Shampoo Update: “Boing!”

Okay, so in January I tried two different shampoos, Not Your Mother’s Naturals Tahitian Gardenia Flower & Mango Butter Curl Defining shampoo and Ouidad’s  Climate Control Defrizzing shampoo

As you can see, I didn’t add a link to the NYMN shampoo because, meh, it was almost too mild. I would almost categorize it as a baby shampoo. I think it could still be for curly hair, but not coarse curly hair. Also, I wasn’t really pleased with how my scalp dried out. Conclusion: Mild, fruity scent, still suffered from scalp irritation.

Now, the Ouidad shampoo is a different story. Initially, I thought “meh, this one is not that great either,” but I decided to rotate it with the Aveda Rosemary Mint shampoo. First, it passed the scalp test with very little scalp irritation. Second, it did not strip my hair. Let me say that my hair feels clean after use, but not stripped. It does have a really frothy lather, which initially freaked me out (the scent is very mild and clean). Also, this is one of those products that one has to use several times before coming to any conclusions. I’ve noticed after using this for over six weeks that I’ve gotten consistent results–no super dry hair or scalp, minimal tangles, and my crown is not as dry as it usually is by wash day (I only had to refresh one section). That is, I think this shampoo has progressive results.

I’ve also changed my leave-in. I mentioned that I was rotating in the Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter. Well, I decided to use this as a leave-in and rotate out Curl Junkie’s Smoothing Lotion, which has been what I consider a HG product. I was really hesitant about taking this out of the rotation, but I see the results are completely different and in a good way.

I have gotten more “pop, boing!” and longevity with my curls than with other regimens I’ve used over the past 8 years. And I’ve significantly reduced scalp irritation and itch. I’m

gonna keep doing it until, and if something changes.climatecontrol_defrizzing_shampoo_8.5

 

 

 

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Shampoo Update 2017

Happy New Year All! I was settling, but not completely satisfied with the Aveda Rosemary Mint shampoo. I am still going to use it because it is the most non-irritating shampoo I’ve used. Well, that is, until yesterday.

So I decided to do a little bit more digging on the surfactants/detergents in shampoo. This is ongoing research for me, but I decided to venture back in to see if there was more detailed information. And there was. I found it on Curly Nikki’s website. I didn’t go directly to her site, but used Google, and a link to this article popped up. I was searching for shampoo for sensitive scalp, but this one on shampoo for dry natural hair was on the return results list. I won’t go into detail because all of the information is contained within the article, but I can say that this helped me select a different shampoo.

nosulfates

I have found that after being a serious product junkie that my scalp had become super sensitive. I’ve had severe dry scalp, sore spots on my scalp, and some hair loss — from cheap sulfates!! When I use anything with SLS/SLES or Sodium C12-14 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, I have an instant reaction. As soon as my hair dries, my scalp is dry and within a day or two my scalp is itchy, and then a few more days out, my scalp is itchy and has sore spots. When I attempted to do no-poo (with Wen and many other cleansing conditioners) the same thing happened.

I decided to go back to Aveda brand shampoo. I first purchased their Scalp Benefits formula, but that made my scalp dry and itchy (see the ingredients list). And then I moved on to the Rosemary Mint. This shampoo significantly reduced my symptoms, and it’s actually supposed to be a clarifying shampoo. I thought that using it once a week would dry my hair out, but it doesn’t. And as I mentioned in a previous post, my scalp seems to prefer watered down sulfates. I still get the itchies with Rosemary Mint, but it’s nothing like the severe reaction I get with the other shampoos. That is, on a scale of 1 to 10, Rosemary Mint is about a 2-3 by wash day. But I think that this is only part of the story.

After reading the article on Curly Nikki’s site, I ran out and purchased Not Your Mother’s  Naturals Tahitian Gardenia Flower & Mango Butter Curl Defining Shampoo . I really don’t like fruity body care products, but I decided to give this a shot. I purchased this because of the mild cleansers. Mild doesn’t mean that this won’t get your hair clean. It means that it is less likely to irritate your scalp. I would usually wait until I’ve used a product for four washes before I post, but after my first wash, I could tell that this was going to work. I have not experienced any burning or itching so far. I will definitely be able to confirm by Saturday.

