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Natural Hair lover residing in Louisville, KY aka Derby City Blog: DerbyCityNaturals.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/DerbyCityNaturals Twitter: @DerbyCityNat YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DerbyCityNaturals

Product Review Shea Moisture Strengthen Grow & Restore Treatment Masque

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen Grow Restore Treatment Masque

Shea Moisture

Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Treatment Masque

$12.99 / 12 oz

Available at SheaMoisture.com Target, ULTA, Walgreens

ing: Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Stearyl Alcohol, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Behentrimonium Chloride, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Yeast Extract, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Vinegar, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Niacin, Dextran, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Caramel, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract *Certified Organic Ingredient

From their website: This deep conditioning masque helps restore strength and resilience to damaged, brittle or chemically processed hair.  Perfect for those who regularly color, straighten, perm or heat style their hair, as well as kinky, curly or wavy natural styles.  Formulated with nutrient-rich Jamaican Black Castor Oil and certified organic Shea Butter to replenish moisture and soften while strengthening hair.  Helps promote growth by supporting hair’s elasticity, reducing the appearance of breakage and shedding.

Shea Moisture has been on a roll lately releasing new products and I will admit the PJ in me wants to check them out.  Previously, I tried some of their older products and the results were lackluster. Recently I reviewed the Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque and was very impressed.  Shea Moisture sent me a sample of Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Treatment Masque and it arrived in good time because I am now out of the SRNHM.  In following with my March hair goal I applied the product to clean wet hair and deep conditioned with heat using my Hair Therapy Wrap for about 25 minutes.

So here are my overall feelings about the SGRTM: the slip was minimal, the consistency was thinner than others in this line making it easier to apply, the smell is strange kind of reminds me of play doh but it’s very light and does not linger, and finally the results were okay.  When I rinsed out my hair was soft but there was something missing, no wow factor.  I would compare SGRTM to the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Purification Masque in terms of results, both were just okay for me but if you like ABSPM you will probably like the SGRTM. As for me I would not purchase this product because SRNHM was soooo much better in smell and performance.

(Side note: why do Shea Moisture products have such long names?)

All About Oil Pulling

What is oil pulling? Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic oral health treatment that includes swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth.  The goal of this activity is to remove toxins and bacteria from your mouth (and body) to increase oral hygiene.

How is it done? Place a heaping spoonful of oil in your mouth (I prefer coconut oil) and swish around in your mouth and pull through your teeth. Continue this for at least five and at most 20 minutes.  DO NOT SWALLOW. After you have reached the allotted time spit the oil down the sink, floss and brush as normal.

What are the benefits?  Some of the benefits include fighting against bad breath, gingivitis, plaque build up, cavities, yellowing of teeth, sensitive or inflamed gums, oral pain and tooth decay.

My Experience

“The moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup…” I do a little oil pulling. Seriously the first thing I do when I walk in the bathroom in the morning is place a heaping spoonful of coconut oil in my mouth. I swish and pull while using the bathroom and showering this is how I busy myself to pull for 20 minutes.  I have tried oil pulling with other oils and I just didn’t like it, I prefer to use coconut oil. Coconut oil is a solid so after placing it in my mouth I bite down on the chunks and rotate it around until it becomes a liquid then I swish and pull.  Afterward I spit it out and rinse with warm water before flossing and brushing. DCN Oil Pulling

FAQs

Is it hard to do? No, my ten year old oil pulls as well. He does it for 10 minutes every morning. The key to getting through it is to keep yourself busy while pulling. It will become an absent minded activity.

Does is clog the sink? No. We have been pulling consistently for 4 months and my drain has yet to clog. I run hot water down the drain after I discard the oil.

Does it really work? Well as of our last dental checkups we are both cavity free.  I drink multiple cups of tea each day and my teeth are not yellowing.  My mouth feels fresher after using oil pulling as a part of my oral health care.  Even when I was sick a while back I continued to oil pull and did not get the dreaded “sick breath”.  I also recommended oil pulling to a friend who was having some tooth pain and after a few days she reported that her pain had decreased and had stopped taking pain relievers.

As for me and my family oil pulling has become a permanent part of our oral health regimen. I mean the coconut oil is already in the bathroom so why not? I believe that it really has worked to help maintain a healthy mouth and my biannual checkups agree.

 

Product Review: Melodic Elements

Melodic Elements Natural Deodorant

Melodic Elements

Natural Deodorant

$5 for 2 oz stick

Available on Melodic Elements website

Jasmine, Lavender, Peppermint Lemongrass, Patchouli, Orange scents

ing: shea butter, arrowroot powder, baking soda, essential oil fragrance.

