Archive for ‘product review’

April 2, 2010

Desert Essence Organics

It’s difficult in the beginning – first learning how to care for natural hair, abandoning old ideas of what was once good and healthy for your once relaxed strands – only to find that changing your hair texture also meant overturning your old regime, starting from scratch & taking more abbreviated notes.

Over the years I’ve etched out a few cheat sheets to help twist the hair faster, condition for a shorter period of time w/long term benefits & detangling in record time after days of avoiding a comb. Yet one of the few things that I cannot, will not & should not speed past, is the cleansing of my scalp. Long ago I was in another camp, the fun place where styles could last upwards of 3, sometimes 4 weeks at a time. Twists and the occasional blowouts would maintain some sense of normalcy as long as my nighttime routine was up to par.

Fast forward to the place I am in now, hair healthy – happily growing, yet still figuring out the scalp situation. These days it’s more so about maintaining the problem rather than completely solving it. To avoid the prescription meds my dermatologists often prescribes, I opt for oil blends and other scalp serum remedies that keep the scalp itch & flake free. To help keep the scalp well moisturized and balanced I’ve been leaning on Bee Mine’s Oil Free Serum, applied in between styling. But to help me get to the actual in-between, I have to first begin with a good scalp cleansing, and lately my fingers have been reaching for the poo, a shampoo that doesn’t contain harsh detergents, is moisturizing while still effectively cleansing.

Last month was my first dip into Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose Shampoo, a gentle moisturizing shampoo that went a long way while using very little to get the job done. After a month and a half of good use, my scalp did form an attachment to the Honey Suckle Rose, though soon it became a bit ineffective. Last week I opted to pull a switcheroo, finding relief in another non-harsh poo, Desert Essence’s Fragrance Free Organic Shampoo.

Desert Essence Organics Fragrance Free Shampoo is a gentle yet effective unscented shampoo. Organic extracts and oils provide moisture, minerals, and vitamins that hair needs to grow stronger. Upon use, hair is softer, shinier, and more manageable.

Organic Green Tea: Rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, Green Tea gives the hair gloss and shine.

Organic Jojoba Oil: An ingredient that acts on the scalp to leave the skin feeling moisturized and revitalized.

Organic Kelp and Nettle Extracts: Provide iron, calcium, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals which absorb into and help strengthen each hair strand

To help separate the idea of cleansing actual hair strands from cleansing the scalp, I apply the poo directly to my scalp using an applicator bottle. I find that this method of application helps the poo to lather sooner, and I often get better coverage as opposed to applying directly to hair. I love the fact that it’s a Fragrance free shampoo, Organic and chock full of goody nutrients my hair & scalp often loves!

After first use, my scalp was noticeably cleaner, and the hair did not dull out, maintaining its moisture & not over-stripped. The obvious hope is to continue using the Desert Essence until my scalp protests otherwise – and here’s hoping it doesn’t! A little goes a long way with this brand, the price is superbly right at a mere $8 & it’s easily accessible at most Whole Foods Markets & Trader Joe’s.

March 15, 2010

Qhemet Biologics – Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee

I’m not usually a sucker for most things. After working in retail for the majority of my teen/college years, I’m hip to the marketing game, the ‘this would go soooo well with that…’ tune that if you’re the unlucky gal looking & working off of commission, you’re more than likely to hit a road block with me coming your way. And with that said, there is always my weak point, the product or ‘thing’ that can always bring my wallet to it’s knees and purchase up a storm. At this point it’s not even a secret, but it’s often my personal pleasure to indulge in most things chocolate scented/chocolate flavored…just…plain loved by cocoa:-)!

So whether or not the folks over at Qhemet Biologics marketed their Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee as something geared specifically for the aching soles of your feet…I still would’ve invested. Attribute this to the undying PJ in me, but it’s always a yummy treat to cradle either your skin or hair in the smell of all things chocolate. I ordered a 5 oz jar during the now long ago Black Friday Sale, and finally dug in just a few weeks back. Admittedly skeptical at first because as a cream ghee that claims to condition and detangle unmanageable hair this would’ve been a first, so I carried a few doubts to the twisting table. In the past, my luck has always rested on detanglers with a lotion type consistency, more similar to KBB’s hair milk or Darcy’s Botanicals leave-in conditioners. And while I’m quick to place it in the ‘creme’ consistency wagon, it could also fall under the more thicker butter-like family.

As a leave-in, it works, and by ‘works’ I mean it detangled, softened & moisturized my hair before a whole host of other products touched my strands. After the hair was well conditioned, I applied the Ghee in sections, lightly detangling the ends with a wide tooth comb, then brushing through with the Denman brush. Detangling was relatively easy, and much to my surprise I honestly felt I could’ve also styled with it. Because I wanted to prolong the look of my twists I did layer with the Amla Heavy Creme, yet knowing that this could double as an easy quick styler in slightly less colder temps, had me feeling even more pleased with the investment.

