Jun 17, 2015

You Asked I Answered: Hair Color Q&A for Natural Hair

Hair Color Q&A for Natural Hair


Hey guys! I'm really trying to get back into posting more, and just go get things revving back up again, I posted this on Instagram:

Hair Color Q&A for Natural Hair

And now I'm going to follow up and answer all of your questions as they rolled in! Keep this in mind though: I'm not a hair care professional. I did not attend cosmetology school, nor am I a colorist, cosmetic chemist, stylist, apprentice, or anything of the sort. I'm a blogger that talks to these kinds of people regularly for information + does a little independent research on the side. I can't be held liable for whatever happens to your hair as a result of this article. As with all things complex in hair care, I will always advise you to see a professional.  

@xhelloyellowx: How do you dye without ruining your curl pattern?
My best pre-dye advice is to make sure your hair is in tip-top shape. Make sure it's not breaking or shedding excessively, that you've got split ends under control, and don't have major moisture retention or porosity issues. If you're suffering with any of the above, permanent hair dye will do nothing but exacerbate the issue. As far as getting the color done the DIY vs. professional route, I'm always going to side with encouraging you to see a professional to get the color done properly. I've gone both routes, and the result was 137% better when I saw a professional. If you have previously colored hair, definitely see a professional. Trusting your dye job to a professional that understands textured hair will ensure that you leave the salon with your curl pattern very much in tact. Maintaining that curl pattern after the fact is a whole 'nother animal. If you're not careful, your curls will start to loosen and become lackluster. pH balancing, protein-heavy conditioners and super moisturizing products are a must. I'm working on a top 10 must-have for colored hair post, but definitely look into Roux and ApHogee (click each for review).

@611clayton1012: Is this color called berry red?
No Clay, it's actually Abrasive Red. (pardon this one guys #insider)

@msbaretta: Are temporary hair dyes damaging to the hair? I want to change my color but am a commitment phobe. I'm thinking about trying something that can wash out over time. Any suggestions?
There's tons of options for temporary dye that don't damage the hair. The first is the semi-permanent dye (aka cellophane), and the other options are things like sprays, hair chalks, eyeshadow, and color creams (like Manic Panic). The worst side effect of any of these temporary color changers is dryness to the hair, or having the color flake and rub off on your clothes. Those effects normally occur with the chalks, eyeshadows, and sprays. Using a semi-permanent dye shouldn't cause those issues -- mainly because it just deposits color and lightly conditions the hair (like a gloss), and comes out over the course of 4+ washes. The only trade-off with semi-permanent color is that it doesn't really show on top of dark hair. To see a little more boldness, experimenting with the sprays and chalks may be the way to go.

@sharondashariee: What is the best dye to use as far as brand, provides the most coverage, and lasts the longest?
That is a phenomenal question, and really difficult to answer. Each stylist or colorist will give you a different answer based on preference and experience. My best advice in this area is to speak with a colorist who deals specifically with textured hair.

@kayelaine: What changes in your regimen helped you hold on to moisture post color?
Lawwwwwwd I can write a whole post on this topic alone! I've had to totally revamp my regimen post-color. I'm going to do a post with the top 10 products I use to shape my colored curl regimen, but let me just put this out there: every product I use has to have at least two of these qualities: silicone, super hydrating, tons of slip, protein-rich, pH balancing. I'm not kidding either. But seriously, your regimen has to do darn near a 180 to make sure that the hair stays on your head.

@aintnannotha: 1. Rinse vs. Semi Permanent? 2. Hemp vs. Regular Color? 3. What kind of damages occur and how to recoup?
The major difference between a rinse/temporary color and a semi-permanent is that the rinse/temporary colors do not penetrate the cortex of the hair at all. They sit on the outside of the hair shaft, and are pretty much gone after 1-3 shampoos. Semi-permanents on the other hand, are able to somewhat penetrate the cortex and gently deposit color, and do so without ammonia or peroxide. They typically last up to 5 shampoos, depending upon what type of cleansing products you use and the porosity of your hair. Neither of these options will give you stunning, lightened color if your hair is not already dyed lighter than its natural color. You know those back-in-the-day cellophanes where you could only see the color in the sun? That's pretty much what those two are. I think you're talking about henna (not hemp), so let's dive into henna vs. regular hair dye. Henna (if 100% lawsonia inermis) is an all-natural plant native to Africa, Southern Asia, and Australia used to dye hair, skin, nails, and fabrics. It temporarily stains the aforementioned a reddish hue. The leaves of the plant are crushed and the dye is released using any number of liquids -- from hot water, to coffee or tea. Henna  does deposit color (also known as a "stain") onto the hair shaft, by binding to the keratin in the hair. Although it will fade, it is generally longer-lasting (in my experience) than semi-permanent color, but like semi-perms, also results in that "sun only" color unless your hair is dyed. For more detailed information about henna, read here. To get the 411 on my personal method for mixing henna, click here. Regular/permanent hair dye works by lifting the cuticle and depositing color (the extremely short version of this story). If your color involves bleaching, the cuticles are lifted and the melanin inside of your hair is destroyed. You can achieve any range of dynamic color with permanent dye, but of all the types of color mentioned, it is the most damaging. I 137% recommend seeing/consulting with a professional before taking the color plunge. I don't have all the answers as far as 100% recouping from damage, but here are a few leads:


