Pittsburgh Curly

A Curly Girl in da ‘Burgh

Archive for January, 2009

Product Review: Curls Like Us Curl Cloths

Posted by pittsburghcurly on January 30, 2009

Curls Like Us Curl Cloth - photo from Curls Like Us site

Curls Like Us Curl Cloth - photo from Curls Like Us site

Lately, I have been playing more with air-drying my hair to cut down on split ends from diffuser drying. While I love the volume I get from diffuser drying, and the much quicker drying time, I really wanted to work with air drying to see if it would be a viable option. Previous attempts at this resulted in horrid pyramid hair. I also think I’m a little nuts for trying this out during a colder than normal January.

I had read about the Curls Like Us Curl Cloths  some months earlier over at naturallycurly.com. While I liked the idea, and was happy to see a curly woman making a curl-friendly product, I just figured that it was like any old T-shirt, and why should I have to pay for some T-shirt material? I can just use a T-shirt.

Well, fast-forward a few months. Although I have a Curlease towel that I love to use for plopping,  the material was a bit thin for scrunching moisture out of my hair, and I was in no mood to have wet hair for five hours on a cold day. My regular T-shirts were also a bit thin, and it did look ugly having wet T-shirts lying around (no snickering! 😛 ).

I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a set. Each set comes with two towels. There was an instruction sheet included, and I also checked out the FAQ and video on the Curls Like Us site – much of the video is pretty old hat to experienced curlies, but it did help to see how to hold and rotate the towel! I figured it couldn’t be that hard. The shape reminds me of a pillowcase that is open at both ends.

You put one hand in each end, and scrunch. Pretty simple.

I must say that I was quite surprised at how much extra water came out onto the cloth. The cloth feels thicker than all of my T-shirts, so perhaps the weight of the cloth has something to do with how well it worked. My hair is between waist and hip length when wet, and I needed about a towel and a half to do the trick. The cloth is a dark brown, and I didn’t see any hair product residue on it. I also admit that I think they’re cute.  The borders have cute curly trim in various colors. They also look better hanging on the bathroom door than a wet T-shirt does! I do love how cute they are!

Best of all, I went from shower to almost dry in one hour, and totally dry in about 90 minutes! Insane! I have had times where it took me all day to air dry, so this was a great surprise. My curl pattern and formation are about what they have been lately, and the towel didn’t make me frizz. I didn’t need to plop after I used the Cloth. I just scrunched and went on about my day.

I did balk at the price at first – I paid $24 for a set of two. But, since these should last ages (I’ve had the same Curlease for about two years) the price is negligible in the long run. I actually want the other color scheme set!

So, if any of you curlies out there are curious, I’d say it’s worth a go!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

The Overnight Deep Treatment

Posted by pittsburghcurly on January 26, 2009

AOHR

AOHR

 

 

I had been doing a couple of 15 minute deep treatments here and here this winter, but I hadn’t done an overnight one for some reason, which seems silly.

While I’ve read that overnight deep treatments are a waste of time because hair quits absorbing after 30 minutes, I do find that overnight works well for me if I really need it. Logic be damned for once, OK?

So, Saturday night, I slathered on my Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner, and wondered what more I could use since my ends were really dry. I remembered that I had an oil blend sitting around from last winter. Luckily, it still smelled fine – not rancid at all. While, for the most part, I detest straight oil on my hair, (it sort of just lies there and feels hard and crunchy) I do like this blend, especially if used on wet or conditioner laden hair. I used it on the last 6 inches or so of hair, where I’m the driest.

 

Greenride Herbals Hot Oil Treatment

Greenride Herbals Hot Oil Treatment

The blend? Greenridge Herbals Hot Oil Hair Treatment. Here’s and ingredient list.

Ingredients: Organic Golden Jojoba, Meadowfoam Oil, Wildcrafted Neem Oil, Organic Saw Palmetto Berry Extract, Organic Sage Extract, Organic Burdock Root Extract, Rosemary Extract, Certified Organic Horsetail Extract, and Essential Oil of Wildcrafted Rosemary.

 

I’m no fan of jojoba oil when used alone. But, this blend does work some magic on me.  After my overnight deep treatment, my ends have gone from hard and brittle to soft an supple. As long as this weather keeps up, I’ll probably need to do this weekly.

 

My only downside to this item is the price. It’s $16.00 for one 2oz bottle. It seems excessive! But, it does work far better than any straight oil I can get  from my pantry has ever worked on me. I also love the rosemary scent it has. So, pricey as it is, I will still keep it around for the winter.

I had gotten so used to my basic routine that I forgot about adding the helpful overnight deep treatment. I need to continuously remind myself that I need to reassess my routine with weather and seasonal changes.

