Sorry for the long absence – current favorite products

Hi Beauties,

As it’s been now three months (I think) since I last posted, I figured it’s time to get back into trying to post at least once a month if I can swing that!!

It’s been an very overwhelming and extremely busy past three months and I’ll explain why. Three months ago this next week, my second decided to make an early entrace into this world at 6 weeks early! He was born a mere 4 hours after my water broke on January 31st, 2017. He’s done nothing but surpass everyone’s expectations for him and he is thriving despite having been 6 weeks early and with his spina bifida.

Alright, anyway, life’s been hectic to say the least, but I’m hoping things are starting to calm down. In the meantime, I thought I’d list some of my current favorite products as I’ve done a lot of shifting in my makeup/hair routine recently including chopping off my waist length hair into an a-line mix of a bob/lob (long bob). I think I want to start up my youtube channel again, but we’ll see if that’s too ambitious for right now!

Okay, let’s start with hair!

With the shorter hair I’m finding I only need to conditioner it mmmaybe once a week. I need to get another bottle of co-wash, but for now I’m liking L’Oreal’s new clay shampoo.

L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay Rebalancing Shampoo

I’ve been using this for a few weeks now and I feel like it’s actually cleaning my hair. I haven’t noticed any build up yet, but I’ve also been (when I use conditioner) putting conditioner first then shampooing. This seems to help my hair actually get clean without stripping good oils. I find the scent refreshing and while I’m not entirely sure the “clay” is actually doing anything, I like to think that it is.

In trying to figure out my new styling needs with my new haircut, I accidentally stumbled upon what I’m using right now. Ironically it’s a product I’ve NEVER liked before with my longer hair and yet it’s the absolutely best product I’ve found so far with my shorter hair.

MOUSSE

I never liked how mousse would dry in my hair when it was to my waist. I liked cream/gels, but one of the things I specifically asked my hair stylist to do was give me as many layers as she could. I wanted, no CRAVED volume. I also knew that as soon as postpartum hair loss struck, I wanted a hair style I could get the absolute most volume I could. One day I decided to pull out my Garnier Fructis mousse and just give it a whirl. Holy cow, I got INCREDIBLE volume and my hair was SO soft. Check out the picture above, that was freshly washed and volumized hair.

Garnier Fructis Style Curl Construct Creation Mousse

The the last hair product I’ve been using this past week especially is a dry texturizing spray. I had found one by Garnier Fructis called Texture Tease last year at some point but with longer hair it was not a good product for my hair. I must have used enough of it last year because it only lasted a week! When trying to find the spray to replace my now empty bottle, I discovered that it appears to be yet another product that I’ve snatched up that is now discontinued! I then turned to the shelves of Target’s beauty section and stumbled upon a dry texturizing spray that I think is my new favorite product.

Umberto Dry Texture Spray 

I spritzed some of this on my hair after I got home this afternoon, and oh my goodness, instant revival of volume and without any crunchiness! I think I’m going to be reaching for this spray a lot.

Okay! Moving on to face products!

With having two kids now, one being an almost three month old who requires more doctors appointments than my first has had in his 3 years of life, my makeup routine has had to become very minimal. Honestly, all I’m doing right now most days is applying a BB cream after I put toner and moisturizer on my face after showering in the mornings, a little bit of eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, and mascara, and that’s my beauty routine.

Let’s start from the skin out –

Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner 

I’ve started using Witch Hazel two times a day and I’m really pleased with how my skin is starting to look! Especially with my body still full of pregnancy hormones and everything still settling after my little one’s intense arrival, my skin has been a bit unhappy with me. I don’t mind the slightly alcoholic smell of this witch hazel, it goes away as soon as it dries which is about 2 seconds. I just apply it with a cottonball around around my face, neck, and chest.

Olay Fresh Effects Long Live Moisture Satin Finish Lotion

I used to use this lotion several years ago but I didn’t really know how to take care of my face so it didn’t work all that great. However, I started using it again and I really love it. It’s silky but doesn’t dry oily. I don’t break out from it and one bottle lasts for months.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream – Light/Medium 

OMG, this stuff is amazing! I put this on after the lotion above and break one of my makeup rules; I apply it with my hands! I found this works best for this cream because the heat of my hands helps the cream blend into my skin a lot smoother than if I used a sponge or brush. Also, it’s quicker. I apply the witch hazel, moisturizer, and the bb cream in all less than 3 minutes.

But, when I want to do a fuller face of makeup, I found another new favorite –

NYX BB Cream in Natural 

I ran out of my Rimmel bb cream and decided to try something a little different for my minimal makeup routine. I haven’t always liked NYX products, but have been very pleased with this cream. It blends almost matte once it warms up to my skin. And it goes on really smoothly with or without primer under it. Ha, yet another makeup rule of mine I’ve broken recently! I’ll tell you what, having two kids really makes you figure out how quickly you can do something in as little steps as possible!

So those are my current favorite products! Thanks for sticking around during my absence. Life’s been really hard and busy and intense lately, but I haven’t dropped makeup as it’s become a significant self-care thing for me. Hopefully I’ll be able to start posting with a little more regularity soon!

