Dry Shampoo & Daytime Workouts: A Love Story

I don’t know if I’m severely behind the curve here, but I just discovered dry shampoo. The daytime workout game has totally changed for this curly girl.

As I’ve discussed here, I have thick, naturally curly hair. I workout at work. In the summer, that meant getting to work early & showering here. In the winter months, it means fitting it in at lunchtime and rearranging my showering schedule to accommodate. It also means that if I skip a workout bc I don’t feel like it I have to walk around all greasy and gross bc I didn’t shower OR workout.

Wait, that’s not cool.

Enter: dry shampoo. I grabbed it after my stylist told me all about it during my last cut. (I like it, but having impulse bought it at a salon… well, I’m quite sure there are more affordable and equally good options out there. That said, I’m not even gonna bother with a shout out to the brand.) Like any curly girl product, make sure it’s sulfate and silicone free & you’re set. It basically soaks up oils (sweat in my case) that might require me to wash my hair more frequently. My stylist told me that dry shampoo has been around for a while and they would often use it for the elderly & bed-bound folks who couldn’t get baths/showers as often as they needed to. (Sounds good, she also has custom made gas masks for her dogs in the case of the apocalypse, so, you know, grain of salt or whatever.) It essentially makes it so that instead of showering (or rinsing and having to redo my hair), I can do dry shampoo.

So, here’s how I use it. Let’s use today as an example.

I woke up & showered at home. This is a daily thing, I’ve stopped the “I’ll just shower at work and hope I don’t skip my workout” mess. I know you’re all proud of me for showering daily. Thank you. I feel like I’ve come so far.

I went for a run and then did at body sculpting class. The combo wasn’t intense the whole time, but I was my fair share of sweaty. When you have thick, course hair like mine, it holds the sweat in the hairs right by the scalp. Before, that meant it’d dry then have sort of oily and greasy looking roots.

So, today. after my workout, I pulled out my pony tail and blew it dry for a minute or so. I sprayed dry shampoo on the “wet” parts (that had been mostly dried) and scrunched it back up. I’m sitting here with hair that looks more or less the same as it did going into my workout.

Sometimes easy solutions fall in my lap. I think I’m in love with dry shampoo.



Curly Toddler Hair Care: New conventional wisdom

At two and a half nearly 3, Margo’s hair has calmed down a little bit. It’s definitely been more manageable, but I feel it’s mostly because we’ve figured out how to take care of it. (I blogged here about what we use and how we started) We’ve experimented and settled on the following three things as our new conventional wisdom for taming a curly toddler mane (or, OUR curly toddler mane.)

Margo’s first haircut. Spring 2012 (guess who DOESN’T have a baby book. Sorry.)

1. Trims. We get it trimmed 2x a year now. I guess I’m intending to let it grow longer (with the “we’ll cut it when it’s too long” guiding principle.) Trimming off the split ends makes the curls nicer and makes getting a comb through it easier.

2. Once a week hair washing. Just like I do (using lots of Curly Girl wisdom), we limit shampooing the hair. A typical bath, we’ll just wet her hair and use the Kinky Curly Leave In conditioner afterwards when we comb it. Once a week I’ll wash it with the same shampoo & conditioner I use – Nature’s Gate. Frankly, it’s easier (bc washing toddler hair is a pain, right?) and her hair does better anyway. It’s not greasy or dirty or flaky, and the curls are tighter and more defined.

3. Rewetting in the mornings. When we get ready in the morning, I use a spray bottle of water and just try to get her hair a touch beyond damp. Then, comb & scrunch and tie it back in some way so it’s not in her face all day. It sort of re-uses the conditioner, I think. I’m no hair scientist, just a hunch.

I mean, if you’d have asked me if I wanted my kid to have curly hair, I’d have categorically, emphatically said no. It’s a pain, and I know the mixed blessing. But, now that we understand it and tame it, it’s actually not as huge of a burden as it once was. And most of the things we do, Scott can do too (though he insists he can’t scrunch. How can you not scrunch?)  It’s probably a little more work than straight hair, though I can’t really compare. I do love looking at it and feel lucky to have that God-given right as a mother to twirl it when we’re sitting together.

Don’t you just want to wrap those ringlets around your fingers!?

Curly Hair Control: I Haz It.

I have to give Margo all the credit for making me “go there” and start dealing with my hair. I was sort of complacent, not really in control of my hair but you know, wearing ponytails and having a good hair day maybe once every 2 weeks. Margo has my curly hair and I feel obligated to not have her walking around all frizzy and crazy. Toddler curly hair is adorable and crazy.

