31 Mar 2013

VO5 Give me sandpaper and Gloss me dry

I guess the weird bottle shape is what lured me towards these in the first place. Or maybe it was a review. I remember years ago I believe I used a VO5 conditioner or another range of conditioner called luminous shine. And my hair was soooo shiny after straightening I could not believe it. So when I saw these I thought maybe I could relive that experience. I have to say, both conditioners felt slippery and ineffective like the Tressemme conditioners. Not only that but both shampoos completely stripped my hair and made my curls difficult to style and manage, not to mention they were dry as hell because the conditioners didn't do anything in the way of moisturising (despite the promise to "give me moisture")
The Gloss me smoothly however did do what it said it would and added shine. I originally planned to flat-iron my hair after blow-drying but I got lazy and decided to do a blow-out which I do not recommend. I think blow drying straight does not work unless you have the right equipment (i.e. hotrod round brush/rollers or you keep a hair stylist in your closet) or a very loose curl pattern. So after blow-drying I ended up looking like a frizzy witch broom to which I decided to do a braid out. I did like 8 braids the first time and 4 on the next night then 2 in the middle of the day. Every time I braided I put in some coconut oil but when I took it out my hair was still frizzy. It was somewhat shinier than usual however it was so dry and poofy that I could not go out the house without fearing I would revert back looking like a witch broom. you see the weather in the UK is so damn temperamental that my hair shape is at the mercy to what ever mother nature has to throw at me. I could have perfect curls inside my house but even the slightest breeze will send my ringlets high into the sky. Meanwhile the straight hair I see on other girls magically stays put. Even when mine is flat ironed and looks like said straight hair it still flaps around like those flipping commercials that use an industrial fan for a dramatic hair effect. Not that I don't want to look dramatic but it gets to the point where it's in my face and my fringe is the blown to the wrong side, and as a consequence I am back to being a witch broom.

After giving up on these products I gave the gloss me smoothly set to one sister and the give me moisture set to  the other sister. Both sisters had good results but they take care of their hair very differently to me. They both leave their regular conditioners in and air dry. The the gloss me smoothly sister had noticeably shiner curls whereas the give me moisture sister had much softer curls than usual. Over all I personally recommend the gloss me smoothly conditioner but don't waste your time on the shampoos as they will dry you out faster than the sahara desert. My hair is particularly fussy about what it will and wont work with and these products just didn't work for me. But that doesn't mean to say they won't work for someone else. If I was desperate for shine I would use the gloss me smoothly conditioner but I'm not desperate so I'd rather use something more moisturising. Each 500ml bottle is under £4 but I got them on offer for £1.79 each. If you're unsure there are 250 ml bottles for £1 which is better if you only want to try them out. I recommend buying the cheaper travel size versions of products before diving in the deep end and getting a  full priced large bottle of something you might hate and then don't know what to do with afterwards. Luckily for me I have two little sisters who are more than happy to accept my reject products since they don't have the money to buy their own. Funnily enough they seem to have gorgeous curls despite using the products that I hate. Either my  sisters have low-maintenance hair, my hair is high maintenance, or I'm just plain fussy with the results I get from a product. I haven't tried the other collections by VO5 such as the nourish me truly or hot oils but I imagine they would not impress me either.

28 Mar 2013

Castor oil, Coconut oil, and Honey cocktail

Left coconut oil £8.99, Right castor oil £10.99

You may be guessing from the title that this is a very strange combination and you're right because these three are products that should never be mixed together... NEVER
(as said by Miss Taylor Swift herself)

But I guess I should first explain why.....

I was on the hunt for a home-made deep conditioner or pre-shampoo treatment and came across these oils on Amazon they're by a seller called Naissance who by the looks of it sells almost every oil you could ever think of.

link here...

I already knew that coconut oil and castor oil where good for my hair as I had previously tried the Hollywood beauty castor oil treatment and had read the the benefits of coconut oil online.  So I dove into the deep end and bought a whole Litre of each oil which both came in a liquid refined/fractionated form.
So my verdict....

