06 December 2011

My 4 Year Plan: Year 1 Update

hey all, i know it's been forever since i've updated this. it's been on my to-do list but school comes first. let's get to the point. :)

i took my weave out about two weeks ago and boy was it a task. if i ever get another weave, i will either be getting a net underneath or having the weaveologist take it out. my fingers were extremely sore afterwards, but i only had to cut out one small tangle, so i consider that a victory lol. i managed to keep it in for ten weeks, so i was pleased about that! i definitely got my money's worth. i would get another one, maybe straight hair just for simplicity's sake.

i got pretty good (great?) growth! i am now SL/CBL, which is so exciting considering where i started at the beginning of the year/last december when i got my blonde cut out. i did my weekly steam and a light protein treatment. i did medium to small twists over my head and then set them on perm rods. i used a sample of miss jessie's curly pudding as my styling product. i forget what i used as my moisturizer and sealant.

i loved the results i got! my hair was fluffy, soft, and most importantly: stretched!

i just recently tried a set with sponge rollers, but i think i'll be sticking to the perm rods, lol. here's a picture of my length (i'll take clearer pictures later this month).

after seeing my growth (i got maybe a little more than an inch in the 2.5 months i had my sew-in), i've decided to put myself on a four-year plan. my ultimate goal is waist-length, stretched and i plan to hit it by Dec/Jan 2014. whew! that seems like so far away, but time passes so quickly. i plan to grow/retain all 6 inches of growth each year, so i will continue with taking supplements. i am considering trying a sulfur serum to see if that has any effect.

so for year one we'll say my goal was collarbone length (goal accomplished). here's a rough plan for my next three years:

it seems most achieve similar lengths in that frame of time and i have average growth, so it seems doable.  i'll keep on with my weekly steaming and stretched styles. i plan to straighten once a year, to track my progress. i will straighten in two weeks, which is exciting! i would like to begin to focus more on my ends, since i know its important to protect those!

hope everyone has been doing well :)

22 October 2011

weave update: 5 weeks in

just a quick weave update since i decided to steam today. i detangled, steamed, shampooed, moisturized, and sealed in sections and now my hair is pinned up as i wait for it to dry.

next tuesday i will have had this weave in for six weeks! i've had my hair tied up for the past week just because i was way too lazy to deal with it. i noticed it began tangling terribly so i decided to go ahead and do a full wash this weekend. i also made sure i moisturized since i have been putting nothing but gel on this hair. i'm hoping that a good steaming will help restore the elasticity and curb the tangling a little bit.

still going strong on my supplements. i stopped using the hair oil doctored with sulfur powder because the itching was just too much. once i cut that out, the itching stopped considerably. i had a lot of buildup on my scalp so i'm hoping this shampoo will cut through a bit of that. it's hard to get the shampoo in between the tracks for me. :/

anyway, i can feel my new growth just cutting up under there and i can't wait to have this hair out, honestly lol. i'm not tired of the weave but i do miss my hair. although i know once i take it out i'll be itching for some braids or something next (which i do plan to get, haha). 

i really would love to be able to go three months when that's in (because that's how long the semester is), but the way my hair has been sprouting, i just don't see that happening. i have my takedown scheduled in two weeks, but maybe i can get an extra week or two out of it. i'll have to see when i get there!

22 September 2011

beginning of semester update!

just a quick update since school has me so sorely lacking sleep, smh. i know i owe some people pictures (you know who you are… *bzz!*) so i figured i'd post pictures of my new install as well as my goal for these next two months.

my personal goal for this fall (or at least the next two months) is growth! i did my styling circuit challenge and an unofficial protective style circuit (i was in braids for so long) and now i'm focused on growth, which is exciting because it's never been a focus of mine. i figured since all of my hair is hidden away this will be a great opportunity to use up some of the vitamins and oils i have.

so here's what i'm doing for supplements… every morning, i alternate; one day i'll take my opti women multivitamin and gnc be beautiful and then the other day, i'll take country life maxi hair. the reason i do this is because the maxi hair and opti women have a lot of the same ingredients (at pretty high dosages too) so i don't want to take both in the same day for fear of overload.

and at night, while this may be unrelated to growth, i take nature's way omega 369.

every night or every other night, i moisturize my scalp with mozeke's alma herbal infusion. i have added a bit of powdered sulfur. this was available on her website, and i'm not sure why it's been taken down, but hopefully Jennifer will list more so i can buy another bottle.

