Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Curly Girl Profile: Allie (3B)

Posted by Jen Lennox at 3:42 PM 0 comments
Curly Girl Profile: Allie (3B)

I've known Allie's mom, Lisa, for many years. Lisa has smooth, silky blonde hair and Allie has exactly the opposite! I have SERIOUS curl envy every time I see a picture of this little one and her gorgeous curls. Taking care of a child's hair can be such a challenge. They are active, impatient and by the end of the day, their hair often ends up in a ponytail. However, learning curl care at a young age is a beautiful thing. I truly hope Allie appreciates her natural beauty for years to come! Here's how Allie's mama helps keep her curls gorgeous.

How would you describe Allie's curl pattern?

How would you describe her porosity?   
High porosity

How would you describe the density of her hair?
Medium density

Are you following the CG method (no sulfates, silicones, etc.)?

Not yet

What product do you use to cleanse or Cowash Allie's hair?

Pantene truly natural Co-Wash

What styling product(s) do you use on Allie?

Curly Q’s Moist Curls Moisturizer Leave-In Detangler 

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse

Describe Allie's wash day regimen:

Co-Wash with pantene, detangle with Curly Q, add Shea Moisture Mousse and let air dry.

Describe her refresh day regimen:

Curly Q detangler and more shea moisture mousse

What’s the biggest challenge Allie faces having naturally curly hair?

Finding the correct products for Allie’s hair since it is so different than my own and keeping the frizz and curls under control and the tangles out after the first day. Very rarely does she wear her hair down because with running and playing they get tangled and frizzy easily. It’s usually in a “poofy” ponytail, pigtails, or braids to manage the styles better for school and activities.

Any advice you have for others with similar hair to Allie's?

As a mother with straight hair to a child with natural curls be patient. It’s a huge learning curve and going to take a lot of trial and error to get it right. We’re still trying new products and learning new things after seven years.  I’ve found it’s also very important to teach her to love and embrace her curls as she sees so many people (myself included) of all races with straight hair that she wants hers straight often. My goal over the next few years before she becomes a teenager is to teach her that her natural curls are beautiful and there is no need to straighten them to be pretty!

Allie and her beautiful mom, Lisa


Monday, July 27, 2015

Curly Girl Profile: Sherri (2B)

Posted by Jen Lennox at 6:13 PM 0 comments
Curly Girl Profile: Sherri (2B)

Sherri has super fine natural waves that she's struggled to control for a while. After a recent cut, she decided to try the "plop" method with a T-shirt and is in the process of switching to the CG method. Here's Sherri, in her own words:

How would you describe your curl pattern?

How would you describe your porosity?
   Low to medium porosity

How would you describe the density of your hair?
   Medium density

Are you following the CG method (no sulfates, silicones, etc.)?
    I just started today.  
Sherri, pre-cut

What product do you use to cleanse or Cowash your hair?

    Today I used Garnier Fructis Pure Clean conditioner.  

What product do you use as a rinse-out conditioner?

    I just purchased some Shea Moisture Mango & Carrot Kids Extra-Nourishing Conditioner.  My hair is SUPER fine, so I was looking for something that was not made for thick or coarse hair.

If you use a leave-in conditioner, what product do you use?
  I do not as of now.

What styling product(s) do you use?

DevaCurl Light Defining Gel

Describe your wash day regimen:

Today I co-washed with Garnier Fructis Pure Clean conditioner, I plopped for about 20-25 minutes using a t-shirt and then air-dried.  I’m pretty certain that the plopping and air-drying will be my go-to routine, I just need to figure out how long to plop to get the best results.  

Describe your refresh day regimen:

I haven’t done this yet.  

What’s the biggest challenge you face having naturally curly hair?

With curly/wavy hair that is so fine, frizz and flyaways are my biggest day to day issues.  It’s also hard to find products that don’t completely weigh down my hair.  I’ve found in the past that products marked for kids seem to work best for me, so hopefully this Shea Moisture kids line will work for me.  

What’s the best thing you’ve discovered by going natural?

My hair already feels so much softer and healthier!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Product Review: Hair Flair Deluxe Softhood Hair Dryer Attachment

Posted by Jen Lennox at 5:02 PM 0 comments

Anyone who's been reading my blog for a while knows how much I LOVE my Hot Tools Hooded Hair Dryer. It has made my life so much easier and my curls so much less frizzy and more defined. It also allows me to sit comfortably after a shower and relax instead of dealing with my soaking wet hair dripping down my back as I struggle to dry my head evenly with a hand-held dryer.

