Mar 26, 2015

No, You're Not Going Bald -- It's Just Spring (A Friendly Reminder About Seasonal Shedding)

No, You're Not Going Bald -- It's Just Spring (A Friendly Reminder About Seasonal Shedding)


During my past two wash days, I stared down at my drain cover in shock, awe, disbelief, and personal tragedy. At the end of my most recent wash day shower, I almost did a slow wall slide as I picked up a wad of hair about twice as big as normal.

I'm going bald. I'm losing hair. My life as a hair blogger is officially over. I might as well go'n get a perm.

:::SLAP:::

Snap out of it, Christina!

It's friggin Springtime. In Spring I shed more hair -- sometimes 2 or 3 times more than I do in Fall and Winter. After I got a lightweight hold of myself, I realized that I go through this epic saga of mini-drama Every. Single. Year. I start feeling good about myself around September like, "oh-kay hair, we got this!", when I see a small amount of shedding after wash day. Those good vibrations continue through February or March, and between mid-March and April, I lose my ish. I start wondering if I'm detangling too much, if the 94 vitamins I take a day (exaggerating of course) is not enough, if I'm balding, and if life itself is coming to an end. I finally get my life together, realize that it's normal for me, and deal until Summer. September rolls around again, and it's all lather, rinse, repeat from there.

Sometimes it's hard for me to remember that because LA only has two seasons -- Summer, and the rest of the year. I can't distinguish Spring from Fall, and Fall from Winter. It's just hot and dry, with some occasional clouds and "rain". My apologies to those of you all with real weather and whatnot. But I digress.

Seasonal hair loss is a real thing, and many women report seeing increased hair loss in Spring or Fall -- and sometimes both. Consider this your friendly reminder, and my attempt in helping you to be less like me. Inasmuch as we are "evolved" higher forms of life (there are quotation marks around evolved because well...people.), we are still mammals. Although more visually drastic, mammals of all classes (Kings Play Chess On Fine Green Silk #boom) shed seasonal coats of fur in Spring and Fall. There's some scientific rationalization and jargon that goes into why this likely happens -- having to do with prolactin, melatonin, and daylight exposure. But I'm not particularly interested in all of that, and neither are you. Okay, maybe a little. Really, you and I just want the same comfort in knowing that we're not going crazy, and we're not going bald.

What's interesting to note is that even with increased seasonal hair loss, most people don't reach the upper limits of 100 shed hairs per day. Although not extensively studied (because apparently, scientists and researchers have real priorities), it is believed that most people who shed closer to (or lower than) 50 hairs per day in fall/summer don't surpass the 100 hair per day threshold in shed seasons. So even though you're loosing more hair, it still falls within the range of "normal", and your hair shouldn't look or even feel noticeably thinner. But please also be aware: there's a difference between shedding and breakage.

Be of good cheer -- in about a month, it will all be over. Before I wrap this thing on up, here's a little grossness for ya: my last two wash day shed hair balls :)

seasonal spring fall shedding natural hair
Yes I saved them for this post. Judge me if you must.

Have you noticed or experienced increased shedding during Spring or Fall? Share your experience in the comments!

Note: I'm not a trichologist, dermatologist, hairdresser, or professional of any sort. If you are experiencing major shedding, hair loss, balding, and thinning, please seek professional medical attention. Serious hair fall may be a symptom of an underlying condition that Google and Web MD can't help you solve. Take care of yourself <3

Mar 25, 2015

3 Shampoos with Super Slip for Natural Hair

3 Shampoos with Super Slip for Natural Hair

As seen on Black Girl with Long Hair!

Finding a good shampoo for natural, highly textured hair has been somewhat of a journey over the past few years. There are co-washes and cleansing conditioners aplenty, but a good, sudsy shampoo that gets up the gunk without leaving your hair feeling stripped and straw-like? Those are hard to come by. The average "sulfate-free" shampoo tends to dry my hair out, and can turn formerly detangled curls into a matted mess on contact.

