Scrunchie Power! My (not so) Secret Obsession

scrunchiepower

Scrunchies have managed to creep their way back into mainstream fashion in the last few years. They were on the runway for Marc Jacobs three years ago, worn by Hilary Clinton last year (and scrutinized ) and who could forget their presence during the Olympics when all of the young female gymnasts sporting one to match their leotard attracted lots of public attention. Whether or not the scrunchy is on trend or not has not deterred my liking for them.

Here I am sporting my Goody brand scrunchies in my favorite go-to hairstyle: a bun and a high ponytail:

scrunchiebunponytailscrunchiescrunchiebun2

Now let’s rewind to the early 90s…

I used to wear these back in the 90s when I was young gymnast and dancer. They were a go-to hair accessory to ensure my locks didn’t get in the way of my art form. I had them in loads of colors and they did a great job of keeping my hair tucked away while also not being too rough on my fragile and naturally dry brittle hair.
Interestingly enough, after researching a bit online, I discovered the scrunchy was originally invented in 1986 by a woman by the name of Rommy Revson. Rumor has it, she created the scrunchy for herself in order to have a hair tie that wouldn’t snag or pull on her fragile her. By sewing fabric around the elastic, the fabric would act as a barrier between the elastic as to not pull or snag in the hair. Cool stuff. makes sense as to why I’ve chosen to adopt the scrunchy into my hair care regimen.
I have accumulated a pretty solid collections of plain, but colorful scrunchies ranging from black to blue to yellow to green. They aren’t crazy or festive, just meant for their original, intended job. I wear the scrunchies when I pineapple my hair at night. But not only that, when I’m in a rush and have to go off to work or out with friends or family, I put one on my wrist in case of a hair emergency. I personally think they’re cute and practical. They can look chic and not overdone if worn a certain way.
My main reason for liking them? They are gentle on my hair and have YET to get tangled up in my curly hair!
I love my scrunchies and the look of them in my hair despite much public disdain for the look. In the end,  for me they’re practical and comfy. And I am a 90s kid after all, so I might as well embrace it! What is your take on scrunchies?

A New Oil for My Skin and Hair Regimen: Apricot Kernel Oil

This season I’m loving oil. Natural oils are a great way to help combat the cold, dry air here in the Northeast and tri-state area. One particular oil that has become a staple in my hair and skin regimen is Apricot Kernel oil. Strangely enough, I found it while browsing amazon.com while on the hunt for coconut oil to replenish my stock. Amazon.com has a great feature that suggests other products for you to look at and try based off of past purchases and past history of other customers. I clicked on an image of apricot kernel oil and decided to purchase because of vague information I knew of it off the top of my head, probably information I retained from a skin or hair forum I’m a member of. Coconut oil is also a staple, and so is olive oil, but I sometimes find both of these oils to be too heavy for every day use.

What I particularly love about apricot kernel oil is its lightness in both consistency and smell. It smells faintly of nut and goes on very lightly. I also love that is relatively inexpensive in comparison to other light oils such as jojoba oil. For 16 oz, I paid only around $7 (not including shipping) for the oil from amazon.com.  I don’t have to worry about being heavy handed and running low on it.

Here are some benefits of Apricot Kernel Oil I found and researched about*:

  1. It is a great source for Vitamin E! Super nourishing for both hair and skin.
  2. It is also rich in fatty acids and high in Vitamin A.
  3. It is also good for mature skin in that it promotes elasticity and suppleness.
  4. It has a longer shelf life than other oils, such as sunflower seed oil which tends to go bad fairly quickly.
  5. Its a very gentle and mild oil, so it benefits those of us with sensitive skin and even is safe enough for babies!

Apricot kernel oil is made by cold pressing and refined from dry kernels of an apricot. Also, the oil is readily found in many cosmetics. And, it is also edible in its pure form!

 

How I’ve added it to my regimen?

1.) My face:  After I’ve washed and used a toner, I place a dollop of apricot kernel oil and place it on a cotton round  and swipe it gently all over my face as a moisturizer. I use this only at night so far because I have combination/oily skin that is prone to oiliness.

2.) My Hair: After I’ve cowashed my hair in the shower, I coat my hair with my cantu shea butter leave-in and use a dime-sized amount of the apricot kernel oil and pat it throughout my hair. I then style with pink ecostyler or whatever styling product I choose for that day.

 

 

*Research information found on from healthguidance.org (http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/1807/1/Benefits-of-Apricot-Kernel-Oil.html)

Whose shea/mango butter mixture? – Mine!

