Posts Categorized: product review

April 8, 2011

TheraNeem Scalp Therape

I’ve tried enough shampoos, clay treatments and scalp serums over the years to help combat what’s been referred to on this blog as the ‘scalp situation,’ that incorporating yet another hair remedy into my regular routine is…well, it’s fairly normal these days.

In the beginning when I’d first discovered that my scalp was not built like any other person’s head, I sought out to find a cure all. I scheduled appointments with dermatologists, scoured the internet looking for home remedies & became determined not to let it discourage me from living my life. If you’ve suffered from any form of eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis of the body….you might understand what I mean.

So while I casually picked up TheraNeem’s Scalp Therape by Organix a while back, I still had relatively low expectations for this shampoo. But after just 1 cleansing session, I was more than hooked!

Things I look for in a Hair Cleanser:

  • Sulfate Free
  • Nourishing – ( a formula equipped with a few essential oils is always a plus)
  • Easy to apply – ( a MUST is that the formula be easy to apply to my scalp, consistency is important)
  • Gluten Free – (not always, but an added bonus)

What I love most about this formula is that it’s packed with a ton of my favorite oils and herbs, specifically Neem extract & jojoba oil. The consistency is very light, watery even, yet this is so important if your intent is to properly cleanse the scalp. When applied, the shampoo instantly absorbs into your scalp, giving it the most amazing cooling sensation and gives you a nice low lather so that you know it’s working!

Key Ingredients:

Aqueous Extracts of Azadirachta Indica (Neem) Leaf*, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint)*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary)* and Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm)*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*,    Kosher Glycerin, Polysorbate 80, Panthenol, Azadirachta Indica (Neem) Oil*,  Essential Oils of Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf and Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender)

This has been my main cleanser of choice for the past few weeks, and I’m *this close* to sticking to it solely…because it works that well. I of course cleanse while hair’s in sections, leave it on for about 5 minutes after evenly distributing & rinse clean away. It’s managed to keep my regular inflammations at bay & I’ve seen little to no flakes on my scalp after 7-8 days post wash.

*If you’re prone to scalp irritations, let me know what you use or if you’ve tried this brand*

March 31, 2011

Shea Moisture Balancing Conditioner

I’ve come to realize that this blog’s been a bit lax in the product review department, so please be forewarned I’ll be mixing it up a bit with some backlogging of goodies that I’ve tried over the past few weeks… & possibly months.

So yesterday I found myself making up any old excuse to visit my ol friend Tarjay, and was pleased to find she’d undergone a complete makeover! Target has spiffified their beauty department to include a handful of new cosmetic brands  and cleaned up some old ones with customer friendly displays that are now easier to access (and let’s be real….prettier too)!

As per usual, the hair care aisle was a buzz with ladies (and a few gents) looking for something new, but I hightailed it to the SheaMoisture display to snag one of my 2010 favorite conditioners, their African Black Soap Balancing Conditioner.

Now when it comes to conditioner these days, the main factors I consider are whether I can option it for a Deep Conditioner (leaving it in my hair for longer than 10 minutes), and how well it detangles using my wide toothed comb. I was thrilled the first time I applied this condish to my hair,  not only did my wide tooth glide very easily through my strands, but after leaving in for 1 hour and rinsing clean, it left hair so incredibly soft! I’d really love to compare it to my still tried and true, Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose because it works just as well, and is a lot easier to handle coming out of the bottle yet has tons more slip.

Specially formulated for scalps that are more prone to irritations such as dandruff & eczema, this is a great alternative for those looking for something gentle but still effective. Each week I wage my own battle with scalp dryness (amongst other things), & trying to calm frequent flareups has been at the least..frustrating. Using this in conjunction with a non-drying sulfate free shampoo always yields pretty awesome results!

If I’m low on some of my go to Deep Conditioners that are exclusively available online, it’s gratifying to know I don’t have to wait to find a better than average conditioner that works just as well, maybe even better than some of the major brands. It’s organic, free of synthetics, mineral oil & sulfates, and has the benefits of tea tree oil & Willow Bark (reduces inflammation of scalp).

