Curly Planet

Before I got called out of town Saturday, I’d made an appointment at a new salon in the city called Planet Curls. I’ve known about the salon for awhile, but never made an appointment before because it’s about 50 miles from my house, and I am much too spoiled by the suburbs to deal with traffic and bad city parking on a regular basis. But since I’m not actually getting my hair cut frequently (I get a trim every three months) and I had no other options, I figured if I was going to try out someone completely new I might as well make it someone who is good at cutting curly hair. As a bonus, Gerri, the owner of the salon who did my cut, also knows how to give perms, so I figured she’d be good to know in the future if I decide to get another one. But since it turned out I was in a hurry to get the cut done and get on the road to Hallettsville, I didn’t take such great pictures (Gerri has a little dog that follows her all over the salon, for example, and in my rush to get out of there I forgot to take a picture of it. Boo).

View of the street in front of the salon, and a little glimpse of the front porch – the phone camera focused more on the screen that I thought it would. Oops.

I read up on the salon before booking the appointment, so I knew I wanted an early slot as Gerri spends a lot of time with each client and by mid-day tends to be running late (this is what a lot of her reviews said), so I grabbed a 9 AM spot to get ahead of that, and then showed up about ten minutes early. As I suspected, the parking lot was small and the area is prone to traffic, so getting there early is definitely a must for me even if my stylist doesn’t tend to run late (nothing rattles my nerves more than bad city parking). The salon is an old house and is very small and quaint, which made me a little nervous – I tend to prefer big, busy salons to small quiet ones, so i can blend in and be more anonymous (in a small salon like this, everyone can hear each other’s conversations, and I get a little self-conscious about that. Weird I know). Plus, there’s usually not a decent waiting area and you end up crammed into the odd chair here and there waiting for your stylist…I am a spoiled little princess, it’s true. Anyway, getting there at 9 AM took care of that too, because there were only a few other people in the salon while I was there.

The hair-drying area doubles as the waiting area – yep, it’s a small salon!

Gerri is a devotee of Lorraine Massey, who wrote the Curly Girl book and created most of the products I use, and actually trained with her, so I was interested to see how she did with my hair. I knew that Massey always recommended cutting curly hair dry, to avoid cutting too much off when wet that would then shrink up after the hair is dried, and that is how Gerri cut mine. Massey also says you should take the cut curl by curl, being very careful at what point in the wave pattern of each curl that you snip to avoid those curls that stick out like horns. Sure enough, Gerri just sort of snipped away at individual curls while we chatted – she was friendly and just opinionated enough to earn my trust. I don’t like stylists that insist their way is the only way, but I do want one that will give their honest opinion of what I should do with my hair. Gerri had that nice balance; she agreed with me that my hair will look good a bit longer and encouraged me to keep growing it, but she disagreed with some of my styling choices and explained why she thought I should try to do some things differently. Not pushy, but confident, and accepting when I disagreed. Perfect.


Here are some of the tips and suggestions Gerri made while she worked on my hair:

  • Even though I so far have not been able to stand it, I should continue to strive for not washing my hair every day. To her logic, my hair should look better on day 2 or 3 after washing because “it has more product in it,” which is exactly why I’ve always thought my hair looks worse! She gave me suggestions for how to style day 2 hair and even used her own as an example, wetting her hair down and putting more product in it like it was no big deal – OMG I’d never do this at 10 AM after already styling my hair for the day! But to her it was nothing to just put more in. So, I’ll work on that.
  • I am a bit too focused on having perfect curl definition and it’s making me dissatisfied with my hair when I shouldn’t be. So, let some of that go and move on.
  • Put all products in my hair after washing when the hair is still dripping wet. I’ve never done this; in fact, I’ve always thought my hair should be semi-dry before putting product in it, and have always let each product “settle” for 10 minutes or so before putting the next one in. Gerri just put them all on at the same time, one after the other, without even towel-drying my hair first, so I’ve been doing it that way too since the haircut and I think it does make a difference.
  • Sleep on a satin pillowcase to reduce the amount of frizz generated in my hair at night while I sleep. I’ve read this recommendation in the Curly Girl books before and just always forget to try it. I’ve got some pillowcases on order, but they are not in my possession yet.

Gotta love having loads of reading material to choose from while you wait

We also disagreed (in a friendly way) about some of the products I’ve tried and liked/disliked. Here’s where we differed:

  • She was very surprised I liked Mirror Curls, and felt it wasn’t made for hair of my texture and type. But, since I expressed such love for it, she put some in my hair anyway.
  • She thinks Set It Free is an ideal product for my hair, whereas I’ve never been that impressed with it. Based on her recommendation, I’m giving it another chance.
  • She felt the Dry Shampoo probably was too oily for my hair and would weigh it down, and didn’t recommend I use it to get through no-shampoo days. I rather liked the effect of using it as a refresher, but I can see what she means about it being oily.
  • She wasn’t surprised by my dislike of Set Up & Above, agreeing that it tends to make hair pouf out more as the day goes by. But she did say I could try just applying a bit of it to the roots for volume.
  • She was very surprised by my hatred of Heaven in Hair, but didn’t get much into it. Maybe she could sense by my tone that I was not to be persuaded otherwise.
  • The ArcAngel gel that I tried and wasn’t impressed by, in spite of its rave reviews, she also felt wasn’t a good choice for my hair type. She used a bit of gel called Ulta Defining Hold and I liked the way it worked for me, so I’ve ordered that one (of course – should have bought some at the salon but I forgot).

Cool chandelier. Enough said.

Some things happened during my Curly Girl Cut that I didn’t expect – after the dry cut, she then took me into the shampoo area and gave my hair a good wash (wish I’d known that was going to happen; thinking that I would get a dry cut and then be on my way for the day, I washed my hair the night before and styled it that morning). It was after the shampoo that she loaded up my hair with product by having me lean my head over my knees and scrunching everything in. Then she did something I really didn’t expect – she had me sit under one of these for about 20 minutes:

Old-school hair-dyer!

The only other time I’ve sat under one of these was, I think, when I got my perm; it was a surprise to me but it made sense, because this way I could get my hair dry without disturbing the curls at all. I liked the idea so much, while I was sitting there I got on the app I have on my iPhone and found a portable one I could buy for about $40. So yeah, I guess I’ll be reviewing that some time soon. She also did a much better job pinning the crown of my hair for lift than I could ever do (I still pretty much suck at doing this):

Look at all those pins! No way I could do this myself.

After I came out from under the dryer, I was ready to go. I asked her when I should come back for a trim and she said four months, to which I promptly replied I’d come back in three so I’m not sure why I bothered to ask her in the first place. Moving on. I also said at that time I’d want to discuss the possiblity of another perm, and she was game, so that’s nice. She did say, however, in response to my statement (made here many times) that I wished I’d gotten a tighter curl initially, that it probably wouldn’t have mattered if I’d tried to get tighter curls and my hair would most likely have come out looking the same way. She was surprised when I told her what a light wave I was actually going for based on how curly it turned out, and then said it was probably just that my fine hair really took to the perm and was going to look like this no matter what. She also did say it looked nice and Philippe (G-d rest his dear soul) did a good job – and she said my hair didn’t look too damaged, just had some dry ends. So yay, a nice curly haircut and possible perm-partner for later.

