In defense of mineral oil and other naughty ingredients

My hair broke up with mineral oil, silicones, and sulfates and the like many moons ago. Leaving the commonly thought to be naughty ingredients in my distant past, I had the  opportunity to get to know my hair.

I know my hair is fine. I know my hair loves protein, I know my hair is low porosity. I know how my hair hates shea butter. I know a lot about my hair, but why it frizzes has always been a mystery.

I have heard frizz is just a curl waiting to happen. Well it neither happened nor happened to get any better. Then my sister reminded me of an old salon favorite: silicon mix. Studying her quickly emptying jar brought me back to the days of flaming hot dryer and rat tails combs. I looked at the ingredients and they looked as bad as my relaxed hair:

Water, Mineral Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerine, Citric Acid, Cetrimonium Chloride, Dimethycone Copolyol, Cyclomethicone, Keratin, Ceramide, Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance.

Avanti_Silicon_M_4cb2758522cd9__60117.1411534505.500.500

Yet I had a suspicion my frizz may be tamed by the added weight of the no-no ingredients. After much debate I spent 3.99 and took home my jar of rollersetting history.

To begin I decide the silicon mix would sit on top of my hair, so I better get some healthy stuff on inside my hair.

I rinsed my hair with warm water and shampooed with my beloved beer shampoo. I then deep conditioned under the dryer with a yogurt and cassia blend. After nearly and hour I introduced the silicon mix. I applied the thick solution heavily. I sat under the dryer for 30 mins. I rinsed and got to rolling!

I could immediately tell this rollerset was going to be different. My hair refused to get wet. It seemed to be coated in some sort of water replant. The spray bottle wasn’t working, so I resorted to sticking section of hair under the faucet.  My hair was well detangled from the yogurt mix, but it seemed attracted to the roller like never before.

As I rolled I could see my hair laying down and clinging to the roller. My hair wasn’t trying to curl. instead, for once, my hair was taunt to the roller.

wpid-imag2248.jpg wpid-imag2249.jpg

The difficultly getting wet helped during the dry time as my magnetic rollers were completely dry in 75 minutes instead of the 100-120 mins.

I am not sure what the long impact of the silicon mix will be, but compare the results and decided if the no no ingredients, should become ” sometimes” ingredients.

Normal setting results:

wpid-imag2224.jpgwpid-imag2119.jpgIMAG0717-1

Typically my hair has a certain amount of frizz I attributed to my tight, natural curls. However the same technquie plus the silicon mix yielded the following results:

wpid-imag2261.jpg wpid-imag2255.jpg wpid-imag2250.jpg

I feel the silicon mix added a smoothness that allowed my hair to be more taunt and thus more stretched. What do you think are do all ingredients have a place in your hair care routine?

Square Hue and Surprise Gifts

It has been a while since I blogged about Square Hue, or blogged at all. But I am getting my life and my nails back together and Square Hue started my “Operation: get it together” with a mid-month surprise.

Meet Square Hue: Black Label Start to Finish

IMAG2208Thats right ladies and dry-handed gentleman, square hue now has a cuticle oil, base coat and top coat.

The shocking arrival came with a thank you card for being a long standing customer. It also came free of charge!

The free gift inspired me to get polishing!

The almond cuticle oil was nice. It went on smoothly and wasn’t greasy. It was light enough for frequent use and I was able to trim my cuticles with great ease. But on to the stars of the show:

IMAG2210The clear base coat was better than expected. While in the bottle the clear base coat looked a bit watery, the base coat was thick and viscous.

The base coat dried evenly with no bubbles and remained a bit tacky. I prefer a tacky base coat so the polish adheres well.

I applied polish in 3 thin coats and all was looking well until the top coat.

IMAG2211 The Wet Look topic coat delivers in the promise of high gloss. My nails were bling tastic. However, 15 minutes later my nails weren’t dry. This top coat turned my nails into a swiffer duster . Every piece of lint and dust clung to my damp nails and completely ruined my manicure.

I am hopeful that if I allow the polish to dry more the Wet Look top coat can become a keeper because the bling was delicious; however the below manicure is with Seche Vite top coat.

IMAG2216 IMAG2213 IMAG2215

Curlformers: My low heat solution to straight hair

Forgive my long absences.

My hair and I briefly broke up, but we have recently gotten back together. To celebrate our reunion here is an account of my most recent hair adventure.

My low heat straight hair

The forever curler addict I decided to dust off my curlformers.

My problem with curlformers, you may recall from previous post,  is I get straight roots and slightly molded length, which after a day looks like a hot mess.

IMAG1796

Curlfromers at the start

IMAG1816

Curlformers at the end of the day

Essentially, curlformers give me stretched hair, but no style longevity. So I decided maybe the stretch would work well for straighter styles.

