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Monday, April 30, 2012

My Flexi-Rod Experience & Results: Take 1

Before washing out the SheaMoisture Souffle yesterday (see my last post), I decided that I wanted to try flexi-rods. So I dressed my son and let him scooter to the beauty supply store with me :) I really want to buy some Curlformers, but I can't drive myself to spend $60 on them with shipping. I saw on YT and read reviews that flexi-rods produced the same/similar results, so I decided to give them a whirl. The prob with buying curlers is you never know how many packs to buy. I decided to go with 4 packs of the short orange ones (5/8" wide) and 1 pack of the short grey ones (11/16" wide) for the front since I didn't plan on doing small sections. The brand is Diane and they were $2.99/pack of 6, so that ran me about $15, not bad.

When I got home, I washed my hair with the SM African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo (had to get that sticky souffle out), then the SM Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo (my absolute favorite!!), then conditioned with the SM Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner. I decided since I was doing a roller set I would use light styling products to let it air-dry faster. So for each section of hair, I spritzed some water, then put some Jane Carter Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner and her Wrap & Roll setting lotion and combed it through end to root with a small tooth comb. I really had no curling method, I was just made sure to smooth the ends of my hair on the rod, then I twirled the curler and bent each side to keep it put. I didn't go in a uniform direction or anything, I just did it. I swear, these chicks on YT make it look so easy! It wasn't hard per se, but it was a little tricky at times, especially since my hair isn't long so by the time I got into a groove, I was at the end, lol! I used the orange ones on the back and sides and the grey ones in the first two rows in the front. I was left with about 3 or 4 orange curlers, so I used about 27. Not bad, better than not having enough. I let it air dry the rest of the afternoon and night. Slept with my bonnet as usual. I have to say, it wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. Though I did end up with a headache in the middle of the night that I'm blaming on them :P

This morning I took them out and the results were good. Not exactly the smoothest, especially at the roots, but I think that's because it was my first attempt. I also didn't do it to achieve a smooth look, just some curls. I think I'll try the little papers with them the next time. 

The curls are tight and the only way not to look like a grandmother in my opinion was to do the mohawk look with the sides pinned back. That seems to be my go-to hairstyle since my hair is in that in-between length. This time I used hair pins instead of side combs. I separated each curl in 3 before doing that and used an afro pick to fluff the roots a bit. I sprayed some SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Reconstructive Elixir (LOVE!) throughout, put some Karen's Body Beautiful Hair Growth Serum on my edges and Jane Carter Nourish & Shine on my sides to smooth it a bit. Nothing with water to ruin my hard work! I ended up using Ecostyler Olive Oil Gel on my edges last minute to smooth them down as well. It looks cute...something I don't necessarily strive for, haha. I look like Little Bo Peep or something, lmao! As the week progresses, I'll pull it out more and mess it up a bit to create some volume and oomph.  

Shirley Temple or Little Bo Peep?
Close up, sides pulled back

Bang area needs to be fluffed more

Product Review: SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Souffle

Pic courtesy of
I've been meaning to try this since it debuted last fall since I'm a big wash-n-go gal, but since I had just started wigging it, I held off. So proud of my PJ self :D I ended up buying it in February. It's the only product in the SM line that is $11.99 (as opposed to $9.99) and it comes in a 12oz jar. Not sure why there's a price difference. It has agave nectar and flax seed oil in it. Two ingredients that I've heard are great for your hair and produce great results, whether your go-to style is a twist-out or wash-n-go. I started using it on my son right away. He had just gotten a cute lil mohawk that we decided to let him do for our vacation to Trinidad. I'd spritz it with water and put a dime-to-quarter sized amount of the souffle throughout, just sort of passing it through. I loved how it made his hair look, a little curls with a little bit of shine. I definitely don't think this product needs any sort of shine product under it or a heavy leave-in. It does leave your hands sticky, but so does Kinky Curly Curling Custard. I think it's the agave nectar in it, not sure. In the KC, I think it's the marshmallow.

