Jan 23, 2015

#CurlsOnFleek: 5 Photo Editing Apps to Floss Your Natural Hair on Instagram

best-photo-editing-apps-natural-hair-instagram

I know what you're thinking.

This is the most petty, narcissistic post Christina has ever thought of doing. I halfway agree with you. Narcissistic, absolutely. Petty? Kinda....well, no.

There has been conversational overkill around Instagram, social media in general, and our self esteem. Don't determine your worth by the number of likes, stop coveting other's curls, don't buy clothes off Instagram, blah, blah, blah. Those lessons are all valid within their own right, but what if you just want to put your best fro forward and get a little feature love on Berry Curly, Fros & Beaus, or Trials N Tresses? Or maybe you're a blogger just looking to step up your visual appeal in 2015?

I feel you.

What some of you all may/may not know about me is that aside from my obsessive love of hair products, I have a soft spot for social media. I love analytics, studying trends, understanding the drives and draws of various platforms, and of course connecting with all of you. With the time I dedicate to understanding social media (and being a consumer), I've picked up a lot of useful information that has helped me step up my game -- especially on Instagram. The quality and overall aesthetic of my photos has improved greatly, if I must say so myself. Part of it is due to that awesome Canon t3i Rebel that Samuel bought me in November. The other part is, well, apps. I'm not versed in Photoshop (although I can fake my way around a few things), and I don't have a keen eye for editing, but I know trends, and I know apps. Here are the 5 apps (in my opinion) that will help you take your natural hair Instagame to the next level:

(All apps are available on Android and Apple, unless otherwise stated)

1. Dropbox 
Cost: FREE
I know this isn't an editing app, but in 2015, a phone devoid of Dropbox is not an option. It's one of the best ways to move photos from your camera (unless it's WiFi enabled) to your phone. Pop your SD card in your computer, upload from the card to Dropbox, open the app on your phone, and boom. It's a two-way street -- you can also upload photos from your phone to Dropbox, which is perfect for those of us with finite-memory phones (#TeamiPhone). For my blog posts, Instagram, Facebook, and more, I'll take a ton of photos at the beginning of the week with my Canon, upload the ones I want to Dropbox, and stash 'em there until I need 'em. You can do the same with pictures of products you want to share, documenting hair styles, photo grid tutorials, and more.

2. Pixlr
Cost: FREE
What I love about Pixlr is that it is a web-browser and phone app. Pixlr itself contains 3 different applications -- Pixlr Editor (the robust and feature-heavy web-based app), Autodesk Pixlr (a condensed web and phone app version), and Pixlr O-Matic (which I don't use). If I'm fixing something intensely, I'll use the web-based Pixlr Editor -- but those days are few and far between. I am a heavy Autodesk Pixlr user on my phone. In Autodesk Pixlr, you can make collages, edit and enhance the photo, add text, crop, use double exposure (adding a photo from your gallery onto another photo -- great for making infographics), add overlays, borders, and more. You can almost do anything in Pixlr. I do wish it had a few more features so I wouldn't have to add this next app, but for free.99 I won't complain.

best-photo-editing-apps-natural-hair-instagram
My graphic for the Curl Care 101 series is a joint venture between Pixlr and Rhonna :)
3. Rhonna Designs
Cost: $1.99
Wonder Curl owner Scarlett hipped me to Rhonna a while ago. Many of the pretty, inspirational photos you see were designed in Rhonna. Rhonna is less about photo editing (you'll need a companion app like Pixlr or your phone's native photo editing features, because Rhonna can't be bothered), and more about adding gorgeous text and beautiful decorations and overlays. You can create banners, add little jazzy doodads, stamp on uplifting statements, and more. One of my favorite things to do in Rhonna Designs is take advantage of the ability to create shadows, outlines, and adjust transparency on text and graphic elements you create. If you see a photo of mine with a semi-transparent box or arrow in it, you can bet I made it in Rhonna Designs. By the way, there's a second Rhonna app -- Rhonna Designs Magic. I don't use it, and from what I can tell, it will serve me no purpose. But Rhonna Designs? Well worth the $1.99.

4. Camera+ by Tap Tap Tap
(iPhone only)
Cost: $2.99
 I stumbled upon Camera+ on a tech blog, and haven't looked back since. For the money, it is the perfect photo quality editing app for anyone who wants their photos to "look like that person's". You know -- the bold colors, the crispness, the lack of shadowy lurkiness, polished, and just overall appealing. What I love about Camera+ is that you can make your photo editing as basic or complex as you like. Under "Scenes" you can use tons of pre-sets (clarity will change your life) to play with color, tone, and lighting -- or if you're feeling really fancy, venture into The Lab and take more creative control.

Here's a photo of mine before Camera+
best-photo-editing-apps-natural-hair-instagram

 And after
best-photo-editing-apps-natural-hair-instagram

5. InstaSquarer
(iPhone only)
Cost: FREE
 InstaSquarer is the holy grail of no-crop apps. How irritating is it for you to take the perfect picture of your twist-out, and to have Instagram's pre-set dimensions determine how much of your hair gets to shine? Like, should you really have to choose between the left half of your face and the perfectly curled ends of your bantu knot out? Absolutely not. I'll have nothing of the sort. There are tons of no-crop apps out there, but they're all lacking (trust me, I've tried). I used SquareSize until  they got disrespectful and started watermarking themselves on my photos. I then turned to InstaNoCrop, but realized there's no point in sacrificing photo quality for no-croppability. That's where InstaSquarer wins -- you get to retain the high quality of your original photo, while being able to share it on IG without cropping. There's also basic editing functionality, and the ability to add text, but really, those are just add-ons to a brilliantly functional app.

Well, there you have it folks! Those are the 5 apps I use regularly to make my photos look like I actually know what I'm doing. Here are a few final tips for getting good photos to start with:
  1. For phone photography, always wipe your lens before you snap. You'd be surprised how many fingerprints and oil smudges end up there -- and how much of a difference a clean lens will make.
  2. Less-busy backgrounds make for cleaner pictures where the subject matter (you) stand out.
  3. Make sure the light source faces you, and not your camera lens (i.e. face the light, don't let the light eminate from behind you) -- unless you're doing three-point lighting, but that' another story for another time
  4. Avoid the front-facing phone camera when you can, but if you must use it -- follow tip #1!
  5. If you have a professional camera, invest in a wireless remote. The best $20 you'll ever spend.
 Have fun taking some kick-butt selfies, usies, wash day, and other photos! Tag me on Instagram @maneobjective if you use any of my tips or apps after reading this! Share with a Curlfriend!

Jan 22, 2015

Curl Care 101: Clean Hair + Clean Scalp = Growth

curl-care-101-shampoo-cowash-natural-hair-growth

Welcome back, Curlfriends!

I'm so glad that you all are sticking with me through the Curl Care 101 series and finding it helpful. The feedback and love you've given me is super informative -- thank you!!! This week, we're going to dive right in to the heart and soul of wash day: cleaning the hair and scalp. Ready? Let's go!