I purchased a Ouidad brand shampoo with C14-16 cleanser — I knew that I should not have because the Organix brand uses this cleanser, and it always dried my hair out, and irritated my scalp. But because Ouidad is supposed to be great for curly heads, I decided to risk it. Well, it didn’t work, ha! So, I exchanged it for the Ouidad Climate Control Defrizzing shampoo . I was simply going to return the Ultra Nourishing formula, but I noticed that the Climate Control formula contains some of the milder surfactants. So I will try that one next, and let you know how it goes.

I’m not that thrilled about how my curls turned out with the Not Your Mother’s, but if my scalp is inflamed and not healthy, it’s not going to matter too much anyway, so I’m sticking with it! All of this is connected to my slow hair growth! Ugh!

I may simply rotate these with the Rosemary Mint. But I first have to try the Ouidad!

Did this post help you? It’s taken me about five years to figure all of this out, and I am surprised that I’m not bald. Let me know.

 

Finals Week ‘n stuff

*Skipping a discussion about the 2016 Presidential election because…yeah…it’ll just stress me out.*

So, it’s finals week at the University, and things are slowing down in the library. I am really satisfied with what I am doing right now, though, I feel that tug of “There’s more that I want to do, let’s do it now,” which has caused great instability in my life. I’ve had to accept that I can’t sit still. I have a wanderlust when it comes to work, and fortunately this position has a lot of tasks to hold my attention. I now need to settle down and write — easier said than done.

I’m currently reading The Racial Contract by Charles Mills, a Caribbean scholar. It was suggested by a French political scholar on Twitter (I have a Twitter problem). It’s really driving home the point that racism is integral to the functioning of politics in the Americas (global white supremacy is more accurate). Racism is fundamental. And he uses philosophy (on which Western governments are based) to deliver his argument. It’s very good so far.

It’s now winter in the central Midwest (Chicago–the most important city in the Midwest, ha!). I crocheted a hat over Thanksgiving break. It’s beautiful and made with a wool/silk blend so that it won’t grab my kinks and curls. I am so happy with it that I am going to make another in a different color.

In any case, with winter comes the winter hair regimen. I don’t really do too much differently from season to season. I probably should, but my hair has medium/high porosity, so the most important thing is locking moisture into my hair. I’ve had to ditch the Lush Fairly Traded Honey shampoo. It was eating away at my hair. I mean…ugh, Lush! So I’m back with Aveda Rosemary Mint shampoo. I’m also experimenting with Kinky Curly’s Stellar Strands. It’s okay…smells really weird, but I do notice a difference in softness when I rinse it out. So I will use it up, and give a full review then.

So here’s what I learned in the past week about this shampoo. The reason why it’s not as drying/stripping as the other Aveda shampoos, is because it contains a watered down sulfate (interesting because it’s supposed to be a clarifying). My scalp likes sulfates. I’ve tried mostly coconut based shampoos — who am I kidding — most shampoos have coconut cleansers, but my scalp hates full on coconut cleanser shampoos (I’m looking at Shea Moisture.) My scalp goes into five-alarm itch mode. Also, there are so many different names for coconut cleansers that it’s impossible to find a shampoo without one unless you go straight clay. My hair loves clay, but my scalp does not. Simply, my scalp likes to be cleansed with a sulfate shampoo. But sulfates dry my hair and scalp out!

So, here I am with Aveda Rosemary Mint again because it just works. I still have to put a little bit of Jojoba oil on my scalp, but it just works.

Talk soon!

Hair Products 2016

I’m not sure when I wrote the last post, but ‘hello there.’ I thought I would post more after finishing my graduate program. But, alas, one has to build a career. In any case, it seems appropriate to warm-up with a post about  hair. It’s very easy, and, yes, 7 years later I am still obsessed with my hair.

So I’ve found out a few things about my hair and scalp. Yes, that’s right, I was using the anti-dandruff shampoo by Shea Moisture. Well, now I’ve concluded that I simply cannot use Shea Moisture products. I don’t find them moisturizing, and the shampoos ultimately make my scalp itch. Which leads me to  a video I found about three weeks ago. Hair vlogger, Naptural85 posted a YouTube video about her sensitivity to coconut oil. Not just her sensitivity, but why she stopped using coconut oil. Upon hearing her symptoms, I thought about what I had been experiencing with my scalp –itchiness, sore spots, and dryness/flakiness. I decided to eliminate coconut oil and as many coconut derivatives as possible.

