Archive for April, 2009

April 30, 2009

Pretty Wings…

I know…everyone and their mother has pressed play on this video over the past few days…BUT, I can’t help but post it anyway! If you haven’t already been introduced…

 

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April 28, 2009

Spotlight: Bath Junkie

bottle_lightpink

 

This past week I had the pleasure of sauntering into one of many hidden jems here in NYC.  Friday was sort of the kickstart to what turned out to be an amazingly beautiful weekend, weather wise at least.  The feeling in the air was carefree, and I decided to take a walk further downtown before heading home.  Walking along Mulberry Street in DT NYC, you’re likely to trip over….well hardly anything. These streets are mercifully less crowed than the tourist packed roads you leave behind.  Instead, what you will find are countless small-ended boutiques and shops tailored for the individual who harps on standing out and being on top of the newest trends.  Rarely do I include myself in this category, but somehow my PJ radar was arching in the direction of Bath Junkie, a concept store that allows you to mix, match and create your own Bath products!!

If you’re in bath & body PJ certifiable land…then this is most definitely your mecca.  No joke…I walked into this store with an all-n-out deadpan expression…took one look around  and knew for certain I was in trouble.  What you’ll find are tons of empty bottles, but more importantly…different ways to experiment with what actually goes into those bottles!

I’m talking creating and mixing your own bubble bath, moisturizer, salt scrub, body mist, shower gel, hair conditioner, body wash & so much more! Custom blend your moisturizer while choosing from 200 different scents that vary from botanical to spicy essential oils of almond, basil, french vanilla, sage & rosemary.  The ongoing list of scents is crazy, and like a PJ fool you could probably sit there and mix and match a million and one potions, but I did manage to come way with a sweet mix of Almond, Honey Oatmeal! If you’re at all familiar with Carol’s Daughter’s line of Almond Cookie, think along those lines…Yum!!

junkie1My scent was mixed to form a Body Dessert  an all over shea butter conditioning creme that doubles as a  light moisturizer that you can use in the shower, or afterwards as a  light body spritz.  Blended with shea, sweet almond oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter I was easily swayed into making my own 4oz. bottle to take home and sample!  The moisturizers are paraben/ mineral oil free for those with sensitive skin, and nary an animal is touched while testing the line of goodies, so cruelty free!  A self-declared ‘drop-in spa,’ with an ‘upscale Manhattan loft,’ appeal, this place will incite the mix-tress in anyone! 

All I could think of really while sniffing at the different scents and bases is how much fun my Mom would have! My mum luvs her some scrub and lotion to make her feel fresh & relaxed after taking a shower.  Her favorite line of products is from the Origins line…particularly their Lavender-Vanilla scent that is sooooo amazingly fresh scented and beautiful, she’d often scold me for using too much.  All in all, a great concept/idea for Mother’s day, friend’s birthday, special occasion etc.  They have locations well throughout the country, so hopefully if you’re not in the NYC area there’s one within power walking distance!  The prices are affordable but most importantly reasonable considering how everyone’s watching their pennies and dimes.  Not for nothing, but I was really  inspired to run home and seriously mix it up with all the goodies I had lying around;-)!

April 27, 2009

The Process

curlIt’s a Bee-U-tiFull day outside! In fact, this entire weekend was amazingly nice…for April at least.  I’m talking about 90 degree weather! It was a much welcomed change…but eh, only for a bit.  Definitely forgot about the dreaded ‘H’ word…Humidity!  Well throughout yesterday I was muddling about as if that strange funk in the air wouldn’t affect the outcome of my hair. Well…this morning after taking apart my twists I quickly remembered.

