Vendor Alert | Beauty By Zara

Do you remember my favourite leave-in conditioner? The one I loved more than any other?

Yeah that one…Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion

You may also remember that I had to say goodbye to it because Curl Emporium the only UK supplier were no longer selling it?? Well this is why one should never give up hope coz I’ve found a new supplier!!! Beauty by Zara is my new product hot spot.

Originally started as Zara Hair & Cosmetics store in Walworth Road, South London, they now have a Beauty by Zara store in Grays, Essex as well as the online store, beautybyzara.com. These people are seriously well connected. They have all of the natural staples such as Shea Moisture, Bee Mine and Jane Carter Solution, but then they’ve got some right old corkers such as As I Am, Entwine Naturalle Couture and DevaCurl. I’m really struggling to contain my inner product junkie, it’s like an alcoholic discovering a swanky new bar with all their favourite drinks has opened up next door!!

Replacing Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion with Keracare Natural Textures Leave-in Conditioner

I always dread the moment when a favourite and much loved product is suddenly discontinued or reformulated. It’s like losing a good friend. Well I recently lost one of my besties, otherwise known as Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion. This has been my go to leave-in conditioner for the past year and half. It has the most incredible slip and does a fantastic job of moisturising and softening my hair. I especially love layering it under styling products as it reduces crunch and stiffness. A while ago, Curl Emporium who were the main UK distributor of Curl Junkie announced they would no longer stock the brand. My heart sank, so I promptly bought a couple of bottles and stuck my head in the sand like the good ole ostrich I am. Of course I knew that my little stash would eventually run out and I’d have to go in search of a replacement, but I was still in mourning darn it!

Well as you probably guessed, my last bottle ran out a couple of weeks ago and I finally had to pull my head out and get looking. I had very specific requirements for this new bestie. Firstly it needed to be freely and easily available in the UK, there was no way I was going through this palaver again. Secondly it needed to be affordable. At £15.95 for 340ml, Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion was fairly pricey, but because it worked so well, I’d grit my teeth and buy it. Well no more gritting, it was time to give my wallet a break. Lastly it needed to give the same or similar results as the Smoothing Lotion. After some research, I finally came across a product that looked like it might fit the bill…enter Keracare Natural Textures Leave-in Conditioner. I’d never tried the Keracare Natural Textures range but having used the brand when relaxed, I knew it to be a high quality range of products. So I bought me a bottle and I’m back in love! Here’s a break down of how the two products compare.

Ingredients
I’m always going to lean towards a product which contains the least amount of cosmeceutical ingredients and on that front, the Smoothing Lotion wins hands down. To be fair to the Natural Textures Leave-in, the product is chocked full of natural oils and extracts and the inclusion of Ayurvedic etxracts such as amla and shikakai are a plus.

Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Vegetable Glycerin, Slippery Elm Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Panthenol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance.

Keracare Natural Textures Leave-in Conditioner: Aqua/Water/EAU, Cetyl Alcohol, Phyllanthus Emblica (Amla) Extract, Acacia Concinna (Shikakai) Fruit Extract, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Phytosterols, Betaine, Citric Acid, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Cemellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Propylene Glycol, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Stalk Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Dimethyl Stearamine, Fragrance/Parfum, Benzyl Benzoate, Limonene, Linalool, Alpha Isomethyl Ionone.

Price
Natural Textures Leave-in can be purchased for as little as £5.75 (inc delivery) for a 240ml bottle compared to the £20 (inc delivery) I’d pay each time I ordered a 340ml bottle from Curl Emporium. You do the math!

Availability
Once again, Natural Textures Leave-in comes up trumps, I can get it from most beauty supply stores and a plethora of online retailers. Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion is now like gold dust in the UK unless you order it from a US based retailer and pay the associated shipping and customs costs.

Consistency
Both are actually very similar in consistency, with the Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion being an off pink colour with a sweet candy like smell. They are both light, with a creamy lotion feel to them. They spread quite well though the Smoothing Lotion used to sometimes cause problems when mixed with some of my stylers; the consistency would change into a cottage cheese type look and feel.

