Curls Unleashed Shea Butter and Honey Curl Defining Creme

The natural hair snob is humbled by a product she never thought she'd try...

I'm a snob. Well Only when it comes to my hair. I'm definitely the girl that can stand in the beauty aisle for an hour reading every single product's ingredient label, checking my phone for reviews, smell testing, texture testing, etc. It's a bit of the problem.

After a six month long no buy during which I vowed to use up my embarrassingly large product stash I looked in my bathroom cabinet to discover I had no styling products. THE HORROR! I need a fix and fast so I decided to go to Wal-Mart. Again, THE HORROR (I'm a Target girl). With low expectations I went to the "ethnic beauty" section (more on that later) and started my usual routine. I read, and tested, and analyzed, and finally decided that for the price of just under ten dollars, the Curls Unleashed Shea Butter and Honey Curl Defining Creme would do.

Maybe it's because I wasn't expecting much but this product really blew me away. My initial choice was based on those first five ingredients that I'm always obsessing about (the first five being the ingredients used in the largest quantities in the product and thus the most effective.); water, coconut oil, shea butter, and soybean oil were all right there. Color me impressed. But still, I was cautious. I mean this was a five dollar product.

Using this creme left my hair soft, fluffy and moisturized. The fro was definitely on point. After using it to install some mini twists I had seriously juicy and well moisturized twists. At this point I was sold. The Curls Unleashed Shea Butter & Honey Curl Defining Creme (that's a mouthful) will definitely have a permanent home in my stash. I honestly feel like I've hit the proverbial jackpot in this affordable product especially for the price point.

Have you tried the ORS Curls Unleashed Shea Butter & Honey Curl Defining Creme? What are your thoughts?

Holy Grail Status | Especially Hair Moisture Foundation Masque

If there's one thing I love, it's a GOOD deep conditioner.

I could talk about deep conditioners all damn day. Literally. My favorite deep conditioners, DIY Deep Conditioners, the worst deep conditioners... All damn day. I'm like the Bubba Gump of deep conditioners. That being said I have found a product that I am absolutely in LOVE with. 

This stuff has changed my life. Okay, maybe not my life. Maybe just my hair.

This stuff has changed my life. Okay, maybe not my life. Maybe just my hair.

A representative from Especially Hair reached out to me and after checking out the website I was halfway sold on the product (I'm a sucker for a good web design, product marketing, and good packaging). First of all, let's talk about how this is black owned company. That alone gives me life. The product line was inspired by a young woman's need for hair care products to use after swimming. You all know the struggle of post- swim hair and preventing dryness and chlorine damage can be difficult.

While I haven't been doing much swimming this year I have been trying to combat dryness with every wash day. When I finally tried the Especially Hair Moisture Foundation Deep Conditioner I was in desperate need of an intensive conditioning treatment. Looking at the ingredients of this product automatically made me happy: the first five ingredients encourage the highest level of moisture and health for your dry or damaged hair. Glycerin and water are holy grail moisturizers and glycerin encourages ongoing moisture. The jojoba oil encourages a healthy scalp and hair growth as it mimics the sebum that our bodies naturally produce  and the avocado oil leaves your hair extra soft and touchable. Lastly we have the natural hair superstar: apple cider vinegar which revived my curls almost immediately and left them soft and bouncy. Are you in love yet?

The texture of this product is a little different from what you would expect in a deep conditioner: It's not super creamy or heavy. In fact quite the opposite, the Moisture Foundation Masque is light and and slippery. This makes detangling an absolute breeze and the product doesn't sit on top of your hair and weigh it down after it's been rinsed out. After using the Moisture Foundation I didn't need to use a regular conditioner and my hair was soft and light. I especially loved that this didn't leave and product residue and my hair still felt CLEAN after using it.

My only con I have about this product is the price. At thirty two dollars it is quite expensive when compared to other deep treatments. That being said, I plan on buying this product and the Enhance Daily Conditioner by Especially Hair very soon.

Black Owned Business Spotlight | Caribbean Secrets Curly Creme Conditioner

Because we should not only celebrate, but also patronize, black owned businesses.

I always marvel at young black entrepreneurs: the sheer determination it takes to start your own business simply astounds me. Furthermore, as an aspiring entrepreneur who also happens to be black, one can face a multitude of obstacles. Which is why I was absolutely delighted when I was contacted by Pierre of Caribbean Secrets to try out their Curly Creme Conditioner.

