Showing posts with label products. Show all posts
Showing posts with label products. Show all posts

Apr 29, 2015

PRODUCT REVIEW: 20 Ways I Use Coconut Oil

After cutting my locs, one of the things that has been most interesting is exploring a new world of products. Now that my hair is free, curl defining products and leave-in conditioners, a smarter, more focused "product junkie" has emerged. I'm not interested in trying every new product I see, but when I see something that I feel will work, I happily add it to my "must try" list.

One thing that has not changed is my hair and skin's love for coconut oil. My hair loves it more now that it is free to soak it in to each strand.

SUPERFOOD: Coconuts + Coconut Oil.

Jan 8, 2015

Where can I find Coconut Oil?

Kroger is making it easy for #TeamNatural
It's the new year and I know many of you have decided to become apart of #TeamNatural. The biggest question you'll have is, "Where can I find ________ product?" Over the next couple weeks I'm going write some simple posts on finding products, trying new styles, and simple tips for our newly natural friends.

Today's post is about cocount oil. YES, coconut oil! Next to shea butter and extra virgin olive oil, Coconut Oil is the third leg of the oil trifecta for natural hair wearers. Watch any YouTube video, click on any Instagram post, or scroll through some Natural in Nashville posts, and you see the praise for Coconut oil. Why? It seals in moisture, it protects against the weather, it permeates the hair-shaft with amazing nutrients, you can cook with it, AND it can be used on your entire body! Like, homie, it's a dream!

So, walking through Kroger, I snapped a picture of three -  YES THREE - types of coconut oil available! Listen, I know folks like to get fancy and act like Trader Joe's is the only spot to find coconut oil.  I used to order mine from ebay! But it's so much easier to go to Kroger - that's where I do most of my shopping. Kroger has has three brands, and two types: pure AND organic. Plus, it's a reasonable price. Go, Kroger!

Listen, I'm just trying to make this 'going natural' thing a lot easier. So hit up Kroger for your coconut oil.

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Dec 21, 2014

CHRISTMAS WISHES: Dr. Miracles Curl Care

Merry Christmas everyone!! I felt real bad that we couldn't host out DECEMBER meet-up. I knew I wanted to do something to show our readers how much we care. So, I looked in my box of SWAG (stuff collected from brands and sales I catch) and decided to do a giveaway. 

For the next three days I'll be giving away some product. A full size product and some samples. Check below for our first giveaway. 

You get ALL THIS! If you win!
Our first giveaway is Dr. Miracle's Curl Care products: nourishing conditioner and soft hold creme. Also in the package, several samples from Mizani and Hair Rules. So I'm sure your wondering how to win? Well check the box below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  This is not a sponsored post - product shown has been purchased outright.

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.

Aug 11, 2014


During my most recent detox, I was challenged with removing the toxic products from my beauty ritual, which was relatively easy for me.  I use lot of oils and very little make up, but I did find room for improvement in my skin and hair care products.  During the purge, I was introduced to a new line of skin care that is absolute luxury.  The ingredients, the feel of the product and my face after each cleaning feels absolutely amazing.  And then I realized I wanted to same feeling for my hair.

Weird body pose, but a great capture of the new growth I'm working with. This was a few hours after washing.

Right now my current shampoo choice is still from the Shea Moisture line.  I do believe I've found the right shampoo cocktail for my hair at this stage.  After washing with a combination of their African Black Soap Deep Cleansing, Yucca & Boabab and Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention shampoos, I finally see the puffy free new growth I've wanted to see for the past few months.  I'm happy to find a combination to support my roots, but I cannot shake the feeling of luxury.  The results are all over my face.

I really do appreciate Shea Moisture products for creating a product with:
  • No Parabens
  • No Phthalates
  • No Paraffin
  • No Formaldehyde
  • No Propylene Glycol
  • No Mineral Oil
  • No Synthetic Frangrance
  • No Petrolatum
  • No Synthetic Color
  • No DEA
  • No Animal Testing

The next line of shampoo I try has to be as clean as the Shea Moisture line, of course, but I wouldn't mind making more of an investment in my hair products.  I have tried my fair share of professional brands and there are a few that I like, but I'm looking for those clean, toxin-free brands that make you think twice before you put down the cash.  The ones that give you that brief, "I can't believe I spent this much on shampoo" moment.  I do know that price is not always an indicator of quality, but there are also times where you get what you pay for.  