I have to admit it, making my own hair/skin mixtures is a little hobby of mine that I enjoy. I’m a mixtress at heart, with unfortunate product junkie tendencies.You’d think making my own hair care products would cut down the actual amount of products I purchase, ummm, not so much!

A few months ago, I purchased a plethora of oils and butters from butters-n-bars.com (using a coupon code, of course *curlynikki). My box arrived with: golden jojoba oil, castor oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil AND mango butter. I already had shea butter on hand, as I frequently like to purchase from a variety of different vendors. :3

Anywho, after literally weeks, maybe even months of investigating the benefits of various oils and butters, I finally was ready to make my very own shea/mango butter hair mixture. Below are all the products I used (a bit overwhelming, tbh – you are always welcome to minimize) as well as the tools (purchased at the $1 store) needed to create my own mixture.

I purchased my ingredients from: butters-n-bars.com, amazon.com, the Body Shop and my local asian market.

My Shea butter/Mango butter Mixture Recipe (in order from most used, to least used)

  1. 4 oz of Mango butter
  2. 2 oz of African Yellow Shea butter
  3. 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  4. 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 tablespoon of rose water (for scent)
  6. 1 tsp of jojoba oil
  7. 1 tsp of castor oil
  8. 1 tsp of sweet almond oil
  9. 1 tsp of honey
  10. 10 drops of tea tree oil

 

Method of mixing: I used the whip-freeze-whip method for mixing my butter. I first whipped together the mango and shea butter together, then added all of the oils and whipped again. I then placed the mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes until it hardened slightly. Whipped it again for about 10 minutes and the butter fluffed out to be about 12 oz from using 6oz of butter (so it became twice its size). I then put it in a zip-lock baggy, cut a whole from the corner and pressed it out like icing for a cupcake… got this method from napturals85 on youtube, haha.

Verdict on my recipe: Since I’ve been using this mixture for roughly two months now, I can finally give an in-depth opinion. And this is not biased or anything, but, I LOVE IT. The consistency is that of a thick butter. When you rub your hands together, the butter melts into an oil. I have to be light-handed with this recipe though because it has a tendency to over-moisturize my hair and make it limp. That is why I use this product only once a week, instead of every day. The scent is not my favorite, but I like that it keeps my hair shiny and curly for up to third day hair.

 

What ingredients do you use in your shea or mango butter hair mixture?

Brushes, combs and picks – OH MY!

My brush/comb collection has grown an absurd amount since I started paying more attention to my hair’s overall health and maintenance. I like to blame THAT on youtube and natural hair forums and especially talented bloggers – *ahem* hehe. If you were to ask me what my favorite channel is, I’d have to say that it’s youtube!  Because over time, I’ve built a trust to some beauty gurus and their channels and their opinions on certain products and tools. In fact, I’ve watched countless videos comparing the Denman D3 to the Denman  D4, and the tangle teezer to the Ouidad and so on and so forth. All these videos secretly were feeding the product junkie in me.

Many beauty and hair gurus stand by one said brush/comb whereas others swear by the finger combing method. I’ve tried finger combing, and it doesn’t do much for me, unfortunately, despite me not wanting to shell out any more money than I need to in order to have untangled and luscious locks. Ok, I lied a bit. I’m a product junkie at heart and love trying out new things and finger combing is the boring way to get my hair looking pristine. >_<

