Tag Archives: Shea butter

New Hair Strategies for the New Year (2018)

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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‚Äôll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

After so many setbacks in the last two years of my natural hair journey, I’ve decided to make a huge overhaul of my hair care regimen. I spent the last six months of 2017 donating, selling, gifting, and using up my hair “product junkie” hauls. In the past, when my fave beauty supplier or retailer had a “buy 2, get 1 sale” or a 50% off promo, I felt the need to indulge even if my beauty cabinet was already stockpiled with shampoo, conditioner, and hair moisturizer. I felt like it gave me a chance to discover and try new products that would hopefully become my holy grail for cleansing, styling, and growing my hair. More is better right? Well, not always …

Truth be told, I am my family’s resident “go-to” for natural hair care product recommendations and samples, so I didn’t just horde my “extras!” I also don’t believe in being wasteful. Consequently, even when a product didn’t work for me, I always tried to find a way to repurpose it in a new way, remix it with other add-ons (like Jamaican black castor oil, apricot oil, or sweet almond oil), or augment it in with other products (i.e., deep conditioner) until used up. However, if my hair simply hates a product all-together, I’ll usually gift it to a family member or friend and then try to sell the unopened multiples. If that doesn’t work, I’ll donate it to a good cause (e.g., homeless shelter for women and children).

Two years (and several dozens of products) later, I have yet to find the ultimate product(s) to care for my multi-textured mane. I am hair product holy grail-less! I’ve endured the last 24 months of a barrage of brutal testing and trying of new products only to conclude that my hair didn’t mind yet didn’t love most of them or hated them all-together. I tried so many products, in fact, that I didn’t even have the time, effort, or energy to even blog about them all! Some worked (but only temporarily), others just didn’t even deserve an honorable mention. As a result, I tried to remember the last time I believed my hair was healthy and growing. After much thought and reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that it was when I was DIYing most of my own hair products: from quick hair spritzes and leave-in conditioners to henna hair packs and hot oil treatments

The only reason I stopped was because I made the decision to go to grad school to pursue an advanced degree. As a result of my harried work:school life balance, it just became impossible to DIY any of my hair products (let alone to spend the time blogging about my hair victories and misadventures! I barely had time to work, go to evening classes, sleep, and eat (or bother doing much else other than group projects and countless research). Sigh ..

So, I started to do one of the things that I do best … research … I investigated various ingredients and hair care strategies. After a six-month long quest, I determined that an Ayurvedic-based hair care regimen would be best for me. Ayurveda’s natural approach to hair maintenance is what convinced me to make the swap from traditional on-the-shelf hair products that never seem to “take” to my hair. While I already practice some whole body care (e.g., exercising, clean eating, drinking plenty of water, etc.), I have started to become more aware of some vitamin and mineral deficiencies (e.g., iron) despite my healthy dietary habits. In light of this, one of my goals for this year is to focus on an improved hair lifestyle … using natural hair care products (or creating my own) … better monitoring my vitamin intake … maintaining healthy hair practices (see Hair Moisture 101, Hair Moisture 201, Hair Moisture 301, and Hair Moisture 401) … and the like.

In this way, by year’s end, I hope to strengthen, grow, and retain a healthier head of hair. Because I have multi-textured tresses (e.g., a combination of 3 different hair textures ranging from 3C to 4B) that is also extremely fine (small in diameter) and fragile (breaks easily even when being gentle with my hair), this is a challenge under the best of circumstances. However, I am hopeful that switching to natural products and hair care practices will help me to grow and retain greater length and, more importantly, strengthen my hair in such a way that it is less prone to breakage.