The plan was to wash, DC and style as usual.  Cleansed my scalp with Alaffia’s Neem Shampoo, then washed my hair with Oyin’s Honey Wash…followed up with my tried and true Curl Junkie, Curl Rehab for a DC.  I left the DC in after detangling for a good hour because I’d failed to DC last week and my hair was excessively parched.  After rinsing the condish I applied KCKT and followed up with Donna Marie’s CoCo Curling Butter

I clipped the roots to hold the frizz down, sat under my bonnet for an hour 1/2 -2 hours, woke up this morning, applied Afroveda’s Hemp Lock & Twist butter to seal ends and began untwisting for the beginning of the work week.  After untwisting I did add a smidge of KBB hair cream…it adds a softness to my hair that generally lasts a good two days AND…the smell is lovely (lavendar vanilla)!

cocoAlright, so I’m untwisting…and I’m shaking and separating my hair as usual.  Once the twists are out, I hang my head upside down, give a good shake back and forth…then up and down to have much of the do fall into place and fill in those pesky gaps.   I shook…I shaked…I looked in the mirror and found my problem.  ~Frizz~!!  And I’m not talking..your general, run of the mill, slap some creme on and go bout the biz frizz…I mean, looking like five day old hair type frizz!

So in my haste to get out the door and make it to work on time…I slathered as much hair creme as my hair could stand, put on a head band and walked out the door.  My theory:

  •  Humidity.  It was darn near 90 degrees when I started and ended my wash/styling session.
  •  Donna Marie’s CoCo curling creme.  This was the first time using, and while applying I did not have good hair vibes.  My hands formed an odd white, pasty consistency that dried on some parts of my hair.  I’d call it residue of some kind, not sure.

 

But all in all, it could’ve been worse! These days, as long as my scalp is clean, hair is clean, I could always worry about the styling essentials later.  What’s frustrating is knowing the amount of time that went into what I saw before me this morning! To be honest I’m not even sure I’d want to revisit the CoCo Creme by Donna Marie anytime soon.  The Lock & Twist works like a charm, and I automatically assumed this would as well. Ha!

Will I try it again….Hmmm.  My next game plan could be to try a different leave-in and maybe avoid using it in high humid weather.  TBD!

April 22, 2009

PJ News!

dollarzI’ve been in Product Haul mode for the past few weeks after noticing that my old stash of goodies are diminishing.  This is a good AND bad thing.  Good because I can search for new deals on all the new goodies I’ve recently tried…and bad because…well my list of things to try has grown increasingly longer over the past couple of months!

Did anyone take advantage of the amazing sale over at Hairveda last week? Yeah…I did…lol! Let me tell you it was a frenzy…ladies were snatching up Vatika Frosting’s and hair butters left and right.  It was sort of like being in the virtual trenches of a BSS, filling up your cart and rushing to the checkout before time runs out on the clock.  To be honest I can’t remember what I came away with…but I believe I snagged my green tea butter!

Curlmart.com  has their Happy Earth Month promo with $5 flat rate shipping on domestic orders over $55, which I’m tempted to take part in.  They’ve finally restocked on some Oyin products..the Honey Hemp Condish and Shine & Define are available, but the Juices and Berries seem to be MIA..

I’ve got just a smidge of my Shea-Amla whipped butter creme left, and need to restock on my Hemp Seed butter.  My only delay….$. When I do a product haul I look for some kind of deal and I have yet to see one on the horizon.  Granted, Mala is excellent with her pricing ( 8oz jar for 9 bucks!!), I wanted to experiment with some of her leave-in lotions to pair with her styling cremes.  If push comes to shove, I’ll simply get the essentials and call it a day.

But upon visiting the site, I did notice a slight makeover AND, Mala has a blog!   The site looks great, and already there’s a contest brewing.  Here are some of the details:

 

Our “Spring” Into Fabulous Hair contest giveaway begins today, April 1st and will end at 11:59pm (CDT) on April 30. One very lucky winner will receive an AfroVeda Hair Care Collection to include our Hair Butter Collection, Hair Oil Collection and our Hair Lotion Collection. A $60 value!

 

Head over to her blogspot for more details on how to enter,(which I’m about to do now!).  I’ll post my product haul update later this week;-).

April 20, 2009

And the Winner Is…

curlOhhhhh rainy day! As I type it is raining buckets outside my window. I don’t get it…with such a fabulous weekend…weather wise etc., it’s still discouraging to see such a gloomy day….ALL DAY…?!! 

