Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist

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HE_tealightfullyclean_blowdryprepmistI have been wanting to really straighten my hair, rather than just doing a light blow out, for a while now. I did a “single pass” flat-iron on stretched hair (no blow-out) in June 2013 for a trim and had done a couple of blow-outs since. But, it had been over a year since I really, really straightened my hair. Part of the reason for this was that I wasn’t really feeling the products that I had been using for straightening (see them here). They worked okay, but my hair would feel kind of stiff and hard after using them. I tried the Nubian Heritage heat protectant leave-in and spray too, but everything was pretty “meh.”

Well, a few weeks ago, Wei and I had lunch with a friend and we started talking hair. Her daughter has tons of curly hair and wanted to have it straightened, but our friend didn’t have any idea where to start. So, I suggested the BaByliss Nano Titanium Pro that I purchased  a little over a year ago. Though pricey, I told her I loved it because it has temperature control settings and straightens very well, without frying the hair. So, we ended up heading over to Harmon and picking up one for her (with a 20% off coupon, of course since the thing is $119.00!). Well, while we were there, I told her that she should also use a heat protectant and we started scanning the aisles. I had seen a couple of people use TRESemmé, so we both picked up the TRESemmé Platinium Strength Heat Protectant. But then, I kept looking and decided to see if Herbal Essences (HE) had one as I love that line. Lo and behold, I found the Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist ($4.49) and decided to pick it up too!

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What They Claim:

Light and easy does it with Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist for silky, free-flowing hair. Invigorate your senses with exhilarating tea tree fragrance as you spritz this sheer mist up, down, and all around to help protect against blow drying damage.

Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist:

  • Blow dry prep for silky, free-flowing hair
  • Sheer and lightweight protection against damage
  • With tea tree essences
  • Spritz on for silky hair
  • Intriguing ingredients
  • Incredible fragrances
  • Irresistibly touchable hair; potent pleasure for all your senses

Ingredients: Water/EAU, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Water, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Amodimethicone, PPG-2 Methyl Ether, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-11, Fragrance/Parfum, Polysorbate 80, Disodium EDTA, Aminomethyl Propanol, Citric Acid, Cetrimonium Chloride, Trideceth-12, Methylisothiazolinone.

That seem day, I washed my hair and put it into two braids. The next day, I decided to spritz the Blow Dry Prep Mist onto my hair and did a super quick tension blow out to stretch it a little more. Oh. Em. Gee. My hair was soft, silky, smooth, light, and flowy! And, I loved the light, sweet smell of the spray! I was WOWed! The claims were true! Seriously, I couldn’t stop touching my hair! That night, I put it into a braid and curl and, the next day, …

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Can you say, “Pleased as punch?” Well, this past weekend, after following my regular wash day regimen, I decided to bite the bullet and flat-iron my hair for real.

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FLAT-IRONING PROCESS

  • Wrapped clean hair in a cut-up tee-shirt to dry to damp (approx. 30 min).
  • Applied a little Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in to damp hair, concentrating on ends.
  • Spritzed hair with HE Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow0Out Prep Mist and finger combed it through hair.
  • Applied a very small amount of Chi Straight Guard (picked up from TJ Maxx on a whim).
  • Applied a small amount of grapeseed oil to each section.
  • Separated hair into 4 sections and did a tension blow-out with the Conair InifitiPro Tourmaline Ionic Hair Dryer I picked up last fall. I used it to finish drying my hair and stretch it, grasping whole quarter sections of hair, halving the quarters at some points, but never doing sections smaller than that (approx. 30 min.).
  • Flat-ironed hair in small 1″ wide sections at 300°, taking two passes over each section. I didn’t let the flat-iron stop on the hair. I  moved down the length at a slow pace, but the flat-iron was always in motion.
  • Did a third pass over the top layers of hair at 340º, moving the flat-iron more quickly.

It took me about 2 hours in total to blow-out and flat-iron. Here are the results.

 

As you can see, my hair was not bone-straight. There was still a little kink in it and that is okay with me as it lets me know that I didn’t kill my hair with the heat. I also know that bunning my hair will smooth it further. And, as was the case the first time I used the HE Blow-Out Mist, again my hair felt great!! It was airy, silky, soft, and felt product-less! And, at $4.49 a bottle? We have a winner folks!!!

So that’s it, my new heat protectant find! I had to do a review on this product as I wasn’t able to find any when I bought it, because the “Tea-Lightfully Clean” line is new for 2014! Of course, now I’m intrigued to try the shampoo and conditioner … but I’ll try to curb my PJ ways … for now. LOL!!

bantuknotwaves(Heatless waves added with 2 big Bantu knots)

Next time on Hairscapades: A Trim, Straight Hair Maintenance, and Straight Hairstyles ;)

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What heat protectant(s) have you found work the best for your hair?

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Henna Gloss: A Quicker, Easier Way to Henna

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twistout314_8 As most of you know, I am a henna head. I have been doing henna treatments since 2010, though I’ve modified how and how often I do them over the years. I started with full strength, full length treatments every 2-4 weeks. But for the last several years, I have been doing full strength on my roots only and a “faux” gloss (i.e. dye released henna mixed into lots of conditioner) on my length. But, the time between my sessions has gotten longer and longer … every 4 weeks, every 6, every 8, now I’m lucky if I do it once every three months!! Well, about a month and a half ago, I was really in need of a henna treatment as my grey roots were out of control. I also love how smooth my hair is after a henna treatment; my hair styles post henna are always so shiny and sleek. But, I had absolutely nooooooooo desire to do a full strength treatment as it usually takes the good part of a day to complete (see My Two Step Henna-Indigo Process for details). Between prepping, washing, detangling, application, marinating, rinsing with water, applying indigo, marinating again, rinsing with loads of conditioner, deep conditioning, marinating one more time rinsing, and styling … yeah, that’s an 8 hour plus process. It just was not happening. But then I thought, “You know what? I’ll do a true henna gloss!!” I figured I could get some of the conditioning benefits of henna and maybe a little color, without all the muss and fuss … and time! hennagloss314

My Henna Gloss Recipe

  • My goat milk conditioning mask *
  • 2 tablespoons of Dulhan BAQ henna powder
  • Mix thoroughly with a fork.
  • Apply mixture to hair and massage into scalp.
  • Twist hair into 4 sections, clip hair up with a jaw clip and don a plastic cap.
  • Apply heat for 30 min-1 hour (I use a hair therapy wrap).
  • Rinse thoroughly.