I have probably used up or given away about 80% of my stash. The remaining 20% is predominately made up of deep conditioners (that I plan to use for henna glosses) and a couple of other odds and ends (i.e., for when I travel). Here are some of the ingredients I have invested in that I can’t wait to start creating with (or taking) in the near future:

  1. Ayurvedic Powders: aloe vera, amla, bhringraj, cassia obovata, chamomile, fenugreek, henna, hibiscus, indigo, moringa, neem, rose petal, shikakai, and slippery elm
  2. Clays: bentonite clay and kaolin clay (for skin care)
  3. Essential Oils: bergamot, chamomile, cinnamon, clove, and ylang ylang. My essential oil collection already includes the usual suspects of tea tree, rosemary, lavender, and about a dozen other faves).ūüėČ
  4. Floral Waters: lavender hydrosol, rose hydrosol, and ylang ylang hydrosol 
  5. Humectants: glycerin and organic honey
  6. Oils: almond oilapricot oil, avocado oil, castor oil, Jamaican black castor oil, mango butter, rosehip oil, and unrefined shea butter
  7. Vitamins: iron and SugarBearHair Hair Vitamins

I am also considering purchasing some soaping supplies to make my own body soap and (maybe) shampoo, but I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and skittish, so we shall see! However, I bought two books for added instruction and encouragement: (i.) Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health, & Home, and (ii.). Simple & Natural Soapmaking.

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Quick Tip #23: Get Some (Nail) Therapy!

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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!

 

Kocostar Nail Therapy

Have broken, damaged nails? Are your nail beds splitting and peeling? Don’t fret! Everyone experiences periods of stress or sadness about their personal appearance from time to time. If you‚Äôre feeling more grief than normal, it may be time to get some therapy … nail therapy, that is!

My sister gifted me some therapeutic intervention a while ago, and I never seemed to have time to sit still and actually use this unique beauty tool! When I did, I was blown away by how well it worked (and felt shameful about not utilizing this treatment sooner)! After peeling off my gel manicure (don’t judge!), my nails were left weak and damaged. After only ONE 30-minute application of this¬†nail therapy, my nails looked shinier and felt much less fragile. It soothed and moisturized my nail beds while providing much-needed nutrition and strength to my overall nails. And, my skin (e.g., the tips of my fingers) felt baby soft. And, the best part? The results are immediate and lasting!

This intense, soothing treatment contains loads of botanicals and vitamins that protect and repair stressed nails while strengthening nails against splitting and peeling. If you are an excessive nail art lover, this nail therapy¬†is a must for you! If you’re the busy, multitasking type who’s always short on time, don’t worry! You can treat your nails and still use your¬†smart devices at the same time. For instance, while using the treatment, I was still able to check my emails on my iPhone with ease … For added protection during the week, I also used¬†Sally Hansen’s Hard As Nails Hardener (in natural tint). Talk about a power-packed nail protection duo!

 

Ingredients:

Aqua/ Water/Eau, Glycerin, Paraffinumliquidum, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polysorbate 60, Behenyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Betaine, ButyrospermumParkii (Shea Butter), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Silk, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cera alba, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, 1.2-Hexanediol, Propanediol, CaprylylGlycol, IlliciumVerum(Anise)Fruit Extract, Soluble Collagen, AscorbylTetraisopalmitate, Ceramide 3, Milk Protein Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Oil, Citrus AurantiumSinensis (Orange) Fiber, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Fruit, Citrus Grandis(Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Disodium EDTA

Directions for Use:

Peel open each pack and place a mask on each finger. Leave on for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Massage remaining liquid from mask into the fingernail area (e.g., onto finger tips and finger nails) after removing the mask from each finger. Use as needed.

Storage and Handling Measures:

Keep product out of reach of children. Store at room temperature. Keep product away from direct light. Use immediately after opening.

Precautions:

Stop using product and consult a dermatologist or physician if the following occurs: swelling, red (strawberry) marks, itchiness and burning effects due to indirect or direct exposure to light.

PROS

  • Vitamins C, E, and ceramide provide shine and elasticity to nails
  • Milk protein and collagen protect nail roots
  • Portulaca extract and shea butter nourish and moisturize cuticles
  • Aloe vera and silk soften skin
  • Includes 5 packages (Only $4 per treatment)
  • While you care your nail, you can use your smartphone, i-pad, etc.
  • Great stocking stuffers or additions to gift baskets for the beauty enthusiast

CONS

  • This may be a first … ABSOLUTELY NONE!

