Thursday, March 17, 2016

Life After the Dorm Room

Hello all!

Well, as the title suggests, every Dorm Room Curly must leave her dorm room eventually.  I wanted to give everyone an update on the status of this blog, my life, and most importantly what comes next after the dorm room (hint: there is a new blog in town...).

To start, 2015 was a huge year for me!  I graduated law school, studied for the bar exam, got married, moved to a new city, started a new job, and found out that passed the bar!  It was a truly wonderful and exhausting year.

That brings us to 2016.  I am now out in the real world (gulp) working a real world job (gulp).  My biggest task down is, unfortunately, to pay down my real world student loan debt.

Student loan debt is something that more and more graduates find themselves facing after they leave their own dorm rooms.  After talking with my friends from all walks of life, I've come to the conclusion that there is not a sufficient dialogue about student loan debt.

Personal finance has always been a taboo topic among friends.  We update our social media with pictures, tweets, and pins often, but we never talk about the real issues that we are facing financially.  I don't know how in debt my friends are.  While I don't particularly want to know the exact numbers we are all facing, I think we are missing out on a chance to help each other.  We should be able to discuss questions like, "When is it a good idea to refinance loans?" "How do you budget to accomodate your loan debt?" "How in the world do you balance saving for an emergency, a home, a family, or retirement when you have student loan debt?"

I've decided I want to be a part of opening this dialogue.  I have created a new blog to do this.  It is called Big Law, Big Debt.  I have a couple of posts there so far, but it is still very much new to the world.

On Big Law, Big Debt, I will be talking about my finances like an open book.  I want to share exactly how much debt I've got (go ahead, look now, it's already there!).  I want to share how I'm managing repayment.

Here are some posts that I've got planned for the near future:

  • My budget.  Including my income, my expenses, and my goals
  • Saving.  First, how do you do it? I mean really do it.  Second, how do you know how much to save and where to save it?  
  • Compulsive spending.  Look at this blog! I'm a hair product junkie!  How do you control spending?  How can you balance your own happiness with your financial goals?
  • Retirement.  It's so far away, and most of us aren't saving for it.  I want to talk about why you have to make room for it, and share my strategies that I've been using so far
  • Investing.  My parents were poor.  I knew nothing about investing.  I have learned so much in the past few months and I'm bursting to share.
  • Frugal shopping tips.  We've all heard of coupons, but they are way too much work.  What else can you do to trim some expenses?
  • Where are the biggest money leaks in your budget?  How do you even figure that out? And most importantly, how do you plug those leaks?
  • Taxes! All of the basics, and some of the more advanced (my husband is a tax attorney.  We've got tips coming out of our ears for these posts)
So, Curlies, I hope that you'll consider joining me over at Big Law Big Debt.  I'm really excited about this project, and I think it could genuinely help a lot of people.  I like to think that I've helped some of you figure out your hair.  Maybe I can help some of you figure out finances too.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Two for One Sulfate-Free Shampoo Review! Dermorganic Daily Conditioning Shampoo versus It's a 10 Miracle Shampoo Plus Keratin

Hi curlies!

I've got a two-for-one review for you guys since it's been a while.  As regular readers know, I wish I could follow the true Curly Girl method (washing your hair with conditioner) but with my wavy hair, I just need something more clarifying than conditioner alone on a regular basis to avoid buid-up and limp hair.  So I am a really big fan of sulfate free shampoos, which are much more gentle than shampoos with sodium lauryl sulfate even if they aren't as gentle as pure conditioner washing.

I am always looking for different shampoos.  It's just a product that I rotate through really quickly because I get bored!  Unlike say my Suave Captivating Mousse product that I use basically every day, I'm always searching for that holy grail sulfate free shampoo.

DermOrganic Daily Conditioning Shampoo

I purchased this back in January, so I'm really familiar with it at this point.  This shampoo has a really cool claim: it's made with facial cleansers.  Here is the full ingredient list straight from the DermOrganic site:
Aqua/Eau/Water, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Methyl Gluceth-20, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Rice Amino Acids, PCA, Panthenol B5, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Glycereth-2 Cocoate/Benzoic Acid, Parfum/Fragrance
As you can see, the main cleansers here are a glutamate and glucoside.  Both of those ingredients are derived from coconut oil and are very gentle cleansers.  Other ingredients of note: there is some argan oil and sunflower seed extract which are calming and moisturizing ingredients.  There is also a tiny bit of protein from the rice amino acids, but that is a very gentle protein ingredient so even if you're not a big fan of protein, I don't think that would bug you too much if at all. There is also added fragrance, but I'll talk more about that in just a second.

This shampoo is a very thick white cream.  One of my complaints about this product is how little each pump of the bottle produces.  The amount shown below is three full pumps! I don't have long hair or even very thick hair, but it still takes me a good 6 pumps.  I could definitely see this being something you go through like water if you have long or thick hair.

The scent is a little old lady to my nose.  It reminds me of Burt's Bees oddly enough.  I would definitely recommend getting to an Ulta to give this product a sniff test because I could see this being a love it or hate it smell.  I do not find it unpleasant; just unusual.  I don't find that it lingers on my hair through the day.

It works through your hair very easily.  I love the slip with this shampoo.  It does not feel at all stripping or drying on my hair.  It rinses clean. 

One thing that is really distinctive about this shampoo is how much it lathers.  It really does work up a very impressive lather for a sulfate-free shampoo.  Lather doesn't actually give you any indication of how much cleaning is happening, but it does make for a satisfied feeling!

The price is OK with this product in terms of "sticker shock" for a nice sulfate free shampoo at $16 at Ulta for 12 oz or $21.50 on Amazon for 33.8 oz (by far the best deal I've found on this product).  But as I noted above, if you have long or very thick hair, you might go through it quickly.