Fast forward to Saturday. I decided to do a wash-n-go. I used my SM African Black Soap shampoo a little Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing Shampoo (I love mixing shampoos!) and the Raw Shea conditioner then finished off with Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle. I just spritzed a little Jane Carter's Revitalizing Leave-In conditioner because it's light. I applied the souffle like I do the Kinky Curly, meaning I worked it through section by section with my fingers. I didn't use more than a little bit on my fingertips. The curl definition was great. I diffused a bit since I was going outside at night and it was cold as all heck on Saturday night! I liked the results and the shine! That night I just slept with my bonnet. The next day, I really hated how my hair felt, it was so sticky! It was sticky the night before mind you, but it bothered me more the next day! I've heard of people complaining about the stickiness and I always thought, "But Kinky Curly leaves my hair a little sticky too", but this is a whole other level of sticky. It drove me nuts!! I had to wash it out. The Kinky Curly actually allows me to achieve multiple day hair. I think the next time I will either use less of the souffle or not apply it the way I did, or try the Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in under it. I used it on my vacation once and I just passed some through my whole head without working it in in sections and I liked how it looked. Maybe I'll stick to that method or try it in a twist-out, maybe a little of the Smoothie under. Who knows, but I definitely need to experiment a little more.

Right before washing it, I tried to get a good pic of the curl definition, but that didn't happen :|

Product Review: SheaMoisture Body Products

Hubby and I started experimenting more with SheaMoisture's body/facial products when they had their pop-up shop during the Christmas holiday. We racked up on the B2GO free deal!

Before I give our opinions, let me first outline what each line claims to do. The below was taken from the Walgreen's website:
Coconut & Hibiscus
"A bounty of nutrient-rich tropical ingredients high in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that stimulate collagen production, improve skin firmness and fill out wrinkles naturally. Antioxidant-rich hibiscus flower extract with coconut oil, helps to maintain skin elasticity, improve hydration and protect against moisture loss. Songyi mushroom extract naturally brightens and evens skin tone."
  • Helps to maintain skin elasticity
  • Protects against moisture loss
  • Naturally brightens and evens skin tone
African Black Soap
"African black soap, made from palm ash, tamarind extract, tar and plantain peel has been used in Africa for centuries to treat eczema, acne, oily skin, psoriasis, and other skin ailments."
  • Treats acne & other skin ailments
  • Hydrating properties of shea butter
  • Never tested on animals
Raw Shea Butter
"Historical references to shea butter, a staple of African pharmacology, date back to the reported shea butter caravans of Cleopatra's Egypt. Frankincense, known for its toning and anti-aging properties, also has aromatherapeutic benefits, promoting mental strength. Myrrh, a superior cosmetic ingredient in ancient remedies, can be dated to an Ebers papyrus (circa 1580 BC) recipe for a facial mask."
  • With toning and anti-aging properties
  • Hydrating and rejuvenating
  • Has aromatherapeutic benefits
Our thoughts:
Body Lotion
I got the Coconut & Hibiscus (C&H) lotion and hubby got the Raw Shea Butter one. They each smell like the hair products of the same line. The C&H smells fab, I love it. The Raw Shea Butter also smells nice in a different way. It has frankincense and myrrh, which each have strong scents, so to be used in moderation in my opinion. It can be a little over-bearing. The Raw Shea is supposed to have more moisturizing properties and therefore catered for those with dry skin as per the sales associates in the pop-up store.  The C&H is supposed to maintain elasticity and even skin tone. In terms of keeping us moisturized, they each didn't do much and since that's the case, I'm not sure how it's supposed to help elasticity. Didn't notice it evening my skin tone either. If we showered and applied our lotions in the morning, by the time we got home, we were ashy :|

The bottle is also annoying once you get to the end because it's a harder plastic that you can't squeeze properly. I guess most lotions, even with pumps, you have to put it upside down to get it out in the end, huh? My husband much prefers actual raw shea butter. Not a re-buy for either of us, not for $10 for such a small bottle.

You can get the lotions at Target and Walgreen's.

Body Wash
I use the C&H Body Wash and it has a nice rich lather. My skin is not dry after. I always put body lotion on after, so I've never tried to see if the wash is moisturizing enough not to. 

It could be a re-buy, but not necessary.

You can get the body wash at Target and Walgreen's.

Body Scrub
We love love love these!! We've tried every fragrance, the Lavender Orchid, Raw Shea & Argan Oil, Red Bush & Sage, Olive & Green Tea and Lemongrass & Green Tea. The most moisturizing is the Raw Shea and Olive & Green Tea. The ones that smell the best to me are Lavender Orchid, Red Bush & Sage and the Olive & Green Tea. The Lemongrass is really an eye-opener! Smells like orange peels! The Raw Shea smells like the products in the hair and body line, aka strong, which I don't necessarily always want but hubby likes. We found that the only time the lotions worked well was if we used the scrubs right before. The scrubs are great for your feet as well, keeps them soft. 

