Not Martha

things I like: Bumble & Bumble styling products

I have terrible luck with hair products. I have fine, limp hair that is only very temporarily affected by heat and, much to the dismay of my high school friends who tried to 80s-ify my bangs, is left unaffected by hairspray. My hair is sort of straight and sort of wavy, with frizzy little curls near the temples. Barrettes slide right out of my hair under their own weight and elastic ponytail holders are likely to fall out if I jump up and down a little bit. It’s a sad, sad affair overall.

Over the years I’ve tried many styling products but they inevitably left my hair limp-and-sticky or limp-and-stiff. There is one day in college I still recall as The What Happened To Your Hair Incident. So imagine my surprise when, out of desperation, I shelled out the cash for some Bumble and Bumble styling products that had been recommended and they actually worked. At last, yay. I use two products in my hair, blow dry, and I’m pretty happy.

I spritz the Surf Spray at the roots around the crown of my hair, then hold my hair up with one hand and blowdry the roots. The Surf Spray adds bulk and hold and works better than any type of root lifer I’ve previously tried.

I use the Thickening Spray all over, but especially on my bangs. A friend had warned me that the Thickening Spray doesn’t actually thicken so much as create a flexible hold. I can say the Thickening Spray does add a noticeable amount of volume in my hair, while leaving it so that I can run my fingers through. It is not sticky at all, it just creates a sort of bite where my hair would just slide around without it. The spray makes sure my bangs don’t curl up halfway through the day, and it somewhat de-frizzes the rest of my hair. (I should mention, though, that I far prefer frizzy hair to despicably flat hair.) This is one of those products I’ll make sure to bring with me when I travel, buying a bottle at my destination if needed.

Both sprays also work well when put on my dry hair in an “oh no I have to leave the house” moment. Over my weak protests my hairstylist has used, at different times, the Styling Creme and Brillantine, both of which gave me the familiar oily and limp look. But, I should add, make other people very happy.

I’ve also got a sample shampoo/conditioner/creme size set of the Curl Conscious for fine to medium hair. On the day I tried it left my not-quite-wavy hair very wavy and textured. Not ringlet-curly, but something I will use on summer days when blowdrying my hair is out of the question.

The Curl Conscious also comes in a medium to thick variety, which I plan to try out. Does anybody know, is it more likely to give me curls? What makes it different exactly?

I have high hopes for, but have not yet tried, the Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner. And my stylist recommended I try the Hair Powder, which comes in a number of shades and reportedly adds volume to your hair while absorbing oil — it’s meant to extend the time between blowouts.

Bumble and Bumble is pricey, but it works well enough that I’m not going to complain about the cost. I estimate I go through a 6 or 8 ounce bottle in three months, so it’s not a huge expense over the course of a year.

B&B is available on Amazon:

You can also look up B&B stockists at their website, they have a note saying they would prefer you buy the products from salons.

So, if you have trouble finding hair products I can recommend spending a little money to try out Bumble & Bumble products. I promise nothing, but can say I am very happy with them.

· comments [44] · 04-15-2008 · categories:beauty · shopping ·

44 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rachel // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:04 am

    I could be mistaken, but I believe that curl lines for thicker hair tend be more moisturizing, as curlier hair tends to be drier. It seems like that wouldn’t be best for your thinner hair. Hope that helps!

  • 2 megan // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:14 am

    Thanks Rachel! I still might try it, but I’ll be sure to go with the sample sized bottle.

  • 3 Lara // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:17 am

    I too have been using the B&b thickening spray and really like it. I have the shampoo and while I don’t think it makes a huge difference in volume, I don’t feel like it weighs my hair down or gets where it doesn’t clean as well, like some shampoos will. I also think that the prenatal vitamins I take have helped my very fine hair thicken up a bit.

  • 4 Andrea // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:18 am

    B&B products are MUCH cheaper here and they are on sale for 10% off right now!

  • 5 megan // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Lara – Thanks for the tip, I have been meaning to give prenatal vitamins a good try.

  • 6 megan // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Andrea – Thanks, they are only a few dollars cheaper on that site but if you were to buy a few bottles it would add up quickly.

  • 7 you'll probably delete me barrie // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:20 am

    i sampled the small curl conscious (i believe it was thin to medium, but i really don’t remember) because i can’t reason spending more than $20 on hair products unless it does wonders. i basically did a taste test (without the taste) on b&b versus aveda’s curling product, and while aveda gives more product for the price i think i’m leaning towards b&b for more quality. it definitely gives you more bounce, more curl, more of everything you want in a curling serum. a little goes a long way, the packaging is cute (read the label), it doesn’t leave your hair sticky or jersey crispy (sorry new jersey) and coming from florida, i’m happy to report no frizzies!

    i give this product my full endorsement, even though it costs more than $20 for the big size.

