Home sweet home

Hi Everyone,

I’m home in the States for a bit. I’m having fun showing my little one around and introducing him to family and friends. I went to Trader Joe’s yesterday to pick up some of that Triple Treat conditioner all the natural hair gurus boast about. You know what. It was SOLD OUT! I’m thinking that as soon as that stuff hits the shelf, naturals be like “I better stock up”. Seriously though there are some serious product junkies out there… I’m hoping I can get some while I’m here… Anyway I bought nourish spa in the meantime… We’ll see how that works. If you happen to be in a Massachusetts Trader Joe’s and you see this conditioner, help a girl out and let her know. Please and thank you!

What product do you notice disappearing before it’s even stocked?

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Oil Rinsing and Shopping in My Medicine Cabinet

Lately, I’ve been super fast on wash day. Having a child, has made me one of the most effective people, time-wise. Time flies when you’re raising a life, so I generally try to structure my day to get as much done as possible. I know my grocery store inside-out and can do a week’s worth of shopping in under 20 minutes. #Putmeonsupermarketsweep!

Any way, gone are the days of my 3-4 hour-long wash days. They are now generally 45 minutes to an hour. I either use my mudwash or shampoo (see my recent post on a shampoo product review), then condition my hair with a light, slippery conditioner. Lately, that has been Trésseme Naturals. I then apply oil (e.g. grapeseed oil) on each section of my conditioned hair, concentrating on my ends (voilà: reverse oil rinsing). Next I rinse the conditioner and oil, leaving a small amount in my hair for added slip. I apply a rinse out conditioner and let it sit for a few minutes (voilà deep conditioner) and go on with my shower rituals.

I notice my hair melts like butter at this phase of my wash regimen. Especially, with the “new” conditioner that I’ve used lately. That conditioner is Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Calming Conditioner. I’ve had this product in my cabinet for over a year, but didn’t give it much thought. I’m not sure if it’s because I oil rinsed before applying it to my hair.  However, all I can say is that my hair feels so soft and luscious when this touches my strands. I’m almost in disbelief. My hair seems to also stay moisturized for days after.

So there you have it readers, this is the conditioner that I’ve fallen in love with for the moment.

The scoop on Giovanni 50:50 Hydrating-Calming Conditioner

Claim: Promises to add moisture, shine and manageability as well as smooth frizz. That claim is true, it did all the above for my hair. In fact, the moisture and shine stayed with me for days.

Texture: Very thick, creamy and buttery in consistency.

Lather: Excellent, I love a conditioner that lathers nicely, helps me with detangling.

Smell: Soft, somewhat floral, but not overpowering.

Price: It’s  on the pricier side, about $8.00 for 8.5 ounces. However, as stated earlier, a little goes a long way.

Negatives: While I love Giovanni products and their modern sleek look, this bottle is not effective for getting out all the conditioner. Don’t get me wrong, I will be adding water to it and shaking it up until I get every last drop out of it. Although, I do wish more and more manufacturers would just start making upside down bottles. Just sayin’…

Have you ever tried this conditioner? Or any other Giovanni products? What conditioner are you in love with at the moment?

Have a great Sunday everyone!

 

Hair Aisle Junky

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I have about a drop of Giovanni Triple Treat Shampoo left. However, I still have a few bottles of other shampoo sitting in my medicine cabinet. So please tell me, why do I feel the need to detour down the hair aisle and grab this shampoo and conditioner? (bows head in shame). Ugh drug store hair aisle be damned!

Any way, I did want to try a creamy shampoo lately, as all of mine are clear liquid shampoos (coughs: excuses). I haven’t really used Garnier Fructic shampoo or conditioner, since my relaxed days. I’m wondering how it will work out. In any case, I’ll give these a try this weekend and report back with results. I can always give them to hubby if they don’t do anything for me. Have you ever tried Garnier products? Is your shampoo cream or liquid-based?

Curly Nikki Wash Method

If you follow this blog, you probably know that I LOVE rhassoul clay and get stellar results every time I use it. However, as a new mother, I don’t always have time to prepare my rhassoul clay wash. When I’m short on time, my product of choice to cleanse my hair is Giovanni Triple Treat Shampoo. This shampoo is sulfate free and while it doesn’t leave my hair as soft as rhassoul, it certainly does a good job of cleaning my scalp and hair. It doesn’t leave my hair with that stripped, dry feeling. It’s also a great relaxing shampoo, because it contains tea tree and peppermint essential oils– it’s like a mini scalp massage.

