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. :)