(*My goat milk conditioner has protein, but it is also very moisturizing because of the honey and oils. I would generally suggest using a thick, moisturizing, protein-free conditioner.)

Applied (no plastic gloves required)

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Minimal mess (no towels or newspaper needed to protect surfaces; just wiped down with a disinfecting wipe).

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As I suspected, the gloss also gave my grey roots got a little color so that they weren’t as stark white.

hennaglossroots After rinsing, I set my hair in 4 twists, which I wore in a twist-out the next day. And, the set held up very well the rest of the week!!

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The one issue I have had with the gloss is related to my base goat milk conditioner. It can be a little chunky and thick, so I have had some residue in my hair after rinsing. Therefore, I have to make sure that my conditioner is as smooth as possible prior to adding the henna and that I rinse very well. In the future, I may try mixing the henna with water first before adding it to the conditioner. This should help thin the consistency and aid blending. However, despite the small rinsing issue, the easy, peasy henna gloss is now in my repertoire when I want some of the conditioning benefits of henna with minimal time and effort!! It may be right up your alley if you have been wanting to try henna, but have been afraid to take the leap or have been looking for some of the benefits without the time commitment!!

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Have you tried henna glosses? How did/do you like them? What conditioner(s) do you use for the best results?

Goat Milk Conditioner Video Demo

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A little over month or so ago, I shared a DIY Goat Milk Conditioning Hair Mask Recipe. As I mentioned then, and I’ll reaffirm now, I LOVE this stuff!! My hair has been amazing since I started using it and I’m about to apply a batch that I mixed up this past Sunday as soon as I post this!!

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Anywho, I know that some people are more visual and want to SEE things demonstrated. But, this is the thing. I struggle with videos and they take me hour upon hour to tape, edit, and figure out how to upload properly. So, I haven’t done any “real” ones in FOREVER!! But, I was very pleased to see that Sawah of DiscoveringNatural tried my goat milk recipe and filmed it!! So, I’m sharing her video for those interested in seeing the recipe “in action.” And, I love that she has a different texture than me and can demonstrate its effectiveness on tighter coils!! Thanks Sawah!!

via DiscoveringNatural

(p.s. I have since added an eye dropper full each of Nettle Leaf and Marshmallow Root extracts to my recipe. I got them for something else that I never made, because both herbs are touted to have benefits for hair. Can’t say for certain that they improved the efficacy of the conditioner. But again, my hair has been behaving WONDERFULLY since I started using this and my shedding/hair loss has been dramatically decreased.)

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Have you tried a goat milk hair conditioner? If so, how would you describe your hair texture and what were your results?

Behind the Scenes of a Hairscapades Wedding

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As you now know, Wei and I tied the knot on December 12th with a ceremony and reception port-side on the Explorer of Seas (see our wedding “album” here). To be honest, I always imagined that I’d elope. I never dreamed of my wedding day nor had I any desire or interest in planning a big, elaborate wedding. Add to that the facts that I’m the consummate procrastinator who hates planning anything and am also super cheap frugal, and you might understand my lack of motivation in setting a wedding date despite being engaged for almost a year and a half. But, with 42 knocking on the door, 2 years since our engagement fast-approaching, and a desire to have children, we knew it was time to get this thing done.

So, about 3 months ago, we decided on a wedding date and honeymoon trip. Then, the planning commenced. Fortunately for me, I have a best friend sent from heaven who did most of the initial heavy lifting. When I tell you that this might not have happened without her, I’m not kidding you. I was so anti-wedding planning. Not anti wedding, anti planning. But, she basically put things in front of me, gave me options, let me decide, and then made things happen. So, a huge shout-out and thank you to my bestie of 22 years, Yutonya (Yooty)! You know you are my ace for LIFE!

Anywho, in about 70 days, we decided on doing the ceremony and reception onboard the Explorer of the Seas port-side prior to embarkation, then kicking all our guests off (sorry guys! LOL!!), and sailing away on a 10 day honeymoon to the Caribbean. Royal Romance took care of a lot of stuff like the venue (obviously ;)), the officiant, the photographer, the reception menu, the cake, the flowers, and the coordination of events. Then, with a lot of help and far too many purchases on Amazon and Etsy *lol*, Wei and I took care of the rest with LOTS of assistance from my sisters, Sheri and Shana, and Yooty. We selected the invitations, which my sisters took care of ordering, addressing, and mailing. Yooty took on the “guest book,” which will be a peacock quilt with “feathers” signed by the guests! And Wei and I got our marriage license (of course) and selected the “wedding party” and colors, favors, cake topper, the jumping broom (well, I selected and he approved;)), and the ceremony and reception “play list.”

Of course, I decided on everything related to my personal appearance. Because, I will say this. There are four things that I cared about in regard to my special day. My dress, my bouquet, the locale, and great pics. I always imagined a flowy, romantic dress a la a Greek goddess or woodland fairy/nymph. I always wanted calla lilies. I always wanted to get married on a beach. And I always wanted beautiful pictures to capture it all! Three (and a half given that it wasn’t a beach, but a boat on the water;)?) out of four ain’t bad, right? LOL!!

