It’s been about a month now since I got a perm (or beach wave or whatever people are calling it now to avoid saying “PERM”) and I’m either bad at the internet or there just isn’t a lot of information out their about caring for unnatural curls. So it’s been a lot of trial and error. And a lot of buying and returns.
One brand that has worked really well for me, however, is DevaCurl. So I thought I’d break down how some of the products have worked for me. I can get vastly different results depending on what I use and how so I’ll break that down as well.
First things first…
The first thing my hairstylist told me was that permed hair, like curly hair, is drier and to get a moisturizing shampoo. I started out with the Low-Poo because as a former straight, fine-haired lady, I assumed lighter=better curls. Actually, no. While the Low-Poo is alright, I get better definition and less frizz with the No-Poo and One Condition. Even though I’ve got pretty short hair, I still use at least a tablespoon each. It’s expensive but it seems to work.
The Buildup Buster uses micellar technology to pull dirt and oil from the scalp. This works really well if you also use products with waxes or silicones that weight the hair down. I tend to use this after I get my hair cut to re-balance since I find that my hairstylist’s shampoo and condition seem to really weight my hair down. This gets it back to bouncy normal.
And now for the arsenal of stylers…
DevaCurl Frizz Free Volumizing Foam and Set It Free
These were my first set of stylers, suggested by a natural curly-girl. I started off loving these two but I think it was only because I didn’t know what else was out there. The initial thought was along the lines of the Low-Poo: Foam and mist!- they won’t weigh my hair down like a cream or gel will!
The reality was that the Frizz-Free Volumizing foam was somehow sticky enough to create frizz while scrunching. It would elongate the curls until I had a big, poofy wavy mess. Sometimes I liked the mess. It was carefree and wild. Other times I thought it just looked out of control.
Enter, Set It Free. First I would scrunch the foam through my hair, diffuse, and then finish with a mist of Set It Free. Rescrunching would help actually define some curls though, again, the foam had elongated them into very floofy beach waves. Essentially, it would smooth out the frizz. Incidentally, it smells a lot like skittles. Incidentally, it also covered me and my bathroom in a fine, sticky mist. If I didn’t mop it up immediately, the next day it would re-activate from the shower steam- I’d get out of the shower all clean and step onto a sticky floor. Not good.
This was my baby step. I had been avoiding gel because I thought it would be too heavy but I wanted more definition and less sticky bathroom. The Light Defining Gel is good if you want very soft curls. If you know you won’t be walking through the wind. If you don’t care about second day hair. But if you do want second day hair…
You pull out the big guns.
DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel and Arc Angel
Ultra Defining Gel is what I use when I want big spiral curls. Where the Volumizing Foam gave me beach waves and Light Defining Gel gave me wispy curls, Ultra Defining Gel gave me big 1-2″ spirals in hefty segments. I could get whole Shirley Temple curls with this stuff. Granted, I’ve never managed a whole head of Shirley Temple curls but they were possible. And even better: if I finger-combed my hair the next day, spritzed it with water, added a bit more gel and rescrunched/diffused, I could go without washing (sounds like way more work than it is, promise!)
Arc Angel has the benefit of color protection and crazy hold. And yet, if you scrunch in out when dry, like the other gels, it’s not crispy. This one is great for blustery walks to work – where other curls would have come undone, this keeps them where they should be. It produces the tightest, strongest curls. Because I don’t need as much moisture as natural curls, I ignore the directions when it comes to all three gels. Scrunch your wet hair until damp, scrunch the gel into your hair and let it dry while you do your makeup. The Light and Ultra will require intermittent scrunching until you diffuse – Arc Angel will not. I can visibly see it tighten the curl as it dries. And it smells better.
For my roots, I tried using the foam in a targeted manner but the clips actually work better. I slide two down my part- one in the back about two inches from my crown and one in the front, gathering both sides of the part together while my hair air-dries. I then take them out, tousle the roots, and diffuse. This creates natural volume and body that holds plus it keeps my roots cleaner which means I can go longer without washing. If I’m going out at night and the roots seem a little flat, I’ll put one in front while I drive and ten minutes later I’m good as new.
I love this spray. It’s meant to be used as a re-charger for misbehaving or fallen curls but I’ll use it before bed as a night-time ritual because it smells so good. It’s Lavender with a touch of Rosemary and I love that unlike Set It Free, it’s not at all sticky. If I somehow manage to end up with some frizz or an uncooperative curl after diffusing, I’ll spray this fine mist all over, scrunch, and have perfect curls.
What I Tried and Returned:
DevaCurl Styling Cream – despite rave reviews, way too heavy!
B’Leave-In– also sworn by but really just weighed down my curls. Then my stylist was all “You know you don’t need bucketfuls of moisturizer, right?” Apparently, permed hair just isn’t dry enough to need this.
The Curl Maker – I don’t get it…it’s a spray gel? But when you spray it, it literally goes everywhere. Supposedly for air-drying – which, turns out, doesn’t work for me! – and humid weather. Maybe I’ll re-try it…but I’m spraying in my hand and then scrunching it because the last thing I want to do before rushing out the door is wipe gel off my bathroom walls and mirror. Seriously, it got everywhere.
Next Friday I’ll be reviewing some of Aveda’s products for curly hair!
*All views are my own and all products were purchased by me with no compensation. If you’re thinking of purchasing, check out DevaCurl’s travel sets- they’re a great way to try products before fully committing!