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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