i'll (try) to wash every week, if not every two weeks, with whatever shampoo and cheapie conditioner i have on hand. i recently ordered a blowdryer so that i could blowdry my roots, but it has yet to arrive. :/

anyway, i've had the install for a little over a week now and i absolutely adore it. here's the info you really want: i used two packs of bohyme brazilian wave in color #1, 12 and 14 inch. at night, i put in a ponytail and then sleep with a bonnet. in the morning, i dampen it just a bit and brush through whatever gel i'm using with my denman. this method takes me maybe five minutes and dries quickly. if i want more volume, i'll brush track by track. i have noticed that when styling in a rush, if i brush entire sections of hair i get a little less fullness, which is good for everyday wear, i think.

i knowww these are only webcam pics. the first three are at the end of the day while the last one is what happens when i don't define with my denman and gel. i am having so much fun with the hair and i've gotten so many compliments. i'm excited to see what two months' of growth will look like!

03 September 2011

it's the beginning of the semester...

…and I've taken my braids out. I had wanted them to last at least an extra week so that hair wouldn't be an issue for the first week of school, but they just weren't up to it. But they did good! They stood up to five months of beaches, pools, amusement parks, and sleeping with no scarf, so I definitely got my money's worth. I'd considered having my edges redone, but the $60 wasn't worth it when they'd be in for less than two weeks.

So I've just been wearing a wash and go pulled back with my headband and that was fine. I know I need to keep my hair stretched, so this weekend is for doing my hair. I know I'm getting a late start, but I've shampooed and am sitting under my steamer right now. :) I'll let the condish penetrate for a little while before moisturizing and braiding my hair. I like to wait until my hair is dried before I start twisting, but I won't have time for that. Since I want to do really small twists, I'll twist half tonight and then finish in the morning before work. I don't go in until 1, so I'm hoping I can wake up early enough to finish. :P I'll post some pictures of the finished product.

I recently bought two new hair products (well, three), so I'll post some reviews once I've used them.

In other news… I am super excited because I am getting a weave in a week! Yesss! I'd mentioned it in a few posts before but I wasn't exactly sure whether or not I'd actually be able to do it. Well, my appointment has been booked and I've already bought the hair. I got a curly texture so I'm hoping it blends well with my own. I am seriously so eager, I wish I'd booked my appointment a week earlier! Just 10 more days! 

Anyway, just a quick update. I'll update tomorrow with how my twists came out and of course when I get my install. ;)

03 August 2011

[review] donna marie miracurl curling gelly

Ingredients: Purified water, aloe vera juice,  vegetable glycerin,  Provitamin B-5, avocado oil,  Linseed extract, herbal infusion of plantago extract, Rosemary, Slippery elm and hibiscus, xanthan gum, alkanet root, potassium sorbate, silver citrate, citric acid and fragrance.

[ pricing ]
you can get a whopping 18 oz for $21.00, which i think is very agreeable. 18 oz is a huge size and sure to last just about forever, and it comes down to roughly $0.86 an ounce. 

however, one thing i don't like is that the only option you have is this huge size. i held off on purchasing for so long because i couldn't justify spending the money on a massive bottle of a product i've never even tried before. i got lucky with a friend of mine was willing to share hers with me. otherwise, i probably would've never even tried.

*note: the website says you get 18 oz, but the picture of the bottle says 16 oz, so i'm not sure which is true. it's possible they decided to go with a larger size.

[ packaging ]
since someone was kind enough to share their product with me, i didn't get the original container (although the one she sent it in is incredibly nice, lol). i won't talk much about the presentation. from what i can see on the website, it looks like a beautiful bottle and the label is colorful and elaborate, which i don't see too often. the design on the label is incredibly thorough and i'd love to be able to experience it in person.

i like that since the design/graphics are so elaborate, the don't try to load the label down with tons of information.
[ scent ]
the scent of this is light and pleasant, although i can detect a very, very subtle hit of either artificial fragrance or the ingredients used. it's slightly sweet, not sugary, and i can't draw any comparisons to any flowers or fruits that i might know. i think it's pleasant and not overpowering, although i can see how some people might not care for it. it is more "perfume-y" than many of the other hair products i've tried. it seems a fairly generic scent but i really liked using it and smelling it on my hair. it left izzy very lightly fragranced, and the scent lasted maybe a day or two.
[ consistency ]
like the name says, it does have a jelly consistency and wobbles minimally. it kind of trembles if you shake the container. it's a beautiful, dusty berry color and has little bits in it, but i can't pinpoint from the ingredients list exactly what it is, like tiny seeds or something - it really does make it seem even more berry-like! 

it slips around easily within my jar and it's got a very light, spreadable consistency and not sticky! it spread through my hair easily and it's very easy to grab only a tiny amount - a quick tap to the surface with a fingertip is all i needed for one coil.

