Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Beauty Q&A: Hair Products -- Why So Many?

Questions 1-11: I would sincerely like a list of hair products and what they do. Mousse — what does it do and who needs it? Hair shine from a pump vs. hair shine from a spray — I've been using this but I don't really know what if anything it's doing. "Beach waves" spray. Also texturizer spray — what's the difference? When do I use hairspray? Just when I want to set a style, or when I also want to control frizz? And when do people use gel? When do they use pomade? WHY ARE THERE SO MANY? It is nonsense!

I have a theory about people who ask this question, because I know many of them, including this letter writer who goes by the name of "Edith." My theory is that they have been sent here from the 14th century to spy on us for the... Pope? Probably, who else was in charge and had the resources back then? Anyway, they believe hair products are magic potions — concoctions not simply infused with magical properties, but ALIVE with millions of atom-sized Tailor of Gloucester mice for your hair. Miniscule mice with a great sense of style and flair for hair, who, depending on which emulsion they're suspended in (and they can sense which one it is by the way it tingles their quark-length mouse fur), instinctively go to work on each individual strand to fashion the hairstyle of your dreams – which the mice divine through your scalp! while you sit on the couch and watch TV for half an hour.

Furthermore, and this is neither here-nor-there I suppose, but they tend to shy away from trendy cuts or color, these folks, opting instead for a natural look of all-one-length hair; no layers, no bangs. What I'm trying to say is, products are 25% of the battle, the rest of your desired look is achieved through cut, styling, and manipulation using various tools, all of which take up a bunch of space in your cupboards and time from your short, few days. There is no magic.

So, "Edith," I will answer your questions, but I am onto you. The below are opinions and (mostly) open for discussion. The above are facts and the case is closed. Before I get to the first question, one family of products you didn't mention...

Leave in conditioners and styling prep sprays?

This is the only junk you people need to bother with! That is, if you're not going to change your routine. A leave-in conditioner will control frizz and flyaways and will help to keep your long hair healthy and prevent split ends. If you plan to do any styling, a prep spray like this helps detangle and protects your hair during blow-drying and gives a teensy bit of control that you almost won't feel. These products are mostly geared toward keeping your long locks from splitting and looking yucky and they are honestly all you need. And here's one that foams so you can feel like you're actually using this next thing you're interested in for some reason?

Mousse — what does it do and who needs it? 

Mousse creates volume and texture and is best for shorter hairstyles or curly hair. I imagine Elizabeth Taylor was a mousse woman, yeah? Bouncy hair on top of her head. (She obviously loved hairspray too, but we'll get to that.) Mousse does not do much for longer, non-curly hair except for separating pieces and sometimes, if you use too much, making crunchy looks like we loved in the late 1980s. It can be used for control: used on damp hair to hold a style created by blow-drying and curling, but there are better products for that, methinks.

Hair shine from a pump vs. hair shine from a spray — I've been using this but I don't really know what, if anything, it's doing.

Here's a product even the loons can use and love! Spray or pump? Doesn't really matter. In fact, mine is a spray but... I spray it into my hand first and then run my fingers through my hair! Some hairstylist did that to me at a salon once and it felt less heavy than when I used to spray directly onto my hair. Shine products are great for color-treated or dry hair; hair that seems dull or damaged. It can be used at any point during the styling process, but I prefer it as a finishing touch after a nice blowout. I would NOT use a shine spray after creating a style with hairspray. They can cancel each other out. So, it's a polishing, "ooh, her hair looks shiny" kind of product. It is the icing on a Peggy Moffitt cake. Also great for creating a bit more pulled-together, less flyaway kind of look on longer air dried hair.

"Beach waves" spray.

You could also use this? Beach sprays, or sea salt sprays, or those sorts of things, are intended to give your hair a windswept, surfer look. Do you know where girls surf? In the ocean. Do you know what's there? A bunch of dirt and salt. It's kind of a mess, so if you want that look, this is the product to use. And it helps to be 18 and have looong, naturally ombré'd tresses and lots of freckles and a sick bod.

Also texturizer spray — what's the difference?

Not much, though one thing to note: this class of products does a wholly different thing on shorter hair. It's an extreme example, but Meg Ryan probably goes through a lot of texturizing spray. Think "piecey" when you think of texturizers.

I'm going to switch subjects now, because I can: volumizing sprays. These are actually kind of wonderful, but only if you plan to style your hair. Spray a little at the roots, blow-dry upside down or while lifting the hair, and tease at the roots when it's dry. That's how you begin to get this sort of volume...

When do I use hairspray? Just when I want to set a style, or when I also want to control frizz? 

Why, I'm so glad you asked! For big, sexy hair, after you do that thing I just described, spray the entire length of your almost-dry hair with some hairspray, comb through, and roll up into large velcro rollers as instructed in this perfect video. Either hit it with a blowdryer or allow to air dry and you will have giant, bouncy hair. Finish the style with another healthy dose of hairspray.

Think of hairspray as the fixative to your style. Lots of products go before hairspray, but few go on after. Hairspray is the "net," if you will, that catches all your hairs, literally creating an invisible web on top of them to hold them in place for a few hours. That net, depending on how much you spray, can get thicker and thicker. The mid-point of hairspray thickness is just heavy, weighed down hair. The end point is 1980s-style big bangs: a web so thick it stands up on its own.

And frizz is another issue that I think is better controlled with leave-in conditioners or shine sprays/serums. There are also full lines of products, like this, or the ancient but recently re-popularized Argan oil or Shea butter products. All great for actually frizzy hair. On non-frizzy hair they are too heavy and oily.

And when do people use gel?

When they want Pauly D hair or slicked back wet-looking but hard-to-the-touch hair, like the girls on that Robert Palmer video, OR right before they blow dry with a round brush. Gel is GREAT at controlling hair and holding a style, so if you plan to create a blown-out style and don't trust that hairspray alone will wrangle everything into place, grab some gel. Try for a gel that claims to be "brushable" if you don't want crunchy or wet-looking hair. I personally prefer it over mousse for this purpose, but not as much as I like a styling lotion, gel's liquidier little sister. Straightening products are in the same family as they're meant to hold a style created with a blowdryer and brush, followed by a flat iron.

When do they use pomade?

When they are Morrissey or The New-and-Improved Miley Cyrus or my dude (he says this one is best). Pomade is for shorter styles that need height or sectioning, though I've seen it used in tiny quantities on longer curly or wavy hair for giving a piecey look.

Honorable mentions:

This hair powder and this hair powder spray help you get humungous bouffants. This is a hard-to-categorize organic defining cream that I love for shorter styles or curls. And these come highly recommended for super curly hair.

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY? It is nonsense!

Agreed! Everyone should just cut their hair really short and move on to more important things. Seriously! *Tosses long, perfectly styled hair in disgust.*

And now, I hand this off to Hairpin friend and commenter, thebestjasmine, who will address a whole slew of black hair products.

Jasmine: First of all, most black hair products (or products most frequently used by black women) are to deal with one major issue: dryness. Black hair, whether it's natural or relaxed, tends to be incredibly dry, which is why most black women tend to wash their hair only once or twice a week, and why we use so many masques/oils/treatments.

Second, some of what black women use on their hair on a daily basis is dictated by whether our hair is relaxed or natural (and there are many other categories too: braids, twists, dreds, and lots more).

Third, it can't be said enough, but black hair is not uniform. There are many different types of black hair. This hair type chart and discussions about it illustrate that, so this is just a general overview.


A permanent hair straightener commonly used for black hair. When people talk about "natural" hair, that means hair that has not been relaxed. It used to be a lye based treatment, which burned like hell (example: that scene in the Spike Lee movie Malcolm X when the water gets turned off and they stick their heads in the toilet) but now most relaxers don't contain lye. They still burn if they're left on for too long. A few years ago the water went out in the building of my salon when I had relaxer on my hair and my stylist FREAKED OUT. Women tend to get them touched up once every 2-3 months on the roots. Like most chemical processes, this isn't all that kind to your hair.

Deep conditioner

It's not just a black hair thing, but since black women tend to have super dry hair, many use deep conditioners frequently. A lot of the products that you see for "ethnic hair" when it comes to conditioning can be used for all super dry hair. Many of these involve slathering your hair, then covering it with plastic and attacking it with heat, and then rinsing out, like this one.

Leave-in conditioner

Like Jane said, opt for this on days when you wash and don't blow dry. Let the curls come through! Leave-ins tame the hair and give it some extra conditioning. They also work to keep it from frizzing up, perfect in the summer or for vacation times. The one that works best for my hair is Mixed Chicks, but this is also a great one.


Back to that dry hair thing, black women (whether relaxed or natural) tend to use hair oils a lot. They vary from just a little coconut oil (for super dry days), to the classic hot oil treatment and other oil based treatments used before washing and styling, to leave in oils like this one.

Stuff to make your hair STAY

If it's a windy day, if it's a humid day, or if it's the day before hair wash day and your hair looks wacky, sometimes you just need something to make your hair slick back or stay in place. I like this dry wax.


