My fellow curly-girlies (and others)

By Mir
November 12, 2008
Category Product Talk

I have curly hair. I have really curly hair. And yesterday for a chunk of the day while I was not here posting deals, I was having my first cut/color in the last six months or so. Us gals with curly hair know that finding a stylist who actually knows what to do with curly hair is a rare and beautiful thing, indeed.

I think I found such a person, yesterday. Although for some reason, she didn’t want to come home with me. I have no idea why not.

In addition to giving me a great haircut and covering up the gray in my hair (woo!) and using products on my hair that smell like angel wings wrapped in flowers, this stylist ironed my hair stick straight for me, which is always a treat, because I don’t own a flat iron.

After the appointment, though, I desperately wanted to be able to recreate what she’d done, so I wrote down everything she told me and came home to do some research.

Now, I’ve had my hair flat-ironed before, but never so quickly and smoothly.

“What are you using on my hair?” I asked, figuring that surely I could afford one just so long as I was willing to forgo the mortgage payment this month.

“This is the best flat iron out there,” the stylist told me (of course; like she’s going to say “Actually, there are several better than this one…”), and then she proceeded to detail all of the ways in which this is the best flat iron in the history of womankind, and also to tell me that they sell them there at the salon. For $240. And then I passed out.

(Not really.)

Here’s the magical flat iron: The GHD MK4. ($240!!)

But guess what! Amazon sells that same iron for just $145. Still, not exactly chump change, but better. Perhaps Santa will consider that. Especially seeing as how you can either use it to flat-iron or to create perfect curls (I had no idea you could use a flat iron for that, but she demonstrated on my hair, and I may have harumphed that it was oh so very wrong that she’d just used a flat iron to make a nicer curl than my actual curls.)

Anyway, once I was at Amazon, I started looking up the various shampoos and conditioners and thermal protectants and stuff that had been recommended to me, and I discovered that for the month of November Amazon is offering $15 off your $75+ professional hair care purchase with coupon code NOV8HAIR. I did not end up investing in the shampoo recommended to me—because it is against my religion to spend $35 on eight ounces of what is essentially soap—but I was able to stock up on some salon-quality products at a savings (and have them shipped to me for free).

Look, as a relentlessly frugal person I am generally loathe to spend money on fancy hair care, but sometimes you do get what you pay for; I always rave about how great my hair looks/smells/feels after the stylist has her way with me and yet I always try to get away with using cheap products. And then I wonder why my hair doesn’t look good.

This is my compromise—the expensive stuff, at a discounted price. Sometimes.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled tightwadery, now. Oh, wait. One more thing. Smell my hair! See? Angel wings. Hee.


  1. Picture of your stick straight hair is needed. Pronto! I love my flat iron and people always go a little nuts when I straighten my hair. Like I am somehow an imposter an alternate persona.

    I definately agree that quality counts with the flat iron. A cheap flat iron will fry your hair and make hard to get it smooth and flat. A high quality one takes minutes.

  2. I have naturally curly (frizzy) hair and had my haircut yesterday too! She used, and I loved, the S Factor Smoothing Lusterizer. Pricey, but I planned on purchasing some (and Amazon had the lowest price). Maybe I’ll look into a few other products as well. What products were recommended to you? My hair is quite a challenge at times!

  3. I second the request for the picture of your beautiful hair! I have wimpy, fine, straight hair, so I have hair envy of people with curly hair.

  4. I recently got my first high-maintenance haircut and bought some product for it at the salon, so I was excited to see this deal. But, it turns out that my product is actually cheaper at the salon than on Amazon. Crazy.
    I’d love to see your hair.

  5. What products oh pretty Mir? I too have curly hair and am always looking for product to make it not frizzy and insane (wait maybe that’s me and not my hair).

  6. Two words. Ganier Fructis. I have the curls and was enough of a sucker to buy salon products. I have just switched to Garnier and will not go back. Their shampoo and conditioner do amazing things to my hair, eliminating the need for 40 gallons of product in my hair. I use 2 of their products and love them, my favorite part is that I get to use just a dab of product.