Typically I wash my hair in 4 sections, but I tried a method I read about on Curly Nikki: I simply put my hair in two pigtails. After shampooing each side. I saturated conditioner and detangled under water for added slip. The CN method advocates using practically an entire bottle of conditioner. Since this blog is about being cheap, economically savvy, I diluted 4 ounces of conditioner (Tresemmé naturals) with 4 ounces of water. I soaked each side with 4 ounces of this mixture, massaging the conditioner into my strands then rinsed and detangled under water. Detangling was a breeze with this method and my hair felt great. After this, I put on a deep conditioner, continued on with my shower rituals (voila time effective deep conditioning).
Finally, I tried something new for styling:
1. I applied my leave-in almost dry hair (t-shirt wrapped around my hair 5 m then air dried. I noticed this really help my leave-in penetrate my hair. Sealed with oils on my ends per usual.
2. I sprayed a little mixture of water and setting lotion on my hair, then twisted it. For more hold and definition.
3. I dried my twists for 10-15m under a hooded dryer.

When I undid my twists my hair felt über soft and moisturized.

This is a great method for those little on time.
What’s your rushed routine? What are your favorite shampoos/hair wash products?

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Reverse Oil Rinsing I Can’t Quit You

Hi Everyone,

I’m back from a beautiful holiday in France. It was a much-needed relaxing and fun getaway. I just thought I’d report back on my hair during my trip.

To keep it short and sweet – it was frizzy and dry. This was really disappointing, because I didn’t oil rinse on my vacation and the weather was more humid than the environment I live in. I thought this would be beneficial to my curls… I spent most of my time with my hair pinned up in a bun, my to-go-to style when my hair doesn’t want to cooperate.

In any case, as soon as I returned I decided to give myself a nice deep conditioning treatment. I washed my hair with a light shampoo, as I’m out of rhassoul clay. I then applied Suave’s Almond and Shea Conditioner. On top of that I applied a small amount of Vatika oil to each section of my hair. Next, I covered my hair with a plastic cap and sat under my hooded dryer and read for 40 minutes. Hopped back in the shower, rinsed, conditioned with Tressemme Naturals and detangled under running water. My hair felt more moisturized and soft after that. Finally, I applied my leave-in of choice, KCKT and a little gel, twisted my hair (about 12 twists) and sat under my hooded dryer for 45 minutes. The results: a shiny soft twist out. I snapped a pic of my hair this morning (note: This is Day 2 hair not day 1). I’m still really happy with how shiny and soft it feels on day 2.

I know some of you may be giving me the side eye and thinking “is this chic still on that oil rinsing kick after she just said she was done two weeks ago??!”. Well, the answer is yes. I don’t want to cut this from my regimen entirely, but am just trying to find a happy balance. I also want to note some changes I made in the way I apply products and style my hair:

  1. When I apply conditioner, I rub each section of my hair between my hands. Think when you’re cold and you put your hands in front of a fire and rub them together for instant warmth. What I think this does: Warms up the conditioner on my strands, provides a strong cleaning action, helps get my cuticles to open.
  2. After styling my hair, I will avoid air drying. When I air dry the look is great the first day and then just average/okay the days to follow. Now, I sit under my hooded dryer with the heat on low for about 45 minutes to an hour. What I think this does: sets the style, which allows for a longer hold and shine, the warm air helps the leave-in penetrate my hair. In addition, this allows my scalp to dry, which reduces risk of bacterial/fungal growth on the scalp. I don’t think sleeping with damp hair, particularly covered damp hair, is particularly healthy for scalp health.

These are two changes that I have made to my hair regimen. Today, on day 2, my hair is just as shiny and moisturized as it was on day 1.

Moral of the post. I’m not quite done with reverse oil rinsing, in combination with my two new regimen changes, it seems to still offer something.

Update: My hair still feels as moisturized on days 4 and 5 as it did on day 1.  I like the results of lightly blowdrying my twists.

What do you think? Have you ever blow dried your twists?

Upcoming posts:

  • My hair story
  • My nighttime regimen
  • Why I don’t henna
  • Suggestions…?

Summer Beach Curls and Reverse-Oil Rinsing

I found an easy, effective and time-saving method for styling my hair! Thanks to one of my favorite video bloggers, Naptural85. I’ll link her video for summer beach curls below. Honestly, my twists used to take me about 1.5 – 2 hours!! This time, I was able to twist my hair in 30 – 40 minutes, all while skyping on the phone with my family back home. Not bad huh? You have no idea how excited I am about a 30 minute styling session. Especially, with a little bundle on this way this winter, this is going to save me so much time!

To set my hair for the style, I divided my hair into eight sections, as Naptural does. I proceeded to wash my hair. Next, I reversed oil rinsed with Giovanni 50/50.  I put Brahmi oil on top of this and massaged it in each section. Let it marinate for about 3 minutes, then finger detangled and rinsed under a steady stream of water. I followed this with a second rinse and used Suave Almond and Shea Conditioner. I put each section in a Bantu knot.

