Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mixed Feelings About Havana Twists

There's nothing quite like building up your expectations for months only to have them dashed to the ground. 
For months, I've been wanting Havana Twists. And to add salt to my wounds, I've been wanting Havana Twists with hair from Fingercomber. Like you, when I saw that "image," I fell in love.
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!
So, biting the bullet, I followed Fingercomber's suggestion and bought six packs of hair to achieve the look above. Since I've never worn extensions before, I practiced with some much cheaper Marley hair for a month until I deemed I was ready to use the Fingercomber hair.

First and foremost, DO NOT purchase this hair if your own hair is armpit length or longer. Mine is so I had to fold my hair in half so the Fingercomber hair covered my ends. After all, I'm doing this as part of my winter protection regimen so I can't leave the ends of my hair out!

Other complaints are that this hair is super rough and dry, sheds a lot and is incredibly stiff. The first time I used it, I didn't put anything in it so I could get a feel for how it was going to behave. Big mistake as quite a few of the ends of my twists kept unraveling. I'm on week two of using this hair so this time I used Organic Root Stimulator's Carrot Oil in an attempt to soften it up. I know Fingercomber says the hair will soften after a few days, so let's hope that's true.

My other complaint is Fingercomber suggests buying 5-7 packs of the hair at $12.99 each to achieve the look in the picture. Well...I did that, but I think it was overkill, at least for me. I'm very conscious about weight and tension on my roots, so I can't fathom using more than two packs on my head. While my hair was wet/damp, I sectioned it into two-inch sections and added two pieces of Fingercomber hair per section. My twists don't fall into a nice neat bob like the model's. I'm guessing the stylist cut the Fingercomber hair, but I can't do that for fear of cutting the ends of my own hair since my hair is longer than the Fingercomber hair.
Sorry, long weekend sans makeup!
In my third and last attempt to work with this hair, I'll add one weft of Fingercomber to a one-inch section of my hair. If that doesn't work, I'm done with this hair and will go back to my Marley hair which I LOVE!

Overall, I am deeply disappointed with the end results. The only thing I like about this hair is it gives me much thicker twists than what I'd have without it. This product gets two coils down. Seeing how I have four extra packs of hair, if you want to buy them for just $10 instead of $12.99 plus S&H, let me know. This product gets two coils down. It just didn't perform the way I'd hoped it would.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winter Hair Upkeep

My Marley Twists are working out quite well...even if I do have 6 packs of extra hair, but it's wash day and my scalp's driving me crazy. Last week I redid my twists, but I didn't feel like redoing them this week so here's another first! 

I hopped on YT to see what alternatives there were to washing hair with extensions and picked the no-rinse method using a liquid shampoo. Excited, I hopped on Google to find a no-rinse shampoo in my area and was directed to Walgreen's...their web site said my desired product was in stock. After a 15-minute search, with my eyes landing on two different dry but powder shampoos, I left empty-handed. On a hunch, I stopped at my fave beauty supply store on the way home and OMG, why did they have exactly what I was looking for?!

I need to keep this stuff around!
Clean Life Products' No Rinse Shampoo and Conditioner have the consistency of water and lack scent and color. Both are applied directly to the scalp. The shampoo is massaged into the scalp until it foams. Then, you have to towel blot your hair dry. The conditioner is used similarly, but it doesn't foam.

It took no more than 20 minutes to use these products and I must say, the results shocked me! Not only did my hair feel soft and clean, but my scalp stopped always itches when it wants to be washed and cold, dry winter air makes it worse. 

Since the ingredients in these products are questionable, I decided to grab something else to ward off the itchies until I get ready to wash and redo my hair next week.

Might have to keep this around, too!

I've been using my Snake Oil (a blend of black castor oil and Ayurvedic herbs) on my scalp throughout the week, but decided to try Organic Root Stimulator's (ORS) Anti-Itch Scalp Oil. Not only am I a huge fan of ORS products, but this oil is in gel form so there's no dripping or oozing! The ingredients are 100 percent natural, but this does contain a paraben.

Overall, I'm VERY pleased with my no-wash results and will definitely use this as a back up plan to extend the life of styles with extensions!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Marley Twists Redo

So, my Marley Twists held up all week for the most part. Only four got loose at the roots so I had to redo them mid-week. Fortunately, my hair is long enough so there was never any fear about them slipping off my head to be left behind at my desk, the grocery store or the gas station.

I'd never done anything like this before, so first I watched a ton of YT vids to see how to best approach this. The general consensus is to add the hair to blow-dried or stretched air-dried hair. But, this weekend I opted to redo them and had much better results on wet hair!

Prior to reinstalling, I washed my hair as usual, applied Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner and  OBI Natural Hair Care's Curl Enhancing Custard to one inch sections of my hair and then twisting in the Marley hair.

I LOVE Marley Twists!

Immediately I noticed a remarkable improvement compared to last week. This time around, my roots are tight and the Obi product, which has a gel-like consistency, helped my own hair blend with the Marley hair. Doing this on wet hair also shaved two hours off last week's time of six hours! While my hair air dries overnight, I suspect I won't have any slippage or loosening of the roots as the week goes by although I liked the loose, fuzzy roots look better.