The picture above is my basket of non-heat styling tools, that desperately need to be cleaned, so please don’t mind that. These babies have a date with apple cider vinegar next week since they’re due for a good cleaning. Inside my basket I have: Denman D3,  Cricket pick, Cricket big & little comb, shower comb, wide tooth comb, vent brushes, John Frieda Paddle brush, a boar bristle brush (or two), fine tooth combs, a rat tooth comb and MORE! … a lot, lot more. I don’t use these all at once, obviously, but I use them according to the style I’m sporting that day.
My TOP used BRUSHES & COMBS
(1) Cricket anti-static hair friction
From?: Amazon.com
Price: $4.70*
How I use it-
Since my hair has grown to BSL (inching towards WL), its gotten flatter at the roots and lost a bit of its voluminous luster it used to have when it was at SL and shorter. So what I do to get back a bit more volume is I pick at my roots and pull upwards. I do this upside down and standing straight up, usually using a styling product such as eco styler gel or my Curls Unleashed mousse. This pick is also great because it’s anti-static, so I won’t have static roots – haha.
(2) Diane 9-inch Rat tail comb
From?: Amazon.com
Price: $2.29*
How I use it-
If you’re a habitual part switcher (one day you like your part in the middle and the next on the left side) such as myself, a rat tooth comb is your BEST friend. One thing I find aesthetically unpleasing about myself is when my part zigs and zags all over the place, unintentionally. I like my part to be as even as possible, unless I purposely want a zig-zag. One finger doesn’t cut it, but this comb is great! I like the tail on this comb because its thick and can part my hair easily and fast.
(3) Conair Boar Bristle Brush
From?: Duande Reade
Price:  $5.29*
How I use it-
My hair is notorious for baby hair frizzies! They love sticking up, especially when it’s humid. Normally, I don’t mind this if I’m wearing my hair out. But if I want my hair back in a slick ponytail or cute bun on top of my head, my hair needs to lay flat. I brush my edges down very gently with this brush, using my blue or pink ecostyler gel. And the remaining hair, I brush smoothly into a bun or ponytail using a little bit of water, cantu shea butter, and a drop of an oil such as jojojoba oil or olive oil.
(4) Shower comb
From?: Sally’s Beauty Supply
Price:$1.69*
How I use it-
My favorite place to detangle my hair is under the shower, especially in the winter when its cold. This is also my favorite way to detangle because its the fastest. I’m a wash-n-go kind of girl and like my hair to be detangled by the time I’m out of the shower. I keep one conditioner for cleansing and one for detangling in my shower and start at the ends of my hair and work my way up my hair.
*Note: This is AROUND what I paid. So depending on where you decide to purchase this product, it may be more ore or less than the price I listed. 🙂
What are YOUR most used brushes/combs? Or are you finger comber with magical fingers?

On a “No Heat Challenge” – My 5 month celebration!

Hello all!

Sorry its been a while, but life has been SO exciting and hectic in these last few weeks that I was overlooking my BLOG… I know, shameful! But I’ve been itching (no, not dry flaky scalp itching lol) to write about the “no heat challenge” I decided to partake in starting in May 2012! It has officially been 5 whole months since I started that challenge and I can proudly announce I have not used ONE heat tool (including blow dryers) for FIVE whole months. I’ve worn my curly hair loud and proud! And better yet? I still don’t want to. I want to see if I can make it to half a year, or 6 months, which I know shouldn’t be too difficult.;)

Furthermore, I  wanted to share with you all a gem I stumbled upon on youtube! A video demonstrating how to achieve straight hair WITHOUT heat. I follow loads of youtubers, some younger than myself, some older, because we can obviously get advice from all walks of life. This particular youtuber is young, yet so knowledgeable. Check out her video! I think this works well with curly or wavy hair. It works somewhat well with my hair, but my hair has a tendency to frizz, so, eh.

What do you all think? Have you ever experimented with this technique?

BEE•U•Ti• FUL Moisturizing Deep Conditioner review!

I was recently sent a sample size 8oz tub of Bee Mine’s new product: “BEE•U•Ti• FUL Moisturizing Deep Conditioner”! I was stoked to try out a product considering this is the first time I’ve ever tried a hair product from their line.

I have a preference for more natural based products (although I definitely don’t have all natural products), and having claimed they are “Silicone – Free / SLS – Free / Paraben – Free / Protein Free”, I was eager to try this out on my mane! haha. Because this product is protein free, this would be great for protein sensitive naturalistas out there.

The product arrived to me about three days ago and I did the review off of one use.

Also, side-note: I had a little too much fun editing the photos I took of the product. I hope you find it entertaining, lol.

Product size: 8oz (also available in 2oz and 16oz)
Product price point: $18.97
Availability: http://www.beemineproducts.com
Product features: “We are pleased to announce the release of our BEE•U•Ti•FUL Moisturizing Deep Conditioner; our first protein-free deep conditioner that helps to detangle your hair and provide excellent manageability. This deep conditioner is made with creamy and emollient Cupuacu butter, to promote smooth and soft hair while boosting the rebirth of the hair’s natural moisture and elasticity. Highly beneficial for dry and damaged hair. BEE•U•Ti•FUL also provides some protection from damaging UV-A and UV-B rays and helps to restore shine and moisture to stressed hair.”

