Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Love Triangle aka A Natural Hair Products Review

Today: 3-day old picked braid-out using the Custard.
Fresh twist-out using the Custard.
I'm not really a product WHORE. I'm more like a SERIAL MONOGAMOUS. You see, I am fiercely loyal when I find something that works for my hair and I simply accept its minor flaws ignoring all other products on the shelf with their fancy packaging and alluring coupons.... until I spot a fellow naturalista with similar texture and spectacularly defined curls....then I start to CREEP. Well, I must at least try what they're using to know if there exists an upgrade to my current products, right? Yes, I MUST....and this leads me to my current product love triangle.
The truth is, I totally forget who I courted before Cantu Shea Butter (I just love 'em and leave 'em!) but my daughter's drama school instructor at Newark School of the Arts had the most coil-y, bouncy tight ringlets. I cornered her after class and insisted on her secret. She told me ever so nonchalantly, "My hair is only as good is the products I use. This (pointing to her perfect head of ringlets) is Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream....girl, it's only like $7-8 and found EVERYWHERE."

This was 3 yrs ago and I've been relatively happy with my routine wash-n-go's with Cantu ever since, when I'm not wearing a protective style.
My wash-n-go technique: 'pre-poo, shampoo, deep condition, rinse then use a basic conditioner for a minute or two and rinse, leaving in maybe 30% of the product. I hand ring most of the liquid out then detangle with my fingers. Lastly, I apply Cantu layer by layer until my entire head is covered. I usually shoot a bit of cold air from my blow dryer to speed up the drying time, then I go about my day allowing the perfect waves to set and fall into place with little manipulation. This leave-in starts off white and creamy but dries clear, leaving my hair soft and curls defined without much shrinkage. It contains pure shea butter, protein, olive oils and essential oils
Its minor flaw? It flakes a quite bit once dry and leaves my hair a bit dull. I must compensate with sheen/oil BUT it has made my hair much stronger and it eliminates the frizz. And it is conveniently available practically everywhere: Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, etc...The flaking part though, kinda sux.

So, last week as I was grocery shopping and perusing the fashion/fitness mags in line as usual, there was this article in one about summer hair-curly texture-products. I didn't expect to see a product mentioned for OUR hair but lo & behold, there was one: Pantene Defining Curls Styling Custard (made for natural ethnic hair). It claimed to be a bit of a Godsend--adding SHINE, defining curls, and controlling frizz. Growing tired of my "flaky" soon-to-be-ex main hair boo, I decided to give it a try. My hair had been braided for 2 months and I just was turned off by the idea of going back to Mr. Flaky once the braids came out so at approx. $4, I felt I had nothing to lose. This "Pantene" was a cheap date. ;) I found it the next day on my Targay run.

The verdict: I'm in love! Well, I haven't used it for a wash-n-go yet but my twist outs and braid outs for both myself and my child are lovely and with no white residue/flakiness, my hair looks inky black and full of sheen. But something about the texture of the custard has me doubting that it would make for a good wash-n-go...I will have to test that theory after the next wash. As for now, I have no complaints. It is more oily than creamy thanks to the jojoba oil and coconut oil ingredients. I think this is the best consistency for my hair. I do notice mild build-up in my hair though...but "it's me; not you, boo!"
I will clarify my tresses with apple cider vinegar next shampoo to be sure I have no product gook in my hair before re-applying.

Now, my affair with Carol's Daughter Monoi Oil began approx. 3 months ago and was not intentional AT ALL. I was minding my own business, using hair sheen, Moroccan argon oil and/or olive oil on my hair daily for moisture and shine. Then I get notice that due to my Klout score, I have earned this wonderful perk from Carol's Daughter. Well, who I am to turn down free full sized products from the queen?
This lightweight, silicone-free, miracle oil reverses and prevents damage to even the most distressed hair caused by heat-styling, color-treating and chemical straightening.
Protect your hair from all damage. Its strengthening power comes from Monoi Oil – a sacred Tahitian blend of the Tiare Gardenia Flower and Coprah Coconut Oil. This silicone-free, restorative oil rebuilds your hair’s structure from the inside out for true repair that doesn’t wash away or weigh hair down like silicones do. It’s also blended with Mirabelle Plum Seed Oil to restore health and Kukui and Rose Hip Seed Oils to reduce frizz and boost your hair’s natural shine. Take your hair to its maximum strength and length – no matter what you do to it.
Plus, No Silicones, No Parabens, No Petroleum, No Mineral Oil, No Artificial Colors

Once I read all of the ingredients and the exotic history of the monoi oil found on the box, I was more than thrilled to test drive it on our tresses.  I do appreciate that a little goes a long way. Just 4 pumps is enough for my head, 5 pumps for my daughter. At $30, it is an investment but it is so light and pure and smells/feels so luxe, it's so worthy! I used it as a barrier when I pressed Miss J's hair last week and I found it to give a great press, as well as, prevented any breakage.
Find it at and its namesake boutiques.

So now my current routine consists of a love triangle with the 3. Cantu has been reduced to my rinse out hair condition. It detangles wonderfully. Then I apply a few squirts of the Monoi Oil to the damp hair and twist/braid using the Custard. My hair feels great! Everyone plays their position well.
Have you tried any of the above? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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