Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Treatment Masque Review



In 2014, Shea Moisture seems to be about that extra long for no reason hair product name life.

After my less-than-stellar encounter with the Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System, I was in absolutely no rush to seek out the Jamaican Black Castor Oil line. But my inner PJ just haaaaaaad to drag me into CVS to see if the line was even on shelves yet. I've been seeing social media sprinklings of products hitting stores, and assumed LA was definitely last on the list. To my surprise, I was totally wrong. I found most of the line at 2 CVS stores, with the major missing item being the leave-in conditioner. I couldn't see myself scooping the whole line (I'm not interested in most of it + it's NOT on sale right now), but I could not resist the temptation of the deep conditioner. What can I say? I'm a sucker for deep conditioners. So that's all I purchased -- believe it or not! I felt strangely proud of myself, yet guilty for giving Shea Moisture more of my money right on the heels of a previous disappointment.

Oh well. Such is the life of a product junkie.

Ingredient List: water, cetyl alcohol, coconut oil, behentrimonium methosulfate, glycerin (vegetable), shea butter, stearyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, panthenol, hydrolyzed vegetable protein PG-propyl silanetriol, cetrimonium chloride, avocado oil, mango seed butter, olive fruit oil, peppermint leaf extract, castor seed oil, maurita flexuosa fruit oil, yeast extract, hydrolyzed keratin, macadamia seed oil, tocopherol, niacin, aloe leaf extract, essential oil blend (fragrance), caprylhydroxamic acid, caprylyl glycol, butylene glycol, acetyl tetrapeptide-3, dextran, clover flower extract, caramel

*note: I had to type this list out, there was no ingredient list available anywhere else online. So if you share this review, I'd greatly appreciate proper attribution.*

Ingredient Breakdown:
  • water
  • cetyl alcohol: "fatty alcohol" -- NOT to be confused with drying alcohols such as ethyl. Acts as a lubricant, thickener, and emollient. Also give conditioner its velvety feel without making hair greasy. Is additionally used to keep product ingredients from separating.
  • coconut oil: oil high in saturated fats (which is why when cold, it is solid). One of the few known oils to penetrate the hair shaft and truly moisturize hair. Coconut oil helps to moisturize, seal, and prevent breakage.
  • behentrimonium methosulfate: gentle surfactant made from non-GMO rapeseed (canola oil), and is one of the mildest detangling ingredients out there. It doesn't cause buildup or irritation to the scalp.
  • glycerin: vegetable-based humectant that draws moisture from the air into the hair to keep it hydrated.
  • shea butter: Emollient fat from the nut of the East or West African shea nut tree used to moisturize and soften hair.
Availability: The Jamaican Black Castor Oil line is available exclusively at CVS stores nationwide, beginning August 1st I believe. For the ladies in LA itching to get your hands on some, you can find the products (minus the leave-in) at CVS stores on Crenshaw//Coliseum and LaBrea//Rodeo.

Affordability: The Jamaican Black Castor Oil Treatment Masque retails for $12.99 for a 12oz jar. This is typical for Shea Moisture, particularly at CVS. Although I can't help but feel like Shea Moisture prices have crept up a dollar or so in recent times, it is still a relatively good deal considering the nature and overall quality of product.

Product Claim/Description: For natural, chemically processed, color treated, or heat styled hair. Nourish, rebuild & grow. This deep conditioning masque restores strength and resilience to damaged, britle, or chemically processed hair. Perfect for those who regularly color, straighten, perm, or heat style their hair, as well as kinky, curly, or wavy natural styles. Formulated with nutrient-rich Jamaican Black Castor Oil and certified organic Shea Butter to replenish moisture and soften while strengthening hair. Helps promote growth by supporting hair's elasticity, reducing the appearance of breakage and shedding. Peppermint stimulates the scalp for an invigorating experience. Leaves hair soft, manageable, and shiny.

shea-moisture-jamaican-black-castor-oil-treatment-masque

Performance/Delivery: I'm going to preface this portion of the review by saying that I did not use the masque on my entire head. I'm currently rocking chunky twists (I'm really trying to make it until Thursday...I loathe protective styling), and I didn't want to undo something I just did yesterday. So I did what I thought made the most sense and took down 3 twists from the notoriously difficult to please front/middle section of my hair. If this deep conditioner could make it there, it could make it anywhere on my head.

shea-moisture-jamaican-black-castor-oil-treatment-masqueAs far as performance is concerned, I am really, really shocked. Shea Moisture low-key knocked this one out of the park. The consistency is a lot thinner than some of their other deep conditioners (it lacks that thick, buttery, and stiff feeling that some of the earlier products have), and it feels almost like a regular conditioner when rubbed between the fingers. With that being said, it goes on super easy, soaks right into the hair, and has tons of slip. I was able to easily work through and finger detangle my hair. The second it hit my strands, I had a feeling that this was going to be a good one. I twisted and clipped it up, and sat for 20 minutes hoping for the best.

