Friday, November 11, 2011

Is Kinky a Bad Word Now?

One of the numerous blogs I follow, "Thank God I'm Natural," recently posed a question asking readers if they're offended by the word "kinky" in reference to their hair. The question was based on CurlMart's newsletter, intended to catch subscribers' attention. Apparently, they did capture readers' attention as the word "kinky" is perceived as a word with "derogatory historical roots and definitely shouldn’t be used by white people." Note: CurlMart is a white-owned company.
Now, I don't know about you, but kinky or nappy is a pretty good summation of half of my hair. Those words don't make me feel bad about my hair, nor am I offended by them. It's just a fact, some of my hair is kinky or nappy. And frankly, I wish all of it was, but it's not. 

But, I do take offense why its okay for some people, namely brown folks, to refer to our own hair as kinky or nappy but if a non-brown person uses those same words, all of a sudden a capital crime's been committed. For example, is anyone screaming about the much coveted Kinky Curly line and its use of the word kinky? Or, is there any hullabulloo about blog titles which incorporate kinky in their title, such as KisforKinky? NOT. The creators have brown skin! I smell reverse racism!

Shocked I say that? Don't be. Putting it into perspective, this debacle rates right up there with the use of the "n" word which is still prevalent in our vernacular but is deemed unacceptable by anyone else. And frankly, I don't want to have to learn a whole new language just to describe my hair. I share the same sentiments about being called black versus African American. Call me black, please. I'm not an African immigrant who became a nationalized citizen.

I'm just so tired of our petty squabbles...I also read a post on another blog which mentioned that a light-hued sista' with curly hair felt unwelcome when she attended a natural hair event. Seriously?!



Come on people, get the kinks and naps out of your brain! Sporting natural hair is not about being hyper-sensitive and trying to revive the Black Power movement. It's supposed to be about learning how to keep your hair on your head. If you can't see your way through hype and propaganda, or if you think everyone's staring at you and whispering behind your back about your hair, it's time you get off the bandwagon and stop mucking it up for those of who simply want healthy hair.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Peddling My Wares Next Weekend!

So, I've been absent from here for a bit, but for a good reason. I've been working on getting Wash Day, the natural regimen for fuzzy-haired folk, off the ground! Wash Day's initial launch consists of two shampoos, a conditioner, a hair butter, and an Ayurvedic hair oil. Also thrown into the mix are bath bombs and melts, bubbling bath salts, and soy candles.

I'm really excited about this new endeavor and wouldn't even be doing it if my products didn't work, but they do and I've been using them and testing them on other people for the past year. So, if you're in the Grand Rapids, Mich. area or know someone who is, let them know that Wash Day will be available at...


The official Wash Day web site will be launched soon!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Giving Birth to "Wash Day"

Hey folks! Just wanted to let you know that I'll be taking a little break from blogging so I can focus on launching my hair care line...(drum roll please!)...
Wash Day, the natural hair regimen for fuzzy-haired folk, will make its public debut on Nov. 5 in Grand Rapids, Mich., with a website to follow. While I've always raved about one of my shampoos, the breakthrough catalyst was the development of my Ayurvedic hair oil. More is to come!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Are you a litmus freak?

pH balance is one of those "catch phrases" that's been plaguing me for a while, but I've finally arrived at some conclusions thanks to the texts of Aubrey Hampton, creator and founder of the famous Aubrey Organics hair care line.
As we all know, pH levels open and close the hair's cuticles. Too high or too low can be bad. A lot of naturals are on the hunt for products with a pH of 7, the same as water, but I'm not and here's why.

I recently conducted a series of pH tests. Mill Creek Jojoba Farms Jojoba Treatment Shampoo is one of my faves, but it has a pH of 7. Oyin Handmade's Honeywash topped out at 8.5. Ironically, my own raw African black soap/castor oil shampoo and Tropic Isle Living's Black Castor Oil Shampoo both came in at a 9.

You might be shocked by pH level of 9, but it also happens to be the same pH level as baking soda which is widely used as a hair treatment or as a dry shampoo. And, out of everything I've tried, my hair prefers shampoos with a pH of 9.

I also tested a few conditioners. Pantene's 2-in-1 for Fine Hair ranked at a 6 while the pH level of my own handmade conditioner measured at 7. So, my own handmade conditioner restores the hair back to its natural pH level! Interesting.

Confused? Don't be. And if I were you, I wouldn't even sweat it. First of all, did you know that manufacturers add things to shampoos and conditioners that not only aren't on the ingredients list, but are also bad for your hair just so they can tell you it's pH balanced? Did you also know that pH levels can change based on the age or temperature of a product? 

I ask you to get the kinks out of your brain and think about this: Would you rather put lemon juice or hydrochloric acid on your hair? You probably said lemon juice, right? After all lemon juice does wonders for the hair while hydrochloric acid would dissolve your hair. But, if you look at the chart again, hydrochloric acid has a lower pH than lemon juice. 

Be smart ladies and gents. Lower pH is not necessarily better. And, if a high pH level makes you nervous, that's silly because water acts as a neutralizer which is why shampoo and conditioner bottles tell you to rinse the product out of your hair. Manufacturers make leave-in conditioners for a reason. 

I urge each and every one of you to stop jumping on bandwagons and do your own research instead. Don't let people tell you what to think or do. Between the library and credible sources on the Internet, free information is readily available so ignorance is no longer an excuse.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Lacoya, winner of the gently-used Pura Body Naturals Mango Tea Scalp Butter!
Shoot me your address and it's yours!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Another Black Hair Care Company Going Overseas

While recently completing a little market research, I ran across a little blurb about Namaste Laboratories. Initially, I didn't think much more about it, but the name sounded familiar. After a few more minutes passed, I Googled Namaste Laboratories and realized why the name sounded so familiar...it's the parent company of Organic Root Stimulator, a brand whose products I've intermittently enjoyed using over the years.