Thank you, Jasmine and "Edith"!

Previously: Blushing, Cobbling, and Black Ties.

Do you have a question for Jane?

253 Comments / Post A Comment

The Lady of Shalott


Now, what will keep my hair in place on a windy day? Besides "a ponytail" or "a scarf" or "a hat?" And WHY will my hair always get stuck in my lipgloss?


@The Lady of Shalott I keep seeing women walking around on windy days with their hair looking totally normal somehow while if I don't hurry up and put mine into a ponytail, I'm David Lee Roth within 60 seconds. HOW DO THEY DO IT?


@werewolfbarmitzvah They are witches.


@The Lady of Shalott What kind of lipgloss are you using? There are a lot of good ones out there that won't cause your hair to stick in them!


@werewolfbarmitzvah Weekly sacrifices to certain pagan gods. I don't know which ones, which is why I'm stuck with all these flyaways.


@The Lady of Shalott My personal method is "metric tonne of bobby pins".


@The Lady of Shalott "stuck in lipgloss" is seriously a major reason I recently got my shoulder-length hair cut in a pixie style...


@churlishgreen "Stuck in Lipgloss" is now my new band name. With the quotes.

Lexa Lane

@The Lady of Shalott Even when I wear my hair down (it's about bottom-of-my-bra length), I have one of those claw things with me at all times and every time I go outside, I just wind it all up into a messy (loose, so as not to ruin whatever curls or straightness I've put into it) bun. It has saved me so much "hair stuck to my lipgloss" aggravation.


@werewolfbarmitzvah Awww, I'm more of a Dave Mustaine myself, but I know where you're coming from. Also, why can I be just sitting at my desk at work and, all of a sudden an hour later, I have tangles in my hair? I was just sitting there!


@Hellcat My hair does that too! I will carefully not touch it as I know that agitates its split personality but when I look in a mirror the top half has decided to pretend it's scared and needs to hug my scalp like a skull cap, while the bottom has gone mad with thirst and whipped itself into a frizz frenzy. I threaten it with a brush and 30 seconds later it is pretending its normal again.


@megancress Ha! I remember one time, when my hair was a little longer than shoulder length with an insane "flip" at the bottom, my hair guy was blowdrying and straightening it when his phone rang. He turned to pick it up, talked for all of 30 seconds, and turned back... and the flip, that he'd just undone, was back! He did a "DOH!" kind of thing and brandished his brush, all aggravated.

crane your neck

This answers so many questions. You have talked me into dry shampoo, Jane Marie. Maybe we can take baby steps toward leave-in conditioner.

Edith Zimmerman

@crane your neck She did for me too, last year, and it is the ONE thing that made sense ... UNTIL NOW!!!! JAAAANE thank you.

fondue with cheddar

@crane your neck 'Pinners have convinced me to try dry shampoo, but where the heck do I find it?!

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) I've been using a tiny trial-sized bottle I got at CVS. I think it's Tresemme? It's not amazing or anything, but it gets the job done. I saw at least one other brand available in a tiny size, but can't remember which. Suave, maybe (probably)? People have always said good things about the Bumble and Bumble one, which they sell at Sephora, but that is pricey. I'm going to stick to my drugstore brands.

I am a firm believer in buying tiny sizes for hair products, because A)why waste the money if you end up not liking it? and B)seriously, how long will it take you to even get through the trial size?

fondue with cheddar

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me Cool, I'll check drugstores, then. I didn't see any at Wegmans (unless it was there and I just didn't recognize it), so I thought it might be a hard-to-find kind of thing. Thanks so much!

I've got SO MANY bottles of hair products that I tried but never used and I can't bring myself to throw them away because they're nearly full.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) I still have an almost-full tube of hair gel I bought in 10th grade. I am 27.

fondue with cheddar

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me Heh, you sound like me! During my last move I ended up throwing away some 20-year-old hair products, not because they were old but because they were dried up so I finally felt okay about trashing them.


@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) This question is relevant to my interests! I love the idea of dry shampoo, but I have really, really curly hair that I can't comb or brush, except when it is wet. A lot of the dry shampoos that I have seen require you to put it in your hair and then comb it through- are there any where you can kind of, like, just tussle your hair to make them work, or something?

fondue with cheddar

@Elleohelle I seem to recall someone saying that you can shake it out. Is your hair light or dark? Because it's probably more an issue if your hair is dark, because it will be more noticeable if you don't get it all out.


@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) People may already have done this down thread, but I wanted to throw in my two cents about dry shampoo: I used to use one from Sephora called Klorane (with "gentle dry oat powder" or something), and I loved it, but it was a bit expensive. I've recently found a new one from Target, which I believe is called Umberto Beverly Hills? It's also very good and much cheaper (~&9). I do have blonde hair, so I don't know if ladies with other colors would feel the same.


@Elleohelle I don't brush it out of my hair because my hair gets frizzy if I brush it. But like I just mentioned, my hair is blonde. I sort of like the little bit of powder residue because it brightens things up, so I just pat/fluff my hair and go. Don't know how well this would work on darker hair.

fondue with cheddar

@KatieBarTheDoor Awesome, I'll check that one out. Thanks!


@crane your neck Tresemme makes dry shampoo for straight hair and one for curly hair. The curly hair one is like a mousse. My mom uses it, loves it.


@crane your neck re: dry shampoos, I've tried a Dove version, some other version from CVS with a white can & black top, & a John Frieda one, & thus far the John Frieda is my fave--it's also (naturally) the most expensive, but I also feel like you don't have to use as much of it?

also, @fondue with cheddar--is that a Wet Hot American Summer reference?! if so...congratulations, you're awesome.

fondue with cheddar

@nonvolleyball That it is! :)


@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) then I wanna fondle your sweaters. :)


@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) FWIW, I use the Suave dry shampoo that costs like $5. If your hair is light and you don't need to buy a special tinted one it's definitely as good as any other dry shampoo, in my opinion--and this is corroborated by my hair dresser whom I trust with my life. I would buy whatever she told me to.

fondue with cheddar

@mangosara My hair is dark, but it's good to know they make tinted ones in case I need it. I can't comb it out, otherwise my hair will lose its wave.


@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) I use this one that I found at a Duane Reade and you really can't beat the price: Got2b Dry Shampoo


@supernintendochalmers I used to use that one! but it ran out on me after literally four uses. four! I don't even have that much hair!


fondue with cheddar

@supernintendochalmers WOO CHEAP. I totally did not expect it to be in a spray bottle. This makes me wonder if it was there at my grocery store all along and I just didn't see it because I thought it was something else.


How do you all feel about baby powder as a dry shampoo replacement? I've done it, it works, and it's super cheap. I'm a brunette, so I have dark hair too. I just have to shake/brush it out really well, but I feel like that's better than smoothing it with my hands like my Suave brand container said to do. Might not work for the super curly girls who don't even own a hairbrush though.


Will someone please just tell me what to do with stick-straight, very fine but abundant hair? It's shoulder length and desperately needs *something* because currently I look like a greaseball six hours after a shower. So oily. So, so oily. I go through a lot of dry shampoo.

Jane Marie

@Vicky Johnson cut it off!


@Jane Marie Oof. I entertain notions of that from time to time, but I had a pixie cut for most of childhood and was mistaken for a little boy too many times to forget. And now, as an adult my face is round and not feminine-looking, hair is all I've got!

I will stick with the dry shampoo.


@Vicky Johnson Yes! Because none of this thoughtful advice applies to those of us with fine, straight hair. Leave-in conditioner is a disaster, as is that weird beach-in-a-bottle stuff. We do not get frizz or split ends! Advice for those of us who tend toward the lanky and stringy, beyond just having short hair, please.

Jane Marie

@Vicky Johnson i love dry shampoo and now tresemme came out with a cheap one that doesn't smell too bad? although my fekkai one is lasting forever, over a year now!

Jane Marie

@morose_delectation tell me more about what you want? what do you envision for your hair?


@morose_delectation Yes yes yes yesyesyes. Um. The Bumble & Bumble spray keeps my bangs in place pretty well without weighing them down (when sprayed from an entire arms length away). I can't remember what it's called, but it smells like clay.


@Vicky Johnson Fine but abundant hair is so tricky! Stylists always want to dump product in it "because it's so thick" but more than a small amount of one product and my roots are disgusting within hours.


@Vicky Johnson some advice i've heard re. oily hair (and skin) is counterintuitive--sometimes your hair over-produces oil because it's actually dehydrated and it's overcompensating for the lack of hydration. maybe dry deep conditioning once a week? i like the bumble and bumble creme de coco masque.


@morose_delectation We have the same head of hair. Fine, thin, long. My hairdresser says I should just embrace it. Wear it long and straight (especially while I'm young enough to do so). I do use a volumizing mousse and powder. And I am a liberal user of hot things on my head: hot curlers and a curling iron. I torture my hair.

