Buying products for curly and coily hair can be complicated, sometimes you just don't know what will and won't work. Matrix's new collection hopes to solve that. Featuring six products, Matrix's Total Results: A Curl Can Dream collection was made for all curl types and textures—including 3 and 4 hair types.
Tested extensively by texture experts, the collection features the essentials: like the deep cleansing A Curl Can Dream Shampoo ($17) and the deeply hydrating A Curl Can Dream Rich Mask ($19). Style your curls (or protective style) with the A Curl Can Dream Moisturizing Cream ($24) and A Curl Can Dream Light Hold Gel ($19). Lastly, seal it all in with A Curl Can Dream Light Weight Oil($24).
For more on the collection and how to use it, we hopped on a call with Matrix Artistic Director and collaborator, Michelle O’Connor. Read on to see what the hair expert had to say.
The collection was made and tested to work any way you style your hair. O’Connor even tested the products on family and friends. It's ideal for hair "that has unique sort of challenges with like dryness and longevity and hydration staying in the hair, and other things as well," says the Artistic Director. It's also versatile. "You're not always doing a wash and go; sometimes you are having a particular style or doing things that will sit in the hair for a few days before you wash it again," she adds.
One of the key ingredients is our favorite hair hydrator, Manuka honey. O’Connor explains that the natural humectant will maintain moisture in the hair in between washes. If your go-to hair look is a protective style, she notes that it's key to pay attention to how long your hair actually holds moisture.
"That moisture threshold for how long our hair actually holds moisture is not as long as some of us think it is," she explains. "Your moisture threshold might be every seven days. When you start to feel like your hair is dry and it feels rough, that's your indicator that it's time to start over." Working with a humectant like manuka honey and understanding your hair's moisture level is key to healthy hair.
Another key hydrator and humectant in the collection: glycerin. This totally underrated ingredient draws moisture into the hair and scalp.
In the A Curl Can Dream Light Weight Oil ($24), you'll find jojoba oil, which is the closest oil to our own sebum, says O'Connor, adding that "it's not going to be too heavy, it's not going to weigh hair down for those that might even have a tight coil pattern."
Oil is a key part of any hair care routine—but not for the reasons you might think. While O'Connor says some oils coat hair to lock in moisture and some can penetrate the hair, the oil also helps prevent breakage. "Oil is for lubrication—to allow those strands to glide beside one another—as opposed to friction. When our hair gets dry, and there's nothing that's lubricating those strands, that friction is what turns into split ends," she explains. "Friction is what turns into snapping and breaking and just all the things that we don't wish to have."
Now that you know what makes them work, let's get into the full collection. The six products are made to enhance your curls. Starting with cleansers, these wash away dirt, oils, and product buildup without damaging your curls or stripping your scalp and hair of natural oils. The A Curl Can Dream Shampoo ($17) is your deep cleansing go-to for wash days. While the A Curl Can Dream Co-Wash ($17) is ideal for cleansing in between post-workout and on hot summer days.
The A Curl Can Dream Rich Mask ($19) is a deeply hydrating conditioner that gives your dry curls the intense moisture it needs. There's also plenty of slip for detangling. The collection also makes styling super easy with not one but two, stylers you can mix or use alone.
The buildable, extra hold A Curl Can Dream Moisturizing Cream ($24) defines and hydrates curls without flaking. A Curl Can Dream Light Hold Gel ($19) is perfect for layering and adding even more definition sans the heavy, crunchy gel feel. The A Curl Can Dream Light Weight Oil ($24) will add shine, reduce friction, and seal in that moisture.
Picking Your Products
Choosing products is about more than knowing your hair type. While you might have type 3 or 4 curls, you may also have very fine or coarse hair. Another thing to factor in is density, which refers to the amount of hair on your head. You can have fine hair that's also very dense.
This will also help you choose how to use each styling product. For extra hold and moisture, especially if you've opted for a protective style or wash-and-go, she recommends the A Curl Can Dream Moisturizing Cream ($24). If you have coarse hair, you might opt for the cream instead, and if you have fine hair, you can mix the cream with the A Curl Can Dream Light Hold Gel ($19). She explains you'll get a lighter hold from the gel but still get the definition you want.
As for choosing your shampoo, the A Curl Can Dream Shampoo ($17) is ideal for a deep cleanse, and the A Curl Can Dream Co-Wash ($17) works best if you're active. O'Connor recommends the co-wash for gentle cleansing between wash days. Plus, the shampoo is suited for all hair types.
Some days styling my type 4 hair takes a lot of product. So, what I usually look for are styling products that won't weigh my hair down and shampoos that can handle buildup without drying my hair out. Luckily, the curl collection was up to the task. The shampoo was able to handle the buildup like a clarifying shampoo without the dryness and the mask left my hair feeling smooth and moisturized. I found the styling cream a bit too heavy for my hair but the gel was a great alternative. The gel was lightweight and most importantly cast-free. I used the oil to separate my curls and finger coils while adding some shine, it definitely cut down on styling time.
You can shop the full collection on September 1 at Ulta stores and Ulta.com.
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Becker LC, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, et al. Safety assessment of glycerin as used in cosmetics. Int J Toxicol. 2019;38(3_suppl):6S-22S.