So, when it's time to do my Havana Twists, I think I'll be doing them on wet hair. Anyone else prefer to add extensions to wet hair?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Winterized My Hair

It's that time of year again...time to prep your hair for winter! The concept is simple-protect your hair from harsh winter elements. I never really paid attention to winter hair, but when I experienced frozen hair for the first time, I knew it was time to give it some serious thought. So last year, I bought my very first wig.
I got mine in a 1B.
I loved La Jay and wore her every single day. She was such a close match to my bantu knot-outs, no one knew I was wearing a wig unless I told them. And I loved the ease of wearing a wig. Every weekend, I'd wash my hair as usual and twist it up. In the mornings, I just plopped on my wig and went to work.

This year, I wanted to find another wig, but my hair has grown quite a bit and I couldn't find a wig similar to this that was longer in length. So, I decided to go with a different protective style this winter-Havana Twists!
This was love at first sight!
I've never worn extensions or weaves, let alone had my hair braided so this is a first for me. So, I ordered 5 packs of hair from Finger Comber to give this a try. But first, I got 5 packs of Marley hair to give this a test drive, and....I am ecstatic with my results! Ironicaly, I needed 1 pack of hair plus three strands from a second pack to complete this look.
So proud of myself!
Close up side view.

After watching a few YT vids, thanks Alex and Black Onyx, I decided to try this myself and it was so easy! It took me 6 hours and I used some hair gel I had laying around with Organic Root Stimulator Carrot Oil. When I was done, I pineappled and went to sleep, praying I wouldn't lose any and I didn't! So, I think this is going to work for me this and subsequent winters! In a month, I'm going to install the Havana twist hair. I also plan on getting their wefted Coily Comber hair to make a wig.

What are your plans for winter hair?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wash Day Give Away!!!

Hey curly friends! My good hair buddy, Natural Nina, is sponsoring a giveaway of the entire Wash Day collection! Check it out! You've got six days to get 'er done! Good luck!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Flexirods Can Be Fun!

For the past week, I've been on all the social sites, researching Flexirods. So, before we plummet into winter temps, I decided to try my hand at them , too! Armed with 6 6-packs of 5/8-inch rods in two different lengths, this is how I did my own Flexi set.

After my weekly protein steam deep treatment, and washing and conditioning, I finger parted my hair from ear to ear, split those sections in two and clipped them all out of the way. To keep my hair damp, I spritzed with aloe vera gel mixed with distilled water and began applying Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner to the first section followed by an old favorite, Organic Root Stimulator's Carrot Oil.
I've always loved the smell, and how soft and shiny it makes my hair.
All of my research revealed a cream "moisturizer" is one of two ingredients needed to get bouncy spiral curls from a Flexirod set. A lot of people use Miss Jessie's Quick Curls or Curly Pudding, but I've never used the first and the latter doesn't agree with me. So, I used what I knew worked for me!

After applying the Carrot Oil cream, I then applied a little bit of As I Am Naturally's Curling Jelly. I still had two sample packs they'd sent me, but only needed one pack for my whole head. I'm not a fan of gel, but I only used enough to give my hair a little bit of slip.

Then, I brushed the section with my Denman until it was as smooth as possible before applying an end paper to the end of my hair. Last step was rolling the hair in a vertical direction from bottom to top and fold over the ends of the rods to secure. It's very important to maintain tension while rolling.

My research also revealed that some people sleep in these things overnight or sit under a hooded hair dryer. I know I didn't roll the rods that tight, but after a few hours, they started hurting my head so I knew sleeping in them wasn't an option. I also don't own a hooded hairdryer, so this is what I did:

I grabbed a plastic grocery bag, stretched it out a little, put it over my head and stuck my hair dryer inside on the low/hot setting. In a few seconds, hot air was circulated all over my head and my hair was dry in about 30 minutes!

I was a little nervous to remove the rods because the hair has to be absolutely dry before you remove them, but I was excited about the shine and how smooth my hair was. A few spots didn't have enough tension, but for a first try with rollers of any type, I was pretty pleased with the anticipated results.
Just look at that silky shine!
With the Flexirods removed, I see a few trouble spots, but I think the effort is definitely worth it. I just need to get more rods and maybe some smaller sizes, and to maintain tension on every single section of hair. It's obvious I took more care with the Flexirods on the lower half of my hair and less on the upper half, so next time around, I know what to do and my Flexirod set will be perfect. I left the hair like this overnight, but will post a pic of my hair tomorrow after I've separated the curls and fluffed my hair!

I am so digging these curls!
Tune in tomorrow for the final results! I'm praying I don't turn out looking like Little Orphan Annie, so...

The final results!
I think I'd like to try this again, but I definitely need more rods as I put too much hair on a some so my hair wasn't smooth in a few spots. The true test is how long this look will last! Stay tuned, though! I just got a package from Finger Comber today! I'm using two of their styles for my winter hair and I'll be placing another order for a third winter hair style!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My New MAC

No, I didn't get a new computer although I wouldn't mind, but I did get some new makeup over the weekend.

After numerous years of only using Maybeline's Dream Matte Mousse, my daughter convinced me to switch to MAC Cosmetics a few years ago. I think her and her dad were sick of me frantically running around town once a month trying to find my oh so popular shade or the 50 percent off sales.

Making the switch, I got started with MAC's Select Cover-Up. I balked at the price of $17 for this puny tube, but that little tube lasted about six months versus buying the Maybeline at $10 a jar every month. 

