AfroVeda Product Review

This will be a short and simple three in one review.  I had previously only tried one Afroveda product, Cocolatte Moisture Mask, which I liked a lot but found it to be a little too pricey compared to like products.  However there was a great sale going on at the site Naturally so I decided to check out some additional AfroVeda products.

PUR Whipped Hair Gelly, 8 oz $13.50 ing: aloe vera gel, Ashwagandha Herb, Amla Powder, Bhringaraj Powder, Brahmi Powder, Neem Leaf Extract; Nettle, Castor Oil, Almond Oil, Mustard Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (organic), Vanilla Essential Oil.

This product is not a gel but a cream, reminds me of Curls Whipped Cream, and the product states that can be used on wet hair to define curls.  I tried it for a wash-n-go and it was a fail. My hair was soft and moisturized but the curls were not defined .  I used it as a twist cream and it worked fine however I did need to follow up with a sealant. Overall the product was just okay for me.

Curl Define, 8 oz $15.50 ing: Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Rice Milk, Water, Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Nettle Leaf, Ayurvedic Botanicals of Ashwagandha Powder, Bhringaraj Powder, Brahmi Powder, Amalaki Herb and Neem Leaf; Bay Leaf, Horsetail Leaf Extract, Palm Oil, Glyceryl Stearate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, (an edible, natural, ultra-mild self-emulsifying wax), Aloe Vera Leaf Gel, Xanthan Gum, Gluconolactone (and) Sodium Benzoate (a natural preservative), and love. Essential oil blend of Sweet Orange and Vanilla.

Again this product is not a gel either but more like a buttercream, reminds me of Donna Marie Super Buttercreme, and the product states that it can be used for braid and twist styles.  I used this product as a sealant for my twists on top of PUR Whipped Hair Gelly, I also used it alone and it worked well both ways.  I think the marketing is a little misleading because it is called Curl Define but it is not a curl definer. If you are looking for a nice whipped buttercream then this will do the trick.

Hemp Seed Lock Twist & Roll Butter, 8 oz $19.50 ing: Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Rice Milk, Purified Water, Hemp Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Mango Seed Butter, Ayurvedic Botanicals of Ashwagandha Herb, Amla Powder, Bhringaraj Powder, Brahmi Powder, Neem Leaf Extract; Nettle, Castor Oil, Almond Oil, Mustard Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (organic), Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Stearate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (an edible, natural, ultra-mild self-emulsifying wax), Sweet Almond Wax, Carnauba Wax, Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Gluconolactone (and) Sodium Benzoate (a natural preservative), Essential Oil Blend, and love.

This product is accurately named it is a thick butter.  I did not use the product on my hair because I could not stand the smell of the product.  I cannot pin point the scent but it smells like earthy essential oils similar to patchouli, myrrh and the like.  I would not recommend this product as a loc butter unless you like thick butters.  For my son this product would result in build up in the hair.  I would use one of the others products listed about instead.

So those are my thoughts on these products from AfroVeda, so far the Cocolatte is the best thing from this company.  If you have tried any AfroVeda products and you loved them give me a recommendation on what you think I should try next. 

Product Review Blair Care Curli Jelli

Blair Care Curli Jelli 

16 oz for $12.98

ing: Water, Glycerin, Aloe Vera Powder, Triethanolamine, Carbomer 940, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Sorbitol, PVP, Tetrasodium EDTA, Oleth 20, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Panthenol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Chloride, Propylene Glycol, Isosteareth-20, Keratin Amino Acids, Fragrance, Ext Violet 2

I was sent this product to review by the manufacturer.  I am always willing to lend a hand to small business owners, however when I accepted the invitation I did not bother to check out the ingredients of the product I was reviewing.  Bad me.  I was sent the Blair Care Curly Jelli which I discovered is a glycerin based gel.  I don’t like glycerin based gel. Or rather glycerin based gels perform terribly in my hair.  So after pouting, bemoaning and evading I finally picked up my lip and tried the product.

