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!