Sample Alerts!

As a reformed product junkie who has a pretty set regimen, I tend to get my fix of trying new products by obtaining samples and gift with purchases! I have received these samples in the past month:

Aveda dry remedy daily moisturizing oil – I got this at Aveda on the way to Canada. I didn’t care for the other product ingredients in this line, but this oil was silicone free, so I said I would take a sample. I threw away the card that listed the ingredients and Aveda doesn’t list them on their website (which is very weird, especially for a company that touts their ingredients are “natural”), so I found them listed on this site.

Ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, dicaprylyl maleate, dicaprylyl ether, methyl soyate, polyglyceryl-10 pentaoleate, olive oil, buriti fruit oil, pomegranate sterols, tocopherol, fragrance, farnesol, linalool, benzyl salicylate, citronellol, citral, limonene, benzyl benzoate, coumarin, geraniol.

So far, I like it, but it is not something that I would go out and buy. It does smooth my hair down and add some shine. A dab or two will do you for each section. I also hate the word “moisturizing” when describing oil, especially when there is not any water to be found in it!

Pureology Colour Fanatic – This is a leave-in spray that says it primes, protect and perfects. I got this as a sample at Ulta. I will have to type a list of the ingredients, as I cannot find them online at this time. I do like this product and use it in lieu of my Carol’s Daughter Monoi Oil Anti-Breakage Spray. Even though it is intended for people with colored hair, the benefits can really help anyone! I have used this several times for both my blow out and faux air dry and I must say, me and my hair likes it. I am not sure it will unseat Carol’s Daughter as my protein leave-in, but I have plenty of it left so time will tell!

Macadamia Natural Oil Flawless: 6-in-1 Cleansing Conditioner – I got this as a sample at Ulta. I saw where it has dimethicone in the first 5 ingredients, but I decided what the heck … I will use it as a co-wash during these sweaty weeks of working out! I used it for the first time last night. I thought that the product would be foamy since it is in an aerosol can, but it actually came out creamy! It claims to take the place of your shampoo and conditioner. In order to see how my hair reacted to it, I washed my hair with it 2x, then applied it as a conditioner treatment in the shower. I thought my hair would be dried out and sticky from this product, but surprise!! It didn’t! It actually felt conditioned! I applied my normal leave-ins and then sat under the dryer while my hair dried. Afterwards, my hair felt fine!

This product is crazy expensive! It is $33 for 8oz, so I will not be buying it. It works, but I am not convinced that I need to give up my Alberto V-05 co-washes for this product! The link provides a video so you can see how to use the product!

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Product Review: Silk Elements Kera Minerals Smoothing Deep Conditioner

I got this as my free gift for renewing my Sally’s Beauty Club Card membership. They didn’t have it at my Sally’s in Oregon, so I waited until I went to NC so that I could try this product! I … Continue reading

Product Review: Carol’s Daughter Minoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum

This is my second week using this product and I feel compelled to spread my joy about it! As you may know, I have been on the look out for a great silcone-free serum, which I thought I found in Living Proof’s Satin Serum. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out and I found this product on Sephora.com. I have heard mixed things about Carol’s Daughter products, but I was pretty desperate to find a good serum, so I took a chance and boy, am I glad I did!

From Sephora.com

What it is:

A lightweight, silicone-free miracle serum that counteracts and prevents damage to even the most distressed hair.

What it does:
This lightweight miracle serum, whose strengthening power comes from Monoi Oil—a sacred Tahitian blend of Tiare Gardenia Flower and Coprah Coconut Oil—counteracts and prevents damage caused by chemical straightening, color-treating, heat-styling, and sun exposure. It helps rebuild the appearance of your hair in a way that won’t wash out or weigh hair down, like silicones do. It is also blended with Mirabelle Plum Seed Oil to restore softness and Kukui and Rose Hip Seed Oils to reduce frizz and boost your hair’s natural shine. Return your hair to its maximum beauty—no matter what you do to it.