Shampoo? Co-Wash? Or Both?
In the natural hair community, we all want to claim sets (I'm from LA, just roll with the gang analogy here) -- #TeamTwistOut versus #TeamBraidOut, #TeamFingerDetangle beefs with rival set #TeamCombsandBrushes, and of course, my #WashnGo set stays having drama with #TeamWashnNo. I exaggerate a little, but dichotomy most certainly exists, which has a tendency to pressure new or lesser experienced naturals into choosing one method or approach over another. In this particular article, we're talking shampooers versus co-washers. Let some Curly Girl Method loyalist tell it, you never ever need another bottle of shampoo in your life. Let some stylists tell it, washing your hair with conditioner is akin to using fabric softener to clean your clothes. Yes, a stylist on Instagram really said that (and I vehemently disagree...but we'll get to that later). So who's right? What should you be using to clean your hair?

The answer boils down to what it always does -- you. Some naturalistas can't shake the sudsy stuff, and lather up every week or two. Others, take Lorraine Massey's Curly Girl Handbook (and Deva Curl products) as gospel, and never come within 10 feet of shampoo. I'm never one to preach exclusivity, and I do think there is a place in your regimen for cleansing with shampoo and co-washing. I personally use both in my regimen, and I'll share how a little later.

curl-care-101-shampoo-cowash-natural-hair-growth
I don't know who this is, but her curls are giving me life.
In order to have healthy, growing hair, you need a clean scalp and clean hair. Follicles clogged with dirt, oils, product buildup, and flakes can prevent the hair from growing and even lead to it falling out. Having the hair itself be clean is important too, because hair riddled with build-up is more difficult to hydrate -- and dehydrated is weaker, breaks easily, and splits. Buildup can easily do a one-two knockout on your growth and length retention efforts, but that doesn't have to be so:

The Case for the Co-Wash
The premise of co-washing is relatively simple -- you load gobs of conditioner (or tiny palmfuls if you're fancy and have restraint) into your hair. massage it into your scalp and along the hair shaft, and rinse it out, just like you would a shampoo. The only difference being that your co-wash doesn't lather. How the heck does this clean the hair? All conditioners contain incredibly mild surfactants that can remove up to approximately 90% of dirt and oil from the hair -- which is pretty darn clean. Don't believe me? Check this microscope test. 

The benefits of co-washing include:
  • minimizing the number of products used on wash day (you can detangle, cleanse, and even condition with the same product if you choose to)
  • increased moisture retention, hydration, softness, smoothness, and shine in hair (moisturized hair is less prone to breakage and splitting, thereby aiding in length retention)
  • less frizz and improved curl definition (if you care about those things)
But of course, co-washing has its limitations. That remaining 10% of dirt and oil that gets left behind on the hair can lead to buildup, dryness, limp and greasy looking hair, and clogged follicles (which can impede hair growth). That's why I also make...

The Case for Shampoo
I've written before about why your regimen needs shampoo, and how the shampoos of today are not nearly as frightening as those of yesteryear. The shampoos used prior to the new natural revolution contained all sorts of trifilin' sulfates, and were essentially glorified dish soap. Many of the sudsy cleansers on the market today are what I like to call shampoo 2.0 -- they do not contain harsh detergents, are loaded with natural extracts, and contain conditioning agents. These sulfate free-shampoos:
  • gently cleanse the hair and scalp while removing product and follicle-clogging build-up
  • optimize hair growth by removing oil, dirt, and debris -- thereby allowing follicles to function healthily
  • make your deep conditioner work better by allowing your DC (which has a positive charge) to adsorb/stick to your hair (which has a negative charge)
Much like co-washing, shampooing does come with a particular set of drawbacks. For some naturals, even the most gentle of shampoos can be drying to the hair and scalp. Shampoo also happens to give zero cares about your curl pattern (with the exception of like one), and will almost always cause some level of frizzing that you must rely on a deep conditioner to correct.

With that being said, how can you incorporate both into a happy, healthy, hair regimen? I'm glad you asked! My advice largely applies to ladies who wash their hair weekly (or twice a week), but can be adapted for those that go for 2 weeks or more: use co-washing and shampooing at a 3:1 ratio. That means, after 3 weeks of co-washing, use a shampoo. In my experience, this allows ample time for you to build moisture stores within your hair that will cause the shampoo to not be as drying, and not completely resign your curls to frizz.

For 3 weeks out of the month, my wash day looks something like this:

curl-care-101-shampoo-cowash-natural-hair-growth

And on that 4th week:

curl-care-101-shampoo-cowash-natural-hair-growth

I mean clearly, my products are subject to change (hair flip), but you get the idea.

Now, let's chat a bit about a few tips to effectively co-wash and shampoo the hair. I'm just gonna assume that you're already up on pre-poo game:

Co-Washing How-To & Tips
  1.   Allow all of the hair to get saturated with warm/very warm water for 1-2 minutes. Warm water helps loosen product and debris, while the constant stream of water helps to begin (re)moving shed hairs.
  2. Apply conditioner or co-washing products to all hair (even if it is sectioned off, just rub it on your twists or braids). This will allow the co-wash to marinate and work through the hair easier as you work on other sections
  3. One section at a time, massage the co-wash through your hair from root to end. If you need to detangle, do that too. After your section has been cleansed and detangled, twist or braid it back up.
  4. To cleanse the scalp and avoid re-tangling, gently pinch your clean twist between your thumb and index finger about an inch away from your scalp. Take your other hand and use the pads of your fingers to vigorously rub your scalp in that section to loosen dirt, debris, oils, and flakes. 
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for all sections
  6. One by one, release sections and rinse.
Shampooing How-To & Tips
  1. Make sure that your hair is detangled prior to shampooing. Just...trust me on this one.
  2.   Allow all of the hair to get saturated with warm/very warm water for 1-2 minutes. Warm water helps loosen product and debris, while the constant stream of water helps to begin (re)moving shed hairs.
  3. One section at a time (with your hair still in the twist or braid), apply a dime to quarter (if you're heavy handed) sized amount of shampoo directly to your scalp. Gently pinch your twist between your thumb and index finger about an inch away from your scalp. Take your other hand and use the pads of your fingers to vigorously rub your scalp in that section to loosen dirt, debris, oils, and flakes.
  4. As the shampoo lathers, allow it to travel down the length of your hair. If it doesn't make it all the way, feel free to add more shampoo.
  5.  If your shampoo says to leave it on for a few, repeat steps 3 and 4 on the other sections prior to rinsing. There's no harm in doing this anyway, but you can also feel free to immediately rinse. Just make sure that right after rinsing each section, you apply a regular or deep conditioner so the hair doesn't begin to dry out.
So, how often?
That is probably the most common question associated with wash day. How often should you be washing your hair? How do you straddle that line between over-manipulation and total neglect? It largely depends on your lifestyle. First and foremost, I will never advocate that you wash daily. In an extreme emergency (a terrible style turnout and you have to go somewhere important), I understand. On the frequent end, if you are very active (and sweat a lot), have a scalp condition, or have fine hair prone to buildup, cleansing every 3-4 days is fine. On the infrequent end, I recommend washing every 2 weeks. My nice, somewhat mid-ground is weekly. I try to wash my hair every 6 or 7 days (when I can), but I will also wash my hair on day 3 or 4 if necessary. I don't confine myself to one time frame or another, because that leaves zero leeway for like, life.

