I returned from Dark Canyon on Sunday afternoon covered in mosquito bites and willing to sell my soul for a shower. I purchased a solar shower per a friend’s advice and took a paper towel “shower” in my tent but I still felt somewhat icky. It didn’t help that the mosquitoes seemed to be feasting on me and ignoring everyone else at the campsite. I admit that I was pretty upset the 2nd night because I was up scratching and I couldn’t sleep because one of the other campers in my party snores REALLY LOUDLY…I’m not kidding. Another tent about 20 feet away LOUD. I was bitten on my arms my neck, back of my knees, ankles, even my forehead! Of all places, my forehead. It’s practically just a layer of skin and bone right underneath and yet those damn mosquitoes saw fit to attack me there.

Because the camp was pretty primitive – a couple faucets and outhouses, the solar shower came in pretty handy. I was able to wash my face and brush my teeth. Unfortunately, my skin wasn’t agreeing with the situation. I had been using GoW’s fruity exfo cleanser for about a week or more prior to going camping and my skin wasn’t reacting to it so I figured I could bring it along. Unfortunately, my smart self decided to use some benzoyl peroxide the two nights before camping; my skin freaked out and was pretty dry and flaky the next day. I used moisturizer and it seemed to calm things down enough for me to feel confident in my travel skincare kit (fruity exfo, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and babbassu oil). Well, my skin wasn’t having it. The entire time I was camping, the skin above my upper lip was tight, red, dry, and extremely irritated. I think the BP and fruity exfo together caused the irritation and my continuous use of the cleanser exacerbated it. By the time I got home, I couldn’t smile for fear of cracking my skin.

Today, my skin is feeling somewhat better thanks to a change in cleanser (GoW oj castile), hydrocortisone cream and aloe vera gel.

Now on to hair: The day we headed out, I used a clarifying shampoo, conditioned with Curls Asian Tea conditioner, used a bit of sheam as a leave in, and used some FOTE. I was really surpised at the consistency of the curls condish; it was so thick and viscous it felt like a lotion. I had to double check the sample jar from sistasplace.biz to make sure it wasn’t curl ecstasy hair tea LOTION. Since I used FOTE as my sole styler, I knew my hair was going to be a crapfest by midday. After hiking and playing some badminton during the course of the trip, my hair held up pretty well. It didn’t seem too greasy and there was absolutely no frizz. There were no waves to speak of, but for not having proper shower facilities, that was fine with me.

Yesterday I used more Curls tea condish,  shampooed with jessicurl HCC, left in some sheam and KY, and dtyled with moptop and spike it. My hair rebelled against the slight protein from the gel and I was left with stingy, almost straight waves. This just solidifies the fact that I needed to rotate my protein products. Today, I cowashed with VO5 strawberries and cream, conditioned with curls tea, and smoothed in some GDLI with KY. My gel du jour is CVS Styling Gel Curl Defining And Frizz Control  – pretty much a knock-off the La Bella curls gel whicj, incidentally, didn’t agree with my hair.

Ingreds for CVS brand curls gel: Water (Aqua); PVP; Sorbitol; Carbomer; Hydroxypropylcellulose; Polyquaternium-7; Propylene Glycol; Fragrance (Parfum); Panthenyl Ethyl Ether; Glycerin; Keratin Amino Acids; Palmitoyl Oligopeptide; Chitosan; Oleth-20; Glyceryl Polymethacrylate; Rahnella/Soy Protein Ferment; PEG-8; Aminomethyl Propanol; Potassium Sorbate; Methylparaben; Tetrasodium EDTA; Diazolidinyl Urea; Methylchloroisothiazolinone; Methylisothiazolinone; Benzophenone-4; Blue 1; Yellow 5

vs.

La Bella Lots of curls gel: Deionized Water, Sorbitol, Glycerin, PVP, Propylene Glycol, Carbopol, Cocus Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Lanolin, Triethanolamine, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Polysorbate-20, Benzophenone-4, Isosteareth-20, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance, Menthol, D&C Red No. 33.

