3 February 2010

Calling all curly girls

I've just about had it with my stupid curls! 31 years of age and I'm still unable to manage them. So much so that I'm seriously considering getting a Brazilian blow dry and some new GHDs, having a fringe cut in (something I've always yearned for) and living the rest of my life as a straighty.

The right cut... the best products.... the correct way to dry.... all of these curly hair  secrets are still completely unknown to me. I once had a fantastic experience, at a salon in Nottingham, where two stylists spent half an hour twirling thin sections of my hair before drying it under a lamp. The result? Gorgeous, glossy bouncy ringlets that stayed curly and glossy until I washed my hair (and returned to the inevitable dullness and frizz).

I've spent the last ten years unsuccessfully trying to recreate this myself - no stylists since then (even in some of the more renowned London salons such as Trevor Sorbie) have offered to style my hair in this way, and my suggestions to do so usually just resulted in some half hearted twiddling. I hunted out one of the most highly recommended curly hair salons in London, Unruly in Notting Hill, but left a bit disappointed in my rather lackadaisical stylist and with rather crunchy curls (albeit a good cut). I've had triangles, steps, boy-short hair (surely the ultimate curly hair no-no) - all sorts of hair disasters in my quest for the perfect cut (and stylist), the only consolation being that my hair grows very quickly so most disasters are fairly short lived.

Here's a typical example of me with rubbishy curls - straggly, dull and badly cut (and dyed, ugh, not a good look!)... you get the picture (nb this was also taken a few years ago!)

and here's me with beautified straight locks....

I've tried the 'cult' curly products such as John Frieda Frizz Ease serum and Aveda Be Curly. Not good results (does serum do anything at all for curly hair? I'm not convinced). The most success I've had has been with Toni and Guy's Label M curl cream. I use this in my current routine, which involves washing and conditioning hair with head upside down in shower (to encourage curl separation) using a moisturising shampoo and conditioner combed through, rinsing, then shaking head in a 'dog out of the rain' style fashion to further separate the curls and get rid of excess water, than gently scrunching in a bit of the curl cream (again with minimal 'interference' to the curl as I was advised at Unruly) before letting my hair dry naturally or with a diffuser (I've found letting it dry naturally gives a glossier but looser curl, whereas the diffuser gives a curlier but crunchier and frizzier curl........ nothing is ever simple as a curly girl!)

I do love having my hair straightened, I feel glamorous and 'together' and I do find my features somehow look better. But, as my mum points out in that way only mothers can do, straight hair 'just isn't me'. I just want to figure out how to make my curls look their best before they start thinning and going grey, which I'm sure isn't too far down the line!

So come on curly girls, tell me your secrets - what products you use, how you wash and style your hair, good styling tools, where you get your hair cut... let's make 2010 the year of ravishing ringlets!

Just thought I'd finish with this pic of Billie Piper in Secret Diary of a Call Girl, as I think her curls look absolutely adorable here. Although there is definitely frizz present, it somehow looks cool with this style. (I can, with a lot of effort, make my curls look like this, but they always fall out after a couple of hours).


  1. Get yourself a Brazilian Blowdry! Seriously, I got mine done before Christmas and it's changed my life. If you're in London, I can recommend a salon, if you'd be interested?

  2. I'm quite late to comment, but I would highly recommend cutting out shampoo and silicone - done wonders for my curls. I've posted about the wonders of silicone free rather obsessively too: http://www.londonbeautyreview.com/search/label/silicone%20free

  3. hi gemma
    sorry for my late reply! i've actually been using a sulfate free shampoo (not sure if silicone) for a couple of weeks now and the condition of my hair is drastically improved! not sure i could do the non washing thing, have tried once but hair felt dreadful!