Throughout the entirety of my curly hair life, I have been used to routine. Routine is important when dealing with all hair types, but with curly hair it is especially important. With curly hair, there is simply no option of just waking up, brushing through some tangles and going out the door. We cannot shower quickly and let it air dry without doing anything. NO— easy maintenance is just not a luxury that people with curly hair have. Unless we are pulling everything back into a hat or a bun, we have things timed out to the exact point such as when and how to add EACH product (there are always multiple) and the exact moment when you should use the defuser (the appropriate time slot is similar to that of an avocado reaching it’s preferred ripeness after a week and then it becoming too late to consume after only one day of perfection).
Since I have started embracing my curls (after years of straightening or pulling into a tight bun), my routine has been something I have had problems with. Unless I have optimal time to add product, defuse, add more product, and then go over the non-perfect strands with a wand, I have accepted that my hair will just not look so hot. Without this routine, my hair is bland and frizzy.
Enter CurlShoppe! After getting the chance to do a Q and A with owners, Natty and Row about curly hair maintenance and tricks (check it out here) I was excited to use their advice and products in my daily routine. One key tip that they said for those with curly hair is to only wash hair once a week. This made a huge difference to the over all health and quality of my hair, it is now less dry and takes in product with little fuss. They also suggest buying a wide tooth comb for going through knots. I have always had problems brushing through my hair at the end of the day because it is painful and I also find it rips a lot of hair out—the wide tooth comb was a huge help!
Aside from giving me me their amazing advice, they also let me try out their products to use in my daily routine. Each product that I tried did something new for my hair, which is hard to come buy in generic, drug store brands! Here is how each product worked for me…
Coconut Deep Conditioner
Deep conditioner (sometimes known as a hair mask), is hard to come by for curly hair. I have always found that any deep hair conditioner that I’ve used is meant for medium hair as it weighs down my curls once they are dry! After using this once a week my hair stays soft long after use but still feels light and bouncy!
Leave in conditioner has always been a big deal to me. Curly hair nix leave in conditioner is frizzy and often body-less. I have tried EVERYTHING. From leave-in conditioners made for horse manes, normal hair, curly hair to just putting regular conditioner in my hair and leaving it in (this has always been my best option but creates a ton of build up). This product has been by far my favourite product in their collection and possibly ever in my experience of wearing curly hair! Not only is it refreshing but it brings life into my hair, which so many products lack as they weigh the curls down. This is a must have that I will continue to use and recommend!
I think that this product made the biggest difference to my over all hair health over the month that I used it. This is because I used this to define my curls instead of adding extra heat from defusing and using a wand! It gave my curls that extra bounce and spiral that I often have problems achieving when just letting my hair dry on its own.
Coconut Water Refresher
I love this product! I have never used anything like this before and now I will never stop! If I am not resetting my hair in the morning or just need some oomph at the end of the day, a few sprays of this and my curls have life again. It also smells amazing (with added rosemary) and I get many compliments on how fresh I smell when I’m wearing this!
Without these products and without any routine (left) you can see my hair lacks anything substantial. It is limp and tired. On the right is freshly washed and set using all CurlShoppe products! I am so surprised by the body my hair has achieved without any heat or manipulation. These products have definitely brought my curls to their all time best. One of my favourite things about trying these out is the time I have saved working on my hair routine because my curls require no fuss once the products are applied. I can honestly say that using these have been a life saver during the busy month that I’ve had! I recommend to everyone with curls!
To find these products and also to see the other products and lines that CurlShoppe has to offer, check out their website curlshoppe.ca.
I had the chance to get backstage at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week (TOM*) and speak with American Crew All-Star Mary Cassola. She shares her insight on the latest hairstyle trends for F/W 2017, the 90s hair reboot seen at the collections this year, and what the future holds for the iconic brand.
Alexander Suave: What is the hottest style trend for guys F/W 2017?
Mary Ca: What we are doing for F/W 2017 is more of a textured look but with a natural finish. We are seeing a lot of shine in the hair. We are also using a lot of the American Crew Heavy Hold Pomade ($21.95). Although the pomade has a strong finish and hold to it, the hair remains pliable for that separated but sculpted look.
