Quick Tip #17: Use Coconut Oil CAUTIOUSLY!

FTC Disclaimer
This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
Thank you for your support!

 

Fresh Coconuts (Set of 3)

Ok, scientifically coconut oil IS NOT a protein but, in a sense, I feel like it behaves like one because it contains lauric acid (a medium chain fatty acid that binds easily to protein in hair). Because of this, coconut oil has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft (due to its low molecular weight), reducing protein loss and strengthening the hair’s structure. It also creates a “hardening effect” due to its ability to change viscosity so quickly (i.e., from a liquid to a solid state) at low temperatures. As a result, harsh winter winds, for example, can create stiff hair very quickly. In addition, repeated use of coconut oil can cause protein build-up, drastically reducing hair’s elasticity and causing follicles to become dull, dry, brittle, easily tangled, and more prone to breakage.

Have you been overusing coconut oil? If so, consider utilizing a deep conditioner or moisturizing hair mask to restore the protein:moisture balance of your hair. Need a complete restart? Try a reconstructor instead.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Hair Styles & Tips

Graze Snack Subscription Service

click to download

 

 

We all know healthy hair starts from the inside out, so I thought I’d share with you an amazing snack company called Graze that lets you hand pick single snack orders and subscription snack packs. All of their snacks have NO genetically engineered ingredients, NO artificial flavors or colors, NO high fructose corn syrup, and 0g trans fat per serving. As someone who is constantly on the go, this makes healthy snacking thought-free!

With flavors profiles from sweet, savory, and spicy to snacks that include protein, chocolate, popcorn, fruit, and/or nuts and seeds, you can easily customize your snacks any way you choose. All you have to do tell graze which foods you likelove, or would like to try. Then, they will create your box based on your personal preferences. Currently, graze boxes can only be shipped to US addresses within the 50 states. (Sorry international readers!) It is also important to note that graze IS NOT suitable for people with allergies. Graze packs all of their food in the same place, so their snacks may contain traces of gluten, wheat, eggs, nuts, soy, dairy, etc.

Going on vacation or have an upcoming business trip? Postponing your graze subscription is super easy. Just delay delivery on your home page (one week at a time) by selecting the week you’d like to receive your next box. As long as they haven’t already started to prepare your next box, you’re good to go!

I’m already on my second 8-snack variety subscription box from graze. I love it! It’s convenient AND tasty. So far my faves from my first box are the (1) sweet rhubarb jam—rhubarb, soft apple pieces and cranberries, (2) peanut butter and jelly—baked salted peanuts, raspberry fruit strings and vanilla fudge, (3) cookies and cream—mini cocoa cookies, white chocolate buttons, chocolate fudge and sunflower seeds, and (4) white chocolate dip and sweet blueberry toasts. And, the best part? Each 8-snack variety box costs just $13.99 including delivery.

At any given time, graze has over 100 snacks available from which to choose. They add new innovative flavors to their range every 1-3 months. Graze uses the 80/20 rule when making boxes: be good 80% of the time, and treat yourself the rest of the time. In this way, graze strikes a balance between healthy snacking and treats that are (still wholesome but) simply a pleasure to eat! Because all of their snacks are perfectly portioned as well as self-contained in a portable individual package, you never have to worry about sacrificing your health for convenience. Just add a snack pack to your purse, gym bag, backpack, or briefcase, and you’ll never be stranded without a tasty snack (that happens to also be good for you) again!

Not enough to sway you? Maybe this will help … Graze founded a farming school in rural Uganda, a generous effort that provides locals with much-needed income by teaching them to grow, maintain, and harvest food from their own modest plots. Each student receives ongoing support so that they can feed themselves, their family, and earn money to feed a family of four by selling their harvest at neighborhood markets. In addition, all graze packaging is recyclable and comes from sustainable forests. Snack packs can even be repurposed as “punnet planters for a graze box herb garden!”

