Posts Categorized: product review

December 27, 2011

Treat Your Natural Hair to a Rosemary Oil Conditioning Treatment

This really is that time of year where many of us focus a bit more on preserving the moisture quotient in our hair, and hopefully the hair pantry this winter is fully stocked with the absolute essentials?! Yes…no? Maybe?

The transition to more winter friendly hair products really doesn’t have to be an over-thinking process, particularly when you’re aware of which areas in your routine to pay a bit more attention to. Deep conditioning is probably thee numero ONE area of any curly girl’s routine that gets the most tweaking and experimentation…& probably for good reason.

Deep conditioning should be the corner stone to any gals hair routine…simply because you’re able to reep the most benefits that lead to healthy hair. Set your strands up with the most nutrient rich, balanced conditioner on a weekly basis & you’ll never look back. A few weeks ago I added a heavy duty conditioning oil to my arsenal of DC’ers and instantly knew I’d found something special for FRO & I to adore!

I wasn’t formally introduced to Welda Rosemary Oil until aimlessly roaming the aisles of Whole Foods several months back, yet knew it was something special just based on the claims alone. A natural conditioning oil treatment formulated with Rosemary Oil & burdock root to help soothe the scalp and able to restore moisture to hair and improve overall manageability….I was instantly sold.

When a product requires just a little to get the job done, it’s always a keeper. With only a few drops added to hair when deep conditioning, your hair will instantly see results. You’ll notice hair with more shine and softness you thought only reserved for the creamiest of condishes! The oil almost instantly penetrates once applied and works best when leaved on anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Try sitting under a heating cap and hair should feel like buttah!

I fell head over heals for this treatment and incorporated it to several areas of the hair routine. Because Rosemary Oil has amazing antibacterial benefits for the scalp, I apply small portions to the pads of my fingers and massage onto the scalp when wearing a protective style or prior to untwisting and rockin a twist-out. The smell is refreshing without being overpowering and because it’s incredibly versatile it’s great to add to some of your favorite deep conditioners for maximum effectiveness.

If you’ve tried Rosemary Oil in the past, you’re already privy to how awesome it is! What oils or deep conditioners are you using this winter?

December 19, 2011

Curl Junkie | Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion

I haven’t deviated much from a handful of my go-to products over the past few weeks, but what with all the excitement over this past Black Friday, a girl’s PJ spirit was brought back to life! My list was short because I’ve since grown pickier since the ubber haul days, but at the top of that list is always a few hair goodies from the Curl Junkie line. This go round I immediately dropped the Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion in the cart and waited anxiously to use! Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long – order was shipped next day and I was able to get down to experimenting pretty quickly!

I’d heard raves about this leave-in conditioner all over the Tubes, and knew it was a keeper after Elle’s review, and just after applying it to one itty bitty section of hair a few weeks ago, I completely understood why! This. stuff. is. awesome. Sauce!!

Curl Junkie has consistently put out great leave-in conditioners, yet this beats the rest if you’re looking for a something especially slippy to help detangle and moisturize your strands. I’m talking serious slippage that trumps a lot of the previous favorites. With Slippery Elm Extract at the top of the ingredient list, you need a fairly small amount to help untangle and smooth out tough knots.

Apply alone onto wet damp hair, or under your favorite styler and hair is incredibly moisturized. I used it mainly to twist the hair prior to rocking a twist-out, and was able to prolong the style for a good 7 days.  For the price ($20) you get a hefty 12 ounce bottle which is bound to last more than a few washes.

Perfect for the winter months when hair tends to get excessively dry, tangled and thirsty for moisture, this makes a perfect addition to the PJ rotation. And, this one’s a definite ‘sniffer’..i.e. can’t resist the temptation to run back to your bathroom cabinet and sniff the jars of your favorite hair products...yep. The smell reminds me of something sweet, sugary yet subtle…nothing overpowering.

I generally do not have a problem reaching 7- day hair when sticking to my nightly routine, though this was especially sweet because of the lack of frizz and great definition. The weather here in NY has steadily gotten colder, so looking forward to using this during those especially brisk days.

If you’ve tried the Smoothing Lotion, let me know your thoughts! What do you use to keep the hair moisturized during the winter?

November 14, 2011

Preventative Care for Dry Scalp…

I feel as if I’ve mentioned more than a few times issues surrounding the ‘scalp situation,’ so much so that I often receive a few e-mails from you guys asking for help on how to treat your ‘situation.’ I’ve been dealing with dryness of the scalp associated with a mild form of dermatitis for a few years now, and the one thing that remains constant is that you must stay on your game! And if you’re wondering where to start, the easy answer is to begin with water.