Caribbean Secrets was started by Calvin (also known as Pierre) about three years ago while attending Howard University. Calvin saw that so many young black men and women were skin and hair obsessed and saw the need for an awesome product that we could use to care for hair and skin needs.

The Caribbean Secrets Curly Creme Conditioner was created specifically for natural hair and I have to say it is amazing. The first impression that I had was the wonderful but not over powering smell. You guys know that I'm not a fan of strong or artificial scents and this product has neither of those attributes. The texture of the conditioner is thick and creamy which my hair immediately soaked up. I used this product as a co washing product and a regular conditioner after shampooing and in each capacity my hair loved it. Because of the creamy texture of this product I thought that it would cause extreme build up and greasiness but it did not. After using it as my co wash several times my hair was soft and light and did not have a bunch of gunk coming out of it after my shampoo the next. I thoroughly enjoy using this product and it comes highly recommended on my list. My only con is that the product does not have a ton of slip which I like for my conditioners to have so I can detangle.

To purchase this product check them out on amazon!

Ingredients:

Water

Raw Whole Flaxseed

Organic Coconut Oil

Shea Butter

Avocado Butter

Olive Oil 

Cranberry Seed Oil

Haitian Castor Oil

Organic Coconut Milk

Coconut Cream

Emulsifying Wax

DL-Pathenol (Provitamin B5)

Potassium Sorbate

Fragrance

 

Major Keys To Avoid Natural Hair Setbacks

Are you following DJ Khaled on snapchat? You should be.

I feel like I've heard this story so many times before. Girl (or boy goes natural), girl falls in love with hair, girl starts experimenting with some crazy styles and takes it a step too far, and then girl has to cut off all of her hair. Tears are usually involved. And then the cycle continues. Listen I'm the first one to tell you go out and be a hair ho and go ahead have fun with your hair; however, if your goal is length retention and health there are some ways to avoid natural hair setbacks.

1. Know Your Limits - Depending on your length or your hair's overall health, there are certain things that your hair just can't do. For example, as someone with about two inches of hair MAYBE a slicked back puff isn't for me. You see how I recognized my natural hair limitations? This saves me time, frustration, and inches.

2. Lay off the heat! Ugh I know. Everyone says no heat, no heat, no heat! Trust me, I'm not that girl. I love a silk press during the winter season as much as anyone else but I would suggest limiting direct heat to once a year. Many naturals like to use straighter styles to measure length. I would suggest combining your length check with your yearly flat ironing session. Now that we've talked about the much feared flat iron let's talk about it's evil side kick the blow dryer. This tool can cause just as much, if not more, damage as the flat iron. Naturals tend to feel safer using a blow dryer on high heat and with out any heat protectant. STOP DOING THAT! It's seriously the worst and will fry your hair with a quickness.

3. Get out of your head- Keep it simple and get your hands out of your hair. Your twist out doesn't need to be fresh every single day and a bun or low manipulation style is your best friend. Think of ways to stretch your styles: buns, puffs and even wash and gos are great low manipulation options for prolonging styles.

4. Protective Style with a plan - Naturalistas everywhere will tell you that protective styling is KEY but what they won't tell you is that long term protective styles can do more harm than good if your hair is not properly cared for. When I go into a long term style I like to have a plan: a start date, a take out date, and a hair care regimen that is easy to stick by. It sounds like much but having a plan of action keeps me on track for optimal length retention results. During my last protective style which lasted about 6 weeks I was able to grow and retain almost three quarters of an inch of hair which I mostly accredit to my regimen.

5. Learn from your mistakes. - When it comes to my natural hair, I've done everything wrong. And I do mean everything. I've over processed and I've had heat damage. I've over conditioned and suffered from protein over load. I've done the disastrous at home cut and I've kept my mouth shut in a stylist's chair when I should have spoken up. But guess what? I won't be making any of those mistakes (unknowingly) again. As it is in life, we have to learn from from the past in order to grow. Once you've had a setback, decide to see the lesson in it and be sure to remember it for the future.

So tell me about your natural hair setbacks. Have you had any? What did you learn from them? Sound off!