The gel was shipped with instructions on how to use and apply. I was very concerned to read that it is not recommended to use a leave-in conditioner or an oil when applying. Say what? M’am you must be new that is not how you do a wash-n-go.  But against my better judgement I listened.  I cleansed, detangled and conditioned my hair then applied the gel to wet naked hair.  It looked good. I went on about my day waiting for the moment of betrayal that has happened so many times before.  Will I end up with a shrunken matted fro? Or maybe the frizzy, puff ball? Or what about the Jheri Curl throwback? I was sure one of these looks was going to take over my head. Only it didn’t. My hair looked good all day.  I went to sleep that night refreshed my hair in the morning using plain water and it still looked good. All in all I was able to get three day hair from one application.  Crazy, I know.

5 Things I Liked About This Product

  1. No Crunch. My hair was not crunchy or crispy and was soft to the touch.
  2. Non-greasy. No oily or greasy feel like you would get from curl activator.
  3. No build-up.  My hair did not feel gunky or coated and it rinsed out clean.
  4. The Price is Right. $13 or 16 ounces? Where else are you going to get a price like that gives good results. Go ahead, I will wait.
  5. Non-drying even without using a leave-in underneath.

What can I say about this product? It is formulated very well.  I did not get amazing curl definition, but I did get good hair and it lasted 3 days.  My hair stayed soft, moisturized and is was not too gunky with product.  On top of that I did not have to add any additional products, other than water to achieve this look.  Talk about a win.

A Quick Tour of Earth Fare

Earth Fare Grocery

4320 Summit Plaza Drive Louisville, KY

Here in Louisville I live in the East End of town which means I am spoiled with my choices of health food stores.  Whether its Whole Foods Store, Trader Joes, Rainbow Blossom, Vitamin Shoppe or Fresh Market all are within a few mile radius of my home.  Along with purchasing great food, the awesome thing about these stores is their health and beauty sections which carry great hair, body and cosmetic products that I can find on the ground and try out sans shipping costs.  Earth Fare is an east coast store so I was happy and excited to snoop around to see what they carry.

JK enjoying his 1st ever macaron from Earth Fare Bakery

  • Baby & Child Care- Shampoo, Body wash, etc from Dessert Essence, Weleda and Everyday Shea
  • Natural Soap- Nubian Heritage, Beeluxe, Barlesque, Alaffia African Black Soap, Dr Bronner’s
  • Beauty products- Heritage Products Rose Water, Thayers Witch Hazel
  • Hair Products- Jane Carter Solution, Beautiful Curls, Aubrey Organics and Giovanni
  • Raw Butters & Olis- Cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, castor oil, almond oil

Earth Fare carries a lot of the usual suspects we have come to expect from natural stores but there were also a lot of new items like Sparitual nail lacquer which is not only vegan, but  DBP-, toluene-, and formaldehyde- free.  Since the stores opening in early August it is slowly creeping on Whole Foods as my happy place.  Check out these pics from our visit below

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4-Way Conditioner Challenge

A couple weeks ago while hanging with my curlfriend Monica, we decided to play in hair products.  So I cleansed my hair and then was faced with the ultimate decision: what conditioner should I use?  I narrowed the selection down to four possibilities and then thought, “Why not use all four?”  I divided my hair into four sections and applied one conditioner to each section to compare and contrast how they worked on my hair. 

The Challengers

  1. Original Moxie Intense Quench 8 oz, $18
  2. Sof N Free Nothing But Intense Healing Mask 16 oz, $10 (any drug store)
  3. III Sisters of Nature Sweet Honeyrose (aka Sweet Bounce Back) 8 oz, $13
  4. Original Moxie Everyday Leave-In 8 oz, $17

The Results

  • Smell: OMIQ soft herbal and floral, SnFNBIHM mint-lemon tea, 3SoNSH now and later candy, OMEL herbaly. Winner: Original Moxie Intense Quench
  • Consistency: OMIQ creamy, SnFNBIHM cream-lotion, 3SoNSH cream, OMEL lotion. Winner: *TIE* 3 Sisters of Nature Sweet Honeyrose & Original Moxie Intense Quench
  • Detangling: OMIQ good slip/easy to detangle, SnFNBIHM little slip/difficult to detangle, 3SoNSH good slip/easy to detangle, OMEL moderate slip/ little work to detangle. Winner: *TIE* 3 Sisters of Nature Sweet Honeyrose & Original Moxie Intense Quench
  • Softness: All products left my hair feeling soft, there was really no difference between the sections.
  • Ingredients: OMIQ all natural ingredients, SnFNBIHM lots of silicones but worked fine , 3SoNSH natural ingedients but does contain a silicone, OMEL all natural ingredients. Winner: *TIE* Original Moxie Intense Quench & Original Moxie Everyday Leave-In
  • Price: OMIQ $2.25/ounce, SnFNBIHM $0.62/ounce, 3SoNSH cream $1.62/ounce, OMEL $2.12/ounce. Winner: Sof N Free Nothing But Intense Healing Mask