It was my birthday week.  What can I say?  
So what are you favorite luxury hair brands?  Who's got the handmade goods that feel and work just as well as the luxury brands?  Who has quality products that you don't mind investing in?  Let me know!

Jul 10, 2014

Throwback: Pump It Up Spritz

Who remembers PUMP IT UP SPRITZ? The 'hair spray' should have been outlawed for all the chemicals it harbors. But, it was the gold standard of Up-Do's across the nation. One squirt of Pump It Up and a Hurricane couldn't move your 'do! Lol!

So, someone posted a HORRID photo of me on Facebook today - I was wearing a sad outfit from the Gap (men's section), green contacts, and a MICROWAVE ponytail! LAWD! You couldn't tell me nuthin! Pump it Up Spritz was the currency in my side-hustle, living in the dorm days. 

All the girls came to my room for the crunch microwave ponytail and gel-ed down Aaliyah swoop! Times were hard - you needed hair styles that could stand the test of time. 

Whew! We've come a long way! Did you rock with Pump it Up before your #TeamNatural days?

Apr 24, 2014

NATURAL KIDS: Thalia's Easter hair

Getting your hair done is a special event for most little black girls. Getting your hair done for Easter Sunday is an occasion! As most know, I love doing my little goddaughter Thalia's hair - I've documented her styles here previously. Today I'll tell you how we achieved Thalia's Easter Sunday curly puffs. 

Usually we keep her hair in two-strand twists but lately, Thalia's asked for what she likes to call "Mickey Mouse hair" lol! At three years old she's currently OBESSESSED with all things Minnie or Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse hair, for her, resembles the cartoon mouse's iconic ears. I decided for Easter, we'd do two curly puffs that would give her her Mickey Mouse ears. 

  • Olive oil and water: to re-hydrate her hair. We didn't need to wash because she'd already done a wash & condition last week. 
  • Miss Jessie's Baby Butter Creme: our go-to moisturizer and styling aid for her 3b/4a curls. MJ's gives her shine and it smells really good. 
  • Two Goody Elastics: to secure the two ponytails on either side of her head. 
  • Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion: to set and style her curls without leaving them crunchy or leaving flakes in her hair. 
  • 12 Goody's plastic Rollers: to set and curl the hair. 
  • Olive Oil Edge Control: to smooth her edges. 
Since Thalia's hair is so much longer and thicker, we've started using more adult products on her hair. I try to stick with more natural-based products because I know her scalp is still young. I always start with olive oil and water for hydration. AND she's getting ALOT better about sitting to get her hair done. Much less crying these days.

Here's oue result. Her curls were nice and fluffy like I wanted. As the day went on, the style puffed up even more. She was so cute!

How'd your natural baby wear their hair on Easter? What's your fave product to use in your child? Hit us up in the comments section. 

Mar 27, 2014

EVENT: Natural in Nashville + Shea Moisture at the Southern Wowmen's Show!

This year is going AWESOME for me! As a blogger and writer, you wish and hope that your words reach people. You also hope your words can make you some money. Real talk!  

That's why I was honored when the folks at Shea Moisture contacted me about being a brand ambassador for their products at the Nashville Southern Women's Show! Amber and I will be at the Shea Mositure booth on FRIDAY, March 28, 2p-6p. 

If you've ever been to the Southern Women's Show, you must attend! It's an shopping expo catered just to women! Lots of samples, exhibits, fashion shows, and shopping! Major brands come down to appeal to women in our area. 

Shea Moisture is going to be in the Walgreen's booth during this year show.  Shea Mostuire has become more than a natural hair brand catering to women of color, it's a bath & body brand that appeals to all women. They even have a men's, kids, and baby line. 

Make sure to come visit me at the Shea Moisture/Walgreens booth (#100). We'll be snapping pics, handing out samples, and kissing babies - well not all that, but we can chat it up. So make sure to come by and say "hi!". 

Oct 22, 2013

NATURAL HAIR STRUGGLE #1: You got an elastic?


I thought it'd be cool to start posting some of the common 'Natural Hair Struggles' on the site as a source of discussion and humor. If you've been natural forany amount of time, you will be able to IDENTIFY! So, first up - the ELASTIC ponytail holder or headband, you got one? GIRL YES! 

