Monday, March 22, 2010

That ONE ingredient...a rant...

Do you have that ONE ingredient that your hair consistently hates? The one you have to search for in labels and get a twinge of disappointment when you see it and have to put a product down? Well I do and unfortunately for me in the world of natural hair care it comes up a lot. My hair hates aloe vera. Yep, that moisturizing ingredient in almost every natural conditioner and styler. I remember the first time I scrunched Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel in my hair. It was horrible. My hair immediately felt dry and crunchy. It was so bad I had to rinse it out immediately. The second time I tried it was the same. Then I started to realize that stylers with aloe high on the list didn't work for me and the same with conditioners. If it's low on the list it doesn't seem to be a problem though. And the one huge exception is Duchess of Curls which my hair loves even though aloe is first on the list. I keep hoping my hair will change it's mind and I still buy products with aloe hoping for a miracle.

I have always been annoyed by this but as I'm not strictly natural I have found products with little to no aloe and that work great. I have never been truly disappointed but my hair's hatred of aloe until now and this is why. Bella Curl. A wonderful member of had a protein sensitivity as do many others. But you see this wonderful member also noticed that there were very few conditioner options with no protein. She saw this niche, did a bunch of research and testing, and created some wonderful protein-free products. As a semi-protein sensitive curly myself I was really excited to try these, especially because I love supporting the ladies of that have gone on to make products that help other curlies. I went to her etsy shop and ordered the Hydrating Cleansing Cream, Moisture Rich Conditioner, and Leave-in Elixir. I was so excited I didn't even check the ingredients. Oops. Guess which ingredient is high up on that list...yep...aloe.

So I say "What the heck? I've already got them here. I'll try them anyway." I started with the cleansing cream and while I liked how it distributed after adding water, I could immediately feel the dry feeling aloe causes my hair to have. The same with the conditioner plus it was very hard to detangle (a problem I struggle with anyway). The leave-in didn't dry me out though so that was good. I knew it was probably a lost cause but I tried them again 5 days later. Still nope. In fact it was worse than the first time. I even had to rise out the condish and put another kind in so I could detangle. I am so, so disappointed. I wanted so badly for these to be great for me so i could support a fellow curly and they don't. On the up-side my daughter's straight hair liked them alright them and I will at least get to use them and enjoy them on one head of hair in our house.

Now don't get me wrong, this is NOT a bad review. I can tell that for those who have no problems with aloe they are great, natural products. They distribute well and smell wonderful. And to have products without protein for those sensitive curlies is a huge help. I hope to get some other curlies' reviews up here in the next week or so with the positives. I say give Bella Curl a chance.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner

I ordered Wen Sweet Almond Mint conditioner last spring after seeing the commercial a billion times. I had to give in. My first impression was "Wow". It was great, moisturizing, had tons of slip, and best of all my tangles melted away. My scalp felt much cleaner than from a regular cowash with less effort. Usually I can't tolerate hydrolyzed wheat protein but this seemed to have the perfect amount for my hair. The smell was a bit much at first but I got used to it. It has the a-cone pretty far down on the list but I don't mind the a-cone at all. I loved having an all-in-one product instead of a cowash, then rinse out conditioner, then leave-in conditioner. After 2 weeks I had soft, shiny hair, after 3 weeks my hair was limp and after 4 it was definitely over conditioned. I was sooooo disappointed and put it away in the ever growing product graveyard.

Winter came and I was really struggling. My hair was dry and frizzy. My waves and curls were pathetic. Nothing I was doing was working. I decided it was time to pull the Wen back out and boy was I right. It was exactly what my hair needed in the drier winter months. My waves and curls still weren't laying right but my hair was finally moisturized again. I do have to tell you that during this time I was blow drying my hair out or using the flatiron again. I knew my hair wouldn't behave curly until a well needed trim and I can get 3 day hair when straightened.

So my overall opinion is that this will be a staple for me in the Fall/Winter months when dew points are low and I need lots of moisture. I'll definitely keep this around. It's a bit pricey but lasts a while and I think it's worth the cost. So now let's hear from some of my fellow curlies from I'll include an ingredient list at the bottom of this post for your convenience.

Wavyblonde said: "I can't say enough about Wen. My hair has completely transformed since I started using it. Before, I could barely wear my hair curly because it was so fried and broken and frizzy on the canopy. Protein treatments helped but only took me so far. The first time I used Wen (Sweet Almond Mint) I saw an immediate difference. Moisturized, shiny, happy hair. It was even starting to curl up without me doing anything to it.

My hair tends to be dry, but I never need a Leave-in when I use Wen. It's expensive (the only drawback), but well worth it. I order mine through QVC."