Here, then, was the end result:


I can’t believe she got all that curl out of my hair without the help of a curling iron or even all that much styling; it was just the cut, lots of product, and the hair dryer that did it. Oh and all the pins in the top for lift. I will say as I went through the day the curls relaxed a bit and looked less “stiff,” and it also looked great the next day even after sleeping on it and putting zero product in it the next morning (because I was at my cousin’s and didn’t bring anything with me). However, I have not been able to re-create this look, and my hair looks more like it does in other recent pictures, just a touch shorter and springier. But perhaps when I get the portable hair dryer in I can pull this off. Anyway, it always takes me a few days to get used to styling my hair when it’s freshly cut, and I’ve only had one shot at it since Saturday.

In total, I was at the salon for about an hour and fifteen minutes; Gerri definitely took her time with me and did a great job. The cost wasn’t cheap – $80 before the tip – but when I’m only getting it cut once every three months that’s fine by me. I definitely plan to go back in December (already have my 9 AM appointment set up) and continue to grow this hair out a bit, as well as consider another perm in the future. Although, if I don’t perm again, Gerri can still be my stylist. Her own hair has just the slightest wave, but she still uses the  Curly Girl method on her hair, and she said a lot of her clients with curly hair actually straighten theirs too, so it’s not like I can’t keep going to her if my curls fade.


Mirror Curls = Miracle Curls! (for me, anyway)

Two completely trivial hair events happened last week almost simultaneously, and of the two of them I really thought the arrival of my Q-Redew hair steamer would be the more exciting development so I blogged about it first – because never let it be said that I won’t write about trivial matters here over subjects of substance. Sadly, that steamer thing turned out to be a bust – seems my hair doesn’t need more moisture right now, but that might change once winter arrives and the air turns dry. So, that $80 might still end up being well-spent if it helps me out once the humidity outside dies down. For now, though, all it did was make my already-frizzy hair frizz more.

Exhibit A – volume yes, but also frizz, and not a lot of curl definition

I was in Ulta last weekend stocking up on No-Poo shampoo and spied a little sample bottle of DevaCurl’s Mirror Curls, and decided what the hell, since it was one of the few products by this line I still hadn’t tried. I’d always bypassed it because the reviews it gets on Amazon are sketchy, and it isn’t recommended for the type of curls I have. Plus, as the title implies, it’s primarily meant to add shine, and most shine-enhancing products leave my hair looking oily (since my hair has a tendency to be oily anyway). Certainly the Shine Spray I bought awhile back had that problem, but it was there and I was in the mood, so I gave it a go, along with DevaCurl’s Flexible Hold Hair Spray, which came in a small travel size, so I didn’t mind giving it a try.


Mirror Curls looks like a serum when you pump it into your hand, but rub your palms together and it feels like syrup or glue – incredibly sticky. The first thing I discovered was that you need the tiniest bit of this stuff to work; I use less than a dime-sized amount for my shoulder-length hair. And although the directions say you can use this stuff on dry hair, I found that to be awful. But when I put it on my hair wet, it performs MIRACLES; excellent hold that retains curl definition without much frizz. I wash my hair at night and let it air-dry, so in the morning I have to re-wet it and use a diffuser to revitalize the curls, and adding Mirror Curls to my nightly routine has changed my hair overnight. People actually noticed how much more spring my hair had once I started using this stuff; it’s been pretty amazing.

Both of these pictures were taken in the same week, the first one on a day I didn’t use any of the Mirror Curls because I decided to play around with the Q-Redew instead and I wanted to see if it would give me a similar effect. They were also both taken at the end of the day, after I’d been out about and all morning and afternoon.

Without using Mirror Curls

With Mirror Curls – yep, it’s THAT good.

Finally I have fairly frizz-free curls with a lot of definition! It’s a tiny bottle that feels like a ripoff at $25, but I use so little of it, it works out. Of all the crap I’ve tried this summer for my permed hair, this is the tip-top, number-one ingredient in my opinion, the one I’ve noticed the most marked improvement when using. It’s made me love my perm again (I even took down the post I wrote a few weeks ago about regretting getting it done), so even though I just wrote a product review a few days ago, I had to share this one too, sorry. The hold also lasts all day – I’ve abandoned my long-loved KMS hair wax and started using the DevaCurl Flexible Hold instead, so I’m 100% Curly Girl method now (meaning so sulfates or silicones in any of my hair products).


Day 46_final

I’m also rather amazed at how much longer my hair looks than it did back in July, but perhaps that’s because the perm has relaxed?

Right after my last haircut mid-July

I don’t know, it sure looks longer to me anyway. However, tomorrow I am going to a haircut appointment at a salon in the city that specializes in curly hair, so it may be shorter again soon. The salon uses the dry-cutting technique that Lorraine Massey recommends for curly hair, and I’ve never had that done, so I’m interested to see how this works out. As a plus, the woman who is cutting my hair also is experienced with perms, so I’m hoping I like her and she can be my next go-to stylist when and if I decide to perm my hair again. We’ll see how it works out!

Steam Queen

I haven’t talked about my hair in awhile, so let’s catch up, shall we?

Never let it be said that I won’t try any ridiculous thing in my quest for perfect curly hair. This latest contraption did not accomplish it, but it might at least be useful. And what is it, you might ask? Well, it’s basically a steamer. For your hair.


The Q-Redew is pretty straighfoward and easy to use; there’s a little water reservoir that clips into the top of the device;  you plug it in and wait for the go button to light up, then hit the trigger to release some steam and get to work. The theory is that the steam will revitalize and moisturize dry hair and reduce some of the frizziness that is so often a quality of curly hair (and is currently plaguing mine). The woman I watched on YouTube who uses it also claims it helps her extend the life of her curls between washings, and since I am still having to wash my hair every day to get the look I want, I thought I might be able to use it for that purpose also as I’d really like to stop washing it every day. And a ton of African-American women have reviewed it, so it must work well on ethnic hair too.

So did it work? Well, sort of. Here’s a pic of my hair before I used it (you can also see in this photo how much the perm has relaxed from the last time I wrote about it here – and how much it’s grown!):


And here’s a photo of my hair right after I used the Q-Redew:


I don’t know if it did much to reduce frizz, but it seems like nothing I’ve tried so far that makes that claim has worked for me at all, so that didn’t surprise me. It did fluff the hair up quite a bit and probably revitalized some of the curl too. I’m not going to wash my hair tonight and see what it does for second-day hair in the morning, so more to come on this. Overall I think it’s a useful little tool and was pretty easy to use. I found it worked best for me when I flipped my head over and scrunched the prongs into my hair all over; volume is something I am always lacking and this added quite a bit, at least temporarily.

