Showing posts with label Product reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Product reviews. Show all posts

Sep 16, 2014

Product Review: Miss Jessie's Crème de la Crème Leave-In Conditioner

If you are familiar with the personalities of the writers, then you know that I, Candice, am an avid kitchen chemist. I love to mix my own products so that I know exactly what I'm putting in my hair. And if I am not making my own products, 92% of the store bought products I use are natural.

But about 2 weeks ago, I needed a conditioner to use for deep conditioning. Trader Joe's was too far of a drive (especially with the traffic barricade in that part of town) to get my usual conditioner. Long story short, I went to another store and decided to try something new. I saw Miss Jessie's Crème de la Crème conditioner, grabbed it, and headed home. I didn't even bother to look at the ingredients.
My "I found a good leave-in" face!

And that's when I realized that the conditioner I grabbed was actually a LEAVE-IN conditioner. I was so disappointed. Until lately, I considered leave-ins a waste of time. They never worked for my hair or made any noticeable difference in the way my hair looked, styled, or felt. But I figured that since I had it at hand, I might as well try it. My opinion can be summed up in 3 words:

Ah. Maze. Zing.
This is before I fluffed and separated. I wanted to get a picture before in case my hair frizzed up.

My hair loves Miss Jessie's leave-in. They don't go by the rules I learned for leave-in conditioners. Crème de la Crème  is not watery or oily. It's thick and creamy it takes work to distribute evenly. I suggest applying small amounts to sections. Also, the conditioner smells fresh. It reminds of the "salon scent" that you have when you use professional products. And because it's a leave-in, the scent lasts for days. It also works well with other scents. I used the leave-in with my favorite oil, which smells amazing on its own.

I tried the leave-in a second time, just in case the first set of curl-tastic results was a fluke. Nope. Both times I did flat twist outs. Both times I had minimal frizz, and the moisture from my wash lasted days longer than usual. It left my hair as soft as Drake's music lyrics. I am completely sold on this product.
This is day 2 shine... that you could see more clearly if I had a clean camera lense.

P.S. It is not natural. I do not care. My hair loves it.

Jul 30, 2013

PRODUCT REVIEW: Hydratherma Naturals Daily Growth Lotion

What do we all want when it comes to natural hair?  Of course some want definition, others want products that aid in stretching, but most of what I hear is that we want long, soft hair. Less breakage means more growth and retention. 

A few years ago when I was living in DC I was scouring the web for new products that would keep my hair soft permanently and came across a website called Healthy Hair Journey.  The owner of the line had all sorts of information about her products and also documented her own healthy hair journey and how these products helped her hair to grow and while keeping it soft and lovely.  The entire line is great but I swear by the Hydratherma Naturals Daily Growth Lotion.  It is packed with all kind of great oils, from Avocado, to Emu, Shea butter, and Olive oil along with a few others. 

I found out that my hair loves Emu oil.  It is great oil will many benefits, it helps with cell regeneration on the scalp and restores your hair follicle and shaft. 

A 4 oz bottle will cost you about $14 and the 8 oz $19. This is a product that is packed full with oils so you don’t need much.  When I first started using it I started out with a small amount and built on top of that until I achieved my desired softness. I saw a huge boost in growth retention.  But it should be used daily in order to see results. 

If you have tried this product or are planning to, let us know your thoughts. 

May 29, 2013

PRODUCT REVIEW: Creme of Nature Perfect Edges vs. ORS Olive Oil Edge Control

Back in 2011, I wrote a post about Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Edge Control (ORS Edge Control) and how I love the way it smoothed my edges. And, yes, I did write a post about the Natural World's obsession with smooth edges - noting that it's not necessary to always have your edges 'laid down' sometimes it's better to let them be. However, when I want a sleeker look or add a professional edge to my updos, I do reach for some sort of edge control

One day, I ran out of my precious ORS Edge Control. I was in a bind so I picked up the new Creme of Nature Argan Oil 'Perfect Edges'. This product promises 'perfect hold, exotic shine, & makes hair stronger.' Mmkay. I had to give it a try. The promise of stronger hair and the addition of argan oil appealed to me - this product seemed, healthier. Always remember to let your hair breath, too much edge control product can actually cause breakage on this sensitive area.

