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T's Hair Journey

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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What's smell got to do with it?

In honor of finding the WORST smelling product EVER I want to take a moment to chat about smell.

Yes I have seen the other side of smell--Aubrey Organics Sea Buckthorn Leave In and Curl Activator Spray -- the worst smelling product. In fact so bad I had to re-poo and condish and start over completely--TWICE! Aubrey has several products in the worst smelling category--I guess they think if it's natural no one is going to complain about the odor?

In hair care the importance of product smell (or odor in some cases!) cannot be understated. Regardless of how well a product works if you absolutely hate the smell you are probably not going to use it or at least not repurchase it.

I generally classify hair product smells into one or more of the following categories:

  1.  Sweet (fruity or berry like or tropical)
  2.  Food (smells like cake batter or ice cream or hard candy)
  3.  Hippie Stink like patchouli or other earthy herbally scents (the type that would disguise other less legal scents..not that I would know or anything)
  4.  Floral (no need to explain this one)
  5.  Chemical or artificial smell (to me common with many store bought products under $5)
  6.  Citrus scents (e.g. lemon, orange, etc)
  7.  Sour scents including bitter type
  8.  Natural of undetermined origin

Now my favorites are 1, 2, or 6 for the most part. I don't mind the patchouli herbally scent if it smells more sexy than stinky and the floral scents if they aren't for a flower I don't like the smell of. My sniffer is really sensitive to some perfumes so much so that if I get in an elevator or walk down a hall after someone who has laid on the perfume really heavy I will have a sneezing, watery eyes, allergy type attack.

Here are my favorite and my worst products based on scent

Top 12 favorite products due to scent (not in any particular order) -- note products from the same company that have the same scent are classified as one product total:

  • Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner (#2 and pumpkin/spice--YUMMY!)
  • Spiral Solutions Deeply Decadent Treatment and Repairing Protein Treatment (#2 chocolate latte--OMG)
  • Spiral Solutions Firm Hold Gel and Curl Enhancing Jelly (#1, 3, 6, and 8 notes)
  • Curl Junkie Curl Rehab Smoothing Conditioner and Smoothing Gellie (#1-tropical fruit!)
  • Sweet Nature by Eddie Dream Moisturizing Cream and Inspiration Shampoo and Growth Spray (#1  Berry like)
  • Jessicurl products (any) in Island Fantasy scent (#1 but tropical)
  • DevaCurl One C (#6 citrus but sweet as well)
  • Darcy's Botanicals Natural Coils Curling Jelly (#6 citrus)
  •  Afroveda Shea Amla Cream (#3 plus musky-sexy!)
  •  Curl Junkie Hibiscus and Banana scent (#2 and 1--banana bubble gum)
  •  Oyin Whipped Pudding or Sweet Nature by Eddie Wisdom Cream (chocolate--nearly identical smell #2)
  •  Oyin Juices and Berries spray (#1)

So you can see from the list that I predominantly like #1, 2 and #6 as I mentioned)

So what made the list of my worst smelling products and am I still using them (I've marked NO or YES to whether I am still using them) ?

  • Aubrey Organics Sea Buckthorn Leave In and Curl Activator Spray - #8 Simply horrific NO
  • Aubrey Organics Island Naturals Conditioner and Shampoo - #8 NO
  • No Frizz Styling Cream - #5 NO
  • Simply Curly Conditioning/Styling Pudding (#6 and #8 -- smells rancid to me) NO
  • CHS Tweek and Curl Keeper (#5 in a major way) YES to CK and NO to Tweek
  •  Boots Curl Creme's (pink and white--very strong #5 and maybe #4 a little) YES
  • Terax Crema and Life Drops (#5) YES
  • Tresemme Silicone Free Conditioners (#5, #4) YES
  • Curl Junkie Curl Rehab Gardenia scent (#4) YES
  • Curls Ecstasy Asian Tea Conditioner (#8) YES

So you can see in many cases I will still use a product even if the scent turns me off. However the ones marked NO I would not use if they were my "Holy Grail" products--the smells to me are that bad.