I also carry a brush with me at all times. It helps keep stringiness and tangles (which I'm plagued with) at bay.

Caveat: I don't have a lot of hair. Just a fair amount, I think. And I color the shit out of my hair. Have been for 20 years. I'm surprised it hasn't fallen out yet **knocks on wood**


@Vicky Johnson I have a shit load of super fine hair that was stick straight until 4 years ago and is now wavy in the back (? apparently that's a thing). Anyway, my favorite tricks for oiliness are baby powder (I'm blonde, so it kind of disappears), washing the front pieces of my hair in the sink and then blowing those pieces out, and never applying conditioner anywhere above my ears. I also cut back to washing my hair every other day, and it made my hair regulate itself a little better - even if I did have it in a braid several times a week during the adjustment period.

Whoever above just said to embrace it and wear it long and straight: YES! Lots of people would kill for straight hair that requires no blow drying, so enjoy it. I miss not owning a blow dryer.


@Vicky Johnson I have the same problems! You don't have to go full pixie but my hair looks SO much better just with a couple inches less off the bottom. Also I just use Lush's I Love Juicy shampoo and no conditioner and can skip an entire day of washing if I don't get too sweaty. I also really liked Aveda's Phomollient when I had a bunch of layers put in - it's a very, very light mousse and it makes your head smell like a Ricola drop. It gave me volume and movement and even, occasionally, waves. Just scrunch in from the bottom and don't get it in the roots.


@Vicky Johnson We have the same hair! Straight, fine, and like 3,000,000 more hairs per square inch than there really should be. Mine, however is dry so all my product advice is for dry hair. HOWEVER - I will say this: an excellent cut is worth every.damn.penny. You can even go get a super-expensive fancy cut, and go to a more reasonable place for follow ups. I get mine thinned out/texturized and cut into long layers, and it can actually achieve movement and (gasp!) volume.


@Bebe I have had such lousy luck with fancy salons. The last one, which I've bitched about on here with boring frequency, gave me a Nancy Grace. Long layers, though. Hmmm.

The best haircuts I've ever had were from a Fantastic Sams in suburban Buffalo and a Blaze in Newmarket, Auckland, in case anyone there has the same problems I do.


@Bebe word. I also have this hair type. In my experience, a good cut is what takes my hair from being limp and sad to looking really great. I had a stacked chin-length bob (a la Katie Holmes in happier days) for years, and now I just a few strategically placed layers in my shoulder-length bob. I wash it every other day, blow dry it upside down with a little texturizer in it and boom! good to go.

I also find that there is no correlation between the expensiveness of the haircut and the competence of the stylist.


@Vicky Johnson layers also help for me. But it annoys me that I have to wash every day, or it gets horribly limp. Like Janice in the Muppets! I tried to teach it to de-grease by washing it every other day, but it didn't seem to help. On the upside, it *is* shiny, at least for about 2-3 hours after I wash it.


@Kirs My hair is also fine, thin, long and suuuuuper brittle. If I brush after I am wearing my "good" clothes I have drifts of little broken bits on my shoulders (Jaaaaane, how do I make that stop? Is there a magic potion I can use?). Mostly, I've just learned that long hair is never a good idea, it just weighs itself down and becomes sad and flat. Other than that: mousse, blowdrier, and powder-based dry shampoo which adds a teeny bit of volume.


@Vicky Johnson ME TOO! Long, fine, thick hair (also dyed red). Had to wash it every day and it was limp by the end of the day. The reason your (our) hair is limp all the time is because you're over washing it. Your scalp is creating oil. Several years ago, I discovered "no poo," and I "trained" my hair to not need to wash it so much. I didn't wash it for about 2 weeks (it was HORRIBLE!) and then every 3 days (with day 2 & 3 looking awful). Then every 4 days (with day 3 & 4 looking awful) and slowly spreading it out. Now I wash it every 5-7 days and it generally looks pretty good (not always on day 7, I admit)! I use a dry shampoo spray on it, sometimes, when it's day 6 or 7 and I want it to have more body and/or look extra good. I also wear my hair in longish layers w/ pieces around my face & bangs (if that matters. helps with body). And because I don't wash it that often, my hair color doesn't fade as fast.


@Jane Marie I think I am going to try the nice smelling dry shampoo. I like what you do gross smelling baby powder, but I don't like how you smell, so I'm ready to move on to the big leagues! woooooooo~


@Jane Marie yes! I just started using this stuff by tresemme: http://www.tresemme.com/Products/Fresh-Start/Fresh-Start-Volumizing-Dry-Shampoo/
You don't have to brush it out. I hate brushing out dry shampoo, because I've got super thick and dark hair, so you can see it all. Because my hair is so thick, it's incredibly heavy, so the dry shampoo is great for puffing up the hair near my scalp and making it look less lank. I love it.

I also haven't used shampoo for six months. I just use baking soda and vinegar now. My hair doesn't get dirty nearly as fast as it used to. In fact, I can go a week without washing it, and just rub a little baking soda paste into my bangs and sideburns and rinse in the shower to freshen up in the mornings, then resort to the dry shampoo on the last day or two. My hair always looks best right before it's really time to wash it, which is of course pretty frustrating.


@Vicky Johnson Chelating shampoo! I use Kenra. Expensive, but the only thing I've found that *works*. It basically gets rid of your grease, leaves the healthy oil in (my hair produces a weird oil that nothing gets rid of except henna. And even then it doesn't go away. I think it's a good thing though... does anyone elses do this?) Also it smells delicious and Not Like Flowers and More Like Pomegranate.


@Shayna Same hair type here! Lush's "Big" shampoo works for me. It contains sea salt, so on the average person, it's supposed to have that beach wave-y look, but for our hair type, it just makes it less oily and provides real volume.


@Jane Marie Cutting it off doesn't fix the oilyness at the roots tho :/

I have the funnest kind of hair where it's oily at the roots and dry as hell at the ends and the underlayers near the nape of the neck. Somewhere in the middle it's actually workable, for, like maybe an hour or so.


@travelmugs I like Lush's big - I used to use it once a week but it's bad if you have color treated hair, so use carefully. That, and the price tag is bananas.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@carolita I use the same dry shampoo, but I have to say it DOES need to be brushed out for me. I have long, thin-stranded but far-too-abundant hair, like a bunch of ladies have mentioned. It is also black, and when I spray the shampoo enough to soak up the oil, I have white patches where I sprayed (I thought your hair was black too? Am I doing something wrong?). It disappears after brushing out, but I definitely need to brush it out.

Also I want to second (fifth?) the request for suggestions for ladies with millions of thin straight hairs on their heads. I have had some pretty cute bangs in the past, but my forehead is too oily already, so the bangs just make me break out. Length: goes down to the latitude where the band of my bra lies.

PS I think the last time I blow-dried my hair was like, 2008.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

Fun fact: The mother of a girl I knew in elementary school had long, gorgeous, silky-straight hip-length hair. Apparently she had a seven year cycle: she did nothing but trim the ends for seven years, then cut it short and donated it all. Then started growing it out again; repeat. My little eleven-year-old brain imprinted on that as The Coolest Thing Ever.


@Veronica Mars is smarter than me My biggest problem with dry shampoo is that it takes so much brushing to get out it leaves my hair frizzy and static-y, creating a whole new problem.

god I hate my stupid, disagreeable hair.


@Jane Marie Have to agree, I have this hair and it is a million times better short than long, even a good longer cut with layers. Life-changing!

(also, I am that stagnant-style person who wrote to you last year, and I am slowly implementing your advice)...


@Vicky Johnson Oh hey, me tooooooooo. Poker straight, fine, wispy, lots of it. Holds heat set curl and all color like a champ. The color part might be because it's naturally blonde.

I want to be able to wear straight hair that doesn't hang limp against my face.

And have wavy hair that has a lovely volume to it without too much styling-look.

And have Rita Hayworth hair, although I've kind of got that figured out.

My straight hair routine these days is: Curl hair one day. Wear. Brush next morning. Wear.


I have this same hair as (everyone above)! Jumping on here for later reference.

Also, the few times I ever tried volumizer on my (long, heavy, thin but abundant and oily after 4 hours) hair, something reacted weirdly and I pretty much got instant stringy grease head. Not the best way to look at a retail job ... because of course I never noticed before leaving my apartment.


@Vicky Johnson Mine is super super fine and I do *not* have an abundance of it. Dry shampoo helps keep it less oily at the roots but I hear y'all on the dry ends - the only thing I've found that helps there is frequent trims. I do not know what to do with what i have at all.
Plus, hard water where I live now is absolutely not helping - just makes the whole mess limp and weird. I would dearly enjoy some sort of seminar on looking after different hair types: thick, curly, fine, thin, straight, black, asian, indian, coloured, etc.


