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Must Haves for the Curly-Haired and Where to Get Them in Cairo

We've broken up for you a guide on the products you'll need as a curly-haired person, the ultimate recipe to tame those curls.

 curls in Sahel

Curly and natural hair are now at a peak, and Egyptians have come out of the closet in terms of flaunting their natural curls, rather than resorting to straightening it.

As gorgeous as they look, though, it can get really frustrating to have to understand your curls. We're lucky that the weather in Egypt is mostly consistent, and so we don't end up having last-minute hair disasters (but the kind of water you use to wash your hair matters - The Curly Studio recommends that you get filtered water installed into your shower for EGP 1,000).

So, here's a list of all the products and hacks you might need as a curly-headed woman or man living in Egypt, and tips on how to keep the locks healthy, bouncy and fresh.

Dry Up That Hair with Minimal Frizz

Wearing your hair out after a wash-n-go can be kind of relieving when you realise that you don't have to touch your hair until it's completely dry. However, if you have curls, you'll find that blow drying it puffs it up, or you stay for hours with your hair sort of damp for pretty much half the day.

Using a hair diffuser can save the hassle of drying your hair without creating hair breakage from the direct heat. A diffuser is a detachable nozzle (like the image below) that attaches to your hair dryer with a wide tooth comb. After applying your styling products (including gel) onto your hair, you scrunch up your curls with the diffuser you dry.

Tip: Wait to until your hair about 50 to 60 percent dry to diffuse, to get the least possible hair shrinkage possible.

And if you're using a towel, spare yourself the frizz and get yourself a micro-fibre towel. Those are basically the towels that don't dry your hands.

Prices rang:e EGP 600-EGP 1,500
Available at Souq.com, Jumia, Decathlon.

Stock Up on Sulfate-free Products

There are several Egyptian Facebook groups dedicated towards the natural hair cause, and they sell their products in bulks for super reasonable prices. Sulfate has been proven to be bad for your hair, especially if you've got low porosity hair which is hair that decreases lest moisture. Sulfate strips your scalp away from natural oils that might be too oily for some gals and guys.

While you can go scanning racks of supermarkets and pharmacies to search for sulfate-free products, you can also check out local curly hair influencers like Dina Ghalwash, the girl behind curly talks, or the online Egyptian store IN Natural selling all-natural products. There, they give all sorts of tips on the best products, as well as reviews on what's worked for their curly hair type.

Prices range: EGP 45-EGP 700
Available at Kriss Salon, Souq.com, Shea Egypt Facebook page, some pharmacies you come across.

Ditch the Hair Brush, Go for Detangling Comb

This one might be an obvious. Many of us probably only use wide tooth combs - also known as wide detangling combs. But in case you've missed that train, you should ditch the hair brushes and get these babies instead.

It's best to detangle your hair when it's wet and fully conditioned. If you tug at your hair too much, you're creating hair breakage which is as bad as heat damage - meaning takes an entire hair life's growth to fix. However, you can repair as much damage as possible with weekly deep conditioning and the right amount of products.

Prices range: EGP 45-EGP 200
Available at Oriflame, Souq.com.

Use a Hefty Amount of Conditioner

Everyone knows how good conditioning is for your hair. It gives it the right amount of moisture and life that you need to keep it going for days. Every person has their own personalised hair wash routine, and it's important to make sure you space out at least two to three days between each wash. You can opt for more days if your hair can last it and doesn't get too oily.

Lather those curls.

There are curly-friendly products available at Egyptian online stores Bubblz and their sulfate-free herbal shampoo and conditioner, or at the Hair Addict Facebook page. You can also get Shea Moisture products at The Curly Studio for promising high-quality products.

Tip: If it has coconut in the ingredients, then this is a promising buy. Sweet almond oil is also a good ingredient, as it add shine and strength to your hair strands.

Prices range: EGP 70- EGP 700.
Available at almost any hair page or salon you come across.

 

Deep Conditioning: At Home or at Salon

Deep conditioning is when you use heat on your hair after applying hair mask. It's great; the mask opens the pores of your hair, and all the moisture of the hair mask gets deep inside your hair. You can buy hair masks in tubs from any hair salon or online hair care store. Be sure to scan the ingredients to ensure that it will enrich your hair strands. You can also make yourself a whole load of hair mask at home through simple, raw ingredients heavy in protein, which is great for the hair - such as avocado hair mask.

That's hair mask, not guacamole. Add a bit of mayo, and your hair mask is good to go.

After applying the hair mask thoroughly, you leave it on for 30 minutes. For optimal results, add heat. Heating up your hair with hair mask on will open up the pores on your hair strands, which in turn will allow the moisturising ingredients to seep into your hair. You can always go to a hair salon and do a treatment every week, but who's really got time for that?

Instead, to maximise the benefits of your hair mask, you can get a portable and microwavable thermal cap from any online retail store for as cheap as EGP 500, and get your deep conditioning sesh done from bed.

Portable thermal cap

Hair salons in retrospect can give you a deep conditioning treatment for EGP 150-EGP 300 depending on the salon you go to, like The Curly Studio and S Hair Studio.

Prices range: EGP 130-EGP 700
Available at The Curly Studio, Kriss, Souq.com, Bubblz.

 

Gel is Your Friend

Enliven Gel is sold in many of Egypt's pharmacies. The yellow gel is the highest out of their five levels as the number '5' indicates, meaning that it has the firmest hold out of their other products.

Gel can actually be applied healthily on the hair. There's always been that myth that gel scrunches your hair, and in turn damages it by making it too dry. But if you lather it in conditioner first, then you can thoroughly apply a dab of gel onto your hair to keep all that conditioner hydration intact.

You can get gel with different thicknesses depending on your hair type. The amount of gel you apply also depends on how heavy or thick your hair is. It's a good idea to add a dab of gel into a spritz bottle, with a mix of your favourite oils and use that as your refresh days mixture between your hair-wash days.

This scrunching method helps define your curls after applying product(s).

When you apply gel, make sure you scrunch the curls if you're going for the volume. If gel is used directly, make sure that it doesn't clump up in your hair by thoroughly spreading it throughout your hair.

Some good brands to look out for are The Hair Addict, Curly Queen, Shea Moisture, and a lot of pharmacies you have out there. Experiment with different products until you find the right one, and keep note on the weight of the gel on your hair. Eco Styler is a good (cheaper) option and available at many pharmacies.

Prices range EGP 30-EGP 150.
Available at Curly Queen, most pharmacies you come across.

 

Experiment with Styling Products

Any naturalista in Egypt should stock up on any styling product they can get their hands on. With curly hair, it's essential to experiment with all products, since the effect it has on your hair might be different from the next person's. From the racks of hair products at the supermarket, to the super expensive imported goods displayed behind glass displays at hair salons, or your friend's products on their bathroom shelves (with their permission of course) - nothing should go untried, because you might just come across that product that works perfectly for your hair.

There are a range of conditioners in the Egyptian market which create the enough recipe of moisture for your hair. In this area, you're free to experiment as much as you want, until you find the correct routine for your hair.

A good example of how cheap can go a long way.

Not the same hair product works for everyone - not even the same product will necessarily always work for your hair. If a styling product stops working on your hair, let it rest for a while. It'll have its time again.

I never personally read labels so much, I just rely on how many synonyms of the word moisture there are on the bottle, as well as the ingredients used in the products (i.e. almond, coconut).

Prices range: EGP 30-EGP 150.
Available at most pharmacies.

Photo courtesy of Cairo Zoom.


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Something Else II - Off Biennale
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