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).

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Over-Conditioning: What is It and How to Fix it!

Hi curlies!

I got a great question on another blog post asking about over-conditioning.  Daphna asked
I am wondering about hair being overmoisturized. Is there any way to prevent that? And is it something only fine-haired curlies need to worry about, or can it happen to anyone, regardless of hair qualities?
 Sometimes I feel like my hair is so dry all the time that it cannot be possible to overcondition it.  But a few years ago, I started experiencing the tell tale signs of over-conditioning (or over-moisturizing) and I had to learn how to correct for it.

The Symptoms
1) Hair feels very soft. Like abnormally soft. Too soft
2) Hair feels squishy/fluffy
3) Hair is uncharacteristically limp and lifeless
4) When you perform a strand test (take a couple strands of shed hair and hold the ends with your finger tips of one hand, then lightly tug and release the ends with your other fingers), the hair simply stretches without bouncing back to its original position

The Fix
Luckily, the fix is really simple.  You need more protein.

Hair needs both protein and moisture.  Fine haired curlies need more protein than coarse haired curlies.  This is because of the structure of the individual strands of hair.  Coarse hair has something called an inner medula which fine hair lacks.  With fine hair, you have a cuticle (made up of shingle like structures) that forms the outside of the strand and an inner cortex.  With coarse hair, you also have the cuticle and cortex, but there is a third distinct layer of the hair called medulla.  With fine hair, protein will help plump up the inner structure of the hair where the medulla is missing.  With coarse hair, you need much less protein because there is already something in the center of the hair strand.  So while every curly (and really anyone with hair!) should strive to achieve a balance of protein and moisture, fine haired curlies are starting out needing more protein than coarse haired curlies, and thus fine haired curlies are more prone to pushing the moisture-protein balance too far to the moisture side.

To fix your over-moisturized hair, you should give yourself a protein treatment!  Nexxus Emergencee is great for a huge boost of protein quickly and you can find it at most drugstores or on Amazon (note: if you're looking in the drug store, it's usually packaged in a box, so look for a small, boxed product usually on the bottom shelf)

 Once you've given yourself a big boost with a protein treatment, you should consider adding in protein as part of your regular routine until you get your hair well balanced.

Protein Heavy Conditioners
  • Aphogee Two Minute Keratin Reconstructor (available at Sally's Beauty Supply or on Amazon)
  • Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner (available at Whole Foods, some organic sections, or on Amazon) (fair warning, this conditioner is very strongly scented. It's not an unpleasant scent, but just be aware if you're sensitive to fragrance).
  • Curl Junkie Beauticurls Strengthening Hair Conditioner (available from or on Amazon)
  • It's a 10 Keratin (note: not CG; available at Ulta, many drugstores, and on Amazon)

Protein-Light Conditioners
  • Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Conditioner (available at Trader Joe's)
  • Nature's Gate Hemp Conditioner (available in various organic sections or on Amazon)
  • Vo5 Conditioners (available at many drugstores, look for the Strawberry Smoothie variety for an amazing scent!)
  • Mop Top Daily Conditioner (available on Amazon and from some specialty retailers)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: DevaCurl Ulta Defining Gel

Hello curlies!

I've got a review of a relatively new DevaCurl product. DevaCurl is a company that makes higher end sulfate free and silicone free products with curly hair in mind. Their founder, Lorraine Massey, wrote a really influential book on curly hair care, Curly Girl. In 2011, she followed it up with Curly Girl: The Handbook. Even though pretty much all of the info in those books can be found online, I still think they're worthwhile reads!

Anyway, so in years past, the Deva line included two gels: Deva Angel and Deva ArcAngel. Angel was the lighthold gel, and ArcAngel was a stronger hold. ArcAngel stayed ArcAngel, but Angel became DevaCurl Light Defining Gel.  Then, DevaCurl added a gel with intermediate hold in between these two.  The intermediate holding gel is the DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel. Got all that?

I had tried Angel and ArcAngel in the past. I remember feeling that Angel did not have enough hold for me, and ArcAngel made my hair too stringy.  So with their light hold gel not being enough and their hard hold maybe being a bit too much, I thought, hey, this intermediate gel sounds pretty promising.

Front of the Bottle

Ingredients (you can click to enlarge!)

The packaging is just like almost every other DevaCurl product: green with swirls. Make sure to check that you're looking at the Ultra Defining Gel if you're interested in this level of hold in particular. It would be easy to grab the wrong bottle!

The gel is Curly Girl method friendly, meaning there are no silicones (or sulfates).  It's a water-based gel but it has a lot of glycerin, so you might want to save this for spring/summer/fall if you live in a particularly dry winter climate (dew points regularly below 20).  You can read all about why I say that here!

The important thing to note about the ingredients is that this does have a hefty amount of protein.  If you have coarse hair, you might want to be wary of this product unless you're confident that your hair likes some protein.  If you have fine hair like me though, this is nothing but good news!  Fine hair generally takes protein very well.

This gel is scented, but I find it to be a very pleasant scent and it does not linger on me.

Here is what the gel looks like.  You can really see that water base when it sits in my hand and warms up for a few seconds.  Obviously, it's a clear gel with some body to it, but it easily spreads across your hands, which is important to me because I want a gel to be able to spread easily across my wet hair strands to get even distribution.

I applied this gel using the Squish to Condish method, where I get my hair super saturated with conditioner and water, then scrunch in a gel to this sopping wet hair while still in the shower.  I found that it distributed really well. 

Here are the results.  I love the shine that this gives me.

I was really happy with how this turned out.  So were there any negatives?

My one possible complaint is that by the end of the day, I did have a tiny bit of surface frizz.  I could pretty easily smooth it down with some water/conditioner, though.  So if you're prone to your curl tightness failing throughout the day, you might want to try something with more hold.

One issue I have with this product is the claim from the Deva website that "As it dries, Ultra Defining Gel forms a moisture-protective cast to enhance curls."  I did not find this to be the case.  If I read that a product is going to form a cast over my curls, I expect a true crunchy cast that I need to scrunch to release.  This gel didn't do this to me (at least in the nickle sized amounts I've been using).  It did have a noticeable hold, but it wasn't like Kinky Curly Curling Custard level of cast-formation. So that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your own personal preferences.

All in all, I'm happy with this gel and I'll keep it in my rotation.  Check it out on Amazon, which usually has it for around $2-4 less than in stores.