I don't use ANY PRODUCT. I don't even use conditioner! If you've got fine, tends toward oily hair, stop with the conditioner. You don't need it. I just use a moisturizing shampoo every three days.
As for after-shower products, they just weight my hair down. I've tried them all.
Now, I just get a cut that doesn't need product -- shoulder length, with long layers. Layers give it a bit of volume and movement.
I think the thing is, yes, embrace your hair. I'm not going to have big bouncy curls ... without a lot of effort, and then it will only last a few hours, you know? It's not worth it!


@Vicky Johnson Your hair sounds EXACTLY like my hair. Mine will go a whole work day before I get oily, but there's not a whole lot I can really do with it besides "make sure it's not tangly." I just want it to get some volume in it, bah!


@skyslang but what about the frizz? Maybe it's the weather/hard water situation I've got going here, but I have a tendency towards frizz.


@Vicky Johnson You get the kind that's supposed to be leave-in, right? You might be using a bit too much? I just lift my hair in sections, and briefly blast the roots from a reasonable distance while keeping the can moving across rather quickly. Yes, sometimes I've noticed a bit of whitish stuff on my hair, but I just rub it in a little more and it disappears. I do massage it in for quite a while, it's like a head massage, and quite nice. But yeah, it mostly does disappear. Maybe a slight, slight trace of it. But my hair is layered and thick and I like to wear it mussed up, so it wouldn't show much anyway. I think the key is not to use too much, and to really rub it in.


@carolita Oh, gosh, I don't know. I don't think I'm using too much - I use the powder and it's just a tiny little puff up by m bangs.

Also: I got my hair cut the same day this thread was posted and in all two days of having a cute little bob I haven't had the oiliness issues. So maybe Jane was right all along?

Daisy Razor

I have a question! Is there a difference between hair powder and dry shampoo? Can I just use my dry shampoo for bouffant-making?


@Daisy Razor It is not the same. Dry shampoo may give you a bit of oomph, but hair powder does magic volumizing stuff

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Kirs Case in point: Jane's 2011 Emmys hair. She puts it in at the 2-minute mark. It's like magic!


You straighten, Jane?

Jane Marie

@noReally rarely. every time i do, it takes all day and then people are like "your hair looks amazing!" which i resent. haha.

georgette hair

@Jane Marie
Ha! - I have naturally curly hair and I also get inexplicably offended when people compliment my straightened hair.

fondue with cheddar

@georgette hair I think that's just becuase it's different than they're used to seeing. When I curled my straight hair people would say the same thing.


Yeeeah, different though, when People of Curl are passing.


I have short, fine, curly hair that tends towards frizz--anyone found a successful product for that? I do not want it to be crunchy/greasy, so maybe a really light leave in conditioner? Or some kind of mousse? My only experience with mousse is the stuff my mother used, which was SUPER MEGA CRUNCHY.

Daisy Razor

@OhMarie I like Aveda Style Prep. It's pricey, but you only need a little bit.


@OhMarie Dude. Dude. Bumble and bumble curl conscious defining creme for fine curls IT IS THE END ALL BE ALL for fine, curly, frizzy hair. My sister uses the heavy duty-er one on her more intense curls and I swear this product is god sent. Not crunchy, not stiff, just bouncy and shiny and great. I know it's kind of pricey for just 8.5 oz but you only use a little bit at a time (my hair is like collarbone length and I use about a dime-size amount after I wash it, so about every other day) so one bottle lasts a long time. Trust. I have been where you are. http://www.bumbleandbumble.com/product/907/3963/Products/Curl-Conscious/Styling/curl-conscious-defining-creme/index.tmpl


@OhMarie Tigi Catwalk Curls Rock Amplifier which I put in when wet, then shake out when dry.

Jane Marie

@OhMarie updated to include a few curly products. i have a friend with your hair and she swears by the bumble product rec'd above :)

Bridget Smith@twitter

@OhMarie I also like DevaCurl gel! http://www.mydevacurl.com/


@inkysmudge Also sorry I don't know how to make pretty links in the comments! It's worth the c/p! Also my personal frizz-proof strategy is to twist the front part of my hair out of my face in a kind of dumb-looking poof (Like this: http://mybestfriendshair.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Hilary-Poof1.jpg also lolz Hilary Poof) while it air dries, so that way I don't have to be pushing it out of my face which means touching it which means frizz. When it's dry I take out the bobby pins, flip it over and back and shake it around, and voila! Loose and messy and still defined curls. And the front part does a kind of swish thing and stays out of my face since it's still shell-shocked from being pinned back while wet. You now have all of my hair knowledge. Use it well.


@Jane Marie i dig the aquage curl defining cream on my dry, wavy hair


@inkysmudge Oh man, I love the description on this one--"shapely and resilient." I aspire to this in all things.


@OhMarie I find a modified version of the Curly Girl (google it) to work great. Wash and condition hair ( a good conditioner is really important) and then while it is still wet (key), put in leave-in conditioner, a curl creme (I like DevaCurl) and then a pretty strong gel (I like biolage rock hard gelee or this cheap awesome stuff called Ecostyler). If you put the junk in when it's super wet, you won't get crunchy, and if you do, you can put a tiny amount of leave-in on your hands and "scrunch out the crunch" when it is dry. Then you flip your head over and scrunch your hair, mostly just to wring out the sopping wetness of the water. I usually put in products and wring out my hair in the shower, that's how wet you want it to be. Then you wrap up on a tshirt (people call it plopping), air dry or diffuse. The key is NOT To mess with or even touch at all your curls until they are 100% dry. I know the gel thing sounds intense but I swear it's cool. I have never met a mouse I liked. At all.

Also it helps a lot to get off all products that silicones or sulfites.

This is the basic routine, but with curls, there are so many factors. Is your hair coarse-but-thin, fine-but-dense? What is the weather like? Try out different variations. I like the forum on curltalk.com for tips and reviews.

Daisy Razor

@OhMarie If you're getting overwhelmed by the recs, I have actually used almost all of the ones mentioned and they all work fine. :)


I will be looking into that bumble and bumble product. Thanks!


@LlamaLlama I am extremely pro-plopping/anti-blow drying, but this seems like too many things! Isn't your hair a mess at the end of the day if you have so many things in it?

Faintly Macabre

@OhMarie How curly is your hair? I have a lot of ear-length, very curly (pencil to Shirley Temple curl diameter) hair that is mostly fine and absolutely needs product. I use mostly Beautiful Curls products, which are pretty reasonably priced at Whole Foods (about $11 for a big tub/tube). I like the Curl Defining Gel for Wavy to Curly hair--their kinky-curly equivalent was too sticky for my liking but works okay when my hair is short. And it's made of good ingredients and fair trade and smells good!

Until I found that, though, I used (and sometimes still use) Garnier Fructis curl cream-gel in a tall tube. It's only like $3! It doesn't leave my hair as soft as the above, but it makes a tighter curl. My sister, who has longer, thicker hair that's not quite as tightly-curled, likes their curl mousse.

up cubed

@OhMarie I get ready at the gym, so this is my attempt to minimize the number of products. I filled a little spray bottle with a mix of gel and conditioner, and apply liberally to pretty wet hair before/while combing out tangles. I squeeze out the excess water and let it air dry. Any other tips for simplifying the process would be appreciated!


@OhMarie No, but mine is thick, coarse, and porous. It's a mess without these things... But I don't use very much or any one thing at all, which is important. But I feel you.. So much experimentation required. For a light product to leave-in or co-wash with, I like Sauve Naturals conditioner, especially coconut and Aloe/waterlily. It's cheap a CG-friendly.


@OhMarie Try a very light oil! If you hair is shorter than mid-neck, it should be about enough to keep the curls together and most of the frizz away. I have thick curly chin-length hair, and I use moroccan oil (probably too heavy for you) and sometimes this really drippy liquid from paul mitchell I got at a haircare outlet.


@all I am so excited to try this stuff! My hair is like chin/nape length, with a little bit of layering to take the edge off of triangle-head and some sideswept curly bangs to keep my fivehead in check.

The curl is on the looser side--maybe like marker width curls at the smallest to bigger curls that kind of wilt into waves towards the end of the day (especially a chunk at my crown, the stuff around my face stays pretty curly all day).


@OhMarie UNITE scruncha gel, which is hard to find (check the unite website- it's in a few salons) is a MIRACLE PRODUCT. I absolutely love it. It's a gel when it comes out and then turns into a mouse in your hands. scrunch it into damp hair it has just the right amount of hold, volume, & anti-frizz without feeling like you have "product" in your hair. no crunchiness, no matter how much you use. my hair gets a little flat after I sleep on it so I just spray lots of leave in conditioner the next day and re-scrunch and my curls come back. I have thick, curly, layered super long hair btw.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@cootiebreath omg this curl discussion. I love it.
Definitely try a curl defining creme of some kind! My stylist has a good one but I don't remember the name of it... Right now I use Organix moroccan argan oil creme, and Herbal Essences Totally Twisted gel.
If your hair is fine, this might be too much product, so maybe try some kind of spray? I used to love Marc Anthony's Curls line (in the big yellow bottles) but I'm not so sure anymore.