I’m on my fourth oil rinsing trial. Well, technically, my second since I’ve changed my oil rinsing regimen. Again my hair was tangle free, soft and shiny. It also felt bouncier, probably the result of a much-needed trim.

Once out of the shower, I applied Kinky Curly Knot Today to each section (concentrating on my ends), then twisted each section. Some sections were extremely thick so I just made two twists. Once my hair was all twisted, I simply stretched and pinned it to the opposite side of my hair (see the video for more details).

In any case, I’ll be checking in throughout the week reporting on how moisturized my hair feels. I washed it on Sunday and two days later it still feels soft and hydrated. I’m hoping that this new reverse oil rinsing will produce better results than the first method.

Have you tried this style? What are your favorite, simple summer styles?

Here’s nap video isn’t she gorgeous!?!

Oil Rinsing on Low Porosity Hair

Oils and I have never really been best friends. However, I’ve always hoped that I could find a way to incorporate them into my routine. My wishes might have been answered. Awhile ago, I was surfing the net and I came across a forum on oil rinsing. The person raved about the results of her oil rinsing trial and it just so happens she has low porosity hair. This made me really curious. So after months of thinking about whether to oil rinse or not, I threw caution to the wind today. It’s still too early to give you my verdict, but I do have some positives to report.

First, for those of you who have never heard of oil cleansing, here’s a quick overview on the process:

Shampoo (optional) + coat hair with a small amount of oil + condition under a stream of very warm water, to rinse out some of the oil and detangle.

Easy enough, right?

This was the first time I’ve tried oil rinsing and thus far I’m happy with the results. I won’t tell you whether I recommend it for lo-po hair until I’ve tried consistently for at least a month. Right now, my hair is damp and in twists, so it’s difficult to say whether it’s effective. I’ll have to see how my hair dries and report back to give you a weekly update.

For now, I’ll walk you through the steps I took and the results I achieved from my first oil rinse.

1. After a trip to the swimming pool, my hair was really dry and in desperate need of moisture. I started off by sectioning my hair into three parts. I shampooed my hair to remove any chemicals from the pool and prepare it for the oil rinse. Next for each section I worked about a handful of extra virgin olive oil into my hair, starting at the ends and working my way up.

***Initial thoughts: disappointed, my hair felt like straw as the oil hit my strands. It never felt soft or supple. Feeling very skeptical.

2. At this point, some suggest sitting under a plastic cap for 30 m – 1 h for a deep, conditioning oil treatment. I decided to go straight to the last step and apply my conditioner (Suave Shea and Almond). I massaged the conditioner into my hair, one section at a time, then attempted to detangle. My hair had a couple of tangles and the comb didn’t glide through it. So, I decided to condition a second time, using more conditioner this time. Suddenly, my hair felt soft, yet strong and smooth. The comb sailed through my hair as the warm water rushed over it. I was truly impressed with the results. I couldn’t stop running my fingers through my hair.

Once I got out of the shower, I examined each section closely. My hair looked remarkably darker and shinier. It was still very easy to comb and very soft and fluffy. I had less curl definition than I usually do when I wash my hair, especially in the front, where my hair is a bit looser. However, for strong and soft hair, I could definitely sacrifice curl definition! I decided to twist my hair and let it air dry over night. Only time will tell whether oil rinsing is an effective moisturizing method for lo-po hair. So I’ll report back with results.

My theory on why this method would work is that conditioners contain emulsifiers that allow water and oil to blend. You probably rinse off some of the oil in the wash process. However, some of it probably binds to the conditioner, allowing you to seal-in moisture and deeply penetrate your hair shaft. I really hope my results live up to my expectations!

Have you ever tried oil rinsing, what was your experience?

Lo-Po’s BFF I: Baking Soda

On Baking Soda and pH

In my earlier post “A Lo-Po’s BFF and Frenemy”, I discussed products that work brilliantly and terribly on my low porosity hair. To explain how I use these products and the results they yield, I thought I’d write a series discussing the items each week in detail. One item that I discovered recently that is inexpensive and readily available, is baking soda.

Baking soda is a really controversial product in the natural hair sphere. Some people think that it’s harsh, because it lifts the cuticles, which they believe does more harm than good, in the long run. Another controversy surrounding baking soda is its alkaline PH, which ranges from about 8-9. Some claim that it can alter the structure of curly hair and equate it to a straightener/relaxer.

In my opinion, this is highly unlikely, as a relaxer, which has the chemical lye or sodium hydroxide, has a PH of 14. In order for a product to chemically alter the structure and break down the bonds of the hair, it would have to be highly alkaline, as are relaxers. Relaxers are 1,000,000 times more alkaline than water and baking soda is 100 times more alkaline. See this blog for more information on baking soda and its effect on hair. I will list some blogs and sites at the end of this post, so that you find out about some of the arguments for and against baking soda.