Luckily, in my never-ending product junkie adventures, I've come across 3 shampoos that without fail, deliver cleaning power, shine, and softness on contact. But what I love the most about these 3 shampoos? They all have ah-MAY-zing slip. Like, I can detangle with shampoo slip. Yes, I know it's not recommended that you detangle your hair with shampoo suds, but it's awfully nice to  know that you can count on a shampoo to help keep your hair from knotting and tangling -- and even use it as a clutch detangler. So what shampoos are a must-have in my arsenal? Keep reading to find out:

1. Be Kekoa Be Clair Clarifying Shampoo
If you follow me on Instagram or read The Mane Objective, then you know how I feel about Be Kekoa's Be Clean Cleansing Conditioner. I'll spare you the click -- it's life in a bottle. Because the cleansing conditioner performed so well, I had lowered expectations of the shampoo. But when I tell you I was all the way wrong... I was ALL the way wrong. Be Clair has plenty of suds for the ladies that love bubbly action, it cleanses without stripping, and has so much slip, it doesn't make sense. I can honestly say I wasn't ready for the slip I experienced. I loved how it didn't make my hair feel dried out, even though it's a clarifying shampoo. As an added bonus, it's color safe (which helps me maintain my red), and contains extracts of burdock root and green tea to help stimulate and strengthen the hair follicle. You can check out Be Clair at www.bekekoa.com.

2. tgin Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo
Although I'm a total product junkie, when I find a good product, I hold on to it for dear life. Such is the case for tgin's Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo. I first encountered tgin's shampoo in November 2013, and I have never been without it in my product stash since. It's not a clarifying shampoo, but it is a super sudsy shampoo that is great for removing product buildup from the hair and scalp. It's enriched with coconut and amla oils to keep the hair moisturized and shiny. And of course, the slip is totally there. What I love about the Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo is that it's gentle enough for weekly use, if you're the type of person that prefers shampoos to co-washes. Oh, and you can totally pick this up at Target now, since tgin hit the shelves earlier this month! Click here for my full tgin review!

3. Ouidad Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo
When I first tried the Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo, it was being put to the ultimate test. I had just finished swimming, and my chlorine had completely tangled my hair. I hopped in the shower, armed with the Superfruit Renewal and just enough conditioner to follow-up after cleaning with. I was completely floored when I was able to detangle and cleanse my hair with a clarifying shampoo in one swoop. On top of that, it smelled absolutely heavenly, had a super creamy texture, and helped smooth my frizz. After that experience, I knew Superfruit Renewal was a keeper, and it has been in my arsenal ever since. Click here to check out my review! Ouidad's Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo can be picked up at Ulta stores nationwide.

What's your favorite slippery, sudsy shampoo for natural hair?

Mar 23, 2015

Inahsi Naturals Product Line Review

Inahsi Naturals Product Line Review

I won't lie, as a product junkie and avid proponent of supporting small businesses, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Inahsi Naturals products. Founded and ran by husband and wife team Brian and Rhonda Marshall, Inahsi Naturals is quickly emerging as a serious contender in the natural hair care world. Rhonda is a cosmetic chemist (and science teacher!) by trade, with the degrees to back it up. She has been whipping up natural hair goodies for herself, her daughter, family, and friends for years, which inspired the creation of Inahsi Naturals. Simply put, Rhonda knows her stuff! All of the formulations for Inahsi Naturals are her own creation, and her husband Brian is instrumental in running the business end of the brand. 


The Inahsi Naturals hair collection consists of three products -- the Aloe Hibiscus Leave-In Conditioner, Coconut Avocado Curl Defining Custard, and Moisturizing Hair Whip. The fragrance of all three is "Island Breeze", and let me just tell you that it smells good enough to eat! The light, sweet, tropical, and slightly fruity aroma makes using these products an even more pleasurable experience. Since I'm talking about experience here, how about I just dive on in to this review?

Aloe Hibiscus Leave-In

Top Ingredient 411:
  • Aloe Vera 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.
  • 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. 
  • Castor Seed Oil: Thick, highly viscous oil with antibacterial, antifungal, and humectant properties. It is also a great moisture sealant, and promotes hair thickening and growth.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: A gel-like molecule naturally produced within the human body that hydrates the skin and hair, keeping them supple, elastic, plump, and youthful. Hyaluronic Acid applied topically to the hair, scalp, and skin boosts hydration and fights the signs of aging and damage.
  • Panthenol: Vitamin B5, known for quick absorption into hair and providing moisture control.
Ingredient List: 
Distilled Water, Aloe Vera Juice, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Panthenol-DL (Pro Vitamin B5), Cetyl alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Hibiscus Extract, Nettle Extract, Horsetail Extract, Marshmallow Root Extract, Silver Dihydrogen Citrate, Potassium Sorbate, Natural Fragrances.

