Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Favorites

Hey, beautiful people!  Merry Christmas and a happy new year (in advance)!  The end of the year is here, so it is time for my annual list of favorites.  This year, there were a few surprises for me because the products were not on my radar till I tried them.  Of course there were also some reoccurring favorites:

Moisturizing, Light Protein Deep Conditioners:
- Silk Dreams Mocha Silk Infusion
- Silk Dreams Shea What Therapeutic Conditioning Masque


Rinse Out Conditioner

Leave-in Conditioners & Moisturizers
- ORI Essentials Leave-in

Gels (for bunning and wash n’ go)

Braid & Twist Creams

Heat Stylers

Oils & Mix-ins
- Silk Amino Acids

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Black Friday Aftermath 2016

Hey, beautiful people!  Looking at my Black Friday purchases, I didn’t do half as much damage as I have in years past, and my purchases were more focused this year.  I think the further I get into my healthy hair journey, the less of a product junkie I become (though I still have some product junkie in me):

Oyin Handmade (saved $27.30 / 30%) – total $63.67
- Hair Dew (1 Liter)
- 2 Free Hair Samples
- Whipped Shea Butter Rich Almond Scent (for body)
- After Bath Body Oil in Rich Almond Scent (for body)
- Black Nerds Unite T-shirt

Naturalsis72 (saved $23.80 / 20% + free shipping) – total $65.20
- 2 Satin Lined Hats
- 2 Satin Scrunchies
- 1 Satin Scarf Hood

Curlmart (saved $79.58 / 25% + 15%) – total $174.87
- As I Am Coil Defining Jelly (8 oz.)
- As I Am Curling Jelly Coil and Curl Definer (8 oz.)
- As I Am Leave-In Conditioner (8 oz.)
- Camille Rose Naturals Aloe Whipped Butter Gel (8 oz.)
- Camille Rose Naturals Cocoa Nibs & Honey Ultimate Growth Serum (8 oz.)
- Camille Rose Naturals Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment (8 oz.)
- Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker Marshmallow and Agave Leaf Extract (12 oz.)
- Camille Rose Naturals Moroccan Pear Conditioning Custard (12 oz.)
- Camille Rose Naturals Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse (12 oz.)
- Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Sulfate-Free Shampoo (12 oz.)
- Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion (12 oz.)
- EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea Curl Defining Creme (16 oz.)
- Mielle Organics Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner (8 oz.)
- Mielle Organics Moisturizing Avocado Hair Milk (8 oz.)
- SheaMoisture Superfruit Complex 10-In-1 Renewal System Hair Masque (12 oz.)
- Soultanicals Mango Dip Detangling Slip (8 oz.)
- The Original Curly Tee Towel - Xtra Long
- Free Sample - Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-in Conditioner Packette (0.6 oz.)
- Free Sample - Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Styling Gel Packette (0.6 oz.)
- Free Sample - Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper Original Packette (1 oz.)

Total Spent - $303.74

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Silk Dreams Battle of the Butters (The Braiding Files #9)

Hey, beautiful people!  Happy Thanksgiving!  This post is long overdue, so I decided to type while I am waiting for all the things in the oven to finish cooking, may daughter is taking a nap and my hubby is watching football. 

As you already know, Silk Dreams Haircare is one of my favorite brands.  So, when they had a sale a while ago, I picked up three of the moisturizing butters:  the Who’s That Curl? Buttersilk Balm; the Satin Smooth Hair Cream; and the Almond Buttercream.  There is also a Mocha Silk Bling Butter, but I prefer a butter that has water as the first moisturizer and it has mango butter as the first ingredient, followed by a series of other butters and oils.

I have been using all three butters for a few months to see how my hair reacts each one.  Surprisingly, the ingredients are very different, but my hair reacts similarly to two of the butters and not that much different for the third.  I wanted to make sure that they remained similar long term.  They did not.

  • Price:  All 3 are $12 for 4 oz., which seems a little pricey, but a little goes a long way.  Thus, these butters end up lasting as long as some cheaper products, if not longer.

  • Ingredients:  All 3 have great, quality ingredients.  Who’s The Curl and Almond Buttercream both have water as the first ingredient, which is likely why they work better for my hair.  Satin Smooth has aloe vera juice as the first ingredient, but is the better butter for people who do not like glycerin.  It is the only one without any.  Who’s That Curl has glycerin as the third ingredient, and Almond Buttercream has it as the 9th.  Who’s That Curl is the only one with BTMS, and silk amino acids (two of my hair loves).  Almond Buttercream has hydrolyzed silk protein, but it is way down on the ingredient list.

