New Haircut + Where I’ve Been

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Hellooooooo Internet. What’s happening? It’s been a whirlwind few months on this end, but I’m at a place where I think I can finally get back to blogging. I started this blog as an outlet to write and share a few of my experiences. Back in May, my life completely changed when my son was born. Though I have virtually no free time outside of baby + work, and I am sleep deprived and physically drained, I am happy and grateful ever single day. Needless to say, blogging has taken a backseat.

Now that my family is getting into something of a rhythm, I may have a minute or two, here or there, to share a post with you. (Even now, my eyes are getting heavy; it’s only 9:30.)

So about the hair… I could (and should) probably dedicate an entire post to this subject, but over the last few months, my hair dropped to the absolute bottom of the priority list. It was bad. It grew long and full during my pregnancy and postpartum, it kept going. But I rarely washed it (no time!), I never styled it, and it became a knotted mess of a ponytail. I was tired of it and the way I looked, plus my son was pulling it out, so I just cut it. I didn’t blink an eye, I just did it – 12 inches gone! I was actually going to go even shorter, but decided to cut in stages.

This is a layered bob that, when straight, falls just above my shoulders. I wanted a versatile cut that I could wear in a wash-and-go most days and still look stylish.  Lately, I’ve been been using only one product after shampooing and conditioning – Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie – and then diffusing until completely dry. I wear my hair down almost every day now, and the washing, styling, drying routine is quick and easy. I’m enjoying the short hair life!

Have any of you made a dramatic change after your child was born? Please share!

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How to Sleep with Curly Hair

How to Sleep with Curly Hair

Guys – this post is not for you. I know there are plenty of frustrated men who wake up with curls in their noses and mouths, but I’ll have to write a post for you another time.

Today’s post is for the ladies (and a few guys!) with curly hair, who want to extend the life of their curls past wash day. Curls are fragile creatures and often don’t survive the night without protection. Even the best mattresses can’t help to protect you against the dreaded Bed Head. Curls get crushed, tousled, rolled into knots or frizzed out, leading many of us to resort to buns, twists or braids before we’re ready.

I personally protect my curls using one of three methods, depending what I did to my hair that day, and how I’d like it to look the next.

Satin Scarf (or Pillowcase)

satin scarf or pillowcase to protect curls at night

Fan it out.

This is the easiest method of all. Cotton pillowcases tend to cause friction with curly hair, and after a night of twisting and turning, the result can be a tangled, frizzy mess. Satin, on the other hand, is smooth, and hair glides right over it (think about how a satin nightgown feels, it’s the same for your hair), so pillowcases of this material cut the frizz factor significantly. I, however, opt for a satin scarf draped over my pillow for two reasons: 1) I haven’t gotten around to buying a satin pillowcase yet, and 2) when my hair is long it hangs over the pillow case onto the cotton sheet above. With a large satin scarf, I can situate it over the pillow AND the sheet area above, then fan my hair out from beneath my head so I’m not crushing it. When I wake up, my curls look virtually untouched. I use this method when I’ve just washed and/or dried my hair, when the curls are tighter with very little frizz, and I want them to look the same the next day. This method is perfect for sound sleepers. If you toss all night, you may end up face down in your curls (see next method)!

The Pineapple

pineapple method for curly hair

Pineapple method

Most curly girls are no stranger to this sleeping method. It’s simple and it really does work, though it has some drawbacks for my hair. To create a pineapple, simply flip your hair over and gather it loosely into a ponytail at the very top of your head. Do not use an elastic! Use either a fabric head band or a scarf tied loosely around the hair, so that you don’t get elastic band lines. Using this method, your curls are piled together at the top of the head and won’t get crushed as you sleep. For even better results, sleep on a satin pillow case or use a scarf as I’ve described above. The pineapple method is better for active sleepers since the hair stands no chance of being rolled over. Many curly girls prefer this method because it stretches out their curls overnight, giving them additional length. This is actually a drawback for me, since my hair is fine and my curls stretch out too easily. For this reason, I usually pineapple on day three or four after washing, since the curls are starting to loosen up anyway.  I’ll revive my hair the next morning by misting it with with water or my DIY curl refreshing spray, then I air dry or diffuse.

Twists

Sleeping method for curly hair: two twists.

RiRi demonstrates my twisted sleeping style, in something other than sleepwear. (Source: vogue.com)

When I’ve sucked just about all the life out of my curls as I can, and my hair is stretched and dry, I typically apply a bit of moisturizer and sleep with my hair in two simple twists. At this point my curls are definitely not coming back to life, but I haven’t had time to wash them yet, and my hair will likely end up in a topknot the next day. The twists lock in moisture and  keep my hair from tangling overnight.