My hope was sleeping with curlformers and introducing a blowdryer into the mix would give me the straight hair I occasionally want without flat iron.

To test the theory I installed a set a curlfromersIMAG2146

I slept in the curlformers and did not use my beloved hooded dryer.

When I woke up I dusted off my cheap blow dryer and unraveled the curlformers two or three at time. I wanted to blowdry in small sections, so I did not take them out in large groups.

IMAG2150

I started by gently brushing out my curls. I then blow dried my hair on cool  with no comb attachment. I was happy that without flat ironing I was able to get my roots flat. IMAG2148IMAG2160

The process was much faster than blow drying my wet hair and I was able to get much straighter roots. I kept my hair straight for about 2 and half weeks and used flexi rods and pillow rollers to style. When given the option this will be the only way I straighten my hair.

Image

The Lazy Girl Flat Iron: Low heat natural hair Flat iron

The more I grow the lazier I become about styling.

I don’t use combs. I don’t use brushes. I don’t even use rinse out conditioner anymore. However I did need to detangle my hair more thoroughly as it has been about year -so straight hair was my solution.

After a horrible salon experience last year I knew I needed to DIY, but I also knew the process needed to be quick, conditioning and effective.

So to start

I used my hourglass rollers to stretch my hair. I sat under the dryer for 45 mins. My hair was stretched but still damp enough to blow dry

IMAG1948  IMAG1947

I busted out my cheap TJ Maxx dryer, sat down in front of a mirror and blow dried. I took several breaks to cool down as a was sweating buckets and I had some matting to work out. Two hours later the blow drying was done.

After that I wanted to flat iron, but I was over it. So I broke my hair into six sections and ran my flat iron over each sections cranked up to 400 degrees. Dangerous, maybe. Damaging, definitely not. My hair revert with no issue because the sections were so large.

I decided to use my trusty flexi rods to give my hair that sleek look

 

When I unwrapped my hair I was greeted with sleek result

IMAG1951 IMAG1952

My hair was extra sleek and had a sheen I don’t typically achieve. After i finger combed my hair I had a loose wave.

 

 

 

 

IMAG1955If you are looking for pin straight hair this method is not for you, but if you want to wear your hair down with minimally heat exposure in a style for a week or two, I would definitely recommend.

 

Image

Naked Nails: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

My nails have come a long way since the days I could peel them like a banana.

Here is how:

I  stared using  Quimica Nail hardener. Note this is not a growth aid–it is meant to make your nails hard. It has made my nails beyond hard: I can pick labels, tap to the annoyance of the general public and even submerge my nails in water without them turning weak and brittle. In order to fully make your nails better you have to have a good starting point.

IMAG1386

Before I started using quimica I filed my nails down to nubs. I filed my nails with ruby stone. They grew back better than before because thee are no more weak points which snag and ruin much of the nail.

Without these constant snags and peeling layers my nails also seem to grow faster. I do not believe my nails are growing faster it is more likely I am noticing the growth because it stays put!

Wile my nails have undoubtedly gotten stronger from the hardener they have also gotten more yellow. Chemicals in Quimica have begun to turn my nails slightly yellow. Because yellow nails are not cool to me I switch it up and use this a base coat every other manicure. But simply adding a base coat on top has also eliminated some of the yellowing.

The texture is thick and viscous and forms a rubber like coat on your nails. But beyond coating your nails you can tell it absorbs into your nails.

 IMAG1976 IMAG1977

How can you tell? Besides the god awful smell if you get this on your skin/cuticle it will tingle, sizzle or even burn. Yes you read the right it will burn. The directions say when beginning use polish from the middle of your nail to the tip, avoiding over saturation as your nails adjust.

I have experienced sensitivity caused by this polish and my advice?

Tap you nails gently on a hard surface and watch the tenderness disappear.

I purchased on Amazon and consider this polish to be a permeant part of my nail polish arsenal!

Image

Jumbo Curlformers

My extra wide curlformers and I are beginning to have issues. The main issue being they are 16 inches stretched and my hair, in places, is 17 inches.

What a wonderful problem to have.

So not wanting to give up the barrel look of curls I search through the bootlegers until I found ashopndiva on eBay who had curlformers that are 21 inches when stretched. After much debate I clicked buy and despite some issues I am happy to report they arrived!

IMAG1790The rollers are both longer and wider than the previous extra wide style. This extra length is just what my hair ordered. But I didn’t realize how hard it would be to get the hook through 21 inches of fabric.

The hook that came with the package had these hair snagging teeth

unnamed

I tried the hook once and it was awful. Even though it was a struggle, I used the original smooth curlformers hook. The seller suggest using a nail clipper to cut the teeth down. However that would mean filing the reaming portion smooth. I’m too lazy for that.

