YCS Guide to : Marc Anthony curl defining styling lotion

Holy Grail Product: Marc Anthony Curl Defining Styling Lotion

By Sara, Hair Goddess

Hi Curlies!

Occasionally there comes a product that redefines your entire routine. That cuts stylings time on wash/detangle days and packs the perfect shine and detangling combo. Well, Marc Anthony’s Curl Defining Styling Lotion is just such a product. I love it because I can truly use a quarter sized amount on each half of my hair and it lasts through the week. I’m down to 1 detangle day (conditioner only) and 1 wash day (curl-friendly shampoo day) and I love how much moisture I get from such a small amount of product.



The trick with a product like this is using a small amount. These days I’m really going for volume, so I apply the bulk of the product to the shaft and ends of each section. Remember, it’s important to protect your ends year round, not just in the drier winter months. After applying to the main sections of my hair, I  take a dime sized amount, rub it between my hands and smooth down the halo frizz on the crown of my head on both sides. I oil the ends of my hair, flip upside down and blow dry until 80% dry. Then shake, and blow dry on cool until 95% dry to set.


Next time I’ll show you my preferred oil to emulsify with my leave-in, but you should feel free to use your favorite to seal your ends before drying with heat.



Happy styling!


YCS Guide to Spring: Tips & Trends for Spring Hair

By Sara, Hair Goddess

Hi Curlies,

Let loose from your box braids, Marley twists and other protective styles and have fun this spring! I’m seeing big bouncy hair, heatless blowouts, curly bangs to get us out of our winter slump!
Big ‘N Bouncy

My current go to for big hair is Marc Anthony’s Curl Envy Cream with a touch of argan oil (your favorite drug store brand works). Blow dry upside down without the defuser until 90% dry, and then shake vigorously. Don’t be afraid to put your hands in your hair ladies! Let it air dry the rest of the way, and then shake again. The longer you wear this style the better, so skip the mid-week cowash and go for 4 or 5 days. Plus since we’re blowdrying so much, the less often you do it the better. Mind the heat! I also love Big Curls Lightweight Curl Creme by Samy.


Caption: Here I am rocking a 3 day wash n go. It’s a bit on the frizzy side, but completely captures big and bouncy. Plus, I’m (finally) loving my bang length. When straight, these are cut to about chin length.

Curly Bangs

I won’t lie, bangs are tough with curly hair. Most salons still cut our hair straight, so it’s hard to tell how our curl patterns will react or what kind of shrinkage we’ll get. The safest bet is to start longer than you think, and trim a little at a time. When I first cut mine, I had the stylist go to cheek bone length, and wound up with bangs above my eyebrows. A few months of serious fluffing saved me from total embarrassment, but always err on the conservative side. Remember, you can cut more, but you have to wait months for them to grow out!

Heatless Blowouts

No reason to stress your tresses with excess heat, so why not stretch your hair the heatless way? Few people give a tutorial better than Taren Guy, so I’ll let her take it away:

And don’t forget to spice up your spring look with fun accessories too. Get creative by turning broaches into hair pins, try a new type of hat (I should take my own advice, I rarely wear hats). Or use a lightly scented spray to add some spring flavor. Moisturize and enlighten your olfactory at the same time with any of The Juices from Oyin Handmade. My all time fave is Juices & Berries

Happy spring styling!

YCS Sara

Valentine's Week on YCS: YCS Hair – 3 Fun Styles for Any Valentine

By Sara, Hair Goddess

When it comes to V-Day style, clothes get all the love. But it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to spice up your look for a LTR date, impress that newbie love, or have a fabulous time with friends, there’s no excuse not to gussy up your hair. So without further adieu, I present five options for any Valentine, even if your Valentine is you! XOXO!

Fun: The Super Easy Hair Bow Bun

You’ve got the red, pink, hearts, polka dots, and stripes. So why not top it all off with an adorable bow?

For medium to long hair (doesn’t have to be stretched as long as you can put it in a ponytail with enough hair left over to work with)

A variation for dreads or Marley/box braids/twists

If you’re in the growth stages after a Big Chop, your hair might be too short for a ponytail. Why not try a turban wrap bow instead? Although longer hair is shown in the video, this can easily be adapted to your favorite short style! (starts at 2:45)

Sophisticated: The Pompadour, or The Janelle Monae

Nothing like an updo for an upscale date. Break out of the ballerina bun boredom while still looking gorgeous and polished. Janelle Monae brought it back, so add your own flair to this retro style.

