Thursday, March 22, 2018

REVIEW: Monat Rejuvenique Oil

Packaging - 3 (average)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Moisture - 4 (very good)
Weight - 2 (not very good)
Longevity - 2 (not very good)

I was definitely disappointed by this product. This is one of Monat's highest dollar items, ringing in at $99! I expected a silky serum that gave me long lasting hydration and quick absorption. This is what I got instead.

Let's start with the packaging. I LOVE the way Monat packages everything, and this one is no different. It looks beautiful, luxurious and high end. It's also made with quality materials and is sturdy! So why didn't it get a 5 you ask? Functionality. That is SO MUCH more important than looks. I struggled to get any oil in my dropper. It didn't seem to matter if I pressed the lid once or ten times. I tried taking it out first, sealing it tighter, all kinds of things. When I asked some local Monat Reps about it, and tried a few of their bottles, I had the same results and they said it's because you don't need very much. I HATE when people explain away faulty products and packaging like it's on purpose. Because you definitely need more than what I could get and I had to tip it over and pour it onto my hand, which was messy and definitely meant waste.

It did smell amazing. All of Monat's products smell incredible. It was also hydrating but I didn't feel like it was long lasting moisture. In fact I didn't feel like it's effects even lasted the whole day.

This oil is SO HEAVY. It is thick and slimy and heavy. It weighted my hair down a lot. It has high quality ingredients, but it is to heavy for my hair and skin. I use a lot of facial oil because my skin is so dry that it flakes and peels. This one made me break out, and it made my face feel greasy and coated. It was not good. My hair also felt like there was a coating on it, which I wasn't a fan of. And because this product is so thick and gooey you kind of have to use a lot. It works a little better on damp hair because the water breaks it up a little, but it doesn't work well on it's own. It made my hair feel to heavy and greasy and i had to use a lot of it.

HOWEVER - I think this product would be AMAZING for those with African or Latin hari that is very coarse, dry and textured. That hair type is more porous and has a hard time keeping in moisture. I think this oil would be amazing for them.

If you'd like to purchase this oil or learn more about Monat click here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

REVIEW: Redken Velvet Gelatine 07

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 3 (average)
Hydration - 4 (very good)
Texture - 5 (excellent)
Weight - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Heat Protection - 4 (very good)
Shine - 4 (very good)

I am obsessed with this product! It is a "cushioning blow dry gel". It has a small amount of heat protectant in it to prevent blow dryer damage. It also smooths the hair, adds volume, and conditions ends. It gives the hair a pillowy and soft effect. It doesn't really smell like anything, it hydrates the hair but not as well as a leave in conditioner. It adds volume and texture definition, but keeps things soft and light. It is extremely light weight, and a little goes a very long way! It adds some shine, but not an ton, and it doesn't give a greasy effect which is great!  It basically leaves you with a light, soft, pillowy effect that looks and feels natural and not full of product. It's great for those with fine hair and oily hair. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

REVIEW: Kenra Boosting Spray Foam

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 6 (unbelievable)
Hold - 4 (very good)
Volume - 4 (very good)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)

I am a little obsessed with this one! Best Foam Spray EVER! Not only is Kenra's packaging sleek, professional, and sexy but the scent of this product is to die for! It smells light and fresh, not overpowering at all. It holds pretty well, although my hair (when done around 8 am) seems to go flat around 4-5pm, but that's  FIVE hours of hold people! It gives a lot of volume (not jersey volume, but a lot of volume!), and you don't have to use very much so when you buy it, it lasts a long time. I definitely recommend this product!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

REVIEW: Healthy Sexy Hair Soya Want It All 22 in 1 leave in conditioner

Packaging - 4 (average)
Scent - 3 (average)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Hydration - 5 (excellent)
Shine - 5 (excellent)
Weight - 5 (excellent)

I'm seriously in love. The packaging is a little on the average side, not as clean or professional as I'd like. The scent got a 3 because it has a kind of soapy smell. It's not bad and it's not strong, but it's not great either. Once I had the product in my hair you couldn't smell anything.

A little went a very long way (which I always like) plus it comes in an presurized aerosol-like spray can, which means it is easier to disperse! Often these kinds of creams you put in your hands and you get a lot in one spot and not enough anywhere else, but that is not an issue with this. It hydrated my hair (and my sisters) and added shine without making it look greasy. It was super lightweight I couldn't feel it in the hair at all! Overall I love this product and definitely recommend it.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Is there wax in my conditioner?