So first, my dress was a custom ivory and sand silk wedding gown designed by Arlinda McIntosh for
Sofistafunk the Skirt Company. I had no desire to spend hours in stores trying on tons of dresses. So, I figured, why not contact my designer friend Arlinda?!? I went online and started googling “Greek goddess” wedding gowns and came across this gorgeous Gladiator dress by Australian designer Anna Campell. I showed Arlinda some pics and we set about designing my look with some definitive Sofistafunk flavor thrown into the mix.

With this whole natural hair blogging thing, how I was going to wear my tresses had also become a priority! So, of course I had to reach out to my stylist Tameeka McNeil-Johnson aka Jaded Tresses. Initially, I had settled on a winding braid style on straightened hair that I had been eye-balling for a year. But, when the trial of that hairstyle produced less than stellar results due to my fine, layered strands, I went back to the drawing board. I quickly identified a goddess-like curly updo as my hairstyle of choice and fell in love with it. The big bonus was that I was going to wear my hair in a natural style, not straightened, for my wedding day! My newly coined “Braid n’ Twist n’ Curl” was the perfect foundation for the style. Tameeka made a few custom, henna red colored clip-in extensions to add some dimension and contrast to the updo. Then, we used an old piece of trim that I had picked up a couple of years ago as a double headband to complete the look. The final look was totally me (and I knew Wei would approve as he likes when my hair is up and off of my face :)).

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My glowy, goddessy make-up was done by Mac artist AdjoaFierce (Instagram), who I found at the Mac in Macy’s at Rockaway Mall.

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IAN_0355DSC_0293My beauty team, who got up SUPER early to get to my hotel by 6:30 am!!
(Right: Adjoa [Stephanie]; Left: Tameeka)

Accessories are next. The shoes were probably the most time-consuming and difficult task!! So, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. Wei isn’t very tall. Okay. Let’s just say it. He’s vertically challenged. And, so am I. But I usually wear sky high heels to conceal the fact that I’m only 5’1″. And, generally speaking, I could care less that I stand an inch or two taller than him while wearing my 4-5″ heels. But, I had no desire to do so in my wedding day pics :P. So, finding a pair of strappy, teal blue, 3″ or less, pretty heels was a FEAT!!! I found a shoe that I loved, but it was an old style and couldn’t find it anywhere, plus … it had a 4″ heel. So, after weeks of searching daily for hours online, hitting every store with shoes in Short Hills Mall, and contemplating the purchase of custom dyeable shoes and learning that they aren’t water-proof (running shoes on wedding day? That’s a NO!), I finally settled on finding a pair of strappy heels and using a flower shoe clip to spice them up. So, I purchased a pair of $30 teal blue, strappy Antonio Melani sandals from eBay and adorned them with gorgeous peacock colored flower shoe clips from HansHolskopf on Etsy (and she threw in a matching flower hair pin that my niece Reghan wore as my junior bridesmaid!). I completed the look with a personalized, embroidered, peacock feather, silk ivory clutch by EllenVintage on Etsy (I also got the clutches as gifts for my sisters and bestie with special messages) and “Peacock feather” earrings from La Contessa on Amazon.


shoeIMG_8344IAN_0489She implored me to let her be in my wedding as she has never gotten to be a flower girl.
Of course I had to oblige my baby girl ;).

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Now … you know … no Shelli wedding would be complete without a little Batman thrown into the mix ;). So, I special ordered a Batman keepsake and toss garter from Mary and Mary’s on Etsy.
LOL!!

IMG_8352DSC_0534Ivory rose toss bouquet made by my other bestie, Rebecca!

Royal Romance provided a standard ivory rose bouquet with the wedding package. However, as I said above, I always wanted calla lilies. So, for an extra fee, I got what I wanted. But, I supplied the peacock feathers that I acquired from a friend at work! The wedding coordinator/officiant did a wonderful job of adding them to the calla lily and eucalyptus bouquet.

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My wedding favors were cute, heart-shaped measuring spoons called “Love Beyond Measure.” Each spoon is engraved with a “loving” notation: “A pinch of joy,” “A dash of tenderness,” “A spoonful of affection,” “A heap of love.” And we “customized them with a peacock emblazoned sticker with our names and the wedding date.

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Our peacock and eucalyptus adorned jumping broom was purchased from Weddings of Design on Etsy.

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And our “Vintage” engraved monogram cake topper was a custom order from IrishEve on Etsy.

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Whew!! Wedding planning … even small wedding planning … is a lot of work!! And they weren’t kidding when they said you’ll probably spend 2x your intended budget! DANG!! LOL! Did everything go perfectly? No. There was some confusion with the check-in process, it was freezing, my nose started to run on my make-up and I had no tissues. There was no iron in the stateroom, so my sister had to use a hair dryer to try to get the wrinkles out of the bottom of my gown the best she could, but there were still some left. We couldn’t find the cake topper, but discovered it in the room with me when my sister was looking for her cell phone. I forgot to put on my Batman garter belt! There was a looongggg intercom announcement over part of the ceremony, and our officiant was stumbling over her words and at one point said “Partners in crime … uh life.” :/ LOL!!! But, at the end of the day, we didn’t break the bank, I felt like a princess, we got to celebrate this important day with our close family and friends, and we got great pics to capture it all (and as long as the pics look like everything was fabulous, that’s all that really matters, right ;)? LOL!!). So, yeah. It was worth it and I’d do it all again!!

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Join us next time for 365 Days of Fitness on a wedding day and through a 10 day honeymoon!!

