Category Archives: DIY

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?

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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?

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 sprinkle guar gum into the mix while constantly stirring (“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 (massage into scalp and smooth through hair)!!

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?

Overnight Maintenance: Wrapping Curls?

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Over the course of the last month or so, I’ve been seeing videos of ladies using wrapping techniques to achieve heat-free, “blown-out,” natural hair. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I came across this video by Naptural85 using wrapping to maintain smooth, stretched curls overnight!

via Naptural85

Hmmmmm … interesting!! Wrapped curly hair!! Who woulda thunk?! *lol* Anywho, I had been loving the results from re-twisting/braiding my hair at night (I was getting great multi-day hair), but my strands were NOT loving the daily manipulation. So, I decided to try the wrapping technique to achieve good day two hair from the dry twist-out I’d done with Cantu leave-in and Eco Styler gel (here).

And the results:

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Not bad!! By the end of the first day, my hair had frizzed and poofed just like Naptural85’s. The wrapping technique worked to smooth and calm the frizz, just like it did for her. But, the thing is, it really did stretch my hair more than I would want on day two. So, I didn’t do it again after that first night. I find that loosely bunning my hair overnight helps tame the frizz and preserve the curls, with some stretching, but not as much as seen with wrapping. Therefore, I don’t think that this will become a “go to” overnight maintenance technique for me. But, I’ll keep it in my back pocket for days where I want to achieve stretched and controlled curls! And for those seeking ways to stretch their curly styles, this may be just the ticket!!

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Have you tried wrapping your curly natural styles? If so, how did it work out for you?

Caramel Treatment: A Natural Hair Softener/Curl Loosener?

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I often get asked about whether there are any natural hair softeners/curl looseners options for natural hair and if henna is a good choice. Although henna may loosen some curls, it can be hit or miss and seems largely dependent on the thickness of the hair strand and the existing curl formation. Henna tends to loosen the curls of those who don’t want loosening! It’s also a time-consuming process and essentially permanent, so it’s not for the faint of heart! *lol* Finally, if not done right, henna can cause damage and so I always suggest that anyone interested in trying it do their research before making the leap (I read everything I could on henna for 2 months before finally deciding to try it).

That being said, when I was in the NC.com Curly Nikki Presents Kim Coles’ Grow Out Challenge (whew … that never gets easier to write!), I read a rave review about a natural hair softener/curl loosener. The young lady called it a caramel treatment. This treatment was generally made with molasses (which gives it the caramel color and consistency – hence the “caramel” moniker), honey, banana baby food and oils, but there are variations on the recipe that can be found online.

Now, the old GOC blogs are very hard to find (I just was able to dig up a valid link to my old blog, Waist Length or Bust, last night). So, I wasn’t able to find the GOC blog or post about the treatment yet. But I did find this good article on Black Hair Information: The Caramel Treatment- A Natural Hair Softener.

As I wasn’t interested in hair softening or curl loosening (shoot! I was over-conditioned at the time and ever in search something to make my curls tighter!), I never tried it. But, I did “lock it in the vaults” as I knew it was good information and might be helpful to someone. And, since I recently got asked about natural curl softeners/looseners, I figured the time to open the vaults was now :).

That being said, here is a video demonstrating how to make a caramel treatment that might be helpful to those of you interested in trying it!

via LadyTeola

Now, it wouldn’t be right of me to share this and not tell you about an article that I found by WestNDNBeauty on Confessions of a Blog Vixen that said that it was a waste of perfectly good banana baby food!! So, guess it doesn’t work for everyone. But, given that the ingredients are pretty easy to find and inexpensive, I figured that some might want to give it a try to come to their own conclusion!!

HTH!

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Have you ever tried/do you use caramel treatments? If so, what’s your recipe and what are the benefits?

Flaxseed Gel (FSG): The Remix – A Cream Gel Experiment

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About a year ago, I shared a post about the benefits of flaxseed oil and gel for hair (see it here). I tried making the gel in 2010 with disappointing results and last year, I tried Botticelli Botanicals pre-made Flax Gelee with very nice results (and boy did it smell amazing!!). But, being the PJ that I am, it was a passing fancy and I forgot about FSG for a while.

Well, this past weekend, I decided to revisit making my own flaxseed gel (FSG). But, this time, the plan was to make an flaxseed cream gel. “Cream Gel” you ask? Well see, I mentioned here that my last attempt at making FSG resulted in it being too thick. CrystalJ commented on the post and suggested that I whip the gel with a little oil to create a cream gel if that happens again! Well, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of a creamy, moisturizing gel, so I decided I wanted to make one regardless of whether I “overcooked” my flaxseeds.

