Tag Archives: hair care

How to Have Softer, Shinier Hair without Salon Products

by Guest contributor Sally Wong

Is there anything more appealing than a thick, full head of silky smooth, shiny hair? Whatever way you choose to style your hair, whether you wear it pulled back or let your curly locks free, it always looks better when it’s frizz-free and shiny! Everyone knows that, but did you know why your hair can look dull and frizzy?

When you know the cause of the problem, it’s much easier to both treat and prevent. When your hair is healthy, it has an outer layer that contains natural oils that make it shiny and silky. When damage is done to that layer, it leaves your hair looking dry, dull, and unhealthy.

Several things can cause damage. Illness, not using an adequate conditioner, using harsh hair products, staying in the sun for way too long, nutritional deficiencies, high amounts of stress, frequent hair dying, high mineral content in your water, age, chlorine in pools, age, and using heating tools such as blow dryers, to name a few. Coily or kinky hair naturally appears duller due to light’s reaction to naturally raised hair cuticles but that can be remedied with the tips below.

Keeping your hair looking and feeling soft, shiny, and healthy takes a bit of effort – but it’s all well worth it! The only way to get great hair is to take care of it properly.

But salon products can actually be harmful to your hair if you use them for too long.

That’s why I have compiled a list of ways to get softer, shinier hair without salon products.

1 – Essential Oils

People have used essential oils for everything from medicinal rubs to beauty tricks. They’re still a very popular go-to for things like clear skin and hair health. There are a multitude of oils out there, but I will list out a few that are absolutely amazing for softness and shine!

  • Almond oil is a great moisturize for the scalp and hair.

  • Chamomile oil will give you unbeatable softness and shine.

  • Jojoba oil will replenish your hair and its glory by both stimulating your scalp and adding nutrients.

  • Lavender oil acts as a deep conditioner, making it ultra shiny.

2 – Unrefined, Organic Coconut Oil

Though oiling your hair may seem strange, it is crucial in providing nourishment to your hair. This will add moisture to dry, damaged hair.

Warm the coconut oil, then apply it to your hair, from root to tips. Massage your head and hair to ensure that it has an even application, then put on a towel or shower cap. After 30 minutes, rinse it out of your hair, then shampoo and condition as you normally would.

3 – Apple Cider Vinegar

Shockingly, this is a fantastic hair conditioner. Despite its brackish taste, it’s an excellent moisturizer and will make your hair shiny and soft. It also serves to combat dandruff and itchy scalp, as well as remove residue from your hair.

Use equal parts water and apple cider vinegar until you get the amount you need. Shampoo your hair, then pour the cider mixture onto your hair and work it into your scalp. Let it sit for a while, then rinse it out of your hair with cold water.

4 – Honey

Honey is magic to your hair. It’s a natural humectant, which pulls moisture into your hair and locks it in. This ensures that your hair gets and stays shiny and soft.

Use this awesome concoction once weekly for amazing results! To make it, all you have to do is mix two cups of warm water with two tablespoons of honey. Put it in a spray bottle and spray your hair down after shampooing. Slowly and thoroughly work the mixture over your hair and into your scalp for 15 minutes. Be sure to rinse it out with warm water.

5 – Avocado

Whether your hair is almost perfect or in dire need of some TLC, avocados are a great go-to for beautiful, luxurious hair. It is especially good for treating damaged, dry hair. It’s full of nutrients and deeply moisturizing.

Simply mix two tablespoons worth of extra virgin olive oil with a large, ripe avocado, then apply it to your damp hair. Work it from roots to tips, then put on your shower cap. Rinse and shampoo your hair after about 30 minutes!

Bonus Tips:

  • Avoid brushing wet hair (but combing wet hair while conditioning works well for curly/natural hair types).
  • Try to let your hair dry naturally.
  • Cut off split ends as they come up.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Drink a gallon of water a day.

 

About the author: Sally is a manual therapist who practices both Tai Chi and Yoga and believes strongly in the power of essential oils. She tries to visit China at least twice a year to see her grandmother, who teaches her something new about natural healing every visit. Follow her at ThinkOily.com.

My Updated Hair Care Regimen – Fall 2016

Greetings all!