AS: For men’s fashion week, what is the most dominant hair trend this year?
MC: The dominant look this year is very 90s inspired. On the first day we were doing hair with middle parts to it. Hair that falls naturally, but still has some classic shape to it. But the main thing we have seen this year is texture. It’s not overly sculpted, but appears more broken in texture, which has been pretty consistent throughout all the shows. As with our first designer today Kenneth Barlas, he just wanted that American Crew classic look. If you were to watch his show, you would think you were also watching an American Crew classic presentation.
AS: Where do you see men’s hair trends going in the future?
MC: We are definitely seeing length. And it’s going to get longer. American Crew is a classic company. The very foundation of what the company started doing was that very classic and clean look. That tapered, short look will always remain popular. But as far as trends go, we are definitely seeing longer hair come into play.
AS: What are the most popular American Crew products?
MC: As far as American Crew is concerned, we tend to keep our [grooming] line considerably small. The products that we keep in our line are the ones we use a considerable amount of. All of our products are popular, but right now, any of the products that add shine to the hair. Our Grooming Cream ($21.95), the Classical Pomade ($21.95) or our American Crew Heavy Hold Pomade ($21.95) are really going to be quite popular for that ultimate finished look.
AS: What’s in store for American Crew and American Crew products?
MC: An entire generation of men has grown up with American Crew and American Crew products. Because we started as a classic company years ago, we now have customers and clients who have followed us for generations. We have a full spectrum of men who we can relate to, and of course, there is always every new generation. The future of American Crew is always going to be we are classic company, but are always going to be in line with what’s happening next. We have always been a leader in men’s fashion and grooming because we are in tune with the current trends and are dedicated to giving the stylists the tools they need to give men the look and style they want.
AS: Tell me about the energy this year back stage at TOM?
MC: The energy at Toronto’s Men’s Fashion Week is great! It’s been a lot of fun working with the designers. They are right in line with what American Crew is currently doing with our Americana Collection. The hair is natural, with a lot shine to it, but still has that length to it, so it been really great and exciting to work with everyone this year.
Handcrafted in Vancouver, Barber & Co. sets the bar high with their superior line of grooming, shaving, and hair care products guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed, invigorated, and uber-masculine without the visit to your favourite barber.
For the ultimate shaving experience, Barber & Co.’s No.07 Shave Oil ($20) deeply conditions and moisturizes, leaving your skin incredibly smooth and polished. Lightweight but dense, it’s ideal for all skin types and works well for clean-shaven guys and those of the bearded variety.
For the lumberjack set, the No.7 shave oil works well along the beard and moustache line where precision is key. For guys who like to keep their face looking smooth and distinguished, this highly versatile product delivers the goods for an extra close shave every time. The oil preps the face, keeping it free from embarrassing nicks, cuts, and irritation. Use sparingly — due to its density, shave oils require only 3 t0 5 drops for a perfect shave.
Whether you prefer your hairstyle clean-cut or hassle free, Barber & Co.’s No.13 Matte Pomade($28)guarantees to leave you with James Dean-worthy hair. Wet or dry, this lightly scented rich-in-texture pomade gives hair a strong, natural all-day hold. To use, work well until the pomade is warm, applying evenly throughout the hair. Moisture-enhancing wax, castor oil and purified water round out its ingredients.
Barber and Co.’s No. 2 Matte Putty($28) will add depth to the hair while keeping it pliable all day long. Its texture is dense and works well on those pesky flyaways that never seem to keep their place in an otherwise perfect style. Similar to the pomade, work it well until warm and apply evenly throughout wet or dry hair. The putty gives a soft flexible hold and clean, matte finish.
Modern and highly versatile, matte puttywill give your hair the desired look and hold without the added weight or oily residue. This product works well on hair of varying lengths, textures, and thicknesses. For the guy on the go, all three products are also available in the I’m Faded Style Kit($50).
For the bearded guy, Barber & Co. alsocarries the I’m Faded Beard Kit($40), guaranteed to keep your beard game up to par. Beard oilkeeps your whiskers healthy and conditioned with natural oils and its key ingredients: Argan oil, Jojoba oil, Bergamot orange oil, Rosewood oil, and Vitamin E.
