Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Personal Hair Goals

Hey, beautiful people!  Happy New Year!  As 2014 is coming to a close, I’ve started thinking about my hair goals for 2015.  Here is what I’ve come up with:
  1. Strive for a healthier body.  A healthy body leads to healthy hair, so I need to focus on both.  This doesn’t mean that I can’t have dessert and cheesy appetizers every once in a while, but I can’t have it every day.  Also, now that I’ve had my baby, I have a size goal (not a weight goal) in mind, so I’m going to start exercising again to get to that goal.  Don't worry, I don't want to be stick skinny.  I like my curves.  I just want them a little firmer.

  2. Drink at least 64 oz of water every day.  Proper water intake helps with moisture retention levels (more on this later), and it just helps the body function better.  While I was pregnant, I got dehydrated very easily, so I started different techniques to help me drink more water.  One of those was to buy 32 oz plastic mason jars.  I’ve found that if I fill up the jar morning when I get to work, and then fill it up again mid-afternoon, I easily get my 64 oz in without thinking about it.

  3. Maintain healthy hair practices.  I am less than 6 inches away from mid-back length (MBL) / bra strap length (BSL).  As I’ve said before, I am not setting length as a goal, because I want to focus more on healthy hair practices than length.  But, healthy hair practices, such as weekly deep conditioning and baggying when needed, should get me to this length in 2015.  One day I do want to be waist length and it would be great to get there in 4 years (2016).  The distinction, however, is that I won’t ever avoid a necessary cut to preserve length over healthy hair.

  4. Continue to narrow my staple products.  In a previous post, I listed my product favorites for 2014.  I will always be a product junkie on some level; but, in 2015, I want to continue to shrink my product stash and strengthen my list of staple products.  I also want to avoid another incident where I go completely overboard again on product purchases.

  5. Continue my hair styling exploration.  In this past year, I stopped wearing my wigs as often, attended a hair styling class, tried out a few new styles including twists, did a ton of buns/puffs, and discovered that I’m a lazy natural.  With my hair getting longer, I do want to have a few more go-to styles for work and become a little more adventurous for special occasions.  Also, I want to try to straighten my hair again since I did such a horrible job the last time, and I'm not big on failure.
What are your hair goals for 2015? 
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Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Favorite Products

As I continue to work on narrowing the number of products that I use and with 2014 coming to an end, I wanted to wrap it up by listing some of my favorite products for this year.  I’ve also noted products that are on my current staples list for 2015.

Deep Conditioners


Rinse Out Conditioners





What are some of your favorite products from 2014?  Will any of them become staples for 2015?
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Power Product Line Review: As I Am Naturally

Hey, beautiful people!  As I mentioned in my prior post, I purchased the As I Am Coils & Curls Care Package.  Recently, I decided to have an As I Am wash day to try out the products.  Since, As I Am has been around a long time and I know a lot of people have reviewed it, I’m not going to do an in-depth review of each product, just the highlights.

As I Am Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner:  If you have been following me for awhile, then you should know by now that my usual routine is to deep condition overnight first.  The conditioner itself is light like cake batter, and it allowed me to detangle some, but it left my hands feeling a little weird.  As for results, this deep conditioner was nothing to write home about.  I felt like it didn’t do anything to moisturize my hair, despite the name.  A couple days later, I tried using this in the shower as a regular conditioner, and it didn’t do anything that way either.  I would not repurchase this product.

As I Am Coconut Cowash:  Next to the SheScentIt Blueberry Cowash, this is my favorite co-wash. It cleanses while moisturizing.  In the past, when I’ve had a deep conditioner that left my hair dry, but I still needed to cleanse, I’ve used this and it brought my hair right back.  This wash day was no different.  I love this stuff!  I’m not currently purchasing any more cowashes because I want to see if I actually need them.  Otherwise, I would repurchase this in a heartbeat.

As I Am Leave-in Conditioner:  This was surprising.  Of the As I Am products I tried for the first time on my wash day, this was my second favorite.  It was creamy and has great slip.  It reminded me a little of Curl Junkie’s Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion in terms of texture and the effect it had on my hair.  I may repurchase this at some point in the future.