As a result, Graze has reinvented the world of snacking through one-of-a-kind snack creations. They even have an intelligent algorithm that chooses from millions of graze box combinations to ensure that every graze box is tailored to each unique customer. So, there’s sure to be something different and exciting to try every single time. Watch my video below for additional information about snacking with graze …

 Use this rewards code (FTKFN2FTP) to get your FIRST (4-snack sampler) and FIFTH (8-snack variety) box free!

Leave a comment

Filed under Product Reviews

SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

FTC Disclaimer

This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon or eBay), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie promises to restore moisture to parched hair, reduce frizz, induce shine, detangle, and create healthy, bouncy waves, curls, or coils. Made from organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, organic mango butter, and hibiscus flower extract, this Curl Enhancing Smoothie, like all of SheaMoisture’s other products, DOES NOT contain parabens, phthalates, paraffin, mineral oil, DEA, petroleum, formaldehyde, or propylene!

 

Directions: Section hair and apply product sparingly to damp or dry hair. Do not rinse out. Style hair as desired. For best results, use as a styling cream for twist-outs, braids and wash-and-go styles.

Ingredients: Deionized Water, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut ) Oil*, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Magnifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter*, Persea Gratissima (Avacado) Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Silk Protein, Ammonium Salt, Melia Azadiratcha (Neem) Seed Oil,Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed oil, Sorbitol Esters, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B-5), Caprylyl Glycol, Essential Oil Blend, Lonicera Caprifolium (honeysuckle) Flower (and) Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Hibiscus Flower Extract

 

This Curl Enhancing Smoothie definitely defined my curls and coils. I’m talking mega defined wash ‘n go, here! However, this hair smoothie made my hair extremely dry … I mean dry like straw in the height of summer in the South! Even when I used it with a leave-in, I had to moisturize my hair three times a day just to get the moisture retention levels of my hair back to normal. After a week of use, my hair became so dry, I actually became a little scared. I layered on my oldie but goodie S Curl No Drip Activator to revive my parched hair. Thank God that stuff never fails to leave my hair moisturized.

I initially thought the silk protein might be the troublemaker, but my low porosity hair doesn’t usually have problems accepting hydrolyzed proteins. I noticed that coconut oil is the third ingredient. I know, I know. This product is called the “Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie,” but honestly after reading and hearing about everyone’s rave reviews, I didn’t think it would be a problem. My hair has hated coconut oil since the beginning of my natural hair journey. Clearly it still does! So, if you have low porosity hair or hair that has a huge dislike for coconut oil, I would use this hair smoothie very cautiously!

To prevent from wasting the remaining 95% of the Curl Enhancing Smoothie I had, I put several tablespoons of the smoothie into a smaller pump container and then added some rose water, glycerin, and apricot oil. It helped a lot but was still a little drying for my hair. So, I definitely think that whenever I use this, I will have to layer it over a heavy duty moisturizing leave-in to make sure my hair doesn’t become too parched by the end of the day. I really love the concept of SheaMoisture’s products: natural ingredients free of toxic ingredients like parabens and formaldehyde. However, my hair just doesn’t seem to like the leave-in or stylers I’ve tried by them thus far. I’ve been told they have a line specifically for low porosity hair that includes a shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in detangler, yet there’s no styler! So,the hunt for a holy grail styler that’s all-natural AND protein-free continues …

Leave a comment

Filed under Product Reviews

Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub

FTC Disclaimer

This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub is amazing! It beats their strawberry scrub hands down!

My skin is quite sensitive, especially to exfoliants. However, Mario Badescu’s Botanical Exfoliating Scrub contains finely ground Ecuadorian ivory palm seeds that refine my skin without leaving it red and blotchy. It sloughs off my dead skin cells with ease and without ever irritating my sensitive skin. Also, there was no burning sensation after using this product like I sometimes experience with other scrubs. I also never felt the need to be superficially overly genteel while using it, either!

