After a couple of hot weeks here in SoCal, I was looking forward to the start of fall. Cooler temps, a light breeze here and there, but still nice, sunny days was on my radar until the wonderful ridge of high pressure that just SAT ON ITS ASS over SoCal. It seemed that Monday’s weather was just the start of pleasantness and things were going along swimmingly until today where we’re back in the 90s. BOOO!!!

Today I broke out a new conditioner, GVP conditioning balm, and styled with curl junkie’s coffee coco curl creme and jason hi shine gel on top for hold. GVP conditioning balm was pretty impressive. It didn’t take much and my hair felt silky soft and slippery. This is quite a difference fromNexxus’ Nectaress conditioner. I’ve been alternating between Nectaress and Nature’s Gate chamomile and lemon verbena conditioner for about 3 weeks now and while both have been doing the job tolerably well, using GVP for the first time was like a breath of fresh air. Of the two, however, I’d opt for NG any day. While it does contain the protein I’m most susceptible to (wheat), my hair doesn’t freak out right off the bat. In fact, I can use this for up to two weeks before protein sensitivity starts to rear its ugly head. I plan on adding it to my protein-boost conditioners along with its other NG buddies – asian pear and rose geranium. Nectaress on the other hand, is a bit too light for my tastes – even in the summer, and the scent doesn’t make it anymore endearing. I’m a fan of foodie scents and this perfumy, floral/fruity fragrance just wasn’t cutting it.

All seemed well and good in the land of hair until I flipped over to scrunch in CJ’s coffee coco curl creme (sans raking and adding water). This is the fourth time I’ve tried the revamped CJ CCCC and I don’t think my hair cares for it. The ingredients look great with the oils, but the proteins are my downfall. The minute my creme-slathered hands touch my waves, it’s as if the strands freak out and try to run away, leading to frizz and flyaways.

I suppose I didn’t help things much by topping CCCC with Jason hi shine styling gel, another protein containing product. The gel was thick and a bit sticky enough to lead me to think that it just might be a good hard-holding gel. After scrunching in generous amounts, I had the feeling that it may just go down the path of kiss my face’s upper management gel; the consistency is substantial enough to dupe me into thinking it will work, but once applied, it just melts into my hair leaving me wondering if I used anything at all.

I can’t wait for temps to drop below 80.

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Well color me impressed by an Aussie gel! I’ve tried Aussie’s sun touched shine and sydney smooth tizz no frizz gels before but wasn’t impressed so I was expecting much of the same from the aussome volume line. My first experiment was a success with the aussome gel under a dab of brhg. My second experiment consisted of KY jelly used a leave in under the aussome gel and although it wasn’t a glowing success, it did show that this aussie gel has a good amount of crunch on its own; nothing compared to MGA, brhg, or the other major holders, but nothing to scoff at either.

To test aussome’s crunch and hold factor, yesterday I used KBB super silky as my leave it. KBB SS is one of the more moisturizing leave ins in my arsenal and quite a few “hard holding gels” haven’t lived up to their claims when faced with KBB SS. Aussome Volume was no exception but it did have one redeeming quality; although the crunch lessened throughout the course of the day, my hair still held together rather well and the result was loose, soft, sexy, touchable waves – I can’t complain with that!

Today’s experiment (Curl Junkie’s coffee coco curl creme as a leave in under aussome volume) wasn’t a flop per se since I still have some definition, hold, and not much frizz, but it wasn’t the best combo. It may be user error (I had a tough time applying the CJ CCCC using my latest product application method of raking and rewetting) or the ingredients just didn’t mesh well. I’ll have to revisit this one tomorrow.