Product Description

  • Restores manageability, softness and elasticity to normal to very dry hair. Smooths cuticles, improves combing ability and reduces breakage.
  • Natural dark chocolate scent.
  • Key Ingredients: Contains pure, prime pressed Cocoa Butter to smooth, soften and seal in moisture, Horsetail, Nettle and Barley to strengthen and condition and sulfur rich MSM to nourish follicles and support growth. Enhanced with carefully selected mild and eco-friendly detangling actives, it instantly restores manageability, pliability and elasticity to matted and tangled hair.
  • Does not contain mineral oil, lanolin, silicones, parabens or artificial fragrances.
  • Directions: For tangled hair that is damp or dry, divide hair into 4-8 sections. Apply a moderate amount to the entire length of one section at a time and work through with fingers. Use a wide toothed comb to comb through from end to root as hair is instantly softened and detangled. For use as a conditioner, rub a small to medium amount between palms and work through wet, damp or dry hair. Leave in.

Here’s the sidenote though: To ensure the effectiveness of the Ghee, it’s best to either finger comb your hair before applying, detangle with either a wide-tooth/Denman, or seriously condition enough so that a comb can glide easily through your strands. The Ghee DOES NOT HAVE SLIP! There was really no need for all caps, but when we think of good detanglers, many of us (including moi!) expect the slip & slide effect. Slip is often times our miracle worker in the best of products because it makes our job of detangling all the more easy. While application is relatively easy, you shouldn’t have to use more than a dime size amount to get the job done, but to ensure the longevity of the Ghee make sure to properly engage in conditioney activities prior;-).

Because I have oddles of leave-ins to choose from while styling the hair each week, I’m always hesitant to label something as a staple, BUT…the Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee has my heart as a mainstay in the rotation. Because I have…literally about a tablespoon sized amount left in my jar, I’m fiending to make another purchase sometime soon. A 2 oz jar will run you $5.50 while a nice sized 5 oz jar goes for $14

February 26, 2010

Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream

One of the first natural hair products I wanted to get my PJ hands on while dealing with post-traumatic heat damage was the Qhemet Biologics line of hair creams. The consensus all around was nothing but positive, from the super popular Burdock Root Butter Cream to the moisture infused Amla & Olive Heavy Cream. Pretty much you couldn’t go wrong if your hair’s claim to fame is as a fine-haired natural or a thick manned gal. Their #1 seller, Amla & Olive Heavy Cream, was my first pick when deciding to try the line and two weeks ago, after playing tango with one of their local distributors here in BK, then finally deciding to purchase during a Black Friday moment, I was able to sample.

Black Friday does seem like a distant memory,  yet what keeps it still fresh in my mind is the oh so beautiful shipping situation after placing an order. A lot has simmered down since last November, namely my frustrations – so I won’t go into sordid details- though if you’ve heard the whispers & possible rumors around slow turnarounds…consider them…then sit back, relax.

I used the Amla & Olive Heavy Cream to two-strand twist a few weeks ago, needed to put the hair in a two week minimum protective style, which meant either a butter based cream or something that packed a punch, similar to an old favorite Darcy’s Madagascar Vanilla Styling Creme.

Product Description:

Our nourishingly rich blend of old world oils, organic herbs and natural humectants leaves coarse, dry and brittle hair extra soft, healthy and supple!

Key Ingredients: Our ultra thick cream contains Amla, Brahmi and African Aloe, premium Afro-Indian botanicals used for thousands of years to nourish the scalp and strengthen and condition hair. MSM sulfur nurtures follicles and encourages healthy hair growth, Mediterranean Olive Oil delivers emollience and lubricity and African Castor Oil delivers sheen, incredible softness and possesses hair growth and hair thickening properties.

Does not contain mineral oil, lanolin, proteins, silicones, artificial fragrances, dyes or parabens.

The consistency of the creme is supremely dense, spreads easily & thankfully all you need is a smidge to carry you through a good twisting session. I frankly underestimated the moisture packed into the heavy creme and leaned more on the heavy handed end. I went a good 3-4 days a bit afraid to touch my hair because to the touch, I’d have oily fingertips. Not an altogether fresh look.  Though, even with oily tips, my hair lathered in the best kinds of oils – both castor & olive – are two of the first ingredients. The creme is an oil/aloe/water/glycerin blend with a few emulsifiers to give it the necessary slip, allowing it to spread easily. No butters to speak of in the formula, which for long period protective styles I find my hair likes a lot better.

It’s been two weeks, two solid weeks of pintucking, up-do’s, headbanding, ponytails, hairclipping against the winter temps of NYC, and the twists are ridiculously still moisturized and softer than I’ve ever felt my hair. I’m playing it down a bit, honestly each day that passed with the twists in, I did a strand test to determine if more moisture was needed. Usually, I’d spritz a bit of herbal spray, or dip into my KBB hair cream stash to boost up the shine & moisture. Frankly, I needed none of it. The Amla & Olive Cream left my hair touchably soft for two solid weeks.

