Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Healthy Hair Product Toolbox

Hey, HHJs!  For those just starting off on their natural hair journey, I thought it might be helpful to list some of the key items needed for your healthy hair product toolbox.  To get more details on specific products that I use in each category, visit my Favorite Products page or my Amazon store.  In full disclaimer, Amazon does pay me a commission on items purchased from my Amazon store.
  1. Shampoo or Cleanser - You need something that will bind to oil, dirt and product buildup to remove it from your hair.  If you are low porosity, like me, then simply conditioner washing will not always be enough.  You need something with cleansing agents in it.  I've been working on a cleansing agent post for about a month now, so it should be up soon.

  2. Rinse Out / Instant Conditioner - The purpose of a rinse out conditioner is to balance ph levels and coat the hair cuticles to make it easier to detangle the hair.  In other words, while shampoo binds to oil and dirt, conditioner binds to hair (adsorbs to hair).

  3. Deep Conditioner - These are particularly important if your hair is damaged, needs an intense moisture boost, or needs a protein boost.  Deep conditioners are left on the hair for awhile to give them time to penetrate the hair.  There are three types of deep conditioners (moisturizing, protein and hybrids).  I've already covered protein conditioners in a prior post.  Because I have low porosity and fine strands, I personally prefer hybrids containing light proteins.

  4. Leave-in Conditioner - These are lighter conditioners that are mild enough that they can be left on the hair long term.  Some instant conditioners can double as leave-ins, but some have ingredients that can irritate the scalp with time. 

  5. Moisturizer - I already have a post on finding a great moisturizer.  Water is the best moisturizer, so any “moisturizing” product should have water as the first or second ingredient.  Some leave-in conditioners can double as moisturizers.

  6. Sealant - This would be an oil or butter based product.  I don’t usually use a straight oil or butter to seal water into my hair as it is less necessary for low porosity ladies.  Instead, I use a cream or lotion, which is a mixture of water and oil/butter held together by an emulsifier like BTMS.
Based on the above, you probably could get by with a good cleanser, a deep conditioner, and an instant conditioner that multi-tasks as a rinse out, leave-in and moisturizer.  I'm just not that efficient because I’m a product junkie.

What is in your toolbox?
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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Product Review: She Scent It Riche Moisture Mask (The Deep Conditioner Files #2)

Price:  $12.50 for 9 oz.

Ingredients:  Purified Water infused with Sapote extract, Rose Flower Extract, Avocado Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Sweet Almond Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium chloride, Vegetable Glycerin, Panthenol Vit B5, Hydrolyzed Silk, Germall Plus, Fragrance, Orange essential oil, Citric Acid

Promise:  From the website - "This creamy conditioner nourishes hair that is dry and frizzy. A rich formula loaded with vitamins A, D, E lecithin and amino acids (from Avocados). A special blend of conditioning agents, moisturizers and oils work to soften, detangle and add shine to hair. Sapote oil nourishes the scalp, combats dryness & helps retain moisture. Leaves hair silky soft and healthy."

Scent:  Like strong floral perfume

Consistency:  Very thin and light.  While it is white in color, it is translucent because of how thin it is.

Results:  I first tried to use this as a deep conditioner under a heat cap.  Unfortunately, I think that after almost a decade of use, my heat cap finally died.  It stopped giving off heat during my deep conditioning session.  Even without heat, this conditioner had some slip when I rinsed it out and some moisture. I was even able to detangle with it a little.  Next, I tried it a second time as a deep conditioner overnight.  Again, it gave my hair some moisture.  Overall, if you don't mind the scent, this is an ok deep conditioner.  It provides moisture and slip, though I have gotten better moisture from other deep conditioners.

Love it, Like it or Leave It:  Leave it.  I am sensitive to strong fragrances, and this one was too much for me.
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Natural Hairstyling Class

Hey, HHJs!! One of the biggest struggles for me has been figuring out new styles for my hair.  I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos and reading a lot of blogs.  But I finally decided to take it a step further.  I attended a Natural Hairstyling class at Everette's Natural Beauty School with an area Meetup group for naturals.  In the class, I learned how to perfect my technique for doing twists and I learned how to do comb twists, among other things.  I even got a certificate at the end.  It was a great experience!

If you too are looking for ideas on how to style your hair and Youtube isn't enough, look to see if there is a natural hair beauty school in your area that holds classes.  In the alternative, maybe there is someone on Craiglist willing to teach you techniques for a small fee.

Even after attending the class, I'm always on the hunt for new style inspiration.  What new styles are you trying on your natural hair journey?



Saturday, January 11, 2014

Product Review: Darcy's Botanicals Deep Conditioning Mask (The Deep Conditioner Files #1)

Hey, HHJs.  One of my personal goals for 2014 is to have three, great go-to moisturizing deep conditioners.  I'm getting an early start because of my Black Friday purchases.  I currently have 11 moisturizing deep conditioners, so I am going to go through them 1-by-1 in my hunt.  First up is Darcy's Botanicals Deep Conditioning Mask.

Price:  $20

Ingredients:  Distilled Water, Lavender Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Cocoa Seed Butter, Marula Seed Oil, Panthenol, Yarrow, Sage, Horsetail, Nettle & Lavender Extracts, Bentonite Clay, Hydrolyzed Oats, Guar Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ylang Ylang, Lemon Peel Oil, Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil, and Organic Sea Kelp

Promise:  "Our Deep Conditioning Mask will nourish, protect, strengthen, moisturize, detangle, soften and promote healthy hair growth!  Can be used weekly or monthly to keep your natural coils looking radiant and beautiful."

Consistency:  It is thick and reminds me of Bee Mine's Bee-u-ti-ful deep conditioner

Results:  I first tried to use this alone on two occasions, and I think it was just too thick for my hair.   My hair just did not feel moisturized at all.  Then, I decided to tap into my inner mixologist.  I mixed it with honey, avocado oil, and grapeseed oil to thin it out and boost the moisturizing benefits.  This worked great.  My hair felt moisturized and wonderful.  However, I personally feel that I should not have to do that much mixing for a product that costs $20.

Love it, Like it or Leave It:  Leave it.  It has great ingredients, but I don't think I will be buying any more Darcy's Botanicals products because they seem to be a little too heavy for my low porosity, fine strands.  I also missed the fact that this has hydrolyzed oat protein when I bought it, which is one of the proteins I try to avoid.
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Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 Personal Hair Goals

Happy New Year, HHJs!  Every year, I set personal goals for myself.  I don't call them new year resolutions because they continue throughout the year.  I may add new ones or continue old ones from a prior year.  For 2014, I have started a list and I have joined a few new hair challenges, in addition to continuing some old ones, to get me there:
  • Continue my no-buy until I get to 25 products or until Mother's Day
  • Find 3 great moisturizing deep conditioners
  • Determine a protein regimen (how much to use and when to use it)
  • Determine a trimming regimen (how often and technique)
  • Nail my techniques for airdrying when not doing a wash and go (I have perfecting my curlformer and banding technique as sub-goals)
  • Take proper care of my hair so that it grows to bra-strap length by June (I'm currently below shoulder length, and I've had a long-term goal since 2013 of reaching waist-length by the end of 2015)

Here are my challenges:
  • Use Up Your Stash 2014
  • 2014 Deep Condition Challenge
  • Nail Your Regimen 2014
  • Setting to Success 2014
  • Hide Your Hair 2014 / Wig Challenge 2014
  • Waist Length Challenge 2015

What are your personal hair goals for 2014?  What are you doing to accomplish them?