4 Major Mistakes I Made and How You Can Avoid Being Like Me
Roux Porosity Control Correcting Conditioner: My New Secret Weapon
ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor Kept My Hair From Falling Out
5 Must-Have Products for Color Treated Curls
How to Maintain Vibrant Hair Color at Home

@chantelleyd: Same. Rinse vs. Semi Permananet vs. Color. I want to color my hair but not sure which is best after finally getting my hair officially rid of all the relaxed ends!

Hey girl! The dissertation answer I just gave @aintnannotha definitely applies here :) I can't tell you what to do with your hair (you know I'm team #doyouboo), but in my humble little opinion, after transitioning out damaged hair (and the struggle that comes with it), I'd be super hesitant to do anything that has the potential to drastically alter my curl pattern. Now, if you're all about that "it's hair, whatevs" life, then go for it! But if you want to revel and bask in your newly 100% natural hair, go for something non-damaging, like a semi-permanent. Of course the lack of vibrant color is a trade-off for tresses that will stay healthy. Be sure to keep us posted on what you decide!

@chanellehans: Hi!!! I just need some tips on treating my psoriasis please. Thanks!!!
Warning: if you don't have psoriasis, you might want to skip this question. Some folks find psoriasis gross and weird. If you're one of them, I won't judge you...just skip ahead :) Hey! I'm still struggling with psoriasis myself. I want to really buckle down and start experimenting with dietary changes to see if that helps at all. I've stayed away from the steroid treatment creams and ointments because I'm personally a little weary of them now. I've been using TriDerma Psoriasis Control Lotion on my face and body and the results are pretty good (I buy it at Target). Ashley's Naturals also has a Pumpkin Mask that is pretty epic for making your skin appear clearer and smoother (review coming soon)My psoriasis hasn't disappeared, but it's less scaly and inflamed, which makes it look not as bad. Definitely try it out. Also, here are some links to a few other resources on dealing with psoriasis:

Living with Psoriasis: Products that Help
Regulating Scalp Issues from the Inside Out
E-Mail Help for Psoriasis Sufferers
African Black Soap & Activated Charcoal for Psoriasis
Henna for Psoriasis

I hope this helps!

@greeneyedboricua: You're my Hair Crush it looks fabulous. I'm 4 months post my "Big Chop". Should I continue to steer clear of all chemicals so they don't hinder the health and growth of my hair?
Thank you so much!!! Those compliments really floor me XOXO. I want to help you make your decision, but I need to know -- what kind of chemicals are you talking about? Let me know in the comments and I can help you :)

@reignofdiamond: Is henna less damaging to the hair?
Ehhhh, it depends on who you ask. Some people say it loosens their curl pattern, although I've never personally experienced that. Some professional stylists despise henna and say it ruins the hair (but the ones I've overheard talk about it can never fully substantiate/articulate why). Other stylists that I have a personal rapport with explained that although they have no axe to grind against henna, it does make things more difficult if you're looking to use permanent dye in the future. Because henna coats and stains the hair, it can yield unpredictable and uneven color results. Is it safe to dye natural hair after using henna? Click here to find outFor more detailed information about henna, read here

@curlyhaired_doc: Is Demi damaging? I did a Semi red a few weeks ago but now I want black. Also, how soon is too soon if I want to do the Demi black?
Demi-permanent dye is different from semi-permanent in that it does require a low-level developer to gently lift the cuticle and deposit color. It doesn't contain ammonia and therefore does not strip the hair. How damaging it will be totally depends on the health of your hair overall. I would definitely consult with a professional first, but since semi-permanent only coats the outside of the hair, you're probably good to go after a few washes.

@msoutrageousity Regimen for blondes?
Unfortunately, the last time I had blonde hair was in 2008 and at the time I was a chronic flat ironer and not terribly concerned with health or length retention. Blonde hair requires special care because it is the most damaging color. I'll keep looking for a reputable source on this one. But in the meantime, check out these products for more information on caring for color-treated hair:

5 Must-Have Products for Color Treated Curls
5 Best Deep Conditioners for Medium-High Porosity Hair

And also, look into a good purple (yes, purple) shampoo and conditioner for blonde hair. Purple poos and conditioners help keep your blonde hair from turning awkward, brassy colors.

