Monday, June 15, 2015

LUSH H'Suan Wen Hua to The Rescue!

Balanced Moisture Overnight after a Protein Treatment

By Anastasia W from Norman, OK on 6/15/2015


4out of 5

When you survey your stash, you label this product: Life-Saver

Pros: Smooths & Softens, Improves Texture, Great Smell

Cons: Parabens

Best Uses: Deep Conditioning, Dry Hair, Curly Hair

Hair Type: Very Curly Hair

Describe Yourself: Product Junkie

I received a sample size of this during a recent trip to LUSH and am glad I had it on hand.

I recently did a protein treatment (against the recommendation of my stylist) which resulted in my hair feeling very dry and frizzy. I did a deep conditioning treatment with a Matrix product to no avail.

After combing through my cupboard I found the small sample of this that I'd almost thrown away once I saw it has parabens in it, but am glad I held onto it. Since the sample was in no way enough to cover my entire head, I blended it with GVP conditioning balm, whole leaf aloe vera juice and marula oil to stretch it. Covered my head in a processing cap and a thermal conditioning cap for a couple hours, then removed the thermal cap and put on a satin cap before bed for an overnight treatment.

The next morning I was able to easily run my fingers through my hair for the first time in two days! I rinsed and shampooed per the directions using the sample of Blousey I had, then conditioned and went on to style my hair. My curls are back and feeling moisturized with minimal frizz.

Glad I had this product on hand and will definitely keep it in mind in case of another hair emergency. :)


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking links I will receive a commission.

Friday, May 15, 2015

My Favorite Naturally Curly Kinky Hair Products

When I was 23 years old I had Sisterlocks put in my hair. They're like dreadlocks, but are put in using a sort of backwards braiding technique, rather than palm rolled. They're also much smaller than traditional locs. I chose them because they seemed to offer more styling options and just looked nicer to me, overall.

But after my daughter was born in 2012, I realized quickly that I wouldn't have time -- for quite sometime -- to spend on my hair. So, when she was around 6 weeks old I went to the bathroom with a pair of shears and cut off my decade old Sisterlocks. It was the first time since high school that I encountered my hair in it's completely natural state and I had a lot to learn about caring for it.

The thing that took me the longest to get is moisture. Moisture moisture moisture. Curly hair -- especially tight coils like mine -- need moisture. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out the best way get moisture into my strands and keep it there.

There are things that seem to work for a lot of other naturally curly, kinky haired women, so I started there. And the one thing I noticed was that none of the things they were doing seemed to work for me. Coconut oil stayed on top of my hair and made it feel greasy. Shea Moisture products did not work well as conditioners or stylers. The As I Am co-wash everyone raved about had no slip and was a nightmare to detangle with.
Then I came across the Curly Girl Method, high vs low porosity hair and started experimenting.

What I believe is that I needed to clarify my hair so that these products could penetrate the hair shaft. Duh! And, I figured out that moisturizing products need to be applied to my hair while it is warm and sopping wet. After doing these things, I was on my way to moisturized, easy to manage, kinky, curly hair.

Over the last two years of trying different routines and products with my hair, I think I've finally found what works for me. Unfortunately, I also had a lot of damage from a period of not keeping my hair moisturized. So, last week I went in for a haircut and got a good couple inches or so of frizzy, dry, difficult to detangle ends cut off.

I have to say, I'm not happy with the length, even though I did get a dry cut and my stylist didn't do anything I didn't ask her to (which is an unusual experience for me). But, I do enjoy the easy detangling. It's so nice not getting caught up in snags towards the ends and I'm glad I know how to take better care of my hair from here on out.

This is a rundown of the products I've been using that work well for me:

I'm going to start with the Cantu line because they are the last products I tried, but the ones I was most surprised by. I was put off by the price -- they're cheap! I honestly believed that because they were so inexpensive they would not work. I'm still amazed and overjoyed by how compatible these products are with my hair. I did try most of the line and returned the items that did not work for me, but the ones that give me results are mainstays for me.

The co-wash I use mainly to cleanse my scalp, letting the water and product rinse the hair shaft. My scalp feels clean and my hair soft, not stripped and dry. But the real magic happens with the Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream paired with the Define and Shine Custard. Generally, creams do not define curls for me. They just don't. So I look to them for additional moisture then define and style with gels or custards. Even though the product says it's a "curl activator", I took that with a grain of salt and gasped the first time I applied it to my hair. A little goes a long way and it doesn't leave my hair feeling greasy. I top it off with the Define and Shine to freeze those curls in place. Once it's dry, I scrunch out the crunch with a touch of apricot oil on my palms for soft, defined, shiny and frizz-free curls.

Next is my deep conditioner. This is actually a conditioning balm and the directions say to leave it on for 1 -3 minutes, but I use it under a under a heat cap for 20 - 45 minutes.
The deep conditioners I've used up until this product have either left my hair feeling soft and moist -- until I rinse it out -- or they've been protein heavy, which leaves my hair feeling very stiff and dry -- like straw -- after rinsing. I haven't narrowed down what types of protein my hair is sensitive to or when I might need to use a protein treatment and what kind, so I've held off on using those for the time being. This conditioner is protein and silicone free and leaves my hair incredibly soft even after rinsing. My hair hasn't felt crispy, crackly dry since I've been using it.

There's a generic version of this balm available from Sally Beauty that has been well reviewed. I might save some scratch and purchase this when I run out -- which will be awhile since a little goes a long way and I have a lot left in the tub I bought. The ingredients are comparable to the original, so I say it's worth a look!

