I read, I write, I watch movies, I work out, I cook, but I also buy stuff. Here is some stuff I have bought and enjoy using. No one asked me to do this post and I’m not receiving any money for doing it.
Things discussed in this post:
- Hair style and texture history, including dreads
- Hair color history
- Products I am currently using
- Products I have used and didn’t work so well
My best friend introduced me to the Curly Girl lifestyle/method/cult in February of 2015 and I’ve never looked back. My flat-iron collects dust under my bathroom sink, and I gave up using ‘straightening’ hair products. I don’t know what Battleship designation my hair is (2C? 3A?) but it is sort of thick but fine, and it sometimes goes in S-curls, sometimes in spirals. It just depends on the weather and what I’ve been doing to it.
Either way, I started out hating what grew out of my head because my Mom reviled curly hair and prized long, stick-straight hair. Everything I did was criticized, so I just did my best to make peace with what I had. I tried a lot of different things: long, short, punky, and for eight years I dyed it black. Then I bleached the black out so I could do dreadlocks.
When I got rid of my dreads, I sat down with a huge tub of cholesterol and combed them out. It took me 40 hours of combing, and I had to cut the majority of the ends off because they were so damaged. I don’t know if I’ll ever do them again – I didn’t realize at the time what a politically-charged hairstyle they are. I never had someone get in my face about them, and in fact got a lot of compliments from a wide range of people, but I recognize the controversy now.
I dyed my hair red for a while after the dreads. Then I got paranoid about chemicals in dye and hair products, so I let my natural color grow out. Unfortunately, my natural color is incredibly boring – it’s a sort of… very dark ash blonde. Yawn. Add to that the amount of gray in it and it looks like dishwater.
Inspired by Eva Green’s character in Penny Dreadful (and the fact that Eva has been dyeing her hair black since she was 15) I wanted to go dark again. I am still afraid of chemicals though, so I decided to try henna. Yes, the Lush hennas are named ‘shit,’ for reasons discussed below.
The hennas worked okay. I tried Caca Marron first and the experience was everything that Youtube tutorials said it would be:
- You have to mix up the product with hot water until it has the consistency of brownie batter.
- You must use plastic tools because metal will affect the dye.
- You have to deal with the smell, which is that of a hot barnyard.
- You have to smear it on your head, getting every strand, and sit with it like that for three hours, fearing that you have left a henna snail-trail throughout your house.
- You must rinse forever in the shower to get it out.
- You must wash your tub/shower after, because there is residue.
All of this is true.
However, the cocoa butters and whatnot left my hair super soft, shiny, and healthy, and a nice chestnut color. The color change wasn’t as dramatic as I had hoped, but it was still nice to have a bit of tint to my hair again. Plus, no grays!
Lately I have switched up to Caca Noir, which claims to make your hair blue-black but hasn’t, in my experience. It’s possible I’m not mixing it right or missing some other step, but I did find that leaving it open to the air caused the hair to darken. Heat brings out the henna’s red highlights, air brings out the darker color. So that’s worth knowing. And my hair has a nice rich color to it – dark red on the upper layers, more chocolate underneath. Maybe it’s not wet enough or something.
Washing my hair the last two years has been a fascinating journey of personal discoveries. Exactly how long can I go without washing it, in order to train it to not need to be washed, before the itching drives me mad? How filthy can my hair get before a friend approaches, concerned for my personal well-being, and I have to explain my complex hair-washing schedule and sound increasingly insane? Is the ph-level of my water responsible for the failure of my Water-Only Washing experiment? Why does everything have cetearyl alcohol in it? Why doesn’t OGX work for me, despite their tempting aromas?
I’ve tried a LOT of shit in the last two years, too.
For a year or so I was on a Chagrin Valley/ Apple Cider Vinegar rinse kick, and I basically just ignored what was happening on the top of my head because my hair felt like straw. I didn’t care, their stuff was affordable, smelled amazing, and was all-natural. Maybe my ACV rinse ratio was off and that was drying my hair out. Whatever the reason, their shampoo bars didn’t work for me.
On the other hand, their soaps are AMAZING. I highly recommend them, especially because you can get good-sized samples for not much money. SUPER natural products, affordable prices, and great customer service. And the samples are fun to share with friends and family, too.
Nowadays, I use this on my hair:
It smells AMAZING and doesn’t have pthalates, parabens, or other weird stuff in it. The shampoo doesn’t lather much, but that’s okay because it leaves my hair feeling moisturized. The conditioner has a nice slip, too. I like this stuff so much I’m thinking about trying the Shea Moisture brand of hair dyes. The only downside – I broke the pump on the conditioner bottle with my stupid Hulk Hands so I have to take the top off and carefully squeeze out the right amount when I’m washing.
I wash twice a week, which is a lot for some people but not enough for others. However, it’s just right for me. I would do it less, but going go the gym gets me super sweaty, and ti’s very noticeable after a few days. But that’s me, other people can not wash their hair for weeks and not smell. I envy them.
For washing the rest of me, I use this:
I absolutely love this stuff, enough that I make it a regular purchase off Amazon. You get it in the mail and the smell is so rich and powerful it knocks your socks off before you’ve opened the package! It smells most of all like shea butter, but also there’s some… well I can’t even identify it. Must be some kind of essential oils or something. The description says lemon and lime, and I guess the lime could be what’s so strong. But it’s just the best.
I use it on my body and face. At night, I take off my makeup with coconut oil and wash my face with this soap. This stuff has gotten rid of my blackheads, reduced some scars, shrank my pores, and healed up a weird dry patch I get on my ankle. I get compliments on my skin all the time, and this right here is the reason why. If it could do my taxes and change the cat litter, I would marry it.
Downside – it’s super hard to hold in the shower, because it’s wicked slippery and round. And once it gets a little water in it, it gets very soft and mushy. This wouldn’t be a problem except I take some with me to the gym and I have to keep it in a ziploc bag, and it looks like I’m carrying a biological specimen into the shower with me. Or worse, coming OUT of the shower with one. But the great fragrance keeps my gym bag from smelling like butt so that’s another plus.
Other stuff I’ve tried:
- J.R. Leggett’s Jojoba and Peppermint Shampoo bars – This worked very well for me before I started coloring my hair again. Great for curly hair, and I recommend it. The only reason I don’t keep using it is because I have to get it online and it’s easier for me to get my Shea Moisture stuff locally.
- As I Am Naturally Coconut Cowash – I think I stopped using this because I didn’t realize you were still supposed to wash your hair. I liked it, and the smell is spectacular, but my hair got super oily because I never washed it except with this. I would recommend it, but I didn’t want to spend 12 bucks and then more on shampoo, AND try to keep track of a wash schedule.
- Renpure Cleansing Conditioner in Rosemary/Mint – This dried my hair out. I thought maybe it took time to work, but after threw weeks my hair wasn’t in great shape. Probably works for other people, just didn’t work for me.
I realize it seems like I spend a lot of time fiddling with my hair and skin, but I really don’t. I don’t do Joan Crawford ice face-baths, don’t microdermabrasion myself (is that the right term?), I don’t use those special skin brushes or do face masks much or lay around with cucumber slices on my eyes. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things– perish the thought! Self-care looks different for everyone, and it’s important to find what works for you and what you feel comfortable with. Also what’s in your price range – I can’t afford to do fancy stuff, so I find little things to help me relax.
So that is the fluff post I have been working on! I hope you enjoyed it and that you learned something helpful or interesting from this post.
*Note: I found a lot of products in this post by watching Youtube tutorials and reviews. There is a wealth of information to be found out there, so check them out!