But I digress to say that it’s all good! I had a fun weekend with a trip to the museum and rocked a pretty fab twist out.  Again, I pre-pooed, washed and conditioned in record time this week!  Pre-poo done with some leftover Giovanni’s Tea Tree Condish mixed with a bit of coconut oil.  After, I hightailed it to the shower to rinse and apply my Alaffia Neem & Shea Shampoo.  I applied the poo with an applicator bottle, massaged for a good 2 minutes, then conditioned with Nature’s Gate Hemp + a palmful of AOWC.  I detangled my hair in the shower this week to cut back on time and remembered just how much I HATE doing this.  My hair sheds oh so much…and I was dodging falling hair left and right.  

Never. Again.

No deep conditioning this week, which means I didn’t get the chance to separate and detangle with my Denman…my hair didn’t like:-(.  I did a final cold rinse and left the shower anticipating an uphill climb while styling.  Eh…not so bad really.  This week I used Afroveda’s Curly Custard with KBB’s Hair Milk and twisted to pretty fantastic results in the a.m.  I clipped the roots down to avoid any potential frizz while drying with my soft bonnet dryer and sealed my ends with Afroveda’s  Hemp Butter.  

 

The Process was quick this week, and so is this post…lol! But as promised a winner for the Cantu Shea Butter Giveaway!

 

balloons_confettiCongrats to Afia!!  

 

A number  was randomly drawn using this fantastic site, random.org to alleviate my agita of choosing a winner;-).  Thanks to everyone for participating, including those who e-mailed, I’m still purging my stash so more goodies tbd!

*Afia, e-mail me your address and I’ll send the Cantu your way;-)!  

April 17, 2009

Cantu Shea Butter Giveaway!

 

cantu_logo

Happy Friday! I’m off from work today…(yeah!) and decided to begin the purging process.  I recently did a ridunkculous product haul and seriously need to make room for what’s on the horizon.  When those boxes start coming I won’t have a place to put anything! So I’m giving away products that haven’t worked for me, or just never got around to using.

First up is Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream!  Up for grabs is a full 16 oz jar of this leave-in that has been a holy grail for so many naturals out there, you can check out the amazing plug from Clutch Mag here.

 

A bit more on the creme:

 

hair_leave-in_cantu-shea-butterCantu shea butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream is made with real shea butter and essential oils to replace vital oil in your hair leaving it stronger and healthier with a natural shine.

Cantu shea butter leave in conditioning repair cream can be used on wet hair as an intensive moisturizing treatment or to tame frizz and fly-aways.

Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream helps…

  • moisturize dry brittle hair with deep penetrating oil and emollients
  • soften, detangle and add shine to hair
  • protect hair against heat and sun styling damage

 

Ingredient list:

Water, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Glycine Soja Oil (Soybean), Propylene Glycol, Polyquaternium 37, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, PPG 1 Trideceth 6, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Stearalkonium Chloride, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone, Panthenol, PPG 1 PEG 9 Lauryl Glycol Ether, Lanolin Oil, Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Acrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride/Acrylamide Copolymer, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Benzophenone 3, BHA, BHT, Zea Mays Oil (Corn), Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, DMDM Hydantoin, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance

If you’re curious to try, just leave a comment down below or email me , backtocurly@gmail.com  with the subject line ‘Cantu.’  A name will be drawn at random Sunday @ 9pm, and I’ll post a winner for Monday’s post!

 

Have a good one;-)

April 16, 2009

Carol’s Daughter: Hair Milk

hairmilk_lSo, what natural/curly head doesn’t have a story about their first time using Carol’s Daughter’s products? If you haven’t already, bets are it’s on your list for a post-BC purchase or a summer investment…I’m just guessing here.

But my own experience with Carol’s Daughter came after my second BC.  I’d just cut off my locs and was looking forward to sampling her line of goodies…a friend of mine who was natural at the time recommended and I gravitated towards their store in Fort Greene like a moth to a flame.  I was a bit timid at the time…and also a bit in awe at the scope of natural products and the sheer fact that they were all catered to women with natural hair.  What a beautiful concept!

