Things My Aesthetician Taught Me

Once you get involved in the health of one area of your body [hair] it tends to lead into others.  The next logical area is skin care.  Now as much as I know about hair I have to admit that I am not as knowledgeable when it comes to skin.  Lucky for me (and you out there in the blogosphere) I have a good friend, Tracie Wilkes, an Aesthetician who broke things down one night over dinner.  A lot of these tips seemed like commonsense after she brought it up, but quite honestly these are things I did not know.

What I would do for skin like this!

Facial Care: We started with tips on caring for your face because that is the first thing people see and the most often complained about.

  • Did you know that you should brush your teeth before you wash your face? Bacteria in your mouth that you are trying to rid through the act of brushing and flossing will inevitably land on your face.  Also toothpaste contains agents that are drying (you know that crust you see in the corner of people’s mouth that they missed) and this is bad for the skin.  So make sure you brush your teeth first then wash your face.
  • If you’re not using facial toner as part of your skin care regimen, you are losing.  Toners are made for all skin types and are used to condition, balance and hydrate the skin.  You can also use natural toners like tea blends or witch hazel.
  • Steps to include in your facial care: cleanse, tone then moisturize. Yes there are moisturizers for those with oily and combination skin so find one that deals with your skin type.
Body Care: We often go through great lengths to care for our faces but do not put much thought into the rest of our skin.  The skin is our bodies largest organ and it serves as a protective cover to regulate temperature, waterproof, guard against bacteria and harmful substances and acts as a sensory organ.  So we know to wash and moisturize our skin but what else should we do?
  • While washing is important another step that is often overlooked is exfoliation.  The exterior cells of your skin are constantly dying and flaking off and need to be removed which is achieved through exfoliation.  Exfoliating is all about friction, but it is better not to use harsh materials like apricot scrub unless you are working on elbows, knees or feet.  Each area should be exfoliated for 5-7 minutes using gentle exfoliation, the key is to put in work on the area over time, not to be too rough. Here is a recipe for a DIY scrub.
  • Shaving should also involve a regimen.  If you are like me when it comes to shaving you grab something slippery and a clean razor and handle business, but there is much more than that especially for those of us with curly hair and suffer from ingrown hairs.  Before shaving prep the area by gently exfoliating and then use a medium hot towel to soften skin and open the pores.  After shaving use toner on the shaved area to help soothe and tighten the skin.  In the days following, repeat exfoliation helps to keep those curly hairs from growing back down into the skin and causing ingrown hairs.
  • Use sunblock.  Yes I know we’ve all heard the old adage “Black don’t crack” and that is because the high amounts of melanin in our skin does serve as protectant from the suns rays.  However dark-skinned people are still susceptible to skin damage from the sun’s rays the worst of which is cancer.  At a minimum use a sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15.

The last and most important tip about your skin is to learn the difference between skin that’s dry and skin that’s dehydrated.  Skin that is dry is lacking fat (lipids) or oil and will flake or itch.  This problem can be solved by applying a oil, lotion, cream or balm to the skin and massaging into the area.  Skin that is dehydrated is lacking water.  Your skin can be dry or oily and still be dehydrated.  How can you tell if your skin is dehydrated? If you pinch your skin and it does not immediately bounce back your skin is dehydrated.  The best ways to hydrate your skin is to drink water.  Along with that apply oil/butters directly to wet skin to help seal in the moisture (just like your hair) or use a water-based emulsion to add both water and seal.

These are just a few tips Tracie taught me, if you have any additional questions feel free to leave a comment below and I will try to get answers for you.  Also feel free to like Tracie’s FB page and if you are local you can get an appointment for her renown facials, waxes or massages.