Ingredients:

-Monoi Oil: Strengthens hair.
-Mirabelle Plum Seed Oil: Restores softness.
-Rose Hip and Kukui Seed Oils: Tame frizz and add shine.

Isododecane, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Hydrogenated Ethylhexyl Olivate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Hydrogenated Olive Oil Unsaponifiables, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Prunus Insititia Seed Oil, Rosa Moschata Seed Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Jojoba Esters, Fragrance, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Citrillus Ianatus (Watemelon) Seed Oil, Isohexadecane, Kaempferia Galanga Root Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool.

My Thoughts: I can totally tell that my hair is breaking less since I began using this product. I monitor my breakage on an almost daily basis and to have more days where I experience no breakage than days that I do has been something I have been striving for since the beginning of my hair journey!

The smell is devine. It reminds me of Hawaii, due to the fragrance smelling like a lei! It also has my beloved kukui nut oil in it! The product is pretty concentrated, so judiciously use this product! It will depend on the length, density and thickness of your hair. I use two to three pumps when I apply it to my wet hair, making sure I pay close attention to the ends and work my way up the hair shafts.

I am not a fan of glass bottles, but it seems that higher end serums come in them (e.g. Alterna Caviar Polishing Serum, Living Proof Satin Serum). Also, the pump is not the best, but it may just be on my bottle!

Cost: $30 for 1.7 oz at Sephora, Ulta and CarolsDaughter.com

minoi oil

Hair Updates and Rumblings: NC Edition

In order not to make my Relaxer Day post too long, I thought I would break these 2 posts up and give some hair updates and observations during my time in NC.

– As you may have read, the week and a half leading up to my relaxer had me shedding something crazy! I literally thought I was going to be bald (hahah!) I never attribute excessive shedding as a cause of me needing to end a relaxer stretch, but since I have relaxed my hair a week ago, the shedding has been soooooooo minimal. Like a few strands a day, even with combing. I often view relaxers as kind of a Darwin-esque mechanism. Hairs (and ends) that are weak just won’t last during a relaxer processing, so I am left with strong, robust strands, if you will! I am not sure if my new birth control kicked in some hormones or whether a change in scenery was what my hair needed, but my shedding is under control – for now!

– I also experienced some breakage near the end of my relaxer stretch. I don’t think I will just blow dry my hair and not flat iron it again. I plan on roller setting my next pre-relaxer day.

– I am going to have to learn my hair all over again when I move back to NC. It is soooooooooooo humid! My hair just didn’t stand a chance! I don’t think all the products in the world will stand up to the humidity in the South! I will say this, I think the Living Proof products I am using helped (see below for full list of products). Instead of my hair poofing up all wild-like and leaving me with wet, swollen, and limp hair, the curls just fell and I was able to still wear it down (not sleek … pulled back in a headband) or in a ponytail. I am so glad that I did not pay $45 for a roller set only to have the NC rain and heat come and whisk my curls (and coins) away!

– I don’t like straight hair. It’s fun to have a sleek, flat ironed look sometimes, but to me, it’s gets old pretty fast and the reasons should be pretty obvious to someone on a HHJ! For one, there is too much upkeep involved to maintain it. You have to wrap (or cross-wrap), take it down, make sure there aren’t any bobby pin or clip indentations and if there are, apply heat to remove them (if you so choose). Also, if it needs to be “bumped,” you have to apply more direct heat. Then you have to watch what you’re wearing, where you go, what the forecast is looking like, etc.! It would be remiss of me not to mention that straight hair displays all your flaws. If your hemline is chewed up, it will show. If you ends are like Rice Krispies (snap, crackle and pop!), it will show. You can hide easily hide subtle flaws with roller sets and other protective styles. Also, I like the look of voluminous curls or waves that I get from roller setting or doing the faux air-drying method.