  • 8 hag // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Thanks for the product tips! Sounds like I have the same hair as you.

  • 9 you'll probably delete me barrie // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:26 am

    ALSO, if your hair is even slightly wavy i can not recommend enough not shampooing it. i thought the idea of not shampooing my hair was gross, but once i read a book, looked on the web and talked to some fellow curlies i decided to give it a try. now i only shampoo my hair once a week, and i can not tell you how much my hair has improved. i say give it that a try before wasting any more money on these crazy expensive products.

  • 10 Amanda // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:27 am

    I have extremely curly hair. Extremely. Bumble and Bumble isn’t cheap, but it is the only thing that actually turns my hair into cute ringlets instead of a big fuzzball. If I put on the Bumble and Bumble and then put a layer of gel on afterwards, it looks good all day, even in the rain. I also endorse these products, but for completely different reasons than notmartha.

  • 11 Chelsea // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:34 am

    It sounds like we have similar hair issues. Thanks for the product ideas!

  • 12 Harper // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:40 am

    The medium to thick shampoo contains “squalene which may act as an emollient” — per Don’t go shopping for hair-products without me — so the above comment that it moisturizes more sounds spot on.
    Also, I now wash my thick wavy hair less often (twice a week) and have been pleased with the results. In fact, it is always a little sad when it is time to wash as it’s when my hair looks its best – shiny and bouncy – I’ve tried to go a week without shampooing and it just doesn’t work for me.

  • 13 Rebekah // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Thanks for the tip! Sounds like we have similar hair. I’ve tried the Hair Powder and I’m sad to say it was a waste of money. I’d recommend saving a few bucks and trying Psssssst Instant Spray Shampoo. You can find it at most drug stores. It adds a lot of volume to my hair.

  • 14 Inky // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:46 am

    I love the B&B Curl Conscious and I am on my second bottle. It is expensive but it’s the only curl product that doesn’t leave my hair crunchy or stiff. The bottle does last a good long time for me (the first one lasted nearly a year) as I do not use it every day and use a water spray mist to liven up my curls in the mornings. I did try the B&B Curl shampoo and conditioner and while it was nice, it really didn’t make any impact that would make it worth buying again.

  • 15 megan // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Rebekah – Thanks for letting me know. I’m not a blowout kinda girl anyhow so I was hesitating spending the money on the hair powder stuff.

    Inky – Thanks, I figured the shampoo and conditioner weren’t entirely necessary so it’s good to have a confirmation.

  • 16 Niall Harbison // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Hi there, I have just come accross your blog thanks to stumbleupon and I must say that it is one of the best designs to a blog that I have ever seen. It is so clean and elegant and stylish and got my attention straight away. I am a chef and there are a lot of similarities between clean design on a plate and on a website i reckon! Keep up the good work, love those bacon baskets very cool! Would love to see some of your photos over on our foodie site as they seem to be well worth sharing!

  • 17 Amy // Apr 15, 2008 at 10:24 am

    You just described my hair perfectly. I also really like the B&B thickening spray, but when I want to mix it up I also use MOP lemongrass lift. It smells great and I find it’s a little less sticky than the B&B product.

  • 18 megan // Apr 15, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Amy – Thanks for the tip! My new salon carries Mop stuff so I will try it out, I know the Mop stuff smells great.

  • 19 jjzach // Apr 15, 2008 at 10:33 am

    I’m not one to be paranoid about products etc. but after losing 2 members of my immediate family to breast cancer in 2 years I started to pay attention to some of the information about chemicals in beauty products. I have curly hair and was in love with the Curl Conscious products, but took them off my list because it does contain parabens and is rated at a high hazard level. Luckily, a few curly hair products out there don’t so my hair is not a frizzy mess.

  • 20 flutephobia // Apr 15, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I love both the B&B thickening spray and surf spray. I usually go one or the other, not both, before I dry my hair. I like to use MOP orange molding cream after. The combination of the surf spray & cream leaves my hair with some actual texture- which is something my hair sorely lacks! As for the expense- I feel like so few things work well on my hair that if I find something that works, it’s worth it. Looking forward to the shampoo/conditioner reviews!