There was the usual suspect, namely fuzzy frizz after a week, but nothing exaggerated. There were days I went out without my head protected, sans hat & lived to still have moisturized twists. Because of the density of the cream,  I doubt I’d use it for anything more than twisting or lightly moisturizing mid-week.

Also used as a:

  • Soothing and regenerative scalp butter
  • Post-shampoo conditioner
  • Overnight Deep Treatment
  • Moisturizing daily leave-in
  • Replenishing body butter

I’d love to try this as an overnight DC, no doubt my hair would wake up softer than my best pre-poo treatment. I’m learning my hair thrives off of Castor Oil, really sealing and maintaining moisture when it craves it, though moderation is also important. I love the way the Amla Cream left my hair, soft & manageable, though it’s undeniably heavy. My twists were a bit ‘droopy’ for a few days before perking up and poufing up a few days ago. I’m not a huge fan of twists that hang without the benefit of movement. Granted I was a bit heavy handed, but after finishing up this jar I’d love to sample the Burdock Root Butter Cream, a much lighter alternative that works just as well to combat dryness.

The price is right (8oz $16), and will inevitably last a good while. Definite keeper in the rotation.

Anybody tried the Burdock Root Butter Cream? Would love to know your thoughts before purchasing;-)

January 25, 2010

Bee Mine – Bee Sensitive Oil Free Serum

I’ve made it no secret over the past year that I have a few scalp sensitivities. Many trips have been made to the dermatalogist over the years to help diagnose whatever it is that’s seemed to overtake the scalp situation. I’ve had varrying symptoms from, itchy scalp to soars and blisters to dry scaley patches.

It’s not pretty.

It has been a frustrating journey figuring out the causes, finding a solution & helping to maintain a balance that would not interfere with my daily activities. In the winter time I just do not have the energy nor time to wash my hair/scalp upwards of 3-4 times a week. I gave up the habit as soon as the hair grew down to shoulder length, and the detangling process set me back a cool 45min-1hr.

So, while the doctor remedied my condition with a whole host of oils, pills, foams & creams, I was still far from satisfied.  Ingesting a medicine cabinet while applying topical products with ‘questionable’ ingredients always made me a bit leery…and broke.

Lately I have been seeking out alternatives to help calm ‘the situation,’ and recently came across a VERY strong contender.  *Bee Mine’s Sensitive Oil Free Hair Serum was an impulse purchase after watching a Youtube gal demo it late last year. I was still in vacation mode, anticipating the Black Friday Extravaganza deals & took a gamble purchasing.

From the Site:

Bee-Sensitive ~ Oil Free serum ($14) comes to you by popular request for our family members with scalp conditions that prevents the use of oils. We’ve formulated this oil-free hair serum with love to help soothe the scalp and promote a healthy environment for optimal growth. The soothing and healing properties of organic aloe vera juice paired with select herbs can assist in alleviating the discomfort of many scalp conditions. Feel the calming and stimulating and effect of this oil-free serum and keep your hair looking beautiful and healthy. Specially created for those with dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema and other sensitive skin condition

My scalp is not sensitive to oils, so while this is not marketable to me per se, I opted to use it ultimately because of it’s claim to heal the effects of dermatitis & other skin conditions.  I’ve been using the serum weekly for two months, applying directly to scalp after styling the hair. The serum is very runny, & took a bit of trial and error before landing the application down. I absolutely make sure to apply it on my scalp if I’ve been sitting under a dryer to dry my twists because I find my scalp to be most sensitive and lacking moisture after a wash. I massage the serum in (at night usually) and leave-in. I repeat about a day – a day and a half later to ensure effectiveness.

There is a small tinging sensation after first application, but nothing seriously close to burning or uncomfortable.

Ingredients: Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Herbal Infused Purified Water, Ayurvedic Herbs, Select Herbs, MSM, Fragrance, Paraben & Formaldehyde Free Preservative.

The Bee Mine Serum has been a staple in my rotation for the simple fact that it is compatible with what my scalp essentially needs, & frankly that is a very hard thing to do.  Today, I sit here with eight day hair, haven’t washed my scalp since last week’s Sunday and can safely say I have a flake free, scab free scalp!  Downsides to applying a serum with a water & aloe vera juice base, is the inevitable damp scalp. To avoid this I apply sparingly, because you really do not need to douse your hair in serum. To avoid applying liberally, the spray application is best as is shown in the picture, though mine did come with a pour nozzle. The roots of your scalp will be slightly damp after applying, but should not interfere with whatever hairstyle you are currently maintaining.

*product was purchased solely by Chai, of Back To Curly while maintaining an unbiased review

January 11, 2010

Hair Fix

I’m excited. No, seriously I’m REALLY excited this week because I’m finding that trying something new can reap some ridiculously famous results!  Prompted by a conversation with a friend this past weekend, I decided that while it’s fancy and fun to stock up on all that a PJ wants, it’s even better to actually use it! Friend & I were talking product & hair, combos to stay away from, tips to try when I quietly hinted to the damage done this past Black Friday. I’d stocked up on ounces & ounces of butters/pomades/puddings and conditioners to last me well into the Winter/Spring, then carefully placed them off to the side in a sort of safe keeping.

