Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Life of a Curly

I was procrastinating on Buzzfeed yesterday and saw this post and just had to share! I think a lot of it will right true with you guys.  I'm off to search the internet for those "Don't Touch My Hair" earrings!

Today's Tidbits:
I'm going to start adding a little section to the end of some posts called Today's Tidbits. I'm just going to post some things that I've been up to or things that are on my mind that have nothing to do with the post topic.
  • I got a new perfume for an early Valentine's gift that I'm loving! It's Gucci II and it's my new favorite. It smells spicy yet fruity with some subtle florals like jasmine. Heavenly!
  • Don't worry, the My Hair Routine posts will continue. Up next is my Honorable Mention products and then I'm going to do a post about styling tools (towels, brushes combs, dryer, diffuser, etc!)
  • My apartment dryer has a timer on it that is supposed to be accurate, but it always reaches a point where it is supposed to be done but detects that the clothes are still damp so it keeps going and going. I swear the dryer has been running for around an hour and a half when it originally said it would be done in 56 minutes. Normally I wouldn't care, but I told myself I would wait until the clothes were done to eat lunch. I mean, I've made it this far. I may as well uphold the commitment right?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Hair Routine Part 3: Styling

My Hair Routine Series
Part 1: Cleansing
Part 2: Conditioning
Part 3: Styling
Part 4: Honorable Mention Products
Part 5: Styling Tools

Remember when I told you guys that I've managed to calm my "product junkie" ways? Well, as you can tell from my Part 2: Conditioning approach, I clearly haven't stopped looking for that one stand alone conditioner. Maybe I will find it, maybe I won't.

But styling products! I've hit my stride here in the last year or so. I haven't bought a new styling product in months, just repurchased what I had used up. I've been wanting to try one new styler, but I'll get to that later.

The Leave In: Kinky Curly Knot Today or Curl Junkie Beauticurls Leave In

Kinky Curly is a curly girl stand by. This leave in melts away any tangles and provides what for me feels like a clean slate for my products. I don't like to skip a leave in, as I think it helps me with getting product evenly distributed. I do not use this leave in for moisture. I think that the majority of my tender love and care for my hair comes in the shower or in overnight deep treatments. The leave in is my base. That's where this leave in excels.  It doesn't weigh my fine hair down, and it doesn't have a cloying scent that will clash with other products and perfume. This product is completely Curly Girl method approved and is an old standby. The best part about it is that it's now super easy to find. Years ago, you could only get it online, but now it's hit Targets, Walgreeens, Walmarts, Ultas, and everywhere in between. I do not find their store locator service on their website to be reliable, however, as I have found it in many places that aren't listed there. So just be aware that if you use that feature, don't give up hope if you don't get any nearby results.

Another great option comes from Curl Junkie, another Curly Girl friendly line. This one has to be purchased online.  This is the leave in I use when I want extra moisture.  I definitely lean more heavily on this during the winter when I find that my hair is drier overall. This has a thicker consistency and feels more nourishing than the Kinky Curly. It still doesn't weigh my hair down though and gives me that clean slate that I'm looking for. I find that Curl Junkie scents are definitely "there" so to speak, but they aren't the sort that will hang around all day and give you a headache.

You Need This: Suave Captivating Curls Whipped Cream Mousse

If I had better photoshop skills, I would make draw fireworks, sparkles, and hearts around this bottle. This is my holy grail hair product. 

This is such a weird product! First of all, it's a mousse. But it's not a mousse.  It doesn't puff up into a baseball sized ball of air when you dispense it, but you do still dispense it upside down into your hands like you would with any other mousse.  

You apply this differently than a traditional mousse. This, according to the bottle and conventional curly girl wisdom, goes into soaking wet hair. What I do is I take about a strawberry sized glob, rub my hands together, and rake that through my hair.  I then use the "super soaker" method, which amounts to parting my hair, then scrunching in water to get my hair soaking wet again, which clumps together the curls.  Then, with the hair still dripping, I scrunch in about half of a strawberry worth of mousse throughout. This upward scrunching motion makes those clumps into coils.

After that, if it's not super dry outside, I scrunch using my Curls Like Us towel or an old cotton t-shirt to get some of the water out of my hair.  If it's super dry outside (which I determine by looking at the dew point), then I scrunch in a dab of gel before the towel scrunching. I find that I only need the gel when it's super dry to help hold my curl. When there's moisture in the air, my hair will do it's own curling.

Why do I love this so much? This defines my curls like no other. It's not heavy, but it tames frizz. It takes my hair and makes it effortless. I will buy this in mass quantity as long as Suave keeps making it.

Here's my one little spot where I have to admit I'm curious about a new styler though. Tressemme has a relatively new product out called Flawless Curls Mousse, which is getting rave reviews. With my drawer full of my Suave mousse, I will likely give the Tressemme candidate a try when I see it in my grocery store. But I have very high expectations! I'll keep you guys posted.

So here is my hair, styled using the products and techniques mentioned above.  It's not perfect. I think that's a big part of getting over the product junkie hurdle. I've accepted that my hair will never be absolutely perfect. But this is what it looks like every day. And I'm very happy with that, and feel that it's the way I was supposed to look.