    I have thick, frizzy curlies so I don’t know what the shampoo/conditioner would do to fine hair.

  7. I WANT curly hair wahh, no fair! Stomps feet.

    Sorry I was having a sixth grade moment there…

    I am excited about the product deals even though I’m blessed with can’t decide if it’s wavy or straight or just plain frizzy hair.

  8. Well, what if I *want* my curly/wavy/frizzy/thick hair? What do I use then? I just lopped 4 inches off of it so I didn’t look quite so Sarah Plain and Tall, but I don’t know how to control it now. Surely, dear WantNot, you can help a fellow southern (if not by birth) girl.

    leslie in bham

  9. I loved reading this post, and I agree that I want to see a photo of your stick-straight hair.

  10. I have naturally curly, dry, frizzy hair and I always tried to get away with the cheap products too. Until I found my current stylist (whom I love and am trying to convince to move with me next year… I think she’s considering a restraining order. heehee) Anyways, she has given me samples of tons of different products and I now have some that I love. I use Paul Mitchell Tea Tree shampoo every 2-3 days, Suddz FX reconstruct conditioner every other time I wash my hair, and alternate between Paul Mitchell The Conditioner and Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Smoothing Serum depending on how nice I want my hair to feel and smell! The Super Skinny works wonders – my problem is that I always wash my hair at night so by morning my curls are kind of flat again – but my hair is still nice and smooth feeling. If I truly want to go curly, I add in some Aquage gel and scrunch my curls up with my hands.
    Not so cheap products, but they truly do last a long time because they are concentrated. I’ve had the tiny bottle of the Suddz stuff for almost 2 months and it’s just now almost empty. And I buy The Conditioner and the Tea Tree shampoo in bulk through my stylist and just refill the bottle in my shower.

    Have I mentioned that I love my stylist?

    If you ever move to south-central Texas I would highly recommend her!

    Oh, and though this is already a novel, I’d also like to see a pic of your beautiful straight hair!

  11. Yeah, you can’t just gush about the “stick straight” hair (in italics no less) and then not give us one peek! The name of the blog is “Want Not” for Pete’s sake!

  12. I would also love to hear the product suggestions from your stylist. I have thin frizzy tight curly white-girl-afro hair, with an added bonus of having sensitive itchy skin that goes nuts when touching just about anything with fragrance. I loved Redken but had to stop using it, loved Paul Mitchell, same thing.

    I need organic fragrance-free white-girl-afro hair rescue!

    Anyone try Aveda????? I’m thinking of trying that.

  13. OMG, this is just too crazy! I too am a Christina with dry, curly, frizzy hair from central Texas. I just moved here from sunny California so I’d love the name of your stylist!

  14. Christina, I live in south-central Texas and my sister has similar hair. She’d be interested to know who your stylist is too.

  15. I’m going to admit something that I have kept secret even from my husband: my last trip to the salon cost me $160. The thing is, I hadn’t cut my hair for over two years. I was growing out what my friends called my “Jamie Lee Curtis” cut, something I did at 6-weeks post-partum, when no one (NO ONE!) should get anywhere near a new mom with a pair of scissors.

    Anyway, the cut – which was done dry – was a trick I’d never been privy to. Then my stylist told me something that I still don’t quite believe (though I’m following her directives): I should never, ever use shampoo again. Ever.

    So I purchased their amazingly pricey conditioner – but I bought the gigantic “economy” size (har har) so that my investment should last me at least 6 months. And I’ll go back for a maintainence cut at about that time and shell out another small fortune. The thing is, my hair has changed completely. The quality of my hair has actually changed. Not because of the product, but because I stopped using detergent (read: shampoo) on it every other day. The need for all those other products seems to have been created by the rest of the line of products.

    Amazing, I know…but in my experience, true. Makes sense for the big hair product companies, too, no?