[ performance ]
i tried this earlier in the year after taking out my first set of braids. i used it to do some finger coils and could feel the little seeds in between my fingers, but they didn't show up in my hair (makes me wonder why they're even in there, but i like them, lol).

i really felt as though it helped to smooth the cuticle of my hair and my coils were so springy and light! the hold was very soft, which i liked, but i can't remember how many days i got out of them.

the shine isn't on the same level as eco styler, but i can see this being a great product for a (wet/damp) shingle or wash-n-go. i haven't used it in those capacities, but i wanted to get this review out. i will definitely try using this more in the future.
[ customer service ]
since i didn't order, i don't have any comments on customer service on that end, but i did send an email through the website and never got a reply. tsk tsk!

this was a nice product and i will definitely use up the remainder of what i have, but i don't see myself ever purchasing or repurchasing. i will work and see how i like it for different purposes, but the price and size can't outdo eco styler gels, which are readily available at many stores. it's a fun gel to use and i know a lot of ladies like it, so at the very least i can say i am looking forward to using what i do have. :)

ftc disclaimer: this product was sent to me by a good friend. :) i am in no way (nor is she) affiliated with this company and i was not paid for this review.

02 August 2011

[review] jasmine's shea butter cream rinse leave-in

Ingredients: Aloe Extract, BTMS(Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter, Glycerin, Quaternium-79 Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Panthenol, Vitamin E, Allantoin, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid(food grade paraben free preservative),essential oils

i'm sitting in the comfort of my home while my hair is being braided up, so i'm going to try and focus long enough to get some reviews done. i no longer have this product on hand because i used it all up, but i remember it well enough to get this review out. 
[ pricing ]
pricing on jasmine's products has always thrown me a little bit because she has both a website and an etsy. i first ordered from the website, where i got 8 oz for $14, which isn't disagreeable but is too much, especially considering that she sells the same product on her etsy for anywhere between $6-8, which is excellent. i'm not sure why the price varies, but they're more than affairdable. on her etsy, she also offers 16 oz sizes for $13-14 which is another great price point!

while the lack of consistency between pricing can be a little confusing, i think the prices are extremely affordable, as they should be considering she uses a base. now, i'm not sure if she doctors her version at all, but a google search of her ingredients list reveals a wholesale website where you can buy the formula by the gallon. 
[ packaging ]
the bottle that this comes in is a clean, nondescript clear plastic bottle with a white flip cap. the label contains a good amount of vital information for its size and flows nicely. the light forest green isn't my favorite since i don't feel the berry/red (i can't exactly tell from the etsy picture) compliments it particularly well, but it serves it's purpose just fine. 

i love that this comes in a bottle for easy dispensing because it seems a lot of companies like to put thin products in jars for some odd reason. i was able to clean this bottle with no problem, lol. i got every drop!
[ scent ]
i ordered my leave-in in chocolate vanilla sugar, or something like that, and when i first ordered, i LOVED it! one of common compliments about jasmine's is that she offers a huge selection of scents and most (if not all) of them smell great! while sitting at my desk, i would often reach for the bottle for a quick whiff or two.

the name of the scent isn't ambiguous so i won't spend much time describing it, although it was delicious! one thing i did notice though is the more i used it, the more i began to notice a definite "fake" undertone that often accompanies cheap, super-sugary scents. you definitely want to use a light hand with this because it was one of those very bold, saturated scents. i got a comment from a friend that my hair smelled good, but it was too strong and i agreed with him. the more you apply, the more overbearing and loud it becomes.
it's very easy to overdo sweet, dessert-themes scents, but i would love to try a citrus scent from her, it feel as though it'd be delicious! 
[ consistency ]
i love the consistency of this leave-in! it's thinner than oyin's hair dew and slips around in the bottle fairly easily. it's so lightweight and you only need a small amount per section. it would make a great summer time leave-in, but performed excellently in fall and winter for me. i was so happy!
[ performance ]
pretty sure i raved about this product to everyone the first time i used it. i'd been looking for a new water-based leave-in and this arrived right on time. it moisturized extremely well, even without sealing afterwards. i used it several times a week and didn't get any buildup. i wish i knew how it played with gel, but since i wasn't using gel at the time, i can't comment. i feel like it'd be a great combination though!