As I Am Curling Jelly:  This was my favorite of the As I Am products I tried for the first time on my wash day.  It had great slip, so it was easy to rake it through my hair.  It also helped define my curls while damp.  The Jelly reminded me a lot of the way Kinky Curly Curling Custard and Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic (original formula) work on my hair.  The only issue I had was when it dried.  For some reason, my curls stretched.  It could be because I had to diffuse my hair to go outside.  This was the first time I ever diffused my hair.  I’m going to try using this on another wash day and do another review.

As I Am Double Butter Cream Rich Daily Moisturizer:  In the days following my wash day, I tried to use the double butter cream to moisturize my hair.  It didn’t work.  This product is much thinner than I thought it would be given that you normally see it in a jar.  The top 6 ingredients are:  Water infused with extracts, Shea Butter, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Cocoa Seed Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, and Emulsifying Wax NF.  However, even though water is the first ingredient, this had more of a sealing effect on my hair than a moisturizing one.  I also think that my hair doesn’t like Emulsifying Wax.  The remaining ingredients also made me dislike this product.  Given the price of a regular sized jar of the double butter cream, I was surprised to see hydrogenated vegetable oil in the list of ingredients at all, and definitely surprised to see it as the third ingredient.  While I’m sure it works perfectly fine as a sealant simply because it is an oil, I haven’t heard of any great benefits that it has.  The cream also has lanolin and some other ingredients that are not so great for my hair.  There are a ton of good oils in this product, but they are further down the ingredient list and likely in low concentrations.  I won’t be repurchasing this product.

In short, I like the co-wash, leave-in and gel.  I would leave the rest.

Have you used As I Am products?  What did you think?
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Friday, December 5, 2014

Head-to-Head: Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream vs As I Am Twist Defining Cream

As I mentioned in a previous post, now that my hair is longer, I want to try more styling.  To help me out, I have a number of stylers in my stash that I am trying out to help me firm up my staples.  My first comparison is with two of my heavy hitters -- Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream and As I Am Twist Defining Cream.

Price:  As I Am wins, but not by much.  These are both on the pricey side, but Jane Carter is more expensive without a sale.  Jane Carter is $34 for 16 ounces, while As I Am is $22.  However, for the past two years, Jane Carter has been 40% off during their Black Friday sale or 30% the days after, bringing the price down.  Tomorrow, they are having a 50% off sale for 4 hours.  Other retailers sometimes follow suit.  For example, as of this post's publication, Jane Carter is on Amazon for $23.50.  Of course, retailers that sell As I Am have sales too, but I haven’t seen one with that high of a percentage.

Consistency:  Jane Carter wins for me.  Jane Carter is a creamy consistency, like a heavy lotion.  As I Am is more jelly-like.  Imagine if you mixed cream with a thick gel, like Eco Styler.  As I Am is also sticky and leaves a weird residue on my hands.  The stickiness is odd because it has little hold.

Ingredients:  Jane Carter wins this one for me too.  Both have infused water as the first ingredient.  Looking past the water, the next 5 key ingredients on my Jane Carter jar are Shea Butter, Jojoba Seed Oil, Avocado Oil, Vitamin E and Glycerin (in that order).  The ingredients on the website are different.  In As I Am, the next 7 key ingredients after infused water are Glycerin, Acetamide MEA, Sunflower Seed Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Triethanolamine, Coconut Oil and Shea Butter (in that order).  Depending on how your hair reacts to Glycerin and the weather, Jane Carter may be better because glycerin is lower on the ingredient list meaning there is a lower concentration of it.  Acetaminde MEA is also a humectant.  Michigan winters can be very drying, so Jane Carter is the better pick for me for year-round use for this reason alone.  The fact that As I Am has two amines (Acetamide MEA and Triethanolamine) also makes me a little uneasy because they can be cancer-forming when mixed with other products, like DMDM Hydantoin.