The Verdict

All things being equal the Original Moxie Intense Quench was the overall favorite.  However, price of a product is weighted more in my opinion and the OMIQ is just too rich for my blood. Therefor the second place contender is more appealing to me which is 3 Sisters of Nature Sweet Honeyrose.  The Sof N Free Nothing But Intense Healing Mask if it had more natural ingredients (less or no cones), a sweeter smell, but most importantly better slip for detangling could be the winner because of the price point and the fact that it is available locally.

Check out my video review 

Product Review: Original Moxie featuring Knapsgirl

“All I need in this life I’m in, is me and my curlfriends” –African Proverb

All kidding aside I really do LOVE my curlfriends.  A few weeks ago I went on a mini-vacay to visit my curlfriend, YouTuber MonicaJoi aka Knapsgirl and of course we played in hair products.  Monica won a full-set of Original Moxie Natural Wonder products and we decided to give them a try.

Original Moxie

Natural Wonder Gift Set

Includes: Get Clean™ No-foam Shampoo (8 oz.), Intense Quench™ Deep Conditioner (8 oz.), & Everyday Leave-in™ Detangling Conditioner (8 oz.), Hair Bling™ High Shine Pomade (3 oz.), & Lux Locks™ Styling & Shine (6 oz.). 

$72 for the complete set

There are two videos that go along with this review, a before and an after, that are filled with lots of giggles and hilarity. Monica is a purest and refused to edit them so enjoy our ridiculousness.

Before Vid 

Get Clean No-Foam Shampoo: This was a strange experience for me.  This is a no-foam shampoo and it really doesn’t foam.  It feels like a moisturizer when you are applying it to your hair and it was honestly hard to tell if I had distributed it evenly or if it was even working.  After two washes I decided that it should be good enough. To my surprise it did get my hair clean and did so without stripping.  I would not recommend this if your hair is really gunked up with product, however as a daily or even weekly cleanser this worked great. It has a polite floral-nutty smell, hard to pinpoint but it was pleasant.  While the product did work, I give it a B grade, I would not purchase as I like the comfort of knowing my hair is clean and this honestly was just too subtle for me.

Everyday Leave-in Detangling ConditionerI used this both as a rinse out and a leave-in conditioner.  It did an okay job detangling my hair. There was not phenomenal slip but I was able to finger detangle without feeling like I would yank or break my hair.  Again nice subtle smell to it.  It worked much better as a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer than it did as a detangling conditioner.  Overall grade C, I would not purchase this again although it worked well as a moisturizer I prefer it to work better as a detangler.

Intense Quench Deep ConditionerEasily my favorite product in this line.  It did a great job conditioning and detangling my hair.  I will say that when I first applied it I thought I was going to hate it. The product is thin, like a leave in moisturizer, after applying it to a section of hair I allowed it to sit for about 10 minutes and that is when the magic happened.  Just goes to show a deep conditioner does not have to be thick or buttery to work well.  Overall grade A, however I would not purchase unless it was on sale because the price point of $17 for 8 oz it too rich for my blood.

Lux Locks Styling & Shine: This is a twisting cream that I used to twist my hair.  The product worked well, it was not too sticky or greasy easy to apply and left my hair moisturized.  I would not recommend as a wash-n-go styler it was not much of a curl definer.  The one draw-back is the smell. I don’t know if it is the neem, rosewood or what but the smell is strong and not my pleasing to me.  We mistook the scent for patchouli but it is not an ingredient listed in the product however it is in the same scent family.  Without the smell I would give the product a B for performance however the scent drops it down to a C.

