Monday, August 16, 2010

Naps, Caps and Product Caps - My Favorite CHEAP Products!

It never fails...whenever I go out, at least one person asks what products I use on my hair. And they are always surprised with my answer, because most of the time it's something cheap. Now I use a LOT of different products on my hair, and all of them are not cheap...but I have noticed they both work equally as well in different ways. So I decided to compile a list of my favorite cheap hair products.

There are 2 great thing about this list: these are products that I absolutely LOVE and vouch for and they are all under $10!!!

First up...Conditioners! My long-time favorite conditioner Loreal Nature's Therapy Mega Moisture Nurturing Creme. 8 oz container - $6.99

When I use this conditioner, my hair feels like I just poured hot, melted butter all over it! Hy hair instantly softens as soon as the conditioner hits my hair. It almost detangles itself. And once it's dry, it still feels soft. And looks great! No matter how you style your hair, this conditioner is a great step in your regimen.

My next favorite is Yes To Cucumbers. The great thing about this one is at regular price, it's about $10. But if you have Ross store near you, you can snag it for $3.99!

This conditioner makes my hair smell fresh and clean, instantly detangles and softens, and is eco-friendly! It's made with 99% all-natural ingredients. It's very light, and I have to discipline myself not to use too much, because a little goes a long way. I won a bottle of this from one my favorite blog's give-away and fell in love with it!

Next up are my fave cheapie Leave-In Conditioners. The one I use right now is Garnier Fructis Leave-In Conditioning Creme Sleek and Shine. The most expensive I've seen it is $4.

When I use this, it's a part of a hair cocktail (I'll be discussing the other part of the cocktail further down) and I love it. I use it when I wash and go, and it makes my curls soft and springy. It absorbs without leaving my hair greasy or gunky. But it maintains moisture pretty well; I usually re-apply after a couple of days.

I also like Motions Nourish Leave-In Conditioner. It costs about $4.

I love that this is a spray - it gives me versatility to use outside of just washing my hair, like at the beach or anytime I feel like my hair and scalp is dry. I spray it on before I style, and I feel like it puts a protective slip on my curls. Also good for hydrating in between washing and co-washing.

Now for my favorite cheapie styling products. I'll start with the other half of my hair cocktail, Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Anti-Frizz Polisher. It $7.99 in mostly places, but at the variety store up the block, it's $5.99!

I love to use this on humid days, because it really combats the frizz as the label promises! I mix this with a conditioner (my hair cocktail), and it makes a perfect styling glaze for my curls. And it only takes a little, so it lasts a long time. It gives gloss and soft control. My hair loves it.

This is probably the cheapest of my cheapie faves, but I always keep a jar of Ampro Pro Styl Protein Styling Gel. You can find this as cheap as $0.99!

This is the last step of my wash and go styling ritual. I use it first to tame the fly-aways around my hairline and to keep my curls from falling too far forward on my face. Then I evenly disperse on my damp curls, a moderate amount. I like that it helps define my curls with a little hold without making my hair hard or crunchy.

Next fave styling product is Soft and Beautiful Botanicals Light Creme Moisturizer. A 6 oz tube is about $5.

I use this as an everyday moisturizer. It's a happy medium between too heavy and too light. I re-wet my curls just a little, and slap some of this stuff on it. It looks like a fresh wash and go! My hair is soft and the curls are well defined. And it smells delicious!

And last but not least, my go-to styling aid that never lets me down, Smooth and Shine Curl Activator Gel for Extra Dry Hair. The 10.5 oz container is $3.99.

This is my Curly Pudding/Kinky Curling Custard/Curls Milkshake wannabe styling product! On my damp and well-conditioned hair, this is a GREAT styling product. It dries my hair to shiny, soft, hydrated and well-defined curls. It smells great, and it lasts for a few days (which for us wash and go girls is good news!) My hair can still move when it dries. I recommend this to all first-time wash and go curl stylers!

So that's the list of my all-time favorite cheapie natural hair products. I'll be compiling another list soon of my favorite higher end products as well. But these serve my hair quite nicely when I'm pinching pennies. I hope this helps you too - feel free to leave a comment and add to the list!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Black Girl Think Tank - Recovering Yes Woman

I am a recovering Yes training. This post is inspired by an article I recently re-read in the February 2004 issue of Essence called "Learning To Say No" by Pearl Cleage (who just happens to be one of my favorite author/playwrights).

I love to say yes. It makes me feel good to be able to help others, give people what they want, what they need. But when I get stuck doing something that only benefits the other party involved, I'm left with that feeling. You know the one. The same feeling I get when I pay to see a bad movie. Feeling like I lost some valuable time in my life that I can never get back. Now I'm not saying we should all become the Wicked Bi*ch of the West hitting everybody with the booming "(Hell) NO". But at some point in your adult life, you have to start putting yourself first. And when you say "yes" to something you don't want to do, for whatever reason, you're prioritizing yourself second, at best. Enough of that, and you'll wake up one day wondering where you went and when you became so bitter. I'll tell you why. The time you give to everybody else is not, in fact, extra time. You'll begin to realize that the time you have to do the things YOU want to do is disappearing. This can be frustrating. Because who you are now has become who THEY (the askers) want you to be, and who you want to be seems to be moving farther and farther away. Your life isn't yours anymore, and you feel like you're losing control.

In order to reclaim her life, Pearl Cleage came up with six important questions you should ask yourself when someone asks you a question that requires a yes or no answer:

1. What am I being asked to do?
2. Who is making the request?
3. Who will benefit from this activity?
4. What do I want to do?
5. What will happen if I say no?
6. What will happen if I say yes?

She acknowledges the fact that #4 is the hardest to deal with, and I agree; it's difficult when you've become accustomed to being of service to everyone and feeling guilty if you don't. I tried this, and I can honestly say I was amazed at how many things I got done that benefited ME when I was able to say no. I could feel myself slowly taking control over my life again. Now I try my best to refrain from giving away important chunks of my life. You can adapt these six questions to almost anything, even something as simple as deciding whether or not to answer your phone. You have that right. And I promise, it won't make you the Bad Guy...just the Self-Assured Guy that's well on your way to happiness and a new sense of self-worth. Learning to say no is a process that definitely won't happen overnight. But to commit to it is imperative because when you do, the most important person to you will finally be YOU.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Naps, Mishaps and Product Caps - Cinnamon Lightening

So as I was perusing natural hair blogs, I came across the blog of my good friend L. Michelle's blog. I read that one of her followers My Natural Me "lightens" her hair with cinnamon. I love dying my hair, but it is quite expensive to get it done professionally. Plus the harsh chemicals that are cheaper dry my already parched curls out. So I decided the Google this cinnamon-coloring thing. I found a how-to on it, and I tried it this past weekend. Below is a before pic:

First I mixed the cinnamon with one of my V-05 conditioners.

Once I got it nice and smooth, I applied it to my hair. I covered every inch!

Then after I applied it, I covered it with a shower cap and left it in for 5 1/2 hours.     

 FINAL REVIEW: It did not work AT ALL. My hair looked exactly the same as it did before the treatment. It didn't even look lighter in the sun! Maybe my hair is too coarse and thick to take to the treatment, because as you can see, I applied A LOT of cinnamon paste to my hair!

See? Still dark! The bright side is that cinnamon is said to have other great properties. It is said to prevent hair breakage and reduce hair loss. So I ended up with supposedly stronger, cinnamon-y hair (my hair STILL smells like a sweet potato pie)! But no lightening. So don't waste your good cinnamon on this one.