Thank you guys so much for your questions! This was fun! I think I may do more topic-related Q&A posts in the future -- let me know in the comments what topics you guys think I should open the floor to!

Jun 10, 2015

Get Ready for Summer: The $5 Wash and Go for Natural Hair

Get Ready for Summer with the 5 Dollar Wash and Go for Natural Hair

Am I the only one in complete and utter disbelief that it's freakin' JUNE already?! Where did 2015 go? Seriously, we're like 15 minutes from Christmas...sheesh! Since the year is speeding by, let me hurry up and get on with this post before I hit "publish" and realize it's September.

Every spring and summer, naturals all over ditch their traditional styling habits in pursuit of the wash and go lifestyle. I read and hear enough about the trials and tribulations of those who's wash and go days are few and far between. It typically goes something like this:

Step 1: Decide that it's hot enough out to try washing and going again.
Step 2: Google "wash and go tutorial for natural hair"
Step 3: Binge watch YouTube videos and obsessively read blog posts (hopefully some of them are mine...cough, cough, cough, and cough)
Step 4: Run to Target//Sally's//Ulta and spend $86.47 on leave-ins, curl primers, curl revitalizing sprays, curl defining custards, moisture butter creams, and curl puddings.
Step 5: Try 16 products in 52 different combination variations, and grow increasingly irritated with each failed attempt.
Step 6: Wash hair (again), pull out the "old faithful" twisting cream, and set your tried and true twist-out.
Step 7: Sit around and be pissed at the $86.47 you just wasted, while waiting for your twists to dry.
Step 8: Wear twists and twist-outs religiously through June 2016
Step 9: Repeat step 1.

Trial and error with natural hair can be expensive in general, but especially so when it comes to wash and go styling. You waste time, energy, and money trying to figure out which leave-ins and moisturizers are compatible with what gels, what gels make your hair stringy versus plump and defined, and of course, how to actually apply the products (rake and smooth, rake and shake, praying hands, etc.)

I think I may have the answer. Enter: The $5 Wash and Go

Get Ready for Summer with the 5 Dollar Wash and Go for Natural Hair
Curls courtesy of the $5 wash and go!
Hopefully, the product combination I'm about to share will help somebody somewhere who's a novice in the wash and go game, or perhaps a natural hair veteran who's about ready to give up on the style. As promised, all of the products I share in this post are available on the ground, fairly affordable, and work well together without white clumpy drama.

I initially rocked with this combination last summer, and I loved the results. This time around, I tweaked the lineup slightly and I'm absolutely in love even more. My hair is soft, shiny, defined, and has those plump, voluminous curls I love. So what's the combination? It's these 4 babies right here:

Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Leave-In: $9, 8oz Sally Beauty
I'm a long-time lover of Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Leave-In Conditioner, because it's not quite like the rest. Where most leave-ins are just watered down (or oddly thick) versions of a conditioner, Eden's leave-in has more of a primer/hair balm feel. It adds mega shine, cuts frizz, and intensely hydrates the hair. I apply the Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Leave-In to my soaking wet hair while still in the shower. I don't do too much raking, but a good amount of smoothing to really work it in and wring out the excess.

Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil: $6, 16oz Trader Joe's
You don't need another explanation for why coconut oil is dope, right? If you do, click here. Otherwise, we'll just proceed with the understanding that coconut oil is awesome, Trader Joe's is awesome, and therefore Trader Joe's virgin unrefined coconut oil is awesome. I take a few quarter sized amounts and alternate between smoothing and squeezing the oil into my hair, to seal in the leave-in. I concentrate the most on the mid-shaft through ends where my color is for extra moisture and protection from dryness.

Get Ready for Summer with the 5 Dollar Wash and Go for Natural Hair

Yes, I'm still in love with Ecoco! I may try other curl definers, but I always come back. Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel delivers consistent results...when I can find a leave-in or moisturizer that meshes well with it. Fortunately, Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Leave-In combines well without leaving white buildup. You can apply the Eco Styler Gel generously, but don't go apenuts crazy (otherwise you'll end up with some weird gelatinous blobs...trust me). You can rake the gel through, you can smooth it, you can scrunch it -- apply the gel however you see fit. I just recommend that you apply gel all the way to the root to avoid fuzzy roots and smooth ends. At this point, feel free to seal with more oil or leave as-is. I prefer to leave it alone at this point.
The Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer isn't a part of the initial wash and go setup because the combination of all 3 (leave-in + moisturizer + gel) lends itself to weird clumpage and gobs of white product buildup in the hair. But what I did discover is that tgin's Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer makes an excellent refresher/maintenance product. I rub a little bit between my palms, and smooth it through my hair in sections before bed. It keeps my hair soft, shiny, and helps maintain the curl definition.

