Apr 19, 2015

3 Vanity Habits Stalling Your Healthy Natural Hair Journey

3 Vanity Habits Stalling Your Healthy Natural Hair Journey

Before you guys get all angry with me and want to burn me at the stakes, let me say this: all opinions expressed within this post are my own. They are not meant to deride, disrespect, or suggest that beliefs contrary to mine are unworthy or inaccurate. I'm not attempting to bombard you with regulations, or create new natural hair "rules". I'm far from what most would consider a "Natural Nazi". I'm just sharing what I think, what I feel, and what could possibly be keeping some of us from achieving the healthiest hair possible.

Being "hair-ready" for the 'gram is one thing, but what happens wit that hair after all the photos are filtered and posted is another. 

I could go on a week-long diatribe about the intersection of vanity, self-worth, and how social media drives our narcissism and need for attention, but that's not what this post is about -- kinda. If you guys notice, I've been doing a little less social posting and blogging recently. The reason is twofold. One, I'm a little busy with a few other things (which I'll share in a later post). Two, every once in a while I like to sit back and observe -- trends, what's popular, what's not, and what is and isn't working. I even did a little experiment with you guys -- and I'll reveal what that was later. In the process of being more observant, I've began to notice some trends with natural hair that I'm really not a fan of. I don't mean to be all preachy and judgy (see disclaimer above), but there are some things that used to be "few and far between" that are becoming increasingly commonplace. I'm always Team #DoYouBoo, but I just want us to understand that a lot of this "doing" comes at a price -- the health of our hair.

Let's discuss what 3 vanity habits may be keeping you from your healthy hair goals:

1. Picking & Teasing to the Gawds
I know, this may seem weird to some of you. Picking and teasing is par for the course for many popular vloggers and Instagrammers. It's how they achieve that big, otherworldly fullness that gets reposted and oogled over. Make no mistake -- I think the results are consistently gorgeous. But the truth is, in order to maintain that fullness, the hair has to be consistently manipulated -- leading to breakage, increased tangles, and a wash day that nightmares are made of. Most of our hair grows up and out, so relatively speaking, fullness isn't difficult to achieve (unless you have low density hair). If you want to experience big hair without the damaging side effects, try getting a cut or trim to add shape back into your hair, or experiment with lighter hold products like curl creams and leave-in conditioners. Breaking a gel cast is fine, as is a little fluffing and shaking (I do both). But I'm not really feeling the idea of picking and teasing hair to fool folks into thinking I've got more hair than I actually do, and risking having less hair in the end because of it.

2. Nightly Overmanipulation
If you know me, then you know I'm probably closer to a lazy natural than anything else. Even as a transitioner, I didn't believe in nightly manipulation of my hair. It's just entirely too much work. After blogging, working, running errands, (sometimes) cooking, and working out pretty much daily, I'm pooped. I can't muster up any nightly regimen that's more than a minute and a half long. I know many ladies feel the pressure to make that twist-out last, or keep that braid and curl popping all week, but in the long run, nightly manipulation (and over-manipulation) can be doing more harm than good. You may notice over time that the ends of your hair are thinning, or that you've got more breakage along the parts you section your hair. These are signs that nightly overmanipulation of your hair isn't working for you. To be honest with you all,  had to fall back on banding because I started noticing a lot more fuzzy short root syndrome (aka breakage) where my banded sections were. I have a way less harmful workaround that I'm using now, which I share in my updated routine post. If you're used to re-braiding, twisting, or perm rodding nightly to maintain your style, I challenge you to get creative and think outside the box when it comes to your nighttime routine. Keep it simple, but possibly look for nontraditional ways to maintain your look. For example, my boyfriend's mom (not to be putting her business out there like that lol), uses a flexi rod around sections of her hair to help gently stretch the roots and keep the hair secure in her scarf during pineappling. Heck, even I put a different spin on a wig net for a while...

3. Starting Everything with a Blowout
I know ladies, stretched hair is ev-er-ry-thang. It helps you achieve more elongated styles, and allows you to show off a little extra fullness with a side of length. For some of you, it may even ease the drama and tangling associated with highly textured hair. But too much of a good thing can be bad for your healthy hair journey. Blow drying with heat causes a "flash drying" effect, which literally zaps the moisture from the surface of the hair as well as the water deep within the cortex. As a result, the cuticles of the hair become dry, stiff, and brittle. When the hair is flexed or moved, the pressure of the movement causes the cuticles to crack In this weakened state, making the hair more susceptible to breakage during manipulation such as styling and combing. You can help counter that with some of these tips, but I would also encourage you to find other ways to achieve similar results. Loosely twisting or braiding the hair and sitting under a hooded dryer (indirect heat) or air drying before styling works, as does loosely stretching and clipping around your head (a la silk wrap). And of course, if you're going to use direct or indirect heat anyway, at least use a good heat protectant.