Unfortunately, a news blurb revealed that Namaste Laboratories, a U.S.-based company established in 1996 catering to the hair care needs of women of color, was recently purchased by Dabur India and three of its subsidiaries, for $100 million, as its entry into the "African American hair care markets" in Africa and the U.S.


Now don't get me wrong. I use quite a lot of Indian hair products, oils and herbs, and I love Dabur India's products. In fact, most of the Indian products I pick up from my favorite local Indian grocer are made by Dabur India. But, I do have mixed feelings about this:


  1. Yet another American company sells out to an overseas conglomerate.
  2. In addition to our outcry that "the Koreans" have taken over our hair care industry, will we also be saying the same thing about Indians since this particular company is the world's largest Ayurvedic and natural health care company...not to mention the fourth largest company in India.
  3. As a result, will Organic Root Stimulator employees be displaced from their jobs if/when production shifts to India?
  4. Will Organic Root Stimulator's formulations be changed to suit Dabur India?
I love Dabur India and Organic Root Stimulator products, but am wary about any unforeseen changes. Only time will tell.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Free Pura Body Naturals product!

I recently won a jar of Pura Body Naturals' new Mango Tea Scalp Butter. Now, I absolutely love PBN products and use them interchangeably with my own, but my scalp doesn't seem to appreciate having anything applied to it other than castor oil. All my life, I've been plagued by this problem. If I put anything on my scalp, it'd almost look like cradle cap and would be super itchy.

So, it is my regret, and it truly is my regret, to inform you that I will be giving away a VERY gently used jar of PBN Mango Tea Scalp Butter. 
Mango butter, derived from the seeds of mango fruit, has rich emollient properties and is chocked full of antioxidants and vitamins, including vitamins A and E. And, it's good for the hair and skin, including reducing wrinkles and stretchmarks, and alleviating severe itching.

The Mango Tea Scalp Butter is super thick and has the consistency of shea butter, but melts quickly and easily when applied to the skin or scalp so you only need to use a little bit. If used regularly, my guess is this jar would last three or more months.

So, if you're interested in winning this little beauty for yourself, blog followers can just drop me a comment that they want to try this for themselves. If you're not a blog follower, sign up and then drop me a line! One winner will be randomly selected on Oct. 1. Good luck everyone!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Naturals not welcome?

For the past few weeks, I've been watching VH1's "Beverly Hills Fabulous," featuring hair stylist Elgin Charles and gang. Initially, I thought we'd get to watch Elgin and his stylists actually do hair, but that's not quite what the show entails. While it is slightly boring, I do enjoy the interactions of the, er, characters.

One character in particular is Sean. He helps keep the drama going, but in one particular episode I was actually offended! Sean threw a hissy fit when a natural-haired woman walked into the salon for her appointment with him! Sean doesn't do natural hair nor does he know what to do with it.

WTF?! Since when is natural hair not welcome in a black hair salon?! How can the "famous" Elgin Charles salon of Beverly Hills have a stylist who doesn't know what to do with natural hair? No matter how you dice it, we all start out natural when we make our very first trip to the salon as little girls accompanying mamas, sisters, aunties and grannies. Think of all the press and curls you got before you got your first relaxer.

Sadly, Sean's attitude is probably reflective of a lot of black hair salons. We've become so reliant on heat, chemicals and wefts, our stylists probably don't know what to do with a head full of natural hair anyway. Given how a lot of naturals are learning how to achieve long, strong healthy hair (something none of my stylists ever helped me achieve in the 20 years I patronized them), perhaps it is the stylists who need to be sitting in our kitchens or on our floors as we show them how to properly take care of natural hair.

Call it a movement or whatever you want, but it doesn't take a genius to see that we are clearly on to something that our salons are not. Natural hair, similar to the introduction of the hair weave, is taking us by storm. So I have to ask, why haven't our salons kept up with this "fad?" Maybe instead of keeping the television permanently tuned to bad BET programming, they should hook up some Internet service and stream natural hair YouTube videos.

If naturals aren't welcome at Elgin Charles or any other salon, that's fine by me. I'll keep my money! They might be the ones with the license, but at least I know what to do with natural hair.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

With each new season comes new goals


Summer 2010

With a new year rapidly approaching, I decided it's time to rethink a few things and get moving on others. Last summer, I decided to stop straightening my hair and just wear it in it's natural state. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I sure had a lot of fun learning! Following the YouTubers and bloggers, I'd grab this and grab that, but wasn't really happy with my results. But, after a few months, I learned what my hair likes and dislikes, and developed my own regimen of care.

Fall 2011

Now, I'm in the zone when it comes to taking care of my hair. Sure I might try a product here or there, but my brain is now teeming with ideas and it's time to get moving on those. In 2012, I'm focusing on marketing and selling my own hair care accessories and products, which initially will include shampoo, conditioner and the most amazing hair oil you'll ever try! I also am planning on snazzing up my blog, resurrecting my jewelry line, Bibelots, getting back into crocheting, and dabbling in creating my own makeup! Twenty twelve is going to be an amazing year. What are your plans?

P.S. If you're struggling with your hair, my weekly regimen is very simple and I adopted it strictly to grow out my hair. As you can see by the pix posted, this is definitely working for me.

My Hair Maintenance Regimen
  • Detangle hair, apply deep conditioning treatment and put hair into six loose plaits
  • Deep conditioning steam treatment, and wash and condition the hair
  • Apply light, water-based leave-in detangler/conditioner and seal the hair with an oil- or butter-based product (usually one of the two on my "Mixtress" page or a Pura Body Naturals hair milk
  • Put hair in medium-sized twists and apply JBCO or my new revolutionary hair oil to the roots
Note: During warm weather season, I do all of the following but take out my twists the next morning and wear my hear in a twist-out or bantu knot-out until my next wash day. And, my hair holds up all week without any additional maintenance. During cold weather season, I keep my hair in twists throughout the week until I take them down on wash day. (Twists do not have to be removed to be washed, I just prefer to remove them as I enjoy my regimen.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm a woman, I can change mind!