But first, I needed to be reminded of the ratio of seeds to water again, so I reviewed this well-known tutorial, which I’ve watched many times in the past:

via Naptural85

Okay, got it.

Basic Flaxseed (FSG) Gel Recipe

1/4 c. whole flaxseeds
2 c. distilled water

optional: Vitamin E oil (preservative), essential oils, carrier oils

As to what I decided to add to make my FSG cream gel, I decided to add a scoop of coconut oil that was mixed with Maychang oil and a scoop of shea butter.

The BAD (meaning, the mistakes I made):

  • I tried to whip the gel, solid coconut oil and solid shea butter together at once. Not a good idea. It was not working. If using solid oils/butters, whip those FIRST into a smooth consistency, THEN whip in the gel.
  • I probably used too much coconut oil and shea butter. I threw in about 1/4 of a cup each. CrystalJ suggested that I use a “dollop.” The reason I think I used too much is because, when I refrigerated the gel, the coconut turned solid and made little tiny chunks all through the gel.
  • Because the coconut oil solidifies, I am not able to squeeze the gel out of the bottle. It’s too thick, so I have to open the bottle to extract it!
  • As I used a decent amount of oil/butter, the gel doesn’t have as much hold as I think it would have with less oil.

Now the GOOD:

  • It’s very moisturizing!
  • Although the coconut oil made chunks in the gel, the coconut oil does melt from body heat when emulsified in my palms! (I have also placed it in a cup of heated water and that makes the coconut oil melt in the gel.)
  • It has not left any flakes in my hair.
  • I’ve been wearing a bun almost all week and it has provided my edges with a light hold.
  • I’ve been applying it to my edges every morning and it doesn’t seem like I’m getting product build-up.

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So, I plan to keep using this and may make some more gel with the leftover seeds to add to this bottle in order to give it a little more hold. Next time, I’ll definitely use less coconut oil, will add some Vitamin E oil to act as a preservative and will use liquid oils like grapeseed, jojobo and/or EVOO instead of shea butter. I also want to try the cream gel on a braid-out set!! So, I may do that this weekend!

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Have you tried/do you use FSG? What do you think of it? If you make it regularly, what’s your favorite recipe?

My Second Bentonite Clay Hair Mask

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A couple of years ago, I tried a bentonite clay hair mask after seeing a few posts about how amazing it was for clarifying hair and reviving curls. However, when I tried it, it left my hair dry and did nothing special for my curls. So, I left bentonite clay for hair alone and solely used it for occasional facials.

Fast forward to April 2012. I decided to try Terressentials Mud Wash (TMW) after watching Naptural85’s YouTube video on it and reading many raving reviews. I ended up liking it, but I did NOT like the price. Actually, the price of the product isn’t horrible at $10.75 for 8 oz. It was the $8+ shipping and how much I needed to use for my hair that were the deal breakers. So, I decided at that time that I would try to make my own. You see, the first two ingredients in TMW are aloe vera juice (AVJ) and bentonite clay. So, I started researching recipes, even bought some nettle and marshmallow root extract for that purpose. But, I quickly lost interest. I think it was because I discovered Aubrey GPB and Honeysuckle Rose (HSR) conditioners, which GAVE. ME. LIFE.

Anywho, my interest in trying to make a bentonite clay mask was recently rekindled after I tried the prototype for Wonder Curl’s (WC) Cleansing Clay Mask. I’ve been toying around with building an all-natural (products) hair regimen. But, a cleanser and detangler are tricky areas for me (you know I LOVE me some DevaCare No Poo and Herbal Essences Hello Hydration). Well, the WC Cleansing Clay, TMW and bentonite clay masks all serve those dual purposes: cleanser and detangler. But, since WC’s mask won’t be out for a while and TMW is so expensive (though I do still have a bottle under my sink), I decided to try to make my own mask again.

The first thing I revisited was this YouTube video on the pH of bentonite clay when mixed with water versus AVJ. Bentonite clay is alkaline and, when mixed with AVJ, it achieves an acidic pH of 4.0, which is close to the normal range for hair (4.5-5.5). When mixed with water, the pH remains in the alkaline range of 9.

Next, I took a look at a recipe I found on HappyHairJourney.com: My Bentonite Clay Cleanser Recipe.

1/2 cup Bentonite clay
1/2 cup AVJ (aloe vera juice)
1/4 cup ACV (apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2-3 drops of each of these essential oils (Rosemary, lavender, peppermint & lemon)

And naturally, I also read this post by La Coco Bella that I shared last week.