(p.s. If you check out/purchase from any of the linked sites, please let them know Hairscapades sent you!! xoxo)

 
 

Goat Milk Conditioning Hair Mask

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Okay. I admit it. I’ve been holding out on you guys. But, in my defense, I did it FOR you!!! You see … what had happened was …

About a year ago, my girl Dottie of Threadmill (you know, the one who makes satin-lined, crocheted hats for us natural girls … and it IS that time of year) messages me on Facebook:

I have had a hair epiphany! Do you want to hear about it? I’ve been cowashing lately, and added one moisturizing ingredient to it, and WOWEE, my hair is amazing! It was an experiment that actually worked. My hair is the “heat”! I’ll be doing this at least twice a week! (I’m so excited about my new hair discovery… not sure if it’s an approved thing for natural hair…. but it is surely the thing for mine!!!!)
Maybe someone else thought of it before me, but for me, it’s my own discovery…. And if it is truly a new thing, I want you to have it! (if it’s good for you)
Goats milk lotion… made by an etsy friend. I added 1 part of my favorite no-sulfate conditioner with 1 part of the goats milk lotion, and about 4 parts water, shake it up! Added liberally, washed through my hair, and seriously Shelli, this is the best my hair has EVER looked without styling agents, or heat agents!
My hair is soft, yet has definition, and the curls aren’t frizzy but, they’re refined.
I’m literally pingy with my discovery!

Needless to say, I was intrigued. So, started to do a little research! Check out some of what I discovered:

via Black Hair 101

Goat Milk Hair Benefits:

  • Make hair soft and manageable.
  • Good for dry scalp and especially for dandruff conditions.
  • Softens hair and smoothes out nicks or scratches across the hair strand.
  • Makes scalp healthier and less prone to dryness.
  • When added to other moisture rich ingredients can make hair moisturized and pliable and extremely healthy.

Goat milk can be added to shampoos, conditioners or used with other nutritious ingredients as a deep conditioner or with tea as a rinse or added to your shea, mango or cocoa butter preparations for hair and skin.

Now, here is where it gets really interesting. Dottie’s friend had to take a hiatus from making her goat’s milk conditioner, so I wasn’t able to get my hands on any. But, in a serendipitous turn of events, a friend of mine at work tells me that her daughter, who is a farmer, just bought nursing goats and she would give me some milk once the baby goats were weaned. Fast forward to a year later (lol) and I finally got 3 freezer bags full of some authentic, straight-off-the-farm, unadulterated goat’s milk! (But, in the interim, I had started using Curl Prep Sweet Buttah. L. O. V. E. Guess what the fourth ingredient is? Yeah. Goat milk.)

So, back in late September or thereabouts, the experimenting commenced. After the first use, I didn’t notice anything particularly amazing. But, on the following wash day, I noticed less shedding and breakage. The same thing occurred after the second use … and the third. By the fourth use, my hair seemed a bit shinier and definitely stronger, with drastically decreased shedding (or breakage as the case may have been).

And now, we get to why it has taken me so long to tell you about the awesome results I have been getting from goat milk conditioner. You see … this stuff is really watery. And kinda sticky. So, my first three treatments with it were NOT cute, though they were effective.

Experiment #1: Goat’s Milk solo – drippy, somewhat sticky, mess.

Experiment #2: Goat’s Milk mixed with full fat yogurt – thicker, but still a bit drippy AND it left white, flaky residue, even after two rinses.

Experiment #3: Goat’s Milk mixed with Sally’s GVP Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm and honey – improved consistency, no residue, but difficult to mix and still not quite right.

So, finally, I did a little research about cosmetic thickening agents and decided to purchase some guar gum from Amazon. I used it to make a goat’s milk conditioning mask this past weekend and it was LOVER-LY!! After using the treatment as my deep conditioner, I did my new go-to style, the Aloe Vera Gel Braid n’ Twist n’ Curl (BnTnC – I think that I just coined a new natural hair acronym!! LOL!) and had the most AMAZE-A-BALLS results ever on take down the following afternoon!

BnTnC(This was in prep for my wedding day hairstyle trial!! It turned out great!)

So, here’s my easy, peasy, recipe:

DIY GOAT MILK & HONEY CONDITIONING HAIR MASK

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. goat’s milk (2 ice cubes thawed*)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tsp Vatika Oil (Virgin Coconut Oil can also be used)
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum (not only thickens mix, provides AMAZING slip!)

Directions:

  1. Mix together goat’s milk, honey, EVOO, and Vatika Oil (I used a spoon, but a mixer or whisk could also be used).
  2. Slowly add guar gum while constantly stirring mixture (“Slowly” is the operative word. If you dump the guar gum into the mix, you will get “cottage cheese” lumps, which can be difficult to rinse out of your hair.).
  3. Allow mixture to “hydrate” for 15-30 minutes (this is when it thickens).
  4. Pour conditioner into an applicator bottle (optional).
  5. Go for yours!!

TIPS:

  • Freeze milk into ice cubes to extend shelf-life and create convenient, “serving size” amounts that can be thawed quickly when ready to use.
  • If you don’t have your own personal “farm fresh” supplier ;), you can use store bought goat’s milk, including the powdered kind.
  • Add essential oils and/or herbal extracts that are beneficial for hair. I have been adding an eye dropper full of nettle leaf and marshmallow extract, both touted to have benefits for scalp heath and hair growth!
  • Not a mixtress, but still want to try this? Add goat milk to your regular/deep conditioner and let it do what it do ;)!
  • This recipe has no preservatives, so refrigerate any leftovers and use within a week. If you opt to add a preservative, still store the product in your refrigerator, not the bathroom, to extend shelf life.

goatsmilkconditioner2You can see the conditioner like consistency given by the guar gum.

I applied the goat’s milk mask after washing, conditioning, and detangling my hair. I left it on for about an hour with my thermal heat turban, cooled and sealed, and then damp styled. The next day …

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So yeah … goat’s milk is, like, my newest holy grail.

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Have you ever used goat’s milk as a hair treatment? How do/did you use it? What benefits, if any, did you see from using it?