The jumbo curlfomrers come  12 in a pack, so I mixed them with my extra wide curlfromers and looked like a crayon box

IMAG1794 IMAG1795

The black and white new additions were heavy and hard to sleep in. I used stretched hair ties to contain this colorful mess. I sat under the dryer for an hour and then slept in rollers.

In the morning I was greeted with very different, but equally great curls.

IMAG1800_BURST002This picture best shows the difference in the curls. The extra long extra wide, black and white curlformers gave me loose waves; rather than tight curls.

IMAG1803 you can see the mixture of curls plays nice with each other. When I styled and pulled the curls apart the blend was great!

IMAG1805

Overall I was pleased with the experience. The jumbo rollers gave the same stretch as traditional curlformers. They also gave the same temporary results.

unnamed

My hair the next morning

After 12 innings of baseball, some much need rest my hair looked like it wasn’t styled. I plan to wear a bun followed by a braid out later in the week, so overall I am happy. The White Sox won and my hair is stretched !

Image

Liquifying Shampoo Bar: Reinventing the Beer Shampoo Bar

A while back I did a review of a beer shampoo bar that I loved. What I didn’t love was trying to keep the bar dry during use to avoid it wilting  away.

So I got a knife and cut the shampoo bar into chunks

IMAG1768

I was able to get about 14 chucks when I diced the bar. I took the chunks in the shower to shampoo and ran into another problem. One piece would last 2-3 shampoos and as it shrunk became harder to grip, got lost/tangled in my hair, kept failing through the soap grate and just generally became a pain in the ass.

So time for plan C

I decided to toss the a few pieces in water and see if I could make this shampoo bar into regular shampoo.

I filled a travel size container with 1.5 ounces of rosewater.IMAG1756

I dropped in two pieces IMAG1757

I topped the container off with regular tap water and made sue to leave room for the soap pieces to dissolve. I then gave the water+soap time to dissolve and turn into a solution. I left it sit for about 6 days and made sure to shake it daily.  Here are some pictures of how the combination evolved.

IMAG1767 IMAG1766 IMAG1762

The soap gradually broke apart and   the mixture became more of solution. and got thicker and thicker as the days went by. I kept shaking the solution to help further break up the soap. By the time wash day roles around the solution was ready to go!

IMAG1770 IMAG1778

The mixture turned into real shampoo! The soap completely dissolved and the mixture became thick and gelatinous. The 3 oz jar has lasted me 3 separate shampoos. Which means I used 2 pieces to make 3 oz of shampoo. Thus I could make 21 oz out of the 14 pieces I originally cut the bar into . So this bar would last me 21 shampoos! That is an amazing value $6.00.

I said it before and I will say it again this bar is great for my hair, my wallet and malleable to my lifestyle.

I love it!

Image

Stretching with Curlformers

So I’ve had these e-bay curlformers for about a year.

I swore off curlformers because while I found them easy and even cute they NEVER lasted more than a day. I moved away from my curlfomers in favor of traditional rollersets, however I wondered back to my curlfromers recently because the stretch they provide is ideal for a blowdry free flat iron.

 

I have the extra wide curlformers I purchased from an eBay seller RelaxSacks. I went to Sally’s and bought the genuine curlformers hook for about 5 bucks because the one that came the package was crap.

I sat under the dryer with a head full of curlfromers for 45 mins and then slept.

Sleeping was easy, Removal was easy. Styling was easy.

This is my hair after removing the curlformers

 IMAG1739-1 IMAG1734 IMAG1733

My hair was soft and well defined. Most importantly my roots were smooth. You can even see my scalp! Prior to instilling I did a hot oil treatment with Dabur’s Vikita oil. I credit this for the smoothness of my roots.

 

I then separated the curls somewhat and styled:

IMAG1741 IMAG1745 IMAG1742

I wore my hair in this style all day. Because I swore I was going to flat iron, I used no holding product. However after flat ironing half of one section and promptly gave up.

At the end of the day here is what became of the curls

IMAG1751 IMAG1750

They started to frizz, but I knew they wouldn’t last. Instead I decided to throw in a quick set of flat twist, so I could wear my hair down the next day.

Here are the flat twist I wore to bed and the resulting style

IMAG1752 IMAG1753

IMAG1758 IMAG1759

 

I had a nice curly bob look going with this twist and curl. I will likely bun for the rest of the week, but I am happy with my curlformer experience.

I will continue to keep them in the rotation as I look to spend less time under the dryer in the heat of the summer.