It’s easy to forget that during the winter months, our skin needs just as much hydration as it does during the warmer months…perhaps even more so due to the lack of moisture in the air, so monitoring water intake is pretty important if you’re prone to scalp issues. Since the old pubescent years, I’ve made water intake sort of a daily ritual…making sure I incorporate at least a liter a day into my routine. On busy days when time does escape me, I make sure to quickly down at least an 8 ounce glass before heading to bed. Ironically, in the mornings…my mind feels clear and I have less of a hungover feeling. Don’t ask why…

But to stay on top of the scalp game, preventative care really is the best deal, and having a team of products in your rotation to help combat the itchies & flakes will do you good! Because the scalp tends to adjust to a few of the remedies I apply on the regular, I rotate and gauge what to apply based on scalp’s needs.

The aim really is to keep the scalp clutter free – free of buildup, flakes and anything else blocking hair health. During each wash session I apply either an easy hot oil treatment mixed with a few fav herbs that have anti-bacterial/antiseptic properties (typically lavender, hibiscus) mixed with essential oils (tea tree, peppermint, lavender, jojoba, avocado). Often when I’m not quick enough to replenish the stash, I turn to old favorites from the Jane Carter line. The Scalp Renew does well as a pre-cleanse treatment by exfoliating and stimulating the scalp. Because of the peppermint & tea tree oils…the slight tingly feeling tells you it’s working! What’s great about the Renew treatment is how little is needed to feel the affects…one bottle can easily last you anywhere from 5-6 applications when targeting specific areas of irritation.

To keep the scalp happy in between washes try not to over apply using various oils. If the scalp is already dry, adding your favorite oil will most likely not help. If the goal is to maintain the moisture level on the scalp, applying a light oil similar to the Scalp Nourishing Serum works to prevent dryness. Keys to applying oils, are to target areas on the scalp that are more prone to irritation as opposed to canvasing the entire head.

If your scalp has no favorites in the oil department, sticking to an easy remedy like Witch Hazel works amazingly well. I’ve been using Lavender witch hazel with a touch of aloe (alcohol free) for a few months and love the soothing effects. Apply with a clean wash cloth or cotton ball to areas that are often itchy or flaky and the scalp feels instantly refreshed. Witch Hazel is amazing for those who have sensitive skin because it doesn’t irritate the surface of the skin, cleanses effectively and moisturizes without the mess.

Feeling experimental? Dry Shampoos have always fascinated me, and while in Sephora a few months ago I lingered around Ojon’s Full Detox Dry Cleansing Spray, a ‘Rub-Out- cleanser that refreshes the scalp using Soap Bark Tree. Awesome because it goes on clear, leaves no residue and has the best cooling sensation once applied…this is a keeper if you’re traveling on the road, a frequent gym-goer or simply have  no time to do the Fro.

A few other factors do matter as well, including using a non-sulfate shampoo to cleanse the scalp. Monitoring your diet, noticing any allergens that might’ve crept into your life (lactose, dairy , wheat, gluten…etc.), stress. If you’re currently heading down the road to scalp recovery…do give it some time. For the most part, it’s an internal dilemma that expresses itself on the scalp, so allow yourself enough room (1-2 months) to notice any significant changes, and in the end, if seeking the help of a reputable dermatologist suits your needs, do it!

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November 3, 2011

Dry Hair Therapy – Giovanni Smooth As Silk

A few weeks ago after completing what seemed like the umpteenth deep conditioning treatment on the Fro to get it back to fancy status, I noticed something was just a bit off. Now, I hadn’t blowdried, gone without donning my satin bonnet before bed…used any harsher than usual products to suck the moisture OUT…so the fact that I was suffering from increased dryness, fairy knots and less than stellar twisting sessions  after normal DC treatments left me frustrated. Honestly, I’d become the queen of wearing doo rags & scarves to hide the crazy.

After hiding behind a few racks at my local Vitamin Shoppe, because I’d grown tired of “doing” hair that didn’t want to stay…done, so I laid bets on Giovanni’s Smooth As Silk Protein Treatment and went home to map out the ultimate TLC hair day.

Fro Before Treatment

How to know if your natural hair needs protein?

Your hair needs moisture if it doesn’t stretch at all and then breaks, or if it feels extremely rough and brittle. Your hair needs protein if it stretches a long way and then breaks (or doesn’t break at all), or if it is limp and feels gummy. If your hair stretches just a little, then returns to its normal length without breaking, the amount of protein and moisture in your hair is well balanced.

Over the years I’ve developed a solid skill set to know when Fro needs a healthy dose of moisture or when to lay off, & because no signs pointed saturating the strands with even more moisture…I instinctively reached for my first protein treatment & SO glad I did. After leaving the treatment on for no more than an hour after detangling, hair was incredibly soft…pliable and a throwback to how I knew Fro should behave.

Formulated specifically for dry, damaged hair and full of shea butter, aloe, lavender extract  & Macadamia oils I wasn’t surprised at how well the hair reacted. This treatment has incredible slip, which made detangling more of a breeze, and while some may even use a follow up conditioning treatment after using protein…I opted to skip based on how great Fro felt.

