Friday, February 8, 2019

DIY Body Scrub

My sister actually got me into this DIY body scrub thing. We made some together at a Holiday Party she hosted last year and I was hooked! I make it all the time myself now! I usually DIY a lip scrub and I use this recipe without essential oils for that now too. It's SUPER affordable and insanely easy. Plus all the ingredients are safe for the earth and ocean, and won't clog your drain.

Ready for the recipe?

1/2 cup of solid Coconut Oil
1 Cup of White Sugar

Melt the coconut oil in the microwave, and then add the sugar. Mix together and once it is solidified you will have a hydrating and easy body scrub! You can store it in a mason jar, Tupperware container or any other container that has a fairly secure lid and is safe in the shower.

For reals that is it! Now hold up! We can totally customize this with other things right? Hells yeah! I would love to recommend adding 100% pure argon oil or shea butter to the mix, you odn't need much though. You can also throw in some essential oils to create a nice fragrance, a dash of food coloring for a visual effect, or even dried flower petals and leaves! You can switch out the type of sugar you use too for salt, coffee and brown sugar! Or not. You could just have a fragrance free, all natural scrub that is perfect for your sensitive skin.

But below I have some combinations listed that worked well for different purposes. Get creative and have fun! The first set are all combos to help with specific needs or purposes, the second list is more about fun scents you might like.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

REVIEW: Earth's Nectar Honey Curls

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Hydration - 5 (excellent)
Frizz Control - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 3 (average)

Disclaimer - I have a normal density wave that can be coaxed into a messy full curl with the right products. I do not have kinky hair or super curly ringlets. I do have a friend with caucasian ringlet hair that used this as well as myself, so I can speak to our experiences, but this may work differently for you.

First of all the packaging is pretty. I like that it's a clear bottle that allows me to see how much I have left and when it's time to restock. The label feels high end and expensive. I do not love the functionality of it though. I hate pumps like this. You end up loosing a lot of product at the end of the bottle and it's not liquid enough to pour out when you unscrew it. A squeeze tube that sits top-side down would have been my preference here. But it smells excellent. It has a citrus floral fragrance that throws me back to those classic Victoria Secret fragrances we all loved in high school, you know love spell and pure seduction?We may not sport them anymore but they still smell good.

My hair was very hydrated using this product. It wasn't crunchy of stiff at all, which I appreciated. It did a good job of lifting my hair and bringing out my curls while still being hydrated and eliminating frizz. It's the trifecta of curling product awesomeness for me. A little doesn't go a long way though, BUT you get 12 ounces in a bottle for $23. Most curl creams and serums come in bottles of 4-8 ounces. Like Deva Curl's creams are $28 for 5 ounces. So even though you have to use more than you'd like, it's a good value which kind of offsets that. I would recommend this product for sure.

Friday, February 1, 2019

REVIEW: Wella EIMI Perfect Me Beauty Balm

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Fragrance - 5 (excellent)
Hydration - 4 (very good)
Protection - 5 (excellent)
Weightlessness - 5 (excellent)

This is my go-to hydration product for those with super fine hair. It has a light fragrance that is floral and musky, but very faint. I actually love it. The packaging is high end looking and sturdy, but I wish the pump delivered more product so you didn't have to pump it so many times. It is very hydrating, but was made to be a weightless primer, so if you have super horribly dry and damaged hair you will need something more heavy duty. This is really perfect for those with healthy hair that is fine that need protection and hydration, without weight or oils. It is weightless, you can not feel it in the hair at all. It's an awesome choice when used by the right candidate.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Brand Breakdown: Kopari Beauty

The Story
The Co Founders of Kopari Beauty are Kiana Cabell and Gigi Goldman. These two are from different generations but shared a love of coconut oil from the get go. They love all of the multitasking things coconut oil can do because it is microbial, hydrating, healing and more. They both use coconut oil in their day to day lives as a "cure all" for everything according to and article from Los Angels Confidential.  Gigi came up with the idea for a pure coconut oil based beauty brand due to her love for the ingredient. She brought Kiana on board, who really embodies the brand herself, and who helps with marketing, branding and more.

The Brand

Kopari Beauty is a skin care and hair care brand that uses 100% pure, organic coconut oil as the base of each of their products. This coconut oil is sustainably sourced from small family farms in the Philippine, which I think is super cool. Kopari's website says "We believe everything you put onto your body matters. Each one of our products is made with luxurious skin-loving ingredients for all of your beauty needs." and their products are all sulfate free, paraben free, phthalate free, cruelty free and vegan.

The Products
Now as is the case with every single brand breakdown I have not tried every single item Kopari offers. I would LOVE for you to drop comments below about your experiences with the brand and what items you loved or didn't care for so much. 