The coconut oil was great to use on its own. I can use on straight or curly to combat frizz or as a pre-poo or deep conditioner. For an oil it absorbs quite well and has a very runny consistency, almost like water which means I can even put it in a spray bottle (sometimes I can barely tell the difference between this oil and water!!!). On flat-ironed hair it works soooo much better than a serum. Serums tend to dry too quickly and don't anything to protect my hair but coconut oil adds moisture, shine, and protection all in one and helps weigh the hair down to stop frizz or fly always. I will also use it as a pre-poo on straight hair to protect it from the drying/stripping effects of shampooing. The oil does have a distinct  smell but its rather mild compared to using solid virgin coconut oil which to me is absolutely wretched. Not only did it smell bad but it felt disgusting in my hands, Maybe I had a bad batch but here is what the devil in disguise looks like.....
It made my hair stiff and smell foul. I will probably never buy solid coconut oil again, I don't care how much better it is than the non virgin stuff. This particular tub by the way was around £5 on eBay  or it may have been £2.40 for two tubs. I honestly don't remember but it wasn't too expensive. But back to the liquid coconut oil....I have to warn that too much will make your hair look greasy, after all it is an oil.

If solid coconut oil was the devil in disguise then honey and castor oil would be the devil's worst nightmare. I was looking for ways on how to use my giant bottles of oil and came across a recipe for a home-made deep conditioner using honey, castor oil, and coconut oil. Both the castor oil and honey are so damn sticky and gloopy, they are IMPOSSIBLE to work with. I tried everything to combat this problem. I tried mixing all three together, I tried mixing the honey with the castor oil, I even tried adding some conditioner or adding honey to the conditioner but none of these would blend together. Give them a millisecond and they would soon separate. The castor oil was impossible to dispense through a pump bottle so I soon gave up on that. Not to mention the smell was absolutely revolting, I ended up throwing the whole litre bottle away as I had no Idea how to use it. The honey was a different story......I was intrigued by the fact that using honey might gradually lighten my hair or at least add some natural highlights but after a few uses nothing of the sort had happened. It was sticky, made my hair stiff, was difficult to wash out and also had a horrible smell. Talk about bittersweet. But OH......it gets worse.....when I gave up on the honey I put it in the baking cupboard for general cooking use not knowing that my mom would be daring enough to use it on our Sunday roast pork. My mom has done the honeyed-pork thing before and it tasted lovely but I guess it depends on what type of honey you use because when she tried it this time round the pork tasted absolutely disgusting!!!! My Sunday meal ruined because of my hair experimentations. I have decided since to never use actual food products on my hair except for liquid oils.

  • 100% pure castor oil and virgin coconut oil is a big NO NO
  • Honey is your enemy
  • And liquid coconut oil will save your soul
Amen <3

27 Mar 2013

Aphogee: Keratin 2 minute reconstructor

I have to say that this is some good stuff here and well worth the money. Apogee has a whole line of products which I'm sure work really well too but I didn't have ban funds to also splurge on those. The keratin re-constructor here is a protein treatment. It replaces the keratin and amino acids lost from the hair shaft and since these form the skeleton of a hair strand these kind of protein treatments can have drastic results. 

Here's a link on how to use the product 

But my basic steps were:
  • Shampoo and rinse as usual
  • Apply Aphogee treatment in sections and comb through to distribute evenly
  • Diffuse with hair-dryer until hair goes hard/stiff (DO NOT COMB, HAIR WILL BREAK OFF!!!)
  • Gently tip hair over and rinse product out           (you will know it's rinsed out because the hair will be softer)
  • Condition IMMEDIATELY!!!
  • Style/whatever you usually do after washing
  • Finished :)
It took a few uses until my hair went stiff which means that the product is working its magic. You have to be very gentle when your hair is in this state as it is now a brittle solid  that could break like a frozen piece of string. Because protein treatments are very drying you have to balance it out with a rich moisturising conditioner. I can't recommend a specific one but as long as it's richer and more moisturising than what you usually use on a regular basis. Maybe deep conditioning twice with your regular conditioner will do the trick. Or maybe using two different conditioners will help as you would be killing two birds with one stone (different conditioners are tailored for different needs, i.e. dry/frizzy or dull/brittle or if you have coloured hair this might be a good option as you can combat colour and moisture in one day). I used a regular conditioner and a deep one/mask after such as Aussie 3 minute miracle re-constructor. 

