31 October 2009

spoke too soon? (& small review update)

just last week, i was semi "complaining" and urging my hair to grow grow grow. well, they say be careful what you wished for...

i cowashed my hair last week, the night i did the aussie moist review. first off, aussie moist is a terrible leave-in! it left my hair with no moisture, and frizzy and just nasty. even my trusty shea butter and jbco throughout the week could do only so much. it took forever to dry and i ended up going to sleep with damp hair, which i don't like. i may try again and let my hair air dry a bit first and then use the condish. we'll see.

anyway, for the entire week my little fro was an absolute ham. it looked bigger and thicker and i blamed that for making harder to style, and thus, look crazy. i complained to my boyfriend, to which he replied that when a fro grows out, it becomes an "[b]ush." whatever. but i was a little crestfallen. i'd loved my twa in all it's teeny weeny afro-ness. it was cute, compact, fluffy, perfectly shaped... and now, well... thankfully after a trusty co-wash, it's back to the same!

i cowashed last night with some tj's nourish spa, and while i was playing in my hair, i was absolutely floored at how much i could stretch my fro! it is growing like a weed (more on that in a sec). i didn't want to put shea butter in my hair, so i just put in a good amount of the nourish spa and it actually worked out really nicely. my hair wasn't crunchy and there wasn't any film like when i tried during the summer, so that was great. :)

anyway, for the past week or so, i have been taking a supplement. alta's silica with bioflavanoids. i got this after reading about it on lhcf. it claims to help with hair, skin, and nails. i was taking it primarily for my nails because they are so thin and brittle. they break so easily that they never get a chance to grow. so i've been consistently taking six-seven a day (at 500 mgs, each) since saturday, which is the longest i've ever consistently taking anything. idk why, but i just like taking these. i will probably knock down my dosage a little later - i read to take a larger dose to combat any deficiencies first, and then you can take a smaller dosage and see results.

it's only been a week, so i really can't say if it has helped my hair, skin, or nails, but my nails haven't broken off this week (although i have gotten smaller chips), no real comments about my skin, and it does seem like my hair is suddenly just coming alive. you're supposed to take vits for three months to see any real changes and i like this silica, so i will continue to give it a try. i have high hopes for it.

29 October 2009

[review] lustrasilk shea butter cholesterol plus

lustrasilk shea butter cholesterol plus
water(aqua), stearamidopryl dimethylamine, stearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, shea butter, mango seed butter, cholesterol, soybean oil, safflower oil, wheat germ oil, aloe vera extrect, fragrance, vitamin e, methylparaben, propylparaben, phosphoric acid, sodium chloride, dmdm hydantation, disodium edta, yellow #5, yellow #6.

i am just on a roll this week! ha ha!

alright, so, this review is long overdue, seeing as how i tossed it maybe a month ago, but i feel as though i need to review it so that i remember just how much it sucked.

that's right - this "conditioner" is some ish. i'm glad it wasn't anymore than $3, which is really good for 20 oz, so at least i didn't spend a lot of money on this. i bought this based on a long thread of rave reviews on lhcf (i am going to go broke, listening to them). it comes in a standard jar, colored with some funky orange on which the gold label has absolutely no place.

upon opening it, i realized one thing: it smells badly. like fluoride at the dentist's office. i can't stand the taste or the smell of that stuff (fluoride), but i decided to try it anyway - after all, so many people had liked it. besides, i would be washing it out anyway, so i could deal with it. but, no, seriously, i shouldn't have bought it in the first place, especially when the smell made me sick.

consistency wise, it's a cold and clammy gloop that is really runny. it was hard to scoop out of the jar and spread without wasting; it was so thin, it spilled a lot. not that i cared after a few uses.

i tried it as a leave-in, as a deep conditioner, as a rinse out conditioner and the performance was all the same - subpar. so many ladies had raved about how it defined their curls, made their hair soft, etc. but for me, conditioning with water would've been more effective and at least that wouldn't have stunk. my hair didn't feel soft or strong, or special at all. after two months of trying to work with it, i chucked it in the garbage.

so, would i repurchase? i think you know the answer to that one.