i did notice that my hair took a while to dry while using this, but that was probably my fault more than the product. i didn't seal, was really heavy-handed, and it was cold out. i'm sure if i were to use a lighter hand, i wouldn't have any trouble with drying time.
[ customer service ]
ordering from jasmine's was standard fare. my only complaint is that when i place my order, didn't receive any kind of shipping email afterwards, nor do i believe i got a tracking number. i also don't feel as though products made from bases should take more than 3-4 days to ship.  my order took about nine days to process, while typically receive my orders in that time. 

obviously, i can't speak on what's happening behind the scenes at jasmine's, but going a more week without any kind of update about my order isn't professional and leaves me a little on edge. when i emailed my concerns, i was emailed back the next day with reassuring information that my order was not the way. i do feel that two weeks is a bit long for products made from bases. 

but overall, i loved the product when i first purchased and would definitely see myself purchasing this again, from jasmine's and not the wholesaler's. i love to support my sisters and wouldn't mind waiting two weeks for my product, although i do feel that time should be cut in half.

ftc disclaimer: i am in no way affiliated with this company. i was not paid for this review and the product was purchased with my own monies. :)

END of summer styling challenge! :)

i know i said i'd do two more posts in this series but this will be the last one! i planned to do a coil out today but this was the only morning my braider was available to do my hair, so i had to take it. i did start to break apart my coils; i figured i could at least take pictures to share. but as i started separating them, i realized it was gonna be way too much work to not even wear out. and it was late and i still had to wash my hair so i said whatever, lol. 

it's only been three weeks but this personal mini-challenge was really great! i had fun trying out the different styles (wish i'd done more!) and learned a lot about Izzy. it's crazy how much perspective i was able to gain in such a short time that i'm really not sure of where to begin.

while i enjoy trying out all my conditioners and steaming, wash days had never really been my favorite because i could never figure out how to style my hair afterwards. furthermore, i never want to dedicate the 2-3 hours to styling that my hair often demands. all i knew is that i had problems - dryness, tangling, a matted fro - and no apparent willingness to try anything new to fix it. i became reliant on braids and began to dread having my hair loose.

i did a post in june where my feelings toward Izzy were lukewarm at best. :( i was resigned to the awkward in-between phase and prepared to hate it. but i've learned a pretty huge secret that's changed my entire outlook on maintaining my hair and natural hair in general, especially for tigher curls and coils.


it's really that simple. the past three weeks of this challenge, i made a point to keep my hair stretched and my goodness, it makes a HUGE difference. twistouts are way more neat and defined, styling time is cut in half, and sections make sure i moisturize and seal every inch of my hair. beforehand, i would just run some moisturizer through my hair and let it dry, let it curl up, which was the source of the dreaded matted morning afro (and single-strand knots). when i keep it stretched, all i need to do is fluff in the morning and maybe spritz with something moisturizing. i don't have to walk around dripping all day, nor does doing my hair take more than five minutes. THANK GOD!

it's taken me two years to learn this about my hair and i'm pretty sure if i didn't, i would still be contemplating a third big chop. i'd often read on hair boards that many ladies kept their hair stretched, which can be difficult with a twa. having little hair to grip takes longer and really tires your arms out. it's just long enough to give you a hard time, yet too short to make styling easy. i finally decided that this phase was something i was done with, so i decided to stop cutting my hair and it's been sprouting so far! :) the back is a solid shoulder length while the sides reach slightly past my chin.

this revelation seems like it's a long time coming, and i'm so grateful for these past three weeks. it's like Izzy is brand new and i've fallen in love all over again. i still love and adore my braids and will continue to get them. they're a great protective style and look good for weeks. in-between work and traveling (i'll be out of state three weeks this month!), it's the perfect low-maintenance style and anything that leaves me time in the morning for two months is a friend of mine.

i may do another post, maybe detailing some pointers for those who need it (and myself) because i know how brutal the growing-out phase is. i'm still in it now and i'm continuing to learn more and more each time. it's amazing how much tweaking one aspect of how you care for your hair can completely change how you feel about your hair and by extension, yourself. learning to keep my hair stretched has been a miracle! styles last for days and styling time is maybe an hour and a half for most things; i can get up and go in the morning and feel good about my appearance, which is especially vital with natural hair. i have been loving everything about everything during this challenge and it's all due to keeping my hair stretched! 

