How to Get a Gel Cast in Curly Hair

Gel cast in curly hair - Hair Romance

A gel cast is the secret to frizz free curls. It’s a weird styling step and I’ll explain the process in more detail.

This is #5 of my Hair Romance Good Hair Q&A series and I can’t believe I’m 5/5. As you (hopefully) have better expectations of myself but I know in the past that editing videos is a really difficult task for me. It’s why I’m pretty proud of myself for getting this far. Only 25 days to go, or if you’d like to see this series continue please let me know in the comments below.

Today’s question is again for curly hair and Anna on YouTube asked:

“What’s the best way to do a good gel cast?”

Gels can be a confusing product. I hated them for the long time because I though they gave you crispy curls. That’s because I was missing the crucial second step which is to scrunch out the scrunch. Sometimes shortened to ‘SOTC’ when you’re looking at curly hair forums. Here are my tips on how to scrunch out the scrunch and in today’s video, I go through to how to create the gel cast in the first place.

How to get a gel cast – Hair Romance Good Hair Q&A series

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Tips for a good gel cast:

  • You need to actually smooth down over your curls to make sure that they are completely coated.
  • Mix the gel in your palms before applying it down your curls.
  • Make sure your curls are really hydrated before applying the gel. If you can see a lot of loose hair and frizz, your hair is already too dry and the gel won’t work as well.
  • To check if your gel is going to react to your other hair products, place a little bit of curl cream or conditioner and gel in the palm of your hand. When you mix them, if they ball up don’t use them together.

Here are some gels that I’ve used and recommend:

  • Taft Mega Styling Gel – great price point and a really good gel cast though some people find this a little dry. Taft isn’t available in the US but LA looks Gel is very similar.
  • Kinky Curly Curling Custard – this is a gel-hybrid and is a little bit more moisturising than a regular gel but does still help form a cast on your curls. (Aussies can get it here)
  • DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel – a great strong hold gel that isn’t too drying on your hair.

I hope these help you style frizz free curls, or rather, less frizzy curls. Because I have to say I do love a bit of frizz and I think there’s nothing wrong with it. Frizz adds volume softness to your hairstyle.

To see the next part of my series you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here to be the first to know.

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What is co-washing?

Cowashing for wavy curly hair - Hair Romance

What is co-washing and why would you do it?

When you first start looking into curly hair techniques, there’s so much jargon that it’s hard to follow: SOTC, co-wash, STC… the list goes on. I think it’s really confusing and can intimidate beginners.

What is co-washing? Hair Romance Good Hair Q&A series

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Co-washing is a technique that stands for conditioner washing.

It’s where you wash your hair with conditioner instead of regular shampoo and then conditioner. This single step process replaces the routine most of us do.

Washing your hair with conditioner? Does that sound crazy?

It’s not as crazy as it first sounds.

Conditioners also contain cleansing agents so they will clean your hair and they’re gentler on your hair. Strong sulfate shampoos can strip all the oil from your hair and if you have curly or dry hair, this can create a problem.

Washing with conditioner helps to nourish your hair and maintain the natural oil balance of your scalp but the technique for co-washing is often misunderstood.

Co-washing techniques

With shampoo you can just slightly wet your hair, rub product on your scalp, rinse it out and you’re good to go. Shampoo contains wetting agents so it’s easily distributed to your hair and the surfactants quickly and easily clean out the dirt.

With conditioner, however, you need to follow a different routine:

  1. Wet your hair completely
  2. Apply a lot more conditioner than normal. You want to apply it from the root to the tip
  3. Clean your scalp. This is where you will need to do the hard work because the product doesn’t do it for you. You need to spend three to five minutes actively massaging and cleaning your scalp.
  4. Then ensure that you rinse all of the product completely from your hair. Some curly girls would like to leave a little conditioner in their hair but I will make sure to rinse it all from your scalp or you’ll end up with a heavy feeling.

Who is co-washing for?

Co-washing is great if you have naturally curly hair or dry hair.

Who is co-washing not for?

Well some people will say it’s for everybody but some hair types don’t fare so well. It’s not always the best if you have wavy hair, oily hair or fine hair.

Depending on your scalp health, if you have psoriasis or eczema for example, you may need to check before applying so much product directly to your skin. Some people report that it helps and other say that it aggravates so it really is up to you.

Can you use any conditioner?

You need to use a silicone free conditioner for co-washing.