Warning: this next sentence is my own personal opinion and is based on nothing but that -- feel free to agree/disagree at your own risk! I will never advocate that someone wash their hair only once a month. Shampoo once a month and co-wash the other weeks, yes. But for your hair to only come into contact with a cleansing agent one time a month leaves the door open for too many issues.

curl-care-101-shampoo-cowash-natural-hair-growth

Now, what would this article be if I didn't make some solid product recommendations? In case you missed it, here are my favorite shampoos and cleansers from 2014. My favorite shampoos are unchanged (as of yet), but I will say that as far as co-washing goes, Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner has stepped up in a MAJOR way. You can also check out these shampoo bars, which are great for ladies that are nervous about making the full shampoo plunge. I'm also a fan of Alaffia's Black Soap, which is a great quite literally, from head to toe. 

More: Shampoo & Cleanser Product Reviews

I hope you found this week's installment helpful! Click here if you need to catch up on the whole Curl Care 101 series. Be sure to leave any questions and feedback below!

See you next week --we'll be chatting about deep conditioning! Busting down myths, sharing effective techniques, ingredients to look for, and more!

Jan 21, 2015

Review: Ouidad Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask


Whenever I think about Ouidad's Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask, two words come to mind: a lot.

A lot of words.
A lot of money.
A lot of ingredients.
A lot of feelings.

I won''t leave you hanging, so let's jump right in to this requested review.

Availability: Like all Ouidad products, the Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask is available in Ouidad salons, on Ouidad.com, at Ulta (and of course, Ulta.com), and Curl Mart.

Affordability: At $40 for 6oz, the price point is sure to be a turn off for many. I can honestly say it is the second most expensive product I've ever put in my hair. The most expensive is another Ouidad product, but we'll talk about that later. More full disclosure fun: I didn't pay for the Melt-Down Mask. If you read my Whipped Curls Review, then you know that Ouidad has sent me tons of stuff (showing the most major of loves) -- and it included the Melt-Down Mask. I'm glad they did, because every time I've walked into Ulta, I toyed with the idea of purchasing it. This definitely gave me the opportunity to try it out and help you all (and me) answer that tough question -- is it really worth it?

Ingredient List: Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Propanediol, Glycerin, Bis-Hydroxy/Methoxy Amodimethicone, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Methyl Hydroxycellulose, Cetyl Esters, Cetyl Alcohol, Trichilia Emetica Seed Butter, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Passiflora Edulis (Passion Fruit) Seed Oil, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Pulp Oil, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Oriza Sativa (Rice Bran) Oil, Disodium EDTA, Panthenol, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Quaternium-91, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, C10-40 Isoalkylamidopropylethyldimonium Ethosulfate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Dipropylene Glycol, Lactic Acid, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Butyene Glycol, Vanillyl Butyl Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.
Water/Aqua/Eau, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glycerin, Propanediol, Bis-Hydroxy/Methoxy Amodimethicone, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Esters, Methyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Trichilia Emetica Seed Butter, Lactic Acid, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Hydrogenated Castor Oil/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Dipropylene Glycol, Quaternium-91, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, C10-40 Isoalkylamidopropylethyldimonium Ethosulfate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Vanillyl Butyl Ether, Butylene Glycol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Citronellol, Benzyl Benzoate, Fragrance/Parfum. - See more at: https://www.ouidad.com/shop/by-concern/dehydration-damage/curl-recovery-mask.html#sthash.UF7QSUhH.dpuf
Water/Aqua/Eau, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glycerin, Propanediol, Bis-Hydroxy/Methoxy Amodimethicone, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Esters, Methyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Trichilia Emetica Seed Butter, Lactic Acid, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Hydrogenated Castor Oil/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Dipropylene Glycol, Quaternium-91, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, C10-40 Isoalkylamidopropylethyldimonium Ethosulfate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Vanillyl Butyl Ether, Butylene Glycol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Citronellol, Benzyl Benzoate, Fragrance/Parfum. - See more at: https://www.ouidad.com/shop/by-concern/dehydration-damage/curl-recovery-mask.html#sthash.UF7QSUhH.dpuf
Water/Aqua/Eau, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glycerin, Propanediol, Bis-Hydroxy/Methoxy Amodimethicone, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Esters, Methyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Trichilia Emetica Seed Butter, Lactic Acid, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Hydrogenated Castor Oil/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Dipropylene Glycol, Quaternium-91, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, C10-40 Isoalkylamidopropylethyldimonium Ethosulfate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Vanillyl Butyl Ether, Butylene Glycol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Citronellol, Benzyl Benzoate, Fragrance/Parfum. - See more at: https://www.ouidad.com/shop/by-concern/dehydration-damage/curl-recovery-mask.html#sthash.UF7QSUhH.dpuf
Water/Aqua/Eau, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glycerin, Propanediol, Bis-Hydroxy/Methoxy Amodimethicone, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Esters, Methyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Trichilia Emetica Seed Butter, Lactic Acid, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Hydrogenated Castor Oil/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Dipropylene Glycol, Quaternium-91, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, C10-40 Isoalkylamidopropylethyldimonium Ethosulfate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Vanillyl Butyl Ether, Butylene Glycol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Citronellol, Benzyl Benzoate, Fragrance/Parfum. - See more at: https://www.ouidad.com/shop/by-concern/dehydration-damage/curl-recovery-mask.html#sthash.UF7QSUhH.dpuf

Top Ingredients 411:
  • 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.
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate: Ester and emollient that is used to enhance spreadability, reduce the greasiness of other oils, and create a silky soft feeling in mixtures.
  • Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine: A derivative of stearic fatty acid that is used to keep ingredients from separating, as well as provide "slip" (useful for easy detangling).
  • Propanediol: Plant-based, ECOCERT-approved emollient, solubilizer, and viscosity improving agent. As a natural alternative/replacement for propylene glycol, it improves moisture binding activity which results in silky smooth hair.
  • Glycerin: Generally vegetable-based humectant that absorbs and retains moisture from the air.
Product Claim/Description: Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask is a luxurious treatment with our proprietary CR-4 Repair Complex -- including nutrient-rich Mafura Butter and Kalahari Melon Seed Oil -- that envelopes the hair with a cushion-like coating of concentrated fatty acids vital to rebuilding, nourishing, and protecting hair. A blend of three clinically-proven actives instantly recreates hair's depleted lipid barrier, restoring the protective layer to promote health and  prevent future damage. Unique melt-down technology pampers hair with a subtle warming sensation as it replenishes moisture.

Performance/Delivery: Remember when I used the phrase "a lot" to describe this product? Let's get to that. By the ingredient list, you can obviously see where the phrase applies there. Because I'm not strictly a juices and berries natural, I don't get turned off by complex scientific names, so long as I can find some sort of way to understand what they mean. We've already covered the "a lot" of words and money part, so there's that. Let's get to the good part: my feelings, which this mask has me all in.