I know simple ingredients list right? That is one of the reasons I switched to using natural deodorants. I wanted to simplify my life by using more natural products with ingredients I could recognize. I also wanted to move away from antiperspirants that contain harmful ingredients that may be cancer causing. I made that switch for good over 3 years ago.  And while I have not regretted my decision, there have been times that I have been less than fresh and that is not okay.  Along this path of hits and misses I was happy about Melodic Elements which is not only Kentucky proud and a Louisville original, it is a Black female owned small business *triple word score* [full disclosure the owner is a friend of mine].

5 Things I Love About This Product

  1. Simple all natural ingredients. There are several natural deodorants on the market but many of them contain a long list of ingredients that I have to research. I love that the ingredients listed are readily understood.
  2. Smells divine.  I purchased the Jasmine scent for myself and the Peppermint for my son. They both smell very pleasant but are not overwhelming.
  3. It works. More than wanting to use a natural product I need the product to actually work and this one does. All day long. It has been proven by lasting all day on my pre-teen son. He no longer smells like “outdoor” when he comes home from school.
  4. It lasts.  I can apply this deodorant in the morning and get at least 12 hour wear. Actually I just smelled myself and I still smell good so make that 14 hour wear.
  5. The applicator. I just don’t care for scooping out deodorant with my fingers, I need an applicator.  Not only does it come in an applicator but it works and does not get stuck.

In addition to these things the shea butter base formula glides on easy no crumbing or caking and it absorbs well into the skin.  I have not had any issue with build up or yellowing on the inside of my shirts. I still exfoliate under my arms weekly before shaving but I have not had a concern of build up. I will repurchase this product again and plan to soon actually because I am almost out however one stick lasted for 2+ months.

Springtime Salt Scrub

Spring is officially here and what better way to bring in the season than to scrub away Winter?  When I think of Spring thoughts of citrus and jasmine are the first to my mind so those are the essential oils I selected. This DIY salt scrub is easily customizable using ingredients from your local grocer or health food store.

image

Springtime Salt Scrub 

  • 1/2 cup fine Dead Sea Salt
  • 1/3 cup Safflower oil
  • 5 drops Jasmine essential oil
  • 3 drops Orange essential oil

In a medium size bowl pour in sea salt.  Next stir in safflower oil, continue stirring until well incorporated. Lastly add essential oils and stir once more.  Pour mixture into airtight container and store away from sunlight.  When ready to use lightly dampen skin with water and apply scrub in a circular motion all over the body avoiding the face paying special attention to elbows, knees, hands and feet.  Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a towel.

Shea Moisture Wash Day

Shea Moisture ProductsLike most of you Sunday is my weekly wash day. I also wash my hair midweek after workouts as necessary but Sunday is the day I use to really target my hair and scalp needs.  I don’t exactly have product loyalty, I will change what products I use weekly in accordance to how my hair feels, what I am in the mood for and most importantly what is already open.  I try to use up my stash of existing products before opening new ones but sometimes my excitement gets the better of me :)

This week the objective of my wash day was to deal with my itchy scalp and to continue my March goal of deep conditioning with heat.  My scalp (and skin) gets really itchy every time the weather changes particularly during the transition of one season to another, one thing that really helps is exfoliating. Sloughing away layers of dead skin really helps to alleviate dryness and helps my skin breathe.

First things first, I separated my hair into six plaits.  Washing your hair in plaits can help reduce tangling but it is also great for providing access to the scalp when performing a scalp scrub.  I started by cleansing my scalp with Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo. This shampoo is super concentrated and works well as an effective cleanser. It also contains Silk Protein however as a protein sensitive curly the protein in this shampoo does not have any adverse effects.

Next, I scrubbed my scalp using Shea Moisture Olive & Green Tea Body Scrub.  I grabbed a few fingertips full and massaged the scub directly into my scalp in an agitating motion until the sugar crystals dissolved.  This is a sugar based scrub that is loaded up with good oils that is gentle but effective.  The reason I like to use this product as a scalp scrub is that the crystals dissolve so nothing is caught or tangled in the hair.

Lastly, I finished off with Shea Moisture Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque.  I reviewed this masque a few weeks back and this is sadly my last application as I finished off the jar.  I was able to get six applications from the 12 oz jar and I really like the softness and strength I get after DCing with this product. Again there are proteins in this product, but just the right amount for me to reap all the benefits and none of the downsides of hard, crispy, straw-like hair.  I used my Hair Therapy Wrap to add some heat to my DC, per my current hair goal.