 

Image

Ynobe Amla & Nettle Moisturizing Deep Conditioner Review

IMAG1684

[Product Name]:Ynobe Amla & Nettle Moisturizing Deep Conditioner

[Product Price]: 14.95 or 19.95 depending on the size

[Product Size]:8 or 16 ounces

[Product Ingredients]:Distilled Water (Infused With Nettle Leaf), Cetearyl alcohol, Stearalkonium chloride, Amla Powder, Slippery Elm, Neem, Aloe Vera Juice, Olive oil, Flax seed oil, and Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Soy Protein, Optiphen (Preservative), Cinnamon, Carrot Seed Extract

[Product Claims]:Ynobe Amla & Nettle Moisturizing Deep Conditioner is formulated to moisturize and condition; leaving the hair soft, silky and manageable. This moisturizing treatment is made with essential ingredients that keep the hair healthy and strong, add elasticity, shine and luster.

[Product Scent]: It smells earthy, but has no distinguishable scent when applied or rinsed. In addition the product fades into hair quickly–I was heavy handed and the conditioner, despite being brown in color, disappeared in my hair.

IMAG1677 IMAG1678

[Product Consistency]: The product comes in a jar as it is likely too thick to squeeze. However the consistency isn’t very thick more like that of lotion as opposed to a paste. It is also smooth you won’t feel any grit from the Amla powder

IMAG1682-1

[Product Realities]: This product and I did not get along. I was hoping the Ayurvedic element and the protein would make my hair happy, but I was wrong. I left this conditioner on for about 2 hours under a plastic cap while I did housework and my yoga DVD. When I rinsed I did not use another conditioner–just warm water.

Initially my hair felt soft, but that softness faded as quickly as those non-water proof labels. By the time I stepped out of the shower my hair was dry.

Normally when I rinse my deep conditioner my hair has a definition that makes detangling a breeze and indicates my hair is protein and moisture levels are in check.

This is my hair post rinse with yogurt,oils and cassia:

IMAG1502 IMAG1501

The clump in my curls tells me that my hair is balanced enough to ensure easy detangling, easy rollerseting and week long moisture.

Here is my hair after rinsing the Ynobe Alma and Nettle Conditioner

IMAG1685This is a frizzy, undefined mess. My hair was not coated in silk like I normally get from cassia. It was not strong and without tangles like I normally get from milk protein. It was not shiny like I normally get from added oils. Essentially, my hair looked dull and old like I hadn’t washed in weeks as opposed to having washed moments ago.

This conditioner did nothing for me. My rollerset was frizzy and dull, my hair needed to be moisturized and sealed several times throughout the week and I have had to detangle seemingly endlessly. Basically this conditioner is getting benched!

I would not repurchase. 

 

 

Image

Preserving the Curl: Making Natural Hair Rollersets last

I have been rolling away since I got my hourglass rollers, but I have been looking for a way to get my curls to last throughout the week.

I can’t pin curl. I can’t pineapple. I can’t be bothered.

So I thought maybe I would try putting my hair in two pig tails and pinning the tails up while I slept. In an effort to measure effectiveness I rolled and smoothed the left side of my hair and left the right side in roller set barrel curls. I ponytailed and pinned and took pictures daily.

So follow me along the experiment and decide if the ponytails worked.

Step One: Roll

I used my hourglass rollers to rollerset my hair. And yes I see that big piece I missed–and no I don’t want to talk about it.

 IMAG1565 IMAG1567

Rolling went well. I used homemade flax seed gel mixed with aloe vera gel for hold after a yogurt and honey deep condition. My hair took an hour and fifteen minutes to dry. The pictures so my hair after drying.

Step Two: Unroll

IMAG1570

The next step was to remove the rollers. I let my hair cool for 20 minutes and then removed the duck clips and unraveled each roller.

Step Three: Smooth/ Not Smooth

IMAG1580

For step three I smoothed the left side of my hair. I did not smooth the right side. The idea here was to see if the curls longevity was influenced by smoothing.

I used my fingers to lightly comb through my hair and smooth the curls. I placed the smooth curls in a banana clip and pinned the loosed ends on top of my head.

On the opposite side I did not finger comb the curls but placed them in a banana clip pig tail  directly after removing the rollers. IMAG1582

I followed the same process for the next three nights and below are those results.

Day 1:

IMAG1586 smoothed side

IMAG1590unsmoothed side

Day 2:

IMAG1598Unsmoothed side

IMAG1594smoothed side

Day 3:

IMAG1604A picture of my very uneven part and ponytails

IMAG1601close up of the smoothed side in ponytail

IMAG1606smoothed side

IMAG1610unsmoothed side

After day three I wanted to switch my style, but it think pig tails helped the curls hold up well enough. Keep in mind I applied no products, used no combs, and no additional heat over these days. I think I like the smoothed side better!

So, are pig tails worth a try in your regime?