TCA Peel

So, I started out with this being a small post about my experience with a TCA peel today. But it turned into an entirely new page chronicling my summer and fall mission of finding the perfect dark sport corrector. You can find the entry by clicking here along with before and after pictures of my peel.

Here’s to the start of a new week!

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Happy Nappyversary to Me!

It’s been a while again and I’m sorry for disappearing so much. But between work and the gym these past few months went by too quickly and before I knew it, it was December!

Another thing that I didn’t notice was…it’s my one year anniversary of being natural! Actually it was on Thanksgiving but I forgot. Also, technically speaking, I haven’t had a relaxer in over four years but I wore my hair under weaves and wigs for most of that time. I also didn’t take the best care of it, i.e. did not moisturize or condition it as much as I should have if ever.

To celebrate this occasion I will be posting all of my backlogged reviews and un-boxings that I’ve been behind on since July.  And oh boy, do I have a lot to catch up one. From hair product reviews and trims to fade creams and skin peels for acne scars, I’ve tried a lot since this summer.

My goal is to have at least one update a week leading up to my birthday in January, where I’ll do the unveiling of my TCA skin peel results.  Yes that’s right, I’m trying a 15% TCA skin peel, things just got real.

Starting this Sunday I’ll share my updated hair care routine for the winter as well as my first product review in five months. What will it be? Will it be a leave-in conditioner? Perhaps it will be a cosmetic of some sort? Check back this Sunday the 8th to find out!

Long Time, No Post (Why Am I Awake?)

It’s been a whirlwind of a summer so far and things are starting to calm down again. I’m finally settling in at work and I’ve been testing out a ton of products. There have been a lot of hit and misses and I’ll go into more detail about those at the end of the week in my catch-up postings.

Although, I do have to say that I’ve gotten a bit…lazy in terms of hair care. I haven’t been wearing my hair out because I just don’t have the time to work with it first thing in the morning anymore. So I bought a wig! I still stick to my normal wash regime, only now I keep my hair in two-strand twists during the week and re-moisturize them once a week. I did have a trim done at the end of May and I cried a bit on the inside but it had to be done. The split ends were getting fierce from the previous winter.

I’m also trying out a few non-hair products, including two different spot-treatments for my hyper-pigmentation, body scrubs, waxes, and post-waxing/shaving treatments. All-in-all, I went on a lot of shopping trips and my product junkie tendencies have sky rocketed. >_<

I will be “officially” recording my skin’s progress with the spot treatments and taking an “official” length check with my hair. I haven’t really seen it in almost 2 months so I’m curious to see if I’ve regained the length from my trim. My hair grows slowly but I’m getting close to the length that I had before I burned it all out with a relaxer back in college.

Goodnight!

Deep Conditioning

After cleansing your hair with either a co-wash or especially a shampoo, it is important to deep condition afterwards. The stripping effects of the shampoo can leave your hair dry since your hairs natural oils have been removed. A good deep conditioning treatment can replenish your hair’s moisture and oil while helping repair and strengthening.

Deep Conditioners

Deep Conditioners

I try not to use too many different products but I’ve found that I get the best results using these three deep conditioning treatments. Each serves a different purpose in damage control but they also contain a few of the same ingredients. All three contain some combination of water, jojoba oil, shea butter, and either dimethicone or behentrimonium chloride (a conditioning agent helpful in detangling as well).

Nothing But Intense Healing Mask

Nothing But Intense Healing Mask

Nothing But Intense Healing Mask

Can I start off by saying that this smell reminds me of mint? I know that there’s no peppermint or anything in this product but I really like the smell and the way that it spread, so I tend to go overboard on application.

The texture isn’t overtly creamy but it reminds me of the consistency of yogurt. It’s best to apply evenly by smoothing it in and using either your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to really work it into your hair. The jar is 16 oz and I purchased it from Sally’s Beauty Supply for $8 – it was on sale the normal price is $10.99.

It states that the product is free of petrolatum, mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, colorants, and phthalates. I also like the way it makes my curls bounce back after flat ironing my hair. You can probably tell from the almost-empty jar that this is my favorite deep conditioning treatment.

Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair

Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair

Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair

This is thicker than the Nothing But line and definitely has a stronger odor as well. It smells strongly of mango and I don’t even

know what else, so it may be a bit overpowering for some people. Even after washing it out and applying a moisturizer and styling agent, the smell stays for a good two to three days.