– I did a roller set two days after I got my relaxer on Labor Day. I was heading to Raleigh to meet with some friends and had to be fly! I washed my hair with some sulfate shampoo Kim had on hand to remove silicones from my flat ironing session and followed up with my Alterna Caviar Volume poo. I did a 20 minute deep-conditioning session with Ion Extreme Moisture conditioner and followed up with my Roux for 1 minute. My leave-ins were: Living Proof Prime Style Extender, Living Proof frizz Nourishing cream and Alterna Texture cream. Kim kept insisting that I use a setting lotion or foam. I said nope … water only! She rolled me up, I placed on my roller net and I went back to my mom’s house, where I had a dryer like mine waiting for me! I can’t do tabletops if I can avoid it! I sat under the dryer for about 1 hr and was so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open so I decided to sleep in the rollers for the first time to let it air dry over night! It was a bit uncomfortable, but I was so tired, it really didn’t matter. I misted my hair the next morning and sat back under the dryer for about 30 minutes for a final setting. The curls were beautiful! I was very tempted not to blow them out in preparation for my hair to be wrapped, but I did! In hindsight, I should have left them alone and maybe the frizz wouldn’t have been so bad!

??????????? photo 2

By the time I got to Raleigh in the late afternoon on Tuesday, my hair had had it. It was humid, my ends were screaming for a dusting (which I did when I got to the hotel). To add insult to injury, after dinner at Second Empire (yum), we went to Solas, which is a rooftop bar! By the end of the night, my hair was in a bun! The next day, I combed and detangled it, smoothed with some Vitamin E oil and wore it down with a headband.

– People touching my hair makes me very nervous. I think the longer my hair gets, the more protective of it I become. At the ratchet club we went to Saturday, I sat still in a booth and made sure people couldn’t get behind me. I was in fear that someone would try and pull or cut my hair! In my hometown, there were a few people who checked for tracks. One hairdresser told me, “I would just cut all that hair off if you came to me!” SEE? That’s why I won’t allow black people to do my trims! That almost turned my blood cold.

– At Sephora in Crabtree Valley Mall, this beautiful lady with beautiful natural hair gave me some tips on how to deal with long hair and frizz! I asked her if she thought the Living Proof frizz shampoo and conditioner was good, and she said she didn’t recommend it, as even without sulfates, she found the shampoo stripping and the conditioner didn’t work well. She said she uses the Alterna Caviar shampoo and conditioner and Living Proof leave-ins (frizz Nourishing cream, Prime Style Extender and Satin Serum). I knew when she said that, she was a HHJ sister, as she even mentioned the word “journey.” She admired the thickness of my hair and ends, even though the curls had been long gone! She told me that I missed one spot when dusting (which was the very back!), but other than that, my ends looked good! She told me she is preparing for a trim in December to remove some of her ends, but she wants to be MBL when she does it. I talked with her a good 10 minutes, sharing hair tips  (I recommended she try the Hercules Sagemann rake comb) and would’ve stayed longer had my friend not come in to retrieve me! One story she told me stuck out and validated my choice not to go to this salon I was thinking about trying. She recalled a time she was at a salon and she was asking the stylist what products she was using, instructing her on how to detangle her hair, etc. and the stylist told her “Oh … you’re one of THOSE!” HA!!!!!!!!!!! I know there are great stylists out there, but I don’t want to go bald on my quest to find one! That’s why I will stick with me or my friend doing it for now!

P.S. As soon as I got to some shears, I had my friend helped me get that last piece of rough hair!

– I went to see my dad and thanked him for his genes when it came to hair (he gets no love for my beady, non-descript eyes, but some love for my thick eyebrows). He said, “you’re welcome!” 🙂

– My ponytails are on point! I was swanging my long ponytail the last two days I was in town! I can’t wait until I see my WL ponytail!

– I don’t think I am going for full waist length. It would be just too much to deal with, IMHO. I actually like soft, subtle layers, so maybe when my length in the front hits BSL (in the year 2025), I will be happy!

