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! 

13 July 2011

summer styling circuit: bantu knot-out

for my first styling attempt, i tried a bantu knot out! i figured my hair was finally long enough to try this style, so i sat down sunday night and began twisting. it took me maybe an 40 minutes to an hour (i don't remember how long exactly, but it couldn't have been longer than that). i worked for about twenty minutes and then took a break before finishing. i sat under the dryer for 20 minutes afterwards and when i unraveled in the morning, some still felt a little damp (not sure if it was sweat from my workout or if they weren't completely dry).

here's some images from when i finished twisting/bantu-ing:

and here's the morning i took them out!

unfortunately, i didn't take pictures of my 2nd day hair before starting on my next style, but it held up "okay." i wasn't really impressed or disappointed. this was my first time trying so i'm sure my technique can use some improvement - some parts of my head were a little harder to grip than others. next time i try, i'll make sure to smooth my ends more, dry my hair completely, and twist neater. i think it could come out really nicely a second time around. :)

i really only care for bantu knot outs on longer hair, so i was expecting some funky pattern going on and it definitely wasn't uniform at all. the parts disappeared by the second day, but i didn't really care for the results on the first day either.

the lack of uniformity makes my hair look dry in the photos and i'm still working on taming my ends. no matter what, they always seem to end up frizzy. some ends are smoother than others, so i'm not sure if its my ends that are in bad shape or if i'm simply not smoothing enough when i detangle. braids can be brutal on your ends, so i plan to baby them while my hair is out and start paying more attention to them when they're in braids. i really need to get a handle on them because frizzy ends can really put a damper on a cute look.

next circuit post will be a braidout! :)

11 July 2011

the summer 2011 two week styling circuit!

cool title, right? ;) 

so i gave in to the siren call of izzy and took my braids out after 6 or 7 weeks (i don't remember how long exactly). i was maybe 1-2 weeks short of the 8 weeks i had them in earlier in the year, so i don't feel too bad. i plan to give izzy two weeks to have her fun before i go back to my senegalese for the rest of the summer. while i've missed her, i'm really not trying to deal with her at the beach or out-of-state. since i'll be going back into braids soon, i figured i would make the best of these next two weeks by doing a mini styling challenge. :)

i always wonder what i can do with my fro and figured what better time than to try new styles?! i've already tried a flat twist out, which came out pretty cute despite how craptastic my twists were (it's a very forgiving style, thank goodness). i plan to try them again soon. i'm in bantu knots right now (pictures coming soon!) and i'm excited because it'll be my first bantu knot out! i also want to try some smaller twists, braids, cornrow-out (i made that up just now), a mohawk, a twist-n-curl, and whatever else that i come across that looks cute.

i'll post my pictures and routine with each style, the day i try them so this'll be the busiest my blog has been all year (sad, i know). it should be exciting, regardless! i also plan to have up at least two more reviews this week, just fyi.

hope you all are having a great summer so far!

01 July 2011

[review] emerald lab's coconut oil!

i haven't done a review on a natural "product" in a long time, and since i just recently ordered more coconut oil, i figured i would review that! :) this review will be on what i like as coconut oil as a whole, but i will say that emerald labs is my favorite brand. now, i've only tried one off-brand coconut oil before  so i can't really compare this brand to others. this is the brand i first tried and immediately fell in love with it. i may try other brands in the future and i'm sure it doesn't matter too much what brand you get, so long as it's raw/unrefined/extra virgin coconut oil. soooo let's get started.

i've been using coconut oil for maybe two years and it's never been anything less than amazing for me. i use it for everything and i really do mean from head to toe. i love it for my hair; coconut and castor oil give me the best shine. i also like to add a little bit of coconut oil for an extra kick in my deep conditioners. it softens my hair so well, although i have heard that coconut oil has hardened/dried out some ladies' hair. take it slow; since coconut is a fairly thin oil, it can be easy to go overboard. 

i also use it for my face. i like it as an occasional moisturizer, but you must be careful to only use a tiny amount, or else you'd end up looking a greasy mess. one thing i've recently discovered is that using coconut as a moisturizer underneath physical sunblocks (zinc and titanium dioxide) helps to eliminate that annoying white cast that many of them can leave behind. 

i've also used coconut oil as the main oil when i use the oil cleansing method. it also makes an excellent make up remover! it gets rid of eyeshadow and foundation and leaves my face feeling so damn soft.