After posting my article The TRUTH about Sulfates, I got this questions a lot. In that post I went over how harsh sulfates work to harm your hair in depth. I briefly mentioned how a lot of companies include heavy waxes and silicone in their conditioner to create the illusion that your hair is healthy when it is not. But just like sulfates, wax doesn't always read as "wax". So how is one to know whether or not these ingredients are in their hair care?

You guys, the internet is such a powerful tool! Google the ingredients on the back of your bottle. Eventually you will start to learn what key words and ingredients you need to look out for, and many of them will seem familiar to you and you will get a feel for ingredients that are okay and some that are good. Any you don't know google, or bing, or ask or whatever search engine you use, USE IT! 

However for the sake of this article I will post some ingredients that are just wax or silicone in disguise. A lot of these are found in conditioners at Walmart and even in high end brands! Remember that just because it's a salon brand doesn't mean it has top notch ingredients. I also added a few ingredients that while they aren't specifically wax or silicone, are commonly in conditioner and not great for your hair. 
  • Dimethacone
  • Polydimethylsiloxane
  • Cyclomethicone
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Acrylates
  • Copolymers
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Paraffin Waxes
  • Soduim Chloride (salt)
  • Phenoxyethanol

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

DIY Shredded Chicken in an InstantPot

I love shredded chicken, and chicken itself is actually pretty good for you. Shredded chicken tastes great on salads, in sandwiches, in soups, on avocado toast, and more! It's a kitchen staple. But there is a serious problem with Shredded Chicken. Preparation.

One option for your shredded chicken is to use something canned... doesn't sound great does it? Canned shredded chicken often comes with a lot of preservatives as well as sodium and is devoid of a lot of it's nutritional value. Another go-to I used to use was buying a rotisserie chicken and shredding that myself. But unfortunately rotisserie chickens are usually full of fat and butter, which is what keeps them so moist. After refrigeration you can often feel the coating on the chicken that is not so pleasant, and it still takes time. Plus I have never been a big fan of the process of shredding  a rotisserie chicken. 

The last method that I used to opt for was a slow cooker. You could throw in some chicken with some broth and seasoning, leave it on high for 5 hours and voila! You can  easily shred that chicken! But FIVE HOUR!? Who has the time? Plus chicken broth is usually full of sodium and preservatives! ugh! I wanted something that wasn't time consuming and that was HEALTHY. I finally found it! 

I got an instant pot, you guys, this is the best invention ever. These bad boys replace your rice cooker, slow cooker, bread maker and they are a pressure cooker. Making your own shredded chicken in the instant pot takes almost no time at all and is so fast! 

2 whole thawed chickn breasts
1 cup of water
1 Tbsp seasoning (optional)

1- Place all of these ingredients in the Instantpot. If you are using seasoning mix a little. 
2- Set it onto the pressure cooker on high and cook for 20 minutes. 
3- After cooking release the pressure. 
4- Remove the chicken and shred. 

Some tips for this recipe. You CAN use chicken broth if you want instead of water. There will be water left in the pot after cooking, this is normal, just remove the chicken and shred.

As far as adjusting for larger quantities, the water and seasoning work for up to 4 chicken breasts, but I would double them once you hit 5, or if your 4 are particularly large. I have put up to 3 Tbsp of seasoning with my two breasts before, and I just got a pretty strong flavor. It's all about how strong you want that flavor to be and how moist you want your chicken. Adjust to your needs and preferences. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

REVIEW: Benefit Porefessional Primer

Packaging - 2 (not very good)
Longevity - 4 (very good)
Porelessness - 6 (incredible)
Priming - 4 (very good)

This product is a true classic. Let me break down my ratings for you. I am not a fan of the packaging. Benefit's packaging is hit and miss for me because when I spend a lot of money on my cosmetics I want them to look expensive. Their packaging is often fun but still high end looking, while others look cheap. This to me looks cheap.

While the product isn't like "omg, I hardly have to use any!" a little goes a fairly long way and you won't have to repurchase over and over again. It definitely helps your foundation you to last longer too.