With this product I noticed that only my ends and outer more exposed layers of hair were going hard/stiff which makes sense as they would be more damaged. Our ends are constantly under attack as well as the outer layers which bear the brunt of weather damage to protect the layers of hair underneath. This meant that my healthy hair was being left alone and only my damaged hair was being treated (or at least that's my theory, it could have simply been the way I used my hair-dryer). I initially would use this product every week for 6-8 weeks then I used it every other week for 1 month and haven't used it since. This was back in the winter time when my ends were really suffering but this protein treatment really made a difference. I noticed less split ends, less frizz and more defined curls. However because this treatment repairs and makes the hair more resistant the repaired hair might be more difficult to comb through and style as there can still be a little stiffness left over. I definitely noticed a gradual decline in my hair's strength after I stopped using it but I think it  is well worth the money if your hair is severely damaged or you use the flat iron regularly. But I should warn that if you flat iron straight after using this product you will destroy your curl pattern so maybe wait a week or two before cranking up the heat.

I spent £8.89 on Amazon for 473 ml of the apogee keratin re-constructor. Even for that price I still think it was worth every penny. But do not fear for I have seen this product being sold for around half the price by other retailers which was a slap in the face for me :(

I read somewhere that you should use this product weekly until your hair is restored and then keep using it every 6 weeks to maintain it. I have since cut out most of my hair damage and no longer need this but even after using it consecutively for almost 2 months I still haven't used half the bottle I also have very thick hair so a little goes a long way with this product.

Overall this is a great protein treatment but I would not recommend it unless your hair is in total distress.

24 Mar 2013

Hawaiian Silky Herbal Leave In Conditioner

Hawaiian silky herbal leave in conditioner £6.99
(however I bought a smaller bottle 355ml for £299)

At some point I decided I needed a leave in conditioner and found this through browsing on naturally curly

Here's the link:

There's plenty of other products and curly advice on there and I pretty much look on there everyday. 

But back to this product, I don't rely know what to make of it, I either wasn't applying it properly or the product itself just didn't work for me. I had tried Aussie leave in conditioner before when it was on offer and absolutely loved it but it's normally quite pricey so I started looking for a cheaper alternative. After washing and conditioning I would apply this to my hair whilst it was still wet/damp. I would hang it upside down and lather it on and rake it through my hair just like a normal conditioner. This was probably my mistake as I now know to do my hair in sections, scrunch with a microfibre towel, and diffuse etc. But either way it didn't make my hair feel moisturised at all. I did a household survey (meaning I asked my family) and 50% did not like the smell but 50% did. It was kind of a tropical smell that I didn't mind but I am quite concious of how my hair smells to other people. The product had a creamy consistency but when it was in my hair it felt as useful as water, yet it was still difficult to work with.

Overall I didn't think much of this leave in conditioner, it didn't do much in the way of defining my curls and it felt sticky which also made them crunchy. However, had I applied it properly I probably would have got better results so again I can't give a full verdict.

Still would not recommend this to anyone with my hair texture or anything looser.

But if you haven't already its worth a while checking out naturallycurly.com :) <3