Overall thoughts: I quite like this shampoo.  I find it has a great lather, rinses clean, and feels good in the hair.  Because I do use some silicone products, I sometimes find that I need something a little more clarifying than this, but I'm definitely going to keep it in my rotation for a while.  Amazon has the best value, but do go check it out in person if you can because the scent could be a love it or hate it thing!

Phew! Had enough yet? I hope not!

It's a 10 Miracle Shampoo Plus Keratin Sulfate Free

Round two, ding ding!

I picked this up in February because as I said above, I felt that I wanted something a little more cleansing to rotate with the DermOrganic shampoo.  I love the It's a 10 Miracle Leave In (oddly, I like the normal version much better than the keratin version!) and I had heard good things about this shampoo from a few people, so I bit the bullet.

Here are the ingredients:
Water, Sodium C14 16 Olefin Sulfonate, Lauramide DEA, Isopropylamine Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Glycol Stearate, PEG 150 Distearate, Polyquaternium 11, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG Propyl Silanetriol, Panthenol, PPG 2 Hydroxyethyl Cocamide, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Simondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus Seed Extract, Butylene Glycol, Sulfated Castor Oil, Propylene Glycol, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, PEG 12 Oleate, Fragrance, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Chloride, Yellow 6 (CI 15985), Red 33 (CI 17200), DMDM Hydantoin, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Phosphoric Acid, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool
As you can see, this shampoo has quite a bit more to it than the DermOrganic.  We start off with two sulfonate cleansers, which are related to but more gentle than sulfates.  High up there in the list you'll see some hydrolyzed vegetable protein, so you know that this shampoo is going to pack much more of a protein punch than the DermOrganic.  But funny enough, the keratin protein that gives the shampoo its name is farther down the list (meaning there is less of it).  But that's ok because even landing in the middle of the list, there is still a significant amount of that particular protein.  I love keratin as an ingredient, since it's a part of your hair's natural structure.  I find it to be a very gentle protein that really perks up my hair.  I do wish the company could find a way to eliminate the artificial coloring (yellow 6 and red 33).  I just don't think they add anything.  I was excited to see jojoba in this ingredients list as well, which is a light oil that has lovely moisturizing properties (great for dry skin!).

Alright, enough science.

This shampoo is pretty transparent, whereas the DermOrganic was totally opaque.  This tells me that this cleanser is a little bit stronger (think about the standard "clarifying" shampoo; they are always clear!).  It's still very thick though.

I like the packaging here much better.  The amount in my hands is 3 pumps again (compare with the DermOrganic) and I find that's plenty for my hair.

This shampoo has a bit less slip to it, but I find it's still quite easy to work in through my hair and scalp. This one rinses very clean.  I really love the way that my hair feels after using this.  The scent is more pleasant to my nose.  A bit perfumey, but not in an old lady way.

This product is more expensive per oz than the DermOrganic.  The 10oz bottle is $22.96 at Ulta and around $17 on Amazon for 10oz and around $34 for 33.8oz (I've found the price on this product on Amazon varies more than the DermOrganic does, probably due to its popularity).  However, I do feel like I'm going through it more slowly than the DermOrganic.  It seems to take less to coat my hair and scalp.

Overall thoughts:  I really love this stuff.  I think it's a bit pricey, but it's very effective at cleansing and leaves my hair feeling very soft and perked up due to the high protein content.  This wouldn't be a good choice if you have very coarse hair though.  But if you have fine hair like mine, you're doing yourself a disservice if you haven't given this a try yet!

If I had to keep just one: It would be the It's a 10.  Even though it is a bit more pricey than the DermOrganic, I like that it really cleanses well, smells pleasant, and leaves my hair feeling soft and full of body thanks to the protein.  The DermOrganic would be a phenomenal choice for coarse haired curlies, but if you have fine hair, I'd go with the It's a 10.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Rave! Adorable, Affordable Hair Ties that Are Truly Gentle and Crimp-Free!

Hi Curlies!

I hate when I take a pony tail out of my hair and 14 hairs come out with it.  Not to mention the kink that hair ties inevitably leave me with.  And most hair ties are so boring that I end up covering them up with a strand of my own hair anyway.

Well, I was browsing Etsy a few weeks ago and I came across the seller LuckyGirlHairTies.  I was intrigued by the really cute designs and the claim that these were some of the most gentle hair ties around, so I decided to place an order.

Here's my hair tie haul.  I did a pick your own package and I also grabbed this package because it was so pretty.


They are made out of a grippy-ribbon elastic.  The seller heat seals the ends to prevent fraying, which I hope means that these will last a good while.  They are also hand-washable (air dry!) so if they need a freshening up, it's easy to do with some gentle detergent.

My main concern was that I have very thin, fine hair.  My pony tail is about the size of nickel in diameter, so I was worried that these would be so big that I'd have to wrap them 8 times to get any hold.  Well, I'm happy to report that I only need 3 wraps for the ties to securely hold my hair.  But as you can see in the photos below, these are very stretchy and could easily accommodate a much larger pony tail than mine!

Stretched. I could have stretched more, but I was also trying to take a picture!
But even after stretching them a ton, they snap right back to normal
Overall, I'm super thrilled with these adorable hair ties.  I definitely find less hairs being tugged out with these compared with normal elastics. I've used them to create messy buns to sleep in and I've worn them out and about.  I think my next order is going to be the massive 50 hair tie package, because I think it's a great deal for a quality, cute product!

Update! Here's what one of them (the silver sparkly one!) looks like in a curly pony tail on me.  I does make the pony tail stick out a bit, but not too much, and I think having curls lessens that effect).