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It wouldn't be true to say that I've always loved my natural hair. I did everything I could to never see my real hair. I concealed my curls underneath extensions for years at a time. My strands were severely damaged from overusing hot tools in my high school years. I grew up in a predominately white neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, and all I wanted was for my hair to look like everyone else's: straight and silky. Over time, I began to realize that my deep yearning to succumb to societal beauty standards and conform to a culture that was not my own was detrimental. In 2016, I made a public promise to myself to embrace my natural hair. I wrote about it, which was a very revealing, transformative experience. I haven't looked back since.
Thankfully, my mindset on my natural hair has shifted. Each time I wear my curls sans extensions, I get more and more comfortable in my own skin. Thanks to my first-ever styling session with DevaCurl and learning to follow the DevaCurl steps, I am my most confident yet.
Read on for more about my DevaCurl experience.
What Are the DevaCurl Steps?
DevaCurl is a beauty company specializing in products for those with naturally curly hair. Each of their products works in conjunction to create a regimen that leads to lustrous, well-conditioned locks. "Deep cleansing prior to styling creates a clean, blank canvas for the hair to properly absorb the conditioning and styling products being used," says Taylor Tugman, senior stylist and educator at DevaCurl's DevaChan Salons.
"I like to think of it like a skincare routine: We wouldn’t put our serums or moisturizer on without properly cleansing the skin first – the same thing goes for our hair. Detangling not only removes pesky tangles, but it also simultaneously smooths the cuticle (the outermost layer of the hair shaft) while massaging in conditioner. This lays the foundation for the stylers to be applied."
Benefits of Following the DevaCurl Steps
• Hair is cleansed
• Moisture is added to the hair shaft
• Styling product can be more easily applied
The benefits of utilizing all of the steps in the DevaCurl process (rather than only investing in one product) is that your hair can become fully cleansed, moisturized, and conditioned before being styled. "The DevaCurl line is driven by moisture," notes Tugman. "Over 20 years ago, the brand learned that moisture is the integral component for turning frizz into a curl. The products provide real moisture to our curls—it’s not just an illusion. From its inception, DevaCurl products are created through real conversations with real curly people in the Devachan Salons."
What to Expect from Following the DevaCurl Steps
I visited The Curl Whisperer salon (along with the DevaCurl team) in Miami to try DevaCurl's products, removing my extensions a few days prior. I must preface this with the fun fact that I was wearing sewn-in extensions for three months straight before this curl treatment. In other words, my natural hair needed a lot of love. The great thing about sewn-in extensions is they're a protective style that allows you to not touch your real hair for months on end. The not-so-great part is that your natural hair isn't receiving the moisture and nourishment it needs. After I take my extensions out, my hair is always extremely dry and thirsty. Nonetheless, I was excited for this tender-love-and-care session for my curls.
Step 1: Shampoo and deep-clean.
My stylist began by rinsing my hair and lathering DevaCurl's Buildup Buster all over my scalp and hair. This scalp massage felt like heaven because I hadn't touched my real hair in months. This product is made especially for ridding your hair of buildup without stripping away the good oils—perfect for my hair post-extensions. It's also made with Abyssinian seed oil and jojoba, so it has intense moisturizing benefits.
Next, she shampooed my hair with this tried-and-true gem: No-Poo Original Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser. It's one of DevaCurl's OG best-selling products because it's a non-lathering formula that gives your hair and scalp the deep clean it needs while maintaining healthy oils in your hair. I crave the tingly sensation it gives my scalp on wash days. The peppermint, grapeseed oil, and rose felt so invigorating and soothing on my scalp.
Step 2: Detangle.
When you're trying to revive your curls after they've been in braids for months, a good hair mask like the one above is essential. After washing out my shampoo, the stylist massaged this creamy blend of seaweed, rice, soy and wheat proteins, and sea lavender into every nook and cranny of my curls. This reparative combo of ingredients is strengthening and moisturizing and breathes life back into damaged hair. My hair isn't damaged, but it was stressed out, so letting this marinate on my strands felt like an added bonus.
With the Deep Sea repair mask still in my hair, the stylist started the detangling process, which is crucial for healthy, full-looking curls. She parted my hair into sections and patiently worked her way through every single strand. I was amazed at how tedious and detailed this process was. Can you tell I don't have the patience? She used a spray bottle to drench each section of my hair in water. Then, she used this Wet Brush in certain areas. It has special IntelliFlex bristles that are designed for detangling. In other areas of my hair, she used her hands to pick apart tangles and finger-comb my curls.
Step 3: Condition.
When my hair was detangled, it was time to add even more moisture, so she used this creamy conditioner. The combo of olive oil and botanical ingredients felt so nourishing. My curls truly felt as soft as my favorite silk pillow. My stylist stressed the importance of using water-based products for a hefty dose of hydration. Tugman also acknowledges the importance of conditioner. "I always tell my clients to put the elbow grease into the conditioning process," she says. "Then, applying the stylers becomes a breeze and a frizz-free result is almost always guaranteed."
To open my curl cuticles and penetrate the products even deeper into my hair follicles, I sat underneath the dryer with this conditioner on my hair for 20 minutes.
Step 4: Styling.
The prep work took most of the time because my curls weren't in the best condition. But when my natural hair was back to life, the fun part began. I always get excited when it's closer to the time I get to see the final product. My curl specialist used one pump of the DevaCurl Touchable Curl Definer along with a light squirt of DevaCurl's light, defining gel. "Using styling cream provides extra, long-lasting moisture as opposed to just using a leave-in conditioner and gel," says Tugman. "Curls tend to stay frizz-free and defined for longer with the use of a styling cream and gel combo."
Using the spray bottle, my stylist took tiny sections of my hair and massaged the defining gel in from root to tip. What I love most about this combo is that the product dissolves instantly once it touches my hair and boosts moisture. The issue with many styling creams and gels is that gross, crunchy after-effect. These both did the exact opposite. Once again, her patience astounded me. She used her hands to finger-coil each and every spiral on my head. This took about an hour.
To dry my curls, I reclined the chair, held my head back, and it took two stylists to diffuse my whole head of hair. The rush of air felt so soothing. This might have not been the fastest process, but it was well worth the wait. Afterward, my curls were shiny, frizz-free, and the most defined I've ever seen them in my 26 years of living. See for yourself.
From frizzy, undefined, tangled…
To frizz-free, detangled, shiny, and bouncy. And my ringlets stayed strong overnight. They were still gorgeously defined the next afternoon from my styling session.
The Final Takeaway
There was a time when I used to be deeply insecure about my natural hair. Because of this, I hid my natural hair underneath extensions for years so that I could conform to a standard I thought was considered beautiful. Thank God I got over that. I never thought I'd see my curls and genuinely feel confident and powerful. Thank you, DevaCurl, for giving me a newfound love and appreciation for my natural hair.