  • Scent:  All 3 have a nice scent.  I have yet to find a bad smelling Silk Dreams Haircare product.  The Almond Buttercream has my favorite of the 3 scents though.

  • Consistency:  Who’s That Curl is a whipped butter.  It reminds me a lot of Embrace The Natural You’s Twist Truffle Whip.  Almond Buttercream is an oily cream (you have to shake it on occasion to mix it up).  Satin Smooth is a gel, oil cream consistency that is hard to describe (you have to vigorously shake this one to keep it together).

  • Verdict:  It is a close call between Almond Buttercream and Who’s That Curl as to which one is my favorite.  If I had to go by which one I am using up the fastest, it would be the Almond Buttercream, but I still really love the Who’s That Curl.  The Satin Smooth is nice, but it left my hair a little dry/hard after a few hours.

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Detangling Tools

Hey, beautiful people!  With Michigan winter coming soon, I am moving back into more protective
styling, which means more shed hairs get trapped close to my roots and I get more tangling. I have to be careful when detangling because, even though my hair is high density, it is also very fine in most areas.   Thus, typically, I just finger detangle 1-2 times per week.  Every few months, however, I do a more thorough detangling session.

For those more thorough sessions, here are my favorite tools:

  1. A good rinse out or leave-in conditioner with a lot of slip.  I like Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditioner; Herbal Essence Totally Twisted Conditioner; Silk Dreams Wheat Germ Butter Conditioner; and Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Conditioner.  I have also used Oyin Hair Dew with my oil mix to get the job done.

  2. A wide tooth comb.  After finger detangling and putting my hair in sections, I next use the wide tooth comb to get out the more easier tangles.  I have two Hercules Sagemann Magic Star Rake Combs that I really like because they are seamless.  However, sometimes I just use one of my $4 Diane or Annie Jumbo Rake Combs.  They are not seamless, but I have never had a problem with them.

  3. Paddle Brush.  After going through a section with a wide tooth comb, I go in with my Conair Paddle Brush to get out the remaining tangles and some of the loose shed hairs that I missed with finger detangling and my wide tooth comb.  I have the old school square wooden handle one.  I am not sure that they make still make it because I no longer see it in stores, but the plastic and "velvet touch" handle ones are pretty much the same.  The only downside about my Conair is that it is big, which makes it hard to get close to my roots.  I may try the Wet Brush as it appears a bit smaller.

  4. Tangle Teaser Or Similar Brush.  This is my final step before braiding up the detangled section.  I don't have a Tangle Teaser.  I have a Goody Tangle Fix, which looks the same to me; is cheaper; and works great.  This is good for getting any knots out of my ends, and for getting final shed hairs out of the length of my hair.  I am careful with this brush, however, because I have had heard of other ladies getting mid-shaft splits.

I have tried some other tools, based on their rave reviews from the natural hair community, but they just did not work for my hair:
  • Denman brush - I bought the original D3; the D41 with more widely spaced bristles; and a D4 (nine row).  All of them just ripped my hair out.  I could literally hear my hair ripping, as I tried to pull the brush through.

  • Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush - I bought this brush because one of my favorite YouTubers raved about it.  When it arrived, the edges of each bristle were jagged and uneven (see picture).  I looked at it and instantly knew I could not use it in my hair without causing some serious damage.  

  • Evolve Dual Sided Boar/Paddle Brush - The paddle brush side worked ok, but not as smoothly as my Conair Paddle Brush.  There was some definite ripping when I ran it through my hair.

What do you use to detangle?
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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Black Friday Thoughts in September

Hey, beautiful people!  I know it's a little early, but Black Friday is already crossing my mind.  This year may not be that exciting because there isn't really much I need, even with keeping my daughter's head in mind too.  In looking back over the past two years, I typically use about:
  • 6 deep conditioners
  • 2 shampoos / cleansers
  • 7 rinse out conditioners
  • 9 leave-ins / moisturizers 
  • 2-3 gels (including bun & wash n' go gels)
  • 3-5 braid & twist creams/butters
  • <1 heat styler
  • 1-2 oils (I run through oils slowly)

It's kind of embarrassing to admit it, but I have all of this in my product stash already, except the rinse out conditioners.  I currently have 39 products in my stash, with 4 more on their way to my house. I recently purchased products from both Silk Dreams Hair Care and Camille Rose.