 

Product Reviews – Birchbox, 2 boxes

Hi Beauties,

It’s a dreary slightly snowy day, so it feels like a good day to spit out a blog post. However, to brighten up my day, and hopefully yours, I snatched a Birchbox deal at the end of October where I got two boxes for the price of one. Now with this kind of deal (I have managed to get this one other time a year and a half ago) you never know what the second box is going to be! I was so pleasantly surprised when I opened up the big box from Birchbox and discovered the bonus box was their Rifle Paper Co. box! I am not going to be renewing my subscription to Birchbox at the present time, but I am glad I got it this past month. The samples were a really nice mix of eh not so sure about this to wow I really like this.

Okay, so to start of with, let’s talk about the November box. The theme of November was The Finishing Touch – all about those extra, just-because details that make all the difference. When I glanced at the list of samples I was getting, I was excited to see an Amika product was included. At first I thought it was my favorite dry shampoo, but upon further inspection, it is their dry conditioner. I didn’t even know such a product existed, but I was willing to give it a shot. The second product was the Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil from Bumble and Bumble. I have gotten this product in the past and found it to be too heavy for my hair. So this was one of the eh not so sure products.

Next down the line was a teaser from Coastal Scents’ new Blush & Bronzer palette. This sample included a blush and what looks like either a dark highlighter or a very light bronzer. I haven’t tried this one out yet since I am currently loving on my Pixi by Petra contour palette right now. A Dr. Jart+ product was included called Ceramidin Cream and while I haven’t tried it yet either, I am planning on giving it a shot once my current night cream product runs out.

Now, on to my favorite product from this box. I have heard of Milk Makeup off and on over the past two years, but had yet to try one of their products. I was really excited to see this Ubame Mascara included and couldn’t wait to try it. I just picked up a replacement for my favorite Better Than Sex Too Faced mascara, but have recently had to get rid of all my other mascaras because they had either dried up or run out. I was curious to see how the triple-ball applicator would compare to the hourglass applicator on the Better Than Sex mascara. Honestly, I really like the Milk mascara. It goes on super smooth, doesn’t flake, and I rather like the rich dark color.

When I opened the Rifle Paper Co. box, I was so excited to see a lip crayon and another Amika product! This product was their touchable hairspray and it seems to be holding up to the Amika standard I’ve come to know.

I have heard of Derma e products before but had never tried them, and for the other three products, those were new brands as well. I tried the derma e 2-in-1 charcoal mask the first night and really liked it. It dried fairly quickly, but it didn’t make my skin feel uncomfortably tight and it washed off easily which was a bit of a surprise.

img_3467

^ there’s the charcoal mask partially dried.

img_3532I received two RMS Beauty ultimate makeup remover wipes and have yet to use them. I’m going to save them for when I’m in the hospital after my son is born! I’m excited to see that the wipes contain coconut oil as that’s something I’ve used many times to remove eye makeup in particular. The Beauty Crop PBJ Smoothie Stick in Guava Nice Day is a beautiful mauve lipstick color and what I like most about it is that it lasts for a long time on your lips, is easy to apply, and the color seriously is really nice! It also doesn’t feel dehydrating to my lips and almost feels like a lip balm instead of lip color.

The TOCCA Crema da Mano (hand cream) didn’t even register with me that it was a hand cream until this morning! My hands get painfully dry during the winter and I have already been having trouble finding lotion to keep my hands from getting irritated. This hand cream has a delicate scent and while it felt a little oily as I was putting it on my hands, it has dried with a  soft finish. I like it and I may just end up picking up a full sized container of it!

So there you have it; my reviews of Birchbox products for the month of November. I can’t believe December starts in just a few short days and I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Curly Girl Hair Routine – Part 3 – References

Hi Beauties,

I finally have a few minutes to sit down and put together this post. I’ve been trying to track down all of my favorite websites and resources for curly girls, and I’m afraid I’m still coming up woefully short! Nevertheless, here’s some of the websites I frequent for curly hair and of course, there’s always Pinterest!

Hair Romance

The first blog I’m going to direct you to is called Hair Romance. This gal has curly hair and actually wrote a book about taking care of curly hair! I believe it’s $9.99 and you can download it from her website. Her blog is not only about curly hair, she has a lot of other great resources for other types of hair as well!

This is one of my go to articles from her blog – The secret to waking up with great curly hair

You guessed it! This is all about the pineapple hairstyle I mention often and it shows you specifically how to do it.

Naturally Curly

I have found some of THE best curly hair articles from this website. I have noticed this website tends to focus more on nappy curly hair but even those articles are very informative! I highly recommend this website to anyone who any type of curly hair. Naturally Curly is one of the first websites I’ve ever seen that focuses on ALL types of curly hair and it acknowledges that there is a huge difference in how you deal with your hair depending on type. I recommend signing up for their newsletter.

