The Secret to Lasting Curls

I, like many other women, have many things I don’t like about myself. My nose is big. My legs have stretch marks and cellulite. You could rest a plate on my butt and it wouldn’t fall off. I have t-rex arms.

One thing I rarely complain about is my hair.

I have extremely thick hair. Like super thick – so thick I frequently break ponytail holders and brushes. The texture, naturally, is coarse and frizzy. If I let my hair air dry with product, it looks like this:

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Even with product it is frizzy and crazy big – now that I don’t much care for. If I had my way I’d straighten it with a flat iron or curl it with a curling iron daily but really ain’t nobody got time for that.

However, my hair straightens and curls easily and when I take the time to fix it, I love it. I’ve watched many a YouTube video and have been very trial and error as far as products go, and I’ve found the perfect combination of curling technique and products to curl my hair. When I curl using  the products you see below, I can get three days of perfect, bouncy curls. Today I’m sharing The Secret to Lasting Curls!

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Some of you are giving me the side eye, I’m sure. You’re thinking “yeah my hair looks like that right after I curl it, but 10 minutes later it is flat!” Mine used to do that, too, until I switched up my products and changed the way I curled my hair.

Proof:

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The picture on the left is my hair the night I first curled it. The pictures on the right are three days later. Three days! In the heat and humidity of May, after I had slept on my hair for two nights. (And who am I kidding, probably two naps. This girl loves naps.)

Further proof:

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This is from my maternity photo shoot last August. It was 98 degrees that day and about 80% humidity. I was drenched with sweat the instant we walked outside. This particular shot was after about an hour of walking, sitting, and standing. My hair was dripping wet but the curls held.

Ok, so want to know my tips and tricks?

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It’s all in the product, baby.

First of all, I curl freshly washed hair. I know a lot of people say to curl your hair when it is dirty but I don’t do that. I do put product in to “dirty” it up and give it texture, but I usually curl the day of a wash or I wash the night before and air dry. I never double process… meaning if I curl my hair, I let my hair air dry. Save your hair some damage – don’t blow dry and curl with heat. As I mentioned, my hair is wavy and frizzy. The heat of the curling iron smooths the wave and frizz so there is no need for me to blow dry or flat iron to straighten beforehand.

Tip: if you hair is fine, apply products and style as normal. Curl on the second day. Fine haired girls need that extra day of natural oil to help the curl hold.

Fresh out of the show, I apply a heat protectant. Right now I’m using Kerastase Nutritive Oleo-Relax. I got a sample in my Birchbox last year and loved it, so I ordered the full size. I did not love the full size. I mean, I don’t hate it but once I started using it daily I quickly discovered it wasn’t worth the exorbitant price tag. However, since it was so expensive I am going to use every dang drop. Once I am done I will be switching back to Moroccanoil.

Next I apply mousse. This step is the key, y’all. Mousse gives your hair texture and “grab”. I apply a golf ball amount to my hair from my ears to the ends of my hair. Right now I’m using BlowPro Body by Blow No Crunch Volumizing Mousse. No particularly reason for this brand except I got sucked into a QVC infomercial.

Tip: never apply product to your roots, unless you are using a root lifter or dry shampoo. Never.

Occasionally I will use the It’s a 10 Miracle Blow Dry Volumizer. I don’t use it every time because it breaks my “don’t apply products to your roots” rule. I have a dry scalp and products further irritate it, so I usually skip this step. My hair is big anyway and I don’t really need volumizer. However, I do like this product and would recommend it to girls with fine hair.

As I said before, I wash my hair, apply the products mentioned above, and then air dry. Once my hair is dry, I curl my hair. Keep checking the blog — I have a vlog coming soon on how I curl my hair! The curling iron I use is the Pro 1″ Curling Iron from Walmart. It is less than $15 and I love it. The cord rotates, it has adjustable heat settings, and it heats up quickly. The barrel is also coated so it doesn’t snag my hair. I highly recommend this line!

Tip: my lovely hairdresser, Kessler, gave me this tip. You should never straighten your hair and then curl. Blow dry, sure, but don’t use a flat iron and then turn around and use a curling iron the next day – the curls just won’t take as well.