Coconut Melt
So here's the deal. This stuff is amazing BUT it's literally just solid coconut oil. Nothing else. Yes it's organic and pure coconut oil, which has vitamin E and tons of great things about it, but you can head to your local health food store like Sprouts, Good Earth and Whole Foods and pick up a container of Fair Trade Organic Coconut oil for far less than $28. You can use solid coconut oil for all kinds of things like hydrating your hair, shaving your legs, as a body butter, and more. This is a diverse product for sure, and it works well, but I don't think the cute packaging is worth the huge mark up.

Coconut Crush Scrub
I love a good scrub! I was super excited to try this but when I looked at the ingredients I noticed something sad, beeswax! The first issue with the beeswax is that on the site they say all their products are vegan. Vegans don't use anything from animals, even animal produced products so beeswax isn't vegan. The second issue is that beeswax is a filler that is seriously unnecessary. When you put the wax in your scrub it helps to keep the crystals suspended so they don't all sink to the bottom of the scrub, but coconut oil does that on it's own when it's in it's raw original form. Wax also create a coating on your skin that can trap in moisture, but will also keep moisture out. It's not a great ingredient. Next we have Silica listed. This is a major issue because the product says right on the label that it is silicone free, but silica is a form of silicone. It has a similar effect on your skin as beeswax. It's not that these two ingredients are horrible for your skin, but that they void claims made by the company in general. Plus coconut shells are the exfoliating ingredient in this which is mildly concerning to me. I am very conscious of what we are putting into our oceans right now. What goes down your drain matters, especially if you live near a coast. Coconut shells are not water soluble. They will basically become one with the sand, so it's not the end of the world, but there is a reason brands aren't allowed to use plastic beads in their scrubs anymore. Sugar and salt like most scrubs use do dissolve in water, so I prefer those myself.

So now that I am done pointing out ingredients issues I will get down to my experience using this product, which was that this scrub was very average. I have personally made better scrubs at home myself using just sugar and coconut oil, along with essential oils for fragrance and sometimes a little argan oil or shea butter too. I will post a recipe for that on my blog soon.

Coconut Lip Glossy
This is a good product. Lip gloss has made it's way back after a few years of the matte lip being the big thing. I am so happy because matte lipstick is so drying for your lips and I love glosses (even though my hair gets trapped in them). This tinted gloss is also treatment. It's super hydrating, glides on smoothly and has that perfect kiss of color that isn't overpowering, but is still visible. It doesn't feel sticky or tacky on my lips and I really enjoyed using it. My lips definitely felt softer and more hydrated after a couple of days of wearing this.

Coconut Cleansing Oil 
This product stood out to me as the first I found on the website that didn't have coconut oil as it's first ingredient. Unfortunately the first ingredient is Ethylhexyl Palmitate which is incredibly comedogenic (which means it clogs your pores easily).  You can click here to learn more about that. I won't lie I didn't even use this product. I wanted to be able to use and review their whole Coconut Skincare Essentials set, but I couldn't bring myself to put this on my face. I read the ingredients and knew it wouldn't be a good choice for me. There are also some other ingredients that could be a bad choice if you have oily skin or large pores. It also has several ingredients that could trigger fungal acne if that is something you are concerned with. 

Coconut Rose Toner
Here is another product I liked. Despite Coconut oil not being the base ingredient of this one either, the ingredients list was clean. A good toner will be a pure shot of lightweight hydration and a great toner will also include some healing ingredients that can help to calm and repair skin that might have been damages during cleansing or exfoliation. This product does both. I am a major fan.

Coconut Face Cream
This is another product that passed my ingredients test! I am a big fan of this. My skin felt baby soft after using it and it contained a lot of great hydrating and skin loving ingredients. The facial oils and moisturizers we use possibly matter the most when it comes to comedogenic ingredients, and this one is really good. IF you have huge pores that clog often you may want to steer clear of this line as a whole, an choose oil free product, but otherwise this is not a bad pick. However I do not recommend the line's face oil which has multiple comedogenic oils in it like Squalene. 

Coconut Oil Pullers
Oil pulling is all the rage right now. It's the idea that swishing around real organic oil in your mouth for a few minutes before brushing your teeth will pull the toxins out of your mouth and teeth and gums and create a much healthier mouth for you, as well as whiter and brighter teeth. There is a lot of research to back up those claims, but I was curious about this set. Why are we paying a premium when you can buy oil at Walmart that works well? I have tried oil pulling and honestly I hate it. It's a weird feeling having to swish warm oil in your mouth. It's not pleasant at all.