Slip
This is where the Smoothing Lotion shone; the slip on this product is AMAZING! Detangling post wash was always a breeze. I’ve always attributed its exceptional powers of slip to the inclusion of Slippery Elm extract in its formula. The Natural Textures Leave-in has a ton of cosmeceutical conditioners which do give the product a goodly amount of slip however it just doesn’t pack the same punch as the Smoothing Lotion.

Moisture/Softness
Both products give me great softness, like candy floss softness. My husband always had his hands in my hair on wash day in my Smoothing Lotion days and he still does! What I really liked about the Smoothing Lotion was that it kept my hair feeling moisturised for several days and I have to say the Natural Textures Leave-in does equally a good job.

Dry Scalp Alert | Denman Be-Bop Shampoo Massage Brush

Lately my Seborrheic Dermatitis has flared up in really big way and for various reasons the Shea Goodness Growth Support Serum is not up to the task of dealing with it. I’ve been experiencing some seriously dry, flaky and itchy scalp. I mean the kind that turns white even after a good wash. This means that by wash day there is a fairly thick build-up of dead skin and flakes which can be difficult to remove. Just as I was coming to the end of my tether I found a solution. Whilst hunting through the recesses of my product drawers, I bumped into my Denman Be-Bop Shampoo Massage Brush and had a total eureka moment. This bad boy has made all the difference during my wash days and is just about the only thing that can get my scalp clean. Here’s how I use it.

  1. I secure my hair into 4-8 sections depending on how tangled it is or how lazy I’m feeling. I then start by rinsing through each section thoroughly whilst massaging my scalp with the flat of my fingers. I do this to help soften the dead skin and start the process of lifting away debris from the scalp.
  2. Next I take a section and apply a small amount of shampoo to the SCALP only and once again massage gently with the flat of my fingers (no nails, I know it’s tempting).
  3. Once I have a good lather going, I bring the scalp massager into play. Using small circular motions, I gently run the massager through the scalp in each section making sure to go over the area at least twice. I then rinse thoroughly.
  4. Finally I apply shampoo again, this time concentrating on the mid length and ends of my hair to remove debris that might be trapped. I do a final rinse through to make sure there’s no residue or shampoo left in my hair or on my scalp.

This has been working wonders for me, but as you can imagine, its pretty time consuming so I can only really do it every 7-10 days. To be honest doing it any more frequently could actually irritate my scalp so this works quite well. If you suffer from dandruff or other dry scalp conditions, you might want to give it a try, you can pick one up as cheap as £2.75 from HQHair.

 

An Ode to As I am Cleansing Pudding

As I am Cleansing Pudding, how I love thee….let me count the ways

1.  The way you cleanse and moisturise at the same time. My hair is left feeling really clean yet soft and smooth.

2.  Your thick sulphate free consistency which makes application easy and quite frankly fun.

3.  The slip…nuff said!!

4.  Your smell, like a coconutty tropical paradise….I could eat you (but I won’t coz that would be just ewwwww)

5.  The way you pack a punch – a little really does go a long way

6.  The way you make my curls POP!!

7.  The way you lather yet don’t, it’s weird but wonderful.

8.  The fact that you are the ONLY thing currently able to keep my SD flare-ups in check. Without you I would be in dry and itchy scalp hell!!

9.  The way you get along so well with Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm. You truly are a moisture match made in heaven.

10. That you’re widely available in the UK

These Are a Few of My Favourite Things

I’m back, apologies for being away in the first place but I’ve had A LOT going on recently. I figured I’d ease back into blogging with a quick run down of my favourite hair related items over the last 2 months.

Felicia Leatherwood Curl Detangler Brush

Designed by stylist to the stars, Felicia Leatherwood; this brush has transformed my detangling routine. It glides through my hair like butter and is super easy to clean, you can get one from Gidore.

