Posts Categorized: product review

May 25, 2011

Andalou Naturals Sweet Orange & Argan Oil Conditioner


While there continues to be a surge in new product lines that cater to the needs of the curly haired masses, some are still finding it difficult to scour the internets, searching for brand names that sell the hair butters & lotions our hair so often craves. Whether hesitancy comes from the price of shipping & handling or from the average time it takes for the goodies to arrive at your front door, some naturals still prefer to shop through the aisles of their local beauty supply or health food store.

Thankfully, while we wait for some of our small niched brands to reach the aisles of our local Ulta or Target, stores like Whole Foods are stocking up on a ton of new curl friendly products that are affordable and work well. I mentioned Pooka Pure & Simple a while back (also stocked at Whole Foods), and just this past week  finished up a bottle of a new favorite condish from Andalou Naturals, their Moisture Rich Sweet Orange & Argan Oil formulated specifically for dry, curly, textured hair is the biz-NESS!

Packed with more nourishing oils & natural butters than most average conditioners that hang out on most shelves, this delivered on it’s promise to moisturize my parched Fro, leaving hair incredibly soft. I opted to use as a deep conditioner after each use because of it’s creamy texture, and left in the hair for 45min-1hour.

Formulated with my new fav ingredient, Manuka Honey along with cocoa butter, vitamin E, Shea Butter, Jojoba & Avocado Oils it’s definitely moisturizing, yet lacks in the slip department. Applying to my strands wasn’t exactly a chore, but because it does have a small trace of a cone (Dimethicone) I figured it should work better when applying. Nevertheless, I found it worked incredibly well for the price ($9), the smell is not overbearing….in fact it’s sweet & quite pleasant.  Coming in at a 11 ounce jar, you do get a good amount for the dollar. I was able to get a more than a few uses, and I’m a heavy handed gal, lol.

If you find yourself shopping at Whole Foods, or even a local health food store, be sure to check the shelves for newer brands! There’s bound to be a few hidden gems lurking about, the market for curly textured hair is finally changing and showing up at our local stores! Have you guys tried anything from Andalou? What did you like?

May 6, 2011

:Spring Picks:

While a woman gets her bearings amidst the onslaught of grad school finals & a parental visit, here are a few gems that’ve been in heavy rotation over the past few weeks. A few goodies that I’ve reunited with, others that I’m just discovering and absolutely adore!

Even though I’m a woman who frequents her local CVS/Walgreens more than she ought, my secret love affair with apothecaries similar to CO Bigelow still leave me with a warm feeling. Their Amber Perfume Oil is not a subtle fragrance, but balanced enough for those who enjoy a sensual, non-overpowering scent. Dab just a bit on the perimeter of your collarbone and your mood is instantly transformed…love!

Full Discolsure: I am someone that procures all things lip balmy and lip glossy & will pocket purchase several lippies a month. With skin (including the pucker…) that’s prone to irritations such as eczema, this here salve has been a lifesaver! With the warmer months I did not want a greasy slick feel on my mouth (never cute), yet Smith’s Rosebud Salve absorbs fairly quickly leaving just a hint of rose fragrance.

It’s often hard to justify an impulse beauty purchase, especially one that is done in the heat of grad school finals, but snagging the Deborah Lippmann Glitter In The Air Nail Lacquer turned from one instant regret to that of complete adoration! As someone who has a propensity to wear bright bold hues, choosing something with a delicate, subtle look was easier than I thought. The glitter is just the right amount without the gaudy excess, & while the color payoff isn’t as strong as some of the other colors in the collection, it’s right in line with the Spring/Summer vibe.

Never been a huge fan of heavy foundations or makeup that looks overly done, which makes the idea of a tinted moisturizer the best pick…evah! I’m still a newbie to the best on the market, but what I like overall about the Josie Maran line is that it acts more so as a light foundation, almost like a thin veil over the skin with a warm tint.  The coverage is incredible as is the moisture…but because it’s packed with a ton of nourishing oils, it can come off a bit greasy if overused. To avoid this, I dab with a Boscia Lavender Blotting Linen before heading out the door & avoid the worries. I’ve been battling a few hyperpigmentation marks that developed over the long winter, & this is great in the interim.

A separate review to come on the Lush R&B hair moisturizer, but let it be known that this is a certifiable keeper, especially for the up coming warmer days!