Whip My Hair, Whip it Good

Right so I just told ya’ll that I’m not a product junky, but I am addicted to a good sale and the email I received from Donna Marie has me ready to whip out my credit card! Rumors have been speculating about the release of the Donna Marie Hair Whip some predicting it would not debut until Black Friday, however it is officially here! From Donna Marie ~ This lightweight, instantly moisturizing, hydrating leave-in conditioning and styling balm for parched hair, controls defines and softens.  Our unique blend of Brazilian Cupuacu Butter, Hemp Seed oil and Virgin Coconut Cream provides intense shine and conditioning without buildup or greasy hair. Great for all hair types and Glycerin-free so it works  in all climates.  Use as a stand-alone styler or a leave-in conditioning base prior to using  other styling products.

Say what? Did you not just do the happy hair dance at that description! *insert cabbage patch-wop hybrid throwback dance move here*

ing: Aqua, sweet almond oil, hempseed oil, cupuacu Butter, coconut oil, propanediol, behentrimonium methosulfate and cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, sorbitol, hydroxyethylcellulose, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, sorbic acid, fragrance

Uh huh, yeah so I will be ordering this.  Not for myself, but for all of you because I know you are just dying to know if it lives up to the hype and I can’t just leave ya’ll hanging.  Are you having trouble finding a good moisturizer for your natural hair? Well a wise man once said, “when a problem comes along you must whip it!”

SALE ALERT 15% off Donna Marie Hair Whip until 11/17/11 with code HAIRWHIP

Check out this awesome mash-up of Devo’s Whip It and Willow Smith’s Whip My Hair, a little old school and a little new school :) 

Product Review: Afroveda Cocolatte Moisture Mask


Cocolatte Moisture Mask

$17.50 for 8 oz

A thick moisturizing cream that is pleasantly scented just like a delicious chocolate latte as it is adequately named.  Afroveda products as the name suggests are made with Ayurvedic extracts like amla, brahmi and neem to support traditional, balanced approach to hair care.

ing: Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Rice Milk, Purified Water, Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Almond Oil,Sunflower Seed Oil, Ayurvedic Botanicals of Ashwagandha Herb, Amla Powder, Bhringaraj Powder, Brahmi Powder, Neem Leaf Extract, Nettle, Castor Oil, Mustard Seed Oil, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Neem Oil, Mustard Oil, Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Stearate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Phenoxyethanol and Caprylyl Glycol, and love.

Ok so I have a confession.  I have discriminated against this product line.  Last year the natural community was up in arms when Mala, owner of Afroveda, announced a massive price hike doubling/tripling the price of her products–dubbed Afrovedagate.  I had not tried Afroveda but I was turned off by the sob story of a poor woman trying to make ends meet by mixing products in her kitchen with little or no help and raising infrastructure costs.  As a consumer I was annoyed, so I vowed not to support them on GP.  *arms crossed and foot stomped*  Fast forward to today and me visiting my local natural hair store shopping for gifts for a friend.  Afroveda products were on sale and I was caught by the Cocolatte Moisture Mask.  It smelled so good and felt great between my fingers, I was buying it on sale so I reasoned I wasn’t really supporting the company.

I was sure my friend would love the product for retaining moisture, but how could I advise her on its use if I never used it myself?  Yep that’s what kind of friend I am, the kind who uses your gift first to make sure its okay –poison test :)  I spritzed my hair with a light leave-in conditioner them scooped up about a nickel-sized amount to apply over my twists.  ZOMIGOODNESS!  Yeah, this stuff is freaking amazing.  Quite possibly my favorite moisture-sealant ever, I will have to do a head to head competition, but I think this is it.

5 Things I Love About This Product

  1. It smells so darn delicious.  It reminds me of a fancy coffee house, so yummy!
  2. I have heard a lot of complaints about the consistenscy and separation with this product line but the texture was a perfectly thick whipped cream.
  3. A little really goes a long way.  This 8 oz jar would last me months even with daily use.
  4. It left my hair very soft and with a long lasting moisture-seal.
  5. The flip top container is the perfect method for holding, distributing the product.

