28 February 2011

Review and giveaway: Curly Girl: The Handbook

Amazon: Curly Girl: The HandbookA serendipitous coincidence happened a couple weeks ago: just as I was asking for your hair care tips, I received Curly Girl: The Handbook in the mail for review. The publisher had contacted me a few weeks previous with a pitch, and I had said yes, knowing that dealing with kids' curly hair is a major challenge. I know, because I have a curly girl of my own.

What's great about the timing (besides the obvious topic fit) is that so many of your hacks are confirmed and expanded upon in this book. The author, Lorraine Massey, is the founder of a group of salons specializing in curly hair and has a head of remarkable curls herself. In Curly Girl, she shares her down-to-earth tips for washing, conditioning, styling, cutting, but most of all, loving and accepting curly hair.

What I like most about this book is that, despite her creation of DevaCurl, a line of curly haircare products, this is not a thinly-veiled marketing brochure. This is education, inspiration, and practical how-to written in an energetic but intelligent style. She talks about the different types of curly hair, how to care for each type, and even offers recipes for homebrewed hair tonics and conditioners.

Diffuser In the book, you'll find all sorts of surprising suggestions, including:

  • ditch your shampoo in favor of sulfate-free cleansers or botanical conditioners
  • ditch your blow dryer (unless you have a good diffuser)
  • ditch the vigorous towel-drying
  • ditch your brushes and combs

There's even a section on curly kids.

In general, I have little interest in beauty books, and I'm not a hair product fiend. But I really enjoyed this book, and I've already put much of what I've learned into practice with my daughter. I'd recommend it to anyone caring for curly hair -- either their own or their kids'.

Win it! I've got three copies of Curly Girl: The Handbook to give away! Just leave a comment on this post answering the following question:

What's your #1 tip for caring for curly hair?

On Friday, March 4, 2011, at about 2pm PST, I'll randomly choose and announce three winners. Good luck!

The comments are now closed and the winners have been announced. Thanks to all who entered!

Note: Giveaway open to residents of the US only. One entry per person.

Your comments

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Good tips here already. The only other one that comes to mind is to pick a hairdresser who really understands (and preferably likes) curly hair.

My Tip- Don't. Touch. It. .... Ever! If you could pat it dry, rub in your product, then go sit in the sun for an hour or two (wouldn't that be the life?) It would look perfect, and continue to look perfect.... til you touch it. Ever touch = friz.

No Touchy!!

I have bone straight hair and my 3 yr old daughter has curly so far all I got is detangler but I so need this book - will have to buy it if I don't win it!

I would love this book! Mine is getting curlier as I get older and I just don't know what to do with it so I end up clipping it up everyday. I live in a dry environment and it seems that no matter what I try I either end up with the frizzy-afro look or the greasy-don't-you-wash-your-hair look. My daughter has yet to have curls, but as my husband and I both do, I'm predicting they will appear soon and get curlier with age like mine - so I need to be prepared!

My tip - to have a glass of wine. I have 2 curly girls and hair washing night is very high drama.

I wait for my curly hair to dry and then spray it with some product and scrunch!

Sometime I just leave the conditioner, pull it back and let it dry.

Use a little bit of mouuse or gel, finger-comb through damp hair, and let air dry. This keeps my curls defined.

I condition in the shower and comb thru with a wide tooth comb. I would LOVE to have this book!!!!

My daughter's hair is super curly. We condition daily - washing every couple of days and use tons of leave in conditioners and tonics.

"Stop touching it!"

That's the best advice I can give. The more I touch my hair, the bigger it gets.

I have wavy hair, but my 3yo DD has tighter curls. We shampoo/ condition her hair in the kitchen sink since the sprayer there lets me "wash" the tangles out to avoid combing. We also use a microfiber hair twist towel (aka princess hair wrap) to remove as much water as possible before air drying.

We have recently been trying to trim the ends to minimize tangling, I trimmed the curls indivudally once, which worked but took hours. We just went to a salon and it was a disaster, so we are back to the slow home trims.

My tip: STOP touching it!

After years of thinking I had straight hair and always washing, blow-drying, and brushing only to have a wild mess on my hands, a stylist finally told me my hair is actually (slightly) curly! GAH! I hope to win this book so I don't have to spend the next 35 years trying to figure out what to do with my newly discovered curls! Thanks for the chance!!!

