* Prices may differ from that shown
Before you say anything no, I'm not a man and yes, this is a product designed for men. But if you have unruly, frizzy curls like me you'll understand the neverending quest to find the perfect product that not only tames them and keeps them under control but also defines them so they don't end up looking like one big frizzy mass. So a few weeks ago when I was putting an order together on one of my favourite websites (cheapsmells.com) and I saw this In Check Curl Defining Cream by Tigi I decided it was worth a shot, despite being part of their mens hair care range.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
As I said, I got my defining cream from the cheapsmells website for the bargain price of £3.29 for a 150ml tube which was a fab deal considering the RRP is around £8.99, and as I was also getting free delivery it was a bit of a no brainer. I've also seen it for sale on Amazon and it's obviously available in salons using Tigi products and some department stores, although I've never actually looked for it in actual physical shops as I've since re-stocked but again bought from cheapsmells because of the great price they're selling it for.
Having suffered a life-long battle with my curls I have paid more than the RRP for this on other products (a particularly successful Vidal Sassoon cream springs to mind but which they soon stopped making after I discovered it, typical!) but that was in those hazy days of pre-mortgage redhead when disposable income was much greater. Since the house came along I've been a lot more economical with purcahses such as this and so £3.29 is much more appropriate for my purse strings now. Having said that, I do really like this cream and find it works really well, but whether I could justify nearly £10 just to make my hair nice is another matter.
The curl defining cream comes in a black tube which stands on it's flip top lid and has contrasting white writing on it. I don't especially like the packaging, but obviously it's designed with males in mind so it's not meant to appeal to me. Looking at it actually reminds me of Lush packaging and, whilst there's nothing especially offensive about it, nor is itparticularly eyecatching. I certainly don't think it would stand out on a shelf full of other male grooming products as they all tend to be of similar dark colours.
I like the design of the tube as it has a flip top lid which makes it much easier to handle when you've squeezed some of the cream into your hand. You simply flip the lid closed again rather than having to worry about screwing it shut with hands covered in product. It also feels of good quality, robust and sturdy rather than thin and flimsy like some squeezy tubes can feel.
As far as the information provided goes it's pretty much standard and what you'd expect with the brand and product name on the front (in both English and French) and on the back directions for use, a list of ingredients and contact details for the manufacturer.
I use this cream after washing my hair (obviously!) and when my hair has been towel dried but is still damp. It states that it can be used on either dry or damp hair but trial and error , as is the norm with most of these kind of products, has led me to the conclusion that, for my hair, anyway, I get the best results when using it on damp hair. I simply squeeze a blob about the size of 4 50p pieces (more than they recommend but I have A LOT of hair!) into my hand and then work it through my hair with my head tipped upside down, from the roots to the tip, making sure that it covers all of my hair. To get the absolute best results I then section of my hair and help define my curls even more by twirling each one around a finger to create more ringletty curls than wavy frizz.
If I can't be bothered with the whole twirling palaver (it takes ages and really makes my arms hurt!) then I just leave my hair to dry naturally after I've applied this cream. Doing it this way means my curls aren't quite as curly and defined, but they're still separated and more curly waves than curly curls, if you see what I mean? Men, and people with poker straight hair are probably lost by now!
The only time I used this on my hair when it was dry was a day when my hair wasn't behaving nicely and needed some taming but I didn't have time to wash it. So I thought I'd just sweep some of this cream through to calm it down. Whilst it did calm it down and made it much more manageable and sleeker looking, it also made my hair feel quite hard and crispy which wasn't a very nice feeling so I've always used it on damp hair since. Other products have also made my hair feel like this, so I don't think it's necessarily unique to this defining cream, but nonetheless it's not the look or feel I want to achieve.
When I use it on damp hair it is almost like a 'miracle' cream and does pretty much everything that I hoped it would do. It defines my curls, separating each of them so they're less like one big mass on my head and makes them look sleeker and more properly polished and finished off. It also leaves them really soft and bouncy and I've had loads of compliments on how nice my hair looks since I've been using it regularly.
HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?
In use I tend to get about three days wear out of one application. I usually wash my hair every three days as it's such an onerous task and I now apply this every time I wash my hair. The first and second days of use are fine and nothing else needs to be done to my hair, even after sleeping on it, but by the third day my curls are usually sqaushed a bit and flatter so I just spritz my hair generously with water and re-scrunch them a bit and they can easily last another day that way.
Tube-wise, this has lasted me quite well. Obviously I use much more than the recommended amount because of the length of my very thick hair (it comes about halfway down my back) but even using this amount the tube has still lasted me about two months with using it around twice a week so for the price I paid for it I'm more than happy with this.
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
Absolutely definitely yes! This is one of the few products I've found which makes my hair look exactly how I want it to look. Whilst it doesn't magically create the ringlet effect that I prefer, it does make it much easier to create it for myself, separating the curls and giving them bounce and definition without making my hair greasy or crunchy. Even when I can't be bothered to do all that process then it still separates my curls and leaves them looking more defined and polished.
I can't really find anything negative to say about it apart from the unappealing packaging, but I'm not usually swayed by things like that if the product inside it works, and the quite high RRP. On that I'm torn. 5 years ago I wouldn't have batted an eye at the RRP but nowadays I have to be much more careful with my money so if it were to go back up to that price I don't think I could bring myself to pay it, even for the effects it produces. But at the offer price then I'll definitely buy again and now have several tubes in my cupboard so I'm not caught out if the price goes up again!
So overall I'm giving this degining cream 4 stars, although it would be 4.5 if possible, and would highly recommend it (even to women!) to anyone who has curly hair in need of some taming.
Split End Mender & Leave-in Conditioner / Boost your ego – mend and protect dry, damaged hair from environmental elements, chemical treatments and styling / Adds strength and elasticity / Seals hair for a healthy look and feel / Enhances shine / Directions for use: Smooth a small amount into the ends of damp hair / Do not rinse /