IHERB COUPON CODE: Take $5 off your first order with iherb.com by using the code: UJO090

T's Hair Journey

T's Hair Journey
Loving her hair for the first time!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Blog will be quiet for the summer...

So I think the blog will probably wind down now....


Because it existed as a way for me to get reviews out of products I've tried and have an opinion about. I knew eventually I would either 1. run out of products or 2. find ones that work so well I really have no desire to continue experimentation.

Reality? Both things have happened. At some point I have to take a practical stand and say I could not use all the products I have before they expire. *OUCH* Even with 3 of us in the house I have enough to last through the apocolypse and into the new world order!

I'll temper this by saying that, even with all that said, I would still be experimenter mucho if I hadn't of found products I really love. But I have.

In honor of this blog I thought I'd list out my favorite products - these are those products that consistently work for me - and that I have now continued to purchase past the initial jar or bottle:

All of Spiral Solutions products - in fact these are my "go to" products. I use Caitlin's Conditioner at least 4x a week and I use the Curling Jelly and Firm Hold Gel pretty much daily. The Protein Spray, Protein Treatment, Deeply Decadent -- I use on an as needed basis.

Then there is Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee (BRHG) - this is my must have gel. Nothing else like it for me. Works every time.

Other products that I use regularly include: Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo, Aloeba Daily Conditioner, Rockin' Ringlet's and Gelebration Spray (note: I use them all and have an almost complete JC day - except BRHG which always goes on top!)

My other favorite products that frequently rotate and alternate with the above are: Hairveda's Moist Condition Pro conditioner, Sweet Nature by Eddie Shampoo, Redken Soft Spin 05 curl gel, Jasmine's Shea Butter Conditioner and Babassu Butter conditioner (both versions), Curl Junkie Smoothing Conditioner and Rehab Conditioner and Coffee CoCo Curl Creme Lite as well as the daily shampoo, Darcy's Botanicals Natural Coils Curling Jelly and Tucuma Butter Whip. I also love Hairveda CoCosta Shikakai Oil and Afroveda's Shikakai Hair Growth Oil

Occasional use products include Komaza Coconut Curl Shampoo/Condish, Moku Shampoo/Condish, Bellacurl Conditioner and Leave In (These are T's favorites!), Jason Curl Creme.

Have a great summer everyone!

Friday, June 4, 2010

BellaCurl Shine and Seal

Firstly I'm sorry it's been so long between posts. My work life gets real crazy this time of year and I've taken a self imposed break from hair chatter for a while. I need to use up some of what I have lol!

However, I had to take the time to post my review of the BellaCurl Shine and Seal.

This stuff rocks our world!

This is a SOTC or finishing product that absolutely imparts shine. It cuts frizz like you would not believe - and it does not sit on your hair. We use it every morning for T's hair and it just refreshes wonderfully. I cannot say enough good things about this butter/sealer. We aren't uber crazy about the smell but it is natural and it dissapates after a while. You don't need much - we use about a pea sized for T's whole hair. I would compare this very favorably with the Shescentit Gillian Butter which is the other finisher/sealer that we like at our house.

I have also used this to SOTC and it helps to hold and form the curls very well. This is a quality product and I highly recommend it!

As listed on the Bellacurl etsy site here are the:

INGREDIENTS: butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, mangifera indica (mango)butter, brassica oleracea italica (broccoli) seed oil, astrocaryum tucuma (tucuma) butter, theobroma grandiflorum (cupuacu) butter, camellia sinesis (camellia) oil, essential oil blend

Sunday, April 25, 2010

So you know what I use on my hair -- what about my skin?

So I've had some requests for information on skin products. I'll be the first to admit I'm not a connoisseur of skin products and my experience certainly isn't extensive. Unlike hair care I found the skin products I like last year and I haven't felt the need to explore beyond them.

I use Carley's Clear and Smooth skin products. They have a website but it looks like they primarily sell on ebay. This is a line that was designed by a guy and he hasn't (so far in 10 years) gone retail on it. I have 43 year old skin which means I went through my normal acne bout in my teens and twenties. Unfortunately that acne kept flaring up every once in a while even through my 30's and now 40's. It seemed like all the products I would try (things available at Target or department stores) just clogged my skin and caused acne. My skin is prone to oiliness (which isn't that bad at my age since I have far fewer wrinkles then some of my friends who were plagued by drier skin earlier on).

I first started using the treatment about 8 or 9 months ago. It totally wiped out all my acne -- I wasn't even getting any "that time of the month" ones. From there I branched out to some of the other products and today I think I have the full line. The things I like include that there is a 100% guarantee so you can return anything you do not like and that it is more natural. For the first time in my life I can use a moisturizer that doesn't cause me acne.

A word of warning: We tried the treatment on T's face and it not only did not work but it caused her face to be way worse than it was before. Thus I think caution is in order -- if you are sensitive to scrubs of any sort then I recommend you just try the moisturizers and other Carley's products and maybe test a sample of the treatment somewhere else than your face. They usually have a deal where you buy 3 get 1 free (or similar) and they will send you samples galore. LOL that's how I got hooked on the other stuff from the line! All the stuff smells o.k. -- like the ingredients mostly. The only one that stinks (kind of) is the Elder Flower Mask.

Here's the product breakdown as I know it

Carley's Clear and Smooth Treatment: This is the original stuff. You use it at night and it is a scrub feeling product. It has benz peroxide so watch the towels!

Day Time Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin: works very well but is a bit heavy. Myself I prefer the Coconut daily product but this one is nice if you like something more moisturizing.

Anti-Aging Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin: My FAVORITE moisturizer. Works awesome. BEST STUFF EVER!

Exotic Butter Moisturizer: This is o.k. but I use it only every once in a while. If you have dry skin though I think you could use it more often. I prefer the normal Nighttime moisturizer over this one.

Nighttime Moisturzier for Acne Prone Skin: GREAT! Love it! Works fabulously.