Sounds silly right, safe keeping some of your goodies? Sounds a tad off,  now with hindsight as a decoder. I forgot that it is more beneficial to use up what’s purchased so that if necessary, I can move on and try more goodies… if need be. By no means am I trying to advocate future shopping binges, but rather forcing my hand a bit, saying that it’s okay to use up what you’ve got even though it might one day be gone. It’s irrational at best, but my sensitivity comes from….just nonsensical ish! Time to get over it, and this week was a start.

Life is much better when you pre-poo…I say. It’s frigid outside & by the time wash day rolls around my hair is on bended knee, craving moisture even before a traditional poo is applied.  I’ve bid adieu to ‘ol faithful, Vo5 Moisture Milks, to make way for the newbie Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle. The consistency is very creamy, easy to apply and the ‘tingle’ is felt almost instantly. I left on for a 15-20 minutes because I intended to massage the scalp with Naked Naturals Shea Butter & Avocado Smoothing Shampoo for a good five minutes, and did not want to over strip the hair in the process. Before applying conditioner I did take a quick pic of hair. Picture to the right is taken right after cold rinsing the shampoo out of hair, & prior to adding conditioner. In it’s natural state you can still see bits of remaining hair color that I’m still trying to grow out. The tips show the only visible signs of hair color, which means I’m about a month or two away from another good trim. Ultimately the goal is to get rid of all colored ends, because to the touch they continue to remain a bit brittle even after a good 45 min DC’ing. Other than the ends, the rest of the hair appears pretty healthy, and for that I’m quite happy;-).

Detangled then deep conditioned with Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose under a heating cap for an hour before cold rinsing. Took a chance on my own stash of products and styled this week with Darcy’s Botanicals Herbal Leave-In Spritz, just a few sprays to hydrate. The ingredient list is just too good not to:

Botanical infusion of Distilled Water, Organic Nettle, Organic Peppermint leaves, Organic Burdock Root, Organic Horsetail, Organic Marshmallow Root, Organic Coltsfoot, Organic Sage, Organic Hibiscus Flowers, Organic Kelp, Organic Sea Moss, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Aloe Juice, Sea Salt, Polysorbate 20, Litsea Cubeba, Tangerine, Patchouli, Sweet Orange, Peppermint, & Tea Tree Essential Oils, and a paraben free preservative.

Naturi Quench Moisturizer

Then applied a new favorite from Naturi Beauty, their Naturi Quench Moisturizer. Lucky me won a hefty 8oz jar of the butter during a recent contest hosted by Laquita and Shelley. Began using the butter on my skin once the weather here on the East Coast starting behaving badly, but stopped short after realizing I wanted to experience it on my hair as well. The site indicates that it’s best to use for twisting & braid-twist outs making it ideal to use as a weekly styler:

From the Site:

An intense moisturizing cream that rejuvenates dry hair and restores moisture and sheen. Hemp and jojoba oil strengthen each hair strand and aloe and honey create healthy, hydrated brilliant curls, waves and kinks. Great for daily moisture, smoothing edges and styling touch ups, works wonders for braids

Reasons for using the Naturi Quench were two-fold. I needed the moisture that only a butter could provide in order to use something I’ve had in the stash for way too long, Curl Junkie’s Aloe Fix Gel. I was hesitant to try the Aloe Fix for reasons I’ve lamented about here on this blog. I have a very sensitive scalp, & coincidentally sensitive skin.  Years ago, months after my first BC & even some moments after my 2nd, I’d routinely style my hair with Sleek n’ Shine’s aloe gel formula yet had never experienced ill side effects. Fast forward to last year, oddly enough a few days after reviewing it here on Back To Curly, I began to have quite visible allergic reactions.

To put it bluntly, I experience painful outbreaks on my skin when using the wrong gel. I haven’t experienced fun times with a gel in a good while, and gave up on drugstore brands to help slick back edges and twist. After the last Kinky Curly Custard application I was ready to completely shy away from any & all gel type stylers until I realized a hefty 16oz jar of Aloe Fix was idly sitting by, untouched.  So essentially, I made provisions.  Before applying the Aloe Fix, the spritz was applied, followed by the Naturi Quench Moisturizer. This was the only way I’d manage to use a gel on my hair during the winter, specifically to avoid the inevitable crunch & strong hold. I wanted definition in my twists, moisture, light hold without the crunch…and thankfully I got it!