The instructions state that this can also be used as a leave in conditioner but the smell alone seems a bit too over bearing for that use. To get the best results from this product, sit under a hooded drier for 15 to 25 minutes.

This product is good for replenishing moisture and defining your curls. I also purchased this from Sally’s for $7.00. That makes this my second choice for deep conditioners.

Shea Moisture Purification Masque

Shea Moisture Purification Masque

Shea Moisture Purification Masque

This is the first treatment mask that I had ever tried and I wanted something that would cleanse and condition my hair. This has the same texture as the Nothing But line but the absence of cones makes this product a bit harder to spread. It also has the addition  of black african soap, kaolin clay, and plantain extract.

The banana smell is strong but it doesn’t last for days like the scent in the Beautiful Textures conditioner. The instructions give the choice to leave this on for 5 to 30 minutes either before or after washing your hair. I always do this conditioning treatment after washing and I always sit under my hooded drier for at least 20 minutes.

I haven’t seen any real difference in my hair in terms of detoxifying or dandruff but it does define my curls nicely. I purchased this from Walgreens for $10.00 after trying a few products from the Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus line.

I haven’t tried any homemade recipes yet, but I do have my eye on a few. I can guarantee that it will not have egg in it because I really don’t want to peel yolk out of my hair for a week straight. I’ll try a couple in the future and post my results soon.

Ori Essentials vs Shea Moisture

I spent the past week experimenting with Ori Essentials and Shea Moisture to see if there was a difference in my twist out results. For the first 5 days, starting on Thursday May 2nd, I used the Ori Essentials Leave In that I received in my CurlKit. For a quick over view of that product you can head of here to my review last week.

Ori Essentials launched their product line in 2012 with a large line of organic hair and body products. They teamed up with CurlKit this year and began selling their products in stores as well. To date, their website is not running yet, but an overview of some of their products can be found scattered throughout the internet.

Ori Essentials Leave In Conditioner

Ori Essentials Leave In Conditioner

The actual leave in conditioner is creamy with a light coconut scent. But once it touches water it becomes a bit runny and spreads easily throughout the hair. The instructions state that you should use a generous amount of product and I wound up using about a tablespoon amount on each half of my head. My hair was wet upon application which helped the product to spread evenly as I smoothed it in and finger detangled. I sealed with a mixture of vitamin E (yes that big bottle from the CurlKit ) and Castor Oil and put my hair into about 12 twists.

The next morning I undid my twists and my hair came out like this:

Ori Essentials Twist Out

Ori Essentials Twist Out

The curl definition is good but it’s not what I was really aiming for in my twist-out. Maybe I should have spent a bit more time fluffing but I have noticed issues with that as well. My hair refuses to stay fluffed at the crown! I get it nice and curly and in less than an hour it falls flat again. I know that there is no product that can fix this problem because my hair generally is thinner at the crown and curlier at the nape of my neck. The addition of a few hair curlers at night usually does the trick but that takes too much time and I’m just too lazy to do that every night.

My hair was relatively soft to the touch but not to the point that I’m used to feeling. Later at night when I would re-twist my hair, I had to go back and add more product because my ends felt dry again. I don’t have the time or patience to do that every night so I’m not sure if this is a product that I’ll use unless I run out of my staples.

On the night of Monday May 6th, I switched to Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, my general go to leave in conditioner. I finally finished off the first jar that I bought mid december and I use it at least 4 times a week, so this stuff goes a long way. It has a stronger coconut aroma and is creamy but it does not get runny when added to water.

Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

This product is the reason why I decided to stop being a product junkie. I add this onto moist hair, seal with my oil mixture, and when I take down my hair the next morning the softness and curl definition is out of this world! On this occasion I left my twists in for 2 days and took my hair down today. I did not re-moisturize my hair last night with water or leave in and today, my hair is still soft. The curls are immaculate and my hair is actually holding a bit of a fluff at the crown.

If I had to compare the two products, I’d say that Ori Essentials is good but not perfect. I feel as though I have to use too much of the product to get the intended outcome and it doesn’t maintain the softness integrity of my hair. So, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie wins this round! It spreads easier, provides maximum moisture, and helps to hold the curls of a twist out. I know that this product is intended more for wash and go’s than twist outs but I think that it works both ways depending on your own hair type.

Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie Twist Out

Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie Twist Out

Curl Kit Contents

So I went through what was in the CurlKit for April but I really didn’t detail what each product is like. My bad on that one, sorry guys!  I’m going to give a quick over view on each product that I received and my thoughts on them.

