Sunday, December 24, 2017

2017-12-24 Wash Day: As I Am Curling Jelly & New Wash N' Go Technique

Hello Beautiful People!  I'm so excited!  I got a good wash n' go by doing something I didn't think would work, while trying to use up products.  

I started with deep conditioning with Mielle Organics Babassu Oil and Mint Deep Conditioner.  This deep conditioner has been a life saver and has reached holy grail status because I lose less hair on wash day, and my hair is noticeably thicker and stronger.  

My hair didn't really need a wash, so I just rinsed out the deep conditioner while detangling my hair.  Next, because I wash my hair in four sections, that is how I applied my products.  I used Oyin Hair Dew as my leave-in, followed by Camille Rose Cocoa Nibs and Honey Ultimate Growth Serum, then DevaCurl Supercream.  To style, I raked gobs of As I Am Curling Jelly through a section, then very loosely twisted and put a white curling rod on it.  Then I moved on to the next section.  My hair is low porosity and takes literally days to dry, so I wasn't worried about this turning into a twistout.  The only reason I twisted is because the As I Am Curling Jelly gives me no hold, and I watched this woman on YouTube twist her hair temporarily to get length and clumping.

After about an hour in the twists, I took them out to let my curls dry.   My hair is the most defined it has been in awhile!!  (I've been struggling with lots of frizz.)  This is particularly impressive given the gel I used.  I still have super shrinkage because As I Am Curling Jelly has no weight, but I'm ok with that.  Shrinkage makes it look like my low-medium density hair has more volume.

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Black Friday Aftermath (2017)

Hey Beautiful People!

As I was updating my product stash for 2018, I realized that I never did a Black Friday aftermath.  That was, in part, because some of my products just showed up this week...  This year, I completely ignored my original Black Friday intentions, returned to my usual product junkie ways, and bought way more than I intended.  However, I did stick primarily to four of my favorite brands:  Oyin Handmade, Mielle Organics, Camille Rose, As I Am Naturally, and Curl Junkie.  However, I do want to try out more Ayurvedic products this year, so I bought some products from an Ayurvedic etsy store -- Jakeala.  Here is a list of what I ultimatley bought:

Oyin Handmade
- Oyin Hair Dew x2
- Oyin Ginger Mint Co-wash
- Oyin Oh My Glide Prestyling Detangler
- Oyin Shine & Define (to gift away)

Mielle Organics
- Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner x5
- Pomegranate & Honey Hair Smoothie
- Pomegranate & Honey Leave-in Conditioner
- Pomegranate & Honey Curling Custard
- Pomegranate & Honey Twisting Souffle
- White Peoney Leave-in Conditioner (for daughter)
- Avocado Moisturizing Hair Milk x3 (came with Mielle Organics Babassu Conditioning Shampoo samples x2)

Camille Rose
- Curl Love Moisture Milk
- Fresh Curl Revitalizing Hair Smoother
- Cocoa Nibs & Honey Ultimate Growth Serum

As I Am Natuurally
- Leave-in Conditioner
- So Much Moisture Hydrating Lotion
- Coil Defining Jelly x2 (for daughter)
- Doublebutter Cream
- Coconut Cowash

Curl Junkie
- Daily Fix
- Beauticurls Argan & Olive Oil Daily Hair Conditioner
- Pattern Pusha Hair Styling Gel
- Hibiscus & Banana Deep Fix
- Smoothing Daily Hair Conditioner, 
- Coffee & Cocoa Hair Cream
- Curls in a Bottle Hair Styling Solution

- Keratin Protein Hair Conditioner
- Sweet Honey Moroccan Rhassoul Hair Mask 
- Amla Shea Hair Parfait with Eucalyptus Mint Essential Oil
- Flaxseed Hair Gel
- Sweet Thang Hair Caramel
- Matcha Green Tea Hair Mask
- Apple Cider Vinegar Cleanser Shampoo

- Uncle Funky’s Daughter Extra Butter
- Sunny Isle Lavender Jamaican Black Castor Oil
- Jane Carter Curls to Go Curl Cocktail
- Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditioner x3
- Herbal Essence Totally Twisted Conditioner
- Alikay Naturals Moisture Rich Hair Parfait (for daughter)
- Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave-in Conditioner 

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Black Friday Thoughts (2017 Edition)

Hey, beautiful people!  Like last year, 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:
  • 4-6 deep conditioners
  • 2 shampoos / cleansers
  • 7 rinse out conditioners
  • 9 leave-ins / moisturizers 
  • 2-3 gels (including bun & wash n' go gels)
  • 3-4 braid & twist creams/butters
  • <1 heat styler
  • 1-2 oils (I run through oils slowly)

I have all of this in my product stash already, except the rinse out conditioners (which I don't buy during Black Friday), 2 leave-in/moisturizers and possibly 2 deep conditioners.  I currently have 36 products in my stash.