From Curl Junkie’s Site:

Have curls that need a little control? This thick, rich, 98% natural/naturally derived Aloe based gel is formulated for hair with curls and coils. If scrunched into the hair it helps to give your hair definition, volume and bounce, and when smoothed into hair it can help stretch out the curls you have and add weight to hair to help elongate and define curls. You choose…It’s all in the application technique! Imparts lasting moisture and shine with aloe, glycerin, Vitamin B5, and Sweet Almond oil. If you are transitioning from a relaxer to a natural, try using this to smooth out the new growth. Can also be used for 2-strand twists or to slick back hair into ponytails or smooth flyaway hairs and refresh mid-day curls. Gives hair a fresh herbal/citrus scent.

Twisted into large twists using my new favorite combo, and unraveled this morning for some insanely gorgeous hair!  I’m tooting my own horn here, but you’ve gotta know that feeling when you’ve struck gold with a product combo, tried a new method, and somehow all turns out famously well! It’s time well spent…(6hrs to be exact;-). I’m happy with the results which yielded me zero crunch, significant shine & soft-medium hold that with proper maintenance should carry me through the week. More importantly, my hair is not stiff! Don’t you hate a gel that makes your hair act like a weapon? Ideally, you want a product that’s going to smoothe, deliver shine, and if you’re lucky a bit of nourishing properties.

During the Winter months I’m wising up with gels, pairing up beforehand with an adequate moisturizer as a leave-in, and some kind of herbal tonic for nourishment. What I loved about the Naturi Quench is that it’s a butter blend with water as it’s first ingredient. This helps the butter apply smoother onto hair that’s especially wet or damp and emulsifies clear on hands before applying. Paired with the Aloe Fix Gel, it really was the perfect combo!

January 5, 2010

Bee Mine – Bee Hold Curly Butter

Feels like I haven’t done a review in a good minute, but this one I absolutely wanted to make sure I busted through. For every PJ purchase there is often a tale or two to tell, whether it involves faulty shipping, snippy customer service or simply waiting a lifetime for your goodies to arrive. Luckily this tale is void of nonsensical drama even though it throws back to Black Friday, when I purchased during the online frenzy using a coupon the owner graciously offered her Twitter followers.

Heard about Bee Mine products via YouTube and word of mouth, and because the owner reached out with the coupon & I’d heard nothing but great things regarding their Customer Service, on impulse placed an order.

Shipping was quick & very easy considering the influx of orders many online companies received during the Black Friday events. Order was placed on Nov. 27th,  soon received package a week and a half later.  In my bundle was the companies # 1 seller, Bee Hold Curly Butter. a shea butter & aloe  based moisturizer.  The butter is available in seven scents including unscented:

* Coconut Cream

* Baby Powder

* Chocolate Decadence

* Unscented

* Mango

* Strawberry Kiwi

* Island Mango (Tropical Mango)

I chose Baby Powder, which in all honestly might’ve been a bit too strong for my nose. I prefer light baby scent smells, & this came off a bit perfumery on top of the baby powder. Other than scent the ingredient list is short & good:

Ingredients –

100% Shea Butter, 100% Aloe Vera Gel, Essential Oil Blend, Glycerin Oil, Rosemary Leaf and Chammomile Extract, Silk Powder and Perfume

The butter was not what I’d come to know of traditional butter stylers, comparable perhaps to Afroveda’s buttercream or KBB hair cream.  The consistency resembled more of a pudding/cream than a butter and goes on silky without having to emulsify in hands prior. To me this is an added bonus. No need to be heavy handed as I tend to be, a dime size amount was used to coat a single twist while hair was sufficiently wet/damp. As the directions suggest, best results are achieved when product is applied to damp or wet hair then dried, yet I’d still love to dry it to slick back the front edges using a soft bristle.

The shea butter and aloe based curly butter is packed with rich moisturizing nutrients to give you lasting moisture and promote growth.  It has a soft touchable hold that will help to defrizz your frizzies and give great defintion

The butter does help to cut down on frizz and significantly defined my hair, enough to prolong my usual 7 day twist-out.  I twisted the hair for a Christmas party December 23rd, and didn’t wash out the style until January 3rd! To maintain the style & to retain moisture, I twisted hair every other night (not the entire head, just the crown and front third), and left the back ends in two pony puffs. The mornings were meant for fluffing and going, making me seriously LOVE this product. It does not feel product heavy, comes in a generous 8 oz size at $13.

I would absolutely purchase the Bee Hold Curly Butter again because of the great moisture it provided, considering I styled the do in pretty frigid temps over the Holidays.  With proper maintenance, this product should be good for two-strand twists, braid-outs, twist & curls, flat twists – pretty much any style that needs long lasting hold and ample moisture. Sample 2 oz sizes start at $4 – reaching the larger 16 oz at $23.  All other products from the line can be found here.

November 5, 2009

Oyin’s Burnt Sugar Pomade


Time to divulge some truth.  I do not like pomades. Yessir. I do not adhere to the wonders of the grease as I once did when these strands were  once relaxed.  Now though, when I say ‘grease‘ you have to understand something, maybe even take a short trip back with me to a time when we were all little brown girls getting our hair parted, braided & laced up with bows for kindergarten to KNOW of what I speak. My visual may be different from yours, my two french braids may have even been a bit more crooked, but I hint and point to that fanciful pic on the left…you’ll hopefully understand where it all began.

