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I Only Allow One Brand of Products Near My Tight Curls

Best Curly Hair Devacurl Shampoo Products
A photo of the author in New York’s offices. Photo: Jason Chen

For my curls, I have tried everything: Wren, Ouidad, Argan oil, Moroccan oil, shea butter. One time, my mom talked me into lathering my hair with mayonnaise (mayonnaise!!) and leaving it in there for 30 minutes in a moisturizing treatment gone rogue. My curly sisters out there will understand this kind of desperation. In the end, though, none of it worked. I was always still frizzy. There were always dried ends and dried-out-looking curls. Everything about my hair felt inconsistent and out of my control. This lasted for 18 years. A goddamn lifetime.

And then, in college, I learned about Devachan, a salon specifically for curly hair. I figured I’d try it because I already tried everything else, but I was not ready for the way it would so completely change my life. When I walked into that salon, for the first time ever, I felt seen. My hair felt seen. We as an inseparable unit, were seen. And here’s all it took: At Devachan they cut your hair when it’s dry. A revelation! For those who don’t know, when curly hair is wet, it looks nothing like when it is dry. On top of that, each piece dries differently and in unexpected ways. For example, the pieces closest to my eyes curl up much more tightly than the ones in the back of my head, so any straight-y’s attempt to cut and layer my hair when it was wet just ended up leaving it all lopsided and uneven once it dried. That was my life for 18 years. The only way to get an accurate picture of how a cut will look a day later, is to cut it when it’s already dry. Anyway, this changed my life and I’ve been dedicated to Devachan ever since, only using their products and only getting cuts in their salons (and no, they didn’t pay me or send me any free products to write this, they just treated me right over and over again). That salon is my palace. The products are my miracle drugs and I don’t care how much they cost. No money is worth more than pretty hair feels, is my variation on that saying. So I’d really recommend all of Devachan’s products, but here are my favorites:

People with curly hair should not use shampoo. It dries out the curls when the thing they need most is moisture (hence all the oils I used to rub into my hair). But for everyone who feels weird about never washing their hair, Devachan has created No-Poo, a shampoo that doesn’t lather or contain any of the sulfates regularly found in shampoo that dry out curls. In fact, amazingly, it’s a shampoo that still moisturizes.

A note about the scent: This shampoo and almost all other Devachan products are made with peppermint and the overall effect is pretty minty. It’s a very specific Devachan scent that can take a little getting used to, but you’ll learn to love it.

This is the ultramoisturizing conditioner that locks in wetness without weighing down your curls. With this, they stay bouncy, not heavy. While you don’t need the shampoo everyday (probably two or three times a week is fine) this is for everyday use. Here’s another important thing I learned at Devachan: Never use a comb, just your fingers to detangle and rub this in between each curl because you don’t actually need to take out every tiny knot. Also, curly hair is more prone to falling out during this finger-combing process, so don’t freak out that you’re balding if you end up with a handful of hair after applying this.

This product continues to amaze me every time I use it. The thing I always hated, really hated, about curly-hair products was that all the gels and mousses made my hair hard and crunchy, stiffening my hair to keep the curls intact. I hated that so much that I would just stop using these products altogether. Not this gel. This gel, a true miracle gel, eliminates all frizz while still leaving my hair soft, feeling as if there’s no product in it at all. It holds and styles my curls without stiffening them into place. It feels good and it looks good and I should probably be the official spokesperson for this product. (If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper alternative, I’ve recently tried this AG Hair Cosmetics hydrating conditioner and it actually has a similar effect, but I feel like a traitor for saying this and I’m usually more likely to use no product at all rather than pick up some random drugstore curly-hair gel, shampoo, or conditioner.)

So this one is an intense conditioning treatment (never again, mayo, never again) that you leave in your hair to soak for 15 to 30 minutes before washing out. To accomplish this intense drenching of the curls, it uses three different types of butter. Devachan says you’re supposed to use this product once or twice a week, but I’ll be honest with you and tell you that I use this product almost daily, as I would a conditioner. I just always feel like I need that extra moisture and so far it’s worked for me.

Lastly I’ll throw in this diffuser because every curly girl should know that you need a diffuser to dry your curls. You insert this claw into any regular blow dryer so that your curls get 360-degrees of heat and also remain curly afterward, instead of all the frizzy half-straightening that happens when you attempt to use a regular hair dryer. For everyone who prefers to shower in the morning, even on cold winter days, this is for you. When it comes to diffusers, though, I’m not as ride or die for Devachan, so cheaper alternatives on Amazon should work just as well.

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I Only Allow One Brand of Products Near My Tight Curls