Okay, so after almost a week of agonizing over this, I have decided not to move to WordPress and my reasons are very simple. 
  1. WordPress doesn't have Google Friend Connect and I really enjoy that feature on this and other blogs.
  2. WordPress doesn't have a Bloglist/Blogroll as featured here on Blogger. On WordPress, there are boring links to blogs I like. On Blogger, I can see a snapshot and date of my fave bloggers' most recent posts.
  3. After playing around with Blogger, as you can tell by my blog's new look, I decided I love Blogger and will be disabling my WordPress version.
So, in a nutshell, I will be staying right here! Sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this might have caused. I have lots of good things in store in the near future, so stay tuned!!!!

~Kisses and Coils!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm Moving!

Hey everyone. Just a quick line to let you know that I've moved over to http://napfrocurlzgirl.wordpress.com. I enjoyed my time here at Blogger, but I'm kicking it up a notch in January and I need a forum that will support this. Please come on over to the new blog site to continue our hair journey together. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Have you ever wondered?

Early last year, I decided to stop straightening my hair with ye ol' fashioned hot comb and just maintain my hair in its natural state. Initially, I really didn't know what I was doing, but then I discovered the electronic world of natural hair! For days on end, I'd pour over blogs and YouTube videos dedicated to natural hair. A lot of things I tried and a lot of things didn't work. But a year and a few months later, I've learned what works for me and what doesn't.
Now, I've been natural all my life but learning how to manage your hair in its natural state is truly a learning process involving lots of experimentation. When I first started out, my straightened hair hit my shoulders with my curly 'fro coming down to the bottom of my ears. Now, a little over a year later, my straightened hair is at my bra strap line and my curly 'fro rests on my shoulders.
As of late, I've been wondering why my hair never grew like this under the careful and costly bi-monthly tutelage of the hairdressers in my life. I had an old school hairdresser who'd use that nasty Dax wax when she finished fryin' my head and I had another one who whipped my strands straight via the famed Dominican Blowout before it earned its moniker. Yet, my hair never thrived in their hands. Why?

I recall after moving back to my hometown after being gone for more than 10 years, I fumbled through the Yellow Pages in search of someone, anyone who could straighten my hair, but when I asked them what products and techniques they used, I promptly hung up the phone and moved on to the next one in the listing. I was elated, however, to finally find one natural hair stylist and eagerly booked what I thought was the first of many appointments to come. Sadly, that didn't work out. When she wanted to detangle my dry hair sans product after placing my undetangle head under a hooded hair dryer, I vowed never to return (sadly she does a beautiful angle balance cut).

Now that I'm on my own, I have no regrets. The health of my hair is in my hands. Yes I might spend numerous hours on my hair when it's time to wash it, yes there's the infrequent frantic search for an organic ingredient I forgot to replenish, yes I get bored wearing it in a protective style most months out of the year, but it's all worth it. My nose no longer burns when it's assaulted by the salon's perm chemicals and burning hair, I don't fret to find something to cover my hair when it rains, and I don't have to worry about how I'm going to wear it everyday. Taking my hair into my own hands has given me a sense of freedom I will never give up.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hallelujah and Amen!

Armed with an arsenal of never-tried-before products recommended by one of my fave bloggers, Moptopmaven, and a brand new hair dryer that promises to do everything but kiss the ground I walk on and a new flat iron, I was ready...I was excited...to straighten my hair!

First, however, I deep conditioned under the steamer with Huetiful's Hair Masque with Moringa Oil. 
I've never seen a product, other than what comes out of my own kitchen, with moringa oil so I was super excited when I got this in the mail after submitting an Amazon review of my steamer. This masque is okay and has an overwhelming peppermint smell, but it doesn't perform well enough for me to try again. Coincidentally, I had to use almost the entire jar for just one application so sadly, this product is not going to be a repeat.

After deep conditioning, and washing and conditioning my hair, I set about Moptopmaven's hair straightening regimen. Prior to blow drying, she recommends using Fermodyl 619, Sebastian Potion 9, Frederick Fekkai Glossing Cream and Aveda Brilliant Damage Control.
I'm not sure if my hair was supposed to feel any different with this product, but it purports to help hair retain  nearly 70 percent moisture. I didn't feel a difference, so I don't know if I'll ever need to use this again.
This runny, orange goopy stuff smells funny and felt a little sticky. As a leave-in, I will give this another try since it's so light. Otherwise, I probably would never use it again. It just wasn't what I thought it was going to be.




What more can I say, but AMAZZZIIINNNGGG! The smell of this olive oil-based cream is intoxicating and truly does smooth and silken the hair. I will definitely keep a tube of this on hand.

I really enjoyed this herbal floral-scented spray which serves as a heat and UV protectant. I think this will be sticking around for a while.

Now, down to the nitty gritty-blow drying time!!! The next step in the regimen is to apply Chi Silk Infusion.
I loved this too! It smells amazing and left my hair feeling rather sleek!

Confident I was on my way to creating silky, smooth straight locks I plugged in my new hair dryer, the Infiniti Hair Designer Pro by Conair, and got down to business. Thank God I got this at a bargain price because this hair dryer left my hair in such a mess I had to pull out my old hair dryer and round brush to finish the job!
The blow dryer from hell! This thing is supposed to detangle, straighten and dry the hair in one fell swoop. Yes it dried my hair, but I ended up with more single-strand knots on the bottom two inches of my hair than I've ever had in my life! This blow dryer also has four separate tension settings and coarse-haired girls are supposed to use tension four, but all it did was rip my hair. I backed it down to tension one. The ripping stopped, but detangle it did not! DO NOT BUY THIS!

My final step was flat ironing, but that didn't go well as the blow dryer didn't work out too well. I used a cheapie I grabbed around town to flat iron and I believe it'd work for my hair, but only with the proper blow drying technique. Needless to say, about halfway through blow drying, I had to pull out my old one and my round brush to finish the job.

Now, Moptopmaven's hair is super shiny and appears to have movement from using all of the hair products previously mentioned, but I had not a lick of shine. I have my own remedies for that, but to make my straight strands last as long as possible, I finished off with Aveda's Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade.