Texture close-up.
Before writing this review, I made sure to use the ENTIRE jar to develop an informed opinion. $40 is a lot of money, and I wanted to make sure my experience was consistent enough to answer the question of it being worth the money. At first sight and smell, the Mask appears thick and has a similar sweet perfumey fragrance along the same lines as Whipped Curls. I just knew that based upon consistency, I would get a good two uses out of this jar. That turned out to be wrong. I got at least 5 deep conditioning sessions out of the 6oz jar (it may very well be 6, but I could only solidly remember 5). That alone shocked me -- although the Mask is thick, it spreads really easily throughout the hair. A little scoop that you think will only cover a small section of hair turns out to cover like half. I also noticed while spreading it through my hair, it went from being thick to frothy. I didn't experience the warming sensation, but I must say the workability of the Mask through the hair is quite awesome.

It really "melted" into my hair!
 The Mask works well, with or without heat. The directions say to leave it on for 10-15 minutes, and throughout the course of emptying the jar, I experimented with longer times, exact time, heat, and no heat. The mask works well any way, which makes it one of those deep conditioners you can count on in a crunch. Now let's get to what you really want to know -- my hair after rinsing. Shine bright like a diamond is an understatement. My hair was shiiiiiiny! Like, amazingly shiny. It felt stronger, heartier, and like my hair had taken up all the goodness that tiny jar had to offer. 

I didn't get that buttery smooth feeling I love from the Melt-Down Mask, but I almost didn't notice because I was distracted by the high shine , improved strength, and de-frizzed hair. You know that "conquer the world" feeling you get after a good workout? That's how my hair felt. Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask gave my hair a good workout, and prepared it to conquer the world. Sure, I'm being a little dramatic here -- but my hair looked and felt great. That shine tho.....

Drawbacks: Without a second thought, the price to quantity ratio. As you all know, I can (and have in the past) be a little splurgy with deep conditioners and curl definers -- but this nearly takes the cake. $40 for 6oz is just really unappealing to me. Perhaps if the jar were 16oz instead of 6, I'd feel better about it. 

Bonuses: I really do like the fact that it feels like the Mask literally melts down and absorbs into my hair. It's an elasticizing treatment that definitely delivers on the promises of curl elasticity, manageability, softness, shine, and healthy vibrancy. My color treated curls definitely appreciated it. I also enjoyed getting more than 2 uses out of the jar.


Bottom Line: Do I sound torn and confused in this review? Because that's exactly how I feel. You know me -- I am always here for a good deep conditioner, and doubly here for a product that performs as it says it will (and triply here for exceeding expectations). Ouidad's Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask is alladat. But this price point? You're killing me, Larry. If this mask were half the price, I'd automatically file it under must-have in the blink of an eye. I really am having an emotional tug-of-war with this product. On one hand, the performance is almost flawless. On the other hand, the price tag equates to a full tank of gas (thanks, Obama). Normally, at this point I'd either be encouraging you to try it for yourself, or telling you to skip it. I can't confidently say one or the other. I think the only thing I can say with some assurance is that if you do decide to splurge on it, I'm pretty sure you'll love it. There isn't another deep conditioner (that I know of) like it. The closest comparison I can draw is ApHogee's Texture Treatment -- and even that's a stretch.

You know what? Here we go --let's call it an occasional splurge. If you every-so-often like to treat your hair to something nice and new, make it the Ouidad Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask. Buy it for your curls at Christmas or something. Spending $40 every once in a blue moon won't hurt -- but adding a product like this to your weekly deep conditioning rotation most certainly will. There we have it -- if you're an occasional splurger, the Mask will work well in that regard.

Overall Product Rating: 3.5 stars. I want to give it 4.5, but there are a few things that pull Ouidad's Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask down. The obvious givens are the price point and amount of product. I am also a little bothered by the fact that all of these nutrient-dense oils that comprise the CR-4 complex and more are listed as ingredients 14 - 20, and 21 - 24. I would have liked to see a little bit more of those (especially the kalahari and mafura) in the top 5 - 7 ingredients. The product itself performs at a solid 4.5, but those other factors bring it down some.

Best Practices: Always apply the mask to wet hair. Scoop a little into your hand and rub your hands together to get the "melt-down" action started. This helps facilitate that ease of spreadability that allows you to not use 3/4 of the jar in one deep conditioning session.

Whew, this was a tough one.
Will you be splurging on Ouidad Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask anytime soon?

Jan 19, 2015

The Mane Objective 10K | 1M Giveaway WINNERS!!!



First of all, I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who entered! The responses were overwhelming. Especially those of you who entered here on the blog -- so much love and so many great ideas! I'll be going through every single comment one-by-one and responding -- if you pitched me an idea with a question that I tackled previously, I'll link it to you. If not, I'll put it on my "to do" list to write about.

Please know, that I use www.random.org for each giveaway, unless stipulations are otherwise stated. So for each giveaway this weekend, I put in the max number of entrants per giveaway prize (barring those that entered past the deadline to be fair to everyone), and hand-counted to the number that random.org assigned in chronological order. The first entry is #1, and so on. It's painstaking and takes some time, but I believe in being forthright and fair.

So again, a hearty congratulations to:

Monique Goran and Tasha -- you've won the TGIN Shampoo & Conditioner duos!

@kaylymekay -- you've won the Vitamin Shoppe Ultimate Prize Pack!

@_justasiam -- you've won the TreLuxe trio!

Please e-mail me at info@maneobjective.com with your shipping information, so I can get your goodies out to you! Thank you ALL again for entering, and don't worry -- there will be PLENTY of opportunities for giveaways and goodies in 2015. The year has just begun! A special thanks to the 10K | 1M sponsors: TGIN, Vitamin Shoppe, and TreLuxe!

All-Natural Protection? Organic Heat Pro Heat Protection Spray Review

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I know what you're thinking, it can't be true. All-natural heat protection? As in like, no silicones and other funny business?

I was shocked too.

Nicole Metcalf, owner of Organic Heat Pro reached out to me because she wanted me to try her spray. She promised that it provided heat protection, super shine, and was completely natural. She told me it passed all rounds of testing with flying colors. But did it really work? I took it to task on my flat-ironed natural hair that I got done at the Lawrence Ray Concepts Salon.


Availability: The Organic Heat Pro Heat Protection Spray is only available online at www.organicheatpro.com

Affordability: At $25 for 8oz, it is on the pricier side of natural hair care, but in my eyes well worth it. When used properly, a little bit goes a long way. Besides, you get what you pay for -- right? I'd never pay $25 for a silicone serum, because cones are cheap. But an all natural, oil-based spray? Very much worth it.

Key Ingredients: exotic fruit oils, pure alkaline water, rosemary oil. To be upfront and honest with you all, they were not able to reveal their full ingredient list to me. Normally, I'd be concerned, but as a blogger on the business end of things, I've come to understand that without the proper legal protection around product formulations, companies leave themselves vulnerable to other brands looking to prey on their ideas and profit. I'd definitely say keep your eyes peeled in the near future for full ingredient disclosure.

