Friday, June 29, 2012

The Language of Hair Products - Still Chasing the Curl

So I recently got this email from Curls about their latest product Cashmere Curl Jelly. I have no problems with the Curls line as I use the clarifying shampoo and adore the Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream. What rubs me the wrong way is the misleading language, "Go From Kinks to Curls." It makes me think of a couple of things: that some naturals still have not fully accepted their hair texture/shape and are still chasing a certain "hair type" that they don't have, and the tricky language companies use to get you to buy products - Curls is obviously NOT the only company to do this and this isn't an attack on them what so ever.

If you don't have a certain kind of hair, a product will not magically make it appear. I think this product may define your curl/coils but if you don't have a certain curl pattern, this product will not make it appear. I have a variety of curl patterns and textures: the front being very fine with coily waves, the middle being tightly coiled and medium to fine strands and the back section having loose, medium curls. I don't expect this product to suddenly turn my coils into the loose curls I have in the back, but by looking at this ad, it seems like it could happen!

In any case, there are other reasons to try this product: the ingredients look good, and it probably will define the kind of hair you already have, and if you're into high-end, organic stylers, it could be for you. Heck, even I'm interested in buying it; the shampoos from this line have not failed me, so it might be time to give the stylers a go!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Natural Hair Routine

Thanks for those who voted in our poll about having a hair routine!

57% have one
28 % don't
14% are still trying to find one

I posted this question out of curiosity: I was having trouble with a set summer hair routine because I'm often not sure what to do with my hair, especially since this time around I have more hair then I have ever had to work with, which is both a blessing and problematic for me. I want to wear it loose all summer (as in no twists or braided styles), but there will be days of high humidity and stormy rain, bbqs, picnics, baby showers, and work-related events. I don't want to use a lot of product and I don't want to spend hours prepping and priming because frankly, I don't have time for that.

For the last couple of weeks I've been washing my hair up to 3 times a week, deep conditioning once a week, and using a combo of water/oil/gel or conditioner/oil as my leave in. Sometimes I set my hair with bantu-knots, most times I let my hair airdry in a bun or two braids, and my go-to styles have been pulling my hair back with a banana clip, or buns. I've been pretty busy with work, wedding planning, and a film project and this routine has been pretty low maintenance. My hair seems to be doing well. Now the issue I have is I actually want to do other things to my hair that are a bit more creative and interesting for the summer, but of course, time won't allow. I express myself through my appearance and since I can't indulge too much (because I have an "office" job) my hair is the main thing I have. I don't want to end up being the girl with long hair and a ponytail, it's just not me.

Anyway, here are the list of products I've been using which will probably be my summer staples:

Ouidad Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo
Herbal Essence Hello Hydration - Leave in
Aubrey Organics Glycogen Protein Balancing Conditioner - DC
Vatika Oil - Leave-in, seal
Eco Styler Gel - styler
Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel
Aveda Anti-Humectant Pomade - only a little for some of my hair

And here is today's second day hair, after going through my routine Monday night and throwing my hair into a couple of braids to dry in:

What are your summer routines?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Quick Post: It's Just Too Hot Today

When it's really hot out, it means my natural hair:

- Will not be in my face
- Will be pulled back
- Will be sealed with products meant to combat humidity
- Will not be styled eloborately
- Will not take more than 5 minutes to do in the mornings

There you have it, back to the pompadour and banana clip! I washed my hair last night, used vatika oil as my leave in and smoothed in a little Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidty Gel and tossed my hair into a couple of braids. This morning I fluffed them out and this was the result. How have you styled your hair on really hot days?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Product Review: Ouidad Climate Control

I realize I have only really talked about the products here in passing, like, oh yeah I used Ouidad to achieve this style and it was nice. I really wanted to use it thoroughly before I gave a full review, and since there's a heat wave among us (summer solstice is at 7:09pm tonight!) I think this is a good time as any to discuss the products since the line claims to beat humidity. I used three products from the Climate Control line: Defrizzing Shampoo, Defrizzing Conditioner, and The Heat & Humidity Gel