So what do you think? What's the worst smelling product you use or don't use? Best smelling? I'm curious....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Resurrection from the Product Graveyard

So, if you are like me, you have lots of products. Every once in a while I *remember* I have a product and resurrect it from the pile. In honor of this phenomenon I've decided to create a regular column highlighting products that have been saved from the brink.

Today that product was Curls Asian Tea Conditioner

I'm not sure when I stopped using this--likely last fall sometime--but I gotta kick myself for doing so. Although the smell is kind of unappealing (especially in comparison to the rest of the Curls line which smells delectable!) everything else about this conditioner is top notch.

It's billed as a deep treatment but I use it both as a deep treatment AND a rinse out conditioner. I haven't tried it as a leave in (yet). It does have protein even if its further down the list. The ingredients, other than that, aren't too special save the tea one. For whatever reason I have always been in love with tea. I drink all kinds of it hot, use it on my eyes when they are tired, like to drink Green Tea smoothies and have used it in other concoctions over the years. It's a very multi purpose product! About the only thing I don't like about it is that it does stain the teeth...but with all the whitening stuff nowadays that's pretty much fixable.

On to the conditioner--so its very thick and rich. Mine is an older version that has a flip top cover but the new one (pictured) looks like it's a pump bottle. Either way is fine. I usually leave it on in the shower for about 5 minutes--it makes my hair very soft and leaves no residue or film at all. It is not super slippery so I'm not sure about it to detangle (I don't have enough hair to detangle). It does not cause my hair to be over conditioned nor is it a light conditioner. After using it my hair is very soft but not so much as to lose the curl (which can happen with some conditioners and styling products). I'm not sure again exactly what is in here that lends to all that but whatever it is this remains an outstanding condish that you really ought to try.

Highly recommended. It has just been placed in my shower amongst my other regular rotation products!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


And the winner is....Diana!

Congratulations and thanks to all who entered.

 I did a video but haven't been able to upload it-sorry!

Friday, February 19, 2010



Listen up Curly Girls--announcing my first ever Blog Giveaway!
From now until Midnight on February 22nd you can post a comment to have a chance at winning a Medium size LillaRose Hair Clip (Pictured above!).

I've got this hot little puppy in my hands and ready to ship to one lucky winner! Even though I ordered more clips from Lillarose boy it's hard to resist this one as I love the color! I might have to order yet another clip to add to my collection (pictured below). I've included in this post more pictures of my coworkers with my clips in so you can see how versatile they are--and everyone remarked about how easy they were to use! These things ROCK!

Lillarose clips are a great way to jazz up your hair and give yourself a change from your everyday style. They also work great for adding unique touches to those special nights out or your little girl's birthday party!

To enter post a comment below. If you don't have a username then you'll need to post some name that I can use to announce you so you can contact me (anonymous won't work!). All posts must be submitted by Monday Feb 22nd 2010 at Midnight. A drawing for the winner will be done on Tuesday (I'll try to video it and post it up). No contest and no pressue--just post a comment! If you like the Lillarose flexi clips give a shout out to your friends and let us know how you use them! I love to get ideas!!

I get my Lillarose clips from www.lillarose.biz/robin

LillaRose Clips

LillaRose Clips
So what do all your curly girl's do with your hair to jazz it up and make it sparkle? How do you turn a ho hum workday hairdo into something that generates notice and comment? If you're too old for scrunchies (or even for a change from scrunchies or bobby pins!) you ought to give LillaRose Hair Clips a try!

These are flexi clips that have an attached piece that slides through. I learned about them through naturallycurly.com and was very excited to order some from my friend Robin at www.lillarose.biz/robin

On the website there is video to assist you with sizing. Lillarose also sells jewelry and other hair products--give a look!

So why do I love these? The primary reason is that I love the design and the way that anyone can use them. I may be the most hopeless person ever but some of the clips I bought for my daughter were a disaster once we got them home--too small, too big, too painful, too sharp, kept falling out, and so on and so on. I myself with fine, thin, and relatively short hair thought I was relegated to bobby pins or mini clips and some weird snap barette's that made me feel like I was five. T and I were both super excited to find cute and unique clips that were easy to use, did not pull hair, and that we could both enjoy. I am serious--these are easy enough for anyone to pick up and use and your hair will be adorable!