I know different methods work for different curls, but these are the ones that work best for my frizz-prone hair. Got any tips for preserving those curls overnight? Share them below!

Review of Eden Body Works Jojoba Monoi Shampoo

Review of Eden Body Works Jojoba Monoi Shampoo | Curl on a Mission Blog

Hello and Happy  New Year! I look a long break from blogging as life has gotten very busy lately, but I’m back and I hope to blog much more often in 2014!

My first post of the year will be a review of the most fundamental ingredient in a haircare routine – cleanser. I self-colored my hair a shade of burgundy a few weeks ago, so I’ve been conscious of using only sulfate-free shampoos in an attempt to preserve the color. I’d been using one of my staples – Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo – but over Christmas vacation I ran completely out without a backup (poor holiday planning, I know). So I stopped by Wal-Mart today to restock, and they were completely out of most products in the Curl & Shine line. But since I hadn’t washed my hair in almost two weeks (I know, I know…), I had to buy some kind of cleansing agent, so I chose the all-natural Eden Body Works Jojoba Monoi Shampoo.

I chose this shampoo for three reasons: 1) I’ve used the brand’s Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner before and liked it well enough, 2) it was a dollar cheaper than the Curls Unleashed shampoo I was about to buy, and 3) it’s sulfate-free and contains coconut oil, jojoba oil, tea tree leaf oil, and aloe leaf juice – great ingredients for curly and color-treated hair. Here what I thought:

Smell
This shampoo smelled similar to the deep conditioner of the same line, and unfortunately, I can’t pinpoint what that is. It’s not sweet, it’s not soapy, it’s not great, but it’s not bad. Perhaps it smells like jojoba oil, though I don’t know what jojoba oil is supposed to smell like.

Texture
This shampoo is VERY thick, which I’m not accustomed to. But I liked it. It was concentrated, so I didn’t have to use much.

Effectiveness
As previously mentioned, my hair was VERY dirty and oily, so I had to shampoo twice, and on the second round this shampoo lathered beautifully. It did a great job cleaning my scalp and hair, and while it didn’t leave my hair feeling as silky as the Shea Moisture shampoo, it didn’t over-strip my hair at all.

Overall, I was very pleased with this shampoo. In fact, I’m eager to try more from the Eden Body Works line, particularly the Coconut Shea line. My only gripe was the size – it’s a mere 8-oz container, which may only give me about five shampoos. Other than that, I enjoyed this shampoo and would purchase it again if in a pinch.

DIY Curl Refreshing Spray

I mentioned in a previous post that I love a good curl refreshing spray. However, I don’t like to spend a lot of money of them for two reasons: 1) I go through them like water and 2) half the time they don’t work! So I’ve concocted my own curl refreshing recipe that works like a charm on my 2nd, and even 3rd, day curls.  Here are my ingredients:

Ingredients for DIY Curl Refreshing Spray

Coconut Oil, Leave-In Conditioner, Water

I like to use a light leave-in like Giovanni for this spray because it blends easily with water. The leave-in softens and conditions hair, coconut oil makes it shiny and helps moisturize, and of course water is the ultimate natural curl activator.

Here’s approximately what I use in a 2 oz bottle (I make it in small batches so I can put it in my purse or travel with it).

  • 1/8 leave-in conditioner
  • One squirt (maybe a teaspoon) of coconut oil
  • Fill up the rest of the bottle with water

Shake (the bottle) rigorously until the ingredients are well blended. The goal is to achieve what I call “slippery water,” so you may need to add more water or conditioner until you get just the right formula. You want the mixture to be thin enough to spray through a nozzle, but have enough “slip” to coat your locks.

When I’m ready to use it, I flip over my limp, dry curls and shake them at the root to loosen them up, then I spritz the refresher onto my hair until it’s damp all over. I flip upside down again, and gently scrunch my hair upward. Most of the time I let my hair air dry, but you could also use a diffuser on low heat if you’re in a hurry. Et voila!

Before and after DIY Curl Refreshing Spray

Before and after

Smooth, frizz-free curls. Do you have a favorite curl refreshing spray or make your own?

natural curls

Ouidad Hair Product Review | Part 2

Ouidad Hair Products
Back in August I was lucky enough to win one of the Ouidad weekly Unfurl Your Curl contests. The prize was an Ultimate Gift Set of eight products for curly hair. These are high-end, salon quality products, so it’s been a pleasure to be able to use and review them. You can check out my reviews of the Essential Daily Shampoo and Conditioner, the Moisture Lock Leave-in Conditioner, and the Tress Effects Styling Gel here.