More: Organic Heat Pro All-Natural Heat Protection Spray Review
More: How to Flat Iron Natural Hair and Not Get Heat Damage

Well ladies, that's all I got. Remember, I'm always a fan of doing you -- but if the healthiest hair possible is your goal, you may want to re-think these practices in your regimen. What vanity habits did you have to fall back on in pursuit of healthy hair?

Apr 16, 2015

How I Use Be Kekoa Products on Wash Day

How I Use Be Kekoa Products on Wash Day

Wash day (for me) in an intimate process, which is why I haven't had a "wash day video" until now. I'm not totally comfortable with the idea of setting up my camera while I shower, and I am not a fan of the idea of wearing clothes//a swimsuit while I shower. Plus, the few times I did try to capture even a few still shots of my hair during cleansing, my lens would fog up. But I really wanted to show you guys how easy my wash day has become since Be Kekoa came in to my life. Plus, I just had to let you all witness the super slip and performance of Be Kekoa products that I rave about. In this video, you'll see me use:

How I Use Be Kekoa Products on Wash Day

Be Kekoa Enzyme Scalp Cleanser: A water-based spray formula with natural enzymes to help cleanse and soothe scalp conditions like dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis. Unfortunately, this product is sold only in the Be Kekoa Salon in Temecula, CA. My Cali curlies can get their hands on this one by visiting Be Kekoa Salon.

Be Kekoa Be Clean Cleansing Conditioner: aka Bae Clean. My absolute hands down favorite Be Kekoa product. It's creamy, moisturizing, has tons of slip, gently cleanses, and gives the scalp a cool tingly feeling while leaving the hair soft and shiny. I can go on and on forever about this stuff, so for the sake of space, just click here to read my Be Kekoa Bae Clean review. For more information and to purchase, visit www.bekekoa.com

How I Use Be Kekoa Products on Wash Day

Be Kekoa Be Clair Sulfate Free Clarifying Shampoo: Review on this gem coming soon! I already talked about it in this article here, but Be Clair skyrocketed to my favorite shampoos list because it lathers well, cleanses without stripping, and has tons of slip. Yes, I can completely detangle my hair with shampoo on my clarifying wash days -- and in this video I show you proof. I might change this shampoo's name to Bae Clair... For more information and to purchase, visit www.bekekoa.com

3 Shampoos with Super Slip: http://bit.ly/superslip

Be Kekoa Be Moist Hydrating Conditioner: Another product I'll be reviewing this month. I absolutely love how versatile Be Moist is -- you can use it as a regular rinse out conditioner, a deep conditioner, or for a penetrating steam treatment. It's up to you! It has tons of slip and soaks right into the hair, which lets me know that my hair is taking in everything it needs (and trust me, my hair needs all the help it can get). For more information and to purchase, visit www.bekekoa.com

How I Use Be Kekoa Products on Wash Day

Be Kekoa Kukui Nectar Hydrate Conditioner: This is Be Kekoa's Curly Girl-friendly conditioning offering that Brandie Kekoa makes herself. It is a super moisturizing conditioner that provides tons of shine and hydration -- but I've also discovered that I really like it as a leave-in. It plays nicely with Eco Styler Gel, as you can see.  Unfortunately, this product is sold only in the Be Kekoa Salon in Temecula, CA. My Cali curlies can get their hands on this one by visiting Be Kekoa Salon.

Check out the video below, with Be Kekoa products in action:

And lastly, a nice little reminder straight from the Be Kekoa Salon:

How I Use Be Kekoa Products on Wash Day

Will you be giving Be Kekoa products a try?

Note: This article and video is sponsored by Be Kekoa. Per the FTC, I have to tell y'all that. But you guys know, I'm completely honest in how I feel about products whether a review or video is sponsored or not. All opinions expressed are my own, and I agreed to do this video because I believe in Be Kekoa products and I love using them.

Apr 14, 2015

Update: My Ridiculously Easy Nighttime Routine

Easy Nighttime Routine for Natural Curly Hair

Hey guys, so this post has been a wee bit overdue -- but it's finally here!

The reason there's been such a delay is because I've been experimenting with different techniques for nighttime curl preservation that not only keep my curls for a few days, but that aren't super extensive (read: don't take 20 minutes), and don't involve a whole lot of manipulation.

In my last nighttime routine video, I used my Q-Redew and Soultanicals Fluffalicious Curl Nutricious to refresh and rehydrate my day 2 hair, and then followed that up with some fancy pants banding. I was pretty much on the band-wagon (haha) since that video was made, up until a few months ago. Too much of a good thing can be bad, and I was beginning to notice that along the parts I banded, there was a little more breakage. So the crazed freak in me began searching for other alternatives to banding.

