You can read part one of my tale here.
Curly-haired women have an automatic bond. You may not always form deep friendships, but they always have a bond over the triumphs and tragedies of having spiraly hair texture.
My friend Chantal (not her real name) and I bonded during our college choir days, not just because of the choir itself, but because we both had curly hair and could never figure out what the hell to do with it. We always traded stories of new product trials, haircutting woes, and general frustration with our textures. We wore a lot of ponytails in college.
So two years ago, Chantal and I were on a cruise, and we were putting our respective toiletries in our cramped cabin bathroom. I noticed that she put these ginormous, liter-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner in the shower. This was very atypical of Chantal, who is the most practical traveler I know and always travels with the petite-sized products.
Not only that, but she placed a ginormous, liter-sized bottle of hair gel by the sink. It was from the same line as the shampoo and conditioner.
When Chantal wasn't looking, I picked up the bottle of hair gel (which really was liter-sized) and checked out the price.
For hair gel.
This definitely was atypical of Chantal, who never, ever, ever paid full price for anything.
I resolved to ask her about the situation later.
(NOTE: I'm not being paid to endorse the following products, I'm just telling a story).
So later that day, we went out for tea and sat by the pool and the conversation turned to shopping. That's when I asked the question:
"Why the hell did you spend $45 on hair gel?"
She started laughing. "Because it's a good hair gel!" she replied.
"But what makes it so good? I mean, your hair looks good, but...c'mon, $45?!?!"
She laughed again. Chantal told me about this product line for curly hair called Deva Curl. Her salon had just started buying the products and, for shits and giggles, decided to try it on her hair. Pretty soon, Chantal had a small crowd of hairdressers around her, admiring the products' affects on her spirals. Well, that was enough to convince Chantal to buy the entire product line--shampoo, conditioner, and all.
"YOU should try this stuff, Kitten! It would look great on your hair!"
I rolled my eyes. $45 for a liter of hair gel? No thank you, even if it lasted me for two years.
Fast forward two years. Chantal forwards me an e-mail from her salon. They were hosting a "curly girl makeover" one Tuesday night. They were offering 25% off all services and products, and as a bonus, the Italian restaurant next door was offering a free happy hour to all of its salon's customers, antipasti, wine, and all.
I thought, "What the hell?" It would be a chance to spend time with Chantal, whom I hardly see during the work year. That, and anytime you offer me free wine, I'm there.
So I met Chantal at her salon, and I felt this awesome, friendly, fun vibe. It was a party in there. A real fiesta! Chantal sat down with her manicurist for a polish change and they started chatting away. While she was getting her nails done, I was summoned to a chair where the hairdresser started asking me questions.
"How often do you wash your hair?"
"Every other day."
She shook her head. "Curly girls should only wash their hair once a week," she explained. "If you wash it too often it will encourage frizz. You don't want to do that. But we're going to wash your hair today anyway."
I leaned back and she got to work. She explained which products she was using on my hair. She started with the Deva Curl Lo Poo, which is low-sudsing because it doesn't contain any sodium laureth sulfate, which is alleged to be a carcinogen and also can irritate skin for those who have sensitive skin problems. Then she applied conditioner, and as she was rinsing it out, she called another hairdresser to my sink. She looked at the other hairdresser, who looked at my hair, and nodded.
"She needs a clarifying treatment."
"Yeah, you see all the white flakes coming out of her hair?"
I looked at my shampoo girl. "But isn't that supposed to be dandruff?" I asked.
"Oh no," she replied, "what you have is build up. Lots of it. What do you use in your hair?"
I told her about my rawther unorthodox styling routine. She started laughing.
"Well, your cocktail certainly explains why you have build-up," she explained as she put the clarifying shampoo in my hair. "And you shouldn't blow your hair around too much because it will promote frizz, and the curl will lose hydration."
So I got my clarifying treatment and went to the hairdresser's chair, where she put some of the aforementioned $45 gel in my hair. Then she took a blow dryer, put a blow-drying sock on it, and let it go.
That $45 gel was worth every frakkin' penny.
My hair never looked so good.
I left the salon with the entire product line, not with the liter-sized bottles, but the more conventional 12-ounce bottles, because I wasn't fully sold. I wanted to make sure I could do my hair at home. And if I didn't like the products, I could always sell them on eBay.
The next morning, I washed my hair. Yeah, I know I wasn't supposed to, but I did it anyway. I wanted to try the Lo Poo for myself. It was weird having so few suds in my hair during its wash. Then I put the One Condition in my hair, and rinsed it out. I could tell, just from that one wash, that my hair had retained a lot of moisture. I felt a difference immediately.
I got out of the shower and towel dried my hair with a microfiber towel, a free gift from the salon. Curly girls, I learned, shouldn't put their hair in a turban, because it will flatten the curl. I then put some of the leave in conditioner, the B'Leave In, through my locks, and got dressed. I went back to the bathroom and put some of the AnGEL in my hair, put my face on, brushed my teeth, and sprayed my hair with the Set It Free, the moisture lock that prevents frizz.
Not to brag, but my hair looked awesome.
I could do this.
Since then I have received more compliments on my hair than I ever heard in my entire life. People asked me what I was doing. Was it a new cut? New style? New product? I told them all about Deva Curl and started raving the same way Chantal did. I was sold!
The next step, for me, was to find a salon in the M-town that sold the Deva products.
That's when I got lucky...really, really lucky...
TOMORROW: Part three of my story...