Surprisingly, my hair curled up well and with a fair amount of hold considering the protein factor. I’m guessing maybe the coconut oil, hemp seed oil, and (ICK!) lanolin didn’t agree with my hair. I will update to see how the gel holds up during the day

After the one amazing hair day with Jessicurl, I decided to try it out for an entire week. At least every other day I was washing with HCC, rinsing out TS, leaving in a bit of TS mixed with KY, and topping off with either a combo of JCRR + spike it, or spike it alone. The off days, I was cowashing with VO5, and rinsing out Essential, or cowashing and rinsing out Essential. The result?? I now know that TJ Essential is much too light for my hair and that it causes a slightly dry scalp when used as a cowash.

Using Jessicurl every other day seemed to contribute to my slightly dry, frizzy, and lackluster waves, too. Today I used all Jessicurl with KY and spike it, and my waves seem stringier and straighter. Protein overload. I don’t think my hair minds protein once in a while, but this experiment has taught me a lesson or two.

The next conditioner I will be experimenting with is Curls Ecstasy Asian Hair Tea.

 

I realize I haven’t been posting as regularly as I used to; a lot of it comes from stress at work (I don’t want to come home and turn on the comp) and not trying new products as much (my experience with the B2B Jasmine has me leery). I probably won’t be posting until some time next week as I’m going camping for the first time this long weekend!

 

I finally said good riddance to the B2B Jasmine condish and said hello to Trader Joe’s Essential conditioner (ingreds: aqueous extracts of calendula officinalis flower and hydrastis canadensis (golden seal), cetyl alcohol, hydrolyzed wheat protein, glycerin, tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) leaf extract, urtica dioica (nettle) extract, equisetum hiemale extract, panthenol, inositol, tocopheryl acetate, glyceryl stearate, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, orchis mascula flower extract, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil; chamomilla recutita (matricaria) extract, achillea millefolium extract, melissa officinalis (balm mint) leaf extract, arctium lappa root extract, prunis serotina (wild cherry) bark extract, methylparaben, propylparaben, diazolidinyl urea, fragrance.) I’m a bit apprehensive about the effect of the hydrolyzed protein listed but it’s all alone and surrounded by other natural goodies so I’m hoping for the best.

You can see the effects of the Jasmine conditioner here…

Not a pretty sight. In just three weeks my hair went from nice clumpy, soft waves to a stringy mess. I’ll probably do a DT after today’s gym class and subsequent shower. Today’s routine was a shampoo with JCHCC, condition with TJ Essential, and my mix of sheam and KY with spike it on top.

Nexxus Phyto Organics Omnistyler ingreds: aqua, polyquat 11, pvp, hydrolyzed quinoa, avocado fruit extract, camellia sinesis leaf extract, alfalfa extract, linseed seed oil, ppg-5-ceteth-20, polysorbate 20, peg-12 dimethicone, tetrasodium edta, methylchloriosothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, methylparaben, linalool, fragrance. I’ve tried this with the Giovanni L.A. styling gel and when that didn’t work, I tried it with a gel that I previously had good luck with: sally’s spike it. When paired with the giovanni gel, my hair was soft, but quite frizzy. There was no hold to speak of and no definition. With spike it, the definition was a bit better, but still lacking. No boosting to speak of and no hold; it was as if the omnistyler negated the intense holding power of spike it. Omnistyler is clear, slightly viscous, and somewhat quite perfumed. I’ve been trying it out as a CK alternative but I’m just not feeling it at all.

Back to Basics Jasmine curl refreshing conditioner ingreds: water, propylene glycol, myristyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, cetrimonium chloride, isopropyl alcohol, fragrance, decyl oleate, methylparaben, diazolidinyl urea, tetrasodium edta, propylparaben, benzyl salicylate, butylphenyl methylpropional, linalool, limonene, citric acid, panthenol, sodium hydroxide, hydroxypropyl guar, pentylene glycol, glycerin, butylene glycol, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, jasminum officinale (jasmine) flower extract, bisabolol. The fragrance is nauseating. It distributes just as well as any other thick conditioner but lately my hair hasn’t been happy at all. I’m going to try an ACV rinse and use the routine that worked with YTC. If my hair still doesn’t bounce back, I’m chucking this litre. (I’m actually thinking YTC wasn’t that bad and may just repurchase).