When I went to rinse it out, I was VERY pleasantly surprised. To be honest, I think this may be one of their best, if not THEEEE BEST deep conditioner they've ever created. My hair was super shiny, soft, and had that buttery feel that for me, is the hallmark of a holy grail DC. Additionally, I found my hair to be super smooth and very hydrated/moisturized. For the ladies that have tried it on my word, the feel is very similar, if not identical to how my hair responds to Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask. The one thing I will say is that I didn't feel any peppermint tingle or cooling sensation. Maybe it was implied, haha.

The color, as you can see is an awkward caramel/tan, which I'm totally not used to from Shea Moisture. Typically, every (except the African Black Soap line and the Raw Shea Deep Conditioner)
conditioner Shea Moisture produces is white and contains no color. But this deep conditioner contains caramel as the last ingredient. I'm not sure if it's the sugary stuff, or a caramel dye for color to enhance the brown from the Jamaican Black Castor Oil itself. Either way, I don't care too much -- I just thought it was interesting. But what I do care about is the fragrance. To me, it honestly smells like sweet playdough. Take that however you wish, lol.

Drawbacks: All kidding aside, I really don't care for the fragrance. I was hoping more of the peppermint would come through, but there is no peppermint smell whatsoever. The fragrance isn't overbearing, and it doesn't linger. I just don't like it.

One thing that *might* be a drawback for some of you Curly Girl Method loyalists out there is that this product does appear to contain a silicone-derived ingredient. That ingredient is hydrolyzed vegetable protein PG-propyl silanetriol, also known as Keravis protein. Keravis protein is a vegetable-derived protein and silicone blend that was designed specifically to strengthen, fortify, and revitalize dry and damaged hair. Although its composition makes it not Curly Girl-friendly, Keravis protein is able to penetrate the cortex of the hair, helping to build strength from within while coating and conditioning the hair to protect the surface. The end result is hair with significantly improved tensile strength, which helps reduce the damage our hair sustains from dye jobs, environmental factors, and mechanical stress from styling. Is it a straight-up cone? No. Should you use it? That's for you to decide. My beloved Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask contains Keravis, as does my long-time staple ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer Spray. My hair loves it, but it is something for you to consider on your own :)

Bonuses: Ok Shea Moisture, I see you! Branching out to all the ladies. Just like relaxer brands are trying to catch natural hair money, Shea Moisture is clapping back with products designed for natural, relaxed, heat straightened, and color-treated all in one. Can't be mad at that! Does it work for relaxed and otherwise treated hair? I'll get back to you on that (I'll probably have my mom test it out, she has a short relaxed cut). But I am a total fan of natural hair companies capitalizing on and narrowing the margins between straight and textured hair products.

As far as a performance-related bonus goes, can we say dry ends banished?! I'm always looking for my deep conditioner to temporarily fix my ends, to ease the time between trims. The Jamaican Black Castor Oil Treatment Masque definitely did that!

Bottom Line: This product is on the fast track to becoming a Must Have for 2014. I am really loving it thus far. Even better, since my local Ulta seems to never have my Eva NYC in stock. The Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Treatment Masque is definitely an instant substitute, and may even earn its own spot in my already overcrowded deep conditioner rotation. I also highly recommend this for transitioners, as the Keravis, coconut oil, shea butter, and JBCO are beneficial for keeping the line of demarcation strengthened and in tact.

Overall Product Rating: 4.5 stars. 5 star potential -- but I'm really not feeling the fragrance. Shame too -- typically I enjoy Shea Moisture's essential oil blends.

Best Practices: Nothing special. Use this product how you would any deep conditioner.

Have you purchased or will you purchase anything from the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil line?

Lawrence Ray Concepts Shake & Go Leave-In Detangling Spray Review



I promise, I was supposed to do this review like...FOREVER ago.

But see what had happened was...

Nah, no excuses. I totally dropped the ball -- especially because LRC shows me MAJOR LOVE, and folks have been asking about the product line. So here we go. I'll be reviewing the ENTIRE LINE one-by-one, giving each product in the Mega Bounce & Body Collection the attention it deserves. But naturally, I couldn't resist opening the series with my absolute FAVORITE product -- the Shake & Go.

Lawrence Ray Parker is a Los Angeles based celebrity stylist and healthy hair educator. Yes, FINALLY I get to showcase and spotlight a brand from my hometown!!! It's been a long time coming. As an advocate for healthy hair in general, Parker designed the Lawrence Ray Concepts salon quality line to work with natural hair, straight hair, relaxed hair, weaved hair, and everything in between. The line officially launched in 2009, but has picked up major steam nationwide thanks to the Bonner Brothers Hair Show, natural hair meetups, and endorsements from high profile stylists like Felicia Leatherwood. In fact, at the KJLH Natural Hair Expo back in April, I overheard Ms. Leatherwood telling a group of ladies to go and buy up like, ALL the Shake & Go and Potion (deep conditioner). Hopefully, this review series can continue to generate buzz around a great brand. Now, let's get on with it.