It never fails that I have an elastic on my arm or in my purse at ANY given time! I'm sure the Goody company has made a small fortune off my purchases of headbands and ponytail holders since I've been natural. At once it will seem as though I have a plethora of elastics, then ALL OF A SUDDEN I have none! I swear little natural hair fairies come in my room and steal them.

And let's not even talk about what happens when one stretches out! LAWD! I'm constantly in-between the elastic being brain-crushingly tight or as loose as a wet noodle. Lol!

Clearly, the struggle is REAL! What some natural hair struggles you'd deal with? And hey girl, you got an elastic? 

Aug 14, 2013

Discussion: Product Instructions Are For Beginners

Yes. The title of this week's natural hair discussion is self explanatory. I know most of us have done it. You buy a bottle of Get It Together, Girl conditioner and you glance at the instructions. After shampooing thoroughly, leave a dime sized amount Get It Together, Girl conditioner in for 8.34 minutes. Rinse out thoroughly. And then what do you do? You co-wash instead of shampoo. You take a grapefruit-sized amount of conditioner and slather it on your hair. 8 hours later, you rinse out 85% of the conditioner and proceed to style your hair. Sound familiar?

I'm beginning to wonder, why do companies even put instructions on products marketed to curly naturals? I've rarely seen or read of naturals actually using the products as recommended. I can't even remember the last time I have followed the directions on a product (that I wasn't specifically reviewing for the website). When I used a store-bought hair dye, I made sure to follow those directions. Never vary from major chemical processing instructions. Lengthening the processing time on relaxers, texturizers, colors, and even protein treatments can come with major consequences.

But for less damaging products like conditioners, why put instructions when hair is so different? The obvious reason for all of the variations in usage is that there is such a large variety of hair characteristics that determine how well and why a product works for your hair. Thickness, porosity, density, curl type... these can all vary. The product instructions, however, do not account for these variations. I've begun to think that it would perhaps be more beneficial to include what NOT to do with the product instead.

Imagine if a product had a label that read: Use Get It Together, Girl conditioner on clean, wet hair. Apply and leave on until hair feels moisturized. Do not exceed 4 hours before rinsing as over-conditioning may weaken hair. That would be great, right?! It basically eliminates the learning curve for those of us with hair that does not like to play by the rules. 15 minutes is not long enough for my hair. 90% of leave-in conditioners fail. But any good conditoner can be a leave-in if you just.... leave it in. It took me almost a year to realize that most of the time, instructions do not apply to me. I kept wondering why no product EVER worked.
A depiction of what I looked like during my learning curve.

This brings us back to the original point. Why are products misinforming us on how to use their products? Putting too much information just confuses the customer. In the age of YouTube information and an increasing number of naturals to ask for advice, it's probably okay to let us figure it out. If the product is not meant to chemically alter the hair, what's the worst that could happen? "Oh my hair is just SO AMAZING!" as opposed to "I followed the instructions to the letter and my hair hasn't improved!" I'll take the former. If you are new to the natural hair care routine, you can skip the learning curve. Instructions are for beginners. It's okay to alter those instructions to make your hair better.

Do you even read the instructions on your favorite products? Do the instructions ever work for you as written? Have you ever had any consequences?  Join our discussion in the comments section  below.

Jul 23, 2013

Amber's Hair Diary: No Really, You Can Touch My Hair.

Hi my name is Amber and I have hair ADD.  There was a point in time when I thought I had a problem.  Was my sense of self too wrapped up in the fact that, in order to have natural hair I felt the need to change it, and change it often?  I was having natural hair guilt.  I should just leave it alone. Find a protective style and stick with it.  If “Hand in Hair (HIH)” syndrome were one that was medically documented then I would be the poster girl. Then I began to think that there may be a greater problem.  It made me laugh though, because it seems that women of color no matter which way we roll, relaxed, natural, or somewhere in between there were so many rules surrounding hair and touching. 

How much should I touch my own hair? Should I let others touch my hair? What will other women think of me if I do? If, I don’t? Do I let my man run his fingers through my hair?  

Then it clicked. 

Why does it matter? 