25 October 2009

[review] proclaim curl activating gel

proclaim curl and wave conditioning activator gel

water, glycerine, propylene glycol, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, hydrolyzed wheat protein, carbomer, triethanolamine, fragrance, methylparaben, polysorbate 20, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, alpha-isomethyl ionone, linalool.

yet another purchase i got on recommendation from someone at lhcf. this gorgeous user had managed to shingle her twa and it was the business. so, i popped on over to sally's two weeks ago (i got this the same day i got the tj's conditioner) and ran in. i stalled for a second when i found it, though, because there were a few different formulations. there was protein (black top), aloe vera (green top), and then this one with both (blue top). i hate options and figured that if i had to pick one, i might as get the one that had both ingredients in it. i don't even think i noticed the price until i got to the register - $1.69 for 10.5 oz. not baaaad. i return things to sally's a lot, so i was hoping i liked this. if not, i'd give it away. i am not returning less than two dollars worth of merchandise. my god.

luckily, i fell in love with this jar of gel the first time i used it. i'm glad i picked it up because, disclaimer: before this gel, i thought that anything with the word "activator" in it was either something extremely different/special/potent, or it was for keeping your jherri curl nice and juiced up. after reading the ingredients, i've realized that it's just a hyped up name for gel.

packaging is extremely simple and straightforward. a sturdy jar, that looks like it cost every bit of two dollars. not that i mind - it'd just be sitting on my dresser. it smells just like any other gel, although i do like the smell of this for some reason. great spreadability, etc., etc.

now, performance. i love this gel. so much, that i use it every day. haven't decided if this is bad or not. i haven't tried to shingle with it yet, only because of scab hair and i'd rather avoid that frustration. this gel really does define and pop my curls all over my head and what's great is the hold is amazing - it doesn't dry hard or crunchy. perfectionnn. this may even have beat out ecostyler - it was very easy to add even the tinest bit too much and my hair would become crunch city. not cool.

gel is the last step in preparing my hair in the morning, and i've noticed that when i play in my hair during the day, my hands don't come back shiny. now, when i was just using shea butter and jbco, some product would sit on top of my hair, making it not touch-friendly. maybe it's the gel, but no greasy hands, no greasy hair. great! i've been getting lots of compliments lately, too; my favorite: "it looks so moisturized and curly!" well, thaaaank you! :]

only thing i've noticed is when i've played in my hair too much, i get tiny flakes, and this is usually only when i've been using the gel daily, and haven't co-washed in a minute, so i'm guessing it's buildup. and then, i only really get them on my edges in the front. my hands go here first when i apply any product, so it gets most of it - so probably buildup. just means it's wash time. other than that, no complaints.

gel is tricky in that it can cause you to troubleshoot and tweak your regimen over and over again. my regimen isn't rock solid, but if i use gel very often, it means i'll have to shampoo a lot more often, so i'm watching my hair carefully. more shampooing means a chance for my hair to dry out, and with the cold weather kicking in, i don't need any extra dryness. i'll probably cut back on the use, just because shea butter and jbco keeps my curls pretty defined already.

would i repurchase? absolutely!

[review] aussie moist conditioner

aussie moist conditioner
water, stearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, glutamic acid, fragrance, BIS aminopropyl simethicone, benzyl alcohol, EDTA, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, ecklonia radiata extract (australian sea kelp), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice.

yet another conditioner that was bought on a whim during a run to the store. again, because of rave reviews on lhcf. i didn't get the 3 minute deep conditioner just because i didn't think i'd need it just yet, so i was fine with just this. i don't remember the price tag, but it wasn't more than four dollars, which isn't bad for 13.5 oz. now, onto the review.

first off, i am really liking the bottle - it's one of the prettiest i've seen. the bottle is the most deep, jewel purple you've ever seen. the color is far from flat and really makes the product seem like you've got something good in your hands. the cap is an iridescent pearl, very pretty, although a little stiff to pop open and close. at first, the light blue lettering put me off - it was too flat compared to the other colors, but i quickly got used to it. it's a pale, frosty blue and really stands out from the deep purple. the shape of the bottle itself, is standard with an elegant little twist (literally). the perfect size for holding and squeezing.

i'm horrible at describing scents, but this conditioner is definitely one of those strong perfume-y types. it's got this weird undertone to it that screams "potent" to me - like the ingredients are really strong; reminds me of my salon days with the gallon tubs. ahh...i wouldn't say tropical, i wouldn't say citrus, or sweet, or even musky. just... perfume and potency. idk. it is boyfriend approved, however. the scent isn't as strong once it's out of the bottle, thank goodness, and becomes a lot more bearable. not that the scent is bad, at all, just strong. if you like your scents to linger, this is definitely a good condish to use.

the formula is just thick enough, making this conditioner seem like even more of a luxury, keeping in theme with the aesthetic of the bottle. i remember first using it, the slip was ridiculous. hands down, this beats all my other conditioners in that department. as for performance, it fits right in with the rest of my conditioners - clean, soft hair. i'll have to update this next time i use it and rinse it out - just to give a more thorough review. right now, however, i am trying it out as a leave-in and will come back and update tonight once my hair has fully dried. :)

would i repurchase? in a word, yes. i feel like this could become one of my staples, but i move through different conditioners often, so we will see.

getting impatient. . .