Ingredient List: water, behentrimonium methosulfate, cetearyl alcohol, cetrimonium chloride, cyclopentasiloxane, aloe leaf juice, organic jojoba oil, silk protein, sunflower seed extract, keratin amino acids, potassium sorbate & sodium benzoate, fragrance, vitamin B5, vitamin E, citric acid, cyclomethicone, dimethiconol, coconut/palm oil fatty acids

Ingredient Breakdown:
  • behentrimonium methosulfate: gentle surfactant made from non-GMO rapeseed (canola oil), and is one of the mildest detangling ingredients out there. It doesn't cause buildup or irritation to the scalp.
  • cetearyl alcohol: Considered "fatty alcohol" -- NOT to be confused with drying alcohols such as ethyl. Acts as a lubricant, thickener, and emollient. Also give conditioner its velvety feel without making hair greasy. Is additionally used to keep product ingredients from separating.
  • cetrimonium chloride: Compound close in composition to Behentrimonium Chloride. In addition to having the same penetrating, conditioning, and anti-static properties, centrimonium chloride has been scientifically proven to strengthen the hair when activated by heat. It also acts as an antibacterial and antimicrobial, and helps prevent and eliminate odor.
  • cyclopentasiloxane: Emollient and hair conditioning silicone-based compound. It is water-thin and evaporates easily, so it does not weigh the hair down. It gives your hair a wet, slippery, soft feel without greasiness or making it dry and crunchy.
  • aloe leaf juice: Acts as a natural conditioning agent that restores the hair's sheen, luster, and shine. It not only makes the hair soft, but it also enhances strength and suppleness.
Availability: Shake & Go is available online at lawrencerayconcepts.com. If you live in SoCal, you can catch LRC Products at Salon D Hair Designers in Irvine, and at Den Salon on 3rd Street in Los Angeles. Out of state, Lawrence Ray Concepts can be purchased at Beauty on de Bayou in New Orleans.

Affordability: Shake & Go comes in an 8oz spray bottle for $15. It's on the more expensive end of the natural hair product spectrum, but worth every penny. I highly recommend purchasing the refill size for $42 (it's 32oz) though. Trust me. After one use of Shake & Go, you'll never want to run out.

Product Claim/Description: LRC's Shake & Go Detangling Spray eliminates tangles and static, and reduces the formation of split ends without weighing the hair down. Provides incredible shine while leaving hair soft and manageable. Revitalizes all hair types. Gives luster, life, and body to dry or damaged hair. The ultimate blow drying product.

Performance/Delivery: This is how Shake & Go makes me feel:
 

It's like.....an opaque liquidy miracle in a bottle. Seriously. During my first encounter with Shake & Go, I was just playing around like, what the heck is this stuff? Then I sprayed it on a notoriously difficult-to-define section of my hair:

 And it was love. Instant love. It hydrated, nourished, strengthened, smoothed, added shine, improved definition, eliminated frizz, and made my hair feel amazing. And the ease with which I worked through my tangled hair was nothing short of miraculous.  With this little demo section/test patch, I was convinced that I needed to put Shake & Go to the ultimate detangling test:


Yes, that says 51 seconds. I worked through a section of my tangled, wash and go hair in under a minute. Unheard of? Absolutely. So far, Shake & Go passed the first impressions test, and the detangling test. Before I could label it a Must Have for 2014, there was one more test: the wash and go test. How would it perform with other products? Does it make a better leave-in or detangling product?

I'll let this day 3 wash and go hair answer:

 
My day 3 hair is still defined, but big, soft, fluffy, and shiny. I styled it with Shake & Go as my leave-in, Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Super Softening Hair Butter, and Koils By Nature Herbal Soothing Curl Defining Gel. The Herbal Soothing Curl Defining Gel is a really lightweight gel, so achieving definition that lasted for 3 days was DEFINITELY helped out by the Shake & Go. It officially made the list.

As far as fragrance is concerned, I really like it. I don't often find myself being a fan of synthetic fragrances, but Shake & Go has a delightfully pleasant light perfumey floral fragrance. It is in no way overbearing and didn't make my allergies spaz out. The consistency and color is milky and opaque, it has a smoth, light silky feel and is very liquidy without being watery. It dispenses easily from the squirt bottle and coats the hair well.

Drawbacks: The one thing I would classify as a drawback doesn't really even apply to me. Shake & Go does contain a cone, which makes it not Curly Girl-friendly. I'm not opposed to cones in my products, so this one definitely doesn't bother me. Now that I really think about it, I do wish Shake & Go was a *little* more affordable. $15 for 8oz is a little steep, but even still, the product is 137% worth it.

Bonuses: Did you see that detangling time? Do I really need to talk about bonuses here? But if you need any more convincing, the product is incredibly versatile. It makes a great leave-in, heat protectant for blow outs, refresher, and detangler.

Bottom Line: If you need a multipurpose product that will consistently deliver, Shake & Go is definitely something you want to look into. If you feel like your hair is chronically dry, frizzy, and just needs some extra lovin', Shake & Go will help.

Best Practices: Although multi-use, it works best coming out of a spray nozzle. If you don't have an 8oz spray bottle, definitely go pick one up. Don't make the mistake of thinking you can pour this stuff in your hands, or pump it out of a bottle! It's far too liquidy for that!