You would not believe how many products use coconut oil or coconut cleansers. And the many names of coconut cleansers. I’ve been using shea butter, avocado oil, and sweet almond oil as sealants and refreshers for a while, so it wasn’t a big deal to eliminate coconut from the line-up. It was simply finding products that didn’t include coconut oil.

Along with the elimination of coconut oil, I’ve also started to reverse wash. I love the results. I think this is particularly helpful if you have fine, natural hair, and you have scalp issues. The two things that I’ve noticed is that 1) My hair has more volume and body. That is, it’s fuller and it has more movement, and 2) It has, along with the elimination of coconut oil, significantly reduced the scalp itch and irritation. I think the reverse wash gets rid of any conditioner product that may get left behind– reduces build-up.

Now, I’m not completely sold on my current shampoo because it seems a bit drying, but it doesn’t have any coconut cleansers. And I add a light coating of Jojoba oil to a clean scalp, and this combats any dryness that may occur (I use a Q-tip to apply the oil to my scalp).

So without further ado here is my current product list:

Reverse Wash:

  • Inexpensive conditioner (I just found out last week that Aussie Moist has added sodium chloride to the current formula, so I am now searching for a new conditioner. I thought Tresemme would be good, but their conditioners have potassium chloride, which is just as bad as sodium chloride–they are cheap thickeners and just don’t feel good on the hair. I felt that the sodium chloride reduced slip. I may go back to Herbal Essences Totally Twisted)
  • Obia Naturals Babassu Deep Conditioner (So good!)
  • Fairly Traded Honey by Lush (really sudsy and drying, so I don’t use a lot. Also, I’m super critical of Lush. The products smell great, but most of their products are not ph balanced–their bar soaps and regular shower gels make my skin crack and break out in these weird thingys. I don’t know what one would call it, but when I stop using their stuff, my skin clears up. Also, they still use parabens and haven’t come up with a satisfactory reply to why they still use them, “there are parabens in your food…” just doesn’t cut it for me.
  • Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion (Leave-in, Holy Grail product!)

Leave-in/Stylers (I use the LOC method):

  • Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter (Liquid:  In addition to the Curl Junkie Smoothing lotion, I use this as a leave-in for wash ‘n go styles. I have yet to use it for a twist out, but it is as good as people say. I was hesitant to try it for my own reasons. Also, I had been using Jessicurl Deep Treatment, which is still good, but the Camille Rose is a nice change)
  • Qhemet Biologics Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm (Oil: Holy Grail! I love this stuff, and it took me a while to figure out how to use it. I actually gave my first batch away because I couldn’t figure it out. I learned how to use it from a curly who used to be really active on naturally curly’s curl talk forum. You have to emulsify this with water. So I squeeze a small dollop into the palm of my hand, add a few drops of cool water, and then mix it into a cream. I add this in sections
  • My DIY shea butter mix: (Cream) shea butter, avocado oil, and sweet almond oil. Mix with hand blender or if it’s a small batch, you can try to blend it with a spoon.
  • Spritz my hair with water (bottle from Sally Beauty Supply)
  • Apply Kinky Curly Curling Custard (Holy Grail! I’ve been using this since I found it, and I think that was 6 or 7 years ago. It freaks me out because I should probably try something else, but this gives me consistently great wash ‘n gos, and hold for days! I can’t quit it)

Yes, this seems like a lot, but my routine has actually gotten simpler over time. I want it to be even more simple! I wish that I could find one moisturizing leave-in, but my hair is porous, so no go. And the Shea Moisture High Porosity Masque seemed ‘Ok’ at first, but I started to notice that my hair was tangling more.

Has anyone had scalp issues? Problems you’ve noticed with certain product lines? I hope to post soon!

 

 

 

Hair update and 2016

Happy New Year! Okay, so it’s very strange to have my first post of 2016 be about hair, but there’s too much stuff going on (or not enough? stuff going on) in my professional life to post. And I don’t want to devolve into complaining. So let’s talk about what I am excited about, and that’s hair.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been struggling with scalp issues (dry, itchy scalp) for about two years. Before this, I never had scalp problems. I think being a product junkie triggered an imbalance (I particularly noticed a problem after using a bentonite clay based hair wash.) It’s taken me two years to find a shampoo that doesn’t dry out my hair, and at the same time doesn’t leave my scalp dry and itchy (this could also be due to product being left on my scalp.)