Full Wash Day Breakdown

  1. Separate hair into six plaits. I braided mine but you can twist or use clips
  2. Rinse hair and scalp with warm water
  3. Cleanse scalp & hair with SMCS shampoo
  4. Rinse hair and scalp with warm water
  5. Exfoliate scalp with SMOGT scrub
  6. Rinse hair and scalp with warm water
  7. Cleanse scalp & hair with SMCS shampoo
  8. Rinse hair and scalp with warm water
  9. Unbraid plaits one section at a time and apply SMSRNH masque
  10. Cover and deep condition with heat for 20-30 minutes.
  11. Rinse with cool water

There are several ways to correct an itchy scalp.  Some of my favorite tips you can find here in my Ditch the Itch post. So why did I exfoliate my scalp instead of using an itch remedy? Well when I scratched my scalp I noticed the amount of gunk (dead skin cells + dirt + oils) under my nails and knew an exfoliation treatment would be more effective.

What are your favorite Shea Moisture products?

Product Review: Curl Junkie Pattern Pusha

Curl Junkie Pattern Pusha

Curl Junkie

Pattern Pusha Hair Styling Gel

$24 for 16 fl oz

Available at Curl Junkie, Curl Mart, AveYou

ing: WATER/AQUA/EAU, HYDROXYETHYLCELLULOSE, DEHYDROXANTHAN GUM, ACACIA GUM, XANTHAN GUM, HIBISCUS EXTRACT, CAMELIA SINENSIS (GREEN TEA) LEAF EXTRACT,  PANTHENOL, SORBITOL, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, DIAZOLIDINYL UREA, IODOPROPYNYL BUTYLCARBAMATE, FRAGRANCE/PARFUM, LIMONENE*, LINALOOL*, CITRONELLOL*, BENZYL SALICYLATE*,  TETRASODIUM EDTA. *FRAGRANCE COMPONENTS.

Curl Junkie released Pattern Pusha gel a few years ago and throughout that time it has gone through a couple formulations. I believe I have used to second and the third formulations both in the pump bottles (the third being the most recent).  This is a light hold styling gel that works great as a curl enhancer.  The formula is glycerin, protein and aloe free and is surprisingly effective and versatile for all curl types.  The gel consistency is pretty thick which is understandable considering it is made up of a combo of jellies and thickeners.

5 Things I Love About This Product

  1. Fabulous definer. It works really well to define my curls. I use my fav leave-in Kinky Curly Knot Today underneath most the time but tried a creamy leave-in too and it worked well. I believe the exclusion of glycerin makes the gel easy to get along with most leave-ins.
  2. Lovely scent. The product smells of a sweet floral scent, very pleasant.
  3. Light hold.  I do not like heavy hold gels they are just gross to me. I know gelcast is important for lasting curl definition but I don’t want crunchy hair.  This gel offers a light-hold for my hair and no excessive crunch.
  4. I use this gel mostly while on vacation and it holds up in high humidity and keeps down the frizz.
  5. It also contains great botanical ingredients of Slippery Elm Bark and Green Tea Leaf

Wash n Go Pattern Pusha Hair GelSo what is the downside? Well the lighthold formula is a gift and a curse.  I can *barely* get two day hair with this product.  On vacation this doesn’t mean much as I am either in a pool or the ocean daily so I am constantly washing my hair anyway.  But for regular use I would prefer a product with a lower price point if I am going to reapply daily (this gel runs about $1.50 per ounce). I would purchase this again if it was on sale, but I am looking toward buying less boutique products online and more available on the ground in stores.  Pattern Pusha is a nice gel to keep in your curl arsenal and if you are looking for an aloe free gel that provides great curl enhancement this is the gel of your dreams.

Product Review: Shea Moisture Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque

shea moisture tahitian noni moni smooth and repair nourishing hair masque

Shea Moisture

Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque

$12 / 12 oz

ing: Deionized Water, Butyrosperum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Vegetable Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Cetearyl Alocohol (Coconut Oil), Castor (Ricinus Communis) Seed Oil, Sentrimonium Chloride, Oleth-10, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B-5), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Tiare (Gardenia Tahitensis) Flower, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Behentrimonium Chloride, Argania Spinosa Kernal Oil, Glyceryl Caprylate, Marinda Citrifolia (Noni) Extract, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Pythic Acid

From their website “Shea Moisture ‘s Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque provides deep conditioning and infuses hair with a powerful dose of moisture. Shea Moisture’s hair conditioning treatment smooths the hair cuticle, controls frizz and maintains straight styles.”