21 Mar 2013

Hollywood beauty: Castor oil and Marula OIl

Castor oil: £1.99
I found this through surfing on youtube and watched lots of videos about how this stuff makes your hair grow faster. Now, as instructed buy these youtubers  I would rub this stuff into my scalp once a week after washing. But the problem here was that my hair would start to smell a bit funky after a few days due to product build up. I soon gave up on this and let the tub sit on my dresser for a while until I was having a bad day with a few frizzy pieces and had no idea how to hold them down. It's in these emergency hair situations that I start getting experimental and come up with some great ideas. I decided to wet my hair to get it to curl and put some of this oil in to hold the curls in place. Not only did this product hold my curls and reduce frizz but it also helped to define them. I must warn that this product does not have an oily consistency, it's more like a thick waxy paste so it's easy to target small sections of hair. I then began using this on my whole head of hair after washing whilst my hair was still damp to give it some definition, but this would be after using some soft 'n' free lotion for moisture first. Note that for my whole head of hair I would have to rub the product in the palms of my hands first so I can apply it evenly along the length of my hair. This oil can also be applied directly to the ends daily and by doing so I also noticed an improvement in the condition of my ends (which were looking pretty dire before I first tried this). At only £1.99 this tub is a bargain and lasts forever!!!

Marula oil: £1.99 (59.2ml)

After my tragic parting with the Staf-Sof-Fro marula oil collection, mention in an earlier post, I continued to look for alternatives and came across this online. Now it isn't pure marula oil as it is mixed with other oils but it smells gorgeous and absorbs into my hair really well. It gives a lot of shine and tames frizz too. You might thing 59.2ml is small but it lasted me a long time and it's great for travelling which was when I used it for the first time. I tried to co-was my roots with a free sample of dove's nourishing oil conditioner and I decided to use this on my damp/wet hair and got some very shiny frizz-free curls afterwards. I was so surprised that my hair looked and smelled good without the help of a shampoo or shower for that matter. If I ever repurchase this I would like to try it after straightening my hair instead of using a serum, as I find that serums dry out way too quickly.

It's probably worth taking a look at some of the the products by Hollywood Beauty. There's so many different oils that I want to try but my bank balance wouldn't be too happy about it :( I originally thought that Hollywood beauty was one of those typical products lines that sell low quality products that don't really work but as it turns out they're quite the opposite, at least after my experience with these oils.

20 Mar 2013

Kiddies hair products

Kid's organics: Sheabutter shampoo and Growth remedy oil
Usually I have a good/researched reason for trying particular products but in this case I just saw them in the shop and thought hhhmmmmm.....maybe kids products will be more gentle and nurturing on my hair. And compared to many generic adult products they were more gentle. The shampoo felt slightly more conditioning than a regular shampoo but it still stripped my hair completely (as expected from a sulfate shampoo). Both products smelt lovely but not suitable for someone in her late teens. These kind of products tend to have very strong fruity smells that can sometimes be overpowering. The growth remedy oil I didn't feel as though it did anything special. I would use it after washing and conditioning my hair and apply it whilst it was still damp. It just sat on top of my hair and would run onto my clothes. Even when I used the tiniest amount it would slide off. I think the only reason I put it in my hair was because I liked the smell. I probably wouldn't recommend any of these products. The consistency of the shampoo was very gloopy and difficult to work into my hair evenly. I personally like my products to be creamy but not to slippery so working with the growth oil that slipped out of my hands at any given moment was rather difficult.

At the same time as using the Kid's organics products I was also use this Princess by nature growth serum. Now the smell was not very pleasant but it was rather mild and still tolerable. I would rub this into my scalp and roots once a week by sectioning my hair, which was a very tedious and tiring process as my hair is very thick, making my scalp almost off limits. I don't think I used it long enough to see a difference in my hair growth but my scalp and roots did feel different as if they were softer and less prone to tangles.

I tried these products around a year ago so I can't really give a full verdict on them but I also had no idea what I was doing at the time. I was using too many products at once and letting the products tell me what to do rather than pay attention to what my hair really wants and needs. Needless to say, I think I knew enough the realise that these products weren't right for me otherwise I would still be using them.

19 Mar 2013

Sta-Sof-Fro Marula Oil

Over a year ago I was doing a bit of online research on my old school soft 'n' free lotion and found these products by the same company, so I decided to give them a try.

They were so much nicer than the soft 'n' free, these products smelt more pleasant and had a nicer consistency. My hair felt stronger and shinier after using the lotion although I'm not to sure if the spray did anything. The lotion didn't really define my curl pattern so when I put this product in before wearing my hair in a bun my hair would come out in looser less frizzy waves. I think what drew me to these in the first place was the name Marula. It just sounded so intriguing and quite pretty. The description of the product explained that Marula oil actually comes from the Marula fruit which grows in Africa. 