during the summer, coconut oil is one of my main moisturizers for my entire body. after a good, thorough exfoliation in a hot shower, this is my favorite oil to slather on. i've used jojoba oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil after a shower and none of them can beat out coconut oil for me. it's such a light oil to spread on without being greasy and deeply moisturizes. yum!

one thing i particularly like about the emerald labs (and i'm not sure if this is unique to this brand or not) is how emollient the texture is. it's really light and kind of feels like it's gliding across your skin. it's hard to describe but it makes me feel like i'm scooping out a fingerful of cloud or something. the oil itself is just so incredibly soft, it's something you have to experience for yourself!

the scent is also the perfect, faint coconutty fragrance. just sweet enough and far from overpowering. it fades within a few minutes and doesn't "scent" your skin.

now, compared to other brands of coconut oil that you can scoop up from any grocery store (organic or otherwise), you can only by emerald labs from GNC. it's also a bit pricier. where generous jars other brands may be $8 or so, the emerald labs is a whopping $12.99. of course i'd rather pay $8-9 than $13, but GNC runs pretty good sales fairly often. in a sale last week, the oil was on sale for $9.99 and if i'd had the funds, i would've stocked up on two or three more jars instead of just one. but as with many products, the price is worth it to me and a single jar will last me many months, despite how often i may use it.

coconut oil as a whole is a staple beauty for me, while emerald labs gets a definite A.

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. :)

[review] african royale braid & extensions sheen spray

ingredients: deionized water, glycerin, propylene glycol, ppg-12-peg-50, lanolin, dicetyldimonium chloride, polyquarternium 32 & paraffinum liquidum, tea tree leaf oil, polysorbate 80, oat kernel extract, allantoin, silk amino acids, sheep sorrell, yarrow, slippery elm bark, sage, henna, comfrey, burdock root, goldenseal, cherry bark, ginseng, black walnut, chamomile, alfalfa, hyssop, wheat germ, methyl & propyl paraben, fragrance.

this review won't be broken down into sections like some of my past reviews, because this is such a simple, straightforward product. i'll hit on the main points, of course, but this product is summed up pretty neatly in a few paragraphs.

i figured this would be a good time to review, since i'm closing in on week five in my braids. i've used this braid spray every time i get extensions and it's a pretty good bargain product. i got 12 oz of this for about five dollars out of a random beauty supply store. i'm sure you could find this at a target, cvs, or sally's as well, but any beauty supply store will be your best bet.

to be so "cheap," the ingredient list is actually quite nice, although confusing. i'm not sure why you'd need mineral oil in a braid spray, what the hell ppg-12-peg-50 is, or what the ingredients in the end actually are. obviously, i know what wheat germ and henna is, but what did you guys use? an oil, extract, powder? it's not a big deal to me, but you know, sometimes you like to know.

i like the fragrance of this spray, which was probably one of the main reasons why i chose this over the thousands of other options. it's actually pretty hard to describe, even as i sit here sniffing at it now... not very sweet, but not musky at all, it's perfectly in the middle. it's fragrant without being overpowering. there might be some florals in there with a tiny musk-like undertone. neutral scent, not manly or feminine but it's light and plesant. to be honest, i don't have the words (shocker!) so i'll just sum it up by saying: it smells good.

being a braid spray, the consistency is... well, liquid (big surprise there). i loooove spraying this on newly braided hair, it just feels so cool and amazing on a stressed scalp. the perfect, post-braiding treat.

this is a very moisturizing braid spray. every time i get braids, i inevitably end up taking out a few either around the perimeter or in the middle (idk why, i just do). one thing i've noticed is that when i'm touching the freed hair, it feels incredibly soft and smooth. this braid spray is the only thing i use on my hair when in braids, so it must be the spray. it's important to keep your moisture up when in long-term protective styles, especially braids or weaves. this braid spray does a great job of keeping my hidden hair soft and moisturized.

i can see myself using this even without extensions. if i were to braid or twist my own hair with the intention of keeping them in for a few weeks, i'm sure this spray would perform equally as well.

there's no question that i would purchase this again, but this bottle has lasted me at least a year now and i'm not even halfway through it. for only five dollars, it's a great value, especially for those of you who like to stay braided up, like myself.

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. :)