I want to note here that this scalp problem has caused slow growth, and some hair loss and thinning.

Initially, I used Aveda Scalp Benefits, which worked enough. That is, it reduced the itchiness, but didn’t get rid of the small flakes I had due to dryness. After this, I tried Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap shampoo formula. It’s for people with dandruff and various forms of scalp dermatitis. Yes, it got to a point where I thought I had a form of dermatitis. This formula worked for a few washes, but then stopped working, and actually made the itch and dryness worse.

I had some Aveda Rosemary Mint lying around (an Aveda consultant/stylist recommended that I use it once a month while using the Scalp Benefits), and I decided to use it, as the first time I used it, it didn’t dry my hair out and I don’t remember being super itchy a few days out from wash day. Welp! I’ve decided that I am going to use this formula as my regular shampoo.

I haven’t had any flakes, and my scalp is better than it’s been in the past two years.

Now onto new products! Shea Moisture has just released a line of low porosity and high porosity hair lines. I’ve linked resources that define these two types of porosity, but they are not that great. So do your own research.

Working with my hair, I do not use or purchase products according to my curl pattern, which is 4a. I work with porosity, ph, and hair strand density. In other words, I have fine hair strands that are highly porous. The key to maintaining hair growth is to use products and processes that reduce tangling and dryness, which cause breakage. I pre-treat with coconut oil and conditioner. This allows me to do a small amount of dry detangling before I wash. My HG conditioner is Aussie Moist.  I use it to pre-treat and then detangle after washing.

Okay, all of that to get back to the new Shea Moisture lines. I have highly porous hair, and selected the High Porosity Moisture-Seal masque. I found both High and Low porosity lines at Target. I first saw the High Porosity line at a Target in Pennsylvania (I think it was the Cheltenham/Wyncote location). I didn’t purchase because it was the holiday, and I was low on funds. Anyway, after I left Pennsylvania, I was kicking myself because I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to find it once I got back home. But, as you can see below, I found it at my local Target!

This line has a shampoo, co-wash, styler, and a deep conditioning masque. I decided to try the masque only because Shea Moisture products haven’t worked for me. I don’t co-wash anymore because I think this is one of the things that set off my scalp problem. I will not try the shampoo, but might try the styler, though, I do have an HG styler.

I had low expectations for this product. I’ve tried three different Shea Moisture masques: Coconut Hibiscus, Raw Shea Butter, and the African Black Soap Plantain. They did absolutely nothing for my hair. I didn’t feel like they moisturized or protected in any way.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I sank my fingers into the High Porosity Moisture-Seal Masque. Amazing! Seriously. It is rich, creamy and moist. I think it is because the first few ingredients are moisturizing alcohols. It supposedly contains Mongongo and Hemp seed oils…I don’t trust Shea Moisture, but it very well could contain micro amounts of these oils. It also contains apple cider vinegar (ACV), which, with its low ph (around 3) helps close the hair cuticle (locks in the moisture); though, I don’t know how ACV reacts when combined with other ingredients.

I’ve heard other curlies describe a conditioner that melted their tangles, but I had never experienced it until now. Upon first use, I used way too much because a lot of it stayed on my hands (this is how rich it is, and not rich in that thick way, but in a creamy way.) The scent is like a cheap, men’s cologne, but not offensive.

This contains mild proteins, which is good for fine natural hair. I can’t use heavy proteins because they dry my hair out.

I have nothing left to say about this except that I will continue to use it unless it does something weird to my hair.

4/5 curls from me! I gave it 4/5 because the price ($12.99) was higher than what I’ve paid for other Shea Moisture masques.

Check out the High/Low Shea Moisture lines at your local Target. I think they may be slowly rolling these out, so if you don’t see it there, check back! The Low Porosity line comes with a bright orange label and is protein-free.

BTW, it looks like they are introducing Detox and Refresh, and Frizz Defense lines, too. I’m not messing with those tho, :).