After sampling & sniffing just about everything in the store from their cologne sprays, to the shampoos…body bars…hair balms…hair butters…Whew! I left the store with a bag full of goodies, including the infamous Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk.  This was a product I was most excited to try because let’s face it…what natural head doesn’t go gaga over the thought of your tresses being nourished by milk! It’s a bit of clever marketing, calling the product Hair Milk…but it works not just for Carol’s Daughter, but for a whole host of other lines that have come after.  I’m into the whole milky way thing….milk baths…hair milks…milk & honey soap bars. I LUV! For the most part it feels like home.

My first purchase was well over four years ago, when Ms. Price was just beginning the whirlwind tour success story that’s turned into a Sephora gig..etc. Both stores, the one in Fort Greene along with the one in Harlem were gems in my book…but there is something about making it to the halls of Sephora that lets the world know…dang it, I’m Here! If you were a fan of her line before you were either beyond thrilled to see your goodies become a bit more accessible (screw shipping costs!) or a bit disheartened at the possible commercialization of a line…their message, ‘Beauty by Nature,’ would be a bit hard to swallow.

Here’s where I take it back…waaaaay back to when I first started using this line and could count on maybe one or two hands the amount of ingredients that came in a tube of Hair Milk or Hair Smoothie.  Back then, it really did feel as if it were ‘beauty by nature,’ because most of the products required refrigeration or had to be used in a 1-4 week time frame.  I remember having images of Ms. Price and her line of natural ladies mixing potions in her home kitchen…maybe jivin to some Nina Simone in the background.  Crazy …yah. But this was the essence of Carol’s Daughter to me…a rare personalization that you experienced when walking into her store and seeing these beautiful women talk expertly about how to best nourish your hair, & how to best moisturize and cleanse your face. 

I continued to use Carol’s Daughter several months after my BC, but for one reason or another…(probably the price) stopped.  As my hair grew longer, I was drawn to more pocket-friendly products…gels and what nots that would not leave a growing hole in my wallet.  My hair is thick and requires  a heapin pile of product for styling! But I still loved the Hair Milk.  For freshly BC’d hair, it made my little twirls and kinks spiral and stay moisturized for a good day or so.  I had shine, softness and the feeling that I was on the right track as far as my hair went.

Fast forward to earlier this year…I’m much to lazy to go to Fort Greene, and Harlem seems like two worlds away, so I stop into my nearest Sephora and revisit my old friend Hair Milk.  The price….yeah, that went up.  But it wasn’t until I got home that I realized  the other changes.  The consistency was different…the ingredient list fit the entire side of my 8oz bottle…and some were a bit questionable.  Regardless, I tried it and for the most part still liked it! I used it mainly in the mornings to smooth down frizz and re-moisturize my twists.  With my hair longer this was the best use I found rather than using it as a simple wash-n-go styler.

And yeah…my hair is longer now, and for the most part is a bit more particular about what I put in it, and while the Hair Milk is okay for now…what it used to be was a bit more special.  Here’s what I do understand though… with reformulations, especially with a business that’s growing, expanding and moving in great directions…is that change is inevitable.  Ms. Price couldn’t have her products sit on the shelves of Sephora and deteriorate in front of customers.  The loss would be both hers and her customers of the natural hair community.

Yet, what I was hoping for were better alternatives to what was inevitably included in the new reformulation.  Personally I wouldn’t know how to spot an Amodimethicone in ‘nature,’ so I was surprised to see it in a lot of the now ‘new’ conditioners and moisturizers.  It’s all just hair products right…nothing to worry over.  But, I’m still sort of disappointed.  I won’t be re-purchasing my first forray into Hair Milk’s…and most likely a lot of the other products I’d wanted to sample again.  My commmitement these days is to find better alternatives and to really stick to a game plan.

 

Jeesh…this post is way too long so….et fin!