So, my friend Suzi sent me this link which got the ball rolling, a blog post about the Curly Girl Method. I haven’t read it (or really much beyond this post). But I’ve made a bunch of changes over the past few weeks and feel really positively about my hair. And maybe this sounds overly dramatic and self-important or something, but it’s a good feeling to know how to do your hair. I think most people know how to do their hair, and I might have thought I did, but now I know I know. (I am going to win some “Confusing Sentence Structure Award on that…)

New Habits

(Sorry, creepy Selfie was the best pic I had. & I fought with my computer & wordpress for like 10 min to get a pic of my crap “before” hair and gave up. Just use your imagination.)

1. Wide tooth comb, not brush.
2. Cease and desist washing. This is a toughie, and I’ll be honest, I’ve always had a flake issue so quitting shampoo was… daunting. In the blog post linked above, she mentions conditioning your scalp. You guys… that makes all the difference. The Curly Girl Method advocates no washing ever, but I’ve cut back to once a week, with lots of scalp conditioning and no flakage. It’s miraculous. I just use my regular conditioner, though they do say “no phosphates” or whatever.

Oh, one thing with this I haven’t figured out/researched is how to deal with chlorine. If I swim (which, between working out and going recreationally, is a few times a week lately), I pretty much have to wash it bc of the amount I pay for highlights & chlorine’s ruthlessness. So only in the past week or so has that thrown off my hard-line once a week rule. I’m not sure if you can do anything about that…Any help there?

3. Still loving the Kinky Curly Leave In Conditioner
4. Drying my hair with a tshirt. I’m not sure what it is about this, drying with a scrunching motion. Works wonders!
5. Cutting back on blow drying. Often I’ll just do a few minutes to sort of get it started and roll in to work with sorta wet hair. Not sure how that’ll translate when it gets cold, but we’ll figure that out. For now, blow drying sucks anyway so I’m cool with this change!

Any other Curly Girl tips I should try or that I missed?

Adventures in Curly Hair: Toddler & Mama Edition

Watching Margo’s hair evolve from straight to Maybe Curly to Curly! to OMG Thick and Curly? (and Summer??) over the past 2.5 years has been fun (Read post from last summer here). Really, if you would have asked me when I was pregnant if I thought my kid would have curly hair, I’d have said No. I never had curly hair as a kid. And while I do find culry haired kids SO CUTE, I also know it’s work and had to be hard on a toddler, right?


Right. So here we are, with a mop of curly beautiful and out of control hair, particularly impressive in the am, as seen above.  Her curls are tight but get frizzy super easy, and recently, maybe over the span of a week we became unable to brush it. I think it got thicker during that time, and we quickly aged out of our Dora the Explorer 2 in 1 shampoo + conditioner hair care regimine.

Thus began my journey that ended with me being the mom that spends $25 on hair products and sends her daughter to daycare with gel in her hair. And also the mom who has the exact same hair care regimine as my daughter. WHO AM I?

So, my Twitter friend & family photographer Laura Case recommended I take a walk down the African American hair care aisle. (& some other curly hair recs & discussions I found helpful in this post.) I threw some (more) money at the problem and go Kinky-Curly Leave In Conditioner for Margo and Kinky-Curly Custard (similar to styling gel) for me. I must thank Laura because without her rec, I not only would’ve never had the balls to go in this aisle & shop, but I can further say I wouldn’t have picked up called “Kinky” and “Custard”…

OMG! It’s not an Instagram.

The leave in was AWESOME from the get-go. I mentioned Margo’s hair had thickened to the point where the spray detangler we were using wasn’t letting us get the knots out without tremendous muscle and often whining/tears. So, I put the leave-in in her hair and she immediately, seeing the brush, flinches and sort of braces herself and pre-emptively startes whining. Then I put a brush to her hair and pull it the whole way through, no snags. And SHE LAUGHS. It was the moment when I would have spent hundreds of dollars on this product – yaaay! No tears! I can brush her hair!

A barrette mustache!

I’ve been trying to take a pic of Margo’s “after” hair but she just moves around too much, and her hair is super dark so it doesn’t really look like much. But trust me, it’s good.

I started using the custard on my own hair and the first finger-ful and I was sort of torn on whether I shoud eat it or put it in my hair. It smells so yummy, and you guys, it makes my hair look great. I’m not even humble about it. I feel like I’ve been so confused by my hair and annoyed by it for so long that to feel like I can actually have some CONTROL over how it looks is just a great feeling!

Hey humidity? I’m not scared of you anymore.

And then comes the inevitable cross-over. I liked the Custard so I tried the leave in on my own hair – synergy! It made it even better. Non-crunchy curls that hold! And then I tried the custard on Margo (with some side-eyes from my husband) and it helped hold her curls/defrizz throughout the day.

I’m still a hardline on no make up for my kid, but I feel like a little hair tamer keeps us all happy. And this little journey actually gave ME some perks for my own hair situation. YAY!