Sunday, January 11, 2009
The first annual Curl Product Awards!
Yes, I totally made up this award about five minutes ago and if you're wondering when the ceremony took place, don't rack your brain too long -- it did not happen in anybody's reality but my own.
Before I disclose the winners, let me tell you what the criteria was for my completely subjective selections:
* At least two products in the line have very much impressed me and made my hair all pretty-like
* An affordable and reasonable price
* Must be CG-friendly
Too Shea and Aloeba are two of the very best conditioners I've ever used. Too Shea is ideal for the winter, and Aloeba is great year-round (also makes a fantastic leave-in). Jessicurl would have scored in first or second place were it not for the magnesium sulfate in the Confident Coils and Rockin' Ringlets (which I do still use once every week or two). (There is nothing inherently wrong with magnesium sulfate -- it just doesn't agree with my hair.) Jessicurl's Weekly Deep Conditioning Treatment is a huge favorite at NaturallyCurly.com and although I liked it at first, over time I found that it was really too much for my hair. If I ever needed a deep treatment, though, I would still opt for this one. There is no junk in Jessicurl products and they do what they say they will do. Nice.
Although this line is technically designed for thicker, curlier hair than mine, I have had very good success with their products. The Curling Custard, though challenging to figure out, gives me defined curls that don't look fake and untouchable. Plus, I love the smell. The Knot Today Leave-in is also a mighty fine product, although I prefer more protein and fatty acids in my daily conditioners (they call it a leave-in, though, so I can't take issue with the lack of oomph). Sometime in the coming months, I plan to try the Gloss Pomade and the Spiral Spritz because I've heard raves about both. Here, too, the products don't claim to be one thing yet deliver something else. They don't waste time on fillers and they just get the job done.
A relative newcomer to my world, this is yet another line that is clearly small and intended for thicker, curlier hair. With this in mind, I use less than the package directions say. I've been using the Lock and Twist after my leave-in for several weeks now and I really like it. It's got some flax seed in it for clumping but the aloe and the butters and oils give thirsty hair a good drink without weighing it down. Not the best smelling product but such is the case with products containing flax seed. You sniff and bear it. Also, I have used Cocoa Hemp Hair Buttercream and have liked it, too (although because of the glycerin, it is not the best in low dew points). The smell of this makes up for the smell of Lock & Twist. No fillers, no mineral oils masquerading as "fruit oils" as some companies who shall remain nameless have taken to doing. These folks also ship quickly, which is an added bonus. (I just ordered the Honey and Aloe Curling Jelly, which should arrive next week. I have high hopes for that product, and it just may be the item that moves this line out of Runner-Up status.)
And now.... for the WINNERS!
Karen's Body Beautiful. It was a close call between this line and Donna Marie, but ultimately, it was the variety of scents and the curly-targeted products that pushed them into the winner category for me. If you cannot find a scent you like from Karen, there is something seriously wrong with your smeller. Let's see, where to start with the products. Hair Milk is a lovely conditioner that's rich without being heavy. Although I don't like it as much as the products that came in second and first place, I do like it enough to repurchase. (It has glycerin, and well, I think we've already covered that in a previous paragraph. Also, I wish it had a bit more protein -- my hair needs protein daily.) Hair Nectar is going to be a good one for me in warm weather, but in the meantime, I use it sometimes as a leave-in. Possibly my favorite product by Karen, however, is the Super Silky. What a surprising performance this delivered! I bought it because it is glycerin-free, and I thought it would work well in cold weather. Does it ever! I'm blown away by how fabulous this product moisturizes my hair without making it stringy or heavy. On cold days, I use it as a leave-in as well as a curl creme, and it has yet to disappoint me. But here's the real kicker: I can scrunch this into dry hair and not end up with frizzies! Kudos to you, Karen, for inventing this much-needed product. (Karen also makes some of the most scrumptious, moisturizing body lotions you'll ever try...)
EO. An odd name, yes, but quite possibly the most perfect conditioner my hair has ever met. It possesses the ideal blend of essential oils, protein, emollients, and aloe vera. My hair likes it no matter what the weather is doing. I have used the Conditioner in a couple of different formulations (Rose and Chamomille, and Rose Geranium and Sweet Orange) and love both. I use this stuff as a leave-in and it is sublime, as well. The company is based here in the Bay Area and I've seen it in a variety of stores (including Bed, Bath and Beyond, but if you need to find it in your area, use the store locator for information. I am also a fan of their body lotions.
Aubrey Organics. Surely you knew this line would steal the trophy for me. I have tried four different conditioners (Honeysuckle Rose (which I use after a protein treatment because it is protein-free), White Camellia, Island Naturals, and GPB) and love them all. They all contain coconut fatty acids, which my hair responds well to. The B5 Design gel is probably my favorite hair gel. Aubrey's has patented its own preservative, made from grapefruit seed extract, so you never have to worry about parabens and other toxic substances designed to prolong the life of the product. It's true that the shelf life of Aubrey products is shorter than stuff you'd buy at Walgreen's, but it's also true that Aubrey products don't sit on the shelf very long -- they get used because they are fabulous! (These products last about a year, depending on how you store them. So, just don't buy them in bulk unless you've got a big family or are preparing for the apocalypse.)
I'm sure if the companies were here in the room with me right now, they'd make tearful acceptance speeches, thank the Academy, and send me free product. But they're not here, so I guess I'll have to continue shelling out the cash for their great products.