So based on my favorite brands list, this Black Friday, I plan to focus on looking for a sale from Silk Dreams or Mielle Organics, though I may pick up another Uncle Funky's Daugther Curly Magic and an As I Am Leave-in Conditioner for me.  I am also torn on whether to give the Camille Rose Fresh Curl and Curl Love another try.  I also have to keep my daughter's hair in mind now when I shop, but I may only pick up an As I Am Coil Defining Jelly for her because she has quite a few products too.  I can always buy during Mother's Day sales if we start to get too low on products.

Am I the only one with Black Friday on the brain already?
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2017-09-24 Wash Day: Soultanicals Mango Dip Detangling Slip and Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Styling Gel

Hey, beautiful people!  I'm on a wash n' go streak at the moment, so I did another one.  This time, I started with a deep condition with Mielle Organics Mint Babassu Deep Conditioner overnight.  I love this deep conditioner.  

The next day, I cleansed with Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse, then I detangled with Garnier Whole Blends Conditioner.  I used the Garnier Whole Blends Hydrating (Coconut Water and Vanilla Milk) Conditioner this time because I realized the Replenishing (Olive Oil) Conditioner has mineral oil in it that made my shower slimy.  The Hydrating Conditioner made my scalp itch, but less so than the Honey Conditioner. 

When I got out the shower, I first used the Soultanicals Mango Dip Detangling Slip.  This was my second time using this leave-in for a wash n' go.  It has amazing slip, but I don't think I will use it again as my sole leave-in because it doesn't seem to keep my hair moisturized, for the reasons I will mention below.

Finally, I raked the Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Styling Gel through my hair.  On the right side of my hair, I just used my fingers to rake.  On the left side, I first used my fingers, then I used my Tangle Wrangler.  I can never get a Denman brush through my hair and the tangle wrangler works for me the same way other people use a Denman.  However, instead of clumping my curls, the tangle wrangler separated them.  In looking at some Youtube videos, it may be that my technique was wrong.  I used the brush on the full length of my hair, instead of just the ends.  I will try this again to see.

As you may recall, when I used the Mielle Organics gel for my wash n' go before, it flaked.  I assumed that was because I used it in connection with the curl cream.  I was wrong.  It flaked again this time, though a little less than when I used the curl cream.  I've also learned that some other ladies have had this flaking issue as well.

Overall, this wash n' go for my hair.  In addition to the flaking, my hair was so dry by the second day that I had to promptly wash it out.  I think the dryness was the Soultanicals because (1) my hair was not dry when I did the Mielle Organics curl cream/gel combo; and (2) this is the second wash n' go using Soultanicals where my hair was desert dry.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

2017-09-16 Wash Day: Aunt Jackie's Don't Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel Wash n Go

Hey, beautiful people!  This weekend I was in the mood to do a wash n' go with a product that has been in my stash for awhile but unopened.

First, I deep conditioned my hair overnight with the Shea Moisture Superfruit 10-in-1 Renewal System Hair Mask.  This conditioner is just ok.  My hair has never been a big Shea Moisture fan, and this was no exception.  Additionally, I've found that my hair needs at least a little protein each deep conditioning to stay strong, likely because it is fine in coarseness.  When I don't have protein in my deep conditioner, I see more hair in the shower and more breakage during styling.

Next, I washed my hair with the Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse.  I have always thought of this as a shampoo until someone corrected me, and told me that it is a cross between a shampoo and a co-wash as a "rinse."  

Then, I used Garnier Whole Blends Replenishing Conditioner (Olive Oil) to detangle my hair.  This performed better than the Honey Treasures (which made my scalp itch).  I had no itching with this one, so I tossed the Honey Treasures.

Next, I used As I Am Leave-in Conditioner on one quadrant of my hair before I ran out, and Soultanicals Mango Dip Detangling Slip for the rest.  I love the As I Am leave-in, and I think I like the Soultanicals too, but I want to use it a few more times to be sure.

Finally, I raked and shingled Aunt Jackie's Don't Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel.  I was not going to try this gel because I hated a different Aunt Jackie's product in the past, but the thought of flaxseed swayed me and I am glad it did.  This gel reminds me of Wetline Extreme Gel, but it may be easier to spread.  It gives my hair similar definition and sheen.  However, by day two of this wash n' go, my hair was dry and crispy.

ETA 10/1/2017:  The dryness may be from the Soultanicals Mango Dip Detangling Slip.

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

My Top 6 Favorite Brands

Hello, beautiful people!  After my last post on my top products, I felt like I did not do justice to some really incredible brands, so this post is focused on products that I like from some of my favorite brands, even though I don't buy them all the time.  My favorite products are asterisked.