The natural hair community are already huge fans of the Giovanni line, so it comes as no surprise how well this works. It’s fairly inexpensive ranging anywhere from $5-$9 (check the aisles of your local Marshalls for amazing deals!), and easy to find in your nearby BSS. Directions do say to leave on from 3- 10 minutes….er, yeah. Use your  own discretion, monitor your results & try not to excede more than an hour. It’s gentle enough for daily use, though always best to be safe:).

I’ll post after pics of Fro now that she’s doing better this week, but if you guys have tried this or found yourself in a simliar situation, let me know what you use. My thinking is this would be great for winter months where striking the right moisture/protein balance is essential.

August 9, 2011

LUSH Jungle Conditioner First Look

Apparently I’ve been in an experimenting kind of mood lately. A few weeks ago I layed down some dough for my first hair steamer (review to come!), committed to the idea to get me some BANGS..(it’s been too long…) and last week found me staring into the eyes of my most recent purchase from LUSH, their Jungle Conditioner…which if you haven’t noticed comes in a solid form.

This was my first encounter with a solid conditioner, which I would’ve loved to compare to my previous uses with shampoo bars…but alas,  trial and error is always the name of the game. For such a small piece of condish, it’s loaded with a bevy of ingredients ideal for curly textured hair. Avocado, Cocoa Butter,  Bananas, and a newbie to the family…Kumquats. This fruit is loaded with vitamin C, calcium and provides a ton of antioxidants to the hair.

Before using a solid conditioner on curly hair…it’s really best to approach it with a strategy. How much are you going to use? How are you going to apply it? How will you store any remaining bits after you’re done? 

The easiest way to use the LUSH Jungle Conditioner is to divide the block into workable, moldable sections. Using a sharp edged knife, cut away a portion you think will suffice for your hair, place your condish in a microwave safe bowl and add about 2 – 4 tablespoons of warm water. With the back of a spoon, melt the block until you reach a desired consistency. The final result should form a creamy paste that’s easily applied to hair.

It really is important to get the consistency to a point where it’s easy to apply, this should make detangling more of a breeze. Adding more water to your mix should increase the ‘slip quotient’ but go sparingly, you don’t want a watery mess (if this happens, simply add just a smidge more Jungle).

It took me quite a bit of time to run the product through my strands (blame it on 1st time usage), but after hair was sufficiently coated, I DC’d using my new Huetiful Steamer. I didn’t know what to expect from either the steamer OR the Jungle condish, but my hair revealed some pretty awesome results.

Freshly rinsed & the hair achieved clumped curls where there hardly ever is much of anything! The front end of the hair is typically the straightest, often needing a bit of coaxing to curl…especially the ends during twisting, yet I was pretty happy to see a bit of twirly action. You can purchase the small block of Jungle Condish for about $8 (2 oz size), & depending on the length of hair should last you a few wash sessions.  I’d even say it’s pretty ideal for those in TWA status & need a quick condition during co-washing. Just grab a small bit of Jungle Condish, smoosh between fingers using warm water, and that’s it!

June 1, 2011

LUSH R&B Moisturizer

A few months ago I found myself walking aimlessly around the streets of midtown Manhattan (34th street), trying to figure out the best way to escape the growing crowd, when my feet somehow shuffled their way into the nearest LUSH store. Now, this happens often…the walking into a beauty store and convincing myself I need just one….more thing. But thing is….LUSH really is different, and if you’ve ever walked into a store and been greeted by their attentive staff…you understand the strong pull.

Initially I was in search of Henna & a great moisturizing conditioner, but ended up snagging something I could use every day to refresh my two-strand twists & occasional Fro-Out, Lush’s R&B Revive & Balance Hair Moisturizer. The site describes this as a “tropical cocktail to give your hair it’s groove back,” and after using it to help revive 6-7 day hair I was surprised at how well it works.

Make no mistake, this is a creamy, moisturizer that sinks into your hair almost on contact. It’s loaded with a ton of oils, namely Coconut, Olive, Jojoba and good for you hair butters (Cupuancu Butter, Avocado Butter).

Ideal For:

  • moisturizing dry hair
  • sealing frazzled ends ( I use it midweek when they feel dry to the touch)
  • refresher in the morning before you fluff-n-go (if you have a TWA this is an awesome staple, a little goes a long way!)

I’ve been using it sparingly because it is ubber concentrated and the smell is insanely strong. If you prefer products of the unscented nature, I’d skip. As for price, you do get a 3.5 oz for about $18-19, which is only reasonable if you’re like me and have coarse curls that sometimes need an extra shot of moisture that a butter just won’t fix.

Because the Fro’s been tied up in twists, I’ve been slightly obsessed with maintaining moisture, and this fits perfectly into the rotation of spritzes & butters to make sure I get the job done!

Have you guys tried R&B? How’d the hair respond?