In conjunction with Select Cover-Up, I also used MAC's Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation. Again, I balked at the $27 stick price, but the compact lasts me at least six months and the coverage is buildable.

The past few years, I've been working really hard to achieve clear skin and I'm almost there, but I still need a little help. So, bored with my makeup routine, I decided to switch things up again by replacing Select Cover-Up with MAC's Studio Fix Fluid.

Sadly, my salesperson failed to sell me an $8 pump for my little bit of beauty in a bottle and she also failed to mention that this particular packaging is being phased out (I believe they'll be replaced by pump bottles), but I'm still happy with the overall results...even if it does cost $27.

Studio Fix Fluid goes on uber smooth and provides buildable coverage that I've really come to enjoy. Just a little bit goes a looooonnnngggg way. Equally impressive is how matte the finish is. A lot of people prefer that dewey, fresh-faced look, but I have oily skin so matte is what I need. After a light dusting with the remnants of my Studio Fix Powder, I'm out the door! The best part, though, is this stuff lasts! With my previous makeup regimen, I had to blot my face I don't know how many times a day and it was annoying, but with this, I haven't had to blot at all! Not even once! I have no shine for at least 10 hours and I've never been able to achieve that unless you count my forays with Milk of Magnesia as an oil mattifier since I'm too cheap to buy one.

Since my powder is also a foundation, I think I'll go back to the MAC counter soon and switch to the Mineralize Skinfinish Natural. Then again, I think I might have an unused jar of their Set Powder laying around somewhere. Or was it Prep & Prime? Upon reading about the differences between the two, I hope I have P&P!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

OBI Natural Hair Care Update

As promised, I gave OBI Natural Hair Care's Curl Enhancing Custard a full week's try before issuing my final review. (drum roll, please!)

Big, big fail for me, but...
As I mentioned before, I knew I was in trouble as soon as I dipped my finger in the jar...the consistency was all wrong for my hair. Curl Enhancing Custard is like a thick version of Kinky Curly Knot Today which I've repeatedly tried, but could not like. Also, when my hair fully dried, it was hard, crunchy and extremely dry. I'm used to having soft, moisturized hair.

OBI Natural Hair Care's Curl Enhancing Custard is really designed for the style-conscious. If you only want a product to hold your locks in place or don't want someone's hands running through your hair, this is the product for you. I think this stuff could actually stand up in one of those wind test tunnels!

If you aren't style conscious and your foremost concern is having healthy hair, run from this product! Obviously, I'm of the latter ilk, putting health over style every single time so Curl Enhancing Custard is a no-go for me. Yes it held my curls all week without reapplication, but that's all it did. Perhaps the worst part was the thick white paste it left between my fingers when I began detangling. Way too much product build-up and it'd be super nasty if a devout cowasher used this product. GROSS! This gets one coil down!

So, today I skipped my weekly deep conditioning steam treatment and washed my hair loose...twice...with two different commercially-made shampoos to ensure I got all of this goop out of my hair. Now, back to the drawing board with my own Wash Day Bounce Butter for soft, shiny, weeklong curls!!!!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Holding All Curls!!!!!!!!

A few weeks ago, OBI Natural Haircare sent me a few full-size samples to try out. Y'all know I'm crazy about my own line, Wash Day, but I do love trying out other stuff from time to time.

Last week, I washed and conditioned as usual before spritzing with OBI's Curl Moisture Spray.
Pretty awesome stuff!
I immediately noticed a wonderful. My hair has some serious combination strands, but this spray helped my curls and waves look more uniform, and my hair felt really good! After a few spritzes and smoothing this through each section, I swear my hair had beautiful coils worthy of wearing it out in a WNG-something that's always alluded me. This product has earned a spot in my hair care closet and definitely gets two coils up! I only wish it came in a bigger bottle. I used almost half the bottle!

Then, I used OBI's Curl Moisture Cream. I might add that it's compatible with Giovanni Direct Leave-In.
Don't be fooled by the power of this light, fluffy cream.
Now, creams and I don't really get along, but to my surprise, this hair cream played quite nicely with my hair!  It's well-known that I wash and set my hair once a week with my chosen styling product, so whatever I use in my twist out has to have some staying power. And, this does the trick...for the most part. Mid-week, I did have to retwist the top half of my hair, but I used the Curl Moisture Spray instead of adding more Curl Moisture Cream. While my hair was gorgeous, it felt and looked dry, and lacked the bounce I'm used to having. So, I give this one coil up. Not sure I'd add this to my arsenal, but in a pinch, it'll do.

This week, I decided to try out the Curl Enhancing Custard, so that review will be posted soon. But, here are my thoughts so far...
Jury's still out on this one!
I'm a little concerned about how my hair will turn out tomorrow. So far, my hair is almost fully dry and it's stiff, dry and crunchy! While I was pleased with the amount of definition I can see I'm going to have and how nicely my ends coiled without any extra help, I do not like how my hair feels. But, I kind of knew this as soon as I dipped my fingers in the jar. The consistency is like Mod Podge mixed with hair gel, and I am not a fan of hair gels. But, if you like Kinky Curly Knot Today, you will probably like this as it feels like a much thicker version. Crossing my fingers...