Garden of Wisdom has few product duds in my book. Sure, there will be the occasional reaction to a product (the strawberry scrub fiasco) or sometimes I don’t notice a distinct positive or negative effect by a product (some kind of glow detox serum) but it’s never been enough to make me shy away from Markey’s wonderful concoctions. I’ve always been able to place GoW products into two categories: repurchase or not-a-chance-in-hell. However, my current cleanser, the pumpkin/papaya enzyme mask+cleanser has me completely perplexed! I use two cleansers daily: a light cleaner in the am to remove any nightly treatments and a deeper cleanser (currently a Camellia Rose beauty bar) to remove my mineral makeup and ensure a clean canvas for my night routine products.

I started off using the pumpkin cleanser in the shower and decided it wasn’t exactly shower-friendly. Sure, it left my skin relatively clean, but since the consistency isn’t substantial enough to the point where I knew where the cleanser was on my face, I had to take it to the sink. So far I’ve used it as a mask and a cleanser in the am and it seems to work rather well. The major drawback to the cleanser is 1) consistency: it’s pretty much like pumpkin puree and therefore isn’t as shower friendly as a cream or gel cleanser; 2) scent: pumpkin with a dash of vinegar and a hint of garlic which, looking at the ingredients list, is exactly the case; 3) it’s easy to tell you’ve used it looking at your sink i.e., it leaves little bits and pieces behind on the porcelain. That being said, it still does a great job of cleaning and leaving my skin silky smooth true to the properties listed on the website. I may repurchase it because of the results but the drawbacks weigh just as heavily as the cons.

I pretty much gave up on tigi mm. The last horrible hair day I had was the clincher for me; crimped, stringy, frizzy hair repelling itself is not a good look for me. My hair felt hard, parched, and completely suffocated by the chemically laden tigi mm.

Luckily I knew where all my hair goodies boxes were so I pulled out Curls Curl Ecstacy Asian Hair Tea Conditioner (Ingreds: Purified Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Octyl Palmitrate, Behentrimonum Methosulfate, Certified Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearth-20, Certified Organic Ho Shu Wu Extract, Certified Organic Green Tea Extract, Certified Organic Chamomile Extract, Certified Organic Calendula Extract, Mango Butter, Shea Butter, Panthenol, Soy Protein, Citric Acid, Quaternium-15 – definitely more natural ingreds than tigi mm!)

The minute I put some on my hair, I could tell a difference. The asian tea is definitely thicker than your average conditioner; it has the consistency of Sheam and its scent, while not pineapple jolly rancher-ish like tigi mm, is nice and mellow. Tuesday I used my km bay rum bar, an acv rinse, curls asian tea, cj coffee coco, and gvp pm extra body gel. The result was a decent amount of clumping and while my hair still repelled itself, it wasn’t as bad as Monday’s hot mess. Yesterday I used creme of nature shampoo (the original red lettering bottle), curls asian tea, cj coffee coco, and gvp pm extra body. My hair was still better but the effects of tigi mm are definitely lingering in my hair.

Today I used CON, kbb hair milk in coco lime, cj coffee coco, and gvp pm extra body and my hair is the best its been in a while. I love how CON moisturized but still cleansed my hair and with kbb hair milk my hair felt silkier than ever. I’m starting to think that in addition to being suffocated by tigi mm, my hair is starting to rebel against the protein in CJ. Hydrolyzed wheat is hidden in the middle of the ingreds list and I thought with all the other moisturizing ingredients, it would have too much of an effect on my hair, but I’m starting to think otherwise. I’ll try it out with the Curls condish and CON but if my hair is still feeling wiry and brittle, I’ll definitely have to give it a rest.

GVP PM extra body sculpting gel actually isn’t too bad. It’s not a keeper, but it definitely is on my “Products in a Pinch” list. It’s thick, has a good amount of hold, encourages clumping, and doesn’t weigh down my hair. My only gripe is that it’s sometimes difficult to distribute. Today, for example, my hair would look great except for the little patch right above my right ear where there isn’t any gel. I do plan on playing with it a bit more but it’s pretty decent.