As I Am Naturally
- Coconut Co-wash*
- DoubleButter Cream Rick Daily Moisturizer*
- Leave-in Conditioner*
- Curling Jelly
- Twist Defining Cream

Camille Rose Naturals
- Curl Maker Gel*
- Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse*
- Cocoa Nibs & Honey Ultimate Growth Serum*
- Aloe Whipped Butter Gel
- Carmel Cowash
- Almond Jai Twisting Butter
- Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment
- Coconut Water Style Setter
- Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk

Curl Junkie
- Repair Me! Reconstructive Hair Treatment*
- Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion*
- Hibiscus & Banana Deep Fix Moisturizing Conditioner
- Coffee-Coco Curl Cream
- Daily Fix Cleansing Hair Conditioner

Mielle Organics
- Moisturizing Avocado Hair Milk*
- Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner*
- Mint Avocado Oil
- Honey & Ginger Styling Gel
- White Peony Ultra-Moisturizing Leave-in Conditioner
- Babassu Oil Conditioning Sulfate Free Shampoo

Silk Dreams Haircare
- Vanilla Silk Cream Moisture Dream (Deep Conditioner)*
- Silk Dreams Shea What Therapeutic Conditioning Masque*
- Almond Buttercream*
- Wheat Germ Butter Conditioner*
- Who's That Curl? Buttersilk Balm
- Mocha Silk Hair Milk
- Mocha Silk Infusion (Deep Conditioner)

Uncle Funky's Daughter
- Curly Magic Curl Stimulator Gel*
- Extra Butter Brilliant Shine Cream*
- Rich & Funky Moisturizing Cleanser
- Midnight Train Leave-in Conditioner
- Supercurl Miracle Moisturizing Creme (needs to be paired with something else)

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

2017-09-05 Wash Day: As I Am Wash N Go

Hey, beautiful people!  I was not loving my Mane Choice wash n go because of the flakes it gave me, so I decided to wash my hair and try again.  This time, I did a deep condition overnight with Mielle Organics Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner.  I like this deep conditioner because it leaves my hair nice and strong, while still somewhat moisturized.  

Next, I used the Garnier Fructis Whole Blends Repairing Conditioner Honey Treasures.  I had a better experience with this than the first time I used it, but it is still not a favorite.  It still had no slip.  I also notice that I'm using about a third of a bottle each time I wash my hair.

To style my hair, I first used the As I Am Leave-in Conditioner.  I really like this leave-in and plan to repurchase it.  Finally, I ended up using two gels for my wash n' go.  First, I applied the As I Am Curling Jelly, which has incredible slip and clumps my curls.  I have used this in the past with ok results.  However, this time, I thought it was going to be too light for the defined look I was going for because it is almost like a liquid gel.  It is even thinner than my "snot" like gels (Camille Rose Curl
Maker and Uncle Funky's Daughter).

Because I knew the Curling Jelly was going to be too light, I layered on the As I Am Coil Defining Jelly.    This is much thicker, like strawberry jam and is similar in texture to Wetline Extreme Gel or
Eco Styler gel, but without the same hold.

When my hair dried the next day, it was soft, moisturized and fluffy.  Also, there were no flakes, which was nice.  However, I also had a lot of frizz, without much definition.  I essentially skipped right over first and second day hair to third/fourth day.  I also had to pull on my hair quite a bit to shape it because it kept shrinking up.

I don't think I would purchase the As I Am Coil Defining Jelly again, but I might pair the Curling Jelly with another gel to see how that goes.

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Monday, September 4, 2017

2017 Mid-Year Favorites

Hello Beautiful People!   I have always wondered why Favorites lists tend to only come out on blogs at the end of the year, after all of the Black Friday sales are done.  I am also trying to minimize and focus the number of product brands that I purchase from because my product stash is a little bigger than I would like it to be (currently 46 products, not including my daughter's products).  Thus, I challenged myself in this list to only identify my top two products in each category right now.  As natural haircare has evolved, every product on this list, except one, is available in brick and mortar stores.

Favorite Overall Brand
Camille Rose Naturals
Mielle Organics

Favorite Multi-Use Products
Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream (leave-in, wash n' go definer, twist/braid cream)
Oyin Hair Dew (leave-in & moisturizer)

Moisturizing, Light Protein Deep Conditioners
- Silk Dreams Vanilla Silk Moisture Dream
- Curl Junkie Repair Me! Reconstructive Hair Treatment (this is a strong protein for some)

- Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse
- Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Sulfate-free Shampoo

Rinse Out Conditioners
- Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditioner
- Garnier Fructis Hydra Recharge

Leave-in Conditioners
- As I Am Naturally Leave-in Conditioner
Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion

- Oyin Hair Dew
- Mielle Organics Moisturizing Avocado Hair Milk

Wash n Go Gels
- Wetline Extreme Gel (ulta defined wash n go)
- Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic Curl Stimulator (fluffy wash n go)

Braid & Twist Creams
- Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream
- Camille Rose Aloe Whipped Butter Gel

Heat Stylers
- Carol’s Daughters Chocolat Blow Dry Cream
- It's A 10 Leave-in Conditioner

Oil Pre-mixes
- Camille Rose Cocoa Nibs & Honey Ultimate Growth Serum
- Mielle Organics Mint Almond Oil

Pure Oils
- Essential Depot Avocado Oil
- Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black Castor Oil

I'll check back in March 2018 to see if/how this list has changed.

What are some of your favorites?

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

2017-09-03 Wash Day: Mane Choice Crystal Orchid Biotin Infused Styling Gel

Hey, beautiful people!  I have been on the move, traveling for work and for fun.   So I have not had a chance to post in awhile.  I'm taking advantage of the long weekend, however, to post another wash

Yesterday, I did a deep condition overnight with Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System Hair Masque.  This was the second time I used this mask, and I'm not a huge fan.  It is not a bad deep conditioner.  I just have deep conditioners that I love better.