Creme of Nature Perfect Edges
When I opened the cantainer I was greeted with a golden gel-like mixture. It smells great. The Perfect Edges product has a looser consistency than ORS Edge Control. ORS Edge Control is stiff.  As you can see, the pictures (above and below) there isn't much difference in the consistency.

ORS Olive Oil Edge Control
However, the test of any edge control product is daily activity. Most people don't like ORS Olive Oil Edge Control because it can leave a white film on your hair if you use too much. I expected the same with the Creme of Nature Perfect Edges product. The problem with Perfect Edge is that it's not stiff enough and kinda 'rubs away' after a couple hours. The product just didn't hold my hair like ORS Edge Control.

Edge aren't laid like I like
The final verdict is that I'm sticking with Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Edge Control. For my 4b hair, the product works better because it's stiffer and has more holding power. Creme of Nature Argan Oil Perfect Edges may work better for someone with 2a-3a hair or someone who is transitioning and still has relaxed ends on their hair.

Let me know which you chose in our comment area below.

Apr 22, 2013

Ashiya's Hair Diary : What Has Been Joined Together (Update)

In October of last year, I decided to combine some of my locs to make them stronger as my hair continued to gain length.  As I shared here, my locs were smaller than they should have been when I started them and combing them at the root was a good way to help them grow in to support the weight of my hair better.  I was initially concerned with combining the loc from root to tip, but that has become secondary to me now.  As long as they grow in healthy, an occasional trim will take care of locs that have trouble joining down to the tip.

Me an my falling spring curls at a demonstration I did at Hattie Cotton STEM Elementary in East Nashville.

Apr 4, 2013

Product Review: Design Essentials Natural Defining Creme Gel

Within the past year, Design Essentials came out with a line for natural know, like everyone else. But I must say that I am quite fond of the products I have used specifically their Natural Defining Creme Gel.  There's just one problem: After the laborious effort of working this product through my hair and then sitting under the dryer for 45 minutes, I have no idea how to use it more than once. 

For example, it is imperative when using this thick, cake batter (in consistency and smell) like creme to dry your hair under a hooded drier for optimal results.  Also keep in mind that this product takes time to work through so one needs to keep a spray bottle close and handy.  I definitely suggest using the Design Essentials Natural Daily Moisturizing Lotion underneath it first for shine and to fight of flakiness.  When I did, I got some poppin' ribbon curls that I have not seen since my days of relaxing my hair and letting it air dry.  I got crazy definition on the first day. But on the next day, not so much. 

Exhibit A: First Day Freshness

Exhibit B: Second Day Saltiness

I just can't figure out how to refresh my curls to keep them as elongated as they are on the first day.  I've tried spritzing and not spritzing,  adding moisturizer, not adding moisturizer. I just can't get past the first day with this product! Even Chaka knows that the second day hair struggle is real.

But back to the product.  Despite my not fully understanding how to use it past the first day, I love the results but not so much the price.  Depending on where you get it, it can run you between $25-$30. However, a little goes a long way.

If anyone has had success with this product, I am definitely open to hearing what you did to get second, third, and fourth day curls. This has become a special occasion product for me when I really want to wear my hair out and actually have the time to sit under the dryer.  Outside of that, the container is presently in the Land of Abandoned Products in my bathroom.

- Great definition
- Smells tasty
- A little goes a long way

- Expensive
- Limited availability
- Not easy to get day to day results

Mar 6, 2013

Product Review: One n' Only Argan Oil Restorative Mask

When I first tried this product, I wanted to sing from the roof-tops about just how good it was. But, a good researcher knows it takes a couple of tries to validate such claims. Now, I'm here to say that One n' Only Argan Oil Restorative Mask is one of the best deep conditioners I've used on my hair.

I was introduced to this restorative mask when I went to visit, stylist Jessica Jones, to get my hair professionally straightened. I hadn't had my hair professionally straightened since going natural. I knew Jessica would be the perfect person for the task because her skills are impeccable, she uses great products, and she has a large amount of natural hair clients. When she examined my hair she noted the dryness and single-strand knots. Jessica decided a restorative treatment was best for me before clipping my ends and styling my hair.

When you choose to wear your hair straight, you must focus on  prepping the follicle with as much moisture and heat protection as possible. If you speed through the crucial deep-conditioning process you hair will be dry and easy to break or be damaged. Jessica used her favorite Design Essentials products (the 6-n-1 Reconstructive Conditioner and the Stimulations Super Moisturizing Conditioner) and then used the One n' Only Argan Oil as the last step in the moisture conditioning process.