I also used a different shampoo this week, thanks to the LUSH store in Novi, Mich.
I love me some LUSH, so I was happy to get a freebie of this to try out!
First, let me say it smells amazing, but looks like...chunky orange puke? Aside from what it's designed to do, I was intrigued by the texture which makes following the instructions incredibly important. Your hands and hair must be sopping wet. Scoop out a nickel-size amount of Curly Wurly, lather it up in your hands and apply it to your hair. Honestly, I thought my sample was way too tiny for me to be able to give this a try and I even contemplated stealing my daughter's sample (sorry Ana!), but I only used half of my sample and it lathered my whole head! 

Curly Wurly made my hair soft and if I didn't know any better, I swear I saw curls popping where I've never seen them popping before. Curly Wurly also cleansed AND conditioned my hair without stripping it, and it lathers up really, really well. Since it's chock full of coconut oil, some of the coconut oil did solidify due to our dropping temps in Michigan so I had to pick little white chunks out of my hair, but I like this product. Curly Wurly gets two coils up, but I don't think I like it enough to buy it at $23.95.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Itchy Scalp Problems

It's no secret that the very front patch of my scalp has always plagued me. No amount of ol' school scratchin' with a fine-tooth comb, dabbing at my head with a cotton ball soaked in tea tree and other essential oils, greasing my scalp or just plain washing my hair helped. In fact, this irritating problem didn't subside until I laid off the heat two years ago. But, it's back!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This time, however, my whole scalp was crawling with invisible ants and I attribute it to last week's 911 regimen. And if I'm going to be totally honest, my heart skipped a beat last week when I saw a few flakes in the front of my scalp as soon as I'd finished washing my hair. As the week progressed, the itching got so bad, I was patting my head like the wig-weave girls!

Last week, I put my hair in mini-twists with the intent of leaving them in for two weeks. I was planning to wash my hair on Sunday with the twists intact, but I was itching too bad to wait just two more days to wash my hair so I washed it tonight! You should have seen the look on my partner's face when I told him what I was going to do at 10:30 p.m., LOL!

Instead of using shampoo, I decided to co-wash with that amazing As I Am Naturally CoWash Conditoner. Almost immediately, my scalp felt soothed...I attribute that to the heavy coconut oil in the conditioning treatment as coconut oil happens to be a natural antibacterial. I then followed up with Herbal Essences' Honey, I'm Strong Strengthening Conditoner.
I'm ashamed of how many HE products I really like, so just add this to my growing list!
I've been drooling over the commercials for this, so I finally got some to try out and I like it! With honey and apricot extract, it allegedly gets hair 10x stronger in just one wash. More importantly, it's supposed to guard against "future" damage, reduce breakage up to "99 percent," yada yada yada...

Ignoring all the hype, the combination of As I Am's Coconut CoWash and HE's Honey, I'm Strong made my hair as soft and fine as a feather. And, no more itchy scalp! My hair had sheen, was muy pliable and had a very pleasant, but light after-scent. 

Would I buy this again? I don't know and I don't know because I still prefer HE's Hello Hydration over this particular conditioner. But, I definitely give this at least one coil up.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Counteracting Heat Damage

With temperatures plummeting, I decided last week to flat iron my hair one more time this year before my hair goes into hibernation. Normally, I'm very careful when applying heat, but I did miss a few steps and did a doozy on my hair. When all was said and done, I don't think I could've paid my comb to get anywhere near my roots and my ends (going up three to four inches towards my head) felt rough and crispy.

Unable to properly comb my hair and panicking about the damage I might have done to the hair I'd worked so hard for over the last two years, I spritzed it down, slapped in my hair butter and wore the most gorgeous bantu knot out I've ever achieved for the rest of the week. How's that for irony?!

After much Googling, YTing and reading product reviews, I resolved to hot foot it to Sally's Beauty to save my hair although I am fully aware that heat damaged hair cannot be saved. But, I just couldn't fathom cutting off three to four inches of my hair after working so hard to take care of it for the past two years! 

So, here is my 911 Regimen to Rescue Heat-Damaged Hair:
  • I parted my hair in four sections, spritzed each section with a random conditioner mixed with water and detangled. Then I applied Queen Helene Professional Cholesterol.
I prefer LeKair Cholesterol with Aloe, but Sally didn't have it and I had a 911!
  • After steaming with the Cholesterol, I hopped in the shower to wash my hair with ApHogee Shampoo for Damaged Hair. I was shocked how well this worked. My hair felt clean and indescribably different, but not stripped. And, I only had to apply it once!
I used so little of this, I think this bottle is going to last a whole year.
  • After just one shampoo application, I then applied ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor and left it on for five minutes. This product has more slip than you can ever hope for and it left my hair feeling smooth and soft.
Again, a little bit goes a long way!
  • Post-shower, I wanted to add a little extra oomph to my hair so I spritzed each section with ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer. The idea is not to saturate the hair with this product, so I just spritzed each section a few times after a brief comb-through. Ideally, you're supposed to apply heat to your hair after applying this, but body heat works fine too according to the directions.
I have mixed feelings about this as it made my hair feel a little weird.
  • The final steps in saving my hair was to apply my Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner to each section and then separating each section so I got two twists out of each section. Then, I put huge bobby pins on my roots, pulled all my twists to the back of my head and banded them into a pony tail with two scrunchies to stretch the hair as it dries over night. I also tied a satin scarf on my head so my edges lay down. I'll twist my hair tomorrow when my hair is dry.
You're probably wondering if any of this worked and while it's too soon to tell how much damage was done, I can assure you that my hair is going to be just fine. My curls returned as soon as I washed my hair and I had more curls than I've ever had by the time I rinsed out the conditioner. Only one small section was wavy versus curly, but my hair's always been like that. I had not one single shaft of straight hair! 