The SheaMoisture line has been available at most Target stores for a while now, and have just been added to select Walgreens locations. If you’re in the NYC area, you might also snag some goodies at your nearest Duane Reade! Be sure to stay up to date on where they’ll be next by visiting their Facebook Page and following on Twitter.

March 24, 2011

Tangle Teezer Review

Tangle Teezer

It’s been a while since I reviewed a hair tool made popular by the natural hair community, but safe to say this one’s been getting a bit of buzz….yea? With as much restraint as this PJ could tolerate, I finally caved several weeks back and was just as excited to try this much hyped tool when it finally arrived. I first detangled on dry hair, then graduated to conditioned, trying to figure out the best & easiest way to cut through the tangles.

Dry Hair: knowing full well this is a curly girl no no….I did it anyway. After 7 days of having hair in twists, I took a section of hair and gently started detangling from the ends, and to my surprise found the process remarkably easy. Worked through dry hair, the teezer gently detangles & separates hair leaving relatively no strands behind.

Wet Hair: Before saturating hair with conditioner, I detangled without product & after hair was stripped of a few shed hairs. The Teezer worked well, but not an overall favorite way to cut through a few of the tangles found after 7 days of hair kept in a twist-out.

Well Conditioned Hair: With hair that is well saturated with your favorite conditioner, the teezer clearly wins. I was able to cut through the tangles in considerably less time compared to the Denman.

Overall Pros: I timed my detangling session a few times to see if I’d be able to cut down the usual 1 hour it takes, and saw that I was able to reduce my usual agita down to about 35 minutes with hair in sections and the usual amount of conditioner.

Overall Cons: Awkward handling. The shape of the teezer is not ideal for gripping, particularly if hair’s loaded with conditioner. Working in front of the mirror and slowly at that…the teezer slipped from my hands more than a few times before I was finally able to get the hang of it.

Is it better than the Denman Brush? To each their own…but after using the tool for a few weeks I noticed that they both work for very different reasons. I still try to use the Denman brush for the finishing process, to help clump curls and evenly distribute product on my hair, while using more durable hair friendly tools (i.e. wide toothed comb, tangle teezer) to detangle hair that has a few knots & tangles. I did like how there was considerably less hair in the brush after detangling, and added bonus if you’re trying to retain length and keep those precious hairs on your head and not down the drain.

Available now at most Sally’s beauty stores & online, I’d highly recommend, and even give it a few tries before drawing any final conclusions. As with the Denman, I had to ease into using a brush-like tool to cut through the tangles, but with practice found that it works rather well.

 

March 17, 2011

EO Rose & Chamomile Protective Conditioner

If you’ve been following along my hair journey over the past few weeks, you might have noticed a slight dedication to one particular product when it comes to styling. If not, here’s my opportunity to gush over what my hair’s been loving and addicted to for the past few months.

I often find that it’s when one’s not looking…when you’ve reached your wits end with your wash routine, & have little to find for a deep conditioner in your stash of hair goodies that a gem reveals itself in the form of a ‘holy grail’ type situation. This happened several weeks ago after rummaging in my closets to find something….anything to deep condition and detangle.

Coming across EO’s Moisture Rich Protective Conditioner was nothing more than a fluke, a friend who’d recently cleaned out her hair product inventory offered & I happily accepted. It’s a hydrating conditioner formulated for color treated hair, yet I find many products that are formulated as such to work very well on my hair. I’ve used this both as a regular rinse out conditioner as well as a leave-in and continually have amazing results.

EO, which stands for Essential Oils does have small amounts of Silicone in it’s formulation, which I know is often a Curly Girl faux pas for some, yet after using it consistently over the past couple of months, I’ve had little negative to say. A small amount does the trick when detangling, and moisturizes hair almost instantly helping my curls to clump together. As a leave-in condish it leaves no flakes or residue behind and smoothes my hair down making it ideal for two-strand twists. The fragrant rosy scent is not overpowering, but more so pleasant & refreshing.