– No tea, no shade, but so many people are not getting the HHJ memo in NC! These thin wraps that have been flat ironed into oblivion, lacefront wigs, double-processed hair, etc. Kim wanted to know why I sat with conditioner every time I got my hair washed and I told her I never miss a weekly deep conditioning – EVER! I will mind my own damn scalp, but I’m just saying …

Well, I think that’s all the hair updates and observations I have for now! 🙂

Sample Alert and Product Review: Living Proof Restore Targeted Repair Cream

Today I was able to head to Sephora because we had a training in downtown Portland. I went in there and discussed what I was looking for in a creamy leave-in to replace my Alterna Caviar Texture cream. The guy who helped me was so helpful! I told him I am interested in knowing more about the Living Proof line and that I have a few of their products, including a moisturizer from frizz line. I told him that moisture retention is my biggest concern and he suggested that I try the restore line.

Living Proof said this about the restore line:

“Moisture flows in and out of our hair all day long. In healthy hair, the cuticles covering each strand automatically adjust to keep hair hydrated. But damage from heat styling, chemical treatments, coloring, sun exposure and even every day styling weakens cuticles so moisture levels go unregulated. Strands swell and contract until hair’s structure literally begins to break down. Brittleness, dullness and more damage—it’s not a pretty sight. Silicones and oils, the foundation of all conventional hair care products, don’t effectively block moisture flux. So our scientists decided to invent a hair care line that would.”

He suggested that I try the Targeted Repair Cream and gave me two vials to try. After reading the product description, I don’t know why I didn’t go to this product before the frizz cream, but I will definitely have a use for both of them if I like the sample he gave me!

Here’s the product description: A moisture-rich cream for use on wet and dry hair that instantly adds shine, smooths cuticles and repairs split ends. The Targeted Repair Cream replaces lost ceramides to restructure, strengthen and seal the protective outer layer of the hair. Prevents 93% of new split ends. Plus all day UV damage protection.

And here are the ingredients (notice how Living Proof lists the purpose of each ingredient!): Water/Eau/Aqua (Solvent), Cetyl Alcohol (Emulsion Stabilizer, Conditioning Agent), Glycerin (Conditioning Agent/Humectant), Isoamyl Laurate (Emollient, Conditioning Agent), Octafluoropentyl Methacrylate (OFPMA) (Moisture-Controlling Active), Behentrimonium Methosulfate (Conditioning Agent), Oleyl Alcohol (Conditioning Agent), Butylene Glycol (Conditioning Agent), Glycol Stearate (Conditioning Agent/Opacifier), Astrocaryum Tucuma Seed Butter (Conditioning Agent), Behenyl/Stearyl Aminopropanediol Esters (Cuticle Repair Agent), Dimethylpabamidopropyl Laurdimonium Tosylate (UV Filter), Hydrolyzed Silk (Conditioning Agent), Fragrance/Parfum (Fragrance), Hydroxyethylcellulose (Thickening Agent), Steareth-10 (Emulsifier), Steareth-2 (Emulsifier), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Methylisothiazolinone (Preservative), Limonene (Fragrance Component), Hexyl Cinnamal (Fragrance Component), Linalool (Fragrance Component), Citronellol (Fragrance Component), Butylphenyl Methylpropional (Fragrance Component), Citral (Fragrance Component), Geraniol (Fragrance Component)

I will be using it as a leave-in for my roller set this weekend! Stay tuned for a review!

Here’s some pics:

photo 1 photo 2

UPDATE ON 8/24: It seems that my hair does not really like this stuff. I applied it to both wet and dry hair (as it can be used) and it just didn’t seem to do anything for my hair, so I will not be buying this stuff. How I knew my hair didn’t like it was when I applied it to my freshly blow-dried hair that was properly M&Sed and within a few minutes of putting this product on, my hair looked very dry and wiry. I promptly put my Amla Legends 1001 Oils Night Wrap Cream on and it helped. NAWL … I can’t have that expensive product messing up my hair!