*new posts to come next week, stay tuned!*

April 25, 2011

Pooka Shea & Olive Hair Butter

I was recently offered the chance to review a product line that’s been on my radar for a few months now & instantly jumped at the chance based on the incredible reviews. The story behind Pooka Pure & Simple is quite familiar if you’re one to dabble in small companies that manage to deliver exceptional products based on pure passion and heart.

A young women turns to a newfound love for creating bath & body products after a mysterious illness takes control of her body, and soon discovers that what we choose to put on our bodies has a much greater impact on our overall health, than many of us often realize.

Now, the Pooka Shea & Olive Hair Butter could be compared to the still growing number of hair creams on the market today, yet after opening this jar & taking one whiff it’s hard to strike up any comparisons. This is where I “GET GONE…” in the product department. Stick me in between a good smelling hair goodie & the promise of moisturized soft hair, and I’m always willing to listen.

(kindly ignore the sneaky eyelash in the pic) The consistency is just as soft as some of my favorite hair creams on the natural hair market, & measures up surprisingly well considering it’s packed with shea butter & olive oil as it’s base. I instantly thought this would be a greasy mess on both the hair & skin, but found it worked to smooth and soften hair while I pranced around town in two-strand twists, and opted for a twist out during the weekend.

I mostly used it as a maintenance product as opposed to a styler because of the growing length of my hair (I’d end up using almost half the jar). If you have a TWA, growing out your relaxed hair & transitioning, this would work fairly well to soften the dreaded two-texture zone & seal in valuable moisture that’s often lost. If you’ve avoided hair butters in the past in hopes of never having to deal with the greasy mess, I’d give this a go if you’re feeling fancy. It sinks into the hair fairly quickly & imparts crazy shine…but DO use sparingly! A small dollop will suffice, any more and you’re back to grease monkey status.

Because I do tend to look for products that won’t aggravate my already agita filled scalp, having a mix of both Rosemary Oil & Lavender Oil to nourish and stimulate the scalp is a great. I’ve recently started using it on my elbows to kick them into shape for the Spring/Summer shoulder bearing season & intend to use it over the next few weeks.

To find out more about Pooka Products click here. They offer a variety of different body butters, body polishes & shower gels that compliment each other quite well.

April 22, 2011

Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

This was certainly one of those new to the hair care aisle products that I knew I wanted to get my PJ hands on several months back, yet never seemed to commit to simply because I knew it would finally always be there. Ever since the SheaMoisture line of goodies hit the stores of Target many moons ago, and most recently the shelves of your nearest Walgreens, flocks of natural hair ladies have been bum rushing, stocking up & relegating themselves to rainchecks (this gal included) in hopes of trying this line.

Even though these hands weren’t quick enough to snag a few things during the recent Walgreens BOGO sale, safely stored away in my stash was the Curl Enhancing Smoothie, a styler for natural hair ladies with thick curly strands that enjoys a ton of moisture. Formulated with shea butter, cococonut oil, neem oil (my personal fav), mango seed butter this smoothie that sets itself up as a pretty dense & creamy hair cream, managed to moisturize my growing fro quite easily.

After first using this with Oyin’s new Hair Dew a few weeks ago to set my weekly two-strand twists, hair was soft, pliable and stayed this way for the better part of 7 days. This week after experimenting with the Shine & Hold Mist as a leave-in, I experienced a bit of crunch that was more so to do with my heavy handedness than anything else.

The final outcome was actually pretty impressive after smoothing a smidge of hair butter over the top & issuing some major fluff action. This is definitely one of those stylers where you need to apply sparingly because it will deliver in the moisture department, especially if coupled with a good leave-in underneath. It promises to deliver body & shine, and having hair that’s was practically BORN with more than enough to spare, I can attest to the fro having some added bounce to it’s step. Did not experience much shine because of the slight over use, but still experimenting how much to use when twisting and using different leave-ins.

Apart from how well this works, I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed in the smell! *pauses to sniff*. Could it be the mix of Coconut & Hibiscus? I dunno…but it’s a fragrant, soft almost sweet smell that’s not overly bearing, but pleasant if you enjoy the smell of flowers.

For the price ($9) at most Walgreens & Target locations, this is a great styler if you’re planning on wearing protective styles, two-strand twisting for a weekly twist out, braid-out, flat twist etc. Have you guys tried the Smoothie? What were your results?

April 19, 2011

Oyin Handmade’s Hair Dew

This one’s for the luvahs…those that understand the enticing nature of a better than average product  that smells so divine, you just might catch yourself sniffing it in the quiet corners of your boudoir. This one’s for those that are often labeled ‘PJ’s’ & dole out love notes to some of their favorite jars of…pomade.