Okay now all that I said previously is true, however it is not all skittles and sunshine.  One issue is that the ingredients listed from the jar (see above) are not the same as those listed on the website.  There are some ingredients listed on the jar that are not on the website and vice versa.  Also there are ingredients that are listed in different order.  That is a big red flag for me.  Secondly, the shelf life statement “This product is preserved with a paraben-free, wide-spectrum cosmetic preservative. Please use within 6-9 months, refrigerate or freeze for longer-term storage” is listed on the website, but not on the actual product. Stike two.  The size of the jar is not even identified on the product.  I was able to deduce the size based on the cost, but this should be listed on the product.  That seems like a rookie oversight for someone who has been making products for a while.

Final conclusion: I probably would not purchase this product again.  Though it worked freaking amazingly on my hair there just seems to be a level of shadiness that leaves me skeptical.  While I think the current price is fair, I would hate to get attached to a product only to have them go thru a major price hike again.  So while this is a great product my intuition leads me to not consider purchasing again in the future. However if I could find the product locally on sale I might be swayed to pick it up again.  For now I am going to wrap up the product and give it to my friend as if I never used it. *shh it’s our secret*

Recap: DCN Presents Curls & Cocktails Part 3 ~ Moisture

August’s Curls & Cocktails topic was moisture, a thing that many naturals seems to battle.  The goal of this session was to address issues of moisture for both loose-hair and loc’d naturals by delving into what practices, products and techniques can be used to address the issue of moisture.

So let’s start with the basics; moisture comes from water or water-based things.  Your hair and scalp (like the rest of your body) needs water.  First step in keeping your hair moisturized is by drinking plain water; not sports drinks, juice, diet soda or tea, but plain water.  If your body does not have the proper amount of water or any nutrient your hair, skin and nails will be the first to show it.  To determine the amount of water you should be drinking check out this hydration calculator.

Second, step is to apply water to your hair daily.  Whether your drench your hair under the faucet, spritz it lightly with a spray bottle or let it steam a little in the shower you should give your hair some sort of water everyday.

But spritzing your hair with water just isn’t enough as that water will evaporate.  That is where water-based moisturizers come in.  These moisturizers help soften the hair and give your curls a little love, but must also be sealed in by butters or oils to retain the love you just put in.  Check the video below for more info on products for moisture or read my post about moisture here.  

Lastly there are techniques you can do to help give your hair a moisture boost like steaming.  Steaming your hair works by using heat to help open the cuticle layer and allowing moisture to penetrate deeper into the hair strand.  You can go to the salon and have your hair professionally steamed by machines like the MicroMist which uses smaller mist particles to penetrate deeply or purchase an at home steamer like the Huetiful Hair Steamer.  For those budget conscience curlies don’t fret you don’t have to spend a lot of money to steam your hair.  Dampen a towel with a little water and pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds then wrap around your hair, voila!

I want to thank the Natural Alternatives Salon of Louisville, KY for their continued sponsorship of the Curls & Cocktails series along with Rhythm liquor for providing such lovely cocktails and Go Natural Hair & Body Boutique for providing a giveaway. 

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Product Review: Shea Moisture Thickening Growth Milk


Yucca & Aloe Thickening Growth Milk w/ Biotin & Bamboo Extract

8 fl oz for $9.99

Available locally at Target & Walgreens stores

Yep I am reviewing another SheaMoisture product. This product was sent to me to review by SheaMoisture rep due my less then favorable previous experiences with their products.  I have tried the Curl & Style Conditioning Milk and the Curl Enhancing Smoothie from their Coconut & Hibiscus Line both of which I found to be too heavy for my hair. This product is marketed toward those with fine or thin hair and claims to thicken, volumize and soften.