Product Claim/Description: After years of research on exotic fruit oils, we found the right formula to protect your hair from everyday stress. Organic Heat Pro is all natural and provides unparalleled heat protection for all types of hair.

organic-heat-pro-review

Performance/Delivery:
Umm....do you see my hair?!
As far as the ingredients are concerned, I did have some initial reservations. However, Nicole Metcalf (the owner) assured me that the product is all-natural and full of good for your hair fruit oils. The star of the show is rosemary oil, which provides follicle stimulation, and strengthens the roots of the hair, which promotes growth. The spray is water-based, which I actually like. One of my biggest problems when I wear my hair straight is that I am unable to maintain internal hydration, because typically, water + straight hair = reversion. But the Organic Heat Pro blend, when used properly, does not cause reversion or poofiness in the slightest. The oil blend in the heat protectant is lightweight, provides super shine, and does not weigh the hair down. It definitely smells like rosemary, but the fragrance doesn't linger for long. The spray itself is milky white-ish, but does not build up or flake in the hair whatsoever.

What I like most about the Organic Heat Pro spray is how SHINY my hair is, while still being lightweight and movable. My hair does not feel greasy or oily AT ALL! I'm totally impresed, because this spray is as powerful as some high powered silicone serum -- but it's all natural and totally right up your alley if you're looking to go cone-free even in straightening. While I don't have all the science together of why the spray provides heat protection without silicones, I do know that it works. In the video below,  I make 2 and 3 passes over sections trying to curl them (again because I don't know what I'm doing), and I experienced absolutely no heat damage or loss of my curl pattern whatsoever. I'm sold on Organic Heat Pro!

organic-heat-pro-review
#TeamNoHeatDamage
Drawbacks: I'm an ingredient junkie, so I really want to know whats in the product. Argan? Pracaxi? Moringa? I'll be keeping up with Organic Heat Pro for sure, because I gotta know!

Bonuses: Another thing I really like about the spray is that it''s not just limited to use on straight hair. I use it to seal in moisture for wash and go's add shine to my natural curls. I sprayed it on my scalp to moisturize and stimulate growth there, too. It's also perfect if you frequently do blowouts, Curlformers, flexi rods, perm rods, roller sets, or any other stretched style that requires direct or indirect heat.

Bottom Line: Overall, Organic Heat Pro Heat Protection Spray is a one of a kind, all natural, highly effective spray that has quite honestly, blown me away. It does exactly what it says it will do, without all of the ingredients most naturalistas find to be problematic. I mean, look at these curls that reverted back #noheatdamage:

Best Practices: Do not overuse. One or two sprays per medium/large sized section is plenty. Because it is water-based, if you're looking to maintain a straight style, don't spray close to your hair -- hold it a few inches from the section and allow the spray to gently fall over the length of your hair (as opposed to saturating one spot). This helps minimize/prevent reversion.

Will you be trying Organic Heat Pro Heat Protection Spray?

Jan 16, 2015

How to Eliminate Dry, Frizzy, and Rough ends on Transitioning & Natural Hair

Hey y'all!

I get this question a lot, and I wanted to make sure I addressed it in a way that you all could find helpful. Some of my favorite IGers and blog readers have asked about getting rid of rough, dry, frizzy ends. In this video, I share what products and tips helped me during my transition, and even now while I'm rocking my natural hair. All of the recommended products have worked on transitioning, natural, and color-treated hair. The majority of them are not Curly Girl friendly, and if I'm honest, the silicones work to your advantage in this scenario to help smooth out the cuticle damage. Check the video for more detailed information:


Here are all the links to more detailed information about the products mentioned:

ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor Review

Hydratherma Naturals Amino Plus Protein Deep Conditioning Treatment Review

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Masque Review

I don't have a review for the Shea Moisture Tahitian Noni Conditioner :(

Apple Cider Vinegar

All About Ceramides

Let em know if you guys found this helpful -- I also drop info about a future tutorial and an Ask Away Wednesday update!

www.maneobjective.com
www.instagram.com/maneobjective
www.pinterest.com/maneobjective
www.facebook.com/maneobjective

Don't forget to like, comment, subscribe & share this video with a curlfriend :)

I was not paid to promote or share any of the products in this video. This is not a sponsored video. All products (with the exception of one) were purchased with my own money.

How do you manage rough, frizzy, dry ends on your hair?

Jan 15, 2015

10K | 1M Giveaway #1: TGIN Shampoo & Conditioning Duo [CLICK HERE TO ENTER NOW!]

mane-objective-10k-1m-giveaway-1-tgin

Alright my loves, it's time to get this thing rocking! The first day of The Mane Objective's 10K | 1M Giveaway is under way!

Today's Prize: TGIN (Thank God I'm Natural) Moisture Rich Sulfate-Free Shampoo x Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner FULL SIZE duo!

[TGIN Review]

mane-objective-10k-1m-giveaway-1-tgin

Because you guys have been rocking with me for so long, you know how much I love TGIN's shampoo and conditioner. Now it's your turn to partake in the goodness! Two lucky ladies (or gentlemen? Do I have any male readers, lol?) will win a duo of shampoo and conditioner each.

How to Enter:
1. Comment on THIS POST (YES, THE ONE YOU'RE READING RIGHT NOW) with 2 things you'd like to know more about -- that I can address in a future article or video.
2. Post your entry by Friday, January 16th at 11:59PM PST.
3. That's it -- you're entered!

The Fine Print
To improve your odds of winning, you can submit up to 3 separate comments. However, each comment must contain two DIFFERENT ideas. Duplicate comments/ideas from the same person will not be counted. Both winners will be randomly selected by randomization provided by random.org. Contest begins at 12:00AM on January 16th, 2015 and ends at 11:59pm on January 16th, 2015. All times are Pacific Standard Time (PST). All entries posted after the cutoff time will not be considered.

Thank you for entering, and good luck! Feel free to share this post with a curlfriend who'd love some TGIN :)

Bee Mine Products Review - Avocado Cream Balanced Conditioner & Bee Hold Curly Butter

bee-mine-hair-products-review

I had a lot of fun on Black Friday/Cyber Monday....maybe a little too much fun. Fun to the point of making purchases well beyond Cyber Monday. Case and point: Bee Mine Products. I had been wanting to try their product line ever since I learned about it early in my transition via Hey Fran Hey. I never make my introduction to new brands at full price, so when Bee Mine launched their holiday sale with 40% off, I was in there like swimwear! I ordered 2 16oz bottles of the Avocado Cream Balanced Conditioner, and one 16oz jar of the Bee hold Curly Butter. I figured a butter and conditioner would be a safe introduction to any product line. Did they stack up to my expectations? Keep reading to find out!

Availability: I purchased my products at www.beemineproducts.com during their holiday sale. Their products aren't available on the ground anywhere in LA, but they do have locations in places like Chicago, Houston, and Raleigh. They can also be purchased on CurlMart. Click here to see if Bee Mine products are sold on the shelves anywhere near you.

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Affordability: Normally, the 16oz Avocado Cream Balanced Conditioner retails for $20, and the Bee Hold Curly Butter goes for $23. A little pricier than the typical natural hair product range, but as I mentioned previously, I got that good 40% discount! That means I spent $24 on 2 16oz conditioners, and $13.80 for the butter. Those prices are a lot more doable.