I tried pineappling without any stretch on my super shrinky front parts -- nope. I tried a reverse pineapple -- just tying my hair down and leaving the ends out -- more nope. I modified banding to one big section in the front of my hair, and that resulted in even more nope. I almost took the L and went back to banding -- but then I started thinking. Most days when I'm at the gym, I use my huge Karina banana clip to pull my hair back and out of my face, and it serves me well. I wondered if it would serve me the same overnight?

So for the past month, I've been testing it out. And although my hair isn't as super stretched as it would be with the banding and scarf pineapple, I'm still enjoying the way my hair turns out with this new routine. and without the increased nightly manipulation, my hair is thriving, there's no breakage, and my wash and go's last a few days longer.

Without further delay, here's my new ridiculously easy nighttime routine:

Step 1: Refresh curls with Be Kekoa Curl Refresher Spray and seal ends with JBCO.
Easy Nighttime Routine for Natural Curly Hair

Thanks to regimen tweaks like adding Roux Porosity Control to my wash day, my hair seems less chronically dry, and I'm able to go the first 3 days of my wash and go without applying heavy moisturizer. Be Kekoa Curl Refresher spray keeps my hair soft and hydrated, thanks to the aloe vera and glycerin content. If my hair is feeling especially dry, by day 4 or so I'll break out the Q-Redew and a heavier moisturizer (like one of my favorites listed here). Pretty much nightly, I rub a little JBCO between my palms and scrunch it into the ends of my curls. I discovered that scrunching oil in helps prevent frizzing and the disrupting of the curl pattern, while still protecting my ends. I also dab a little JBCO around my edges.

Step 2: Secure hair within banana clip.
Easy Nighttime Routine for Natural Curly Hair

I use this Karina Bronze Banana Clip that I purchased from Ulta. It's considerably bigger and heftier than your run of the mill banana clip, which in my opinion, makes it great for thick, textured hair.

Step 3: Tie satin scarf over hair.
Easy Nighttime Routine for Natural Curly Hair

Yes, I leave the ends of my hair hanging out. I don't find myself having too many issues with this, especially since I sleep on a satin pillowcase anyway.

Step 4: Turn on Netflix.
Haha, I'm kidding. Actually, I'm not. Netflix is a part of my nighttime routine. #dontjudgeme.

See? Simple! Thanks to this new routine, my bedtime prep is like a minute and a half, and my curls are thriving from the decreased manipulation. The hair pulled back into the banana clip (not tight at all, I still like having my edges) provides just enough stretch to the front of my hair. Bonus: this is a good nighttime method to try for transitioning hair, to preserve and maintain texture-blending styles.

How many times have you changed your nighttime routine since going natural? Share in the comments below!

Apr 8, 2015

#WorthEveryPenny: Shea Moisture Professional Curl Memory Leave-In Conditioner Review

Shea Moisture Professional Curl Memory Leave-In Conditioner Review

Yes y'all... Shea Moisture has a new line of products, and they're geared toward professionals. +Diane Mary actually hipped me to this one -- she mentioned it on Instagram at the same time that I was actually headed to Sally's. Yes, product junkies totally enable each other. As it turns out, the new Shea Moisture Professional has three different offshoots -- Curl Care, Color Care, and Keratin Care. You can check all of the products out (thus far) here on the Sally's website. As far as this product review is concerned, I'm going to be talking about the Shea Moisture Professional Cocoshea Biolipid Complex with Agave Nectar and Black Seed Oil Curl Memory Leave-In Conditioner. Yes, Shea Moisture is about that stealth mode product release life. And yes, they're still about that super extra hella long name life, too. To keep things sweet and simple, I'll be calling it Curl Memory Leave-In from here on out.
Shea Moisture Professional Curl Memory Leave-In Conditioner Review
Availability: Right now, I only see Shea Moisture Professionals products at Sally Beauty. I don't have any insider information on the distribution plan, so I have no idea if there are plans to put it in local beauty supply stores, Target, or Ulta.

Affordability: Be prepared to pay more for Shea Moisture Professional Curl Memory Leave-In Conditioner, and the professional line in general. The professional products are $21.99 without a Sally Beauty Club membership, and $19.99 with. The Curl Memory Leave-In was $19.99 and comes in a 16oz jar.