Hairveda CoCasta Shikakai Oil

Infused with some brilliant Ayurvedic herbs like Neem and Shikakai, this Castor oil based treatment makes a great sealing oil or hot oil treatment. As a bonus, it smells like candy floss!!

Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm

This has officially become my holy grail conditioner It works well as either an instant conditioner or a more pentrating deep conditioner. It leaves my hair feeling super soft, super strong and it makes my curls clump and pop like nothing else!! Joico products are available from many online retailers.

Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo

A cracking shampoo chocked full of natural extracts, sulphate free and smells like peaches – what more could I ask for? Oh yeah, it leaves my hair feeling like silk! You can purchase this product from Beautiful Roots.

Silk Pillowcase

Speaking of silk, my pillowcase has totally transformed my bedtime routine. No more struggling with a satin bonnet or scarf or frantically searching for the darn thing in the middle of the night. I now pineapple my do and simply go to sleep…love it!!! I got mine from eBay.

Re-discovering The Joy that is Joico

Since going natural I’ve been experiencing some of the products and brands I loved as a relaxed hair in a whole new way. Some of these experiences have been great and others not so good. A case of the former is Joico. When I was relaxed, my go to soft protein treatment was Joico K-Pak Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor and the Moisture Recovery Leave-in Moisturizer was also a main staple product, my hair loved them both! Another favourite was the Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm, which I discarded quite early on in my journey…most likely when my product junkisim kicked in.
Recently I have been reigniting my love for Joico products, starting with the Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm. I honestly don’t know why I ever stopped using this product, it’s amazing. The texture is REALLY thick, almost like Vaseline but it applies really easily. My hair literally sighs in pleasure when it comes into contact with this product. I get MAJOR softness, serious curl definition and most importantly, it lasts even after my hair has dried. As a consequence, my wash n go styles of late have just been epic!!

So the moral of the story is this…product junkisim is BAD!! But seriously, I challenge you to delve through your stash of unused, neglected and forgotten products; you may just discover an old friend ready to get reacquainted with you.

Curl Harmony | Intensive Repair Deep Conditioner

 

“Conditioning doesn’t get any better than this. Curl Harmony Intensive Repair Deep Conditioner is a luxurious, deep treatment that strengthens and moisturises. This ultra concentrated, super thick formula is essential for curls damaged by heat styling, colouring or relaxers. Enriched with Shea Butter, Coconut Butter and Jojoba Oil. Perfect for reviving damaged, dull or dry hair. For all curl types”

INGREDIENTS:

Aqua, Behentrimonium Methosulphate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Butter), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter), Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Hydrolysed Wheat protein, Cetyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Glycerine, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Lactic Acid, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool

CONSISTENCY/EASE OF APPLICATION

Thick, thick and did I mention thick? This stuff looks like body butter, when I first opened it I was super sceptical. It applies very easily and smoothly surprisingly enough and is also absorbed very quickly. It leaves no residue at all nor is it greasy or overly oily.

PROTEIN vs MOISTURE:

I feel it’s more moisturising despite its claims, there is a little bit of protein in the form of Hydrolysed Wheat but it’s fairly low down in the ingredients list. The main power houses in this product are the conditioning ingredients and butters.

SOFTNESS FACTOR:

Very high but with a caveat. My natural hair was totally worshipping at its feet but my relaxed ends were like…whatever dude. The key test of softness for me is if my hair still feels soft after drying, particularly my dry thirsty natural roots. This product delivers on this front, my hair was very soft and easy to manage after both air-drying and blow-drying.

SLIP FACTOR:

Medium, this isn’t an overly slippery product, it’s far too creamy. However I was perfectly able to detangle my hair after applying it which is the main thing really.

LONGEVITY:

The results I got from using this conditioner lasted a couple of days before I felt that I desperately needed to moisturise my hair.

