For some people, there is an immediate prejudice against drugstore hair care products. Much like with makeup, some consider affordable drugstore brands to be lesser somehow than what can be bought specially at a much higher price. The questions supposedly always comes down to quality and effectiveness. It’s a seemingly simple formula: the more expensive the product, the better it has to work, right?
I can already hear many of you protesting because, of course, that isn’t true. As someone who has tried higher-end, pricier hair care versus more affordable brands, the real difference always comes down to personal preferences and finding products that work for your particular issue.
If you’re me, that issue is having very fine, very straight, limp, damaged hair.
This isn’t to say my hair can be low maintenance: it takes two hours to air dry, doesn’t get very frizzy, and, in fact, doesn’t really do anything except sit limply on my head like a wet pillowcase. And over the course of my life thus far, I’ve tried tons of different products all promising various miraculous things for my lifeless locks. I’ve tried volumizing shampoos and conditioners, mousses, volumizing sprays, texturizing sprays, and, on one memorable occasion, hot rollers. Nothing has ever worked as miraculously as promised. Results were usually lacklustre at best, and most of those sprays and mousses just left my hair flat and crunchy.
But I keep trying things, and through these trials and tribulations, I’ve found a couple of holy grail products (Verb’s volumizing spray and IGK’s dry shampoo for example) and some exciting new finds, like the Thicken & Restore collection from Maui Moisture.
When I had the opportunity to try something from Maui Moisture, I went in with medium expectations based on past experiences. The range promises shiny, healthy hair with volume — a highly sought-after, ideal combination for someone with hair like mine. It’s a lot to claim, but any hair care brand out there does its best to boast in order to stand out on the shelves. But here’s the thing: after using the Thicken & Restore + Bamboo Fibres Shampoo, Conditioner and Blow Out Mist, I can say this: these guys also didn’t give me immediate, mind-blowing results, but they did work well enough for me.
To start, some of the primary ingredients in both products are aloe juice and coconut water, an interesting combination that gives the products a pretty heady and intense smell, which I actually love but could put off others. While there are unnatural ingredients also in the products, I was keen to try a hair care product that did contain natural ingredients high up on its content list.
So, the ingredients were looking good, the price point was right (about $10.99 a pop) but then I had to test it out. For a few weeks I’ve been using the shampoo and conditioner and then, when I have blow-dry days (about half the time), the spray.
And no, I didn’t have a miracle moment with suddenly amazing hair. It had to take about a week of use, but I did see a bit of life come into my own boring hair. After about two weeks of use, I felt like my hair had movement, when its default state has been that wet pillowcase thing we talked about earlier. That was kind of a big deal for me, to have a product actually work a little bit instead of not working at all.
My true positive result came at about the two week mark, when I was satisfied with my hair that day enough not to curl it with a hot tool, my go-to to give my hair any kind of shape and bounce. That isn’t to say I didn’t style my hair with hot tools the next day, but it felt good to skip it once. And another weird effect is that my day-two hair now rocks.
The Maui Moisture products did not make my hair magically thicker, but they did make it have a little bounce while moisturizing it really well. Since I do style it with hot tools frequently and have dyed it many times in the past, my poor hair is seriously damaged and always crying out for help. It was really nice to find more products that balance moisture without being heavy on fine hair. You kind of get the best of both worlds with these.
So, yes, I’m sold on the Maui Moisture Thicken & Restore + Bamboo Fibres stuff. It worked really well for me, the chronic flat-hair-er of Canada, and I would recommend trying it to anyone else with similar hair issues. Especially for that price point, as it did work more effectively on my head than some other salon products I’ve tried did. Not that I’ll name brands or anything. Just know they didn’t work out. Shhhhh.
I can’t think of anything more frustrating and irritating than a shitty hair day. If your hair looks bad, you immediately feel uncomfortable and out of your element. It is like your safety blanket is damaged and unable to protect you. According to Viviscal, a woman spends nearly $50,000 on hair maintenance during her lifetime, and over 1/3 of women admit they’ve canceled plans because they don’t like how they look, and 1/4 women avoid going on a date when they have a bad hair day. It’s safe to say that having good hair is important to us women.
Viviscal has been researching hair for over 20 years, and have developed the most researched 100% drug-free hair supplement. The new shampoo, conditioner and elixir work with Viviscal’s clinically proven hair growth supplements as a unique dual-action system for thicker, body-boosting volume to attain gorgeous locks. Viviscal’s new Gorgeous Growth Densifying hair care range aims to work from the outside to make your hair look thick and luscious. Each Gorgeous Growth product contains Viviscal’s proprietary complex Ana: Tel™, which contains clinically tested ingredients from natural sources, including pea sprouts, and nourishes strands with Biotin, Zinc, and Keratin to leave hair looking thicker and fuller. The Shampoo cleanses with a light, creamy lather and rinses out easily. It has a refreshing botanical scent that lasts. The Conditioner has a weightless formula that moisturizes the hair. The Elixir is a lightweight, body-boosting leave-in treatment for thicker looking hair.
