When I was a teenager and I was first trying to style my curly-wavy hair, there were precious few curl-specific products on the market. I remember going through bottles of neon-bright DEP gel and tubes of an imported French balm-gel called Tenax. (Even then, I oscillated between the high and low ends of the retail spectrum.) Neither option was ideal, but they both offered some control and shine. (Terax was actually excellent. Where did it go?)
Nowadays, the shelves at Duane Reade and Ricky’s and Sephora offer plenty of haircare for curls; the problem is choosing something that’s effective but not too heavy, not too heavily fragranced, or too ridiculously overpriced. See my recent review of Kérastase Oléo-Curl Curl Definition Cream for an example of that last point…
I’ve used a few products from Ouidad before. I like Botanical Boost as a mid-day refresher, and I find that a dab of Climate Control mixed into my usual styling gel or cream helps to combat rainy-weather humidity. The problem is that I’m always changing my “usual” gel or cream, because I can never find one that I love. Ouidad’s Moisture Lock Define & Shine Curl Styling Gel-Cream (that’s its full name!) comes close to fitting the bill.
For one thing, this product is designed for waves and loose curls, which is exactly what I have. Styling products formulated for tightly curled hair often leave me with a flat, twisty mess, since I don’t really have the coarseness and kinks that demand heavy ingredients. In Define & Shine Curl Styling Gel-Cream, according to Ouidad, a “unique botanical and vitamin enriched complex infuses hair with a dose of moisture that plumps the hair shaft, helping it maintain its natural curl pattern, promoting definition.”
Here are the Gel-Cream’s full ingredients, if you’d like to take a peek:
Water, VP/VA Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, PEG/PPG-17/18 Dimethicone, Hydrolyzed Silk, Silybum Marianum Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Retinyl Palmitate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Polyurethane-18, Triethanolamine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Citric Acid, DMDM Hydantoin, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Fragrance (Parfum).
So, how did it work for me? I “scrunched” a quarter-size amount of Curl Styling Gel-Cream into my damp hair and dried it with a diffuser attachment, as I do every day; the results were very good, although not excellent.
This product has a light, fresh scent and a somewhat tacky feeling that disappears once you’ve worked the cream into place .My hair ended up feeling soft and full, although it was (as usual) a bit fluffier than I’d like. In order to add just a little more definition, I’ve been “cocktailing” a drop of Anjolie Ayurveda Lavender Hair Elixir or a dab of Ouidad’s own Climate Control into the Curl Styling Gel-Cream. Lastly, the tube packaging is neat and convenient, and the price isn’t bad considering the large size of the product (6 ounces).
So, bottom line: not my “holy grail” of hair styling products, but a very workable and pleasant option. I still end up customizing it a bit, but I’m used to doing that in order to accommodate my hair’s multiple-personality disorder.
Disclaimer: I purchased this product at Sephora.
Images: product photo by Tinsel Creation; Marianeve by Neve95, via Wikimedia Commons, some rights reserved.