Who knew I could get such amazing clumps from a $2.99 32 oz. tub of gel?? It doesn’t provide enough hold for my waves but it sure makes up for it in the clumping area! What’s odd about this gel is that the consistency doesn’t lead you to believe that it will produce clumps; it’s sticky, thick, and isn’t the best at distribution until you add a bit of water, smooth and scrunch away. 

I read the two biggest threads on the general forum about this gel and despite the dirt cheap price tag, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add a mondo tub of gel that I wasn’t entirely sure would work for my hair to my product stash. A coupon in the mail for 20% off your entire purchase from Sally Beauty quickly changed my mind. (Unfortunately, I didn’t let the PJ run amok in the store and I walked away with the gel, one cake eyeliner, and a yummy banana scented lotion). With protein in the ingredients list, I wasn’t expecting much when using the product over time as most protein-containing gels result in strawlike hair when used for more than a week. However, I’ve been using ecostyler for over a week with no protein overload symptoms yet!

On Tuesday I cowashed with vo5, conditioned with aohr, used about a dime’s worth of kbb milk as a leave in, applied about 3 half dollars’ of ecostyler with water, and topped it off with chi infra gel for extra hold. My hair was soft, super clumpy, and frizz free despite a dewpoint of 62 and 84% humidity. I even had one of our office techs ask if I had recently permed my hair since it looked much wavier. Yesterday I used kbb super silky in lieu of the nectar and my waves were even tighter!! Lest it just be a fluke due to reintroducing AOHR into my routine, I used Aura cherry almond bark conditioner followed by kbb super silky as a leave in again and was rewarded with chunky, clumpy waves again. Ecostyler is a keeper!

Well, the Oyin HH + AOHR mix was great for keeping the clumps but in terms of retaining definition and frizz control, it worsened as the day wore on. By 9 pm last night, my hair was super soft but with increased frizz and rapidly undefined hair. I suspect that the moisture mix may do well with a harder holding gel.

In skincare news, I’ve come to the realization that my skin is none too fond of GoW’s honey hyaluronic acid. My skin loves honey in general and can tolerate it in other GoW products but there’s something about honey in the HA serum that my skin doesn’t agree with. Luckily, it’s only one of the multitude of HA serums that Markey makes and my skin hasn’t reacted with the others I’ve tried.

I’ve been toying with the icequeen clumping method and yesterday’s hair was a major success. I cowashed as usual but used AOHR as a rinseout. I wanted to see how MGA  sculpting played with AOHR this time around. I applied conditioner right side up, detangled, flipped over and scrunched in a bit more conditioner. After finishing my regular shower routine, it was back to flipping over to rinse out the conditioner. I raked through with my fingers and again tossed my hair gently to loosen the roots. Only complaint about this method? I still can’t prevent water from entering my nose. Hm…maybe the next time I have my yearly physical for work I’ll ask the nurse if I can just keep the nose clamp I have to use for the stress test.

In any case, I wasn’t really expecting much because the SO and I didn’t have any plans and were just heading to his house for the weekend. Imagine my surprise when I SOTC and saw my hair looking like this:

I was just amazed (and told my SO we had to go out for dinner lest my hair be a total waste).  For the first time, my right side actually looked better than my normally wavier left side! Not only that, but the root volume I had experienced the last time wasn’t a fluke:   I definitely recommend this method if you’re having trouble achieving root volume.

Yesterday I stopped over at Sallys with the intention of simply returning a soft bonnet attachment. When I picked up my Lustrasilk tubs at the Sallys near my work, I thought to search for a deep conditioning heat cap. The sales associate showed me two options: a $30 Gold n’ Hot conditioning heat cap and a $10 Conair Pro soft bonnet attachment. Considering I only do deep treatments every other week, if at that, I took the more economical route. Well, more economical isn’t always good. Sure, on the box the model looks all cheery while her hair is getting conditioned, but there has to be some invisible/clear strap under her chin because that sucker Doesn’t. Stay. On. Luckily I tried it on dry hair – heaven forbid if I were really doing a DT. The minute I turned on my blowdryer, the contraption started to inflate per the picture but once fully inflated, it also proceeded to blow off my head. Nice. I checked out the $30 cap online, but figured that I’d most likely end up stuck next to an outlet. I ended up adding a Hair Therapy Wrap to my recent Curls purchase and am pretty excited to try it out.