Silicone is removed by sulfate shampoos so if you’re skipping shampoo, you need to avoid silicones or they will build up on your hair.

Some silicones are water soluble but most silicones in conditioner will require shampoo to remove them from your hair.

Silicone free conditioners

The market for silicone-free conditioners is really growing, but here are a few I recommend if you are looking to start:

  • Darshana Conditioner
  • SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Conditioner (in Australia & USA)
  • DevaCurl One Condition

I hope this has helped explain what co-washing is and why you would do it.

Make sure you hit subscribe on my YouTube channel so you’re the first to see my next hair video.

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Should your eyebrows match your hair?

Eyebrows and hair colour - the rules - Hair Romance

Hair colour and eyebrow colour – should they match or what are the colour rules?

I’m answering your hair questions in my Hair Romance Good Hair Q&A series. These are going live on my YouTube channel first so make sure you click here to subscribe.

Today’s question is about your eyebrows and your hair colour and how much they should match. It’s a great question submitted by Donna over email and she asks:

“I have a question related to hair color. If you are changing your hair color, should you also get your eyebrows dyed the same color? Even with slight hair color variations I get a little self conscious that my eyebrows are not quite the same color.”

Should your eyebrows match your hair? Hair Romance Good Hair Q&A series

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In her question, Donna also asks if she’s being too sensitive, but I don’t think she is. It’s nice to notice those details, though I wouldn’t worry about your hair having to match your brows exactly.

Instagram has a lot to answer for when it comes to eyebrows, they really shouldn’t be a trend. They should be the best natural shape that balances your face.

Eyebrow colour rules

I follow this rule:

  • Blondes – your eyebrows should be one to two shades darker than your hair
  • Brunettes – your eyebrows should be one to two shades lighter than your hair

This is just a universally flattering way for your eyebrows to be.

However the most flattering thing is really what your brows naturally are. You want to follow your brow and your skin natural colouring.

What the brow expert says:

I checked in with my brow guru, Lien Davies of Brow Confidence.

Lien has been doing my brows for the last five years and has become a great friend. I completely trust her with my brows and I don’t let anyone else touch them. Oh, except for myself – she’s taught me how to keep the shape while she is not seeing me.
Lien’s advice is to keep your natural brow colour. This is what suits your complexion best and it doesn’t need to match your hair.

If you’re drastically changing your hair colour, you can tint your brows. Speak to your hairdresser to mix a custom colour. Don’t try this at home!

Beware of bleaching your brows:

Bleaching can turn your brows slightly orange and will also mean that they will grow back unevenly, which can make them look sparse.

It might seem like a good idea at the time but it will cause a lot of problems over the next six to twelve months.

If you’re looking for some eyebrow inspiration, definitely follow @browconfidence on Instagram for Lien’s advice.

Have you ever changed your eyebrow colour? And what shade do you think your eyebrows should be compared to your hair colour? Or do you just leave them in their natural state?

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How to grow long healthy hair

How to grow long healthy hair fast - Hair Romance

When you think of good hair, you healthy, shiny hair and today I am tackling how to grow long healthy hair as part of the Hair Romance Good Hair Q&A series.

By the way, if you want to be the first to see my Q&As, you should definitely subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

Today’s question was asked in my Hair Romance Crew, which is my free Facebook group for everyone who wants to talk all things hair and beauty. If you want to join the Crew, just click here.


“My hair always grows a little under the shoulders and then gets this little tails so I have to trim. I have thin hair and an oily scalp. My hair always looks better and fuller when I cut it over my shoulders though I really really want to grow it for once to chest length and still be healthy.”


Now I definitely feel this question. Especially when you have wavy hair or curly hair, it takes longer to grow your hair because of the shrinkage. When your hair is wet it probably is almost is that long but as soon as it dries, your hair can shrink by up to 30cm.

I love shorter styles, and if you think that your hair looks good in shoulder-length styles, maybe it’s not a bad thing. It can be a process to grow out your hair when you may not be that happy with the results.

But if you do want to grow your hair long and keep it healthy, here’s what I recommend.

How to grow long healthy hair – Hair Romance Good Hair Q&A series

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Feed your hair

Good hair grows out of a healthy body, so make sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet with lots of protein. This will help you grow long healthy hair.

Be consistent

This is isn’t sexy or interesting. It’s pretty boring and it’s just about keeping a regular hair routine.

You should be doing weekly hair masks and regularly shampooing and conditioning your hair. I don’t mean washing every day – that won’t help you grow longer hair – washing a couple of times a week is fine.