So, ApHogee gets two coils up! My hair was left feeling soft and smooth, and has lots of shine and sheen and I haven't even applied my hair butter yet! I also was shocked that only ONE hair was in my detangling comb when I detangled a second time and that NEVER happens! I am definitely going to use this as a one-time monthly regimen.

NOTE: While my hair loves protein and is treated to some type of protein treatment every week, a lot of people have protein-sensitive hair. If you are protein-sensitive, I'd do a strand test first. Also, ApHogee products are designed to work together to repair your hair, so I wouldn't recommend subbing or swapping out products when using ApHogee. And, please thoroughly read AND follow the directions when using these products.

P.S. Assuming the worst, I was planning on using ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment but I'll save that for another day and hopefully that will be a day when I want versus need to use it!
This is a heavy-duty treatment not for the faint of heart!

Monday, September 10, 2012

As I Am Naturally Triple Failure

Last week, I was so in love with my curls I didn't want to wash my hair. But, y'all know me...I MUST wash my hair every week. So, in an attempt to try something new, I tried to wash my hair while retaining my curls with the help of three As I Am Naturally products. The end result...BIG FAIL! Here's the gist of what I did:

  • I carefully sectioned my hair, misted with distilled water and applied As I Am Naturally's Hydration Elation to each section prior to twisting.
This didn't leave my hair feeling any better or worse than any other deep conditioner, store-bought or DIY.
  • After steaming with Hydration Elation, I proceeded to wash and condition as normal. Then, I applied As I Am Naturally's Twist Defining Cream to each section.
My hair felt "funny" compared to when I use my Bounce Butter.
  • Then, I applied As I Am Naturally's Smoothing Gel and twisted each section.
Still not knocked out. Hair still felt "funny."

Crossing my fingers and whispering prayers to the Good Hair Angels, I let my hair dry overnight and eagerly awaited the big reveal the next morning. To my utter disappointment and dismay, my hair did not turn out as expected, nor did I retain the beautiful bouncy spirals I somehow achieved the week before.

Yes, I have body and lots of it, and yes I have curls popping all over my head, but my hair lacks the shine and softness I've come to expect. In fact, the back of my hair feels like it's been dipped in a bucket of pure chlorine...rough, immovable and undefined frizz. And when I feel my hair, it rustles and crunches-a sure sign to me that my hair is desperately dry. But, for those of you who want to try this line, the good news is I didn't get those annoying white balls when I used both of these products together, so they're at least compatible.

Sadly, however, I must give Twist Defining Cream and the Smoothing Gel two coils down. Hydration Elation gets one coil down. Considering these products cost upwards of $20 each, I expected more. I really, really, really wanted to like them, but I don't. 

Fortunately, I had free samples to try out. Had I bought full-sized containers of these products, I would've been pissed to the highest of pisstivity! If my hair didn't feel so awful, I'd leave it as-is to see if my curls hold for the duration of the week (which they do when I use my Bounce Butter) without product reapplication, but As I Am Naturally just isn't worth the risk. Bounce Butter here I come!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ayurvedic Treatment and Co-Washing are a Go!

Forgive me if this is a little herky jerky, but I'm writing this while watching POTUS speak during the DNC.

Anyway, last week, I decided to try this co-washing thing again. I've always been a co-wash naysayer, but let me explain why, first. All of the co-washing methods I've seen and read about use cheap conditioner, sometimes diluted with water. Personally, I need and want to have a clean scalp, and I know conditioner can't do the trick. A lot of co-washers say they don't like shampoo because it's too harsh or strips the hair. While whatever shampoo you use might have a higher than desired pH balance, if you're of that ilk, water naturally reduces your hair's pH level as you rinse out the shampoo. Second, conditioner closes the cuticle so how can you get your hair clean if the cuticle is closed?! Last, ALL hair experts agree that if you co-wash regularly, you MUST wash your hair with shampoo at least once a month...but don't let me go off on that tangent 'cuz that's really gross when I think about it. All I have to say is if you wouldn't dare wash your clothes with just fabric softener or take a shower/bath with lotion, why would you wash your hair with conditioner?

With that being said, I had tried a sample of As I Am Naturally's Coconut CoWash a while ago and really enjoyed it, so last Sunday, I broke down and ran to my local Sally's to (gasp!) buy a full-size jar. HINT: Even the instructions on the jar advise co-washers to shampoo their hair periodically, LOL!
Just $7.99 at your local Sally's!!!
So, in keeping with my regimen, I spritzed my hair, gently detangled with my trusty old Mebco Detangling Shower Comb, applied the Coconut CoWash made 10 loose twists on each side, clipped them to the top of my head and slid under my Huetiful steamer! Honestly, my hair never felt better! I was tempted to do a WnG, but I don't have the right hair type to even attempt to pull it off, but still...

Trippin' off my good hair high, I decided to make a potentially new Wash Day product so I pulled out my stash of Ayurvedic herbs and one other special ingredient to create a moisturizing Ayurvedic hair mist! 