But the real star of the show is it's poreless effect. I have used this primer on women with acne scarring and pock marks and their skin looks smooth as can be! It's truly the cream of the crop when it comes to filling in fine lines and wrinkles and smoothing skin imperfections.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

REVIEW: Sebastian Twisted Shampoo and Conditioner

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Scent - 4 (very good)
Hydration - 2 (not very good)
Bringing out Curl - 3 (average)
Longevity - 3 (average)

I was really not blown away by this product as I had hoped. Let me just go over each section. The packaging is pretty and I like that it has a pop cap with a flat lid. This means when it is low on product I can easily store it so that the lid is down to get out most of the product. It smelled okay, but not great. It was a very light fragrance that has a kind of water scent to it.

Unfortunately the positive things stop there. I had to use a lot more product than I would have liked in order to clean and condition my hair. The conditioner was specifically bad when it came to this. I feel my curls were not really brought out other than that my hair was dry and frizzy, so that made the curl come out. Not my favorite at all. I only used it for a week and I threw it out. I do not recommend this product at all.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Why Can't You Give me Advice on How to do my Own Hair at Home?

I get emails DAILY asking me questions like "What's the best bleach I can get at Sally's to make my hair platinum?" or "do you prefer the Garnier or the Clariol hair color at Walmart?". I have a canned answer that I copy and paste as a response to every email I recieve like that, which says:

Thank you so much for reaching out to me! I am honored
that you would entrust me with your hair questions! That 
being said I can not recommend any ta home chemical 
products or services. As a professional I know how important 
it is to go to a salon for all chemical services, and if you feel 
that is not in your budget you may want to check out a local 
hair school, which will probably yield better results than doing 
it yourself. I am apologize that my answer is likely not what you 
wanted to hear, but it is the truth. Thank you for reaching out to 
me and feel free to ask me any other questions you may have! 

-Angela Woodward

I have received a lot of responses to that message, most of which are pretty rude. I generally ignore them and continue on my day.  A majority of these responses include the writer conveying frustration because they don't understand why I won't recommend color. Most wrongfully assume that I assume I am better than them, or that I am greedy or just want their money. A few have expressed the sentiment that they get that I am just trying to support my industry. Let me set the record straight right here. I do not recommend at home chemical services or treatments, and it has nothing to do with wanting money, being greedy, being superior or because I am trying to support my own industry. I have actually recommended products on this blog that are low end walmart products, as well as direct sales items (that doesn't support my industry) and I have even expressed my dislike of multiple high end salon brands. My industry does not control me.

So then WHY won't I just tell you which box color you should use? 

Because what DOES control me is my knowledge and understanding of hair, color, science, and chemical processes. I can not give you advice to do something that is bad for you hair just because you want me to. Let me go over why I don't recommend box color. 

Rachel was going for platinum when she lightened her hair and to her surprise the ends (which had box color on them) turned orange and her roots barely moved, and her hair was severely damaged! After two appointments I got her to platinum.
When a client sits in my chair and they want a color service, I begin a verbal consultation. While asking them what they want, how they want it to look and more I am assessing their scalp and hair. I am looking for porosity, density, texture, elasticity, condition, irritation, redness, current level, variations in tone or color and more. I will verbally ask you and take into consideration your hair's history, your needs, your lifestyle and more. A box can't do that. 

If I have three women come in that have the exact same current hair color, (but one has their natural color, one has previously colored their hair this shade at home, while the last has had it professionally done) and they all want the same outcome, I will likely do completely different steps and formulas for each of these women to get the same results. My goal is to get you where you want to be while doing as little damage to your hair as possible. A box can't do that. 

Then while the color is on your hair I will watch it to check for signs of over processing, damage, and breakage, while also checking for even processing, color saturation and effectiveness. I may have you wait a little longer or wash you out early based on these things. A box can't do that. 

In Hair School I faced this color correction from a cut red head
who had used Color oops to remove black box color. She was
left with patchy black spots, neon orange and red hair, and
a lot of breakage and damage. After one appointment we got
her back to a natural looking ginger tone. 
What a box can and does do is use the harshest chemicals and ingredients to achieve the most consistent results they can. They provide little to no education or warning about what hair types they are not meant for, and they tell you to leave it on for the maximum processing time. It's true that you may get a result from a box color that you like, but at what cost? As a professional I see at home color mishaps all the time that I have to correct and fix. The damage done to some of these women's hair is heartbreaking. And the correction always costs more than the service would have been.

