This is Texture Talk, a weekly column that deep dives into the dynamic world of curly hair, from crowns of curls that are free flowing to strands that are tucked away in a protective style.
If you’ve been looking for a sign that it’s time to shake up your curl routine, here it is. For those of us with textured hair, the thought of adding new products to our trusted regimen can be somewhat terrifying. With so many of our favourite products being the result of dedicated trial and error — and so much of curly hair styling being unpredictable — it can be easy to simply stick to what you know. We can also understand that while some products may promise benefits, like curl definition and intensive hydration, a lot of what a formula can do for you comes down to your unique curl pattern. Well, fear not. Below we’ve rounded up some incredible textured haircare brands that are not only Canadian-owned, but also engineered by curly haired women who took their hair issues into their own hands to create lines they’re proud of. We’re sure you’ll love them just as much as we do.
Co-founders Natasha Sheppard and Rowan McAnoy had similar relationships with their hair growing up: The attempt to tame their curls with a combination of chemical relaxers and straightening tools left them with very little knowledge of how to care for their hair in its natural curly state, and even less hair health to begin with. After her big chop (cutting off all her relaxed ends), Natasha started experimenting with ingredients, and conducting research through different blogs and forums before finally launching Curlshoppe to satisfy what she saw as a gap in the market for quality and affordable haircare for curly-haired folks. The line now carries everything from conditioners to beard oils, and Sheppard and McAnoy pride themselves on having products that cater to every curl type. Their Coconut is Everything collection features a mix of both lightweight creams and stylers that are great for type 3 hair, while their Butter’d Up collection was specifically engineered with thicker, kinkier hair in mind. Oh, and it smells like your mom’s favourite baked treats. Win, win, WIN.
Most of us leave university with a degree, some new friends and lifelong memories. If you’re Monique London, founder of London Ivy Natural and Organic Products however, you leave with an intention to disrupt the natural haircare industry for good. With the help of a few friends who happened to be chem majors, she was able to formulate the perfect conditioner and London Ivy was born. What started off as a few oils and conditioners has transformed into a full-fledged business that includes moisture-replenishing sprays, styling bundles and the brand’s best-selling Smooth Operator Luxe Pomade, which is perfect for creating curl definition when doing twist outs and taming flyaways on 4C hair.
Montreal-based hairstylist Nancy Falaise is a real life natural hair superhero. She’s created a petition for beauty school inclusivity in Quebec, she runs haircare workshops for young girls, and she’s a natural hair salon owner. Also in her repertoire? A multi-collection hairline where each product leads with water. “Water is what moisturizes your hair, everything else just helps to seal it,” she explained over Zoom. As a breast cancer survivor, it was also important for her to include a collection targeted towards those dealing with hair loss and whose star ingredient is biotin, which is known for stimulating keratin production in hair to increase follicle growth.
Simply Go Natural
Founded by Halifax native Joyce Adom, Simply Go Natural Cosmetics are all handmade by Joyce herself. Hero ingredients include shea butter (geared towards kinkier hair) and coconut oil for all hair textures, even relaxed hair. Joyce used some of her coconut oil-based products while she was going through the process of transitioning from chemically relaxed hair to natural hair and can personally attest to how much easier they make the frustrating process. The line also features a collection specifically formulated for those who have skin sensitivities. It includes an unscented conditioner, shampoo and a moisturizing butter that’s so gentle it can be used in your hair and on your skin. Hooray for multi-tasking.
Like most mothers Erika Gutt, founder of Kalahni’s Treasures, wanted what was best for her children. But when she found that the hair products being offered on the market did not fit that mould, she decided to create her own. Best-sellers of of her line include the Butter Me Up, Butter Cup Whipped Butter made with shea and cocoa butters and sweet almond oil. Another product that refuses to stay on shelves is Erika’s personal favourite, the Curls Crush Hydrating Cream, which works great on curl types 3A to 4C. The intensive hydrating cream works its magic by using aloe vera to help draw in moisture to the hair, as well as castor and essential oils to help seal it in.
Graced by Nature
After being involved in a car accident that forced Roxanne Morgan to be mostly homebound, she decided to dedicate more time to increasing her hair health, which led to the creation of Graced by Nature. Though the line was created with type 4 curls and coils in mind, there are products in the line for every curl. For example, the popular Peppermint and Coconut Milk Scalp Renewing Shampoo is available in two different formulas: one for type 4 hair that’s made with heavier oils to properly moisturize kinkier textures and one without as to not weigh down looser waves and curls. Roxanne’s personal favourite? The Vanilla Cream Moisture Replenishing Leave-In Conditioner. It provides long lasting moisture and is perfect for people on the go who want to keep their hair moisturized without worrying about product build-up.
Determined to have a haircare line that was based and grounded in science, naturopathic doctor Susan Walker did ample research before launching EarthTones Naturals. It all started out with a single product: the Curl Define Curl Enhancing Gelly, which to this day is still her best-selling product and does wonders to define type 4 hair. Today, EarthTones Naturals is a full haircare line and being backed by science means often going against the grain and rejecting what is widely accepted in the natural hair community. Case in point: Glycerin being one of the main ingredients in all of her products despite its negative rep among natural gals. Why? Dr. Walker says “it attracts moisture like no other ingredient on the market, and the products speak for themselves.”