This then led me towards doing a little research on marula oil and I found some really interesting facts. It is a multi-purpose oil that can be used on hair and skin and it apparently has healing properties. Thus I became obsessed with it and wanted to buy the pure oil by itself. This however is very expensive and difficult to find. It's probably one of the most expensive oils I've come across but I did buy a little treatment bottle from hollywood beauty which wasn't 100% pure but it smelled gorgeous. I really would like to try the swazi-land range of marula oil products as their's seem the most trustworthy, being the place the fruit originally comes from and the trade being very fair for the people growing it. 

I was quite happy with these products from sta-sof-fro but they were discontinued which was really upsetting for me as I thought I had finally found a really good staple product. Not only that but the Motions marula oil range was also discontinued so I couldn't even turn to that as an alternative.

I haven't tried too many oils as of yet but I have a feeling it will probably stay as one of my favourites regardless. It smells lovely, has some wonderful properties and also the name is very pretty <3. Sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference.

My experience with Herbal Essences

So ever since seeing those orgasmic Herbal Essences adverts on the TV I became obsessed with the hair care range. I was quite young at the time so I cared more about the smell than what the product was actually doing.

I didn't use this range consistently as the products that were in my bathroom depended on what my mom bought for the whole family, so it was out my control. But it kept its place as my favourite range for quite a few years until I really began to explore different products. This wasn't until I started university and was in control of everything I bought since it was my own money I was spending.

Even at an early age I somehow knew that products labelled for dry/damaged hair were the right products for me even if my hair wasn't damaged. My hair has always been thick and curly with very fine strands, which means it is always dry and prone to frizz. So naturally I became quite associated with the hello hydration collection but I am still yet to try the mask since it didn't exist all those years ago. 

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration moisturising shampooHerbal Essences Hello Hydration moisturising conditioner

I noticed that any of the herbal essences shampoos/conditioners made my hair softer, more manageable and healthier. However, one day I decided that the hello hydration conditioner just wasn't doing a good enough job any more, and to be honest I was getting sick of the colour blue. The consistency of the conditioner felt a bit too cheap and runny compared to the thick creamy consistency of the other conditioners. And also the shampoo felt very stripping which doesn't make sense as it was supposed to moisturise my locks not dry them out.

So this lead me towards trying other collections......
Herbal Essences Smooth & Soft smoothing conditioner
I ended up using the smooth and soft conditioner in combination with the hello hydration shampoo and it really did make my hair soft to touch. Although my hair is naturally soft and shiny anyway this conditioner sent my softness levels off the scale and to a another planet!!

I then became very concious of my split ends, which are impossible to avoid when you have fine hair that needs to be de-tangled every damn day :(. So the Logical solution was to try the beautiful ends collection. 
shampoo for long hairconditioner for long hairsplit end protection creammask for long hair
Left to right: shampoo,conditioner, cream, mask
Each individual product made a noticeable difference by itself so I thought that using the entire collection would give my hair the full effect. I was also drawn by the advertisement that it would protect my hair and make it grow longer. Although it made no difference to my hair growth it did make my ends feel more protected and look healthier. But the biggest surprise to me was that after using the shampoo in combination with the hello hydration conditioner my hair was so soft and manageable I couldn't believe it. Usually de-tangling after the shower is a challenge but these products made it so quick and easy. I didn't notice much of a difference with the hair mask and it felt like I might as well have used the conditioner twice except the mask is more slippery. Compared the the Aussie three minute miracle deep conditioners I don't think this mask really did anything special to my hair. The cream did make my ends look less frizzy however by the end of the day they were very crunchy. This was probably because I used too much product on my hair but my curls needed a substantial amount to be defined and springy. I think the cream would work well on hair textures that are looser than my own but it still made my ends look beautiful <3. The only problem I have with the cream Is that it doesn't last very long as you have to use it every day and that can be very expensive if you have thick locks.
Herbal Essences Break's Over strengthening conditioner
Recently I have tried the Herbally ever after/breakage defender conditioner and in my opinion I think it's the best conditioner I have tried from this range. The consistency of the product is thick and creamy, and not too runny (I find runny conditioners annoying as more product slips out of my hands and down the drain, very wasteful). It felt like a high quality conditioner but not as luxurious as the dove shampoos and conditioners. I can almost never tell if a product has had an effect on my hair as my texture can sometimes disguise any differences. But It says breakage defender on the bottle which is perfect for fine brittle hair like mine. I can only describe my hair as feeling nourished and pampered  whilst using this conditioner and even after rinsing it out.