After all that conditioning, I almost didn't want my hair to be pressed, but I desperately needed my ends clipped. Straightening coily (4b) hair is the best way to see any damage. She took off about an inch, but I was left with a great cut and alot of compliments.

CLICK HERE to book a session with Jessica 'J.Renee' Jones

I wore my hair straight for about two weeks, then I was ready to wash and deep condition at home. Coming out of a straight style is just as important as going into it - deep conditioning is key to get those coils bouncy again. I wasn't able to buy all the Design Essentials items, but Sally's Beauty Supply had the entire line on One n' Only Argan products.

The product is SUPER creamy and highly fragrant. The entire line is highly fragrant. So, if you don't like perfume laden products, this may not be the product for you. I love perfumed products - plus the product works so well you won't mind. The product is not targeted for 'natural' hair but it is marketed for damaged hair.

I washed my hair with some random shampoo (I own so many at this point - lol) and used the One n' Only Argan Oil Restorative Mask for 15 minutes while in the shower. After rinsing my hair, my coils felt SILKY! My hair loves this stuff! I never thought I'd fall in love with any other restorative mask - you know I'm faithful to the NuNaat line. A week later, I did the same process with another shampoo just to see what would happen - the key is the Argan Oil Restorative mask is like a BOOSTER to any product you combine it with. Now, I MUST use it on wash day - it literally brings your hair back to life giving you super shiny coils and great manageability.
One 'n Only Argan Oil Restorative Mask is enriched with proteins and Keratin and infused with argan oil, one of the world's rarest oils, which is derived from the Moroccan Argan Tree. It's moisturizing properties help to revive and nourish dry and damaged hair. One ’n Only® Argan Oil Restorative Mask is an intense treatment that penetrates the cuticle to help reconstruct, rebuild strength, and restore elasticity. (source)
I recommend you adding this to you weekly routine. This little secret will be your best weapon - especially if you color treat, blow-dry, and/or heat treat your hair.

Feb 18, 2013

Ashiya's Hair Diary : Break Up to Make Up

African Healing Oyl from Black Earth Products by Taliah Waajid
One of my absolute favorite products is the African Healing Oyl from the Black Earth Products line by Taliah Waajid.  After I finished the last bottle, I decided to explore some other oils on the market.  Every time I return to the African Healing Oyl, I ask myself why I left.  While I found some oils my hair appreciated, none of them impressed me like Taliah Waajid.  My hair LOVES this oil and I think I know why. Over the next month, I will be doing a beauty detox that will change my hair routine.  My goal is to use the most natural, holistic products available on a consistent basis.  As I rebuild my foundation for wellness and beauty, I plan to make many of my own oils and butters.  While deciding what will work best for me, I looked at what works already.

I would love to keep the African Healing Oyl in my regimen but if it has to go, I think I'll keep the Kukui Nut Oil.  It is one of the ingredients listed that I have not found in other oils I've used and may be why this oil works so well for my hair.  I also looked at the product description on the bottle and realized I had experienced each one: 

Eliminates Dryness - While everyday use is enough to elimate dryness for me, I also love to use it for hot oil treatments.  I always experience a noticeable difference in the look of my hair and tend to use less oil between shampoos.

A Kukui Nut Lei I got on vacation in Hawai'i.
Coats Hair, Adds Sheen - I think this is the biggest benefit for me.  Some products add sheen, but it feels superficial.  The African Healing Oyl is slightly thicker than most oils, which may be why it adds a lasting sheen.

Softens and Moisturizes - I usually use this oil for a hot oil treatment if I plan to loc my hair afterwards.  It does soften my hair, making it easier to handle during the process.

Total Hair + Body Oil - Although I use it for my hair most often, I have used the Healing Oyl as a total body oil in the past.  I find it more useful during the winter because I prefer a lighter oil during warmer months.

Stay connected as I explore holistic DIY tips and product for hair and body.  I would love to hear what works for you!

For more on clean eating and creating holistic self-care plan during my detox, connect with me here.