IMAG0907

Shea Moisture High Porosity Moisture Masque 2016

Terressentials: Natural Hair Post, so if you don’t care, skip it

Terressentials

 

My love-hate relationship with Terressentials continues. I LOVE what this clay hair wash does for my hair. I get great definition, and moisture for days. I tried it after I watched  Naptural85 rave about the benefits of this natural hair wash. At the same time, I had been watching videos, and doing research about the ph of hair and skin. I think that I’ve mentioned this before, but just in case, a quick reminder. The hair and skin are at their best when you use products that have a ph range between 4.5-5.5–give or take a few points. Unless you have some type of skin/scalp condition, this ph range keeps stuff from drying out your hair, and bad microbes off of your skin.

If you want fuller/puffier hair, use products that have a ph between 6-7. This is a more neutral ph, which leaves the hair cuticle slightly open. This is usually the general ph range of most products.  For those with fine hair (like me) this range usually is not a problem, as you want more fluff/frizz to the hair. This gives the illusion of thick hair. But, for a fine haired curly, I actually like my hair to be more defined because I get less tangles and breakage. Also, after a wash, as the days go by, my hair gets fuller. ( If you want to experiment, you can find a list of shampoos, conditioners, and their ph on The Natural Haven site

Okay, so this is the deal with Terressentials. My scalp hates this stuff–I think I’ve mentioned it before–but trying to find something that gives me the same results has proved impossible. There are some really good products out there, but Terressentials gives me results that I can’t duplicate with anything else.

In any case, I had to find something to wash my scalp with that wouldn’t dry out my hair before Terressentials application. This is what I do:

  • Wash my scalp with a Bobeam Shampoo Bar (Honey/Shea)–you can purchase from her Etsy Store (link provided) or Curlmart.
  • I rinse. Her shampoo bars leave the hair clean, but not completely stripped of moisture.
  • I then apply Terressentials to the length of my hair making sure that I don’t go near the scalp (I use Left Coast Lemon or Lavender).
  • Detangle and remove shed hairs.
  • Thoroughly rinse out clay wash.
  • Apply  Aubrey Organics White Camellia conditioner and apply plastic cap for deep condition (really acidic/high ph. I think because Terressentials opens the cuticle, this conditioner closes it. It has an odd foaming action–not like the foam/suds of a surfactant–it makes my hair feel squeeky, which is a sign that it is closing the cuticle. But this is my opinion, I have no science to back this up).

My leave-ins are DevaCurl One Condition (ph: 4.7) and Jessicurl Deep Treatment. I seal with a homemade Coconut oil moisturizer (coconut oil base, shea butter, jojoba oil, olive oil, Jamaican black castor oil, a few drops of argan oil, and essential oils for scent blended with a hand blender). I then apply Kinky Curly Curling Custard.

This may seem like a lot of product, but my hair is defined, moisturized and lasts seven days.

If you decide to try any of these products, let me know what you think!

How I keep my hair situation moisturized and product updates

Heyyy! It has been a while. I’ve been meaning to post, but I just started grad school in late July, and it’s been crazy ever since.

At any rate,  it took me a very long time to figure out how to keep my hair moisturized. I’d wash my hair, have one good hair day, and then have to figure out what I was going to do to keep it going. My hair does not like water after the initial dry, particularly with a wash n’ go. I mean, water is fine when I put my hair up in a ponytail, but if I get any water on my hair during a wash n’ go, I know that I  am gonna have to wash it soon. I get frizz and shrinkage. It’s just not pretty.

So this is what I do: after the initial wash, at night I stretch my hair into two ponytails (I do this every night–unless I am around my S.O.– until the next wash-day. ) That is, I take six Sephora snag-free hair elastics , my hair is parted down the middle, and then I stretch each side using the hair elastics (three per side.)  And then I put on a satin sleeping scarf and sleep on a satin pillowcase (I would like to get a silk pillowcase, but I am a procrastinator and satin is fine.) In the morning, I remove the satin scarf and shower with the two ponytails in my hair. Water and steam work their way into the ponytails, and after I get done preparing for the day, with a little bit of coconut oil on my hands, I remove the elastics and fluff my hair.

A note on stretching: I got this advice from YouTube-r Charz Boss–you have to stretch your hair. I don’t know how much it aids in hair growth, but I know that it keeps the hair from tangling. I have different size, curls and waves on my head, and my hair is fine, so it is imperative that i keep my hair from balling up onto itself.

Coconut oil has locking and moisturizing properties, so I frequently use this oil–this is my go-to oil. There is a trivial amount of water involved, and my wash ‘n go’s last for four-five days, and then I put it up into a ponytail for two-three days.