6 THINGS YOU NEED TO QUIT DOING FOR BETTER CURL FORMATION

10 CURLY GIRL APPROVED PRODUCTS YOU CAN FIND AT THE DRUGSTORE

HOW BUSY NATURALS PRACTICE SELF-CARE – there are even adorable articles like this that warm my heart and make me slightly tear up because self care is just so important and it is hard to remember that when you’re so focused on your hair working out the right way, or how your day is going.

Okay, these are the two websites I turn to the most for articles. I also use Pinterest a lot. I have a difficult time using Google or YouTube for research on specific things because I get overwhelmed really quickly. I prefer the visual aspects of Pinterest and it’s easier for me to spend time on there browsing. That being said, I have TONS of articles, pins, hairstyles for curly hair, and the like pinned into my curly hair styles boards. These are my two specific Curly Hair boards

 

Feel free to follow me or even just browse my boards and pins. Most of the tips (almost all) I’ve shared in this space about curly hair has come from a lot of those curly hair pins.

So for researching for your specific curly hair type, I’d recommend first figuring out what type of curls you have. Then research according to that. The other part of having curly hair that can be and is rather frustrating is finding the right product for your hair. To do this, you need to be willing to experiment. I know which high end-ish curly hair products work for my hair, I know what TYPE of product works best for my hair. But that wasn’t an instant thing. Figuring that out took me years. Unfortunately, I didn’t do my research right nor was I willing to invest the time it would take to figure that out. Which is why I’m trying to stress this so much – take the time. Understand your hair type. Research according to your hair type, and then experiment. Be willing to try out the products that are at the top 10 best curly hair products list. I never would have tried Tigi Catwalk Curls Amplifier if I hadn’t seen it multiple times at the top of those lists. I have since then taken what I’ve learned and have now found two separate cheap curly hair styling creams/gels because I know what consistency my hair needs from products.

Here are a few curly hair products that have worked well for some of my curly haired friends.

Devacurl – this is a higher end product line, but their products are SPECIFICALLY for curly hair. I adore their co-wash and hope to be able to get some again soon. I have never tried their styling products, but I know they’re very good.

Acure Organics Argan Conditioner – I have never tried this, but just about anything with argan oil in it is usually a curly girl’s best friend

Paul Mitchell – another higher end product line. But I have heard very good things about Paul Mitchell products. I know a friend who swear by their Spray Wax product for her curls.

Ouidad – another higher end product line that are specifically for curly hair. I have only ever tried their styling products, never the cleansing products. I would say these products are probably better for thicker or even thinner hair than mine. I used their Tress Effects styling gel. While I liked how it held my curls in place, I hated the crunch it left in my hair.

Tigi Catwalk Products – I’ve only tried the catwalk curls amplifier, but I consistently see their products on curly hair recommended lists.

It is possible to find affordable curly hair products from brands like Herbal Essences, Garnier Fructis, and even Pantene. A lot of these “drugstore” brands have been changing their formulas and the new products are quite curly hair friendly. Something that’s helped me with figuring out was understanding the ingredients in products that hurt curly hair. Knowing that means I can pick up a product at the store and will now if a product is going to work or at least not hurt my hair. Curly hair is more difficult to deal with than any other hair type and with anything, it takes time and gentleness to figure out what works best.

I hope that this series has been helpful and by no means is this the end of my curly girl posts! I have a passion for curly hair and hope my thoughts and the research I’ve done will help you reach a good point with your curly hair faster than I did!

Curly Girl Hair Routine Series –

Curly Girl Hair Routine – Part 1

Curly Girl Hair Routine – Part 2

Curly Girl Hair Routine – Part 2

Hi Beauties!

Let’s see, I left off with shampoos in my last post, so I’m going to pick up with co-washes, conditioners, and styling products in this post.

As I mentioned the Curly Girl book in my last post, I’m going to be pulling from that as an example of what to do when washing your hair and what products to use. One of the things Lorraine Massey recommends is using strictly co-wash products and only washing your curls once or less a week. While this may work for thicker and much tighter coiled curls, for my hair particularly, I have to get rid of product build up and I wash my hair roughly two times a week. I had gotten this co-wash a year ago, but decided I didn’t like it. I picked it up again a few months ago when I was running out of my other shampoo and found out it was amazing and wish I had used it before.

Devacurl No Poo$13.66 Amazon 

I came to love the refreshing peppermint scent and I really liked how soft it made my hair. But I found I could only use this for 1 out of every three washes or else my hair got limp and slightly greasy. So while for some curly girls, co-washes are the bee’s knees, for others of us, co-washes are not for us to use every time we wash our hair. I do recommend getting a co-wash and using it somewhat frequently, but keep in mind, it takes a bit of time to find the right combination of hair products that work for your specific hair. I have a list of a few other (cheap) co-washes that I’ve heard good things about but haven’t tried yet. Such as this one from Pantene.

Pantene Co-wash$4.99 at Target

I personally don’t like to switch up shampoos/conditioners all that often, however, I do use multiple types of shampoos as I do like to mix that up depending on how my hair feels. Like I said before, I need an actual shampoo to get rid of build up, and a co-wash helps maintain the condition of my hair between shampoos. I consider co-washes and shampoos basically the same especially if they’re all those chemicals free.