Don’t get me wrong.  There are times when we need to be aware of how we are treating our hair. After all textured hair requires extra pampering and TLC.  If you aren’t receiving the results you want with your hair then by all means it may be time to re-evaluate your routine. But so much of our defensiveness concerning textured hair in women of color is wrapped up in traditions, fears, and others reactions. 
We all had that kid go to touch our freshly pressed curls in junior high that reached out and recoiled at their oily fingers. 

However, natural hair has evolved so why have we not evolved with it? I think about the daughters and sons that I may someday have, and I don’t want them recycling the same fears that I have been battling with for years. 
The whole you can touch my hair situation set many a folks off, and yet I was so happy to see that campaign.  Yes, perhaps it wasn’t staged in a way that folk felt was uplifting, but someone always has to be the first.  I am not afraid to touch my hair so why should I be afraid if anyone else touches it? Then I got to see this fear in action.  As you all know I am currently in school at the Aveda Institute.  I arrived at the Institute when I first started in standard me style. Funky hair, funky outfit, funky me. 

I expected questions but I did not expect the fear that I saw across some of my classmates faces as they tried to understand (black and white classmates alike). I could see they were itching to get their hands in it and yet no one made and attempt to touch it. I wondered if I might have unknowingly been giving off my “angry black girl” face and that’s why none of them dared.  Finally a few weeks in and a few hairstyles later they got to see my natural hair. I encouraged them to touch it and there were still some who reached out to touch my hair like it was diseased or those who weren’t sure if their fingers were going into something soft and friendly or harsh and brittle. I was concerned because I know if I go to sit in someone’s chair and that is their response to my hair, I am out of there. So instead of reacting negatively I took the time out to communicate.  Let them see their reaction to if I had gone in to touch their hair like that.  To their surprise when they did touch my hair it was soft and fluffy and there was no greasy after touch either (I secretly reveled in this).  At that moment though I stopped and realized that had it not been for my hair ADD and some 20 years of taking leaps of faith with my hair and sometimes failing miserably I might have never realized the perfect concoction that keeps my hair soft and moisturized without coming back with a hand full of oil. 

I encourage all you curly heads to not be afraid to break the rules or bend them to suit your needs. Reinvent yourself daily, weekly, monthly, or within whatever timeframe works best for you.  With natural hair comes versatility and with that comes the ability to change it up and change it up often.  But know that as you do that you are setting and creating new hair traditions.  With the advent of the internet information is now available to anyone and everyone who seeks that knowledge.  Embrace the newness and have no fear in shedding the old ways.  Plus I’ll clue you in.  It’s just hair. How do you embrace the versatility that is natural hair?  

p.s. My recipe for soft touchable hair. 
Herbal Essences Honey Im Strong Co-Wash 
Fantasia IC Pure Tea Silky Gel Moisturizer 
Cantu for Natural Hair Coconut Curl Cream

Jul 17, 2013

A natural in Nashville: LaTonya shares her washday routine

Straight and sleek for work

Today's, Natural in Nashville, is a friend of mine. LaTonya and I have been friends for almost 10 years; we attended the same church for much of that time. Even before I knew her personally, I always admired her long gorgeous hair. To my knowledge, LaTonya's been natural for quite some time, 15+ years.  She's rocked her hair super long/waist length and in layered cuts. Recently, LaTonya embarked on her own little journey called #HealthyHairDontCare
Wash and Go
According to LaTonya, she'd been ignoring her hair, using too much heat, washing with haste, and coloring without conditioning. These acts resulted in her hair becoming limp, losing its natural curl pattern, and looking sad. She wanted her healthy shiny hair back. It's very common to get lazy, ESPECIALLY when your hair is very long. Relying on bunning or 'wash and go' styles sometimes add more stress to your hair than necessary. 