Product Performance:
Of all the Inahsi Naturals products, I'm pretty sure that the Aloe Hibiscus Leave-In is my favorite, for a number of reasons. Beyond the fragrance that I'm totally infatuated with, I absolutely love everything about the leave-in -- from the consistency and feel, to the performance and how well it plays with other products. The leave-in is very creamy and smooth, but does not feel greasy, or waxy whatsoever. It's the perfect hydrating foundation for whatever style you're going for. It's performs exceptionally well as a leave-in, and had enough slip to work effortlessly through my curls. The leave-in is pretty much foolproof -- you can use a little or a lot and still get great results without your hair feeling parched or weighed down with product. I also appreciate how well the leave-in played with the Inahsi Naturals Coconut Avocado Curl Defining Custard, and other curl definers by other brands. A leave-in that works well across a number of products is a must for me!

Curious about Inahsi Naturals? Click here to read about the Moisturizing Hair Whip and Coconut Avocado Curl Enhancing Custard on NaturallyCurly.com!

Mar 18, 2015

The 5 Best Deep Conditioners for Medium/High Porosity Natural Hair

The 5 Best Deep Conditioners for Medium/High Porosity Natural Hair

Porosity is a hot issue when it comes to natural hair, as it is the way that many of us came to learn and understand the needs of our highly textured hair. To be completely honest, I never delved too much into porosity as a transitioner. When you've got heat damage, worrying about porosity is borderline pointless because well, the cuticles are damaged and any porosity reading you glean from the damaged hair will be inaccurate (and you're going to be cutting away at that hair anyway). Needless to say, I didn't start concerning myself with porosity until long after I had chopped my damage off, and was working with completely natural hair. Getting hair color back in October (wow that was a long time ago lol) only heightened my awareness and experience with porosity changes in natural hair.

The truth is, there are tons of resources available online for ladies with low porosity hair (and thank you all for chiming in via comments to help educate me on lo-po hair issues), so I think we've pretty much got that covered. I'd like share some information for the ladies who's levels are similar to mine -- on the high end of medium porosity (or heck, even high porosity). We have needs too!

Medium/high porosity natural hair is characterized by the ability to absorb penetrating ingredients quite easily. Water and water-based products don't just cascade off of or sit on top of the hair, they are "soaked in" because cuticles may be lifted in some areas (damaged), and less tightly compacted in others. This same cuticle structure lends itself to medium/high porosity hair not as easily retaining moisture, and feeling dried out in the days following wash day. The lack of internal hydration found in medium/high porosity natural hair can lead to brittleness/decreased elasticity,  increased split ends, breakage, and of course, not meeting your length retention goals. If gone unchecked over time, you may end up feeling like your hair "isn't growing", or have reached a length plateau -- and your hair's medium/high porosity may be to blame. 

So without further delay, here are my deep conditioner recommendations for ladies with medium/high porosity hair:

The 5 Best Deep Conditioners for Medium/High Porosity Natural Hair


1. Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask
Don't tell me you didn't see this one coming! Therapy Session is like, deep conditioning bae. That pretty pink jar never disappoints. Not never. However, there is a method to the madness -- a reason I keep coming back. There are 3 ingredients that make Therapy Session like gold for me: panthenol, Keravis protein, and dimethicone (yes, dimethicone). Panthenol (aka Pro-Vitamin B5) is a humectant and hydration boosting ingredient. It significantly enhances water uptake into the hair, which in turn helps ward off dehydration, breakage, and splitting. Keravis protein, which I talk about at length here, 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. Lastly, dimethicone acts as a conditioning agent, helping to smooth the cuticle cracks on the surface of the hair while performing lightweight "sealing" to aid in moisture retention. This 3 ingredient cocktail (with jojoba oil to boot) helps to increase the internal moisture balance of medium/high porosity hair while helping to make it stronger, smoother, and resist breakage. 

A note on dimethicone (and silicones in general): A number of you reading this may be on the Curly Girl journey, avoiding silicones at all costs. I'm always a fan of "do you boo", but with one caveat. Be educated and properly informed before taking up a particular mantra. If you have a moral aversion to siliciones, or they make your scalp break out, then I understand and that's okay. But some people hate siliciones because their favorite YouTuber hates silicones, and that's not okay. Liking or disliking something just because someone said so is not the way to go about life. Do your own research, educate yourself, and develop and informed opinion. I happen to like siliciones, as long as the price point reflects the silicione content (i.e. I'm not paying $40 for a 2oz "miracle" oil that's cylopentasiloxane and dimethicone based). Silicones on the whole, are conditioning ingredients. Some rinse off with water, others evaporate, and still others (like dimethione) remain on the hair and require washing to remove. That's no different than what you must do to your hair after using oils and butters. Even when using oils and butters, you have to clarify every once in a while to remove buildup. I know this is getting long-winded, but my point here is to stop vilifying an ingredient based on faulty information (or no information at all). 