Styling:  This is another Jane Carter win, but not by much.  I’ve tried both for twists (flat twists & box twists) and wash n’ gos, and they both work for both.  Both leave my hair soft and get the job done.  However, with As I Am, the biggest issue for me is the weird sticky feeling it leaves on my hands while styling and the coating it leaves on my hair.  Also, if I use too much As I Am, then residue shows up in my hair.  This might be ok if As I Am actually had some hold to it, but it doesn’t.  Also, I find that my hair stays a moisturized just a little longer with the Jane Carter.

Final Ruling:  In a head to head comparison, Jane Carter’s Curl Defining Cream is my preference, but not because As I Am’s Twist Defining Cream is a bad product.  I just like Jane Carter’s cream better for my hair.

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Friday, November 28, 2014

2014 Black Friday Aftermath

Hey, beautiful people!  Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones.  I hung out with my close family, including my newest addition, and probably ate way too much.  I also stayed up a little later to finish off my Black Friday shopping online.  In addition to my prior Curlmart purchase and my Jane Carter purchase, here are the other things I bought to stock up for next year:

Curlmart - $74.46 ($69.46 + $5 shipping)
- Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter
- Oyin Handmade Hair Dew x 3
- Curl Junkie Repair Me! Reconstructive Hair Treatment

Bonbons Cheveux Boutique - $36.70 ($32 + $4.70 shipping)
- Satin Scrunchies x 4
- Elastic Satin Bonnet

HairVeda - $60.15 ($53.20 + $6.95 shipping)
- Whipped Creme Hair Moisturizer
- Whipped Clouds
- Red Satin Tea Moisturizer
- Acai Phyto Berry Conditioner x 4
- Red Tea Hair Ends Serum (free gift with purchase)

Oyin Handmade - $43.48 (free shipping)
- Whipped Shea in Rich Almond Scent x 2
- Snack Pack for Body

The Obsessed Crocheter - $44.63 (free shipping)
- Satin Lined Chunky Basket Weave Beanie

Overall, I was more behaved than last year.  I spent less this Black Friday.  Also, my hair product purchases were all staples, except for the moisturizers I purchased from Hairveda.  The PJ in me wouldn't let me just buy staples.  With the new satin bonnet and beanie, I should be all set for the harsh Michigan winters for years to come, which should make next year's list even smaller.

What did you buy?  Did you do better, worse or the same as last year?

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Finalizing The Black Friday Shopping List

Hey, beautiful people!  As I mentioned in a previous post, I started my black friday shopping early this year.  Thus far, I did a mini shopping spree at Curlmart and then picked up a couple jars of my favorite twist defining cream during the Jane Carter 40% off sale that I mentioned on Twitter.  I also just bought a satin lined beanie because winter came a little early this year, and I haven't been able to find my satin lined hooded scarf since the move.  I'll do a review of the beanie once it arrives and I've had a chance to wear it.

Now, I'm trying to narrow down on what is left for my list without going overboard.  The list has changed several times, so here is my current plan:
- Oyin Hair Dew (1 liter)
- Oyin Whipped Shea (rich almond scent)
- Oyin body snack pack
- Hairveda Acai Berry Phyto Conditioner
- Satin elastic bonnet
- Satin scrunchies

I took Purabody off my list only because I'm trying to shrink my list of staples, and I want to see if I can stick to just Oyin.  I'm really hoping that Oyin has a Black Friday sale, but I haven't heard anything so far.  If they don't have a sale, my list may change yet again...

For those of you still formulating your hair shopping lists, here are a few websites that have catalogued the sales:

Yes, I am an enabler.  

Happy Shopping!!!
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Monday, November 24, 2014

Updates 11-24-2014: New Baby And New Styles

Hey beautiful people!  If you don't follow me on Instagram, you may not know that my baby is here!  The newest naturalista to the family.

Life has been kind of a whirlwind since she got here.  Each day, I look up at around 3 p.m. and wonder where the day went.   Needless to say, I haven't had much time for my hair.  In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going to try to do spring twists.  I bought Nafy Collection Nubian Twist hair for the style, but it was an epic fail.  The hair was too silky and kept sliding while I twisted.  Plus, the twists that I did get in did not have much "spring" to them.  They just sort of hung.  I tried twisting in both directions and got the same result.  About 3 twists in, I gave up.  Thankfully, my sister was here and she helped me put in two strand twists without synthetic hair.  