I'm not a daily mister, but I did mist my hair with my new concoction while twisting my hair with my Bounce Butter. It's too early to tell, but I think I'm on to something!!!!!!!!! Not only does my new concoction contain a wonderful and sweet smelling humectant, it's filled with multiple herbs to strengthen the hair's root and shaft, promote gloss and sheen, ward off the greys, cleanses and conditions the hair, stimulates hair growth, corrects scalp issues, thickens the hair, prevents hair loss...Need I say more? Are you as excited about this as I am?!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Rhassoul Clay and CoWash!

It's been more than a minute since I've been on here, but don't worry, this is not a rant about Gabby's hair (which I happen to find utterly ridiculous).

Normally, I faithfully wash my hair every weekend, but I just wasn't up to it this weekend so I decided to try something me. Pura Body Naturals posted a blurb on Facebook about a hair treatment. I'd never seen it before, but decided to give it a go. According to their post, you mix together rhassoul clay, coconut milk, vegetable glycerin and honey, apply it to your hair, and let it sit for 20 minutes prior to rinsing out. I had some Anita Grant Deep Conditioning Rhassoul Bars I bought a year ago, and glycerin and honey, but no coconut milk. But, I did have an unopened jar of coconut cream concentrate left from last year. I mixed them all together and got this:

I made enough for two applications!

Application only took 15 minutes and there was no mess as the consistency was like fudge before it sets. And it smelled so delicious, I literally had to stop myself from tasting it! It spread super easy throughout my hair and there was no mess whatsoever.

I let it sit in my hair for an hour and noticed a definite difference when I rinsed it out. My hair was clean without feeling stripped, and slightly elongated. And, it was a cinch to rinse out, possibly due to the oil in the coconut cream concentrate (Note to self: Mix coconut cream concentrate with henna, clays or Ayurvedic treatments).

Rinsing this out was quick and easy, and it only took a few seconds until the water ran clear. Granted I loved the way my hair felt, I also decided to co-wash for the very first time so I applied my sample of As I Am  Coconut Co-Wash and fell in love with my hair even more! As a post-treatment, I used my As I Am sample of CocoShea Spray which made me love my hair even more!!!!!

My natural texture's kind of screwy, but gotta' love the sheen and shine!

Both As I Am products smell amazing. There's no lather with Coconut Co-Wash, but it is a thick cream that has a lot of slip. The CocoShea Spray caught me off guard since it looks like milk and has the consistency of water. Now that my hair's almost dry, it's left a super light oil sheen on my hair without any scent.

I am soooo in love with today's hair treatment and will most definitely do it again. I think the key for me was adding coconut cream concentrate to my rhassoul clay. My hair has been totally saturated in coconut oil today and it feels and looks pretty amazing. I think I'm going to do this once a month!!!!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spotlight in and on Leading Ladies of Business

Last night was one of this year's highlights as Wash Day was featured on "Leading Ladies of Business," created and hosted by Naikeya Haley, CEO and founder of the "Nina Network." We also were joined by Donnilah McClendon (aka Nina Simone on Facebook), founder of "just blaque" and co-founder of the "Nina Network."

At 9 p.m., EST, Wednesdays, Naikeya talks with women via live video chat who've parlayed their hobbies and ideas into businesses. And, I'm honored that I got to be one of them!!!! In case you missed it, here's the clip and be sure to tune in on Wednesday evenings! Naikeya has some good stuff, insightful interviews and A LOT of useful information followed by a live Q&A!!!! 

In case you missed the Wash Day interview, here it is! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Before and After

Three years ago on July 4, my hair was in pitiful shape. While it wasn't subjected to chemicals, it was brittle, dry and damaged due to ye' old blow dryer and hot comb. Heat protectant? What was that? Detangling? Moisturizing? I didn't know jack! And the proof is in the pudding! Just look at that thin, frizzy hair! It would grow, but as soon as it hit my shoulders, it'd either break off or I'd burn it off. Lots of trimming back then!

July 4, 2009
I struggled along for another year with my head lookin' a mess until I got sick of straightening my hair. I remember it was a hot, humid day. I was closed up in the house with the A/C on. I'd just finished straightening one side of my hair, but when I got ready to do the other side, the first half was already starting to frizz! Seeing that my efforts to get my hair bone straight were futile, I packed up my straightening equipment and decided to wear my hair in its natural state. Almost three years later, I have this!

May 20, 2012
Now, over the years, I had worn my hair natural, but I had no idea what I was doing and there were only two companies that made natural hair products. And, those products could only be obtained via the Internet or catalog. With my decision to go natural full-time, I did my share of YouTube and blog research, but only about 10 percent of what I found actually gave me the results I wanted which prompted me to go rogue!

Most of the year, I stick to twists. On occasion, I straighten my hair a couple times a year. I deep condition with my steamer before washing my hair with shampoo every week. I oil my scalp. I only comb/brush my hair once a week. Product is only applied to my hair once a week and it has to be 100 percent natural ingredients. When I sleep, I pineapple in a stocking cap.I only style my hair once a week.

I don't worry about eating healthy, unless it's for weight control. I don't take hair vitamins. I don't cowash or oil wash. I don't trim my hair, well, maybe once every couple years. I don't spritz my hair with water unless it's my wash day. I don't use fancy or expensive ingredients in my hair products. I'm not a product junkie. I don't switch up my hair styles-I wear two basic styles all the time.