Goobernut's opinion: "Fine/thin not particularly thirsty hair

First of all I'm a sucker for the almond smell. It's a little annoying that the mint is in the way but the almond is still there enough to make me happy. Wen is definitely a seasonal product for me. I used it in lower dews just fine-was a go-to, but the minute they started to climb up it made my hair coated and lanky. However I really enjoyed it's ease of use and cleansing ability in the dead of winter."

WEN® Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner
Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Wheat, Protein, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Polysorbate 60, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Amodimethicone, Citric Acid, Menthol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance (Parfum, Limonene)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Here I go again

I decided to start blogging again. It might not be guest reviewers every time but it's sure to still be fun and informative. Hopefully some of you curlies out there will be willing to contribute.

I decided to start again because I've been having a real love/hate relationship with my hair and I'm hoping to just get back to the love part. I found that when I'm documenting what works and what doesn't it is much easier for me to love my hair. That being said let me start by telling you a few things I've learned (or still haven't learned) about my hair.

1. I cannot plop anymore. I just get bad root things going on if I do. It's OK though. My CurlsLikeUs towels are my new best friend and I don't really need to plop now that it's warming up.

2. I still don't know what to avoid even though I know that I have fine, porous hair. I read and read an then forget. I know that acidic rinses are helpful and I know I should need protein but that's about it. When to use glycerin and humectants baffles me and frankly I'm tired of checking the dew point every day before I do my hair. So there!

3. I cannot scrunch upside down. Even if I do upside down first then right side up it doesn't clump right. Upside down at my length just DOES NOT WORK for me. I'll sacrifice root curl so that I don't have bald patches.

4. I hate diffusing. Yes it gives me better waves and ringlets but it is soooooo boring. I can only stare at myself in the mirror for so long. R2D2 is great but he just doesn't dry my ends and I don't have the same volume as diffusing. Air drying is a nice happy medium for me. I'm not diffusing longer than 4 minutes anymore.

5. I have made peace with my frizz. Sometimes there's tons and sometimes there's a little but it's always there. More LI hasn't worked. Weekly DT's haven't worked. Protein treatments haven't helped. Oh well.

6. More is more. I need much more LI, curl enhancer, and gel than I thought. I use a minimum of a quarter size of each, usually more. I'm surprisingly not getting weighed down at all and I have much better definition now. Who would have thought my fin hair needed more.

7. I finally found a technique/routine that works for me. I smooth in LI before I get out of the shower then I wrap my hair in a t-shirt towel while I finish the rest of my after shower routine and get dressed. I take my hair down and smooth in whatever curl enhancer I'm using that day then distribute with my Denman. I then scrunch, scrunch, scrunch all over. I bend my head really far to the side so that it's parallel to the floor and scrunch all the way to my scalp to encourage some root curl/volume. Then I scrunch in my gel in 4 different sections making sure to really scrunch, scrunch, scrunch (are you seeing a pattern here?) until I'm happy with my clumps and curls. I then use my CLU towel to scrunch a little more, clip my roots, then diffuse or air dry. I am getting pretty good clumps and curls this way. Can't believe it took me almost 2 years to figure it out.

So I had a huuuuuuge PJ attack and ordered a bunch of new stuff so expect lots of reviews in the next few weeks. Bellacurls and Shescentit to name a few. WooHoo blogging again!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

DevaCurl One Condition

Deva's OneCondition is a conditioner that is talked about on CurlTalk all the time but barely used because of the amodimethicone in it. Yes the a-cone is water soluble-ish but a lot of curlies found that the Deva OneCondition and AnGell build up after a while. In fact when I asked my team of PJs for reviews I only got reviews of OneC from two of them. Also keep in mind that Deva has announced that as of January, 2009 they have removed the a-cone from all their products so it's worth a try. I felt it deserved a place in my reviews since Deva was my introduction to CG and changed my hair life forever.

DEL 2C, you're up first:
Fabulous conditioner. I only use DEVA stuff together I just feel the product line works better that way. Fantastic moisture and slip and the smell is so nice and lingers for a while. LOVE my Deva!"

Kathymack said:
" I haven't used One C in about 18 months. About two years ago, my stylist turned me on to Deva Products. He sprayed my hair with Mister Right after cutting it--and it had some curl in February! My hair never curled in February. I did a web search and started using Deva LowPoo and One C. It worked well for about four or five months. I had to switch to other shampoo combinations every few weeks, but that's typical for my hair. When I went CG, I gave up One C because of the A-cone. It's not special enough, to me, that I would buy it now that it's reformulated. At least, I don't think so. There's too much else out there."