I have also made my own moisturizer. If you like this idea, keep it in the refrigerator because there is no amount of preservative that will keep it fresh. I mix aloe juice, water, Africa’s Best Ultimate Herbal Oil (you can use any oil blend–this one kinda smells like baby power, which I hate, but sometimes I’m just cheap, and I’m not gonna throw it out), and jojoba oil. I put this mixture into a dark brown, glass spray bottle (I picked it up at  the local health food store.)

Okay, I said that I wasn’t keen on Shea Moisture products, BUT I found one, I found one!!! I love-eee it! It is under the Nubian Heritage label (SAME COMPANY), and it’s called Indian Hemp & Tamanu, Grow & Strengthen Edge Taming Taffy. This stuff rocks for ponytails!!! OMG! I love it. I love the texture, then scent, and it works really well for ponytails (high-low or in between.)

I am probably late to the game on this one, but better late than never. I haven’t done a twist-out in a long time, but I am sure this would work well with a twist-out as well. This product is definitely a keeper.

Secondly, the As I Am cleansing pudding is still working fine. I still deep condition after I use it because it is a little drying.  And, another thing, if you do get this product, follow the directions and allow it to sit on your scalp after you scrub it with your fingertips.

Until next time…and it probably won’t be another hair post.

Natural Black Hair Regimen 2013

Indie Black Hair 2013

Indie Black Hair 2013

So, I haven’t done an update on my hair regimen in a long time. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve even done a regimen post. I think I have, but I can’t remember, ha!

Anyway, let’s get to it. I still use a lot of products, but there are some that have been staples since I learned how to take care of my natural texture.

Keep in mind, I live in Chicago (extreme cold/hot/humid.) This regimen is pretty consistent throughout the changes in weather.

Styler: Kinky Curly Curling Custard
I can’t live without this stuff. I love it, love it, love it. I don’t think I will try to make my own, ever. I just don’t think it could compare. I do, however, keep track of how much I use by marking the lid with the month and year. I get the jumbo jar which is pricey ($29.99). Target sells a smaller jar ($17.99), but it doesn’t make economic sense–unless you have an emergency. Every time I think I am going to try something less expensive, or make my own, as soon as I get to that last, snotty drop I am racing to the store for another jar. Shame.

Leave-in: Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment (formerly Weekly Deep Treatment) I layer this over a lighter leave-in. This stuff is magic.

Light Leave-in: DevaCurl One I stopped using this for a few years because they changed the formula. But I’ve started using it again, and I haven’t had any adverse effects.

Sealant:  Homemade Coconut Oil blend  ( This recipe is based on naptural85’s coconut oil moisturizer .) Using a hand mixer, I blend coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, rosemary essential oil, and jasmine essential oil (you can choose your own essential oils, but use sparingly because of the scalp.) Sometimes I will add grape seed or argan oil to the blend it depends on what I have on hand. Just enough to coat the strands, otherwise you will have an oil slick all over your ears and neck.

Shampoo: This has been a complicated one. I am currently using Terressentials lavender or left coast lemon. Now, I have a love-hate relationship with this clay cleanser. I LOVE the results, but my scalp hates the stuff, so I rotate this out ( I use the Terressentials every third or fourth wash) with As I Am cleansing pudding,  which I just started using. The cleansing pudding has an ingredient, piroctone olamine, which is known to be a great scalp cleanser, and to promote growth. It is a little drying, so I do a short deep condition( with Tresemme Naturals condish–I put a lot of this in my hair, and then briefly run it under the shower stream to activate, and then I detangle with my fingers, or a shower comb.) After I detangle, I leave it in, place a plastic cap over my head, finish my shower duties, take the cap off, and then rinse it out.