OMG, I love this little jar of herbal oil pomade! It smells amazing and  so light, you can't feel it on your hair! It seemed to do the trick overnight, but perhaps I should apply some everyday as my hair got a tad poofy today. I will definitely keep this in my arsenal and will probably use this to maintain twists that are kept in for more than a week.


Overall, I'm pleased with my results, but it took me just shy of five hours to complete this process from beginning to end. The only element I think I was missing was a straightening cream, so next spring, I will give this a go and try again. For now, though, I've applied so much heat to my hair and fought so many single-strand knots, I'm going to keep my hair in twists until spring to repair the damage I know I've done. Plus, my significant other and I prefer my wild bushy curls to my straight look. I also look closer to my age with straight hair, too. LOL.




Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another hair trend?

I don't know about you, but lately I've been seeing adverts for "thermal straightening" and "thermal retexturizing." Seriously? Are we that gullible and naive, or so desperate for straight hair that we'll buy whatever's thrust in our faces without thinking twice about it? 
A closer look at some of these, er, breakthrough hair systems or treatments make it sound so simple and easy that it could be done at home! Just pick up some of these special shampoos and conditioners, wash your hair, blow dry and flat iron and no more waves, kinks and curls...ever!

But, this is where "buyer beware" reigns supreme. Underneath the promise of straight, shiny glossy hair lies a culprit...lye. Yes, these thermal treatments contain some derivative of lye which when activated by heat, and lots of it, purport to get your hair sleek and straight.


Even I am guilty of falling into this trap, especially when I saw Garnier's Blow Dry Perfector kit at the local drugstore. I'm terrible at blow drying, so I thought I might try this. But, when I looked at the ingredients, I saw that this product contains a little bit of lye. Imagine if I'd bought this and put it in my hair???!!!

While you might not be able to get your hands on product bottles, reading the ingredients of these treatments is crucial. Telltale verbiage such as "permanent," "neutralizing," "retouch," etc. are a few suggestions letting you know that this is a chemical process. If you're contemplating getting a treatment, do a Google search to see what the ingredients are. With the prevalence of so much information on the Internet, ignorance no longer is bliss! For example, I found a PDF document from one nationally-acclaimed salon's smoothing treatment advising against using its treatment on people with porosity issues. Hmmm, porosity issues...now that's something that seems to plague us brown-skinned folks...lye, porosity... Get it?

Yes your heart might pitter patter over some of the new smoothing treatments that have been busting onto the scene, but don't even go there. It's just the 21st century way of saying you're getting a perm. Consider yourself warned. Peace!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Way too excited today...

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!!!

My Infiniti Conair Hair Designer Pro (the hair dryer the straightens as it dries) came today AND I'm going to be hennaing my eyebrows tonight...thanks for the heads up Kinky Curly!!!!! 

I have one perfect eyebrow, but the other one is missing some hair and its end is about a quarter-inch shorter than it should be. I don't understand this as I've never plucked them or used pencils/powders on them.

Needless to say, I have to fill it in every single day and I'm sooooo tired of doing that every morning! Plus, I feel my eyebrows aren't dark enough anyway. So, I will be hennaing my eyebrows and if all goes well, I will never have to fill in again!!!! Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Drum roll please.....

Okay, so I'm sitting under my steamer right now, totally psyched about a new hair mask I found at my fave local Indian grocer...I swear I'm not a product junkie, but I am in love with hair masks.
If the name and packaging look familiar, it's because a lot of us love Vatika oil! Well, this is Dabur's Vatika Egg Protein Deep Conditioning Hair Mask with egg protein, honey, marrow protein and more! It  comes in a huge jar for just $6.99. It has the most amazing floral smell and kind of looks like thick, goopy lemon custard.

As usual, I didn't read the directions, but you're supposed to use it as post-wash treatment.While applying it to my hair, sections I'd already applied it to wear dripping and oozing with oil. While under the steamer, my hair literally feels like silk.I can't wait to see how it turns out! I might even skip the shampoo (I only use my homemade shampoo which is chocked full of oils) and just...gasp...co-wash! But, I might not even do that as the directions suggest rinsing it out of your hair with water. Considering how dry my hair was this week and the lack of product in my hair, that might just suffice, just this once at least! This definitely gets two coils up and will be added as a staple!

In other notes, I'm also super excited to get back to mixing...if I ever find the time. I scored a pound of cupuacu butter this week at a really great price so I'm eager to make some hair butter with that very, very soon!

My hair dryer, mentioned in the prior post, still has not arrived so stay tuned for a full review!

Also, check this out and please participate if you can...

Do you have any GENTLY USED or NEW  natural hair products that's just sitting on the shelves collecting dust?  You don't want to throw it away but it just doesn't work for you and you don't really know what to do with it?  Well, due to a genius idea presented by one of our very own, HAT has decided to start a drive in support of our naturalista's deployed overseas who are unable to get their hands on products. Any natural hair products that you can think of that will be of benefit to someone else will be gladly accepted. NEW OR USED!!!

Starting next week, Hairs a Thought (HAT) on Facebook  will provide a PO BOX for all gently used or new natural hair products to be mailed to so in the meantime get your stash together. HAT will generate a list of naturalista's deployed overseas and will disperse the products donated to those individuals who want to participate in the program as a way to show our support for those who are fighting for our country with fabulous curls, kinks and waves. Want to be a part of the movement? THEN DONATE!! All donations are welcomed. So get your donations together for the drive and let's make this a successful one fam!!!

There's a reason why the HAT fam is notorious for helping others.....because we know how to come together for the common good and provide assistance and advice like no other! So lets show 'em how we do it! DONATE! DONATE! DONATE! 

Help me spread the word by posting this note on your wall, your friends wall, groups and other pages and lets make this an AWESOME drive!!!

HAT SUPPORTS OUR TROOPS!!! Do you????