That’s sad, because the premise of the product was damn good!!!! Oh well … if it doesn’t work on my hair, it doesn’t work! NEXT!!!!!!!!!!

Product Review: Ion Extreme Moisture Cream

Today’s product review is on the Ion Extreme Moisture Cream available at Sally’s. I received the 8 oz size as a free gift back in January 2013 for renewing my membership. I bought the 20 oz size yesterday for $8. I use it as an in-shower conditioning treatment where I wrap my hair up in a turban, wash and shave and then rinse it out and proceed to the deep conditioning. Currently. I alternate this stuff with Redken All-Soft, but when the All-Soft runs out, I do not plan to repurchase it.

ion

Promises: Ion Extreme Moisture Creme deeply hydrates dry, damaged or chemically-treated hair. Leaves hair soft, smooth, shiny and manageable. Helps protect from heat damage, improves elasticity and gives hair a more healthy appearance.

Ingredients: WATER ,CETEARYL ALCOHOL ,GLYCERIN ,CETYL ESTERS ,BEHENTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE ,AMODIMETHICONE ,TRIDECETH-12 ,CETRIMONIUM CHLORIDE ,SODIUM PCA ,HYDROLYZED SILK ,HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL ,FRAGRANCE ,IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA ,METHYLPARABEN ,PROPYLPARABEN ,YELLOW 5 ,AMYL CINNAMAL ,BENZYL ALCOHOL ,BENZYL CINNAMATE ,COUMARIN ,EUGENOL ,GERANIOL ,HEXYL CINNAMAL ,LIMONENE ,LINALOOL

Results: Man, I LOVE THIS STUFF! It comes out pretty thick and heavy, so rubbing it together with a bit of water will help spread it a little better. It always makes my hair feel so silky and conditioned after rinsing it out! If you can get over the almond scent (it kind of smells like Jergen’s cherry almond lotion, which I find pretty pleasant), then it is definitely worth a try!

Here is some photos of the actual cream …

photo 3 photo 2

Product Review: Amla Legend 1001 Oils Cream Night Wrap

This product review is long overdue, but hey … better late than never!

So as I wrote in May, Soft Sheen Carson sent me a box of their Amla Legend line to try. I immediately gave away the relaxer and the oil mositurizer, but kept everything else.

My favorite product out of the line thus far is the 1001 Oils Cream Night Wrap. This stuff is amazing! I was a little leery of it since it contained dimethicone, but it really has not been a problem for me (NOTE: I have been using shampoos with sulfates weekly for a while now, so I make sure to remove any cones on Wash Day). The product smells great, goes on smooth and really moisturizes my hair! I use it in the L-O-C method as the “C’ream or sometimes when I need a heavier moisturizer than my Alterna White Truffle Oil Elixir, I will just use this cream and some oil. Either way, my hair loves this product and it will definitely continue to be in my product rotation.

Here are the ingredients: AQUA/ WATER/ EAU, COCOS NUCIFERA OIL/ COCONUT OIL,ISOPROPYL MYRISTATE, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE,STEARYL ALCOHOL,GLYCERIN,STEARETH-21, DIMETHICONE,STEARETH-2,PARFUM /FRAGRANCE,P R 0 PYLE N E G L Y C 0 L, p 0 L y A cRy LAM I 0 E I pH EN 0 X yET HAN 0 L, s 0 RBICA c I 0 I c 13-14 ISOPARAFFIN, XANTHAN GUM, LAURETH-7, BENlYL SALICYLATE, BENlYL ALCOHOL, HEXYL CINNAMAL, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, Cl 19140/ YELLOW 5,LIMONENE,Cl15985 /YELLOW 6,PHYLLANTHUS EMBLICA FRUIT EXTRACT F.I.L.# DSS194/3

As you can see, the first ingredient is water, which is essential for a product to be “moisturizing.” The second ingredient is coconut oil, which has been added back to my oil supply (never to leave again!). Isopropyl myristate is a “synthetic oil” used in cosmetics as a lubricant and emollient. I was a bit leery of this ingredient due to it being a synthetic oil, but as I have said, my hair has not been damaged in any way (as far as I can tell) by using the product with this ingredient.

