I’ve been getting an increasing amount of questions about DevaCurl. What my thoughts, experience and advice is for people who have been affected by issues allegedly surrounding DevaCurl products. I know there are many of you who are going through lots of emotions, confusion and panic at the moment. I really want this post to focus on solutions to the issues of concern, rather than fan the flames of panic.
The curl community is being rocked right now by what’s going on, everyone’s talking about it. I want use my knowledge and platform to try to help find a solution to fix the issues people are experiencing. What products to use, and how to prevent something like this happening again. I’ve put everything in this blog post, so you can refer back to it, comment on and share it, should you wish to. But most of all, I hope it helps. It’s a long one though, so grab a cuppa!
It’s only by everyone coming out publicly, talking about it and most importantly, showing what their hair looks like. That everyone can identify and trouble shoot. To find out just what is going on, and how big and wide spread the problem really is. And that goes for influencers too. Especially those associated with, who use and/or promote DevaCurl products.
Being a Responsible Influencer
Over the past five days since Spisha’s video, more and more influencers and popular DevaCurl users have been coming out and sharing their experiences – which I commend and applaud. Every person that shares their story and experience, inspires someone else to share their’s. Just look at what’s happening in this Facebook group that everyone’s talking about. I think what was so shocking for everyone watching Ayesha’s video, was seeing her hair! She was one of the most recognizable faces, and curls! And most vocal supporter of the DevaCurl brand.
Coming up against a huge giant in the curl community, in any community, is scary! The thought of being sued by a multi-million dollar company is huge. Even more so if you’ve received free product, been paid to promote their products, have gone on brand trips, or are contractually bound to that company. 100% honesty and transparency is required at all times, for the good hair days, and the bad. The more people who speak out and come forward about the issues they are experiencing with their hair, the more power there is to do something about it.
What’s wrong with DevaCurl?
DevaCurl products are allegedly causing severe hair damage, hair loss, hair thinning, scalp irritation and relaxing people’s natural curl pattern. There are thousands of DevaCurl customers experiencing the same issues, which seem to have started in 2018. I’m not a scientist or a product formulator, so I can’t say which ingredient/s are allegedly causing these problems. What’s happening or why. Or if this is specific to DevaCurl (which so far, it appears to be), or if this could happen with any other brand.
But what I can tell you is this: I don’t think any brand has truly understood and mastered the protein moisture balance within their formulations, and line of products. Nor have they truly understood the importance of clarifying curly hair. This is the golden triangle of hair care that no one brand is fulfilling within their line of products: regular clarifying, with a balance of protein and moisture.
So many issues are simply down to not clarifying hair properly, regularly, or sometimes ever! I can name one, maybe two brands in the curl community who have a decent clarifying shampoo in their product line up: Bounce Curl and MopTop. Clarifying curly hair on a regular basis is essential to a healthy scalp and roots. See this post for more info. You need a balance of protein and moisture, with regular deep cleaning and deep conditioning for healthy, defined, hydrated, frizz-free curly hair and hair growth.
Why Brands Need Balance
Some brands have entire lines and ranges of products that are completely protein-free and focus entirely on moisture. Often containing heavy moisturizing agents, oils and butters. If you only use that brand of products, it will lead, at some point, to over-moisturized hair, and eventually hygral fatigue. Hair will become frizzy, weighed down and lose it’s curl definition. The natural curl pattern will stretch out, appearing “relaxed”, and the hair will feel mushy, like cotton candy. Other brands have lots of protein in them. Which often come with formulas that contain lots of oils, to try and counter-act the drying effects of so much protein. Again, if you only use that brand of products, it can lead to brittle hair with lots of breakage. Dry, straw-like frizz, curls will lose definition and the natural curl pattern will stretch out and appear relaxed. Ultimately, protein overload.