You can also see how much of my darker roots have grown out, and my little wisps of gray. It’s actually not as noticeable in reality but the lights and my processing make the difference between the roots and the dye more pronounced in pictures. Also I am in need of a cut, but I struggled a bit to find a new stylist after Phillipe died. I tried to go back to my previous stylist, but he has done that thing stylists do where they open their own salon and then immediately become inaccessible. I called twice to make an appointment  and never heard back from him, so he is officially off my list. I made an appointment instead at this salon in the city that specializes in cutting curly hair; the owner is trained by Lorraine Massey herself, who created the DevaCurl line I’ve reviewed here, so it should be interesting when I go see her on the 20th of this month as she only cuts hair dry, and I’ve never had that done before but always wanted to try it. She also is experienced with perms, so if I do decide to perm again she’ll be the person I can go to for that. I’m back to considering it doing it again, but going even curlier; hopefully she’ll give me good feedback on what that would do to my hair. And a curly hair product reviewer on YouTube I like reviewed a new line yesterday called Raw Curls and she raved about some of their products, so of course I ordered a few of them (including yet another product claiming to control frizz) so we’ll see how those go.

Oh and one more photo before I go – you may have noticed it in the two pics above, but I ordered the most amazing fuzzy sweater from Free People and it finally arrived, so I did a quick jump in it for my 365 of the day. You will definitely be seeing more of this sweater in better pics later! It’s amazing.


And by the way, what the hell is up with WordPress suddenly squinching my photos down to thumbnail size when I upload them? I’ve been re-sizing my photos to the same specifications for a year now, and all of a sudden when I do that they are minuscule on the page. I don’t get it. I’ve uploaded the huge files this time because I don’t have time to bother with figuring it out right now, but it’s really ticking me off. WordPress, you play too much!



Au Revoir

Well this is a sad, weird one – but since I’ve written so much about my perm, I think it’s actually relevant to share the news here.

Today on Facebook a friend posted a “goodbye” to someone named Philipe. It just so happens that the friend used to work at the same salon where I got my perm back in July, and the man who gave me that perm was named Philipe too. Remember me saying I went to him because he worked at the salon where I get my nails done, and he was an older gentleman from Paris who did perms all the time so I knew he’d do a good job? Well, here was someone who used to work with him saying a ‘sad goodbye’ to someone with the same name, so, I emailed her to find out if it was the same guy, and sadly, it was.

When Philipe was working on my hair he shared with me that his great passion in life was fishing, and as it was right before the Fourth of July weekend he was looking forward to getting out into the bay in his boat. Fast-forward to Monday night, August 25th, when Philipe was reported missing after he did not return from a fishing trip that afternoon (as a hairdresser, he was off on Mondays, of course). Some time during the night, Philipe and his friend were found near his boat; both had drowned. I don’t know any more of the details than that; it’s possible a sudden storm or high waves overtook the boat as they were deep sea fishing that afternoon but what actually happened I do know. However it happened, he is now gone. He was a sweet, friendly guy, and a really talented hairdresser, and he was only 60 years old. But as my Facebook friend said, at least he died doing what he loved.

If you want a little glimpse of him, my friend posted a Vine video of him here. I can’t figure out how to embed it, so just click the link to see.

Au revoir, Philipe, and thanks for the great hair.


EDITED TO ADD: I think this article is about him: 2 Drowning Victims Found Near San Luis Pass 


Random Hair Products Review

Here’s a quick run-down of some non-DevaCurl products I have liked in the past (pre-perm) and still love now. No pics this time as I’ve been too busy getting ready for the school year, but there are links included so you can check these products out.

KMS Hair Play Dry Wax

My “holy grail” styling product if one exists. I’ve been using this for years as my finishing spray; I do not like hair sprays but I want something to help hold my style, and this has been my go-to for a long time. I started using it when my hair was still short, and it helped keep my layers nice and spiky without making it stiff. As it grew, I tried other finishing sprays, but always came back to this one. When my hair was to my shoulders and straight, I could spray this through while fluffing it with my fingers and it added lift while also keeping the flyaways at bay. After my perm, I tried other hairpsrays and finishers concocted, supposedly, for curly hair, but I’ve come back to this again and find it is still the perfect finisher. It’s the only product I use right now that has silicones and sulfates and all that stuff that’s supposed to be bad for my hair, but I can’t help it – it gives me the perfect amount of hold while also helping my curls stay defined as well as touchable. And again – it worked this way for me when my hair was straight too, as well as when I wore it short. I keep three bottles of this on-hand at all times, so I am never without it.

PHYTO Phytolisse Mask 6.7 fl oz

After the disaster that was DevaCurl’s Heaven in Hair, I appreciated the fact that this deep conditioner specifically instructed the user to rinse it out immediately after applying it. I sure learned the hard way that this can be quite necessary when using such a product, so that’s exactly what I did. Doing so made it hard for me to tell by feel if the product did anything or not, but I did notice my hair looked very bouncy the next day, and less dry. So overall I’d say it’s a win, and will use this about once a week until it disappoints me or I find something I like better. I chose this mask because it didn’t have sulfates or silicones, and I want to stick to that as much as I can. I don’t like that it comes in a little pot you have to stick your fingers in while in the shower, because that’s a pretty messy proposition, but the HIH was that way also, so it could have something to do with both products being very thick and not able to squeeze out of a bottle easily.

Living Proof No Frizz Leave-in Conditioner, 4-Ounce

This is a nice leave-in conditioner that helps combat frizz and gives my hair the extra moisture it needs, and it’s sulfate- and silicone-free. It’s very light and a little goes a long way. I was hoping to find a leave-in that was protein-free since I was told protein can be drying, but it turns out it’s quite a common ingredient in leave-in conditioners, and the only protein-free ones I could find have sulfates and parabens and other things I’m trying to avoid. Sigh. My plan was to use this some days, and other days just put a little extra One Condition into my wet hair as a leave-in; most days I’ve gone with the One Condition and left this alone since I have decided to use DevaCurl’s B-Leave-In strengthener every day and that already adds protein. I did like it the few times I used it, though, and will keep the bottle on-hand for whenever I feel I need a little boost. But keep in mind there’s protein in this one if you’re sensitive to that.

Garnier Fructis Wonder Waves Wave-Enhancing Spray

This is a very nice spray gel that you can get for around eight bucks (they call it a hairspray but it feels much more like a watered-down hair gel to me, and is made to be used on wet hair). It’s not as easy to find in grocery stores as it used to be, but Amazon still carries it. It’s very light. I spray this onto damp hair right before blow-drying, and it does a great job holding the curl. Currently I am using the DevaCurl Spray Gel as I think it has a little bit better hold, but if I had to go back to this one I’d have no problems with it. Doesn’t follow the sulfate-free philosophy though, so that’s another reason I’m not using it anymore. But it’s a great, cheap spray gel that does the job.

Redken Curvaceous Wind Up Re-Activiating Spray

Ditto for this one. I’ve used it in the past, and it does the job nicely. Smells better than the Garnier Wonder Waves, but also has sulfates and all that jazz. Doesn’t cost quite as much as the DevaCurl gel, so it’s a decent mid-range spray-gel option.