 

Want more at-home spa treatment? The same company also has a foot therapy wrap made to exfoliate and soothe stressed feet! Check it out!

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Proclaim Shea Butter Curl Pudding

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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!

The Proclaim Shea Butter Curl Pudding is sulfate, paraben, gluten, and silicone free. It contains a blend of shea butter, biotin, and honey. It claims to define curls while moisturizing dehydrated hair.

Ingredients:

Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Ceteareth-20, Polyquaternium-69, Fragrance, Carbomer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Panthenol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Phenethyl Alcohol, Disodium Edta, Ppg-2 Methyl Ether, Tocopheryl Acetate, Methylisothiazolinone, Biotin, Honey Extract, Phenoxyethanol

Directions:
Apply curl pudding to clean, damp hair, and smooth to style.

 

Okay, so I¬†think my current curl pudding is getting ready to be discontinued because I can’t seem to find it anywhere. I used to be able to get it for $6 at my local Walmart. Shout-out to¬†Roots of Nature’s Feather Whipped Curl Creme with Mango Oil and Cupuacu Butter. That stuff was “the-best.com!” It made me want to do a “happy dance.”

  Then, , and do it again!  

I never had a bad hair day or parched hair whenever I used the feather whipped curl creme.¬†Unfortunately, the only place I can now find it is online at 3-4x the original retail cost! So, I’ve been on the hunt to find a suitable replacement. Although this Proclaim Shea Butter Curl Pudding¬†has its pros and cons, it is a decent “stand in” until I can find another all-in-one Curl Creme¬†or styling agent. Watch the video below to find out why …

 

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CHI AIR Ceramic Hair Dryer Demo + Style + Review

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I received the CHI Rocket hair dryer from Farouk Systems, Inc. for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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 already own the CHI Rocket hair dryer, and I paid a pretty penny (almost $200) for it when it first came out. At the time, I thought it was the most revolutionary piece of hair equipment I ever owned. And, I think it was! It was lightweight, about 50% quieter than my previous hair dryer, and had a¬†powerful motor that generated negative ions and far infrared heat with the lowest output of Electro Magnetic Frequency (EMF) for static-free results! However, I’ve owned my Rocket hair dryer for about six or seven years. While it’s still going strong, I recently became¬†interested in CHI Air’s product line, which includes a ceramic hair dryer.

Similar to my beloved Rocket hair dryer, the CHI Air ceramic hair dryer comes with two attachments. Both include concentrator nozzles. However, instead of a comb attachment, the CHI Air includes a diffuser instead. Curly girls, rejoice!

VS. 
Chi Air #1

Chi Air #2

This CHI Air¬†ceramic hair dryer¬†also has low EMF and eliminates static. In addition, it seals the hair’s cuticle for shiny, smooth hair. I like that both dryers have a hanging loop for those living in small quarters. (A special shout-out to all those living in¬†studio or one-bedroom apartments!) The far infrared technology claims to repel humidity and reduce static electricity. I decided to put it to the test. I workout daily, which makes maintaining most straight or stretched hair styles darn near impossible. However, after my 60-minute workout¬†session, my hair was still mostly straight, which is pretty impressive.

The Air hair dryer worked as well as the Rocket but seemed to dry my hair even faster. It is also noticeably quieter than my Rocket. Another major difference is the material that each blow dryer is made of. The Rocket is modern, sleek, and, yes, sometimes darn right slippery to hold! This can become a major annoyance when your hands and hair are wet (as they are prone to be when blow drying your tresses). I often find myself constantly stopping periodically just to wipe my hands and/or the Rocket handle down with a towel. Unlike the Rocket, the CHI Air has a more ergonomic design. The handle is softer and astronomically easier to hold.

