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

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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!

 

My hair is still recuperating from the awful experience with B2B Jasmine. On Wednesday, I meant to add some honey to the Essential rinseout but I had a bit of a brain fart and just added it to my GDLI. The result was less than spectacular. My hair was a bit stringy, sticky in some places, and my waves were pulled out. On Thursday, I remembered to add the honey to my rinseout and I still wasn’t impressed. Friday, I just x-nayed honey completely and used JCHCC, TS, soaked my hair in Oyin J&B leave in, KY jelly, MopTop mixed with spike it, and sprayed HESMU spray gel halfway through diffusing. I scrunched out the crunch with Samy Big Curls curls defining creme. My hair looked great that day!!! Last night, for a night out with my friends, I used JCHCC, TS, TS leave in, KY, JCRR mixed with spike it, and sprayed Loreal Tightly Wound. I scrunched out the crunch with a pump of Tigi Curls Rock. Oh . My. God. FABULOUS hair! I think that JC works for my hair when I use all the products together and use a leave-in before rocking ringlets. I saw ringlets mixed in with my waves and my waves were soft, seriously boosted, defined, and frizz-free! I’d post a pic but I can’t find any where I don’t look tipsy.

I’m a bit on the fence with TJ Essential condish. It seems a bit too thin for my liking and I don’t get the ridiculous slip I do with Too Shea.

For my skin, I’m using GoW’s Fruity Exfo cleanser (love it!!), homemade ACV toner, and honey as a face mask at times and my skin couldn’t be happier. I love that cheap, natural products are working wonders for my skin.