Jan 22, 2013

Ashiya's Hair Diary : Walk The Talk

My business is starting to grow and I am overjoyed, but I broke one of my own client rules : always make time for self-care.  Lately, I have not had much to share in my hair diary because I was not honoring my normal self-care routine.  After some inspiration from a few different sources, I'm back and I've shifted my time with my hair to work better with my new schedule.
After a quick lesson from Kaneesha Martin on choosing hair products, I fought thoughts of becoming a product junkie again and decided to start trying professional salon brands as she suggested.  I let fate make my first product selection by going to the closest retailer of professional brands to see what was on sale.  Sally's Beauty Supply won.

Much to my surprise, that feeling of "I should try it all!!" never returned to me.  I realized I know my hair well enough at this point to rule out products that will not benefit me by reading the label well.  I decided to give the Silk Elements Megasilk Olive Shampoo and Conditioner a try.  The shampoo cleansed pretty well. I was also please with how easily the shampoo washed away after creating such a rich lather.  The Megasilk Olive Conditioner was acceptable.  It didn't seem to nourish my hair like other conditioners I've tried, although it did give some control to my new growth.  The both created a lovely, light scent, which I definitely appreciate.

Dec 22, 2012

Christmas Wishes Day 10: Super Sampler Gift Pack

You can win ALL this!!!
Well, this is the last Christmas Wishes post for 2012! Christmas Wishes is just the team's way of saying Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! You made it to 2013 with the curls on top of your head - you didn't get a relaxer and you didn't set your head on fire! LOL!

I want to thank all my sponsors: 1MeNaturally, Tristan's Barber & Style, Eternite Day Spa, Melissa Styles YOU!, Ashiya Swan Yoga + Wellness, Braids by Ashanti, Fanuppa Soaps, and Kiia Bath & Body.

The winners of each giveaway have been contacted via email. The winner's names are also listed under that specific giveaway's post. CLICK HERE to see if you won!

Of course the last giveaway had to be big. So, I went through my closet and compiled a huge gift basket of products to give to you. Being a natural hair & beauty blogger, we get sent ALOT of free stuff. I couldn't possibly use everything sent to me. So, why not give it away. This super sampler pack includes 3 full-size hair products and about 15 samples. I might add a lil bit more to the package before I send it out. This prize pack includes products from:

So, you know what to do - hit the raffle box below. You have 3 days to enter this contest AND, even if you won a previous giveaway, you can enter to win this one too! So get to clicking!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dec 12, 2012

Product Review: Dr. Miracle's Curl Care Strong Hold Gel

I recently got Dr. Miracle's Strong Hold Gel from their new Curl Care line through my CurlBox subscription last month. Yeeeaaah for full size products! I was geeked to try this during my weekly wash and styling routine.  They were right with the name Strong Hold. This stuff is serious!  

Freshly washed and blown dry
One of the things that I have come to realize about my hair lately is that it is in need of products that are thick in consistency.  This gel is pretty thick and doesn't just run out of the container which is great.  That keeps me from using too much.  My hair laughs at wimpy watery products.  My hair is THICK and it needs products that are on the heavy side and aint never scared!  You know,  like Bone Crusher.

What do y'all think? Bone Crusher's curl pattern is at about a 3B ? 3C you think?

Another things I like about this product is that it clumps my curls together well.  I used it with my trusty Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and really liked the results. I definitely recommend using a good oil to seal it as it could leave your hair a little dry.  So far so good though.

You can get Dr. Miracle's Strong Hold Care at local Sally's Beauty Stores and on the Dr. Miracle's website.

- Good price at $7.99
- Thick consistency to clump thick curls

-May dry hair a little too hard

Dec 3, 2012

Product Review: Miss Jessie's Baby Butter Creme

"Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme is an ultra-hydrating hairdress for dry, parched kinks and curls. Suitable for both children and adults, its moisturizing formula is essential for softening and growing out natural hair. With just a nickel-sized dollop, you can tame hairline edges and create two-strand twists, cornrows, pony puffs, braids and more."

So, if you've been following me (melissa) on Facebook or Twitter, you know I've never had a love for any Miss Jessie's product. I thought the products had skeptical ingredients, were too expensive, and didn't do anything for kinky-curly hair.While many natural girls were singing the praises of Miss Jessie's I was in that majority of ladies who was giving Miss Jessie's products the SIDE-EYE!