Lip Balm with Sea Buckthorn Oil: My favorite balm in the world. Love it. Works awesome and has kept my lips hydrated for many long months. Does not have a gross taste and doesn't feel waxy. Feels natural and comes in a tube (many natural lip balms are in tubs..YUCK!)

FEET - soft and sensual: This is just a so-so product IMHO. Not a repurchase. It works but just o.k. I use the Exotic butter moisturizer instead and like it better for my feet.

Anti-Aging Mask for Acne Prone Skin: Stinks. Really icky. But works fabulously. LOVE IT! Leaves your face soft and helps to control acne. Weird consistency means you should wash it off in the kitchen sink as it has bits of something in it (maybe the flower?)

Natural Soap: ADDICTIVE. This stuff is worth its weight in gold. Just an awesome soap. No residue. Has helped my skin immensely. I gave some to friends and my ex and they all love it. A MUST BUY. The great thing is that you get a free bar of this (and its a BIG bar!) with every product purchased.

Virgin Coconut Day Time Moisturizer: My favorite daytime product (besides the Anti Aging Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin). Very light smell and works great.

Anti-Aging Cream: This is pricey. Very pricey. However it does work awesome. I asked for a sample last time (about a month ago) and I'm still using the sample.  I love it for my eyes.

There are a few other things we tried that we either didn't like or found something else in the line that was better--namely the teenage kick a** treatment and the Anti Aging treatment...these are the same as the regular treatment but the teenage one has more BP and the Anti Aging has none (and feels much oilier)...but since I love the regular I don't need either of these.

In short I love most all the products. I don't work for them and there is no commission or anything. I didn't get any products "free" to put this on my blog. I bought them all (except for every 4th product which is free when you order 3 but y'all can get that same offer).

I have received so many compliments on my skin after I started using this stuff. HIGHLY recommended!

The website is: http://www.clearandsmoothskin.com/ and if you want to find him on ebay just look up adult acne and you'll see the product.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What I'm Reading...a Review for you!

Outside of my normal Curly Girl life I also do reviews for a couple places on the net. In the course of this I come across books I'd like to recommend and share so thought my blog would be a great place to do so. WARNING: This is not about hair!

Yesterday I finished one of the best books I've read in quite a while: Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok. It's not the sort of story I usually pick up but I've decided to branch out. I don't know how to describe it but this book called to me. I felt connected to it. I've posted a review on amazon (so you can read it there--my reviewer name is AlexJouJou) but if you are at all interested in great books with wonderful characters and a story of love, perseverance, and hope you MUST pre order this or pick it up. It is worth every penny. The writing is top notch and you will grow to love the characters and cheer them on.

If you're read it please post a comment below. I think it comes out on April 29th. ENJOY!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spiral Solutions Caitlin's Conditioner SSCC and Protein Spray

So you all know how much I LOVE Spiral Solutions products. Every time I use the products I feel as if they were designed for my hair personally. THAT is such a wonderful feeling! I've finally got my hands on the 2 new products and wanted to put in a review for them.

Caitlin's Conditoner (SSCC)

Caitlin's Conditioner (SSCC) is a wonderful medium weight condish that is suitable for daily use if you do not tend to over conditioning. People who blow dry or color their hair or for others who are in the sun a lot, swim, or generally get a bit abusive of the good ol' hair on a more daily basis will appreciate this rich conditioner. For those of you that are trying to go protein free this is not your condish -- it has protein in it and judging by the spirals I get it's a fair amount. SSCC has amazing slip-- even on my daughter's notoriously finnicky hair! It allows us to comb out her hair very easily. Since it has protein for her it's only a 1-2x per month thing but for me I can use it multiple time per week with outstanding results each time.

It's thick and comes in a jar. Although I get the whole jar thing I prefer pumps as they are easier to deal with in the shower. I'm not complaining since a jar means I can get all the product out but I really do like pumps better. I don't think this one would work in a regular bottle -- too thick. It smells like some of the other products (the curling jelly and FHG)

I couldn't imagine using something like this as a co-wash (why on earth would you pay for a premium product like this and then use it to co-wash? I've never understood co-washers who spend a ton on the co-wash condish but each to his/her own I guess). I think it could be used as a deep treatment as well with some heat (although haven't tried it that way). I did not like it as a leave in (too heavy with too much slip for me for a leave in) but my daughter did. A LOT. It functioned very well for her as a leave in. Again 1x or 2x a month when she needs a protein fix.

Overall if you like a regular medium weight condish then this is a groovy choice for you. Those with fine hair or easily overconditioned hair will probably not want to use it daily (it is very moisturizing and could leave wavy fine hair a bit too soft to hold a curl..if that's what can happen to your curl -- it does to mine). If you like a leave in that provides weight (to combat frizz, poof, whatever) then this one should be given a go as well.

Strength and Shine Leave In Protein Spray

I love the smell of this. YUMMY. Berry/fruity/sweet. Smells like the curling jelly. I, however, went a little hog wild and ended up with over proteined hair. Dry and straw like -- took me 2 weeks to recover. I guess the old adage that there is such a thing as TOO much of a good thing is true hmm?

It is exactly what it says: a protein spray. Don't go thinking just because it is a spray that you can just spritz all willy-nilly gals...no no...negatory. Start with a couple of spritz every couple of days (or 1-2x week) and see how it goes. Keep in mind that if you are using other products with protein and/or lots of products with protein (so either amount of protein in a single product or cumulative protein in several products) that you need to figure out exactly how much protein your hair needs.

This does not weigh hair down in any way--no greasies, stringies, lankies, or any other -ies. It's purpose is to add protein. For us fine haired wavies/curlies that *usually* means better curls. Now that I've figured out it is a 2x a week thing and to NOT add this spray on top of the Spiral Solutions Repairing condish and then top with a gel with protein I'm much happier. If you use Redken CAT it seem as if this would be a less expensive (and more natural!) option for you.