Latonya started her journey with a good haircut and deep condition. The stylist removed THREE INCHES of sad hair. After, her curls hung better and her hair started to regain its shine. Below is a collage of Latonya's NEW wash day routine:
Latonya's wash day routine
Latonya told me:
"I pre-poo with extra Virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and plain greek yogurt.  Then I wash my hair with Organix Coconut Milk shampoo. Then I sit under the steamer with deep conditioner from Miss Jessie's Rapid Recovery deep conditioning treatment. Then follow-up with Suave Almond & Shea butter rinse out conditioner. The end result-beautiful shiny defined curls.  
The products I use, I now try to stay away from too many extra chemicals and sulfates. Oh, and that hair steamer I use for my deep conditioning treatment, I got it for LESS than $100 on eBay! I researched EVERYTHING. I've watched YouTube videos, looked on Pintrest, and consulted sites like Natural in Nashville for tips."
Side pony-tail with curls
Well, I'm loving these results! I know Latonya's hair will be better than ever. Use Latonya's story  to inspire you to seek healthy hair results. If you've been neglecting those strands, make a visit to your fave stylist, or fave website and start your own #HealthyHairDontCare journey. 

Twist-out with ultimate definition

Jul 10, 2013

PRODUCT REVIEW: Aphogee Deep Moisture Shampoo

Some time ago, I discovered that some of the products I used when I had a relaxer, continue to work well for me now that I'm relaxer free. Aphogee Deep Moisture Shampoo is one of those products. From the website:
This creamy formula is enriched with humectants to help retain moisture as well as protein and smoothing agents to improve manageability, shine and softness. ApHogee Deep Moisture Shampoo helps styles last longer and imparts elasticity and vibrancy to dry, lifeless hair. Safe for daily use as well as on extensions, weaves and hair color. 
I've been a fan of ApHogee products for a long time. My stylist would use the two-step protein treatment on my relaxed hair. My hair loves protein, so if your hair is protein sensitve, you may not want to try this line of products. The ApHogee system is designed to aid in giving you hair strength after environmental damage. I often recommend Aphogee products to friends who have color treatments, breakage, and/or dull hair.

Curly Extensions installed using the crochet method
So, I've had my hair in a protective style for a better part of the summer. Using synthetic hair for your installation is great way to cut costs and have a fun style. Extensions are a great way to play with color as well. Above, Amber (our new writer), installed these curly extensions using the crochet method. My hair is cornrowed underneath and the pieces are intertwined to achieve the fullness and style I wanted. But with using extensions, you must remember to take care of your REAL HAIR. That's why I turned to the ApHogee shampoo.

The formula is EXTRA moisturizing and I knew it could get within each cornrow, cleanse the hair follicle, and add moisture and softness. Plus, the shampoo smells really good, the formula is super creamy, and washed out easily without leaving residue. And, ApHogee Deep Moisture Shampoo is suggested to use on synthetic and human hair extensions! GENIUS! I follow-up with Pantene Natural Conditioner and a homemade coconut & castor oil mixture to seal in the moisture. This routine lets me know my hair is conditioned and clean under my install.

ApHogee Deep Moisture Shampoo is available at most neighborhood hair stores and Sally Beauty supply. The price is around 5.99 for a big 16oz bottle. One bottle usually lasts me six months - you don't need a lot to get the cleansing results. I will say that this is NOT A NATURAL shampoo. It has lots of sulfates and a high fragrance. If you are going the more natural route when dealing with you hair, this is not the shampoo for you.

However, if you are open to trying a shampoo with a good mixture of chemical support and natural ingredients, try this product. The formula touts Evening Primrose oil as one if its natural ingredients.

Let me know if you give it a try!

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.

Jan 1, 2013

Melissa's Hair: The Braided Updo

Happy New Year Natural Ones!!

I hope everyone had a joyous season of celebration! Me? I spent time with family and friends. I ate too much and chilled real hard - pretty great times!

Anyway, I wanted to share my holiday hair with everyone.  I wanted to enjoy myself. I thought I'd stick to the Marley Bun I'd been rocking for the last couple of weeks (view video here) but I decided not to. I decided to do something different for the holiday season especially since I would be hosting family and friends. I didn't want to fuss with my hair.

So, I went to my favorite braider, Braids Ashanti, and told her I wanted a braided updo. Five hours later, this is what I walked out with:

If you think it looks tight, uh-yes, you are right! But it got loose around the second or third day. The teeny-tiny braids are swept up into a larger braid. Then Ashanti, crocheted the synthetic afro/marley hair to the top of my hair to give me length and versatility. All my hair is protected under the cornrowed/braided style. When I left her house, she gave me four cool french buns at the top of my hair. As soon as I posted the picture on Instagram and Facebook, I received rave reviews.

