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June 5, 2013

Battle of the Curl Creams- My Wash and Go Trials


Marc Anthony's 'Stretch' (Day 1)
Hola Chicas,

So there's a Walgreens right around the corner from my parents' crib that has everything from champagne to panties, not to mention the most thoroughest (ha! #SoStLouis) natural hair care aisle I ever did see!

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Every time I set foot in the doors and my eyeballs take in shelf after shelf of all the new and shiny drugstore lines, I just... I lose it and random shit jumps in my cart.  Between gifted products and my own junky-ism, Mom's bathroom closet looks like both of my bathroom closets. #RunnethOver

It's been the battle of the curl creams over here... and on some real levels, I've finally found one worth writing home about.  Marc Anthony's Stretch.  But first, let me run through some of the other contenders (there's many, many more, I'll get around to them later!)-

ORS Curls Unleashed Curl Defining Creme (purchased at Walgreens- $15/16oz)-  It went on smooth, but left my curls thirsty, flaky and stringy-piecey (rather than clumpy-chunky).  I tried it twice, thinking I was just heavy handed with the application the first time, but yeah. Nope, not for me.

Miss Jessie's Quick Curls (gifted from Curlmart- $32/8oz)- If you can get past the disrespectful price tag, the results are rather decent and like its name claims, it does dry quick!  However, the lack of lasting moisture and the fact that I can get comparable results from products I don't need to sell my left leg for, means it's a nonstarter. Did I mention that it's 32 got damn dollars?

Ouidad's Curl Recovery: Curl Defining Styling Souffle (Gifted from Ouidad $26/8oz)-  Another one with a disrespectful price tag, but unlike other Ouidad products (that I splurge on from time to time), it just doesn't deliver.  It went on rough, which in my book, is a deal breaker.  I. can. not. with slip-lacking products. Not for me.

Which brings us to Marc Anthony's Stretch. Simply put- it's the kitties titties. It's my latest Walgreens purchase ($7.99 for ~7oz).  And I'm convinced that if Miss Jessie's Quick Curls and Ouidad's Hydrafusion hooked up, 'Stretch' would be their (reasonably priced) love child.  Like both of the aforementioned, it goes on smooth and easy (extra slippery!) like a conditioner, but it's a little heavier than Hydrafusion so it is better suited for encouraging clumping and hang time.  Like Quick Curls, it dries fast and like Hydrafusion, it leaves me with shiny, soft, moisturized curls. It's got a pretty good medium hold too.  I'll report back once I take it out for a spin in the humidity.

It's also important to note that you shouldn't expect any magical 'curl stretching' or 'anti-shrinkage' powers... lots of products claim that, but yeah, no.  Twisting, banding, braiding, wet-setting, heat stretching and other practices continue to be the only ways to temporarily fight shrinkage. I've yet to find a product (save for the Eco Styler scare of 2012, it NEVER shrank, lol) that lives up to that claim.



My current wash and go routine:
  • Apply coconut oil to my dry hair prior to jumping in the shower
  • Depending on the day, I'll cleanse with Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Shampoo, or just skip right to the conditioning.  Lately, I'm loving Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Conditioner, Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner (revisit this one ladies, and the price is very frickin' right) or Aussie Moist. I usually add a bit of Aubrey GPB at every wash as well. 
  • I apply the conditioner very heavy handedly, run my head back under the shower to cut the conditioner a bit (which adds slip for easier detangling) and pin my hair up while I handle shower rituals like figuring out which among my growing collection of used razors is the sharpest. 
  • Next, I gently finger detangle the right half of my hair (with my head under the shower stream) and then switch and do the left.  I hop out of the shower,  wring my hair dry with coconut oil laden hands and plop for 15-20 minutes to remove excess water (pull my hair up into a tshirt)
  • Next, I remove the t-shrit and apply my curl cream of choice in small sections, finger twirling and smoothing frizzy bits as I go.  The whole process takes roughly 10 minutes. 
  • I air dry if I have the time, diffuse (on high speed, medium heat) if I don't. 
  • Fluff, fluff, fluff and there you have it...
  • Rinse and repeat every 3-4 days.  
**I like curl creams because my hair is hella fine and gels weigh me down, dry me out and give me a ramen noodley, jheri curl-esque look, that I don't very much care for.  The right curl cream gives clumps, definition, softness and volume!  I also like that a curl cream does double duty as a leave-in moisturizer AND styler. 

**Applying the creams to my damp hair (rather than soaking wet hair) helps reduce drying time and (very minorly, lol) cuts down on shrinkage.  

**For volume and length I stretch the roots with my concentrator nozzle (high speed, medium heat) OR pull the hair down in a low loose pony with a small banana clip and diffuse the crown and sides for like 3 minutes... this really does a good, quick job at stretching the hair all at once.  You could also pull your 90% dry hair down into a low pony with the banana clip, sans heat, and get similar results.  

**Wash and gos still result in single strand knots for me, but it's the best style to show off the wedge cut that I've been sporting, so for now, it's still my style of choice!  If you're afraid of tangles, the coconut oil pre-poo + slippery conditioner + shower stream = #IAin'tGotNoWorries 



What curl creams have you tried lately! 

Which creams should I add to the roster? I'm talking moisture + hold...

Share your experiences and any recommendations below!

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