Ingredient List: Water, Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blends), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Stearyl Alcohol, Maltodextrin/VP Copolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Buter, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Nigella Sativa SeedOil, Melia Azadirachta Seed Oil, Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, Agave Tequilana Leaf Extract, Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Shea Butter Ethyl Esters, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tricholoma Matsutake Extract, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Glyceryl Undecylenate

Top Ingredient 411:
  • Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides: Fractionated coconut oil that is light weight, nutrient rich, and fast absorbing. All the benefits of coconut oil without the heaviness.
  • Glycerin: Generally vegetable-based humectant that absorbs and retains moisture from the air.
  • Cetyl 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.
  • Shea Butter: Emollient fat from the nut of the East or West African shea nut tree used to moisturize and soften hair.
  • Fragrance: Proprietary essential oil blend.
Product Claim/Description: Lock in definition, reduce shrinkage, block humidity. Discover the difference natural science makes to curly hair. Our proprietary Cocoshea Biolipid Complex helps define and lengthen even the tightest curls to reduce shrinkage. Natural lipids sheathe hair strands to help block humidity. This rich styling aid smoothes down hair cuticles and enhances curl patterns. Locks in definition while blocking humidity for lasting curl memory and frizz-free styles. Certified organic Shea Butter, Cupuacu Butter, and Black Seed Oil blend in a nourishing formula while Agave Nectar helps reduce frizz.

Shea Moisture Professional Curl Memory Leave-In Conditioner Review
Performance/Delivery: I can honestly say that I'm impressed by this product -- and it has definitely knocked their JBCO Leave-In out of the running. But before I share all of that, let's do a quick rundown. As far as the fragrance is concerned....ehhhh, I don't love it (like I love that Zanzibar Marine), but I don't hate it either (like that JBCO). It's just okay. To be so high up on the list, I expected something stronger, but it's nowhere near an all-out assault on my nostrils. The fragrance is kinda sweet and warm (with a sliiiiight undertone of play-doh), but I can't quite peg it. It's definitely work-withable though. As far as consistency, it appears a littlethicker than the JBCO leave-in, but when you actually work it through your fingers, it spreads easily and is relatively thin.

Now, let me tell you why I'm impressed. The second I decided to spend $20 on some Shea Moisture, I prayed for them. I prayed that whatever they claimed this jar would do, that it would do it well. One of Shea Moisture's great appeals (besides being a super dope Black-owned brand) is product quality relative to price point. This professional line upsets that balance a little bit. But when I tell you this leave-in is worth every dime, believe it. The Curl Memory Leave-In has cool slip (not tons but definitely enough), is really easy to work through the hair, and better still, my hair soaks it right up. It's super moisturizing without being extra greasy, which I appreciate. 

I did some fairly easy testing to gauge the claims of the Curl Memory Leave-In over other leave-ins I've used. Calling something "curl memory" and making repeated definition, elongation, and anti-frizz claims is pretty strong messaging, so I had to take the product to task. On both occasions, I used Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel -- so any differences in the appearance of my hair can be directly attributed to the Curl Memory Leave-In. 

In these photos, my hair is styled with another leave-in and Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel, on day 1 hair when wet, and later on at night after air drying.

Shea Moisture Professional Curl Memory Leave-In Conditioner Review

Shea Moisture Professional Curl Memory Leave-In Conditioner Review

And now with the Shea Moisture Curl Memory Leave-In and Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel, my hair is still wet and freshly styled in the first photo, and completely dry in the second picture:

Shea Moisture Professional Curl Memory Leave-In Conditioner Review

On completely wet hair, you can see that my curls definitely pop more while soaking wet with the Curl Memory Leave-In. When my hair is completely dry with Curl Memory versus with the other leave-in, my curl hasn't expanded as much, isn't frizzy AT ALL, and has incredible shine. Don't get my wrong, I love my hair in all the photos, but I can appreciate how Curl Memory helped "lock in" my curl on day 1, giving me the ability to get 5 days of definition, body, bounce, and moisture out of my hair. I could have gotten 6 days, but it rained. Here's some day 4 curl love:

Shea Moisture Professional Curl Memory Leave-In Conditioner Review
Honestly, this day 4 hair looks better than some 2nd day hair I've had.....
Now compare the Curl Memory Leave-In photos to this grid of days 1-3 with Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel and another leave-in:

Shea Moisture Professional Curl Memory Leave-In Conditioner Review


Drawbacks: Other than the price point, I can't really say there's a downside. Perhaps if they dropped it down to a 12oz jar and knocked about 7 dollars off? Even still, I'm hesitant to fully label the price point a drawback. If something works, it works, period. Although I'm not too proud to admit that I clutched my necklace when they scanned the jar and the price flashed on the screen. Lol.