01 August 2011

[review] enso naturals caco curl recovery deep conditioning treatment

Ingredients: Distilled Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol (mild emulsifier), Cocos Nucifera (Virgin Coconut) Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Polyquaternium-7, Cetrimonium Chloride, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Silk Amino Acids, Panthenol, Cetyl Alcohol, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Nut Oil, Macadamja Ternifolia Seed Oil, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol (and) Benzoic Acid (and) Dehydroacetic Acid (paraben free preservative), Fragrance

this was sent to me by a good friend of mine and of a very generous 16 oz jar, i've managed to use good few ounces, so i think i'm about as ready to review this as i'll be for a while, lol.

[ pricing ]
enso has a great selection of products at very affordable prices, which is something i can really appreciate as both a college student and a consumer. one thing i especially loved was the variety of sizes! i've said it on here at least ten times, sizing options are a huge draw to a product line for me, for lots of reasons. everyone goes through products at a different rate and the mere fact that lots of companies DON'T offer various sizes clues me in that it definitely takes more time and resources. when a company goes the extra step to offer different sizes, i truly feel as though they do so with the express purpose of pleasing customer so already i was impressed.

you can buy 8 oz for only $11, a hefty 16 oz for $18.50, or an incredibly 32 oz (woah!) for $30.50. and they even have my favorite size - samples! you can get a cute, tidy 2 ounces for $5.50.

enso has a lot of great price points and i know it's contributed to their rising popularity. 

[ packaging ]
one thing i noticed on the website, before i even got this deep conditioner, was how clean and professional it was. the navigation isn't my favorite (besides the point), but i like that they actually show pictures of the product in its packaging.

this deep conditioner comes in a clear plastic jar with a "square" topped black screw top. i don't usually care for hard edges, but the corners definitely work for this kind of crisp, contemporary theme enso is promoting. the muted burnt orange compliments the deep brown very well and the fonts further promotes the understated, modern imaging. the label is packed with information, laid out in little squares of notes and flows very well. one thing i particularly like is the logo for the name: very smooth, spaced out lettering; no fanfare, bright colors, or distracting, misplaced images. one reason why i'm so excited to try out some more products from the line is because of the packaging alone!

one thing i do hope improves is the material of the label itself. while it doesn't detract from all the pleasant features, it doesn't do it justice. it feels like it was printed from a home printer. i like sturdier labels so that when i handle the container with wet hands, i don't end up with ink smears on my fingertips and i just generally dislike the look of worn-out labels. enso is a fairly new company, so i'm sure this will improve with time.

[ scent ]
the fragrance on this was entirely new to me, which isn't to say that its necessary good or bad. there's no description of it on the website, so i can't say what they were going for. it's a light, neutral scent that reminds me vaguely of melons and berries. actually, i'm not even sure, LOL. i will say it's faintly fruity but tempered very well with a very slight splash of florals. it smells like it would make a good gum flavor, haha!

it's a neutral scent that smells very pleasant in your hair! i like it a lot, because of its novelty and cleanliness. it was fun, sniffing it from the steam that rolled out from under the hood of my steamer. :)

[ consistency ]
this is a fairly dense conditioner. the weight doesn't lend itself to its spreadability very much, but i loved smushing and smearing it through my hair. ;) it doesn't budge in its container and coated my strands very well. i had to use a little bit more of this conditioner than others, but i'm sure a more careful application would solve that "problem." 

[ performance]
while i love everything about the product so far, the product itself didn't inspire similar feelings within me. i've used this two or three times and my hair always feels clean and moisturized, but it doesn't perform on the same level as oyin's honey hemp for me. it has a lot of great ingredients, but nothing that gets me particularly excited to use or convinces me that my hair will feel amazing.

i feel as though since i'm so adamant about my staples when it comes to deep conditioners, it takes a LOT to impress me for me to consider repurchasing. it wish i could offer a more in depth commentary on the performance but it wasn't memorable enough for me to have much to say.

now, all of that's not to say that this deep conditioner didn't do it's job, it performed very well! i can see why so many people love this product. however, i do feel as though the culmination of the prices, presentation, and everything else ties in to make this an attractive, fun product but performance-wise, the oomph just wasn't there for me. this makes a good summer dc but i'm not sure it's heavy duty enough for the winter time. i'll have to try it then and report back in. i will definitely continue using this.
[ customer service ]
i don't have any personal experience with enso yet, but i have heard wonderful things from others - quick reply time, responsive to customer concerns, willing to change orders, etc. it makes me really look forward to ordering because i know if i have a concern, i'll be treated right.

ftc disclaimer: this product was sent to me by a good friend. :) i am in no way (nor is she) affiliated with this company and i was not paid for this review.