CurlKit Haul

CurlKit Haul

First up is the Ampro Pro Styl Vitamin E, something that I just used yesterday actually. I had mentioned in my post on protective styling yesterday that it has a really nice smell to it. I found out that it’s because there is grape seed oil in the mix here! I also found out that a little bit goes a long way with this product. I used the recommended quarter sized amount and there was still oil on my hands afterwards. In my opinion, this is perfect for sealing in the summer time when butters are too thick.

Next on the list is the Ori Essentials Leave In Conditioner, which is also paraben, sulfate, and phthalate free. I know that a few people who had reviewed this in their April unboxing had a runny, almost curdled milk-like product. Mine actually came in the intended form and was very creamy. The thickness of the product reminds me of the Cantu Repair Leave In that’s been my staple since last December. It doesn’t have much of a smell to it but I’m fine with that. I really don’t want to overwhelm my hair with too many different smelling products so this might be a good choice if some of your other products have a strong scent. I haven’t had the chance to test out the actual moisturizing properties of this product yet but hopefully it lives up to the promise.

As for the Amazing Botanicals AloeMint Spritz, this product is basically all oil with the addition of water. You have to gently shake the bottle in order to mix the product correctly before application. I’ve applied this to hair sprayed lightly with water this morning and I haven’t really noticed a difference in the overall quality of my hair as of yet. I can’t really attest to the sealing qualities of this product but it might be something that’s good for summer time use. The mint scent is very light but I’m not sure how useful all of the other oils are in this product.

The other oil that came with this kit is the Honey Curls Hair Honey Oil Blend. And, oh boy, does it smell like honey. It’s subtle but it’s there. All of the ingredients are a series of essential oils and a few that I’ve never heard of, like karanji and borage oil. I haven’t quite figured out how to use it yet but I found this useful video on the Honey Curls website, as taught by an adorable little girl:

Lastly, we have the Naturalista Cosmetics Sweet Ambrosia Leave In Conditioner. This is the product that had the strongest scent, almost reeking of vanilla cake. I used it last night and the smell doesn’t last too long, although I wouldn’t mind if it did because I kind of like it.

naturalista leave in

It’s creamier than the Ori Essentials Leave In but it does not spread as easily, even when using a wide-toothed comb. Not sure how I feel about this one yet. My hair was dry when I woke up this morning and I had to refresh with my water bottle. It smells nice but that’s all that this product really has going for it in my opinion.

The samples of hair gel that came with the kit are things that I will not be using, like I said before I will be giving it to my mother. She’s just as much of a product junkie that I am and has no qualms about mineral oil in her products. So that’s it for my CurlKit review thus far. I haven’t gotten the Karen’s Body Beautiful yet but I’ll be sure to review that whenever it comes in the mail.

Humidity!!

April Showers are a bit late this year but the humidity is back in full force! And that means good-bye pretty twist outs and hello puff of doom. I don’t know about you but the second that I walk outside the full effects of the humidity are felt immediately and all of my hard work was for nothing. So today I’m going to try something different that I’ve been experimenting with recently. I saw a few videos on protective styling and the one that caught my eye was a quick and easy two strand flat twist.

Now I’m not going to post a video of how I do it because I honestly don’t think that mine comes out that hot but I follow a similar style that YouTuber LongHairDontCareLLC uses in her video:

Word to the wise, the end results are only going to look nice if you have your hair in a stretched state. My hair is not stretched, I actually had it in an afro yesterday so it is anything but stretched. So this style on me is a little bit puffy, not great but it gets the job done. I completed this style using Naturalista Cosmetics Juicy Leave In that I got in my CurlKit yesterday. It sort of smells like vanilla birthday cake, which I have no problem with and the texture reminds me of a thick, whipped frosting. Sorry, but that’s the best way that I can describe it.

I also decided to seal my ends with a little of the Ampro Vitamin E Oil since I now have a huge 6 oz bottle to play with. I was expecting a little bit of a smell to come with this and it gives off a light, fruity scent. After looking at the ingredients grape seed is indeed there on the list. I didn’t use too much, just about a quarter size amount since my ends are going to be tucked away anyway. Tip: Try doing this at night and wrapping your hair with a scarf. The scarf will help to reduce the visible frizz and give it a more polished look. Side view because I have a big forehead:

Attempt #1

Attempt #1.

Now that Spring humidity is back with a vengeance  it looks like I have to start experimenting more with protective styling to keep my puff in place.