Aloe Vera Gel Braid-Out

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Okay y’all. I didn’t expect to be doing a hair post this week. But, I got such awesome braid-out results from my wash day this weekend, I just had to share!!! This may be my new regimen if it consistently delivers the super soft, light, defined, and shiny results that I got this time!!

But first, let’s talk about the state of my hair going into this. Dry. Crunchy. Undefined. Bushy (the bad kind, not the good kind). So, I knew I needed to do some rehab first. Therefore, I pre-pooed with an old fave combo that I seemed to have forgotten to use for a while (O_o) … Vatika Oil and Aubrey conditioner!! This time, I used Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose (HSR) conditioner as I was in need of some serious moisture versus the protein shot that Aubrey GPB would deliver. I usually mix the oil and conditioner together prior to applying. But, the HSR was an afterthought, so I ended up layering it over the Vatika Oil (I lightly finger detangled and then twisted my hair into 4 sections) and then applied my JBCO/EVOO/EO mix to my scalp.

prepoo_813Looked and felt better IMMEDIATELY.

I donned a plastic cap and my thermal heat turban for about an hour. Then, I left the plastic cap on and did some chores before hitting the shower about 3 hours or so later, I guess.

Now onto the dirt!!

WASHING and CONDITIONING

  • Shampooed with DevaCare No Poo. Rinsed.
  • Applied Joico K-Pak Revitaluxe Restorative Treatment (Gifted and then purchased. Review coming soon. Preview? LOVE at first sight!!). I smoothed it down length of hair and left it on for about 5-10 minutes. Rinsed.
  • Applied Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH) to finish detangling, first with fingers, then with the Ouidad Double Detangler. Rinsed.
  • Applied Sally’s GVP Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm (I forgot how good this stuff is to my hair!!).
  • Donned plastic cap and thermal heat turban for about 30 minutes.
  • Cooled (10-15 min) and sealed with diluted HE HH.

Next up, styling.  So, I was perusing YouTube videos over the weekend and came across this one about an amazing, soft hold braid-out with aloe vera gel.

via VeggieCurlDeelite

This is the thing, waaaay back in the day, I used this gel for WnGs with ho-hum results. It didn’t provide much hold or definition as far as I can recall. But, I have a huge bottle of it under my sink, because I usually mix it with my face lotion in the summer to reduce the oil slick down the middle of my face. So, I decided to break it out and give VeggieCurlDeelite’s (VCD)  braid-out a go with some of my old … and new … faves!!

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STYLING

  • Sectioned hair into four and worked section by section.
  • Applied about a marble-sized amount of Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in Conditioner, smoothing and finger combing it through the length of hair.
  • Smoothed about a marble-sized amount of Curl Prep Sweet Buttah (gifted) down section of hair.
  • Smoothed and finger-combed a marble-sized amount (or maybe even a little more) Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel down the section, ensuring hair coated (the gel seemed to add slip and aid detangling too!).
  • Placed front two sections of hair in 2 braids on each side and back section in 3 braids on each side for a total of 10 braids.
  • Lightly applied a little virgin coconut oil (VCO) to ends (last 3-4 inches) and rolled on small grey perm rods covered in end paper (I set my ends not only to curl them, but to keep them smooth, discourage knots, and to “lock in” the moisture).

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I tied my head down with a hair net to allow air flow, then hit the sack on an EboniCurls satin pillowcase. But, with only 5 hours and an a.m. workout, my hair did not dry in time for work on Monday morning. So, I just removed the rollers, pulled the braids into a low ponytail, and  threw on a headband to get out the door. I didn’t release my hair from the braids until Tuesday morning. But it was worth the wait!!

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Y’all … VCD was NOT kidding!!!! My hair was sooooo soft and silky!! I was suffering from some serious Hands-in-Hair (HIH) Syndrome!! I told at least three friends touch it, so that they could marvel over how soft it was ;)!! LOL!!! So yeah, this AVG combo looks like a keeper (I think that the DC might have had something to do with it too). Now, how it’ll hold up overnight and after daily, sweaty a.m. workouts? That remains to be seen. But, you know, I’m not expecting miracles. I may be in bun by the end of day 2. But, as long as it is still soft and moisturized, that’s okay with me!!

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Have/do you use Aloe Vera Gel to style your hair? If so, what brand do you use, how do you use it (with what other products) and how does it work for you (hold, definition, feel, appearance)?

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration v. TRESemmé Naturals

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In the left corner, weighing in at 33.8 ounces, we have the champ, Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH) Conditioner. And in the right corner, we have the contender, weighing in at 25 ounces, TRESemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner.

And …

HE HH is STILL the undisputed DETANGLING champion!!!!

Yeah … Picked up the TRESemmé at Ulta a couple of weeks ago. So many ladies seem to love and swear by it, I wanted to see how it compared to my holy grail … my love … HEHH. Welp, after applying the TRESemmé, my hair felt a little slick. But, it just wasn’t as slippery as HE HH. When I applied some of the latter, different story. I was singing in my head in the shower …

“Nothing compares, nothing compares, to youuuuuuuuu !!”

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Okay … caveat. I was told on IG that this “black label” TN is the NEW formula and it does “NOT compare” (see what I did there? ;) lol!) to the old formula. So, if I can get my hands on the former version of the product, I might have to give it a go. The thing is … why fall in love with a discontinued formula?!?! “Touch me in the morning and just walk away!” Grrrrrr Arrrrrghhh!!

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What conditioner “gives you life” when detangling?

Nail Fabulosity

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Okay, I am not a nail polish person. I loved the gel polishes a few years back … until they thoroughly destroyed my nails for MONTHS due to the chiseling required to remove the polish. And as it relates to regular polish, I have several complaints.  One, I have no interest in waiting for nail polish to dry. So, two, I usually mess at least one nail up before it does. And three, even if I don’t, it starts chipping and peeling in less than 24 hours. And, four, I am not reapplying another layer of polish a day, because it goes back to waiting for it to dry.  So, why then did I break down on Tuesday and got a mani with my normal monthly summer pedi? Well, ecause it’s only $25 for both on Mon-Wed at my normal spot and I really liked my Minions yellow nails that I did for the Warrior Dash!! Well, my issues were proven. I dinged a nail slightly once I got home and it wasn’t totally dried hard. And, by the next morning … nails chipping and peeling already. And today? Wrecked!! Grrrrrr Arrrggghh!!