SPONSORS:
  • Shea Butter Like Whoa
  • Jamaican Lime and Mango

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Quicky!

Realizing a little time has lapsed, but not having a lot of spare time, I just wanted to provide a quick update. 

I recently tried Dr. Miracle's Follicle Healer Creme in a sample pack...gotta' love those $1 sample packs! I can't say nay or yay to this. My scalp wasn't tingling, but it did leave my hair unusually soft. During application, it felt like a watered down version of KT's Knot Today. I also have samples of their other products coming in the mail soon, so stay tuned.

And, for those of you who know me, I only straighten my hair twice a year. Once in spring and once in fall. I'm really looking forward to it, but not the process...until now!

I was goofing off on eBay when I found this monster, the Conair Infiniti Hair Designer Pro! While watching the 30 minute countdown, I hopped on the Conair, Amazon and YouTube web sites to check out reviews, watch demonstrations and learn the logistics. This retails for $69.99, but I literally got it for a tenth of the cost!!!! So, a review is coming in the fall and if all works well, I will be throwing away by brushes and old hair dryers.

I also am doubly excited about scoring a pound of cupuacu butter to play with and this web site, http://naturalhairproductdeals.com/. Joining Natural Hair Product Deals will enable you to receive email alerts of sales from some of our fave natural hair product makers/suppliers. Sign up today!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

(SMH)

Okay, so by now y'all probably realize I'm a huge fan of LUSH hair products. I won't live without their Jungle Conditioner and I will continue to use their Jasmine & Henna Fluff Eaze Hairmask, but I am deeply disappointed in their H'Sua Wen Hua Hair Moisturizer. I'd gotten lots of feedback from LUSH fans that if I liked the Jasmine & Henna hair treatment, I'd love the H'Sua Wen Hua. Not!

Similar to Jasmine & Henna Fluff Eaze, this hair treatment comes in a cute little black pot. If you have hair like me, you'll think you just wasted your money for what you'll assume is for one hair treatment. But, to LUSH's credit, you can get about 3 treatments per pot. And, if you're fortunate to live near a LUSH store, you can trade in five empty pots for free product!

H'Sua Wen Hua looks and smells great, is thick, goopy and creamy. It contains egg, bay leaf, watercress, banana, avocado, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lanolin, rosemary, cinnamon and lecithin-just to name a few. Obviously, this is a very nutritious treat for your hair. I just wish it'd done something tangible to mine!

I used it as a deep conditioning steam treatment, but my hair felt no different compared to when I use a Cholesterol conditioner-based treatment. Yes my hair was soft, but that's about the extent of any outward benefits I saw. It didn't even smell as heavenly as it does after a Jasmine & Henna Fluff Eaze treatment. So, as hard as it is for me to do this to a LUSH product, I have to give this two coils down.

There are other LUSH hair products I'd like to try, but the price can be a little steep. Fortunate for me (and you), LUSH is offering three hair care packages for just $24.95!!!!! Pick up your own "Head Case" package at http://www.lushusa.com/shop/hair-to-hair/. Meanwhile, I'm going to be trying out the "Volume & Shine" package...not for it's purported benefits, but for the ingredients. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Miracle in a Jar

I've been sporting a two-week old bantu knot out. Even though I'm dealing with a health issue, my hair was in dire need of washing. My curls still looked great and needed little maintenance the past two weeks, but my hair (especially my roots) was feeling a little like felt. Product build-up and single-strand knots do not a pretty picture make.

So, to make the process go as quickly as possible due to limited mobility and lots of pain, I doused my head with the old tried and true, Mane 'n Tail Detangler. I've used this off and on over the years, but never really gave it a second thought. Now, I've decided to give this a second chance. My hair was super snarled and gnarly, but this product made the detangling process smooth, easy and fast. In fact, I was so impressed, I think I'll be keeping this around. So, Mane 'n Tail Detangler, two coils up for you!

As promised earlier, I decided to wash my hair with this. This retails for $30+ in some places, but when I saw it on sale for dirt cheap, I had to take the plunge. Who could resist a name like "Hamadi" or a product named "Ginger Soymilk Hair Wash?" You can! As amazing as this smells, it's crap! And, I should have known better. I've known all my life that my hair does not respond to clear shampoos and this is a clear shampoo.With the ingredient of soymilk, I was rather dismayed that it wasn't a creamy shampoo but you can't tell the difference looking at an Internet image, especially if the product's in an amber-colored bottle. Unfortunately, this shampoo left my hair feeling like a damp cotton ball which is really too bad since I was eyeballing the Ginger Soymilk Conditioner. Sadly, I have to give this two coils down.

But, before I washed my hair, I did a deep conditioning steam treatment with Tropic Isle Living's Jamaican Black Castor Oil Protein Conditioner, also purchased on sale. I buy and use the JBCO on a regular basis, and my significant other uses their pimiento oil treatment, so I thought it'd be nice to try as well. I don't know how many staples one is allowed to have, but I MUST keep this on hand. It's like cholesterol conditioner on steroids.Once you scoop out a dollop and massage it into your hair, it turns into pure oil! Combined with hot steam, my hair was scrumptious! Initially this thick cream had an overwhelming smell, not a good one either, but while steaming, my significant other said it made the room smell like sugar. Go figure! A little bit is all you need to hook your hair up. I used too much and had what looked like Jherri Curl drips everywhere. Also, follow the directions. I didn't, but it's recommended that this be used as a post-wash treatment. Personally, I can't wait to try it as it was intended. And, it'd be great for a post-henna or dye treatment. This product gets two coils up.





Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I am NOT a Product Junkie

It's been a hot minute, but I do want to provide a quick prequel to an upcoming post.

My Jessner peel turned out marvelously and I'm looking forward to my next treatment. So far, I am virtually blemish-free, but I still have a few things to get rid of. As a reward to myself, I switched to another cosmetic line-MAC. I was skeptical about the coverage, but their powder and concealer are more than doing their job. I can actually see my face underneath my makeup and I love it! Fortunately, I've found a cheap source for some of the things I want.

