*Please note this post was written before I began following the curly girl method. Most, if not all of the products and techniques mentioned are not curly girl approved.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Facebook for a while, you will know that almost 2 months ago I had the mother of all dramas with my hair, which is undoubtedly my crowning glory. As you probably know by now, I’m half Italian and half Irish so I have super thick, curly, long hair and for just over the past 4 years I have had a colour technique called balayage in my hair. For those of you who don’t know, this is a French technique which means “to brush on” and is very similar to ombré, where your hair is lightened at the ends, leaving your natural dark roots with little or no up-keep. Think of Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Jessica Alba to name just a few celebs with this hair style.
I decided a couple of months ago, that I wanted to go back to my sultry, dark, Sicilian roots again, and first time around used one of Revlon’s Nutri Creme Colour Bombs and all was great. This is a range of toners so they don’t cause any real or lasting damage to your hair and they completely wash out within 6-8 weeks. Then, on a blustery afternoon whilst out shopping with my daughter Éabha, I got lazy and instead of going to the dedicated hair salon supplies shop, I nipped into Boots and got a L’Oréal Prodigy semi-permanent hair colour. Oh My, there are almost no words! The colour came out ridiculously patchy, so in my panic I went and got a Revlon Colour Bomb, this combination within a 24 hour period resulted in the length and ends of my hair turning blacker than black. Thinking I had the dreaded “colour-lock” where you’re hair is so overloaded and over processed that your hair will no longer absorb or lift with colour, I resorted to a deadly combo of Google and YouTube to “fix” my hair. This was where things escalated to a code red, rapidly! I mixed a cocktail of home remedies from my kitchen cupboard including baking soda, into my hair. I was washing my hair with that stuff 2-3 times a day to try and lighten my hair. And it lightened alright, but the cost was my hair effectively turning into straw and breaking off with every stroke of a brush. I had essentially cooked my hair, making it so dry and straw-like that it wouldn’t even drop and hang like soft, fluffy, clean hair should, even when wet! I then, for some insane reason, returned to Google and YouTube to try a mayonnaise concoction in an attempt restore moisture to my hair, without much luck either.
At this point, in my desperation, I had to go to a salon, with my head hung in shame, and got 4 deep cleansing, salon-strength shampoos, a deep condition, a PH balance and it took a solid 25 mins to brush my hair through. Unfortunately, all this did was stop the hair from getting damaged any further, but it did get rid of the chalky brittleness. So after getting several inches of my hair cut off, as it was beyond any hope of repair; I went in search of products and magical elixirs that could restore my hair to it’s full health and my hair to curl again. So here’s a list of products and styling changes I’ve been using for the past few weeks:
First up: Moroccan Oil. This brand pioneered oil-infused haircare and started the huge buzz around argan oil, sparking numerous ranges of products, but none of them are as good as the real thing. The original treatment oil I went for is infused with antioxidant-rich argan oil, strengthening proteins and shine-boosting vitamins, detangling hair, speeding up drying time and boosting shine to leave hair smooth, manageable and nourished. For most people, one pump of this stuff is all you need, my hair however, needed 6-8 pumps in the first few days, it was just drinking up the stuff. Your hair will naturally absorb this oil and when it has absorbed enough, it will leave the rest. That’s how you know your hair has had enough of this super, miracle oil. 6 weeks later, I’m using 2-3 pumps after each hair wash twice a week. There’s also a light version of this oil for those of you who have fine, or greasy hair. I also have a couple of the Moroccan Oil big curly blow dry brushes and they are so lightweight and great to use!
Number Two: A combination of less heat, no mousse and no brushing. I am a Denman girl, and always have been. I’ve only owned a handful of brushes in my life and it’s because of the lifespan of these brushes. However, with my hair in such a state of damage, brushing it with a regular brush, or even a soft, natural bristle brush was just too much. So I bought a Denman Rake and my hair has coped so much better since. I also cut out hair mousse, Pantene Perfect Curls is the best and only one that doesn’t make my hair crunchy. A tip if you’re using mousse for your curly hair, apply it to your hair when it’s wet, not towel dried, it minimizes the chances of getting that wet-gel look and feeling crunchy. I also cut out all forms of heat on my hair and 6 weeks on I’m still keeping it to an absolute minimum, maybe once a week right now.
Third Step: Revlon’s Equave Keratin Enriched Hydro Nutritive Detangling Conditioner Spray. This was another product the hair stylist used on my hair, along with the Moroccan Oil. This spray is essentially a leave-in conditioner that doesn’t need to be rinsed out and doesn’t weigh your hair down or leave any residue. Hair is made of Keratin so this keratin enriched, hydro nutritive spray is like food for your hair, rebuilding it from within. Again, there’s a whole range of products to suit your hair’s need to check the full Equave range out.
And finally my last step is a really, really good shampoo and conditioner, and my absolute, number one is from the L’Oréal Professional Série Expert range, Intense Repair. I first used these holy grail hair products when I was on work experience in Paris 10 years ago, and could never find it in Ireland so I almost cried with relief when I found it in my local hair salon supplies shop. This Cutiliss System boasts Vitamin B6, active proteins, and reconstructive ceramides, strengthening and protecting the fiber with powerful UV filters.Yes the Moroccan Oil and Revlon Keratin Spray is great, but if you are in the same situation as me and your budget is tight, just buy these two products, you will not regret it! And if you can literally buy only one thing, get the conditioner/hair mask. Due to the sheer amount of crap I put in my hair when I was trying to get the colour out, I have been double-cleansing my hair with the shampoo every time I wash it, which is twice a week. It also does no harm to leave the shampoo in for a couple of minutes before rinsing out. Then, oh my goodness, there are no words to truly describe just how great the intense nutrition hair mask is! Both of these products are for normal to dry hair, so if your needs are different, check out the rest of the L’Oréal Professional Série Expert range. The Intense Repair mask is so rich, thick and creamy it is just perfect for dry, over-processed, frazzled hair and after the very first wash my hair was soft and fluffy again. I have been using this as a regular conditioner and leaving it in for 5-10 mins during the shower once I’ve brushed it through with my hair rake, and also as a mask, leaving it in my hair from anywhere from 24-48 hours. Because this mask is so rich and so thick, it lasts a really long time. I have only just bought my second tub and I have been lathering the stuff on, so if you’re only going to use it once a week, a small amount will go a really long way and this tub could easily last you 6 months or more. This Intense Repair hair mask trumps all other ones in my opinion, and I have tried almost all of them, including the entire Redken range, which many believe to be the best out there.
My hair, you ask?? Well, if you saw it now, you wouldn’t believe how damaged it was less than 2 months ago. As well as looking and feeling healthy again, it is also growing and my curls are back! On strict instructions from my long-suffering hairdresser Kerrie, I am staying away from colour for several months and thankfully, I am actually loving my natural hair colour again.
I really hope you have found this post helpful and a good resource for some amazing products that can transform your hair and restore it to it’s full health!