So, this Black Friday, I may just pick up a couple deep conditioners if there is a good sale, and buy some more Camille Rose products with my daughter's hair in mind.  My daughter's hair loves the Camille Rose Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment (as a leave-in) and the Carmel Cowash.  I also want to try the Moroccan Pear Conditioning Custard (if I catch a good deal), and get a back-up Curl Maker gel and Aloe Whipped Butter Gel for myself.

Am I the only one with Black Friday on the brain already?

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

08-21-2016 Wash Day (Wetline Extreme Gel)

Hey, beautiful people!  I am really late in posting about my last wash day, but I still wanted to post so that I remember what I did.

Yet again, I forgot to do my deep conditioner overnight, so I decided to do a clay wash this time.  I washed my hair with Naturalicious Moroccan Rhassoul 5-in-1 Clay Treatment.  In full disclaimer, I know the owner of the company and I got this bottle for free when I attended one of her events.  That being said, it doesn't affect the way I review the product.  This was the second time I tried out this product.   The first time, I purchased the clay wash years ago and I had a hard time maneuvering the product while trying to wash my hair in the shower because it is somewhat runny.  This time, I figured it out and I really liked the way it made my hair feel, especially since I didn't deep condition.  My hair felt cleansed, but not stripped, and it was buttery soft.

When I got out the shower, I put Oyin Hair Dew on my hair as my leave-in.  Then, I used Wetline Extreme Gel to do my wash n' go.  As this is a thicker gel, like Eco Styler, I used the shingle method.  Then, I put my hair up in a turbie twist to absorb some of the excess water and speed up the drying process, while I got dressed.  Finally, I put a couple hair pins at my crown and just let it hang while I went about my day.

I loved my results!  The wetline reminds me of my pink eco styler, but with a stronger hold; and reminds me of the krystal eco styler hold but without the flakes. It's the best of both worlds. The only problem is that it still takes forever to dry because it is so thick. It took about 2 days. I'm going to see if I can get it down to 1 by using less gel. If so, this may be right up there with my Camille Rose Curl Maker and Uncle Funky's Daughter Curly Magic.

Total Wash & Styling Time - 25 minutes

The picture on the left is wet hair.  
The picture on the right is day 2 of my wash n' go, after it dried.

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Power Product Line Review: Uncle Funky’s Daughter

Hey, beautiful people!  If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you already know that I love Uncle Funky’s Daughter’s Curly Magic gel for my wash n’gos.  I also love it for my buns.  As I mentioned in my pre-Black Friday post, I have been trying to find one line that I can rock for all or most of my products, and I have narrowed it down to about three lines:  Silk Dreams Hair Care, Camille Rose Naturals and Uncle Funky’s Daughter.  Thus, I recently bought some more products from the Uncle Funky’s Daughter Product Line.  Here is the break down of how I feel about this line:

Love It
  • Curly Magic Curl Stimulator gel ($25/18oz) – I think I have posted enough reviews of my wash n’ gos with this gel that you already know why I love it.  This gel is so slippery that I’m even able to detangle with it.  I can rake it through my hair, rather than shingling, which makes for a faster wash n’ go.  Also, for really neat buns, I will rake it through my hair before putting my hair up.  This gel rocks!  For those that are Camille Rose Curl Maker fans or fans of Sweet Soul Magic’s gel, this is very similar to me.

  • Rich & Funky Shampoo ($16.50/8oz) – This shampoo cleanses my hair without drying it out.  Also, a little goes a long way.

  • Extra Butter Brilliant Shine Creme ($22/8oz) – I previously reviewed this product here in a battle of the butters.  This is a very light butter, so be careful what leave-in you use underneath it.  It leaves my braids and braid outs shiny with a moisturizing leave-in conditioner.  It also gives my braid outs definition.  If you like the Qhemet Biologic’s Burdock Root Butter Cream or Camille Rose’s Almond Jai Twisting Butter or Aloe Whipped Butter Gel, you may like this.
Like It
  • Midnite Train Leave-in Conditioner ($11/8oz) – If I liked liquid leave-ins, I would probably re-purchase this again.  It gives my hair moisture and softness.

  • SuperCurl Miracle Moisturizing Creme ($22/8oz) – I previously reviewed this product here, and in my battle of the butters here.  This is a very, very light moisturizing cream.  It is so thin that it feels like water when I rub it between my fingers, but it has some good ingredients.  Like the Extra Butter,it leaves my braids and braid outs shiny with a moisturizing leave-in conditioner.  It also gives my braid outs definition.  It reminds me of a thing version of Jane Carter’s Curl Defining Cream.
Leave It
  • Thirsty Curls Leave-in Curl Revitalizer ($15/8oz) – I am not a big fan of liquid leave-ins or “curl revitalizers” because I make my own oil-water mix.  Also, while this works similar to Midnight Train, it is not as moisturizing, and does not smell as good. 