This style was a lifesaver!  I was able to put my hair up and not worry about it.  I just spritzed it with my oil/water mix and sealed with Oyin Hair Dew to keep it moisturized.  The style lasted about 3 weeks.  Now that the twists are out, I am back to bunning and, occasionally, my tried and true two crown braids.

(The top pics are the twists right before I took them out, 
the bottom is after I removed them.  Shrinkage is a trip.)

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ingredient Investigation: Limonene

Hey, beautiful people!  As I mentioned in a previous post, I picked up some As I Am products during an early sale.  While looking through the ingredients, I noticed that a lot of them have Limonene listed as the last ingredient, which I assumed was a preservative.  However, I decided to dig a little deeper.

Limonene is made from citrus fruits (d-limonene), pine trees and certain mint plants (l-limonene).  For cosmetic purposes, it is usually used as a fragrance.  It is also used in medicines, botanical insecticides, household and other cleaners as a solvent, and water-free hand cleansers. 

In terms of risk, while some research indicates that limonene can be used to treat cancer, other research indicates that it could promote the growth of tumors.  The biggest issue, however, is that limonene can be a contact allergen.  In other words, it can cause skin irritation or respiratory irritation in some people.  Additionally, it can enhance side effects of other skin irritants, such as alcohol.  As a result of the limonene’s irritant aspects, the European Union has put certain restrictions on its use in cosmetics.  It is one of the contact allergens found in fragrances that must be listed if it exceeds 0.001% in leave-in products and 0.01% in rinse-off products.  However, just because limonene is listed in an ingredient list, doesn’t mean it meets this threshold amount.  Some consumer-conscious companies list it as an ingredient to notify their customers that they may have a potential allergic reaction.  Additionally, just because a product doesn’t list limonene doesn't mean that the product doesn’t contain limonene, especially if there is a generic reference to “fragrance” and the product has a lemon or orange scent.

Based on what I’ve read, I’m fine with using products with limonene because I don’t seem to have an allergic reaction to it.  I use a lot of products with lemon or orange oil, which are high in limonene, and I haven’t had an issue.  I’ve also used As I Am products without issue.

As a final note, limonene should not be confused with Lemonene (also known as Biphenyl), which comes from coal tar, crude oil, and natural gas, and is used as a preservative to preserve citrus fruits during transport.  Lemonene is mildly toxic. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Product Review: Silk Dreams Chocolate Bliss (The Deep Conditioner Files #9)

Price:  $12 for 8 oz. OR $18 for 16 oz.

Ingredients:   Water, Coconut Cream, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Coconut Oil, Agave Nectar, Aloe Vera Juice, Almond Oil,  Cacao Powder, Citric Acid, Germall Plus, Fragrance, Chamomile Extract

Promise:  From the jar -- Chocolate Bliss is decadent and indulgent and guilt free.  The Spa Silk line is all about treating yourself and taking time for you, so indulge in a little chocolate bliss.;  From the website -- When asked by a fellow hair board diva to describe Chocolate Bliss, this was my response: It is almost as moisturizing as Vanilla Silk, but with no protein. It's not a treatment like Vanilla Silk, so it can be used more often without worry of over-moisturizing.

Scent:  Strong Chocolate

Consistency:  Thick chocolate pudding

Results:   I really wanted to like this product because I love the Vanilla Silk Deep Conditioner and I love the company.  Silk Dreams makes reasonably priced, quality products (despite the name similarity, there is no relation).  Unfortunately, this product just did not work for me.  I tried it two ways.  First, I tried it using my normal routine (overnight pre-poo).  This did not work.  There was a film on my hair when I rinsed it out, and my hair felt dry and hard.  Thinking that perhaps the film might be because of something else, the next time, I washed my hair with diluted African Black Soap first, then I put this conditioner on and left it for 24 hours.  It never really sunk into my hair.  Also, my hair still had a slight film on it when I rinsed the conditioner off.  Plus, my hair was still hard and dry (i.e., not moisturized).  I think this is just too thick and heavy for my low porosity strands.  It could also be the coconut oil, which is in the first five ingredients and has never worked all that great on my hair.