Moroccan Oil Treatment

A very nice serum I’ve used off and on for years. The Moroccan Oil line has some excellent products that feel VERY luxurious and can help repair damaged hair; this oil works nicely on my dry, frizzy ends and just the tiniest dab is all I need. The shampoo and conditioner are especially nice, but I don’t think they are silicone-free; I tried to research this but got conflicting reports, so correct me if I’m wrong about that. The oil is quite expensive for a little bottle, but you literally just need a dab of it at a time.  A good serum to have on-hand when the hair looks dry. I like to use it when my hair is wet but in a pinch, I can rub some on dry ends and it helps.


DevaCurl Products Review: Part Two

Heeeere we go: Part Two of my Great DevaCurl Product Experiment (part one is here)! I know you’ve been dying to read about more crap I’ve put on my hair in the last month. Let’s get to it.

It’s called “No-Poo” and I took a picture of it near Sprocket’s butt. Get it? ‘Cause I’m really twelve years old.

DevaCurl  No-Poo Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser – 5 stars

Love this stuff. I must mention again that when my hair was un-permed and had just the slightest wave, I hated using this shampoo. But now that I am permed it’s working great to cleanse my hair, and the no-lather formula doesn’t feel unpleasant when working it through my hair at all. In fact, regular shampoos feel unpleasant now when I use them, as I can feel them creating tangles and snarls. This cleanser slips nicely through my fingers and my hair, and leaves my hair feeling clean without feeling stripped of its natural oils. My un-permed hair was so baby-fine that I think I just could not handle that feeling, with its tendency to be greasy, using No-Poo just made it feel even greasier. But I definitely need all the moisture I can get right now, and according to the Curly Girl philosophy so do people with natural curls. It’s really interesting to experience using it both ways and being able to feel how differently curly hair reacts to it as opposed to straight hair. Unless what I’m feeling is just the reaction of chemically damaged hair, but either way, it’s working. My hair feels clean and looks great using this – I’ve been “no-poo” for two weeks so far and have experienced nothing but good results.


DevaCurl One Condition Conditioner – 5 stars

This is the conditioner I use after washing my hair with the No-Poo Cleanser. It’s lovely. It’s much silkier than other conditioners I’ve used, quite honestly, and it follows the Curly Girl method of using no sulfates, parabens, or silicone, and I’m trying to be as faithful to the process as possible, so I’m happy with it. Lots of people use a bit of it on wet hair as a leave-in conditioner, and after my experience with DevaCurl’s “deep conditioning” product I started doing the same, since I trust this one. It also helped my hair recover from that horrid experience, so it gets another star for saving my locks when the Heaven in Hair fried it out (you’ll read about that below). It has a wonderful, thick and smooth consistency and really does feel delicious in my palm as well as in my hair. I’ll need to invest in the huge bottle of this stuff soon.


DevaCurl  B’Leave-In – 4 stars

I was a bit confused by this product, as the title suggests it’s a leave-in conditioner, which is something I really wanted (then again, the product DevaCurl labels as a deep conditioner was anything but, so perhaps there’s a trend here?), but recently I’ve discovered it’s not actually a conditioner as much as a strengthener with protein in it, which as one of my blog readers, Alma, pointed out, can be drying to hair. People still like the product and the effects of using it, though, which they say are primarily strengthening and adding definition to curls, but at first I was so disappointed it didn’t do what I thought it did that I didn’t give it a chance. Ultimately, I did notice nice curl formation when using this, and it works well with the Volumizing Foam to give me bounce and definition, so it’s a good product to keep on hand and pair with the Foam.  I’d just recommend DevaCurl change the name so people don’t think they’re moisturizing their hair with this, when the may in fact be drying it a little.


DevaCare ArcAnGEL Gel – 4 Stars

This smells lovely, kind of like orange juice. On wet hair it dries slowly, and with not as much hold as the Volumizing Foam. I woke up to super-bouncy curls, and my hair looked nice right away, so I wet it down and added a little foam for styling.  The end result was fine, but I still prefer the Foam for my primary styling tool right out of the shower. It’s got a nice hold and gave my hair a LOT of bounce, just not quite as much hold and definition as the Foam. It definitely has a stronger hold than the Spray Gel though, so I can see why it’s so popular – my hair was bouncy and curly even after sleeping on it. Definitely springier than when I sleep on the foam, but the curls were a bit lighter and not as defined. By the way – it’s called DevaCARE because this is DevaCurl’s rather limited line of products for color-treated hair.


DevaCurl No-Poo Quick Cleanser – 3 stars

I have used regular dry shampoos before, when my hair was straight, and I find them drying due to the talc (hence the name, right?), which mostly just adds static to my hair. This one does not feel chalky or talc-y like other dry shampoos I’ve tried; it actually feels moisturizing, which is nice since my hair has a tendency to be dry already (notice it’s not called a “dry shampoo”). I sprayed this into second-day hair and it actually added some bounce and shine right away. I’m still too in the habit of washing my hair every day to get much use of it, so we’ll see if this ends up being a part of regular routine for me. I like how it works to revitalize curls without drying them out when I do give it a go, so it might also be a good product to revive hair throughout the day, too.


DevaCurl Styling Cream – 2 Stars

Feels silky but when emulsified it gets tacky and sticky. Not necessarily a bad thing; reminds me of Tigi’s Curls Rock, which had killer hold for curls but felt like glue in the hands. Feels heavier than the Foam but that’s not surprising. When I put it on wet hair, it made it way too puffy, and it didn’t have the hold I need so my curls were too soft without definition.  I ended up re-wetting my hair and adding Volumizing Foam, then air-drying, and my hair looked much better, but after an hour or so my hair got big and puffy again, so this one is a no-go for me. Still a nice cream though, and I can see why people like it if they need volume and moisture more than hold and definition. A lot of people really like this stuff, so I hate to rate it so low, but it was not a good one for me so I gotta be honest about that.


DevaCurl Heaven In Hair Deep Conditioner – negative stars

Oh dear. This one’s gonna be a little long, because this item has the dubious honor of being the first hair product to make me question my sanity. Allow me to explain.

I checked it out because of a positive YouTube review I saw, then bought it when I saw all the raves on However, it turns out this is one of those items that inspires polar opposite, love/hate responses among users. Unfortunately, before buying it I only stumbled across the “love” ones. I put this stuff in my hair when it was wet and followed the instructions, which were to leave it on damp hair for 30 minutes and rinse – easy enough. It felt OK when applying it, but even from the start it didn’t feel as moisturizing as I expected. By the time I rinsed it out, it had gone crunchy. Then – I tried to run my fingers through my hair. I was confused. Why did my hair feel like straw? I got a comb, and tried to run that through my hair. Why was it all so tangled? I doused it with the De-Tangling Spray I’d recently decided was useless. Still useless. I grabbed a brush. I began to question my knowledge of my own hair – has it always been this hard to comb and I never noticed before? I ran to Google and typed in “heaven in hair made it dry” – and THEN I saw the flip side to all the rave reviews I’d read before purchasing the product.  It’s even been dubbed “Hell in Hair” by many a disappointed customer. People said it made chunks of their hair fall out. That it took weeks to recover from one application. That the best you could do was immediately run back to the shower and dump gallons of regular conditioner on your hair in the hopes it would recover.