ing: Deionized Water , Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) , Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut) , Mangifera Indica Seed Butter (Mango) , Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil (Jojoba) , Olea Europaea Oil (Olive) , Vegetable Glycerin , Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado) , Triticum Vulgare Oil (Wheatgerm) , Grapeseed Oil , Sorbitol Esters , Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract , Cetyl Esters , Yucca Filamentosa Extract , Vegetable Protein , Adansonia Digitata Extract (Baobab) , Biotin , Panthenol (Vitamin B-5) , Rosemary Extract , Bamboo Extract , Lonicera Caprifolium Flower (Honeysuckle) and Lonicera Japonica Flower Extract (Japanese Honeysuckle) , Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

I applied this product to clean, wet hair fresh out of the shower.  The scent is light sort of sweet and little floraly similar to Yes to Carrots conditioner, reminds me of baby products.   The feel is light and silky, definitely lighter than the Curl & Style Conditioning Milk.  While it is packed full of oils and shea butter is is not oily feeling at all.  I applied a palm-full to my wet curls and smoothed and scrunched a little.  No increased curl definition but my hair felt soft and moisturized and was not all all weighed down or coated.

5 Things I Liked About This Product

  • Lightweight moisturizer comparable to my other favs
  • The smell is light and not overpowering
  • The first strengthener I’ve used that wasn’t protein heavy and did not leave my hair hard or stringy
  • Product is available on the ground and is fairly priced.
  • Great natural ingredients, no junk.

Final Thoughts: SheaMoisture has finally won me over!  Now this is a product that makes me happy.  While it does contain protein, it is further down on the list (15th ingredient) and it did not bother my protein-sensitive hair.  I used the product alone as a wash-n-go moisturizer and my hair looked okay, no curl definition but I did not expect that from a moisturizer.  I then used it on my twists and got great results.  My medium porosity hair did not care for the Coconut & Hibiscus line because it was to shea/oil heavy and my hair simply did not absorb the product however this line is lighter (perhaps there is just more water) and was perfect for me.  As for the claims to thicken and volumize I did not see any effects to support this claim but I have med-coarse, thick hair so it would be difficult to tale if it did.  This is a product I would purchase in the future.  

Agave Nectar & Coconut Oil Pre-Poo

agave plantMy favorite pre-poo treatment for my natural hair is a humectant/oil blend which is great for adding moisture and softness to the hair.  Humectants are water loving substances that attract water to the hair while oils aid to soften the strand and seal in moisture.  Honey, molasses and glycerin are all easy to find humectants while agave nectar is the new kid on the block.  I like to use agave nectar is it pours easy and is not as sticky. You can substitute agave for honey in a 1:1 ratio.

Agave-Coconut Pre-Poo Treatment

3 oz cheapy conditioner, I like Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut

2 oz coconut oil

2 oz agave nectar

Pour all ingredients into a color applicator bottle (found at your local beauty supply store), place your finger of the nozzle and shake well to mix.  Apply to the full length of  dry hair.  Cover hair with plastic cap and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes.  Add heat from hooded dryer or hot towel for added conditioning.  Rinse hair with warm water then cleanse and condition as normal.

This recipe is easily customizable.  You can change out agave nectar for your favorite humectant  or change the coconut oil for your favorite oil.  If you need added protein you can use a protein rich conditioner as the base.

After using this treatment my hair feels amazing; my curls are given new life, my hair soft to the touch and it also easy to detangle.  This will be a forever staple hair treatment for me.

Product Review: Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner

Darcy’s Botanicals

Pumpkin Seed  Curl Moisturizing Conditioner

8 oz, $12

Available at Darcy’s Botanicals or locally at Go Natural Hair & Body Boutique
I’m a huge fan of Darcy’s Botanicals!  I fell in love with these products last year when I picked up a few products through great Black Friday deals.  This conditioner is an AMAZING moisturizer that I would recommend to all: natural, transitioning, loc’d or relaxed it is simply the business!

ing: Distilled Water, BTMS (a mild conditioning emulsifier), Pumpkin Seed Oil, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Japanese Camellia Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Botanical Oil Complex, Hydrolyzed Oat Protein, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol and Fragrance

This is meant to be a rinse out conditioner but it is one of those products that once it’s in your hair you don’t want to let it go so I use it as a leave-in.  I have used it on a wash-n-go on wet hair on its own for soft touchable hair or under a gel.  It works great on twists and braids on wet or dry hair.  I have also used it to moisturize my hair after a blow-out for daily hydration.