Overall Product Rating: 4.5 stars. It's pretty much perfect! If it came in a bigger bottle, or was a few dollars cheaper (like $2 lol), 5 stars hands down. But ya'll know me -- the price won't keep me away!

Keep up with Lawrence Ray Concepts:
www.lawrencerayconcepts.com
Instagram: @lrchealthyhaircare
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/hairbylrc
Twitter: @hairbylrc
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lrchealthyhaircare

Stay tuned for the next LRC review! I'll be talking about The Potion!

11 Reasons Why #NaturalHair Is Here to Stay

erykah badu natural hair afro

Article also available on Black Girl with Long Hair!
Natural hair is nothing new. Throughout the 60's and 70's, Black women and men sported shiny, soft, gravity-defying afros. But as the 80's rolled in, Afro Sheen got swapped out for Soul Glo and jheri curl juice -- until curls, kinks, and coils slowly faded into the background.

But in recent years, natural hair has begun to dominate the scene -- and while some would rather see it fade into obscurity like jersey dresses (I know you remember those), the truth is that #NaturalHair is here to stay. Here's 11 reasons (among 50 bajillion) why:


1. It's not a fad or fashion trend, it's a community.
We've got blogs, magazine columns, Instagrams, YouTubes, hashtags, pinterests, forums, meetup groups, festivals, twitters, expos, and soooo much more.

2. Products, and products, and products galore! Available on shelves at your favorite stores!

Natural hair products used to be few and far between. Now, they're just a click online or a short drive to a major retail chain away.

3. The "naturals in public" head nod of acknowledgement.

You're walking down the street, or in the mall. You cross paths with another natural. Smiles, head nods, and hellos ensue. You keep it cool on the outside, but inside you're like:

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It's really that exciting.


4. Our men dig it.

5. Black owned businesses are thriving.


Good-for-your hair products, t-shirts, bags, phone cases, head wraps, bonnets, and hair tools are getting crazy love and support. Let's keep that trend going.

6. We can mold our hair to be whatever we want it to be. Literally, whatever.

Settle on one style? Bye, Felicia.


7. Women from all corners of the earth covet our hair, instead of the other way around.
fluffing afro puffs

Yep.

8. Let's face it: those random conversations in the aisle of Target or Sally's discussing products with complete strangers are so much fun.

emma-stone-amanda-bynes-scream

What products did I use? Follow me, girl!

9. For better or worse, the comment sections of blogs, YouTube videos, and forum threads make for some great entertainment.

10. It looks great on EVERYONE.
black-women natural hair


Literally, everyone.

11. It lets our little ones know they are beautiful, as is.


Train up a child in the way she should go....

Why do you think #NaturalHair is here to stay? Share below :)

#GetWellMeechy: Vlogger Meechy Monroe Diagnosed with Brain Cancer, Suffers Multiple Strokes

photo

Article also available on Black Girl with Long Hair.
 
In 2010, Tameka "Meechy" Monroe of The Monroe Sisters made waves in the natural hair community as a natural hair vlogger, dispensing detailed tutorials and information alongside her sister MsVaughnTV. A popular presence in the natural hair community, Meechy has traveled and participated in campaigns, meetups, and panels across the country and parts of Europe. Most recently, Meechy and her sister Vaughn teamed up with Beautiful Textures for the #TryTMS campaign, and with #TeamNatural_ for the Ultimate Natural Hair Spring Affair in Dallas. That was about 15 weeks ago.

Recently, followers and subscribers of Meechy's YouTube, Instagram, blog, and other social media networks had begun to express concern over her absence online. As BGLH and other natural hair outlets learned late yesterday, Meechy Monroe has been away for reason that caught many of us off guard. On May 31st, Meechy was diagnosed with a rare sarcoma (vascular cancerous tumor) in her brain. The tumor caused Meechy to suffer multiple mild strokes, which led to certain physical and speech challenges -- including an Aphasia diagnoisis (a disturbance in the delivery of language).


I reached out to MsVaughnTV, who gave us this statement on Meechy:


On May 30th 2014, Meechy underwent her first of two brain surgeries. It was this craniotomy which actually revealed the tumor. In preparation for the procedure, rather than lose her hair, she had it carefully shaved, preserved, and donated to Locks of Love -- a not for profit organization which focuses on cancer patients coping with hair loss.

Now, after her second brain surgery on July 3rd 2014, she is making drastic improvements with the help of physical, occupational, and speech therapy and is currently awaiting the next phase of her treatment -- radiation and chemotherapy.

As usual, Meechy is very optimistic and has been blessed with an amazing team of renowned surgeons, oncologists, and nurses whom are walking closely with her on the road to recovery with God leading the way!

"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate thereon day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." Joshua 1:8


Meechy has also penned an open letter to her fans on her blog, www.meechymonroe.com. She will also be sharing more information about her battle towards recovery via weekly blog updates.

The outpouring of love and support has been nothing short of amazing. In a little over 24 hours, Meechy's supporters have managed to raise over $20,000 toward her costly recovery.