Being me, I decided to go ahead and see it through the end. I added Volumizing Foam as I would normally do, then waited until my hair was almost dry and ran over it with a blow-dryer. And what I got was a frizzy mess. I could run my fingers through it, at least, but to prove my point, I of course have photographic evidence:

Pic on the left was taken right before shampooing and using the HIH; pic on the right was taken after using HIH and letting my hair air-dry, then styling it EXACTLY as I had styled the left side. Seriously.

It was 11 PM by this time, but I decided it was best to run right back to the shower and re-moisturize with normal conditioner to see if that would help. I dumped a ton of One Conditioner on it first, let it set for about five minutes, then cleansed with the No-Poo cleanser. Then I dumped more One Conditioner on it and let it set again. I rinsed it out with cold water to seal the cuticle, then for added measure ran a little more One through my wet hair and left it in. Fortunately, I was then able to run my comb through it and it felt more normal. I put more Volumizing Foam in it and let it air dry. It was still a little wet when I went to bed, but in the morning it looked normal, if still a touch dry.

Heaven in Hair is also the first product to make me afraid of trying any other new ones; if I hadn’t already spent money on a few other things it might have ended this entire section of my blog. Hands-down – THE WORST product I have EVER put on my hair. And yet, some people swear by it, so there you go. I will say that most people who love it claim they don’t put much of it on their hair, and they apply heat to it to help activate it. I glopped a ton of it on, and did not apply any heat, so perhaps doing those two things would have netted better results. But in my defense, the instructions said nothing about applying it sparingly, and they said adding heat was optional. So if those two things are needed to make this work instead of turning one’s hair into a tumbleweed, that needs to be addressed.

Photo of Simon posing with DevaCurl’s Shine Spray, which I already reviewed in my previous post but accidentally photographed, thinking I’d not reviewed it yet. 

That’s about it for my review of DevaCurl’s line, but I do have some non-Deva products I like that I’ll review at another time. And how about a round of applause for the cutest product photos ever? I’d like to thank my models, Sprocket and Simon, for being good sports about it. Penny, as usual, declined to participate.

*Everything I review in this post was purchased with my own money, and no one requested I write about these items. I never review products that are given to me for free – mostly because no one ever offers, but even if they did I wouldn’t do it. Just so you know. 

Sulfate-Free Hair Products: DevaCurl

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve tried out a ton of products targeted for curly hair since getting my perm a few weeks ago, so I thought I’d share here what I’ve tried, and what I liked or disliked about them. It’s not the most thrilling subject in the world, so I’m going to keep my comments about each product brief.

Keep in mind that any of this stuff could be used on whatever type of hair you have; just because it says it’s for curly hair doesn’t mean a person with straight hair couldn’t use it. The line I’m going to discuss in this post, DevaCurl, consists of all sulfate-, silicone- and paraben-free products, and the website also highlights its use of botanical extracts (even though the list of ingredients on the bottles still reads like a lab experiment -but some of the first ingredients listed are things like beeswax, soy, or olive oil). So even though none of this stuff is cheap, it might still be up your alley no matter what type of hair you have.

Also keep in mind that I didn’t try out anything but styling products for this post – I purchased some rather expensive shampoo and conditioner at the salon when I got the perm, so I didn’t try DevaCurl’s “Low-Poo” or “No-Poo” cleansers and conditioners, which claim to be the first sulfate-free (and therefore lather-free) shampoos on the market (although there are others out there now). I did try them years ago, both the No-Poo and Low-Poo offerings, and honestly I could never get into them, but that was when my hair was un-permed and basically straight, and I felt the no-poo method left my hair looking greasy and limp. As a side note, I’ve been following the no-poo method the past week, and am getting terrific results out of it so far now that my hair is permed – but I’ve written about that in a different post. And I just bought the low-poo and no-poo cleansers to try out (along with a few other products I hadn’t yet tested), but haven’t used them enough to write about them yet, so stay tuned for more about those.

Aside from wanting to try these out for the botanical aspects and lack of certain chemicals, you may love the smell of these products as much as I do. However, I’ve noticed when reading reviews of these items that not everyone loves the scents, so that may be a love-it-or-hate-it aspect of them.  Personally I think they smell nice, with one exception, but it was a product I hated overall so it didn’t matter too much. But keep in mind that fragrance-free these products are not. Moving on.

Gotta Love It – Five Stars

Deva-Curl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam  


This is DevaCurl’s version of a mousse. I put it in my towel-dried hair and let it air dry at night. While I don’t think it performs all that differently from any other mousse I’ve ever tried (yes, if you put it in wet hair and let it air-dry without touching it, it will dry “crunchy,” but that’s part of what helps reduce frizz, and I can use my diffuser and a few other products to de-crunch it a bit) I love the consistency of the product and the smell is fantastic. It’s more of a liquid-y foam than a true mousse, and it feels silky and downright luxurious when pumped into my hands. And did I mention the scent? It smells like lemon candy, which I just love. Even though it’s not anything earth-shattering, this is the favorite of everything I’ve tried so far.

Pretty Good – Four Stars

DevaCurl Spray Gel


It’s a spray gel, which has always been a part of my hair styling routine. Mousse at night after the hair is towel-dried, then re-wet in the morning and apply some spray gel before drying. I’ve used many different kinds of spray gels over the years; they’re all basically hair gel thinned out with water so it can be dispensed through a spray nozzle, and they all work about the same way. But I do notice this one is a touch lighter than some of my other standbys I’ll discuss in an upcoming post. It’s easy to apply, and it adds the extra hold my hair needs to get through the day without allowing my curls to droop or fall, so I’ll give it the four star treatment even though it’s not doing anything unusual. And it’s got that whole sulfate-, paraben-, and silicone-free thing going for it, so there’s that. A bit of a medicinal smell to this one, but it’s not strong and doesn’t linger.


It’ll Do – Three Stars

DevaCurl  Mist-er Right


This product is…interesting. Way back in 2004 when Lorraine Massey, who owns the DevaCurl line, first published the book “Curly Girl,” which landed her on the hair styling map, one of the things she recommended for women with curly hair was this homemade solution of water and lavender oil to spritz onto hair and re-vitalize curls throughout the day. I remember making my own batches of it back in the day, and while I never felt like it did anything magical to my hair (again, part of the problem was I was trying to use her methods to make my non-permed hair transform into springy curls, which was never going to happen) it didn’t hurt it to spray some on every now and then, and it sure smelled heavenly. I’d say pretty much the same thing about this version. It doesn’t hurt to spray it on my hair, but it doesn’t help either. It certainly doesn’t help combat frizz or give my curls extra definition if I start to get too fluffy throughout the day.  A little spray bottle filled with plain old water would probably work better, actually, but then my hair wouldn’t smell like lavender. My husband loves the way this smells, and it does feel like a nice little luxury to me, something to refresh the hair if you’re out and about and feeling like you need a little pick-me-up. But that’s about all it does, at least for me. It’s actually the most-used product I’ve tried aside from the mousse and the gel, so even though it’s quite possibly a ridiculous product, it still gets three stars.