Okay, now, moving on to Conditioners.

The thing to keep in mind about conditioners is that the more moisture and less parabans and sulfates (and silicone and phthalates) there are in them, the better they will work. I prefer using this conditioner right now.

Shea Moisture Sea Kelp & Pearl Protein – $8.99 at Target

This conditioner is good for colored hair and I love the scent. This is one of the few conditioners that I’ve used that is curling hair friendly that actually makes my hair feel moisturized. One bottle lasts me about a month and a half. I apply a [literal] palm full of the conditioner to my hair, coating my hair from the ends up to about my ears. Once my hair is all coated, I’ll gently run a wide toothed comb through my hair. This is the ONLY time I actually comb or brush my hair. It helps to coat the ends of your hair before spreading the conditioner further up your locks. I always let my conditioner sit in my hair for up to 5+ minutes. This helps my hair absorb the conditioner as much as it can. Another tip is to squeeze out as much water as you can before applying your conditioner as this also helps the conditioner grip onto your hair.

Now, once my conditioner has soaked in after 5 minutes (during which I will wash my body and/or shave) I will rinse the conditioner out with cool to almost cold water. This closes the cuticles of your hair, and while a hot shower relaxes you, a cold or cool shower wakes you up. I find it’s a nice perk in the mornings I’m not moving very fast. Some curly girl articles and even the Curly Girl Handbook recommends applying a leave in conditioner and as in the name, NOT rinsing it out. I have tried about 5 (?) different leave in conditioners and the only thing those ever did for my hair was make it SUPER yucky greasy. So I always rinse pretty much all of my conditioner out. If there’s a tiny teensy bit left, it doesn’t bother my hair, but I generally get it all. Okay, now comes the super important part of washing your curly hair. Turn off the shower and squeeze the water from your hair…GENTLY! And before getting out of the shower, flip your head upside and run your fingers [AGAIN, GENTLY!] through your hair and shake your curls out. This will carry on to the styling step and will help your curls start to naturally form. I usually take about 30 seconds to do this and then lightly scrunch my hair up before flipping my head upright.

So there are several “Curly Girl Commandments” anyone who has curly hair needs to follow. I never really considered these important and my curls greatly suffered for it. Thus, I am speaking from personal experience when I highly recommend these commandments.

  1. NEVER use a regular towel on your curls. Regular terry cloth towels disturb and roughen the delicate cuticles of your curly hair. Curly hair is some of the most delicate hair types, so please, please be gentle, and take care of your hair! My favorite option for drying my hair is using an old soft t-shirt I have cut open on one of the seams. I NEVER rub my hair dry, but simply continue the scrunching I started in the shower, and squeeze the water out.
  2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Find an oil that works for your hair and make that your best friend. This requires an unfortunately large amount of experimentation, but curly hair is not only the most delicate of hair types, it’s also the driest. So this could mean avoiding products with alcohol in them, or avoiding additives in shampoo and conditioner, or not. You need to take the time to figure out how to respect your own curls and what works the best for them. Curly hair is a lot of work, but when you learn how to take care of it in the way it needs, it is so rewarding to have more good days than bad.
  3. Do NOT BRUSH your curls. If you absolutely must detangle your curls, then use a wide toothed comb. I keep my comb in the shower and only comb my hair when it’s wet and has conditioner in it. Try to avoid disturbing your curls as much as possible. I know the pull of touching your curls when you’re having a good curl day, but really do try to not touch your hair.
  4. Use a satin pillowcase. So this is the one thing I scoffed at for a long time and refused to put money (we’re talking maybe $7?) into a satin pillowcase. I recently purchased this one from Amazon (click on the picture to go to the amazon page), and while it’s not as soft as I’d like, I have noticed a difference with my second and third day curls. I do highly recommend you find or make your own satin or even silk pillowcase. Just be aware that whatever products you put in your hair to sit overnight will show up on the pillowcase so I wash mine just about and sometimes more than once a week.

I’m sure there are other things any other curly girl could add to this list, but these are the 4 “commandments” I would consider to be at the top of the list. Comment and let me know if you’d add anything else!!

Now, on to my favorite topic – styling products. Trust me when I’ve said that I’ve tried many, many kinds of styling products over the years and I feel like I now have a favorite and a reliable product that gives me consistent results. I have two curl cream recommendations and my favorite oil that I also use in combination with my other styling products. I used to think that I had to only use a single styling product and couldn’t mix and match. Ha, nope! Do not hesitate to use a cocktail of products so you can get the right combination of hold and softness for your curls.

To start my styling routine, I always apply this oil first thing after I get out of the shower and when my hair’s still partially dripping wet. I have been experimenting recently and found that I can get more curls and even less frizz if I apply all of my styling products while my hair is still mostly dripping wet.