I’m a product of the ’80’s, the decade of cultural identity & CarebearsRainbowbright & L.A. Gear…all the good stuff.  Hecked if I sound old, yet in those days mothers like my Mum used the powers of DAX to cure everything a hot comb couldn’t.  I promise you, the smell of this stuff still lingers in the child-full colors of my mind…the memories are both good and cringe appropriate. After my first perm relaxer  in the 6th grade, I continued the greasy tradition, using the DAX to store the kitchen hairs that typically escaped my dollar scrunchy.

There really was no reason to cease the grease over the years, but in High School the idea of using Let’s JAM! to obtain that slicked back grown look was much too tempting. But even that only lasted until my hairline and remaining baby hairs screamed at me to stop the crazy and just let my Dominican Hairstylist take the wheel.

Wow, so I say all that to say that I’ve quietly reunited with a lost love in the form of Oyin’s Burnt Sugar Pomade! Wooozah! I’ve kept this love under wraps for a few months because…well it was really that hard for me to get my nose physically out of the jar. If you’ve already sampled this stuff, you might just get it.

burntsugarSome have compared it to the smell of warm pancakes slathered with maple syrup…oh my.  I won’t disagree with the consensus, but the scent is strong enough to force you into the worst food cravings if you were born with a sweet tooth, or just discovering the joys of comfort food.  It’s sniff worthy to the tenth degree, and I can’t get enough!

As per usual, the gist from the site:

Does your hair love oils? Our “Burnt Sugar” Pomade is a nourishing all-vegetable pomade and styling product named for the uniquely translucent, shimmery quality of warm, homemade caramel.

Similar in texture to an old school ‘hair grease,’ This blend of oils, butters, and veggie waxes acts as a humectant and protectant for hair, increasing shine to a high glossy sheen and locking in moisture. It’s packed with essential fatty acids to nourish scalp, and actually sinks into your hair and skin for a long lasting, non-greasy feeling. It’s great for braids, imparts shine and moisture to loose hair, brushes nicely into the hairline for a glossy finish, and adds luster to locks!

This was an impulse Oyin buy many months ago when I began the search for the now infamous Honey Hemp conditioner. A store in my neighborhood that typically stocked up was out, so I compensated by purchasing the pomade, never really thinking it’d be a gem because…well, my history with pomades runs a bit deep.  The consistency is very similar to a traditional pomade, it might even be a bit more hardened before first use, but  is also quick to emulsify and spreads fairly easily.

A l’il dab will do so very much to impart crazy duty shine, and how I’ve been using it lately to seal my ends when needed after a wash, or even midweek when the twists begin to slightly unravel. The Summer months found me a bit heavy handed with the pomade, using it to slather over the crown of my twist-out fro, and I won’t lie…the best part was leaving a scent trail every which way I turned…forewarning, heads will turn if you dabble more than a l’il.

But what I love best about the pomade is it’s truest claim, NON-GREASY! It instantly sinks into the hair/scalp, letting the hair absorb all the goodness, leaving hair shinny and locking in any existing moisture in the hair.  It’s a natural humectant which scientifically means it draws moisture from the air, pulling in what’s needed to moisturize the hair.  In winter this can signal some trouble if the the air where you live is naturally dry, yet using the pomade while in the run of protective styling helps to avoid this slight, at least for me.

In the vid below, Jamyla and her hubby explain the best ways in which to winterize your current humectant stash if your hair is not adjusting. (Added Oyin Coupon code @ the end of vid!)

If you’re not a scent person, you will not be entertained by this product.  The site description hints to a ‘subtly sweet fragrance,’ and my trigger foot is down to say….Ummm…no. On my best days I do not mind smelling like a floating pancake so it suits a purpose in my PJ stash, but if you’ve ever walked by a candle store and gone (WTH!!), abort this mission & wait until the lovely Jamyla introduces a scent free version.  Either way, disappointment is not an option.  A 4oz jar runs $10 while the new larger 8oz size will set you back $16.

October 12, 2009

Fly Inspiration

curlAnyone make it to a GOOD HAIR screening this weekend? The buzz so far aims in the more positive directions, which I think is a great thing! Positivity all around is a good thing;-).  I’m a late bird, so I’m off to see it tonight with a friend after work.  Brief review and thoughts TBD tomorrow!  I’ll be taking mental notes while munching on some snacks and surveying the crowd of peeps to see the general consensus of those in attendance.  Anyone who’s willing to shell out $12 (!!!) to see women/men talk and ramble about hair for an hour and a half are …in my short book, special people!