I just couldn't be happier with Spiral Solutions products. In fact you can see how much I love them due to the spacing on my blog posts...these satisfy me so much I'm not really on that HolyGrail search anymore...I think I've found them!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What should I buy from.....IHERB.COM?

In honor of Spring I decided to blog about my recommendations for products to buy at various places. I thought I'd start with http://www.iherb.com/  --  because I get asked frequently what people should buy from there. I also have a coupon code you can use for $5 off your first order (it's at the top of my blog) if you haven't ordered before. I love ordering from iherb because they ship super fast and I always get my stuff in a day or two. I've never had a mixed up order and they responded to an email I sent very quickly. Excellent service!

So ....  you've got some money earmarked for product and decide to go shopping on iherb--what are some good options?

Shampoo's and Conditioners brands:

EO  -- There are several types. My favorite is the Sweet Orange but others like the Chamomile and Honey.

Giovanni  -- we love the 50/50 shampoo and the Tea Tree shampoo/conditioner. I like the Root 66 volume conditioner as well. We were not overly fond of the Smooth as Silk shampoo (has cones) or the condish (didn't work all that great).

Beauty without Cruelty -- LOVE the Leave In. It has great slip (but not too much for me) and works wonderfully underneath almost any styler. A little goes a long way. Not too fond of the smell but it doesn't linger. Have not tried the poo or condish (if you have leave a comment below!)

Aubrey Organics -- Of course you simply *must* try the Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner. Many like it (we thought it conditioned o.k. but T had a problem with waxy type build up). GPB is the only Aubrey condish we still have and we use it occasionally. I did not like the Aubrey shampoo's. Their liquid curl activator had the most horrendous smell (see other blog article on that!). We also tried the Island Naturals conditioners and were not fond of the smell. The trend seems to be that we don't like the smell of their products. Another product I strongly recommend you pick up is the Mandarin Magic -- this stuff is great to use to add to a gel to help it spread and as an all around moisturizing gel you can add with a curl jelly or as a leave in. This is, by far, my favorite Aubrey product! I tried the B5 Design gel and hated it--left my curls droopy and sad.

Avalon Organics -- You have to read the labels on these as some contain cones. I really like the Olive and Grape Seed (thanks Solidgold for turning me onto these!) poo and condish. I haven't tried the others.

Jason Natural -- my two favorite products are the Thin to Thick conditioner and the Curl Defining Cream.  Although the condish does not smell great (see previous blog posts) it does work well. The Curl Cream is really fabulous! It works wonders for me!

I am planning another iherb order for some Alba Botanical Gel and Leave in as well as Desert Essence shampoo and conditioner along with a few other products. Once I get them I'll review and post!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Conditioner Scales

The Conditioner Scales

By popular request I am posting my scale for conditioners. Please understand that this is based on my hair (fine, thin, fairly short and porous), my daughter's hair (fine to medium/coarse, thick, long and low porosity) , and my son's hair (fine to medium, normal porosity, thick, and short). Other opinions may vary.

I will put in BLUE the products for my daughter and how they rate for her
I will use black for myself
I will use Green for my son as he has his favorites as well.

Please be aware that this list is not exhaustive. It includes condish's with protein and may include some with water soluble cones (I can't think of any but you never know)

Here is a breakdown of the rating scale I'm using:


1-2: Not moisturizing, may cause dryness, may build up or may weigh down hair. Not recommended

3-4: Minimal moisturizing. A very light conditioner, may leave hair a bit dry or be drying. Might be a good choice for a leave in when a heavier rinse out is used or for those who get weighed down. May need to use substantial amount of product to get results. Good choice for those with oily hair or for daily use with something like weekend deep treatments. May also be good for summer high humidity or for co washing.

5-6: A lightweight moisturizer. Not heavy, will likely not weigh down hair. Best for oily to normal hair or hair that is done daily so as not to get over conditioned. May not provide enough weight or moisture to counter act major frizz or poof. May be used as a leave in as well. The higher end of this (6) and the lower end of the other (7) are the ideal range IMHO for my hair.

7-8: Great Moisture. May be on the heavier side but not too much. May weigh down super fine or thin hair. Good for all hair types although those who tend to over conditioning may wish to alternate it or use it every other day or only on the ends. Should provide enough weight and moisture to help counter act frizz and poof for all but the driest of hair. This usually requires average amount of product use and many will be able to use this level of moisture even for leave in.
9-10: Ultimate moisture. Very heavy. May be too much (even in small amounts) for those whose hair gets weighed down. Recommended for the driest of hair or to be used in very judicious amounts. May to be too heavy for a leave in for all but the driest of hair but may be used in minute amounts for other hair types. This may require, even for Sahara hair, using small amounts and or assuring distribution via a Denman or other means. Good for winter super dry environments.

Slip Factor: I've added highlights in Purple to show the conditioners for us that have the most slip. I've also added in Orange the conditioners that have the most "grab" for those of us who have the problem that slip reduces our curl :(

Here's how they stack up

Fresh and Easy Retreat conditioner
Suave Tangerine

Kinky Curly Knot Today
Trader Joe's Nourish
Trader Joe's Refresh
Suave Coconut
Suave Strawberry

Tigi Moisture Maniac
Aura Cherry Almond Bark
Jason Thin to Thick
CurlJunkie Beauticurls Daily Conditioner
Curl Junkie Beauticurls Leave In
Jasmines Babassu Butter Conditioner
TRESemme Naturals Moisturizing and Radiant Volume condish's
Mop C Mixed Greens
Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat
Giovanni 50/50 condish
Trader Joe's Tea Tree
DevaCurl One C
Shescentit Coco Creme Leave In
GVP Conditioning Balm
Shescentit Avocado Conditioner
Donna Marie MiraCurls Detangler
Lustrasilk Olive Oil Cholesterol
Komaza Moku
Komaza Coconut Conditioner
Amouri Organique Knights masque

Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine (new version no cones)
Tigi Catwalk Oatmeal and Honey
EO conditioners (Sweet Orange, Chamomile and Honey)
Curl Junkie Hibiscus and Banana Honey Butta
Curl Junkie Curl Rehab
Curl Junkie Smoothing Conditioner
Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Leave In
Jasmine's Shea Butter Conditioner
Darcy's Pumpkin Seed Conditioner
Curls Asian Tea Conditioner
Back to Basics Curl Jasmine Conditioner
Giovanni Root 66
Giovanni Smooth as Silk
Hairveda MC Pro
Hairveda 24/7
Jessicurl Aloeba
Jessicurl Too Shea
Jessicurl WDT
Renpure Organics
Spiral Solutions Repairing Protein Treatment
Spiral Solutions Caitlin's Conditioner
Shescentit Green Tea and Hibiscus Conditioner
Lustrasilk Shea Mango
Lustrasilk Organic with Argan Oil
John Masters Citrus and Neroli
HSH Pumpkin Conditioner
Taliah Waajid Enhancing Herbal Conditioner
Yes to Tomatoes
Yes to Cucumbers
Komaza Aloe Conditioner

Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition
BellaCurls Conditioner
BellaCurls Leave in Elixir
Curl Junkie Hibiscus and Banana Deep Fix
Mop C Hydrating Conditioner
Komaza Califia Conditioner
Komaza Califia Leave In
Spiral Solutions Deeply Decadent
Terax Crema

Leave In's

Leave-In Conditioners

What exactly is a leave in? Are there rules for what goes in a leave in? Is there any regulation to call a product a leave in? Why use a leave in? Will a leave in leave me greasy or over conditioned? Will it make my hair limp? How much leave in?

These questions and more come up all the time when the topic is leave in hair conditioners. Let me say right away there is no one right answer to any of them really.

In simplest terms a leave in is something you leave IN your hair -- in other words you don't rinse it out. Leave in conditioners have no rule or definition as to what they contain -- it is up to the company. Generally leave in's should be moisturizing. Other than that everybody has a different story.

People use a leave in for a variety of reasons -- some need one to prevent dryness, frizz, or poof. Others use it as a "base" for another product such as a curl cream or jel. Still others use it to detangle. There is no one "right" reason OR way to use a leave in.

If you have fine or thin hair its possible a leave in may be "too much". It depends on your hair. My hair is porous and absorbs products readily--so I use very small amounts of leave in. My daughters hair is thicker and low porosity and we use a lot of leave in. Others I know have fine hair that is low porosity and use only a little leave in. Get the picture? It's all over the place. Only you can determine if a leave in will leave you greasy, oily, flat, limp, etc.

So what about amounts? Pea sized? Grape sized? Quarter? or palmfuls? Well in my house for my hair (fine, thin and porous) I use pea sized. My daughter has fine to medium/coarse thick low porosity hair--for her? Palmfuls. My son has medium normal porosity, medium to fine texture, and thick short hair-- for him about a quarter works best.

A special word: So if there is no real regulation of leave in's do you need a product "designed" as a leave in? Well, no. Not really. You can use any product as a leave in depending on what you want for your hair or what you want your hair to do--try using your rinse out conditioner, styling lotion, or your deep treatment condish as a leave in. There is nothing sacred about what a leave in is. One of my favorite protein leave in's is meant as a deep penetrating protein treatment. We regularly use Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition for my daughter as a leave in (although its technically a rinse out) and for my son we occasionally use Curl Junkie Coffee Coco Curl Creme Lite as a leave in. Experiment! I give you permission. Fly free my beauties!

So what are my favorite leave ins?

Cream type leave in's:

Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Leave In (CALI)
Curl Junkie Beauticurls Leave In (BCLI)

Both of these are outstanding leave in products. They are moisturizing without being heavy. The BCLI has a stronger smell and its yummy. The CALI has been discontinued (so get it while you can!). These are excellent bases for other styling products as well and in my hair do not weigh it down. These are available from a variety of places like http://www.curljunkie.com/, http://www.aveyou.com/, or http://www.curlmart.com/

Beauty without Cruelty Leave In

This is one of my favorites actually. It has proteins high up on the list. It has a lot of slip but does not pull out my curl. It's not expensive (I get mine from iherb.cm). It is moisturizing but not super heavy.

Karens Body Beautiful Nectar and Milk:

For pure moisture and conditioning these really can't be beat. They work on all our heads at my house (although my son is NOT fond of the smells!). They come in a variety of scents so you can chose your favorite. They are super moisturizing--for my daughter they prevent frizz and give her outstanding softness. I discovered these early on and they have remained staples in our house. You can find them at http://www.karensbodybeautiful.com/

AND the big gun for moisture--not going to let your hair dry out at all is BellaCurls Leave In Elixir--this stuff is potent! It has good slip, a great sweet scent, and is incredibly moisturizing. If you have very dry hair or your hair is frizzy or poofy get this leave in STAT. It is outstanding!

When used with the other Bellacurl products we can get 5-7 day hair for my daughter. Since her hair is so dry that is just outstanding. We love Bellacurls!

For those of you that prefer a spray or are worried about weighing down your hair..or perhaps you like a spray before a cream then the following are good choices:

Darcys Botanicals Natural Coils Leave In Spray: Smells great and about 5 sprays does my entire head. Has a decent amount of slip but I wouldn't use it to detangle (not that I need to). It's very moisturizing!

Darcy Botanicals Herbal Spray -- this is heavier than the Natural Coils one. If you like hippie stink or patchouli then this here's your spray babe. It has tea tree so is particularly good for those with itchy scalp. I tend to use it more (with a few sprays) as a base for cream curl enhancers since sometimes the cream enhancers paired with a cream leave in are too much.

Brendita's No Knots Moisturizing Leave In is a great leave in spray for hair. It's not heavy.