summer styling circuit: finger coils

i did this sunday night after coming back from the beach. i had plans to go downtown with a friend today so even though i was quite tired, i decided to go ahead and get it out of the way. funny how i don't even mind doing izzy anymore, when i used to avoid wash day before. ;)

still in my twists (which were quite frizzy, but held up well), i shampooed with the mozeke just peachy shampoo and steamed with the limited edition hairveda "green" conditioner. i moisturized with the bee mine before styling.

washing in twists was new to me and i don't feel as though this method was as efficient as leaving my hair loose. i will probably try again as my hair grows longer. i didn't feel like untwisting all those small twists to wash and then twist the section back up. i find that keeping my hair sectioned makes styling go by so much easier.

i untwisted a few twists before detangling with my denman. i separated a small section of hair, smoothed on some gel and coiled, coiled, coiled it around my finger. it took me a little less than two hours, the longest i've spent styling my hair so far on this mini-challenge.

as i got to the front, the orientation of my hands changed (naturally, not on purpose) so without realizing it, i began coiling some to the right instead of the left. my front came out a little messy because of it, but i don't mind it too much. you can see how much more uniform the back is when compared to the front, lol.

i've been wanting to try coils again for a little while now, but could never commit to the time it took to do them. as a style, they easily hold up for days, look good, and keep your hair stretched. keeping my hair sectioned definitely helped things to go faster this time around. while i like the look, i don't see myself doing this style too often. a coil-out might be cute and i plan to try one this week as my final style, but as my hair gets longer it might be easier to just set on flexirods.

i'll have about two more posts in this cute little series before i'm done! my two weeks turned into three weeks, but i surprisingly don't mind. :)

31 July 2011

[review] bee mine luscious balanced cream moisturizer

ingredients: Distilled water, Hydrogenated Persea gratissima (Avocado) Seed Oil, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil (and) Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Persea gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Emulsifying wax, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Paraben & Formaldehyde Free Preservative & Fragrance (Island Mango).
I ordered a sample size of this moisturizer months ago and have finally gotten around to "properly" using it this past week, if only because i ran out of my yin hair dew. :P so let me go ahead and get this review out of the way while i'm sitting under my steamer.
an 8 oz jar of this moisturizer is $18.97 and a 16 oz is about twice that, almost forty dollars. now, i've been watching bee mine products for a while, and honestly don't remember if this was always the price.  to be fair, you can purchase a 2 ounce sample size for almost $5.75, which is 50 cents more than what i paid for it in November of last year.

i'll save more of my comments about the pricing for the end of the review.

the jar on this product is a standard white jar with black top. the label is fairly engaging, the afro-bee is so cute! one of the first things i noticed, however, was the use of about 4 different fonts on such a tiny space, which is completely too much. it's important for a brand image to be cohesive and there's just way too much going on at once - almost every line is a different font and it doesn't offer any sense of unity or "theme."

i do like how the labels are colored and very professionally made and affixed to the jar. :)

you can chose between a coconut cream and island mango scent when you order, which i like - two simple options to chose between (and i'm sure she offers unscented as well). i got island mango and it is a very light, neutral scent that fits well with the line. i can't say i'm a huge fan of mango; not that i dislike it, but it's rarely my first choice for a scent so i thought i would try something new. that being said, i am no mango expert so i can't attest to the realism of the fragrance, but i can confidently report that it was pleasant without being too sweet with a hint of island flavor.

it's not a fragrance that makes me drool but it is one that i enjoy whiffing every now and again and i wouldn't mind having it in my hair. it's very fresh and clean, which i find isn't the case for a lot of handmade products - the scent tends to smell fairly saturated. this bee mine moisturizer has struck a perfect balance of bright yet unoffensive.

the texture of this product was something i really enjoyed! it's a very balmly, lightweight cream that feels yummy between my fingers. i've a ton of more heavyweight moisturizers which my hair doesn't need during the summer, so the texture of this was a dream. but it's got just enough density to it that i would feel confident using it during the cooler months as well.

i don't think i have anything in my product stash quite like this, so i really enjoyed the novelty. it's super smooth and i get great product control with it. i can get just as much or as little as i need without having to constantly try to skim a little off the sides.

after using this for myself, i can definitely appreciate all the rave reviews on it. i can see this being something that ladies with finer hair or looser textures just loving. my hair is a pretty uniform 4A, and my strands are of a normal thickness, with my crown being my driest area. this moisturizer made my hair very soft and the moisture lasts for about 3-4 days.