Then we get into even crazier territory, at home perms and relaxers. These chemical services are harsh on the hair and are very temperamental even in the salon. To do them at home poses and even greater risk. Lightener is also a harsher chemical process than your typical color application. It's such a high risk, and going to a hair school or researching to find a local affordable salon is worth it. Trust me. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

REVIEW: BeautyCounter Nourishing Cream Cleanser

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Gentleness - 5 (excellent)
Cleansing - 5 (excellent)

I had a great experience with this cleanser. I felt the packing was crisp, clean and functional, however I didn't feel anything about it screamed high-end, so I gave it a 4 on that. It has a very pleasant and light fragrance, which I loved. It smelled very crisp and clean. This cleanser was gentle, yet effective, which is great for any skin type because it wasn't harsh or stripping. And a little went a VERY long way. This is a higher end direct sales brand, but with that being said I feel the price point is very affordable compared to other high end brands. Plus with a little going such a long way you will not run out of this quickly. You can purchase it here.

I am actually a big fan of this brand for two reasons. I like to support direct sales companies because I like supporting local business owners and those who have the hustle and drive to earn a living doing something kind of hard. The other reason I like BeautyCounter is because they really do make high quality products. The mission of the brand is to be more transparent about ingredients. You know how there are a million articles talking about all the banned ingredients in China and the UK that we allow in our beauty products in America? Well they don't use any of those shady ingredients and they try to use as many botanically derived ingredients as possible. I think that is awesome! If you want to learn more about BeautyCounter click here.

*I do not receive any commissions, kickbacks or sales based on sales made thorugh links on this article

Sunday, March 4, 2018

REVIEW: Lancome Jelly Flower Tint

Packaging - 6 (excellent)
Scent - 4 (very good)
Hydration - 3 (average)
Texture - 2 (not very good)
Color - 1 (bad)

Let me break down my feelings about this gloss. The packaging is stunning. I love the floating floral petals, and the actual container is a soft and flexible plastic that you kind of squeeze to push some of the lip tint up through a hole onto a slanted lip applicator. It's functional, it's compact, it's pretty. It has a very gentle floral scent, but it's like a whisper of fragrance, which is why I didn't give it a five on that.

It was hydrating, because it had the texture of an oil. But the hydration was short lived. The oil texture made it so it doesn't play nice with other lipstick because it dissolves it, and it slides off quickly and it a little on the sticky side.

The thing that surprised me most was all of the pictures of models for this product showed women with very natural soft rosy lips. They all had a very subtle dewy glow on their lips and I loved it. My lips however turned the same bright shade of fuchsia-pink as the oil in the container. It was super bold and unflattering, and because it is a reactive tint I couldn't just wipe it off. I tested it on my husband (his arm!) and my sister in law who all have very different skin tones that I do and they also ended up with bold pink shades appearing. It truly surprised me and made this product one I will not be wearing again.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Which Curl Product is Right For Your Hair?

There are SO MANY curl creams and gels and sprays and mousses out there. It is seriously overwhelming. I am going to go over the kinds of curl products, what they are, who they are for, and which items I recommend within that category. Each product I recommend will have links attached to purchase it, if you want to you can click the name of the product. Have a favorite I don't mention? Drop it in the comments below!

Curl Spray

Curl Spray is great for people who have wavy hair that they like to try to bring their curl out in. Why? Because for most of those who fall into this category their curls are activated by moisture. It's a great option for day-two hair to bring out curl, or to control frizz after your freshly washed hair has dried. BE CAREFUL! Curl Sprays and texture sprays are different! Texture Sprays often have salt or sugar in them and dry out your hair to create texture for those who have none. Where a real curl spray will be hydrating and include a very light leave in conditioner.

Some that I love are the Kenra Curl Refresher (formerly known as the Kenra Curl Spray), the Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Nourishing & Conditioning Refresher Spray (pictured on the left), and the Ouidad Botanical Boost Curl Energizing & Refreshing Spray. All three of these use quality ingredients and are hydrating. If you prefer more natural products then Carol's Daughter would be a great choice for you.

Curl Creating Cream

So the curl creams is where this gets a little tricky, because there are three kinds! Curl Creating Creams, Curl Defining Creams, and Curl Controlling Creams. Usually you do not  know which of these you are getting when you purchase your cream an
d sometimes I feel they are improperly labeled. There are no clear guidelines as to what is what and that is likely the problem. So curl creating creams are lightweight. They bring out curl. They are great for people who have wave and when you scrunch this in your hair it brings out your natural texture and curl.