Here’s a confession, I have never been a big fan of Shea Moisture deep conditioners. They work okay but I haven’t swooned by their performance.  My blogger bro Jor-El at ManeMan blog understands the way I feel.  These DC’s tend to be softening but do not offer much by the way of slip and I want my DCs to do it all. Also they are super thick that is something hi-po’s tend to love but I often wonder if it’s really penetrating.  I won a Target giftcard from TribeCalledCurl and I was lured to SRNHM while strolling the natural hair aisle.  I am not sure what made me do it after being hurt so many times before but it smelled good and I like the color green so yeah I bought it anyway.

For the month of March I set a hair goal to deep condition every week with heat to really pamper and improve the condition of my hair.  This is the method I used with the SRNHM and I really loved it. I don’t know if the SRNHM formula is just better or whether adding heat made it magic but either way its a keeper! After use my hair felt softer and smoother.  There are easily 6+ applications in this jar and the $1 per ounce price point is perfect for my budget. *adds to repeat buy list*

Product Review: Hair Therapy Wrap

Hair Therapy WrapInstead of setting hair goals for the year, most of which I break or conveniently forget before Summer is in full swing I have decided to set monthly goals.  My hair goal for the month of March is to deep condition once a week using heat to ensure the best results.  I am trying to love on this fro and take it from good to great which means going that extra mile that I may not always deem necessary.  I do not deep condition my hair every week and I do not use heat even once a month so this is definitely an over an above action for me and I hope the results pay off.  While deep conditioning is an easy enough thing to do, using heat can be annoying or just require more effort.  That is where this tool comes into play and it has been an absolute time saver.

Hair Therapy Wrap 

$28

available at HairTherapyWrap.com, Amazon, CurlMart and other retailers

The Hair Therapy Wrap is cordless thermal turban heat wrap that provides gentle heat for up to 30 minutes.   The heat encourages conditioners and other treatments to penetrate deep into the hair follicle.  The HTW is simple and easy to use and can be reused many times. The gel pacs are warmed via microwave or stovetop. To use apply conditioning treatment to hair and cover with plastic cap, heat the gel pacs according to instructions, place the HTW over plastic cap, twist the the fabric at the base to form a snug fit and secure.  Allow the HTW to condition your hair for up to 30 minutes then remove and rinse.

I was gifted my HTW from my friend LaManda, she is an awesome friend and has put me on many times love her.  The first time I used it I was out of town at Monica’s house and this is how we discovered Monica’s microwave was broken because the gel pacs would not heat up.  I used the stove top method to warm the gel pacs and have continued that way ever since because I don’t really trust microwaves to heat evenly. I have used this heat wrap at least ten times by now and every time I am pleased by how easy it is and the results I receive from my conditioning treatment.

5 Things I Love About This Product

  1. Ease of use.  All you need to do is pop the gel pacs into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes or place the full assembly in the microwave for a few seconds.
  2. Makes light work of an old problem. I have a hooded dryer and I rarely use it. I hate having to pull it out and assemble it. It is noisy and I am restricted to staying in one place.  With the Hair Therapy Wrap you just put in on and go on about your business.
  3. Its safe. In the past when I wanted a quick treatment but did not want to use my dryer I would heat a damp towel in the microwave then wrap it around my head. I have burned myself on the steam emitted from the towel, which was no bueno.
  4. Its reliable.  The HTW will provide at least 30 minutes of heat to your hair.
  5. Its durable. I believe LaManda owned this HTW for at least 2 years before gifting it to me last year. This product is at least 3 years old and works great.

More than anything else: it works!  Using this tool can take an average or okay deep conditioning treatment to amazing.  My hair feels so much better after deep conditioning with this tool. And there is no cleanup, takedown or after use instructions. Just take it off your head and put it away, easy-peasy.  There are some reviews out that complain about the wrap not fitting their head, the gelpacs not heating evenly or losing heat quickly. I have not experienced any of these issues.  There are several different iterations of this tool so perhaps those were earlier versions. It fits over my huge head and all my hair. Like I stated previously I do not heat it in the microwave and perhaps that makes a difference when heating evenly and maintaining heat.  I absolutely love the tool and the day it stops working I would buy another.