I really did want to show up to the theatre with my hair praising all things natural and wow! But the inkling I had that the weather might take a nasty windy turn was right on point.  Quest # 1 of my protective style began this past Saturday, and triplemoisturecommenced as usual with a pre-poo ( Aubrey Organics Island Naturals Condish diluted in some H2O).  I’m still determined to find a relatively good sulfate-free shampoo that will not strip my hair like my previous try with J/A/S/O/N/’s aloe Shampoo.  The road was scary especially after last week’s dry fest, but I sank back into my earlier PJ stash and found an oldie yet goodie in Neutrogena’s Triple Moisture Dry Scalp Remedy Shampoo.   At a relatively good price of about $6.99 to $9.00, it’s more than an effective poo at fully cleansing the scalp without leaving hair stripped.  What I used to find especially pleasing is after shampooing, my hair actually felt a bit more moisturized (++)!!  The Shampoo does have active ingredients ( Pyrithione Zinc (0.5%) (Purpose: anti-dandruff), that are meant to alleviate scalp irritations, and a mild  surfactant sulfate (Sodium Trideceth Sulfate),  yet because it has never stripped my hair, it’s a definite keeper for now. 

DC this week was a first for me, and also a new found love!! I’d never done a Hot Oil treatment until this past weekend, and I cannot believe what my hair has been missing out on!  I think too much of the time we hear about traditional DC’s packed with our favorites (shea butter, coconut cream, etc.) that we pardon the idea of treating our hair to an oil treatment much too quickly.  To be honest, it was on a whim that I decided to try it, time on my hands as well…but I used some Hairveda CoCasta Oil along with Oyin Handmade’s Blended Body Oil.  That’s right….BODY OIL!  I had a full bottle since the beginning of the Summer, only using a dollop here and there….but the ingredients where just too good for me not to use.

Descrip from site:

AfterBath is a blended vegetable oil mix rich in Vitamins E, D, B1 and B2. Some of its ingredients include olive, virgin coconut, jojoba, avocado, sweet almond, wheat germ, rice bran, and black seed oils. It glides on smoothly, making it ideal as a massage oil; penetrates deeply, making it a lovely body oil.

As with most of the Oyin goodies, it’s multipurpose and lovely smelling! I was able to safely and effectively detangle my hair with the oil saturated in, sit under a plastic cap with heat for two hours, fully rinsed (lightly co-washed) and was just the most giddy person looking at the shine and moisture BACK in my hair! Mission Accomplished!! Hot Oil Treatments are simply…THE BEST! Frankly, a tad messy, but heck anything with practice gets better right? That’s the track I’ve set for myself…a once a month Hot Oil treatment with an oil goody of my choice and my hair will soak in the rewards.  As of now (Monday, did my hair Saturday night), my hair is rocking the Black Cedar Fig aroma of the Oyin Bath Oil.  It’s a warm lovely, inviting smell perfectly suited for the current weather.  Me loves!

So beyond the Oil treatment, for styling I opted for simplicity, going with a light leave in, Jane Carter”s Revitalizing Spray & to style the reliable Darcy’s Botanicals Madagascar Styling Creme.  The point was NOT to have my hair appear one gleepy globby mess of oil, and the Jane Carter leave-in stepped up to the plate.


Purified Water, Extracts of Aloe Vera, Comfrey, Watercress, Myrrh, Panthenol, Essential Oils, Anthemis Noblis Flower, Symphytum OfficinalLeaf, Equisetum Arvense, Urtica Dioica (Nettle), Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Lawsonia Inermis (Henna), Butoxyethenol, Polyquarternium11, Soyamid DEA, PPG30, Cetyl Ether, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Hydantoin, Glyceryl caprylate, methylisothiazolinone (preservative)

I’d like to say it’s more of a setting lotion than a leave-in…? Yep, going to say just that because while it does hydrate, it fails to aid me in detangling my coarse hair.  I’ve tried with a large toothed comb before, and there just was no give.  If your hair is sufficiently conditioned (DC’d), and you’re able to run a comb through it without any resistance, treat yourself to this spray because it’s effective in acting as a humectant (Panthenol is high on the list), and it doesn’t weigh the hair down if you’re prone to using a heavy styling butter/creme.

Protective Styling. I’m new to this game, let me just say that.  I’ve never fully committed to a hair challenge or style in the past, and honestly never thought to until this past week.

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October 6, 2009

Much To Do of Nothing


Alright, so I can’t lie.  I’ve been procrastinating summing up this week’s process because Monday morning left me with a bitter taste in my  mouth.  I will backtrack in summary:CQCustard

  • Prepoo: V05 Moisture Milks Conditioner
  • Poo: J/A/S/O/N Vitamin E with A & C Shampoo
  • DC:  Millcreek Botanicals Aloe Vera Conditioner (added Babassu Oil, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E oil, Tea Tree Oil, Honey)
  • Style: Leave-In/KBB Hair Milk & Curls Curly Q Custard


So, that was the gist of the process this past week.  Finished at a decent hour…2ish in the p.m., and went out to air dry my twists. I have to say though…before heading to bed Sunday night I had a sneaking suspicion something was amiss with my routine this week.  It was just a hunch, so before going to bed I added a bit of castor oil and Oyin Handmade Whipped Pudding. A LOT of product to add to hair on first day, but to actually see my hair is to know of the predicament that awaited me in the morning…and oohhhh was it….interesting.