Also included in this convenient grooming bundle is No.12 Beard Balm. Beard balms and waxes work similar to pomades and matte putty’s — they add depth, control, and shine to the hair or beard. Packed with conditioning oils of Shea butter, Argan and Jojoba oil, Himalayan cedarwood oil, Guar gum, and Vitamin E.
Whether your grooming game is laid-back or impeccable to a fault, the company’s line of shaving, beard, and hair care products is guaranteed to give you unbeatable style at a fraction of the cost. It is easier than it has ever been to look your best. So go ahead and leave your mark with Barber and Co.
Barber & Co.full servicebarbershops can be found throughout the Vancouver area. Their newest location in Toronto — which hides Gift Shop, a warm, full cocktail bar, in the back — is at 89 Ossington Ave. Grooming and hair products can be found online (www.unionofbarbers.com) and in-shop.
I know that February is the shortest month, but it seems that the first two months of 2017 just flew by. And that just means we’re that much more closer to spring! However, during this winter, as with every winter, the moisture-sucking climate has taken a real toll on my already very dry skin. Regardless of skin type, taking care of yourself and staying hydrated is important for everyone. Here are a few tips to get your hair, skin, nails, and everything else feeling lush and rejuvenated for what seems like an early spring.
My hair is very thick and curly so it needs a whole lot of lovin’. Using an olive oil or coconut oil treatment once a week helps restore your damaged, dry hair. It’s important to do this especially if you use hot tools regularly. These oils are good for all hair types. Be sure to read the label to make sure they’re 100% oil — no added nonsense.
When applying, massage the oil into your hair, starting at the ends and working your way up into the scalp. Wait for a minimum of 30 minutes, then make sure to shampoo and rinse at least twice to get all the oil out. Of course, there are other products out there that help with dry and damaged hair — it’s just a matter of finding out what works for you. Our contributor Meg is trying out Curl Shoppe products right now, check out her weekly updates over on our Instagram.
I have reeaaally dry skin, if you didn’t get that already. So I’ve decided not to be so lazy about my skincare (out of necessity) and am now on the lookout for the perfect moisturizer. I’ve been using the tried and true Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief to get rid of any flakiness or tightness on my face (especially under my eyes and around my mouth) before I use the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+. I feel like sometimes face moisturizers can be really thick, leaving you feeling like there’s just a layer of it on top of your skin, clogging your pores. Clinique has a lightweight formula that sinks into my skin and does its job. I also apply grape seed oil on my face every couple of days to help with dry patches. It has no scent and is a non-comedogenic, which means it doesn’t clog pores.
Don’t forget your lips in all of this! I usually just mix a tablespoon of brown sugar — granulated will do fine — with some olive oil or honey. Gently scrub this mixture on your lips and leave it on for a minute, then wash it off with warm water and apply lip balm.
If I don’t take care of my nails, they can get real brittle, especially during winter with the lack of moisture in the air. I apply Vitamin E oil to my fingernails and massage it in, to stimulate blood supply. I also use moisturizing hand creams, often with shea or coconut oil, which also helps with the dry and brittle nail problem. You can also create a soak with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to help strengthen your nails. Olive oil penetrates nail cuticles to repair and strengthen the nail while lemon juice helps restore damage and gives your nails a bright sheen.
You should also use nail polish removers that are “acetone-free.” Granted, it takes more time to remove the polish, but acetone is really drying so it might be worth it.
Exfoliate, moisturize, repeat. Exfoliation is a major part of skincare and once you get into it, you’ll notice the difference. You can always buy body scrubs from the store but making an all-natural exfoliant is a lot easier than you think — as long as you have sugar in your pantry. Don’t pay an arm and a leg for a trendy coffee scrub. Click here to learn how to make your own using just sugar, coffee, and the leftover coconut oil from your hair treatment.
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. Drinking water is the best thing you can do for your body and hydration. It’s good for every external and internal parts of you. Winter increases the risk of dehydration because more moisture is lost through the respiratory evaporation.