While spending more time and money at Sallys than I had intended, I came across the GVP Nexxus Aloe Rid gentle clarifying shampoo (the last bottle and on sale too!). I’ve read some good things about this clarifier on NC.com and MUA so I added that to the growing jumble in my shopping basket.

I also perused the skincare aisle and came across a promising eye cream: Beyond Belief VitaC+ nourishing eye treatment. At only $5.99 for 0.5 oz and with an amazing ingreds list, that went into the basket too. Googling ingredients and reading the scant reviews on the line posted at MUA make me feel more confident about my purchase. I’ve used it twice and feel that it provides a good amount of moisture and doesn’t leave a greasy film like over eye creams I’ve tried.  I looked online at other eye treatments Sallys has to offer and this is something I definitely plan on checking out next time: Purist Naturals restoring gingko eye cream. Hopefully the ingredients look just as good as Beyond Belief.

I’ve been noticing a bit more frizz and too-soft hair so today I clarified with my newest acquisition, GVP aloe rid, did a mini treatment with GVP Aussie 3 MM, cowashed with VO5 calming chamomile, and rinsed out AOHR. It’s another stay at home day so I finished the remainder of my homemade FSG and scrunched in about 4 nickels of MGA sculpting gel. I’m not too keen on the rosemary in it (my nose is very sensitive to that) and was surprised by its consistency: for a rather solid looking gel, its quite runny. I was expecting it to be akin to LA Looks gel consistency-wise, but it’s more like LUSH the big tease gel. Since it spread so easily and seemed to disappear into my hair, I wasn’t expecting much hold at all and definition. Boy was I wrong! I just barely diffused thinking to give my hair a break so I fully expected loose, undefined waves. Instead, I got crunch, definition, and some wave boosting. As this is the next gel I’m experimenting with, I’m looking forward to how it plays with my waves tomorrow.

Today’s hair is brought you in part by: a VO5 calming chamomile cowash, AOHR rinse out, and homemade FSG.

I had my ever so understanding boyfriend take these pictures and afterwards was rewarded with this comment, “Your hair looks curly.” I do notice that FSG tightens my wave pattern and while I know it’s not really curly by those in the know, it definitely is a MAJOR difference from what I used to consider a good hair day before coming across NC.com and learning what works and what doesn’t for my waves.

Taken almost 2 years ago on what I used to consider a good hair day.

Taken almost 2 years ago on what I used to consider a good hair day.

Back in grade school and high school I wore my hair super short because to have it longer would mean willingly subjecting myself to one of two things: ridicule or everlasting ponytails. I had no idea how to care for my hair back then. I faithfully washed, conditioned, and brushed in hopes that one day my hair would actually do what I wanted it to do. I would envy friends who had glossy straight locks or beautifully controlled curls. My hair was neither one of the two: not yet curly and not quite straight, and determinedly frizzy overall. There were times when I would apply mousse on semi-damp hair and air dry and on those days I got quite a few compliments, but I failed to grasp the fundamental fact that my hair needed moisture. Instead, I was robbing it by daily shampoos, junky conditioners, silicones in an attempt to get smooth hair, and heat. Before I found NC.com, my hair routine was this: sulfate shampoo, silicone-laden conditioner, bath towel dry, rake in either Kiehl’s silk groom or Bumble and Bumble curl conscious creme, scrunch, and then top it all off with a generous whirlwind of hairspray. Ick. My hair didn’t look as terrible as the line of products sounds, but god forbid I blow dry it before heading out (I had no idea what a diffuser was back then) or try to run my fingers through my hair once dry. I had a misconception that using gel would make my hair look crispy rather than the soft, touchable waves look that I longed for.

Ever since I stopped abusing my hair and listened to what it wanted, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments. Compliments are wonderful but most of all, I love that I LOVE my hair.

So today I shampooed with my bay rum bar, did a white vinegar rinse, conditioned with AOHR, and styled with IQCCC and my homemade FSG. The result was a little underwhelming; my waves weren’t frizzy and there was still some clumping, however, there wasn’t any of the wave boosting I’ve noticed as of late and my waves looked a little pulled out. Boo. There is a possibility that using AOHR may have been a little too much or that IQCCC doesn’t play well when using a shampoo bar. To test, the next time I shampoo I’ll use white boots to see whether it’s the creme that contributed to the lank waves. If that experiment isn’t conclusive, I’ll bust out my NG rose to test whether or not AOHR is just building up on my hair…however, I may be able to test that hypothesis by seeing how my hair reacts for the next couple of days.