Giovanni L.A. Natural styling gel. I’ve been using it with KY jelly and Omnistyler. I’ll try it with the SAMY curls re-energizing potion as the last trial. If it doesn’t work, it’s into the “try later” bin.

On to SAMY Get Curls Re-Energizing Potion. Ingreds: Water Aqua, Polysorbate 20, PVP, Triethanolamine, Steareth-10 Allyl Ether/Acrylates Copolymer, VP/VA Copolymer, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol, Carbomer, PEG-Ricinoleate, Methylparaben, Acrylamide/Sodium, Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Fragrance Parfum, Polyquaternium- 57, Sodium Benzoate, Methylisothiazolinone, Red 4 CI 4700, Yellow 5 CI 19140. I gave it a shot yesterday and again, my hair ended up in a bun. I used in conjunction with spike it and my hair felt weighed down, undefined, stringy, and undefined. After reading some reviews on NC.com (here and here), I’m suspecting that I may have to use this AFTER my gel or as a scrunching out the crunch product.

Lastly, Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream. Ingreds: Water, Decyl Polyglucose, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Vegetable Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Avocado Oil, C 12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrolized Oat Flour, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynl Butylcarboamate, Fragrance. I chose the Island Fantasy scent. I find that it’s comparaable to the Freeman conditioners is terms of gently cleansing my hair and leaving it moisturized and volumized. It’s runny, thin, and not definitely not like any shampoo I’ve ever used before. Considering that it seems to act just like the Freeman cowash, I probably won’t repurchase. It does go to show that I can’t go straight CG. Using just the Suave or VO5 conditioners daily maked my hair straight at the roots and with a slightly greasy feeling.

In other news, it seems that Walgreens has expanded their Yes to Carrots line. According to this thread and on the yes to carrots website, there are going to be two new lines: Yes to Tomatoes and Yes to Cucumbers.

Yes to Tomatoes conditioner ingeds: Aqua (Water), Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomatoes) Extract*, Cetyl Alcohol, Capsicum Annuum (Red Pepper) Extract*, Aspalathus Genus (Red Tea) Extract, Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Extract*, Maris Aqua (Dead Sea Water), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Magnesium Chloride, Chamomilla Recutita (Camomile) Extract*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Benzyl Alcohol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*, Calendula Officinalis Oil*, Maris Limus (Silt) Extract, Parfum (Fragrance), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil*, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate Peel) Extract*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract*, Dehydroacetic Acid.

Yes to Cucumbers Conditioner ingreds: Aqua (Water), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract*, Capsicum Annuum (Green Pepper) Extract*, Maris Aqua (Dead Sea Water), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Magnesium Chloride, Chamomilla Recutita (Camomile) Extract*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Brassica Oleracea (Broccoli) Extract*, Benzyl Alcohol, Spinacia Oleracea (Spinach) Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*, Calendula Officinalis Oil*, Maris Limus (Silt) Extract, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Extract*, Parfum (Fragrance), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil*, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate Peel) Extract*, Lactic Acid, Centaurea Cyanus, Beta Vulgaris (Beetroot) Extract*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract*, Dehydroacetic Acid.

Yes to Cucumbers leave-in ingreds: Aqua (Water), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract*, Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Capsicum Annuum (Green Pepper) Extract*, Maris Aqua (Dead Sea Water), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Magnesium Chloride, Chamomilla Recutita (Camomile) Extract*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Brassica Oleracea (Broccoli) Extract*, Benzyl Alcohol, Spinacia Oleracea (Spinach) Extract, Calendula Officinalis Oil*, Maris Limus (Silt) Extract, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Extract*, Parfum (Fragrance), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate Peel) Extract*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract*, Dehydroacetic Acid.

I’m pretty excited. The ingredients look good – both of them don’t have the dimethicone that YTC has and there is a leave-in! Based on my experience with b2b jasmine, I’m starting to think that I should be using products that contain more natural ingreds. I don’t think the jasmine conditioner actually provides any nourishment to my hair.

I had an entire post typed out complete with pictures, smilies, links, the whole shebang and then a stinkin’ link messed it all up. Ugh. Two days’ worth of drafting. Short story:

JCHCC – like

Giovanni gel – disliking

Nexxus – too early to tell

I’ll add more when my comp and wordpress stop being lame.