Deva-Curl Set It Free Moisture Lock Spray


I’m on the fence about moving this one too – I still don’t see much frizz reduction with this or added shine, but it’s not horrible and actually has some uses for me. So far, I’ve found it works best to spray a few pumps into my hand and rub it through my hair when it’s looking a little too “crunchy” from the mousse, gel, and/or spray wax I use for final hold; this will add a little moisture and softness. With my baby-fine hair, generally too much of such a product will turn my curls to mush and make me look like a puffball, so I do use this product sparingly. This is another one I dumped into a little spray bottle to carry around in my purse for use throughout the day if I see fit, and as a big plus this one has the awesome lemon candy scent of the Volumizing Foam,  so it gets an extra star for smelling delicious. Some of these products may become more useful as my hair adjusts to the no-poo routine I’ve only been on a few days now; we’ll have to see about that. But right now, it’s not performing any miracles.

I’ll Probably Pass – Two Stars

DevaCurl Shine Spray


I bought this to try as a finishing spray, but it had zero hold for me and left my hair looking a little limp. The only product I’ve ever liked using for hold as a finisher is a spray wax, and I’ll discuss my favorite in a later post as it isn’t a DevaCurl product. I did notice, however, that this can be useful if my hair is looking a little too dry; I can spray a bit into the hair and it moisturizes it a bit, so there’s that. It also has an interesting, citrus smell that’s slightly medicinal, but still pleasant. I may use this from time to time, but I don’t know if I’ll re-purchase it once it runs out.

Deva-Curl No-Comb Detangling Spray

I forgot to take a cutesy picture of this one, sorry

My hair is much more prone to tangling now than before, so I was hoping this stuff might help with tangles right out of the shower so I didn’t have to tug on it when it’s wet. For about a week, I sprayed it liberally into my hair right out of the shower, sprayed a little more on my hands, and worked through the tangles with my fingers. I think it might have helped with tangles a little bit, but ultimately I didn’t see too much difference between using this and not (nor did I see too much benefit to trying to work through the after-shower tangles with my fingers as opposed to a comb). I certainly don’t feel like my hair is coated with anything after using it, and have tried using a little more in the mornings when I re-wet my hair to style it, but it never did wow me with its effectiveness. It has a faint scent I’d describe as “lotion-y” for lack of a better word – not unpleasant or long-lasting. Even though it doesn’t feel like it’s coating my hair, it isn’t effective enough to justify applying it every time I shower and adding one more layer of product I’ve got to deal with later. That said, it didn’t have any negative effects on my hair that I could tell.

DevaCurl DevaFuser


I know, you guys. I know. Look at that thing.  But it looked so insane, I figured it must have the ability to do something fabulous to curly hair to justify how silly it looked, as well as how much it cost (I got it for $44 at an Ulta store, but found it later on Amazon for $25). The truth is, though, I don’t get near the amount of curl from using this as I do from my regular diffuser, which came as a free attachment for my hair dryer. I guess if I want more toned-down curls I can use this, but that’s not likely to happen. One decent use is that it does give me a little bit more lift and volume if I mash the “hand” right up against my head and aim some heat directly at the roots, and that is nice, so it isn’t a total loss. It fits awkwardly onto my hair dryer and occasionally pops off, however, so it’s a bit of a pain. Overall it’s much easier for me to use my normal diffuser – with that one I can use the highest heat setting and a low speed to give my curls the right amount of definition and spring.

Ugh – One Star

DevaCurl Set Up & Above Versatile Styler


This stuff claims to add volume, texture, hold, and definition to curls, and interestingly, it did all that for me while simultaneously making my hair look horrible. How this is possible I am still unsure, as you would think a product that did all those things would make curly hair look fabulous, but it also created more frizz than all the humidity in Texas could accomplish. The results of using this stuff were just…weird. I had some random tight, deadlock-y curls, and then acres of frizz between that curl and the next one. I was almost in Roseanne-Roseannadanna territory whenever I tried to use this, and I tried applying it both to wet and dry hair. I had curls all right, but zero hold, and it made my hair way too soft for its own good. I looked awful both days I tried this, plus it smells like molding clay and in the jar it looks just like a green Jell-o mold without the marshmallows (mmmm…marshmallows). Fail.

So that’s it for this round of my DevaCurl experiment. And yes, I did purchase all these products over the course of about two weeks, which is pretty impressive as I’m not usually a huge hair-products person; I tend to use the same stuff or products just like it that I get at the grocery store on my weekly trip and I’m happy. But what can I say, with the new hair I got curious. I’ve already talked enough about hair products for one day, so in another post, I’ll share with you the other DevaCurl products I’m currently testing – the No-Poo and Low-Poo Cleansers and Conditioner, a leave-in conditioner, and a dry shampoo (that post is up now – you can read Part II here). I also have some non-DevaCurl products to share – It’s just a few more, in case you’re worried you’ll have to sit through another post as long-winded about hair products as this one. And you can go here if you want to read about the results of my no-shampoo experiment,  which may in fact render some of these less-useful products more useful as time goes by (although I don’t ever see that Set Up & Above working out).

*Everything I review in this post was purchased with my own money, and no one requested I write about these items. I never review products that are given to me for free – mostly because no one ever offers, but even if they did I wouldn’t do it. Just so you know. 

My No-(Sham)Poo Perm Experiment

I first heard of the no-shampoo method of haircare (dubbed the “no-poo” method) when I read the book “Curly Girl” by Lorraine Massey in 2004. My hair has always had a bit of curl, and I bought the book out of curiosity to see if it could help me get more out my hair’s natural wave. The book is sub-titled a curly hair “manifesto,” and it really does read like one. It’s fun and inspiring, but ultimately the methods described in the book just did not work on my baby-fine, fairly limp hair. I tried all the products and strategies, including going “no-poo” for about four months. But eventually I concluded that while the Curly Girl method probably worked great for women with very curly hair, for someone like me with just a touch of wave it was less successful. I abandoned it, but always kept in mind the styling tips for times when I wanted to use get more out of my hair’s natural wave, and I still believed Massey made some great suggestions for curly-haired persons.

Fast forward to getting my perm in July of 2014, and spending many weeks figuring out how to manage it. I liked it right away, and expected to need some time to adjust to having an all-new head of hair. One of the things I decided to try again was the no-poo method. I found that after the perm calmed down I had less spring in my curls than I would have liked, and of course my hair was particularly dry after all the chemical processing. Another reason (besides just being in an all-around hair-experimenting mood) was how awkward it felt to use shampoo on my hair after the perm – lathering up felt downright unpleasant, because my hair would immediately foam into a mass of tangles, and my fingers would snag into all these snarls of hair, and it was a pretty awful experience. So one night while in the shower, I remembered the no-poo method and decided to try using conditioner instead, like I did way back in the day.This time, I’m experiencing terrific results with it.