I keep my hair very short (buzz cut). As life would have it, that's not generally a socially acceptable (or wife-acceptable) haircut for our little girl who has inhairited my hair. :-(

The most important thing is for us to distract her while gently combing her hair. And to be able to differentiate the "ow" (that's pulling and is uncomfortable) from tho "Ow" (that hurts).

I grew up hating my curly hair, had a brief period of time where I embraced it and felt like I knew what to do with it, and then got pregnant and now it's all kinds of weird! Kind of half curly/wavy, half straight but with body. I want my curls back!

When my hair WAS what I would call naturally curly, my favorite way to "prepare" it was straight out of the shower, when it was still soaking wet, and I do mean SOAKING. I would put a couple gobs of cheapo hair gel in it and then squeeze out the excess gel/water. Then I would dry with a hair dryer that had one of those finger tip diffusers. The trick was to twirl it a little to "cradle" the curls and to keep it moving. It took a looong time (30 min+ for my long hair) but was totally worth it, and I think the extra gel soaked in while it was wet helped to reduce frizz. When my hair was nearly dry, I would apply some Tigi Bedhead hair Serum #3. That made everything nice and tidy and smelled great too!

3 great tips i got from the last curly "specialist" i saw:
Use an old t-shirt instead of a towel if you must get some of the water out after the shower
Use conditioner instead of gels and other styling products (and scrunch w/ the t-shirt after finger comibing through)
Throw away your combs. finger combing conditioner through in the shower is all you need and won't relax your curl.

Don't touch your hair after you've styled it. Frizz city!

This looks a great book. My daughter and I both have curly hair! I comb it bBefore I shower, then wrap it in a towel, and airdry or use a diffuser. It really helps the curls come back and hold their shape to comb before washing!

Using a t-shirt to dry your hair instead of a towel! This has made such a difference for me.

Product... don't leave home without it!

Tip: Don't cut it yourself.

I have finer hair and the curls can get weighted down instead of nice and springy, so when I do use shampoo, I use a mild child or baby shampoo.

My 18 Month old has super long curly hair and my favorite trick is to do as much detangling by hand before I try the comb. She will usually tolerate my fingers much more than a comb and I'm more sensitive to the knots b/c I can feel them.

I have a fine haired curly girl. She is 4 and the only thing I know to do is spray with detangler to get it manageable and get the tangles out in the morning.

Never detangle dry hair!

I love this book! I have it and have started following her tips in this book and I like my hair much better now. (I've always had a love/hate relationship with my curly hair.)

I only brush my hair when there is conditioner in it, in the shower, wash it every other day, and wet in on the in between days.

I always try to style my curly hair when wet, so that I don't create frizz.

I really wish I had a tip to share - my daughter's curly hair is completely foreign to my own straight-as-an-arrow hair experience and I'm at a loss as to what to do with it!

best tip i ever got: stop using shampoo!

I have thick curly hair and I use the Rosemary mint Suave products, which are similar to Aveda. I use very little shampoo, but I do use it due to products. I condition everyday and use my fingers or a wide tooth comb. I never blow dry though because it dries my hair out too much. And I always brush with the conditioner in my hair and only rinse out half.

I don't shampoo it every day, However I use tons of conditioner, and only style when wet and then air dry it.

Curly hair does best with a leave in conditioner after showering. Do not towel dry, dry with cotton shirt instead - less frizz. Let air dry and fluff when finished.

Curly Girls Rule!

Sadly, my only strategy is to only wash my hair every other day. It doesn't look that great, I could definitely use some tips :)

I have curly hair and 2 curly-haired kids (boy + girl twins). I agree with the "gobs of conditioner and only comb when wet" schools of thought.

I'm still searching for a good way to get my hair dry quickly -- I don't have time to let it air dry while I'm rushing to get ready in the morning.

I have very thick curly hair and when I leave it down and curly, it poofs up within an hour. I almost always throw it up into a pony tail. I really need that book!

Um... Don't comb it? I have no idea! My hair is straighter than straight, and I have a 22-month-old daughter with curly hair. I could really use this book!!