Then, while at Fisk University's homecoming, Miss Jessie's representatives were on campus passing out samples. I'm not talking about one or two samples, I'm talking HUNDREDS of little sample packs of product.Well - if I must! I thought, "Let me REALLY try these products to see what the fuss was all about." Above, you see my swag bag full of stuff - enough to give away to friends. I picked up 20 samples of various MJ products, but what I fell in love with was the BABY BUTTER CREME!

Ya'll - when I say that I'm addicted to the Baby Butter Creme - I tell no lies! OK, what's to like? Well, it's the perfect mix of wet and oily for my kinky-curly hair. If you have hair that tends to shrink up when a watery product touches it - then you should try the Baby Butter Creme. The fragrance is nice and light - like a freshly cleaned baby! The mixture is a bit heavy - but that what's needed for tightly coiled hair. In the Miss Jessie's brochure they list Baby Butter Creme as a moisturizer AND a styling aid for kinky textured hair - they aren't lying. When I added Miss Jessie's Baby Butter Creme to my shrunken hair and did an overnight twist-out my hair looked amazing when I woke up.

The bad news is now that I'm in love, the product is still SO EXPENSIVE! The largest jar of Baby Buttercreme is $58! Lord, that's my electric bill. However, a little goes a long way AND Miss Jessie's is having a BOGO sale now until Dec 15! I guess I'll be 'about that life' and stock up.

Nov 26, 2012

Product Review: November 2012 CurlBox Opening

Happy Holidays to my favorite people! I hope you had a wonderful mini-vacation for Thanksgiving and I know you are gearing up for a great Christmas season.

Anyone, I almost forgot to post my video of the November 2012 Curlbox opening. If you follow us on Facebook (click here if you don't) then you've seen the video. If not, I've posted the video below. Watch the video as I review some of the products available. Of course I'll be writing individual reviews of the stuff in the box, but the video is a quick intro to what was available.

Nov 20, 2012

Stylist Chronicles: Kaneesha Martin at Mahogany Suites

Can Kaneesha handle all this!

Lucky me! Last month, a hair stylist, named Kaneesha Martin of Mahognay Suites in LaVergne, TN, contacted me about gifting me a styling service. Hmm . . . if someone wanted to tame this mane, why not?! Plus, I hadn't had my hair professionally done since going natural. This would be a great experience.

So, Keneesha and I set up a time, and I was on my way. I scheduled my appointment  right near wash day so she cold tame my hair in all it's madness. It was shrunken, slightly dry and definitely needing a wash. I knew my professional experience would be different because Kaneesha emailed me asking if I had any current issues with my hair. The service included a spa/steam treatment. She wanted to use products that would help with any issues I had. At this time, right after removing my braids, my hair was pretty dry and shedding.

Nov 6, 2012

PRODUCT REVIEW: Carol's Daughter Chocolat Smoothing Collection

I was excited to do this review because we all love chocolate. (Chocolät if you're fancy.) Now, I'm going to be honest. But I do not want to have to create a "hair" expense section for my budget. I'm always on the hunt for hair discounts. So I wished upon a star and guess what was a featured product on Groupon last month? It was Carol's Daughter Chocolat Smoothing Collection. All 3 FULL-SIZED products were delivered to my doorstep for $25.00. I clicked "buy" so fast my finger got whiplash.

Frizz is a big issue for me. Sometimes when my hair is dry, it's a frizz ball. And other times when my hair isn't  dry, it is still a frizz ball. For reference, here is a blow out from earlier this year. I usually use the tension method to dry my hair.
This is about 2 hours after blow drying without the Chocolat system. 

Check out that frizz action. It's been one of the things that has remained consistent since I've been natural. Carol's Chocolat Smoothing system claims to reduce frizz by 70% and keep hair smooth for 72 hours. I was interested in seeing how my hair responded to the Carol's Daughter brand. I used everything according to the label instructions except for the blow-dry cream. I have way too much hair to use a dime-sized amount and work it through my entire head. But here's my review:

The Good

  • I love the consistency of this line. Everything is thick and creamy, but not too hard to work thoroughly through my thick strands.
  • I was expecting this product to smell like I'm shampooing with a Hershey bar. But it doesn't. It doesn't smell like chocolate. It smells like perfume laced cacao. Think cocoa butter with a hint of sugar and fairy dust extract. Win.
  • I am IN LOVE with the twist tops on the shampoo and conditioner. You open it up by twisting the top. There are no aluminum/plastic seals that get stuck in the slotted caps. Just twist and squeeze. Easy.
The Not So Good
  • Um... Did you miss the Groupon? Because if not, you save $6.00 and pay only $54.00 for the full sized set on the product website. I know you have to pay for the good stuff. And if you are able to do so.... this product worked wonders for me.