To prove just how easy these are I took them to my work. I asked several of my coworkers (who had never used them before) to give them a try. Get creative. And they did. WOW! All of the pic's above are from the fun today (on our breaks of course!) where we played around--I was shameless in asking for hair models and all the girls were very good natured about it! I had wavy girls, curly girls, relaxed girls, and girls with straight hair. In each and every one they looked GREAT!

These clips are just so unique and I think there is a choice for nearly every personality. Enjoy and stay tuned for an important announcement!

BellaCurl Hydrating Cleansing Creme

THE Cleansing Creme!

Bellcurl cleansing creme goes on very smooth with excellent slip. It distributes very easily and you can get it to your roots without any trouble. In terms of texture it's fairly thick--the smell is a bit different than the conditioner and leave in and nice-not too strong. When scrubbing my scalp I could feel it in there (very very slight tingly feeling). There isn't any lather so in that it is similar to Jessicurl Cleansing Creme and the now discontinued Komaza Almond Cleansing Milk.

It seemed to do a very nice job of cleansing but I'll put it through a few more tests and udpate the blog once I do--I couldn't resist getting this review up since I am so in love with her products! I want to try it in the morning after I use some of my favorite oil's for scalp massage at night--it usually takes a low poo to get them out of my hair.

So far I am very impressed with this cleanser and definitely consider it a staple. I am actually more fond of cleansing conditioners than low poo's or shampoo's. With the Bellacurl one I do not think I would have needed any conditioner. Since I have some curl enhancers that are rich themselves it works perfectly to have a cleansing creme and then use my rich curl enhancer as leave in and curl enhancer followed by a gel. I will normally get very good hair days like this. In terms of how much I used about a tsp. That's all it took.

Bellacurl Leave in Elixir

Liquid Gold

The Bellacurl Leave In Elixir is amazing. It has wonderful slip and goes on perfectly providing a superb moisture boost for times you want to use a leave in. It is very concentrated so you don't need a ton--even on T's hair we used only about 2 tsp (practically unhead of!). The comb went through her hair with complete ease. T's hair stayed pretty moisturized for several days.

On my hair I thought at first it might be too much but it turns out it isn't at all! With this as the base (using a curl enhancer) I got beautiful ringlet's in the back and sides. The foundation for me to get ringlet type curls always comes from my hair being well moisturized and for my protein to be at the right level. While the leave in elixir doesn't have protein I find when I use a really good protein treatment on the weekend's I don't need to use products with protein for each step--I can use protein in a step or two or even skip a day and my hair still does well. So I used all Bellacurl products and then used a curl enhancer and gel with protein and I had fabulous hair!

I used only about a pea sized amount of this very rich leave in and it was exactly perfect. Bravo! A definite purchase!

BellaCurl Moisture Rich Conditioner

BellaCurl Products

BellaCurl is the brainchild of another naturallycurly.com curly girl. Bela saw a need to have quality products available that did not have protein or glycerin for those curlies who had sensitivities to these ingredients. If any of you live somewhere glycerin is a problem you'll know--glycerin in high humidity can draw water from the air and deposit it in your hair--leading to frizz and poof galore. In low dews or humidity glycerin can actually have properties that let it leach moisture from your hair into the air--not something you want to do in a dry climate where you hair needs all the moisture it can get.

On to the product! The moisture rich conditioner (MRC) has loads of good for your hair ingredients and is 100% vegan. It's extremely thick and rich and a bit hard to get out of the bottle. The smell is sweet but not cloying (I'm not sure I can identify the exact scent but it's sort of fruity and musky all at once). For T's hair it soaked this in like a sponge in a glass of water--since her hair is low porosity this is actually quite an accomplishment. While we did not find it to have a great amount of slip it did soak in and her hair, when dry, was very moisturized and shiny with no frizz. Excellent!

On my hair it's really wonderful. I thought it would be too heavy but it's not. I think it's moisturizing enough that I couldn't use it daily but that's o.k. because it has an ingredient in it that can cause a slight reaction for me so I wouldn't use it daily anyway. It left my hair, just like T's, very shiny, very moisturized with very defined curls. Outstanding.