5 Things I Love About This Product:

  1. It has great ingredients and unlike other products does not claim to be natural (or organic) by throwing a drop of oil in as the last ingredient, it is really full of good stuff.
  2. It is affordable and priced just right.  I use a $10 rule for most products meaning $10 worth of product should be enough to last me a month and this product fits the bill.
  3. It smells amazing-that is if you like pumpkin- and I do, do, d-o *in my Kel voice* yummy!
  4. It is a light moisturizer that is perfect for varying porosity and texture.
  5. It pairs great with other products whether it is under a gel, coupled with a butter, or a shine spray.

    Natural Hair Blown-Out, Then Braided-Up Using Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner

Epilogue: I forgot a few more awesome things

  1. This product is thick and is not wet or runny at all which is why I can use it on dry styles or blow-outs without reversion.  It has an awesome punch applicator which allows you to squeeze out the right amount.  If you squeeze some on your finger, then turn your finger up-side-down it will not move, however it goes on light and absorbs well into the hair.
  2. A special note just for protein-sensitive (PS) curlies. This product is fabulous and does not make my hair revolt in anger.  It does have coconut oil so if your hair hates coconut oil perhaps you should try a sample before purchasing. I don’t have a problem with coconut oil so I cannot say how it will effect you.  It also has hydrolyzed oat protein, 4th from the last ingredient, but my hair works in harmony with it. So if you are PS I would recommend you chill with the side-eye at the protein ingredients and give it a try.

DCN Favorite Things Giveaway #2 Oyin Handmade *CLOSED*

DCN recently observed our 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY and I thought what better way to celebrate then to share with you my favorite natural hair products!

Our 2nd Giveaway is sponsored by Oyin Handmade, you can read my reviews of their products here, there and also here.  I love this company for their cute packaging, great products containing awesome natural ingredients and the little candies they ship with every order.  And while I am a DIYer and make my own hair spritz I still continue to purchase their spritzes because they are AWESOME!

The folks at Oyin were kind enough to sponsor this giveaway which includes a large basket filled with goodies valued at $73 :) The basket contains:

16 oz. Honey Hemp Conditioner
8 oz. Juices N’ Berries
8 oz. Honeywash
4 oz. Shine & Define
4 oz. Burnt Sugar Pomade
4 oz. Whipped Pudding
OMG, yes this is the mother of all giveaways and I am giving it to you free!

To enter the giveaway you must:

1. Subscribe to my blog > enter your email address in the “Subscribe Me” box located in the footer menu below.  Leave your username in the comment so I can verify that you have subscribed example: ***Unconfirmed entries will NOT count***

**Bonus Entry**

You can also earn bonus entries through fb and twitter:

#1 Tweet this giveaway then leave a comment stating “I tweeted the bonus entry” with your twitter handle. Example tweet: I just entered DCN @oyinhandmade giveaway @HereIsMySpout

#2 Like Oyin Handmade and Derby City Naturals on FB then post the following message on YOUR Wall: I wanna win the Oyin Giftbasket from Derby City Naturals Favorite Things Giveaway. Then leave a comment stating I posted the message on FB with your fb user name. *Rule change 8/10/11: Please post message on YOUR FB wall as Oyin’s page was being overwhelmed by entries, all previous entries have already been counted and do NOT need to repost*

The contest is open from Tuesday 8/9/2011 through Monday 8/22/2011.  Winner will be selected via random number generator.  Winner will be notified via email address used to subscribe to the blog and will be announced via blog, fb and twitter. Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize.

For more free stuff, check out our Pura Body Naturals Giveaway running through Wednesday 8/10/2011. Good luck :)