|My hair, last night, after 10 hours of rain and humidity|
One of the things I was most excited about back then was the dirt-cheap cost one of the recommended hair gels. You can't get less expensive than L.A. Looks gel, but the yellow gel left my hair too crunchy and I wan't thrilled with the scent. I switched to the L.A. Looks Nutra Curl gel, which you can buy 60 oz. of for about $7 on Amazon, and I got pretty good results. I lost the dreaded crunch, but the hold couldn't always stand up to heat and humidity.
Then, Sonya gave me much lighter highlights this summer, and I could feel my hair suffering from severe dryness and frizz. So, using the same logic that lets me spend upwards of $150 on my hair cut and highlights ("I wear my hair everyday."), I splurged on the Deva Curl Light Defining Gel (Deva Curl is created by the author of The Curly Girl Handbook) and some Deva Curl One Condition conditioner as well.
I've been very pleased with the results. Even though my hair is in dire need of a hair cut, the frizz is usually well under control and my curls are very defined and bouncy.
My revised routine consists of co-washing with Trader Joe's Citrus Conditioner or shampooing with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Oil shampoo (I shampoo every week or two). Then I condition with a big handful of Deva Curl conditioner, finger-combing it through before rinsing 2/3 of it out with cool water. I let my wet hair drip into the tub as I scrunch 2 pumps worth of Deva Curl gel through my hair. Then I squeeze upwards, cupping the curls, with an old cotton t-shirt.
I let my curls dry naturally as I prepare breakfast and get dressed, but then I blast the underside and roots with a diffuser for 2-3 minutes. That gives my roots more volume and keeps me from walking out with damp hair.
Of course, just as I found a routine that was working for me, I got some free samples of Paul Mitchell's new line for curls. I tried the Spring Loaded Detangling Shampoo, which has a luxurious lather even though it is sulfate-free and the Full Circle Leave-in Treatment, which I would not use instead of a regular conditioner, but in addition to--especially on days when I'm headed to the beach or the pool. Unfortunately, the Ultimate Wave Beachy Texture Cream-Gel, which has a great feel and scent, was obviously designed for girls with a lot less curl to manage. It did nothing for my hair and I was in a ponytail by 8:45. If I lose interest in Deva Curl, I'll probably try their Twirl Around Crunch-Free Curl Definer, which seems like a better match for my needs.