  • Good Hair Conditioning Styling Creme ($18/8oz) – I previously posted a review on this product here.  While I feel like I should have liked this product, I just could not and gave it away.  It is was like a liquid version of Supercurl, which is good, but it literally caused bees to chase me at the zoo and the gas station.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Battle of the Butters: Uncle Funky’s Daughter Supercurl and Extra Butter (The Braiding Files #8)

Hey, beautiful people!  As I went through my braiding challenge, one of the creams that I came across was Uncle Funky’s Daughter Supercurl.  Then, because I liked Uncle Funky’s Daughter’s shampoo, gel and Supercurl, I decided to purchase a sampling of other Uncle Funky’s Daughter products and do a head-to-head between the Supercurl and the Extra Butter.  I’ll do a power product review of the other products from the line at a later date.

For my head-to-head, I did a few braided styles, that later turned into braid outs, with Supercurl on the right side of my head and Extra Butter on the left.  Both the Supercurl and the Extra Butter give me a lot of shine and some hold.  However, I noticed that the moisture level in my hair, after using them, really depended on the leave-in I used under these products.  I needed a heavier, moisturizing leave-in because these are both very light.  For example, when I used Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter, my hair was incredibly soft for days, in addition to having shine.  The day after I used the products with Camille Rose, I kept touching my braid out because I literally could not believe how soft my hair was.  For my previous review of Supercurl, I was using the Silk Dreams Wheat Germ Butter Conditioner, and you can see how great my hair looked here.  When I used Oyin Hair Dew, which is a little lighter, my hair was not as moisturized and the shine was a little less.

I also tried using them together with Oyin Hair Dew because I read a couple reviews where people mixed the two together.  This made my hair much softer than using either product alone.  The downside to this, however, is that I would have to buy two products, instead of one.

Consistency:  The Extra Butter wins in this category.  It is a cross between a light butter and a cream.  The Supercurl has the consistency of goop or paste, without the stickiness.  Also, when I rubbed Supercurl between my fingers and when I put it on my hair, it was very thin and watery; so, the first time I tried it, I wondered if it would be able to do anything.

Ingredients:  For me, this is a tie.  The ingredients in both are ok, though there are a couple that give me pause because I just don’t know as much about them:
  • Supercurl Ingredients:  Water, Soybean Oil, Glycerin, Coconut Oil, Honey, Polymide-1, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Shea Butter, Fragrance, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Glyceryl Stearate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Olive Fruit Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Macadamia Seed Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Caramel.

  • Extra Butter Ingredients:  Water, Coconut Oil, Glycerin, Palm Kernel Oil, Shea Butter, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sweet Almond Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Fragrance, Potassium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Tetrasodium EDTA.

Scent:  Supercurl wins this category by a slim margin.  It has a slightly sweet smell, while Extra Butter is a more chemical smell; but, both smell ok.  

Verdict:  They are very similar in how they make my hair look and feel.  If I had to pick one, however, I would pick the Extra Butter because of its consistency.  It is a little thicker, which makes it a little easier to smooth out potential flyaways. 
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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ingredient Investigation: PVP (Polyvinyl Pyrolidone)

Hey, beautiful people!  Lately, I have been using Krystal Eco Styler Gel, instead of my favorite Pink Eco Styler Gel, to see if it gives me a better hold.  The Krystal has a 10 hold rating on the jar, while the Pink has an 8.  The Krystal does have a little better hold, but I have also noticed that I sometimes get white or light brown flakes, or it leaves white residue in my hair.  This did not happen with the Pink.  In looking at the ingredients in the Pink vs. Krystal, the difference is that the Krystal has PVP, and the Pink does not.  It made me curious enough to go hunting to find out more about PVP.

According to Truth In Aging, PVP is used in cosmetics and beauty products as a thickening agent, binder, film former, emulsion stabilizer, suspending agent and hair fixative.  In other words, it is great at holding things together.  For hair, it creates a thin film that bonds to the hair and holds it in place. 

According to Wikipedia, when dry, PVP is a light, flaky hydroscopic (water-absorbing) powder. It can absorb 40% of its weight in water from the atmosphere. Perhaps the dry form is why I sometimes have visible flakes.

It also seems safe to use.  The Environmental Working Group has rated it as a 1 on its health hazard rating scale, which is the lowest ranking. While it has been linked to cancer in some studies, it is not likely to be a human carcinogen. Indeed, the FDA has approved its use in pharmaceutical tablets because of its ability to pass through the body when ingested or absorbed.  Citrus fruits are also sometimes coated with PVP.  As another random fact, it was initially used as a blood plasma substitute.