I was able to achieve fully fro-ish like 7-day hair while under the influence of this as a leave-in, and the amountof compliments received during that week truly forced me to fall head over heels for an automatic staple in my product rotation.

  • Hibiscus, rich in Alpha Hydroxy and Amino Acids, rehydrates keratin fibers adding luster and smoothness.
  • Panthenol and Glycerin aid in moisture retention, increasing elasticity and thickening hair.
  • Organic Calendula, Chamomile and White Tea botanicals harmonize and replenish.
  • Aloe Vera and Vitamins A & E improve scalp health with powerful antioxidants.
  • Organic Jojoba, Coconut and Olive Oils lightly condition restoring softness.
  • Paraben & Cruelty Free

I have to say though, VERY difficult to find in many stores in my area. Just this past week I was able to track down 1 lonely bottle on a shelf at a local Vitamin Shoppe. Instead of running low on my go-to styler, I decided to shop around a bit more & found amazing deals on LuckyVitamin.com, where the discounts are pretty amazing. Shipping was very speedy, and I had my haul within 5 days.

Worth it? For me, yes. I now have a styler/conditioner that I’ve been able to rely on consistently for great results, ingredients are beneficial to the overall health of my hair, and at less than $6 for an 8.4 oz bottle it is price worthy.

January 13, 2011

Anita Grant Rhassoul Deep Condish…

After coming across a pretty insightful blog post shared by Savvy Brown earlier today via Twitter, I finally had to admit what’s long gone undiagnosed in my natural hair world…a woman is certifiably ADDICTED to conditioner! The natural girl’s creamy crack has manifested itself into the form of conditioner! No real light bulb moment here…yet it’s interesting to realize how much I do actually depend on the luxury of treating my strands to something creamy, nourishing with the promise of leaving hair soft & ‘manageable.’ We often turn to condtioner when hair’s dry, thirsty, heat damaged or simply in need of a little TLC, and because of it’s usability it seems a natural girl can’t get enough!

Rarely does my hair go without some form of leave-in conditioner, rinse out/deep duty condish etc., and truthfully I think Fro’s much happier this way. So after reading countless…NUMEROUS thumbs up reviews for the Anita Grant Rhassoul Deep Condish, I finally took the plunge a few weeks ago & purchased from their new US retailer, Hairrogant. Shipping was incredibly fast…I’m talking same day, express…goodies were in my hand within the span of 4 days. Couldn’t be happier.

I ordered the 3 box cube hoping this would be enough to cover my massive bush. When it finally did come down to mixing and applying, thankfully there was just enough to get through the treatment. There are several ways to mix the Rhassoul Deep Condish, a few tips & examples are provided on both the Anita Grant site and Hairrogant’s. For a quick visual on how others mix their hair mask, Richeau from Youtube delivers a great 3-part demo. Click here to view.

Lifted from anitagrant.com:

Beneficial nourishment for YOU:

  • Rhassoul contains Iron, Calcium, Potassium, Silica, Magnesium & Sodium. This mineral rich ingredient, detoxifies your scalp leaving hair light, soft and fluffy.
  • Virgin Olive Oil – Promotes sheen & a healthy scalp.
  • Vitamin E – mixed tocopherols – Natural antioxidants that helps protect tresses from external stress & strain.

I went the simple route, slowly mixing in hot water with the 3-cubes in a heat resistant container. It takes a while to break up the block, but after it is fully dissolved I whipped the mix to form soft peaks, waited until it cooled, then applied to freshly washed & detangled hair.

I concentrated most on applying the mix to the hair as opposed to scalp, because I was going for full coverage with what little I had, though typically the clay is great as a detoxifier for the scalp. Application was moderately messy at first & while no gloves were necessary, it’s best to go slow when applying if you want to keep your bathroom walls, mirror free of dry crust:). The hair mask was left on for about an hour for maximum deep conditioning (with a conditioning cap), then completely rinsed out using warm water.