Okay, so there was frizz…not really unusual…a slight bit of stiffness from the Curly Q Custard…fine.  But my ‘bad hair day’ undoubtedly consisted of the driest, most brittle hair I’ve yet to experience this year.  I kid not…I dared not initiate any HIFS for fear of breaking off any strands.  The front edges of my hair were so dry and brittle to the touch I began strategizing a way to salvage the do while at work.

Once reaching home, I headed to the bathroom armed with three things:

  • Jane Carter’s Revitalizing Leave-In
  • Curls by Sisters Smith Wet Set Pudding
  • Oyin Handmade Whipped Pudding

janecarterSprayed the dry nest with the Revitalizing Leave-in, emulsified the wet set pudding in the palm of hands along with a dab of Oyin’s Pudding and applied to hair.  I retwisted the entire  head of hair, and hoped for the best in the morning.  This morning I breathed a hefty sigh of relief and found my hair fairly moisturized all the way down to the ends. I aim to remoisturize and re-twist into larger twists tomorrow evening for the start of Thursday. 


My choice of Shampoo this week was probably the biggest mistake? It contains NO sulfates which drew me in, yet as I was washing my hair after pre-pooing, I knew I wouldn’t be using it in the near future.

Styler this week, a new product I tried from the Curls line, the Curly Q Custard.  Formulated for coarse curls, this curl cream provided VERY little hold and added virtually no moisture to my hair.

Okay, another factor, which is probably the most annoying factor because of it’s inevitable nature…is the weather.  Cold temps have crippled my hair with dryness over the past few weeks.  Is anyone else experiencing an excess in dryness these past few days? I doubt it’s just me, even before getting to the train for work, the winds are WHACKING my twists back and forth…it’s not hat season yet is it? Protective Styling just might be in my future….


Et fin!

September 3, 2009

Spoiled by Milk: Darcy’s Botanicals Review




When in doubt, reach for the Hair Milk.  That’s sort of been my hair philosophy, particularly during those parched days, hair lacking moisture and you need to stretch the do out for just one more day before the wash.  I don’t know exactly what it is…though I have my theories, that a ‘milk’ caressing my tresses will make all the frizzy dry blues go away.  I’m an addict of the Hair Milk and will be devout for any/and all brands….granted they meet my rock solid check list of hair do’s and don’ts.   After experimenting with Carol’s Daughter and their Hair Milk during my second BC, I knew I’d found love…save for the change in formula some time down the road.  What it’s really all about: adequately hydrating, moisturizing when needed and versatile enough to use on either wet or dry hair. 

During my last haul, I took another chance with a hair milk, this one by Darcy’s Botanicals.  The Peach Kernel Hydrating Milk is a thick, creamy milk bath for your hair, that will naturally moisturize and enhance curls while hair is wet, and hydrate dry hair for optimal styling.  My intial try with the milk, was as a leave-in under the Madagascar Vanilla Creme rather than the Lemongrass Detangling Creme. Both work well in layering with a heavier styling product, yet the Peach Kernel did a better job in defining the curls before adding anything over.





Distilled Water, Organic Aloe Juice, Peach Kernel Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Jojoba, Emulsifying Wax, Vegetable Glycerin, Yarrow, Sage, Horsetail, Nettle, & Lavender Extracts, MSM, a paraben-free preservative and fragrance

While it works better than average as a regular leave-in, it’s more of a benefit to use it as a weekly substitute when hair is excessively dry and craving moisture. Lately it’s been my go-to styler at night to calm away the day’s frizz & to retwist the hair.  In the mornings I unravel to much softer hair, and add maybe just a dime size amount to some of the ends, particularly the parts that tend to graze my collar or shoulder because they lack the most moisture. 



Apply just a small amount throughout wet or dry hair for healthy conditioning and moisture.

*Use to gently soften and detangle new growth while transitioning to natural hair .

*Use it as a daily or weekly leave-in to naturally condition dry curls & waves.

 While a lot of the products I generally use to style my hair come with the saying,’apply just a small amount,’ I’m very happy to report that this is very much the case with this hair milk! Surprisingly, it’s rich creamy texture merits only a smidge to soften the hair. The 8oz bottle is generous in a pump applicator making distributing the product relatively easy.  So rather than continue to use it as a leave-in, I’m going to opt instead to use it as a weekly replenisher when the hair is feeling a bit dry….perfect for the upcoming winter weather!!

*Use to add much needed moisture to parched curls.

*Can use to do comb coils.

*Can also double as a body lotion!

If you fear the smell of peaches, this may not be for you.  While the smell is present while applying, it does linger for a day or two unless it’s paired with another product.  This is a definite repurchase for next Darcy haul. Lysandra has amazing customer service, well known for adding an extra sample goodie in your box to make you smile and at $12, the price is reasonable.