So where exactly does the $5 part come in?

I know, I misled you guys a little. But come on, you had to know! I'd like to see someone pull of curls this good for $5 total period. While I wait on that e-mail to pop in my box, I'll show ya how I was able to dub this "The $5 Wash & Go" and still sleep with a clear conscience:
  • Product Price Total: approx. $35 + tax
  • Approximate Number of Uses (based on smallest product): 7
  • Total: $5 per wash and go
Get Ready for Summer with the 5 Dollar Wash and Go for Natural Hair

As you can see, the total cost for all the products listed hovers around $35. This factors in taxes, but also accounts for discounts due to memberships, coupons, and sales. The smallest product bottle is the Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Leave-In, and even if used pretty generously it will yield about 7 uses. Clearly, you'd run out of leave-in before Eco Styler or anything else. So 7 uses of $35 worth of product = $5 per wash and go. If you really want to be a super saver and mathmetician, add a second bottle of Leave-In (new total $44), but then divide that by 14 uses because you've got way more product to work with (and I hope you can get more than 14 uses out of a lifetime supply of Eco Styler). Your new total? $3.14 per wash and go.

That's it, ladies! Let me know in the comments if you'll be trying the $5 wash and go!

Jun 1, 2015

5 Must-Have Products for Color Treated Curly Hair

5 Must-Have Products for Color Treated Curly Hair

 It seems like everywhere you look, folks are taking the color plunge! Whether it be to accentuate a new cut, get out of a bored rut, or step out into summer a little brighter, more and more naturals are experimenting with hair color. That old tiiiiiired narrative of "you ain't natural if..." is fading into obscurity (thank God) and being replaced with a resounding #doyouboo, and I couldn't be happier. I've always been a huge fan of people doing whatever the heck they want to their hair, without regard for the opinions of others.

But this color thing, it can be tricky. And to be totally honest, I wish I would have taken the time to learn more about dye before taking the color plunge. This is one of those times where impromptu decisions got to override carefully thought out plans, and I had to invoke the spirit of "learn as you go" to keep my hair from falling out. Or to keep me from dyeing it back dark.

I've seen a number of naturalistas who took the color plunge run back in the dark direction, because they just couldn't deal with the dryness, dullness, frizz, breakage, and every other catastrophe that color can cause. I understand that totally. The truth of the matter is, dyeing your hair back dark just makes the hair look healthier. All of the underlying issues are still there -- just hidden behind deposited color that reflects light better. #truthtellingtime

So how the heck do you maintain your color and keep from going stir crazy with the dye drama? You're going to have to make some regimen changes, and get on board with a few realities about what you can expect from your hair. Then, there's the products. There will be products that you MUST have in your stash, because your hair will literally fall apart without them. Am I being dramatic? Maybe a smidgen. But seriously, I've watched more than enough wisps of red wash down the drain in the last 8 months to know...

6 Things to Consider Before Dyeing Your Natural Hair

Below is my "it" list. I originally wanted this list to be like 20 products long, but me in all my product junkie-ness pulled back seriously. I took a long hard look at my product inventory (I can't even call it a stash anymore), and made some firm decisions about what products are not just good, but absolutely necessary for my color treated curls. So below, you won't find tons and tons of what I like, love, and can rave endlessly about -- I'll be sharing what the product is, what it does, why you'd need it, and how to use it. Ready? Let's go!

5 Must-Have Products for Color Treated Curly Hair
June 2015 Curls!
Be Kekoa Be Clean
What it is: A co-wash/cleansing conditioner formulated for all hair types, but works especially well for dry, over-processed, and color-treated hair (textured and straight).
What it does: Cleanses, detangles, smooths, de-frizzes, hydrates, adds shine, and protects color.
Why you need it: To make wash day a whole heck of a lot easier. Hair with color is infinitely more delicate than non color-treated hair. You need a cleansing product that's gentle, effective, and has tons of slip and moisture to keep your strands from snapping as you comb and work through them. If your current co-wash isn't cutting it, look into Be Kekoa Be Clean to help make a seamless transition to a fuss-free wash day.
 How to use it: Like you would any other co-wash. Wet your hair, add Be Clean, add a little more water, and boom!