Since we’re (theoretically) entering a new season  I wanted to take a moment to share with you my latest hair care regimen, fall edition! In the following handy little infographic you will see my current hair care regimen if you’re looking for some insight into my process and the current products that I’m using.  While the process doesn’t change much, there is some variety of products depending on the season. Once winter hits, I’m sure I’ll be updating it.  For now, enjoy the fall regimen below!

It should also be noted that I previously deep conditioned my hair weekly with  Pantene Pro-V Medium-Thick Hair Solutions Intensive Restoration Treatment. I have not been doing this lately so that’s why it’s not including my current regimen. As the weather gets cooler and dryer, I’m sure I’ll be deep conditioning again to take extra special care of my hair.

Click the photo below to enlarge!

hair-care-regimen-fall-2016

Product Review: Victory Shampoo

When I have a really good hair day and the fro is looking moisturized and perfectly coiffed “VICTORY!” is one word that comes to mind. It’s only appropriate that I share with you my thoughts on some of the products from Victory hair care.  Continue reading for my review!

I have long had a love/hate relationship with shampoo. I LOVE the feeling of clean hair and a clean scalp but hate how many shampoos leave my hair feeling stripped of all its luster and moisture. Everyone knows that a straw like fro is not a happy fro. I’m always skittish when it comes to trying out a new shampoo for that reason.  Today, I’m going to be sharing my thoughts and reactions on Victory’s line up of shampoo products.

Generally speaking, I find that 2 in 1 shampoo products work relatively well. I generally use them more like a traditional shampoo. Fortunately for all of us, companies have become more knowledgable about how harmful shampoo can be to your hair (for the reasoning mentioned above) and have made adjustments in their formulations to minimize bad effects.

2 in 1 products can have a great benefit of cleaning and nurturing your hair and scalp. That being said, I would not use this kind of product as the end all be all in my hair care routine.  2 in 1 products are great as a shampoo substitute but not for both a shampoo AND conditioner regimen.  At least not on my hair. I learned that the hard way.

Now on to Victory…the folks at Victory sent me some product to try. I was able to try the following:

  • Hydrate & Recover
  • 2-in-1 Triple Threat
  • 2-in-1 Superior Clean
  • 2-in-1 Legendary for Men

The first product I used was the mango-scented 2 in 1 (Triple Threat) which I really enjoyed. It has a nice scent that isn’t overpowering. That being said, it should be noted that Victory products come packed  with phytherioone zinc to help with scalp care and prevent dryness and dandruff so there is a slight-chemical smell.

I tried a few different varieties of the product and I personally didn’t find them different enough to differentiate effectively, with the exception of Hydrate & Recover which isn’t a 2-in-1 at all and only a shampoo.

Overall, I experienced mixed results. There were some days when my hair loved the shampoo and other days when it felt dry and brittle after shampooing. It should be noted that this is also impacted by the heat here in NYC and my time outside which varies from day to day.  With sweating and varied water intake, these are factors to consider in the variability of my results.

Overall, though, I think that there will certainly be folks out there who can appreciate Victory’s offerings. As I don’t frequently suffer with dandruff, I can’t speak to how effective these products are at preventing or minimizing it. For those with thinner hair types and textures, I imagine that it could work really well as a 2-in-1, but for those with thick, dense hair like mine, Victory is best used as you would a normal shampoo…as a precursor to a traditional conditioner. You will still reap the benefits of 2-in-1 factor but it’s important to manage your expectations, particularly if you have very dense, coily hair like mine.

Victory products are available at WalMart stores. You can learn more about Victory hair care at startwithvictory.com.
Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Victory for the purpose of this review. 

Product Review: Oyin Handmade

Oyin handmade has been on my radar for a long time now. The natural hair care and body brand offers a variety of natural products for hair and body care. I  finally took the plunge and purchased some of their products so today I’m sharing with you my thoughts.

Let me start by saying that I am in product junkie recovery. I’ve done a lot better over the past several months, mostly because I’ve decided not to spend all of my discretionary income on grooming products. So, it’s gotten better. With that in mind, I’ve been a lot more careful about my spending habits. When I decided to try out Oyin products I made the conscious effort to try out their mini samples. I’ve had each of them for several weeks now so I feel like I’m fully informed about how these products have worked for me…and how they may or may not work for you.