The Rocket¬†has 1800 watts compared to the Air’s¬†1500, but I didn’t notice any difference in terms of power or performance. In fact, the only major gripe I have is that I have to manually hold the cool shot button on the CHI Air¬†whereas on my CHI Rocket¬†I could just press it on and it would stay on until I pressed it again. Not sure why the¬†product development team¬†got rid of that feature, but I think they should bring it back!¬†Other than that, I think the CHI Air¬†blow dryer is amazing, especially for those short on time or who may be considering stretching their hair (with heat) on a weekly or biweekly basis.

Curious how this beauty performs in real time? Watch the vid below for the deets!

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African Pride Olive Miracle Moisturizer Lotion 2.0

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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!

Remember this? I found a bottle of African Pride’s¬†Olive Miracle Moisturizer Lotion at my local beauty supply store for only a few bucks¬†last year. Because of the sickeningly intense banana scent, I have only used this product sporadically. In fact, the last time I used it, my mom and sister smelled the product the moment I stepped into the car. redface¬†Not cool! redface¬†And, to make matters worse, they were not a fan of the scent either.

Because I like the results I receive from this¬†moisturizer lotion, I wanted to try to see if I could find a way to salvage it without almost getting sick every time I use it (due to the intense aroma). So, this is what I did … Once I had used about half of the product, I filled the remainder of the bottle with Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Juice. I also added a ¬Ĺ teaspoon of vitamin e oil. To mask the unpleasant fragrance of the product, I added 20-30 drops of essential oil. Then, I transferred the new concoction into a spray bottle.

The result? A product remix that hydrates and seals moisture into my hair in ONE step. Just shake and repeat prior to each use! ūüėČ

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African Pride Olive Miracle Moisturizer Lotion

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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!

African Pride Olive Miracle Moisturizer Lotion 12 oz

I found a bottle of African Pride’s¬†Olive Miracle Moisturizer Lotion at my local beauty supply store for only a few bucks. I have to admit, I bought it solely because of the price … Well, the price and the claims on the packaging. According to the label, this “maximum strengthening moisturizer lotion” prevents breakage and split ends, repairs dry, damaged hair, provides sheen, and protects against the harmful effects of chemical processes and everyday styling tools. This formula states that it is perfect for blow drying, maintaining short styles, and moisturizing curly hair.

Ingredients: Water, Glycine Soja Oil (Soybean), Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Propylene Glycol, Steareth-2, Steareth-20, Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone,  Lanolin Oil, Laneth-15, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive), Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil (Jojoba), Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut), Persia Gratissima Oil (Avocado), Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract (Rosemary) , Equisetum Hiemale Extract (Horsetail) , Malaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil (Tea Tree), Polyquaternium-37, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, PPG-1 Trideceth-6, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, DMDM Hydantoin, TBHQ,  CI 19140 (FD&C Yellow #5), Fragrance, Benzyl Benzoate, d-Limonene, Linalool

Directions: Use daily, applying a small amount into hair from roots to ends. Do not rinse out. Style as usual.

I love that this moisturizing lotion¬†has shea butter, olive, jojoba, coconut, avocado, and tea tree oils, as well as ginseng, rosemary, and horsetail extracts. However, there seems to be some discrepancy concerning the ingredients. I noticed that when I looked up this product online, many of the more “unsavory ingredients” (e.g., Dimethicone,¬†Phenyl Trimethicone, ¬†and Lanolin Oil)¬†were listed toward the end. However, on my bottle, they were listed within the first 10 ingredients. Hmmm … I’m not a fan of such unclear product descriptions. I wondered whether I had a newer (or older) formula. I wasn’t too thrilled about this, but I decided to try it anyway.

The hair lotion immediately moisturized my parched hair … No small feat, considering the high humidity I experience in my locale year-round. It also defined and separated my curls even though I applied it to previously styled hair that was dry (and not damp or wet). Eight hours later, my hair was still well-moisturized and defined. Questionable ingredients aside, that’s a pretty amazing accomplishment!

When I tried this product on my freshly washed damp/wet hair, I loved it even more!¬†The lotion¬†had a perfect consistency: not too thick … not too thin … somewhere in-between. It left my curls and coils moisturized, defined, and shiny without being greasy. However, if I accidentally used too much product, it did weigh down my hair and make it oily. So, relaxed ladies be super careful!