Best tip for curly hair is to use a diffuser. Thanks for the chance!!

I need this to figure out how to deal with my 3yo's curls! The only thing I've figured out is not to use shampoo or it will be an explosion of frizz.

I light towel dry my hair, brush, apply mousse generously and wait. The hair needs to be almost dry but NOT crunchy (from the mousse) and then flip my head over and dry w/ the hairdryer. It works great for both me and my daughter.

The number one thing that gives me PERFECT curls every time:

Take a shower. Then sleep on wet hair.

My hair is already curly but holy morning perfect curls!! awesome!!

For my mixed ethnic curly hair, I used to only wash it once or twice a week. I've recently gotten into the habit of really massaging the scalp with a good conditioner. Then I comb out knots (with conditioner still in) with my hands and then clip my hair up until the end of my shower. I rinse at the end of the shower, place towel over hair and gently scrunch out excess water with a BABY TOWEL! These are really absorbent but the fabric is much much softer and won't break hair. Then I apply Suave mouse (it's the best of all i've tried) from shaft of hair to ends, and allow hair to air dry.
BAM. Curly hair tamed and cared for.

I don't have curly hair but my daughter does and I need help. Right now, I wash it only a few times a week with Burt's Bees shampoo and conditioner. I use Carol's daughter's hair milk sometimes.

Wide-toothed comb in the shower to comb conditioner through. Air-dry.

WIth my own curly hair, I don't wash my hair every day, use my fingers to "comb" my hair, and never use a hairdryer. A little bit of product (like a light gel) helps prevent the frizz most of the time, unless it's really humid.

My daughter's hair is going to be curly, but right now it's more wavy (just like mine was as a little kid) and I've already started using the same "hacks" on her, with the added bit of using a bit on conditioner in water in a spray bottle to help with the myriad of knots she gets (what in the world she does to get them I have no idea).

I have massive amounts of curly hair. The best advise I can give is wash it only 3-4 times a week, follow up with a great conditioner (only comb it with a wide toothed comb while conditioner is in). Try to let it air dry.

How fun! This book sounds amazing!
Let's see, my number one tip is using Coconut oil/OR Avocado oil after getting out of the shower.

Throughly rinse and deep condition hair
Comb out knots
Towel dry
For shoulder length hair pour a quarter size amount of oil into the palm of your hand.
Rub both hands together so the oil now covers your hands
Starting at the ends rub the oil through
Make sure to work your fingers into the underneath side of your scalp.

Let air dry
Curls should now be soft and weightless with a nice bounce to them!

I am 25% Jamaican and 25% Spaniard so I have very tight curly hair and this works AMAZING! I also live in Kansas and the humidity is just awful. This is so far the only thing I have found to keep my hair from frizzing. The Oil also gives my hair a lovely shine!

My daughter and I, both curly girls, "wash" our hair with conditioner only. And I only comb my hair while it's in the shower, covered in conditioner. After that, no combs or brushes for me.

I'd LOVE to win this book!

My daughter is mixed race (mexican/black) and has beautiful curly hair down to her butt. I shampoo and condition once a week and never skip the leave-in conditioner! I also put her hair in one loose braid while I shampoo and condition it. After that, I take out the braid to comb it out and let it air dry a little so it doesn't have that damp smell.
Also, she never ever ever goes to bed without me putting her hair in a ponytail or bun first! Nobody likes to start the day with tangles!

Don't wash your hair everyday, use leave in, ditch the brush (comb if you must).I went no-poo after my daughter was born. If you can get over the lack of lather, you'll be amazed at how manageable and lovely your curls will be. (i confess, i missed lather but am considering giving no poo another go.)
My challenge is with the back of my girl's head. It resembles cotton candy at the state fair.

I put leave in conditioner in, then comb it wet and air dry. Leaves lovely curls.

My tip is to use a cream or leave in moisture. Who likes the look of crunchy curls?

Moisturizer is the best for my curly hair, especially in these long, dry winters in Northern Michigan!

Why is your friend calling her kid's hair an "afro" funny?

No towel drying and no shampoo. Would love this book!

From Dictionary.com –noun- a hair style originating with black persons, in which the hair is allowed to grow naturally and to acquire a bushy appearance.