customer service
my encounter with this company was standard. i ordered, and they delivered. the owner (i believe) is a member of the hair board i belong to and i've been in the thread several times. she's always answering others' questions and seems like a sweet woman. :) i had a brief issue with my payment processing. the issue was on my end and i realized what i did wrong, but she was very prompt with her support and i felt very welcomed, which is always great! the company itself seems very engaging and customer oriented, which is how it should be.

all in all, i can say that this a good moisturizer. great? no. while i love the ingredients, consistency, and scent there's nothing about this that makes izzy have a hairgasm. i definitely like it and it would make a great travel moisturizer, but i won't be repurchasing this.

while i would love to rave about this product, the heart's just not there. and it wouldn't be unfair to say that the price is definitely one of the deterring factors.  i'm not sure if this product has always cost almost $20, but with hundreds of product lines out there with more agreeable prices, i have no problem in passing this up. i know there are tons out there who love this moisturizer and they have good reason too, but i just can't see myself paying this much for this when i have other moisturizers to try and a staple moisturizer where i can get double the size for the same price.

the product is definitely worth a try if you're interested! the only reason i wouldn't repurchase is the pricing and if you can swing it, go for it!

ftc disclaimer: i am in no way affiliated with this company. i was not paid for this review and the product was purchased with my own monies. :)

29 July 2011

UPDATES; no buy + goals + reviews

i know i should be sleep, but i've been itching to post something - weird, right?! while i'm up enjoying the 90's Nick programming block, i figured a quick, simple post updating my no-buy would be okay. :)

so, looking back on my old posts on my no-buy, i realize my six months are well up! over about 8 month period, i can count the hair products i've purchased on one hand (not including a $1.00 brush and bobby pins). i bought the care free curl gold moisturizer/activator and eco styler argan oil gel. the first saw very little action (i don't even know where it is now) and i've been using the eco styler every chance i get. oh! i also bought the hairveda limited edition "green" conditioner because, hey, it's limited edition and i like to show my support.

i've decided to go ahead and extend my no-buy for the rest of the year. i still have drawers full of products and samples that are waiting to be opened and tried. i'm even banning myself from repurchasing staples (should i run out), to kind of "force" myself to use everything up.

i've been thinking about gifting away a good chunk of my stash, but i want to at least review them before passing them on. however, being realistic, that's not going to happen. there are some products i have that i don't even see myself ever using. i'll get those items sorted out and then evaluate the rest of my stash.

ultimately, my goal is to stick to no more than 3-4 product lines for all of my hair care needs. so far, the lines i'm expecting to be loyal to are: qhemet biologics, enso naturals, oyin handmade, and mozeke. i already know my staple gel will be the eco styler argan oil. i plan to work on/with the qhemet and enso lines, try some samples and see how i like them. they're two lines i have a lot of excitement for, so i'm hoping they deliver!

in the meantime, i plan to have at least three reviews out next week. i know i always say that, but i'm ready to get out a lot of my experiences. if i didn't have such a busy day today (friday), i'd work on them. instead, i'll just try and tackle about two a day next week. here's a list to help keep me focused:
  • ori organics golden jojoba conditioner
  • ori organics curl restorative masque
  • eco styler argan oil & olive oil gel
  • bee mine luscious balanced moisturizer
  • enso naturals cacao curl recovery deep conditioner
  • care free curl gold instant moisturizer
  • donna marie curling jelly
  • donna marie curling cream
  • jasmine's shea butter cream rinse leave-in
  • jasmine's babassu xtreme conditioner

28 July 2011

summer styling circuit: small twists

i've wanted to try these for a while and since i'm going to the beach this weekend, it seemed like the perfect time. :) last night, i steamed with my mozeke moisture mask. i added some of hairveda's vatika frosting and castor oil; since i would be swimming, i wanted to make sure my hair was super moisturized. i rinsed my hair for about five minutes, because my hair was so incredibly lush and soft that i thought i still had conditioner in! Izzy has never been so defined and bouncy after a washing! it was like something out of a wet dream - my staple deep condish with my favorite oils… bliss!

since my hair felt so amazing, i just braided it up without moisturizer. today, when i took down each individual braid, i applied some of bee mine's balanced moisturizer (so far, it's a good product, i'll have to get the review up soon). i sectioned off a tiny bit of hair and clipped the larger section out of the way. i smoothed in some eco style argan oil gel (pretty sure i'm obsessed with this stuff) and brushed with my denman. my entire head took me maaaaybe three hours? not including food breaks, youtube breaks, etc. :P 

here's what i ended up with:

i took fairly small sections but i would love to do some tiny/mini twists the next time i have my hair out. i plan to go back into braids next week, but i'm definitely going to try and fit in another style!