The BIG GUN for moisture in this category is the Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifier. IF your hair is super dry or you wear braids, twists, or locs get thee to the nearest beauty supplier or online supplier and order up a couple of bottles. This stuff is like liquid gold for dry hair. I'm not crazy about the smell (Caribbean Coconut) but this stuff works great. Watch the daily use as it can feel like its building up and it is a heavy product. Outstanding!

There are a few other sprays we use but we tend to use them as refresher's or pick me ups--less as leave in's...although I include them since I have used all of them as a leave in at one time or another. All are super light.

Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Hair Styling Water, Curl Junkie Curl Fuel enhancing spray, and Oyin Juices and Berries (best smell EVER!). All are great. My daughter's favorite spray is the Oyin which we use as a scent product almost on day 4 or 5 hair--we do find that the Oyin attracts dirt a bit so we don't use it until we get close to washing (side benefit: it hides any odor!)

The last kind of side category is protein leave in's--I've already mentioned both of these before but wanted to be sure I included them here as well: Spiral Solutions Repairing Protein Treatment and Terax Life Drops Leave In. You can view their reviews in my other blog posts.

My favorite Hair and Body Oils

So I like to use oils a a pre-poo occasionally for my hair. I also like to use them for my body. I thought I'd create a short blog about which ones are my favorite.

Since I have fine and thin hair I really have to be careful of what I use on my scalp. I can very easily become an overly oiled mess. There are so many choices for those of us trying to grow hair (with sulfur), make hair thicker (using herbs), or condition our tresses (using oils that penetrate into the hair strand).

The oil that works best for me in my hair is Afroveda Shikakai Growth Oil. It has a very pleasing mint tea smell, has a light oil base, and does not leave my hair overly oily or gross. I use it as a prepoo generally on Friday or Saturday night. I massage it into my scalp (first coating the tips/pads of a couple fingers and then just gently massage in).  I sleep with it in my hair and then do the normal low poo in the am. I'm seeing some new little baby hair growth and my scalp is far less itchy than it used to be. Although I'm not 100% sure its attributed to the oil I do think it contributes. An excellent oil! It can be found at http://www.afroveda.com/

When I need a little more "oomph" I use Hairveda's Cocasta Shikakai oil. It is in a base of castor oil so its far heavier than the Afroveda. I have to be uber careful not to get it on the strands and usually use it in the front at the temple at my hairline. I also love to use this as a body oil--it has made my skin so soft. I love the smell and I have no idea how to describe it except as rather sweet but tangy (?). It can be found at http://www.hairveda.com/

The last oil I found that I really love is the Darcy's Botanicals Peach Kernal Nectar Oil. It smells absolutely heavenly -- like homemade peaches you just want to drown in cream on a lazy Sunday morning. I use this in my bath and the whole bathroom smells wonderful. It's relaxing but won't put you to sleep. It can be found at http://www.darcysbotanicals.com/

I give all three of these oils the thumbs up! If you have oils you like please leave a comment below!

Protein, Protein, Protein -- My Favorites!

Fine hair usually LURVES protein--and my hair is no exception. My hair loves any form of protein it can get in any way it arrives--in short I can hit it with major protein shots constantly and it never goes hard or straw like.

In honor of protein I thought I would post about my favorite products that have protein in them in high enough concentrations that my hair notices. A lot of products have protein--but for my hair, that needs a ton of it , I notice markedly more spiral curls and ringlet's the more protein I use. Animal, vegetable, whatever--my hair doesn't care--it wants it all! It is a glutton for this stuff!

Let's start off with protein treatments:

Nexxus Emergencee-- to say my hair adores this is a dramatic understatment. I use it in the shower at least 2x a week. I'll do my low poo and then use this and leave on for about 5 minutes (sometimes 10 if I'm shaving) and then rinse it out and use another rinse out conditioner left on for a couple of minutes. When I use this I am guaranteed spirals and ringlet's and tight curls. Links at the top.

Spiral Solutions Repairing Protein Treatment -- this is my other favorite protein treatment. The beauty of this one is that it can be used as a rinse out condish for me -- I don't need to add anything else! I really like this one with heat (usually on weekends) but I use it during the week too as both a rinse out and a leave in. I don't combine it with other protein heavy products because it is enough on its own. the smell on this one is divine--chocolate latte.

Curl Junkie Curl Fix -- I love the smell of this conditioner treatment. Although not solely a protein treatment it does have quite a few proteins in good concentrations. I like to use this about 2x a month with heat. This is how it works best for me. I've tried it as a leave in and my hair felt producty and got frizzy.

Moving on to rinse out conditioners that are heavy on the protein:

Hairveda Moist Condition PRO -- this is my favorite protein conditioner. Although short on ingredients this one really gets the job done with protein. It is not heavy so those with fine hair don't need to worry it will over condition you. You can use this as a leave in if you like -- works superbly for that as well. The cost is very reasonable although it can take a little while to get your product so order with plenty of time to spare.

Jasmines Shea Butter Conditioner -- Another excellent conditioner with protein. My hair likes this one as rinse out or leave in but I find it best as a rinse out. I think it's heavy enough to satisfy some of the more dry customers but not so heavy to make me flat and limp. Another good choice!

Tigi Catwalk Oatmeal and Honey Conditioner -- This one smells like cake batter or vanilla cookies. It's very thick and I find it very rich. I could not use it daily as I would end up over conditioned. It leaves my hair very soft. You can get this in litre size at Ulta's sale and my local grocery store (Von's) has it on sale quite frequently. If you prefer you can order it from amazons subscribe and save as that's another very inexpensive way to do it (this is the way I do it)--link on top left.

Jason Thin to Thick Conditioner -- although this smells like Grandpa's medicine cabinet in a very unappealing menthol way it really does work nice for those that like protein. You can get it on iherb for a good price (coupon code is at the top of my blog) or through vitacost or similar. I found it way too expensive in stores ($13!). Although it's not my favorite it does make my hair thicker, provide more volume, and get those spirals going due to the protein.