Honey Wash: I was pleasantly surprised this shampoo worked as well as it did. I’ve used other honey based shampoos before (OK, maybe just one that I can recall) and this one was pretty good. I got a surprisingly helpful amount of slip which is great for thick, dense hair like mine (4b-cish, if you subscribe that sort of thing). My only real criticism is that it’s a little thinner than I would like but perhaps that works in my hair’s favor more than I know.

Honey Hemp Conditioner: While I’m usually harsher on shampoo products (because they can be SO drying), I’m actually feeling very critical of the Honey Hemp Conditioner. It worked OK, smelled good but it just didn’t live up to my high expectations. It’s not something that I would personally consider repurchasing.

Frank Juice: Frank Juice is a hair spritz designed to give thirsty hair a little bit of extra life. I’ve used this several different ways. I’ve used it as a second day refresher. In this way, it works fine, but it’s nothing to write home about in my opinion. I’ve never had great results with this kind of product to be honest. I’ve used it as a late day refresher for thirsty hair and recently took it to the beach to help my hair get a little extra protection and r&r. The sun can really dry out your hair and scalp when you’re baking with no cloud cover! All that being said, it’s not a wonder product but it’s cool for what it is, I suppose. This one’s not high on my repurchase list but I’m curious about the other scents available.

Shine & Define: I’m always looking for that one magical product that will give me just enough definition and control so that my fro doesn’t look like it’s all over the place. Unfortunately shine & define does not get me there. It moisturized my hair just fine but had a tacky quality on my hair which makes me think that it’s not easily absorbed. I definitely won’t be re-purchasing this one.

Boing!:  I’ve heard A LOT about boing! So much that I really researched whether this would be a good product for me or not. I have to say that is, by far, my favorite Oyin product. This formula worked really well for me as an all in one conditioner and styler. I just raked it through wet hair at the end of my shower and I always ended up with touchable, yet softly defined coils. I love it. The smell ain’t too shabby either. I WILL absolutely be buying this product again…and the full-sized tub at that.

Burnt Sugar Pomade: I’m not a huge fan of pomades as sometimes they can be quite greasy and just using them can help my face break out with a little extra acne  and I don’t have time for that.  I will say this about burnt sugar pomade though, it works really well. I think that the formula, while a little oily/greasy, is great for my hair. It helps provide structure and control and I think that many people could use this with good results. Whether you put in twists, have waves or just need to tame your fro’s ends, this is a pretty safe bet. I like the scent but it is potent. It smells very sugary, without a doubt, but the burnt sugar smell reminds me of fancy desserts and I can’t find much fault in that. The name really fits on this one.

All in all, I would say that my first run with Oyin Handmade was a mixed bag. While Shine & Define and the Honey Hemp Conditioner left a lot to be desired, Boing! and Burnt Sugar Pomade are stand outs. As far as Frank Juice goes, I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it but I think I kind of like it.

Until next time!

A First Impression of American Crew’s Liquid Wax

american crew liquid wax review

American Crew is a well-known hair care brand that tends to be highly popular given it’s availability and affordability.  Recently the brand launched a new product, Liquid Wax, in an effort to diversity their line up and offer a one of a kind product for various hair types.

Liquid Wax is pretty much as it sounds. It’s a hybrid wax/gel styling aid that comes in a plastic squeezable bottle. It’s housed in American Crew’s trademark amber-colored bottling with white lettering.

“Controls like a gel, finishes like a wax, ” is the promise written right on the bottle.  Does it actually deliver?

There’s a lot to say for the flexibility of this product. It actually does deliver on its premise of providing gel-like control.  I can’t speak to the wax aspect as I’ve typically steered clear of wax products for my mane and having nothing to compare it to. There’s just something strange to me about using wax in my hair.  Maybe I’ll revisit that at a later date…who knows.

Lately, I’ve been applying my gel to damp hair instead of soaking wet hair in the shower and have had some pretty good results.  American Crew actually works well, but unfortunately it doesn’t play well with others. I’m not sure if it’s the formulation of the Liquid Wax in and of itself that makes it flake OR if it’s the result of an interaction with the conditioner that I’ve been using.  Nonetheless, the result is no bueno.  Flakes galore.  And this has happened on more than one occasion unfortunately.

