After 29 years of searching, I finally found a hair-care brand that understands my curls
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- Briogeo is a range of clean, safe hair-care products formulated for all hair types - but it's seen particular success in the curly hair space.
- Founder Nancy Twine created the line when she noticed a gap in the market for women with natural textured curls.
- The line is free of sulfates, silicones, and parabens and features natural ingredients like rice aminos, avocado oil, shea butter, and a signature tomato fruit ferment to support healthy curls.
They say you always want what you can't have, and that's especially true when it comes to hair.
Those of us with curls and coils usually long for stick-straight strands, so much so that we spend a ridiculous amount of time and money on professional blowouts, at-home straightening tools, and products that promise a "smooth finish" in an attempt to tame our natural texture. Sound familiar?
As someone with curly hair, I've always harbored a not-so-secret wish for hair that's just slightly more manageable. But my impatient personality renders regular blowouts and straightening sessions out of the question. Most days, I scrunch in a curl cream and let my hair air dry on its own. This usually leaves me with blah waves and at least a little bit of frizz… which I always assumed was my natural texture.
But when I started using Briogeo, a clean hair-care line that formulates products without sulfates, silicones or parabens, all of that changed. Treated with the right products - namely, Briogeo's Curl Charisma and Don't Despair, Repair! ranges - my curls transformed into the soft, bouncy, voluminous hair of my dreams.
Even though Briogeo makes products for all hair types, their curl-focused shampoos, conditioners, and stylers are what the brand is best known for - especially in the natural hair community, where there's a dearth of effective products.
Brand founder Nancy Twine noticed this gap in the market at a young age, and began DIY-ing her own hair care at home with her mother.
"When I was younger, it was nearly impossible for me to find the right products to tame my curls, which is why my mom and I would concoct our own hair treatments using natural oils, extracts, and butters we'd source from our local health food store," Twine tells Business Insider. Her homemade hair care was merely a hobby; one that she left behind when she moved from West Virginia to New York City to pursue a career in finance. But as Twine became reliant on store-bought products to care for her curls, she realized that the curly community was seriously underserved.
"After working in finance for seven years, it felt right to be ready for a change," she says of switching careers and launching Briogeo. "The plethora of textured hair-care options didn't exist [then], so I had no choice but to create products that spoke to my specific needs." It's not just Twine's specific needs that are met by Briogeo, though; her formulations speak to all women with curly and coily hair. Myself included.
Pre-Briogeo, I didn't pay much attention to the hair-care products I used - I would grab something at CVS whenever I was running low, and as long as the words "curly hair" were emblazoned somewhere on the bottle, I thought I was choosing well. In actuality, many of the products in my collection were filled with ingredients Twine sees as no-nos: silicones, sulfates, and parabens. These ingredients can be damaging for any hair type, but curly hair - which is typically drier and more porous than most - is particularly at risk.
"I am anti-silicones," Twine states.
Silicones are commonly used in conditioners, since they cover hair in a plastic-like coating that gives the appearance of soft, smooth strands. But silicones are somewhat controversial, since they don't actually affect the health of your hair - they just make it look healthy. Underneath the silicone shine, hair is often damaged and dry. "Silicones can also make curls feel lackluster, and don't do anything to nourish the hair - they're essentially a Band-Aid," Twine says. "I think the curl community has resonated with the fact that Briogeo is a completely silicone-free line."
Twine avoids sulfates for similar reasons.
This ingredient is typically seen in shampoos for its ability to deep-clean strands and strip away excess oil and buildup; but it's been shown that sulfates can actually strip away too much, which damages hair in the long run. And since waves and curls - especially textured curls - are already dry and more prone to damage, sulfates disproportionately affect the health of curly hair.
Parabens are preservatives used to extend the shelf life of skin-care and hair-care products, but they're also known endocrine disruptors, meaning they mess with the body's hormonal functions. This substance is easily absorbed through the skin (and that includes the scalp), so it was important to Twine to create a safe line of hair care free from parabens. "Our products actually do what they say they do, without exposing the skin and hair to potentially harmful ingredients," Twine says.
Briogeo is so much more than what's not in the bottle, though; the brand's reputation for providing effective products stands on what is inside.
"We use rice amino acids to help keep frizz at bay," says Twine. "Rice amino acids help to seal the hair cuticle to lock out environmental moisture (aka, humidity) that can cause curls to frizz." The line also relies on natural moisturizers, like avocado oil and shea butter, to keep curls soft, hydrated, and shiny. But what really sets Briogeo apart in the curly space is its "unique tomato fruit ferment ingredient," the founder tells us. "It helps to add definition to curls, boosting curl pattern and vibrancy."
If you're new to the brad, Twine recommends starting with the best-selling Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask.
This one isn't just for curly girls, either; it works on all types and textures to visibly repair damage and enhance the healthiness of hair. The founder calls it "a must-have hair-care staple" (and I must I say, I agree).
Those with waves or curls will do well with Briogeo's Curl Charisma Shampoo and Conditioner - this is what I've been using on my wash days, and my hair has never been happier. "For coily and textured types, I recommend our new Curl Charisma Coil Custard," Twine shares. "It's a rich, creamy styler that really makes coils super defined and hydrated."
More than anyone else, though, I recommend Briogeo for the naturally curly among us who are still fighting their natural texture. Trust me, I know it seems easier to straighten your curls into oblivion in hopes of a good hair day - but maybe that's only because you haven't seen how soft and bouncy your curls can truly be.
With the right products in hand (and on your head), you just might find you love your natural hair. Hey, it happened to me.
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