Anywho, all this to say, I posted a pic of my nails and got some advice on things to do to get nail polish to stick. Gelous Nail Gel from Sally’s as a base coat, bringing my own polish since they use thinner in the bottles at the salon, and/or using a gel top coat sealed with the UV light.

With those potential solutions in hand when I saw my girl Rece, of A Hair Story, post about her new nail polish line, Nail Fabulosity, and then saw her thermal nail polishes … my ambivalence about nail polish waned. I sooooo want to try these!!! To learn more about Nail Fabulosity and Rece’s formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluen, formaldehyde resin, and camphor free polishes, and learn where you can buy them, check out her post above!!

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Oh, and check out this review of the Nail Fabulosity thermal polish, Butterfly Kisses (a pink/purple), by my other curlfriend, Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty.

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Have you tried thermal nail polishes? What’s the verdict?

Originally posted on A Hair Story...:

What’s been consuming my time?

Nail Fabulosity!

A little over a month ago, I started my own line of nail polishes called Nail Fabulosity. I am currently selling on Etsy at NailFabulosity.Etsy.com. I create unique hand blended nail polishes that are 5-free and cruelty free.

5-free means that they’re free of the toxins formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, formaldehyde resin and camphor.

Cruelty free means they’re never tested on animals.

Some polishes are glitter polishes, some are thermal and change color based on temperature (my personal favorite) and some are holographic nail polishes.

I create custom order nail polishes if you have something special in mind.

I create custom orders as favors for events such as baby showers, bridal showers and birthdays. So if you know the bride to be is a pink girl, I will create a lovely, unique pink polish as favors for her bridal shower.

Please…

View original 60 more words

Shea Decadence Kinks Review

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This review is sooooooo overdue. You see, I started using some products from the Shea Decadence Kinks line back in April and have continued to use them since. You might have even noticed that I’ve mentioned Shea Decadence a few times in posts over the last couple of months and kept promising a review of some new products that I was using. But … yeah … my penchant for procrastination, evening ennui, and inability to focus have had me putting this one off for far too long.

But, I’m finally getting it together to share my thoughts on this delicious collection of products with you. So, back in April (ugh!) , Sharron, Natural in London and creator of Shea Decadence (check out her hairstory and lovely mane here), sent me several products from her Kinks line:

(Visit the Shea Decadence Etsy shop to purchase in the US.)

Shea Decadence has this to say about the Kinks hair range:

Afro hair is the most fragile hair type in the world and should be treated as such. Our hair needs a balance of moisture and protein to be healthy and grow and most importantly a clean and healthy scalp. Kinks focus is on providing natural black hair care products free from unnecessary chemicals that damage or inhibit the growth of healthy hair.

Our Range is formulated with ingredients proven to help moisturise ‘YOUR’ Kinky hair and nourish the scalp. We only use natural or natural-derived ingredients. Every single ingredient plays a function towards enriching your hair; therefore none of our products contain Parabens, SLS, Petroleum,  Mineral oil or any other harsh chemicals.

Although our range is formulated with kinky, curly, coils in mind, other hair types will benefit. For instance, our Hair Oils and Hair Butters can be used on all hair types as a hot oil treatment  or deep conditioning treatment.

So, what do I think of Kinks? First, the common elements.

PACKAGING

When the box arrived and I broke it open, I was immediately impressed by the way these product were packaged!! They were in quality plastic bottles and metal tins with cute, convenient, and functional pumps. Wei even remarked upon the pump on the Latte … “That’s a win.” These bottles will definitely be repurposed once empty!! The labeling is glossy, professional, and firmly secured to the containers. I used these products consistently for a good month/month and a half, and have learned that the packaging/labels holds up to wet, conditioner-laden, and/or “producty” hands, with no deterioration in the print, slippage, or dissolution of the labels.

Now for the individual product reviews.

Jamaican Black Castor & Nilotica Conditioning Shampoo

Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium cocoyl isethionate, Aloe vera gel, Disodium cocoampho-diacetate, Coco Glucoside & Glyceryl oleate, Ricinus Communis (Jamaican Black castor oil) Vitellaria Nilotica (Shea butter), Glycerin, Honeyquat, Cetrimonium chloride, Guar conditioning gum, Silk amino acids, Phenoxyethanol & Caprylyl glycol and Essential oils. 

Several of the Shea Decadence products are made with one of my holy grail products, Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO). So, it is no surprise that I love this shampoo. It has this invigorating minty fresh smell to it, a light consisteny and a little goes a long way. I use about 3-4 pumps for each quadrant of my head and it provides a very nice, rich lather that feels refreshing and effectively cleanses my scalp without stripping my hair of moisture.

Cocoa Frappuccino Moisture Plus Leave-in Conditioner

Ingredients: Aqua (infused with Marshmallow root), Theobroma Cacao Organic Black (Cocoa butter), Butyrospermum parkii Organic (Shea butter), Cocos nucifera (Coconut oil), Prunus dulcis (Almond oil), Ricinus communis (Jamaican Black Castor  oil),  Behentrimonium methosulfate and Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Wheat protein, Panthenol, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Chlorphenesin Guar conditioning gum & Silk amino acids.

This leave-in conditioner has a creamy and thick consistency, but is not heavy when applied to hair. It DOES smell like a cocoa frappuccino (or, at least what I think they smell like … don’t drink ‘em) and is very tasty to the nose buds! LOL!! The leave-in glides on the hair easily, absorbs quickly, and did a good job of keeping my hair moisturized for several days.