Some people are shocked by the hours I spend on my hair on my wash day, but it balances out since I don't do anything to my hair throughout the week except to fluff it up in the mornings and go. Besides, my wash day is kind of like my zen moment and I love doing my hair. I can't wait until it's time to wash it again! While I'm very pleased that my hair is the healthiest, thickest and longest it's ever been in my life (even under the bi-weekly care of a hairdresser), I'm not done. I'm aiming to just let it grow solely so my twists are a few inches past shoulder length. Perhaps when I'm older, I'll forgo my regimen and hiding my grey, and just grow me some long silver dreadlocks. Being a former dread head, though, I do realize that they come with maintenance of their own kind. 

How's it going on your own hair journey?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

African Pride Shea Butter Miracle Bouncy Curls Pudding

Okay, so I've been working with African Pride's Shea Butter Miracle line for the past two weeks and have gotten some seriously mixed results. We all know the Buttery Creme was a major fail, so I switched to the Bouncy Curls Pudding halfway through the week and continued to use it throughout the next week.
I had the pleasure of trying this product in two different ways. The first time I tried it, my hair was wet from washing. My hair felt rough and dry when I applied this to my hair which became an immovable Brillo pad helmet once it dried. It was so bad, my twist-out had to be converted into a bun for the day. I had crazy curls void of uniform direction, frizz, name it, I had it.

As soon as I got home from work that day, I redid my hair with the same product, only this time I applied it to damp hair by spritzing and retwisting each section with more Bouncy Curls Pudding. My hair still didn't feel as smooth as I'm used to when I use my Bounce Butter, but I was pleased with the results once my hair dried. 

This is Day Three and I have not had to reapply this product or redo my hair. And, I'm pleased with the curls. Bouncy Curls Pudding definitely holds the shape and curl pattern, and I have a little bounce. But, I don't have the shine I'm used to, so this will be getting one coil up.

Overall, Bouncy Curls Pudding isn't bad, but it's not great either. I'd keep it as backup in case I run out of my own hair butter, the amazing Wash Day Bounce Butter!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

African Pride Shea Butter Miracle Update

As promised, here is an update on African Pride's Shea Butter Miracle that I've been giving a go this week.

In case you missed it, I twisted my hair with African Pride's Shea Butter Miracle Buttery Creme this week. I had great results with the leave-in conditioner and shampoo, but this product was quite different.

The Buttery Creme has the same pleasant scent and orange creme color as the other products in this line, but it's anything but "buttery." In fact, I didn't feel a lick of oiliness or butteriness in this product. Lustre's old school Pink Lotion formula felt more oilier than this. But, if you're a fan of Miss Jessie's puddings and cremes, you might like this.

Almost immediately upon applying Buttery Creme, I noticed that my twisted hair didn't feel smooth. It literally felt as if I'd twisted my hair with no product. Not a good sign! Once my hair dried, I removed my twists and was horrified. My hair was as hard as a rock, my curls were not manageable and when I separated a few of them like I usually do, I got frizz!!! I also was missing the shine and movement I'm so accustomed to. So, Buttery Creme gets two coils down. 

In an attempt to save my hair, I decided to give African Pride's Shea Butter Miracle Bouncy Curls Pudding a try. This is Day Two after my wash day, mind you-not happy. So, I've spritzed my hair, applied Bouncy Curls Pudding and retwisted. I'll let you know tomorrow how my hair turns out. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I recently received a large, heavy box in the mail but had no idea who or what it was since I'd already received the purchases I'd made online. Much to my surprise, the box contained full-sized samples of African Pride's new Shea Butter Miracle line! 
Now y'all know I make my own hair products, but I'm not opposed to trying something new once in a while. And, as with any product, I always scrutinize the ingredients list first-not only for what's in it but also for the order it's listed. While the majority of the ingredients used are natural oils and extracts, the only thing that stood out was the addition of argan oil which I am vehemently against. But, overall, this line has some good ingredients and each product is packed with oodles of different oils and extracts.

Since it was my wash day last night, I decided to try out a few of these freebies so I got started with the Leave-In Conditioner. My wash day regimen always starts by spritzing my hair with water, detangling, applying a conditioner, twisting and then steaming for 20-30 minutes with my Huetiful steamer.
I know this is a "leave-in" conditioner, but I decided to try it as a deep conditioning treatment. This product comes in a rather large tub, looks like orange creme, has more slip than you'll know what to do with and has a pleasantly light yet unidentifiable scent. As soon as I smoothed that first dollop through my hair, I knew I was in love and I don't fall in love with too many products! Not only did it make my hair instantly soft, but it elongated my curl pattern right before my very eyes. It even tamed my roots and made them lay down flat! Shea Butter Miracle Leave-In Conditioner is pure magic! As the recipient of two coils up, this product has earned its rightful spot in my arsenal of hair care products.