This is less than 1 hour after blow drying.  BIG DIFFERENCE.
The picture above is not a real twistout. I only twisted the hair as I dried it to keep it out of the way. I have only used this product once, but I'm already a fan. My hair is very hard-headed can be difficult to control. I wonder if there is room on the Carol's daughter bandwagon. The Chocolat smoothing system has me seriously considering jumping on board.

Oct 24, 2012

Product Review: Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Shampoo and Conditioner

Can you tell by the picture that I've used these products more than once? I wanted to be sure of my review.  I gave Trader Joe's a try because they are all about value and quality. This product is not marketed for curly, coily hair. (Trader Joe's doesn't really market much at all). But I like searching for products that are not specifically marketed towards kinky or curly hair. Many brands have discovered that there is money to be made in natural hair care products I'm hesitant to try because they are $22.00 a bottle for chemical-based products.

That being said, let's get to the review. On the label of Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Balanced Moisturizing Shampoo, the first ingredient is purified water. This is followed by organic rosemary oil, organic valencia orange citrus and several other organic ingredients.... and then way down towards the end of the list there are the chemical additives. That's where you find C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate. And a couple of parabens. So although the label boasts that it does not contain laurel/laureth sulfates, it does contain a smaller quantity different form of sulfate. I think this would qualify the shampoo as a "low-poo" (A low-poo is a shampoo containing smaller quantities of sulfate.)

The Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Balanced Moisturizing Conditioner has identical organic ingredients. If you take away 2 cleansing ingredient and add alcohol and a moisturizer, you have your conditioner. Both are lightly scented.

Clean, conditioned hair. I used a "low-poo" and I'm still alive!

The Good

  • The first time I DESPISED the shampoo. But on the second use, I used shampoo with the conditioner and a deep conditioning pack of another brand. I must say, my hair tolerated the shampoo a lot better when I used it with the Nourish Spa conditioner. 
  • My hair was clean after the first shampoo, and stripped clean after the second shampoo. Moderate the amount of use to avoid stripping hair. Because this shampoo contains so many organic essential oils, the sulfonate is more tolerable (at least for MY hair).
  • The conditioner works fairly well. It's wet enough to be distributed easily through dense hair and provides enough slip to detangle.
The Not So Good
  • One word: Sulfonate
  • The conditioner could be a little less watery. I've lost more than I would like to in the drain because it slipped through my fingers or slid off my palm.
The Other
  • Trader Joe's is a cool place to shop. However, these stores are not easily accessible. I bought both products for about $3.00 in the Nashville location. If you don't live near a Trader Joe's, you can always shop at the Trader Joe's Amazon Store. They sell these online for a mere...... $10.00+shipping per bottle. (For the record, my puff and talked it over. We agreed that I would not pay $10.00 + shipping for this slightly sulfated shampoo.)

So there you have it. These (like many products) work well when used together. My hair doesn't like sulfates, but this one wasn't so bad. The shampoo cleans and the conditioner moisturizes. But that's like getting a 79.99 on a test. You know that's a B, which would be fine, if you didn't know there were A's out there. 

Don't let me be the only voice here. Have you tried this product? Did you love it, like it, or... not so much? Comment below.

Oct 17, 2012

Product Review: Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream

I love that I have a curlBox subscription.  It's fun to get a package in the mail every month (even if it is basically from myself because I pay $20 a month for it).  One of the cool things about it is that you get full size products as well as trial sized samples (as Melissa pointed out recently in this video).  A few months ago I received a full size bottle of Cantu's new Coconut Curling Cream in one of my curlBox's.  This came just in time because I was having no luck in finding Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie anywhere.

I have seen the above empty shelf at least seven times in one week trying to find Curl Enhancing Smoothie, no lie.  I figured since the Naturalistas of this town didn't want my hair to be great and must have bought two bottles at a time (kidding), I might as well give the Coconut Curling Cream a try.  I am glad that I did because it worked in a pinch...with a bit of help. 