Rinsing the clay was very easy & took no longer than 5 minutes for hair to feel clean & mud free! I took a quick pic after rinsing the bottom half of mud from the hair, and noticed instant definition even prior to applying the usual styling product. Hair was noticeably softer, a bit more elongated and tangle free!

Styling was a breeze, experiencing zero tangle issues and strands appeared noticeably smoother. I was truly giddy with excitement after the final rinse that thoughts of snagging the larger block of Rhassoul available on the Hairrogant sight…were seriously not far from my mind:). Deep conditioning with a clay mixture as opposed to a creamier formula, i.e. Aubrey Organics/Herbal Essences matters mostly in how each is prepared & applied. The results with the clay did leave my hair slightly softer & my curls were definitely more defined.

A repurchase of the Rhassoul Clay Deep Condish is almost certainly in my future, and I’m excited! The 3-block pack was barely enough for full covrage…soooo…is the $98 block in my future (oh…dear…)?

*Anyone have heartfelt condish stories to share? SPILL!*

January 7, 2011

Salvaging the Fluff with Shea Moisture

One of the many lessons learned week in and week out from washing, styling and waiting over 8 hours for your thick mane to dry, is that often times…it’s best to fail in order for success to rear it’s fluffy little head. In some ways, it’s the most annoying right of passage to being completely comfortable in accepting the ‘fluff.’

The ‘fluff’ is often experienced whilst one natural is in a rush throughout the day, hardly enough time to tame the regular errands of the morning, noon & afternoon, but just enough time to force the fro into something presentable for another work/play week. You might just manage to wash & detangle, but fall short of the often time consuming task of deep conditioning with your favorite DC. Late nights filled with twisting and smoothing hair, can often turn into rushed mornings where, with hair still slightly wet from the night before, you still have to ‘make it work’ and say…whatevs.

This past week landed me in a similiar situation…perhaps not as dramatic, but nonetheless. Twas shameful, but after starting the New Year without a proper deep conditioning, I settled on a quick cleansing of the scalp & styled the hair, only to have my damp twists turn into a dry, crinkly entanglement. To help salvage yet another no-time hair faux pas, I turned to Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Hold & Shine Moisture Mist. The goal was to remoisturize the crap out of what old man Winter managed to insight on my head.

The window shopper in me picked this up while at Target a few weeks back without any inkling of how to proceed. Yes, there are directions…BUT, with natural hair I find this matters less and less. So, before heading to bed…and with plenty of time left to twist using my nightly routine, I sprayed, prayed and woke up the following morning with shiny & revived hair!

It’s tricky territory with products formulated to leave hair shiny and provide hold, because with natural hair it’s usually anyone’s guess – factor in dew points, current moisture level, etc – and it’s easy to fall into the …’this doesn’t work for me’ file. I’m usually of the mind…make it work. Especially if the first ingredient is water (instant moisture) and coconut oil, two things my hair thrives on, which also happen to be the first 2 ingredients.

The spray did smooth out many a frizz situation while making hair incredibly soft-to-touch. I did not saturate the hair while twisting, but lightly sprayed then sealed with a shea-butter based hair cream. The above pics are the result the day after untwisting. Sadly, no portraits of the tangled mess…but TRUST…it resembled 7-day hair at best because of the dryness, lack of curl definition factor.

Instead of remoisturizing again the following night, I simply continued with my nightly routine and this morning loved the reulsts even more! This time ‘fluff’ had character and didn’t feel threatened by the harsh winds of Winter.

I’ve probably said it here before, but while I adore the ups/downs/twists & turns of natural hair, hardly do I enjoy fussing with my hair more than a few times a week. Apart from my nightly routine, the most managing of the hair takes place in the a.m. right before dipping and fluffing for full Fro effect, so for the cost of about $9 I love that I can use this once a week to revive whatever might need saving during the course of the week. More so now with Winter the moisture mist works amazingly well.