Just a minor update – I broke out my KCCC tub recently after getting fed up with mediocre hair days and fell in love again with the marshmallowy scented goodness. I love that it smells amazing, has good hold, and doesn’t make my hair feel like anything BUT hair. The three times I used it I tried it twice with GDLI and once with CJ coffee coco (this experiment resulted in a somewhat better than mediocre hair day but nothing compared to a GDLI+KCCC day). This past weekend I pulled out my half bottle of BRHG and fell in love with the gel again, too. I tried it with GDLI and a KBB hair milk rinseout.

I wish I could just sell all the unused products I’ve accumulated but my PJ worries that I’ll be missing out on yet another HG product from amongst the pile.

I’ve finally finished the ginormous bottle of LA Looks sport gel and have moved on to my sizeable bottle of Naturelle Volumax gel from Sallys. When I shook the bottle around a bit, I was afraid that I would end up with another Biotera-like gel. Luckily, that isn’t the case. The Volumax gel is not as runny as the biotera and the scent is fr more pleasant. Mmmm…pineapple. So far I’ve used it with the curl junkie coffee coco and GVP PM the cream leave in and it’s been pretty decent. It does leave hair crunchy but it distributes and defines fairly well.

I’ve also been experimenting with GVP PM the cream combined with GVP PM extra body sculpting gel. I tried the combination on a “who cares” day and was pleasantly surprised. Maybe the fact that they’re both PM knock offs lends a synergistic effect?

I’m definitely missing KBB. Looking at my fotki pictures from my KBB days leaves me aching for this experimentation/getting rid of product phase to end already. Damn my rampant early PJ days.

Rather than washing my face in the am with a conventional cleanser, I tried a seamollient rinse. I applied a nickel’s worth of GoW seamollient to damp skin and left it on while I shampooed my hair with KM’s bay rum bar. The result was baby soft skin with pretty good oil control for the day. I’ll definitely be trying this out a bit more.

I’m a homeowner! Well, part homeowner; my parents put in the down payment and will be paying the HOA and1/2 the mortgage. My parents have been planning on purchasing a second home as an investment for a while and with prices the way they are, they jumped at the opportunity to buy a 3 bdrm, 2 1/2 bath, w/ all the appliances included and upgrades like none other for $300k. Of course they won’t be retiring within the next year or two, so rather than rent it out to strangers, I’ll be living there with the option to buy them out if I decide I like the house.

The plus is that I’ll be living in a house and paying just as much as I am in my apartment. The bad side is that if I decide to buy them out, it will take a while to pay them back since I’m not exactly rolling in the dough. And, since my SO still has his house, if I decide to buy them out he won’t be able to help me with the payments until he sells his…if he even wants to.

In hair related news, I completely spazzed out this am and scrunched with my flour sack towel before I had even applied my gel. The result? Crispy, defined waves in some areas and loose, fluffy undefined chunks of hair in others. My hair is of course in an updo now.

I don’t think I like thick leave in like sheam as much as I used to. I’m using the CJ coffee coco as a leave in/styling cream and it just doesn’t distribute as well as KBB nectar. Unfortunately, I also have the CJ leave in and another bottle of SheaM in my stash. I may just have to put up the butter-type leave ins on the swap board….along with my Conair hairdryer/diffuser.

I’ve been out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday so there really isn’t much to update with. I’ve been experimenting with AG Hair Cosmetics Mousse Gel but I haven’t really been feeling the love like some curlies over at NC.com have. Maybe it’s a matter of my not using enough, the fact that I apply a leave in underneath, or that it just doesn’t have enough hold for me and I’d need to follow up with some gel. I’ve tried it twice both with soap bars, an ACV rinse, conditioner and leave in (curls coconut sublime and CJ coffee coco one day & tigi mm with sheam the second day) and both times were utter failures. There was no hold, no crunch, my hair looked big, and there was frizz. Boo.

Today I did my monthly sulfate clarifying shampoo, followed up with giovanni smooth as silk condish, used CJ coffee coco as a creme, and mixed la looks sport with pbh passion shine. There is a quite a bit of fog today so we’ll see how my hair holds up.