Hair Latte Conditioning Hair Milk

Ingredients: Aqua (infused with chamomile), Vegetable Glycerine,  Castor oil, Sweet Almond oil, Behentrimonium methosulfate (and) Cetearyl alcohol,  Panthenol, Hydrolysed Lupine seed extract, glucanolactone and Sodium benzoate, Fragrance oil, Phenoxyethanol and Caprylyl glycol and Chlorphenesin, Guar gum & Silk amino acids.

The Latte comes in my favorite packaging: a spray bottle pump. It also smells like what it’s called, a cocoa latte. The consistency is thinner (hence the spray bottle), like a heavy cream, and this product is used to re-moisturize hair, as needed. I used it maybe once or twice between washes when my hair started to feel a little dry or crunchy after removing twists and wearing it down for a couple of days.

Mocha Latte Scalp Nourisher

Ingredients: Ricinus communis (Jamaican black castor oil), Coffea arabica Seed Oil (and) Hydrogenated vegetable Oil (Coffee Butter), Theobroma cacao (Organic Cocoa butter), Emu oil, Olea Europaea (Olive oil) & Tocopherol (Vitamin E).

OMGee! I LOVE this stuff!! It smells like chocolatey maple syrup to me, has this creamy and smooth whipped consistency, and just melts into my scalp, leaving it feeling nourished, without a greasy or heavy feel.

Sweet Marmalade Pomade

Ingredients: Organic Cocoa Butter, Kukui Nut Butter, Macadamia Nut Butter, Organic Sunflower Oil infused with Vanilla Pods, Organic Castor Oil, Carrot Seed extract, Cetyl Alcohol, Vit E, Sweet Orange Essential Oil.

OMGee! I LOVE this stuff too!! LOL!! Seriously, this pomade smells absolutely DELECTABLE, like sweet nectarines. It reminds me of the Carol’s Daughter Honey Hair Mimosa, if you’ve ever tried that. But, the marmalade pomade is lighter in consistency and is used on the hair (not scalp) to provide shine. And shine it does!! When I apply a little of this to my hair, it immediately imparts such a sheen to my hair it’s RIDIC!! LOVE, LOVE!!

HOW I USED THEM:

I used this product line consistently for about a month/month and a half. A typical wash day went like this:

  1. Pre-poo and finger detangle with Vatika Oil.
  2. Wash with Shea Decadence Conditioning Shampoo.
  3. Condition/detangle with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HEHH).
  4. Deep condition with Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner or Shea Moisture Raw Shea Deep Treatment Masque.
  5. Cool and seal with diluted HEHH.
  6. Apply Shea Decadence Leave-in Conditioner to hair.
  7. Apply Shea Decadence Scalp Nourisher to scalp.
  8. Twist hair (sometimes with another product, usually ORS Lock & Twist Gel).
  9. Seal ends with Shea Decadence Sweet Marmalade Pomade.

I would usually wear my hair in a twisted updo for a few days (workout and work friendly hairdo), a twist-out for a day or two, then a bun for the rest of the week until the next wash day. And here’s what it looked like.

And that’s that. The Shea Decadence line is a very nice, quality product. My fave products are definitely the shampoo and the pomade, with the scalp balm coming in at a close second. Everything smells delish and works very well and I continue to use all of the products, though not all together like I did for the first month or so (c’mon … y’all know I’m a confessed PJ). So, would I recommend this line? DEFINITELY!! If I was going to grade the products as a group, they would definitely get a solid:

A

So, check out Shea Decandence Kinks if you have been in search of a collection of products that work well together, are natural, nourish the hair, smell great, and provide the hair with lasting moisture!! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed and you’ll be supporting a small, black, woman-owned business!! #WINNING!! Oh!! I almost forgot to mention this! Shea Decadence has a line of body products too!!! I tried the Solid Butter Body Scrub Bars … those things are AMAZE-a-BALLS!! They are so decadently luxurious and moisturizing, it’s crazy. LOVE ‘em!! So, if you’re a body product junky and like clever and creative product design, check that out as well!!

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Have you tried the Shea Decadence products? If so, what do you think of them?

Curlformers Convert!!

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Okay, so I’m gonna try to keep this quick and too the point …  you know that’s a feat for me … which is why I don’t really Tweet/Twitter!! But, I gotta get ready to head out for Man of Steel and don’t have time to go into deep detail. So, here goes.

This past Saturday, I hennaed my hair, applied mix of Sally’s GVP The Detangler, aloe vera juice and JBCO/EVOO mix to my hair. Then, I twisted it … but first I attempted to set a section of hair with a Curlformer … and I very easily did it for the first time!!!! (I guess all those YouTube tutorials finally sunk in!).

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I wore my twists down on Sunday and in an updo for work from Monday-Thursday. I have an event this weekend and decided I was going to finally give it the old college try and attempt a Curlformer set. I watched Naptural85′s Updated Curlformers Technique tutorial and MahoganyCurls Curlformers on Natural Hair: My First Impression again. Then, after work, I got to it.

My hair was still moisturized from being in a twisted updo all week, so I didn’t feel a need to re-moisturize. It was also almost perfectly sectioned and essentially detangled due to those same twists. So, the products and tools I used were very minimal.

Products
Water in a small spray bottle
ORS Lock and Twist Gel (I♥ this gel and originally purchased it b/c of the GORGEOUS flexirod set KaiRox’s achieved with it.)