There’s lots of information out there about how to go ‘no-poo,’ but on a basic level it requires using nothing but conditioner to wash your hair. The theory is that shampoos are drying and damaging as well as unnecessary, because you can use your conditioner to cleanse your hair as effectively as you can a shampoo. Once again, when trying this before I had a perm and my hair was just a bit wavy, I did not care for the results at all and got no extra bounce or curl out of my hair. But with the perm- WOW. The difference has been striking.

The secret, at least for me, is to use a TON of conditioner as a cleansing agent. I put a load of it in my hair and scrub vigorously at the scalp to loosen any dirt or product residue, then only lightly scrub the rest of it. I use so much conditioner that it almost lathers. With the perm, this is much easier to do than use shampoo, because my hair doesn’t tangle, so it feels like it gets cleaner – but I do scrub at it for quite a while. And did I mention I use a ton of conditioner? Then I rinse that out, continuing to scrub my scalp for cleansing purposes. Then, I actually put more conditioner on it to use as, well, a conditioner, and leave that on my hair while I finish showering up. Then I rinse that out and follow up with my DevaCurl No-Comb Detangling Spray.

Now being me, I’ve got before and after photographs to share, because ever since I got the perm I’ve been taking tons of pictures of it. So yay for photographic evidence. Here is a photo taken before going no-poo. I’d just re-wet my hair, added spray gel, and diffused it after washing it with shampoo and adding mousse the night before:


And here’s a photo taken using the exact same styling process (washed and moussed the night before, then wet down , spray-gelled, and diffused the next morning) but washing only with conditioner and forgoing the shampoo:


Even though my fill flash was bit more harsh in the ‘before’ photo, that’s the only difference between the two shots. The amazing thing to me is how after washing without shampoo (the second photo), my hair didn’t get all crunchy when adding product. It stayed soft, as if my hair absorbed the styling products better than in the before photo, when they appear to have stayed more on the surface (not very technical descriptions here, since I know nothing about how hair products actually work) and gotten crispy. Again, I promise I did absolutely nothing different styling-wise between the two photos except for wash one night before with shampoo and the other night without it.

Here’s another example that’s even more dramatic.  The photos are iPhone ones and are pretty horrible; in the “before” shot I was at LensCrafters trying on new frames so the picture is particularly bad (no, I did not end up getting those glasses, and I’m frowning because I had on fake glasses instead of real ones and literally could not at all see what I was doing when I took the shot) and once again I’d washed my hair with shampoo the night before, then done my usual styling routine as previously described (I’m sure by now you’re tired of reading how it works so I’ll stop describing it). In the after shot, once again, the only thing I’d done differently was wash my hair with conditioner only:


I mean, WOW, right? That’s a huge difference! Even though Massey claims in her book that it can take weeks to see positive results from this method, I’m seeing a pretty dramatic change right away. Perhaps this is because it’s a perm? I don’t know what it is, but so far I am loving it. It’s not even been a week yet, so we’ll see if it continues, but for now? No shampoo for me!


Post-Perm Haircut

As I moved into week two of my perm, things started to go awry. First of all, the perm was calming down, and I actually had liked it as curly as it was in the beginning. Next time around I may go for a full spiral perm, as I really enjoyed having the springy curls more than I thought I would. It was still pretty springy, but it had toned down just a bit and gone a little flat.

Mostly, though, I fell into the trap of thinking it would be “fun” to try out new products on my new hair. Not that there’s anything wrong with this; I just went overboard with both product-buying and hair-styling, which stressed my hair out and made it a bit of a mess, so  overall the experience was more frustrating than it was fun. It’s not usual for me to put more than two products into my hair when styling it, but since I was continuously curious about the new stuff I bought (all made for curls, supposedly), I was piling as many as five products on my hair during the course of a day. I was also washing and styling my hair more than usual; pre-perm, I would have at least 2-3 days a week where I didn’t wash or style my hair, opting for a ponytail or just letting it go. Post-perm, I was washing and styling every day because I was trying out new products or styling strategies. And some days, I’d dump a bunch of stuff into it, attach some new fancy diffuser to my blow-dryer, style it, then decide halfway through the day I wanted to try something else out and re-wash and style all over again. The end result of all this was a frizz-fest. So as I said, at the end of week two my hair was not very happy, and after three days of nothing but fluff I was feeling regretful.  At that point, I decided to get back to basics. I washed my hair one last time, put my old standby products in (mousse when wet, a little spray gel before diffusing, then a bit of spray wax after drying to hold the style) and it looked much better.  Not that some of the products I tried weren’t nice, mind you,  and I may review them later,  but it wasn’t like any of them were more magical than other, similar products I’ve tried over the years. I even spent $44 on a special diffuser that looks like a big robotic hand and claims to be THE BEST DIFFUSER EVER for curls (see below) only to discover that the diffuser which came free with my cheap old hairdryer worked much better. Sigh.
fuser It looked too ridiculous NOT to work…It didn’t work.

Once I pulled myself out of my product-induced hair funk, though, I suspected there was still a problem. I’d considered the possibility when I first got the perm that my one-length bob cut might not work with it, but I didn’t want to do any chopping too soon. As I moved  into week three, though, I began to believe that I did, in fact, need a more layered cut – especially around my face. The perm added so much weight to my hair that those long layers, which framed my face so nicely when it was straight, were dragging my face down, making my forehead look big and making my face look older – not to mention turning my hair into a triangle by adding all the bulk around the bottom. I became so convinced I needed a few wispy layers around my face that I got scissors and tried to do it myself. But with one snip it was clear that was a bad idea, because even though the wisp of hair I cut was tiny it still looked horrible, and I decided to make an appointment to get my curls cut into a new style ASAP before I could do any more damage. I was nervous about going to my usual guy, because he didn’t give me the perm and had never been very enthusiastic about the idea of me getting one. But I decided to face his potential wrath since I trusted him to give me a good cut that would work with my curls, even if he didn’t like them.  I also knew I could trust him to tell me if my instincts were wrong and I shouldn’t go adding layers to my hair. As it turned out, he was fine with the fact that I went elsewhere for the perm, admitting he hardly ever did them himself so it was probably better that way. And although he made note that my hair was still “fragile,” he said that it had nice curl and the guy who permed it did a good job. So, he was very gracious and supportive of the new look, which I appreciated. We discussed giving my hair more shape and he got down to work:
No idea why I’m making robot-face here

I think the results are great, but it does look very different from before (not to mention that whatever he put on it before styling made it VERY crunchy) so I’ll have to get used to it. I have never been one to voluntarily wear too many layers in my hair when it’s longer, so this is definitely an adjustment. But I think it’s what the curls needed to keep from dragging my face down and aging me  -to be honest, I think I look about 5 years older in the before-the-cut pic. I also think it gave the curls back some of their original bounce and spring, so overall I think it’s an improvement. I also think it’ll look more like “me” when I style it for myself in the morning. He did some things to it when diffusing it dry I wouldn’t have done (like diffusing when it’s too wet, but I get why he would do that since he needed to get me out of his chair and move on to the next customer).
permcollage Crappy iPhone pics, but you get the idea

I’m tempted to like the before shot in the pic above, until I really look at what it does to my face, which is pretty much swallow it. And the curls were getting dragged down by the weight. So I still think the after-cut was the right move, even though all those layers are going to take some getting used to. The whole look, quite honestly, is 180 degrees from any goal I ever had for growing out my hair, and to think I did it so impulsively (if you call thinking about getting a perm for a year before actually doing it impulsively that is) is freaking me out a little. But I don’t regret it; I still have my length and both layers and perms grow out, if nothing else. I will say once I figured out a good routine that styling has been a snap and has never been easier, so there’s always that. So I’m on the right track here, I think, and I’m still glad I went through the whole process. But I can’t wait to wash this crunchiness out of my hair tonight – I don’t know what product he used to get such a Ramen Noodle effect, but believe me, I have loads of other products on-hand now that will work better!