In other words, don’t freak out if you see PVP in your products, but beware that it might cause flakes, depending on what it is paired with and the weather.
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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Product Review: Obia Haircare Twist Whip Butter (The Braiding Files #7)

Hey, beautiful people.  This post is really overdue because I tried this butter in the winter, but I forgot to post a review until now.

Price:  $18 for 8 oz

Ingredients:  Purified Water Extracts: Aloe Vera Oil and Lavender Oil and Lemongrass Oil; Unrefined Shea Butter, Palm Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Castor Seed Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Mango Butter, Cetyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Tucuma Seed Butter, Soybean Oil, Vitamin E, Gluconolactone and Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance.

Promise:  From the website - A triple treat of unrefined Shea Butter, Tucuma Butter and Mango Butter to intensely moisturize, seal, add shine and protect your hair.  Twist Whip Butter is also packed with the essential oils of Lemongrass and Lavender to strengthen and promote hair growth. Ideal for creating beautiful braids, twists and locks.

Scent: Perfumed soap / light floral

Consistency:  Light Butter

Results:   The consistency of this product is just a little heavier than Camille Rose’s Almond Jai Twisting Butter.  Though this is a lighter butter, it was still too much for my hair and it sat on top of my hair.  However, my daughter’s hair (which is a higher porosity) likes it.  I typically use it as a sealant after putting a lot of water and a liquid moisturizer or leave-in on her hair.  It leaves her hair feeling soft, and keeps her hair moisturized for a couple days.  Even though it works for my daughter’s hair, I wouldn’t repurchase it because we have products that work better for us both.

Love it, Like it or Leave It:  Leave It

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Monday, July 4, 2016

07-04-2016 Wash Day - Quick High Bun

Hey, beautiful people!   Because it is a holiday and I was feeling lazy, I wasn't really in the mood to wash my hair, but I had to because I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning at a waterpark full of chlorine.

First, the moment I got home on Saturday, I put Silk Dreams Mocha Silk Infusion on my hair to deep condition.  I meant to wash my hair that night, but it didn't happen on Saturday or Sunday, so the deep conditioner was in my hair for a day and a half.  This is a good protein deep conditioner, but it is on the border of almost being too much protein for my strands.  I like some of the other Silk Dreams conditioners better, like the Silk Dreams Vanilla Silk Moisture Dream deep conditioner.

This morning, I washed my hair with Aubrey Organics Swimmer's Shampoo.  This is still my favorite swimmer shampoo because it is both chelating and clarifying.   Next, I tried the Herbal Essence The Sleeker The Butter Smoothing Conditioner on one section of my hair, but this did not work well for me.  It had little slip on my hair and did not soften my hair at all.  This surprised me because it worked well for my daughter's hair.  It gave it slip and made it incredibly soft.  However, I'm pretty sure her hair is closer to high porosity than mine.  

Because the conditioner did not work, I finished off the other three sections with Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditioner, my holy grail conditioner.  When I got out of the shower, I put Oyin Hair Dew and my oil mix on my hair, then I put my hair in a high bun with Eco Styler Krystal gel.  It will probably stay wet for a few days in the middle.

Total Styling time - 20 minutes

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

06-26-2016 Wash Day - Eco Styler Krystal Gel Wash 'N Go

Hey, beautiful people!  I am in the process of wrapping up the last of my reviews from my braiding challenge, and then I will post the recap.

Summer is back, and so are my wash 'n gos.  Today, because it was going to be over 90 degrees, I decided it would be a good day to re-try doing an Eco Styler wash n' go.

First, I accidentally deep conditioned my hair for two days using the Silk Dreams Mocha Silk Infusion (I'll do a review later).  Then, I washed my hair with Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Shampoo, and conditioned/detangled with Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditioner.  When I got out the shower, I decided to do something different from my normal practice because of how thick Eco Styler is.

When I got out the shower, I left my hair dripping wet.  I did not towel dry at all.  Next, I applied my Oyin Hair Dew and Eco Styler Krystal Gel in 4 sections on the left side, and 6 sections on the right side.  However, instead of raking the gel through my hair like last time, I decided to shingle because of the thickness of Eco Styler.  I also used literally gobs of gel to the point that I thought it would all still be stuck together when it dried.  Afterward, I sat outside in 91 degree weather to jump start the drying process, and lightly shook my head periodically to loosen the curls.