So far my favourite products from this range are the Breakage defender and the beautiful ends conditioners. There are still a few more products in the range I am yet to try such as the masks as they have only recently been introduced. I also think I should retry the soft and smooth collection since I only bought it once and I think it may need another chance to prove itself :)

17 Mar 2013

The Madness: and how it all began

This is another post about my hair and again looking back into the past where I didn't have a clue about what I was doing.

I'd like to talk about the time when I started to straighten my hair. I like to refer to these days as the dark days as I made some of the worst mistakes possible when applying heat to my hair.

I don't know what led me to straightening my hair for the first time but I remember that during the same period there was a sudden craze with ghd straighteners which were very popular at the time and some my friends happened to be obsessed with them. I guess listening to them obsess didn't really help me in my situation.

The first time I ever flat-ironed my hair I was around fifteen years old, after years and years of keeping my hair in one big protected braid at the back of my head it had grown to a very long length. When wet and stretched out my hair reached my middle/lower back however not all of this hair was healthy. The first time my hair was straightened I'm pretty sure my mom did it for me, there was no way she could trust me with such and appliance that reached dangerous temperatures. My hair had to be shampooed, conditioned, blow-dried as straight as possible and then flat-ironed.

Babyliss hair straighteners
These were the straighteners that my mom used on my hair which reached up to 230 degrees celcius. These were shared between me, my mom and my two sisters until my mom bought a Remington (not so good) pair for one  of my sisters. My mom would do a fantastic job on my hair and it looked so smooth and silky, which I have to give thanks to the years of wearing it natural in a protective greasy braid since birth! People  would never guess that my hair was curly and I would get plenty of compliments when I went to school. This however is what lead to the problem because as people complemented me for my straight silky hair they were actually killing me with kindness. I noticed that I got more attention with straight hair so due to positive feedback I would carry on straightening it in an attempt to keep up the attention I was receiving. Other people would be so surprised at how long it was because in its curly state my hair  is just like a coiled spring/spiral that stretches. So when my hair was straightened it stretched out to my mid/lower back. It would have been longer had my mom not cut 4 inches off. It is almost impossible to detect split/damaged ends on curly hair as the shape of the curls almost disguise them. However when straightened my damaged ends were as obvious as neon traffic lights; my mom only cut my hair every 1-2 years which is what allowed these damaged ends to persist however I didn't suffer much as my hair was still incredibly long even after the 4 inch "trim" my mom gave me.

So back to the problem......I deluded myself into thinking I looked prettier with straight hair so vein temptation led to me trying to flat-iron my hair without my mom's help. I would straighten my hair consecutively after every wash and to touch ups every day. I had discovered that straight hair was easier to manage but a pain to maintain as any amount of wind/moisture/fog would make it frizz up and it would need re-straightening. By then I had discovered that water made my straight hair revert to its curly state. 