Bonuses: For those of you who are all about the CG method life, the Curl Memory Leave-In is Curly Girl friendly. The absence or presence of silicones doesn't rock my boat one way or the other, but it's a nice tidbit of knowledge for those that do care. Another bonus I really appreciated about the product is how friggin moisturized it kept my hair. For the first two nights after using the Curl Memory Leave-In, I didn't need to put a single product on my hair before bed or at any point during the day. On the days following that, I didn't need to apply any heavy moisturizers -- just my Be Kekoa Curl Refresher Spray and Zotos Professional 180 Frizz Resister Dry Shine Oil Micromist (review on both coming soon), and my hair stayed super soft and retained definition for 5 days.

Bottom Line: Worth. Every. Penny. Yes I will buy it again, and yes it is an instant holy grail product. If you feel like your leave-in conditioner isn't laying a great foundation for your naturally curly hair style, this one is well worth exploring.

Overall Product Rating: 5 stars, without batting an eye. Oh, and it made Eco Styler not be drying or crunchy. #WorthEveryPenny

Best Practices: Apply the Curl Memory Leave-In to soaking wet hair in large sections. Before defining your curls in smaller sections, apply a little bit more of the leave-in before adding your gel or curl definer.

Will you be picking up anything from the Shea Moisture Professional line?

Apr 4, 2015

Spring Cleaning: 3 Signs You Need a Trim this Season

Spring Cleaning: 3 Signs You Need a Trim this Season

Spring's here! Spring's here!

Not that you needed a reminder or anything. I used to be a Summer-or-bust kind of gal (thanks, college), but more recently, I've been feeling the blossoming possibilities of springtime. Not only is the LA weather gorgeous (that's like 87% of the time anyway), but spring signifies new life, new beginnings, and a freshness that just can't be captured during any other season.

So yeah, about those ends....

Most haircare professionals will tell you that you should get your hair trimmed at the turn of every season. That works out to about every 3 months. If you regularly apply heat to your hair (blow dryer or flat iron), or have color, keeping that diligent of a schedule is a must. You can always adjust the frequency of your trims (up or down) depending upon your hair's specific needs. But, there are three signs you shouldn't ignore when it comes to your hair.If you're stumbling upon at least one of these signs, you need to make an appointment with some scissors -- either your own, or a pair in the hands of a trusted professional. Key word: trusted.

More: 2 Ways to Maintain Your Deva Cut at Home

Spring Cleaning: 3 Signs You Need a Trim this Season

Sign #1: Detangling Gets Harder
The first tell-tale sign that it's time for a trim is a fairly easy one to recognize. If you're like me and have a holy grail product that detangles your hair like it's nobody's business (for me it's Be Kekoa Bae Clean), and all of a sudden it's not working, that's a sign. True enough, your HG product not working could also be a sign that it's time for a shampoo. But if you notice it stops working riiiiight around the ends of your hair, shampoo ain't gonna fix that. Break out the scissors. You don't have to trim everything that's tangled -- just examine your ends closely (when dry) and you'll be able to pinpoint exactly where the troublemakers are. Once you nip them in the bud, detangling will become a breeze again, and all will be right with the universe.

Sign#2: Your Styles Aren't Working
For the past few weeks, I've been in a styling slump without the slightest clue as to why. I couldn't quite blame it on the styling products -- they're pretty much the same. I know which curl definers are a slam dunk for me (click here to read more about those). I wanted to blame my frequent workouts, but refreshing should be able to fix that. It seemed like no matter how I banded or pineappled, my hair was a mess the next day -- it just fell wrong. Believe it or not, a trim solved all that. As our hair grows out, the curls get weighed down and causes our natural hair to lose shape. Further compounding the problem, gnarly ends make otherwise healthy curls look limp and blah. Trimming away the dead weight will put the spring right back in your curls.

Spring Cleaning: 3 Signs You Need a Trim this Season

Sign #3: More Wispy Breakage than Normal
If on wash day you start seeing more wisps of breakage (you know what those little C and S shaped tendrils look like) than normal, you're likely due for a trim. Yes, some breakage is normal, but protein treatments and protective styling will only get you so far. Our ends weather and suffer cuticle damage as they age, leading to increased breakage. Nip breakage in the bud and keep your hair healthy by maintaining regularly scheduled trims.

All 3 signs had to hit me before I realized I was due for a trim. Don't be like me and ignore the warnings. How does your hair tip you off that it's time for a trim? Happy Spring cleaning!

Apr 2, 2015

Product Review: Shea Moisture Zanzibar Marine Complex Age-Defy & Color Protect Conditioner

Shea Moisture Zanzibar Marine Complex Age-Defy & Color Protect Conditioner

In 2014, I ragged on Shea Moisture a bit for being about that extra long product name life.