Lazy styling

When it comes to styling you really want to do as little as possible.

A weird fact is that sometimes air-drying can be more damaging to your hair than blowdrying, because yes water also damages your hair.

So don’t leave your hair wet all day, but put down the hot tools. You don’t want to be using any straightening irons or curling wands if you want your hair to be as long as possible.

Keep it natural

If you really want to grow long and healthy hair, stop lightening and colouring your hair.

This is one reason I’ll never have really long hair because I love changing my hair colour.

Treat your scalp

I recommend regular head massages to treat your scalp and promote hair growth.

There isn’t exact science around this but it has shown that massage to the scalp will improve blood flow and this is only going to create healthier hair follicles. Your head is probably the easiest part of your body to massage yourself so it’s something you can do in the evenings or before you wash your hair.

Time it

Normal hair growth is about one to two centimetres per month so you can work out how long it will take to grow your hair to your dream length.

Fake it til you make it

I always dreamed of having mermaid-length hair. But sadly I know it’s never going to be for me.

So instead I tried extensions to give me those mermaid vibes and while I love the look – man it was heavy! I don’t think I could manage if my hair was like that.

A side note on supplements

Sometimes supplements can work but I would always make sure that you focus on having a good diet first.

I take hair supplements to make my hair grow. I’ve been taking Viviscal (also available here) for the past six months and I’ve taken it before as well and I really think it makes a difference to my hair.

And if this all sounds too hard and too boring why not go back to my trick of trying hair extensions. It’s a great way to have that long hair without the hassle of looking after it.

I’d love to know, what’s your dream hair length?

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How to maintain your hair colour

How to maintain your hair colour - Hair Romance

You invest time and money in changing your hair, so here’s how to maintain your hair colour. Whether you’re going lighter or darker, keeping your hair colour fresh can take some work.

As I’ve been pretty much every hair colour, I’ve got a few tips to share as part of my Hair Romance Good Hair Q&A series.

This question was submitted on Instagram, and you can follow me @hairromance, and I’ve got the answer for you in my video below.

How to maintain your hair colour

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How to maintain your hair colour

1. Protect your investment

You spend a lot of time and money getting your hair coloured so don’t let it go to waste. Taking a little bit of extra care and being gentle when you brush and style your hair will make a difference.

2. Water is the enemy

Water is the number one thing that fades your hair colour.

Water has a higher pH than your hair. Water’s pH is 7 and your hair is around about pH 4.5 to 5.5. Anything higher than pH 5.5 will cause the cuticle to open. Hair colour is around pH 8-9 and that’s how colour is deposited into your hair.

Although water is neutral at pH 7, it still opens up the hair cuticle every time your hair is wet and allows that colour to wash away.

So the best thing you can do to help protect your hair colour is to wash less. And if possible, limit the amount of time that your hair is in water.

If you’re a swimmer this is going to be a constant problem but wearing a cap and doing a masks under your swimming cap can help.

3. Wear a hat

The sun is also going to fade your colour. When you’re outside, wear a hat to protect your hair.

I hope I don’t have to tell you this but it’s to stay out of tanning beds too. They are terrible for your skin but they also fade your hair colour. Think of them as concentrated sun damaged for your hair.

4. Choose colour safe products

Now when it comes to maintaining your hair colour, choosing a shampoo and conditioner that’s rated for colour protection is going to help. Avoid sulfate shampoos as these will remove more colour than sulfate-free alternatives.

5. Minimise heat

Turn down the temperature on your heat stylers and try to minimise heat styling. High heat can fade your hair in the same way that the sun does.

6. Add in more colour

There are some colour depositing conditioners available and this can really help manage your colour at home.

You can tone your hair at home purple shampoos and I’ve also used a pink Evo Fabuloso custom conditioner that my hairdresser made for me.

A note for redheads

If you’re a redhead, this probably isn’t news for you, but red is the colour that fades the fastest.

That’s because the red colour molecule is the largest and so it’s harder to keep it in your hair.

I highly recommend getting a red-toned conditioner for your hair or asking your hairdresser to mix up a custom colour so you can top it up at home. Alternatively you can go into the salon for a gloss treatment in between colour treatments.

I hope this helps maintain your hair colour a keep it looking fresh the whole time. And let me know your tips for maintaining your colour!

PS. Click here to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you will be the first to see new videos as they are posted.

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