MY BIGGEST MISTAKE however was the fact that I almost never used heat protection !!!!! :O GASP
I know.........the shame.......how could I ?......Especially when I was cranking up the heat to around 180-210 degrees (this is very high btw)!!!!. Not only did I make this mistake, but my mom and sisters did as well. In fact one of my sisters was silly enough to even attempt to straighten her hair whilst it was still damp !!! This led to a lot of steam. In fact whenever any of us where straightening our hair the amount of steam produced was enough to set the fire alarm off. The reason we didn't use heat protection was mostly because of our lack of knowledge of how important it was and because my mom couldn't really afford to buy it regularly. Unsurprisingly we all learned or lessons soon enough when our hair began to split/break/dry and frizz up due to heat damage. My hair was so damaged that my fringe had white bits at the end of each strand (which is a HUGE sign of burnt hair!!). In the end I realised that I had to cut off the damage and stop using the flat iron as often. Those compliments I used to get soon stopped when my hair lost its length and healthy sheen. I was distraught and so upset I became obsessed with growing my hair longer. I was aiming for hip length hair and had read online and heard from classmates that trimming my hair more often would make it grow faster. However this was another big mistake as whenever I saw a bit of hair that wouldn't straighten properly I would go over it with the straighteners or cut it off assuming it was damaged ends. This worsened the problem and I also tried to cut myself a fringe. Being inexperienced I messed it up and ended up with choppy uneven hair. When my mom found out what I'd done I got the biggest cussin' of my life. My mom then took over with the scissors and tried to rectify my mistake. I now had hair that was just past bra strap length when straight and shoulder length when curly :(. I had never felt more depressed. It was like I  had lost a part of my outer beauty and I still haven't grown it back to this day.  Sometimes I wonder how long my hair would be now almost 5 years later had I not been so stupid. But we live and we learn and I can honestly say I learnt my lesson the hard way and have been a lot more cautious about using heat on my hair ever since.

I now always use heat protection but back in those days the only thing I used was the Tresseme heat protection spray and occasionally a serum to give the finishing touch after using the flat-iron. The brand of serum my mom bought once was the Andrew Barton gloss boss serum that came in a round ball like dispenser bottle. However my mom didn't buy serums regularly as they are quite pricey for a single mom on a budget. So when we ran out I came up with a revolutionary idea.

I had straightened my hair for a birthday party and needed to put something in my hair to stop it going out of control:
Sitting on the dresser was a tub of DAX WAX, I contemplated on whether to use it or not but went ahead with it anyway. And boy was it the best decision ever !!! not only did it make my hair a little shiny but kept in in place the ENTIRE NIGHT. I repeatedly checked my hair regularly to see if it was frizzing up but my hair didn't do any such thing. I have to say the wax the reduce that flowy movement and made my hair a teensy bit heavy/stiff. But it did a better job than any serum I have ever come across and it's also a lot cheaper. Used in the right amount it controlled my hair without making it greasy!! I haven't used this wax since but if I ever get my hands on some I will definitely try it again.

15 Mar 2013

Old-School Hair care products: Before the madness

So..........., I am slightly obsessed with my hair and beauty products in general and before I start reviewing, ranting, and obsessing over the products I'm experimenting with now I think it would make sense to explain my hair shenanigans so far and look back on the days when my hair care routine was so simple I could do it in my sleep. Before I go on I should mention that I am a curly girl, I'm mixed raced (Black,white and other things) with coily/spirally/kinky hair, I think it's in the 3C range but I'm never sure. I have about 3 different textures in my hair at any time and it tends to go in a gradient from my nape to the crown of my head with the loosest curls at the bottom and the tightest/kinkiest at the top. This alone causes trouble when it comes to styling but I shall talk about that another time. So here are the products I can remember using throughout all of my childhood and early teens.

Soft 'n' free curl activator lotion
This big bottle of lotion was my staple product as a child, my Mom had been using this product on my hair since birth and even after she taught me how to de-tangle and braid my hair myself I still used this product. It has a very runny consistency and I would use it every single day until my hair was saturated with product build up leaving it in a state where it didn't take much effort to de-tangle. However this resulted in my hair looking oh so greasy until I washed it which wasn't very often when I was (not cough cough) taking care of it myself (properly).  This is one of multiple reasons why I have strayed away from using this product. But even to this day I keep a bottle in case of a hair emergency and will use it as a last resort when I'm too broke to use other products or I can't think of what else to do with the poof-ball on my head. 

