Friday, November 27, 2009

Ready, Set, SHOP

Holy Curmoly, the number of sales today is dizzying. I'm going to try to group them all in one post for your spending convenience:

Curl Junkie: Five (!) new products being released today! Woo hoo! And to top it off, on Black Friday only, they are offering 10% off your order of $50 or more (use the Code “NEWSTUFF” at checkout). They are putting a few products on 50% off sale!

Komaza Care: They're giving 15% off everything you buy between November 26 and 29! Just be sure to enter the word Thanksgiving as the coupon code during checkout to take advantage of your 15% discount.

Curl Mart: They're cleaning house over there to make room for new products. So grab your favorites while you can! Get 30% off 26 brands they carry -- for example, Wen, AG and Curl Junkie-- only while supplies last.

Sally Beauty Supply: They are offering a number of promotions for the holiday season that give you two products for the price of one, including free dryers, curling irons and flat irons. (This means one for you, one for somebody else. See how that works?)

Donna Marie: Get 20% off everything -- but only on Black Friday. The secret code is DMBLACKFRIDAY.

Have fun!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I heart Perry Romanowski

No, he's not famous (although see what you get when you Google "most famous cosmetic chemist") but I just love Perry Romanowski. He's been part of a few roundtables here at No-Poo Jillipoo not only because he knows his stuff but because he is a quirky, funny, smart, and gracious person (for instance, he always participates in my roundtables rather than saying something like "Who the heck are you, No-Poo? I work with dimethicone, dammit, and I have no time for your foolishness!"). He contributes to several blogs (Beauty Brains and Chemists Corner and perhaps others with equally alliterative names) and recently, he gave a presentation on "Skepticism and the Cosmetics Industry" in Chicago at the Midwest Society of Cosmetic Chemists.

In this presentation, he addressed what he calls the five most popular beauty myths. And here they are:

- Natural is safer
- Cosmetics are toxic
- More expensive is better
- Cosmetic woo works
- Pantene is plastic

Could a perspective be any simpler? Or for that matter, funnier? (And no, I'm not entirely sure what "cosmetic woo" is, either, but I'm sure that if I'd been at the event rather than ogling his PowerPoint presentation online, I'd have been utterly titillated by his definition.)

I guess another reason I love Perry is because his observations about the beauty industry are not influenced by his "feelings" or superficial evidence or anything other than straight-up science. I adore the no-bullshit insights. He's my kinda beauty blogger. And as long as he is willing, I'm going to keep on including him in my roundtables. Mwah, Perry!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Always learning

On Saturday, I was part of a group of curlies who paid to fly Tiffany Anderson Taylor out to San Francisco (well, Fremont, actually) so she could cut out hair. I've gotten to know Tiffany through various means for the past year or two, and even helped copyedit her e-book, Live Curly Live Free. (If you don't have the book, by the way, I strongly urge you to purchase it. It provides more help and information than any book ever written on the topic of curls. And I am not exaggerating.) Here is a photo of Tiffany that I took at the event and as always happens with my stupid iPhone camera, you cannot see curls!

Tiffany cut hair all day Saturday and all day Sunday. It's clear that she thoroughly enjoys her work! Everybody left looking better than when they arrived. Except, strangely enough, me!

I am fortunate to have an outstanding hair stylist here in San Francisco: Bebe of Sassy Salon. She does not cut my hair according to the Deva method. She gives me a traditional, layered cut that takes my curls into account. I have never had a bad haircut from her. When I arrived at my appointment with Tiffany, I knew my hair already looked ... well ... fabulous. (I've been using Mop Top Daily Conditioner, Karen's Body Beautiful Hair Nectar as leave-in, and a combination of KCCC and Fuzzy Duck gel as my styler -- this combo has yet to let me down!)

Tiffany asked me why I wanted anything done to my hair. She said she didn't think she could improve on it. And really, I kind of agreed but thought I kind of needed a trim so why not let her do it?

So, Tiffany sat me down and inquired about what products I used, what my routine was, and what I wanted from the haircut she would give me. All very good questions and ones that every stylist ought to ask their clients.

She cut very little, which is what I wanted. She gave me a tip or two to relay to my stylist, but insisted that my cut was already just great. (I can't wait to tell Bebe that her work was so appreciated!) Now that a few days have passed, I don't see much difference in the way my hair falls, and actually, that's fine by me.

Then came the wet-down and product application. And this is where I started to learn one major lesson: not everybody follows the same routine! Tiffany used Aquage conditioner and gel on me (I preferred that to the Deva products she had available). Both the conditioner and gel contained protein, so that was good by me. But from this point forward, I think things started to go awry for me.

Through no fault of Tiffany's, my styling and drying sequence contrasted fairly sharply with what I do at home. But I wanted to stay open to new techniques, so I went along.

1. She applied the gel to sopping wet hair. I don't do this. I squeeze out as much moisture as possible and then apply gel. If I don't do this, my hair is weighed down by the water, takes forever to dry, and does not encourage curl.
2. She clipped my hair with metal clips. My experience with metal clips has been abysmal, but the ones she used were of better quality and they actually did work well. (I use these plastic ones and love them because they hold better and don't get tangled in my hair like the metal ones generally do.)
3. She put me out to air-dry before diffusing. I generally diffuse right away to get some volume and then I air dry.
4. She used the Deva Fuser dryer. She likes it but I can honestly say that for all the curlies I saw that day, all of them had their curls broken up and slightly frizzed because of this dryer. It is just god-awful and I must be honest about that. At least two of us who had terrific clumpy curls when we arrived, left with no clumps after the Deva Fuser was used on us. Maybe it's a case of operator error with this thing, because Tiffany did not personally blow-dry most of us -- a curly "helper" did. In my case, I used it on myself and hated it so much that I asked the person whose home we were at if I could use her blow-dryer and diffuser. Marginally better.

After two hours, I couldn't take it anymore and scrunched out the crunch. It looked terrible. Tiffany saw my disappointment and offered to do me all over again. We did that and this time, we followed a routine that more closely resembled my own. Although my results were better, they were still not great.

I really want to emphasize that none of this is Tiffany's fault. She didn't do anything wrong, and she even asked all of us to bring our favorite products if we wanted her to use them. I should have brought my KCCC!

I learned that there is simply no right or wrong way to care for curly hair. Everybody's hair is different, and more important, everybody's preferences for the end result are different. Some people don't want clumpy curls. I do, and I want them by the truckload! Some people don't want volume. I do. Some people can't stand a really wet head and I am one of them. My routine has been adapted to my preferences. And it works for me, but it may not work for everyone. Tiffany's routine may work for some clients but it did not work for me.

So, next time you're trying to follow a routine that's been posted somewhere on the Internet yet you aren't getting the results you want ... TRY SOMETHING ELSE. Pay attention to your hair and don't be afraid to alter your routine or your products to honor your instincts.

The right way to care for curly hair is whatever way works for you.