More: How to use Be Kekoa Be Clean

Zotos Professional 180PRO Miracle Repair Damage Eliminator
What it is: A high-intensity leave-in serum that delivers damage repair, conditioning, and strengthening proteins to help reduce the signs of breakage and damage in color treated and overprocessed hair.
What it does: Binds to the damage sites of the hair, strengthening and helping to prevent breakage.
Why you need it: To keep your hair from going down the drain -- seriously. If you feel like your hair going down the drain at an alarming rate, or breaking off into wisps every time you touch it, you need 180PRO Miracle Repair Damage Eliminator. It delivers an intense strengthening treatment to your hair that you leave-in, without making the hair feel dry or brittle. You can double-reinforce your hair by adding in another 180PRO Product. I'm not kidding either -- I tried it out over the course of like 4 wash days and saw absolutely stellar results in terms of diminishing breakage. Whether I like it most paired with Total Taming Foaming Smoother, Heat Rescue Leave-In Hydrator, Rapid Restorer, or Intense Reconstruct Conditioner -- I can't quite call it. But at the very least, 180PRO Miracle Repair Damage Eliminator will seriously curtail the amount of dye-related damage and breakage you experience
How to use it: After washing and deep conditioning, apply 180PRO Miracle Repair Damage Eliminator to your hair, starting with the ends (or most damaged sections) first. Smooth it into your strands, and proceed with styling as usual.

ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor
What it is: A lighter, less scary version of the 2-Step Protein Treatment that acts as a reconstructing treatment for heat and chemically damaged hair.
What it does: Strengthens and restores elasticity and softness to dry, damaged hair. Also helps remove mineral deposits from swimming pools and hard water.
Why you need it: This was the first product I went after once I realized my hair was beginning to show signs of breakage and limp curl syndrome. ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor whipped my curls back into shape. If you feel like your texture is beginning to loosen post dye job, or you used heat after color, I highly recommend the ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor. It's also a great conditioning treatment to help stop breakage and pH balance the hair -- which is especially great for hair that feels rough and constantly dry.
How to use it: Use as a conditioning treatment after cleansing. Work through the hair and scalp and leave on for 2-5 minutes. You can use it as your conditioner, or use it after deep conditioning for extra strength. It works either way.

More: 5 Best Deep Conditioners for Medium/High Porosity Hair

Roux Porosity Control Corrector Conditioner
What it is: A porosity equalizing conditioner that helps properly close the hair cuticle while strengthening and softening chemically treated tresses. It is designed to be a pre-treatment, but can be used post wash and condition.
What it does: Enhance shine, improve manageability, reduce frizz, strengthen the hair, improve moisture retention, lay the cuticle flat, decrease the "rough feel" of color treated hair.
Why you need it: If your hair is rough, frizzy, dull, difficult to detangle, or perpetually dry after color treatment, you likely need Roux Porosity Control Corrector Conditioner to help idle things out.
How to use it: As a pre-poo treatment or post-deep conditioning. Apply it generously from end to root, and allow it to sit for 30 seconds before rinsing.

More: Not sure about your porosity? Click here.

Coconut Oil
What it is: C'mon son.
What it does: EVERYTHING! Coconut oil will rescue your hair, add shine, reduce breakage and protein loss, improve your credit score, and help regrow your edges. But seriously, when applied to color treated hair, coconut oil helps improve elasticity, reduce breakage, mitigate protein loss during washing, add shine, and seal in moisture.
Why you need it: If for no other reason but the shine factor. I've noticed that coconut oil rescues my hair from looking super dull and dry. It also helps improve softness and moisture retention in hair that is perpetually dehydrated. By far, coconut oil outperforms other oils in terms of making color treated hair look and feel healthier.
How to use it: pre-poo with it, seal with it, scrunch it on your ends -- the possibilities are endless!

Stay tuned for my next post this week -- I'll be sharing all the answers from my color Q&A on Instagram!

May 19, 2015

Where the Heck Has Christina Been?! Behind the Scenes of The Mane Objective

Update from The Mane Objective

I can't believe it has been so long since I've updated the blog! This is really unlike me, and I don't like it one bit! I haven't written a blog post here or anywhere else (gasp) in about two weeks. Even before that, I was only updating about once a week. And for that, I'm sorry. I know many of you look to my blog as a resource for thoughtful, honest, and helpful content about natural and transitioning hair. For that, I am grateful.

Please don't abandon me!

The truth is, I've been super busy because God has been blessing me immensely in the career department. I know I don't really talk too much about what I do outside of the blogosphere, but I wanted to give you guys a sneak peek into Christina Patrice beyond The Mane Objective.

Let's do a little rewind. Back in 2011, I made a return to my alma mater to become the full-time director of a non-profit program aimed at helping at-risk youth pursue higher education. I loved every minute of the work (even if some of the office politics got on my last nerve). My heart was filled as I laid the foundation for my staff to be able to engage and support youth across Inglewood and Hawthorne. But then reality set in around November/December 2013: I was on a contract. A contract that was expiring in July 2014. What the heck was I going to do? Pursue another program management-style position? Try to go back to school (which I am absolutely dreading)?