A list of the pros and cons of this lotion will tell you why I love it and hate it at the same time:

  • It does what it says on the tin (bottle) leaves my hair soft and free :) and shiny
  • It activates/defines my curls
  • A lot of people say it smells nice when I'm wearing it in my hair
  • It protects my hair from drying out throughout the day
  • It also conditions my nails while I'm using it which I never realised until my mom told me
  • It's cheap and lasts a long time ( when used in moderation)
  • It leads to product build up very easily
  • It takes forever to dry or be absorbed into my hair which is what leaves it greasy
  • because of this I have to rock the 'wet look' for hours until my hair dries, unless I use a diffuser
  • If I don't use a diffuser and leave to air dry it can feel a too hard and crunchy
  • Without a diffuser It weighs my hair down and leaves it looking a bit limp and stiff
  • I can feel the product slide off my hair and onto my face throughout the day and onto my hands if I touch my hair
  • It also gets on my clothes and any fancy leather sofas/car seats which tends to annoy a few people :/
  • compared to some products I'm using now my curls are not fully defined and can still look poofy
The only reason I didn't mind about the greasiness was that I wore my hair in one big plait every day and never changed my style except for special occasions. Over all the cons outweigh the pros hence my reluctance to use the bottle I have hiding in the far corner of my room.

Soft 'n' free curl moisturising spray
So this is pretty much a diluted version of the lotion. In fact when my mom couldn't afford to buy any more of the lotion she would diluted it with water and put it in a spray bottle and I think this spray or my mom's knock off version was easier to deal with that the lotion. It helped with de-tangling, was easy to distribute, dried quickly, no crunchiness or any of the other problems I had with the lotion. However the problems I had with this product is that it wasn't moisturising enough, and when it dried my curls were not very defined and where quite poofy. Overall I never considered this spray to be worth the money or substantial enough to be used on its own, however when I used this in combination with the lotion in tiny amounts I got great results.

So this is one of the gels my mom would often buy but to be honest we would use any gel, even the men's ones because they all had the same ingredients. But I would use this on my edges so they would stick down, otherwise I would end up with this halo of frizz sticking up from my hairline. I would also occasionally use this to define a tiny section of hair and create one spiralling curl going down the side of my face (so not ghetto lol) which was a very  popular style back when I was in secondary school .For practical reasons I persisted to use gel on my edges despite the following problems:
  • any type of gel left my hair looking wet/greasy/overly shiny
  • It left my hair MEGA crunchy which is why I've always been reluctant to use gel to define my curls
  • The product would flake and look like dandruff when it dried
  • It would also dry my curls (which is why gel is thought to cause breakage)
  • most gels have alcohol ethanol in them which means my hair would be more likely to combust if I was anywhere near a fire of some sort.
Here we have some DAX WAX, from the name you can guess it has a waxy consistency. I would also use this to hold down my edges but green colour wasn't very discrete even though I have dark hair and I wasn't too keen on the smell. However I also had another revolutionary use for this which I will hopefully remember to talk about in another post.

Dark and lovely, another popular ethnic hair brand and another form of gel I would use on my edges. What I  still love about this product is that doesn't come with the same issues as other gels, it doesn't dry and become flaky, it keeps my hair moisturised and still holds down my edges however the hold isn't as strong as normal gels but there has to be a compromise somewhere. Unlike other gels I feel like I have the option to use this on the whole body of hair as it does not have as much of a dry crunchy effect, however I must say that through years of trying new things, almost any product with a more solid consistency with have a slight crunchy effect on hair, including butters and thick creams.

So that's it, god this took longer to write than I thought it would would but I'm glad I've got it out of the way so I can get on to the more exciting bits. Nowadays I don't see or hear of any curly women using these kind of products, its as if they've been taken away from the scene (if curly hair was a big drama movie these old products typically found in ethnic hair stores don't seem to be the stars of the show any-more). I guess with new technology/knowledge and changes in how we perceive hair should look like, we are all trying to look for better or perfect products for our hair. But it really annoys me when I see generic high-street brands try to cater to our curly hair and produce rubbish products that don't work, especially when these brands have spent decades catering to straight hair and there are plenty of these old-school tried and tested products that have been doing a good job for years and for affordable prices.