It is at times like this that standing as a true natural hair community has the power to make all the difference. The Monroe family has been brave and supportive during these challenging times, as Vaughn and Meechy's mother and father are Meechy's around-the-clock caregivers. Medical care is woefully expensive, and the Monroe family is not afraid to ask for help in this incredible time of need.

Vaughn and the Monroe family need the natural hair community's help as Meechy fights the toughest battle of her life. Meechy's recovery expenses will tip the scales at over $100,000, and every dollar counts. Please donate to the #GetWellMeechy Medical Expense Fund via GiveForward.com at this link: #GetWellMeechy via BGLH. For every donation made from a BGLH community member, GiveForward.com will contribute $15.

Please keep Meechy and the Monroe family in your thoughts, prayers, and meditations. They need all of the positivity and encouragement we as a community can muster at this time.

You may also send notes and letters of light and love directly to Meechy at this e-mail address: GetWellMeechy@gmail.com. Tokens of sympathy and support can be mailed to P.O. Box 286621 Chicago, IL 60628.


Tameka "Meechy" Monroe's Story:
http://youtu.be/sb7Aun1H4QE

Hits, Misses and Halfway Holy Grails: My Impression of Shea Moisture's New Superfruit Complex Hair Line

shea-moisture-superfruit-complex-review


Some of ya'll (@deziohsosweet...cough...lol) have been asking for my review on the new Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System hair products, since I took the liberty of rushing out to Ulta like there was no tomorrow (typical PJ behavior).

I'll be honest: I don't think the Superfruit Complex line warrants a full review -- ya'll know how Shea Moisture rolls. So what I've decided to do is give you all my impressions after using every single product at least three times (with the exception of the shampoo....but more on that later). But before I get into that, I'll just come right out and say it -- overall I'm underwhelmed. I think I got caught totally up in "Shea Moisture Fever" -- Nola Crawls, festivals, beauty lounges, brand ambassadors, pretty colors, and smiling faces. I saw the accompanying hair line to the body line that I love, and went nuts. Overall, there was one pretty awesome find, something kinda cool, and two total bombs.

Let's get on with this compliment sandwich:

Hits
Good news first, right? The complete, total, and absolute HIT for me is the Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System Conditioner. Obviously, it smells great -- all of the hair and skincare products have that same wonderfully bright and springy floral fragrance with a hint of fruity. It is creamy and light, and has TONS of slip. Based in shea butter, coconut oil, fatty alcohols, and behentrimonium chloride, it is super moisturizing and does a GREAT job at detangling. With that being said, I absolutely love it as a pre-poo, rinse out conditioner, and I plan on experimenting really soon with it as a leave-in. The consistency makes it versatile, and the performance is off the charts. After pre-pooing with the conditioner, my hair feels nourished, moisturized, and strong. Will I be buying more when this bottle runs out? Yes. Now, if I can just get my Q-Redew back from my sister....I might have a super epic pre-poo on my hands...

Misses
The Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System Shampoo. I don't know what it is, but I haaaaaate Shea Moisture Shampoos. I've tried them all. No slip. No sort of smooth, slick, feeling. No ability to be worked through my hair while cleansing. The only one I sometimes put up with is the African Black Soap Shampoo, for my psoriasis. Unfortunately, Shea Moisture missed a great opportunity in the Superfruit Complex Shampoo to incorporate ingredients that would add more slip and moisture. I did a patch test with the shampoo, and absolutely hated how my hair felt afterward. Rough, tangly, and sort of stripped. When stacked against my HG TGIN Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo, it does not deliver in the slightest. So I returned it to Ulta and got my money back.

The other total miss for me was the Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System Hair & Scalp Serum. To be frank, I STILL don't know what the hell to do with this stuff. It smells great, and is pretty to look at (the oil and water separate, similar to higher end serums like Ojon that show silicones of different weights in pretty stratified layers). But that's about where the compliments end. It is touted as a scalp elixir, pre-poo, heat protectant, and finishing serum -- and I had zero luck with all of the above. Because it is water-based, it is a no-go for stretched styles or stretched roots -- because the end result will be shrinkage. There was no discernible difference in my hair after about 3 experimental uses as a pre-poo. Same thing for my scalp. And because the oils and water never truly mix, they separate quickly -- leaving you with a predominantly watery serum to work through your hair. I appreciate what Shea Moisture was trying to do here...but it just didn't work. At least not for me. I definitely won't be repurchasing.

Halfway Holy Grails
In truth, there is only one halfway holy grail in the line -- the Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Hair Masque. I have to categorize it as a halfway HG product, because I'm honestly on the fence about it. Part of me loves it. It's a pretty good deep conditioner, and makes an AWESOME wash and go styler (an idea i hijacked from Mahogany Curls). As a deep conditioner, it left my hair shiny and soft...but I'm hesitant to include it in an already robust deep conditioner rotation (seriously.. I've got a pretty deep crew of faves). As a styler, I really, really like it. It gave me soft, shiny, bouncy and defined curls. Unfortunately, because it's a deep conditioner and not a styler, the hold only makes it to day 2. Would I purchase this product again? I'm still trying to decide. Maybe these curls will have me justifying repurchasing it as a definer instead....