  16. Oops, I meant to post a link — and in case you’re wondering, no I don’t work for these folks and I don’t get a commission or a discount or anything for turning curly girls onto this stuff…(though I totally should!)

  17. ADifferentLaura: I only use shampoo about once every week or two. Skipping shampoo is a common recommendation for curly hair, and one I wholeheartedly endorse! I rinse/condition every day, and shampoo only occasionally… and it’s helped a lot with the frizz. (But I do use a lot of product on my hair, so every so often it does need to be washed.)

  18. My straightening iron is hands down my best beauty purchase EVER. Once I bought it I wondered why no one had given me the Gospel of Hair Straightening before.

    I too want to see this “after” shot….

  19. People freak out when I straighten my hair too. DH doesn’t care for it straight, so I don’t do it often. If only I could afford a $145 flat iron!

  20. I want to see a picture too. My hairdresser finally straightened my hair, without asking since I kept telling her not to waste her time, it would just take too long. I loved it. I found a more mid-range flatiron, think I paid about $45 at Longs and it is awesome as long as I’m patient. I do covet the expensive ones, but not sure how they would be better. I’ve got very thick curly hair and for the first time in my entire life I can make it straight, yipee.

  21. Where is this wonderful hair stylist for curly hair girls? My 6 year old has a head full of beautiful curls and I’ve yet to find anyone who does a good job cutting her hair.

  22. Wow, who would have thought there was such a need for curly hair help! 😉

    My stylist is named Elaina (won’t post her last name for security) at Stylin’ Hair Salon.

    She’s also the owner of the salon…

    Hope this helps someone! I really like her – I won’t go to anyone else! She even encourages me to keep my curly hair long, which no other stylist (or even my friends!) does.

  23. Oh, and for those with girly haired little girls – NEVER take them to SuperCuts! They cut off way too many of my little girls beautiful curls when all we wanted was a trim. They literally took off about 3 inches in places. Luckily she’s so gorgeous she still looks great! 😉

  24. Three words:
    Bumble and Bumble

  25. you may have found your stylist, but if she’s not available or you want to try someone else, lisa at bob salon downtown has VERY curly hair and would therefore have a good idea of how to deal with yours, and she’s sweet as sugar and cute as a button, too.

    just a suggestion from a local

  26. Okay, what I need to know (as a stick-straight-haired person whose hair refuses to curl) is how to get my hair to hold any kind of curl without three kinds of styling products in it and without it ending up as stiff as a curly board (and then falling out within the hour anyway).

    I wonder if that thing would actually curl my hair. Hmmmm…


  27. why can’t I find a link to email your posts to other people?
    am I blind or just a dork?

  28. jess: Hate to say it, but the only thing I’ve found is to go with the good old fashioned perm. And no, not the poodle-head thing, I go with the largest rods they have, so I have a curly-wavy thing going on. My hair’s long enough that it pulls the curl down so I avoid the frizzy thing (in fact I have them cut some layers in so it’s not all weighed down).

    I did the straight hair thing for a little while a few years ago before I got tired of fighting with it, and when I finally went back to some curl, my friends told me I should keep the curl. Really. Guess that told me.

  29. I’ve almost given up on my flat iron. I heat it up when the hem of my cotton pants or shorts are flipped the wrong way. It’s the perfect size for the job!

  30. Y’all need to pick up “Curly Girl” by Lorraine Massey. She’s the owner of Deva. While they sell their pricey conditioners and “no shampoo” cleansers, the book tells you how to use cheapo conditioner to get the same results. I don’t even have curly hair, but I “CO wash” (conditioner only wash) three times a week. If you have dry or fried hair, it’s fantastic. And if you have curly hair, it’s even better.

    The DevaChan salon trains hairdressers in “Curly Girl” cuts, which is a very time-consuming dry cutting style that always seems to have terrific results. They have a list of stylists on their website in different places, I think.

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