BTW: I use the Teri Laflesh method to wash my hair. Her website was the first one that I found when I began to research how to take care of my hair. I spent years trying to figure out how to wear my hair natural (Whew, I don’t miss the birds nest days, or people calling me Macy Gray, I like her, but I don’t look anything like her. But we know what that’s about…)

I would love to find a really moisturizing shampoo for my scalp, but I am going to ride this As I Am cleansing pudding thing until the wheels fall off. Every time I use shampoo it dries my hair out–it just isn’t the same. And some alternative sulfates are more drying/stripping than regular sulfates. The day will come…

I started working with ph a few months ago, and it has done wonders for my hair. This means that I try to use products that range between 4.5-5.5. I use the Terressentials with Aubrey Organics White Camellia conditioner. This feels really weird. BUT the Terressentials is really alkaline( maybe 9 or 10 on the ph scale? But it’s a solid, so I am not sure), which means that it opens up the hair shaft, and then fills it with moisture. When I put the AOWC on it feels really squeeky, which means that it is very acidic and that it’s closing the cuticle. I rinse this out, and then put the DevaCurl one in (acidic at 4.7.) I get fabulous hair when I use these two products together. Confusing, right? Well, the last leave-in/conditioner I put on my hair is acidic (between 4.5-5.5).

The Natural Haven has a ph list for both conditioners and shampoos.

WARNING: Don’t ever try to use the AOWC on it’s own( as a leave-in or co-wash–don’t do it!!) because it will tangle your hair big time. SERIOUSLY. I learned this the hard way.

Product Lines I dabble in:

Curl Junkie: I love the Smoothing Lotion as a light leave-in, and the Coffee-Coco Curl Creme as a curl refresher and a curly, pony tail poof refresher. That is, if I have been wearing a wash’n go for a few days, and one of the curls is kind of frizzy, or out of whack I will wet the strand down, and then slick some CCCC down the strand. This usually makes the curl snap right back. My only complaint is that her products are really expensive, and she has a sale once or twice a year. (Try Curl Mart? They have sales more often, but they don’t sell larger sizes.)

Oyin Handmade: HoneyHemp Conditioner I often use this as a pre-poo because it softens tangles. (Be careful how you store this because hemp oil goes rancid, so I would put it in the ‘frig for storage.) I get the big bottle from the website–it just, yes, makes economic sense.

*sigh* That was a long one, but I hope it helps somebody out there. It took me a long time to get to this point. I have gone through so many products to get to my hair’s maximum potential, but it’s been worth it. Yup.

Next post:  How I keep my hair moisturized in between washes.

Any questions? Comments?

Not-so-good Hair Products for Natural Black Hair

DISCLAIMER: These are my opinions and my experience. If you love these products, keep on buying/using them.

Source: madamenoire.com

Source: madamenoire.com

Initially, the title of this post was “crappy hair products…” but I came back, and decided that was a little too harsh. In any case, the new craze: every hair product company trying to make money off of the natural hair renaissance. The problem is that most of the products are still full of unhealthy ingredients! Most companies still use petroleum (petrolatum, mineral oil, etc.) as a main ingredient in their products. Also, the products still stink! I’m sorry but I don’t want to smell like tropical fruit, vanilla, or coconut or any of those other stinky scents they use for black hair care products.

I want fresh, clean scents! I want natural oils (coconut, avocado, olive, castor,etc.)!

Here are some of the lines that have those traditional black hair care scents, and didn’t do anything for my hair:

Cantu Shea Butter– greasy, sticky and smells bad. Also, I think that they lie on their labeling. I checked out the ingredient list for one of their products online, and then purchased in store. The online ingredients did not list glycerin as an ingredient, but the bottle that I purchased had glycerin as the second ingredient. And yes they are the same product. Granted, their oil moisturizer works great on my niece’s hair–her hair is a completely different texture ( think 3A versus 4A, 3A easily moisturizes.)

Shea Moisture– I’ve tried a lot of their products and I just don’t get what all of the hype is about. I don’t like the scent of the Hibiscus and Coconut line or the African Black  Soap line (the hair mask smells like rotten bananas.) I do like the scent of their raw shea butter line, but it does nothing for my hair :(.

Other new natural hair/natural curls lines:

Beautiful Textures: just look at the ingredients.

As I am: I am using a cleansing pudding right now, and the jury is still out.

With the exception of Shea Moisture,  these lines were created by larger companies, so they are not on the scene to help you really take care of your hair. In other words, it’s about the profit motive.  There are many more lines that have recently released natural curl product lines, but I will not enumerate them here. You only have to stop by any chain store to see the explosion of products.

If you don’t want a bunch of products that contain petroleum, petrolatum, mineral oil, or any other derivative of grease, read the labels before purchase. This will save you money, and you will avoid being called a product junkie–if that bothers you, heh.

What about you? Have you tried any new hair care products? Are you pleased or disappointed?

Stay tuned for a post on my current hair regimen.