At the same time, things for The Mane Objective were really taking off. The pageviews were rolling in, I got accepted to the Glam Contributor program (from which I had been rejected at least 3 times prior lol), I was creating content like crazy for Black Girl with Long Hair and NaturallyCurly.com, companies were knocking on my door for collaborations, and more. I started doing math in my head (not the best idea, FYI) around my bills and saving goals, and figured that if all else failed, I just might be able to make it as a full-time blogger. So as my contract at UCLA was coming to an end, I focused almost all of my energy on creating content and being about that blogger life. I applied for jobs here and there, but my heart wasn't in the process.

Once July hit, I was nervous and a little afraid. What the hell had I just done? Can I really do nothing else but blog for the rest of my life? Was that even a thing that people did (and not just pretended to do for the 'gram)? For the first 3 months, I was good. I absolutely loved being in charge of my own schedule, writing whenever the creative muses took hold of me, having fun on social media, and more. Then I began feeling run low around month 4. Blogging full-time had lost its appeal. It began feeling forced as opposed to fun. Watching waves and waves of "natural hair bloggers" crop up out of nowhere began to irk my nerves for some reason. Seeing people take my style (and sometimes my content too) without credit started making my left eye twitch.

I wanted out. I needed out. I felt myself taking blogging too seriously, and it was becoming a source of anxiety instead of a creative outlet. At the same time, my investment in understanding social media began to blossom. Analytics became my new best friend. Instead of looking at the who of blogging, I started focusing on the what, when, where, why, and how. And oddly, it was fun. So I kept at it, kept blogging, and started applying for jobs in a completely different career direction: content creation and social media strategy.

It was scary, intimidating, and didn't go over too well with those closest to me. Could I really change careers so drastically? Would anybody take me seriously enough to give me the chance? Am I gonna make enough money? Lawwwwd, what about my bills?!? Luckily, there was a solution for all my nervous uncertainty: prayer. I began praying about this new direction. I talked to God, and asked for peace. I wanted to ask him for a lot more -- a job, money, a sign, a sneak peek at His plans for me...but I know that He's not my cosmic wish-granting fairy Godfather. Many of us have committed Philippians 4:6 to memory, but didn't bother going on to verse 7. Verse 7 doesn't say that God will grant us everything we want, but rather that our hearts and minds will be guarded with His peace that surpasses all understanding. Knowing that, I could only ask for peace and for my own faith to be strengthened in this process.

Let's be clear: none of this means that I didn't worry, or grow concerned, cry, doubt myself, or want to quit and slide back into my comfort zone (education/program management). But when I tell you that every single time I fixed my mouth to complain, God came through...believe me. Whenever bill time was coming up and I thought I'd be short, He pushed through one or two (and sometimes three) sponsored opportunities. When I got frustrated as all heck and started doubting Him, I backslid into what I have a bad habit of doing -- thinking I know more about what's better for me than God does. I started trying to strong-arm situations, started trying to bend His plans to my will. I even started applying for jobs only in my comfort zone areas, and guess what? I haven't heard back from a single one of them to this day.

But when I finally snapped back to reality and realized that He had set me on a certain path, the friggin' floodgates opened. I mean so much blessing that I've literally and figuratively run out of room enough to receive it. Since March, I've been offered 3 contracts to work with clients in developing and executing their social strategy, forged a long-term partnership with a brand, and got offered a job with a digital marketing agency in Southern California.

All. Without. A. Background. In. Marketing.

If that ain't God's favor, I don't know what is.

This post may be getting long and a little preachy, but I can't come this far and not give God His proper dues. I also wanted to do more than the run-of-the-mill "sorry guys I been busy with life, but good things are happening" post. Most of all, I wanted to be an encouragement to those of you who still stop by my blog, share my content, comment, follow, and engage with me on social media.

With God on your side, you can do anything. He will open doors you never thought possible, and take you places you didn't ever think you could go. All you have to do is be open and available. My pastor said something nearly a year ago about God using people who are "unqualified but available" to fulfill his work.

I'm a living, breathing, 2015 testament to that word.

Update from The Mane Objective

Stay blessed, be encouraged, and talk to me in the comments section! I missed you guys!

May 6, 2015

Revert Your Curls After Flat Ironing in 3 Easy Steps

Revert Your Curls After Flat Ironing in 3 Easy Steps

:::knocks gently:::
Are y'all still there? Or did you abandon me because I haven't posted in like a week?

Hopefully, you guys are still with me. I'm just going to come right out and say it: I'm sorry. I know those of you that follow my blog dutifully have been disappointed in the lack of content lately. I'm not one to make excuses, but I can honestly say that I've been crazy busy transitioning to an entirely new career field. It's been challenging, time-consuming, and most of all, rewarding. But in the process, everything for The Mane Objective has been slacking off. I'm finally beginning to achieve some semblance of balance, so I'm hoping to get back to pushing out consistent content at least 3 days a week. My goal is 4 days, but I'll make peace with 3. I'll share with you guys what it is that I'm up to really, really soon!