Ultimately, I decided to wing it with the ingredients that I already had in the house. And, I’ll be honest, I didn’t measure anything, I just threw a little of this, a little of that (EOs and extracts), a lot of this and a lot of that (bentonite clay and AVJ) together until the consistency looked right.

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My Bentonite Clay Hair Mask “Recipe”:

  • 4 heaping teaspoons of Bentonite clay
  • AVJ (enough to make the consistency of the clay like a thick batter)

A few drops of each of the following hair friendly EOs:

  • Cedarwood (treats dandruff and hair loss, improves hair quality)
  • Lavender (treats dandruff, itching, controls breakage, and stimulates hair growth)
  • Rosemary (stimulates hair growth)
  • Thyme (stimulates hair growth)

An eye dropper full of each of the following extracts:

  • Marshmallow Root (mucilage provides slip)
  • Nettle Leaf (promotes hair re-growth, thickens hair, adds shine)

I mixed and mixed and mixed all of the ingredients in a plastic take-out container with a PLASTIC spoon (don’t use metal; bentonite clay draws toxins out due to its negative electric charge; metal decreases the clay’s potency).

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I made the clay Friday evening and refrigerated it overnight. I also applied my typical pre-poo of Aubrey GPB, HSR and Vatika Oil, covered with a plastic baggie and wore my heat turban for about an hour. Then, I slept in the pre-poo and baggie.

Wash Day:

  • I rinsed the pre-poo out of my hair with warm water from the kitchen sink for several minutes.
  • Next, I applied the bentonite clay mask to my hair in sections, massaging it into my scalp first and then smooshing the clay down the length of my hair. I applied the mask like I would henna.
  • I worked my hair in 6 sections (3 on each side of my head; 1 in front, 2 in back).
  • I twisted each section, clipped my ends to the top of my head, and donned a plastic cap for about 45 minutes.
  • Then, I hopped back in the shower, released the twists on one side of my head, and rinsed out the bentonite clay.
  • After I rinsed out most of the clay, I gently finger detangled, and then I repeated on the other half of my head.

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  • Next, I got out of the shower and applied Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner to DC (30-45 min. w/heat).
  • Cooled and sealed with diluted Aubrey Green Tea Cream Rinse.
  • Finally, I applied a DIY moisturizing flaxseed gel (post on that coming soon!) and placed my hair into two braids. (I had to get out of the house for lunch with the Sci-5ive and didn’t have time to do anything else.)

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The Verdict:
The jury’s still out on this one ladies. To be brutally honest, my hair felt HEAVILY coated as I rinsed and detangled it. Detangling wasn’t bad overall, but my hair felt somewhat gummy, like the strands were sticking together because of the pre-poo residue. I had one really bad knot that it took HE HH and 10 minutes or so to detangle (meaning, 
I worked most of the strands of hair out of the knot, got it as close to the ends of the strands as I could, and then cut it out). After I was done detangling and rinsing, my hair still felt coated and my curls were NOT popping as I’d hoped. In fact, I think they almost looked better after rinsing the pre-poo. I suspect that my pre-poo was too heavy for the clay mask to cleanse completely. For real, I was thinking that I would end up washing my hair with shampoo when I got home from lunch. But, by that time, my hair had dried and it didn’t feel tacky anymore. In fact, it felt very soft and moisturized. It was also very shiny. So, I just left it in the two braids until that evening, when I went out again. It was still a little damp, so it frizzed a bit. I had an okay braid-out, but it wasn’t anything to write home about … hence why there are no pictures of it. I’m presently in a bun. Surprise, surprise.

Anywho, although my results were less than stellar, I’m not ready to give up on a DIY bentonite clay hair mask yet. I think things may have gone better if I had shampooed my pre-poo out lightly first. Also, I’m interested in trying different recipes, such as those that use ACV and carrier oils (like EVOO). Shoot, Cocoberrie provided a whole LIST of YouTubers with recipes in the comments on this post. I haven’t even delved into those yet!! So, I’m thinking one of those might lend me better results or at least point me in the right direction. And, in regard to my attempt at jerry-rigging my own recipe, I think that marshmallow root and nettle powders might work better for a clay mask than the extracts. Unfortunately, my local health food store only carries the extracts and the powders are pretty expensive on Amazon (and few have Super Saver Shipping). So, if any of you have any leads on where I can get Marshmallow Root and Nettle Leaf powders at a good price (shoot, throw Burdock Root in too), holla atcha girl!! 😉

Until next time …

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Do you make your own DIY, homemade, all-natural cleanser and/or detangler that’s the bee’s knees? If so, DISH please!!