Love it, Like it or Leave It:  Leave It
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

11 Essential Tools For Your Hair Toolbox Part 2

As promised, here is part 2 of my essential tools list:

  1. Spray Bottle - I have several of different sizes and misting capabilities, but you probably only need 1-2 spray bottles.  I use them mainly for my oil/water mix and just plain water.
  1. Trimming shears - You should have a pair of hair shears to get rid of split ends and single strand knots, even if you don’t trim your hair regularly.  I have a pair of Conair shears that I love.  Do not use these shears for anything but your hair, and replace them as soon as they start to become dull.
  1. Disposable Shower Caps or Plastic Shopping Bags - If you deep condition, which you should, or if you do the green house method, then plastic caps or shopping bags are essential.  Personally, shower caps are so cheap that I just buy them.  I do re-use each one a few times before throwing it away.

  1. Mircofiber Towel or T-shirts - If you haven’t heard by now, let me be the first to tell you that you should not be using regular towels to dry your hair.  Regular towels rough up your strands and create frizz.  Use a microfiber towel or old T-shirts.  I do both.  The microfiber towel does a better job of jump starting the drying process for my low porosity hair, but the T-shirt works well too.
  1. Satin Hair Coverings - I have satin straight scarves, a large satin hooded scarf, a satin wrap to keep my buns neat for days, satin pillowcases, and a satin bonnet.  You do not need all of these things, but you do need at least one method of protecting your strands while you sleep.  My large stain hooded scarf is my favorite, but it sometimes slides, so I always sleep with a satin pillowcase.  Do not go cheap on your hair covering or you might as well not bother.  Most of the generic beauty supply scarves are not enough to keep cotton from sucking the moisture out of your hair.  If you can see through it or your fingers catch on the fabric, it won’t cut it.  Wait for a good Black Friday sale, and get a double-lined satin/charmeuse scarf.  I haven’t purchased any of her products due to price, but Eboni of EboniCurls has a good Youtube video on this.  As I mentioned in my last Black Friday haul, I purchased my hair bonnet from BonBons Cheveux Boutique.  I purchased my roomy hooded scarf from Crystal's Coifs, but it appears that it is no longer in business.  Most of my pillowcases are the Betty Dain brand, which is reasonably priced.
What are some of your essential hair tools?  Let me know if you think I missed something!
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Saturday, October 18, 2014

11 Essential Tools For Your Hair Toolbox Part 1

In January, I did a post on products for yourhair toolbox.  I just realized that I never did one on hair tools. Here are the ones on my list:

  1. Wide Tooth Comb - This is optional.  Some women use one, and some rely solely on their fingers.  I use my fingers to detangle regularly.  But, I find that, with my curl pattern, I have to do an intensive detangling periodically with a wide tooth comb.  I have two Hercules Sageman Magic Star Rake combs, but I've found that I actually prefer my cheap jumbo rake combs made by Annie and Diane these days.
  1. Soft Boar Bristle Brush - Again, this is an optional tool because not everyone uses one.  You also have to be careful if you have fine strands like me.  I only use my boar bristle brush if I want a sleek bun or puff.  Also, my boar bristle brush has hairs that are almost as soft as a baby brush.
  1. Headbands - I have a ton of these.  I use thick, decorative ones when I don’t want to brush my edges but I still want a neater look.  I use thin, stretched out ones to do my buns and puffs.  My hair is too thick to gather it all up with a ponytail holder (I’ve broken a lot of them trying and I get headaches from them).