I’ll be honest, after my first time using Viviscal’s Gorgeous Growth Densifying Range (the shampoo, conditioner, and elixir) I didn’t notice a huge difference in the thickness or denseness of my hair. Since I naturally have thick hair, the first time I used the product trio I only noticed that it gave my hair some added texture. It wasn’t until I gave the shampoo, conditioner, and hair elixir another chance that I began to see more noticeable results. Like I said, regarding thickness, my hair is already fairly thick, so it was hard to notice changes at first. But after the second, third, and fourth time using the products I began to see that not only was my hair given extra texture, but it was also starting to be more voluminous, specifically at the roots. I always struggle with getting enough lift, body, volume, and texture in my hair, especially at the roots where I flip my front layers over to the side. I like to have full-bodied hair, and sometimes products leave my hair looking too soft and flat at the time. These products would benefit those people who are struggling with fine and flat hair. For those of you who already have relatively thick hair and are hesitant to try a densifying range of products, I would still definitely recommend giving the Viviscal’s Gorgeous Growth Densifying Range a try. It doesn’t make hair feel puffy or frizzy, but rather enhances volume and texture. Say bye-bye to bad hair days!
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*
We all know fashion week (or rather, fashion month) is all about the clothes. But sometimes it’s about the shoes. Sometimes it’s the bags. Sometimes it’s the cast, and sometimes, it’s all about the hair and makeup.
This is the first of our two-part series counting up some of the best beauty notes from the Spring/Summer 2017 collections. This week: New York and London.
Forget the blow dryer. The spring collections gave us major wet hair inspiration. Whether it’s the sweaty, unfinished look seen at Julien MacDonald or the slicked-back rock hard hair from Marchesa, the key is in the shiny, slick texture of freshly-wet hair. Style it while it’s wet or let it air dry. As someone who hates drying their hair, this is the trend I’ve been waiting for.
It’s safe to say a red lip is always in. It’s classic, it’s universally flattering and it adds instant drama to any moment. On the spring runways, a classic red lip made appearances at Creatures of the Wind, while the red lip got a neon update for spring at Jason Wu.
Details are sometimes overlooked during fashion week. The overall look on the runway is so important, and is only seen for a few minutes by the audience. Beauty touches such as nails often doesn’t even register. However, we can’t talk about the beauty from New York and London without talking about the nails. A new take on the french manicure and stick-on glitter are just a few of the examples of nail art from the shows.
We can all thank Stranger Things for the latest resurgence of 80s nostalgia. 80s-inspired music, fashion and beauty. Anna Sui took to the colourful side of the decade, with bright pink makeup. Other shows such as Topshop Unique went for full 80s hair with rocker-glam makeup. This is one beauty trend that can be interpreted so many ways.
Effortless cool is something so elusive but eternal. It never goes out of style, but what does it really mean? Well, designers Derek Lam and J.W. Anderson gave us some idea of what it could be. Neutral, warm-toned makeup and loose, carefree hair. Looks that say, “I’m naturally this flawless.”
Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of visiting The Beaches to get pampered at Parlour Salon. Parlour has made its mark in the salon scene in Toronto since 2009, with its first location in Ossington, and its second spot at The Beaches. The highlight of the Beach Retreat evening were complimentary Nioxin and Olaplex treatments, an essential refresher for the spring to summer season change. Climate adjustments affect hair and scalp conditions as we undergo cold to warm temperatures and humidity levels. These treatments did the job of strengthening and nourishing the hair, and we now know why Nioxin is a 14-time Stylist Choice Awards winner for “Favourite Thinning Hair Line”, while Olaplex is celebrity hairstylist Joyce Bonelli’s all-time favourite.
Nioxin is an inspired skin-care treatment that uses custom technology. Think of it as a microdermabrasion procedure for your scalp. Scalp care is often overlooked, but it is the foundation for healthy hair, as it provides a base for thicker and fuller-looking hair. Before beginning the process, a tiny camera was used to take an image of my scalp condition. Residue from hair styling products was visible, and I could not wait to get a new base.
The treatment was just applied to my scalp and left on for 10 minutes. Once the treatment settled, I had the chance to experience the Nioxin Hair System in full. With six different levels, each system kit is customized to suit your hair condition. An “after” picture was taken for me to see the change post-treatment. The was a visible difference, and I left with not only a fresh blowout but with an elevated hair solution. The Nioxin is best for the winter months from November to April when we experience warm to cold temperature changes. If used with the complete hair system, you will see healthier, fuller hair within three months of use.
Olaplex made its name in the beauty industry when we found out that Joyce Bonelli uses the treatment on the Kardashians for their intensive hair colour changes. Also known to be hair stylist Tony Guy’s favourite, Olaplex is a wonderful treatment that “multiplies bonds and cross-links broken bonds”. The treatment can be used to complement colour change or as a stand-alone treatment. It’s all over social media, but our Social Media Analyst Joyce had to experience the coveted treatment herself, and the results were unbelievable. Her locks were instantly glossier and fuller. The visible results were not the only benefits of Olaplex; she noticed that her curls were moisturized, and the fading dye became more vibrant to give her a fresh look. There was no compromise to her hair health, and Olaplex undeniably proved to be worth the hype.
Parlour Salon’s contemporary all-white, chic interior mirrored our Beach Retreat experience. You are bound to feel like a queen right as you walk in. The stylists were so kind, and willing to listen to our hair concerns while accommodating our preferences. They all reflected on Parlour’s main goal to make their clients look and feel great, with no pressure. We hear that the treatments are a specialty, but they are also known for their fabulous cuts and colouring. Stylists ranging from junior to senior levels are always available to consult and offer expertise on their use of eco-friendly and cruelty-free products. We were so pleased with our results, we are already planning our next trip back!
For more information, visit www.parloursalon.com and drop by Parlour Salon at 2086 Queen Street East or 6 Ossington Avenue.