Shampoo: So I think I found another shampoo I really love and this will probably be my spring/summer staple. I talked about it in the first round of my "Battle of the Shampoos" post in early May (there will be another round soon) and it's been my main go-to since I got it. It has the right amount of moisture, my hair feels clean, and my curls feel silky; there's also some de-tangling power which is always good since the last thing I need is for my hair to mat or feel dry once I rinse it out. I use this shampoo on average twice a week and not a lot of it so I don't think I'll run out of it until the end of the summer.
Ingredients: Water, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Lauryl Glucoside, Cocamide DEA, Glycol Stearate, Polyquaternium-10, Glycerin, Polyquaternium-70, Dipropylene Glycol, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lauryl Laurate, Synthetic Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ceramide-2, PEI-10, Hydroxyethyl Behenamidopropyl Dimonium Chloride, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, PEG-40/PPG-8 Methylaminopropyl/Hydroxypropyl Dimethicone Copolymer, Polyquartenium-59, Butylene Glycol, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Chloride, Methylcholoisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone 

Conditioner: I alluded to how well the conditioner works in a recent Sunday Question when I talked about it's de-tangling power. It feels like a rich cream and definitely adds a great amount of moisture to my hair that stays when rinsed out. I started using it more like a deep conditioner and let it sit in my hair for 5 minutes or so with a shower cap while I'm in the shower and my hair feels amazing after. My only complaint is because I have so much hair, I need a nice size handful to apply to my hair and this conditioner is pricey; if I'm not careful, I could easily go through this bottle in less then a month, which is why I now use it on average once a week to deep condition.Will I purchase again? Yes, but it's a "special occasion" kind of product.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, PEG-40/PPG-8 Methylaminopropyl/Hydropropyl Dimethicone Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Polyquaternium-70,Wheat Amino Acids, Lauryl Laurate, Synthetic Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ceramide-2, PEI-10, Ceteareth-20, Hydroxyethyl Behenamidopropyl Dimonium Chloride, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Fragrance, Dipropylene Glycol, Panthenol,Polyquaternium-59, Butylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone 

Gel: It's taken me a bit to write about this because I didn't become sure of this product until maybe two weeks ago. The gel is more like a serum so it's not sticky or anything but I can't use it alone. It doesn't really do much for my hair even when using Ouidad's Rake and Shake technique. I've seen a few naturals who really like the product and it seems to be for those who have very fine hair and don't want their strands to be weighed down - all of my super fine hair is in the very front of my head (and the only part of my hair that does not hold curls very well since it's more wavy). So initially, I was unimpressed and annoyed that I spent so much money on a product I couldn't use, but I was determined to make it do something. Turns out as long as I use something underneath it the frizzies stay at bay and my hair is very moisturized. In my most recent experiment (last weekend) I sealed my wet hair with Vatika oil, then added the gel and did a bantu-knot out and my hair looked and felt amazing - I have decent "day 3" hair today. I've also mixed it with a little eco-styler gel and it played together just fine. I'm happy I have something to combat frizz but I'm not entirely sure I'd buy this again.
Ingredients: Water, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Lawsonia Inermis (Henna) Leaf Extract, Wheat Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/PVP Crosspolymer, Propylene Glycol, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Polyquaternium-28, Glycerin, PPG-26-Buteth-25, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PVP/DMAPA Acrylates Copolymer, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance. 

So, have any of you used Ouidad? Let us know!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Natural Hair Appreciation From other Cultures

I was walking down the street when I saw this Japanese cutie!!! It was about 3 weeks ago so unfortunately I don't remember her full name, just her nickname, Mimi. She didn't really speak much english so I didn't ask her much about her hair or regimen, but she did allow me to take some photos of her awesome hair. I'm going to assume she has a curly perm and did a braid out on hair that was maybe a little teased out... idk.. but i thought it looked super cool for trying to imitate naturally highly textured hair, especially coming from super straight asian hair. 