Avocado Cream Balanced Conditioner

Ingredient List: Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Lavendula angustifolia (Organic Lavender) Distillate, Anthemis nobilis (Organic Roman Chamomile) Distillate, Cetearyl Alcohol(vegetable-based emulsifier), Ricinus communis (Castor Seed) Oil, Avocado Butter, Avocado Oil,  Stearalkonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, d-Calcium Pantothenate (Panthenol Vitamin B5), Panthenol (Vitamin B Complex), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Rosa mosqueta (Rosehip) Seed Oil, Salix nigra (Organic Black Willow Bark) Extract, Fragrance


Top Ingredients 411:
  • Organic 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.
  • Organic Lavender & Chamomile Distillate: An extraction of lavender and chamomile that provides soothing, anti-inflammatory support to the scalp and follicles.
  • Cetearyl 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.
  • Castor Oil: Thick and highly viscous oil pressed oil from the castor bean that contains antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Also believed to help thicken the hair, and promote growth while enhancing shine.
  • Avocado Butter: Omega 3-rich nourishing butter extract that can enhances shine, moisture retention, softness, and elasticity in hair.
Product Claim/Description: This nourishing conditioner is enriched with pro-vitamins, extracts & proteins that compact the cuticle layer of the hair resulting in nourished hair that isn't weighed down.  It will leave your hair silky, soft, bouncy and more manageable.

Performance/Delivery: I used the Avocado Cream Balanced Conditioner about three different ways before I decided to even begin speaking on the product. First, I used it as a conditioner, per the instructions on the bottle. Because of the consistency (it feels more like a hair lotion than a conditioner), I was a little concerned about what it could actually do for my hair. I smoothed it through my freshly cowashed strands in sections, and let it sit for about 5 minutes while I got my shower on. Upon rinse out, I was pretty hype. My hair looked and felt sooooo smooth and shiny! I was definitely impressed by how quickly it worked to condition my hair. It definitely had my frizz in check! Next, I tried Avocado Cream Balanced Conditioner as a leave-in. I worked it through my strands, and squeezed out the excess -- and then applied the Bee Hold Curly Butter on top. It worked very well as a leave-in, and was the perfect consistency to be a super-moisturizing base for my styling products without weighing my hair down. And lastly, as I'm writing this review, I have Avocado Cream Balanced conditioner in my hair only -- and it has given me the fluffiest, softest, and most voluminous wash and go ever. It's not one of those conditioners that gives tons of hold and definition, but if you just want your hair to be ridiculously moisturized, soft, smooth, and fluffy -- this is the one!

bee-mine-hair-products-review

I touched a little on consistency earlier, it's definitely not a thick conditioner. The thickness is very similar to Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Leave-In, if you've ever tried it. I don't consider the consistency a drawback though -- this actually primes it to be a multi-use product. Word on the street is that it can be used as a daily moisturizer, too! I purchased the Avocado Cream Balanced Conditioner in the Coconut Cream fragrance, because Island Mango wasn't available (sad face). The fragrance is pretty sweet and gentle, like a coconut lotion. It's not a bad fragrance at all -- I just really, really...like, really like their Island Mango scent.

Drawbacks: To be honest, I wish the product had a little more slip. It has slip, but not enough to qualify as a conditioner I'd detangle with. It is great at helping keep previously detangled hair untangled, but is by no means a product I'd start out with to help remove shed hairs, knots, and tangles from my hair.

Bonuses: I absolutely LOVE the ingredient list. To be honest, it's pretty amazing and sure to please any ingredient-conscious naturalista. My hair fangirls over anything involving aloe and avocado, so this product was right up my alley! It also contains protein, which is another huge bonus for me. Given that I've got this hair color, any product that can help reinforce strength is an automatic plus!

Bottom Line: The product performs as it says it will, which is a miracle in and of itself. How many bottle contents and labels line up with performance these days?! I do wish it had a little more slip, but I'll take what I can get from a product with such a stellar ingredient list. If you're looking for "clean" hair products and responsible, effective ingredients, Bee Mine's Avocado Cream Balanced Conditioner is definitely the way to go.

Overall Product Rating: 4.5 stars. It's a solid, multi-use product that does exactly what it says it will do! I'm already through with one bottle, and trying to contain myself about cracking the next bottle open -- I don't want to run out before another sale!

Best Practices: Use on hair that has been previously detangled. Then you're golden!

Bee Hold Curly Butter

bee-mine-hair-products-review

Ingredient List: 100% Organic Shea Butter, 100% Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Essential Oil Blend, Vegetable Glycerin, Rosemary Leaf and Chamomile Extract, Silk Powder, Paraben & Formaldehyde Free Preservative and Perfume.

Top Ingredients 411:
  • Shea Butter: Emollient fat from the nut of the East or West African shea nut tree, used to moisturize and soften hair.
  • Aloe Vera Gel: 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.
  • Essential Oil Blend: Their proprietary essential oil blend, lol.
  • Glycerin: Vegetable-based humectant that draws moisture from the air into the hair to keep it hydrated.
  • Rosemary Leaf: Extract that stimulates follicles, promotes growth, serves as an anti-fungal, and strengthens the root of the hair as well.
Product Claim/Description: This shea butter and aloe based curly butter is packed with rich moisturizing nutrients to give you long lasting moisture and promote growth. It has a soft touchable hold that will help to defrizz your frizzes and give great definition. This Curly Butter is wonderful for twists, finger curls, puffs/pony tails and especially for laying down unruly hair. Great for naturals, relaxed, texlaxed, everyone.

Performance/Delivery: You know how you expect a product to be one thing, but you open it up and it's another? That was my experience with Bee Hold Curly Butter. Based on the description I assumed it would be a Shea buttery butter with aloe whipped in. The exact opposite proved to be true -- it was more like aloe gel with shea whipped in. I didn't have a problem with this revelation at all -- given that too much shea butter can have my hair looking stringy and greasy, I welcomed this new type of butter gel.

First of all, the fragrance is everything I had ever hoped for in an Island Mango scent. Not only does it smell delightful, the fragrance blends ever so nicely when you layer it in with other products. The consistency reminds me of Obia Curl Enhancing Custard, and the two actually blend together beautifully. But more on that later. From what I gather, the Bee Hold Curly Butter is a hybrid, multi-use product. I've used it as a styler, moisturizer, and root refresher. As a styler, it functions like those "heavyweight light" gels -- they go on heavy, and dry light. In Bee Mine's case, super light. I don't use aloe vera gel itself as a styler, because it doesn't provide enough hold for me. Bee Hold Curly Butter does provide a wee bit more hold, but not enough for my multi-day wear wash and go comfort. I've gotten the most success using it as a moisturizer and root refresher. What the heck is a root refresher? Allow me to explain.

bee-mine-hair-products-review
I've been using the Bee Hold Curly Butter as the moisturizer (C) in my LCO method, and it works beautifully to minimize frizz, increase shine, and keep my #curlsonfleek. In the photo above and below, you see my wet and (almost) dry hair with LRC Shake & Go as my leave-in, Bee Hold Curly Butter for moisture, and Obia Curl Enhancing Custard for definition and hold.