After steaming my hair, I keep it twisted while I wash it which eliminates the potential for snags, snarls and knots...especially since it's already been detangled. When I wash my hair, I typically use a clarifying shampoo followed by a different shampoo and then a conditioner. But, I went against that and only used the Detangling Shampoo.
The detangling shampoo's physical properties are nearly identical to the Leave-In Conditioner, but it has the intoxicating scent of banana-flavored Laffy Taffy. But, it was not what I was expecting. Most commercial shampoos have uber lathering and suds properties, but this did not and that is not an unpleasant surprise. While this entire product line touts itself as "Moisture Intense," even though water is the only "true" moisturizer, I did find that this shampoo did indeed help my hair retain moisture. Due to the low suds factor, I used it twice to ensure my scalp and hair were clean, and even let it sit for a couple minutes for extra assurance. Once rinsed out, my hair was still ultra soft. I can't attest to how well it detangles, but it does create silky, soft hair. While I'm only giving this one coil up, I will keep it around as my emergency back-up shampoo (doesn't every girl have a few of these laying around?). When all was said and done, after using these two products, I did not want to condition my hair, but I did. Can't slip that step!

Now, to the true test which will require a follow-up posting. On my wash day, I almost always twist my hair and let it air dry overnight. For this step, I used the Buttery Creme. 

Sadly, it comes in a small jar and doesn't seem to have the oomph compared to the Leave-In Conditioner, but I used it to twist my hair anyway. Based on how my twists feel compared to using my own hair butter, I have a daunting feeling about the Buttery Creme. I won't be able to do a full review of this product until the end of the week. Remember, this and any other hair cream or butter, has to give my hair shine, bounce, softness and manageability while retaining my curl pattern for a FULL week! I follow a low-manipulation regimen and don't like to load my hair with a lot of products, so if I have to do anything to my hair throughout the week, this product will be failed.

And, I always end my weekly hair regimen by applying oil to my scalp. Not only do I find it to keep the itchies at bay, but it helps my roots lay flat.
I found the Growth Oil to be very light and pleasant. It's almost void of scent, looks similar to carrot oil and doesn't have a heavy, greasy feel. The oil I typically use is the exact opposite, so I might switch to this oil in the warmer months....until I come up with my own lighter oil. And, after letting my hair dry overnight, my roots are laying nice and flat so I have to give Growth Oil two coils up as it also has found a permanent place in my hair care closet.

Overall, I am very pleased with the new African Pride Shea Butter Miracle line and proud of the company for having come such a long way in improving their products. Back in the day, I used to turn my nose up at their products, but the mysterious box I got in the mail is going to make me think twice about African Pride and their renewed interest in providing quality products for our varied textured hair.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wash Day Products

The online launch a month ago of Wash Day, the natural hair care regimen for fuzzy-haired folk, has gone great! Inventory is flying out the door and we're sold out a few items too!!!! We've also got new labels and sample pouches in the works-both to be revealed in May 2012. And, this summer, we'll be adding some totally new products, including some bath and beauty products!
The last of Wash Day inventory!
So, if you haven't already placed your order, you better hurry while supplies last! Free shipping on all domestic orders ends May 1!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Loose Twists with Giovanni Direct Leave-in Conditioner

I've been getting a little bored with my hair as of late, so I hopped on YouTube to find some inspirational ideas. I initially tried the Shea Moisture/EcoStyle method, but that was a HUGE no-no!

My search led me to Urban Bush Babe's Cipriana talking about loose twists. In case you don't know, loose twists are exactly what the name twist your hair as usual except you twist the hair tight at the roots and ends and loose in the middle. I wasn't sure if I should do my twists on wet or dry hair (I always do mine on wet hair), but a little chat with Alicia James revealed I should do this look on dry hair.
Beginning with freshly washed hair, I veered off my usual regimen and applied something new-Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner. I think I'm in love and why have I not tried this before?! 

Direct Leave-In is a rich cream with a consistency similar to hair milk. Applied to wet hair that was allowed to partially air dry, Direct Leave-In has tons of slip, and left my hair feeling baby soft and very fluffy (which I love). It also gave me some definition, too. Best of all, I didn't feel this product in my hair, even while my hair was still wet! Direct Leave-In is also "organic" and void of all the icky stuff. 

As with any leave-in, I was nervous about trying this as I can always feel the product in my har, but Direct Leave-In did absolutely everything it was purported to do. I will definitely keep this in stock. Direct Leave-In gets two coils up!

Front view of loose twists
With Direct Leave-In in my damp hair, I decided to passively blow dry my hair-no tension was used to blow dry my hair with the intent of getting it straight. I just wanted my hair dry. Then, working in small sections, I applied Wash Day Bounce Butter on each section before twisting my hair tight at the roots, loose in the middle and tight on the ends.
Side view of loose twists
Overall, this took less time than wet twisting, even though I have three times more twists than usual. And, after sleeping on this with the fear of some unraveling, they're just fine the next day. I most definitely will keep this style and I love how it looks and how light my hair feels. This method and style gets two coils up!

Monday, April 9, 2012

MAD definition!

Ok, so I tried the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and EcoStyler mix, but my hair was an atrocious, sticky, heavy mess so I immediately washed it out and started over with my Bounce Butter. And, look at the MAD definition...

Close-up look at the definition I achieve with Wash Day Bounce Butter.
Overall look at the definition I achieve with Wash Day Bounce Butter.

And, did I mention that by using Wash Day Bounce Butter, I only have to do my hair ONCE a week! And, that my curls look just as good a week after I've done my hair?! And, my hair moves, stays soft and is crazy sheeny and shiny! 

Get your own jar of Bounce Butter at