For this post, I am reviewing the following:

12 Minute Deep Treatment

Of the eight products, this was the only one I received in the 2.5 oz trial size, and when I looked up the price I understood why. A 2.5 oz bottle regularly sells for $26! Expectations were high. The good news – for long hair this amount is plenty for one deep treatment. For those with shoulder-length and shorter hair, you can get multiple treatments out of it.

I normally leave deep conditioners in my hair for an hour or more, or if I’m short on time, 30 minutes minimum. So I was curious how well my hair would absorb this one in only 12 minutes. I shampoo’d with Ouidad Clear & Gentle Essential Daily Shampoo, separated my hair into four sections, and applied a liberal amount of the deep treatment to each. Normally, my biggest gripe with deep conditioners, even the good ones, is that they lack the “slip” of regular conditioner, making them hard to comb through. Not the case with this treatment; my wide-tooth comb easily slid through as I combed the product in. I put my hair in a bun, put on a plastic cap, and per the directions, heated my hair with a blow dryer and let the product sit on my hair for 12 minutes. Also per the directions, I added a bit of my regular conditioner to my hair before I rinsed it all out, to help seal in the nourishing ingredients.

Even as I was rinsing out the deep conditioner, I could feel the softness of my hair. I followed up with Ouidad Moisture-Lock Leave-In Conditioner and a bit of Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel. I was starting with pretty rough hair after 3 days straight of saltwater swimming. When my hair dried it was noticeably softer and my curls were so well-behaved! The only downside is because my hair was so moisturized, I lost some volume (we must all make sacrifices sometimes). For a 12-minute deep conditioner, it really did the job!

Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel

This was the product I was most excited to try. I don’t like using a lot of gel in my hair because I hate the tacky, stiff feeling, but I heard that this one worked wonders. I decided to give it a try on my recent trip to Miami, knowing I could really put the product to the test with the tropical weather. After washing and conditioning, I layered a small amount of the gel over my leave-in. The first thing I noticed about this gel is that it is thinner than the Tress Effects Styling Gel, and not as sticky, which was encouraging. As my hair air dried, I definitely felt the hold that gel provides, but once it was completely dry and I scrunched out the crunch, my hair really was soft AND defined. It even lasted through dinner on the patio and night of dancing. (Sadly, I don’t have any pictures from that night because I was too busy having fun.) I liked this gel much better than the Tress Effects gel, and will likely re-purchase it when I run out (which will probably be forever since I use so little at a time).

Botanical Boost Moisture Infusing & Refreshing Spray

I like this product, but I have to say I don’t love it. I am all for refreshing sprays. My curls tend to lose their shape after the first or second day. To revive them, I’ve created my own mixture of water, leave-in conditioner, and coconut oil that I spray onto my hair whenever the curls fall flat or get really dry. This homemade concoction works well for me, so I was really hoping that Ouidad’s mixture worked better. The first time I tried the refreshing spray, I used it on second-day hair on which I had applied one of my staple leave-ins. It did a pretty good job; it definitely gave me a moisture boost and left my hair feeling soft. The second time I tried it, it was also on second-day hair, on which I had applied the  Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner and the Tress Effects Styling Gel. Maybe my hair was already dry from the gel, but the spray didn’t do a whole lot. To be fair, it brought a couple of curls back to life, but overall my hair still seemed pretty frizzy. Here’s a before and after photo:

Before and after using Ouidad Botanical Boost

Only a slight difference

On my hair, it seems to work best when I don’t have any gel in my hair from the previous day. Given the amount of refreshing spray I use, I’ll likely stick with my own mixture once I run out of Botanical Boost (but I will use it all!).

Styling Mist Setting & Holding Spray

The directions say this mist can be used as a hair spray on dry styles or as a setting mist when styling wet hair. I decided to use it as a hair spray when I recently styled my hair using pin curls. After I’d blow dried my hair and rolled and pinned each section, I sprayed a couple pumps of the Styling Mist all over my head. I’d applied it pretty lightly but it still had the hold that I need on dry styles. I then tied a scarf around my hair and went to sleep. The next morning, I took down my hair and had gorgeous, smooth, shiny ringlets. Not hard or crunchy at all. The look I was going for required looser waves, so I combed through the ringlets, and spritzed them once more with the Styling Mist before putting them in a loose pony tail to stretch them. I was flying to Miami that day, and by the time I took down my hair again later on to style it, my hair was still smooth, shiny and frizz-free. This product worked well for my hair, and I can’t wait to try it as a setting mist next.

Overall, I’m a fan of the majority of Ouidad products I tried from the Ultimate Gift Set. My favorites are the Climate Control Gel, Moisture Lock Leave-in, Deep Treatment, and Styling Mist. These products get an A+ from me in terms of moisture, curl definition and light hold. I’ll be scraping the bottom of the bottle with these for sure!