Now let's get on with this post.

I recently flat ironed my hair using the methods here, and after almost a week, I grew tired of my straight hair. I missed my curls, and wanted them to come right back without fuss or drama. Luckily, I was able to nail my reversion back in 3 simple steps, with some slight wash day tweaks. Some folks thinks it takes a few wash days to bounce back, but I'm here to let you know that you don't have to spend the next month fighting with limp curls. Especially if you took proper heat protecting precautions beforehand. Follow these 3 simple steps and have your #curlspoppin again in no time:

Note: If you have heat damage, these steps won't work. Heat damage is irreversible, but the tips I give here might be worth trying!

Step 1: Hydrating Pre-Poo
Pre-pooing with oil is popular among many naturals, but in the case of reverting from straight hair, it's not all that helpful. Chances are, you've applied any number of silicone-based heat protectants to your hair prior to blowing out and styling, which is good. Heat protectants are designed to to slow water loss from the hair, block humidity, and delay the transfer of heat from styling tools. Silicone serums and creams are the reason why you can run your flat ironed hair under water, and it will stay bone straight (and make your heart sink) initially. Adding oil on top of that won't do your hair any favors. Beyond that, you've likely spent the duration of your straight hair venture avoiding water and water-based products. If you wash your hair frequently (like I do) or moisturize daily, your hair is likely screaming bloody murder by the time you're ready to revert. I know my hair was. Wetting your hair down with a spray bottle and applying a moisturizing conditioner like tgin Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner is the ideal way to get the reversion and rehydration process started. Simply section detangle, saturate with water, and apply a generous amount of conditioner. You can sit under a hooded dryer if you like, or just don a plastic cap for about 15-20 minutes. Bonus: break out that Q-Redew!

Step 2: Clarify
One thing you most certainly don't want to do fresh on the heels of flat ironing is co-wash your natural hair. Co-washing is great, but you really need a clarifying shampoo to get up all the humidity-blocking and anti-frizz silicones that allowed your straight natural hair to be great. I used Be Kekoa Be Clair Sulfate-Free Clarifying Shampoo, and got my curls back in one shot. My hair and scalp were clean, and my curls had returned -- all without my hair feeling dried out or stripped. When your clarifying shampoo is gentle yet effective, you can get everything with your natural hair texture back right in one shot. No need for a repeat after that lather and rinse!

Step 3: Deep Condition the Right Way
After clarifying your curls, deep conditioning is a critical step. But not just with any ol' deep conditioner. Because your hair has been devoid of moisture, subject to high heat temperatures, and bent into a structure (straight) that it's not accustomed to, having the right deep conditioner makes all the difference. To revive and re-invigorate your curls, deep condition with a product that's going to hydrate, elasticize, restore protein, soften, and smooth. My favorite all-in-one treatment for this purpose is ApHogee Texture Treatment. After 15-20 minutes with this super thick miracle worker in your hair, rinse with cool water and proceed with your regular styling regimen.

See? It's super easy! And here's my curls, just as springy, wild, and shrunken as they want to be:

Revert Your Curls After Flat Ironing in 3 Easy Steps

And just because I'm trying to get back in y'alls good graces, here's a cool pinnable image for your future reference:

Revert Your Curls After Flat Ironing in 3 Easy Steps

What's your process for reverting your curls after wearing flat ironed hair?

Apr 30, 2015

Review: Be Kekoa Be Moist Hydrating Conditioner

Be Kekoa Be Moist Hydrating Conditioner Review

I'm gonna let you guys in on a little secret:

I'm in love with Be Kekoa. No like seriously, there's a legit product love affair going on. 

Ever since Be Kekoa walked into my life, wash day has been something like a dream. You know those blog posts and YouTube videos that lament wash day, or advise you to block out 18 hours of your day just to see it through? Yeah, I'll be having none of that. #noshade.


I'll tell you guys until I'm blue in the face about my undying love for Bae Clean, because of how amazing it is. You can even see it in action in my wash day video. Because I've been spending the past two months getting reeeeeeally intimate with the Be Kekoa product line, I'm going to start rolling out reviews of my faves. I'm going to try really hard to stick with products that you can access online, because Be Kekoa does offer some products as salon-only exclusives, which is no fun for you ladies living outside of Southern California. Anywho, next in line is the Be Kekoa Be Moist Hydrating Conditioner. You guys know how I roll:

Availability: Since Be Kekoa is Brandie's own salon line, products are available for purchase exclusively online at www.bekekoa.com, or directly at her salon in Temecula (for those not too far from Riverside County). She's in the process of growing her distribution, and you can catch Be Kekoa products at Angie's Head 2 Toe Salon in Hattisburg, Mississippi (for those of you reading this who live down south). Be Kekoa has recently expanded all the way in Australia -- and can be ordered at afropuffs.com.au

Affordability: At $16 for 8oz, the Be Moist Hydrating Conditioner is a little outside of that $10-$12 range for most natural hair products, but is well worth a few extra dollars.

