Summer is almost here, so my hair is doing all sorts of interesting things. Drying faster than usual when left to its own devices is a good thing. Frizz and wayward curly bits is not. Though it might well provide amusement for other people; contribute to the sum of human happiness; and thus, c/o the felicific calculus, still constitute a good thing overall and on balance.
Now: don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-curl. I embrace the curl (so long as it behaves itself in a civilized way). And I’m wavy, rather than fully exuberantly curly; weaker still, inconsistently wavy rather than all over. Parts of me are depressingly straight. But there’s very curly bits underneath (back of head, not talking below the belt here) and tendency to tendrils all over. Not like in Merchant Ivory films; more like Pippi Longstocking after an adventure. And that’s putting a rose-tinted gloss on it.
So, this being midsummer and the apex of the frizzy year, I went sample-scavenging and eventually also made some purchases. May also be returning to some other things that worked well previously.
The positive find:
Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother: basically, a classic silicone serum (dimethicone, cetyl dimethicone) but in more of a creamy form. Scent disappears very fast. I also like the fact that the stuff does what it says on the tin: namely, smoothe. There might be too many words in the name, though. I know Aveda are keen to inscribe their whole kingdom-phylum-class-order-family-genus-species on every product, but I’d have been as happy with something that just said “smoothifier” or thereabouts. Still: does the job, no major irritation, no little cloggy bits on skin brushed by hair during the day, so I can’t complain.
The alas-and-alack negatives; or, the overly-effervescent, too-too-tingly “fizz” end of things, as far as skin was concerned:
Giovanni Frizz Be Gone: in a word, “cyclopentasiloxane.” I still can’t use the damn stuff. If you can, recommend this: it’s one of the cheapest and most nasally-inoffensive ‘coney serums around. Cheaper still, and very similar in formulation, is their Shine of the Times; also contains octinoxate though (on which more below)–so bonus sunscreen (if you can use this stuff).
Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer: amazing feel and finish, but irritation on surrounding skin (and all down back). Added lovely bounce, shape, shine to hair. Mmmm.
But: Warning for those allergic to cinnamaldehyde (listed in ING here as amyl cinnamal)–avoid my stupid mistake of taking a sniff, thinking something smelled nice and fine, and applying it from a sample tube without first checking the ingredient list.
On which: a tip for other sensitives: some of those specified fragrance ingredients are worse, IME, than others. Rose (and geraniol) OK. Citrus and lavender (and citronellol, linalool, citral) OK if and only if in small doses, and not left on skin: so, for example, while the Beauty Without Cruelty moisturizing shampoo is a winner, the matching conditioner and the “revitalizing” leave-in are not. The latter is rather a misnomer, as its most revitalizing aspect was my wriggling around and performing gymnastics to scratch my back. Contact dermatitis: the ultimate spectator sport! But cinnamon derivatives are, so far, a disaster area with me; one of the earliest encountered being that well-loved all-natural plant-based sunscreen, octyl methoxycinnamate a.k.a. octinoxate (not always cinnamon-sourced). See for example the old Weleda “Edelweiss” sunscreen.
Some more, c/o the good people of CosmeticsInfo.org:
In Europe, Amyl Cinnamal is included on the list of “allergenic” substances. The European Cosmetics Directive requires manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care products to indicate the presence of certain “allergenic” substances in the list of ingredients if they are present above certain levels in the product (see Annex III). The presence of Amyl Cinnamal must be indicated in the list of ingredients when its concentration exceeds:
0.001% in leave-on the skin products
0.01% in products that are rinsed off the skin
Link to the EU Cosmetics Directive
- Phyto 7 though less so the Phytodéfrisant: worked well for a while, then appeared to make no difference when results compared to not using anything in hair. Pfff. Big bonus: both are unscented.
- Aubrey Organics: scented, and a warning on many of the scents in, well, most of their styling and other leave-in products; but, for instance, the B-5 gel is nice (I found the balsam a bit of an issue in that concentration, but manageable if mixed 50/50 with one of the Phyto ones above–also a good way to economize on them.
- Using a leave-in conditioner, or repurposing a conditioner as a leave-in.
- Final post-conditioner rinse with cold water does, I swear, make a difference: hair that’s bouncy and full–fat strands–but controllable.
- Oil. Not on this hair, left on. Disaster. Including all sorts of fancypants things like argan. The effect is still of greasy hair.
So: while I may be anal retentive in reading ingredients and researching products, I still mess up and do stupid things. Like sometimes accepting pretty samples from nice people. Heck, I wouldn’t have done this with unknown adults bearing sweeties (candy) when I was a kid; nor with the same and drinks when a teenager and post-teen Young Lass; so why do so now?
Must be summer. Heat getting to brain.
Gentle Readers: do add comments with tips on anti-frizz concoctions, of a sort that may well have silicones (but the older-fashioned ones…), don’t have octinoxate, are cruelty-free, and ideally are unscented. Oh, and appropriate for fine thick slightly wavy hair would be a bonus.