The oils, butters and heavy moisturizing agents, especially if they are cheap and poor quality. Can cause a bizarre variety of issues that appear to be both over-moisturized, and protein overload. This is due to the oils, butters and moisturizing agents weighing down the hair. Suffocating and either over-moisturizing, or dehydrating it. And if/because the hair isn’t being cleansed/clarified properly, these oils etc. create a film-like barrier on the hair. Preventing moisture getting into the curl, and hydrating the hair. Which is why it’s constantly frizzy, no matter how much deep conditioning you do. But deep conditioning isn’t the solution. You need to deeply cleanse, detox and clarify the hair to get those heavy oils, butters and moisturizing agents off the hair. So it can breathe and absorb water to hydrate itself! Read this post for more information on clarifying.
My Experience with DevaCurl Products
I started my curly journey in May 2017. The first conditioner I purchased was DevaCurl Original One Condition. I was underwhelmed, didn’t experience any issues or side effects, and didn’t repurchase. At that time, I also purchased Wave Maker and Styling Cream. I got amazing results on my daughter’s hair using the Styling Cream, and have continued to use it on her hair for almost 3 years. Since then, her curl pattern has completely changed from tight 3b-c ringlets, to barely a 2a-b wave!
I’d noticed that her curl pattern was changing. But thought it’s just her hair changing as she gets older, and maybe her curls would come back when she’s older. It wasn’t until I started writing this post, and speaking to a friend about it, when she said, “Don’t you always use DevaCurl on her hair? Haven’t you been saying for a while now that she’s losing her curls?” Then it hit me.
In July 2018, DevaCurl sent me a selection of their products. After the first wash, I experienced an itchy scalp. I also noticed I was losing more hair than usual on wash days. This carried on for about 3-4 washes, then I stopped using the products. I felt sure they were causing the itchy, irritated scalp. The hair loss was alarming. But at the time, I put it down to stress and figured DevaCurl just didn’t work for me. I’ve tried various different DevaCurl products since then, and noticed the itchy scalp immediately. But I haven’t used it consistently, or for more than one wash day at a time since then, to notice any hair loss again – thank goodness!
My Relationship with DevaCurl
When DevaCurl sent me a range of products to try in 2018, it was with the view of creating content on the blog, should I like the products. That post/content never happened. I continued to be on the DevaCurl PR list. However, I didn’t share any of the products, launches or run any giveaways. Because I wasn’t a fan of the products being sent/launched at that time. And therefore wasn’t happy to promote, or recommend them to my followers.
Towards the end of 2019, I asked to speak with someone from head office regarding the issues and growing concern around their products. I received the same statement that everyone else has been seeing and receiving. Which for me, considering the size of the brand and the seriousness of the issue, doesn’t cut it. DevaCurl need to acknowledge and address the issue openly, and fully transparently. Not give vague statements that could come from any company, about any product. You can read their latest statement here.
The Think Dirty App
Regarding the Think Dirty app, I think it’s a good, informative app to be used as a guide. As consumers and residents of this planet, we should all make a conscious effort to be more mindful of the ingredients and products we use, put in and on our body, and end up in our environment. The Think Dirty app, Is It CG? and Curlsbot websites are all there as guides. Not hard and fast rules to be abided by at all other costs. Eg: that cost being the health of your hair.
We still need to use our own judgement, intelligence and intuition. Just because something is organic or clean, or curly girl friendly, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for your hair. All these apps are a great starting point, to give you confidence in purchasing products. But after that, it’s up to you to discern if that product – no matter how clean, organic or curly girl friendly it may be – is working for your hair.
How to tell if a product is working for your hair
Ultimately, the best way to gauge if a product is working for your hair, is not through some app. It’s by looking in the mirror. Look at the your hair, what is it telling you? What does it feel like? Take regular pictures of your hair, from various angles. Not only on wash days, but on the days in between, the good days, and the bad days. Keep a note of what products you used and when, and link it up with the dates on your pictures. For everyone that’s experiencing hair damage, hair thinning and hair loss, loss of curl definition and/or relaxed pattern. The steady decline and damage in the pictures, from thousands of people at this stage, is evident and clear to see. It also makes it easier to pin point when the damage started, and therefore what may be causing it.