My wash n' go was wonderful! I had great definition, shine and hang time, though I had less volume.  This is a great wash n' go for when I want a more "tamed" style.  It also dawned on me today that I have reached my curly length hair goal (shoulder-length curly), though I have decided to keep growing my hair for now.

Total wash & style time - 41 mins (24 mins spent on shingling).

I don't post videos on YouTube, so here is a video of someone else doing the shingling method, though I applied about double the gel.

Post Edited 7/3/16My hair was still wet on Tuesday (3 days later). Also, because I used so much gel, I got goop under my fingernails when I touched my scalp, and I also got white residue on my edges. It finally fully dried Wednesday (day 4), but it was time to put it up.  Thus, I do not think Eco Styler gel is right for me as a wash n go gel.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Camille Rose Battle of the Butters (The Braiding Files #6)

Hey, beautiful people!  I have loved Camille Rose’s Almond Jai Twisting Butter since the early days of my natural journey.  Then, when I discovered the Aloe Whipped Butter Gel, I really liked that too, so it was only fitting that I do a head-to-head as part of my braiding challenge.  However, since I also bought the Camille Rose Coconut Water Style Setter as part of my Black Friday haul, I decided to a head-to-head-to-head.

All three butters left my hair feeling moisturized, but they each gave my hair a different feeling.  The Coconut Water Style Setter left my hair more frizzy and feeling coarse. 

The Almond Jai Twisting Butter worked best with my hair either already damp or spritzed with water first, and it took longer to absorb into my hair.  My hair stayed moisturized longer with the Almond Jai than with the Coconut Water Style Setter, but the Almond Jai takes a long time to absorb into my hair.

The Aloe Whipped Butter Gel is definitely my favorite after this challenge, but Almond Jai is a very close second.  The Almond Jai and Aloe Whipped Butter Gel give my hair the same amount of sheen.  However, the Butter Gel is the lightest of the three butters, and it absorbs easily into my hair.  The only downside is that, despite gel being in the name, there is very little hold.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wash Day 06-19-2016 (Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil line)

Hey, beautiful people!  It's summer, so I am going to try my best to do recaps of my wash days again.  My sister is visiting for a couple weeks, and she brought products from Shea Moisture's Jamaican Black Castor Oil line with her, so I decided to try them.   I previously reviewed the edge treatment here.

For this wash day, I forgot to deep condition beforehand again; so, my wash day just started off with a shampoo.  I washed my hair in four sections, shampooing and then detangling each section with conditioner.  I used the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow and Restore Shampoo and my Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditioner.  The shampoo was not bad and not good, just ok.  It did not leave my hair feeling stripped, but I didn't necessarily feel like my hair was clean either.   Also, my eyes itched a little while I was washing my hair, but I can't say for certain that it was the shampoo that did it.  I would need to try it gain to be certain, and I don't think I'm going to try it again.

After my shampoo and condition, I dried my hair lightly with a regular towel.  Yes, I know this is a no-no in the curly girl bible, but I just scrunched my hair, making sure I didn't rough up my cuticles.  Next, I put in the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen Grow & Restore Leave-In Conditioner.  This leave-in conditioner is surprisingly light, especially because it is in a jar.  It is the consistency of a very thin lotion.  Because it is so light, I was worried that it would not be enough, so I also used Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter.  Then, I put my damp hair in two cornrows to dry. 

Total wash and styling time:  ~30 minutes
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Monday, June 6, 2016

Hair Tool Review: Straightening Brush (Straightening Attempt #2)

Hey, beautiful people!  I have been saying for awhile that I would try straightening my hair again after my last epic fail.  If you are as hair obsessed as I am, then you have probably noticed that the new thing on the market is straightening brushes.  They range in price from $30 to $99.  I saw one on Groupon, and decided to try it.  I figured, at $26, I could trash it if I hated it.

To start off, I washed my hair with Carol’s Daughter BlackVanilla Shampoo, and conditioned with Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditioner.  Next, I used Oyin Hair Dew as my leave-in.  Finally, because I am in the middle of a battle of the butters, I used Camille Rose Coconut Water Style Setter on the left side of my hair and Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter on the right.  I braided up my hair in two cornrows and let it sit all day Saturday and Sunday to dry.

On Sunday night, I detangled my hair section by section with a wide tooth comb first, and then with my large square paddle brush.  As I have learned from others, detangling is crucial.  For my heat protectants, I used Carol’s Daughter Chocolat Blow Dry Cream and It’s A 10 Leave-in.  Then, I used the straightening brush, running it slowly down each section, and holding the ends taunt until the brush reached near the end.  I started using the straightener at 210 degrees Celsius (410 Fahrenheit), and then decreased to 200 degrees (392 Fahrenheit) when I realized that I got the same results.