bee-mine-hair-products-review

And these are my second day curls:

bee-mine-hair-products-review

Now, on to this root refresher thing. As I tool around with different methods for working with the front/center area of my hair that shrinks disrespectfully, I've come to understand that I lose more definition when I band/stretch straight hair. Some of you may be saying "duh" and rubbing your temples, but I honestly just recognized this about my hair like a month ago. I'll share in an upcoming nighttime routine video, but I get much better results when I band my hair damp with a little extra product. I've tried just sprays, water, moisturizers, and more curl definer. Sprays, water, and moisturizers don't work as well, and some curl definers you can't reapply because they get sticky or flake. But Bee Hold Curly Butter has come to the RESCUE for this! Before I band my hair, I go through in about 6 or 7 rows and smooth some Bee Hold Curly Butter on the roots and down about 2 or 3 inches of my hair. The Bee Hold re-activates the curl definer without fuss, flake, or drama. It even gives me less root frizz and better definition. I don't mind curly frizz for volume, but root frizz can sometimes be the thorn in my side. Here's an example of what I mean about using Bee Hold Curly Butter as a root activator:

bee-mine-hair-products-review
Blessed and highly filtered (via front facing camera...lol)
You can see how crucial Bee Hold was by looking at the top of my hair near the side part. You see how it still has definition and texture, but is elongated? Yasssssss!

Drawbacks: I was initially stumped about how to use Bee Hold Curly Butter in my regimen. But now that I've figured it out, that is no longer an issue.I wish it had a little more hold, so that I could use it as a wash and go product, though.

Bonuses: The smell, oh the smell! Seriously, Island Mango is EVERYTHING. The other bonus for me is the lightweight moisture. I get the benefits of shea butter without my hair being weighed down or greasy. Perfect for transitioners or fine haired sistas!

Bottom Line: My jar is like 80% empty, and my feelings are hurt. I should have bought two. Or ten. Seriously, I really enjoy Bee Hold Curly Butter and I see it playing a major role in my regimen in 2015. I need to buy more! Or, for just the price of your morning coffee for a week, you could sponsor this product junkie....

But really, if you're an aloe lover, it is most certainly worth a try.

Overall Product Rating: 4.5 stars. If it had a little more hold, easily a 5 star product.

Best Practices: Like all product combinations, mix them in your hands or do a test patch to make sure they blend well together. Although the Bee Hold is natural, sometimes products don't play too nicely.

Well, there you have it, folks! Have you ever tried Bee Mine Products? I enjoyed my introduction to the line -- it makes me curious about their other offerings!

Curl Care 101: How to Pre-Poo & Detangle for Less Breakage

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Hey curlfriends! Welcome to this week's installment of Curl Care 101! Today's topic gets to the heart and foundation of a healthy hair regimen -- pre-pooing and detangling techniques.

I personally feel like pre-pooing and detangling are two unnecessarily confusing and convoluted topics, so my goal today is to present you with some concise, useful information that you can practically apply starting today. Are you with me? Let's go!

The Pre-Poo
Just like everything in the natural hair community, there are about 50 different definitions for what a pre-poo actually is and does. Let's keep it really simple: a pre-poo is a treatment applied to the hair prior to cleansing. What that treatment consists of, how it is applied, and how long it is left on the hair is entirely up to you. Here are some general guidelines for the 3 basic types of pre-poo treatments, how to use them, and why they are beneficial:

The Oil Pre-Poo
curl-care-101-pre-poo-detangle-natural-hairThe oil-based pre-poo is the most common type of pre-poo treatment done. All it entails is taking your favorite oil, and applying it to your hair and scalp. You can massage it in, not massage it in, begin detangling, or let it just sit and marinate. Oil pre-poos can be applied to damp or dry hair.

Minimum Amount of Time: 1 hour
Maximum Amount of Time: overnight
Recommended Products: coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, JBCO
Good for: strengthening hair, softening hair, preventing breakage, preventing dryness, shine

Research has shown that hair can absorb 15% of its weight in penetrating oil in an hour. When left on the hair upward of six hours (overnight), that percentage jumps up between 20 and 25%. When taken into the hair, penetrating oils help prevent hygral fatigue, protein loss, combat damage from combing/manipulation, and keep hair from drying out during the cleansing process. Even if you mix a penetrating oil (like coconut) with a non-penetrating oil (like Jamaican Black Castor Oil), the penetrating oil will still find its way into your hair to provide all of the positive properties listed above.

The Conditioner Pre-Poo
curl-care-101-pre-poo-detangle-natural-hair
 The conditioner-based pre-poo is also very common. It involves dampening the hair with a spray bottle (or steam) and generously applying conditioner. It is very common for ladies who enjoy conditioner-based pre-poos to mix in their favorite oils for an added boost. It is very common to use the same conditioner to pre-poo and detangle the hair.

Minimum Amount of Time: 5 minutes
Maximum Amount of Time: 1 hour
Recommended Products: Kurlee Belle Banana Nut & Avocado Deep Treatment, Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner, Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner, ApHogee Curlific Texture Treatment, Shea Moisture Superfruit 10-in-1 Conditioner
Good For: restoring hydration, fighting dryness, fighting frizz, improving elasticity, strengthening hair, smoothing hair, manageability

Pre-pooing with conditioner helps to re-hydrate, soften, elasticize, and prep the hair for detangling. Most conditioners are designed to work on impact, meaning within the first few minutes, the majority of the ingredients designed to penetrate have done so, and the ones designed to stick to the hair have as well. You can use heat, steam, or heat up your conditioner to improve penetration and make it easier to work through the hair. I do not recommend making a regular habit of pre-pooing with water-based conditioner overnight. It can lead to weaker, more breakage-prone hair. See hygral fatigue.

The DIY Pre-Poo
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While I tend to reserve many of my mixtressing moments for trying out new Pinterest recipes, there are many ladies who whip up their own pre-poo treatments, based upon hair needs. Popular ingredients include coconut milk, oils, eggs, avocado, banana, honey, molasses, liquid aminos, and greek yogurt. Pre-pooing with these ingredients can moisturize, soften, elasticize, strengthen, and add shine to the hair.

Minimum Amount of Time: 30 minutes
Maximum Amount of Time: 2 Hours
Recommended Ingredients: (see above)
Good for: softening hair, strengthening hair, shine, manageability, improving elasticity

Because of the "whole food" nature of these mixes, they may not have the more "immediate" impact of a conditioner-based pre poo. They may take a little time (and a little recipe perfecting) for optimal performance on the hair. My suggested maximum amount of time is 2 hours. Because, who wants to walk around smelling like guacamole and greek yogurt for more than 2 hours? Link: DIY Pre-Poo Recipes.

Detangling
Many naturalistas HATE detangling. Like, totally abhor it. We love and adore our kinks and curls until it's time to separate and unravel them from one another. Then ish gets real. Now, I don't mind detangling at all -- because I've discovered what works for my hair. Allow me to share a few insights into detangling your hair in less time with less damage.