In the morning, I washed my hair with Camille Rose's Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse, then detangled with Garnier Fructis Whole Blends Honey Treasures Repairing Conditioner.  This conditioner was just ok, and comes nowhere close to performing like my favorite conditioner (Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditioner).  It was too thick, and did not help much with detangling.  It is also possible that it made my scalp itchy temporarily.

When I got out the shower, I used As I Am Naturally's Leave-in Conditioner, which I still love for its slip and ability to absorb into my hair.  Then, I did a wash n' go with the Mane Choice Crystal Orchid Biotin Infused Styling Gel.  This gel's performance reminds me a lot of Wetline Extreme Gel in terms of the hold and definition on the first day, but that is where the similarities end.  It has more slip; however, the next day, I got a ton of white flakes.  I heard from other reviews that this gel flakes, so I wasn't that surprised to see it.  I just assumed that using a lighter leave-in, like As I Am, would minimize the chance of that happening.  I was wrong.

After my hair dried for a day, I cut my hair from shoulder length to what I thought was chin length.  I was wrong about this too.  My hair continued to dry throughout the second day, and is now ear length curly.  When stretched, this takes me from waist length in the back to about bra strap length.  I cut my hair because it was starting to get too heavy, was growing uneven and was harder to take care of.  Plus, the shorter length frames my face better, and I still have enough hair to throw it into a ponytail.

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Wash Day 07-12-2017 - Mielle Organics and Wetline Extreme Gel

Hello Beautiful People,

This post is a little overdue because I washed my hair during the week, but I did not have time to style it.  I have been in a wash n' go mood lately, so I decided to do one this week.

I started first with the Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse shampoo, which is a favorite of mine right now.  Next, I used the Shea Moisture Low Porosity Conditioner, which I bought before Shea Moisture-gate.  This conditioner works ok, but it doesn't have the most slip.  

After getting out of the shower, I used my Mielle Organics Avocado Hair Milk, which is becoming a fast favorite and reminds me a lot of Oyin Hair Dew.  Then I used the rake and smooth method with Wetline Extreme Gel to style my wash n' go.  For those who are new or not familiar with the rake and smooth method, I first sectioned my hair into about 8 sections, raking gel first through with extra emphasis on my roots and ends, and then smoothing the gel covered section by holding the section into my hand like a sandwich and pulling my hand down the section.  When I was done, I used hairpins to pin the top and front edges of my hair, which are a different texture from the majority of my hair.  When I was done, I put my hair in a microfiber hair towel for 30 minutes to speed up the drying process.

This was the most defined wash n' go that I have had in awhile!  My curls were clumped and easily seen.  It also lasted for four days, which is the longest I have had a wash n' go.  It likely would have lasted longer, but I wanted a different style today.

The only downside is that it took two days for my hair to dry.

Total styling time = 40 minutes

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Wash Day 7-4-2017: Cream of Nature Argan Oil Wash N' Go

Hello, beautiful people!  Happy 4th of July!

Since I had an extra day for any mishaps, I decided to try some Cream of Nature Argan Oil products that I received for free through a Naturally Curly giveaway.  Overall, I can't say that I am in love, but one of the products pleasantly surprised me.

I started off my wash day with the Cream of Nature Argan Oil Pure-licious Co-wash.  This is not the first time I have tried this product.  I didn't like it the first time I tried it but, again, it was free; so, I tried it again.  Just as before, the Cream of Nature Argan Oil fragrance is overpowering.  It is so strong that it makes me wonder what the fragrance is covering up.  Even aside from the smell, my hair did not feel clean after using this product, so I will definitely use shampoo for my next wash.  As the one positive of the co-wash, it did leave my hair feeling moisturized.

After I finished co-washing my hair, I left it dripping wet, rather than using a towel because I knew I would not be using a leave-in and would need some moisture in my hair for the next steps.  Next, I added the Cream of Nature Pudding Perfection Curl Enhancing Cream.  At first, I used just a little bit on each section, and decided it would not be enough to do my wash n' go, so I added the Cream of Nature Argan Oil Twirling Custard Curl Defining Jelly.  The custard did literally nothing to my hair, so I added Eco Styler Clear Gel to avoid ending up with a disaster.

When I got close to the finishing half of my hair, I had a revelation, however.  While I was using small sections for my rake & smooth method, I was not using enough of the Cream of Nature Pudding Perfection Curl Enhancing Cream on each section.  When I added more, my curls popped and clumped.  It was surprisingly incredible.  Thus, I finished off my hair using just the Cream of Nature Pudding and the Eco Styler Clear Gel.   

My curls are defined and elongated.  The only problem is that I currently have a headache from the Cream of Nature Argan Oil fragrance.  I am a little sad because of how well the pudding ultimately did.  I may try the pudding again and see if the fragrance is lessened by this being the only Cream of Nature Product I use.

In the picture, the pudding-only side is on the right, and the pudding-custard side is on the left.