For medium to long hair (again, just make sure you have enough for a pony + leftovers to style)

For short hair, a flat twist pompadour! This also works for dreads and Marley/box braids/twists, just skip to 2:15 to get to styling. Can’t do a flat twist (no worries, I haven’t mastered it yet either), just do regular two-strand twists and sweep them up on the sides.

For very short hair, a scarf-style pompadour

(the first 2 minutes)

Sexy: Big Bouncy Curls (No Heat Needed)

Maybe you always rock the natural, or you’ve been wearing your hair up recently. Bouncy curls are always sure to cause a double-take. Even better, there’s no heat required to get this look so you don’t have to worry about damaging your curl pattern.

All hair lengths, except very short. I recommend using the largest rod size your hair can accommodate.

A rod set on short hair

YCS Hair: The Trouble with Traveling (and a Product Review)

By Sara, Hair Goddess

Hi Curlies!

We all know the trouble of traveling when we need loads of products to keep our curls in perfect form. I personally find the 3 oz product rule a little curl discriminatory because our straight-haired friends can get away with either minimal products or being fairly sure that they’ll find a viable alternative upon arrival. But we can’t be sure that some random store will have the perfect combination of gel/oil/leave-in conditioners, or the “all natural” version, or a conditioner with just the right weight. And who wants to buy all that product just to leave it behind a few days later? I’ve been known to get a blow out or suck it up and pay to check my bag, but lately I’ve been thinking, there has to be a better (read: cheaper) way.

To be clear, I’m talking about short trips. That longish weekend that’s stretching passable day 2 or 3 hair into a frizzy mess. Now you can always pull it back into the old standby poof or try to go the spray bottle route, but what’s a girl to do when you want full out fabulousness?

A few weeks ago, I took a 5-day trip to Florida. The locale and duration made for a perfect one-two combo of too humid for a blow out (plus hello, swimming) and that funny length of trip where I didn’t need to check my bag, but was going to need hair products. Scouring my local grocery store for possible solutions, I found this:


And what a miracle it was! A flat package meant no little baggies and the 1.75 oz size meant I was well under acceptable airline limits. My only concern was how a deep conditioner would work as a styling product. The general principal behind deep conditioning is the longer you leave it on, the better. If you can add a little heat in the form of a hood dryer or hot towel wrap, you’re supposed to be doing your hair a world of good. So I figured I’d be pretty set, knowing I planned on both extended wear and a little blow-dry styling.

Four packages of Dr Miracle’s later and I was good to go; I had no idea how much I might need, but with thirsty curls, I err on the side of having more product on hand. I got through the security checkpoint without a hitch (well, they did toss a full size bottle of sunscreen I forgot I packed, but you can’t win em all). But the real test came the next day. After a full day on the beach, the boyfriend and I were heading out to dinner. I co-washed and detangled all with only about a half package of Dr. Miracle’s. Then I lightly rinsed a bit out, finger combed and styled as usual with a blow dryer. Here’s how it looked:

This is day 2 hair, back on the beach after my night out.

This is day 2 hair, back on the beach after my night out.

Not bad, right? In fact I’d say pretty darn good! Dr Miracle’s has mint undertones so there is a bit of a tingle as you dry. I also didn’t find it to be the most moisturizing after extended wear. Suggested use time is up to an hour, so I completely accept that the dryness may be my own doing. On the whole, I’d recommend Dr. Miracle’s. I’d like to give a test under normal conditions as a deep conditioner. And you know I love a good tingle. The real take away though? Hair companies, especially smaller brands, ought to consider making flat package versions of their products.

I’m traveling more and more these days, so I’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments!



YCS Hair: My Big Chop

By Sara, Hair Goddess

Hey Curlies,

It’s been a minute since my intro post and you’ll never guess what I’ve been up to. I decided to join Erika in the “short hair don’t care club;” so I got a Big Chop!

There’s a myth that the Chop is only for those wishing to transition their hair from relaxed/chemically altered to natural. It is definitely (eventually) necessary if you’re making the jump to the natural side, but it’s a great idea if you want to get rid of color you’ve been growing out, need to restore your original curl pattern, or just want a fun style change.

I’ve had long(er), natural hair for the past 5 years. And while I’ve done baby chops in the past, I’ve never done anything quite this drastic. I was in desperate need of a cut, and I’ve been considering a short ‘do for a long long time. Seriously, I’ve been contemplating this on and off for about 2 years.

Blown out and chopped! From elbow length to just above my shoulders.

Blown out and chopped! From elbow length to just above my shoulders.

I went to see Kisha at Arrojo and it was my first time seeing her. My normal stylist moved to Tennessee so my Chop was going to happen with a new stylist one way or another. Arrojo does great color and cuts (they blow you straight first), so if you’re in NYC definitely check them out.