SCALP FACTOR:

No issues here

SUMMARY:

I like this product a lot, it’s become my go to product when I’m doing my ‘Ultimate Braid-out’. It comes in a decent size and since a little goes a long way, is pretty good value for money. Whilst I don’t find it particularly strengthening it’s definitely luxurious, moisturising and ‘ultra concentrated’. I only have two bug bears, the first is the smell, it’s very weird. Whilst it’s not overwhelmingly strong; it’ smells floral to me and my nose no likey. I know it’s an essential oil of some sort but I haven’t been able to work out which one. I am able to overlook this though because the product works so well and the smell doesn’t actually linger. The second issue is that to really get any worth out of using it you have to leave it on for the prescribed 10 minutes or more and sometimes, this girls needs a quick wash and go you know?

The Intensive Repair Deep Conditioner can be purchased at Beauty By Zara.

Product Corner | As I Am Hydration Elation

“Scheduled maintenance with this deep-down hydrating and fortifying treatment is a must for strong, shiny, soft, springy coils and curls. This rich penetrating conditioner is an exceptional composition of extracts of coconut, sugar cane, green tea, apple and lemon, shea butter, vitamin E and proven hair fortifiers.”

CLAIMS:

· Moisturizes deep within the hair shaft

· Smooths and aligns cuticle layer

· Strengthens weak areas and repairs split ends

· Promotes shine

· Infused with pure herbal ingredients that stimulate the scalp and hair roots

· Helps promote healthy hair growth from the follicular level

· Enhances manageability and overall hair health

INGREDIENTS:

Aqueous (Water, Aqua Purificada, Purified) Extracts: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) and Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine)¹, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil², Coco-Caprylate², Quaternium-91, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Esters, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin¹, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Phytosterols¹, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract¹ (Green Tea), Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract¹, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract¹, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Stalk Extract¹, Fragrance/Parfum, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glucose, Lactoperoxidase, Glucose Oxidase, Abies Balsamea (Balsam Canada) Extract¹, Limonene

CONSISTENCY/EASE OF APPLICATION

It has very thick custard like consistency and is light pink in colour which threw me off at first (I hate pink). It applies easily and is absorbed very quickly. You can feel the softening effects of it straight away. This product also smells like a tropical dream.

Creamy goodness!
PROTEIN vs MOISTURE:

Moisture all the way. This is a deeply hydrating conditioner.

SOFTNESS FACTOR:

Almost as good My Kerastaste Nutri-Thermique Masque. The reason why I say almost is that my natural roots seem to like this product far more than my relaxed ends. It leaves my new growth super soft and manageable even when dry.

SLIP FACTOR:

Medium I’d say. Because the product is so thick and creamy the slip isn’t very high or obvious. Some with thicker, dryer hair may need to use some sort of detangler in conjunction with this product. I however have no problems detangling under the running shower with a wide-tooth after applying it.

LONGEVITY:

It left my hair feeling soft for days. What I love most about this product is that the results are the same however I use it. I can use it as a quick 5 min conditioner and get the same results as if I’d done a 20 min deep condition session with heat!

SCALP FACTOR:

My scalp is very happy with this product and I’ve had no flare ups due to using it.

SUMMARY:

As I am appears to be a particularly well thought out range and there’s something for everyone within the range. The quality of ingredients is really high with good use of natural ingredients. This conditioner has now replaced my ORS + Roux combo as a back-up conditioner, it just works much better. The only issue for me is that it’s not as moisturizing on my relaxed ends but that’s only an issue because I’m transitioning. I have a feeling that it will become my main conditioner once I’m fully natural.

Product Corner | As I Am Cleansing Pudding

“A rich sulfate-free creamy moisturizing beauty bath for your hair! Contains a special blend of natural ingredients, including saw palmetto and phytosterols that helps to eliminate DHT build-up from the scalp, and promote healthy hair growth from the follicular level.”