It appears that in 2015, they show no signs of slowing down whatsoever. The full name of this product is Shea Moisture Community Commerce Zanzibar Marine Complex Age-Defy & Color Protect Conditioner. That's 12 words, in case you cared. Enough ragging on Shea Moisture. Hopefully one day they'll pay attention to lil' ol' me and we can have a conversation about these incredibly verbose product names. Anywho, let's get on with this review.

Just so you guys know, this one is hot on the heels of the product release. I went into supersonic mode trying to hunt these products down. Not because I'm a product junkie or anything...but because you know, I care about you guys and want you to walk into Target armed with a detailed and honest review. The young lady in Target had to hunt these down in the stockroom for me, because they hadn't put up the endcap yet. #Shoutout to Target in Manhattan Beach for being about that extra-mile-for-customers life.

Ingredient List: water, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), stearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, glyceryl caprylate, hippophae rhamnoides oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, carrageenan, panthenol, argan oil, glycerin, hydroxyethylcellulose, tocopheryol acetate, laminaria saccharina extract, algae extract, sodium benzoate, aloe juice, plankton extract, hydrolyzed conchiolin protein, weber tequiliana azul extract, glyceryl undecylenate, fragrance (essential oil blend)

Top Ingredient 411:

  • butyspermum parkii (shea butter): emollient fat from the nut of the East or West African shea nut tree used to moisturize and soften hair.
  • stearyl & cetyl alcohols"fatty alcohols" -- NOT to be confused with drying alcohols such as ethyl. Both act as a lubricants, thickeners, and emollients. They also give conditioner its velvety feel without making hair greasy, and are additionally used to keep product ingredients from separating.
  • behentrimonium chloride: quaternary ammonium compound and close cousin of cetrimonium chloride. Also penetrates the hair, conditions, and acts as an anti-static and anti-microbial agent.
  • glyceryl caprylate: natural vegetable-based product thickener and enhancer made from the esters of glycerin and coconut or palm kernel oil
  • hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) oil: nutrient dense oil of the sea buckthorn berry, rich in essential vitamins, amino acids, and omegas which stimulate the follicles, rejuvenate the scalp and hair, and fight the signs of aging hair. Most prized for omega-7 content, which plays a critical role as a building block for hair and skin, fighting dryness, aging, and oxidative damage.

More: Why You Need Sea Buckthorn Oil in Your Regimen

Availability: Because this new addition to the Community Commerce line is available exclusively at Target as a part of the Made to Matter initiative, this one can't be found anywhere else. Target stores and Target.com are pretty much your only options.

Affordability: The 13oz bottle is regularly priced at $10.99, which is standard Shea Moisture pricing. Currently, all Shea Moisture products at Target are on sale, so I got two bottles (there was no way I was sending homegirl to the stock room for just one bottle -- that's rude!) for $9.89 each.

Product Claim/Description: With Black Pearl Protein and Sea Buckthorn Oil. Hair renewal recipe. A nutrient rich daily conditioner, infused with our exclusive blend of oils and marine botanicals including Carrageenan (Red Algae), that restores moisture. Added protein fortifies and strengthens protecting hair from color-fade, environmental stressors and future damage. Hair looks youthful and vibrant. Zanzibar Marine Complex is a blend of Kelp and Carrageenan (Red Algae), rich in polysaccharides, that protects and moisturizes hair. Black Pearl Protein natural marine minerals, a symbol of timeless elegance, fortifies and supports hair structure. Sea Buckthorn Oil, rich in Omegas 3,6,7 & 9, quenches and conditions for stronger and thicker hair.

Shea Moisture Zanzibar Marine Complex Age-Defy & Color Protect Conditioner

Performance/Delivery: First things first -- let's talk fragrance. Ah-MAY-zing. It reminds me a lot of the Manuka & Mafura line with that sweet-ish, sultry fragrance. Honestly, this stuff smells pretty darn sexy. Like, I might just have to go hunt down the body collection so I can be on my Shea Moisture smell good all Summer long. I see Shea Moisture is all about making up for the fragrance faux pas with the JBCO line.

Shea Moisture Zanzibar Marine Complex Age-Defy & Color Protect Conditioner
The consistency of the Zanzibar Marine Complex Conditioner is relatively thin, which is somewhat of a shock. I expected a little bit more thickness than what I got, but it's all good. It spreads easily and soaked right into my hair, both times that I tried it. I tried it first to detangle a section of my 4 day old dried out and trifilin' wash and go....and it was a pretty "meh" experience. I definitely didn't get as much slip as I anticipated. I proceeded to detangle as much as I could (I'd rate the sheer detangling power at about a 3 out of 5), and then shampooed the section to start off with a clean slate. I applied a generous amount of the Zanzibar Marine Complex Conditioner, and worked it through my hair. It was at this point that I discovered the conditioner isn't meant to detangle with (for me at least), it works best on hair that is already detangled, but has enough slip to easily work through and not tangle your hair back up. I filed that away in the memory bank.