Mop C Hydrating Conditioner -- This is a very heavy conditioner. If your hair needs protein and loves a very rich, thick condish then give this one a try. We also like the Hydrating shampoo (it is protein free) but the condish is really moisturizing.

And, lastly, leave in options:

Terax Life Drops -- this is my top choice for a product specific to leave in's that has protein. It is fabulous and very light--will not weigh down your hair at all (in fact those that like a heavy leave in--this is not for you as its really light). It's not the cheapest product out there but it certainly rates very high for me. I love this stuff!

There are other options--I've chosen the ones I am most attached to and that I feel provide the level of protein that I require (high!). Leave a note if there is something else you found that you like! I'm also always happy to have guest bloggers so if any of you would like to post feel free!

Redken Soft Spin 05

Redken and I, well lets say we go waaayyy back. When I was in college I used to do hair modeling and hair shows for Redken as a way to get free cuts/color and pay for my books. For years Redken was all I used because I would be loaded down with the stuff after the shows. Interesting that they always did a blow out on me or cut my hair very short (think a couple of inches). I hadn't used Redken for years but when I saw a banner on the naturally curly website that offered a free sample I thought "hey, it's free!" and promptly put my information in.

Redken Soft Spin 05 is a curl enhancing gel for fine hair. Its thick and gloopy--think BRHG or Chi Infra Gel. It's a bit hard to distribute owing to its extreme gelliness. The best way is to rub it between your palms and smooth it in followed by some scrunching. Forget about raking this one--I tried that once and you could see the areas I missed OY!

The first time I used this I got VERY flat hair, a canopy that was straighter than a rule but very defined ringlet's on the bottom. I used my normal pea sized amount. "Well", I thought, "this just confirms that chemical laden store bought salon products do not work for me!" I usually try to use a product a couple of times to make sure I've given it a fair shot. I was a little prejudiced on this one--I really didn't want to use it again. However, rules are rules.

So I tried it again yesterday this time going full gusto on the amount used--about a quarter sized or large grape sized blob. Way more than usual. I used Curl Junkie Beauticurls Leave In then this and then topped with a little bit of ABBA Pure Finish Gel. WOWZA!!!! You would not believe the curls AND I HAVE SECOND DAY HAIR TODAY. I cannot believe it. Hairompliments abounded as I was out and about yesterday.

So I've changed my tune. I'm going to try this again a couple times but if it continues to WOW me it will be an HG.

Moral of the story: ALWAYS give something a couple tries before giving up!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

TRESemme Conditioners -- A REAL blast from the past!

So before I went CG I used a lot of TRESemme. #1 it's cheap and #2 it's readily available #3 it worked pretty well #4 did I mention it was cheap?

Anyway when TRESemme announced it was coming out with new Silicone FREE conditioners --- well color me surprised. It won't be a surprise then that I rushed out to Ulta to pick them up when they were available.

I got both the Moisturizing and the Volumizing conditioners. We really like both! These are a great value for those who want an on ground option that is readily available AND who find things like Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition to be too heavy for their hair.

Moisturizing: This one has good slip and is very easy to distribute. We put it on and then combed through my daughter's hair. It worked very well--not as well as other onground options but certainly it was doable. It left her hair moisturized but that moisture did not last past day 2 without us adding other stuff--that's not terrible but we'll likely use this as the detangler and may use additional stuff after to add more conditioning power. We have some conditioners which are great for moisture but lack slip--this would be awesome to combine with them. We haven't tried this as a cowash for her and may do so next. If you have normal hair or even regular dry hair (and not the awful dry straw that we deal with on her head) then you will want to check this out. For me it worked very well--nearly the same as the Volume one except with less volume. I love that it does not weigh my hair down.

Volumizing: This is the ONLY conditioner with volume in the title I've found to do what it says. It does give volume and thickness. It's not heavy and it doesn't weigh my hair down.

Overall we are very pleased with these conditioners. For the price you are getting a pretty good deal. In terms of smell--well they smell like Tresemme products...it has never been my favorite smell and that gets reinforced even more for me now that I buy a lot of natural products. Store bought stuff always has this kind of chemically smell to me that is not the most appealing.

Be sure to rinse well as I found it took a little longer to rinse than with some of my other conditioners.

Deva Deva Deva -- Love, Hate, Love, Eh, Hate, what???

Most Curly girls and guys know that the mother of the curly girl method is Lorraine Massey who wrote the Curly Girl book. She was the one who started it all.

She also developed a line of products called DEVA. There are two kinds of Deva--DevaCurl and DevaCare. My understanding is that the Care products are for processed or color treated hair. She has a few other products like shampoo/condish for blondes, redheads, etc but I haven't tried them.

She's also spawned her own trademarked DevaCut for stylists that is a specific method for cutting curly hair.

I've had a few questions on why I haven't mentioned Deva products or Devacuts. I think the title of the blog post says it all.

To start I have had two "DevaCuts" from two different stylists. The first was a local stylist and came highly recommended. She was o.k.---nothing super special. Then I got a cut from Tiffany of "Live Curly Live Free" fame (her blog is linked on the side for you) and it was FABO--simply awesome. Overall I'd say there is a benefit to a Deva Cut (or dry cut) since they can see how your curls lay when they are cutting. Since I can't go to Florida to Tiffany's regular salon (I lucked out and had her cut my hair on a roadshow to CA) I'm still looking for that perfect stylist. One thing: Because of the way Devacuts and styles are done it is *possible* that you will end up with way less curl than you normally have if you let them style your hair. Don't worry--you'll get to restyle when you get home. I think it comes from using the bonnet dryer (gives me straight hair) and the fact that there is minimal scrunching. Or for me that seems why.

On to Deva products

DevaCurl No-Poo

I do not like the smell of this. I guess it is supposed to be roses but really it's just kind of, well, icky. Strong. And it lllliinnnnggggeerrrrsss fffoooorrreevveeerrrrrrr. Get the drift?