My two cents:
I really like this conditioner, I have from the beginning. It's not as de-tangling as some others I've tried but it does work and leaves my hair really soft. It smells sooo good, like lemon grass. When I was using it I was even ordering the 32oz pump bottle, that's how much I loved it. I agree with DEL2C, the Deva works better all together. I haven't even used OneC with any other products to be honest. When I went full CG I stopped using it and I admit I'm excited for the formula change because I have missed it and all my Deva products terribly. Although I have gotten much better results from other products I know that I wont have bad hair with them. New OneC, here I come!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Generic Value Products conditioning balm from Sally's

Yay yay yay it's time for my fave :) This is the Sally's brand knock off of Matrix Biolage conditioning balm. It runs about $6.00 and I am in love with it. I couldn't get a decent picture of it...sorry.

Kathymack is first up today:
Sally's GVP. I haven't used the Sally's version, but I think I've used the Walgreen's version. It was adequate. I didn't find it moisturizing enough, so gave it away."

DEL2C said:

"GVP is amazing stuff! So balmy and slippery really great conditioner. I can't use it all the time or I get over-conditioned but it makes a great DT or rinse out when you need some extra moisture."

Curlyjenn10 is next:
" I haven't tried the original, so I can't compare between the two. I am currently on my second bottle of this conditioner. I picked it up a few months ago when my hair needed some moisture. I use it as a rinse-out and part of a DT. It's pretty thick and sometimes I have a hard time getting it out of the bottle. The smell is ok too.

In the beginning, back when it was much colder outside, it had a good amount of slip and my hair looked great. Recently our temperatures have been in the 70s and 80s with dew points anywhere from the 40s to the 60s. I'm finding that I don't get the slip I used to until I start to rinse it out. I let it sit in a clip for a few minutes during my shower, then take it down and barely run my head under the water. For some reason that works and it feels good and is easy to de-tangle. This is probably all just me though - my hair is weird! I'm not sure how long I'll keep this in my routine as I did much better with lighter conditioners last summer. Plus our weather is crazy (it's back down to the 50s today!)."

Now I get to rant a little:
This conditioner saved my hair this winter. After the protein fiasco I was trying to find a good conditioner that would de-tangle my hair as at the time tangles were my biggest problem. The GVP was my HG. It brought my curls back to life and gave me the moisture I was so desperately lacking. My hair became shiny and I was getting compliments on it all the time (still do on GVP days). I did become over conditioned but I was a dummy and used it every day. An ACV rinse and I was back to normal. I still use this conditioner two or three times a week and there is nothing like it. More slip than any other conditioner I've used by far. It de-tangles like a dream. I agree with curlyjenn10 that sometimes it's hard to get out of the bottle so I leave my bottle upside-down in my shower caddy. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this stuff!

Loreal Vive Pro Nutri Gloss for medium to long hair that's curly/wavy

The title is so long because that is the only pink bottle Loreal conditioner that is CG. If you are purchasing it make sure it is for medium to long hair that's curly/wavy. With that being said this had to be on my list of reviews. It is one of the most popular conditioners on CurlTalk and one of the first I tried after giving up my Deva. Because it is generally easy to find, and pretty cheap as far as products go, it is a good conditioner for a newbie CGer to use.

First up to bat is DEL2C:
"This one NEVER fails me but it works better when I alternate it. Probably because of the little bit of protein in it. The results aren't BAD if I don't rotate it but I don't get the same effect and clumping when I over use it. LOVE it for nice slip, moisture and smells nice."

Laura Lee of The College Curly said:
"Because of it's thickness, a lot of curlies cannot use this regularly. I limit it to once a week, some can do two or three but I don't think I've heard of anyone using it every wash. If you can, man oh man is your hair dry! But most of us will need another conditioner or two to rotate with this one. So if you're looking to simplify and only have 1 HG conditioner, this isn't the one.

That being said though, it is very moisturizing. It really gives a good shot of moisture to counteract whatever dryness you may be experiencing from climate or stylers or diffusing or what have you. I recommend it for a couple times a week moisture intensive conditioner.

The best thing about LVPNG is the richness. It's super rich, especially for a $3 drugstore conditioner. If you're in doubt about the power of this conditioner, just check out the rave reviews on BotticelliBabe's thread that has like 20 pages to it.

The richness lends to amazing slip. If you're looking for slip, this is it. It doesn't get much slippier than this as far as I know.

It's a faint pink color. It smells a little chemically; definitely not what I would call natural. BUT it's not strong or lingering.

Another thing to either love (or be very wary of) is that there's some protein in this one. I love protein; can't get enough! So to me, protein in a condtioner I can use every day is fantastic. Of course, if you're sensitive, this would be something to be wary of.

It can be hard to find, depending on where you live. My suggestion is that if you find it, buy one bottle, rush home and use it, and if you like it, go back to the store as soon as your hair dries and stock up. I have 7 bottles stockpiled right now.