Cantu's Coconut Curling Cream is an okay moisturizer for my hair but it needs assistance.  I can't just use any leave in conditioner with it. I have to use one with a good amount of slip that defines my curls. For some reason my hair doesn't readily absorb it as it does the Curl Enhancing Smoothie.  I have to work it in with a little bit more water than usual as well.   It doesn't exactly define my curls but perhaps if I didn't wear my hair in a way where I rely on curl definition, maybe that wouldn't be an issue.  All is not lost though. When I need a substitute, it does the job. I'd be interested in using it along with their leave in conditioner to see if it works better.  It's pretty thick so a little goes a long way.  I enjoy the smell (I am a big coconut fan), the consistency, and definitely the price at  $7.99.

So if you too have a problem finding Curl Enhancing Smoothie or just on the market for a new moisturizer, I  recommend giving the Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream a go.  And hey if you try it, let us know if it worked for you.

- Good price and availability
- No sulfates, parabens, silicone, or mineral oil
- A little goes a long way

- Had to really work it into my hair
- Left my hair a little dull by the third day

Oct 16, 2012

Beauty Review: EssenceTree Body Scrubs

Have you heard of EssenceTree? No?! Well let me introduce you. EssenceTree, meet NIN readers. Readers, meet EssenceTree.

EssenceTree makes a range of products: facial care, hair oils, body butters, and soap. These are handmade and natural products. I've smelled most of their scents and everything I've inhaled smells absolutely divine. (But truth be told, I'm a sucker for natural products that don't smell like dirt. Sue me.)

This post is about the body scrubs. I have been using the scrubs for months.  Since winter is on it's way I figure you shouldn't cuddle up to someone with fresh coconut oil in your hair while your skin feels like sandpaper. II thought this would be a great time of year to add the scrubs to my permanent routine. Each scrub is made with minerals salts, organic sugar, plant oils, Shea butter, organic Castile soap and organic botanicals, your skin is sure to be exfoliated and loved unlike ever before (source)

Here's my take on their body scrubs:

The Good
  • They smell amazing. Sat Ra doesn't smell like any other product I've used, so there's nothing to compare it to. They also have a pineapple mango and a coffee scrub.
  • These scrubs serve their purpose really well. They effectively remove dead skin* and dirt while consistently leaving my skin feeling  fresh and new.
  • I feel like this lets me skip a couple of steps after a shower. I use these after cleansing. The scrubs are oils and salts and soap. So I get to clean, exfoliate, moisturize, and smell good. No lotion or sprays needed after a shower.
  • Two words: Natural. Ingredients.
  • This may fall under "other" to some, but I enjoy supporting a company that was started right here in Nashville and makes good, natural products. So yes, this is part of "the good".
The NOT SO Good
  • Plan on using this in the shower? Then you should also plan on having a hand rail, or some of those shower floor decals that prevent you from slipping and falling. Check the description above. This scrub contains oils. Granted, these oils are fragranced and make your skin feel AMAZING, but they also coat your shower floor. So have good balance. if you do not have good balance, then be careful. And remember to clean your shower after use.
  • That * earlier? Well * is because that is a good and bad thing. Unlike most other scrubs I use, this scrub has less... refined salts. At least I think refined is the word. They do effectively remove skin, but you don't actually have to SCRUB to do it. My first time using this scrub I accidentally rubbed myself red. I didn't have to try hard to overexfoliate. So be gentle with yourself. 
So there you have it. My review of EssenceTree body scrubs. The product is well worth the buy. I'm a repeat purchaser. I know these products are available in the Whole Body section at Whole Foods and at the EssenceTree Website.

Oct 15, 2012

VIDEO: October 2012 Curlbox Opening

Photo courtesy of KinkyHairAffair. Click the link to check out her review too!
YEAH! I finally received my October 2012 CurlBOX! For the last two months I was without a CurlBOX because my credit card was stolen and I had to go change my card info on all my subscription services. note to self: Keep a list of all services so when this happens again, you don't end up high and dry. Anyway, this October 2012 CurlBOX was all types of amazing! I can't wait to take down my Senegalese twists so that I can start trying these new products.

Instead of writing a long review of the box, I decided to do a video of the opening process. I intend to do a CurlBOX opening every month. Actually, the whole team receives the CurlBOX subscription so expect to see all of us giving you a review. Check it:

Oct 8, 2012

PRODUCT REVIEW: Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner

I figure since I've been rocking these Senegalese twists for 6 weeks I should tell you all about the products I use to keep my hair looking good.