As for the hair, I'm on week two of wearing my fave style, the bantu knot-out. I can't believe it's lasting this long without doing anything to it, but it is. So, if you want to know my secret, drop me a line!

And, if any of you are tried-and-true product junkies, you are very well aware of all the holiday sales. As a result, I've coveted the following:
  • LUSH's H'suan Wen Hua (not on sale but they also gave me a sample of their Reincarnate solid shampoo with henna bar)
  • Hamadi's Ginger Soymilk Hairwash (with a handful of Shea Hair Cream and Shea Leave-in samples)
  • Tropic Isle Living's Black Castor Oil Protein Conditioner and my usual bottle of JBCO
  • Dr Adorable Inc's 12 oz. bottles of sweet almond, jojoba and avocado oils
With a little time off during the holiday, I also took the time to clean out my "hair closet." Much to my surprise, I found five shampoo bars from Chagrin Valley Soap and Anita Grant Rhassoul Deep Condish blocks I'd totally forgotten about. Who says Christmas in July doesn't exist?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Update

On Day Four of my post-Jessner's Peel, I think I've completed most of my peeling stage. The bulk of my skin peeled off on Day Three, leaving pink tingly patches of new skin underneath. I was a little concerned, but this morning, I don't have tingly pink patches and my skin looks fine and is super soft. I still have a few patches of dry skin, but nothing like compared to yesterday. A co-worker thought I had food on my face my skin was peeling so badly. I just didn't have the energy to explain the chemical peel process, but for those of you who don't know what it is, Google it!

I also noticed that my accidental conditioner made from coconut cream concentrate curdled! So, I won't be using that anymore (I don't add preservatives to my homemades) and now I'm wondering if my jar of coconut cream concentrate has curdled too.

I also won't be using Milk of Magnesia on my face anymore. Yes, it dried up the oil on my face, but it doesn't work too well under makeup...and the reason I have breakouts in the first place is due to dry skin.

But, I've found an alternative cleanser and moisturizer that I love! Skin Obsession's Face Peel cleanser and moisturizer are $5 each and they're amazing! The cleanser looks like gel, but foams up really well (pardon the little rhyme there) and removes my makeup in one swoop! Granted, I've switched to Mac Cosmetic's concealer and Studio Fix powder/foundation compared to Maybeline Dream Matte Mousse which takes some doing to wash off, I'm very pleased with this foaming gentle cleanser. I'm also digging the moisturizer as it happens to be comprised of coconut oil! Once I'm done peeling, I won't be using it under my makeup anymore, but I will definitely use it at night. I'll just use E.L.F.'s primer under my makeup as it prevents oil buildup and makes makeup application very quick and smooth.

Just four or five more peels to go over the next six months and I won't have to use concealer anymore!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Battin' Two for Three

Hair, weight and skin are three things I've been wanting to improve over the past few years. I tackled my hair last summer and beat that monster, hands down. This spring, I embarked on the battle of the bulge. I initially made some headway, but fell off the wagon so hard around Memorial Day, I might need a step ladder to get back on. But, for the past 10 years, I've been plagued by skin issues-the dreaded adult acne!

In a decade's time, I've all but ruined my face. After walking out of the office of a dermatologist who wanted to prescribe Accutane, I've haphazardly sought and destroyed every possible OTC acne solution....to no avail. Quite a few years ago, I took a gamble on an eBay product and it worked. The downside is I didn't continue using it, mostly because my second go round was a failure-I literally burned my face.

Now, older and wiser, I'm going to try this product again. So, next week, courtesy of Skin Obsession, I will be using the Jessner Peel.
I'd contemplated going to day spa for this treatment, but the DIY version is only $29.99 versus $100 or more a pop for what probably will require four to six treatments. Granted I'll resemble a Stonefish for a few days, I don't mind as this will yield permanent, long-lasting results.

As part of my preparation, I also stumbled upon Milk of Magnesia as a potentially powerful weapon against acne. For just $4.49 a bottle (about $2 cheaper than the Philips's brand but with the EXACT ingredient and milligrams), I'll be dabbing a bit of this on my face to keep the oil at bay and detoxify my skin. 
If this sounds far-fetched, trust me, I thought so too while watching a YouTube video about Milk of Magnesia and acne, but check this out...http://www.buzzle.com/articles/milk-of-magnesia-for-acne.html...I think it holds some merit and is worth a shot at such a cheap price. It's not like any other OTC acne products have worked, so why not try this one too? After all, you can't beat the price!

And, for added measure, I created the most amazing facial cleanser and makeup remover with this!
Any coconut oil will do, but I have quite a bit of this around the house. Coconut oil contains capric and lauric acids, and Vitamin E. The acids are great for killing the bacteria that cause acne and Vitamin E oil is powerful at fading blemishes. And the smell...only one other scent in the world is better than coconut!

The oil is incredibly light and doesn't leave a thick, greasy film on the face. And it's the best makeup remover I've ever used! I've tried tons of facial cleansers over the years, but this is my absolute favorite. Simply put a little in the palm of your hand, massage into the skin, and wipe off with a baby wipe! For good measure, I apply the coconut oil twice but my second baby wipe is always spotless. Coconut oil removes all of my makeup (lipstick, foundation, concealer and mascara) in one fell swoop WHILE disinfecting AND moisturizing my face!



Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bye Bye Hello Hydration!

I've had the most delicious little curls all week so I really debated washing my hair this weekend until I remembered I had two new items to try out.

My first test item was a so-called shampoo I made earlier this week. In a nutshell, I added coconut cream concentrate to my homemade creamy Castille shampoo. When I rubbed a sample into my skin, it felt so luxurious I couldn't wait to try it out. Sadly, my "shampoo" was masquerading as a conditioner. I was a bit disappointed at first, but as I have yet to perfect a conditioner, I ultimately was quite pleased with the final results. So, two coils up for my new and VERY accidental Creamy Coconut Castille Conditioner! While it has no scent, it is perhaps the most moisturizing conditioner I've used thus far. And, while it also has not a lick of slip, given how soft my hair felt after using it, I think I've broken my slip addiction!!!!! I'm thinking this could be the new "Creamy Crack!"