April 14, 2009

The Process Saponified: Part Deux

curlHere’s to another PJ filled week!  I had a goal in mind to restock on KCKT because I’d planned to style with Donna Marie’s Lock & Twist Pudding, but found it sold out in all the distributors near my workplace.  So I tiptoed to Whole Foods to peruse their lovely organic filled section of hair products, and what I found was good stuff!

neem

Neem & Shea Scalp Recovery Shampoo

I pre-pooed this past week with a remainder of AOHR mixed with water before rinsing and cleansing my scalp with my latest find, Alaffia’s Neem & Shea Butter Scalp Recovery Shampoo.  I don’t know why I picked this up…but lately I’ve had an eye for things that say ‘recovery’…and could help address my scalp issues.  This one seemed to fit the bill, was affordable and met my check list as far as what I’m looking for in a shampoo.    Now, how did it work?  First, the target was my scalp so I dumped half a bottle of the poo in an applicator bottle and applied DIRECTLY to my scalp, then began massaging until I worked up a good lather.  I’d guess I used up about a palm full to get the job done…not bad! I remember in the past wasting up to half a shampoo bottle to cleanse my hair because my strands were greedy and soaked up everything.  The ingredients aren’t harsh enough to strip the hair, but effective enough to cleanse the scalp thoroughly.  The first two are an infusion of Neem Leaf and African Black Soap followed by a saponification of shea butter and virgin palm kernel.  Veggie glycerin, panthenol, essential oils and tea tree wrap up the remaining list.  

 

*Here’s some info on the amazing properties of Neem:

Neem is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic, and antiparasitic. Because of these properties, it is widely deployed in many different toiletries such as soap, toothpaste, hair care products, and skin care products. It is used to treat a wide array of diseases, illnesses, and problems, and is considered a cure-all in India. The oil has moisturizing and regenerative properties, contains Vitamin E, and has essential fatty acids. Scientific research today validates many of the traditional uses of Neem Oil, it is used to treat bacterial, fungal, and viral infections, boost the immune system, and for many specific health problems. Among other conditions, Neem Oil has been historically used to treat the following: Malarial fevers, diabetes, urinary problems, acne, eczema, psoriasis, scabies, gingivitis, swollen and bleeding gums, cavity prevention, ringworm, chicken pox, lice, dandruff, burns, wounds, athlete’s foot.

 

That’s a lot of punch for one herb to have, which is what made me curious from the get to try this stuff, and I’d have to say I wouldn’t mind alternating this poo with my ACV in the coming weeks. Following the Alaffia, my DC this week was again AOWC, which I left on for 1 hour under conditioning cap after detangling into small sections.

Rinsed with cold water, followed by another new find in Alaffia’s Virgin Coconut & Shea Enriching Hair Lotion.  Instead of tracking down KCKT, I leaned on this leave-in that’s formulated for dry, damaged and curly hair.  The closest leave-in comparable to the Alaffia would have to be Giovanni’s leave in…consistency wise they match up, yet strangely the Alaffia goes on much lighter, not much slip… but nonetheless it penetrates the hair and does an adequate job of setting up for Donna Marie’s Lock & Twist Pudding. 

After twisting I managed to secure the root of each twist with a clip, then sat under my soft bonnet for a good two hours (under the lowest setting).  The following morning my twist were fully dry, my roots less poufy due to the clips…before untwisting I sealed the ends with Afroveda’s Hemp Seed Lock Twist Butter.  The results were…a well defined twistout….zero frizz…& bouncy curls;-).

 

 I got caught in the rain today, so I’m finally experience some frizz, but nothing a little KBB hair creme can’t cure.

 

*Neem info courtesy of mountainroseherbs.com

April 11, 2009

‘Infusion Moderator’…

I’m a product junkie…yes, I am.  Ever since I was able to take a comb to my own hair, I’ve been hooked on finding the latest conditioners, styling products, puddings, custards, gels…etc.  My mother chides me for it, my housemate shakes her head in disbelief each time a package arrives in my name….I’m well known for my addiction. Yes.  And while I do know it borders on the odd side of practicality sometimes…I’m still often able to take a step back…and laugh at my crazy ways. Every PJ does… I think;-)!