Flow Water is 100% natural Canadian spring water and has a naturally high pH, which offsets modern acidic diets, and electrolytes to keep your body more hydrated. Flow also provides healthful properties such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium carbonate. You can pick up a bottle of Flow in your local grocery store, and if you live in Toronto or Vancouver you can order weekly deliveries and have it brought to your doorstep in an eco-friendly BMWi3.
Having curly hair is like being in an exclusive club — it is a form of bonding, fosters (trade) secrets, and provides sympathy for when times get rough (i.e, humidity and bad haircuts that seem to affect curly hair more than any other). I’ve tried straightening it — both permanently and with an iron —, cutting it, growing it, putting it into a tight bun, and all attempts at having soft straight locks have failed me. There was only one thing left to do — accept it.
When I came across the CurlShoppe on Instagram, it was initially to take a look at their products that could get my curls into a (consistent) shape. However, after scrolling through their feed for longer than I’d like to admit, I developed an admiration for their passion for and ownership of the beauty that is their curly hair. I met with the owners of CurlShoppe, Natty and Row, to ask about their products as well as tips that they can share for myself and my fellow curly haired ladies. About two minutes into our conversation, I realized that these girls can share not only their wisdom behind their fabulous hair but also their story on how just two girls created a business with multiple products, a wide following, and have become inspiration for embracing ourselves in our truest forms. They have true #GIRLBOSS potential!
Here, I ask Natty and Row some questions on starting their business, their products, and some tips for having healthy and beautiful curls!
On the Company…
Meg: Can you share a bit about how your company came about? What inspired it and what was the process like?
Natty: While I was “transitioning” my hair, which means going back to natural hair by no longer chemically processing it, I had to learn a LOT about curly hair. I started doing a lot of research and really started looking at hair products differently. I started to analyze ingredient lists and really understand what it was I was putting into my hair. So I started formulating products in my kitchen, using my best friend and now business partner Row to test them out and give me feedback. At first I was formulating for myself but then figured, why not become a Canadian, curly hair focused brand, and here CurlShoppe was born.
M: What has been the greatest challenge when getting your brand started? Greatest reward?
Natty: We’re still a small, growing business so of course there are many challenges that comes with that. I think the greatest challenge is genuinely getting people to trust our brand. People don’t easily give up their coins for just anything. People research brands, search for a bargain, and want quality. Through our Instagram, blog posts, and now YouTube, we’re really trying to show who we are, the two girls behind the brand. However, having said that, one of the greatest rewards is when you have people support you by making a purchase, because it shows they’re putting their trust in us. It’s even sweeter when they become loyal customers because it lets us know we’re doing something right!
M: What do you feel are the things that larger companies that provide products for curly hair have been doing wrong? Did this help spark the desire to start your own line of products?
Natty: There’s a lot of great companies in the U.S. that started off as small businesses just like us and are now in big box retailers like Target and CVS (pretty much the U.S. version of Shoppers DrugMart lol). I think the reason why they were successful is because people believed in the brand and knew they catered to them (curly hair people). I think the larger companies that now make curly hair products are just doing it because they see that women are starting to embrace their curls and there’s money to be made in the market. But it doesn’t mean that they UNDERSTAND what a curly girl needs. Row and I know first hand what it takes to care of curly hair and we HAVE curly hair. We’re the real deal lol, not just a company.
M: CurlShoppe includes more than one line of product for different types of curls. Can you share how your specific products cater to certain hair type needs?
Natty: Our first collection that we released was Coconut Is Everything. This is a collection that is for all curl types. It’s lightweight so it doesn’t weigh down the curls and it’s moisturizing yet strengthening to keep the curls healthy. But when releasing this collection, we knew that we wanted to offer more by catering to different types of curls. Although Coconut Is Everything is for all curl types, we know that women with thicker, kinkier hair need extra love and care because their curls need extra moisture. In the last few years, more and more black women have been ditching the relaxer (damaging chemical to make hair permanently straight) so that they can “return to natural” hair. With that in mind, we made our second collection, Butter’d Up. As the name suggests, the collection is made with heavily moisturizing butters and oils that make your hair feel decadent. With these 2 collections, we feel confident that everyone can find a CurlShoppe product for their curls 🙂 But there are more collections to come, shhhh
Do’s and Don’ts of Curly Hair…
M: Will using different products and brands at random without forming a regular routine (like some people also do with skin care) be damaging to my hair or detrimental to its overall appearance?