I happen to like silicones, because without them, most of my color-treated hair would have gone down my shower drain by now. So yeah, there's that.

2. Shea Moisture JBCO Strengthen, Grow & Restore Treatment Masque
I've written on the wonders of this deep conditioner before, and what keeps me coming back to it is the ingredient profile. It most certainly ain't the smell (oh, sweet play-doh, how I loathe thee). Much like Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask, the Shea Moisture JBCO Treatment Masque contains panthenol and Keravis Protein to hydrate and strengthen the hair.Not to mention the tons of oils and butters like coconut, shea, mango, olive, avocado, and castor that help soften and improve elasticity. 

3. ApHogee Curlific Texture Treatment
I love ApHogee's Curlific Texture Treatment for a few different reasons. One, it's geared toward meeting the needs of textured hair. Two, it's pH-balanced (as are all their products). Three, it contains panthenol and hydrolyzed quinoa protein. Are you beginning to notice a pattern here? Hydration and strength are instrumental to the health of medium/high porosity natural hair. We've already discussed the function of panthenol, but hydrolyzed quinoa is just as (if not more) awesome. Quinoa protein is similar in makeup to animal protein, because of the amino acid profile. These aminos penetrate and nourish hair, providing smoothness, softness, hydration, sheen, and form a protective barrier against environmental stresses around the hair. The added benefit of pH balancing helps smooth and lay the cuticle flat, aiding in increased shine and moisture retention.

4. Giovanni Nutrafix Hair Reconstructor
This unassuming white tube flies under many naturalistas radars, and I can only assume it's because I don't see it in very many stores. Honestly, I only see it at Whole Foods and Sprouts. But don't let that deter you! This deep conditioner is a great alternative for ladies with medium/high porosity hair that may be protein sensitive. It will also please the Curly Girl crowd. It contains Vitamin E, sunflower seed oil, and tons of organic extracts like nettle, chamomile, and soybean to help strengthen the hair, improve elasticity, ciment the cuticle layer (seal in moisture), and reverse the signs of aging and damage to the hair. 

5. tgin Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner
Another pick for the protein sensitive crowd, or for those who don't want to overload on protein. I don't use protein-y deep conditioners every wash day, for fear of overdoing it. tgin Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner is my go-to protein-free conditioner. It works incredibly well on my medium/high porosity color-treated natural hair. The formula did chance to coincide with the Target launch, but it works just as well if not better than the old one. The new formula contains panthenol (I think you know the benefits by now), as well as championed oils and butters like coconut, shea, cupuacu, argan, and sweet almond. In addition to softening the hair and adding shine, these oils and butters help ciment (fill in/seal) spaces between the cuticle shingles along the hair shaft, aiding in moisture retention and improved elasticity. 

And finally, a few tips/reminders for my medium/high porosity naturalistas out there:

  • Try incorporating cold water rinses. The proteins in our hair are sensitive to temperature changes. Without making it too complicated, warmer water opens the cuticle more, while cold water helps it to flatten. To help with moisture retention, rinse your deep conditioner out with water that is as cold as you can manage -- somewhere between moderately cool and cold. 
  • Humectants! Because medium/high porosity hair loses moisture easily, feeding your strands with leave-ins and styling products that contain aloe, panthenol, castor oil, agave, sugar cane, and glycerin will help keep the hair from drying out.
  • Sealing helps. And I'm sure you already know why :)
  • For the love of God, please don't do a hair-in-glass-of-water porosity test. Just....don't.

What deep conditioners do you use on your medium/high porosity hair?

Mar 16, 2015

Tutorial: The Praying Hands Method for Smooth Curls with Less Frizz

Tutorial: The Praying Hands Method for Smooth Curls with Less Frizz

These days, I'm all about getting the most out of my wash and go. Some people chase curl definition for curl's sake, but I'm more of a curl convenience enthusiast. When I lay on the product, smoothing generous amounts of curl definer from root to end, I'm thinking about getting the most days out of my hair between wash days.

I've covered a lot of ground as far as wash and go's are concerned. I've shared my 7 secrets for the perfect wash and go, hacked diffusing, and broke down another product application method -- the Ouidad Rake & Shake.