These are definite re-buys, the only thing is hubby uses it daily and to spend $10 on a scrub that lasts a week is not economical at all!

Target sells the body scrubs.

Facial Bar/Men's Shave Line
I use the C&H face bar (brightening and toning). It leaves my face nice and clean, a little dry, but nothing my moisturizer can't handle. Plus I much prefer a cleanser that makes me feel like I did just that, cleansed. I don't like feeling like I still have residue on my face. I'm not a huge fan of bar cleansers though and prefer the ones in the tube just because it's easier to handle in the shower. You also have to get a soap dish if you don't have one, an extra step, lol. And if water gets in that for whatever reason and you don't drain it right away, you get a swollen, soggy, bar of soap :/ There is a face & body bar and a bigger bar. I'm sure they are similar.

My husband believes in their African Black Soap facial bar (for acne prone skin). And he's someone who has tried Proactiv, Acne-Free and Avon's Clear Solutions. He says it has made and kept his skin more clear than anything else. Which is great considering it's $5! He uses it before applying the Anti-Aging Moisturizer & Bump Preventer from their men's African Black Soap Shave line. He used to use the Facial Wash & Scrub from the same line, but he's gotten better results from the bar. When he does his mid-week shave at home, he uses the Tea Tree Herbal Bump Preventer After Shave, which he also likes. 

The C&H bar I'd re-buy. The African Black Soap is a definite re-buy for hubby. The men's moisturizer and after shave a close second.

Target sells the Shave line and Walgreen's just started selling it in-store only. The facial bar you can get at Target, I've never seen it at Walgreen's, though they do have the body bar. 

SheaMoisture also has a women's shave line, but I've never felt inclined to try it.

All in all, I like SheaMoisture and are always willing to try their products. I love that they are easily accessible. I just wish all their products were sold in one store like their pop-up shop since Target sells certain items that Walgreen's doesn't sell and vice-versa.

On another similar note, Sundial, the company that owns SheaMoisture, has a hair line called Nubian Heritage that is now available at Target. Each item retails for $11.99. Shea Moisture is $9.99, except for the Souffle, which is $11.99. I actually will be doing a review on that next. I plan to try the Nubian Heritage line soon. If you've tried it, give me your views in the comments section.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My hair today Apr 26th

Did flat twists last night and took them out this morning. I picked it out a bit and put a comb on each side to make a mohawk look and left a bang. Can't really tell from the picture I know.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

My hair today Apr 20th

Remember it was flat-ironed on Sunday? Long gone. I've been fluffing it out with my hands the last two days. Just adding Kbb's Jojoba Oil for a little sheen.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

My hair today Apr 16

Flat-ironed and wrapped yesterday. Dew point is 54 though, sooooo...FAIL! The side doesn't look so bad.

Before leaving the house for work after I un-wrapped it

This is at work and after the heat hit it

This is what it looked like when I just did it yesterday afternoon:
I got so much flack for this pic on FB. People asking what the heck did I do to my hair, saying I look like an old lady. LOL, okay, relax, I was going to wrap it.

Instagram altered pic. Yes, I have red glasses! '80's here I come! (AGAIN!)
Look familiar? LMAO!
Photo of Sally Jesse Raphael courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

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Friday, April 13, 2012

My Hair Today Apr. 13th

Didn't knot as you can see. Just pulled up the front. Talk about a mess! Maybe I'll wrap it! A smooth look may be in order.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

My hair today Apr. 12

So I had to do the bantu knots last night. This morning I combed it out with a wide tooth comb. Very school teacher or librarian, huh? :| Maybe I'll try wrapping tonight.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Hair Today Apr. 11

Okay, so sleeping on it without wrapping or doing the knots was a no-no. I had to pin up both sides and leave a little bang because it was limp and crushed at certain parts.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Natural Hair Update (1 YEAR!) and My First Flat-Iron Experience- THUMBS UP!

It's been a full year since I cut off my locs and I decided to flat iron my hair for the occasion. Okay, no I'm lying, it was only while I was doing it that I came to that revelation. But what good timing! I must say, it has grown a lot in the year. The initial cut, the front of my hair was longer than the rest, so I kind of had a bang. 
Fresh from the hairdresser after taking out my locs. A coil-out.

