Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I'm ready to embrace my wavy hair for good, but I need the right product. Do you have any recommendations for both product and technique?
Dear Claire: Based on my successful (but stumbling) journey to embrace my super curly hair, I think that - eventually - you're going to love your decision. But it will take patience and trial and error to get the right combo of hair products and technique. My hair is beyond wavy, so I asked some wavy friends to recommend their favorite products. Keep in mind that there are a lot of variables - including the humidity index where you live (really).
Deb S. says, "I like the DevaCurl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam (devacurl.com, $26). It keeps curls defined, adds volume and is not crunchy and does not weigh down the hair. DevaCurl also has a light hold gel called The Curl Maker spray gel ($22) that is good and not crunchy. I also like the Aveda Be Curly Style-Prep (aveda.com, $26).
Joan W. says, "I use Suave Professionals Mousse Captivating Curls (drugstores; walmart, $2.94) on freshly washed and conditioned hair, then top that with Garnier Fructis Curl Shape Spray Gel, Strong Hold (drugstores $4.29). Then scrunch like crazy, clip in place as wanted and let it air dry. Once it's dry, yes it is crunchy, but I scrunch a bunch to break up the crunch. Lower levels of hold probably would be less crunchy. Then squirt on DevaCurl Set It Free finishing spray ($22) on successive days to revive the curls as needed and scrunch some more."
The bible on curly hair is Lorraine Massey's "Curly Girl: The Handbook" (bookstores; amazon.com, $10.20). A few other tips: Never brush your hair. Finger comb or use a wide-tooth comb. The less you disturb those waves the better. Lorraine says never wash your hair with products that contain sulfates or silicones. Read more at her website, curlyworld.com.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Where can I find tank tops that cover my bra straps? By the way, thanks for your helpful recent tips on concealing bra straps when wearing a racerback top. But, you didn't mention the most obvious solution for a work/professional situation: a lightweight cardigan.
Dear Ann: Many catalogues, online stores and retail shops have caught on to the notion that modest tank tops are a basic wardrobe staple for summer. In the "product details" for its classic crew neck tank, Lands' End (cq) (landsend.com) says, "Cut to keep your bra straps under wraps." You'll find other options at L.L.Bean (llbean.com), Talbots (talbots.com), Duluth Trading Co. (duluthtrading.com), The Vermont Country Store (vermontcountrystore.com), Target (target.com), Macy's (macys.com) and Kohl's (kohls.com). Many of these sites are having sales now, so it's a good time to stock up.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I'm tired of filling up virtual grocery baskets at online store sites and then never being able to get a pickup or delivery time. Have you figured out any good places to get items reliably?