. . . and it's youtube fueling the fire. it's natural, i think, to be excited and even a little impatient while waiting for your hair to grow. but that's entirely personal.

it's when other people are making you impatient that i start having issues.

now, i can dream and daydream about my hair all day if i let myself. imagine having a long ponytail, or tying my hair into a puff, or rocking the most glorious afro ever. and i can imagine it over and over and over again, and never get bored. and i can handle that. imagining tides me over while nature does its thing and my hair grows at its own pace.

but last night, i spent maybe little less than hour watching one particular youtuber: MahoganyCurls. i first noticed her because she had a twa, like me, and her curls were already so defined and springy and all-around amazing. naturally, i wanted to know how she did it, so i watched and watched and watched. and i gained soooo much information.

first off, i learned that second-, third-, and even sixth-day hair was possible with a twa, without having to wash every day or every other day, without having to apply product everyday, etc. even better/worse for me, she uses drugstore cheapies (VO5). i'd already heard a lot about VO5 from lhcf, but was never compelled to buy any, much less five-ten-fifteen bottles like some ladies, even with such a great price tag (sales of, like, 69 cents). but seeing this girl work her magic on her gorgeous, flawless twa, made me want to go out and buy a few bottles. (i swear, i am an advertisers dream).

all she does was wash once a week and then leave in some of her conditioner. in the morning, she just spritzes generously (and i mean generously) with some water and her curls literally SPRING back to life. from there, she just shakes it out and is on her way. don't touch it, don't play in it, sleep with a satin bonnet, and you're good. seeing it, i'm a believer.

but here's where i have the problem... my hair is nowhere near long enough to shake. sad face. i cannot wait for it to grow, just so i can do that - shake my twa.

her videos answered a lot of questions i didn't even know i had. how to style your hair without washing all week, how to keep your curls defined with the most minimal effort in the world, and it encouraged me to start leaving in some of my conditioners. i tried this a bit over the summer, but i take it i didn't like the results, if i didn't keep doing it. but i'm going to start doing this with every conditioner i have, just to see what i like (plan to do that with aussie moist tonight - review coming today - whoo!) and don't like. my mind just does not register washing/rinsing conditioners as leave-ins solely because of the consistency. but it won't hurt me to try.

in short... grow hair, grooooooow. kthnx. :)

[review] trader joe's tea tree tingle conditioner

trader joe's tea tree tingle conditioner
water, tea tree, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, nettle oil, thyme oil, birch leaf oil, chamomile oil, clary, coltsfoot leaf, yarrow oil, mallow, horsetail oil, soybean protein, cetyl alcohol, vitamin e, trace minerals, citric acid, sodium hydroxymethylgycinate, grape seed

so trader joe's is pretty much one of the coolest places on the face of the earth. so much stuff and so cheap. i picked this conditioner up on a whim maybe two weeks ago. i had heard a lot of things about the shampoo, and i already loved the nourish spa conditioner, so i decided to try this. i didn't have any conditioners that tingled - so why not? the price was right, as always - 2.99 for 16 oz of product. i was trying to convince myself not to buy any more products, but for some reason, i was on a mission to get this. i was able to mitigate my guilt once i realized i was three months natural on that very day - shoot, my hair deserved it.

first, packaging. from the jump, i liked this bottle a lot more than the nourish spa one. nourish spa is kind of flat and awkward for me to hold, and i don't like squeezing it. the ttt bottle, however, is in a shape that vaguely reminds me of a pyramid. cute. comes in a kind of frosted white bottle, like the nourish spa, but with rich dark brown and vibrant sage brown writing and pictures. i like the colors - especially the green. i might like the brown more if it had a little bit of red to it, but oh well - the colors aren't what i'm reviewing.

as soon as you pop the top, your nose is hit with the strong peppermint oil. i hate peppermints. i hate the mint candy, i hate the gum. luckily, though, i wouldn't be eating the conditioner, so i could appreciate the smell this time. i was excited to feel the tingle on my scalp; a good whiff already had my nose hairs tingling. so the scent is as complex as a regular peppermint - strong, tingly, with the tiniest hint of candy at the very end. pretty straightforward.

i decided to wash my hair in the morning, but that resolution lasted all of five minutes as i hopped into the shower with the conditioner. one of the first things that jumped out at me was the lather - for a conditioner, the lather on this thing was ridiculous. instant winner. the tingle wasn't as strong as i expected, but definitely pleasant. it was light, and made my scalp feel so cool and invigorated. the slip was crazy and i couldn't stop massaging it in - the more i massaged, the more tingle i got and i liked the tingle. a lot.

my hair was clean without being stripped, and i loved how light and cool my scalp felt. the scents from my conditioners never last long - although i'm not sure if this is because my hair is not long enough for me to sniff (yet) or because i put a moisturizer and gel on afterwards. but i wouldn't mind for my hair to smell minty - it would keep me awake in class all day.

i don't think i'll be experimenting with this as a leave in, solely because i don't know if i could stand to go around tingling all day long. but would i repurchase? most definitely. once i get through about 50-11 other conditioners first...