@Daisy Razor I fucking love style prep. I have wavey hair that I wear mermaid ste. It tames the frizz and enhances the wave without being too heavy or greasy or whatever. It does magical things to my mane. I am not a fan of Aveda products in general, but SP is a huge exception. It's spendy, but a bottle lasts a really long time.

up cubed

@OhMarie Can you please tell us more about how you wrangle curly bangs? I find that the diameter of my curls is inversely proportional to the length, so I'm afraid bang-length hair will poodle-poof.


@OhMarie DevaCurl conditioner and and ArcAnGEL. I swear by it.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@anniemac Has anyone here tried Miss Jessie's and should I try them even though they don't have any stores in Canada?


as a white/hispanic girl with very dry coarse thick wavy hair, i am always tempted by the olive oil products targeted at black women, but i'll stay here in the corner with my argan oil..can i effectively use these products??? are they cheaper/more effective than argan oil and the ilk?



I am a non-hispanic white woman with thick wavy hair -- when I had a very short pixie haircut I always bought an old-school pomade/hair wax that was marketed to black men. Like most male vs. female products, it was much cheaper, and it did the same thing as the expensive "lady" pomade my hairdresser used. I think if you compare ingredients, you'll find an olive oil product that is nearly the same as the argan oil stuff, but less expensive.


@dotcommie As a white girl with thick curly/wavy hair I have recently discovered that products marketed for natural black hair are much better for my hair than anything else I have tried. I especially love and recommend Carol's Daughter Hair Milk.


@Turtle i really like the packaging of the miss jessie's products, too...maybe i'll take the plunge.


@Turtle Yes, me too. I also like Mixed Chicks and Miss Jessi.


@dotcommie Whenever I use my "ethnic hair" (I think that's even what it says on the bottle) leave-in conditioner, I feel a bit like Liz Lemon in 30 Rock. It smells oddly of wine and I could see Tracy Jordan thinking I was his dad when I wear it.


@dotcommie Yes, do it! Stuff marketed towards black hair is basically for dry coarse thick hair, so go for it.


@thebestjasmine You guys, the Shea Moisture shampoo is literally magic, and fwiw I have super fine, somewhat-less-abundant-than-it-used-to-be-when-i-was-in-my-30s curly hair.

dj pomegranate

I would just like to point out that some of us non-product-users are not actually afraid of short/trendy/layered/bang-ed/different hair, it's just that we are poor and don't want to waste money (SO MUCH MONEY why are they all so expensive!) on hair products that we don't understannnnnnd!

So, thanks for this! and brb, buying mousse.

crane your neck

@dj pomegranate Mousse? As in...?


@dj pomegranate Yup. I'm hesitant to buy a $20 or $30 bottle of something I'm not sure how to use. (On the other hand, I just spent $50 I probably shouldn't have on yarn and ironic t-shirts, so take that as you will.)


@crane your neck So, slacks?


@area@twitter sephora is really good about giving out samples (and return policy). i'm scoping out new shampoo/conditioner combos and i'm abusing the hell out of their sample policy.

dj pomegranate

@dotcommie Ooo good idea with the samples.


@dotcommie Excellent call! I will keep that in mind. Does anyone do like sampler kits of different products? That seems like it'd be a fun thing.


@dj pomegranate they don't have to be expensive! lots of drugstore hair products are wonderful! buy sample sizes in the travel section to see what you like.

@dotcommie Trader Joe's makes an awesome sulfate-free shampoo that is basically THE SHIT. I use it when I shower at Ladyfriend's, and it's seriously awesome.


@dj pomegranate Dude, calm down. There are a ton of drugstore hair products her work well and are cheap. For example, I've never been done wrong by a Garnier product. Loreal makes incredible sulfate free shampoos. I also love John Frieda shampoo. Products are only as expensive as you want them to be.

@Manatee Garnier products do tend to rock. I'm not a huge drugstore product person, but DAMN, Garnier mousse + a curling iron = pretty hair for hours.

fondue with cheddar

@crane your neck, do not worry. Come with me and I will mousse you up!

Bridget Smith@twitter

ALSO, as I was recently taught, gel is good for curls, especially in thick coarse hair. Put a bunch of it in when your hair is soaking wet - like straight out of the shower - run it through your hair, scrunch scrunch scrunch, air dry or diffuse-blow-dry. Brings out your natural curls, soft but defined, and you can sleep on it and they'll still be in the next day. (This was my problem with mousse: day two was just pouf.)

Jane Marie

@Bridget Smith@twitter oop! updated to include a few curly products i forgot to mention. thanks, bridget!


@Bridget Smith@twitter Opps! Repeated what you said. But seconded!

A Dolly

@Bridget Smith@twitter Gel scaresss me. Is your hair crunchy? I guess diffusing helps. I got two samples of Miss Jessie’s PILLOW SOFT CURLS in my BIrchbox last month that will probably last me a year. It smells great (like laundry??) and makes my curls so soft and defined. If you use too much it gets crunchy and looks greasy. I also like using Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray. I try to alternate products every few days so they don't build up? I don't know. (PS my name is Bridget too!)


@A Dolly It doesn't get crunch when you put it in when your hair is very wet. I swear. I love gel now.


@Bridget Smith@twitter You like the pillow curls? I got silkening curls or something like that in my birtchbox and it just dried out my ends badly. It's kinda scared me away from miss jessie's products.

Bridget Smith@twitter

@A Dolly No! I was terrified of this and just used mousse for years, because one "style" when I was in high school was the crunchy "scrunched" look that I hated. (I was all about ponytails in high school. Also overalls. It was not a good time for me, appearance-wise.) So I avoided gel at all costs. Then a stylist showed me how to do it when I got my hair cut, and now I love it. The trick, as LlamaLlama said, is to put it in when your hair is soaking.

A Dolly

@Bridget Smith@twitter @LlamaLlama Maybe I'll give gel a whirl today if I can find any in my house ha. What type of gels do you use? Good ole Dep?

@divinemissross@twitter The first time I used Pillow Curls I hated it bc I used wayyyy too much. Now I use a fingertips amount and its great.

A Dolly

@A Dolly So! very belated.... I have been using gel as directed and it has been working great! Thanks ladies!!



Reginal T. Squirge

All of the Malcolm X scenes.

Giancarlo Esposito almost steals the whole movie in half a second at the end!


@melis I still laugh every time I think about it. My stylist's face when that happened to me was basically the face of Denzel. Luckily, I was much calmer (and did not have lye on my head).


@thebestjasmine Jasmine, thanks for adding the part you did about black hair products. I'm white, so it won't be useful for me personally, but it was really interesting to read about.

Also, I think that there might be a link missing in the section where you talk about leave-in conditioner and Mixed Curls.


Er....I meant "Mixed Chicks", not Mixed Curls.

Jane Marie

@wee_ramekin AH! Good catch, fixed. Thank you!

fondue with cheddar

@wee_ramekin Agreed! I'm pretty dumb when it comes to hair care products in general, but black hair care products are completely foreign to me and I've always wondered what they were all for. This entire piece was really interesting!


This maybe explains why I've had one really great blow-out and a couple crummy ones that didn't do anything. The good one probably ha gel.

And I think this column's convinced me to find some big velcro rollers. Or take a crack at that curling iron your How To Be A Girl video convinced me to buy last winter that I still haven't used.


THIS. This is exactly what I wanted. Well, and so I have questions, mostly about product rotation. I basically sell a quart or two of my own precious lifeblood every 6 months to pay for it, but I use the Fekkai shampoo and conditioner, Fekkai deep condition once every week or two and use Moroccanoil after each wash. My hair's long, wavy, I'm very vain about it. So, that mystical combo made my hair look pretty much better than everybody else's I ever saw--even on TV--for about 5 months, and then it fell flat. The tiny mice packed up and left. Is there something we should know about changing shampoos or products or something?

Jane Marie

@jesslyn there's definitely such a thing as buildup, and treatments to get rid of it, but i'd venture to guess it's maybe the weather? humidity? the other things you're doing because of the season (summer sports?) this is the exact opposite season from when it worked perfectly. whaddya think, could that be it?


@Jane Marie Ohhhh-uh! Yeah, maybe. I tend to buy products for dry hair because it CAN get really dry--especially in the winter, but I live in Georgia where it's really humid, and all summer long my hair looked like hobo hair, despite my best and costliest efforts. So maybe try lighter formula shampoo/conditioner in summer? Maybe a leave-in conditioner instead of the oil when the humidity's over 90%? You're totally great! Thanks!


@jesslyn Hey they sell that Fekkai shampoo/conditioner at Costco, a couple of different kinds.


@Exene Whuuuuuut?! I don't have a Costco very near me, but as god as my witness, I will find one. Thank you, friend!


@Jane Marie Suprisingly, a wash w Suave clarifying is so good for buildup.


@jesslyn I'm similar with my hair. I reccomend Davines NouNou. I've actually been using John Frieda shamp and conditioner lately with great results.


