Embrace Your Curves
The best products for curly hair from R+Co.
Whether it’s a gentle wave or tight zigzag or coil, most people have some curl to their hair. Walk down the street in Manhattan the past two decades, though, and you’d never know it. For many women, “smooth and polished” = “professional,” and blowouts became less of a special-occasion indulgence than everyday grooming. Products like dry shampoo became essential for supporting the trend.
“For as long as I can remember, until the last few years, it was all about adjusting your natural texture, smoothing it out, making it straight,” says Heather Packer, one of Mynd’s star stylists, who works out of the flagship Fifth Avenue location. Now, however, the pendulum is starting to swing in the other direction, to the natural textures and pro-curl attitude of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. (Remember when people actually wanted a “perm”??)
When we spoke to Packer, she’d just come back from Paris Fashion Week, where she worked backstage doing models’ hair for designers such as Issey Miyake and Paul & Joe. She says she noticed the same trend at the Spring 2020 shows that she’s seen lately among her clients at Mynd Spa & Salon: more requests for curly- and natural-hair styles.
“It doesn’t matter the ethnicity. I think one of the beautiful things right now, and in our future, is that our culture is embracing and accepting textured and curly hair,” says Packer, who prefers natural texture for herself, too. “And finally product companies are making formulas that help support that.”
She explains that the hair industry uses a detailed number-and-letter system to categorize the curl, texture, and density of a person’s hair—“straight being 1,” for example, “and highly textured being 4,” she says. Many hair companies simply don’t have formulas on the farther end of the scales for curly and textured hair.
And that’s a problem. Says Packer: “Most people with curly hair can’t just ‘shampoo and go’ without product,” but if they use products formulated for straight or smooth hair, bouncy curls can drop and more structured hairstyles can lose their hold and go haywire.
New Products for Curly Hair
Increasingly, hair-product brands are starting to catch up. Prime example: R+Co—the boutique haircare line that’s used (along with Kérastase) at Mynd salons nationwide—which just released a new collection of hair products created specifically to meet curly- and textured-haired people’s needs. We asked Packer what those typically are. “Everybody is a bit different,” she says. “Some people want curls to be loose and separated. Some people don’t. Others want ringlets. But what most people with curly hair are usually looking for in products is moisture and hold—which is what will give them all the different ranges of looks.” (Why is moisture and hold so critical for curly hair? And what does “hold” really mean? We explain at the end of this piece.)
Below, details on the benefits of the new curly-hair products out from R+Co. Plus: Strategies for preventing “crunchy” curls and Heather Packer’s dream haircare regimen for textured and curly hair.
The Best Curly Hair Products: Standouts from R+Co
Starting this month, Mynd Spa & Salon locations nationwide will feature R+Co’s products for curly hair, for use by stylists during appointments and for sale up front. Per Packer, since there’s so much variety with curly hair, you never know which products will work best for yours. So feel free to ask your stylist to incorporate the curly hair products below into your next appointment (if he or she doesn’t already) and test out how they work with your specific strands. (All of R+Co’s products are safe for color-treated hair.)
R+Co Cassette Curl Shampoo and Conditioner: R+Co’s curl shampoo and conditioner do the basics—clean and condition—but also define curls, tamp down frizz, and deeply nourish, all without adding weight to the hair. The key ingredients:
- Superseed Oil Complex: Extracts of the same oil-rich “super seeds” that are good for the body and brain—chia and flax—condition the hair and scalp and add natural moisture and shine without greasiness.
- Rice protein: Locks in that moisture and helps prevent breakage by making hair more flexible.
- Red-algae extract: Gives curls strength and prevents frizz.
- Hydrogenated castor oil: The star ingredient; deeply conditions, adds fullness and gloss, and leaves hair stronger and more frizz-resistant.
- Bonus: A gorgeous scent: Sicilian lemon, tangerine, eucalyptus, green tea, tree moss, and amber.
R+Co Turntable Curl Defining Crème: You can use this cream as a treatment to nourish and moisturize or to give your hair shape when you’re styling it in the moment. Either way, just like Cassette Shampoo and Conditioner, the Crème is designed to work its magic without weighing down hair, dropping curls, or making them “crunchy.” Turntable Curl Defining Crème also blocks surface humidity, so hair stays free of frizz, and adds a noticeable shine. Key ingredients:
- Rice protein: Helps make hair more flexible and less likely to break.
- Superseed Oil Complex: The same grease-less, omega-rich blend of flax- and chia-seed extracts that’s in the shampoo and conditioner, which boosts natural moisture, shine, and elasticity.
- And coconut oil: the favorite DIY curly-hair ingredient that’s strong enough to penetrate the hair shaft for deep moisturization; also improves scalp health.
- Plus: the same earthy-but-crisp citrus/eucalyptus/tree moss scent as the Cassette Curl Shampoo and Conditioner.
How to Avoid “Crunchy” Curls
All of R+Co’s products are vegan, cruelty free, and gluten free and don’t contain mineral oil, petrolatum, parabens, or sulfates (SLS or SLES). For many people, these features are must-haves for ethical or health reasons, but for people with curly hair, that last part is actually important for aesthetic reasons, too.
People with curly hair tend to have drier hair—not because their hair is naturally drier than straight-haired people’s but because the scalp’s natural oils (sebum) have a harder time traveling down curls than they do sliding down (or getting brushed down) a straight hair shaft.
Chemical ingredients like parabens and sulfates can dry out hair even more, leading to “crunchy” curls—that very 90s (not in a good way!) stringy, crispy look that in the worst-case scenario looks like a bowl of dry ramen. While everyone’s hair responds to products differently, it’s highly unlikely you’ll end up with even a hint of crunch with R+Co. Not only are the products free of chemical ingredients that dry out hair; they’re packed with natural oils, such as flax, chia, and coconut, that can supplement your own.
How to Take Care of Curly Hair
Before we got off the phone with Heather Packer, we asked her to come up with a dream haircare regimen for curly hair, with hair health as the main goal. She reminded us (again) that textured and curly hair varies wildly, so every person’s hair needs are truly different. But she gave us a best-bet baseline to work from: a weekly process for medium-curly, medium-textured hair using R+Co:
Once or twice a week:
- Use R+Co Cassette Curl Shampoo and Conditioner as you normally would any shampoo/conditioner.
- After the shower: On wet hair, apply R+Co Centerpiece All-In-One Elixir Spray on the mid-lengths and ends, avoiding the roots. “You know how you use serum before your moisturizer as part of your skincare regimen? This is like a serum for the hair,” says Packer. The Elixir gives hair a slight sheen, but the main point is to improve the integrity of the hair, so it looks beautiful because it’s inherently healthy, not because you’ve slathered on product.
- Now add the “moisturizer”: Work through R+Co Turntable Curl Defining Crème with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb to give the hair some hold.
What does “hold” mean, exactly? It’s actually two things: 1) holding down the cuticle (the “fish-scale”-like surface of the hair) so individual strands of hair don’t get frizzy or fly away. And 2) holding in place the overall shape you’ve given your hair—your style for the day. Hold products should usually be used on lightly wet hair, because when the “fish scales” clamp down, they trap the water in the shaft, moisturizing the hair.
- In between showers, revitalize curls by misting them with R+Co ONE Prep Spray. Says Packer: “Sometimes with curly hair, when you sleep on it, it gets mushed or it drops. The Prep Spray is great for bringing curls back to life.”
All R+Co curly hair products are available at Mynd Salons to buy and take home and for use by stylists during your service.