Total Wash & Style Time:  40 minutes

NOTE 7/8/17:  I wore this wash n' go for three days.  On the second day, I had two people still comment that they loved my "perfume."  I wasn't wearing any perfume.
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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Wash Day 06-16-2017: Mielle Organics Brazilian Curl Cream and Honey & Ginger Gel

Hey, beautiful people!  In one of my more recent posts, I talked about trying Mielle Organics products, and how much I liked them.  At the time, I didn't have the Brazilian Curly Cocktail Curl Cream or the Honey & Ginger Styling Gel, but I wanted to try them.

This wash day, I did a deep condition overnight with Silk Dreams Haircare Vanilla Silk Cream Moisture Dream.  Since I washed my hair earlier this week with shampoo, I didn't shampoo again, except for the back right quadrant of my hair (don't ask).  For the rest of my hair, I skipped right to the conditioner, and used that to "co-wash" my scalp.  This time, I used the Beauty 360 Deeper Moisture Conditioner for Dry and Damaged Hair.  It is supposed to be the CVS generic brand of the TRESemme Moisture Rich Conditioner.  Normally, I would not have purchased this because Dimethicone was the sixth ingredient, but I decided to give it a shot because it was so cheap.  It was ok, but I am still not a fan of regular Dimethicone for the reasons I described in this post.  I prefer -cones that are water soluble, evaporate or are build-up resistant.

After washing my hair, I applied Mielle Organics Brazilian Curl Cream and the Honey & Ginger Styling Gel to my hair in 12 sections (3 sections per quadrant).  I didn't need to use a ton of gel, but I did have to use quite a bit of the curl cream.  Ultimately, my hair was ultra-defined while still wet, and kept a lot of that definition when it dried.  While there was a slight crunch as my hair dried, the crunch left pretty quickly when I touched my hair, and my hair became super soft.  As an added bonus, my hair smelled like delicious herbal tea.

Overall, I like the curl cream and gel as a first impression.  I only had three issues:  (1) my ends are frizzy, which may not be the gel's fault; (2) the roots of my hair were still wet over 24 hours later, which tends to happen to my low porosity hair with heavy products; and (3) this combo flakes. 

Total Styling Time:  ~35 minutes

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Eco Styler Gel Challenge

Hi, Beautiful People!  Summer is here, which mean my wash n gos and wet buns are back!  While I loved my braiding challenge, I think my hair loved low manipulation more.

It has never sat right with me that I haven’t had much success with an Eco Styler wash n’ go.  (You can read more about my prior attempt in this post, and this one.)  Since the Extreme Wetline Gel wash n go worked so well, I decided to try using Eco Styler gel again with both my wash n gos and wet bunning.  This time, I wanted to try them all, except the color treated one (yellow).  Here is how they worked out for my buns and wash n gos:

Olive Oil (green top)  – I remember when my hair hated the olive oil one, but my hair has apparently changed even more as it has grown.  This gel worked the best for me, and may be my new favorite level 10.  There was very little coating, and my hair still felt moisturized underneath it.

Krystal (Clear) – This is one of my favorites.  I like it for buns and wash n’ gos, but the olive oil one may have trumped it simply because the olive oil is a little more moisturizing.

Curls and Waves (Pink) – This is the only level 8 that I have tried and, based on the website, it is the only level 8 left in the line.  It continues to be one of my favorites for wet buns, but I don’t think it will work for wash n’ gos as well as a 10.

Sport (Blue) - I loved this gel for my bun.  It kept my bun sleek, even on a crazy work day, which is impressive within itself.  Even more impressive, my hair stayed smooth while sleek.  Thus, for bunning, this is kind up up there with the Olive Oil, Pink and Krystal.  My wash n' go was a different story, however.  It took forever to dry, and my wash n' go didn't even last a day.  By the next morning, I had to figure out how to do something quick with my hair to make it look presentable for work.

Coconut Oil (Brown top) – I liked this one, particularly for buns.  It left a little shine to my hair, and left it soft.  The only downside is that I do not think this is really a level 10.  It gave me a much softer hold than the other level 10s.  As a result, my wash n go did not turn out well and did not last longer than a day (pictured).  I would say I won't repurchase this product again, but it worked really well on my daughter's hair.

Black Castor & Flaxseed Oil (Black Top) - This gave me great definition for my wash n' go and the wash n' go lasted.  It also gave me good hold for my bun.  The surprising problem was that it made my hair extremely dry by the end of the day.  I typically do not have this problem with my low porosity hair, which holds on to moisture for days.  

Argan Oil (Red top)  – This is one of my least favorite.  It leaves my hair with a weird coating that remains if I just co-wash.  I have to use shampoo to get this out of my hair.

Super Protein (Black Jar with Black Top) – This was my least favorite.  I was a little worried about using this because all Eco Styler gels have a little protein, and this one is pegged as being the protein one, which I assume means there is extra protein.  However, I was committed to trying as many of the gels as I could, so I tried it.  This left my hair so dry.  Also, washing it out was kind a nightmare.  It mixed with my cleanser, and left tan goop in my hair.  I ended up washing my hair again the next day, and my hair shed like crazy.  I think the protein was just too much for my hair.