I don't mean AT ALL for this to come across as a scathing review, but rather as a moment of honesty for myself. Like many naturals, Shea Moisture holds a special place in my heart -- although I may not always have some SM products on hand. I love and appreciate everything the Shea Moisture brand stands for, and totally respect Richielou Dennis and everything his brand and products have done in terms of breaking barriers and paving the way for more natural hair products to become commercially available.

But I can't help but feel like Shea Moisture is under-delivering lately. I got all excited about the Tahitian Noni line, and returned EVERYTHING I purchased the next day after a small patch test (and that's why you never saw a review...lol). Is anybody still talking about that line now? Superfruit Complex, although beautifully packaged and wonderfully fragranced, fell pretty flat for me on the whole. Yes, there were Am I looking forward to the Jamaican Black Castor Oil line that drops at CVS on August 1st? Not really.

Have you tried any Superfruit Complex products? Love or hate them? Weigh in!

6 Heat Protectants for Natural and Transitioning Hair that Won't Break the Bank

heat-protectants-natural-transitioning-hair



So far, I'm really enjoying this #AllAboutHair Q&A that I've been doing on Instagram and Facebook. I'm trying to tackle all the questions -- ya'll have some good ones! It will probably take me at least two weeks to get through the ones I've already gotten -- I'm going to aim to answer at least 2 per day. So today's installment is all about heat protectants!

One lovely Instagrammer @meandmrjacobs3and_princess posed this question:
What is a good heat protectant for flat ironing that is inexpensive?

Rather than rattle off a random list of products and leave you to figure it all out, I'll go ahead and break down my 6 picks for blowing out and flat ironing natural and transitioning hair -- that don't hurt the pockets. All the products in the picture below are broken down in this post. Read on :)

heat-protectants-natural-transitioning-hair


Before you blow dry or flat iron...
Make sure you DEEP CONDITION! Having a good deep conditioning session is the first step to preventing heat damage. A deep conditioner that nourishes, hydrates, smooths, tames frizz, and strengthens is vital. Aside from too-high temperatures, one of the main causes of heat damage is dehydrated hair. Hair that lacks internal moisture is more susceptible to breakage and heat damage. So what deep conditioner fits the bill? For me, the best all-around deep conditioner to use before straightening is Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask ($15, Ulta Beauty). Not only is it enriched with keravis protein, jojoba, and fatty alcohols to nourish, hydrate, and strengthen, it also contains cetrimonium chloride, which when met with direct heat (via blow dryer and flat iron), actually increases the tensile strength of hair. All of this leaves you with properly moisturized and strengthened hair, ready to withstand the tugging and pulling associated with blowouts and flat ironing.

For blow drying natural and transitioning hair:

Lawrence Ray Concepts Shake & Go, $15 www.lawrencerayconcepts.com
Shake & Go is an amazing creation from the mind of Los Angeles-based high profile stylist, Lawrence Ray Parker. It is a water-based leave-in conditioning formula that banishes frizz and makes tangles history (I'm not exaggerating). It contains a mix of fatty alcohols, jojoba oil, keratin amino acids, aloe, and Pro-Vitamin B5 that will penetrate, smooth, and strengthen the hair. It also contains cones, which are vital to the straightening process as well. In this particular case, silicones help slow the dehydration of the hair. Hydrated hair is crucial to preventing heat damage from blow dryers, because blow dryers in particular work by zapping moisture from within the hair. Silicones help prevent the hair from fully dehydrating and thus, help preserve vital moisture that will prevent heat damage and breakage.

Blow Dry Addict, $5 (currently on sale or clearance) at Sally Beauty Supply
Although this product will never take home an award for "most natural cream or conditioner", it performs well as a blow drying aid. It is essentially a leave-in conditioner that in the same vein as Shake & Go, helps retain internal hydration against the drying heat of the blow dryer. If you decide to use Blow Dry Addict, grab it now while it's on sale. I bought mine months ago at full price.

ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer Spray, $8 at Sally Beauty Supply
This lightweight, bodifying spray is not only great for added heat protection, it is a must-have in my natural hair arsenal. Thanks to keratin, amino acids, and cetrimonium chloride, the hair is strengthened from the inside out and primed for blow dry styling. Added bonus: it provides UV protection and revitalizes follicles! Before you buy, check out my review here!

For flat ironing natural and transitioning hair:

Tresemme Heat Tamer Spray, $4 at Target
Tresemme Heat Tame Spray can be used during the blow dry process, or right before flat-ironing (just make sure it dries on your hair first before ironing). It contains a mix of silicones, polymers, and goodies like cetrimonium chloride that penetrate, delay transfer of heat, and guard the hair from dehydration during flat ironing. It is supposed to protect hair at up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, although I would never push my iron up that high.