As yummy as my hair felt after accidentally washing it with my new homemade conditioner, I couldn't resist trying Jungle Conditioner from LUSH. To be fair, I did wash my hair with my homemade African Black Soap/Jamaican Black Castor Oil shampoo prior to giving Jungle a test drive-I've been waiting almost a whole week for this!
LUSH's Jungle Conditioner is a solid conditioner bar, but I diluted mine in aloe vera juice last week to make it easier to use. It took a while to dissolve, but next time (and there will be a next time), I'm putting it in a 16 oz. bottle versus an 8 oz. bottle. Dissolved Jungle is so thick, I could hardly get it out of the bottle to use it! Unfortunately, I have yet to come up with words adequately describing how Jungle smells and feels. As for the results, OMG, Jungle had my toes curling it's so good! My hair was super soft and smelled amazing! This most definitely is a keep and gets two coils up.

So au revoir to Hello Hydration conditioner. It was good while it lasted, but I'd be a fool to continue using a product that has all the icky things we naturalistas try to avoid now that I have TWO totally organic conditioners...and one I can even make right in my own kitchen!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Do Your Civic Duty!

It has come to my attention that the United States Air Force has a regulation, AFI36-2903 DRESS AND PERSONAL APPEARANCE OF AIR FORCE PERSONNEL, which in part, discriminates against African-American women serving in the Air Force. The code was recently updated to include a bans on a common natural African-American hairstyle, which the Air Force has called "dreadlocks". Female personnel with neat, clean, professional well-kept hair are being forced to choose between cutting their hair and treating it with chemicals to conform with this regulation which I feel unfairly and unnecessarily discriminates against African-Americans. The regulation itself does not define "dreadlocks". This leaves women with hair that is in no means a distraction or a detriment to their duties, subject to disciplinary action.
While it is certainly reasonable that the Air Force require its personnel to wear their hair in a neat and professional manner, blanket regulations against a loosely defined manner of wearing the hair is causing undue hardship on a number of women in the Air Force. There appears to be an ignorance of the needs of African-American hair and what can be done in the way of styling the hair without either cutting it off or subjecting the hair to chemicals. Wearing the hair in a "locked" style is the only way many African-American women can wear their hair, with any length, and without having to chemically treat it or wear a wig. As long as the styles are neat, professional looking, not distracting and not hindering their ability to perform their duty, there is no reason the Air Force should require women to change their hair styles. I think the code was fine before the addition of the ban on "dreadlocks" and the addition of that ban is unnecessary. The code already states that hairstyles cannot be "faddish" and must be professional. Locked hair is not necessarily faddish nor is it necessarily unprofessional.
I would like to request that you look into this regulation and ask the Air Force to reconsider the ban of neat, clean and professional hairstyles worn by African-American women.
http://treasuredlocks.rallycongress.com/937//?m=1699167

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Trio of Reviews!

All week, I've been anticipating washing my hair with my new finds so I finally got to take the plunge and try out three of my newbies. I initially wanted to try a fourth product, the Jungle conditioner bar from LUSH, but it's not quite ready. (You're supposed to rub the bar into your hair, but I didn't think that'd be conducive for me as I have a lot of hair, so I cut it up and crumbled it into a bottle of aloe juice. It's still dissolving but looks promising!)

If y'all know a little bit about me, I always steam my hair with a deep conditioning treatment prior to washing. Instead of my usual concoction of aloe vera gel, moringa and Vatika oils, and cholesterol conditioner, I decided to try LUSH's Jasmin and Henna Fluff-Eaze.
While the small container is a tad pricey, I couldn't help giving this a spin. Chock full an infusion of red henna, and almond, Brazil nut, coconut and jojoba oils-just to name a few-I figured I couldn't really go wrong and I figured right! This stuff is AMAZING and it smells delicious!!!! I was concerned I'd have to use a lot, but it's kind of thick so I only used about a third of the jar. After my steam treatment, my hair was baby soft. It was a lowdown dirty shame to have to wash this out of my hair! LUSH really needs to create a leave-in version of this product. Jasmin and Henna Fluff-Eaze is now on my staples list and gets two coils up!


This week, I washed my hair with Oyin Handmade's Honey Wash. Touted as a hair and body wash, the smell is intoxicating and I love the creamy Castille base. A little bit definitely goes a long way and the suds are moderate to generous. As much as I desperately wanted to fall in love with Honey Wash, it just didn't do a thing for my hair. My hair didn't feel stripped or as if it had build-up, but it didn't feel moisturized either. It literally felt like wet wool. Sadly, I can only give Honey Wash one coil up...it still deserves a coil for the amazing scent. I'll continue using it, but probably won't buy it again...smh...sadly.


During Memorial Day weekend, my honey and I went to the Burley Park Flea Market and to my amazement I found a man selling soy candles and handmade hair products made by his wife. I decided to try the No More Knotty Kids Detangler in the Pink Kisses scent. And, OMG, this stuff is the bomb! Not only does it have a delicious smell, but it's filled with everything I would use were I to make my own detangler! And, it works!!!!! I've used a plethora of detanglers, but they're either too thick and goopy, leaving buildup or they're akin to water and don't do a thing to my hair. I'm sold on No More Knotty Kids, but I do wish the bottle was round. Wet hands and an oval bottle are not a good combination. For a split second, I also wondered where and how to buy replacements, but the mixtress provides her email on the bottle and I happened to find her shop on Etsy. This one definitely gets two coils up!

Stay tuned...next week is LUSH's Jungle conditioner!!!!! 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Exciting Weekend!

I swear, y'all, I'm not a product junkie. I still make my own shampoo, moisturizers and sealants...and am STILL working on a conditioner. But, every once in a while, especially if there's a sale, I can't help wanting to try a few things.