While I think this is a decent product, especially for those with limited funds, unfortunately, this hair lotion has a VERY potent smell. It reminds me of a very pungent banana taffy. The scent was completely unpleasant for me. So much so that I think I might have to add some of my own essential oils to it to mask the smell. Thankfully, the smell fades some (about 30-60 minutes) after application, but I do not like it all!

A Capful of Product

A Capful of Product

All in all, I think African Pride’s¬†Olive Miracle Moisturizer Lotion is a great product for a natural on a budget. I also think it is relaxer friendly … Just be sure not to use too much product!

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Miss Jessie’s Super Sweetback Treatment: Is It Really the Best Darn Deep Treatment?

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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!

All right. So, I decided to give Miss Jessie’s another chance. I haven’t used the brand since I tried the Curly Buttercreme. Miss Jessie’s Super Sweetback Treatment seemed like the perfect product for round two.

THE CLAIMS
Want long¬†curly hair? Miss Jessie’s Super Sweetback Treatment is an essential¬†curly hair care¬†treatment for growing out naturally curly, kinky, and wavy hair. Healthy growth and length is what most curlies covet. Miss Jessie’s can assist you in this process. An elongated curl has more bounce, is more manageable, and is less prone to frizz. Be super sweet to your curls.

Miss Jessie’s Super Sweetback Treatment is a decadent softening treatment that ensures your curls reach a long, luxurious length. This rich treatment, full of shea butter and centella extract, is a growth stimulant that promotes long, healthy curls. Your hair is going to love you for this!

THE INGREDIENTS 
Water (Aqua), Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cyclomethicone (and) Dimethiconol, Lauryl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Fragrance, Dimethicone, DMDM Hydantoin (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Ceteareth-20, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Liposome (Centella Asiatica), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, EDTA Disodium, Tocopheryl Acetate, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, D&C Red #33, Citric Acid

THE RESULTS
First of all, this deep treatment smells like cotton candy on steroids. I am NOT a fan of the sickly sweet fragrance. Ick! Thankfully, it subsides several minutes after application. Smell aside, it has a great consistency. It is very thick and creamy, and easily glided into my strands. Since I used a hooded dryer, I shingled the treatment into my hair and left the product on for 15-20 minutes prior to rinsing out.

Although this deep conditioner left my hair soft and elongated my hair, it did not live up to its other claims. It DID NOT leave my hair less frizzy. It DID NOT make my hair more manageable. While this product semi-stretched my hair, it also left it extremely fuzzy and poofy.

On top of all this, I almost lost ALL of my normal curl/coil definition. So much so that I was scared that the treatment¬†had chemically altered my hair in some way. Seriously, I frantically reread the product label to make sure I had not inadvertently damaged my hair. I just about had a heart attack! The only part of my hair that was unscathed was the third of my hair that has a looser 3c curl pattern (at the front crown of my head). I had to use my¬†Lustrasilk Aloe Vera Cholesterol¬†to¬†get my curls/coils to return! And, after looking at the ingredient list more closely, I can’t imagine this “treatment” assisting with the growth or length retention of my hair.

To make matters worse, Miss Jessie’s Super Sweetback Treatment¬†is priced like a commodity on the New York Stock Exchange: $9.00 for 2 ounces; $26.00 ¬†$18.00 for 8 ounces; $48.00¬†$32.00 for¬†16 ounces. (Update:¬†A few months after this post published, they permanently reduced the price for the 8 oz. and 16 oz. container … Hmmm.) I mean, really? A 2 oz. jar of this stuff is three times more than one 20 oz. jar of my Hollywood Beauty Olive Cholesterol. THREE TIMES MORE!!! And, less effective! So,¬†in case you’re wondering if there will be a round three, don’t bother.

The best darn deep treatment? Sorry Miss Jessie’s but, next time, I’ll have to pass. I’ve finally learned my lesson. I’m saving my money. Period.

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