After using the product a few times over the course of several weeks, I can’t say that the benefits outweigh the flakey consequences.  Maybe it’s user error and maybe I’m applying it wrong/  To be fair, there are not real instructions on the bottle itself which makes me wonder if other gents are having similar results.

I suppose only time will tell if American Crew Liquid Wax turns out to be a useful product. If I’m going off first impressions, I wouldn’t invite it out for another round, but hey stranger things have happened.

 

Disclosure: Product was provided courtesy of American Crew for the purpose of this review.

So Fresh & So Clean with Paul Mitchell Tea Tree & Lavender Mint

Back in February of 2015 I shared with you my take on some of the Paul Mitchell hair care line up and while there was some successes, I felt like the products didn’t quite give my mane the nourishment it needed.  Well, that’s all changed with the Lavender Mint line up from the Tea Tree collection.

In my #PMInsiders box I received the following:

  • Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo
  • Lavender Mint Moisturizing Conditioner
  • Tea Tree Body Bar (soap)
  • Tea Tree Firm Hold Gel
  • Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer
  • Tea Tree Shave Gel

There is a lot of similarity between the products.  First, the lavender and mint products boast an herbal and calming scent which I found very refreshing.  The tea tree products offer a slightly more biting scent thanks to an extra dose of tea tree oil, but it’s still pleasant nonetheless.

The Tea Tree products gave me a bit of a mixed bag in terms of results. Both the body bar and shave gel are mostly “what you see is what you get” products.  They don’t particularly deliver anything unexpected.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing…it just is.

I was more shocked by how much I got along with the hair and body moisturizer which actually does live up to its name. It’s a great after shower moisturizer.  It isn’t greasy and absorbs into skin very quickly, leaving an unobtrusive amount of moisture on the skin.  And as the temperature continues to rise, I’m sure that I’m not the only one starting to avoid those heavy winter body creams.  The moisturizer works wonders as a leave in hair conditioner, delivering softness all while feeding your hair with nutrients like aloe leaf juice and peppermint oil.

But, the biggest surprise for me out of the entire group was the Tea Tree Firm Hold Gel.  I’ve had a love-hate relationship with gels as many are often too greasy or leave highly textured hair looking like a pack of ramen noodles which is not something I aim for.

This was the one time that I followed the directions to the letter and waited until after my hair dried a little to slap on some product. It turns out, I’ve been using gel wrongly for many years and that’s the way you’re really supposed to do it. I’m still continually impressed by my results.  My hair has good definition, volume and softness.  This gel is a win-win-win. It’s a serious triple threat.

And while I was most excited about the Lavender Mint products (the shampoo and conditioner) I wasn’t as surprised as I was with some of the tea tree line up.  Both the shampoo and conditioner work pretty well and boy, do they smell great.  The super clean and calming bouquet, I imagine, will be welcome in many folks’ shower stalls.  The shampoo has a surprising amount of slip which makes it ideal for detangling highly textured hair types (like afros and type 4 hair) while the conditioner offers a helpful follow-up to wrap up the routine.

There is no such thing as a perfect product, but with Paul Mitchell’s offerings there is something for everyone.  Whether it’s the scent, consistency or performance, there’s a good bit of helpful choices in the tea tree line which is worth a buy.  These products are of good quality and represent some of the better options from Paul Mitchell so far.  My stand-out picks are the Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer for its incredible versatility and the Tea Tree Firm Hold Gel for its consistently good results.  The Lavender Mint Moisturizing Conditioner comes in at third place regrettably, as it just doesn’t have the “it” factor the other products have.

Those looking for eco-conscious grooming (see: gluten free & vegan) might want to give these products a try. No matter what your needs are, it seems that Paul Mitchell has you covered.

 

Disclosure: Products were provided courtesy of Paul Mitchell as part of the #PMInsiders program.

Back to Basics: Hair Care 101

conditioner bottles

From time to time I get asked how I take care of my hair so well and whenever I do it’s always a huge compliment! I’m always very grateful to hear people think that I have great hair. There was a time when I didn’t think my hair was so great, especially when I grew out my fro for the first time. It’s been a challenge for me to get used to all the attention (both positive and negative) and it’s been a growing process overall.