Posted in Deep Treatments | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »

Dew points, in pictures.

Posted by pittsburghcurly on January 23, 2009

Yesterday, I wrote about how dew points can affect your curls, and what ingredients work best in high and low dew point conditions.

As a further bit of information, I thought that photos would be handy.

Notice the difference between the first pic from July and the second pic from January. The dew points in July were in the 60s. The dew points for January have ranged from below zero into the teens – very dry. That change in curl is what a change in dew point can do to curl pattern. It’s not a bad thing; it’s just climate in action! In the summer I get shorter, curlier hair, and in the winter, I a get a looser curl pattern that looks longer.

And yes, that is a a duckie shower curtain. I like duckies.

 
July08

July08

January 09

January 09

Posted in Weather and hair | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

It’s not the humidity, it’s the….. humidity

Posted by pittsburghcurly on January 23, 2009

I’ve taken this information and given it its own separate page. My views and opinions on how dew points work continue to evolve, and having all of this on its own page allows me to edit as needed.

Edited on 3/5/09 to revamp the chart for more specific winter temps.

When many curlies talk about their humidity and their hair, they often look at relative humidity. While this makes some sense in a humid summer, it really doesn’t give a clear picture. Once winter hits, it can still be 100% humidity, but your curls will not spring out like they will on a summer day that is 100% humidity.

That is because there is a difference between relative humidity and actual humidity, or how much water really is in the air.

If you want to use humidity to gauge what types of hair products you need, you need to check out your dew point.

Dew point is the temperature at which water will condense and form dew (or fog), hence the name dew point.  The catch is that the dew point cannot be higher than the air temperature. If it’s 20 degrees with 100% humidity, the dew point will be 20 or so. If it’s 90 degrees with high humidity, the dew point will often be in the 70’s.

How much water the air can hold all depends on the air temperature. Think of a cold day as a shot glass. It can only hold a little bit of water. Now, think of a hot day as a keg.  It can hold a lot more water. So, even if your cold day/shot glass is 100% full of water, it still isn’t that much water compared to a 1/4 full keg/hot day.

What most people consider a “humid” day really means a “high dew point day.” Many people start to feel uncomfortable when the dew point reaches 60 degrees, and at 70 degrees, it feels quite oppressive.

What does this mean for you and your hair? Does all of this meteorological mumbo jumbo really mean anything when it comes to how your curls behave? You betcha!

If there isn’t much moisture in the air, there is little for your hair to retain. Like your skin and sinuses, (think of those wintertime frozen boogers!) hair is often drier in the winter. The tight perky curls you had in the summer will often take a looser pattern in the winter. That’s fine, and pretty normal. It’s nothing to panic over. But, if you totally lose your curl pattern and see a bunch of flyaway static-like poofy frizz, there are things you can do.

If appropriate, get a humidifier. I have a plug-in one that I use so my nose isn’t super dry, and it seems to help with my hair too.

Conditioners. You will need richer, thicker conditioners in the winter than you did in the summer. You will probably also have to condition more often. I prefer heavier conditioners with things like shea butter. Look for conditioners made for dry hair, or those that claim to be thick and rich. I’m a big fan of Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose conditioner this time of year. Do be careful not to over-condition, but do condition enough so that your hair isn’t ending up being a static poofball.

Humectants. A boon to curls in the spring and summer, a bane to them in winter. This article by Curl Chemist Tonya McKay will give you a much better explanation of the role of  humectants and humidity than I ever could. The main thing is that you need to avoid humectants in dry weather conditions as much as possible. While someone in Boston may only have to avoid them in the winter, someone in Utah may have to avoid them most of the year.

To quote a part of the article

In extremely low-humidity conditions, such as a cold, dry winter air, there is no appreciable amount of water in the air for the humectant to attract to the surface of the hair. In this particular type of climate, the best one can hope for with most traditional humectants is for them to prevent evaporation of water from the hair into the environment. Also, under these circumstances, there is some risk of the humectant actually removing moisture from the cortex of the hair itself, creating the problem it was intended to prevent.

The main humectants one sees in hair care products are glycerin, honey, propylene glycol, and panthenol/vitamin B5. If you can avoid most of them (which can be difficult) you’ll do a lot to help keep moisture in your hair. The Aubrey conditioner mentioned above is humectant free, as are others. This is one of those annoying ingredient issues that requires lots of label reading time. Hair gels often contain humectants, which is why they work so well in the summer. You can switch to a curl cream if that works better for you, or use your gel over a leave-in conditioner to see if the conditioner will be enough of a buffer between your hair and the hemectants of the gel.