This time around, we're digging a little deeper into the Praying Hands Method, which is exactly what it sounds like. With this method, instead of raking product through your curls, you rub it between your palms, and using praying hands, smooth product from root to end. It's not nearly as complicated as it sounds:



Products Used:
Zotos 180PRO Foaming Smoother
Be Kekoa Kukui Nectar Hydrate Conditioner
As I Am Smoothing Gel

Have you tried the Praying Hands Method? Read more about the benefits at NaturallyCurly.com!

Mar 14, 2015

Adventures of A Product Junkie: March 2015 Natural Hair Product Haul

Adventures of A Product Junkie: March 2015 Natural Hair Product Haul

I try really hard not to be a product junkie, I really do.

Let me quit lying. I kinda try...sometimes. But at this point, I need to seriously purge some products, and pump my brakes. I am OUT OF ROOM to store products. I can try and blame some things on large bottles and jars, but I know the real truth -- I just have too much ish. And I know some of you are waiting on that product stash video (I am going to film it next week) and some more empties (my new empties bag is full, stay tuned for that video too!). I'll be sure to let you know when those go live, so you can judge me in all of my product junkie-ness.

In the meantime, I wanted to chat a little bit about my March mini-haul. I try not to compulsively buy products in bulk anymore (especially new ones), so there's that #progress. But I also cannot resist the new product rush, so I caved in and spent a little coin on a handful of products ranging from old staples to somewhat questionable and new. Let's jump right in:

Adventures of A Product Junkie: March 2015 Natural Hair Product Haul

tgin Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner
If you know me, you know my love for tgin. And if you know my love for tgin, then you know how through the roof excited I got when I heard about them coming to Target stores nationwide this month. I've been loving tgin since my transitioning days, and you guys know for a product junkie, to stand by a brand's side for that long is nothing short of a miracle. My 3 must-haves from tgin are the Moisture Rich Sulfate-Free Shampoo, Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner, and Twist & Define Cream. The Honey Miracle Hair Mask is good, but Triple Moisture is bae. So it was only natural that my inaugural purchase to support their launch be the Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner. I know someone asked (Shontae S, was it you?) about the difference between the new formula they released with added cupuacu butter and argan oil, and the old formula, and to be honest, it just dawned on me that the formulations are different. I used the new formula for my leave-in, and it was just as moisturizing and detangling as ever. I still have a corner of the old formula left, so I'll be doing an updated comparison review for those that are interested. But let's just suffice it to say that the new formula on Target shelves is just as awesome.

Camille Rose Naturals Coconut Water Leave-In Detangling Hair Treatment
Confession time: I cruise hashtags for fun. Sometimes, I cruise brand hashtags just to see what folks are saying. I was rolling through the Camille Rose Naturals hashtag, and an Instagrammer shared a photo of the Coconut Water Leave-In, and said that it was the best leave-in conditioner ever. You can bet your bottom bantu knot that during the very same trip to Target, I came across the leave-in and it came home with me. I haven't used it yet, but so far I love the sweet coconut fragrance, and it feels pretty thick and moisturizing. Besides, the cool aquamarine/teal labeling is so cute to me. I'll keep you guys updated with a review soon!

Be Kekoa Be Clean Cleansing Conditioner
When you believe in a brand, you support them, period. A lot of folks are under the misconception that bloggers don't pay for anything. Especially when it comes to brands they produce sponsored content for. I'm sure some of your favorite bloggers and YouTubers live on the freebies, but Christina don't play that. Yes, I do receive a fair amount of products for free, and for that I am grateful. However, I do understand that these people have brands and businesses to run, and that takes money. The same way I can't be expected to pay my car note in conditioner, I can't expect natural hair business owners to pay their staff (and themselves) in product reviews. So yes, when I went to Temecula on Monday of this week, Brandie of Be Kekoa was generous enough to give me another salon-sized bottle of Be Clean Cleansing Conditioner (because my last bottle was riding on E). But I also purchased one. Not only because I love Be Clean, but because I believe in her brand and believe in that authentic experience of supporting her work. :::dismounts from soapbox:::

Eden BodyWorks Kids Cocoa Shea Berry Natural Leave-In Detangler
When I first caught wind of Eden BodyWorks releasing a kid's line, I got excited for some reason. I don't have kids, and don't plan to for some time. I just like to see brands grow and become more successful. Something between the words coco, berry, and detangler got me curious, and I knew that if I was going to try anything from the kid's line, it would be the spray. Can I tell you that it smells exactly how I thought it would? Sweet and subtle berry-liciousness that almost makes me want to taste it. I just bought it yesterday, so I've only used it once to hydrate my ends before bedtime. I'm not sure about the detangling or hydrating prowess of the product just yet, I only know that it smells amazing. I'll keep you guys updated in a review -- I might even borrow my three nephews heads to test it out on (thanks in advance April) too. Just know that at worst, I have a cute hair perfume for spring/summer.

Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask
Nothing new to report here, folks. I still love Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask. Everything I said in my initial review still stands. It's pretty much a no-fail, HG staple that I always have on hand. I tend to pick it up when Ulta has it on sale -- either for $11, or buy one get one half-off (with my $3.50 off $10 coupon of course).

Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter Anti-Breakage Leave-In Conditioner
I'll be honest here -- on a recent trip to Sally's, I was killing a few spare moments I had, just perusing the aisles checking for anything new and different. I know this Elasta QP leave-in is a little off the beaten path for me, and most certainly nothing new, but I was drawn in by 3 things: It was $7.99 for 32oz, the top ingredients looked amazing (actually), and I had a coupon. I just couldn't say no. At worst, I'd be handing off a vat of leave-in to a friend or family member. At best, I'll have a lifetime supply of leave-in to work with. Review coming soon, of course.

Well, that's all of my product junkie-ing for the month of March. I shant spend another penny on product....until April or May. Truthfully, I could probably get away not buying anything until August 2018 lol.

What products have piqued your interest//have you picked up this month? #productjunkiesunite!

Mar 12, 2015

I'm In Love with Ecoco (My Eco Styler Gel Revelation)

I'm In Love with Ecoco (My Eco Styler Gel Revelation)
Photo Credit: ME! I'm getting better y'all....
:::beat drops:::
I'm in LOVE wit Ecoco
I'm in LOVE wit Ecoco
Sally's got it for tha low-low...
Argan Oil, I got Argan Oil!

Let me stop riiiiiight there. I really can't stand that song, but it made it's way onto my Spotify gym playlist, sooo....there's that. Actually, the inspiration for this post (and the graphic, of course) came to me as I was on the treadmill listening to this very song. After hitting my cardio, I went to the restroom, and as I was washing my hands, I checked the mirror. My wash and go curls were still on point, even though I had been sweating like a crazy woman. I said to myself, "Okay Eco Styler, I see you!", and went on about my workout. When I got home, my curls were still standing. Next day, same thing. Day after that, same thing.

Then it hit me -- I'm in LOVE with Ecoco! (by the way, Ecoco Inc. is the name of the company behind Eco Styler.)

Because the intensity of my workouts has increased something serious, I've found myself in a must-wash situation by day 3, and sometimes day 2. I don't sweat a whole lot in my scalp, but sometimes my beloved curl definers can't keep up with the demands of 30-40 minutes of intense cardio, 45 minutes of weight training, and sauna time. This week, I was forced to face a hard truth (that I had been trying to avoid): Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel just might be my HG curl definer for 2015.

I'm In Love with Ecoco (My Eco Styler Gel Revelation)
Hair looking like this after 3 days of crazy workouts!!!
Before I sat down to write this post, I thought long and hard about what I was going to say. Yes, 75% if the YouTube tutorials I see for wash and go's involve Eco Styler Gel. Heck, MahoganyCurls dedicated an entire video to decoding the different colors and hold levels. But I wanted to be above the fray (so to speak), and I became obsessed with finding other gels that would work just as well (if not better) than Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel. And the truth is, although I would stray (and develop an affinity for some other gels, like these here from my Christina's Choice 2014 list), I could never be without a jar of Eco Styler on hand. It was my constant, my no-fail gel.

I thought of every reason why I could dislike or discount Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel -- and those same things I thought were "wrong" with Eco Styler, were the very things that made it so right for my hair. Eco Styler is much different from botanical gels -- it contains lots of synthetic ingredients. As it turns out, that's okay, because the price point of the gel aligns with the product composition. Translation: the source materials for the gel are inexpensive, and the gel itself is well, inexpensive to purchase as a result. Eco Styler is also a carbomer-based gel (which makes it super thick), and although some folks aren't fans (preferring aloe-based gels and the like), carbomer is just fine by me. In fact, I've discovered that carbomer-containing gels work best on my hair -- providing that plumped curl definition that I love. The fact that there's very little argan oil in the gel doesn't bother me -- it just is what it is. For $6 and 32oz, I won't complain.