Today I want to share with you how I actually do take care of my hair. You’ll see some of the same steps on my hair care regimen at the link on the top right-hand corner of the page, but today I just want to give you a little bit more insight into my process and how you can take good care of your hair so that you are always looking your best.

First off, let me start by saying that one term that you’ll hear about in hair care, and black hair care in particular, is wash day. “Wash day” is exacty how it sounds; it’s the day of the week that you wash your hair.  Yes, I know that sounds disgusting at first, but the truth is that no matter your hair type you really shouldn’t be shampooing your hair more than a couple of times per week, barring any special scalp conditions.  Washing your hair more often with traditional shampoos can rid your hair of it natural oils and moisture.  This can leave you with chronically dull and dry hair. But because we have to use shampoo from time to time, there are some easy ways to minimize it’s effects.

First, only use a sulfate shampoo when you feel your hair is especially dull and gunky.  Sulfates have been found to dry out your hair and scalp and can cause irritation. And for those of you with sensitive or scalps, you might want to try and avoid altogether.  I like conditioning washes like MITCH Double Hitter as they don’t dry out my hair or scalp but make sure I feel clean.  This particular option also helps detangle my strands which is helpful when you have kinky or coily hair.

So now you magically find yourself on wash day…what comes next? It’s time to condition!

There are a lot of conditioning options out there but there are three basic types you should know about for the second part of your hair care routine.  They are rinse-out conditioner, leave in conditioner and deep conditioner.  Here’s a quick breakdown of the three types:

Rinse out conditioner: this is your typical conditioner that you can find in most drug stores or in your local grocery store. After washing your hair you apply a rinse out conditioner for a few minutes, usually about 3 to 5 minutes, and then you rinse it out completely.  It’s usually best to do this with cold water.

Personal recommendation: TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner. You can read my review at this link.

Leave in conditioner: leave in conditioner is just how it sounds. This type of conditioner is usually applied after you rinse out the conditioner and it’s meant to be left in your hair before your styling product.  The amount you should use varies on your hair length and texture.  For my currently cropped mane I use about a nickel to quarter sized amount.

Personal recommendation: Kinky Curly Knot Today.  My hair LOVES this stuff and its one of the best on the market, in my opinion. See more information at this link.

Deep conditioner/hair mask: this type of conditioner comes in the form of many different names. It’s often referred to as a deep conditioning mask, a hair mask/masque or something else. Usually this type of conditioner requires that you leave it on your hair for more than 10 minutes and sometimes you get the best results by using heat as well. If you ever get treated in a salon, they’ll often put you under a hooded dryer for this part.

Personal recommendation: Pantene Pro V Intensive Restoration Treatment.  Read my review at this link

I should say that this sounds like a lot but I don’t typically use all of these products at every wash. I usually wash 2-3 times per week to remove product gunk and cleanse my scalp which is prone to buildup.   Usually, I only deep condition about once a week on the infamous “wash day” and while I do use shampoo on other days I don’t go through the whole shebang as it were.

So in essence wash day looks like this:

  1. Shampoo
  2. Deep condition
  3. Leave in conditioner
  4. Gel or cream based styler
  5. Use pomade once hair is dry

While non-wash days look like this:

  1. Rinse out conditioner
  2. Leave in conditioner
  3. Gel or cream based styler
  4. Use pomade once hair is dry

So there you have it! There are my not-so secret tips to keeping “good” hair. Don’t forget to check out my hair care regimen for more insight into my process.

Product Review: Shea Moisture Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque

Shea Moisture - TahitianIt’s been a while since I’ve featured an actual product review here for you on MANE MAN so the last time I went to the pharmacy I picked up one of Shea Moisture’s newest products, the Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque.

Many of you out there know by now that I pretty much love anything that Shea Moisture puts out there. The brand has a commitment to heritage and legacy that I find endearing and not to mention the affordability of their products and awesome ingredients lists.  Their bath products are all high performers as well.

Admittedly, I’ve had less success with the hair formulations for reasons I can’t quite put my figure on, but I have to say that this hair masque is a move in the right direction.