Until Next Time,

Joelle

Why My Natural Hair IS A Political Statement

I never considered my natural hair a political statement, until it was one.

After cutting off relaxed my hair in 2011 strange things started to happen. People started to ask me if I was fighting the power. Black men started calling me sista. People thought I was earthy. It was weird. I mean I love me some Erykah Badu (not that recent Twitter ridiculousness that she decided to bless us with last week) but I'm not that girl. Correction, I am that girl and I tuck it in because most people ain't ready. But still, I was a little confused as to why people were assuming that my hairstyle was some sort of revolt against society.

Around the same time, friends and acquaintances of the caucasian persuasion started to give me hair advice. They would see a happy, curly, whirly chica on TV and say "Oh you should wear your hair like that!" and I would have to explain to them that while I am happy my hair is neither whirly or curly so that would be a NO. They would try to hide their disappointment  and we would quickly change the subject.

These interactions sparked an interesting conversation within myself about what my natural hair meant to me AND to others. I started to realize that my hairstyle choices have an affect to those around me.  While I don't want to over emphasize the "importance" of my presence, I realize that it is crazy to see a black woman embracing her beauty and walking in confidence. So many black children have been conditioned to apologize for their looks: "Oh don't worry about this, my hair appointment is tomorrow" or "I can't go, my hair isn't done". Seeing so many black people enjoying and embracing their God given beauty is fairly new. When my (well meaning) white friends felt entitled to tell me how I should wear MY hair (that's a different conversation), they were unknowingly telling me that I was making them uncomfortable. They were quietly screaming, "Hey! Come back over to something we understand!" Which is crazy to me because "it's just hair".

Long story short, when I went natural it was not some political statement. My intent was never to join a revolution. But I did.

Natural Hair | Product Recommendations for High and Low Porosity

nowing your hair's porosity will help you greatly on your natural hair journey.

Before we get into product recommendations let's talk about porosity and why it matters.

Now that you know your porosity let's talk about products.

Product Guide for High Porosity

Product Guide for High Porosity

If you have high porosity hair, it is important to maintain a good moisture protein balance. This will keep your hair healthy and strong. Any product that smooths frizz is great for naturals with high porosity hair. 

Product Guide for Low Porosity Hair

Product Guide for Low Porosity Hair

Low porosity natural benefit greatly from the use of humectants that draw moisture into the hair and oils that penetrate the cuticle. If you have low porosity hair, look for products that will deeply moisturize and condition and contain emollients such as shea butter, coconut oil, or olive oil.

 

 

Natural Hair | Finding Confidence After the Big Chop

You finally took the leap and cut your hair.... But you've lost your confidence. Now What?

First of all, Congratulations! Whether you went straight for the big chop or were a long term transition, going completely natural can be tough. All of a sudden you have this new hair that you may have never seen before and it might not look like what you imagined. What's a new naturalists to do? Here are some tips for feeling confident with your new natural hair.

Finding Confidence After the Big Chop

Finding Confidence After the Big Chop

 

1. Accessories are a must. An easy way to amp up your natural hair look is to dress it up with fun, colorful, and bold accessories. This tip is especially great for those with short hair. A pair of long dangly earrings or a bold statement necklace add a gorgeous feminine touch to your new look.

2. Experiment With Bold Makeup. If you have a new short look this is the perfect time to play with makeup. Because your face is now str the forefront of your style you can really play with colors or techniques that you've never tried before. Try playing up your eyes or a bold red lip which makes every look glamorous.

3. Protective Style until you are more comfortable. If all else fails try some different styles until you feel more comfortable with your natural hair. Short haircuts can be intimidating and lack variety until they grow out. Protective styling is a great option for those who aren't completely comfortable with their natural hair. Braids and Twists are an awesome low maintenance style for those with little time to worry about styling everyday. If you are looking for a sleeker look, wigs and weaves are a great choice. If you are looking to protective style for a longer period of time, be sure to care for your hair while in the style.

How did you style your big chop?

Kisses,

Joelle

 

My Natural Hair Growth Secrets | Time and Patience

There's no miracle product. I promise.