I'm In Love with Ecoco (My Eco Styler Gel Revelation)
The evolution of an Eco Styler wash and go
When I first reviewed Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel wayyyy back in March of 2012, I was transitioning and only looking at the gel through the lens of being an edge tamer. Three years later, I'm using it to make my curls pop. Admittedly, once I apply the gel, my curls look weighed down and stringy, but when they air dry, something magical happens. They're shiny, well-defined, bouncy, and virtually frizz free. There is a little crunch, but I don't let the gel cast bother me. I've said it dozens of times before -- gel casts help maintain the wear of the curl longer. I even used the gel here, to demo the Ouidad Rake & Shake method for defined, plump curls. As a styler, it doesn't flake, doesn't dry my hair out, and can even be re-applied to hair without causing buildup issues. Some nights, I'll dab a little more Eco Styler on my roots (after spritzing/moisturizing my hair), to help keep that area in check and avoid super fuzzy next day hair.

The one thing that does give me pause with Eco Styler gel is the fact that it is so damn hard to find a product to mix it with. 80% of my leave-ins and moisturizers won't work with Eco Styler Gel. In fact, I have a very limited stash of products that do work -- like LRC Shake & Go, As I Am Leave-In Conditioner, and Be Kekoa Kukui Nectar Hydrate Conditioner. If I do decide to roll with Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel as my 2015 HG, there will be some very serious product purging in the near future. But for right now, this product junkie won't fight the funk. I'm in love with a cheapie, readily available on the ground gel that comes in a lifetime supply vat.

In conclusion, if you see my "hair 411" social media posts begin to look a little predictable and boring, just know: I'm in LOVE with Ecoco!

Do you share my same love for Eco Styler gel, or is it a fail for you? Let me know in the comments below!

Mar 11, 2015

2015 Product Fails [Giovanni Blackberry & Coconut Milk Intensive Hair Mask // Shea Moisture Yucca & Plantain Firm Hold Gel Cream]

2015 Product Fails [Giovanni Blackberry & Coconut Milk Intensive Hair Mask // Shea Moisture Yucca & Plantain Firm Hold Gel Cream]

I know you guys are used to full-on reviews, and they are coming most definitely. But this time around, I decided to do something a little different and make a quick (like 14 minute lol) video on two new products that just came out in 2015: the Giovanni 2 Chic Blackberry & Coconut Milk Ultra-Repair Intensive Hair Mask, and Shea Moisture Yucca & Plantain Anti-Breakage Firm Hold Gel Cream. I by NO means needed another deep conditioner and curl definer, but if you know me you know I'm a sucker for those two types of products!!! I went to Ulta and Target, and my product junkie tendencies got the best of me!

I had high hopes for both, but they ultimately let me down. Check out the mini product review below, and let me know your thoughts on the two products!



Which products aren't working for you thus far in 2015?

Mar 10, 2015

Post-Workout Tips: How to Protect Your Natural Hair in a Dry Sauna

Post-Workout Tips: How to Protect Your Natural Hair in a Dry Sauna

I joined a new gym recently, and I'm so excited to have finally been re-united with the sauna. For me, it's the perfect ending to a workout and a wonderful way to be still, breathe, sit in silence, and think. Truth be told before recent months, it had been years before I last sat in a sauna. Back then (like seriously, 2009/2010), I was rocking straight hair and didn't pay too much attention one way or another to my hair (except for the obvious concern of sweating out my roots). Fast forward to 2015, and I'm well into my natural hair journey and rocking a head full of curls. Because moisture is so important to the health and vitality of our hair, protecting our kinks, coils, curls, and waves from the dry heat of the sauna is a must. Luckily, these past several weeks have afforded me many opportunities to experiment with different methods of protecting my hair -- and now I have some tips to share! Keep reading to find out how to protect your hair in the sauna before you even set foot inside, and what to do after you come out!

Before Stepping In, Check Your Regimen
I'm all about preventative measures, so whatever I can do to give myself a leg up is virtually a no-brainer. If sauna time is or will be a part of your health and wellness journey, make sure that your normal haircare regimen reflects it. What I mean here is make sure that you're deep conditioning regularly, and sealing in moisture. Deep conditioning restores and helps maintain internal hydration within the hair, while using leave-ins, oils, and creams (LOC method) helps to keep moisture in and form a barrier between your tresses and the dry heat. Making a regular practice of deep conditioning and the LOC method will help prevent your hair from drying out in the long run. Click here to learn everything you need to know about deep conditioning.

So, your regimen is on point you say? Then head on over to NaturallyCurly.com to check out my tips for protecting your natural hair before stepping into the sauna! 

Mar 9, 2015

Thinking About Coloring Your Natural Hair? Weigh the Pros and Cons First.