For my leave-in conditioner I love the As I Am line.
I've tried several leave-in conditioners and this one I use maybe a silver dollar size for my entire head. It's thinner and more fluid than most leave-in conditioners I've tried and spreads easily to coat my strands.

I also use their co-wash. I've tried the DoubleButter moisturizing cream and Curling Jelly and returned them both. The cream was very moisturizing, and a little goes a long way with it as well, but something in it made my hair feel oily to the touch and I think the lanolin in the cream was too much for my fine strands. The Curling Jelly I returned because it just didn't define my curls. I may have been using it incorrectly, but I'll never know.

Finally, I no-poo once a week, sometimes every other week, and for that I use DevaCurl.
Their no-poo cleanser really cleans my scalp and hair without stripping moisture from my strands. As with co-washing, I apply it to my scalp and scrub with the pads of my fingers, then let the no-poo cleanse my hair while I'm rinsing.

When I feel I need something a bit more clarifying, I go to their Low-Poo formula. Anything sudsier than that tends to leave my hair feeling very fragile. I also love their One Condition as a co-wash, detangler, leave-in and a sort of "pre-styler". It's very light, has great slip and really defines my curls. But, because it is so light and doesn't offer any hold for me, I do follow up with a heavier leave-in and styler.

I have most of the DevaCurl line but won't repurchase because while I got great results, I can get the same or better with other products that cost less.

Freshly washed and styled coils.

That sums up my favorite naturally curly hair products. Are you a curly girl? What are your favorites?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking links I will receive a commission.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Festival Fashion for the Full-time Mom

It's become abundantly clear that I have a uniform. Being a full-time, stay home mom, I'm hesitant to wear nice (expensive) things because it's going to get messy. It's inevitable that I'll come into contact with food, dirt or other random toddler stickies and ickies. Most days I just need to get something on with little time to be picky. It's really important that everything I wear is flattering without a lot of fuss.

I find myself in a lot of v-neck tees, jeans or leggings, and since the weather is nicer I'm in sandals or canvas shoes.

Since my wardrobe tends to lean on the bland side (if we're being real), it's even more important that I take time to accessorize and put on some makeup!

This is a pretty typical outfit for me and is what I wore this weekend when my daughter and I went to a local music festival:

Shirt: Victoria's Secret, $15// Pants: A&F, $27 SALE // Shoes: Havaianas, $18

Jewelry from Candi.Club for Chloe + Isabel
Necklace: $52 // Earrings: $32 // Bangles: $48 // Ring: $48

As you can see, most of my money is spent on accessorizing. While I was first drawn to the jewelry because of their timeless, vintage inspired designs, Chloe + Isabel also offers a Lifetime Replacement Guarantee, which gives extra piece of mind and is one of the main reasons why I applied to become one of their Merchandisers.

Do you have a "uniform"? What's your favorite way to accessorize?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking links I will receive a commission.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Long Time No Post!

Wow! What a hiatus!

I can't believe it's been almost a year since my last update.

As you can probably imagine, much has happened in the time that's passed. I'll try to sum up my absence for those who may be interested.

My two-year old daughter started going to a play school a few days a week and I opened a massage boutique where in addition to massage and body treatments, I provided accessory and wardrobe styling sessions. It ended up being a short-lived endeavor, as I had to pull my daughter out of the school due to issues with the quality of care -- a long, upsetting story that I won't get into here. So, I moved out of my just-gaining-traction boutique space to revert back to stay-home-mom status.

I briefly considered just taking a short leave until I could find somewhere else suitable for her to attend, but she's only two. She won't be two for long. She may very well be my only child. She isn't old enough to speak up for herself yet so I'll never know what exactly happened at daycare. I couldn't bring myself to send her somewhere else again while I have the option to stay home with her.

I miss having somewhere to go each morning. It was nice getting up, getting dressed and getting out of the house to meet with others and talk about one of my favorite things -- pampering! I offered personal accessory styling with jewelry from my Chloe + Isabel Boutique, massages and body treatments. My favorite treatments were herbal compress massages and herbal body steam treatments.

When I lived in Hollywood I had the pleasure of working with a few Thai massage therapists and I loved the aromatic compresses along with traditional Thai massage. I learned how to make the compresses so I could customize the ingredients.

So now that I'm back home full-time again, I have time to devote to my blog. I'm looking forward to making regular updates again!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking links I will receive a commission.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What Goes With This?

I've been absent for a few weeks as things have gotten really busy with the kiddo and styling sessions picking up at Keaton Row with summer vacation in effect. Having said that, not everyone wants a personal stylist / shopper. Sometimes you just need a little help shopping your closet or getting ideas for an item you're thinking about buying.

A couple weeks ago I signed up for the site What Goes With This? and it's the perfect place for styling advice and inspiration.

I'm sure we've all wondered "What goes with this?" at one point or another. I've certainly been guilty of purchasing items and not being sure how to style it with my existing wardrobe. Or browsing online and finding a piece that I really liked, but wondered what I would wear it with. That's where What Goes With This? comes in handy.

The way it works is after sign up you can post a piece that you'd like to get outfit ideas for or recommend looks for others seeking style advice. There are tons of helpful members of the What Goes With This? community who can even help find items that are similar to what you're looking for.

What Goes With This? is a great resource that I check in with at least a couple times a week. I love to look at the recommendations others provide to see the different ways pieces can be styled.

Where do you look for fashion and style advice?

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