the back and front look a little wonky, but i'm sure my twists will fluff up with a little wear. you can see some of the parts i made as i went along:

i like this style and i think it'd be super cute with longer hair, maybe SL stretched. i love the look of twists, but i always have this fear that i look a little boyish when my hair is in twists and i feel that length will be the "cure" for that fear, lol. we'll see! i'm sure by the time my braids are out, i'll have enough hair to see! :)

20 July 2011

summer styling circuit: twistout !!! (lots of pics!)

yes, i did have to include three exclamation points! :) i'm so excited for this post, i wanted to do it the moment i put my twists in! i did a twistout today and it came out so beautifully, i'm learning that there really is a technique/process to great twistouts and i'm so excited to be learning my hair and what works for it to get the best style.

so saturday night, i washed and deep conditioned before braiding my hair to keep it stretched. while braiding, i moisturized with oyin's hair dew, sealed with my qhemet alma and olive heavy cream (which i've been trying to learn to use) and jamaican black castor oil.

the following day, i sectioned off my hair (as i went along), and from there, i took the amount of hair i wanted to twist. i smoothed some eco styler argan oil gel and brushed with my modified denman (i think, i don't exactly remember, lol) and did this to each smaller section of hair. i carefully sectioned the hair into two pieces, making sure that each piece had an equal amount of hair so that i could twist all the way down cleanly. i also parted my hair the way i wanted my twists to hang/fall. i coiled the ends using my fingers. it only took maybe an hour.

i was fingering and playing with my twists all night, they were so plump and soft! i knew i had great twistout coming to me.

i kept the twists in monday and tuesday, since i didn't really have anywhere to be. i did spritz with the hairveda hydra-silica one day, just to see if anything would happen, lol. today, i was meeting up with one of my besties at the mall, so i figured i could take them down. i carefully pulled apart the twists, but didn't separate them any further. i spritzed with the hydra-silica again and had this:

and gosh, i am just so in love with Izzy today! making sure to make evenly distributed twists really helped with my frizz, which usually kills an otherwise cute style. i had no frizz and my hair is so incredibly soft and bouncy and just BEAUTIFUL! my twists are hanging the way i want and i love it! i'm really interested to see how my second and third-day hair turns out, i'm hoping i can get more volume.

this is, by far, the best twistout i have ever achieved on my own and i feel that's due to two big things:
  • twisting on dry, stretched hair (lets me keep my length and makes twisting much easier)
  • making sure the two pieces of my twists are even (allows me to twist all the way to my ends, eliminating frizz)
i'm sure if i follow this formula, i can get consistent results each time. next time, i'm going to focus on twisting cleaner near the roots. my twists were fine when i first did them, but after two days of wear they started to get a little frizzy.

i had such a beautiful day and i honestly believe part of it was because my hair was so cute, LOL. ;) i am loving this little personal challenge.

17 July 2011

summer styling circuit: braidout!

for this challenge, i decided to try my first braidout. i liked how quickly this took, maybe 30-45 minutes to braid my whole head. here are the pictures (loving how shiny my hair looks!)

not sure if you can see from the pictures, but i always have trouble when i get to around my temples because my hair is thinner there. instead of braiding, i had to do the odd twist or two.

and here's when i took them out in the morning!

it was tough getting rid of the parts, but i think it came out kinda cute, despite some of my sloppier braids. it looked better on the second day, but of course i forgot to take pictures of it. on the third day, i stuck my head under the faucet for a quick moment to get some water into it (which i won't do again, at least not without following with some moisturizer and a gel). on the third day, it was definitely ready for a washing!

so i washed with the mozeke just peachy shampoo and steamed with an enso deep conditioner. i braided up my hair last night to keep it stretched and work a "quickie" braidout today that was actually pretty cute! 

my next style will be a regular ole twistout; i'm twisting with the eco styler argan oil gel right now, really trying to make neat, even twists. some are bigger than others, but i'm focused on getting "equal" parts of hair for the twist and smoothing my ends. i'm amazed to see how long my hair is getting, stretching out the hair as my fingers work their way downwards. 

so far, i'm learning how difficult it is to actually "style" my hair! on shorter hair, it is very easy for a braidout or bantu knot-out to look completely crazy and wild, which isn't exactly what i'm going for. if my hair "fell," the weight might take out some of the bigness, which is what i want… just not right now, lol. i am a slave to headbands (i have the most trouble styling the front of my head), and i've been trying to think of ways to maneuver my hair to either "fall" like a bang, or stick straight up. it's trickier than it sounds!