Kopari makes oil pullers that are individually packaged so they are convenient. They are also flavored which makes the experience better. They have three flavors. Mint, Vanilla and Pina Colada. The mint was my favorite, and the vanilla was horrible. It was super sweet and strong. I like the pina colada although it was still to sweet for me. But the experience had me wondering, how hard would it be for me to flavor my own coconut oil with essential oils and herbs I like to make a better experience without the premium pricing? Not only to save money but because the individual packages create waste.

My Take

So this line was hit and miss for me. The Face Cream and Rose Toner were the two items I felt like might be worth buying. The other items I like I felt you could buy locally or make yourself for a third of the cost. But really to me Kopari Beauty is a great example of why we can't trust marketing or packaging. There are a lot of subtle lies and buzz words used in this brand that tells you their products are the highest quality, when they use ingredients that are straight up horrible for your skin (like in the cleanser). Beeswax is in more products than I pointed out making this line not vegan as a whole, despite their site saying it is. But they expect you (the consumer) to just trust their labels. This is why it is SO important to know the ingredients on each item. Not all of these are bad, but the ones that are really are.

Thursday, January 24, 2019


Packaging - 4 (very good)
Durability - 5 (excellent)
Grip - 4 (very good)
Ease of Use - 5 (excellent)
Comfort - 5 (excellent)
Damage - 5 (excellent)

I have seen ads for this popping up all over my social media. I am a huge fan of the super cute full high pony tail thing, but you guys, my hair is not full. My pony tails are sad. I was excited to try this one out and see if it would really give me that fuller look. What does the Pony-O claim exactly? They say that it holds your hair all day, that it's comfortable and easy to use, they claim it to be damage free and that it won't pull on your hair. So let me break down the claims and my experience here for you.

Their website is a little basic and sketchy looking to be honest. But it's a small company so I gave them the benefit of the doubt. The price point is high. You can buy a pack of 50 hair ties at the dollar store, and some nicer ones at Walmart for $5 for 50+. So with Pony-O you get two ties for $20. It was a lot. I am a cheapskate and I was looking at their refund policy before I hit "buy" for sure. But I had some requests for this product and I REALLY wanted to try it, so I did. They have 8 colors ranging from different shades of brown, to a "ginger" shade as well as black and white.

The package came in 3 days, which was a very pleasant surprise to me. It came in a little box and inside the box was a canvas drawstring pouch, which had the two ponytail holders inside of it. They came totally flattened out. For those who don't know yet, Pony-Os are a copper bar surrounded in a silicone covering, so you shape your hair with it more. to the right there is a gif that shows the way it kind of works.

So I got it out and immediately put it in my hair. I was able to shape it into a ponytail on the first try in less than 3 minutes. So I would say it's SUPER easy to use. These things aren't going anywhere. I have passed it around at my work and have several girls in my salon try it on (taking it in and out again) so I could see how easy it was for different people to use as well as how it fared with different hair types. All of my coworkers had a very easy time using it. I had one coworker with extremely thick hair that did have to try 2-3 times to get it to stay in place right, but everyone else got it on try #1. They are super durable. I haven't felt any give or issues during the few weeks I have had it.

They grip the hair well and are WAY more comfortable than a traditional hair tie. I found myself feeling nervous because I am used to having my hair pulled tight and this one I can not feel at all, but if I jump or run it stays put, which I love. No more headaches and no more creasing too! And they'd on't pull my hair at all. I am so in love with this thing. When I first got it I had buyers remorse. I kept thinking "$20 for this?" but I have worn it every day since (almost) and even find myself putting my hair up after work on "non pony tail or bun" days.

I am obsessed with my Pony-Os and I think you will be too. Click here to get yours and to learn more about them!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

REVIEW: Beauty Protector Protect and Oil

Packaging: 4 (very good)
Scent: 4 (very good)
Hydration: 4 (very good)
Heat Protecting Power: 5 (excellent)
Longevity: 4 (very good)

This "Protect Oil" is pretty awesome. When I was asked to try it I was wary. I thought it would make my hair look ultra shiny and greasy and smell way to strong (which has been my experience with other oils in the past) but this one was great! It conditioned my hair and added a small amount of shine (although my greasy hair did not look greasy at all). It smelled like vanilla which isn't really my favorite scent but it was very light and pleasant. It also did a great job protecting my hair, in fact I found it to work better than a couple of my current favorites. Also a little bit of this oil goes a long way so you wont have to replenish your supply for at least 6-9 months after buying it, and since it comes in a bottle with a pump nozzle it helps you control how much you are using and really makes it last. I found it works best to put it on your hair while damp and then blow dry it. Then you can use hot tools on it and the heat protection is still in place!  I definitely recommend this product.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

What is the best deep conditioner for my hair?