I left it in my hair for about 5 minutes (the directions say 3 minutes, but 2 extra minutes never hurt anyone), and upon rinse-out, I cycled through a few different emotions. First, I was hopeful. As I rinsed the conditioner out, my hope faded because my hair didn't feel buttery smooth. After completely rinsing, my faith was virtually restored, because my hair felt pretty darn good. Not buttery velvet-like, but it definitely felt moisturized -- you know that hearty, moisturized feeling when your hair soaks up every bit of goodness that your conditioner had to offer? Yeah. It felt like that. When I looked in the mirror, I was low-key blown away. My hair had an intense vibrancy and shine --like, of epic proportions. I can honestly say I was unprepared for that shine -- especially from a silicone-free conditioner.

Drawbacks: The lack of slip initially was a bit of a bummer for me. It's not a total deal-breaker, just a ding on the record. Also, the fragrance (although I absolutely LOVE it) might be a bit overwhelming for some. But if you've ever smelled pure sea buckthorn oil, then you know why. That. Stuff. STINKS.

Bonuses: Aside from being totally enamored with the fragrance, I really am blown away by how vibrant it leaves the hair. You guys may think I'm making a big deal about shine, but when you have color treated hair, shine is like, the hardest thing to come by. Permanent dye dulls the hair, unless you go like, super dark brown or black. I've been trying to get my luster back, and I have a few products in my arsenal that help, but this could be a total game changer.

Bottom Line: As a color protecting conditioner, I definitely recommend this to anyone of any type or texture of hair that has color. I can't speak to the long-term color preservation (holler at me in two months) of the product, because it hasn't been out that long. But I can attest to the shine and vibrancy that it delivers to otherwise dull color-treated hair.

Overall Product Rating: A solid 4 Stars. It's a solid product overall, and it definitely delivers on that age defy/rejuvenating tip. I'm definitely looking forward to trying it in conjunction with the Zanzibar Marine Complex Leave-In Conditioner.

Best Practices: I definitely recommend using this conditioner during your wash day after you've already detangled. I don't recommend detangling with it -- especially for tangle-prone color treated hair.

Will you be trying the new Zanzibar Marine Complex line?

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Mar 28, 2015

My New Secret Weapon in the Battle Against Dry Natural Hair: Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner Review

My New Secret Weapon in the Battle Against Dry Natural Hair: Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner Review

If you follow me on Instagram (shameless plug), then you caught wind of my secret keepin' and hint dropping post:

My New Secret Weapon in the Battle Against Dry Natural Hair: Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner Review
I've been keeping a secret from you guys...I've been quietly testing out a new product (well, new o me at least) in an effort to re-invigorate and renew my curls. It's been helping sooooo much with frizz, smoothness, moisture retention, and shine. So what product is it? You'll just have to check he blog tomorrow! Oh, and if you recognize the bottle, just give me a wink ;-) -- don't ruin the surprise lol!
By the way, shoutout to @ecramology @edforward @jordan_spiva @cocoababy1222 @discreet_virgin @rachelsocially and @jdotdoc for winking with me!

Well now the secret is out: I've been playing in Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner. I remember first reading about Roux Porosity Control on Princess Linzz's Blog, and it was one of those things I filed away in my PJ memory bank, should I ever need it or encounter porosity issues. Lo and behold nearly a year and a half later, I'm glad I read Lindsey's post (hey boo!). As you guys know, getting real deal hair dye has rocked my lil' curly world. My colored hair behaves differently, looks differently, and interacts with products differently. As many bloggers and vloggers can attest to, getting your hair colored changes the porosity of your hair. It's drier, duller, more brittle, and takes a lot of work to maintain.

That's where Roux Porosity Control Corrector and Conditioner comes in. Keep reading for my full breakdown, and how I include it in my wash day regimen!

Ingredient List: Aqua (Water) (Eau), Propylene Glycol, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Parfum (Fragrance), Oleyl Betaine, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Panthenol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Lactic Acid, Keratin Amino Acids, Butylene Glycol, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Polysorbate 20, Tocopherol, Lecithin, Biotin, Linolenic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Inositol, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Limonene, Benzyl Salicylate, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylisothiazolinone, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Mica

Top Ingredient 411:

  • Propylene Glycol: Humectant that improves moisture binding activity which results in silky smooth hair.
  • Dicetyldimonium Chloride: Cationic surfactant and conditioning ingredient used to provide smoothness, shine, and ease of combing.
  • Parfum: Fragrance.
  • Oleyl Betaine: Hair conditioning and anti-static agent.
  • Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride: Naturally derived (guar bean) thickener and stabilizer

Availability: Roux Porosity Control Corrector and Conditioner is sold at Sally Beauty, as well as tons of beauty supply stores nationwide. You can use their nifty online store locator to find a retailer near you. I purchased my Roux Porosity Control Corrector and Conditioner at C&J Beauty Supply on Crenshaw & Imperial.