Marc Anthony Nourishing Argan Oil of Morocco Treatmentcurrently $12.14 on Amazon. The only two places I have ever found this oil is on Amazon and Walgreens.com. Stores do not sell this and last I checked, this oil wasn’t even on the Marc Anthony website. I blame Ipsy for introducing me to this oil, I absolutely ADORE it. It is the only oil I have EVER tried that doesn’t make my hair greasy. And, big bonus, it smells amazing! I typically apply 4-5 pumps of this oil and run through my hair completely before applying any other styling product.

My all time favorite product is this cream/gel from Tigi Catwalk

Tigi Catwalk Curls Rock Amplifier$10 on Amazon. I recommend getting it from Amazon instead of Target or Ulta or your local grocery store. It is almost always $14.99 at that stores. This product consistently ranks close to the top if not the top of most Top 10 Curly Hair products. It is a cream and a gel, so the consistency, while still creamy, has a gel like finish. I always apply 4 pumps (keep in mind I have waist length hair, so I need that much product). If you get this product, figure out how much your hair needs. This almost never gets crunchy in my hair, and I really like that in a curl product.

My second favorite curl cream/gel, is this stuff from Garnier Fructis.

Garnier Fructis Style Curl Sculpting Cream Gel$2.99 on Amazon. This does not have as nice as a hold at the Catwalk Curls stuff above, but is it very comparable with how it holds and forms curls. It has a nice smell and for this price, I’d say it’s a steal!

Like I said, I’ve been experimenting and recently started add in a mousse to my styling routine. I have had bad experiences with mousses in the past and was hesitant to try this, but as I have never tried a mousse and then diffused dried my hair, I figured it couldn’t hurt. This is the only mousse I have on hand right now, and I’ll have to admit I rather like this combo!

John Frieda Frizz Ease Curl Reviver Mousse – This double pack of travel sized containers is currently $3.78 on Amazon. I don’t remember where I picked this up, I think Target, but I do know it’s pretty cheap. I only use one squirt of this mousse and run it through my hair AFTER my other styling products.

And now, the finishing touches. I almost always use my blow dryer and a diffuser when drying my hair. This helps eliminate most of the frizz and helps my curls form and hold. I use this hair dryer,

Conair 1875 Watt Tourmaline Ceramic Hair Dryer$25 on Amazon. I like this diffuser, and have had good luck with it. I usually start on a medium speed and high heat. Any Curly Girl will say not to use high heat, but my hair doesn’t react to the high heat any more than it does to medium heat. Besides, I don’t always have a lot of time and with the high heat, I am not actually using heat on my hair for all that long. I start on the sides of my head, piling handfuls of wet hair into the diffuser and pushing up towards the crown of my head. After I do both sides and they’re starting to hold the curl, I’ll flip my head upside and diffuse up and try to get most of the underside and back of my head hair. Before I flip my head back up, I’ll switch to cold air and use that to start getting volume.

Another alternative to a diffuser is this one from the Curly Co. I have heard very good things about this diffuser and plan on getting it myself in a month or two.

Collapsible Hair Diffuser by The Curly Co. for Hair Dryers. $14.99 on Amazon. I hear that this fits most hair dryers and because it’s flexible, it actually diffuses your curls a lot better than a stiff diffuser.

Alright, so those are my favorite products, and recommended products! My next post will have my second day hair recommendations as well as a bunch of links for articles and references for product lists that are good for curly hair!

 

 

Need help figuring out your shade of foundation?? Or hair color??

Hi Beauties!

I stumbled across one of the strangest and coolest online apps ever the other day. I discovered it on Pinterest, of course! It’s called Findation. The concept of this website is simply brilliant! This website takes your previously known shades of foundation in various brands and then tells you what shade you would be in a ton of other brands! Both high end and affordable drugstore makeup. I am so intrigued with this idea!

Screenshot (20)

For me personally, I stick with about three different brands of foundation and don’t like to wander all that much. My skin is a combination oily/dry so it’s hard to find a foundation that doesn’t dry me out but that also doesn’t make me break out as well. But with using this app, I don’t have to guess if I’ve getting the right shade of makeup. Granted, I haven’t tried this out in person yet, so I’m not 100% sure of how skin type works in to the suggestions. I don’t see an option for inputting your skin type on the website, but keep in mind this website is still in beta mode!

Okay, so another cool thing I found via Pinterest is called Schwarzkopf Style Studio Colour Match. Now this online quiz of sorts is used to determine the hair color that matches with your natural skin tone (think cool, warm, and neutral skin tones). This came up with a rather interesting color for me, but I think it’s actually pretty spot on! I won’t be dyeing my hair any time soon, but when I do decide to redye, I’m definitely going to take their suggestions into consideration.

Screenshot (21)

Check these two cool websites out and tell me what you think!

 

*Updated* Curly Girl Hair Routine – Part 1

Hi Beauties,

I hope your weekend is kicking off to a great start! We’re getting our faucet replaced this morning and it feels a little like Christmas…just with new appliances.