Overall, I love the ease of using this tool.  It is as easy as brushing your hair, and I got my whole head done (including thorough detangling) in an hour and a half!  It did not get my hair silk press swinging straight, but it did get it very straight with just a little bit of texture, and it is incredibly soft.  Some people are able to get the same results from a blow dryer, but I never have because I am blow dryer challenged.  So, this is a win for me.

The only downside to this tool for me was the cheap nature of the materials.  It took about 4 tries for me to get it to turn on.  Then, when I did, it kept turning itself off periodically.  Also, one of the brush sticks and 11 of the little red nubs fell off as I was straightening my hair.  One of the nubs even fell down the back of my shirt (not pleasant).  I also didn't realize that the degrees would be in Celsius when I purchased this.

I do plan to do this again, but I may buy a new straightening brush before I do.  Some of the ladies on Long Hair Care Forum have gotten good results from this one.


Blog Post Addition (6/19/2016) - For those of you that asked, I ultimately purchased the Acevivi Hair Straightener Brush because it does not have nubs.  When I try it out, I will post a review.  Also, in case you are wondering, yes, my curls came back when I washed my hair.

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Wash Day 05-29-2016 (Mop Top Citrus Kumquat Curly Hair Custard Wash N Go)

Hey, beautiful people!  Given the long weekend and the fact that summer has finally come to Michigan, I decided to do a wash n’ go with a product that has been sitting in my product stash for most of the winter – Mop Top’s Curly Hair Custard.

I forgot to do an overnight deep conditioner, and I didn’t have time to hop in and out of the shower; so, there was no deep conditioner this week.  First, I washed my hair with Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Shampoo.  This shampoo continues to be a favorite of mine.  It cleans my hair without stripping it, as long as I don’t use too much.

Next, I conditioned and detangled my hair with Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditioner.  It is not often that I call something a holy grail product, but this one is one.

Finally, I used Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion as my leave-in (another holy grail product), and put the Mop Top Curly Hair Custard on top.  The Mop Top went in easily.  It has a lot of slip and a little goes a long way.  In that regard, it reminds me of Kinky Curly’s Curling Custard.  It doesn’t leave my hands with the same sticky feeling as the Kinky Curl; however, maybe it should.  Apparently, Mop Top has little hold, which is not good given that at least 4 of the top 5 ingredients are humectants (aloe vera, glycerin, honey and pectin).  When my hair dried, it frizzed, shrunk significantly and uneven, and took flight.  In short, I looked a hot mess.  To make matters worse, this stuff flakes horribly.  I was wearing a black shirt, and it looked it snowed on my shoulders.  The next day, my hair looked even worse. 

I do not plan to use this product again.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Battle of the Edge Controls Part 2

Hey, beautiful people!  So, despite the outcome of my last battle of the edge controls, I decided to try again.  This time, I only tried seven products (two not pictured).  While I’m still not convinced that anything beats Eco Styler, I did learn that wax gel seems to work well for me.  Here are my new tries from most liked to least:
  1.  Clear Eco Styler Gel ($6 for 16 oz)  – This performs very similar to the pink Eco Styler gel that I previously reviewed.  As with the pink, I have to tie a scarf on my head because the gel takes some time to dry.  I also have to apply a lot of this product to get a good hold, but it will last all day and maybe even a second day.  The only downside to applying a lot is that it can make my hair hard.

  2. Gorilla Earwax Wet Look ($9 for 3.52 oz) – This is made by the same company that makes Gorilla Snot Gel, but it is better.  I really like this, except for the cologne-type smell.  I felt like it made me smell a little like a man, though my hubby said he couldn’t smell anything.  It gives me all day hold (maybe even two days), but I have to be careful not to use too much or it might dry yellow.  Also, like EcoStyler, this dries a little hard.  In other words, a little goes a very long way. 

  3. Murray’s Edgewax ($6 for 4 oz) (pictured on left) – This product reminds me of old school hair grease, but it has hold!  This and the extreme hold version perform very similar and look similar.  However, this one is easy to spread, especially if I apply it to slightly damp hair.  The first time I tried this, it lasted for less time than the extreme hold version.  However, the second time I used it, I used more and it lasted for about the same amount of time (almost a full day); so, the trick is figuring out how much to use.  I do like that it has no scent, and the results are instantaneous.  It also left my hair feeling soft.