It does a good job cleaning and is heavy enough so that I don't have to use a rinse out conditioner if I don't want to. I do find that it leaves my hair with some sort of "coating" no matter how much I rinse. I'm not keen on that. If I mix Deva products I will end up with dry hair so I usually try to use only one at a time. This I didn't find drying. It's not a repurchase for me.

DevaCurl One-C conditioner

 I LOVE LOVE LOVE the smell of this. Like lemony sweet tarts. I sometimes just pick up the bottle to smell it. Yes I'm weird. I like how this goes on my hair and it is easy to distribute. You don't have to use too much. I find it pretty conditioning but occasionally it seems like it is drying my hair out. I've no idea why. It is an occasional use product. Not sure yet if I'd repurchase since I have so much other stuff I love.

DevaCare Low-Poo

We like this at my house. It works well and it does not strip my daughter's hair but leaves it pretty well moisturized for a shampoo. The smell is o.k. I'm not keen on the whole orange creamsicle smell of the DevaCare products but we can live with it. It works as well with both my son and I. We don't encounter the dryness from this poo that others seem to.

Deva Set It Free:

For the life of me I do not see the draw of this outside of a curl emergency. Everytime I use it all that happens is that my hair sticks together (or my hands do if I put it on my hands first) and its gunky. It also seems to attract every speck of dust and dirt in the atmosphere to deposit on my hair. Reserved for a Code Blue situation ONLY.
Deva MirrorCurl: Another ish. Just ish.

Deva Set Up and Above: While this gave me shine it turns out I'm horribly allergic to it. I have not yet identified the substance inside that is causing this but I gave it away real quick when the hives showed up.

DevaCare ArcAngell: Made my hair drier than the Sahara. Took a week to get it back to normal. Unbelievably awful experience. Could not get rid of it fast enough.

DevaCurl Angell: Seems like this is the one they always want to use on me when I get a haircut. I'm not fond although its not as drying as the ArcAngell stuff. It just does not have enough hold for me and I end up with barely any wave.

So there you have it. My love to hate relationship with Deva. The end.

P.S. I only put pics of the products I still have.

Komaza Hair Care Cleansers and Shampoo's

Komaza makes several cleanser/shampoo's but I've only tried 2.

Komaza Almond Milk Cleansing Conditioner:

This was my favorite cleansing conditioner until it was discontinued early this year. I loved the smell (almonds, milk, sweet...mmmm) and it worked very well as a cleanser that did not strip my hair. It is an in between cleanser that provides some moisture but not so much as to make a rinse out redundant. I have heard that the children's Sweet Pea line shampoo/cleanser is very similar to this but have not tried it yet. I really loved this stuff for how soft it made my hair without that over conditioned feeling--and it cleaned pretty well. I don't use cleansing conditioners to get out oils but on my regular daily dirt it worked fabo. No lather of course as its a cleansing conditioner.

Komaza Moku Shampoo:

This is a pretty clarifying shampoo. There is nearly no lather--which is kind of strange as because it is a shampoo and usually I can get some lather going but not with this one--no siree bob. I actually used about 3 quarter sized blobs--much more than I normally do as it is a bit hard to distribute. Anyway it seemed to clean fine--did not leave a residue. My hair was not squeaky but it was definitely more clarifying than other low poo's I've used. It rinsed clean out. It did seem to give me some volume. I can usually tell with that (even when I use other products) because after shampooing my hair feels fuller and almost foamy but without foam. I was fortunate to find this on the swap board but it would be a repurchase for me.

Komaza Coconut Care Shampoo:

I got this off the swap board on nc.com from a lovely curly. Consistency wise this is much thinner than the Moku shampoo. It has more lather and spreads easier. I like the smell (not sure its coconut though--smells more just sweet). However this shampoo most definitely is *CLARIFYING* in a major way. My hair was very clean when I finished. It didn't feel dry but it did feel squeaky. I would consider this a clarifying shampoo--much more heavy duty than the Moku for me. Of the two I prefer the Moku still.

Komaza Hair Care Stylers

Komaza Stylers

I've tried several Komaza stylers but have not had the greatest results. A lot of folks on the nc.com website love Komaza and their puddings and stylers but for me they tend to pull my curl out a bit and give me some frizz. On the other hand they provide pretty good definition to my hair and leave it very soft and touchable. My favorite of the three I've tried is definitely the Califia Styling pudding although it is pretty heavy.

In the immortal words of one of my naturally curly's board mates "I need to be touchable, and any product that doesn't let my curls spring back after some solid rolling around, fuggedaboutdit." ...so you might want to consider giving these a try (*wink*)

Komaza Coconut Hair Pudding: 

I've tried this about 8 times--initially it was ok but my curls just fall out and elongate by mid day. I like the smell (coconut'y) and the consistency (its sort of between a gel and a cream) but I haven't been able to get it to work consistently for me. Even with a hard hold gel on top of it. I do seem to be in the minority though--as many absolutely consider this their HG. Komaza has samples available on the website at a *VERY* reasonable price so this is one time I'm going to advise you to pick up a few samples and see what you think.

Komaza Coconut Curl Lotion:

Theoretically this would be a better choice for me than the pudding since it is supposed to be lighter. For me though all it did was give me a frizzy undefined mess of curls that fell into barely there waves by about 11am. The pudding was much better. It smells a little strange to me so I wasn't overly fond of the smell either--but I could have handled it if the result was better. This is not for me.

Komaza Califia Care Styling Pudding:

I absolutely LOVE the consistency and smell of this--it is like chocolate latte mousse--looks so good you want to eat it! It's thick and more creamy then gel'ly but once you get it on your hands it actually feels more gel like than cream like. It almost seems to coat your hair--for me it had no slip but did distribute well. I've never had anything go on my hair like this--took about a minute or two for my hair to absorb and I could tell when pixie diffusing that my hair was already going to be soft. It did provide very nice definition and soft touchable hair (see above) but I didn't find it curl enhancing. I don't think it is meant to be but that is what I like to see in a curl pudding--since I'm always trying to get more curls!