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The reason why detangling has become such a cumbersome chore for many transitioners and naturals is because of the careful nature with which we must remove twisted and knotted shed hairs. If we are too callous or careless with our strands, we run the risk of experiencing unnecessary hair pull and breakage -- which leads to thinning and stalled length retention efforts (aka "no growth"). So what's a gal to do? Get your hair-saving detangle on in 3 easy steps:

1. Find your groove.
I'm not going to preach today about the wonders and joys of conditioning wet hair over dry. If what you're doing right now is working, keep doing it. If what you're doing is not working, well, try something new until you get in your groove. Yes, it's a pain in the behind, but once you find your detangling groove, it will be well worth it. I've done damp detangling, I've done dry detangling, and I've done wet detangling. I've detangled with oils, conditioners, and liquid sprays. Although they all yield different results, my hair, my time, and my arms appreciates it most when I detangle my soaking wet hair with conditioner. In-shower detangling with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner is my groove. It has tons of slip, little to no breakage (because a few hairs on wash day is normal), and I'm not losing gobs of hair. I still take my time and don't rush or yank, but this method gives me the best results with the least amount of drama. While seeking out your groove, take the following into consideration:
  • Wet Detangling: yields the most slip, and tends to be "easier" but requires gentle movements and care because hair is at its weakest when wet. More elastic, yes -- but more prone to breakage as well.
  • Dry Detangling: often regarded as the most painstaking and time consuming, but yields less breakage because of increased tensile strength of dry hair. Still prone to breakage, because dry hair lacks in the elasticity department.
  • Damp Detangling: seemingly the best of both worlds, but requires the same amount (if not more) time than dry detangling. Hair has some slip and some elasticity, but requires patience and careful movements.
2. Find your tool(s).
Once you've got a groove going, it's time to get some tools as well. Are you up for the task of finger detangling, or do you need a wide tooth comb? Is there a Denman in the mix? I'm not here to advocate or preach one method over the other. Much like finding your groove, finding your tool will result in a personal blend of preferred time, your level of patience, and desired results. I finger detangle 90% of the time, and whip out a wide tooth comb 10% of the time -- most often when my hair is trying to play me, or if I'm preparing for a blow-out. Whatever tool you choose shouldn't hurt you or your hair.

People like to throw unnecessary extras on detangling, like not wearing nails a certain length, working from end to root only, and using seamless combs. Absolutely none of that matters. If your nails are even and un-snaggly (I envy you), then detangling with your fingers shouldn't be an issue. If they are, then wear vinyl gloves. Seamless comb, Denman or not, just make sure whatever you're gently raking and picking through your hair isn't giving you a ton of snapped hair. As far as working end to root goes, if that works for you, do it. I personally like to start from the mid-point of the length of my hair, work my way down, and then rake from root to end. But that's just me though. 

3. Attack in sections. 

curl-care-101-pre-poo-detangle-natural-hair
I'm about that section life!
The one absolutely, regardless of whatever products and tools you use, is a must. You can separate your hair in to 2, 4, 5, 6, 32, however many sections you need to successfully navigate through and detangle your hair. Use clips or twists to keep your undetangled hair away from the section you're working on, and then twist/clip it back up when you're done. If you use clips, just be sure your sections are parted fairly clearly -- you don't want to risk breakage by detangling a section and accidentally tugging at a hair that's actually clipped into another section.

So, how exactly do I go about my pre-poo and detangle? It's really simple:
  • Pre-poo 1 hour with coconut oil on hair and JBCO and avocado oil mix on scalp (I keep a bottle of my JBCO/Avocado mix on tap to use throughout the week and on wash day). I normally throw my hair in a clip or bun so I can be productive while the oil marinates. I tend to not pre-poo overnight much anymore, I hate waking up to a face full of oil.
  • Hop in the shower, let the water completely saturate my hair for 2-3 minutes (I find that it helps begin the process of shaking those shed hairs loose)
  • Completely coat my hair root to end in Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner. Yes, I use a lot of conditioner and I am unashamed of that fact. 
  • Part hair down the middle, clip one half of my hair up and let the conditioner marinate. On the loose half, separate the first section (I work front to back), and clip the remaining loose hair behind me. Detangle the first section and twist it up.
  • Separate the next section, and repeat the detangle and twist. After I have 3 twists on one side, I clip them together and repeat the steps on the other half of my head.
That entire process takes me about 15-20 minutes. To conserve water, I use a cup or spray bottle and fill it with water to re-wet as necessary while I detangle. Spoiler alert: when I'm cowashing (barring any cowashing product reviews), I detangle and cleanse with the same Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner. It saves money, and time. If I'm shampooing (like I did yesterday), I follow the same steps listed above. Instead of massaging it into my hair and scalp to cleanse, I rinse it out and proceed with my shampoo of choice.

Hopefully this helped you to clarify what a pre-poo is, why you should do it (if you want to), and which methods of detangling may work best for your hair. Stay tuned next week -- we're going to talk truth about cowashing and shampoos!

Question: What's your favorite pre-poo mix?

More:
4 Detangling Hacks for Trifiling Tangles

Curl Care 101: Getting to Know Your True Texture

Curl Care 101: Building a Healthy Hair Regimen for Maximum Growth

Jan 14, 2015

The Mane Objective 10K | 1M Giveaway Coming THIS WEEKEND!!!!


Back in December 2014, I hit two mega milestones. First, I hit ONE MILLION page views here on the blog. Two, I reached 10K followers on Instagram. The InstaRapture happened and snatched back like 300 followes, but you all showed me major love and I bounced back to the tune of 29 short of 10.6K.

I feel like I don't say it enough, but I want it to be abundantly clear that I am so incredibly grateful to every single one of you. You all have been such a blessing to me -- with your kind words, positive affirmations, shout outs, likes, comments, and more. None of this would matter or be much of anything without all of you. 

Because you all have been such a blessing to me, I want to be a blessing back -- and I've enlisted the help of TGIN, Vitamin Shoppe, and TreLuxe to do it. Because you guys have been rocking with me over the past almost 3 years, you know how much I love TGIN and TreLuxe, and that Vitamin Shoppe is like my home away from home. So this weekend, I'll be having 3 giveaways that you can enter! Here's how it will go:

FRIDAY, JANUARY 16th 2015
Enter to Win: TGIN Shampoo & Conditioner Duo (2 winners)
How to Enter: Contest will be on maneobjective.com -- rules for entry coming soon. Be on the lookout for the specific TGIN giveaway post!

SATURDAY, JANUARY 17th 2015
Enter to Win: Vitamin Shoppe Ultimate Prize Pack (valued at over $180)
How to Enter: Keep your eyes peeled and be sure you're following me @maneobjective on IG!

SUNDAY, JANUARY 18th 2015
Enter to Win: TreLuxe Trio -- Untie The Knot Leave-In, Curl Supreme Styling Cream Moisturizer, and Hi!Definition Curl Defining Custard
How to Enter: Keep your eyes peeled and be sure you're following me @maneobjective on IG!

Each contest will begin at 12:00AM on the day of, and end at 11:59pm that day. You can enter all of the giveaways, or just the ones you're interested in. All winners will be announced Monday, January 19th 2015! Make sure you're checking the blog and keeping up with me on Instagram!

Thank you all again, and I'm so excited about these giveaways!!!

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