However, sometimes a girl's gotta travel. And travel, I do. My mother lives a couple of hours away and there are many weekends throughout the year I go to visit her. She's used to my crazy hair changes, but when I broke this thing out of the box, some eyebrows were raised.

Hair Flair Deluxe Softhood Hair Dryer Attachment

This particular attachment is very highly rated by the experts at In fact, the one I have actually has their stamp of approval on it, which is serious. I had high hopes. Although the attachment did its job fairly well, it was no match for my hooded dryer at home. I expected as much, but there are a few things you need to know if you're going to use one of these.


Without thinking, I put my dryer on high for a couple of minutes and just about burned my ears and neck off. Not pleasant. But, I didn't follow directions, so I deserved what I got. Even with the low setting, there's no way to fully seal the hood shut without some air coming through, and where it does, it's hot. I had to keep adjusting the hood as to not burn myself, which is nearly impossible with a running hair dryer in one hand.


The picture on the box makes that girl look like she's super comfortable and there's all kinds of material to spare where the hood fastens around the neck. LIES. ALL LIES. I started by snapping the neck strap with 4 or 5 snaps to spare. When I turn on the dryer, the hood inflated and I just about strangled myself. Also, the hood came down around my eyeballs and started burning me immediately.  I turned the dyer off, unsnapped myself and fixed the hood around my head again. Worked just fine, as long as the rope around the head is good and tight.


I was actually going to show you a picture of myself while I was using this product, but I looked like the village idiot in every single one of them. Seriously. You will look stupid. Your husband will think you look stupid. Your kids will ABSOLUTELY think you look stupid. Your pets will run away from you. Just lock yourself in a room and hide, it's the only way. Know ahead of time that you will surrender your dignity in the name of excellent curls. Embrace the shame.


Even with all the silliness mentioned above, it is still a better alternative than a diffuser attachment. If you use a Jac-O-Net to plop (which I did) and let it sit for about 20 minutes, you'll have some nicely defined curls with no frizz. Because I used it before bed, I used a diffuser attachment to get it as dry as possible so I could Pineapple my hair, but even still, my curls looked pretty darn good.

Like any new curl technique, there's a learning curve involved. I think the more I use this when I travel, the easier it will become. And at the $25ish price-point, you really can't beat it. I didn't even take it out of my suitcase, because it will be accompanying me on my future travels. 


Friday, July 24, 2015

Curly Girl Profile: Lily (2C)

Posted by Jen Lennox at 4:31 PM 0 comments
Curly Girl Profile: Lily (2C)

I've known Lily's mom, Erica, since Lily was born. Erica has straight, shiny, gorgeous hair, but her sweet daughter was born with natural curl. She's done such a great job working with Lily's natural texture and I told her she is ordered to keep a flat iron out of this beautiful girl's hands as long as she's able! Here's Lily's story, in her mother's words:

How would you describe Lily's curl pattern?   

I had a really hard time deciding if Lily was a 2B, 2C or 3A. I think when we don’t do anything to it, or, before she cut it,  it’s more wavy (2B), but most of the time and after she chopped it all off and grew it back out, she is between a 2C or 3A.

How would you describe Lily's porosity?  

Low Porosity

How would you describe the density of Lily's hair?
High hair density. Wow, this girl has some hair!

Is Lily following the CG method?

We use Shea moisture, Mixed Chicks and Carol’s Daughter, so if all of those are no sulfates, silicones, etc. then YES (they are, by the way!). But we haven’t actively researched or try to do that.

What product do you use to cleanse or Cowash your hair?

Listen, I know this is bad, but Lily uses one of those kids 3-in-1. When she runs out of those, she uses whatever shampoo/conditioner du jour that I’m using. Sometimes Herbal, sometimes Garnier, sometimes Pantene.

Suave Kids 3 in 1, Watermelon

What product do you use as a rinse-out conditioner??

See above

If Lily uses a leave-in conditioner, what products does she use?

Mixed Chicks Leave-in Conditioner 

What styling product(s) does Lily use?

SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Styling Pudding

Describe Lily's wash day regimen:

We wash. If her hair is really knotty (and it usually is), we dry with a t-shirt and then comb with a VERY wide toothed comb. Or finger comb. She hates brushing and combing so we try to avoid. We’ve tried plopping in the evening, it’s wonderful. Typically, I will put hair product in her hair and scrunch and that’s really it. If I’m not around to monitor, she will just let it air dry with no product. It gets crazy but it’s not too bad.

Describe Lily's refresh day regimen:

HAHAHAHA. A bun or a pony tail.

What’s the biggest challenge you face having a daughter with naturally curly hair?

I would say as a mom with board straight hair, everything is a challenge. I didn’t know I shouldn’t brush, I didn’t know you need certain products, I (still) don’t know how to style the best way, how to keep it detangled, or how to keep it looking good.

What’s the best thing you’ve discovered by going natural?

Lily’s always been natural, I think her hair is really healthy because we don’t fuss with it a lot.

Any advice you have for others with similar hair to Lily's?

Sheesh, I’m the one that needs advice. In general, I advocate for NO HEAT and not washing daily. OH, and it totally matters how you get your hair cut if you have curly hair.

Lily and her gorgeous Mama, Erica.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Product Review: Tigi Curlesque Strong Hold Mousse

Posted by Jen Lennox at 3:28 PM 4 comments
Ever since I committed to the Curly Girl lifestyle, one of my big beefs with styling my curls is that I hate the consistency of gels. I realize they are very effective and do a superb job of keeping styles in place, but the crunchiness and the wild, zany zig-zag curls I end up having to water down after plopping have been mildly annoying. That said, I've found 2 gels I really like, one that is an anti-humectant (Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee) and one that is a humectant (Kinky Curly Curling Custard). I've been reading up on curl mousses, but the general consensus from the curly masses are that mouses just don't hold up as well as gels, no matter what the brand or the claim. I tend to agree, but the thought of not having slimy hands every time I style my hair has kept my eyes peeled for a fantastic curling mousse that holds like a gel.

Tigi Curlesque Catwalk Strong Hold Mousse 

Enter the Tigi Curlesque line. Not all products in this line are CG friendly, but this mousse is (it contains PEG Dimethicone, which IS water soluble) and is also alcohol-free, which is a plus. It has a fresh smell, not too strong and a nice, thick mousse consistency.

To test this product, I Co-washed and used my regular rinse-out conditioner, squished a little conditioner into my hair at the end of my shower as a leave-in and applied ONLY this product to my hair. Two large handfuls covered my whole head.

I plopped into my Jaconet as I normally do and sat under my dryer for about 25 minutes. The results were wonderful!

Left: Immediately after plopping and drying.

Right: about 36 hours later, after a day in the heat and humidity.

I immediately noticed that the mousse held my curls very well without the zig-zag craziness I normally get after using gel. But.... great results post-wash aren't enough for me to throw my hat in the ring and put my seal of approval on a product. I go two days in between washes, so a product has to hold my curls during that entire amount of time for me to deem them successful.

The picture on the left is me just after washing and drying, but the picture on the RIGHT is after almost 2 days of going in and outside, sweating in the humidity, and just doing some good ol' fashioned day to day living. This mousse kept my curls soft and defined through all of it! The only thing I added on day 2 was a little bit of DevaCurl Styling Cream to my dry hair. 


I highly recommend this product. In fact, I love this product. It may end up being a "holy grail" at some point, time will have to tell. Will I use gel in the future? I think I will. There will be times when life will call for the use of gel, so I'm definitely not tossing it for good, but I plan to use this mousse for the foreseeable future. I have read from others and would recommend using a light curl enhancer underneath if you don't feel it gives you enough hold and definition, but I try to be a minimalist when it comes to product on my hair. Other than a leave-in conditioner, I try to use only 1 styler if at all possible. Also, I don't feel like I can really review a product if I've combined it with a bunch of other products. I'm sure I'll tweak as I go, but this mousse is on my shelf to stay.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Chlorine and the CG Method: How to Safeguard Your Curls

Posted by Jen Lennox at 4:21 PM 0 comments
One of the frustrations I hear from Curly Girls everywhere is now tricky swimming is when dealing with curls. We spend time moisturizing, deep conditioning, and avoiding excessive heat styling only to have our hard work ruined by a trip to the pool. Even several DAYS after exposure to chlorine hair can feel dry, sticky, damaged and full of frizz.

Question: WHY is Chlorine such a problem for our curls?

