Curly Girl Must-Haves

"Look at those curls!"  If I had a penny for every time someone stops to comment on my daughter's perfect ringlets...well, you know how the saying goes.  And someone SHOULD be paying me to keep that coif in check.  Fine, curly hair can be tough to manage.  Pick up these inexpensive products and tools for maximum curl definition with minimal tangle struggle.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE curly hair.  As someone with hair texture that's best described as "meh" and a facial structure that isn't "enhanced" by a pin-straight 'do, I've always longed for a head full of twisty hair.  I'm forever THIS close to breaking down and getting a perm.  Cue the wincing and refusal from my hairstylist.  

With a strong Afro-Caribbean element in her gene pool, my daughter's locks could have gone any which way - straight, wavy, textured - you name it.  So far it seems she's hit the jackpot with fine-textured, curly hair.  She's squirmy, strong-willed (aren't all two year-old girls?), and let's just say that caring for this mane comes with its own unique set of challenges.  

If you're the parent of a similarly curly-haired boy or girl, or yourself wear this type of "crown," this post is for you!  Here are the shampoos, sprays, oils, brushes, and combs that make caring for fine, curly hair more manageable.  

1. L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil Curls Shampoo & Conditioner

Here's the bad news: if your kid has curly hair, that good old jug of Johnson and Johnson Head-To-Toe isn't going to cut it.  As long as he or she doesn't have any other skin sensitivities, fast-forward to the grown-up haircare aisle and pick up this super-conditioning combo from L'Oreal.  Shampoo and rinse gently, then work the conditioner from shaft to ends.  Comb with the Dry Comb (I know, sounds counterintuitive, but trust me), and rinse.  Take care when rinsing a little head!  A detachable shower head will allow you to work the water through the hair at close range, causing minimal disruption to the curls.  

2.  Suave Professionals Waterless Foam Shampoo

Here's the fine, curly-hair conundrum: you can't wash it every day, but you can't spray it with traditional dry shampoo.  I mean, I guess you COULD, but I'm not really into spraying stuff that causes buildup onto my two year-old's scalp.  This foamy goodness is a perfect stand-in for reviving hair sans H20.  Apply to dry hair, brush out, and proceed with your bedtime ritual.  Amazon has a great deal on a three-pack, here

3.  Olivia Garden Finger Brush, Medium

Think the Wet Brush is the be all and end all detangler?  Think again.  I was in love with the Wet Brush - until my daughter's hair started getting thicker and her curls more defined.  Enter: the Olivia Garden Finger Brush.  Ideal for wet, damp, AND dry hair, this brush will be your go-to.  It came highly recommended by Paula Figueiredo Seth, lead stylist and owner of FAMA Salon.  Here's why:

-Separated bristle tracks are easy to clean (hooray for hygiene);

-Said tracks turn a regular detangling session into a full-on head massage;

-Adds body and decreases dry time during heat styling.

Now, if you're dealing with a squirmy toddler, it's best to brush dry hair from the shaft down, holding onto it gently with one hand and brushing with the other.  Trying to detangle from the scalp is going to result in tears, screaming, and a longing for wine before noon.  For best results, brush dry hair with the help of the product below.

4.  Store-brand Detangling Spray

Guess what?  The store brand of No More Tangles works just as well as its name-brand counterpart, and the ingredients are nearly identical.  (For more on eschewing labels at the grocery store, check out my post here).  Here's how I use it: after a night of sleeping on her curls, I spray this generously all over my daughter's dry hair, then gently brush through with the Olivia Garden Finger Brush.  Utilizing a shampoo and conditioner fortified with oils like the ones above will minimize the need to use a detangling spray on wet hair.

5.  Bearded River Beard Balm 

I never thought I'd say this, but THANK GOODNESS for the uptick in beard popularity.  Who do I have to thank?  Crossfit?  Craft brewmasters?  Pseudo-lumberjacks?  Men's grooming products have come a long way, and this balm from Bearded River is the cream of the crop.  Formulated with shea butter, beeswax, grape seed, and sweet almond and faintly smelling of lavender, this balm defines curls and tames flyways without weighing them down.  It is JUST THE THING to calm down dry, brushed out curls.  I use it on my own "baby hairs" for a sleeker ponytail, and as a brow tamer (rub a spooly in the balm and brush out brows).  The brand also carries a range of oils that pull double duty as a pre-shampoo treatment - perfect for curls that are in and out of chlorine and salt water.  Check out Bearded River on etsy.   

Enjoy your curls.  Enjoy your life!