What to do if you are experiencing any of these issues?
First of all, whatever products you’re using, stop using them immediately! I’ve seen some crazy advice online, saying dimethicone is water-soluble (it isn’t), and the only way to fix the damage is to use products containing silicones and polyquats (it’s not). Please don’t do that! I’m going to link various products below, that I recommend, and regularly use myself, and have been for quite some time.
Disclaimer: They are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission on any purchase you make through my links, or using my discount codes. But I am not trying to profit off of this situation. The links are to US sites, and most products are available on my Amazon Shop. However, I’ll provide links to all products mentioned and available in the UK/EU/ rest of the world at the end of each step. Most of them are available on my Amazon UK Shop.
Step 1: Deeply Cleanse
My advice is to thoroughly and deeply cleanse your hair to get rid of any build up, and whatever gunk and/or chemicals are on the hair. This will also remove a build up of oils, butters and moisturizing agents from the hair. Which can cause frizz and a “relaxed” or loosened curl pattern over time. To do this, I recommend Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo. It contains sulfates and a chelating ingredient, and therefore isn’t curly girl friendly, but it’s necessary. You may need to do this for more than one wash day. If your hair is really bad, use it for 2-3 consecutive wash days, then gradually reduce it to once a week. Then every 2 weeks, and then once every 4-6 weeks going forward.
On the washes in between, I recommend using Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo. It’s gentle enough for regular use, and on colour-treated hair. Use code CURLMAVEN for 10% off. Use Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo for deep cleanses, and Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo for gentle cleanses in between. Not only will these products cleanse the hair, but by removing all the gunk and build up. It also allows your hair to be able to absorb the moisture, hydration and protein it needs. In order to be healthy, grow and curl properly again.
UK/EU shop here by clicking on the product names: Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo – use code CURLMAVEN for 20% off. Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo is available at The Clean Beauty Edit – use code CURLMAVEN for 10% off.
Step 2: Deep Condition
Regularly deep condition after each deep cleansing, clarifying wash detailed above. Using good quality products, containing good quality ingredients. Read this post on protein moisture balance, which also has a corresponding YouTube video. But here’s the condensed version: If your hair feels very soft, too soft. If you have a lot of wet frizz, even after conditioning. You have frizzy hair when it’s dry, but the frizz feels smooth. Or if your curls are dropping and losing definition – use a deep conditioner that contains protein. I recommend Hairfinity Strengthening Amino Masque, Aphogee Two Step Protein Treatment – not CG friendly, Curl Junkie Repair Me, or my modified rice water rinse.
If your hair appears dull, feels rough, brittle, dry with straw-like, angry-looking frizz and it’s breaking – use a deep conditioner that focuses more on moisture. Protein can still be on the ingredients list, but further down near the bottom – which means there’s smaller quantities of it. I recommend Innersense Hydrating Hair Masque and Phyto Joba Moisturizing Mask, which both contain small amounts of protein. Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment or Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Conditioning Balm aka GVP Conditioning Balm are both protein-free.
Leave your deep conditioner on for at least 20 minutes, and no more than an hour. Using a thermal heat cap can help maximize the benefits of these deep conditioners. Depending on how damaged your hair is, and how soon you’ve caught the symptoms. You may need to do this consistently for a few weeks, or even a few months, before you see positive results. Giving you healthy hair and restoring your natural curl pattern. This damage didn’t occur over night, or in one wash day. It’s not going to be fixed over night, or in one wash day either.
When you’re not deep conditioning, you can use the same deep conditioner. Just don’t use as much, leave it on for as long, or use heat. If you’d prefer a regular conditioner instead, I recommend Innersense Hydrating Cream Conditioner, Hairfinity Balanced Moisture Conditioner, AG Hair Natural Boost Conditioner, MopTop Daily Conditioner. Or Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Conditioning Balm aka GVP Conditioning Balm, which is a conditioner that can double up as a DC.