Fro on the first day after rocking the straight 'do for a few days. I was feeling it!

Fro on the first day after rocking the straight ‘do for a few days. I was feeling it!

I’m a few weeks into my Chop, and I have to say my feelings are mixed. My detangle/style time has gone from 45+ to 10 min, and I love that. But I do feel that I’m a long hair kind of girl. I’ve been rocking a curly fro, which is fun, but that’s about all I’ve been doing so far. I’m looking forward to trying out more styles and accessories and sharing them with you! And no matter what, it’s hair and it grows back.

A few weeks later. I love it mostly, but miss some of the versatility of my longer hair.

A few weeks later. I love it mostly, but miss some of the versatility of my longer hair.

Have you done a Big Chop? What’s your favorite short style?


Lunch Date Outfit: Conservative Business Environment

YCS Hair: The Quick ‘n Clean Guide to a Wash ‘n Go Routine

By Sara, Hair Goddess

I’ve been thinking a lot about my first hair post for YCS, because I’m obsessive like that, and there is SO much to talk about when it comes to being curly, from products, to styling dos and don’ts, to how to score a great curly cut.  I plan on bringing plenty of intel on products and styling in the months to come, so for today I will focus on every curly girl’s fingerprint: my basic hair routine (aka the Wash ‘n Go or WNG).

If you’re completely new to the curly game, I highly recommend you check out Naturally Curly’s guide to find your curl pattern. The methods and products that work best vary somewhat by curl pattern/hair type, so while this works very well on my 3B/3C hair, some variations are necessary for other hair types. Steps 1 & 2 are largely the same, though those with type 4 hair may want the help of a comb or tangle teaser for detangling. Products are trial and error for all hair types, and type 4s will want to consider a braid/twist out, bantu knots or a similar style for defined curls in the styling phase (more on styles in a later post). Feel free to let me know your hair type in the comments and I will include variations in future posts!

Step 1: Cleanse

No shampoo! Cleanse by co-washing with a conditioner of your choice. I like minty ones for a tingle, but you can use anything as cheap (or not) as you’d like. Just try to get something moisturizing or for curls. It’s also a great way to use up conditioner that doesn’t work out for detangling. As long as you make sure to scrub your scalp to remove product build up, you’re cleansing!

Product Suggestion:

Every Day Shea Moisturizing Conditioner in Vanilla Mint (Whole Foods)

Step 2: Condition & Detangle

Your detangling conditioner should be heavy weight, very creamy and as moisturizing as possible. To find the perfect detangling conditioner takes a little trial and error (and if it doesn’t work out, see step 1). Wet your hair in the shower, and then ring the water out of your hair so it has room to absorb the product. Saturate with conditioner, clip hair up for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse about 95% out. Detangle by finger combing your hair in sections, beginning at the bottom of each section and working your way to the scalp.  I divide my curls in quarters at the scalp, use a butterfly clip to pin it up and a heaping palm full of conditioner on each section.

Product Suggestion:

Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner (any grocery store)

Step 3: Style

Keeping your hair soaking wet, apply your leave-in product (you can do this in or out of the shower, but you won’t be rinsing it out). Depending on your hair type, this may be oil, leave-in conditioner, gel, mouse or any combo thereof, based on your hair type, the weather, and personal preferences. Finger comb a generous amount through your hair, focusing extra product on the ends to keep them from drying and splitting. I divide my hair into quarters, emulsify oil and leave-in conditioner, and use about 1-2 silver dollar size amounts on each section.

Product Suggestions:

Macadamia Natural Oil Leave-In Cream (Target)

Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Curl Defining Crème Glaze (Target)

Organix Penetrating Moroccan Argan Oil (most grocery stores)

DevaCurl Light Defining Gel (online)

Step 4: Dry

No towels! For a true WNG experience, air dry. Expect this to take 1-3 hours, depending on your hair length and density, the humidity and temperature. Once fully dry, flip upside down and gently shake hair for added volume. If you can’t or don’t want to have wet hair for that long, scrunch out excess water with paper towels or an old t-shirt. This also does wonders for clumping your curls and adding definition. Attach a larger defuser to your dryer, and start drying your hair in sections. I shake my hair lightly as I go, but too much touching/movement will cause frizz. Once your hair is about 75% dry, flip upside down and dry from the bottom. This will give lovely volume. Dry to about 90% to avoid frizz and air dry the rest of the way. Once completely dry, do the flip and shake described above.

Product Suggestions:

Any of these microfiber towels will also work well in place of the paper towels or t-shirts

Here’s the WNG routine on my 3B/3C hair!