Claims:

· Cleanses hair of residue and product build-up

· Moisturizes as it cleanses

· Rids scalp of excess sebum, environmental impurities and shedding scalp debris

· Provides a soothing scalp treatment

· Helps promote a healthy environment for hair growth

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Cocoamphopropionate, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Behentrimonium Chloride, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Erythorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Phytosterols, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Powder, Piroctone Olamine, Cetrimonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance/Parfum (Limonene), Potassium Sorbate

Consistency/ease of application: This product has a thick and sticky but creamy consistency. I was dubious about how easy it would be to apply but it went on beautifully and lathered very well. It has a beautiful coconut smell.

consistency

Squeak/Slip Factor: The slip factor in the product is phenomenal but exceedingly odd! The directions actually suggest detangling after applying this product. I’ve never detangling with shampoo in my hair before but with this product I did, very successfully.

Clean Factor: I’ve never used a cleansing product which also seemed to condition so well at the same time. Unlike co-washing where my hair feels more moisturized than clean, this product manages to leave my hair feeling clean like it’s been shampooed but soft like it’s been conditioned. It’s uncanny. It does a fantastic job of clearing away dirt and debris without stripping the hair.

lather

Softness Factor: For a cleansing product, very high.

Scalp factor: My scalp loves this product, it’s very soothing.

Summary: The Cleansing Pudding has been added to my regular product rotation for midweek co-washes…nuff said!

New Product Alert | Curls Unleashed

“Embrace what nature got right and unleash your freedom to flaunt your natural tresses with incredible style and confidence, all in the name of health and beauty. Curls Unleashed™ is a full line of products to help prep, style and maintain your natural curls. Made especially for naturalistas, our products do not contain sulfates, mineral oil or SD alcohol. Curls Unleashed™ products and are made with natural ingredients like safflower oil, sweet almond oil, and shea butter to help deliver the moisture and curl definition your natural curls crave but without the crunch or flakes.”

With ‘curly’ hair product ranges spring up all over the place, natural head have never been so spoiled for choice. The latest range to hit the market is Curls Unleashed from Organic Root Stimulator. I love ORS, not just because they came up with the Replenishing Conditioner which is amazing, but also because they are so affordable. It’s rare to find such high quality and natural products at drug store prices.

Curls Unleashed is a fairly comprehensive range including your usual shampoo, conditioner and leave-in and various styling products. The products come with a curl type recommendation (wavy, curly or kinky) so you can pick the right products for your hair.

Lavish in Lather™ Shampoo is the ultimate shampoo experience as your hair is gently cleansed, moisturized and detangles with lemon balm, rosemary and hops. This product does not strip the hair of its natural oils and is gentle enough to use daily. For Wavy/Curly/Kinky hair types

No Restrictions™ Moisturizing Conditioner is great to use for added moisture. This product is also great for transitioning, “co-washing,” detangling and conditioning. This product provides the conditioning your hair needs and deserves to maintain healthy looking hair. For Curly/ Kinky hair

With Vitamin E, moisturizing Shea Butter, Coconut Oil and Olive Oil, No Boundaries™ Leave-In Conditioner moisturizes, detangles, defines and conditions your curls. For Wavy/Curly/Kinky hair types

Take Command™ Curl Crème helps shine, define and moisturize your curls without shrinkage. This product is great for twists, twist outs, coiling, freestyles and updos. This product does not flake and stretches your curls. For Curly/ Kinky hair

Second Chance™ Curl Refresher is designed to define and refresh your curls. This product is great for the perfect 2nd day curls and refreshing twistouts, coils, freestyles, and updos. Unlike other products, this product does not leave build up and gives you the ability to extend the life of your style without shampooing. For Wavy/Curly/ Kinky hair types

Set it Off™ Curl Boosting Jelly is made with soothing aloe vera, wheat protein, vitamin B and other ingredients to help give you gorgeous, “crunchless” curl definition. This product helps eliminate frizz without making your hair feel hard or crunchy. For Curly/ Kinky hair types

Let it Flow Shine & Define Mousse defines curls while providing all day hold and helps eliminate frizz without the crunch. This product does not contain alcohol and does not weigh the hair down. Best used with No Boundaries™ Leave-In Conditioner. For Wavy/Curly hair types