The hair masque is formulated to smooth hair cuticles thus reducing frizz and breakage, which are key issues for kinkier hair textures.  The botanicals are also supposed to help protect your hair from heat damage but as I don’t typically blow dry my hair that’s not something that I can adequately comment on.

Here’s what I like: the ingredients are awesome. The masque touts shea butter, monoi and Tahitian noni oils (among others) which have a host of anti-oxidant and hair-repairing properties. I did a little internet research and found out that noni juice actually has a host of other super important health benefits like reducing high blood pressure. That being said, don’t eat this masque, I’m sure it’s not worth the risk.

My biggest qualm about the masque, and with a lot of Shea Moisture’s hair masque’s is that there is virtually no slip.  “Slip” is a property that gives you that feeling that makes it super easy to glide your fingers or come through your hair.  One excellent over the counter hair mask that does this is the Pantene Pro-V Smooth Therapy Masque Deep Conditioner.  It has a crazy amount of slip but obviously more synthetic ingredients so it’s a toss-up.  I think it all depends on what your hair’s needs are.  If you’re doing a fair amount of damage and need some deep healing properties I think Shea Moisture’s option is a great way to go.  If not, there might be some other options out there that you find you like better, and that are a little less costly.  But then again, they say that you get what you pay for.

Shea Moisture’s Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque is available online via the brand’s website.

 

Disclosure: No samples or compensation were provided for this review.

Product Review: Wen Men Hair & Body Cleansing Conditioner

By now, most of us have seen those late night infomercials of hairstylist Chaz Dean (with his luscious locks) showing off how wonderful his products are for women of every hair type.  Well, now he’s branched out and launched Wen Men!

Launched in September 2014, Wen Men is a hair and boy cleansing conditioner meant to be men’s version of the ultimate all-in-one product.  The product is infused bamboo, amber, and ginger root to offer a gender neutral scent that can be used from head to toe.

Now, we’ve all seen Dean’s infomercials at least once (if not more), and if you’re like me you’ve been a little skeptical about Wen’s ability to provide cleansing and conditioner properties to kinky-textured hair.  Mainly because their model with “coarse hair” has hair like this:

wen coarse hair

 

Seeing this woman’s somewhat loosely coiled hair didn’t leave me, and I’m sure many others, with a  lot of confidence that Wen was a good fit for afro-textured hair.  If you thought so, then you may find yourself increasingly surprised by this review.

Full disclosure, I have never used Wen hair care products before this review and obviously came in with all of my prejudices about who likely it Wen Men was going to work for thick and densely coiled hair such as mine.  Well, it did!

For me, Wen Men quickly became what the natural hair community likes to call a “holy grail” product.  The ingredients list is filled with natural extracts and oils which makes it an especially ideal cleanser for the colder and drier months.

wen men 2

 

The directions on the massive 32 oz. salon quality bottle encourage a minimum of six pumps for short hair (8 for medium and 10 for long) and I pretty much followed those to a t.  When I first tried Wen Men, I had a medium-sized afro and used about 8 pumps which was more than enough.  Luckily for you, I also got a pretty good trim recently and tried with the standard “short” 6 pump amount and found it equally as impressive. And yes, trust me I have super coily, kinky hair and Wen Men slid through my strands like Nancy Kerrigan at the ’94 Olympics.

 

The formula is creamy and luxurious, which is what you might expect from a 32 oz. bottle that retails for $72.  No, it’s not cheap, but man is this stuff good.  The formulation of oils and extracts helps make Wen Men one of the easiest to distribute products I’ve used since I started rocking a fro years ago.  Within a minute or so after application, the product melted into my 4b-ish type hair and it became incredibly easy to finger detangle.  As this is an all-in-one sort of product, I also took the step to “shampoo” my scalp a bit.  To my surprise, Wen Men cleanses AND moisturizes very well.  And trust me, that’s not something you usually get from products that claim to do it all.  This one actually does deliver on its promise!

My one big negative about Wen Men is its ability to be used as a skin cleanser.  Because there’s no real lather factor, I found it hard to take the product seriously as a good “soap”.  The consistency is so thick and lotion-like it’s hard to imagine that it actually cleanses skin. I know that doesn’t make much sense given how I raved how it cleansed my scalp (which IS skin), but I guess I just still expect tons of suds and bubbles from my body washes and hand soaps.  So as a body cleanser, I can’t say that I truly value Wen Men in that way, even though it smells pretty damn good.