@Manatee Huh! I actually used to use the Davines Momo, and it was really nice, but my salon stopped carrying it. But maybe I'll INTERNET it! Thanks!

rianne marie

@jesslyn yes this exactly! I don't buy expensive shampoos, but I can never get the same shampoo more than two bottles in a row. Usually about halfway through the second bottle my hair just goes to shit.
Am I insane, or just totally coincidentally cycling through shampoos as the seasons change?
(my hair is fine and oily)


Jane? Pinners? What would be a good thing to use if you have wavy hair and you'd like to define those waves a bit more? At its best, my hair can look like this

when long, and can get even a bit curlier when short. Should I try a curl definer? I have been using one of those beach spray things, that seems to be helping a bit.


@wee_ramekin A perm! Seriously, I got a perm last year and my hair looks like that right now.


@lisma Eeeeeep! Perms sound...really scary? Maybe because I only remember the perms from the 90s?

Not to be an annoying wanker, but I prefer not to do any "permanent" chemical alterations to my hair. I'm not the type to keep up with it, for one, and I'd also just prefer not to do anything seriously chemical to my hair. I was hoping there would be a way to get slightly defined-ier waves with product instead of a perm.

Aaaaaaaaaaand I hope I don't sound like I'm shitting all over your answer! I appreciate that you responded :).


@wee_ramekin Ooh hair twins! I usually want to do the opposite and keep my hair on the wavy end of the spectrum. When I do that, I use a curl cream (not gel) and twist into sections. If I don't feel like spending the time on twisting, I just scrunch with the curl cream and use a diffuser pointed toward my scalp. That gets much bigger curls.

You should definitely use a curl defining cream (I like this: http://bit.ly/K9RVns) if you want a curlier look.


@wee_ramekin it's ok! It is not for everyone, and the smell is killer the first couple of days, but I've been really happy with mine. I get that people have varying degrees of comfort with chemical stuff and wonder sometimes if I have too cavalier of an attitude in that regard. Short of a perm, though, I find the beach spray things work better when you've applied something like B&B Tonic or Prep underneath it.


@wee_ramekin I don't have a perm, BUT I do know that they are much, much different than in the 90s. My hipper friends keep getting wave perms. They are not obvious and do not require similar upkeep - many of my friends let them grow out and because it's just wavy, it looks natural during the whole grow out (so, after a few months the end of your hair is just curlier/wavier/bouncier than your roots, which is definitely something people actually style their hair to do).

I say this because I waaaaaant one myself, but I get highlights already, so I'm pretty sure my hair wouldn't appreciate it.


I have perm questions! Mainly reassurance that I won't look like a dang poodle, but, you know. If one straightens one's hair with a perm (actually, can you?), it'll go back to curly after being washed, right? How many curl options are there? Right now I have a long bob that I've been either pin-curling overnight, or putting spiral-y waves into with my flat iron. But basically it's straight with body (not so much a wave as a half-assed nod to one) naturally. I've ALWAYS wanted curly hair, so I keep toying with the idea of a perm. But I've also never dyed my hair, so chemicals scare me!


@wee_ramekin I got a sample of Ouidad leave-in conditioner for curly hair in my Birch Box one time and I ended up buying a whole bottle. It really did make my medium-thick wavy hair much curlier and bouncier in a noticeable way. I think they sell the travel size at Sephora if you want to try it out.



@MissMushkila Hmmm this wave perm is super intriguing to me. I also have hair that tends to waving but I just don't do anything with it because I am suuuuuuper lazy! This sounds like a good way to continue being lazy.

Jane Marie

@wee_ramekin you could also try a wand styler or wrapping pieces of your hair around the outside of a small curling iron. just once every few days or so to really set the waves and make them stand out. that's definitely what kate's had done there. remember: always wrap away from your face!


@wee_ramekin I love Aveda Style Prep, Garnier Wonder Waves Mousse and Garnier wave spray.


@all Thank you all so much! I am going to try a bunch of these suggestions :).


@chartreusan I've actually known a few girls with bobbed hair get loose permanent waves and the effect is really natural and feminine and pretty. And yes! you can straighten your hair when you have a perm. For my own perm, I find that by day two of not washing, the curl starts to drop a little but once you get it wet again, the curl springs right back up.


Bamboo Smooth Anti-Breakage Thermal Protectant Spray: The name is so long because I need space to draw all of the hearts I feel for this product. Go look it up.


YOU GUYS. Can we talk shampoo for redheads reeeeal quick? Because, like the unicorn, it is so rare and so majestic.

I am a natural redhead, but bordering on strawberry blonde. I adore my color, and am rare to dye it (had enough of that fun in my misspent youth) but sometimes I like the little jooshing that redhead shampoo can do. You know, just fire it up a little.

But it seems every brand that made it has now discontinued it. I used to use the Aveda Madder shampoo, but even that's gone the way of the Do-Do and you can only now find occasionally on Amazon for crazy exorbitant prices. And i know that mother/daughter duo of redheads started a website catering to redhead beauty products, including shampoo, but it's out of the UK and I'm in the US so again, reeeeeally high prices.

Does anyone have any recs? Or am I just doomed to remember shampoo for redheads with a bitter fondness?


@tessamae Try a glaze like Sebastian Cellophanes (sometimes called laminates) every 6 weeks instead.


@tessamae I can't speak for how it works (I'm a very dark-haired brunette with a pixie cut) but I always see John Frieda's Radiant Red shampoo on the shelves. I was considering using it to bring out my highlights, but I got lazy.


@tessamae There is a Jason brand shampoo, Henna Hi-Lights, that should bring out your red because of the henna!


@tessamae Ooh, I am a redhead and I have never heard of these shampoos. Does it get all over your towel?


@aubrey! The Aveda shampoo does. Well maybe not towels (mine are red/brown) but I usually have to spray my inner shower curtain down after showering because it looks like a murder scene. The shampoo stains things a weird yellow colour, the conditioner stains things weirdly bright red.


@tessamae I used to always use ArtTek and I'm still sad it was discontinued. I can't use most of the color shampoos or conditioners left on the market because my scalp is super sensitive to sulfates. So I discovered the world's cheapest and best solution. Add a completely ammonia and peroxide free hair color to your regular shampoo and/or conditioner! I use this one - http://www.creativeimagesystems.com/adore/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=60 I'm a darker redhead and Cajun Spice is my color. Adore is usually about $4 at local beauty places (it's easier to find in independent stores that cater toward african american women because it's super gentle and safe for very dry hair) or about $6 online. It's a life changing product!!


@tessamae Lush has a mail only shampoo that has just a tiny bit of henna in it. Not enough to really dye your hair, but enough to give it a tiny boost. Might be something to look into? Probably it's like the Jason Henna Hi-Lights, which I don't know.


Something I looove is setting lotion. It's a big hit in "vintage hair" circles and it helps keep your curls set after using a curling iron or hot rollers. (For example, after you brush out hot rolled curls for a Veronica Lake look, it keeps your hair in a general curled pattern rather than a frizz cloud.)


You spray a little on before curling each section of hair and it seriously works, man. Much better than using hairspray before curling! Bad!


@lafleur wait, why is hairspray before curling bad??


@christonacracker I have heard that the alcohol in hairspray can dry out your hair when you repeatedly bake it in with a curling iron. Just personally, I have noticed that setting lotion makes my hair smell great and look super silky/shiny after I curl it.

If you don't curl your hair regularly, it's probably fine to use hairspray.

@lafleur My. Mind. Is. Blown.

dj pomegranate

@lafleur This is very useful to know! I use hot rollers on the regular but when it's humid the curls all go flat in about 2 seconds. I will pick some of this up!

@lafleur I just got some setting lotion and I'm going to use it RIGHT NOW... ermm after I shower in 5 minutes.


@S. Elizabeth Good luck! Make sure to dilute it as called for on the package.


@tessamae John Frieda Radiant Reds. Ulta carries it. They make a knockoff, too, which isn't very good. If you're looking for salon, Joico's Color Endure line is god-in-heaven EXQUISITE. I'm using the violet one now on my blonde hair and it's like little angels toning my hair perfectly in the shower each morning. The non-violet is just as good.

A Dolly

DevaCurl Low-Poo? What do you think? I've only been able to use it about 4 days at a time bc there's just too much build up. Should I keep with it or just give up?


@A Dolly are you using any products that contain silicones? The Low-Poo itself shouldn't be building up, but it won't remove any products that contain silicones and those may well be what are causing the problem.

A Dolly

@shelleycerata I don't think so but I'll double check. Thanks!


@A Dolly Extremely belatedly, but if you have curly hair, you shouldn't be using even the Low-Poo on it daily. Use conditioner instead. I shampoo my hair once a week, tops.


Where do the styling creme type things fit into all of this? That's pretty much the only thing I've been able to master (well and maybe the occasional shine spray). Probably because I refuse to blow-dry/curl/iron my hair (way, way too lazy) and most of this other stuff seems geared towards more active styling than brush/scrunch/air dry.