This is an excellent conditioner and really packs a moisture wallop--any of you curlies whose hair is sensitive to protein will want to try BellaCurl products. If you're like me and your hair loves protein don't think this condish isn't for you--it's a wonderful conditioner that is great for your hair and that will create shine and leave your hair feeling so soft but never coated. I highly recommend a purchase!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spiral Solutions Firm Hold Gel


Another unbelievable product. I got mine on Friday and tried it yesterday with the SS Curl Enhancing Jelly. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G results. These two products turned my 2C/3A hair a solid 3A with a 3 b bottom. Even after my cut!

At first I wasn't sure about the smell since I've not really smelled a product with a similar smell. Kind of herbally but sweet and just a hint of floral. I was a bit confounded. However once you get it on your hands to put in your hair the smell is scrumptious and rich. It feels elegant to me. Extremely unique. The Curl Enhancing Jelly has the same smell and I love that they layer over each other. The smell doesn't linger but just lightly remains to the point that I kept thinking something smelled so good all day. I love this smell!!

It's thick and gel like--rub it in your hands and like the SS CEJ it spreads easily into your hair.

What I did: Used Sweet Nature by Eddie Low Poo (cannot wait until Spiral Solutions low poo comes out!) and then Spiral Solutions Repairing Protein for about 8 minutes or so. Rinsed and used a nickel sized of the Deeply Decadent Deep Treatment as a rinse out. I got out of the shower and put in a small pea sized of the Repairing Protein as leave in followed by the Curl Enhancing Jelly and the FHG. Amazing results--root spiral's and ringlet's galore. No need to use any clips as my hair layed perfectly. It even looked good after I was out in the rain and wind to go get pizza! Awesome!

The Firm Hold Gel has a great hold--it dries crunchy when used with the jelly but scrunches out extremely well. It's not hard to SOTC like it is for me with something like BRHG if I use too much.

I cannot tell you how much I am loving the Spiral Solutions products. There were new posts about an etsy company on naturallycurly.com and I went and scoped it out, even posted a question, but in the end didn't buy anything as I kept thinking I'm just gonna wait for more Spiral Solutions stuff to come out. I have never had a line where I've loved absolutely everything before. The closest is Curl Junkie where I like a lot of things. Between these two lines and a few outlier products I am one happy junkie!

On ground curl enhancers and definers

What are good on ground options for curl enhancement and definition?

I hear this question a lot and just today realized I had not blogged about any of these options. Although most of my products used for curl enhancement are from on line sources there are some on ground options that I've tried. Honestly the main thing that keeps me from staying with on ground products is usually the smell. I like more natural smells or smells that are sweet and woodsy--I tend not to like smells that are to me more chemically or strong. Plus I have a few allergies and usually if my nose isn't fond my hair and scalp won't be either.

In any case I have several online options that I absolutely love (Curl Junkie CCCC Lite, Amourai Organique Duchess of Curls, Spiral Solutions Curl Enhancing Jelly (HG!), Darcy's Botanicals Natural Coils Curling Jelly, and Donna Mira Mira Curl Curling Jelly. They tend to push aside the onground ones that I'm not as fond of--although they worked fine. Just to give a perspective.

Here are some options:

Redken Soft Spin 05: If you were lucky enough to score the full size bottle from Redken from the ad on naturallycurly.com you'll likely have tried this recently. I tried it--but it left my canopy straight. I may have used too much so I'll give it a go again. It has a strong smell (like most other on ground enhancers *sigh*) and several wavies are giving it the thumbs up. Generally I like Redken products--I did hair modeling for Redken as a way to pay for some of my college so I'm pretty familiar with their line (or I was, I'm old now lol!). I may try it mixed with something else and will udpate if I do. It's very sticky--like a gel--but the hold would be light at best. It did give me nice curls underneath but I just don't like that producty feel.