Twist-out with a pompadour effect
A wash-n-go
Flat twist-out.
Since maybe last September, I've been gradually evening it out to make my hair all one length.  I would trim pretty much every time I washed it while protective styling.
This is what it looked like in Trinidad in February and in NYC in March:
Hair is taking a more rounded shape. Check out my tan lines! :)
I have wanted to flat iron my hair for a while and started buying certain hair products and even a flat iron since last summer, but then I decided to just leave it and have fun. Then I started protective styling in September, so the idea went on the back-burner. Now that it's Spring and the dew-point is low, I decided to give it a whirl. Plus, 1/2 a year of wigging it was enough.

My hair was already in about five cornrows going back since that was my normal wig wearing mode. So I just undid one by one, dampened my hair with water from a spray bottle, then applied:
- mark Salon Straight Smoothing Balm with Invigorating Orange ($6). This stuff smells so good! It's also a pretty light consistency and not heavy at all. I put enough so that it spread evenly along the section of hair I was working with. It has silicones in it, but I think that's needed when applying heat. Unfortunately when I was going to link it here for you, I realized it's no longer on the website for sale! How disappointing! Here is the line though, mark Salon Straight. Looks like they may be phasing it out, I have to look into that. Great, now I have to find a replacement when this is done now. Maybe I will try Carol's Daughter's heat line, though a little pricey.
- next was Aussie's Heat Protecting Shine Spray ($4). I spritzed it along the hair shaft and combed from end to root.

The last row!
I then blow dried the piece of hair to loosen my curl before flat ironing. I only had it on the medium setting because I didn't want to over-do the heat in my hair since I would be flat ironing after. My blow dryer cannot add a comb attachment unfortunately, so I have to work with an actual wide-tooth comb, then a Goody brush with white plastic teeth, similar to the infamous Denman with the rubber base.

This is the same piece blow dried
Once it was to my liking, I then re-applied both products, but then added some Oyin Burnt Sugar Humectant Pomade ($12, but I have a trial size). I'm only realizing the "humectant" part of the description now as I'm typing this. Perfect! I wanted to use a grease based product because adding something with water would only defeat the purpose of just blow drying it. The humectant properties act as a combat against humidity, which is a plus for natural hair that is flat-ironed. I combed once again, then used my Remington S5500 Anti-Static 1-inch Ceramic Hair Straightener that I bought from Amazon last summer for $18.26 :D It has a very helpful digital display with the temperature which is great because you can clearly see how much heat you're applying. I had the setting to what it was when I turned it on, which is probably the default, 370 degrees. I ran it across the hair shaft about 3 times, slightly bending each time. I remember back in the day those Gold n Hot flat irons, you were pretty much frying your hair with no idea how hot the plates got! And I used to do it without thinking twice on relaxed hair (which is already fried), and now with natural hair, I was so nervous and mindful about heat damage...go figure! 

My straightening trio :D
The end-result was great, not greasy like I was kind of afraid of. I also managed to achieve my desired result without pricey products and tools. I'm always one to try "cheap" before splurging. I actually wasn't expecting my hair to come out so straight! Which I guess was messing with me psychologically because I then wanted to add some body, my hair is naturally thin and it's more noticeable when straight, so I decided to bantu knot it, which is something I do when doing regular twist-outs anyway. It also helps to keep your hair neat and out of the way while sleeping. I had to keep them secure with hair pins this time though since my hair was so straight. I tied on my hair net to keep it in place, then my satin bonnet to keep my hair from rubbing on my pillow case.

All done, before Bantu Knots


In the morning I undid each knot to find the cutest curl! 
A little Shirley Temple and such a change from my big hair of wigs, but it was cute! Then I was like, "It doesn't even look like I straightened it, why did I knot it!?" But I didn't have much time to fuss around with it, so I separated them a little, pinned back one side and was out the door. It held up well all day, the dew point was only about 30. This is the perfect time to try out these kinds of hairstyles, when the dew point is below 50. In the summer, the dew points go up and your hair curls up, which is great if that's what you want :D It's supposed to rain tomorrow, pray for me :|

In the a.m after separating the curls and pinning one side

At the end of the day, it dropped and filled out a little. Plus I played with it during the day.
Tonight I won't do the bantu knots and the rest of the week I'm going to keep fluffing and letting it do its own thing. If it gets limp, I'm going to knot it again, maybe not as tight. I'll try to put up a pic everyday. 

I don't think straightening is something I'll be doing often as I've heard of ladies losing their curl pattern because of straightening too much. Uhh, no thanks! ;)