Overall, Eco Styler continues to be my go-to product for a sleek bun, but it is not my best for wash n' gos.  If I have to do a wash n' go with Eco Styler, I think i will stick to the Olive Oil or Krystal.

As an aside, while not a gel, I picked up Eco Styler's newer Stay n Play Edge Control.  I thought it might work because Eco Styler is one of the few things that consistently slicks down my edges.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  This product did nothing for my hair.

Which Eco Styler do you prefer?

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Power Product Line Review: Mielle Organics

Hey beautiful people!  I have been trying to keep my product junkism at bay, and I have been doing a pretty good job at it.  However, courtesy of a tip on Long Hair Care Forum, I got wind of a clearance sale on Mielle Organics products, and picked up a few items.  Here are my thoughts:

Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner - 8 oz. ($13.99):  This is a very nice deep conditioner, and my third favorite product from the line.  It is lightweight, but still has substance to it in that I can feel the benefit to my hair.  The smell is also divine, and reminds me of mint tea in the summertime.  The slip is also incredible for a deep conditioner.  I literally detangled my hair with this before deep conditioning my hair overnight.  I was shocked.  The only thing that gives me pause about this product is the level of protein.  My hair needs a good, lightweight protein-based conditioner that is still moisturizing.  When I put this in my hair, I could instantly notice the protein, and the back of the jar shows that it is packed with protein.  If I am not careful, I could get protein overload because this product is just barely on the border of being ok for my hair.  For this reason, someone who needs more protein would likely love this product even more.

Detangling Co-wash - 8 oz. ($11.99):  This co-wash is more of a conditioner than cleanser.  It has amazing slip and did a great job detangling my hair, but it didn’t clean it.  My hair felt coated before I used it, and it still felt coated after using it.  As a low porosity girl, I need a real cleanser.

White Peony Ultra Moisturizing Leave-In Conditioner - 8 oz. ($12.99):  As the name suggests, this product is moisturizing.  It is also light-weight, which is good for low porosity hair.  I just like my homemade spritz better, and it is cheaper.  Also, the spray nozzle on this product bothers me.  It comes out as a stream, rather than distributing across my hair.  I actually ended up transferring it to another bottle to make it easier to use.  However, in looking at the Mielle Organics website, it looks like they have changed the top to a spray pump, so that should fix this problem.

Avocado Moisturizing Hair Milk - 8 oz. ($12.99):  This is very moisturizing, and is probably my favorite product in the line.  My hair felt so soft after I used this.  Unfortunately, it doesn't absorb into my hair right away when I first put it on, but few things do.  The other downside I notice is that it clumps when I mixed it with EcoStyler gel in my hands, which is what I usually use to bun my hair.  Nevertheless, because of how wonderfully moisturized it makes my hair feel, I would repurchase this product.

Mint Almond Oil - 8 oz. ($12.99):  This is a very nice oil, and my second favorite product in the line.  It is lightweight enough for my low porosity strands, and the peppermint smell is heavenly.  The oil essentially has three main ingredients -- Sweet Almond Oil, Soybean Oil and Peppermint Oil, so you could make it yourself if you consider yourself a mixtress.  I would definitely purchase it again at the $7 price point I purchased it for, but it is not a repurchase for me at the regular price.  That being said, this isn't overpriced.  Peppermint oil is expensive.  I have seen a 4 oz. jar sell for $11.  It's just that I already have a bottle of peppermint oil that I haven't been able to use up in the past 5 years, and I typically buy a 32 oz bottle of avocado oil (my favorite straight oil) for about $15.  I do thank this product, however, for teaching me that I can add more peppermint oil to my other products without irritating my scalp.

Honey Ginger Edge Gel - 4 oz. ($12.99):   While I had high hopes, this edge gel suffered the same fate as many others.  It initially slicked down my edges, but that did not last long.  Thus far, it still remains that Eco Styler is one of the few things capable of slicking my edges long term.

Advanced Healthy Hair Formula Vitamins - 60 vitamins ($18.99):  I was a little hesitant to use this product because I am not a big believer in hair vitamins.  Also, biotin in my daily multi-vitamin gives me acne, and this product has a lot of it (as you would expect).  But, I gave this product a shot because the price was so good.  I have two bottles (60 days worth), so I will check back in on this one.  Stay tuned...

I still want to try the Brazilian Curl Cream and the Honey & Ginger Styling Gel.  I guess I will just have to wait for another great sale.

Do you like this line?  What products do you use from it?
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Saturday, March 25, 2017

The End Of The Braiding Challenge

Winter is officially over and I am doing less braided styles, so I am officially ending my braiding challenge.  This has been a fun challenge.  Through it, I've learned that my hair prefers "wet creams" (almost thick lotion texture) and "wet butters" if the butter is very light and fluffy.  Water has to be the first ingredient, and there has to be a good concentration of it.  