Hair Bling High Shine PomadeI am not a real fan of pomades but I did like this one. It was not overly greasy and added a nice shine to my hair.  I did not care for using it to twist alone but it worked great when coupled with the Lux Locks Styling & Shine, so I would recommend using them together.  I can really tell the difference in softness and shine in the sections where I used this product. Overall grade for this product is a B, but like the deep conditioner it is much too pricey in my opinion and I would not purchase.

After Vid 

A quick shot of me and our camerawoman Nyra, before heading out for the night :)

I did get an AWESOME twist-out taking my hair down a few days later :)

Product Review: Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner

Oyin Handmade

Honey Hemp Conditioner

$12.00, 8.4 ounces

ing:  purified water, organic aloe vera gel, behentremonium methosulfate (emulsifier derived from colza oil), honey, virgin hemp oil, coconut oil, vegetable glycerine, hydrolized silk, citrus essences, fragrance, optiphen (preservative)

This is sort of a re-visit. I used this conditioner early in my natural hair journey. I remember liking it and I always made sure to keep a bottle on-hand. Well then life happens and it was pushed to the back of the product closet only to be re-discovered this past weekend. I was elated like I had been reconnected with an old friend I hadn’t seen since grade school and I couldn’t wait to use it again.

After cleansing my hair and scalp in the shower I applied a heaping dollop of the conditioner in my palm and smoothed it over my mane. The sweet floral scent brought back memories early in my natural hair journey when I was just trying to sort out fact from fiction and get to know my hair.  Whilst walking down memory lane I began to finger detangle my hair which was immediately halted with snap back to reality. Either a) my hair is a lot nappier then it used to be, b) this product does not have the slip that I remember, or  c) I used to be a lot rougher on my hair than I am now. Well the answer is d, all of the above *shock g voice*.  I had to grab the last of my tropical traditions coconut hair oil to provide some slippage to maneuver through a week’s worth of tangles.

5 Things I Liked About This Product

  1. All natural ingredients
  2. Oyin has great customer service and can be found at most natural hair retailers
  3. Its smells lovely (all their products do really)
  4. It conditioned my hair well and it was soft
  5. While it does contain protein, it is not enough protein to bother my protein sensitive hair.

What I sat down and realized is that this product was one of the first natural hair products I used so compared to the garbage that was out there this conditioner was heaven sent.  But that was 4 years ago. Since then I have found other products that I think are better suited to the needs of my hair.  This is not a bad product, not at all, its just that I have found things that give me the right balance of moisture, slip, softness that I require in a conditioner.  If I have to give this conditioner a grade I would give it a ‘B’.  However, I have plenty of ‘A’ conditioners in my arsenal so the B’s get bumped :)

I do like Oyin products (Juices and Berries, Greg Juice, Burnt Sugar Pomade and Funk Butter) and would recommend them to naturals looking for good products with quality ingredients.  But I am sad to report that the HoneyHemp Conditioner is no longer on my holy grail list. It will be missed.

Ending Hair Care Segregation

Black Hair. White Hair. Biracial Hair.  These terms seriously irk me. They are not real and they don’t exist.  These terms focus on common stereotypes and lead the consumer to believe that they can only use products geared toward their skin color.  The devil is a lie.  

Hair is hair people.  Now there are difference in texture, type, porosity, density and elasticity but that cannot simply be drawn among color lines.  Black hair is said to be dry, tightly coiled, very dense and coarse in texture.  However these properties are not exclusive to Black hair, nor does every Black person have these properties.  White hair is said to be oily, straight, limp and fine.  Likewise,  these properties are not exclusive to White hair, nor does every White person have these properties.

Take a stroll in the beauty department in your local store.  They have a section of beauty care products and a separate section for Blacks, leading to believe that the main section is for Whites.  Moreover what if you are Asian, Latino, or Indian; you are just simply excluded.  How stupid is this?  Many in the industry agree with my observation including Miss Jessie’s founders Miko and Titi Branch who lobbied for Target to remove their products from the “Ethnic” hair section and place them with other salon products (see video here). 

The fact is I know many naturals who have found that “White products” like Aubrey Organics, Garnier Fructis and Herbal Essence have worked great on their strands.  Likewise many of my White friends have benefited from grabbing a deep conditioning treatment or a frizz fighter from the Ethnic section.  I also know that chemical lye relaxers are not used exclusively by Blacks, but are also tools of mass relaxation used by Italians, Jews, basically any person looking for a permanent reversal of their curly hair.