My next post is going to be a Part 3a if you will. I'm going to go through an "honorable mention" list of styling products. These will products that aren't in my everyday must have routine, but they are useful and I do think they deserve mention.

Have you tried any of these products? What do you think of them?

My Hair Routine Series

Monday, January 21, 2013

My Hair Routine Part 2: Conditioning!

My Hair Routine Series
Part 1: Cleansing
Part 2: Conditioning
Part 3: Styling
Part 4: Honorable Mention Products
Part 5: Styling Tools

My friends know that once you get me started talking about conditioners, you are in for an ear full! I have tried well over 100 conditioners. Some I love, some not so much, and some I don't even remember how I felt about it! That's the real sign of a product junkie right there...when you are in a store and think to yourself, "Man, I know I've used this before. But I don't know what I thought about it!" I cannot claim to have found the holy grail conditioner for me just yet. I have learned a lot about what my hair likes and what it doesn't like, though, and that helps me when I'm thinking about trying something new.

The conditioners featured in this post are my stand-bys. I know that they will work. I know I love them. But each one has one or two things I wish were different.  You'll see what I mean. So while these are definitely favorites, my search for the absolute perfect conditioner for me continues!  

I'm going to break with the usual here and not break this down based on "regular" conditioners and "deep" conditioners. I find that my hair is dry enough that I can use a so-called "deep" conditioner treatment every day without any weighing down, but sometimes what someone else calls a "regular" conditioner will be way too heavy and leave my hair very sad and limp.  A good example is that the first conditioner up, Joico K-Pak Intense Hydrator, would generally be considered a "deep" treatment. I can use it every day though. However, many curlies loves GVP Conditioning Balm from Sally's. That's too much for every day for me. 

These aren't listed in any particular order. I'm really just listing the contents of my shower caddy from left to right!

A note for those strictly following the Curly Girl Method: only two of these conditioners are CG friendly. I will list them last for clarity.  The rest contain silicone. I use a shampoo more often then not, so this isn't a problem for me, but if you are only conditioner washing, you will want to skip to the last two.

The Budget Buster: Joico Intense Hydrator

My hair is super duper fine and dry! I have learned that my hair adores protein in mass quantity (how to tell if a conditioner has protein? Look for ingredients like keratin or amino acids).  However, protein conditioners tend not to be the most moisturizing formulas.  It's like a see-saw; protein levels go up and the moisture content goes down.

This conditioner is a happy exception to that rule.  This is a very thick formula. It won't go anywhere if you have a blob on your hand and you turn your hand upside down. It smells fruity to my nose. Almost tropical. 

What I love: this gives me a punch of protein that leaves my hair quite bouncy and happy while delivering serious moisture. A perfect blend of both worlds for me.  The scent is nice but doesn't linger.  The "slip" (how easily it glides through your hair) is unreal. My minimal tangles melt away using this.

What I don't love: the price. I try to find this at TJMaxx or Marshall's. Generally there it's around $12 for the pictured size. However, at Ulta, this will run you $18.  And I need a good bit of it, even for my just past shoulder length hair. So I need to repurchase pretty often (once every 2 months or so). So for my budget, this isn't a practical every day conditioner for me.

The Penny Pincher: Suave Damage Care
Suave has really upped their game in recent years in my opinion. I love a lot of their products for styling, and this conditioner is fabulous.  

This conditioner has protein in it, which my hair loves.  It is not a thick conditioner to me.  This will slip around on your palms.  It has

What I love: The price! Under $2 at Walmart, and I can generally find a Suave coupon to get a free bottle or two. This is easy to stock up on, and you never feel guilty using bunches of it. Like the Joico, this has protein but also doesn't leave my hair feeling dry. The scent is strong and I do find that it lingers if I don't really scrub at my scalp to get all the conditioner out in the shower. I don't mind the scent though,

What I don't love: There just isn't enough moisture in this one for me. It doesn't leave my hair feeling dry, like I said, but if I use this and only this for a few weeks, then I start to notice some extra frizzies and dryness at my ends.  This is a fabulous "every day" conditioner so long as I have something more moisturizing to supplement. Sometimes, this product is hard to find because it seems that others in my area love this conditioner too. When it's out of stock, I will buy the humectant moisture conditioner as a substitute. I don't like the smell of that one as much, but I find it performs much the same.

The Drugstore Moisture Machine: L'Oreal EverPure Moisture Deep Restorative Masque
What a mouthful! I do not like the rest of the EverPure line. I find most of their products have awful scents that are way too overpowering, and I do not like the cleansing products one bit, as they seem to simultaneously dry out my hair while leaving a greasy residue. 

However, this product is the one exception. It is fragranced with a lighter peppermint scent which lingers a bit but I only notice it in my hair if I grab a strand and sniff it purposefully.  

What I love: This is a very thick formula that you scoop out of a jar.  It has great slip, smells spa-like, and leaves my hair feeling very moisturized without weighing it down.  It is reasonably priced and easy to find at the drugstore.