I made my first iHerb.com purchase which included the following: AO island naturals & GPB conditioners, EO rose & chamomile and honey & chamomile conditioners, BWC leave in, citric acid (for my FSG), and Avalon Organics CoEnzyme Q10 wrinkle defense creme. Yeah. Talk about me stopping my rampant PJism. The reason why I purchased the creme? Well, I’m running low on my beloved PSF phyto-lift cranberry eye gel and right now I can’t justify paying $45.00 for o.5 oz of this amazing gel. Not only that, but the GoW eye serum that I’ve been checking out isn’t that much more cost effective either: $15.30 for 8mL or roughly 0.27 oz. In order to equal PSF’s 0.5 oz, I’d have to spend $30.60 and not only that, but it opens the door to me just “giving in” and adding more GoW goodies to my cart to justify the shipping. I did a search for eye gels on iHerb and stumbled across the Avalon creme; not only did it have a 4.5/5 rating, but there were about 33 pretty good reviews on it. A quick search on MUA showed a small number of ratings but 100% would repurchase the product. At $16.22 for 1.75 oz, it was almost a no brainer.

Ingreds: Organic lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower(1), chamomilla recutita (chamomile) flower(1), camellia sinensis (white tea) leaf (2) and organic arnica montana flower(3) extracts (aqueous), vegetable glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, glyceryl stearate SE, organic simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil(2), cetyl alcohol, sodium hyaluronate, organic helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil(2), cetyl ricinoleate, stearyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, tocopherol (vitamin E), ubiquinone (CoQ10), dimethicone, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), emulsifying wax, mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, polysorbate 20, citric acid, sodium carbomer, sodium PCA, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond), rosa canina (rose hip) seed and borago officinalis (borage) oils, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), organic citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit oil(2) and other essential oil.

I’m not too keen on the fact that dimethicone is included since I avoid silicones on my skin as much as possible. Once I started the RedCatWaves skincare routine of gentle soap-free cleanser, salicylic acid, vitamin C, and moisturizer, I stopped using my trusty Oil of Olay SPF 15 oil free moisturizer because of silicones. On the RCW routine, I don’t think the facewash was effectively removing the cones from my skin. Rather than revert to sulfates and deal with average skin, I just booted the silicones. The fact that the cone in the Avalon creme is halfway down the list seems somewhat innocuous, but we’ll see. I’m hopeful that I can give a positive review after trying it out because if it works, that means I can splurge a little more on other skincare items without feeling too guilty.

Since I’ve got another roughly 8 oz. bottle of homemade FSG to toy with, I decided to change thing up by introducing a new player into the mix. Enter IQCCC. This bad boy is made of the following: Purified water, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, stearyl alcohol, oryza sativa (rice), bran oil, glyceryl stearate, avena sativa (oat) kernal extract, netumbium speciosum (lotus) flower oil, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), sorbitol, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed extract, cetrimonium chloride, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) flower oil, aspalattus linearis extract, nelumbium speciosum (lotus) flower extract, Echinacea angusitfolia extract, vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry seed oil, plumeria alba flower extracy, vumbopogan schoenanthus extract, agropyron (wheatgrass) extract, methylchloroisothiazolinone, parfum of natural oils. A 6 oz bottle of this will set youback about $20. Despite the pricetag, this creme has quite the buzz on NC.com. I’ve had this creme in my arsenal for quite some time but seeing as how it’s buried amongst about 15 other cremes and a plethora of other styling, conditioning, washing, and miscellaneous hair products, I’ve just never gotten around to it. With the success of white boots and homemade FSG, I decided today was the day.

First off, it’s definitely not as thick as white boots. I’d compare its consistency more to a leave in rather than your average creme. Scentwise, it’s quite nice; somewhat citrusy but very light. I cowashed and rinsed out as usual (I still can’t get over how AOHR makes my hair just slip n slide like butter!) and applied about 2 1/2 dimes worth of IQCCC and almost 3 oz of my FSG. It started out looking much like how my hair reacted with white boots when wet: not much clumping, a little skinny looking.

When I arrived at the office I SOTC and was amazed by the amount of crunch there was; it was a little bit more than boots but being a wavy, crunch isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All in all, it seemed to perform similar to white boots in my hair but with just a little bit more frizz. Clumping was good, moisture was great, and touchability was on par.