Over the course of this challenge, I tried at least 16 butters and twisting creams.  These were my favorites, starting with my most liked:
  1.  Embrace The Natural You Twist Truffle Whip
  2.  Silk Dreams Almond Buttercream
  3.  Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream
  4.  Camille Rose Aloe Whipped Butter Gel
  5.  Uncle Funky's Daughter Supercurl Miracle Moisture Cream & Extra Butter combined

I was surprised that only one of my Camille Rose butters made the list, and that the Almond Jai Twisting Butter wasn't at the top after my Camille Rose Battle of the Butters.  I also learned through this challenge that the leave-in under my butter can sometimes make a big difference.  While Uncle Funky's Daughter Supercurl Miracle Moisture Cream started out as one of my top favorites, it dropped a little as the challenge progressed and after I tried the Uncle Funky's Daughter Extra Butter. Though Supercurl and Extra Butter gave me good sheen and hold, they need to be paired with each other or with another heavy leave-in, like Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter or the Silk Dreams Wheat Germ Butter Conditioner to get moisturized softness.  Oyin Hair Dew was too light.

Sometimes, I used Eco Styler gel on top of my cream, but it didn't typically make a difference with the top ranked stylers, except that the gel made my edges and my crown neater.  I also tried Aloe Vera gel once, but I my hair did not like that all.

Finally, I learned through this process that, aside from a my wash n' go, my high bun and my low bun, crown braids are my favorite go-to style.  It takes about less than 15 minutes for me to do, and it will last for a few days.  Also, when my crown braids start to get fuzzy, they create a great braidout with the right products.  I just have to be careful because my crown breaks easily.  I also have to make sure that I continue to moisturize my hair in the braids because it is easy to just leave them alone for a week without thoroughly moisturizing them, which will dry my hair out by about the third or fourth day.  I am pretty sure my laziness with moisturizing my hair in braids is what led to some mild breakage and thinning that I experienced.

What are your favorite stylers for braiding/braid outs?  Do you have any go-to braid styles?
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

In Review: Eco Styler Coconut Gel

Hey, beautiful people!  As you may have heard, Eco Styler recently came out with two new styling gels.  One is the coconut gel.  The other is the black castor oil and flaxseed gel.  I recently purchased the coconut gel in my beauty supply, and I have tried it on a variety of styles to see how it works on my hair in comparison to some of the others.

Overall, this gel seems to mix well with my other products, particularly the As I Am Leave-In Conditioner.  However, despite the level 10 hold stated on the Coconut Gel jar, it seems to have a lighter hold that is more similar to the pink gel (pink is a level 8).  Because of the lighter hold, my hair has remained soft, but I have had some styling issues.  For example, with my bun, the gel did not smooth down flyaways. 

With my wash n’ go, my first day hair was just ok.  The coconut gel did not give me the same definition as the Krystal or Argan Oil Eco Styler gels, likely because of the lighter hold.  Also, the hold I did get was completely gone by the second day, and my hair looked pretty terrible by the end of the day (see picture).

In short, I would not add this to my list of favorite Eco Styler gels, and I probably wouldn’t repurchase it because I like other Eco Styler gels better, but I don’t hate it enough to throw out my current jar.  I will not do a wash and go with it again, but I will use it for messy buns.

Have you tried it?  What are your thoughts?
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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wash Day 02-18-2017 - As I Am Leave-in Conditioner

Hey beautiful people!  Today was a rare, warm day in Michigan winter, so I decided to do a wash n go.  Prior to today, I left the Silk Dreams Vanilla Silk deep conditioner on my hair for a couple days.

I started today with the Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Cleansing Conditioner.  I have used this for a few washes, and I still like it.  Next, I used the HerbalEssences Wild Naturals Turkish Fig (with Cassia), which I let sit on my hair while I showered.  This is a good conditioner for detangling.  It has great slip, but it still doesn’t beat my Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship as my favorite.

When I got out the shower, I put As I Am Leave-in Conditioner, Camille Rose Cocoa Nibs and Honey Ultimate Growth Serum, and Uncle Funky’s Daughter's Curly Magic gel.  Then I wrapped my hair in a microfiber towel to suck up some of the moisture while I did my makeup and got dressed.  This sped up my dry time immensely.  My hair was not dripping when I took off the towel, and it was 75% dry about 4 hours later (the picture below).

The As I Am Leave-in was the star of this wash day.  As a low porosity girl, it is rare that I put a leave-in conditioner on head and have it absorb immediately without making my hair white.  When I put the As I Am on my hair, there were very minimal white spots.  If it performs the same in later wash days, it may become a favorite.

Total Wash & Style Time - 27 minutes

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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Wash Day 02-04-2017

Hey, beautiful people!  I have been lazy, but it is time for me to get back to posting my wash days.  I noticed recently that my hair is getting a little thinner.  I suspect it is because I haven’t been regularly deep conditioning like I used to, but the only way to tell for sure is to start tracking it.

To start off this wash day, I used the Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Cleansing Conditioner.  This was a birthday gift from a good friend, who knows I have a love for certain hair products (thanks, Margeaux!).  As a first impression, this is great at detangling.  I couldn’t really tell if it cleansed my hair because my hair wasn’t that dirty, but I am going to try it a few times in a row to see if I get buildup.  The only downside to this conditioner was the smell.  I am sensitive to certain smells, and this one has a very perfumed scent.