While I loved Mario Badescu’s strawberry scrub, in the long run it proved to be too rough for my sensitive skin. So, my sister let me try some of her kiwi scrub from the same brand. For the short term, the kiwi scrub seemed promising, but the kiwi seeds, like the strawberry seeds, started to be too abrasive for both of our sensitive skin. So, when I was placing an order with MB to replenish some of their other items that I love from my dwindling stash, I saw that they had this Botanical Exfoliating Scrub. I added a sample of it to my cart and placed my order. When my order arrived, I couldn’t wait to try the new scrub.

Upon first use, I immediately noticed that a little goes a long way. Considering this scrub costs $26 for a 3.4 oz tube, that’s important! However, I definitely think that it is worth the price tag. I use the scrub 3 x a week (in the morning) after cleansing my face. It instantly removes any buildup or dullness until only bright, smooth skin remains! I love the unique combination of nourishing botanicals like ginger, ginkgo, green tea, aloe, and coconut.

After using this Botanical Exfoliating Scrub consistently for the last 3 months, I can honestly say that this gel-based formula works well on my sensitive-prone combination skin. I think this Botanical Exfoliating Scrub just edged out my beloved Almond & Honey Face Scrub.

Leave a comment

Filed under Product Reviews

SheaMoisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Reparative Leave-In Conditioner

 

FTC Disclaimer

This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

SheaMoisture Strengthen, Grow & Restore Leave-In Conditioner, Jamaican Black Castor Oil--16 oz (453 g)

Ingredients:

Water (Aqua), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Panthenol, Glycerin (Vegetable), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil , Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil , Hydrolyzed Keratin, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Tocopherol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Vinegar, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Niacin, Dextran, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Caramel, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract

Directions:

Apply to clean, towel-dried hair. Work a generous amount of product into hair from root to ends. Comb through for even distribution. Do not rinse. Apply more to longer hair at the end of problem areas. Can also be used as a rinse-out conditioner. 

SheaMoisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) Strengthen, Grow & Restore Leave-in Conditioner contains organic shea butter, peppermint extract, and Jamaican black castor oil to condition hair, stimulate the scalp, and promote healthy hair growth. It claims to help remove buildup while remaining gentle enough for daily moisturizing. Per the directions on the label, I applied this Leave-in Conditioner to freshly washed hair. I divided my hair into quadrants to make the application process easier. Then, I shingled the JBCO Conditioner through each section. I used the product solo to get a sense of how my hair would respond. My curls and coils looked super defined, and I started to get excited about the fact that I may have just found my new go-to hair moisturizer. But, I decided to reserve my full opinion until after my hair had fully dried.

About 3 hours later, I looked in the mirror and was pleased by how this JBCO Conditioner made my hair “look.” My curls were still very defined. However, when I touched my hair, I was mortified. To my surprise, my tresses were dry, hard, and super crunchy. It was as if I had slathered an alcohol-based gel all over my hair! I scrutinized the ingredients more closely. I saw hydrolyzed keratin (13th ingredient), hydrolyzed vegetable protein (18th ingredient), and hydrolyzed rice protein (21st ingredient) in the ingredient list. That’s three different proteins. Because they are all hydrolyzed, they have been processed to the point that they are small enough to penetrate past the hair’s cuticle directly into the core of the hair shaft, allowing the protein to easily bond to each hair follicle.

I also noticed that coconut oil was the third ingredient. My hair IS NOT a big fan of coconut oil. I stopped using coconut oil in my hair very early in my natural hair journey because it often made my hair stiff and dry. This, in combination with the three hydrolyzed proteins, is probably why my hair responded so harshly to this Leave-in. So, if you have fine, low-porosity hair like I do, I would test this JBCO Conditioner on a discreet area of your hair before applying it all over your mane like I did.

Another concern I have is the inconsistent product textures. Some naturals I talked to said their JBCO Strengthen, Grow & Restore Leave-in Conditioner was thin and runny. The one I purchased, though, was very thick and creamy. So, I’m wondering if there has been a recent formula change. This may account for the two distinctive “Love It!” or “Leave It!” camps. Also, many people warned me that this smelled like Play-Doh! Needless to say I was a little concerned before trying the product that I would reek of rambunctious four-year-olds at playtime. Yet, to me, this JBCO Conditioner has more of an herbal, medicinal smell (in a good way). So, I’m not sure what the deal is with all the Play-Doh references. Nevertheless, I was so disappointed with this Leave-in that I returned it.

Some naturalistas informed me that even though the directions state that a “generous amount” should be applied, I should really use just a small amount/apply the Leave-in more sparingly. However, I tried that, and it still left a hard caste on my hair. It was as if the product just sat on the top of my hair. Others suggested that I use it on dry rather than wet or damp freshly washed hair but, by then, I had given up on the product and returned it! Here’s the breakdown of the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • No Parabens
  • No Phthalates
  • No Paraffin
  • No Mineral Oil
  • No DEA
  • No Petroleum
  • No Formaldehyde
  • No Propylene
  • Super thick and creamy consistency
  • Pleasant scent

Cons:

  • Dried out my hair
  • Made my hair super crunchy and hard
  • Inconsistent product consistencies
  • Too much protein for safe daily use (FOR ME)

While this Leave-in Conditioner was ideal in theory, the amazing ingredients just didn’t translate into great results for MY hair. My sister loves SheaMoisture’s JBCO Shampoo and Conditioner, which is why I went out on a limb to try this Leave-in. However, she has super thick type 4B hair. So, I’ll let you decide whether you think your hair type and texture will benefit from SheaMoisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Leave-in Conditioner.

1 Comment

Filed under Product Reviews

Swanson Bamboo Extract: 2-month Update

FTC Disclaimer
This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
Thank you for your support!

I first started using bamboo extract two months ago. I had mixed one-month results. I bought two bottles. Each bottle contains 60 vegetarian capsules and will last 2 months since you only need to take one pill a day. Given that I purchased both bottles for less than $20, this supplement provides pretty good bang for your buck.

After taking this supplement for 8 weeks, my nail health has made a complete 180 turnaround. My weak, brittle nails normally break daily. This bamboo extract seemed to strengthen and lengthen them from the inside out. After only 2 weeks, my nail growth expedited exponentially. In a month’s time, the extract had lengthened my nails to the point of becoming an annoyance (needing to be cut much more frequently than before). After 2 months, I’ve noticed that the condition of my nails have improved drastically. My nails have not just become LONGER but have now become STRONGER as well.

While my hair’s thickness and volume have increased, I have had zero to staggering results. This is likely due to the fact that I have 3 different textures on my head! Watch the following video for a quick summary of my experience after taking bamboo extract for two months.

Leave a comment

Filed under Length Checks, Product Reviews

Quick Tip #16: Hack for Storing Bobby Pins (and other things!)

FTC Disclaimer

This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

quick-tip-16

Use a traditional magnetic
paper clip holder in a new way!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got bobby pins everywhere … in your pocket … in your purse … on your vanity … on the bathroom floor … in your hair … The list could go on and on. Storing them can be problematic because you need them at the ready but don’t necessarily want them in a pile of 50 on your bathroom counter. Want your bobby pins neatly contained yet within arm’s reach? Buy yourself a magnetic paper clip holder. No, you’re not going to swap out your bobby pins for paper clips. But, you are going to use them to store them. Because the paper clip holder is magnetized, you will no longer have to stress over dumping over your collection of bobby pins just to get the one (or 20) you need for your hairstyle of the day. You can simply grab and go like the civilized hair aficionado I know you are (or want to be). 😉

Use color to organize your bobby pins in style!

Add a touch of whimsy!

Need to #getorganized? Buy several and use one to store bobby pins and the others for hair pins, small hair clips, or miniature hair accessories. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. You can go traditional or avante garde. I personally love the bright bold coloring of the open bowl style. You can use one for each type of bobby pin! Or, you can go contemporary with a dual top holder. Either way, I think my Spring cleaning just got started early!

Leave a comment

Filed under Hair Styles & Tips