As a Curly Girl I have been trying to work with my hair over the past year to figure out what the best combination of products and techniques works the best for my hair. Through a lot of trial and error, I think I’ve been able to develop my own version of the Curly Girl routine. Now, how many of you have heard of a book called “Curly Girl: The Handbook?” This was a book that came out several years ago, specifically designed and created for women with curly hair. Lorraine Massey gives very thorough descriptions on how to categorize your type of curl and then how to take care of said type of curl. I’ve honestly scoffed at the book in the past. Not because I didn’t think it would work, but because I felt like it was too complicated of a process. Thus being said, my hair definitely was punished because of that mindset. I looked like Shirley Temple when I was little because of how tightly curly my hair was. It was great until my dad decided to chop it all off when I was 6. After that, it was take care of my hair or dad would chop it off again. “Take care” meaning I could run a brush/comb through it and there weren’t any knots. Forget the frizz, all that mattered was that it wasn’t knotty. But as any curly girl knows, curly hair is seriously prone to knots.


Anyway, fast forward to when I was 18, my hair was to my waist, I had more bad days than good, and it never really curled. I was great at putting my hair up into twists and getting it out of my face, but beyond that, I really truly didn’t know how to take care of my hair! Fast forward another 7 years, and now I can say that I’ve got a pretty good handle on how to take care of my curly hair. It’s back to my waist again (I chopped it off up to the tops of my shoulders right after I got married) and it has some gorgeous curl to it now!

And this is when I’m going to tell you the tips and tricks I have learned over the past year.

Step one:

This is vitally important – Get a haircut that allows for your curls to breathe properly. Whether this means going to a curl specialist (look up curl specialist on the Ouidad website or Devacurl website for your area.) or finding someone who have experience with cutting curly hair. I have yet to find someone who can cut my curls here in Denver that doesn’t cost an arm and leg. I do cut my own hair, but that’s a risk I don’t suggest you taking unless you feel confident that you can do it and leave big holes in the layers. Layers are some of your best friends when it comes to curly hair, but it has to be well blended and sometime sporadically placed layers depending on your curl type.

Step Two:

STOP combing your hair when dry. If you absolutely have to, finger comb and gently gently pick out the knots. Touching your hair excessively when it’s dry (and even when it’s wet) means you’re asking for double doses of frizz. As a curly girl, frizz is one of the biggest problems we face. When you disturb the natural flow of your hair, it only roughs up the delicate cuticles and causes frizz. The other side of this coin though is not giving your hair enough moisture. This is where one of my all time favorite products comes in.

Marc Anthony Nourishing Argan Oil. (you can find it on Amazon – just click on the picture above. Also, I believe you can find it at Walgreens.com as well) The number of oils I have tried over the past decade is too many to count. And yet, not one of those oils, with the exception of the argan oil pictured above, did I try more than once or buy more than once. Every other oil was too heavy, too greasy, didn’t absorb into my hair, or actually increased the amount of frizz. The Marc Anthony oil is light, smells amazing, and never ever has made my hair feel greasy. I thought maybe I could find another similar oil, but honestly, nothing else compares to this stuff, and the ridiculous thing is that you can only get it online!

Okay, so how to I use it? I will apply 4-5 pumps (keep in mind my hair is quite long, you’ll need less for shorter hair) to my hair when it’s almost dripping wet. Once I make sure I have completely covered my hair, I apply my curl gel/cream. But next I want to talk about shampoos, conditioners, co-washes, and the like.

Step Three:

How you wash and take care of your hair in the shower plays a lot into how you hair looks out of the shower and when it’s dry. When I’m trying to find a new shampoo, I look at the ingredients first and foremost. Curly hair does best when you use a shampoo (and conditioner) that doesn’t have sulfates, phthalates, alcohol, parabans, and other such damaging ingredients in it. Honestly, I switch between three different shampoo, one shampoo with all of those things I’m supposed to avoid, one without all of those extra chemicals, and a co-wash. The reason I use a regular shampoo is because the one good thing about those chemicals, is they really do get rid of build up on your hair. This is something I have to do once a week to once every other week, depending on what I’ve been putting on my hair. I’ll cover co-washes in my next post, but for starters here are some of the shampoos I like the best and have found the easiest to work with.

Shea Moisture Curl and Shine Shampoo – roughly $10 at Target or Amazon

Clairol Hair Food Kiwi Shampoo – $9.99 at Target (this is what I use to get rid of buildup)

 

Hask Argan Oil Shampoo – $5.99 at Target

Alright, so those are some of my favorites right now. I actually will wash my hair twice with shampoo before I apply conditioner and let that sit for 5 minutes. Next post I will talk about conditioners and co-washes! I think I need to cut this post off because it’s long enough now!

Until next time!

Plop Those Curls!

Hi Babes!

I thought I’d take advantage of the ridiculously hot weather outside and put up a quick post about a curly hair technique I recently tried. I stumbled upon the idea of “plopping” several years ago and after one failed attempt, I never tried it again. But, now that I know how to better take care of my curls, I decided to try it one more time a few weeks ago.