Affordability: It normally retails for $10 - $11, for a 10.1oz bottle, which isn't terribly priced. I got lucky though -- C&J actually has tons of the Roux products (I was told they had major overstock) for 50% off -- so I got mine for $5 each. Yes, I bought like 7 of them. #judgemeifyoumust #myhairneedsit

Product Claim/Description: Corrective care for porous, age-weakened hair. Equalize porosity and return hair to a balanced state for increased smoothness and vibrancy. Our scientifically proven formula enriched with keratin and anti-oxidant vitamins closes the cuticle with a pH of 4.5 to rebuild a barrier of protection and achieve predictable results prior to chemical service. Our rejuvenating Instant Vitality Complex works to infuse moisture, add manageability and a luminous shine. Used daily, it repairs porous hair and keeps damaged hair healthier and revitalized for more beautiful, younger-looking hair from the inside out.

My New Secret Weapon in the Battle Against Dry Natural Hair: Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner Review

Performance/Delivery: So. Much. Yes. Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner is very thin and super slippery in consistency. It's white, pearlesque, and will easily slip through your fingers or run out your hands if you're not careful. Now, before I tell you about everything Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner is, let me tell you what it is not. It's not a deep conditioner, regular conditioner, leave-in conditioner, or any sort of double-dipping replacement for a product in your regimen. It's a completely new addition, and an extra step (albeit short) in your wash day routine. Should you decide to use it, please know that the extra 30 seconds - 1 minute it adds is totally worth it.

We've chatted a few times here on the blog about porosity, so I'll try to keep this straight and to the point. Hair color, heat straightening, and other processes impact the porosity of the hair. Hair that is highly porous loses moisture easily, lacks shine, feels rough, has increased frizz, and is more prone to breakage. Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner helps correct porosity issues in the hair, and can be used after washing or before a chemical service.

More: 5 Deep Conditioners for Medium/High Porosity Hair 

My New Secret Weapon in the Battle Against Dry Natural Hair: Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner Review

I use Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner (okay, I'm tired of typing that, let's call it PCCC for short) as the final step in my wash day, right before adding my leave-in conditioner. I apply it generously from the ends of my hair on up. I don't finger it through, I smooth it on. It's very slippery, but because of where I use it during wash day, there's no point in me trying to detangle with it. I still use deep conditioners and mud rinses as well. So my wash day goes something like shampoo or co-wash ---> deep condition ---> mud rinse ---> Roux PCCC ---> leave in & style. Not bad, right? It's not a terribly inconvenient step, and it stays on my hair for 1 minute, tops. As a result, my hair is shinier, waaaaaaay less frizzy, smoother, stronger, and less prone to drying out. In other words, my hair behaves more like it did before I started playing around in hair color. For me, that's a huge relief.

My New Secret Weapon in the Battle Against Dry Natural Hair: Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner Review
Don't mind the white stuff -- I had just twisted my hair back shortly before this picture. It goes away.
Drawbacks: Not eeeeeven gonna lie on this one. The fragrance is skrong. It's definitely a chemical-esque smell that they tried their darndest to cover with perfume. Very far from natural. Something milder and in the minty family would have worked better for me, but the fragrance most certainly won't keep me away from this gem.

Bonuses: Colored. Hair. On. Fleek. When you use hair dye, natural curls become less elastic, more prone to breakage and splitting, and can end up feeling rough (and getting tangled more too). Roux PCCC solved alladat. My curls have more spring, just in time for well, Spring (let me be corny!).  In the brief time it was on my hair, I saw it work instantly:

My New Secret Weapon in the Battle Against Dry Natural Hair: Roux Porosity Control Corrector & Conditioner Review

Oh, and that's a huge bonus too. It works on the spot.

Bottom Line: If you've been fighting with your hair ever since getting a dye job, or have higher porosity hair in general, Roux Porosity Control Corrector and Conditioner is definitely worth a try.

Overall Product Rating: 4.5 stars. I can't deny how well it works, but the fragrance just gets me.

Best Practices: I highly recommend using it at the end of wash day, to help lay the cuticle flat and prepare the hair for styling. I recommend leaving it on for no more than 2 minutes, and rinsing it out with cool water.

For some of you, Roux may be old school. Did you use it back in the day? Newbies, have you tried it out? Leave your thoughts below!

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.


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!

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