Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Weird Product Wednesday: Boots Curl Creme

There are many ways in which a hair product can be weird, and Boots Essentials Curl Creme is guilty of several.

First, the makers of it certainly don't want you to find a picture of it on the Web. Maybe the product has some sort of spiritual quality -- like, maybe if you see a digital representation of it, you will be cursed. Or die. Or be destined to live out your life with bad hair. Hmmm. Maybe Boots Curl Creme is like a vampire and it cannot be photographed. (I tried photographing mine but the jar is clear, the print is white, and the product is pink. I think it would take more than my iPhone camera to capture its charms.) A site in Italy had this one up so I stole it. Although you cannot possibly read what's on the jar, you must trust me that it bears a striking resemblance in color, shape, and size to the one sitting in my bathroom.

Now, then. About the smell. It's not exactly unpleasant but it is perfumey. You could even say cloying. Definitely a product for girls and very pretty boys. I find it a little overpowering but that quality has not stopped me from using it.

When I was new to CG, I had no idea what a curl creme was. I don't think I'd even heard of curl creme. And when I started visiting and read about people using them, my initial reaction was, "Sounds like something for older people." For eleven thousandth time in my life, I was incorrect.

Curl cremes in general are moisturizing, smoothing concoctions that help to define and separate curls. They are best used in colder temperatures yet many a curly-headed human enjoys their benefits in warmer weather, as well. I prefer them in winter, myself, because I need all the help I can get in feeding my hair moisture and preventing it from getting flyaway and dry-looking.

Curl cremes are generally used after a leave-in and before gel. But I have heard of curlies who use curl creme over gel or who scrunch out their crunch with curl creme. This curl creme, in fact.

Which leads us nicely back to the topic at hand, which is: why Boots Curl Creme is weird. I have a bit of a beef with this product because the directions provide no guidance whatsoever about application quantity. And in this case, that information is hugely important because you need to use about half as much of this curl creme as your instincts tell you to use.

I was reading Katrina's Colorado Curly blog and saw where she reported product failure when trying to get this stuff to work its magic. From what she described, it sounded like overdose (the symptoms of which I knew all too well). Not only do you need to use a teeny tiny bit of Boots, you need to emulsify it before you apply it.

I shall demonstrate. Here is a photo of how much I use.

Basically, you dip a finger into the jar and use whatever coats that finger. Next you spread it over your palms. Here's what that looks like in the first swipe:

You see how my hand just looks wet and shiny. As you would expect upon spreading a slippery hair product between your palms. But then you rub your hands together for about 7 seconds and look what happens to the product:

It almost lathers! It seems to multiply and definitely becomes more than what you thought you were dealing with. It plays a similar role once it's in your hair, too -- when it's in mine, my hair has more volume (not lots more but more than other curl cremes give me).

Another weird performance feature of Boots curl creme is that it does contain alcohol. Not much, mind you -- it's the last item in the ingredient list -- but enough to prevent me from using it daily. I have to be sure to leave in a little more conditioner than I normally would whenever I use this creme or my hair gets a skosh dry if I use it more than one day in a row.

Other curl cremes define curls by, well, defining curls. But Boots gives you clumpage to the fifth power. Seriously. I used to think that Jessicurl Rockin' Ringlets was the ultimate clumper until I tried this. Only KCCC comes close to rivaling it in terms of clumps.

And now for the final reason why this product is weird. It's made in the U.K. and sold there in drugstores (or whatever they call them there!). It's super cheap -- kinda like the equivalent of Suave here in the U.S.A. I think it's available in other countries, too -- but you can't buy it here it in the United States. What is up with that? Not only is it unphotographable but it's also unavailable. I think the best word for this product here in the United States is elusive.

But you can order it online from a place in Great Britain called Brit Super Store. The Boots Curl Creme will cost you about $4. Shipping, however, will be considerably more. Is it worth it? I have to say it is, especially since you will have the jar for most of your adult life, even if you are now currently 16.

Let's review.

Pros: Great price, excellent clumpage factor
Cons: Perfumey smell, finicky application process, teeny bit of alcohol, not available in the U.S. (and let's not forget the no-picture thing)

See if you can score some on the swap board at NaturallyCurly...


Laura Lee said...

I have a sample of Boots waiting for me from a wonderful poster and I'm super excited to try it. Those pictures are unbelievably helpful. I had heard from several places that it needed to be emulsified but I didn't know exactly what was meant by that. I feel like this should really help me avoid that annoying learning curve with new products!

Amy said...

I'm so glad I wasn't the only one who had never heard of a curl cream! And perfect review of the Boots. It's still my favorite!

ljkelly said...

I am new to reading your site but I love it. You have such a fun writing style that I can't help but smile after I read one of your posts! Keep up the great work for us curly girls!

Sage Vivant said...

(blush) Thank you!

Jennifer said...

Wow, great timing! I just got my jar in the mail today! This will definitely help. Thanks for posting!

gracefulvintage said...

I have searched high and low for this 'Pink Boots Creme' and had it not been for your post I would not know where to order it.
Placed my order and don't have a clue how much I just paid
(anything with the word 'pounds' reminds me of dieting, ugh!)
but based on what I've read and what you've written...
I'll be worth every penny!!
I Thank You and so does My Hair!!!

EmpressRi said...

This was helpful. I can't lie, it freaked me out when I saw how it sudsed up, but maybe my uber thick curls will like it? Only one way to find out!

Lita said...

love it!

Mavis said...

I'm going to have to read back through your comments / instructions for how to use. I read through before the first use and still ended up using too much.

cazi756 said...

Ok im 21, i have been using boots curl creme since i was about 11! (SERIOUSLY!)
I have searched high and low for products that have the same effect as this curl creme does and...they dont exist!
the secret to curl creme is to put a blob of serum onto your hair before applying the curl creme, also the hair must be wet other wise it goes really krispy and horrible!
I also use a small amount of mousse after applying the curl creme, this means my curls stay in for 2-3 day without looking tired!
Over here in the UK to buy curl creme direct from boots it costs just £1.29 ($1.6 i think!!!)
Oh and by the way the smell, ok so its a little bit sicky but when its on your hair is doesnt smell at all!

Jessie said...

Hehe, this post made me giggle :) It IS an odd product indeed. And I don't think you can get it in the US since Boots products are sold pretty much exclusively in Boots the Chemist stores.