Stay with Me…

This one’s also for those who enjoy discovering and supporting small owned business that continue to get it right, not simply with their customer service but with the quality of their products. I’ve been a customer of Oyin Handmade for a few years now and have yet to find a negative quibble when it comes to their products.

Many goodies from their line are unique in that many of them are multi-purpose, and function great as either a hair styler or body moisturizer. The new Hair Dew leave-in conditioner sets itself up as a light, yet creamy leave-in condish that’s also safe to use on body (if you so choose).

Because of all the incredible reviews on Youtube & across the hair boards, I invested in a larger 16 oz size before settling down and trying. Now, before even applying as a styler…I have to confess to smelling…and sniffing….and feeling as if I hit pay dirt with this leave-in. Have you guys tried the Burnt Sugar Pomade? Chile….if you cradled that small jar in the crooks of your arm because of  the warm goodness smell, please be advised that this is the exact same situ-mication.

The last ‘light’ yet creamy leave-in condish that graced these strands was Giovanni Direct leave-in, a still favorite but mostly during the warmer months. The Hair Dew has simple ingredients (water, castor oil, olive oil, aloe vera gel, coconut oil are the top few..), yet manages to moisturize and easily detangle my hair (while using a wide toothed comb).

This woman tried her best NOT to be heavy handed…but C’mon Son! The smell did me over, and after only two or so applications, I’m already looking to purchase another jar. Because it’s non greasy, I’ve been able to avoid those awkward ‘grease spot’ hair stains that most hair products leave in their wake. These past few weeks I’ve been wearing two-strand twists, a style that requires constant moisture if you want to prolong the style as well as wear a knock em out twist-out later on. This did a great job in sealing in moisture for the usual 7-day post wash runs.

Ideally, I’d see myself using this more so in the Spring/Summer months rather than Winter unless I were to use a heavier styler underneath. If you have a TWA, hair that’s short and needs daily moisture, give this a try. Works nicely on wet or dry hair that needs a moisture pick-me up… and even though I was a tad heavy handed ( a vice I’m working on…) a little bit gets the job done if you’re sectioning and distributing the product evenly.

Right now I’m working on using it as a mid-week refresher for my twists because of the ‘dry nest’ situation & will report back results!

*Now, I know I may be late to the game by trying this months after it’s come out, but what have been your experiences with the Hair Dew?*

April 12, 2011

Darcy’s Botanicals Daily Cleansing Conditioner

There are only a few natural hair brands that I continually return to based not simply on product performance, but what’s often the deal breaker for many willing to spend their hard earned monies…customer service. Since first placing an order with Darcy’s Botanicals a few years ago, I was instantly impressed by the swift turnaround, the owner’s willingness to answer even the smallest of questions & the superb quality of products. Lysandra is constantly trying new & interesting new formulas, staying attentive to what the natural hair community is talking and vying after – just an overall great example of what you’d want from any of the top natural hair brands on the market today.

So, clearly this isn’t my first introduction to this line, and each time I do order & stock up on old favorites I instinctively look around their online store to spot any new goodies. A while back I snagged a new item that was all the talk on several of the online forums & after nursing a single bottle for the past few months, I’m eager to return for some more!

The Daily Cleansing Conditioning Cream is neither stripping like a traditional hair cleanser or packs the moisture punch like your favorite deep conditioner. What it is good for is delivering a smooth low lather cleanse on hair that is often too sensitive for harsh surfactants but benefits from a nourishing creamy co-wash.

How To Use A Cleansing Conditioner

  • Great for Co-Washes during the warmer months or in between washes
  • use as a follow up moisture replenisher after using your favorite hair cleanser ( I use it after a clay treatment if hair feels dry to touch)
  • For those who are transitioning or recently BIG CHOPPED, products like this work well as hair adjusts to low surfactant products & for balancing moisture retention
  • Doubles as a leave-in conditioner
  • Great as an instant conditioner (if left in hair for 5 minutes)

Depending on the length and amount of hair, a small amount gives great enough coverage to cleanse & condition properly. I’ve used this over the months primarily to replenish moisture in the hair after shampooing & love the slip, and ability to ease the detangling process. The smell is light, not overpowering (slightly fruity).

Darcy’s has been a growing favorite in the natural hair community over the years, and I implore you to check out just a few of their goodies! Most are available on her site as well as on Etsy & BGLH Marketplace where all orders are shipped FREE!