Louise McSharry reveals how she restored life to her previously lacklustre locks
A couple of years ago I made the decision to embrace my hair’s texture. I had spent the previous decade persecuting it via copious amounts of bleach and other colour which really compromises the quality of the hair, but parenthood had made six weekly appointments to get my roots done an impossibility.
I had to pare back the colour, and didn’t have time to be sitting with the curling tongs/straightener/whatever you’re having yourself, so my hair’s health began to return, and with it, its wave. Two years on, my hair is actually curly, and I’ve learned a lot.
The first thing is that where your hair is today in terms of curl is not where it will be in a year or two if you take good care of it. If you spend years abusing your hair or straightening it every day, it will take a little time to remember its curl pattern and be at its best. Don’t expect perfect curls overnight, because that’s not going to happen.
Second, the Curly Girl Method (CGM) is not for everyone. This multi-step, super-strict regime entirely bars some products from use (no sulfates, no fragrance, no alcohol, no water-soluble silicones, and actually, it’d be better if you didn’t use shampoo at all). For lots of people, it’s just too hard to follow and feels like a lot of work.
Devotees say that it’s hard to get used to initially, but will help you get the most-defined, glossiest curls of your life. I’d say it’s up to you to decide if the most-defined, glossiest curls of your life are even what you want. Personally, I like a bit of fluff! Having said that, the CGM is a great way to pick up some general tips, and is worth trying to see which bits you rate and which bits you’re not bothered with.
This brings me to my third lesson — the products you use really do make a difference. Those made with curls in mind definitely help your hair to be at its curly best.
I love the Kérastase Curl Manifesto Range for shampoo, conditioner and weekly masks (gift set including shampoo, conditioner and mask available for €65 via petermark.ie), and Irish hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimon’s Fantasy Curls (€11.99-€14.99 via boots.ie) products have become a permanent fixture in my shower too (the packaging alone is gorgeous).
Styling products are essential for curl longevity, even if you’re not bothered about them each looking perfectly defined.
Bouclème’s range is excellent — I use the Curl Defining Gel (€19.99 via boots.ie) each time I wash my hair which leads me neatly into the fourth thing I’ve learned over the last couple of years.
What you do in the shower really matters. If you don’t handle your hair in the correct way, your curls will be seriously compromised. I brush my hair while it has conditioner in it, before scrunching it up as I rinse the conditioner out. Allowing the hair to stay clumped together means you’ll get a better curl result.
Finally, make it all work for you. The beauty of letting your hair live in its natural texture is that it’s delightfully low maintenance. Obsessing over it certainly goes against that! Some days your hair will dry beautifully, others, not so much, but in my opinion if you get a good hair cut which works with what your hair naturally does, you shouldn’t ever have to do much. And that’s delicious. I was so busy and tired and my hair was scraped back into a manky ponytail most of the time as a result. These days, I do almost nothing to my hair and it usually looks great (if I do say so myself). If you’re fighting waves and curls (often miscategorized as frizziness) on a daily basis — maybe try the alternative!
YSL is always a solid option when it comes to lipstick, the formulas are great across the board and the packaging is always super glam. For summer, Rouge Volupte Shine lipstick (€37 via brownthomas.com) is great to have in your handbag as it’s a super comfortable formula which delivers on pigment and shine as well. Launched in 2015, these lipsticks are enriched with six different nourishing oils, meaning they’re hydrating and make you look glossy and beautiful. I particularly like lipsticks of this kind of formula for when it’s hot and sweaty — due to their medium coverage you don’t need to worry about them moving around your face or leaving a telltale line around your mouth.
Aimee Connolly’s Sculpted by Aimee continues to knock it out of the park with each launch. It’s honestly so exciting to see an Irish beauty brand performing so consistently, and making real inroads in the UK too. The newest products on the block are HydraLip balms which, you won’t be surprised to hear, hydrate the lips via hyaluronic acid and nourish with jojoba seed oil. They are super comfortable, and deliver brilliantly on colour as well as shine. There are six colours in the range, Peach, Berry, Rose, Blush, Mauve and Bronze, and they are priced at €17.
Babylights have become more and more popular in hair salons, but what are they? Essentially this is a hair colouring technique which attempts to mimic the natural, sun-kissed highlights you might see on a child (at the end of the day, we all just want the lashes, hair and skin we had as a kid don’t we?). Usually, this means face-framing brightness and fine sections of hair around the rest of your head, resulting in a natural blend of colours.