I separate my hair into three sections to curl. After I curl each section, I do a quick spritz of Moroccanoil Glimmer Shine. My hairdresser used this on me once and I fell in love. It smells amazing and it makes my hair soft and shiny. I am stingy with this – too much can cause your hair to look greasy.

While I do my makeup, I let my curls sit (for at least 20 minutes). Do your makeup, put on your clothes, get the kids dressed, whatever you need to do – but don’t touch your hair. Let the curls cool completely.

Then I bend over and rake my fingers through my hair. I stand up and use my fingers – not a brush! – to arrange the curls like I want them. Then I take a small amount of pomade (a pea sized amount) and a small pump of the Oleo-Relax and mix them together in the palm of my hand until the pomade has melted. I scrunch this mixture into my hair, again starting from below my ears to the bottom of my hair.

The products I use for this are Mitch Clean Cut Styling Cream and Kerastase Nutritive Oleo-Relax. The styling cream is my husband’s and I just use what we have on hand. You could use any pomade or styling cream and any shine drops.

Lastly, I spray with a light hold hairspray. You still want to be able to run your fingers through your hair and work with it, so I wouldn’t recommend a stiff hairspray. Freeze It is my hairspray of choice but when I curl I use BlowPro Blow Out Spray.

I really think the key products are the mousse and the pomade/shine drops mixture. Also, do not brush your hair! I don’t use a brush at all during those three days. I use my fingers or a wide tooth comb. A brush pulls out my curl and makes my hair frizzy.

So there you go – The Secret to Lasting Curl! Keep checking back for a vlog on the technique I use to curl my hair. That will be posted July 27th. If you have any questions, let me know!

Best Concealers for Tired Eyes (and Moms!)

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I think I’ve mentioned I’m a bit of a zombie mom. I’m tired. I need sleep. I live for naps, and coffee is my best friend. My 9 month old still gets up two times a night. IT IS FUN TIMES. Only not.

You know, I never had an issue with dark circles when I was young. Throughout my 20’s I don’t even think I owned concealer. But when I turned 30 and I had my first child it was on. That young 20-something girl got all the sleep she wanted and needed. This 35 year old gets 6 hours a night and I want more need more give me more sleep!

(Seriously – just this weekend my husband and I were having our quarterly “what do you miss?” conversation and the answer was SLEEP. I love love love my babies but I also love love love sleep. Does it make me a bad mom to admit I miss the day of sleeping in until 10 am?)

I’ve tried dozens on concealers in the attempt to find one that will brighten the area under my eyes and cover up my dark circles. Here are a few of my favorites!

indexBenefit Erase Paste ($26) is the BEST CONCEALER EVER. Yes, I’m shouting at you. This will transform your face. I put this on and instantly I look like I have had a wonderful night of sleep. I have recommended this to many a friend and they all love it. I apply under my eyes and on my eyelids and blend with a beauty blender sponge. My only warning would be for girls who are oily under their eyes – you will need to set this with powder.

2Benefit Fake Up ($24) is another favorite. It is great for girls who are a little dry because the concealer is surrounded by a moisturizing balm. It is super creamy and blends easily.

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While I use Erase Paste under my eyes, I use Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser ($8) under my eyes and on other areas of my face that I would like to brighten. After I apply the Erase Paste and my foundation, I’ll go back in with a swipe of this under my eyes, around my nose, and on any dark spots. I love, love, love this concealer. I rarely repurchase beauty products (I always want to try something new) but I’ve replaced this twice.

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If you have very dark circles, then Bare Minerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener ($22) is for you. It is more of a highlighter, so you’ll want to use it on top of a concealer, but it works wonders. I use this on my cheekbones and down the center of my nose as well.

MAC-Concealer_FinalMAC Studio Finish Concealer ($18) is what I use for blemishes, but it is too thick to use under your eyes. I love it for dark spots and pimples though!

Tip: when selecting your concealer shade, always go with a shade lighter than what you would wear elsewhere on your face. This helps to combat dark circles and brightens your face.

What’s your favorite concealer?