So what can you do? First stop using these terms yourself.  They are divisive and not helpful.  Secondly, stop limiting yourself to only use products that are marketed toward you based on broad description.  Instead look for products that are formulated with ingredients that meet your specific hair needs.  Lastly, complain to your local store about the hair product segregation and tell them to correct it.  Advise them that they should separate products based on type: natural/organic, professional grade, boutique brands, budget, etc.

Addendum: This is bigger than just hair products.  Read this article by Pepper Miller concerning segregation in other sections of the beauty department including make-up.  As she states, “Can a sista get an expresso lip pencil?’

World Natural Hair Show 2011 Spring Recap

Monica, Me & L BBFs

This past weekend me and 53 of my closest friends visited the World Natural Hair Show.  It truly was a magnificent time as this was the first “natural” hair show I have ever been to.  I was able to meet some of my blogger friends in real life (s/o to Natural Review and Knapsgirl), talk with my favorite vendors(Jessicurl, Koils by Nature, Pura Body Naturals, Jane Carter Solution), sample products I was interested in (Uncle Funky’s Daughter) and best of all fellowship with fellow naturals (including Taren916 NaturalChica and LethalPleazure).

Some people did not have as awesome time as I did so I decided to share my tips for making the most of your next show!

1.  Buy your tickets beforehand.  A lot of naturals complained about having to wait in line for 2 hours just to buy a ticket. You should always pre-pay your ticket and have them mailed to you or pick them up in will-call.

Rashida was exhausted from waiting in line

2.  Carry cash.  There were problems with the credit card machines, long lines at the ATMs and vendors who only accepted cash. Avoid the hassle of waiting in line, searching for ATMs and paying convenience fees by taking your cash with you.

3.  Make a budget.  At the end of the trip many had buyers remorse from over-spending on what they thought was a great deal, then later realizing they had spent to much and would have to deal with the repercussions.  Make yourself a budget include in it money for products, food, travel, tips, etc and carry cash. When the money is gone stop spending.

4.  Contact your favorite vendors.  Before traveling to the show email your favorite vendors and ask them if they will be at the show.  Find out their booth number and ask what specials or deals they will have.  This way you are sure to catch the best prices on your favorite things.  Also by letting them know you are coming by they may offer you an extra thank you gift.

Me and Pamela of Koils By Nature

5.  Bring a large empty bag to haul your goodies.  Jimmy of Natural Alternatives Salon was kind enough to sponsor our group with large canvas bags that were very roomy and sturdy. I was able to carry a whole days swag, along with food, change of shoes and my purse.  Out bags were so nice that many people asked where we purchased them.  My friend Monica said she would love to have one so I gave her mine.

Shataun sporting her bag.

6.  Do carry snacks and beverages.  Before leaving on the trip stop by your local grocery and load up on good, travel friendly snacks like granola bars, trail mix, jerky and bottles of water.  You will need to keep your energy up and there is not always easy access to food or beverages.

7. Wear comfy shoes.  Or bring a pair of flats with you.  Everyone wants to be cute and look their best, but you will be walking A LOT so make sure you take care of your feet.

8.  Seek out new vendors.  New product companies spring up everyday and there is no way to get to know all of them.  Most of the lesser known companies will not have long lines and are readily accessible.  Ask them about their product, how it should be used or if they are willing to do a live demo on your hair.  This is a great way to know about the product and the correct application.

Psyche trying out a new product

9.  Ask for samples.  Some companies have no problem handing out free product at will, while the others will do it upon request or with a purchase.  So take the time and ask them for a product sample or ask if you can get a free sample with purchase.

10. Wear your hair wild and free.  While most of us want to be looking are most put together the truth is those with big braid/twist-outs or just rocking their large fros caught the most attention.  Also vendors are there for you to try their products/equipment.  Make it easy on yourself and just your hair out.  There are always stylist their looking to do live demos and you just may get a free style out of it.

LaManda got her hair styled by UFD
If you missed the show you can check out my pix here showing our 2 days of fun.   The next show will be later this year October 29th and 30th 2011 in Atlanta at the Georgia International Convention Center