  1. Ponytail Holders - I use these mainly for sectioning my hair to deep condition and wash it.  I also sometimes use a couple of these, once my hair is already in a bun, to catch any remaining strands or flyaways.  I buy these in bulk because my hair snaps them easily.  Some people use the stretchy lace kind, but I’m a bigger fan of the traditional Goody or Scunci ones, which are cheap and effective.  Plus, my hair is too big for the tiny lace ones.  Just don’t buy the ones with metal clamps because these can snag your hair.
  1. Hairpins - These should be self-explanatory.  I have not met a natural yet, who does not have a stash of hair pins.  This is another cheap tool that I usually buy in bulk, but I also have travel packs.
  1. Hair Clamps - Now that my hair is longer, I don’t use these as often as I used to, but alligator clips and roller clamps are still great for sectioning off the hair to flat twist or braid.  I also use duckbill clips to set my part for a wash n’ go.
I'll try to post part 2 soon. 

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Product Review: Annabelle's Perfect Blend Birthday Cake Hair Creme

Price:  $10 for 4 oz.

Ingredients:   Water, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol, Castor Seed Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Linseed Seed Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Cocoa Seed Butter, Shea Butter Fruit, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Lactate, Pathenol (Vitamin B5), Diazolidinyl Urea and Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance

Promise:  Our rich and creamy Hair Crème will add moisture and shine to the dryest hair! This crème can be used on damp or dry hair daily without weighing it down. Whether your hair is natural, permed, or relaxed, you will love the results!

Scent:  Smells like white chocolate cake batter

  Good buttercream frosting (like Just Baked cream cheese frosting from the red velvet cupcake if you live in Michigan)

Results:  I was a little hesitant to use this with the butters, but water as the first ingredient convinced me.  I’m glad it did.  I used this as a leave in, a sealant, a moisturizer and a styler and it worked every way.  It made my hair feel awesome and surprisingly moisturizing.  Also, a little goes a long way, but I still think it was expensive for 4 oz.  I will likely buy this again if there is a sale because it rocks, just not enough to pay full price.

Love it, Like it or Leave It:  Love It
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Saturday, October 4, 2014

My HHJ Reflection Two Years In (Part 2)

Hey, beautiful people!  After I posted my top 5 things that I learned last week, I thought of five more:

6.      A little protein is my friend.  A lot is not.  Low porosity hair usually doesn't need a lot of protein, but my hair is also fine.  Fine hair usually needs protein, so the result is that my hair really likes moisturizing deep conditioners with a little protein in them.  It gets really hard with any protein that is on the stronger side.
7.      What I thought was a lot of conditioner or gel is not.  While my hair is fine, it is also super thick, so I need a lot of product to get through my strands.  When I condition, I usually use gobs of conditioner.  If I split my hair into 4 sections, I usually use a 2 palm-fulls of conditioner per section.  It is the same with gel.  I used to wonder why I could not slick down my edges with gel, and then I realized that I simply wasn’t using enough.  I need about a palm-full for the front, and two palm-fulls for the back.  For me, a palm-full is about a half cup or a golf ball-sized amount.  As a result, I have opted for cheaper conditioners, like Herbal Essence, and gels, like Eco Styler.
8.       My low porosity hair doesn't need to be moisturized daily.  One of the benefits and drawbacks of low porosity hair is that it takes forever to dry.  As I’m typing this, my hair has been airdrying for about 10 hours, and it is still wet.  As a result, I also don’t need to moisturize everyday.  Sometimes, when I put my hair in a bun, the inside of the bun will stay wet all week and I just need to moisturize the outer edges every couple days.
9.      I am a “lazy natural”.  I liked wigs because it was easy to do my hair at the beginning of the week and just put a wig on it every day.  On the weekends, I would wash and go because that was also easy.  Once I could do a puff, I did that.  Now that my hair is longer, I put it in a bun and keep the same bun until it starts to look a little rough.  I am not the type of natural that loves to do intricate styles, though I am going to push myself to do more styling in this next year.  If you are a lazy natural like me, Tribe Called Curl has a great Youtube series for lazy naturals.