I am pretty happy with my bumble and bumble grooming creme, but what IS it exactly? Are there other products that are good for people who never blow-dry? Certain products that look silly unless you're more hardcore about styling?

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. So good.


@S. Elizabeth Oribe Dry is magical and has transformed my life in ways I never thought possible. (Slight exaggeration? But not.) Expensive, but totally worth it. I had a minor breakdown last week when I realized I couldn't bring it in my carry-on luggage and was going to have to be without it for a weekend. The horror...the horror...

@entschuldigung They make a travel size!!!

Elizabeth Grey

Ugh, I never know what to do with styling products, even when I know what they are supposed to do. I never used to bother, but now that I have super short (and fine and annoyingly soft) hair, I feel like I have to. But I still don't know what to do! I'd love to get volume or do that piece-y look, but the "blow dry your hair upside down!" advice leaves me looking like I was electrocuted, and "just scrunch some texturizer in your hair!" makes me look like I've been living in the woods and haven't showered for weeks. Am I doomed to the shiny mat of hair/(admittedly awesome, but not always appropriate) fauxhawk forever? Help!

@Elizabeth Grey Try a texturizing spray. Oribe makes a great one. Spray it on, mess up your hair a bit, and go! It's great.


@Elizabeth Grey I cut my hair at the beginning of the summer really short and my hairdresser recommended this stuff (http://www.beautybay.com/haircare/osis/g/dustitmattifyingpowder/ after much searching this was the cheapest source of the stuff and they ship for free) because my hair apparently is stupidly soft. Basically I put this on my dry hair and it gives it some texture and I can mess with it if I decide the weird curly fauxhawk is out for the day. Im generally not a product or process person but I do love this stuff.


@Elizabeth Grey I've had short hair a lot, and while I do have a lot of it, my hair is pretty fine. It sounds like after blow-drying your hair (at the roots or upside down for volume) try a texturizing, creamy pomade type product. I look less at how it's marketed and more at the texture of it. You want a "cream wax" type consistency-- sticky but not hard like some pomades - I used to use this one by aveda and liked it because it did not weigh down my hair and make it look all flatened after a while.But you could probably find something similar for cheaper to try it out or get a sample from an Aveda salon maybe? Rub it on your palms and fingers and then kind of muss up your hair at the ends and pull it through sections to piece them out.


Well, hell. I highly recommend It's a 10 spray in miracle stuff. It is both a leave-in conditioner, hair color saver, and smoother, all in one. It is fantastic.

That said, I am going to try the all-in-one Rusk you recommended, because (1)cheaper and (2) I will try almost anything, hair wise.


@karion I use the It's A 10 extra conditioning stuff that comes in the tub. Cheesiest name in the world, but MAN my color-damaged hair is soft! I only use it on the ends. I tried the leave-in a few years ago, but I seem to recall it weighing down my hair too much.


All I ever say about hair products is this: hairspray should ALWAYS be aerosol and the cheaper the better. real talk.

ayo nicole

@iffie Correct. Tresseme forever (now that Dove discontinued their AMAZING lightweight hairspray for some shit in a spray bottle) - specifically this one: http://www.tresemme.com/Products/Classic-Styling/TRES-Two-Ultra-Fine-Mist-Hair-Spray/

@iffie I'm an either-cheap-or-NICE hairspray kind of girl. I love that Moroccan Oil shit. I am also a huge fan of the cheap gross stuff because it is AWESOME. And yes, it should always be aerosol.


@OhMarie No, but mine is thick, coarse, and porous. It's a mess without these things... But I don't use very much or any one thing at all, which is important. But infeelnyou. So much experimentation required.. For a light product to leave-in or co-wash with, I like Sauve Naturals conditioner, especially coconut and Aloe/waterlily. It's cheap a CG-friendly.


@LlamaLlama Suave Naturals coconut is sooooo the best for co-washing and soo cheap. I lurve it!!! Must admit, I never thought to try it as a leave-in?


Anything the XIVth C needs to know about hair products it can ask a 14-year-old Norwegian boy.


Gals, can I get some suggestions for what to do with my hair? The blessing/curse of my hair is that it does nothing. I've had the default Asian girl long hair for way too long, but every time I think I want to change it...no idea what to change it to that would still be as low maintenance as my long hair is. (It sounds like an oxymoron, but it isn't, really!)

Can anyone with more experience in changing up their hair looks give some suggestions?


@celeec4@twitter I don't know how long your hair is now, but how about a shoulder length bob? If you have naturally straight hair, it probably wouldn't need any more styling than long hair. Something like this, maybe: http://tinyurl.com/caffcy4. (I don't know how to hyperlink, sorry.)


@celeec4@twitter Digital perm? I've always been tempted to do something about my straight hair, and it's a heat process (rather than chemicals, which freak me out) so it seems pretty harmless. Anyway, it might take a bit more upkeep. I don't really know for sure.


@celeec4@twitter long layers is always beautiful with straight thick hair. You have to find a great stylist to do that for you. There are actually some salons in NYC just for asian hair. My hairstylists are both really good at it, too. The best NYC hairdressers I know are at Lovemore & Do (Sue), and I'm afraid I can't tell you who the other one at another salon is, because I'd have to kill you, as he only comes to town once a month now and is in high demand. Sue is brilliant.


@celeec4@twitter Spiral perm? An Asian coworker who said she had very straight hair naturally used to get a spiral perm done really cheaply in Philly's Chinatown. Her hair was about waist length, and she said they were good about starting the curl wherever you wanted and however tight, so she ended up with very large loose curls starting just above her shoulders, like she had done them with a huge barreled curling iron.


@aubrey! shoulder length bobs with Asian hair usually look *super cute*! You could even try mixing up the classic bob with a little asymmetry - longer at the front to shorter at the back or shorter on one side.


@adorable-eggplant I'm totally going to look that up, chemical perms make my hair shrivel up and die, but if its heat only, hmmm...


@carolita My only problem is that, well, I've had the long, layered Asian girl hair thing for so, so long now that I can't think of what to do.

All these comments help me to brainstorm!


@celeec4@twitter I'm going to second the bob comment. Shoulder length or chin length, no layers, no bangs. Like an early 90s bob, all sleek and chic. I love that haircut! Plus, it's trending right now. You'll be incredibly stylish.
Sounds like you've got the perfect hair to pull this look off. If I could have it I would, but my hair is too fine :(


@skyslang Hm, maybe! I love all these ideas, and I think what I'm going to do is make an appointment with the lady whom I trust to cut my hair, present a couple of ideas and see what comes out. Seriously, having someone who's good with your personal hair is like magic.


@celeec4@twitter good luck! I'm sure it will look aces :)


@carolita Um I just got irrationally excited that we go to the same salon! (I see Lindsey!)


The thing is ... I like my hair to feel like clean hair. Products always seem to make my hair feel sticky or just weird and not-clean, and I don't like it. Maybe I'm just using the wrong stuff.


@redheaded&crazie Yes! Also I don't like to shower right before bed, and sleeping with product in my hair = product on my pillow = product on my face = even more breakouts than usual.


@redheaded&crazie Yeah, me too. That's why the whole notion of no-poo freaks me out. I just think of the scalp build up and get too grossed out.

Lexa Lane

@redheaded&crazie I have to be very stern every time the (very nice) Aveda students cut my hair, because they always want to use ALL THE PRODUCTS. No. No gel, no fancy stuff. Just the leave in conditioner, please. I find that I can't feel that at all, but it cuts way down on the frizz.


@parallel-lines No, actually, it really doesn't. I used to have terrible build up on my scalp when I used shampoo, which was why I began to get desperate and tried the baking soda and vinegar thing. Once I got used to it (takes a couple of weeks), my hair really would stay clean for a good four or five days before I began to feel that "build up" feeling. Sometimes even longer if it wasn't hot out, or if I didn't wear a hat, or sit out in the sun sweating for a while. It's really amazing. I just use a couple tablespoons of baking soda in a small plastic wide mouth bottle (from one of my health drinks, that small Turmeric one from Whole Foods, I think, not the large liter one), add water (probably it's about a cup), shake, and start pouring it into my dampened hair at the roots all over my head (shaking again from time to time). Then I massage it in and make sure it's everywhere. Then I have another bottle of apple cider vinegar mixed with a third of water, and I squeeze that over my head and massage that in, too. Then I rinse. It's great. I only do my bangs for the next few days, and find I don't need the vinegar for that. Just a little baking soda paste massaged into the hair at the temples and forehead area, then rinse. Sometimes I add a few drops of lavandar oil to my vinegar rinse for a change, but I really don't smell vinegary if I don't, once the hair dries.

Funny thing is, if you don't do it right, like maybe didn't really massage enough, or maybe needed a little extra, you smell like a clean wet animal, which makes me laugh. It just means it was a rinse and repeat day. ;)

And I don't flake anymore. Or itch. I'll never go back. I order my baking soda by the case, and a gallon of apple cider vinegar at a time. Baking soda is great, add a little to a hand wash (not delicates), leave, and when you come back, it's way easier to clean. It's a little friend.