  • 21 Kelly // Apr 15, 2008 at 11:09 am

    OK, I had to look in your Flickr stream to get an idea of what your hair looks like, and after doing so I’m tempted to say that you would not need the B&B for thick hair. I’ve used it and love it (wish it wasn’t so expensive), and check out my hair (I’m the redhead, not the grandma). Obviously, you can still try it, but it’s most likely trying to do the opposite of what you want (for thick hair, it’s trying to moisturize and a little bit to weigh it down without being stiff and crunchy, which it does excellently, as my hair is soft and curly when I use it, whereas for thin hair I suspect it is trying to add volume, the opposite of what most of us with thick curly hair want more of).

    Fellow Twin Citiesian de-lurking to comment on B&B!

  • 22 megan // Apr 15, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Kelly – Thanks, I’ll stick with the stuff for fine to medium. Yup, I don’t need more weight in my hair.

  • 23 kim // Apr 15, 2008 at 11:23 am

    my sister loves the b&b thickening spray…you do have to be careful though, one of the main ingredients is alcohol and it is very drying!

  • 24 regan // Apr 15, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Your hair and my hair sound very similar and, since I’m currently on the hunt for new products, I think I’ll give these a whirl.


  • 25 rachelk // Apr 15, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I too have been trying to eliminate parabens from my personal care products and have go of the B&B line, sadly. I still occaisionally use the Be Curly from Aveda, but my one true love currently is the Wavy Hair Primer from Sally Hershberger. It’s a mousse texture which is good for my really fine but wavy hair that wants to curl but not be weighed down, and is not crunchy. You can only get it from Walgreens, and I dislike her whole cult of personality effect she has, but it’s cheap and it works better then anything else I’ve tried. Which is saying a lot!

  • 26 Krysten // Apr 15, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I’m currently using the Bumble and Bumble shampoo, and it’s not my favorite. I have really oily hair, so finding the right shampoo / conditioner combo is pretty hard. I’m waiting a few more weeks to see if Bumble and Bumble really works.

    As for the hair powder, I read online somewhere that the primary ingredient in hair powder is cornstarch. I paid $1.95 and haven’t looked back. It’s better for light hair, and if done wrong, it’ll look like you’ve been putting up drywall all day. So you just need to leave time for combing it out.

  • 27 chez shoes // Apr 15, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    I hadn’t realized how similar our hair is, since yours looked GREAT when I was in Seattle, and mine looked rather, um, frizzy. I’m definitely planning to check out the B&B – the fancy Target near me carries some of the line.

    You might like the Sally Hershberger wavy hair products from Walgreen’s also. I’ve been pretty satisfied with those for taming the frizz and general de-limping without poofiness. Not crazy over the scent, though.

  • 28 megan // Apr 15, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    When we met my layers were still newly-short and had some bounce to them. As my hair grows it droops, but I refuse to go much shorter with my hair. I’ll check out the Hershberger stuff, which I first heard about from you!

  • 29 Jane // Apr 15, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    I finally broke down and ordered the thickening shampoo and conditioner. Still determining if it’s worth it.

    I got it from, which had a promotion for free shipping and an additional $5 off orders over $30… best deal I found.

  • 30 Jen // Apr 15, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks for the info! I, too, have what I call “Tom Petty hair” if I don’t hairspray the crap out of it after I blow dry it. I’m going to try these!

  • 31 Misty // Apr 15, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    i have fine curly hair that generally has awesome ringlets with a little help.

    the best combo I have found in my 29 years is using some bumble & bumble curl cream and dove gel from the drug store. it’s so great!

    i also discovered silk groom from kiehls awhile back. i think it has silicone, because it holds my hair part of the day and then the curls tend to fall apart, but it feels great and gives you a bit of weight and texture.

    good luck!

  • 32 teapluscandy // Apr 15, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t like the Bb hair powder. I’ve tried Pssst, and using plain cornstarch, but I’ve found that Klorane’s dry shampoo works the best for me, and gives my hair the most volume. Also, it has a really pleasant, mild smell. Ojon also makes a nice dry shampoo but the nozzle is terrible and clogs constantly, so you end up having to throw away like half of the product. Klorane is the best.

  • 33 Katie // Apr 15, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    I like B & B products. Good luck. The other day I saw some at the local Loeman’s for much cheaper than what I can find other places. So, if you have one in your area, check it out. They also had Kiehl’s stuff.

  • 34 Regan // Apr 16, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    I, too, have awfully limp fine hair, but mine is also stick straight, so I don’t even have the benefit of some wave/curl. I’ve recently become a fan of the Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion – it’s this weird powder that turns to liquid in your hair, and has the effect of texturizing and thickening my hair to the point of making it look the best and least limp it ever has!