Thinking About Coloring Your Natural Hair? Weigh the Pros and Cons First.

One of the many reasons that inspires me to keep The Mane Objective going is the mere hope that someone, somewhere can learn something from my journey. Replicate my successes, gain an informed perspective on products, and avoid my mistakes like the plague. 

This article is something like the latter. Now, I'm not saying that dyeing my hair was a mistake. Although to be quite honest, if I could do it all over again, I wouldn't. This is not an indictment of Carleen (who did a fab color job that I get complimented on all the time), but rather an honest reflection of living the dye life. But you live and you learn, right?  Before I get too far in to my own personal musings on hair color, let me get to the heart of the matter at hand. 

Deciding to dye your natural hair can be thrilling and fun, or a complete pain in the kituckus. There are some definite benefits and drawbacks to the process. But before you pick up that box of dye or book a salon appointment, there are some serious factors that should be taken into consideration. Prior to taking the color plunge, consider the following list of (my personal) pros and cons:

Pros of Hair Color

1. It's a New Look!
The thought of adding a little flair to your hair is exciting. Hair color is a relatively painless way to give you and your hair a new attitude. Go dark, go light, go ombre, go mermaid, go highlights -- the possibilities are quite literally endless, and when you have a talented colorist behind you, a great dye job can highlight your natural beauty.

2. Hair Color Adds Dimension
When my hair was dark, I felt like the color fell flat, and the depth/thickness was difficult to capture because my hair was pretty much all one color. With a custom dye job, although my hair is red, there are highlights, lowlights, and everything in-between that has given my hair vibrancy and dimension. 

3. Natural Hair is the Ideal Hair
Some may fight me on this one, but from a hair integrity standpoint, natural hair is the perfect hair type to work on for a dye job. Hair that has not been previously damaged via heat or chemical process (whether it be relaxer or other dye) has a greater chance of withstanding the chemical changes the hair undergoes in the coloring process. Although some getting hair dyed may experience difficulty in uptake of dye (due to tightly compacted chemicals/low porosity hair), this is still infinitely better than previously damaged hair that breaks down with that same exposure.


Thinking About Coloring Your Natural Hair? Weigh the Pros and Cons First.
My dark versus light hair. Which one do you like more?
Cons of Hair Color

1. It's Customized Damage. Period.
I once read somewhere (I think it was a blog that belonged to a stylist/colorist) that hair dye is customized damage. I wish I had known that before I got my hair colored. I'm a firm believer that straight talk makes for good understanding, and this is about as straightforward as it gets. Dye will change your hair. In the process of lifting melanin (because that's what bleaches and ammonia do) from the hair and depositing color into it, cuticles have to be lifted, which can cause all sorts of issues from changes in porosity to weakening of the structural integrity of the strand. These issues can lead to curls going limp, drying out, breaking, or a combination of all 3. Which leads me to con #2...

2. Color Requires an Entirely NEW Regimen
Admittedly, this threw me for the BIGGEST loop. I didn't think I'd have to start building my regimen from scratch -- especially after I had already pretty much figured out what my hair liked and didn't like. Quite literally, everything I thought I knew about my hair went out the window. As it turns out, I'm not the only person with this experience. If the process of re-learning your hair is unappealing, this is definitely something to consider.


3. Your Hair Will Be Lackluster (Literally.)
Making my hair shine while it was dark was pretty much a walk in the park. After my dye job, I have been having a dickens of a time getting the natural luster I used to have come through. I can use the same product to add shine to my roots and length, and my roots will look shiny and glorious, while the dyed length will remain....underwhelming. Dark hair shines more and appears healthier, while color treated hair is dull and lacks vibrancy. Dyed hair impacts the cuticle layer of the hair, which impacts porosity, which impacts shine. 

Well, those are my 6 pros and cons -- solely based on my experience. In the beginning, I stated that if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't have dyed my hair. Why? Although I love the red and get tons of compliments, the upkeep gives me night terrors. I'm a low-maintenance kind of gal, and juggling protein treatments with extra moisturizing deep conditioners, and counting the number of times I co-wash before shampooing can be a bit much, even for me. Not to mention throwing in my regular henna treatments, and trying to keep my hair decently moisturized. On that note, thank God for Be Kekoa Be Clean and Mud Rinses. Y'all the real MVPs.

Kevin Durant You The Real MVP
Even KD thinks so.
Are you considering the color plunge this spring? If so, what are some of your concerns? Let me know in the comments below!

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