10.    Cowash is nice, but shampoo/soap is necessary.  Low porosity hair is prone to buildup.  Also, now that I’m using cheaper conditioners, it is good to do a good cleansing periodically.  I’ve found that I can’t just use conditioners to cleanse my hair.  I need to use something with actual cleansing agents on occasion.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My HHJ Reflection Two Years In

Hey, beautiful people!  A little over two years ago, I made the decision to stop relaxing my hair, and I just realized that I almost let my two year anniversary pass without any reflection.  In the past two years, I've learned quite a bit about my natural hair and made some changes to my regimen.  Here are my top five things:
  1. My low porosity hair needs time and heat to absorb conditioners.  For my deep conditioners, the best way for me to use them is to do my deep conditioner overnight under a plastic cap with my body heat to help it absorb.  The second best is to use a heat cap for 20 minutes.
  2. I don't need to avoid silicones.  When I first started my natural hair journey, I avoided any and all silicones.  Now, I've learned that certain silicones are ok.  Also, my favorite rinse out conditioner is not all-natural, and contains cones.  I'll be discussing this in more detail in a later post.
  3. I'm moving away from the wigs.  For most of the last two years, I would wear wigs during the week and play with my hair on the weekend.  As my hair has gotten longer, I've been wearing more buns and puffs to work.  This next year, I want to try even more professional styles, though I need them to be quick.  I hope to try installing my own spring twists before the baby arrives, but I'm running out of time.
  4. I don't need gel to wash and go.  At first, I thought the only product I could successfully wash and go with was Kinky Curly Curling Custard, then I discovered Uncle Funky's Daughter's Curly Magic (old formula).  Over this past summer, I also had some successful wash and gos with conditioner and with Jane Carter's Curl Defining Cream.  In this next year, I want to try other options.
  5. The best spray moisturizer is the one I make myself.  I tried a few commercial moisturizing spritzes before I realized that they were a waste of money.  What they all had in common was water and oil, and some only had those ingredients.  Now, I make my own and it works great for my hair.  In this next year, I want to try adding silk amino acids to my spritz.  I also want to try making other products for my hair toolbox, like black soap shampoo, flax seed gel, a leave-in conditioner with slippery elm or marshmallow root, and a moisturizing cream with BTMS.
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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Product Review: MyHoneyChild Olive You Deep Conditioner (The Deep Conditioner Files #8)

Price:  $18 for 8 oz.

Ingredients:   Water, Olive Butter, Olive Fruit Oil, Honey, Olive Leaf Extract, Soya Milk, Fresh Cantaloupe Melon, Natural Yoghurt Powder, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Seaweed , Jojoba Oil, Violet Leaf Absolute, Orange Blossom Absolute, Neroli Oil and Optiphen.

Promise:  Dryness doesn’t stand a chance when faced with Olive You Deep Conditioner.  Every texture.  Every style.  Every possibility.  Restores moisture to the most dehydrated hair with its rich formula containing avocado oil and olive leaf extract.  It’s ideal for those with dry, over-processed hair or those who frequently use heat styling tools.  It’s light enough for daily use - it won’t weigh hair down but will add much-needed hydration for the healthy, soft hair you crave.

Scent:  To me, it smells like a mix of nail polish remover and perfume.  The hubby thinks it smells like "lotion and chemicals".

Consistency:  Ultra thin

Results:   The nail polish remover smell is really strong.  At first, I thought maybe my jar went bad; but, I noticed other reviews mentioned a smell as well.  Even if I could get past the smell, it didn’t do anything for my hair.  I used this as an overnight deep conditioner once and tried just leaving on my hair for hours.  Nothing great happened, so I ended up tossing the jar after two uses.  It is the same consistency as MyHoneyChild’s Honey Hair Mask, but this did even less for my hair. 

Love it, Like it or Leave It:  Leave It
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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Update 09-20-2014: Black Friday In September

With the new baby coming in less than a month and Curlmart having a Sweet16 sale, I decided to get started on my Black Friday shopping early.  As you may remember from last year's Black Friday post, I went overboard so I wanted to make sure I kept myself in check this year.  I may have still gone a little overboard, but nowhere near as much.  Here is what I bought from Curlmart:
Grand Total:  $132.08 (plus $5 shipping)
Savings: $50.88 (plus shipping savings)

I saved a lot of money by doing my shopping a little early and coupon hunting (use cm15 with your order to save more).  We'll ignore the fact that I could have saved more if I did not buy as much.

Here is what is tentatively left on my Black Friday shopping list:

What is on your Black Friday list?  Have you started shopping?