Plopping – a process of air drying curly hair by “plopping” wet curls into a t-shirt towel (or something of the same type of material) and twisting and tying said towel up to pile the wet curls on top of the head until dry.

IMG_2266

So, there’s my lovely face with my hair all done up. I styled it at usual, but instead of diffusing my hair, I plopped it into a t-shirt and knotted it up. There are several advantages to using this method of hair drying. #1 is a lot less frizz. And for those of us with naturally curly hair frizz is a never ending problem. My hair may not be particularly thick, but it sure does take a long time to dry. I kept my hair up like this for two hours, then decided to take it down to see how my hair was drying. I shook out my amazingly mostly frizz free curls, and was pleasantly surprised to find my hair just about completely dried.

IMG_2271

But the longer my hair finished air drying, the more apparent a new issue became. Because I had piled all of my styled, wet curls on top of my head, that’s where all of the product ended up. The rest of my hair still had curl product, but I found I now had an abnormally large amount of styling product coating the roots of my hair. I’m rather careful about how much product I apply to the top of my head because it can become greasy very, very quickly. That is then what happened. I have not tried plopping since, but I may try it again with a lot less product just to see if it can work for me.

Have a great rest of your week! I’m hoping to do some more hooded eye tutorials soon[ish].

 

Curly Hair – Humidity vs. No Humidity

Hi Babes!

I finally feel like I have a moment to breathe here. May has been another busy month as we were gearing up for our trip last week. Now the trip is behind me, and I for one am very happy to be back home.

Anyway, while I was in Maryland, I stumbled on an interesting fact about my hair and how it reacts to humidity. I hadn’t really put a whole lot of thought into how my curls react to humidity or no humidity other than noticing I needed to change my shampooing/conditioning products once I had moved to Colorado. However, the first day I washed my hair back in Maryland this past week, I noticed a HUGE thing right away. My hair needs (read: desperately longs for, will die without it, demands) extra moisture when I’m in a humid climate. This doesn’t really make sense to me since humidity is essentially just moisture in the air. But  my hair not only exploded with volume, it got frizzy in the “I need water” kind of way. I thought it was maybe just that I hadn’t put in enough styling product, but by the third time I had washed my hair there, I knew it was more than that. I doubled the amount of argan oil I typically use and that actually made a huge difference! I went from feeling like my hair was super dry to nice and shiny and soft voluminous hair!

Now, if I had tried to put that much oil in my hair back here in Colorado, my hair would have become an oil slick! On the other hand, I realized that I need half if not less than half as much oil or moisture in my hair products while living here in Colorado. One guess that I have as far as why I need less moisture here is because my scalp tries to compensate for the lack of moisture in the air by producing more oil. Then it would be the opposite for curly hair in a humid climate; your scalp doesn’t produce as much oil because there is so much moisture in the air. I don’t know though, I’m just guessing! This is just what would make sense to me.

Okay, so good brands for those living with curly hair in a humid climate

Shea Moisture

Tresemme

**Basically, anything that’s made for curly hair and/or says is super moisturizing (and still try to stay clear of sulfates and extra stuff except for when you need to get rid of product build up in your hair)

Good brands for drier climate

Ogx

Marc Anthony curl line

Hair Food by Clairol

 

DIY Curl Reviving Spray

It’s almost Friday!!

One of the banes of my existence is my curly hair. I adore my curls, but really only on the days they turn out right! But, the one thing I have always struggled with for as long as I can remember is second day curls. So, upon doing some research last night, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I have long eyed Bumble and Bumble Curl Reactivating Mist but as it is expensive, I never got it. And it now appears Bumble and Bumble no longer carries it. Oh well! However, the idea of a curl reactivating spray of some sort has continued to intrigue me. So I decided to make my own.

FullSizeRender (4)

The ingredients for a curl reviving spray are simple; you need a product that will moisturize/hydrate your curls, and something to smooth them. I used a conditioner (Hair Food Kiwi Conditioner) an argan oil (Marc Anthony Nourishing Argan Oil), and a curl reviving gel (Curls Lavish Curls Moisturizer) I already had. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this DIY spray, but the results were amazing! Here’s the rough amounts of everything I put into the spray

  • 4-5 pumps of conditioner
  • 4 sprays of argan oil
  • 15 sprays of curl reviving gel
  • enough water to fill up the spray bottle

I put this all in the spray bottle and made sure to shake it all up so it was all mixed together. A good tip about the tip of spray bottle you need is to make sure it sprays a mist not just a stream of water. *see what I’m talking about in the video.