  • 35 greta // Apr 16, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    I have tried both the fine/medium and medium/thick versions of Curl Conscious, so I’ll give you my take. First I should disclose that I have very thick, very wavy (but not tightly curled) hair. It also tends toward the dry side. I’ve been using the creams for a few years, so I’ve used them both with short and long hair. I prefer the fine/medium, despite the fact that I actually have thick hair. The fine/medium feels creamier, more moisturizing, and leaves my hair bouncier and shinier. It looks more naturally curly. The medium/thick felt stickier and stiffer — it definitely had more hold, and felt less moisturizing. It left my hair looking more “styled,” less natural. I think it might be better for people with a tighter curl, rather than people with thicker hair.

    I love the B&b products. Every now and then I think I want a change, so I try something new, and I end up going back. They are expensive, but I only wash my hair twice a week, so a bottle lasts me about 6 months. It’s worth it.

  • 36 yesterday73 // Apr 16, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    Hi. I happen to be a hairstylist and very well trained on the B&B line. The “fine to med/med to thick” doesn’t have anything to do with the density of the hair, but how much curl you already have. If you have just a little curl, you would use the fine-to-medium to enhance the curl, and the med-thick to smooth out and soften very curly hair. I know the names are a little deceiving. Just an FYI, if you want to perk up the wave you have, try Aveda Be Curly enhancing creme. It works really well, and isn’t as heavy as the B&B. One last tip- don’t buy professional brands at Tar-jay or grocery stores, etc. The product they have is black market/counterfeit/illegally diverted. It could be spoiled, rotten, or riddled with bacteria. Eww.

  • 37 Sandy // Apr 17, 2008 at 6:22 am

    I use the B&B Curl Conscious Creme for Medium-Thick Hair… not too crazy about it though. It makes my hair go limp. Has anyone tried the B&B leave-in conditioner?

  • 38 justJENN // Apr 17, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Best shampoo ever made, far as I’m concerned.

  • 39 Kelly // Apr 17, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    I cannot reccommend enough the powder (dry shampoo.) For someone with limp, fine hair like mine that gets greasy 5 hours after washing, it is a life saver. It really does add volume to your hair. Just be sure to use a little on your roots (don’t get it on your ends- it’ll stick and really accentuate your split ends,) leave it on for a few minutes, and brush it out. A miracle!

  • 40 Kt // Apr 18, 2008 at 10:40 am

    I am also a very recent convert to the B&B products, particularly the styling lotion. I usually hate hair products, but this one really works and actually smells pretty good.

    I also want to add that I bought some B&B shampoo from Target just assuming that I was getting a great deal, and when I was at the salon, I noticed that the same bottle of shampoo was actually cheaper at the salon! ($20 for 8 oz at the salon v. $26 at Target.) I asked the person at the salon about the price difference and he echoed the comments above about Target selling the products illegally. Just a heads up – it may not be such a great deal at Target, and they’re apparently not supposed to be selling the stuff anyway.

  • 41 Lisa // Apr 19, 2008 at 6:11 am

    I also have fine hair and am a new convert to B&B, but like another poster mentioned, I am either/or on the Thickening vs. Surf spray. If I blowdry, I use Thickening, if I airdry, I use Surf. My hair is painfully straight, and the Surf spray gives my hair a surprising amount of texture. I also like the Thickening Shampoo/Conditioner. They both smell fantastic (similar to the only aroma I have ever liked from Bath and Body works, Lavender Fields (RIP)). Don’t know that it makes my hair any thicker, but it cleans well and the conditioner is really moisturizing without making my hair oily.

    I also love the MOP Glisten line. Well worth a try. I especially like the Weightless Gloss Spray, which has a fantastic citrus smell and gives my hair added shine after a blowdry.

    Thanks for your (always) fantastic blog!

  • 42 Nia // Apr 19, 2008 at 7:14 am

    I love, love, love B&B, and use the Tonic and med/fine Curl Creme all the time. PM is right about the Curl Creme, the thick formula is for people with tight curls that need to be weighed down.

    You might want to try the B&B Prep, I use the Tonic (for thicker hair) and love it. Also the Aveda Be Curly is really, really great. My salon has both B&B and Aveda and so she’s tried it all on my hair. The Be Curly shampoo/cond makes my hair feel so thick and lovely. I also think B&B Curl Creme coaxes more curl out of my wavy/straight hair.

  • 43 willikat // Apr 22, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Bb is the best. My hairstylist says that the curl conscious uses the same technology as curling mascara, and no other brand does.

  • 44 hair guru girl // Aug 5, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    BB rocks. We have it on special every month for the first 5 days.

Leave a Comment