What I don't love: The packaging is annoying. I don't like jar type packaging in the shower because I feel like I always get water in there and that isn't the most sanitary.  I wish it had more natural ingredients and that L'oreal wasn't making it (I don't love their company practices) but I can't argue with the way my hair feels when using this.

Best Scent from the Drugstore: Aussie 3 Minute Moisture

I think most women have tried this conditioner at one point or another, so I won't go into detail about it. It's a good staple in my collection, and I rotate it in about once a week.  It smells fabulous to my nose, and I like the moisture content.

What I love: It's cheap, readily available, smells good, gives good slip and moisture

What I don't love: I find that I need to use a harsher shampoo with this or else I get buildup.  So it can't be an everyday conditioner for me, unfortunately.

The Best Smelling Conditioner: Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner

Please tell me that I'm not the only one who has gone back to a certain conditioner over and over mostly for the smell?  This stuff smells like happiness, joy, and world peace.

As far as I know, this is only available online.  It's a bit pricey at $20 for 16oz plus shipping, but like I said, it smells like joy. You can't put a price on that!

This is something that I treat myself to every fall/winter.  Obviously, pumpkin isn't a scent for summer, but man is it perfect in October!  The conditioner itself has good slip and delivers nice moisture content. This conditioner is CG friendly.

What I love: Obviously, the scent. The slip is good, and the packaging is nice.  This is just such a great seasonal product.

What I don't love: It's seasonal.  I can't use this year round because that would be odd to smell like pumpkin pie in June.  I also wish it were available on the ground.  My old biggest complaint was that it only came in 8oz bottles, but thankfully they have remedied that!

The Best All Around: Spiral Solutions

This was a brand that was started on by a forum member who started concocting things from home. I love every single thing from this line that I have tried. The Caitlin's conditioner is amazing, the Deeply Decadent is the perfect deep treatment, and I never get bouncier curls than when I use the Curl Enhancing Jelly. All the products are CG friendly.

What I don't love: It's never available.  I think the demand got to be a bit overwhelming, so I'm not even sure whether I should include this line in this post because I'm not sure if it will ever be available again. But the products are listed on Curl Mart so hopefully someday they will come back. And hopefully I will have a good salary. The products aren't cheap, but given all of the work that goes into this endeavor, I will gladly pay the prices. I just want them to come back in stock 

That rounds out my regulars! Are there any conditioners you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comments section!

My Hair Routine Series
Part 1: Cleansing
Part 2: Conditioning
Part 3: Styling
Part 4: Honorable Mention Products
Part 5: Styling Tools

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Hair Routine Part 1: Cleansing

My Hair Routine Series
Part 1: Cleansing
Part 2: Conditioning
Part 3: Styling
Part 4: Honorable Mention Products
Part 5: Styling Tools

What do you wash your hair with?

Such a simple question. But curlies know, this short sentence hides a whole philosophical debate!  Maybe you are a true curly girl and use conditioner to cleanse because you don't use products that build up and all you need is a gentle conditioner wash. Maybe you use something a bit harsher like a no-sulfate or low-sulfate shampoo because you like some silicones in your products. Or maybe you like the full lather you get from sodium lauryl sulfate shampoos and the freedom to use anything you want, since it's all being removed by your sudsy shampoo. I've found that generally those who use traditional sulfate shampoos judge those who cowash, thinking their hair must be gross and greasy (not true of course!). Those who co wash sometimes have a hard time understanding how someone can like a sulfate shampoo, remembering how stripped and dry it made their hair.

Well, even though I used true CG conditioner washing for a long while with great success, I've fallen off that bandwagon and I'm ok with it!  I still pull out my cowash every so often (Suave Tropical Coconut of course) and give myself a good long scalp massage. I can't do this everyday because my holy grail hair product has silicone. But it's nice when my hair feels extra dry to give it a conditioner wash.

Most days, however, I use a sulfate-free shampoo. I alternate between the more gentle Organix Coconut Milk shampoo and the slightly more stripping (but still gentle!) Joico Moisture Recovery shampoo.  I have an oily scalp that combos with dry, fine hair. My goals are always to get my hair clean without drying it out more but getting rid of any weight from products. So sometimes I feel I need a little more elbow grease than others. Sometimes I just pick which one smells the best (the Joico to my nose). Sometimes I know my hair wants protein (more on this topic in a later post) so Joico wins that one.

I haven't used a sodium lauryl sulfate shampoo in years. So I can't offer any suggestions there, although I know many of my friends use the Herbal Essences Hydralicious line and love it. Can't vouch for it myself, as I find that my other cleansing products get rid of any buildup without needing to resort to that level of cleansing agents.

What are you all using to cleanse? I don't switch up products much so I'd love to hear your recommendations for sulfate free products!

Products mentioned in this post:
Suave Tropical Coconut Conditioner
Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo
Joico Moisture Recovery Shampoo

My Hair Routine Series
Part 1: Cleansing
Part 2: Conditioning
Part 3: Styling
Part 4: Honorable Mention Products
Part 5: Styling Tools