"I'm conflicted on this one. I first used it in December for a week or two. It smelled good, had great slip, was moisturizing, and was awesome at de-tangling. There is protein towards the end of the list and I am sensitive. It started to get to me at the end of the second week, so I stopped using it. The amount of protein is so small and I thought it would be perfect for a rinse-out every few months, since we all need protein at one point or another.

This past weekend, I decided it was time to try it again. I'm not entirely sure what went wrong, but my hair became seriously dry and tangled - it was a rat's nest! There are a few things that could have contributed to it, so I can't say for sure that it was LVPNG. I won't be finding out any time soon though - it's going back to the product graveyard."

Me, Me, Me:
I love and hate this conditioner. I bought it when I gave up OneC and didn't realize that I had a protein sensitivity. Well thank you LVPNG for making my hair a total disaster. Ugghh, recovering from that was a nightmare. That's when I really started reading though and learning about my hair and what it wanted and needed so again thank you LVPNG. Here's the good news. I love this condish in my rotation. I can use it once or twice a week (I'm an every day 'washer") with no problems. The slip and detangling properties are AMAZING. It smells good but doesn't linger and my hair feels so soft after I use it. It's definitely not an every time use condish but it is a great, cheap conditioner to have in your arsenal in my opinion.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose conditioner

I LOVE conditioner. I have six different kinds in my shower and three more in my cabinet. I'm crazy, I know. I picked this conditioner because it is the newest in my rotation of conditioners and I wanted to know why it was so talked about and what my trusted other PJs had to say. They, as always, gave me some great info.

mrl234 replied first:
"I've used AOHR. First of all, the smell is incredibly sweet, strong, and floral, and it DOES linger, so beware of that if you don't like strong scents. Secondly, while it is moisturizing if your hair likes a lot of different oils at once, my got kind of crunchy after I used it a few times. I don't think it has the best slip either, and if I used a leave-in at all I got over conditioned (though without one, my hair won't behave right). Overall, this one wasn't a favorite of mine, but I think for coarser hair types it might work better."

DEL2C was next and she kept it short and simple:
AOHR- HORRIBLE HORRIBLE for my hair too many oils left me feeling very coated and I got build up right away. It's SO THICK ICK! NEVER again!"

Laura Lee:
"I picked this up as a heavy conditioner to use as a deep treatment originally. Then, when all that talk about dew points hit CurlTalk, I decided maybe I should work it in as a glycerin-free winter conditioner.

I only used it as a deep treatment once. I didn't find it particularly beneficial. Honestly it was worth the smell.

The smell is very strong to my nose, and I'm not scent-sensitive (try saying that 5 times fast!). It smells much more like the honeysuckle than the rose. I'd classify it as a very heavy, earthy scent. At first, I thought it smelled awful. I will admit, as I've used it, I've become used to it and it doesn't smell so revolting to me now.

It's thick. Very thick. Thick enough to the point where it's tricky to get it out of the bottle sometimes, especially when you're getting toward the end of the bottle. You could put some in your palm, turn your hand so the conditioner is facing the floor, and it wouldn't fall off. It's very thick. Did I mention it's thick?

The slip it ok. It's nothing compared to LVPNG.

" I used it, it was good--there were others whose smell I prefer. At this point, I have Island Naturals and GBP (not sure of the order) in my shower. I find either as good as AOHR."

Curlyjenn10 was excited because she could finally review!:
AOHR: This is a great conditioner if you need moisture. This is probably the number one product that helped me get over my protein issues. I used it as both a DT and rinse-out with great success. It's pretty thick and I don't remember it having a lot of slip (that could just be me though!). The smell isn't great, but it's not bad either. I didn't repurchase it after using it in September because I didn't think it was close enough to a HG product for me to stop experimenting (that and I'm a total PJ!). I would definitely recommend this to anyone who needs some moisture in their routine."

"This is my all time favorite conditioner for anything. I've used it as a DT, regular condish, mini DT in the shower. It always works great no matter what. I don't use it daily because I get over conditioned easily but I do sometimes mix it with a lighter condish. It's my favorite for de-tangling after I cassia and most times will eliminate any protein overload that I can get. Seriously I know if I use the AOHR it's going to fix whatever dryness I have. I also love the smell, unlike some who think it's a bit too strong etc. But then again I love honeysuckle and I love rose smell so I'm probably in the minority there. Overall it's my favorite to use in a whole lot of different ways."

My turn:
I picked this conditioner to review first because I was still on the fence about it. It is VERY thick and I have to use a ton of it to coat my long hair. The smell is really strong but I don't mind it at all. I love scents though. It gave me no slip and I love slip. It does still de-tangle well though which is the first thing I look for in a conditioner. Also the protein didn't bother me at all and I'm a little protein sensitive. Overall it was fine, I'll finish the bottle, but I don't think I'll buy it again. Maybe I'll try some other Aubrey Organics condish...still searching for a more natural one that I like and wont break the bank.