Leave-in conditioner. If you don’t use a leave-in any other time of the year, you way want to consider one in the winter. A leave-in can add an extra layer of protective moisture to your hair. Just look for one without humectants!

If you want an easy way to check you local dew point, plug in you zip code into the Weather Channels search bar on the top of their page.  The results will show you the dew point right below the pressure.

I, along with Boticelli Babe and Colorado Curly, being the hair science geeks that we are, talked about it enough that there is a simple, if theoretical, temperature chart.

  • Dew point bleow 15 – very dry. Use as much moisture and emollients as you hair can handle without overconditioning. Many will have to expect a looser curl pattern at this point. For those who like to occasionally straighten their hair, this is a good time for it since you may have less curl to fight.
  • Dew point 15-30 – Dry, add moisture and emollients. Limit or cut out humectants.
  • Between 30-40 can be iffy. Some people can tolerate more humectants. Other cannot. Very trial and error in this range.
  • Between 40-60. Prime curly range. You should get some curl without that summer frizz. Find a balance between moisture and humectants that works for you.
  • Dew point 60 and up, you’ll need less moisture (usually) and more humectants to help keep the environmental moisture out of your hair, causing that summer frizz. Even those who like moisture will not need as much of the heavy stuff as they did in the winter. This is the time for your hard hold gels. Once the dew point gets past 70, it’s pretty miserable anyway, so you may just feel better putting you hair into an updo. Alas, curly updos will have to wait for another post. 🙂

Weather and how it affects hair can seem like a daunting issue at first. But, with time, experimentation, and patience, you’ll learn exactly what to use on your hair just by looking at the dew point for the day.

Still confused? Just leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to answer.

Posted in Weather and hair | Tagged: , , | 10 Comments »

Sometimes we’re all role models

Posted by pittsburghcurly on January 20, 2009

I have a part time job that involves quite a bit of chatting with the public. You get to know some of your customers a bit, and it can be fun to chat and discuss things. I seem to have a good fan club in the 12 and under age range. Hey, I’m chatty and giving away free food and juice. Kids like that. There are some curly kids in the mix, and some of them wil mention that “My hair is like yours.” I had found it cute, but I hadn’t really put any deep thought into it.

On Christmas week, I had my hair blown out straight. I like to do it a few times a year in the winter. I like the change, and it’s interesting to see how long my hair actually is when not caught up in the shrinkage that is curly hair.

I’m at work, doing my thing, and I hear a loud cry of, “Oh Nooooooooooooooooo! Where’s your Cuuurrrrlllllsss?!”

I turn and see a young curly who is a customer at work.  She looks aghast at me; chin dropped, mouth agape. She is a precocious tween, and one who loves her delightful head of curls. We’ve chatted about curly hair before, and I enjoy her curl positive attitude.

I found it odd to be in a position where I had to explain to her that, no, I didn’t have a relaxer and that my curls would be back in a few days when I got my hair wet again.

I saw her again today, her curly head happily bouncing in to see what we had going on. She was happy to see my hair in its natural, curly, state and told me so. She said that she would have been sad if I made in permanently straight.

It was a strange moment. I really hadn’t thought that young curlies might like to see curly adults, but why not? We all want to see a part of ourselves somewhere, don’t we? So, today, I was proud to let my curls loose for all of the young curlies out there who need to see more adults wearing their curls out.

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So you have curly hair, now what?

Posted by pittsburghcurly on January 19, 2009

You have curly hair. Perhaps it’s subtle waves. Perhaps it is tight straw sized curls. Either way, you know you’re different. You might be the only curly in a room full of sleek flat-ironed heads. You may BE one of those who flat iron. Perhaps it is to fit in, to be fashionable, or it’s just because you don’t know what to do with your curls.

If it’s the latter, there is plenty of help out there for you on the net. In 2006, in a fit of frustration that was getting close to me wanting to chop my hair quite short, I searched “curly hair” and stumbled upon naturallycurly.com

I was lucky enough to find a whole crowd of women (and a few men) who were in the same boat with me. What do we do with this hair? How do I care for it? How do I make it look good? How can I walk outside on a summer day and not have my hair turn into a nimbus of frizzy craziness?

I got tons of help there and from the book Curly Girl, by Lorraine Massey. Now, I know how to deal with my curls. They behave – to the extent that they are able. They spiral, they boing, they usually don’t frizz to a ridiculous amount.

But, the best part of it all is that I actually like my hair now. I no longer ponder whether or not I should buy a flatiron or get Thermal Reconditioning. I love my hair, and I am more comfortable in my own skin because of it. That, after all, is success.

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Hello curly world!

Posted by pittsburghcurly on January 10, 2009

I finally joined the world of other curly bloggers out there. Feel free to check out the about page and check back for more updates.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »