Tag Archives: dry hair

Quick Tip #17: Use Coconut Oil CAUTIOUSLY!

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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.
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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.

 

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Hair Moisture 301: What to Do If Your Hair Just Won’t Stay Moisturized

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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!

Okay, so you’ve been moisturizing your hair like a pro, have found the perfect products for your hair’s type, texture, density, length, and porosity, but your hair is still dry as a bone at day’s end! What gives? Let’s investigate!

It’s time to read your product labels more carefully. Are there any drying ingredients listed (i.e., alcohol)? Are you applying enough product? If you’re not applying enough product, the product is likely evaporating before it can do your hair any good. I was guilty of this during the first year of my natural hair journey! Still at a loss? Your water may be to blame. Watch the video below for tell-tale signs …

Do you live in a hard water area? This is a big one! Not sure? Get your water tested! You can request a free water test strip from Morton Salt, the leading provider of water softener salts.

Hard water is water with a high mineral content. It leaves a scaly finish on your bathroom tiles as well as your skin and hair. While not hazardous to your health, it can cause hair and skin to be dull, dry, tangled, brittle, and even strangely colored. I recently found out that hard water is the reason I have been struggling with tangled, single-strand knotted, constantly parched hair. I uprooted from an area in Seattle with a soft to normal water table. When I first moved to Alabama, my hair was still partially relaxed, so I just thought my hair woes were due to transitioning from chemically-treated hair to my natural curls. After I Big Chopped, my hair was so short, it was super easy to moisturize and stay moisturized. It wasn’t until I started gaining length and needed to moisturize my hair incessantly that I realized something else had to be going on.

Here’s what my test strip revealed …

Hard Water Results

As you can see from my test strip, unfortunately for me, I now live in a hard water area. This has wreaked havoc on my hair’s health (in terms of retaining moisture and length). But, at least now I know what the culprit is. So many well-intentioned (but sometimes downright rude naturals and relaxed hair divas) have made comments about my hair and what I need to do … telling me I need to moisturize more, stop doing this, or start doing that! The problem with giving blanket advice is that it is done without knowledge of all the facts and individual- and situation-specific information. The truth is I moisturize my hair a lot! But, as anyone who has hard or very hard water like I do knows, extra steps are required to just maintain the health of your hair, let alone grow it, when you don’t live in a soft water area.

The truth is that no amount of styling products can rescue your bad hair day when the root of the problem is your tap water. So, here’s some suggestions that can help lessen your hair woes.

Game Plan Steps

  1. Using bottled (or filtered) water as a final rinse after shampooing and conditioning your hair will reduce the number of minerals that attach to your strands. This will create a more neutral environment for developing and maintaining moisturized hair. However, it can be a bit cumbersome to always have bottled (or filtered) water at the ready.
  2. I like to buy Bragg’s organic raw apple cider vinegar (with the mother) because it is unfiltered and contains “mother” strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that help to naturally balance your scalp’s pH, increase shine, and prevent limp, lackluster hair. I usually use a 60:40 ratio of bottled (or filtered) water to apple cider vinegar (ACV). But, you can play around with the ratios if it is too strong or weak for you.
  3. An oil rinse can effectively counter one of the primary side effects of hard water—dry, parched hair. It helps to seal in the moisture from water and prevent frizz. Use light oils like unrefined coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil for best results.
  4. Chelating shampoos prevent and remove buildup in hair. My favorite is ion’s Hard Water Shampoo and Hard Water Conditioner. This has been a complete game changer for me and an absolute must. I noticed a difference in the texture of my hair the first time I used it. I think this will definitely become one of my product staples. However, be careful what brand you choose as many chelating shampoos remove buildup and strip the hair of most of its nutrients. One of the reasons I love ion’s hard water shampoo and conditioner is because it removes mineral buildup on my hair without zapping it of every ounce of moisture.
  5. Although more costly, the most direct way to reverse and prevent hard water hair damage is to invest in a good shower filter or water softener system.

I currently consistently use two of the five above recommendations: an ACV rinse and chelating shampoo. I am also thinking of incorporating an oil rinse into my routine as well. The point is to try a couple of the suggestions to see what methods you prefer and to determine what combination of techniques will ultimately work for you and your hair.

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Hair Moisture 201: Choosing the Right Products

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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!

You know how to moisturize your hair, but how do you know what product(s) will work for you? Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet. A lot of what you will need to do will involve a considerable amount of trial and error. However, the types of products you use will vary, depending on three key considerations: (1) your hair type, density, texture, and porosity, (2) the climate in which you live, and (3) your lifestyle and personal preferences.

Fashion Silhouettes #6

Why does hair type matter? Because different hair types require different hair care regimens and respond differently to various products. For instance, if you have type 2A hair, you will likely have a vastly different hair care routine from someone who has type 4C hair. This is because each hair type has unique characteristics and moisture needs, and different moisture needs require different products and techniques. But, be careful. It is easy to get caught up in superlatives (e.g., “This is the healthiest hair regimen for people with 3B hair”). A prime example of this is the hair care aisles at most Big Box and beauty supply stores. Usually, there are mainstream products and then an “ethnic hair care” aisle. Such labeling can be misleading … Several times, I have been in the so-called ethnic hair care section and couldn’t find a product I needed and have often purchased a product that was marketed toward someone with type 2 or 3 hair instead. On one particular occasion, I was reaching for a mainstream brand while a Caucasian female in the same aisle was reaching for a brand geared toward those with “ethnic” hair. We ended up laughing (almost hysterically) because we both thought it was silly that hair and beauty companies don’t realize that there is no one-size-fits-all hair care, especially when it comes to textured hair. We both thought it was hilarious that a product geared for my market segment didn’t work for me but worked perfectly for her. The converse was also true. A product geared toward her market segment didn’t work for her but worked amazingly for me!

If you have wavy or curly hair, don’t be afraid to use a product the mass media says isn’t for “YOU.” By the same token, not every product that is created for your hair “type” will work. If you’re like me and your tresses are comprised of two or more hair types, you are going to have to go through a significant amount of trial and error to determine what will work best for your hair. So, take it in stride, and always be willing to think outside the box. Nothing beats a failure but a try!

Hair density, texture, and porosity will also come into play. Hair density refers to the number of strands you have on your head. High-density hair means that you have lots of strands. As a result, your scalp is difficult or impossible to see when dry and in its natural shape (when loose). Low-density hair means you have fewer strands than average and can see your scalp easily. Medium-density hair means that you have an average number of strands and can see some of your scalp.

Hair texture references how “thin” or “thick” your hair is and can be fine, medium, or coarse. Fine hair has difficulty holding styles, especially for long periods of time, is easily “weighed down” by products, and can appear thin and stringy, particularly when worn in pin-straight styles. Fine hair is more prone to split ends and breakage because it is the most fragile hair texture. As a result, low- and no-manipulation hairstyles, as well as gentle hair care techniques (i.e., when combing, brushing, and detangling), are often crucial. Coarse hair holds styles very well, even over long periods of time, always appears “voluminous,” and is the least prone to breakage (i.e., from heat or chemical processes like permanent hair colors or relaxers). Medium texture hair is somewhere in-between. Medium hair is not as fragile as fine hair and, like coarser hair textures, holds styles fairly well.

Hair porosity is how well your hair absorbs moisture. It can be low, normal, or high. Low porosity hair means that your hair is resistant to retaining moisture, so moisture has a hard time entering the hair shaft. To infuse moisture into your hair, consider investing in a hair steamer, using humectant-rich products (i.e., glycerin-based products), and deep conditioning on a regular basis. High porosity hair absorbs water very easily but loses the moisture just as quickly. High porosity is caused by “gaps” in the hair’s cuticle from excessive heat, chemicals, or poor hair practices and techniques. Balancing deep conditioning and protein treatments will be central to attaining healthier strands. Normal porosity is the most ideal. This means that your hair easily absorbs and retains moisture.

Does your hair take hours to dry after you wash it? You probably have low porosity hair. Is your hair fully dry in a matter of minutes? Then, you likely have high porosity hair. Somewhere in-between? Chances are you hold the coveted normal porosity position.

I have very fine, high-density hair with normal to low porosity. This means that my hair takes a couple of minutes before becoming fully saturated with water (has low porosity). Each of my individual hair strands is very small in diameter (fine). However, because I have lots of strands (densely-packed hair), it often resembles some of the same characteristics of someone with naturally thick hair. My sister’s hair is the direct opposite of mine. She has very thick hair (the diameter of each of her strands is quite large), but she has low to medium density (much fewer strands than I do). But, because I have medium to high density, my hair often seems as though it is as thick as hers even though it isn’t. In fact, to convince my sister of this fact, I unraveled one of my shed hairs from my brush and compared it to one of hers. The diameter of her hair strand was almost 3x larger than mine! I don’t think she believed how fine my hair was until I did a side-by-side comparison of both of our strands.

In general, people with finer/low-density/high porosity hair (fewer strands/smaller diameter strands/that absorb moisture quickly) will prefer lighter and lesser products. People with thicker/high-density/low porosity hair (high number of individual strands/bigger diameter strands/that absorb moisture slowly) will often need to use thicker products and more of them. (Hello heavy-handedness! 😉  Those with medium-density/medium thickness/normal porosity are somewhere in-between.

Fashion Silhouettes #15

Hair length also affects hair moisture, especially as your hair grows from one length to another. One of the things I quickly realized is that when I had super short hair, moisturizing it was stress-free. It also retained moisture easily. By the time I attained shoulder-length hair, I started experiencing breakage from my hair becoming increasingly dry and harder to hydrate. So, don’t take your hair’s moisture level for granted. And, remember that the longer your hair grows, the harder it is for your scalp’s sebum (a natural oil produced by the sebaceous glands) to reach the ends of your wavy/curly/coily hair.

Weather and Hair Care

Another important factor that most people don’t consider is weather. If you live in a mild climate, your hair will have completely different needs from those with your same hair type and texture in a more extreme climate (whether extremely hot or cold). For instance, when I moved from Seattle, Washington to Huntsville, Alabama, I had to completely overhaul my hair care routine. The products that once left my hair moisturized for days no longer seemed to work or had to be applied two or three times a day due to the intense humidity. Even in the winter time, I often have to combat high humidity levels, so I have had to tweak my hair care plan to accommodate this factor. The bottom line? Climate matters. So, make sure that you design your hair regimen in such a way that your local weather won’t wreak havoc on your hair.

Fashion Silhouettes #14

Let’s face it, hair type, density, texture, and porosity aside, sometimes lifestyle choices and personal preferences have to take precedence. If you work 14-hour days or frequently travel, obviously you will need a simpler, less complicated hair regimen than someone who has a less demanding schedule or occupation. And, that’s okay. There is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to simple or complex hair regimens. If your wash routine has 14 steps, you can only apply products in a certain, complex order, and your hair is healthy, moisturized, and retaining length, a complex, multifaceted routine may be a good fit for you. However, if you are having difficulty keeping up with you hair wash, deep conditioning, hair style schedule, simplification may be in order. And, that’s okay, too. Do what works for you, and ignore the theatrics of those who tell you otherwise! 😉

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Wild Growth Hair Oil

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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!

When: April 1, 2014 – April 30, 2014
Coverage: Scalp & Hair
Frequency: 3x each week
Starting Length (FRONT): 10.50″
Starting Length (CROWN): 12.75″
Starting Length (RIGHT): 10.50″
Starting Length (LEFT): 10.25″
Starting Length (BACK): 9.75″
Ending Length: My hair grew 1.5″ in my crown & front of hair; 0.50″ on the sides of my hair; 0.25″ in the back of my hair.

I’ve heard a lot about Wild Growth® Hair Oil. Mostly complaints concerning the awful smell and the one thousand and one ways to cover it up! But, I also read a great deal of buzz about how effective this product is as a hair growth aid. So, after about a year and a half of going back and forth over whether to buy, I finally decided to press the “purchase” button! Wild Growth® Hair Oil is an all-natural, non-hypoallergenic product that is great for all ethnicities and hair types. It promises to condition the scalp, reduce hair breakage and split ends from root to tip, and turn dry, tangled, and hard-to-manage strands into softer, fuller, and healthier hair … that grows.

According to the instructions on the bottle, the hair oil should be used three times per week plus after washing hair (up to 4 times per week) for a hair growth boost. Persons with type 3 (curly) and 4 (coily/kinky) hair should apply the product sparingly to their scalp with the applicator tip. Then, hair should be divided into quadrants and a quarter-sized amount applied to each quadrant. Those with short hair should use less product.

Persons with type 1 and 2 hair should only apply 5-15 drops of the hair growth oil directly to their scalp. The product should be used on damp hair (after every hair wash) and then allowed to air dry. Many straight- and wavy-haired consumers recommend leaving the oil on for a few hours (or overnight) and then washing or rinsing hair later that day or the following morning.

The hair oil comes in a 4 oz. bottle with an applicator tip. I applied the product three to four times each week (usually only three times), massaged my scalp for 2 minutes, and then prepped my hair for bed/the next day. After 2 weeks, I did an unofficial mini-length check to see how the product was working, and it didn’t appear that my hair had grown at all! But, to be fair, I decided to continue to use the product until the end of the month so I could see how well the oil worked within a month’s time (a full 30 days). I never missed any of my applications.

The oil is a deep amber color with a light, citrus scent that I adore. Not sure what all the hullabaloo was about with the many posts I read about the horrible fragrance, but I think the negative feedback concerning the smell of the product is grossly exaggerated. It smells amazing to me, and it isn’t overpowering in the least. In addition, the oil has a good consistency, not thin or thick … a happy medium in between the two that makes application quick and easy.

The first few times I used the oil, I noticed how the product soothed my scalp. I did, however, have a hard time gauging whether anything was coming out of the applicator tip. Several times, I stopped to check to make sure that it was. In the future, when I use this oil, I think I will just pour it into my Roots Only bottle to ensure more even scalp coverage. I never have any problems knowing whether any product is coming out whenever I use my Roots Only bottle!

I spent $8 for this oil, but depending on where you live (and where you go to buy this product), it sells for between $8 and $14. For 4 ounces of oil, that seems a little pricey unless it delivers. But, after a month’s time, I still have half the bottle left. So, this isn’t a bad hair growth investment. After all, that’s two months’ worth of use for only eight bucks … That’s not bad at all!

After using this oil for 4 weeks, my hair grew 1.5″ in my crown and in the front of my head (where my 3C curls are), 0.50″ on the left and right side of my hair, and 0.25″ in the back. As my hair gets longer, I have definitely started to notice a trend among the three different hair types on my head: My 3C curls grow at an above-average rate (0.6″ – 0.75″/month without the use of a growth aid). My 4A coils grow at an average rate (about 0.50″/month without the use of a growth aid). My 4B kinks grow below average (about 0.25″-0.30″/month without the use of a growth aid). Nevertheless, considering how much the hair in the front and crown of my head grew, I am happy with my results. I am also interested to see how well this oil would work long-term or when used with my Roots Only bottle.

Watch the vid below for the length check I made prior to using the Wild Growth® Hair Oil as well as to see my final results.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, during my second month of usage, I had to discontinue my use of this oil as I started to develop an allergic reaction to it. I had gifted a bottle each to my mom and sister, so I checked with them to see how they were faring. My mom didn’t experience any side effects. But, my sister, before I could barely get out the words “Wild Growth® Hair Oil” said that the oil made her scalp itch like crazy. She said she had to rinse it out of her hair after only a couple of hours. When she tried to use the oil again, she experienced the same extreme unbearable itching. So, if you have sensitive skin like we do, you may want to do a skin patch test first. It’s such a shame because I really liked this oil a lot (in terms of smell, consistency, and results). Sigh.

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Quick Tip #7: Hydrate with Aloe Vera

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 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 7

Creative Commons License by flickr
Photo Shared by Rae Allen

Have a dry, itchy scalp or lackluster tresses? Hydrate your hair and skin with aloe vera!

Aloe vera has a high water content (99%) that moisturizes and rejuvenates dry skin and hair with ease. Simply add store-bought aloe vera gel (or harvest some straight from the plant) directly to your scalp. You can also use aloe vera juice, instead. Just add it to your fave shampoo, conditioner, or make a DIY leave-in. Because of its healing properties, it acts as an analgesic (pain reliever) and antipruritic (prevents and relieves itching). It reduces inflammation and discourages the growth of disease-causing micro-organisms.

Aloe vera can also be incorporated into your skincare regimen. Aloe is an emollient (softens and soothes irritated skin) that increases skin’s elasticity by regulating oxygen and collagen levels. Want soft skin and manageable hair? Use aloe vera juice to create your own facial toner or hair rinse.

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Quick Tip #6: Prevent Frizz Now!

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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

Frizzy hair don’t care! Ok. Sometimes, it does! Well, if you are feeling a little self-conscious about your frizzy hair, here are some quick tips for not just addressing frizz after the fact but preventing it before it has a chance to occur!

  1. Rinse your hair with cool or cold water to help close your hair’s cuticles. Warm water opens the cuticle slightly, so if cool/cold water isn’t used to close it again, you may be left with rough, frizzy hair. Also, avoid hot water all together. It may rinse away dirt, oil, and product build-up more quickly, but it often results in overly-porous hair.
  2. Dry your hair with a cotton tee, microfiber towel/turban, or even a paper towel. The loops in a regular bath towel can create too much friction as it comes into contact with your hair, so avoid using them on wash day as much as possible.
  3. Keep your hair moisturized. Frizzy hair is often caused by a lack of moisture, so don’t skimp during your moisturizing and sealing session. I’d rather have weighed-down hair that is properly moisturized than light and airy hair that is dry and parched!

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Lustrasilk Aloe Vera Cholesterol: Super Detangling Formula for Extremely Dry or Damaged Hair

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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 have been using Hollywood Beauty’s Olive Cholesterol since February of last year (2013). I loved it so much that I did a product review on it in July (2013). However, my stash began to run out, and I needed to buy some replacements. I received an Amazon gift card, so I decided to see if they carried my beloved deep conditioner. They did! But, to my everlasting surprise, they had a list price of $12.49 for ONE 20 oz. jar with a so-called sale price of $6.80 (+ $3.10 shipping)! Are they kidding? I can get this from my local Dollar General for $3.20, and that’s INCLUDING tax! 

Sadly, I had to pass on that wallet-buster of a deal. But, I still needed a deep conditioner. Straying from my staple Hollywood Beauty (HB) Cholesterol seemed wrong, but I didn’t really need to purchase anything else from Amazon, so I reluctantly searched for a deep conditioner that could tide me over until I could make it to my Dollar General. In my search to settle, I stumbled upon an old favorite brand: Lustrasilk. This was the same company that made my cherished Shea Butter Cholesterol. Only this cholesterol from Amazon came in a 5 lb., salon-sized container. Although, it is also available in a 20 oz. jar.

VS.

I nervously took the plunge and anxiously awaited for my package to arrive. I had one more portion of my HB Cholesterol left. So, I used it. Once my package arrived, the time quickly came for me to deep condition my hair again. I did my normal routine. I shampooed and conditioned my hair. Then, I applied my new Lustrasilk Aloe Vera Cholesterol. I gotta say, I didn’t expect much. After all, this cholesterol had pretty big Hollywood Beauty shoes to fill …

THE CLAIMS:
Lustrasilk Aloe Vera Cholesterol is carefully formulated with deep conditioning agents that treat dry, chemically-treated, or extremely damaged hair. Aloe Vera extract has been added for increased moisturizing properties and to provide extra protection from hot curling irons and blow dryers. Leaves hair shiny and easy to manage.

THE INSTRUCTIONS:
Shampoo and towel dry. Apply cream to hair and scalp. Leave on for 3-5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water. For extra conditioning of overly dry or damaged hair, repeat the process. Style as usual.

THE RESULTS:
The Lustrasilk Cholesterol has a light, mild fragrance that is very pleasant. I always deep condition under a hooded dryer for 20-30 minutes with a processing cap. The first time I used this cholesterol, I used it straight from the container after shampooing and conditioning my hair. It isn’t as thick as my HB Cholesterol, yet it still managed to really moisturize my coils. It softened my tresses and left it extremely detangled. I got the same root-to-tip tangle-free results as my HB Cholesterol, all without pre-detangling my hair. (Gasp!)

It also really made all three textures of my coils (3C, 4A, and 4B) POP, just like my HB Cholesterol. However, when I used the HB Cholesterol, as soon as I rinsed the cholesterol out of my hair, the definition melted away. Not so with the Lustrasilk! Even after rinsing out the product, I had AHHHMAZING curl definition. So much so that I didn’t want to ruin it by adding any product to my hair. But, I know all too well the dangers of not moisturizing and sealing one’s hair properly, so I resisted the temptation. (Sigh.) Nevertheless, this cholesterol worked so well that if I cannot purchase my HB Cholesterol from Dollar General, for some reason, I would definitely buy Lustrasilk Aloe Vera instead.

I spent $19.47 at amazon.com for 5 lbs. of product (the equivalent of four 20 oz. jars) and qualified for Free Super Saver Shipping. While this salon-sized container cost me $6.67 more than four 20 oz. jars of the Hollywood Beauty Cholesterol, it is still pretty inexpensive for the quantity received. I deep condition my hair once a week, so this 5 lb. jar will last me about 10 months (or 38-40 uses)! Not too shabby for twenty bucks! 

While this cholesterol does contain mineral oil, which I don’t particularly care for, it is the ninth ingredient. Although it doesn’t have the same goodies I love from my Hollywood Beauty Cholesterol (i.e., castor oil, olive oil, glycerin, tea tree oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, egg protein, as well as aloe vera, rosemary, sage, white nettle, and chamomile extracts), it works just as well. It also has the benefit of not smelling like grape candy on steroids.    🙂

Here’s hoping Lustrasilk doesn’t discontinue this beauty like they did their shea butter cholesterol

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