product review, style and define
Review: Aunt Jackie's Don't Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel3:17 PM
Prior to this review, I've only had one other experience with Aunt Jackie's products: the Knot On My Watch detangler. Several weeks ago, I got some e-mail alert about Aunt Jackie's launching two new products -- a leave-in and curl definer. I filed it away in the "nice to know" section of my memory, and kept it moving. I didn't give it a second, third, or fourth thought until I happened to be killing time last Friday with my sister. We stopped in at OK Beauty in Hawthorne (on El Segundo & Hawthorne for my LA naturals), and as I perused the aisle, I came across the Don't Shrink Gel and Quench Leave-In. The leave-in didn't appeal to me, but the gel was clear, and under $10. Even if it was a bust, I'd still have a review for my fellow product junkies! So for the second and last time, let's get on with the review.
Ingredient List: Aqua, Glycerin, Carbomer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Linum Usitatissimum Seed Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Polyvinylpyrrolidone, Polysorbate 20, Parfum, EDTA, Magnesium Nitrate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Amyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional
- Glycerin: Generally vegetable-based humectant that absorbs and retains moisture from the air.
- Carbomer: Chemical composed of acrylic acid monomers that acts as a viscosity controlling agent (thickener)
- Aminomethyl Propanol: pH adjuster and buffering ingredient
- Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein: Emollient moisturizing protein, also adds some strength to hair by temporarily attaching to damage and cracks along the cuticle of the hair.
- Linum Usitatissimum Seed Oil: Flax seed oil, which is omega-3 rich. Benefits the hair by improving elasticity, smoothing the cuticle, nourishing hair follicles and stimulating growth, easing dry, flaky scalp, and increasing hair strength. [more on omegas in hair]
Availability: You can find Don't Shrink among other Aunt Jackie's products at your local beauty supply stores or online in Naturally Curly's Curl Mart.
Affordability: At $8.99 for 15oz this product is still pretty affordable. Us PJs can easily get gouged in the curl definer department, with gels and creams costing upwards of $20. So in all fairness, I'd label this product as affordable -- especially since after one use, the jar is still practically full (thanks, Max Hydration Method!).
Product Claim/Description: For naturals curls, coils, & waves. Sulfate-free, paraben-free, no mineral oil, no petroleum. Enriched with Flaxseed and Wheat Protein. Give dry, shriveled up curls and twists a nice stretch with Aunt Jackie's special blend of moisturizing conditioners, Flaxseed, Shea Butter & Extra Virgin Olive Oil. With nourishing Omega-3 fatty acids, Flaxseed has been widely used as a natural remedy for hair growth, anti-thinning, and overall scalp health. With regular use, hair is left soft without a crunchy, tacky feel.
Performance/Delivery: Oh, where do I begin?! I'm having a serious love affair with this product. Performance-wise, I LOVE it. Like, immediate must-have in my stash. I was seriously wowed by this stuff. I used it on a wash and go after day 7 of my Max Hydration Method challenge, and impressed doesn't even begin to describe how Don't Shrink made me feel. I don't really have a lot of exciting words, just pictures that speak for themselves:
|I'm having a "make normal faces" struggle day, clearly.|
I didn't layer a bunch of products underneath Don't Shrink, because I wanted to fairly gauge how it would work. All I have in my hair is Tresemme Leave-In, sealed with CURLS Blissful Lengths Elixir. Don't Shrink is layered on top. While soaking wet, my curls were elongated -- which is typical due to excess water content. I really didn't expect them to stay that elongated -- they never do. And for the most part, it didn't. But really, my shrinkage hasn't been as bad as it used to be, due to the Max Hydration Method. So I can't in full confidence attribute my less drawn-up curl to Don't Shrink. As we know, products don't actually elongate the hair unless they contain some curl-loosening ingredients. At most, products like Don't Shrink enhance whatever curl pattern is already there.
Given that glycerin was so high on the list, I expected my hair to have that tacky, soggy, never really ever going to dry all the way feeling. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it enveloped my hair in a light gel cast that went away on it's own after my hair was dry. No goopy stickiness, or glycerin-laden hair. Actually, the results both wet and dry are very similar if not identical to how my hair reacts with Obia Curl Enhancing Custard and Kurlee Belle Jelle Coconut Styling Gel. Not a crunch to be had in sight! In my 75% dry pictures, you can kinda see what I mean by the gel cast.
|Finally, a picture my mom could be proud of.|
As far as fragrance is concerned, I rather like it. It's kinda peach-passionfruit-guava-y with a hint of floral and citrus. It's not overbearing, and didn't trigger my allergies. The fragrance is as fake as a 3 dollar bill, but I'll put up with artificial fragrances before I mess with funky colored products (like really, why does hair stuff EVER need to be purple?!) any day.
Overall, I am thoroughly impressed and really quite shocked at how amazingly well this stuff works. The real test came last night when my hair was jussssst on the precipice of being dry, and it was time to work out with Mr. Samuel. Not only did Don't Shrink hold up incredibly well, it survived a 30 minute run, a little tabata, being brushed up against a towel while on the floor repeatedly, sticking to my sweaty shoulders, and even getting caught in a velcro strap. I'd definitely say I put this stuff through the ringer, and it surpassed my expectations wildly. Peep this second day hair: my curls are fluffy, voluminous (as much as I can expect with day 2 hair), soft, plump, defined, and shiny without looking stringy or ramen noodle-y. What more can you really ask for?
|Welp, so much for normal faces. My excuse here: running on 4 hours of sleep.|
Bottom Line: After taking a long, hard look at the facts I can honestly say that Don't Shrink is a keeper. Yes, there are some issues with the labeling and how the product is advertised, but isn't that the case with an overwhelming majority of natural hair products? I'd feel a little bit better if they said "Curl Defining Gel with Flax Seed Extract" or something, but that doesn't sound nearly as sexy as Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel. Truth is, I should have known something was up because real flaxseed gel is brownish in color, and this gel is crystal clear. All funny stuff aside, I really do like this product. A little bit went a long way, it's a great value for the price, and it knocked my socks off performance-wise. I'm trying to narrow my HG list down, and from here it looks like Don't Shrink will be making the cut.
Best Practices: Treat Don't Shrink like you would any curl defining gel. Do a patch test if you can, or at least just mix your leave-ins, moisturizers, etc. with it on the back of your hand to see if they mesh. I am always an advocate of applying from root to end in small sections, raking through then smoothing.
Overall Product Rating: A strong, very strong 4 stars. It doesn't elongate (which is the major claim the product pushes), but other than that it is a stellar buy. Nonetheless, it works great and I'll be using it for the forseeable future.
Have you tried any Aunt Jackie's products? What were your results?