“This Shit Rules” is a beauty column where staff people list the items they can’t live without – the makeup, beauty products, and other shit we use every morning, before we go to bed, or in the car on the way to work.
Once every few years, I get tired of dealing with my curls. A little blow-out can give me a break from the fussing and futzing with out-of-place corkscrews or lopsided bed-head. So I took a little trip to my local Dominican salon to get a wash n’ blow. Now, I’m normally very, very, very particular about what I put in my hair, but I’ve had my hair blown out at this Dominican salon before, and I figured one little shampoo and condition with Suave or whatever they use couldn’t hurt. Whoo boy was I wrong. When the lady was done wrapping up my newly straightened locks I could not believe how incredibly straight she got it to look. Nobody has ever gotten my hair to be so damn straight and silky. It wasn’t until all of my hair was falling out in the shower a week later that I realized something had gone horribly awry.
A hairstylist friend informed me that they must have put a keratin treatment in the conditioner, which, when used with heat, bonds to the hair and basically murders it. Looks great straight, looks like straw when you wash it out. I was mortified. I immediately ran to Ricky’s to stock up on every organic deep conditioning treatment they had on the shelves. In the name of protecting your hair from damage and your pockets from the exorbitant sums of cash I spent trying to find the perfect product, here are the four that actually worked. All of the products listed here are free from parabens and sulfates, which are apparently very bad for curly hair or at least my stylist says so and that’s good enough for me.
Carol’s Daughter Monoi Oil Repairing Conditioner
I really couldn’t tell you what monoi oil is, but I like to imagine it is suckled from the nipples of woodland nymphs, because more than anything else I used, this conditioner got my hair feeling better than normal right quick. They also make a deep conditioner and a leave-in solution, but given how effective just this one product is, and the steep cost, I’d say skip the other stuff. And? It smells like dewdrops and rainbows.
DevaCurl Heaven in Hair
I never realized how much this shit rules until I really needed it. If you’re dealing with really terrible damage and need some extra help taming your rats nest, I wholeheartedly endorse this product. All of the Deva products are high quality, but they are also mega expensive (as are most products marketed toward curly-haired and “ethnic” women, but that’s another article for another time). Get a small 8oz. tub for occasional emergencies and try not to break it out unless you really need it.
Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
Once you’re out of the shower and you’ve glooped your hair full of enough moisturizers to re-hydrate the state of California, you can squeeze the water out of your hair and run some of this stuff through it. Of all the leave-ins in all the land, this is the least “crunchy,” meaning that when your hair dries it won’t feel like it’s encased in a layer of ice. The coconut hibiscus smell is a little too saccharine for my taste but it doesn’t stop me from using this product every. single. day.
Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey
This one isn’t for everybody. It smells so amazing you might be tempted to dump the whole canister on your head but BEWARE! It scoops out like a pomade, but then sort of melts onto your hair as it dries. It is very very oily. I recommend it only to smooth frizz and add a little extra shine on days when your hair is feeling extra dry or damaged. Try to keep it away from your hairline. Also you may find yourself trailed by a rabble of bees. This has literally happened to me a lot of times and I honestly don’t know what to do about it.