 

April 8, 2009

Shop Talk

madame

C.J. Walker Company., 1929

 

Each Sunday for the past couple months I’ve set aside a block of time devoted solely to get my hair did. The actual time varies each week depending on the errands I have to run in the morning or the afternoon, but nonetheless it’s come to mean ‘me time.’ On any givin Sunday I seriously prep my place for “The Process,” map out my strategy as far as cleansing, conditioning and styling go, put on some music to ease the inevitable frustrations and settle in for the long haul.  It’d be a stretch to say I look forward to this part of the week, in all honesty I don’t.   But ironically  I do get full satisfaction seeing the fruits of my labor.  Plain and simple…I enjoy doing my own hair!

My mother has even come to poke fun at me.  When I do call the fam on Sundays, I’m usually on the last leg of the process, either air drying my hair or twisting my last twist…I think the urge comes from wanting to share my triumph with someone, yet my triumph just usually ends up with my mother breathing sighs of disbelief at the amount of time I spend doting on each strand.  It’s really come to be our thing in a way…I call..she berates a bit…and I quickly remind her how much I used to spend in salons every other week to get the hair coiffed. Our conversations usually end with her words of encouragement, and a reminder not to stay up too late drying my hair.

On a few occasions I do run into obstacles…my hair is far from dry and a friend calls wanting to have dinner/movies/last minute drinks before the start of the work week. A scramble usually ensues…me trying to find an appropriate hat to cover up, yet not mess up all the work I’d done…my mother’s voice in my head warning me of my fate of catching pneumonia if I go out with my hair damp.

Eh…these are little things.  Funny things that I look back on and smile…the lengths I’ve gone through to keep the do in check as a natural are somewhat the same lengths I used to go through when I wore my hair relaxed. I’m by no means scared of the rain… ha! These days what I’m more fearful of is forgetting to seal my ends and misplacing my satin scarf/pillowcase.

Things that I don’t miss… the fearful look on stylists face as I walked through their door with a head full of natural hair.  I’d often walk up to a stylist and timidly ask, “how much to wash and two-strand twist?” Their eyes…my god their eyes would seriously hover over my matted, dry hair, quietly assess the situation…perhaps knowing that my head of hair would take up the remainder of their afternoon…. and quote me a RIDICULOUS amount.  Essentially, I’d always end up paying for their own frustrations in dealing with my own hair! 

Since becoming natural over seven years ago, never have I paid less than $50 to wash, condition and twist my hair.  To deep condition, well… I’d have to cough up an extra 25 bucks, and usually it was just plain ‘ol conditioner while under the dryer for 20 min.  Forget going to an actual salon that caters to women with natural hair.  After getting over the initial high of finally finding a salon to cater to my fro-ness, I’d cringe at the prices! Here in BK, an average style can run you $80 and up. Granted though, I do think these salons are good starting points during the beginning stages of transitioning and going natural, I visited a handful after the first few weeks of my first BC…ended up broke in the long run, but it was an experience much needed at the time when the natural hair community that we see today was still a burgeoning novelty.  

If you do go to these salons, please go prepared. Do your homework, know what products are being put in your hair, know if you’re getting your money’s worth. Do not be afraid to ask questions, but also expect some answers! Understanding natural hair doesn’t begin with a visit to the salon, it starts with you…facing the mirror and determining for the first time your own realistic expectations of what you can and cannot do with your hair.  The good news is probably…a lot! Natural hair offers such crazy versatility…but only if you equip yourself with that knowledge.  You may not know how to flat twist, corn-row, two-strand twist, bantu-knot, micro-braid…etc., but it’s important to know when and if your hair needs a trim, can your hair/wallet withstand a deep condition, is your hair healthy enough to withstand a color treatment…or even the basics, what is your hair texture?  

I say all that to say…’the process,’ for me is never ending, and in a odd way I’m glad. It’s been dubbed the ‘natural journey,’ for some time because it’s all one colossal learning curve that has enough dips and turns to make you sometimes doubt your own commitment.  But, I do hope to be on this journey for the long haul…PJism and all, I’m beyond thrilled each week to wake up on Sunday mornings knowing I control this…I got this.

 

et fin!