Another Perma-Post: The Perm Summary

So, Day 4 post-perm is over (see part 1 and part 2 of the saga at the links), and so far the hair is a hit. I went to lunch with an old friend on Sunday and didn’t mention the perm at all until right before we parted ways, and she was totally surprised – she said she thought it was just my hair un-blowdried (not a word, sorry). I thought that was a pretty nice compliment.

A little bit of end-frying there, but not bad

On Monday I tried not washing it for a day, but then I went and put way too much extra product in it and it got crunchy and heavy. Total user error there; I am now in the stage of trying to figure out a whole new hair routine so I’m bound to make mistakes. I’ve never been one to go days without washing my hair, it makes me crazy to go every other day even, but I do think it would be better for my hair to wash less frequently, so we’ll see if I can find a way to pull that off now. I read Lorraine Massey’s book Curly Girl years ago (since my hair does have some curl) and tried to follow her “no ‘poo” rules but I just couldn’t swing it, and chalked it up to my hair being so fine and limp that it made it impossible. But maybe I can work some no-‘poo days into my routine now, days where I just cleanse with conditioner and skip the shampoo altogether (hence the phrase “no poo”). Then again, maybe not; one of my friends who used to perm her long hair regularly said she actually felt like she had to shampoo it more, not less, and she regularly goes three or four days without washing hers un-permed.

I was actually using my macro lens for these shots, hence all the close-ups

Other than that, I have been using Moroccan Oil on the ends especially (blog follower Alma suggested Emollient by Aveda, but I didn’t have any on-hand and read online that it was a gloss so I thought this was similar), which has really helped with the frizz. I have two bottles of that stuff based on a friend’s insistence I buy it about a year ago – never had any use for it until now, but it’s been great so far. I also picked up Aussie’s 3-Minute Miracle moisturizer but I haven’t yet that yet, and I’ve been using Framesi’s Curl Shampoo and Conditioner when I do wash it. I put plain old grocery store mousse on it when it’s wet along with the Moroccan Oil, and have tried out various other products just to play around and see what I like.

I’m also trying to figure out what products are best to use and doing a lot of experimentation, so I’ve amassed a little arsenal of bottles to use. Probably I’ll end up sticking with my old favorites, but it’s been kinda fun to try out new things here and there. I haven’t gotten to the “Sea Salt Spray” yet because I’ve read it can be drying (which my hair does not need right now), but it sounded so tasty I had to buy a bottle (hey, remember when there was beer in shampoo? Yep, me too).

…but don’t drink it!

So if I had to sum up the whole hair-perm experience at this point (and I know it’s still too early to do so, but that won’t stop me from trying) I’d recommend the following, if you’re considering one:

  • Go to a stylist who does perms at least semi-regularly, even if that means it isn’t your usual stylist. I went to a guy named Philippe who said most younger stylists don’t know how to do perms since they’ve been out of favor for more than 20 years, but I don’t know if that’s true or not. He did a good job though, and he was 60, so take that with a grain of sea salt. Or not.
  • If the stylist doesn’t insist on a consultation before giving you a perm, run from them. He or she should want to know about the condition of your hair and if it’s been chemically treated recently before jumping in. I called two places to make appointments for perms, and both salons insisted on a consultation before they would book it, so I felt good about going to either place (one could see me sooner than the other though, which is why I went where I did).
  • Having dyed hair does not rule out getting a perm, but talk to the stylist about it, and keep in mind that chemicals from the perm will lighten dyed hair a shade. And bleach is more problematic than plain old hair dye, so be sure to talk to the stylist about your highlights or if you’re a bottle blonde.
  • Be prepared for a shock at first if you’ve not had a perm before or in a long time; I could be wrong but it seems to me that no matter what kind of perm you say you want, there’s a good chance you’re going to look like a poodle initially, so you need to be prepared for that (still not sure mine is ever going to tone down into waves, but in my case, I like it fine as is and am not worried about it. But it’s way curlier than I asked for).
  • Don’t be averse to getting a cut at the same time; Philippe wanted to cut my hair also but I’d just spent $75 on a haircut the week before (then impulsively decided to get the perm a week later) so I insisted he not do this, but – I should have allowed it. My non-perm cut was almost entirely devoid of layers, and post-perm I’m still thinking it’s going to need more shape. So a new cut is in my future. Going from straight to curly will most likely require a different shape, so don’t be too committed to keeping the same exact cut.
  • Don’t judge the perm too quickly! It takes a few days for your hair and your nerves to settle down, so I’d caution against going home and immediately trying to wash the perm out or buying chemicals at Sally’s Beauty Supply to “reverse” it. When reading the Google results for OMG I GOT A PERM AND I HATE IT, I found loads of people recommending immediately washing the hair to “wash the perm out,” and that sounded crazy to me even in my frazzled state. I mean, I wanted the perm, so why would I immediately flush all that money ($125) down the drain just because it didn’t look like I thought it would? I’d recommend giving it at least 2-3 days before attempting to change it, and even then, go see the stylist for help.
  • If it’s your first perm, try to schedule the appointment when you at least have the weekend to hide out and let the hair calm down. I had several days to stay home and acclimate to the new me, and knowing I didn’t have to see anyone else right away really helped calm me down when I went into intermittent freak-out modes.
  • Go back to your stylist in about 4-6 weeks for a trim to get any damaged ends snipped off.
  • Don’t perm it yourself! Go to a salon, unless you know someone who is a trusted stylist and is willing to do it for you. But even then, proceed with caution!

So, did I miss anything? Am I way off the mark with any of this? Let me know if I am, or if there’s anything else we should add.

Here’s one more pic – my skin is WAY over-softened here because I actually was hot when taking these pics and my makeup was melting, so it looked awful in the original and took a lot of work to repair (too much work, I think, but hey, it shows the hair).  Our air conditioner is out on my side of the house so it gets sweltering during the day…getting that looked at Monday night. It’s always something around here!

Too much Photoshop made me look doughy, but still, that’s way better than looking sweaty.

I’ve written a lot more about this whole perm experiment, but it’s too many posts to link. Just type “perm” into the search bar at the top right of this page if you actually want to read more about this for some insane reason.