The next day, I took the french rolls down and created a dramatic swoop/pompadour on top. This look is my favorite as well. I'm just saying, I'm loving this new braided updo and I will probably rock it a little longer. Let's face it, my hair loves to be braided up and I like the convenience of it.

Here's a close-up of the do and a bit of wear and tear. A week later, my hair still looks nice although my edges as a bit fuzzy.

Many people ask how I maintain my edges when my hair is braided. Well, this handy-dandy combo of Motions leave-in conditioner and Jamaican Black Castor Oil helps keep my hair and scalp moisturized while aiding in maintaining my edges. I spray my edges and in between my braids with leave-in conditioner and seal in the moisture with Jamaican Black Castor oil. Wah-La, Magic!

If you like my up-do and want to try something similar, make sure to check out Ashanti. It's a great alternative to rocking the traditional puff or twist out.

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 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.

Aug 29, 2012

Don't Miss These Great Natural Hair Product Deals!

If you are a Miss Jessie's Junkie or just Miss Jessie's curious, today is the day for you!  Today and online only, Miss Jessie's is having a 50% off sale which includes free shipping! Be sure to use the coupon code SCHOOL50 at checkout.

Update: This promotion ends at 5:00pm EST.


Another great product deal going on comes from Cara B Naturally.  Catch their BOGO 50% off sale at Walgreens for a limited time.   Here's a list of Walgreens in Nashville that carry them.

Aug 28, 2012

Product Review: Twist N' Locs Natural Oil Shampoo, Leave-In Conditioner, and Medicated Olive Oil Spray

For the past few weeks, I've been using a few products from the Twist N' Locs line and I may have found a new addition to my routine.  While my experience was not altogether perfect, I did find value in the line.  I tried out the Twist N' Locs Natural Oil Shampoo, Leave In Conditioner and Olive Oil Medicated Spray. Here's what worked, what didn't and why.

Aug 23, 2012

Discussion: The New Natural Survival Kit

Issa Rae's Vibe magazine photoshoot. LOVE her teenie weenie afro!

I was talking to a newly natural lady, and as I usually do when talking to a new natural, I get the same questions. It always leads to the same conversation.
"I'm a new natural and I don't know where to start with my hair"
And now that I have passed the "novice" stage of caring for my natural hair, it's easier for me to answer that question. If you have been caring for your hair any amount of time, then you have figured out that the key to keeping your curly, kinky hair compliment-worthy is patience and moisture. Curls are gorgeous, but they take work. Ultimately, hair grows on its own. The goal is to not break it off during manipulation. So if I were to give a new natural a "starter kit" here is what I would put in it:

  • Patience. This is a necessity to keep hair detangled without breaking or snatching it around when styling. If I could sell natural hair patience in a bottle, I'd be a multi-millionaire and there would be less broken and pulled hairs. A little patience goes a long way in increasing length-retention.
  • Spray Bottle. It's such a simple thing, but a spray bottle helps SO MUCH when first starting out. It can help thoroughly mix water and oils and leave-in conditioner for even distribution. It can teach how to moisturize hair for styling without saturating it under water. Spray bottle
  • Sulfate-free shampoo. I cannot stress enough how much of a difference using a curl-friendly shampoo made in my hair life. I transitioned using flat-irons and curls, but I was clueless when it came to wearing my own curls. I stopped using a sulfate shampoo and got one that will allow my natural curls to thrive.
  • Leave-in Conditioner/ Moisturizer. I combined this because some people need both, others need one. But that post-conditioner conditioner that remains on your hair is what keeps curls moisturized throughout the day. You can't rinse all the moisturizer/conditioner out and expect hair to remain moisturized.
  • OILS! Yes. There is an exclamation point for a reason. Most hair that is kinky/curly in texture grows from a scalp that does not naturally produce enough oil to keep hair protected. And many kinky hair types are porous and do not retain hydration well. This is a double fault and without a good protective oil such as olive or coconut, you leave hair exposed to damage.
Nastasia of America's Next Top Model. Smooth sailing.
There are somethings that every natural should know, but many of us didn't know when we started wearing our hair naturally. So if I had a choice, this is what I would put in a starter kit for new naturals. And I would also throw in a jeweled hair comb and bobby pins for good styling measure. This is my natural hair survival kit for new naturals. 

Did I miss anything? What would you add?
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