When it comes to my hair, I typically get asked one of two questions when I meet people for the first time:
1. Are my curls natural? (Yes- and I still have no idea where they came from since nearly everyone in my family has had pin straight to lightly/barely wavy hair.)
2. Is red my natural color? (Nope! I’m a brunette by birth!)
Once those are out of the way, I am then usually asked one of two follow-up questions:
1. How do I keep my curls looking hydrated, healthy, and bouncy?
or 2. How do I keep my very bright, very vibrant reds from fading- especially in the Summertime sun?
The truth is, it’s not easy. Curly hair is typically dryer than straighter hair (which leads to a LOT of frizz and flyaways,) and red is the hardest hue to maintain- often fading to a rusty orange or even a dull pink-ish if not kept up with religiously or taken care of/styled with the appropriate, color-safe products. Red hair is a commitment- both physically and financially- and one I’ve stayed true to for quite a few years now.
During the 4-5 years I’ve been a Faux-Ginger, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two. I’ve learned to always find the time to schedule monthly root touch-ups (the unintentional ombre that occurs when my natural hair color grows in for an extended period of time is not a good look on me,) and I’ve learned how to efficiently clean up the shower and my towels after the first proper shampooing following the aforementioned monthly root touch-ups to avoid my bathroom looking like a bloody crime scene.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that keeping my curls and hair color safe- especially in the hotter, more humid months- does NOT have to break the bank or take up a ton of counter space with an overwhelming amount of products. I’ve pinned down an efficient and simple Summer hair care system with just four core products- all of which are inexpensive and all of which can go hand-in-hand with your favorite styling products without weighing your hair down or making it feel or look sticky/greasy.
Here’s what I use:
John Frieda’s “Radiant Red” Colour Protecting Shampoo ($4.97 – $6.59)
Back when I made the bold decision to go platinum with my hair, I stockpiled pretty much everything from John Frieda’s “Sheer Blonde” collection because it was one of the few, affordable, geared-for-blondes lines that kept my tresses hydrated (an absolute necessity considering how fried my hair had become at that point,) and prevented discoloration. When I came to my senses and went back to brunette, the “Brilliant Brunette” line became my ally for the very same reasons- the results and the price.
Of course, as we all know, I have since given in to the temptation that was fiery red hair- and sure enough, John Frieda’s “Radiant Red” line was there to have my back. Although “Radiant Red” does not have nearly as many products as the SB and BB lines, I’m more than content with this shampoo and swear by it when discussing hair care for redheads. While I do shower and condition my hair every day, I only actually wash my hair with this product once or twice a week. It lathers up nicely, cleans my hair without stripping it down- and really brings out the different tones and shine in each of my curls. The cherry on top? It smells awesome!
Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Color Care Conditioner ($3.49 – $6.29)
Since I use way more conditioner than I do shampoo, I want something lightweight and relatively inexpensive that will help nourish and de-tangle my curls without fading my color. While I do like John Frieda’s “Radiant Red” conditioner that goes hand-in-hand with the shampoo, it is tricky to find it in stock in a lot of stores. This Suave conditioner, infused with Moroccan oil and easy to locate at pretty much every pharmacy or drug store- makes my hair ridiculously soft and shiny, leaves it moisturized and easy to comb through- and doesn’t fade or cloud my red at all.
I tend to apply a generous amount from my roots to my ends, and leave it in for 5-10 minutes while I shave/wash up the rest of my body/sing into my shampoo bottle/zone out completely- before I rinse it out and then go about gently patting my hair dry with my towel and styling.
In the Summer, I style my hair with a lot of sea salt sprays to soften my curls and give them a more wavy, “just got back from the beach” look. It’s wonderful- except that the salt in the sprays is notorious for sucking the moisture out of hair. To counteract this, I use a few pumps of this Suave Moroccan oil from my roots to my ends while my hair is still damp before I spritz in my salt spray and let it air dry. This oil keeps my hair hydrated and shiny without making it look or feel slick or sticky. It also fights frizz, and smells really good.
I often use this when my hair is dry, as well- applying a few pumps into my palm and smoothing it over and through my hair when I’m on the go to combat flyaways and dryness. It can also be applied as an overnight hair mask, too- although I prefer to use something else for a deep repair treatment- which brings me to…
By now, most people know about the amazing benefits of coconut oil. It’s essentially a miracle in a jar- good for everything and everyone. I get a lot of use out of the Trader Joe’s brand- from my nails, to my teeth, and especially to my hair. I use coconut oil as a weekly overnight repair mask, applying and combing it through damp, clean hair- braiding or twisting my hair into a bun- and tucking it into a shower cap that I leave on while I’m sleeping (it’s more comfortable than you’d think.) In the morning, I simply take the cap off and wash and condition my hair as usual.
The results are deeply moisturized curls that are free of frizz and split ends. Coconut oil doesn’t harm my color, either- which makes it safer to use than other hair masks that may contain sulfate or other chemicals that cause fading or discoloration.
And there you have it! Four simple products to use in the Summertime for easy hair care and maintenance that won’t put a strain on your budget.
Of course, my products do get switched up a bit when it comes time for Fall and Winter, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m not exactly eager for Summer to be over, after all.