Like Candice just posted in her post, Happily Weave-less, she experienced EXTREME dryness when she removed her extensions. Her condition is a big problem that many will face. Adding weave or extensions to your hair sometimes causes one to forget that their own hair needs care too. In addition, certain types of artificial hair and human hair extensions can pull moisture from the hair shaft. The longer you have your weave, braids, or extensions installed the bigger chance you have for having some really dry hair when you remove your installation.

My hair is super-dry by nature so I must make sure to moisturize my hair when I have braids installed. My new and favorite moisturizer is Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner. A friend gave me the stuff as a gift. I'm not one to go ga-ga over name brand natural hair products, but this is one (of two) Carol's Daughter products I'd swear by (the other is the mimosa hair honey, I'll write about that later).

Usually I wouldn't be all gung-ho about a water based leave-in conditioner but a water-based conditioner is the best way to replenish dry strands underneath artificial hair. This kenekalon hair is plastic. You have to saturate each braid to make sure you real hair is getting care. What I loved about this stuff is the smell. I was told my hair smelled like cupcakes, pancakes, and vanilla pudding. Clearly, the vanilla smell is really potent in this mixture. My hair was super moisturized and the leave-in left my hair really pliable, not hard. If you are rocking braids, this is the best way to moisturize your hair, I guarantee it!

Here's the official list of ingredients: (No Parabens, No Petroleum, No Mineral Oil, No Artificial Colors)

Water (Aqua), Polysorbate 80, Glycerin, Panthenol ( Pro-vitamin B5), Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, Butylene Glycol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf Stem, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Caramel, Fragrance (Parfum)
The price is a bit steep, $14 per bottle, but when have you ever known Carol's Daughter to be affordable. Try finding a bottle on eBay, you may find a better deal there. I'm telling you, it's a great investment.


Sep 13, 2012

Product Review: As I Am's Curling Jelly

I tend to get really excited about new and fun things. I mean, shout from the roof tops, this thing is absolutely awesome, excited.  And while this can be a good thing sometimes, at times it has bitten me in the butt. For instance, my on again off again love affair with Kinky Curly Custard.  KCC was the absolute truth for a few days and then...not so much.  This is why I wanted to give As I Am Curling Jelly a few weeks before I posted a review. The verdict? Yes! I believe we have found a winner in the hair staple category!

"I hope that you're the one. If not, you are the prototype."

I had ran out of my trusty Paul Mitchell Clean Gel one day and was scrounging for something to make my curly updo pop.  I looked in my trusty box of hair samples from various natural hair events when I came across a sample of it. Now am I the only one with a head full of thick coily hair who gives product samples a mean side eye because usually they only give you enough for half of your head?

What am I gonna do with a tablespoon, Willis?
It's not right I say! Anyway this sample gave me just enough to hook me and it turned out that I didn't need that much anyway. I was so hooked that I couldn't wait to get to Sally's to find it so I could get a full size. Imagine my shock when I found out that a jar was $23! Twenty three whole dollars!  "We have a coupon for a $1 off" the sales clerk told me.

I guess.
No but it's cool because honestly, I think it works great on my hair. When I defined my freshly washed and moisturized curls with it, I loved how bouncy it was.  Another good things is that you really don't need that much. Now I tend to be heavy handed with products so I have had to readjust some things. This is not a product that I can use without a good moisturizer underneath because it will dry and flake.  Therefore, I am still trying to perfect the styling gel to moisturizer ratio.  Overall it has been a great lightweight styling product for me because it gives good definition and hold, making second and third day hair pretty easy. I've enjoyed it so much that I am definitely going to look into purchasing more from As I Am products. I've heard rave reviews about the Coconut Co-Wash.

So if you define your curls with gel, I would definitely recommend As I Am Curling Jelly.  $23 is a lot but I think for the amount and the results I get, it's worth it.  

  • Lightweight, you don't need to use a lot
  • Produces bouncy defined curls
  • Good size (22 oz at Sally's but there is an 8 oz online)
  • Adds shine
  • Good for wash 'n go's
  • Expensive
  • Can only be found at Sally's Beauty Supply stores and a few Walgreens in Nashville
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