Answer: Chlorine's entire job is to kill things. It's a disinfectant that is absolutely necessary in this day and age, but it is very drying, both on skin and hair. Also, it does not easily wash out, even with harsh sulfates. You really need a specific product made to remove chlorine in order to rid yourself of it completely.

Swimming used to just be a summer thing for most of us, but with indoor waterparks opening up all over the country, many families find themselves swimming year-round. This does NOT need to be a Curly Girl Nightmare, and spending time having fun at the pool is a lot of fun, so here are some tips to keep your curls healthy in the process:


BEFORE going to the pool, get in a shower or put your head in a sink and thoroughly saturate your hair with tap water. Why? Because your hair is like a sponge. When it is dry, it is particularly vulnerable. By soaking your hair with tap water you are allowing the "good" water to be absorbed first, allowing less of the bad chlorinated water to penetrate the hair shaft.


Coconut oil and Olive oil are great for this. I prefer coconut oil because I think putting olive oil in my hair is weird, but thousands of people do it all the time, so it can be done. Make SURE you are putting pure oils in your hair. Look at the ingredients. Many so-called oils are really "serums" and loaded with silicones like Dimethicone. You're better using plain old olive oil out of your kitchen than ANY of those. Coat hair with a generous amount of oil, then put hair in a tight bun or braid.

Hollywood Beauty Coconut Oil 


If you have a swim cap, it really is best to swim with the cap on. I do not, but its definitely the best way to go. As long as your hair has been rinsed and sealed, you should be fine to jump right in the water and have fun at the pool!


As soon as you can possibly wash your hair after the pool, do it. Even when taking protective measures, the less time chlorine is exposed to hair, the better. Curly Girls will want to go a step further and use a sulfate-free swimmer's shampoo like the one below:

ION Swimmer's Shampoo 


If you don't have a particular deep conditioner you like, you can just use your rinse-out, but let it sit as long as you can while you shower. Adding moisture back after chlorine exposure is imperative. 

These steps will help keep your curls healthy while still having fun with friends and family. What's your pool day regimen?


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Curly Girl Profile: Sara (2B)

Posted by Jen Lennox at 12:45 PM 0 comments
Curly Girl Profile: Sara (2B)

Sara is not currently using the CG method, but has been reading Jen's Curly Mess for a short while and would like to try it. While still using her regular products, she's adopted some of the curl techniques I've written about (Condish and Squish, less heat styling, etc). and her curls are still looking pretty great! I would love to do an update on Sara when she's been doing CG for a while and see the difference in her curls. Here's Sara, in her own words:

How would you describe your curl pattern?   
  I am a 2B

How would you describe your porosity?
   I have medium porosity.

How would you describe the density of your hair?
   I have medium density.

Are you following the CG method (no sulfates, silicones, etc.)?

   No, but i want to!  I am honestly waiting until I run out of my current products and then plan to make the change.  I have stopped brushing and combing my hair.  I have also stopped blow drying and heat styling my hair for the most part.

What product do you use to cleanse or Cowash your hair?

   I am using the Suave family of products right now but wouldn't recommend them.
Describe your wash day regimen:

    I currently wash with shampoo every other or every two days.  I use conditioner every day and use the Condish and Squish method that you blogged about back in May.  Once out of the shower I let me wet hair rest for a moment then I squish in my product.  After a few more minutes, I gently squish my curls with a towel.  Most days i hair pin my bangs back but other days I will use the cool and low setting on my hair dryer to style only my bangs.  Then I just let my hair air-dry.

Describe your refresh day regimen:

On days that I do not wash, I simply cup and squish water into my curls.  Then, if needed, I will also squish some additional product into my hair.

What’s the biggest challenge you face having naturally curly hair?

Frizz and the lack of uniformity in my curls.  Since I am more wavy than curly I use to love using a curling iron on my hair to help uniform my curls.  I love curly hair and will rarely if ever straighten it.  I personally do not like the way I look with straight hair.  When I was younger my mom even had my hair permed to help it have uniformed curls.

What’s the best thing you’ve discovered by going natural?

I spend much less time thinking about how to style my hair.  I just let it be.  It makes getting ready less stressful.

Any advice you have for others with similar hair to your own?

Your hair is beautiful just the way it is.  Stop worrying about frizz and uniformity.  Once you let it be more natural those “issues” will get better!

Would YOU like to be featured in Jen's Curly Mess? Send an email to and include a picture of you and your beautiful curls!


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