I definitely give this product an A, but I do want to point out that since it does have a synthetic oil and silicones in it, it may be important to use a gentle sulfate shampoo (I highly recommend the Amla Legends Body Filler Hair Wash) to prevent buildup on the hair shaft. Also, this product is pretty heavy and can cause fine or thin hair to go limp, so  a little goes a long way!

This line of products are relatively inexpensive and can be found at pretty much any BSS, drug store, or place that carries ethnic hair products!

Optimum Amla Legend 1001 Oils Cream Night Wrap Treatment 4oz

Product Review: Alba Botanica Deep Moisturizing Kukui Nut Oil

I was in Whole Foods a few days ago wanting to see what type of oils they had that had ceramides in which to seal my hair (please read more about them here, as I do not feel like paraphrasing what a million other people have written about them!) I will state that they are beneficial to your hair! 😉

The website also has a handy list of what oils contain ceramides in them. The only oil that I used that contained ceramides was grape seed oil.

Barley Malt Oil
Eucalyptus Extract
Hemp Seed Oil
Kukui Oil
Sunflower Oil
Walnut Oil
Wheat Germ Oil
Safflower oil
Grape seed oil
Poppyseed oil
Sunflower oil
Hemp oil
Corn oil
Cottonseed oil
Soybean oil
Hot 6 Oil

The hemp seed oil was too much. I was not paying $17 for it, so I went back to the section with body and essential oils and there was kukui nut oil. I knew kukui nut shells from my time in Hawaii. I know people would wear kukui nut shells (they are like they male version of leis). If I am not mistaken, Nathan wore one when he graduated from college and will probably wear another one when he graduates from law school (hurry up 2014!) I did a quick Google of kukui nut oil, found some beneficial information, so I decided to buy it. This oil also has other in it (some with ceramides), so it makes it a double bonus!

Key Ingredients

Alba Botanica Kukui Nut Organic body oil is rich in essential fatty acids to soothe and soften skin. It is also formulated with alkyl benzoate, a natural water dispersant to help reduce fabric staining. Kukui Nut Organic body oil absorbs quickly to deeply moisturize.

Kukui nut oil is derived from the Kukui nut and is rich in essential fatty acids to moisturize and repair skin. Coconut oil nourishes skin and has natural anti-bacterial properties. Sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant and moisturizer. Macadamia nut oil is rich in vitamins and emollients and deeply hydrates. (From livestrong.com)

The Concern

I was excited to try this product, due to its ingredients and my personal knowledge of how beautiful Polynesian hair is. I envied the women in Hawaii with their long, flowing hair!! The only worry I had about this product was the ingredient alkyl benzoate. I wondered if a water disperant would ruin the moisture in my hair! I Googled the ingredient to see if it was in any other hair products and it was … it is in CHI Silk Infusion. I also read: “12-15 alkyl benzoate is a dry, emollient, oil soluble ester like IPM that can offer some qualities similar to dimethicone in hair care products. Use at 1 to 15% in your hair care products” (From http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com/2009/08/silicone-replacements.html). I will continue to monitor my hair and if there are any changes, I will stop using it immediately!

The Verdict (So Far)
I love this stuff! When I took my hair down Thursday morning (after its inaugural use Wednesday night), my hair was moisturized, shiny and felt soft. I also put some on my skin and even the texture feels a bit better! I have been using it especially around my eyes, as I hear it is a good way to delay wrinkles!
I have been using it every day since Wednesday. It is a heavier oil, so I only use a drop per section and that seems to suffice. I will also incorporate it into some of my prepoos and deep conditioners.
I will keep you posted on how my hair continues to react to it!
Deep Moisturizing Kukui Nut