This is my kind of curl cream. This is what I personally use all the time at home. My three die-hard favorites are the Matrix Wild Boho (you can read a stand alone review of that here), the Redken NBD Just Right Cream (you can read that review here) and the Living Proof Curl Defining Styling Cream (pictured on the right). I did list those in order form the lightest to the heaviest. All of them will bring out texture and really just can't go wrong with any of these guys.

Curl Defining Cream

Curl Defining Creams are the perfect balance of a creating cream and controlling cream. They are medium in weight, they bring out curl while weighing down frizz. If you feel like all curl creams either make you frizzy or make your hair heavy and greasy, this is your category! If you have light hair that needs a creating cream, then defining cream will be to heavy and leave you feeling greasy, on the flip side if you need a controlling cream this will not control your frizz. People who have larger curls or waves, medium to thick hair and frizz usually find this to be a good fit.

My favorite Defining Creams are the Matrix Air Dry Twisted Boho, the Redken Full Swirl Hair Cream Serum. The Redken product (pictured on the left)
is especially good for dry hair, as it has a cream and serum in the product that when you pump out combine.

Curl Controlling Cream

The last on the list is the curl controlling cream. Curl Controlling Creams are the heaviest and are ideal for people with fully formed curls as well as those with tighter or kinky curls. Control creams usually do not aid in bringing out curl and instead support the elastic nature of curl, while delivering serious hydration and heavy weight frizz control. If you feel like the curl cream you are using is weighting your curls down or making your hair feel greasy, it may be a control cream, while you need either a creating or defining cream.

My absolute favorite Curl Control Creams are DevaCurl's Super Cream Coconut Curl Styler (pictured on the right)Pureology Curl Complete Taming Butter as well as the It's a 10 Miracle Defrizzing Curl Cream. All three of these are insanely hydrating and smoothing.

Curling Mousse

I have such a love/hate relationship with mousse. On one hand I feel like the hold and definition you get with mousse is almost unparalleled, but I hate the crunchy and drying nature of mousse. Mousse is really a great option for anyone who doesn't have kinky curls, because it brings out curl but does tame frizz really well. It's even a popular pick for women with perms and those with hair textures from fine to thick and everywhere in between. I just hate the crunchy nature of it. But it doesn't ALWAYS have to be like that! I have two mousse options that I adore. Neither are crunchy or stiff at all, and one is even hydrating!

The Sebastian Whipped Creme is my #1. It acts like a traditional mousse but it soft and hydrating. It comes out fast and a little goes a long way, so be cautious! But outside of that it's a dynamite product I keep reaching for over and over again. I have yet to find a curly client that doesn't love this product (pictured on the left). The other one I love is the Joico Curl Defining Contouring Foam-Wax. This isn't your traditional mousse. Once again it comes in the form of a mousse with the foam like aerated texture. But it's not a traditional mousse, because it's a foam wax. So it has hold and creates curl like a mousse, but it has the hold of a wax, which means powerful anti-frizz power and a soft hold that isn't sticky or stiff. It's the perfect marriage.

Curl Gels

The last section is gel. Once again I have a hard time with the stuff nature that gel usually has, but it doesn't always have to be like that. Gels have powerful hold but they rarely bring out curl. Instead the are meant for intense control and anti-frizz power. Where a Control Cream fails a gel will succeed.

Deva Curl gels are in my opinion the standard here. They have three, all three are super light weight and crunch free. Most brands you choose your product based on your curl type but these are really based on your needs, because all three will work for all kinds of curl. The DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel has the highest amount of hold and can help your style to be extended overnight by a day or two. This one does have a tendency to get stiff in my opinion, but it never hits plastic-like as long as you don't use way to much product. The there is the DevaCurl Arc Angel Gel which is best for those with very dry hair. It has a higher hold, but is more lightweight in consistency and it hydrating. The last is the DevaCurl Light Defining Gel which has the lest hold. Hold doesn't mean anti-frizz power though. For example someone with kinky curls may opt for the light defining gel simply because they want to reduce frizz without the immovable strength of the ultra defining gel.

Did I miss a kind of product you are wanting me to talk about? What are your favorite curly hair products? Share your thoughts in the comments!