 Not all Deep Conditioners are the same. They just aren't. Their ingredients are different and that will create different results which will benefit different needs. Today I am going to talk about hair types, what results they need and what deep conditioners work best.

Chemically Damaged Hair

If your hair is chemically damaged that means you have dry, brittle, porous ends that have seen color, lightener, perm solution or permanent straighteners. Your hair is on it's last lengths here, and has had the keratin stripped from it as well as may of it's bonds permanently broken. But there are a couple options for you.

Olaplex Treatments and Brazilian Blowout B3 Demi Permanent Conditioning Treatments. Both of these treatments have a powerful in salon option that repairs broken bonds, strengthens existing bonds, and creates false supporting bonds in the hair to prevent breakage and transform your hair. They also both have at home options that are really best when used after the salon service. For Olaplex that is the #3 (pictured on the left above) and for Brazilian Blowout B3 Systems that is the Instant Restore and Protect Reconstructor (pictured directly to the right).

Unfortunately most other masks and conditioners only hydrated and heal the outside of the hair shaft, but do not make real lasting change. So you will need to invest. Please note that these two brands do not sell through Amazon or online retailers and only sell through salons. PLEASE go through a salon for these, as these products have a lot of popular knock offs that are horrible for your hair. I do believe you can get the Olaplex #3 at Sephora, but that is it.

The biggest difference between the two is that the Brazilian Blowout is a hydrating mask that nourishes the hair and moisturizes, while also creating bonds, where the Olaplex mainly focuses on strength and bond building. If your hair is fine or prone to getting oily then go for the Olaplex. If you need frizz management or if you have coarse hair the Brazilian Blowout is the better option.

Heat Damaged Hair

Heat Damaged hair comes from the use of hot tools. Things like blow dryers, curling iron, curling wands and flat irons can truly take a toll on your hair. Th biggest issues that you will find form heat damage is that the cuticle (which is the outer protective layer of the hair) is damaged and blown open, and this can result in loss of protein and moisture. Check out my Guide to Hot Tools Here to learn more about choosing hot tools that are high quality and won't damage your hair.

If you have fine hair I highly recommend the Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment. It is lightweight, packed with protein and will help to heal your hair. I also like the Redken Extreme Antisnap and Sexy Hair Core Flex for leave in treatments on fine hair. Just be sure you aren't over using any of these. The mask should be once a week, and the leave ins 2-3 times a week only.

Now if you have coarse or frizzy hair I prefer the Joico KPak, which is a fan favorite among salon stylists. This one will have more weight to it and will do more to smooth your hair as well. I feel it's to heavy for fine hair.

If you have hair that is "normal" or in the middle, I would probably go with the restore from Living Proof just because you don't need the extra weight to fight frizz. Just know that the KPak (like the other mentioned products) should not be over-used.

Dry and Frizzy

Sometimes your hair is dry and frizzy even when you don't chemically treat it or use heat. This is often a result of poor choices in shampoo and conditioner. Click here to see my guide on choosing a good shampoo and conditioner for your hair type. So your hair still needs incredible moisture, without the protein. I mentioned a few times above that the repairing deep conditioners should not be used to often. I know a lot of people that use the general moisture treatments in between their repairing treatments to keep their hair soft and hydrated, but not overdo the keratin. So that is also an option with these.

One of my die hard favorites is the Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm. I also love the It's a 10 Miracle Hair Mask along with the Redken Frizz Dismiss Mask. I also don't hate the Hask Beauty Macadamia Oil Moisturizing Deep Conditioner. It's a decent inexpensive option for those on a budget. If you have fine hair you need to be careful not to use a moisture mask that is to heavy. For you I would recommend something more like the AG Texture Moisture Mask, which is weightless, but still hydrating. I also don't mind the Biolage R.A.W. Uplift Rebodify Mask for fine haired people.

Curly Hair

If you have curly hair your hair has different needs. Your cuticle layer is consistently open due to the coiled nature of your hair and it makes frizz and dryness a constant in your life. There are certain ingredients that sren't horrible for your hair because of this, that are not recommended for others. In the end you really can't go wrong with any of the Deva Curl Masks. But I particularly like the Deva Curl Melt Into Moisture Matcha Green Tea Butter Conditioning Mask but they also have the Deva Curl Deep Sea Repair Seaweed Strengthening Mask which is better for repairing curly hair, not just moisturizing like the first. You can also pick up this great little trio set called the Curls on the Go Treatment Trio which has small samples of their build up buster along with both of the previously mentioned masks.