It is funny because she's a petite little 3 year old with a very large set of unruly curls.

I'm sure, however, that you understood and are just trying to pick someone to banter back and forth with. If I'm wrong about that, I apologize for reading too much into your question.

So, I think I'm the only dad responding to this...

A friend of ours recommended this book, but we haven't picked it up yet. We'd love a copy!

We use a John Freida conditioner for our daughter's curls. It works great.

I am a black woman with curly hair and recently learned that Ms. Massey's book includes advice for black women, too!

Best advice for curly hair? Well, there are two. Do not shampoo it and do not comb it when it is dry (as in when it is not wet/moist).

I try to touch my hair as little as possible, but to be honest I usually just throw my curls up in a messy bun...and laugh when straight haired girls wish for curls!

Oh, my daughter and I could really use this book! I use tons of conditioner on her hair and a good moisturizing shampoo for both of us. I need some help in the styling dept, though. Thanks!

I joke that styling my 5.5 y. o. daughter's hair is like trying to braid slippery cotton candy! We just cut it to *just* above her shoulders (her initiative b/c she was sick of the knots). In the a.m., I put a small dollop of conditioner in my hand, add some water, and run it thru her hair. It makes the curls bounce back from the night time bed head and the conditioner calms the frizz. She doesn't love the spray stuff, so this is a pretty easy compromise.

I have super curly hair, and my biggest hint? Use a defuser, brush it once a day (when you get out of the shower), try to make it last two days before washing it, and embrace rainy days! It is the only day my hair looks awesome thanks to the extra humidity!


I always sleep with it tied up so that it doesn't get too frizzy

The top layer of my hair LOVES to frizz!! I apply a leave-in conditioner and
leave my hair pretty wet but instead of a towel I use an old cotton T-shirt. It works great! It doesn't absorb as much moisture. I sleep on it wet. So by the next morning, I comb it out with my fingers and I'm ready to go!

my tip is to use the pantene prov medium thick solutions straighten and smoothe creme- works amazingly to define curls even in 70% humididty!

#1 tip: keep it short :)

To tell you the truth, I was relaxing my hair until last month. I saw a clip on TV about this book and few tips. My hair is very curly and dry so I use sulfate free shampoos and hydrating conditioner.Relaxers are going to be in the past for me , I want to be a proud curly sexy girl now!

Embrace your curly hair and find a hair stylist who knows how to work with it. A good cut makes all the difference!

I air dry! I also condition like crazy...but shampoo very little.

I take a wide tooth comb into the shower with me and comb my hair out while I still have conditioner in it. I love reading everyone's comments on how they care for their curls!

Jen - do you use any other products in your hair?

Don't ever brush it!

Add a little oil to the ends - it helps the frizzies and keeps it from drying out.

My 3 year old's curly hair can become a fuzzy mess. For a quick fix, i wet it with my hands, spray in a drugstore tangle-free product, brush a little..starting with the ends...and then scrunch in a leave-in conditioner (called mixed chicks...it's awesome!). Literally minutes from start to finish and she hardly complains.

I would love this book to help me with my daughter's amazing head of ringlets.

It took her 2 years to start growing hair so we were all astonished to find we had a curly haired kiddo (now almost 4). We found that "hat head" actually tones down her curls down for a nice look (it was our main styling strategy at one point). Although, as it's gotten longer we also love the fresh set of crazy curls that occur from air drying.

My biggest problems are dealing with getting the tangles out, figuring out who to go to to cut her hair (she hasn't gotten a hair cut yet), and stopping the urge to pull a lock to see it spring back up. ;)

Its been the pea under my mattress as long as I can remember. I don't look at childhood pictures without crying ' why or why did my mother allow me to leave the house like that '! And 37 years late, I'm still battling. This book sounds like a lifesaver. Thanks for the opportunity to finally have cool hair! :)

Ditch the shampoo forever. Wash with your favorite conditioner, rinse, then add more conditioner and leave it in. Add any styling product on top of the conditioner.

As a straight-haired parent of a curly-haired preschooler, I have no advice but to buy the book for help!

After applying product (a lotion-type seems to work best for me) I form ringlets, then let it air dry.

I love my detangler spray! It helps a ton.

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