Garnier Fructis Serums (really, any of them ), $5 Target
I say any Garnier serum because truthfully they're all the same. They are all silicone based formulas with a few drops of argan or jojoba or something. You really can't go wrong. Last year I was using the Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Moroccan Argan Oil Treatment, now I'm using the Frizz Defy Marvelous Oil. The reason I use these cheapie serums is for their silicone content. As we discussed earlier, silicones when straightening are GREAT. Not only do they block frizz and humidity, but they're real champs when it comes to the flat iron. As I mentioned earlier, silicones help delay the evaporation of moisture from the hair. But they're also great at delaying the transfer of heat, which helps lessen the likelihood of damage from the flat iron. Lastly, silicones make the hair shaft smooth, which allows the iron to glide down your hair and not cause overheating in any particular area (which also prevents heat damage).

That's all, folks! Another Instagrammer has requested an updated blowout and flat ironing routine, and I will definitely do those soon! But in the meantime:

If you want to know how to use a cellophane (yes, a throwback to your beauty shop days) as a heat protectant, let me know and I'll do an article on it!

If you're interested in my 2013 guide to straightening hair, check this out!

If you want to pick out your own products, or have some at home and wonder if they'll do the trick, check out these ingredients to look for when straightening natural and transitioning hair.

For my transitioning ladies, if you're interested in my 3 month flat ironing check-ins, here ya go:
3 Month Check-In
6 Month Check-In
9 Month Check-In
1 Year Check-In
19 Month Check-In

More tips for transitioners and preventing heat damage, click here!

And lastly, if you've recently straightened and you're looking to rehab your hair and bounce back, check this article out!

More questions? Keep them coming! You guys are giving me tons of inspiration to be a better blogger, and look for new and creative ways to share information!

9 Must-Haves for Working Out with Natural Hair

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It happens all the time:

Ladies trade in their relaxers and flat irons for natural hair, with the hopes of more freedom to do things like work out, swim, and walk in the rain without being concerned about hair.

But after an intense workout, you realize your have sweated profusely at the roots of your hair, and your epic Sumetra Reed twistout is ruined. Instead of being Instagram ready when you leave the gym, you silently hope a Pharrell hat will fall from the sky.

One hour of working out doesn't have to ruin the style you waited 8 hours to dry and fluff. Check out these 9 tools and products to keep in your gym bag, and keep your style protected while you sweat:

Ready to roll? Check out the rest at NaturallyCurly.com before your next gym session!

Think Wash & Go's Aren't for You? This Will Change Your Mind!

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Epic day 5 hair, courtesy of Eden BodyWorks, Obia Natural Hair & Deepthi Organics!
I apologize in advance for the number of times you'll probably see this picture. I really like it.


Can you believe its mid-summer already? I promise, we were just in May like two weeks ago.

If you've been battling your curls all summer and you haven't yet rocked a wash and go, STOP!  You're long overdue for giving this easy breezy style a try. But just in case you need a little convincing, here are 6 reasons to rock a wash and go this summer:

1. They require ZERO skill.
Like, none. I'm not a lazy natural because I want to be, or because I don't have the time. I just don't have the skill set and patience required to perm rod, roller set, bantu knot, twist and curl, three strand twist, and everything else. I have one style I can do with my eyes closed and get great results every time -- the satin strip braidout. But beyond that, I'm completely inept when it comes to styling (I can't even bun consistently half the time, lol). The wash and go is great for us naturals who can't seem to get the hang of doing much more than applying product and walking outdoors to dry the hair. Once you've picked your product lineup, everything else is a walk in the park.

Still not convinced? Check the other 5 reasons at NaturallyCurly.com!

Ouidad Flash Giveaway! Get Wash & Go FLY with Superfruit Renewal and Whipped Curls!

ouidad-whipped-curls-superfruit-renewal


Time for a flash giveawayyyyyy! One day only, so get ready!

Because the 2nd winner never came forward, I'm rallying off the 2nd Ouidad Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo and Whipped Curls to one lucky lady on Facebook!

To enter to win, simply head on over to www.facebook.com/maneobjective and make sure you THUMBS UP (like) my page. Then, find this photo:

ouidad-whipped-curls-superfruit-renewal

and comment "enter me".

That's IT! Giveaway ends TONIGHT 7/21 at 11:59pm PST. Winner will be announced tomorrow. Good luck beauties!

By the way, stay tuned for other giveaways coming up:


Good luck!!!

Curious as to why Ouidad is a big deal? Check out my review of the Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo!

Wonder Curl Curl Control Styling Lotion Review

wonder-curl-control-styling-lotion-review


Thanks to the time I spent working on Natural Hair Small Businesses to support parts 1, 2, and 3 last summer (I can't believe that was practically a year ago -- wow!), there are several small businesses that will always have a special place in my heart. Wonder Curl is one of them.

So when Scarlett Rocourt, the genius behind Wonder Curl's amazing products reached out to me about a new Wonder Curl product, I couldn't help but say yes!

I absolutely loved Wonder Curl's Get Set Hair Jelly, I loved how it gave me an amazing transitioner wash and go that lasted for 4 days (and looked darn good every single day without much frizz):


wonder-curl-get-set-hair-jelly
Get Set Hair Jelly wash & go on my transitioning tresses...
The only drawback for me was the fragrance, given that my allergies were acting up during that particular season. How would the new Curl Control Styling Lotion hold up to my wash and go expectations? Keep reading to find out!

