Sunday, February 22, 2009

If You Could Design Your Own ...

... what would be your dream styling product?

I talk about product all day long with my clients. A large part of my work is listening to what my clients want in a product, analyzing their hair type and other factors, then trying to match them with the styling mousse/cream/gel/custard/spray/paste/pomade/shellac that will work best for them. It's a daunting task.

In some cases, it has also become unbearably complicated. On other boards, I read that many curly girls use two, three, sometimes four products to get the results they want. Why is that?

So, I'm putting out a call to ask the curly world what it is they would want in a single product. First, tell me about your hair -- is it fine, medium or coarse; porous or not porous? And then tell me, if that mythical Holy Grail did exist, what would it do for you? Give you volume? Shine? Could you live with a little bit of frizz if your curl definition looked like you spent all day with a round barrel curling iron? What are your dream product's most important characteristics?

Let your imagination run wild and send me an email at And feel free to pass the word along to your other friends, pop a little blurb into your blogs, post some messages on Facebook, etc. I'd love to know what the curly world is thinking about styling products these days.


Laura Lee said...

My email account is broken right now (ugh universities servers!) so I'll post my answer here. My dream product would give me intense shrinkage. I'm a medium porosity, fine thin 2c/3a curly living in a temperate climate. I'm always trying to push my 2c areas into 3a with shrinkage inducing products (mag sulfate is my best friend!). So that would be my dream product. I could live with some extra frizz, but I wouldn't want to skimp on shine. Great post topic!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic idea. I posted a blurb about this on my blog.

Jacquie said...

My hair is medium texture, average porosity, I believe it has average elasticity and I believe medium to high density.

I have been going no-poo for about 6 months now. I have tried all kinds of products. So far, I have found that Jessicurl products (Rich collection) works best for me. I'm also switching it off with my second favorite, Deva Care product line.

In my search, my desire has been to find a product that will eleviate frizz, add softness, and give me good curl definition. The Jessicurl seems to do that best.

My hair is pretty short right now (I'm SLOWLY growing out an inverted bob). It's just about jaw length. My curls tend to be more barrel curled, the shorter it is and a bit tighter when it's longer. I'm hoping that using the right product and with a good curly girl cut, it will look better when I grow it to at least shoulder length.

I SO wish I lived near you... because I'm looking for a good curl specialist!! I LOVE reading your posts! They are very informative.

Sage Vivant said...

The ideal product is like the ideal makeup: it should look like I'm not using anything! But just as important, it should feel that way, too.

My ideal product would know how much moisture it needs to pull from the air and adjust itself accordingly.

It would prevent frizz and give me at least *some* shine.

And the scent of it wouldn't linger all day.

So, I don't want much, really. LOL!

Let me know if you invent this product, Tiffany!

Jessica said...

My ideal product would be a frizz-controlling, moisturizing, curl-elongating cream. I feel like making it a gel too would be too much, so I would deal with scrunching in some for hold over it. Oh, and shine would be nice. ;)

Julie said...

I have 2c-ish hair, on the fine side of medium, high porosity.

I sleep on wet hair, and hope for good waves in the morning, so I'd like a product (maybe gel?) that gives crazy good waves, with really good hold so that it would scrunch out only right before morning, without losing the waves.

(By the way, I just started a hair blog called Waves 4 the Poor, if you want to check it out. :)

LouisianaLeigh said...

ah, you make me wish st petersburg was not 4+ hours out of the way on the drive between louisiana and my brother's in east florida. i would love to have you tell me all about my hair, 'cause i'm just not sure i've got it right.

but i *think* it is medium texture with very fine hair at the edges of my hairline (forehead, temples, nape - these are also the curliest). 3a-2c; very strong waves or very loose curls. good elasticity, and at a guess (based on drying time and never chemically processing it) normal to low porosity, and (another guess based on how dark my hair is--a lot of pigment for fine-medium hair) pretty dense.

my ideal product would define the wurls so they stay together and don't frizz up. and has shine. but my hair does normally so as long as the product isn't interfering, it's good.

what a fun exercise. :)

JusLooking said...

Hello, Tiffany.

In answer to "If You Could Design Your Own ... ":

My hair is probably a 2c,m,iii. It is also extremely porous. When I was a kid, I once set my below shoulder-length hair just before school w/o product, and to my embarrassment it stayed curled all the way up to my chin all day, just as though the rollers were still in. I never caused it to be damaged; it just grew that way.

Consequently, my biggest problem is frizz and lack of definition. I used to use silicones for that, but of course they blocked all moisture from entering my hair and made the bottom 3rd dry and brittle. The ingredient that seems to help the most is panthenol, but not in the damaging ether form that L'Oreal uses.

In other words, I need a conditioner and/or styler that will calm down and coat the cuticle w/o sealing it completely or damaging my overly vulnerable hair. I avoid alcohol in products like the plague (regular or isopropanol, not fatty alchohols like cetearyl alcohol), because the damage they do to my hair is visible. I'm a little confused about those waxes that are in many conditioners and also fabric softeners, the "-oniums", like stearylkonium whatever or cetrimonium chloride. CG recommended CO washes and leave-in conditioners are usually loaded w/ them. In the short run my hair seems to like them, but I've read that over time they can dry out the hair, and could be part of the reason the bottom few inches of my now waist-length hair is in poor condition. Should I be avoiding them?

Unfortunately my scalp is too oily for me to go CG successfully, so I use carefully selected no-sulfate baby shampoos. I do need to use a minimum of 2 post-shampoo products. At least one conditioner that detangles a lot (behentrimonium methosulfate) and moisturizes some, and allows me to get a wide tooth comb through my hair while I am still in the shower--the only time I comb. The moisture should be very absorbable so as not to leave a greasy coating.

The conditioning styler (product 2) needs to do all the heavy lifting. It has to smooth the cuticle enough to almost eliminate frizz, but not create a hard-to-remove, impenetrable seal. Lots of panthenol would help in that. It also has to create good curl definition w/o overly exaggerating the curl. It should have flexible hold for "touchable", groomed hair. The chitosan in L'Oreal's discontinued melting gel, flexible hold, was good for that--better than any of the plastics, and from reports, maybe even better than the modified corn starch (a sort of naturally-derived plastic) that the boutique natural brands use. It shouldn't be sticky or flake. It can't have any ingredients that damage the hair over time, as I keep my hair long. (That's why Jessicurl with its magnesum sulfate doesn't interest me.) I don't care if the product takes the form of a cream, gel, or lotion. And it would be nice if it could be reactivated by dampening for 2nd day hair, or maybe mixed with water and sprayed on for the 2nd day.

I've been wondering if unrefined red palm oil, which is loaded with protective anti-oxidants, would give good results if used in a conditioner or styling product. If you want to experiment, you can buy it by the quart here: .

If you are reading this I have to thank you for hanging in through all the above. Hope it helps.


Anonymous said...

My dream/HG product would equalize my hair. By that I mean, give all of my hair the same curl type. The top-front of my hair is curly, the back medium wavy, and the bottom light-wavy. So there you go...My ultimate product would be a creme that gives me consistent curl type, definition, and moisture.