Funny thing is, I would say I'm semi-obsessed with Japanese culture, especially Harajuku culture when it comes to fashion, and I love the fact that there is an openly huge admiration for black culture and beauty in the Japanese culture (I say openly because we all know a lot of other cultures rob our cultures/swag and give us no credit). 
As we go to great lengths to achieve our straight, acceptable by society hair with relaxers and heated tools, it's really cool to see people who appreciate our hair enough to go to the same lengths to get our look. 

Origato! Namaste!

Sunday Question: Poll - Do You Have a Strict Hair Routine?

I'm actually leaving this as open-ended as possible today and invite you all to participate in our latest poll: Do you have a strict hair routine? Why or why not? Vote in our poll at the top of the page and let us know your thoughts!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Repost: Natural Alienation

There's no denying that the natural hair community in general is a very welcoming place. For many, it's the first time someone can feel accepted for who they are. I've been lurking on blogs for a while, and I  rarely comment because I can be painfully shy (both in person and online) and I've also witnessed people being down right attacked for innocent views like coloring or straightening their natural hair, or even debating who can call themselves natural or not. It annoys me as well, when certain people's experiences are "dismissed" because one group feels they aren't valid.

Sometimes I come across dialogue about how this group of naturals have it easier then others, usually decided by hair type or curl pattern ( the 3s and the 4s). I've even had someone say it to me in person, that I have "good hair" so I couldn't possibly understand what it's like to struggle with hair and it makes me feel dismissed from the natural hair conversation--and I didn't know I was playing in the oppression olympics -___- My experiences may not be the same as someone with a different texture, but I still came from a barrel of bad hair days, frustration, and disliking myself simply because I didn't know how to manage my hair. I had terrible self esteem and natural hair taught me acceptance of my whole self. So of course I'm dismayed when someone decides that I don't matter because my hair story doesn't align with a certain "natural hair journey" narrative that others have constructed.

And now onto my major pet-peeve: deciding on who can call themselves natural. I tend to ignore this debate and I'm not even sure it's that big around these parts but it's still something I come across every now and again and it's irritating. I was told some time ago that because I have my hair colored I'm not natural. That someone who still straightens their hair isn't natural. I've even heard that twist outs/braid outs and using henna means that you aren't truly embracing your texture and therefore shouldn't be considered natural. There's all this pressure to adhere to about people's individual hair choices as if there's a recipe you're supposed to follow which can lead to alienation of an entire community founded on embracing yourself.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Questions: Favorite Conditioner to De-Tangle With

Folks who are growing out their hair beware: de-tangling is quite the project. I was de-tangling my hair with Ouidad Climate Control Conditioner and not only did it take me about half an hour to do my whole head carefully, I used a couple of handfuls of an expensive conditioner. Don't get me wrong this conditioner works well for me, but I have a few cheaper alternatives I could've used like the Panetene Pro-V Dry to Moisturizing Conditioner among others. My favorite though is still Herbal Essence Hello Hydration. Tangles always seem to just melt away, it's cheap to buy, and easily accessible (although I don't have this on hand at the moment).

So YAIS readers, what is your favorite conditioner to de-tangle with? 

Have a Sunday question? Send us an email at!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Event Alert: Curlbox & Karen's Body Beautiful Meet and Greet

Attention NYC YAIS readers! An event hosted by Curlbox and Karen's Body Beautiful:

I won't be able to attend, but it looks like something you should check out. More information here.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Young and Natural: Shopping For Make-Up

I didn't become interested in make-up until my junior year of high school, and all I wanted was to doll up my eyes. There's nothing special about them; I've just always loved their shape, their dark color and my lashes. I started with using kohl and then experimenting with eye shadows in college. I began going to make-up counters at Macys, MAC and Sephora which I'll admit made me nervous because I've come across people who acted like my skin tone was too difficult to find products for (one of my sisters experiences this sometimes as well, we just have really reddish-brown skin *shrugs*) and I'd run to SP with questions; but eventually I became comfortable asking and found make-up artists who were very helpful. I'm by no means an expert on make-up, but I've been having fun searching for different products I want to use.

