Toulouse: A Young Girl’s Lesson in Curl Care

Toulouse. Ahhhh Toulouse! La Ville Rose! After a 7 hour delay and arriving to a bus strike, it was wonderful to find myself back in Toulouse! It was a total trip to wake up in the home where I lived as a student and eat the family’s typical breakfast of super-super-super strong coffee and baguette with nutella..just as I had seven years ago.

Because of the bus strike, I had to walk to the center of the town on foot, which gave me plenty of time to reflect and remember all of my memories from before. I ended up getting super lost amidst the winding, twisting streets of the city en route to my lunch date, but eventually found my way. I’m seriously not sure how foreigners navigated some of these places before cellphones and even high-gloss color printed maps available everywhere. I spent the afternoon wandering around the city with Cathi, a true Toulouse historian under whom I was an intern studying the history of the urban development as a city. Like the curvy streets of Toulouse, our conversation wound it’s way around discussions of medieval architecture and of course–hair.

Cathi, who is a native Toulousaine, has had three children with an African man. The kids, who are of mixed ethnicity (called “metisse” in French), have super curly hair. Her oldest daughter, Amanda who I remember fondly when she just five years old, is the only girl in the family. We picked Amanda up from school and both of us were excited to see each other! As I asked about her day, she asked me what I was doing for a living and I attempted to explain what exactly it meant to be a natural hair blogger and as I said that I specialize in writing about naturally curly hair, I saw her eyes light up. Cathi had explained that as a white woman with straight hair, she often had no idea what to do with Amanda’s multi-ethnic hair and I knew exactly what had to happen: Amanda was about to get a little lesson in how to care for her own curls! So we set off for Monoprix, the French equivalent of Target and I perused the hair care offerings.

Aside from the usual boxes of relaxers, there wasn’t much to speak to in the ethnic hair section. Then there was the expected L’Oreal array of products and some Frizz-Ease, but I was not exactly impressed by the offerings. I was looking for two things in particular: a gentle cleanser and a leave in. Finally, I found that Garnier offered a Shea Butter line of products that included a leave in conditioner—a winner! So we grabbed that and a wide tooth comb and set off back to the house.

Amanda explained that normally she used a brush on her 3b/3c curls (sometimes even when dry) and I explained to her that while I would show her how to do her hair, it was really important that she learn how to do it herself! So she shampooed in the shower and came out so I could generously apply the Garnier conditioner and detangle. The conditioner had good slip so I was able to get the comb through easily, showing her that it was important to start from the bottom and work her way up to the roots. After she rinsed, I applied the creamy leave-in in sections and topped off her curls with a little bit of gel for formation.

The result was not bad at all and her hair ended up drying with a lot of volume. While the leave in conditioner I was actually impressed with, I really think there needs to be some a curl creme on the French product market, that would both moisturize and elongate the curls. The only options that I saw with that at Monoprix were gels that could potentially be cocktailed with a leave-in as a DIY cream.

After everything was said and done, I had Amanda write down step-by-step her new hair care routine, while Cathi looked on to make sure they both understood. I’ll be checking back in with them, but it was certainly a much needed and much appreciated lesson!

All in all, Toulouse was a wonderful experience and was far too short! I’ll have to make it back there soon enough!

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7 Comments

  1. Yes I do agree that the French market should have more products catering to afro textured hair, but it doesn’t look like that will ever change. The only over the counter product I use and my daughters use who are “métisse” is the Garnier Fructis Pur Balance because it doesn’t have silicones and parabens. It’s even marked on the bottle. Tell your friend. Not to mention it’s cheap in price and I always wish the bottle was bigger when I buy it. It can even be bought in the supermarkets – Carrefour, LeClerc etc. I’m glad you had a nice visit to Toulouse. I may go for a quick visit this summer while I’m vacationing in Carcassone. When are you going back to the US? Have a safe trip back to the States.

  2. I wish Curlmart shipped internationally. Its hard to travel for extended stays when nothing is available for curly hair. Will be spending a few months in Sydney and have to load up on product and pray that my suitcase arrives when I do!

  3. The shopping is much better in England!

  4. I agree that there isn’t much to choose from over here. Which is why I have switched to making my own all natural products (still lots of experimenting though). But I did find a styling lotion by Nivea at Monoprix that I quite liked for doing twist outs, so maybe they can look for that. I think it is called Flexi Curl or something like that and comes in a pink bottle. I found it with the hair gels and mousses.

  5. Love that you are spreading the curly gospel far and wide! How wonderful for Cathi and Amanda to have you come through and show then how to care for Amanda’s hair. Great post!

  6. Pingback: 3 Spots For Natural Hair Products in Paris

  7. Super photos encore une fois!
    j’ai découvert votre blog sur google,et depuis c’est devenu un de mes incontournables. ;)
    <3

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