Tools
Curlformers (Extra Long & Wide 40 pack [20 clockwise & 20 counter-clockwise] for hair up to 22″ long)
Hair clips
My 10 Fingers

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Process

  • First I secured all but the bottom left twists of my dry hair up with hair clips.
  • Working from the back left (nape), I separated each twist and grabbed about 1-2″ sections (usually 2-3 per twist).
  • Once I had the section I wanted to set, I would prep a pink Curlformer on the wand.
  • Then, I spritzed the section of hair with water until it was slightly damp (not soaking wet) and smoothed a nice size dollop of ORS lock and twist gel down the length making certain the hair was detangled.
  • Next, I twisted the roots of the section to make it small enough to get the hook of the wand around all of the hair.
  • Finally, I hooked the wand over the root (not too close to the scalp), pushed the curler up over the top of the wand, and pulled my hair through the curler.(If the curler twisted wrongly, I fixed it to form the correct shape.)
  • I repeated this process on the left side and then completed the right side using the orange curlers.
  • The entire process took me about 1 hour 30 minutes, which wasn’t too bad given it was my first time.
  • I can’t remember how many Curlformers I used now!! But, I think it was about 38 … and, get this … there were at least an extra 6 pink curlers in my kit!!! #WINNING

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Things I Learned

  • My hair is longer than 22″ in some sections?!?! Go figure. So, I had to pull a lot of the Curlformers down about an inch to make certain my ends were fully enclosed in the curlers.
  • I could have twisted the roots first so that the section out of the curler still had a wave to it (but, even though I didn’t do that, my roots were very smooth).
  • They make “Spiral Curls” Curlformers for super long hair up to 29″ now!! But those jokers are $73.95!! I’ll stick with pulling mine down from the root since that worked perfectly fine!! LOL!!

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The setting went very easily. I only had to start over on two sections because the hair wouldn’t slide through smoothly. I decided to set my hair only slightly damp with the hopes that it would dry overnight. So, speaking of overnight, let’s talk about sleeping in these. I followed Naptural85s suggestion and secured the front sections with hair elastic. Then, I split them down the back and laid on my back to sleep. Yeah … I’m a side, fetal position sleeper and didn’t get much sleep that way. So, finally, in the early hours, I flipped on my side, threw the curlers over the edge of the pillow and balled the corner of the pillow up under my chin to elevate my head a little. That worked a lot better for me.

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The Take Down

 The next morning (about 8 1/2 hours later), I removed the curlers and set my curls in buns for my morning workout following Naptural85′s technique for stretched curls.

  • Working from the front left first (pink curlers), I held the end of the curler near my roots and stretched the curler straight (this can be a little tricky as the Curlformers are firm and have a lot of “recoil” action, which help smooth the hair and retain their shape after repeated uses, I think).
  • Then, I squeezed each end of the curler to make it open and pulled the curler down the strand, keeping a grasp on both ends.
  • I “corrected” any curls that twisted/flipped by twirling/flipping them in the proper direction with my finger.
  • Next, I applied a little Shea Decadence Sweet Marmalade Pomade to my ends to seal the hair and add shine. (Yo. I’ve been using several items from Shea Decadence for about a month now. LOVE them and have to get you guys a full review soon as it is soooo overdue!!)
  • Repeated on next section. (I had one section that didn’t fully dry, so I just pin curled it and left it that way until I released all of my hair.)
  • Once I had two sections free, I combined the curls. (I did not clip the ends as my curls stayed together without one and I didn’t want my curls to stretch too much.)
  • I repeated until the left side was one big “twist” and then did the same on the right side.
  • Once both sides were done, I loosely wrapped and bunned them at the back of my head using hair pins.
  • Then, I tied my hair up in a satin scarf and donned a sweatband for day 117 of my #365daysoffitness (30 min. progressive incline walking on the treadmill … decided to not run to try to reduce the amount I sweat … yeah … I still sweat a lot. But, health over hair.)

So, yeah, I removed the sweatband, but left the scarf on my hair (and actually added a second thinner one around my edges to absorb more sweat) until I got to work. When I uncovered my hair, the scarf and my hair were still damp :(. But, I released my buns anyway and gently separated the curls. I left the roots alone to try to allow them to air dry.

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And, by the early afternoon, after it had long since dried, I played around with the part to get it more to my liking (meaning, I needed to create more volume at the front!).

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Final Thoughts:

So, what do I think of Curlformers? I LOVE them! They weren’t whistling dixie when they said these get the hair soooo smooth like a curling iron! I was also soooo impressed that even though I had to leave the first inch of my hair out, my roots still looked smooth and silky (until I worked out ;))!!! Though the curls looks similar to my perm rod sets, I think my hair is a lot smoother and more stretched. The application process went very smoothly for me, which was my biggest concern and why I didn’t try these things for 2 years!! The removal was also pretty easy, though I didn’t do it quickly to make certain I didn’t snag or ruin a curl. My hair didn’t get snagged or pulled out in the curlers during the application or removal process (I only removed shed hairs that I saw … no broken hairs from the curlers).

Now, the cost of Curlformers may be prohibitive for some at $50-$75 for most complete kits. But, if you can swing them, I would definitely recommend!!! Sally’s carries them on the ground, and you might be able to catch them on sale and use the 15% discount if you are a rewards member. Oh, and if your goal is to grow your hair long, I’d suggest getting the longest ones you can afford so that you don’t outgrow a shorter set and have to spend more money for longer kit. In the alternative, if you just can’t see yourself spending that much on “rollers,” I know that there is a knock-off brand called Magic Levarag. It’s sold on eBay and Amazon for at least half the price. However, that brand doesn’t have the length options that Curlformers have and I’ve read mixed reviews, so I’m not co-signing on it at all and would suggest that you do your research first.

Alright … it’s obvious I don’t know how to write a short post! I started this yesterday an hour before heading to the movies (BTW, I HATED Man of Steel) and had to finish it this morning!! Oh well … at least I’m thorough … right (humor me please ;))?!?!

To wrap this up … Curlformers get four hearts out of five (I took one off for the high price tag ;)).

♥♥♥♥

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Have you used Curlformers? What do you think of them?