Before lockdown I was never willing to commit to a lengthy hair-care regime. I was juggling a full-time career in travel alongside writing fiction and studying — I wanted to do fun things in my spare time, and sitting in front of a mirror for hours wasn’t something I enjoyed. Besides, my mixed-race hair has confused hairdressers in both Afro and white salons, so I’ve always just plumped for the easiest and most time-efficient option. From my teenage years to my early 30s this meant relaxers every three months, which stripped any semblance of a curl from my hair. I gave this up when the last trip left me with a coppery barnet, along with the split ends and breakage that I’d accepted were the trade-offs for easy-to-manage hair.
My hair is tricky: When wet it’s super curly, but its fine texture means that before long, the roots want to hang straight. Not a good look. On occasion (usually while on holiday in warmer climes) I’ve tried scrunching gel and then air-drying to get a curl that lasts for a night out. The effort involved in getting a curl that holds has always been too time-consuming and too short lived. That hasn’t stopped me from feeling envious of others with thicker, curlier hair, but I reasoned that my hair type just didn’t allow for effortless curls.
So what changed? A timely Instagram advert at the start of March’s lockdown for Bouclème. It’s a British company offering hair-care products specifically for curly hair. I was drawn in by its 30 Day kits, a basic starter pack with the four products you need in order to achieve the best curls for your hair type. There are three kit types, and the website helpfully explains which type to choose according to your needs: I have an oily scalp so chose the 30 Days to Waves Kit (the other options are Curly or Coily). The kit contains a Hydrating Hair Cleanser, Curl Conditioner, Super Hold Styler, and Curl Defining Gel. You also get a card that goes through all the steps to make the process foolproof. As I clicked “purchase,” I reasoned that at £56 for the kit, it was no more expensive than the separate products I was already using (shampoo, conditioner, various curl creams and gels, usually SheaMoisture or whatever was on special). As well as the kit, I splurged on one of its Curl Towels. It feels like T-shirt material (I’ve often seen old T-shirts recommended over towels for curly hair).
Cleanse, condition, define. It’s so easy that I was totally converted after my first wash. I use the wash products in the shower, and then apply the styling products to soaking-wet hair before wrapping in the towel; this stops the dreaded frizz and allows the curls to form. It was so successful that I had compliments from friends when we first met up at the pub after the end of lockdown. My curls were full and defined, and I loved the fresh smell of the products, a light fragrance with a hint of citrus.
It’s not just about the kits, all the products can be bought separately and you can mix and match to get the perfect results. Although not every product is vegan, many are, and you can easily shop for these in their own section. There is a big focus on sustainability and the use of fair-trade products, and the packaging is ecofriendly. Best of all, if you get stuck at any point you can email Bouclème with a picture to get personalised tips and tricks.
I’ll be honest and admit that I’ll still blow-dry my hair straight sometimes. It can still be the easier option, and I’m still working on day-two curls that don’t go flat in places. But now I get to choose between curls or not, with minimum effort involved.
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