Deciding on Hair Growth Again

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Bad selfie taken pre-baby.

My thoughts on hair are like a game of ping pong. I do one thing, then want the opposite. I go for a long time with my natural hair color, then dye it blonde. Friends, I am at a crossroads again.

I cut my hair back in December after having my son. My hair was too long, thick and unmanageable, especially with an infant. I barely had time to shower and eat, let alone care for waist-length hair. So in a flash – I cut it off. And I’ve loved it. Washing, conditioning and detangling is a breeze, air drying and diffusing are quick, and most importantly – it’s healthy!

But… my styles are limited (no more braided side buns), I can’t put it in a top knot (my all time favorite), and I’m absolutely itching to color it. With summer ahead, I seem to want all these things at once.

Perhaps I’ll embark upon a hair growth journey. It’s been years since I’ve done this, so it’ll be interesting to see how quickly I can get it to grow. Any thoughts or tips for fast hair growth?

Don’t be surprised if you see me soon in a celebratory post with an itty-bitty ponytail. :-0

~Thais

 

 

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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!

Review of Cantu Natural Hair Shampoo and Conditioner

Cantu shampoo and conditioner

I’d been wanting to try this product line for a while, but my rule is I don’t buy any new products until I run out of the ones I have (unless they’re horrible). Finally, I ran out of both my staple shampoo and conditioner, and was able to try the Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair line.

I’d always seen it on the beauty aisle and liked the ingredients and price, but when I saw it was the preferred line of one of my favorite curly girls on Instagram, @naturallytash, I decided to give it a go. Here’s what I thought:

Cantu Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo

Positives

This shampoo is a  great cleanser without over-stripping my hair. It does leave a bit of that squeaky clean feeling, which some like and some don’t; it doesn’t bother me as long as my hair doesn’t feel like straw while wet. It’s thick shampoo, which means a little goes a long way, and it lathers beautifully. My roots tend to get oily, so I like a lathering shampoo. The smell is clean with nutty undertones. Note: it does contain perfume.

Negatives

This shampoo burns my eyes – not terribly, but enough. I wish it didn’t, because I like everything else about it. I do have sensitive, allergy-prone eyes, and sometimes even body perfume will make my eyes water. I cannot pinpoint which ingredient caused the burn, but it could easily be the perfume.

Cantu Sulfate-Free Hydrating Cream Conditioner

Positives

I got excited when I first poured this into my palm. My hair really likes the moisturizing properties of shea butter-based products. This conditioner is THICK and I could definitely feel the shea butter in it. It’s also very moisturizing, even after rinsing completely out. It seems to really smooth the cuticle and cut down the frizz factor (that’s quite a feat in this southern humidity), and pairs beautifully with my favorite leave-in conditioner. The smell is similar to that of the shampoo, which I don’t mind.

Negatives

The slip! It doesn’t have much! At least, not as much as I’m used to with the TRESemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner. I have to say, the very first time I used the Cantu conditioner, I co-washed with it, and I don’t know if it was because my hair was super tangled or because I had gel residue in it, but it took me twice as long to comb out. The second time I used it, I washed with the shampoo first, and while it was much easier to detangle, it still wasn’t super slippery. I have to use a lot of product to be able to pass my comb easily through. HOWEVER, because it is so moisturizing, and has an ingredient my hair loves, I will give it a pass. Overall, it was a good conditioner for me.

Apart from the drawbacks, I enjoy the Cantu line. Both the shampoo and conditioner are free of sulfates, silicons, parabens and mineral oil, they’re safe on colored hair, and you cannot beat the price. At less than $5 a pop, and decent-sized bottles of 13.5 fl oz, someone who runs through product quickly can feel good about purchasing it.

I am also eager to try the Cantu Coconut Curling Cream. As I’ve mentioned previously, my hair is in love with coconut oil, and I’m curious how the whole line with work together. But alas, I need to run out of my current leave-in before buying anything new.

Have you tried Cantu? How did you like it?

 

 

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!