FullSizeRender (3)

Here’s the link to You Are A Badass – http://amzn.to/1VJJu5G

and the Garnier Fructis spray (which smells A M A Z I N G btw) – http://amzn.to/1Wggvpd

okay, now here’s the video!

eSalon Review

IMG_1255

I heard of eSalon several months ago but since I’ve been quite happy with using Matrix Socolor as my go to hair dye, I held off on trying eSalon. The thing that finally convinced me to try their hair dye was that you can get an introductory offer for $10 instead of a full $20. Because a tube of Matrix Socolor can be about $13.95, I decided to take the plunge. Now, I’ve been dyeing my hair for about 4 1/2 years and every single time (three separate times) I’ve gotten my hair dyed in a salon I’ve hated it. The color wasn’t right, or the stylist totally botched the color and just about completely screwed up my hair. The only times I have thoroughly LOVED getting my hair dyed by someone else was when a dear friend (who used to be my hair stylist) introduced me to Matrix Socolor. She was the person who showed me how to dye my own hair and I have since then taken that info and run with it! My hair also takes dye very well and I love being able to change colors. I can also rely on Matrix for getting the color I want.

PSA: from someone who dyes her hair to those who are thinking or have dyed their hair for a while, make sure to take care of your locks well. I use an argan oil every time as I wash my hair as well as deep condition and do repairing masks (like a coconut oil one) often. Also, PLEASE do not use box dye from the grocery store. That’s where you are going to run into major problems with messing up your hair, really damaging your hair, getting a terribly wrong color, or just staining everything and not even getting the dye on your hair (trust me, this is a thing!)

Okay, so my favorite go to color right now is a # 3 from Matrix Socolor. It’s a dark dark brown, almost looks black in some lights, but I love it. It compliments my skin tone, and it is actually the color my hair originally was (before dye) when wet. When I first looked into eSalon, I read reviews and noticed a lot of people mentioning how their dyes were almost/if not better than salon quality hair dye. I do appreciate how you can upload a current picture of yourself and your current hair color. This helps the stylist assigned to you match your dye to your skin tone and to the color your hair already is. Of course, it is more complicated to go from a bright blonde to a brunette and vice versa. I did notice a few warnings they have in the process of picking your color about you cannot dye your hair blonde if it is currently dark brown without bleaching or lightening the hair.

I chose a color very similar to the color I had already but this one said it had some golden undertones. As I’m always looking to create more dimension to my hair color, I went with that one. The stylist assigned to me contacted me and asked about including an extra bottle since I made a comment about having really long hair (my hair’s about to my waist again). I’m glad I only stuck with the two bottles they sent otherwise I never would have used up all of the dye! Within three days of ordering the dye, it arrived in my mailbox. I was impressed with how quickly they shipped it to me! Shipping was $4.95 so that’s probably why it shipped so fast!

IMG_1254

This is what I first saw when I opened the box. Because I’ve never used box dye (seriously, please respect your hair and don’t use grocery store box dye!) I’ve never used an application bottle like this. And just for people like me, they included a complimentary application brush! And because this was my first time using eSalon, they included the second bottle for free. The first bottle (it’s under the personalized instructions) was for my roots and the second bottle is for the ends. This is a very different system than what I’m used to, but I wasn’t too deterred! When I opened up the personalized instructions, I found it really interesting that I would put the dye for my roots on first, let that sit for 15 minutes, and then apply the second bottle of dye for the ends of my hair.

IMG_1256

The kit also came with ONE (there should be at least two or three) stain remover wipes, two pairs of gloves, and a stain guard cream. I used the stain guard cream/gel stuff and applied it around the edges of my hair line. This sort of helped with keeping my skin from getting stained and the stain remover wipe was used up after just a few wipes of some stains on my skin. Comparing this dye to Matrix Socolor, eSalon’s dye definitely stained a lot more and was harder to get off my skin in the spots where my hair brushed my arm or back of my neck. Let me tell you, working with waist length hair when dyeing is quite a feat!

A packet of shampoo and conditioner were also included. They smelled amazing but did absolutely nothing for me hair. Maybe the conditioner did, but I had to end up pulling out my favorite “washing out the rest of the dye” shampoo. This was the only way I could get the rest of the dye out of my hair.

Okay, so I started using the applicator bottle and immediately got frustrated with it. I dumped the dye into a plastic container I already had ready and waiting and used my personal applicator brush. That was so much easier. I have quite a system down for dyeing my hair, so it was easy and quick to apply the hair dye to my roots. Which, btw, you always want to start with your roots as that is where you need the dye to process the longest.

IMG_1293

Another tip – always use gloves when dyeing your hair. This protects your hands and I have found that it is actually easier to separate and brush the dye in when I’m not worried about getting a ton of stuff on my skin. These are my favorite gloves and they’re actually reusable – Color-Trak Reusable Gloves. In total, I let the dye process for about 25 minutes. This is roughly 5-10 minutes less than the processing time for Matrix Socolor but because it was in segments, I didn’t notice it as much.

 

In final conclusion, I am impressed with the quality and relative ease of ordering and using eSalon dye. I like that it is personalized to you, but I will say that I found it irritating at how easily my skin was stained in the spots where I accidentally brushed my dyed hair against my skin. I didn’t use up all of the dye in either bottles, but I did like that they recommended I use up the last of the gloss dye and lather it all over my hair right before I washed out the dye. That is a practice I will continue no matter what dye I use next time I dye my hair.

So overall I get eSalon a 4 out of 5. I do recommend it, but if you have never dyed your hair before, be aware it is a little bit of a learning curve.