Here is a short definition of pH:

PH is a measure of the alkalinity or acidity of a substance. It measures the concentration of Hydrogen ions (H+) measured against the concentration of Hydroxyl ions (OH-). When a substance has more Hydrogen ions than Hydroxyl ions, a substance is considered acidic. When water has more Hydroxyl ions than Hydrogen ions, the water is considered basic or alkaline. When there are an equal amount of Hydrogen ions and Hydroxyl ions (H20), the substance (i.e. water) is considered neutral (pH 7.0) [http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/PH]

Liquids with a PH less than 7 are acidic

Liquids with a PH greater than 7 are alkaline

Water has a  PH of 7 and is neutral.

Why I use Baking Soda 

My hair is prone to build up. I have to be very careful not to be heavy-handed when applying products. I wash my hair once a week to ensure a clean, healthy scalp. Last year I used sulfate-free shampoos to wash my hair. However, these shampoos still left my hair feeling just as dry and stripped as with sulfate shampoos. After sulfate-free shampoos, I tried using the “conditioner only” or “curly girl” method to wash my hair. This left me with loads of build-up. Looking back, this was probably due to the fact that most conditioners are acidic. “Low pH conditioners […] provide the hair with positive charge and thus more hydrogen bonds between the keratin scales, giving the hair a more compact structure (wikipedia.com).”

Because conditioners are more acidic and give the hair a more compact structure, they left my already compact low porosity hair with buildup. For a high porosity hair or even a normal porosity hair, this is great! I need a slightly alkaline product or a method (e.g. warm water) that will help lift my compact cuticles and allow me to let moisture into my hair shaft.

How I use Baking Soda

As a Clarifier

If I notice heavy build-up, flaky or white residue on my scalp, I clarify with baking soda once per month. If you plan on trying baking soda rinse, it’s best to never use more than 65 grams/ app. 4 TBSP of baking soda. I use very little and it’s still really effective.

  1. I place 1 TBSP – 2 TBSP of baking soda in about 2- 4 liters of warm water and mix it well. I pour this mixture over my scalp and hair, being careful to avoid my eyes.
  2. I put on a plastic cap and allow the mixture to sit about 15-20 minutes. Before rinsing, I gently massage my scalp, to break up any debris.
  3. Next, I rinse my hair with warm water thoroughly, being sure to remove all the baking soda.
  4. Finally, I follow this with a deep conditioner, rinse* it out with lukewarm water and style.

* I don’t always completely rinse my conditioner out, sometimes only rinse out 60 – 80 percent. I liken this to a leave-in.

This process leaves my hair clean, but not stripped. After applying my conditioner, my hair is softer and detangling is much easier. Since, my conditioner has an acidic pH, this is what I use to seal my cuticles.

As a Cleansing Deep Conditioner (DC)

If I feel like my hair does not have a significant amount of buildup, but is feeling somewhat dry, I will either replace my monthly baking soda clarifier with a baking soda DC.

  1. Mix 1 -2  TBSP of baking soda in 1 C of conditioner add a few TBSP of your favorite oil.
  2. Gently apply this mixture to wet hair, don’t rub or massage it into your hair, simply coat your hair with it.
  3. Cover your hair with a plastic cap and allow the mixture to sit 30 minutes.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, apply your conditioner of preference, let it sit  a few minutes or do another deep conditioner, detangle.

I liken this to a cleansing and deep moisturizing conditioner.

There you have it. This is how I use baking soda in my regimen. It leaves me with soft, supple, clean and shiny hair. I would say, I generally use baking soda once per month. I do have other products (e.g. rhassoul clay) that I also use, so I try to switch things up.

In the next post, I’ll discuss my Lo-Po hair frenemy: Aloe vera and Aloe vera gel. As the term frenemy implies, aloe vera can give me nice results, when used correctly, however, when used incorrectly my hair is a disaster. I tend to stay away from this product, but if you like it, I hope to give you some useful tips for making it work for low porosity hair.

Further Info on Baking Soda

For your reading or viewing pleasure:

Pro Arguments

Elle Magazine

Blogger: Chy Curlz

Youtube Vlogger and Blogger: Elle/Denim Pixie

Blogger

The author of this website is very leaning more towards pro, but also presents the arguments against. He also offers an alternative to using baking soda, diluted castile soap, which I haven’t tried.

Anti Arguments

Vlogger  – Kimmay

Naturally curly, takes an anti perspective, then offers a recipe that suggests using a large amount of baking soda– confusing or what?

Website

In my opinion, you have to do you research and see what works best for you. Many vloggers and bloggers probably fall into high or normal porosity category, which is why washing their hair in aloe or diluted vinegar, works wonders.

Have you tried baking soda rinses or DCs? What were your results.