I read this article from Coco & Creme "5 Things You Should Know Before You Hit the Make-Up Counter" and I think it's very useful, especially for those who are dabbling with make-up like I still am. I used the suggestions in the article to make my recent purchase. Whenever I'm shopping for something at the make-up counter, I already know what I have in mind because I do a little research beforehand. For instance, when I went to Ulta I knew I wanted to try a powder, with light coverage and for "combination skin" - meaning it can be both oily and dry. I was starting to really notice how shiny my forehead and nose get (or T-Zone) and I had read a pressed powder would help and I also wanted my face to look more even and smooth. So I went to the counter and told the make-up artist about my concerns. The first thing she asked was what kind of skin I had and what kind of coverage I was looking for. We tried two different mineral powders and then I thought about much shinier my face might look in the heat and humidity this summer and since my face is relatively clear, I was interested in trying a matte mineral powder which led to my current purchase. I've been using BareMinerals Matte SPF15 Foundation for two weeks and so far I have no complaints (funny I've always been afraid of using foundation because I expected cakey, gross skin with use, but I stand corrected) Last summer it was all about tinted moisturizer and I think the powder will be a nice change for this one.

These days I'm also experimenting with blush and lip colors. I use a pink blush from ELF purchased last summer, but I'm ready for something more high end - I tend to experiment freely with low end stuff first before I give up my money. I've been eyeing NARS for both lip and cheek:

So here's my intro to some beauty posts. I'll be sharing more of my newbie make-up shopping adventures and reviews soon. Tell me, what are some of your favorite make up brands?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stretching Your Hair Without Direct Heat

A lot of us who are natural and have very curly/coily hair have to deal with the single-strand knots, shrinkage, tangles, frizz, and even matting. It comes with the territory of having textured tresses. We can minimize tangles, knots and shrinkage by way of "stretching" our hair out.Check the links for some of our favorite ways to stretch out our hair:
Twist outs
Braid Outs
Bantu knots

Before stretching your hair, be sure to de-tangle well. Whether it's with a wide-tooth comb, denman brush, or your fingers be sure to start from bottom to top with water and/or a conditioner.

What's your favorite way to stretch your curls/coils? Let us know!

EDIT: I forgot about a big one: BANDING ! SP has used it quite a few times for her TWA. Have any of you tried?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Vacation Wash-and-Go: Virginia Beach Edition

Good morning YAIS readers!

I'm back in NYC after relaxing for a bit in VA Beach for my birthday. Even though I'm a little sunburned and sore from attempting to ride strong waves, I had a great time. It was quite an adventure and I have to say, every time I go South I'm reminded how much of a "Northerner" I am. I'm actually a very polite person but whenever I talk to people down south they are so surprised to learn I'm from New York City because of how "polite" and "talkative" I can be to strangers which is always hilarious.

Now for hair: I did wash-and-gos which I figured was the easiest way to handle my hair in heat and humidity. I packed TreSemme Naturals Conditioner, Ouidad Climate Control Shampoo and Conditioner, and bummed Coconut Oil and Eco Styler gel off my sister.

I washed my hair and used TreSemme as my leave-in and then shook my head to get definition of my coils/curls, a trick SP showed me a while ago that works pretty well. It's funny to describe - I just shook my head like a dog to get definition lol.

Defined curls after shaking my hair
At the beach, I kept my hat on unless I was going into the water. Of course my hair shrunk like crazy (you could never tell I'm like a quarter-inch from bra-strap length) but after I was done in the water I would braid my hair down and put my hat on. I used gel in the evenings when going out because I wore my hair slicked back.

Also, I loved seeing naturals at the beach!  It was so freeing to just hop in the water and not worry about hair and I saw it on their faces too - pure enjoyment of shaking their TWAs or wringing out their curls. I will say my hair was really tangled after 4 days of wash and gos and I had some knots - it took me half-an-hour just to detangle when I got home, and the salt water was starting to dull and dry out my hair but I see myself rocking freely shrunken hair maybe once a week this summer. I know I probably won't get to the beach again until next month after my wedding but at least I know what works for my hair now!