Next, because I didn’t do an overnight deep condition, I used an old favorite – Hairveda’s Acai Berry Phytokeratin Hair Reconstructer.  This product only needs a few minutes to work and it gives my hair a lot of strength.  It takes me right up to the line of protein overload without getting there, so I don’t need to follow it up with another deep conditioner.

Once I got out the shower, I used As I Am’s Leave-in Conditioner, which is great.  Then, I layered on Camille Rose’s Coca Nibs and Honey Growth Serum, which is my favorite mixed oil product.  Finally, I used the Eco Styler Coconut Gel.  I don’t know how I feel about this gel yet, but it may have the best smell of all the Eco Styler gels.

To style, I did a top knot bun.  First, I put the top half of my hair in a ponytail, and did a loose two-strand twist bun.  Then, I took the back half of my hair and draped it over the first.  This two-step process makes the front look cleaner, and creates a fuller bun for me.  Next time I do this, I’ll take pictures because it is hard to describe.

Total Wash Day Time:  56 minutes

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year and 2017 Personal Goals

Hey, beautiful people.  Happy New Year!!!  Like many others, I am happy to see the end of 2016.  It just was not one of my favorite years.

For many, the new year brings a time for resolutions.  It may be a distinction without a different, but I have always disliked the term “resolutions” because it feels like a setup for failure.  I prefer goals, and I like to start the ball rolling before the new year.  Here are 5 goals that I low key started in December that I plan to continue:

1.   Drink at least 80 oz of water per day.  I have found that my whole body does better when I drink a good amount of water throughout the day.  From what I have read, studies have moved away from drinking 8 glasses of water to drinking half your body weight.  For me, I wanted to up that a little bit.  My plan is to drink 12-20 oz of water first thing in the morning, and then two 32 oz – 1 liter (33.81 oz) bottles of water during the day.  I have two plastic mason jars that are 32 oz. each.  I also have a bunch of old soda stream 1L bottles that I can no longer use because my soda stream broke (tear).  To help keep me motivated, I have joined a “Drink Your Water” challenge, with daily check-ins, and I am using the water tracker in my Fitbit app.

2.   Have 7 good, quick styles that work on my fine hair, and a regimen that incorporates more protein.  As you may remember from some of my other posts, my hair is low porosity, fine, high density, and a 4A/4B mix.  In the past, I have been very focused on taking care of my hair based on it being low porosity, and spent little time researching how to make my fine strands look best.  For example, individual mini twists tend to look very sad when I try to use them as a style, and tend to break my hair when I take them out.  My hair seems to do better with low manipulation, “big” styles, like 2 cornrows, buns and wash n’ gos, and I am a lazy natural, so I need quick styles.  I plan to play around with styles in 2017 to give myself some more versatile looks (more on this throughout the year).  I also haven’t been using as much protein as I should, and I have seen more breakage as a result. 

3.   Create mini makeup challenges every 1-2 months until I can do a full face.  Growing up and even now, I have not been very big on makeup or beauty upkeep in general.  Most days, you are lucky if you see me in lipstick.  I’ll also admit there have been some days that my eyebrows needed serious help.  At the end of last year, I put myself on an informal challenge, forcing myself to fill in my eyebrows every day for two weeks.  I was proud of myself because I stuck to it too.  One day, I even had to stop at the drugstore on the way to work because I forgot to do my brows before I left the house.  It worked out well because I saw marked improvement in my eyebrow shape, and I learned a few tricks through Youtube.  Youtube also inspired me to go a little crazy buying makeup products on Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and I bought a few makeup organizers.  With all the new stuff I bought, I want to extend my informal challenge to other makeup areas over the course of 2017.  I may stay in the eye area for now, and work on eye shadow.  I have always wanted to learn smoky eye and cat eye.

4.   Exercise for 30 minutes at least 1 time a week.  This may sound like a bare minimum, but I like to set goals that are measurable and achievable.  Typically, I say that I am going to work out every day or 3 times per week, fail miserably and stop working out altogether.  This time, I am starting with 1 day and we will see how it goes.  I have no excuse for not getting in 1 day because I have 7 days and multiple options.  If I am traveling that week, the Sworkit app on my phone is awesome for squeezing in a workout.  If I am feeling ambitious, there is a gym less than 10 minutes from my house and I can text a friend to meet me.  If I want to do something fun, there is a community center that is about 20 minutes away that has drop in classes and, in the summer, there is outdoor Zumba.

5.   Read a book every two months, alternating between one self-improvement book and one “just for fun” book.  I love reading.  I just did not do much of it in 2016.  I have a Goodreads account and set a goal for myself of 6 books in 2016, but I only finished 5.  I also haven’t been to my one of my book clubs in about a year (I'm in two), and I miss it.  In 2017, I’m going to do better because it speaks to how many other things took priority over what I did for myself last year. 

What are your goals for 2017?  Make them measureable and achievable!
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