How does one get those curled bobs? I straighten my slightly below chin length hair because I can't use my curler. And when I do they look awful. Is there an (app) product for that?

@Shayna Try a curling wand. Seriously, they are hard to fuck up. There are also great youtube tutorials.


@S. Elizabeth They all mention that you have to do things backwards and I lose it from there XD Are wands different than curling irons?

@Shayna So a regular curling iron is basically a cylinder with a clamp, and the clamp is a pain in the ass and usually where people have a problem.

The curling wand looks like a curling iron, but they're usually sort of conical and they don't have a clamp. They come with a little glove for your fingers to prevent burns. Basically, you take your hair in your fingers and wrap it around the hot piece of metal and hold it there for a while. Boom, done.


@S. Elizabeth Oh my god. That's brilliant. Clamps are the bane of my hair-life. Thank you! ;_;

@wee_ramekin YES! THIS! And you can do a curled bob really easily just by taking thicker pieces and holding them on longer.

As for product:
Try using a bit of setting lotion first, and following it up with a nice big mist of light-hold hairspray. I am fond of the Moroccan Oil hairspray, but seriously, it's NBD. Just look for "light hold."


Instead of styling lotion, get some Garnier mousse (it's the best, seriously, I love it), spray out a biiiiiig mound of it on your bathroom counter, and dab your fingers into it and rub the little dab into the section a few seconds before you put it on the curling wand. Take a section of hair, put some mousse on your fingers, run your fingers down the section of hair, put the hair on the wand. This is how you can get piece-y waves that hold.

I am too cheap to buy a wand, so I just use my 1" curling iron and ignore the clamp, or open the iron all the way, wrap the hair around, and then clamp to hold while it sets. A real curling wand is on my wish list.


Oh man this is all so great.

After decades of getting it consistently wrong to the point that I stopped using anything but shampoo and condition on my (long, thick, sort of wavy hair), I fell in love with the concept of the beach wave stuff but took a lot of trial and error out that Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray (if only the name could be longer) stuff is perfect for my hair (plus a tiny amount of coconut oil to combat any lingering dryness). This includes using some super extra cheap product AND a super expensive one by Paul Mitchell that made my hair look and feel like I dipped my head in motor oil and then rolled around in gravel and a sandbox.

YMMV of course, but that stuff manages to give me the hair I want without making it feel gross.

And the thing for me is that I pretty much always look (or think I look) like I was just pulled backwards through a hedge, so sleek or geometric hair isn't anything I can pull off. I finally learned to just work with what my hair wants to do, which happens to be beach hair. I'm so glad to find out this is an actual style.

I'm going to follow that recipe and try to make my own though.

fondue with cheddar

I'm a no-product lady, but my slightly-wavy hair tends to get a little frizzy. Is leave-in conditioner okay for fine hair or does it weigh it down? Because my waves will fall right out if I'm not careful.


@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) I find it weighs my fine hair down quite a bit. I used to add it in like regular conditioner (i.e. wash it out) and found that was better. Currently, I use a little argan oil once or twice a week and I like the smell and feel of that a lot better than conditioner.

fondue with cheddar

@cat1788 Argan oil, huh? I've never even heard of that.


@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) I think it's also called Moroccan Oil. I like this one: http://www.amazon.de/Apotheker-Scheller-Naturkosmetik-00029796-Intensiv/dp/B001VNCAP8/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1348764743&sr=8-13
but Jane has a link in the piece to some more options on Amazon US.

fondue with cheddar

@cat1788 Oh, awesome! I must have missed her link. I really hope it doesn't have much of a scent (I'm sensitive) because it sounds amazing for a lot more than just hair.


@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) i can't speak for all of the different brands, but the ones I have tried have a sort of earthy scent to them although I can't see any perfumes listed on the ingredients. If you get the chance to have a smell in the pharmacy, I'd recommend doing that. The scent certainly doesn't linger in my hair for very long after it has been rubbed in to the ends. I do like the way my hands feel afterwards, too :)

fondue with cheddar

@cat1788 Earthy is probably good. I'll check it out! I've got chronic muscle tension, so if the scent is okay I'll probably use it for massage, too. Apparently it's good for that.


Aaah I have a modified pixie, and pretty fine hair. I was not a believer in Product until I had short hair, but I compulsively try A ZILLION THINGS (texturizing paste, Redken Rewind, hair wax, "water wax" which is basically pomade, wavyhair mousse when my bangs are longer, various dry shampoos, ET CETERA?!) and never seem to find a solid favorite.
Sometimes the waxier products are great; sometimes they make my hair look greasy and heavy and awful. Sometimes mousse is actually a reasonable choice; sometimes it is crunchy. Sometimes you are wearing a wig for a production, and have your hair in gelled pin-curls under it, and when you're done you have THE BEST weird curly mohawk.
So as with all things beautymouse related, I just end up staring at hair product sections in stores and buying things because maybe THAT thing will be the best magic potion, and then I can tell the Pope?

ayo nicole

THANK YOU for the section on black girl hair! We are overlooked about 99.9999% of the time.
I want to add a suggestion for a heat-styling protector for us relaxed girls. Even though our hair is chemically straightened, most of us are using straightening irons at like 400 degrees. This is my personal favorite: http://matrix.com/products/biolage/fortetherapie/fortifing_heat_styler.aspx


And others.
No seriously, I own a disturbing amount of hair stuff.
AND YET. I find in the end I just use argan oil.


@JadedStone Although I have NEVER understood Mousse. I hate mousse. I keep buying it, wanting to love it, still hate it.

I want it to stay poofy! I love the pFFFFF when it pops out and is all poofy! And the I have to smoosh it? I hate that.

fondue with cheddar

@JadedStone Ah, mousse. I used so much of you back in the mid-80's on my permed hair. I always hated smooshing it, too! The next best thing is shave gel; you get the visual but not the pFFFF.


As a lady with long-ish curly hair that's prone to frizzing, I am a fan of pomade! I don't think I would use it on the rare occasion that I wear my hair down, but it's perfect for smoothing out the bits of hair that are still too short to be pulled back into a bun or ponytail. I like it better than hairspray because my hair is still soft after using it .


I have fine, straight hair (that I sadly wish were thicker!) in a chin-length blunt bob. After trying zillions of "thickening/volumizing" products, I've had surprising luck with Living Proof Full Thickening Cream (you can buy it at Sephora). The other Living Proof products were too drying for me, but the cream works really well. It's a little pricey but a bottle can last a long time (as you don't want to apply too much at one time anyway).


I'm fairly happy with the product combo I'm currently using (Moroccan Oil & Lush's R&B) for my thick-ish wavy/frizzy hair. However, I have the driest scalp and cannot find a way to moisturize it sufficiently to stop the flakes! It's super embarrassing and I need advice about that.


@BornSecular I have issues with dry skin in the winter and sometimes after I shower I put straight up moisturizer a little ways along my part and along the front of my scalp (while the hair is still wet). I thiink it helps although the tradeoff is probably that those parts of my hair get oilier faster.


These comments have been enlightening! I basically started learning hair products as soon as I started taking care of my own hair (from my mom and at the salon) because my curls are pretty uncontrolable without them (and I'd definitely never be able to wear my hair straight otherwise). The only non-product days involve pulling my hair into a ponytail or up into a bun and then lots and lots of clips and bobby pins (or, y'know, holding gel or spray or both or all of the above).

I dunno, I would love to have hair that I could just wash'n'wear, but since my productless hair is all frizz and a top layer that does this half-hearted series of kinks instead of curls and a bottom layer that is like "tightest corkscrews ever! why don't we twist ourselves into complete matted knots while we're at it!" and then there's like one chunk by my left temple that forms a gorgeous ringlet--I don't think I can unless my hair is up (or covered up).


Struggling with my dry hair but have high hopes - just tossed out a Nexxus conditioner that had silicone - uggh it was brand new but gave me dry, dry hair pn first use ( silicants) - bought a whole collection from Whole Foods of Beautiful Curls. I have my fingers crossed it will work.


For those who have thick course hair, do buy a wide tooth comb! It's the best. It able to mangage your hair and somehow tame it. Since boar bristle brush can damage your hair.
Note: I'm a Latina with straight thick coarse hair.


I would like to submit that this article does not fully address the styling needs of white curly headed girls (not that we're an oppressed class or anything, I just think it's a different ballgame when you've got curly hair).

I have curly, frizz-prone hair and use curl-specific gel every day, and it does not give my hair a greasy or a crunchy look--it just cuts the frizz and defines my curls. I highly recommend DevaCurl products. Also, naturallycurly.com is a fabulous resource for curly headed ladies of all races and ethnicities.


@anniemac I retract my statement (about the article not addressing curly hair), as references to curly products have been added. Thanks Jane!


The entire Q&A was worthy to read and it was good to know that I can apply hairspray as I have long hairs that seem frizzy without spray.
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