Directions: “After shampooing, gently & evenly massage a generous amount of BEE•U•Ti•FUL into palms and spread evenly from root to ends of hair. Cover hair with a warm towel or plastic cap for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water and style as desired.”
Ingredients: Distilled water, Cetearyl Alcohol, BTMS (mild emulsifier), 100% Unrefined Shea Butter , 100% Organic Coconut Oil, Cupuacu Butter, Calendula Extract, Chamomile Extract, Organic Raw Honey, Paraben Free Preservative, Fragrance (Phthalate Free)”

Application: First, I cowashed my hair with my coconut cowash from the product line “As I Am”. I then applied the bee mine deep conditioner in my hair in sections. Because the directions told me to leave it on for 10 minutes, I then put on my microfiber hair turban and let the product work its magic. I did not use a steamer, a hooded dryer or any heat. I therefore let the product sit a bit longer in my hair, around 20 minutes. I then rinsed out the product with cold water and went about styling my hair with my mango butter/shea butter mixture and pink ecostyler gel.

Scent: Without having read what the product says about the scent, my nose picked up on a honey/vanilla smell whipped together with coconut cream. It smells AMAZING. I’m quite picky when it comes to the scents I like to have on my hair, and this scent is one that I wouldn’t mind smelling all day long. The thing I also love about the scent is its longevitiy. I applied the product in my hair (and washed it out) yesterday morning and I can still smell a hint of honey and coconut. The scent lingers, but in a good way, in that freshly baked cupcakes at a bakery kind of way 😉

Verdict: 4.5/5 stars – I really have taken a liking to this product and this experience has encouraged me to check out other products from their line. Two things that are most important to me in a product are its (1) scent and (2) ingredients – and these two things are a go for me. I asked my mother for a quote in reference to how my hair looked by the end of the day and she said, I kid you not, “hot diggity dog.” She also had had a glass of wine, but hey, you get the picture 😉 I think I can pretty much surmise that that means it looked nice – lol. I like how my hair felt, granted my styling products had a lot of influence on how my hair turned out, too. I had “hand in hair syndrome” all day, oops. Is it worth repurchasing?? My response, “heck yeah!”
What are two things YOU find most important in a deep conditioning product?

Back to school hair accessories – starring Quoise Inc!

September is slowly but surely approaching and for many of us that means ‘so long summer‘ or until next year, at least. During this transitional period of back to school or back to work, many of us update our wardrobes to help us shift more smoothly into the next season. For many of us, we update our clothing – that’s what I usually like to do.

Years prior, my hair and its style was put on the backburner despite the fact that hair accessories are a great way to change up ones’ style. I’m not one for intricate hairstyles because simply put, I don’t have the time (or patience!) What I like to do to change up the appearance of my hair is wear headbands. There are an array of styles to choose from and all hair textures, hair lengths and hair colors can play around with them. They can make any ol’ LBD or plain t-shirt look chic.

I recently stocked up on some hair accesories from Forever21 since they always have a wide range to choose from and they often sell styles that correspond with ongoing trends. They’re also an inexpensive way to update your fashion and (safely) experiment with trends without having to splurge. All of these were between $1.80 and $5.80 – all steals!

I also like to support smaller businesses and start-ups and purchase from individual sellers when possible. I am a HUGE etsy fan, btw!  My college friend Ashlie Butler (a truly inspiring lady!) held a trunk show for her new company, Quoise (http://www.quoiseinc.com) at Henri Bendel’s on 5th avenue – an amazing accomplishment! Here I am rocking a beautiful purple stone headband, handmade by her!  This is definitely my favorite hair accessory in my collection. Follow the company on twitter: @QuoiseInc

And last but not least, I love BIG ol’ scrunchies. This one was gifted to me for my birthday from my grandmother. Its got a beautiful Africanesque (for lack of a better word) design on it. My all-time favorite hairstyle is throwing my curly/kinky hair up in a bun and going. It’s quick, cute and chic! Scrunchies are also a great alternative to the hair band, which can also tug at the roots of my hair and pull my edges (eek!)

Are you changing up your hair wardrobe for the coming school/work year? If  so, what hair accessory in particular?

Pantene Pro-V How To: Type 3 Hair

Check out this video (brought to you by naturallycurly.com) of the wonderful hairstylist Tippi Shorter styling my 3C hair using Pantene Pro-V Curly hair products.

This was a fun and interesting experience for me to learn how I can make my ‘heavy’ sometimes flat hair, perk up a bit!

Thoughts? 🙂

Find more about the Pantene Pro-V curly hair line here:Curly Hair Series!

**Thank you naturallycurly.com (Texture Media Inc) for this wonderful and insightful opportunity!

Product Review: Dove Nourishing Oil Care line

Disclaimer: I purchased both of these products with my own money. I was not asked or paid to review these products!