Ecostyler Krystal: This is a gel but has curl enhancing properties for many. It can be found all over the place including Sally's and CVS stores--I've also seen it at Walgreens. For my fine and thin hair it was too much--had a curl elongating effect. However for my coworkers beautiful long and medium to coarse hair it was phenomenal. At about $2-3 it's not a bad pick up and you're not out much if you don't like it. It can be used as a gel over a curl enhancing product as well. Ecostyler comes in many flavors so you can experiment a bit (with protein, olive oil, extra hold, etc)

Paul Mitchell Round Trip: This one does have a PEG modified cone in it (PEG 12 Dimethicone). It does give pretty nice enhancement. You can get it at BSS and Ulta and it may be available in some larger drug stores. It worked o.k. in my hair and the reason I swapped it was due to smell.

ISO Bouncy Creme: IIRC no cone in this one. Worked fine. Left my canopy fairly straight (that's not uncommon as it is normally pretty straight) but my Goddaughter loves it and her hair is gorgeous. Usually a BSS or Ulta purchase and it's not expensive. $8-10 or so usually for a nice sized bottle. Worth a try. Another smell issue for me.

Mop C Curl Defining Creme: I actually really like this one a lot. It is like minty Elmer's Glue but works great. It can build up so I wouldn't recommend a daily use but for one to two times a week it's a great product. You don't need too much--it can get producty if you do that. Expensive and available at many BSS. Ulta was having a clearance so I'm not sure they are carrying it anymore.

Alagio Curl Balm: Weird strange color. Worked decently. Smell wasn't too bad. Just not my favorite. Inexpensive. Available at Ulta but it's usually by the regular condish's and not in salon products so ask a salesperson to help if you can't find it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

How we do my teen daughter's hair

T's hair and how we do it!

So T is 13. If some of you follow her story on naturallycurly.com you'll know her hair was basically a rats nest before we found the CG method. After much experimentation we now have a wonderful routine and products and her hair looks and feels awesome--its moisturized, not frizzy, manageable.

What we do:
We have a wash day 1-2 x per week max. No more. Her hair is too dry to handle it more than that. On wash day she gets in the shower and uses shampoo (low poo) or co-wash. I do help her get her hair sectioned--the only way we can effectively do her hair w/o using a whole bottle of poo. We use clips to hold it up (any type that will hold..roller jaw and duckbill work o.k. for her). Then she puts in her rinse out and I do the detangling with a mebco comb (she shuts off the shower) for her as it's hard for her to get her back hair as its so thick. Then she rinses it out and squeezes the water out (hands only) and when she gets out we put in leave in. LOTS of leave in usually. We comb again to get the leave in through her hair (its too thick not to comb it for even distribution), add some Shescentit Gillian Butter to seal and then usually we braid it. She wears a satin sleep cap to bed.

In the morning we take the braid out and her hair is usually still very wet. I'll add in some Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root butter cream (BRBC) and then seal with Shescentit Gillian Butter. We use about 2-3 dime sized amounts of the BRBC and a dime sized of the Gillian--then we will either re braid or leave it out and she wears a head band or similar. She is usually in a braid (s) for 2 days minimum. We follow the same routine every morning.

When we started CG she couldn't do anything with her hair since it was so thick. She needed help to be effective with cleaning and combing and all that. Now she largely does her own low poo or co-wash and I help detangle. She will be starting to do her own detangling here this month now that she feels comfortable with the co-wash or low-poo. She does occasionally braid her own hair as well.

On special occasions instead of braiding we use the leave in and then add Curl Junkie Coffee Coco Curl Creme and then we scrunch and let it air dry for about an hour. We then do some pixie diffusing for about 15 minutes. Her hair in the Pikistrip above is with this method (2 right pic's).

The products we love are:

Co-wash: V05, Suave Strawberry, Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Conditioner
Low-poo's: Giovanni 50/50, Mop C Hydrating Shampoo, Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Shampoo
Rinse-Outs and Leave-Ins: Curl Junkie Hibiscus and Banana Deep Fix and Honey Butta Leave In, Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition or Sleek and Shine, Yes to Cucumbers, Spiral Solutions Deeply Decadent Deep Treatment, and Lustrasilk Shea Mango or Organic with Argan Oil. Other alternates are the Mop C Hydrating Conditioner (when she needs protein), Hairveda Moist 24/7, Shescentit Avocado and Super Soft Honey Rinse, Curl Junkie Beauticurls (Leave In only) and Curl Junkie Curl Rehab.

So right now she does her own poo/co-wash and I only help detangle.