Ingredient List: Click here for the full ingredient list.

Top Ingredient 411:
  • Cetearyl Alcohol: Considered "fatty alcohol" -- NOT to be confused with drying alcohols such as ethyl. Acts as a lubricant, thickener, and emollient. Also give conditioner its velvety feel without making hair greasy. Is additionally used to keep product ingredients from separating.
  • Behetrimonium Methosulfate: Gentle surfactant made from non-GMO rapeseed (canola oil), and is one of the mildest detangling ingredients out there. It doesn't cause buildup or irritation to the scalp.
  • Glycerin: Generally vegetable-based humectant that absorbs and retains moisture from the air. Makes conditioners and deep conditioners with this ingredient ideal for use with steamers
  • Cyclopentasiloxane: Emollient and hair conditioning silicone-based compound. It is water-thin and evaporates easily, so it does not weigh the hair down. It gives your hair a wet, slippery, soft feel without greasiness or making it dry and crunchy.
  • Cyclotetrasiloxane: Conditioning silicione
  • Cocoa Seed Butter: Rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, B1, B2, and potassium which fight signs of aging and damage, promotes shine, strength, and growth. Cocoa butter also contains flavanols, which are natural UV protectants
Product Claim/Description: This radical formula combines a lightweight polymer with rich conditioning oils to enhance manageability and shine. Separates and lifts curls, leaving them with a natural, carefree bounce. Proteins and nutrients are delivered into the hair shaft to maintain smooth, individual curls that are safe from humidity. Fortified to protect color.

Be Kekoa Be Moist Hydrating Conditioner Review

Performance/Delivery: First things first -- Be Moist smells heavenly. It's romantically floral and slightly sultry. If this were a perfume or body oil, I'd totally wear it every day and call it my signature scent. It's not overbearing, and doesn't break me out into the sneezes. The consistency is creamy and smooth, without being too thick. It definitely straddles the line between regular and deep conditioner (it can be used for both). The first thing I noticed upon applying this to my hair was the slip. Oh my goodness, the slip. If your conditioner is difficult to work through your hair, you're losing, period. Be Kekoa Be Moist plays no games in that area. The second thing I noticed was how my hair drank it up. It absorbed right into my hair, letting all the moisturizing goodness go to work. Be Moist is the perfect companion to Be Clean or Be Clair. I've used Be Moist so many different ways -- as a quick conditioner, as a deep conditioner, with heat, with steam -- and all around, the results are phenomenal (although my favorite experiences have been under a steamer).

Be Kekoa Be Moist Hydrating Conditioner Review

Once rinsing Be Moist out of your hair, be prepared for the shine of a lifetime. I mean, epic shine. Shine that will have folks asking what you have in your hair shine. Shine that almost made me forget how dull my color treated hair actually is. Be Moist has my hair feeling smooth, sleek, and looking brilliantly shiny after every use. Don't believe me, just watch:



Drawbacks: What is considered a drawback for some of you is not necessarily a drawback for me. If you're into that type of thing, Be Moist isn't Curly Girl-friendly. It does contain silicones, but it's important to understand that all cones are not created equal. Some are heavier, some are more occlusive, and others are lightweight and evaporate. To learn more about the main silicone in Be Moist (cyclopentasiloxane), check out this quick post from The Beauty Brains. But if you're a strict adherent to the Curly Girl Method, Be Clean is out of the running for you.

Bonuses: Color. Protection. I've got to be honest -- I love my red hair dye, but having colored curls has been such a pill lately. It's a lot of work to maintain, as I can attest to here. But I am thankful for conditioners like Be Moist that work in a number of different ways to help keep colored hair on your head. One, the slip eases tangles and helps prevent breakage. Intense hydrating keeps the hair from becoming brittle and dry, and the lightweight silicones help smooth the hair shaft. It can still work wonders for non-colored hair, but if you've got dye, Be Moist is a must.

Bottom Line: If you need a multi-faceted conditioner that will work wonders whether used for 10 minutes or 2 hours, Be Moist is the one.

Overall Product Rating: 4.5 stars. I just need a bigger bottle!

Best Practices: Treat Be Moist like you would any regular or deep conditioner. No special rules here :)

Have you tried Be Kekoa Be Moist Conditioner?

Apr 19, 2015

3 Vanity Habits Stalling Your Healthy Natural Hair Journey

3 Vanity Habits Stalling Your Healthy Natural Hair Journey

DISCLAIMER:
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

I. REST. MY. CASE.

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?

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