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Styling Products 101: Curl Boosters

Woman with long black shiny hair

Curl Boosting or Curl Defining Styling Products

What they do:

  • They make curls bouncy and frizz-free and add definition.

Why you need a curl booster:

  • Polished ringlets don’t come naturally—coarse, textured hair can be unruly and need a little extra help to look picture-perfect

How to use curl booster products:

  • Apply to towel-dried hair. Scrunch-style with a diffuser or let hair air-dry, gently pushing it into place and twisting sections around your finger. The less you touch curly hair, the better!

Jar of Philip Kingsley Curl ActivatorWhether you’re a natural curl girl or like to go ringlet-y now and then, Curl Activator from Philip Kingsley
offers medium hold, separation and smoothness.

Bottle of L'anza Healing Style Curl Define

L’anza Healing Style Curl Define Controlis a lightweight cream that promotes polish and curl definition. Plus, it has the exclusive Keratin Healing System to help repair damaged hair.

Bottle of Curl Conscious Holding Foam from Bumble and bumble

Have your curls gone wild? Add a quarter-size dollop of Curl Conscious Holding Foam from Bumble and bumble to dampen hair for long-lasting structure and hold.

Bottle of Arrojo Curl Creme Curl Booster

Make the most of your ringlets with Arrojo Curl Creme, which adds plenty of separation and control. Plus, it’s moisture-rich, which helps prevent frizz and get hair ultra-bouncy and full.

Bottle of DevaCurl's No-Poo CleanserDevaCurl No-Poo Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser Hair Shampoos are designed with curly-haired women in mind: the non-lathering, moisture-rich formula results in gorgeously healthy, frizz-free texture.



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Keratin Hair Treatment vs. OSHA

Curly hair before straightening and straightened hair after side by side

Formaldehyde, OSHA and Hair Straightening Products – What’s up?

In September of this year the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its second hazard alert to hair salon owners and employees about possible formaldehyde exposure when working with some hair straightening and smoothing products.

Hairdressing salon owners who choose to use hair straightening and smoothing products that contain or release formaldehyde are now required by OSHA to perform air quality tests while using these products. If formaldehyde is found to be present at higher levels than OSHA’s limits during any 15-minute period, then the salon owner is required to jump through quite a few hoops in order to keep workers and clients safe. Salon owners must follow OSHA’s formaldehyde standard if they are to use, manufacture, import or distribute the products.

Formaldehyde is a cancer hazard at certain levels. It can also cause allergic reactions or irritation to the lungs, eyes and the skin.  Beauty salon owners and employees need to be properly trained when using hair straightening and smoothing products. The level of formaldehyde exposure in any given salon is determined by a number of factors such as salon size and ventilation, along with treatment applications, blow-dry and flat iron times. Suitable ventilation and observance to proper procedure will result in lower levels of gas being released into the air.

OSHA issues citations against hair salons, manufacturers and distributors

In September 2011, OSHA issued citations to two Florida manufacturers and distributors for failing to protect their own employees to possible formaldehyde exposure as well as the failure to communicate the hazards of formaldehyde to salon owners, hair stylists and the public consumers. They have also issued 23 citations with fines up to $17,500. to salon owners and beauty schools in Massachusetts, Connecticut,, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Ohio, for failing to protect their workers from overexposure and potential exposure to formaldehyde.

OSHA is requiring that if salons are going to use these products, they must be aware to use protective measures such as air monitoring and training. Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA says, “What is very troubling to the agency is that some of these products clearly expose workers to formaldehyde even when the label states they are ‘formaldehyde free.’”

“The best way to control exposure to formaldehyde is to use products that do not contain formaldehyde. Salons should check the label or product information to make sure it does not list formaldehyde, formalin, methylene glycol or any of the other names for formaldehyde,” said Michaels. “If salon owners decide to use products that contain or release formaldehyde, then they must follow a number of protective practices — including air monitoring, worker training and, if levels are over OSHA limits, good ventilation or respirators.”

The industry fights back

Keratin Complex has announced plans to dispute OSHA’s allegations that their products do not comply with OSHA’s safety standards. Larry Solomon, president of Keratin Complex says, “We disagree with OSHA’s inflammatory and inaccurate report and we are asking for a full retraction.” Keratin Complex not only complies with all OSHA standards but we meet or exceed their safety standards and requirements.”

Now the folks behind Keratin Complex and other Professional Keratin Smoothing Council (PKSC) members are lobbying for OSHA to adopt newer, more accurate testing methods in addition to carrying out accurate air quality tests in salons. Their claim is that OSHA used an older technology method that chemically changes the composition of the product.



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Seborrheic Dermatitis: Are Hair Dyes Safe?

Woman examining her scalp in mirror for seborrheic dermatitis

Hair Dyeing Not Safe When Seborrheic Dermatitis is Suspected

Nic asks:

Hair dyeing is not new to me. I’m a 23-year-old Caucasian female. I have long hair at the moment it’s a warm blonde colour due to foils for the last 3 years. My natural hair colour is medium brown.

I have seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp, with no rash or broken skin, just itching and hair fall. Not sure what caused it, but I think it may have been oil build up in my attempt to wash my hair less frequently, it worked against me . . . sad!

I feel that any additional peroxide in my hair may contribute to the condition, or worsen it. I want to bite the bullet and just dye all of my hair back to brown and then leave my hair alone for a long time so that my scalp can recover, as I feel it has thinned and has a lot of breakage.

Will it be safe to dye it? Demi-permanent or permanent hair colour?


Barb Responds

You’re on the right track asking questions, as you could considerably worsen your problem by having any chemical service done to your hair.  Any licensed professional will tell you not to use hair dye as long as long as any scalp condition is present.  Was it your primary doctor who diagnosed seborrheic dermatitis?  Most likely, he will advise you the same, or he may suggest a dermatologist to consult.

What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis (aka: eczema or cradle cap) is a condition doctors still don’t have a definitive. They do know it’s not a contagious disease and that (this will make you feel better about shampooing less often) it’s not a sign of poor hygiene. The Mayo Clinic reports that although causes are not yet known, they may include symptoms as normal as stress, fatigue or even a change of season (of which winter tends to be the most common time of year for the onset of this condition.)

Shampoos for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Dandruff shampoos and other medicated shampoos containing ingredients like, coal-tar and zinc can be very effective. There are a number of over-the-counter products as well as prescription strength products (shampoos and lotions) that can be used, but your doctor should be the one to prescribe the right product for you. Different skin types and conditions respond differently and you could possibly make matters worse by using a wrong product.  Call your doctor for a prescription or over-the-counter recommendation. Seeing that he already diagnosed your condition, you shouldn’t need another appointment for the recommendation.

Be sure to use the shampoo as directed, leaving it on for the full recommended time. If it doesn’t seem to have positive effects shortly, get on the phone with your doctor again and have him prescribe another type of shampoo. Also be mindful to avoid scratching your scalp which could break the skin and cause an infection.



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