Monday, February 18, 2013

Top 5 Curly Hair Care and Styling Books to Put on Your Spring and Summer Reading Lists

I love reading! And I don't just mean that I pick up a book from time to time. I mean that my Kindle is overflowing, and I keep a running list of things I want to read.  Admittedly, my pace of getting through books has slowed since I've been in grad school, as those books take up a lot of time.

But when those books aren't taking up my time, I read everything from A Song of Ice and Fire (the books that the HBO series Game of Thrones is based on) to books on hair and beauty.

When I first started browsing for hair books, I was shocked at the selection.  As of this blog post, has 28,000 results for "hair books." Crazy huh?

I've read dozens of them.  I wasn't kidding, I love my reading material.  Without further ado, I present my Top 5 books on hair care and styling that I would recommend to any of my best friends without hesitation.

1) Curly Girl: The Handbook

This is the curly girl book that in large part began the no sulfate/silicone craze that has changed so many curly lives.  In this book, Lorraine Massey, a curly hair stylist, explains why you should stop treating your sweaters better than your treat your hair.  She explains that most shampoos contain a harsh ingredient called sodium lauryl sulfate, the same stuff you find in your dish detergent.  She asks you, why are you using gentle detergents on your favorite cardigan, but using the harshest stripping agent on your own scalp and hair?

This book has everything from general advice on caring for curly hair, a breakdown of the different types of curly hair, and even tips on how to trim your own hair!  It's the best starting point for curlies who are trying to love their curls for the first time.

2) Better than Good Hair: The Curly Girl Guide to Health Gorgeous Natural Hair

This book was written by Nikki Walton, a natural hair blogger.  While some of the book is written with African American hair in mind (specifically, transitioning from relaxed to natural hair), the advice works for women of all hair types.

This book reads sort of like a supportive hug from someone who knows what it's like to hate your hair. This book has advice for caring for children's hair, especially when you aren't a curly yourself but your child is. This book is also funny. It will make you feel like you're sitting around sipping coffee with a friend who understands what you're feeling about your hair.  A great coffeshop read for sure!

3) Coils and Curls: The Hair Product Handbook

Are you confused about what ingredients you should look for and stay away from in your products? Do you feel like every time you pick up a new product it's a complete guessing game about whether it will work for you?

This is your must read book. The author is a member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, so she knows her stuff.  This is chemistry and science brought to you in an easy to understand and well-organized form. For $5 on Kindle, you can read about everything from what kinds of cleansing you need to do if you are a curly swimmer to what ingredients make products effective at different price points.

4) Hair Care Rehab: The Ultimate Hair Repair and Conditioning Manual

This is like a hair encyclopedia.  The author also wrote another fantastic book called The Science of Black Hair, but since this book applies to a wider audience, I'm recommending it in this list.

This book discusses the basics of hair care and hair science, offers a "detox" program to get your hair into healthier shape, and presents tips for dealing with many common hair and scalp problems, from eczema (that's me!) to dandruff to frizz to grease to heat damage and on and on and on!  The advice is sound and the information applies to such a wide range of problems with hair and scalps. I read it from cover to cover even though some things don't apply to me (I've never had a chemical burn, for instance, but I still read that chapter). The information is easy to understand whether you're a beginner or a seasoned hair care pro. It's also full of gorgeous black and white photos that make it's presentation just as good as the information.

5) Strictly Curls: A Step by Step Guide to Styling Curly Hair

This book is all about curly hair styling.  Most of the styles are up-do's geared specifically toward curly hair.  Each style has a rated difficulty level, so even people like me who aren't good at styling hair can find something to try. Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it.  The instructions are easy to follow and the pictures are very helpful.

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