After 5 months of hair growth

After 5 months of hair growth

You probably wouldn't be able to tell by looking at me but I have not put a relaxer on my hair/scalp since November 2011. I know that I'm constantly sporting a short cut but I'm currently in a fun and sometimes frustrating grow out phase. As someone who has had a a fairly long head of hair and who is trying to reach that length again I wanted to share my number one piece of natural hair advice: Have patience and enjoy the process.

About a week after my big chop

About a week after my big chop

I understand that it's not the most innovative or exciting piece of advice you've ever heard but I promise that it's the realest that you'll ever hear. Nothing will grow your hair except for the time that is takes to actually grow your hair so don't try to rush the process. Each stage of your natural hair growth is unique and beautiful. I know that we all have Instagram #goals that we want to accomplish but I promise you will get there with time and patience.

Until Next Time...

Kisses,

Joelle

Cool Weather Natural Hair Do's and Dont's

Prevent severe hair damage in cooler weather months.

Cool weather brings many beauty challenges: dry skin and brittle hair are definitely not the least among them. Managing natural hair in cooler months can definitely be challenging especially for those of us focusing on retaining length and maintaining health. Here are some simple dos and don'ts for those of us who would like  to maintain the health of their hair.

Keep your natural hair healthy and strong this winter.

Keep your natural hair healthy and strong this winter.

 

DO practice protective styling.

I know that we've heard this time and time again but protective styles are the most effective way to retain length because it shields the hair from harsh elements AND extreme manipulation. Protective styling is not limited to braids, weaves, and wigs. Easy and low manipulation protective styles include twists, mini twists, simple braids, and updos.

Don't Neglect your hair during protective styles.

One of the biggest mistakes naturals make in regards to wearing protective styles (especially wigs weaves etc.) is to completely neglect their natural hair. Lack of washing, moisture, and a dirty scalp can lead to major setbacks in your natural hair and are counter productive. Make sure that you continue you to give your hair love and attention. Leave Protective styles in for six weeks at the most and give your hair time to breathe in between.

Do keep your hair conditioned and moisturized.

Condition. Condition. Condition! I cannot say it enough. This is the number one rule of natural hair and it is especially important during the winter  months. The cold air can suck the moisture out of your hair faster than you can say "it's freezing". For this reason, it's important to stock up on and invest in great leave in conditioners and moisturizing products (I prefer cream based products).

Don't skip protein treatments

Many naturals talk about moisture and conditioning  and say nothing about creating a moisture/protein balance. It is possible to to over condition your hair which makes hair soft, mushy, and weak. Protein treatments help strengthen hair and can help fill gaps in the hair shaft.

Do Take this time to straighten your hair.

Cold weather months are the best time to straighten your natural hair; the low temperatures help preserve your straight styles and will prevent you from having to touch your style up with a flat iron. If you need a step by step guide on straightening your natural hair there are many tutorials on Youtube.

Don't use excessive heat.

Any go ahead to use heat should also come wit a warning and I would be remiss if I did not urge you to use caution. Not only can extremely high temperatures cause permanent damage that can only be "repaired" by cutting it away but using heat repeatedly can also cause damage. If you choose to heat style your natural hair this fall or winter be aware of these risks and only straighten your hair two to three times during this time. 

These are my tips for maintaining natural hair. What are yours?

Joelle

Why You Need Red Palm Oil in Your Natural Hair Routine

Why You NEED red palm oil

Why You NEED red palm oil

You guys know that us naturalists are constantly searching for the next big thing when it comes to hair products. Or maybe it's just me? I just love trying new things with my hair and when that "thing" works? I'm in heaven!

I discovered red palm oil while perusing the aisles at Trader Joe's and seeing that there was no coconut oil but a TON of red palm oil occupying the shelves where my beloved normally sat. I reluctantly picked up a jar and immediately consulted with my good friend Ms. Google to see id I could this stuff in my hair. To my delight she said yes and I quickly bought a jar of red palm oil and took it home to experiment.

I first tested out this oil as a stand alone free poo and I was immediately impressed. The red palm oil left my hair soft and unbelievably easy to detangle without feeling heavy on my kinks. I was in love. After more research I discovered that Red Palm Oil has some pretty dope benefits for your natural hair:

- promotes growth

- more vitamin A and E than any other plant based oil

- the antibacterial properties fight fungi

-anti aging properties for hair and skin

- strengthens hair

To see how I used my red palm oil, check out the video below!