20 October 2009

[regimen update] what's up now?

just a quick update, mainly because i think i need to shampoo my hair. for the past week or so, i have been working with a quick, simple regimen that has me loving my hair. dampen with some water (from a spray bottle), moisturize with shea butter, seal with jamaican black castor oil (what i was doing earlier), and then applying some of the proclaim curl activator gel. and i'm loving it, yet again. when i was just doing the shea butter, i may have been a little heavy handed, so my hair would feel a little greasy. but sealing with the jbco and the gel, i don't have that problem anymore.

sunday, i washed with HE HH conditioner and baking soda, on a whim, so i'm not sure if that actually did anything. i had a lot of white stuff in my hair today on my hairline (where i put the shea butter first), so i'm going to do a good wash today. and i'll probably need to shampoo more, using such heavy products and that gel.

and about these reviews... my goal is for two this week. it's so easy to go into any store and pick up anything on a random recommendation, or just because it looks or smells good. and store-bought stuff is so cheap, i never think twice about buying anything. just last night, i bought aussie moist (from raves on LHCF) and cantu shea butter leave-in (more raves). not sure what i'm expecting from the leave in, but i look forward to using the aussie moist tonight.

so, my reviews this week will (hopefully) be: trader joe's tea tree tingle conditioner and proclaim curl activator gel. i might have to break out the eco styler again, just because it's been a while and i need to remind myself how much i like it. and so i have something to reference the proclaim against.

in other news, my hair is growing! i was walking into a store today and caught my reflection, and there, on the side of my head, standing at attention was this one, most perfectly formed curl. it looked weird, though, because it STUCK OUT from the side of my head, but it was so bold and confident and cute, the last thing i was going to do was pat it back into place. so i let it be. <3

again, natural life is the best life. no questions asked.

14 October 2009

time just flies by.

if i could kiss and hug my hair, i would. and when it's long enough to do so, i will. i've been natural for a whole three months now and it's like a nonstop party on top of my noggin. there's so much to learn about your hair, it's ridiculous.

natural hair is the ultimate high. when your spirits are down, at least your hair is always up. it's my drug. whenever i have a bad day, all i need to do is wash my hair and play around in my curls and no more worries. it's so ridiculous, it's amazing.

every one needs to go natural at least once in their lives and at least experience the natural awesome that is your natural texture. so far, i've gotten one girl to bc and another to transition. i'm trying to get another to convert and so far, she seems receptive. i sound like an evil monarch or something.

my hair has grown so much since i bc'ed, so i'm glad i decided to start a blog and a fotki because i get to see the transformation. it's so much thicker and richer and it just keeps getting better and better each day.

lord stop me when i get to my goal length (arm-pit length, unstretched). no one will be able to tell me a damn thing, i know i'm so fly.

so, i've got a little list just simmering with products i want to try and that i plan to try as soon as i can. the list grows every few weeks. i can't help it. and that's not to mention all the miscellaneous purchases i buy during the week, without a thought. monday, i bought some proclaim curl activator (more on that below) and some trader joe's tea tree tingle conditioner (more on that, too). for the quickest of split seconds, i almost thought, "iz, you do not need any more products." then i realized, it was my threemonthaversary - i'm gonna treat my fro and myself.

okay, so gel activator? i would've never ever bought anything with the word "activator" in it if it hadn't been for a girl's hair on LHCF. she used it and managed to shingle her twa and it looked so good. before buying, i always thought curl activators had some special chemical in it that warranted the word activator, but really, it's pretty much gel with a different name. so far, i like it. i also liked my eco styler and i've stopped using that. oh, well. i'll do a product review maybe next week.

and it's no secret i'm in love with trader joe's and their products. i love my nourish spa, but never thought twice about the tea tree. it is some kind of amazing. i'm so glad i bought it. and sooo cheap. will definitely be doing a product review on that this week.

just a list of things i need to review sometime soon, so expect a barrage of those. eco styler gel, proclaim gel activator, trader joe's tea tree tingle condish, vs so sexy condish (have been putting this off forever), and herbal essences hello hydration condish.