Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ingredient Spotlight: Lets Talk Curl Definers!

I have a love-hate relationship with "curl definers". During the beginning of my hair journey, I had a slight obsession with obtaining the perfect ringlets. I couldn't resist; the pictures of the smiling happy women with glistening silky curls coupled with the phrase "curl enhancer" [which I so desperately sought] lead me to believe that I too could have that kind of hair if I bought the product. Wrong. A few hundred dollars and a couple shed tears later, I started to accept and embrace my loose, wavy, sometimes slightly curly, curl pattern [as unorthodox as it is]. A word to my newbies out there; curl defining creams are meant to define and enhance a curl pattern that is already present. It isn't going to turn highly textured hair into silky perfect coils, nor will it dramatically change the texture. What it will do is help with curl formation which will in turn enhance [and in some instances retain] your natural curl pattern until the next use.

What puts the "definition" in your curl defining creams? 
Polymers/Co Polymers/Cross-Polymers: Most [not all] commercially manufactured products geared towards enhancing curls, kinks and coils contain polymers. Polymers help to eliminate frizz and unite curls. Products containing polymers may also promise "long-lasting hold"; this is made possible as the polymers create a film-like substance over the hair keeping strands together thus protecting the curl pattern while locking out humidity. 

Wheat Protein: Wheat protein helps strengthen the hair whilst adding body and shine. Wheat protein also helps with curl formation and curl retention. 
Polymers: Because polymers are "film forming" by design, clarifying shampoo sessions are recommended to remove water resistant, moisture-blocking buildup

Wheat Protein: Some protein-sensitive curlies may experience dryness after regular use of styling products containing Wheat protein.

Natural Curl Enhancers:
Aloe Vera Gel 
Agave Nectar

Tip: Mix 1 cup of shea butter, 5 tablespoons of glycerin and 1/2 cup of Aloe Vera gel with an electric mixer [with whisk attachment] for a natural curl enhancer that's easy on your wallet! This mix keeps well in the fridge for up to two weeks. Want to up the ante? Add a few drops of your most nourishing oils! 

Looking for some pudding, custard or cream recommendations? Here are my faves!

water, parafinium liquidum, glycerin, triethanolamine, fragrance, carbomer, PEG-12 dimethicone, dipropylene glycol, silk amino acids, aloe barbadensis leaf extract [Aloe Vera Extract], avocado oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba seed oil, macademia seed oil, oleth05, ethylhexyl methoxycinnanate, disodium EDTA, DMDM hydantion, ext. violet 2  

100% Shea Butter, 100% Aloe Vera Gel, Essential Oil Blend, Vegetable Glycerin, Rosemary Leaf and Chamomile Extract, Silk Powder and Perfume 

Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Sunflower Oil Dipalmitoylethyldimonium Chloride (A derivitive of Palm Oil) aloe vera, acrylates, alkyl acrylates[polymers], Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Polysorbate 20, Cinnamon Cassia. 

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  1. One product i've found to pop my curls is the v05 moisture milks conditioner in passionfruit smoothie because it has milk proteins or something in it.....just need to try some of those mentioned creams to KEEP the curl defined like it is while wet. The komaza and bee mine will have to be added to my list :D


  2. One thing that helped my curls were the Kinky Curly products. But the biggest difference for me was rinsing with cold water! That took my curls from bland to amazing. Water can make all of the difference.

  3. i just spritz aloe vera gel on my hair and seal with shea butter..its my moisturiser and gives me great curl definition.its my saviour..lol
    i BC'ed a month ago after four months transition..im loving my natural hair..its getting more tightly coily and curly and soft each day..

  4. I have curl definition but if I wear my curls out for more than a minute, they tangle up because my hair is really think. If I use things like KCCC, sure it works but I'd prefer to not have to use gels.

  5. thanks for the tips! I especially am interested in your curl enhancer recipe :)

    I think we are all victims of those promises of "curl defining" etc. on the bottle.... !

    I just saw miss jessie's products were being sold at target! I may try one now that you said it's a favorite of yours. I was skeptical because it isn't cheap. Didn't wanna waste money.

  6. Excellent article! I was juuuust on MJ's website looking at the Curly Pudding. I'm going to try the "At Home" recipe you've created first. One question, though. Would you use the mixture after using a water based leave in, or is it best on clean, damp hair?

  7. I tried the Miss Jessie's product...but it maked my hair feel dry after about a week. Then when I washed my hair, I had to wash it three times to get the buildup out of my hair. Did you have the same experience?

  8. great tips. sometimes people think that curl smoothies and souffles's won't give curls. but a twist out can allow you to fake the curls you dont have.


  9. aha....finally we agree....that's what I use to define my curls...:) aloe vera gel, shea butter, olive oil or whatever oil I am feeling, glycerin and a drop or two of orange essential oil(b.c I like the smell)...twist your hair with that and voila when you take it out...you have curls for days....:)

  10. Yes, I agree with socialitedreams, VO5 Moisture Milks gives me the shiniest, silkiest ringlets and s-shaped curls! It also helps that it's less than $1 and available pretty much anywhere. I've been natural since the 90s before all these natural hair lines came out and I swore by cheap conditioners as leave ins.

  11. @anon parafinium liquidum is mineral oil, and being a petroleum by-product, can be hard to remove from hair and scalp, resulting in build up and eventually dry hair.


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