Overall, I have to say that I am incredibly surprised by how well Wen Men works.  It just goes to show you how making snap judgments about products (and people) can often be a terribly inaccurate slippery slope. Truth be told, once I run out of Wen Men, I’m going to be incredibly sad and I might even seriously consider making it my go-to hair care all-in-one product.  At this point, it certainly seems worth it.

For more information and to order Wen Men visit ChazDean.com.

 

Disclosure: A complimentary sample of Wen Men was provided for the sole purpose of this review. The opinions listed herein are mine, and mine alone and have not been unduly influenced by any third party.

Product Review: Kinky Curly

Kinky Curly product

I’ve long been a fan of Kinky Curly products from my early fro-growing days. I once tried the Kinky Curly Curling Custard and found that it worked pretty well but eventually opted for cheaper gel alternatives.

Today, I’m checking out the entire brand in a little more depth, including Kinky Curly’s newest deep conditioner, Stellar Strands.

First up is KC’s Knot Today leave-in conditioner which is well-known among the natural hair community as one of the best conditioners out there. In short, I have to say that I agree. While Knot Today isn’t great for deep conditioning, the benefit lies in its superior ingredient list and usability that is all but unparalleled in the hair care industry. Knot Today moved easily through my hair, which is thick and porous. It’s also a pretty effective moisturizer that always leaves my hair feeling soft and moisturized. This is definitely a superior performing product.

Kinky Curly’s Spiral Spray is another story altogether, unfortunately. The spray gel doesn’t seem to be suited for type 4 hair like mine. It’s consistency is thin and almost snot-like. I didn’t have a particularly good experience with the product and to date haven’t had any luck using it to my benefit. Spiral Spritz is no match for my thick mane and while it’s ingredients list is superior (like all Kinky Curly products) it just doesn’t work at all for me.

Perfectly Polished is Kinky Curly’s nourishing hair oil which works as a pre-shampoo treatment and finishing aid. Formulated with apricot and argan oils, among others, Perfectly Polished is a potent oil blend that offers a lot of nourishment and softness. In my experience, the oil blend was the perfect last step to de-crunchify gelled hair. It’s also great for scalp massages. At 4 oz. for $18, Perfectly Polished is a pricey, yet effective and luxurious product. If you’re in the market for this type of product, I can’t imagine you would have any buyer’s remorse. Plus, it just smells so good.

Similarly, Kinky Curly Gloss Pomade is a finishing aid to help tame fly aways and offer softness. While I enjoy this product as well, I would have a hard time choosing this over Perfectly Polished.

Finally, Stellar Strands is the newest kid on the Kinky Curly block. Labeled as a hydrating deep treatment, Stellar Strands is designed to be used with heat for 15 minutes or 30 minutes without it. Before I say anything else, I should note that I have done neither. I just can’t see myself walking around with goop in my hair for a half hour, but then again maybe I’m really missing out.

That being said, Stellar Strands does well even if left on for 10 minutes in a long shower. It definitely softened my hair and I felt it left my mane feeling a little more moisturized as well. My biggest negative about the product, is its overall difficulty of use. The time commitment notwithstanding, Stellar Strands isn’t nearly as silky and smooth as I would have expected. It doesn’t have that magical “slip” like Knot Today, which would quickly change it from a good deep conditioner into something really special and worth the investment. At this time, the product sells for $13 for 8 oz., and I can’t say that I would spring for it on my own dime just yet.

Overall, Kinky Curly has a good collection of hair care product offerings. While Perfectly Polished is an obvious standout, Spiral Spritz completely failed for me and left me wanting something much more usable. The Gloss Pomade is also a good product, and Stellar Strands, while good, leaves a little bit to be desired. All in all, I can still say without reservation that I like the Kinky Curly brand with its cruelty-free and ingredients lists that any purist would likely fawn over. It’s totally up to you if you think the products are worth the investment.

To learn more about Kinky Curly, you can visit the website at www.kinky-curly.com.

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored review by Kinky Curly. Products for review were provided for the sole purpose of this review. All opinions listed herein are mine, and mine alone and have not in any way been influenced by Kinky Curly.