UK/EU shop here by clicking on the product names: Hairfinity Strengthening Amino Masque and Balanced Moisture Conditioner, use code CURLMAVEN for 20% off. Aphogee Two Step Protein Treatment. Curl Junkie, MopTop and AG Hair aren’t available outside the USA. Innersense Hydrating Hair Masque and Hydrating Cream Conditioner – use code CURLMAVEN for 10% off. Phyto Joba Moisturizing Mask – use code CURLMAVEN for 20% off. Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment available from Naturalistic Products. Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Conditioner – currently 25% off on Look Fantastic, I get the 1000ml tub.
Step 3: Style
Be mindful of what styling products you use. Try to maintain a good protein moisture balance throughout your product line up, and the order you use them. See this post for more details on how to do that. Keep it simple, I prefer, and always get the best results when I follow The LMG Method, linked here. But the focus is going to be on cleansing and conditioning your hair – that’s where the health and growth comes from. Avoid excess heat and heat styling tools. I know the temptation is to straighten your hair, but you’re only creating more problems for yourself in the long run.
Step 4: Re-Grow
Hair loss and thinning can be down to a variety of reasons, but my advice is still the same. In addition to step 1 and 2 listed above, regular rice water rinses will help with hair growth, along with hair vitamins. I’ve been taking hair growth supplements for almost a year, and seen several inches of growth. If that’s something you’re considering, you can get 10% off Hair369 or Bounce Curl Hair Vitamins using my code CURLMAVEN.
Many people recommend daily/regular scalp massages and using oils for hair growth. Scalp massages will definitely stimulate the scalp and hair follicle, even without the use of oils, and just using your natural sebum and oils. But unless you’re clarifying your hair regularly, you won’t see much hair growth. If using oils is something you want to try, I’d only recommend the Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black Castor Oil. UK/EU click here. It’s the only one I’ve tried that’s light enough not to cause any issues. You only need the smallest amount: 2-3 drops max!
Being Curly Girl Friendly Isn’t Enough
So how do you tell if a product is good? Being curly girl friendly isn’t enough, price isn’t always the best indicator of quality. Apps can’t indicate what will work for your hair, neither can influencers. I’ve recommended some brands and products I use throughout this post. But ultimately, you have to do the work. You need to take the time, do your research. But most of all, try the products out and see if they work for your hair. Use the tips and signs I’ve mentioned to see what’s working, what isn’t and what may need to be tweaked. Be patient, it’s going to take time for your hair to recover from damage and loss, whatever the cause.
Should you cut your hair and start again?
I can’t answer that for you. But if it were me, I would do as much as I can with good products and techniques, following the steps I’ve outlined above. I would do that consistently for 2-3 months. If at that point, I still don’t see an improvement in the health of my hair, and the restoration of my curl pattern. Then I would go to a hair stylist and get my hair cut. As short as necessary to regain hair health and curl pattern. Then I’d continue everything I’ve outlined above, to promote maximum hair health and growth, and prevent anything like that happening again.
I really hope this post has been helpful. I’ve tried to cover all the questions and concerns I’ve been getting from people over the last few days, weeks and months. Although I haven’t worked with DevaCurl in the past, or featured their products much on my blog or social media platforms. I do not recommending using DevaCurl. And I will be removing any mention of their products, or affiliate links from this blog. This will take a few days, so please be patient with me if you see something DevaCurl-related in any of the previous posts I’ve written.
I will be going LIVE on Instagram tomorrow evening at 9pm GMT (Thursday 6th February 2020). So, if after reading this post, you have any questions or concerns. Or want to have a chat about anything mentioned in the post, please come and join me on the live. You can find me @curlycailin.ie. Otherwise, please feel free to comment on this blog post with any questions, concerns or issues you have, and I’ll do my best to help. Gabriella x
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