Ingredient List:
Organic Aloe Juice, Polyquaternium-7, dl-Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Witch Hazel, Phenoxyethanol, Vegetable Glycerin, Alcohol Denatured, Carbomer, TEA, Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Fragrance

Top Ingredients 411:
  • Aloe Juice: Acts as a natural conditioning agent that restores the hair's sheen, luster, and shine. It not only makes the hair soft, but it also enhances strength and suppleness.
  • Polyquaternium-7: Polymeric quaternary ammonium salt used as an antistatic agent and hair fixative (for hold).
  • Pro-Vitamin B5: Form of vitamin B that can penetrate the hair, and is known to moisturize and soften.
  • Witch Hazel: Natural astringent that provides a light hold, while helping reduce static and flyaways.
  • Phenoxyethanol: Preservative and fragrance ingredient.
Availability & Affordability: Curl Control Styling Lotion is available online at www.wondercurl.com. Currently, you can catch it on sale for $8.40 (normally $14) -- that's like 40% off! The bottle size is 8oz.

Product Claim/Description: A unique styling aid that creates soft and fluffy curls without any frizz or crunch, even in humidity.

Performance/Delivery: Yes, yes, yes! This summer (especially since the theme is Wash and Go Fly for the Month of July!), I'm ALL about the touchable curls. Curl Control Styling Lotion definitely delivered. I got a fabulous wash and go using the methods I outlined in this video, with Infusium 23 Pro Vitamin B5 Leave-In Treatment as my leave-in, Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea All Natural Pudding Souffle for moisture, and sealed with a little coconut oil. Then, I worked the Curl Control Styling Lotion through my hair in sections and let it air dry.


wonder-curl-control-styling-lotion-review
Hair completely dry and banded to stretch

As it air dried, I thought it might dry crunchy (especially since I'm heavy handed). WRONG! The end result was well defined hair that was frizz-free, and touchably soft with tons of body, shine, and movement. Once my hair was completely air dried, I banded it all for a few hours (okay, like half a day) to get a more elongated look for date night.

I was sooo in love with my hair! It was everything a summer wash and go should be! And, I was totally able to snuggle with the Mr. at the movies, without a fear of goopy hair, flakes, or residue rubbing off on his shirt!

wonder-curl-control-styling-lotion-review
As far as fragrance goes, I must say it is a bit strong for my taste. It doesn't smell bad AT ALL -- very fresh, clean, and slightly floral. It didn't agitate my allergies like my previous experience with Get Set Hair Jelly, even though the scent is the same. Maybe my allergies were just tripping at that time. The fragrance isn't unpleasant at all, I just prefer scents that are a little more toned down.

The consistency threw me for a second. When I looked at the contents of the bottle, I saw a custard-esque jelly.  But when I pumped it out...it was lotion-y. I don't know how Scarlet does it, although I'm pretty sure it's magic. Even though as a definer it is on the thicker side (when pumped from the bottle, it bears a consistency similar to tgin Twist and Define Cream), it spreads through the hair easily and is able to be raked and smoothed through without drama. No flakes, no funny white goopy balls, no crispy or dry hair.

Drawbacks: The only downside to Curl Control Styling Lotion really isn't a downside at all if you wash your hair once or twice a week.  With this product, you can only expect about 3 day hair before it's time to wash again or get creative with these styles. This is largely due to the fact that it is a lighter hold product -- and products that promise light and touchable hold don't have as much long-term staying power for definition, because they're not designed for that purpose. I personally prefer to wash my hair about every 3-4 days because it helps me cut down on tangles and knots, so that works for me. I just wanted to be clear about performance expectations with this product. If you're looking for something with more long-term hold, definitely give Get Set Hair Jelly a try.


wonder-curl-control-styling-lotion-review
My curls after banding....yes!!!!!
Bonuses: While rocking my Curl Control Styling Lotion wash and go, I had serious hand-in-hair syndrome. My hair was soft, shiny, and felt great, because my hair loooooves aloe! It's also worth noting that Curl Control Styling Lotion is free of silicones, so it is totally curly girl friendly. Interestingly enough, it does not contain any oils, beeswax, or lanolin, which makes it lightweight and perfect for fine hair that is easily weighed down or made stringy or greasy. It is also paraben free, and the fragrance is free of phthalates.

Bottom Line: If you're looking for lightweight, touchable curls that won't feel dry or crunchy, this is your go-to. Performance-wise, this product put up a pretty good numbers next to Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls. If you like the idea of pillow soft hair, but prefer way better ingredients and more affordable prices, Curl Control Styling Lotion is definitely the way to go!

Overall Product Rating: 4.5 stars. I love the performance! I just need a little less fragrance, or perhaps an unscented option.

Best Practices: The best wash and go results come from hair that is soaking wet. This product is no exception. Check out this post for tips on getting your best wash and go yet!


Will you be trying  out the new Curl Control Styling Lotion?

Read More: Wonder Curl Get Set Hair Jelly + Butter Than Love Pudding Review

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