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Product Review: Blended Beauty Curl Quenching Conditioner

Price:  $18.50 for 8 oz.

Ingredients:   Aqua (enriched with Aloe Vera), Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol, Witch Hazel Distillate, Capryl Isostearate, Glycerin, Rice Bran Oil, Polysorbate 20, Behenoyl PG-Trimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetyl Alcohol (and) Butylene Glycol, Vanilla planifolia, Preservative [Phenoxyethanol and Caprylyl Glycol and Sorbic Acid], Scent, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein (and) Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein (and) Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Silk Powder.

Promise:  A detangling, luxurious conditioner with rice bran oil and rosemary.  Leaves every strand silky smooth.  No silicones!

Scent:  Snickerdoodle cookies with strong hint of cinnamon

Consistency:  Buttercream frosting or softened butter.  In the jar, it looks like it will be heavy, but it spreads fairly thin in a good way.

Results:   I have had this jar for awhile, and it looks like the ingredients may have changed some.  I don’t see rice bran oil listed anymore, and the new formula has propylene glycol.  Also, when I bought this, I thought it was a deep conditioner, but the instructions say to only leave it on for 2-3 minutes, so I think it is a regular rinse out.  I liked this conditioner, but more for styling than for conditioning.  It is great detangler, with good slip and moisturizing properties.  It reminded me a lot of Camille Rose's Almond Jai Twisting Butter and Bee Mine’s Bee-u-ti-ful Deep Conditioner.  These products have taught me that my hair likes “wet butters” for styling my hair in twists or braids.  However, while I like this, I’m not sure yet if I will repurchase it because of the price and the ingredient change.  I can get Camille Rose for slightly cheaper, and I like the ingredients better.

Love it, Like it or Leave It:  Like It
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Updates 09-13-2014: Moving and Other Things

Hi, beautiful people!  I was looking at my blog and realized that I have not posted in over a month.  There has been a lot going on.  I moved into a new house, I'm in the process of selling my other house, and I'm still preparing for baby, who will be here in a month or less.  I'm doing all of this while working a full time job and taking care of my toddler.

In the midst of all of this, I have to admit that my hair has taken a minor backseat.  I have not been washing or deep conditioning weekly, though I try to get both in at least every two weeks.  In the meantime, I have been protective styling and still moisturizing my hair regularly using my homemade spritz.  First, I used medium sized twists after a thorough detangling.  Now, I've switched to two crown braids.  During the week, I usually wear my protective style under a satin scarf and a wig to preserve the style.  Then, I wear it out on the weekend.  So far, I haven't seen any breakage from this low key routine, but I do need to pay close attention to my crown, which is prone to breakage.

What do you do with your hair when you have a lot going on?

Happy Living!
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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Product Review: Annabelle’s Perfect Blend White Chocolate Mousse Hair Mask (The Deep Conditioner Files #7)

Price:  $10 for 4 oz. or $20 for 8 oz.

Ingredients:   Water, Marshmallow Root, Wheat Germ Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Stearalkonium Chloride, Emulsifying Wax NF, Shea Butter, Cocoa Seed Butter, Cetrimonium Chloride, Sodium Lactate, Silk Amino Acids, Pathenol, Diazolidinyl Urea and Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance.

Promise:  From the website - Chocolate Mousse Moisture Intense Mask is a deep conditioning mask that will impart much needed moisture back into your hair. It packs a powerful punch with its blend of cocoa butter and marshmallow root.

Scent:  Chocolate torte!  I wanted to eat it.

Consistency:  Super thick, like softened butter or thick mud.  I forgot to take a picture of the consistency before I used the last of this.

Results:   I used this as an overnight deep conditioner at least twice.   I was actually surprised at how well my low porosity hair liked it because of the thickness and because my hair doesn't usually like Emulsifying Wax.  This left my hair feeling soft, strong and moisturized.  It reminded me a lot of the Pura Body Chocolate Hair Smoothie in the scent and the way it made my hair feel, but I think I like the Pura Body version better because it is lighter. 

Love it, Like it or Leave It:  Like It
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