I'm going to say some shit about curly hair, for the benefit of other curly people, mainly, so the rest of you may not find this very edifying. Personally, I have fine and relatively plentiful ringlet-y natural curls. It can get quite a bit tighter than what you see in the pic at left, so I'd say it's probably the mmm... second-curliest type of Euro hair, behind coarse-spiral gingers etc. It's the kind you can't straighten without chemical relaxant, since even hardcore ironing won't stop it boing-ing right back in twenty minutes. The kind that can turn into a cloud of frizz and knots no matter how many buckets of gloopy shit I empty on it; believe me, I've spent half my lifetime disposable income doing just that. And just to add a degree of difficulty, I am 90% grey/white under that supermarket dye job. Did I mention that I also have mild psoriasis and a sensitive skin/scalp? Good times.
Only 15% of Eurotrash have any natural curl. You thought it was more than that, didn't you? It sticks out, both literally and figuratively.
And last but not least, the reason why I haven't been to a salon in twenty years- that look they give you. As though your head was going to explode and infect theirs with your unruly aberrance. The wistful yanking of your curls out to their real (they mean straight) length; it could be so much flatter and longer! The clueless, disinterested butchering. The completely unsolicited attempts to blow it straight. The last peremptory ho to try this was astounded and dismayed that I preferred my natural texture and actually congratulated me on being able to 'come to terms with it'. That was the very last time I paid someone with a fucking pixie cut on a homely-arse five-head to touch my shit.
So now I cut and dye my own damn hair, wash it once or twice a week, air dry and don't brush. Recently I started using Deva Curl Let It Be finishing spray and I like it well enough; Deva products are fairly natural-ingredient based and non-irritant and I'm just grateful they don't make my hair situation more difficult. I wouldn't boost them to anyone who wasn't interested in cutting down on synthetic nasties in their personal care regime as I don't think their performance is substantially better than anything else I've tried.
But it's shampoo and conditioner that are the root of our problems. To cut a very long story short, I gave the fuck up and decided to wash it just with Sabun soap, a 3-ingredient Castile-style natural soap that was doing good things for the rest of my meat suit.
If you're any kind of Gen X weirdo, you've probably washed your hair with random soap before. What I'm advocating here is not the same thing as getting squeaky with the communal bar your casual piece shared with his 5 gross flatmates.
Sabun is an ancient concoction made in Syria from olive and bay oil; it is vegan and biodegradable. The Wiki is worth a read. It comes in huge rectangular blocks that you can easily chop into any increment you prefer.
The lewk in the hair pic above is my third-day, no-fucks hair, after an afternoon outside, blessed by high wind straight off the Southern Ocean, that ultimate disordered frizz-generator. No serums, no gels, no pastes, no conditioner. Yes, I said no. fucking. conditioner.
The Sabun lather feels rather unconventional on the head. It's important to get an even, all-over lather going, especially if you're longer, and to rinse thoroughly, working from back to front with warm water, to distribute the oils. While still wet (don't even towel dry, just enough to stop it dripping), spray in your favourite anti-frizz product and either big-comb through or just work it down the length manually. Scrunch gently to reinstate your curl shape. Then leave it alone. There's sometimes a slightly greasy feel while it's drying and it's hard to believe your hair won't feel heavy or dull, but I promise the finished product does not. Allow an extra half an hour of air-dry time if you're on the clock.
For me, the Sabun+spray allows my natural texture to reform peaceably without frizz, and doesn't bring on greasy-root syndrome by denaturing the scalp. It dispels that itchy product buildup that plagues us sensitive types and doesn't aggravate my psoriasis (it doesn't make it any better, but what does?). It hasn't stripped my colour, which is a semi-permanent black. And as a final blessing, the Sabun imparts a weirdly obedient cast to your hair; it stays placid and arrangeable. The result is natural, snaky curl instead of morale-destroying fluff. I am really pleased with how aggressively archaic it looks.
No one is paying me to say any of this. I just want to share this rare positive experience with widely available, eco-friendly and inexpensive products. The Sabun is about $7 per enormous bar in New Zealand; the Deva Curl spray is about $35 which is a lot, but for me it's lasted a long time and it replaces the $15 per bottle I dropped on shampoo and conditioner. And both are so much better than tipping litres of industrial chemicals down the drain. Taking one damn product into the shower is incredibly liberating. Give it a try if you have dry, frizz-prone hair and have lost patience with conventional shampoos and conditioners.