As I was skimming the aisles of my local CVS, my eyes were enticed by pretty gold and ivory packaging of Dove’s new Argan Oil-based product line. I immediately knew I had to try it. Now that mainstream drugstore brands are catching onto the natural ingredient/natural hair fad (I’d call it more of a lifestyle change and awareness by consumers such as myself *ahem*), you can find big name brands trying to gain the attention of naturalistas everywhere with jargon such as “coconut oil”, “argan oil”, “organic”, and “paraben-free”/silicone-free” and more clearly visible on product packaging!

I knew I had to try it. I try to steer clear of buying products based on their “looks”, but I’m somehow always tricked into glossy, sleek and clean-looking packaging. Good job Dove marketing team 😉

The two products I decided to try out are: (1) Dove Nutritive Therapy, Nourishing Oil Care Daily Treatment Conditioner and (2) Nourishing Oil Care Anti-Frizz Serum with Argan Oil.


(1) Dove Nutritive Therapy, Nourishing Oil Care Daily Treatment Conditioner
Product size: 8oz
Product price point: Around $6.50
Availability: At most drugstores and grocery stores
Product features: “Conditioner and treatment in one
-Dramatically transforms even extra dry, rough and frizzy hair
-Formula with Weightless Nutri-Oils replenishes essential nutrients
-Deep nourishment for amazing smoothness
-Advanced care and repair for beautiful hair” – Dove website

Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Lactic Acid, Behentrimonium chloride, Glycerin, Fragrance (Parfum), Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Dipropylene Glycol, Amodimethicone, Polyurethane-39, Petrolatum, Disodium EDTA, DMD Hydantoin, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, PEG-7 Propylheptyl Ether, Cetrimonium Chloride, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, PEG-180M, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Trehalose, Gluconolactone, Adipic Acid, Sodium Sulfate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Iron Oxides (CI 77492).

Application: I applied this product in the shower after co-washing with TRESemme Naturals conditioner (a staple in my hair routine). I squeezed about enough product to lather it on from root to tip. I let it sit on my hair for about 5 minutes before rinsing out the rest of the product. The consistency is of a thick butter and it comes out in two colors: yellow and white, kind of like crest toothpaste, haha. I got more than enough slip for my dry, fine curly “3c” hair.

Scent: It smelled very good, like most Dove products. However, it does not have a natural scent, it is definitely perfumed (as you can see within the ingredient list). I’d say it has a light floral/cream scent with a hint of almond.

Verdict: 3.5/5 stars. Love the scent, love the packaging, I wish the consistency were a little less thick and provided some more slip because I didn’t feel like it penetrated as much as it could have. It left my hair feeling pretty soft, but alas, I’ve felt it softer and more to my liking with other products. Repurchasing is unlikely however, as I know products that are better suited for my hair type and texture.


(2) Nourishing Oil Care Anti-Frizz Serum with Argan Oil

Product size: 1.35 fl oz (40 ml)
Product price point: Around $6.50
Availability: At most drugstores and grocery stores
Product features: “The Dove® Nourishing Oil Care Collection transforms dry, rough and frizzy hair into beautifully smooth hair that’s easier to manage and style.

Dove® Weightless Nutri-Oils, now enriched with Argan Oil, penetrate hair rapidly to deeply nourish, instantly smooth frizz and revitalize shine without weighing hair down.” -Dove website
Product Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Isohexadecane, Dimethiconol), Phenyl Trimethicone, Amodimethicone, Fragrance (Parfum), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil.

Application: I applied this after having used the daily treatment conditioner out of the shower. I wore a microfiber turban for about 20 minutes and applied it when my hair was damp and not dripping wet. It felt like a typical serum or an oil; consistency similar to that of an oil such as extra virgin olive oil. It’s clear and lightweight. I applied 5 pumps in total since my hair is a little bit passed BSL (bra strap length) when curly. It felt similar to that of Organix Coconut milk serum, as far as texture.

Scent: Similar to the conditioner… I smell a bit of almond mixed in with a light floral scent. Before I was saying it smelled like a creamy light floral. Smells beautiful!

Verdict: 4/5 stars. I liked the serum more than the conditioner. I loved the packaging, the smell and the consistency. I felt it locked in moisture and left my hair bouncy and somewhat defined. In the future, I will need to use some kind of mousse or gel to hold the curl better, but overall, it made my hair smell lovely, look good and didn’t leave it greasy!