthy hair and experience growth.

My wash and go results using Hair Rules Kinky Curling Cream

Pros:

This easy hairstyle showcases your natural texture. It creates faster hair growth (for me), keeps your scalp cool and hair clean on hot, sticky days

Cons:

Wet hair (if you air dry), single strand knots (for me, some people do not have this problem), unpredictable results based on how your hair is feeling that day or reacting to the weather, shrinkage (for me)

Please note that the steps provided below work for me. You may want to adjust these wash and go tips to suit your curly mane’s needs.

Before you begin, repeat the following:

I will respect my hair in all its states, even if this style proves to be unsuccessful. I will remain patient and pay attention to its needs, but most importantly, I will continue to love my curly mane.”

Tools:

  • Spray bottle (filled with water)
  • Hair clips (for sectioning, I use two clips)
  • Leave-in conditioner (that works well with your styler and does not produce white balls)
  • Styler aka your holding product or gel (some curlies are able to skip this). I used Hair Rules Kinky Curling Cream in these photos.
  • Oil (if it works with your styler)
  • Blow dryer (Turbo Blow Dryer)
  • Afro Pik (optional)
  • Diffuser (optional)
  • Denman D31 or Denman D41 Volumizing Brush(optional)
  • Fingers (just kidding!)

Blow drying my mane after washing … so I can go!

Steps:

  1. Wash your natural hair with a moisturizing shampoo or co-wash. If you use a product that builds up on your hair, please use a clarifying shampoo. Always follow shampoos with a moisturizing conditioner. Key word = moisture!
  2. Squeeze out excess water and begin working on your damp hair (don’t allow for air drying just yet). This will allow products to easily absorb into your hair shaft. Keep your trusty spray bottle at hand to rewet areas that dry faster.
  3. Apply a leave-in condition all over hair. Don’t forget to section your hair and smooth the product in as needed. I apply extra conditioner to my ends (to prevent split ends).
  4. Part hair into small sections, beginning in the back and working your way towards the front of your head. I gather together the large areas that I’m not working on by using a clip.
  5. Apply styler onto hair in sections, using the rake and smooth method (literally raking and smoothing products for African-American hair or afro textured hair with your fingers). Some curlies prefer to whip out a Denman brush to help their curls pop. I have had hits and misses with this brush, so it’s out of my routine for now. You can also coil stubborn strands around your finger to help achieve a defined look.
  6. Do not touch!!
  7. Use a blow dryer to dry your hair, using high heat and speed. It is recommended that you use low heat, but I increase this because my dryer is older and gives off less heat. Point the nozzle down your hair shaft (to prevent frizz) and move it around your hair. Don’t dry one spot for too long, or you will damage your hair. Use a diffuser if preferred. I don’t. For the first 6 minutes, do not touch your hair. It will create frizz. You can gently part sections or shake your head to help reach your scalp area with the dryer (and also separate curls as needed). After 6 minutes, shake hair and use dryer to reach the inner sections of your hair. It takes me approximately 10 minutes of total drying time when using Miss Jessie’s Quick Curls or Fantasia IC Polisher Gel. With some other products like Hair Rules Kinky Curling Cream, it take me 15-20 minutes. Your drying time will vary depending on your hair length and products.
  8. Smooth oil onto hair in sections after your hair is about 90% dry. This helps to fight frizz and also aids in de-stiffening stylers.

    I like to use a tug-and-stretch method to lengthen curls.

  9. Blow dry for a few seconds while flipping hair about for volume (literally whipping hair back and forth). You should do this as/if it suits your desired look.
  10. Tug and stretch sections (about mid length) that you’d like to stretch and briefly blow dry the first 2 inches from your roots (adjust according to your hair length) for a few seconds per section to help elongate your hair. Optional: Use an afro pick to lift and stretch sections you’d like to volumize (typically the top and front of your hair). You will only need to literally pick up the first ½ inch to 1 inch of hair from roots and blow dry this area for a few seconds.

You’re now done with washing and styling. Off you go! Weeeeerk!

Find out how to preserve your curls through nighttime routines and sexy sleeping techniques.

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