Natty: I wouldn’t necessarily say that using all different types of products at random would be damaging or anything BUT certain products don’t “play well” together. For example, you may be using a pretty serious hold gel, but not using the right moisturizing leave-in conditioner with it, or not using the right cleanser to remove the buildup. We like to recommend our products based on someone’s current hair health. For example, if someone dyes their hair, they’re breaking down the protein in their hair so it’s not as strong. In this case we would recommend our Coconut Deep Conditioner (with Mint) that has keratin protein to help restore the hair’s strength and keep it looking beautiful 🙂 Because we focus on curl health, we will recommend the right products and we do encourage people to reach out to us with their current “hair struggle” or goal so we can help them love their curls through our products and regimen suggestions.
M: How often should I REALLY wash my hair?
Row: Hey everyone! Row here answering the next few questions 🙂 The thicker and tighter your curls, the less frequent you should be washing your curls with a clarifying shampoo. This is because thicker hair types needs as much moisture as possible and every time you cleanse your hair, you’re stripping it from its natural oils. Looser curl patterns can get away with cleansing their hair a little more frequently as it is usually not as dry. A good time frame for all curl types should be once a week to every 10 days. Again, if your curls are tighter you can probably even push that to two weeks or whenever you notice heavy product build-up. Try using a co-wash instead, in between using your clarifying cleanser when you need help resetting your curls.
M: Does bleaching affect curly hair?
Row: Unfortunately, yes. There is no way around that. There are definitely ways to decrease the amount of potential damage bleaching can cause, but at the end of the day it will always affect your curl pattern. In order to combat any potential damage, make sure to treat your hair before and after getting your hair bleached with a good quality Deep Conditioner. You might also want to consider taking your bleaching journey slowly. If you’re looking to go blonde, try doing phases of highlights instead of bleaching your whole head at once. (This is coming from personal experience as I am now a Blonde Curly Girl!)
M: What are some tips for preventing split ends?
Row: Split ends can be caused by many factors, such as how you detangle, how you sleep, and how you care for your hair. Some quick tips that will help decrease split ends include:
Using a wide tooth comb to detangle instead of a brush and only detangle when your hair is wet! This will reduce pulling on your hair which can eventually cause breakage (including split ends).
Use a microfibre towel or even a 100% cotton t-shirt to dry your hair. These fabrics are softer on your hair and will be less likely to pull your hair, which can cause breakage.
When sleeping, try using a silk/satin pillowcase. This works in the same way as the microfibre towel. When you’re sleeping, the fibres of your pillowcase won’t pull on your curls, thereby reducing the amount of potential breakage.
Moisture! Curls need moisture, and the less moisturized they are the more prone to damage, breakage, and split ends they are.
Trim your hair. I know, this may be scary but when I say trim I mean trim, not a hair cut! Split ends are bound to happen, and one way to keep them from getting worse is by cutting them off before they can grow deeper up the hair shaft. Aim to trim your hair every 3-4 months. This will still give your hair a chance to grow, I promise.
M: Is brushing through my curls at all damaging?
Row: Not at all! Not detangling your hair will eventually be more damaging for your curls, especially if you have tighter curls. With that said, it definitely matters how you detangle your hair. You should be using a wide tooth comb and detangling only when your hair is wet. To make it even easier, try detangling your hair in the shower when you have your conditioner in before you rinse it out.
M: What is a huge misconception about curly hair in terms of treatment and care?
Row: That all curly hair is the same! This couldn’t be any farther from the truth (unfortunately). Don’t get me wrong, it would be a whole lot easier if all curls could follow the exact same regime and end up just as popping as the other, but there are many different curl types and each type needs to be cared for a little differently. Just take the time to figure out your particular curl needs and fall in love with your own unique curls instead of lusting over someone else’s and trying to mimic what they do.
*After learning these tips, please stay tuned for a followup article where I test out what I’ve learned while also using products from the Curlshoppe! You can check out my weekly progress @NovellaMagazine on Instagram*