  4. Murray’s Edgewax Extreme Hold ($7 for 4 oz) (pictured on right) – Almost everything I said for the regular version is true for this one, but it is difficult to spread.  It is a very thick wax.  I had to rub it in my hands to soften it and thin it out before I could apply it to my hair; and, even then, sometimes I ended up with chunks of wax in my hair.  I wish there was a middle consistency that was a little heavier than the regular version and a little lighter than this one.

  5. Hicks Transformations Edges ($12 for 4 oz) – This reminded me a lot of the Cream of Nature Perfect Edges.  It instantaneously slicked my edges down, but it didn’t last long at all.  Also, it is fairly pricey.  At the only beauty supply store near me that carries it, they keep it behind the counter.

  6. Lotta Body Control Me Edge Gel ($4 for 2.25 oz) - This reminded me a lot of the Cream of Nature Perfect Edges.  It instantaneously slicked my edges down, but it didn’t last long and it left white residue in my hair.

  7. Design Essentials Honey & Shea Edge Tamer ($12 for 2.3 oz) – My hair laughed at this one.  It did not slick my edges at all, and it was pricey.

I’m tempted to try to make my own wax gel, so that I can choose the gel to wax ratio, keeping it easier to smooth but with a lot of strength.

Do you have any recommendations for wax gels, or edge tamers that are similar to wax gel?

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Power Product Line Review: Camille Rose Naturals

Hi, beautiful people!  As I mentioned in my Black Friday post from last year, I’ve been thinking about transitioning to almost exclusively using one product line.  If you followed my blog during my wash n’ go challenge, you know that I really like the Camille Rose Curl Maker Gel.     
Since I like the gel and two of the twisting butters, Camille Rose was a strong contender, so I bought a nice chunk of products in a Black Friday haul.  Here is a review of the products that I’ve tried thus far from my haul, in order of preference.  Overall, Camille Rose knocks it out of the park on cleansers and butters, and I feel in love with the growth serum.  However, none of their leave-ins worked for me.

  • Cocoa Nibs & Honey Ultimate Growth Serum ($16 / 8 oz.) – This is now one of my favorite Camille Rose products.  It actually makes me break my dislike of oil mixes.  It is light enough that it works well on my low porosity hair, while still being able to seal moisture in.  As an added bonus, it has hair growing products.
  • Caramel Cowash ($14 / 8 oz.) – It is a close call between this product and the Cocoa Nibs for which one I love the best.  Ultimately, I chose the serum because the bottle will last longer.  This co-wash is amazing, but it will go fast because I have a lot of hair.  In addition to the Camille Rose heavenly scent, it has amazing slip and makes my hair feel like butter, while still being able to clean my hair.  It is also gentle enough to cleanse and condition my 18-month old daughter’s hair, despite her sensitive scalp.
  • Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment ($20 / 8 oz.) – I was so surprised by how well this worked on my hair as a deep conditioner.  Every time I used it, it soften up my hair and left it feeling like butter when I washed it out.  My only pause is that I don’t see any protein in it, and I know my hair needs protein over time.
  • Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse ($11 / 12 oz.) - This is one of the few Camille Rose products that I've tried that does not smell like a sweet dessert.  It cleanses my hair without stripping it, and it has incredible slip.  Plus, a little goes a long way and it is cheaper per ounce than the other Camille Rose cleansers.  For people who think a cleanser should foam, this does that too.

    • Nourishing Cream Cleanser ($11 / 8 oz.) – This is a holiday limited edition product.  It reminds me of a watery version of the Carmel Cowash.  It smells heavenly, has amazing slip and it cleanses my hair without stripping it, but I have other cleansers that I can get year-round that I like just as much.
    • Coconut Water "Style Setter" ($15 / 8 oz.) – I was torn on this product as a styler.  It is very similar to the Camille Rose Almond Jai Twist Butter in the way it works on my hair.  It moisturizes, but there was little definition and sheen.  However, on one sleep deprived night, I accidentally attempted to use this product as an overnight deep conditioner.  It left my hair sooo soft when I washed it out.  I put it in the like it, as opposed to love it, because it isn’t performing the function it is supposed to.

    • Nourishing Cream Leave In ($13 / 8 oz.) - This is a holiday limited edition product, and I have no desire to ever buy it again.  I tried it both right after a shower and on wet hair, and it left my bone dry.
    • Ajani Growth and Shine Balm ($12 / 4 oz.) – I have already reviewed this here.

    I’ve also reviewed a few other Camille Rose products on my page, so feel free to check those out too.  I also hope to do a battle of the Camille Rose butters soon.

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