This week, I'll be trying LUSH's Jungle solid conditioner bar and Jasmin and Henna Fluff-Eaze, both of which smell so delicious!!!!! I'll also be using Oyin Handmade's Honey Wash and Honey Water. Two more "scentillating" scents I can't keep away from my nose!

I just hope these products work half as well as they smell!!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mineral Makeup

I've always been a fan of mineral makeup, but could never swallow the price for more than a few months a year. That thought process was only exacerbated by the tiny amount of concealer included in the monthly kit. A little while ago, I saw a link to E.L.F. Cosmetics on a friend's FB page and decided to check it out. Much to my surprise, they had mineral makeup and for only FIVE DOLLARS! I immediately signed up for an account and then got a flood of emails for special offers, but I chose one offer...I think if I spent $10 or $20, I could choose 10 $1 products for free! I do love my freebies, so I got some mineral makeup, a mineral makeup primer and 10 free goodies, too!

This morning, I tried out E.L.F.'s primer, concealer and mineral foundation and was beyond pleased. 
The primer is amazing and one little squirt, about the amount of half a teardrop, was enough for my whole face. My face felt smooth and as if it had a light dusting of talcum powder. This stuff is definitely a keeper! 
Then I tried the concealer. I'm also pleased with the concealer, but I wish it came in more shades. I've always had trouble finding an exact match and E.L.F. was no different. I had to choose the two shades closest to my skin tone and hope for the best, but the coverage is most excellent! Last came the true test, the mineral foundation! 
Yes the container is smaller than other other major mineral lines, but no biggee. It costs a sixth less! My only real quibble is the powders seem to be a little orangey compared to other brands and the sifter doesn't work too well. I pulled mine out, threw it in the trash and just dipped my brush right into the container. Again, I was very pleased with the final results! 

So goodbye to my cream foundation and hello to E.L.F. minerals! It's good to know there are mineral foundations out there that not only get the job done, but cost less than two gallons of gas! And, if I can't wait for makeup to arrive in the mail and don't mind forgoing special deals, I can always grab them at a local Target, Kmart, Meijer or Family Fare store!

For more information, check out E.L.F. at http://www.eyeslipsface.com.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Darker the Berry?

Courtesy of Hairs a Thought on FB, I can't wait to see this documentary. Yes, there was a lot of hype about Chris Rock's hair "moc"-umentary, but this is truly profound. I must see this! And, I hope the sequel addresses issues that our fairer-skinned sistas deal with, too.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Out with the grey, in with the black!

Okay, so I finally got tired of the proliferation of grey hairs invading my hair. Granted my grey hairs are the gorgeous silver white I'd hoped for over the years, I'm just not ready to give in to them yet. So, I decided to erase them with henna and indigo. A few weeks' research led me to four or five different kinds, but LUSH's Caca Noir Mama (http://www.lushusa.com/shop/products/hair/henna-hair-dyes/caca-noir-mama) prevailed as my first choice.

First, let me say that LUSH's shipping is akin to the speed of light. In fact, they're so fast, they beat out the other henna/indigo order I placed a week prior to my LUSH order! And I'm STILL waiting on it!

Getting down to the nitty gritty, pardon the pun, LUSH's henna comes in a block divided into six sections. I used three sections for my hair which is a few inches past my shoulders. I mixed it with almost two cups of black tea and that's all! Normally, I'd add oils, etc., but LUSH's henna comes packed with healthy hair butters, oils and herbs so I took a chance...and after three hours, my hair was SUPER soft with a deeper, richer black hue. Sadly, the grey hairs still stood out in defiance. 

While I was disappointed it didn't cover the grey hair as hoped, I will continue to use Caca Noir Mama. It is, hands down, the best henna I've ever used and without all the mess, too! This product gets two coils up!

Moving on, I know I should've waited at least a month to try to hide the grey again, but I broke down and bought this...
Yes, this product is now discontinued, but my local drugstore had just one box left AND it promised me the blue-black hair I was hoping for. And, I have to say I'm surprised by this product's quality. It's a permanent dye, but it comes with two little packs of healthy hair oils you have to add to the dye bottle and a shea butter conditioning pack that you have to use afterwards. I figured I couldn't go wrong with that and I figured right. 

Despite using two products, back to back, that had the potential to cause some serious dryness, my hair is softer than it is after my steam treatments! And I didn't even steam my hair this weekend!! I am extremely pleased with my final results and will continue to use both products as needed.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Checking out a few things...

Just a quick note while I eagerly wait to wash my hair just shy of midnight tonight...I'll be reviewing a few products VERY soon. First on the list is Caca Noir henna w/indigo from LUSH. Additional upcoming product reviews include LUSH's Jasmine and Henna Fluff Ease AND Jungle conditioners; Anita Grant's Rhassoul Deep Conditioning cubes with marshmallow, and mineral makeup from E.L.F.!!!!! Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

SMH...but in a good way!


Okay, so it's been a bit since my last posting, but here I am, if all but briefly.


With the weather finally warming but before the humidity sets in, I decided to straighten my hair. I don't know if y'all knew, but I swore off using any heat on my hair last fall. Back then, this was my hair...


Ahhh....don't I look pensive?

Once the snowflakes started falling, I religiously wore my hair in twists. Once a week, I'd deep condition with my steam treatment, wash and condition my hair, and twist it all back up again. With a foreboding about spending 4-6 hours on my hair last week, I decided not to twist but to straighten. So, after my steam treatment, wash and condition....I blowdried and flatironed on low-medium heat....and this is the result:

Please excuse the goofy face as I show the front but I REALLY hate taking pictures.

And, the back!
From fall until now, I had no idea how much my hair had been growing. A few people mentioned that my twists seemed longer and I'd noticed that it was taking me longer and longer to twist my hair, but I honestly had no idea what was really happening. But, I'm not complaining and next week, I think I'll be going back to my twists as they seem to be working quite well for me. Last year's hair challenge goal was not to worry about trying out different  products, hairstyles, etc. I just wanted healthier hair. And, I think I can say I've achieved that goal!