Overall the Califia pudding for me would be the only full size purchase (I used samples on all of it and glad I did so!). I do think that those curlies who have a stronger pattern such as 3B/3C/4A/B or strong 3A might do better with this since it defines well.

Komaza Hair Care Conditioners

Komaza Hair Care 

A hair care line designed for natural hair

They have a new website for you to check out: http://www.komazahaircare.com/ (where you will find ingredient listsing as well!)

On to the products:

Komaza Aloe Conditioner: This is one of my favorite conditioners but unfortunately has been discontinued. The smell is strong--sweet but with a hint of spice or musk. It has a fair amount of slip but seems to do best with those of us who don't need slip who want grabby conditioners. Grabby means that they "hold" your hair and don't make it slippery so the curls fall out. I find this one to give me a bit of volume but where it really shines is in thickness--it makes my hair appear noticably fuller and thicker. In terms of moisture it would be about average--if you had dry hair I don't think this should be a first choice as it provided some but was not ultra moisturizing. I was quite disappointed to hear it was being discontinued.

Komaza Califia Conditioner:

This is designed for more highly textured hair than mine and hair that needs a lot of moisture punch. I actually quite liked it although regular use would weigh my down. It is very moisturizing and I actually liked the smell--sort of spicy, sexy musky. It is very different than most scents. Its thick and a bit tough to get out of the bottle. I did feel almost like there was a residue left when I used it--although I didn't notice it next day when I went to do my low poo. This would make an outstanding conditioner for someone whose hair was very dry or that required a lot of moisture. It is also very concentrated so a little goes a long way..in fact that is a good motto for Komaza as a whole--a little goes a long way.

Komaza Califia Leave In: This has really good slip and is, like its sister conditioner, extremely moisturizing. It is thinner than the condish and has more of a sweet smell mixed with the spicy musk. They complement each other very well. This is a heavy leave in IMHO--not for finer haired folks or gals/guys who get weighed down easily. It works very well in T's hair and we found it fairly easy to distribute.

Komaza Moku Conditioner:

This is the new condish that is meant to replace the Komaza Aloe Conditioner. It smells similar (not exactly the same..the Moku is more understated). It works fairly well for me--has o.k. slip but not too much and is moisturizing but most likely would be best for those that do not require a lot of moisture. Normal to Oily hair would probably do well with this. It isn't a "wow" conditioner but it gets the job done. I do not get as much lift and volume with this as with the Aloe conditioner which is a bummer since that was a primary reason to purchase the other. Overall though of the Komaza line it is my favorite currently available product.

If I ever get up to Sacramento I am going to stop in and say "HI" to the Komaza folks!

Komaza Coconut Conditioner:

This is actually the conditioner that should work best for me given my hair type. It smells like a lighter version of the Califia conditioner. The difference between them is night and day. I did not find the Coconut Condish to be ultra moisturizing. It did a fine job and I was able to pair it with a heavier leave in without any problems. I think it will make a nice conditioner for me when I don't need ultra moisture. I think my favorite of all of the Komaza is, unfortunately, still the Aloe Conditioner which I found the moist moisturizing but not overconditioning. If your hair is super dry go with the Califia but if you have hair that can get weighted down you might want to try the Coconut or Moku--performance wise I did not notice much difference at all.


More poo reviews from SolidGold (from naturallycurly.com)

You're getting three reviews for the price of two today!

Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Conditioner

About $19 for 12oz from various online resellers

Ingredients: Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG -7 Olivate, Guar Hydroxypropytrimonium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Mentha Piperita (Pepperment) Leaf Extract, Matricaria Recuitita (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Yucca Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract, Melissa Officinalis (Melissa) Leaf Extract, Polysorbate 60, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance.

This product is not technically a poo, but it is a cleanser, and it may be a game-changer for me. I have never gotten conditioner-washing to work for me: my hair never felt clean after and always felt weighed down. But this! This product cleans like a shampoo and conditions like a daily conditioner. My hair felt clean and full of volume after I used it for the first time. I can’t believe my thick, finicky hair could use one product for washing/conditioning! I’m willing to pay the retail price and shipping for this one, so it has to be good!

SpiralSolutions Gentle Cleansing Cream


No image or price information yet--coming soon!

I had the privilege of trying out a sample as the mixtress was developing the product, and I loved it! The GCC cleaned my hair really well without stripping. It had a very light lather and mild scent. All things I like! This product is currently only available at the etsy link above and I am waiting to purchase it because I liked it so much. It definitely compares to Jessicurl’s Hair Cleansing Cream in functionality, and I think the price is about the same. Again, if I’m willing to pay the full retail price and shipping, it’s gotta be good. Get it if you can!

Mop C System Hydrating Shampoo

About $15 for 10oz from various online sources

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sodium Myristoyl Sarcosinate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin (*Vegetable Oil), Sodium PCA, Ethylene Glycol Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Ascorbyl Palmitate (*Vitamin C), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (*Vitamin C), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract (3), Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract (3), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract (3), Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Polyquaternium 10,**Myristamine Oxide, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid (*Sweet Potato), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Ricinus Communis Oil Extract, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil,**Methylparaben,**Propylparaben. *Source.**Food Grade. (3) Certified Organic by Quality Assurance International.

This shampoo is a thick, opaque, creamy cleanser. The scent is a pleasant citrusy mint that seems to be typical of MOP C products. I was afraid it would be too moisturizing for me, but I had no complaints after the first few uses. After a couple more uses, I didn’t feel like it cleaned as well as I wanted. I’m not sure what to attribute that feeling to; it could be the various other products I used and not a fault of this particular poo. This product ranks somewhere in the middle for me—I would purchase it if I didn’t have anything I liked better, but there are several other products that I would choose over this.