I have been pretty remiss with my blog as of late save for the Curls Like Us towel giveaway. After returning from my mini-vacation to San Diego, I had to deal with settling into my program’s new office space and catching up on work. Also, my SO just purchased a PlayStation 3 so he and I have been relaxing after work by kicking some ass on Marvel Ultimate Alliance.

My updates are a bit brief since I’ve just been using my blackberry in the interim to take notes on how my hair reacted to the day’s product combination.

VO5 cowash/oyin handmade honey hemp rinse out and leave in/kccc mixed with a little Sebastian hi contrast gel for hold: I used this combination throughout my stay in San Diego and I was pretty pleased. The honey hemp leave in provided a good base for the kccc and the mixture underneath the hi contrast gel gave me enough moisture but didn’t compromise the extreme hold of the Sebastian gel. I’d have to say that the hi contrast is a suitable substitute for another hard holding gel that’s often discussed on the nc.com forums: BRHG.

When I returned from my vacation, I toyed with KMS cranberry pepper gel by mixing it in with kccc and even using my beloved custard didn’t redeem the KMS gel.

My sample of aubrey organics B5 design gel from kathymack had been calling to me so I paired it with ky jelly after an AOHR rinse out and the result was a a somewhat straightened crown but nice clumping. I tried it another time with a kbb milk rinse out and even more ky jelly and was rewarded with amazing definition, good clumping and even more hold with a relatively easy amount of crunch to it for a natural gel. However, the hold didn’t last for much of the day since it started to loosen by mid-evening. In spite of this, I’m impressed enough to want to purchase a full-sized bottle.

Giovanni L.A natural styling gel on its own is not a winner in my book but the combo of giovanni with ky jelly definitely led to nice clumping, good definition, and no frizz.

I usually don’t have problems with product application on the back of my head since I do everything to ensure coverage by scrunching in upside down, side to side, and upside down again. However, I do still end up with a lock or two that refuses to go along with the rest of my hair and receive its dose of styling product. I decided to try combing in product again and achieved my goal but with skinnier clumps and not much wave boosting tagging along.

I experimented with afroveda pur whipped gelly and sally’s beyond the zone spike it gel and while the gelly helped to soften the massive crunch from this extremely hard holding  gel and aid in giving good clumps to boot, there was a fair amount of frizz to be had and my hair felt pretty dry.

Again, I experimented with combing in product so I used my Mebco detangler to comb in a mix of afroveda gelly with zerrran equalizer leave in upside down and then scrunched in giovanni+ky with a little bit of spike it to up the hold. After combing in the gelly+equalizer mix, I was less than enthused to see stringy waves mixed in with straightened pieces. My hair that day had good volume but skinny clumps.

This past Sunday, I broke out the Komaza coconut pudding sample from kathymack. I cowashed with my new VO5 vita burst revitalizing conditioner cowash in the nectarine orange surge scent and rinsed out KBB milk. I scrunched in the komaza anf followed up with kccc mixed in with spike it gel. After plopping, I scrunched in the remainder of my AOB5 design gel sample. The result was fantastic clumping, amazing wave boosting, yummy smelling hair, good hold, no frizz and softness. 

I gave in to peer pressure and and a 15 page thread (trust me, there are little nuggets of actual info buried within) and purchased an ION conditioning  hard hat dryer from Sally Beauty Supply…as well as the ION hair dryers. The first time I used the hard hat, I diffused for about 3 minutes with my old conair and Sedusa/devafuser set up, clipped, and sat under the dryer for about 20 minutes. I wasn’t much impressed with the results since it was also the day that I tried combing again and my displeasure with that experiment overshadowed anything the hard hat could have contributed.

On Sunday, I broke out the ION hairdryer diffused with the Sedusa and devafuser, clipped, and sat under the hard hat for about 15 min. The result was waves up to my crown with NO FRIZZ! And not only that, but I was able to SOTC about an hour after showering…after showering! That alone pays for the hard hat in and of itself. I’ve never been able to SOTC just one hour after stepping into the shower.

Today I cowashed with VO5 vitaburst, rinsed out kbb milk, and scrunched in komaza and kccc mixed in with aussie sun touched shine gel. After diffusing and drying under the hat, I scrunched out the crunch with a dab of Afroveda hemp seed lock and twist. My hair has some nice clumps going on, but the Afroveda might have been a tad bit too much moisture as there is a bit of frizz.

For the past few days I’ve been playing with Boots white curling creme. I’ve been using it with KY jelly under or over but never with a leave-in underneath, and gobs of KMS cranberry pepper gel over it all for hold. On Monday, I used a bit too much Boots and while the clumping was insane, my hair felt weighed down and the waves were pulled out by the end of the work day.

Today, my work at home day, I used two peas of boots, two peas of KY over that, and 2 golfballs of KMS over that. Again, my hair had some nice clumps, but as you can see, the waves were really straight near the crown. I plan on playing with boots more and trying it out with KCCC as mentioned in a thread on NC.com.

I do love how it smells and how soft my hair feels when I use it. Plus, it’s always a thrill to see nice chunky waves right after a plop.

I think my hair has been feeling dry due to LOOB use for the past few days. Today, I decided to give my hair a break so today’s routine consisted of a CWC method with VO5 sun kissed raspberries + Nizoral (the weather change has been aggravating my seb derm problem at the base of my scalp), NG persimmon rinse out, sheam mixed with SAMY potion, KMS cranberry pepper, and Lily of the Desert’s Aloe80 styling spray [a CG hair spray (ingreds: CERTIFIED ORGANIC ALOE BARBADENSIS GEL, PVP, PANTHENOL, HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN, CERTIFIED ORGANIC POLYSACCHARIDE RICH ALOESORB™, BIOTIN, LYSINE HCL, CHLORPHENESIN, PHENOXYETHANOL (AND) CAPRYLYL GLYCOL (AND) SORBIC ACID, POTASSIUM SORBATE, CITRIC ACID)] after diffusing for a bit.

The SAMY potion worked like KY for me. There isn’t much frizz and my waves were chunky and defined. Of course, with the gobs of KMS that I had to apply in order to get it work for me, my hair has already fallen flat 12 hours after styling. I’ll be giving the potion a couple more tries to see if it might be another CK substitute. So far, KY jelly is already an HG for me; I just wish that they sold it in Costco sized vats. Although, I can just imagine the embarrassment when placing an industrial sized bottle of KY on the checkout conveyor belt….

Spraying either a CG hairspray or spray gel after my first round of diffusing seems to help retain my waves. Also, applying a good amount of the gel to soaking wet hair helps form the clumps. I probably still won’t repurchase the gel because I feel that the isopropyl alcohol will eventually dry out my hair and the cloying honeysuckle fragrance isn’t giving it any points either.

My hair does seem to be bouncing back from the awful experience with the B2B jasmine conditioner. I have a bottle of the pomegranate condish and I’m almost afraid to try it out. The good reviews of it on NC.com are preventing me from putting it up on the swap board.  

Today’s hair is courtesy of LaCoupe shampoo, NG rose condish, sheam, KY, KMS cranberry pepper, LOOB, and Loreal tightly wound.

I don’t think the isopropyl alcohol in the gel in doing me any favors…even with a leave-in. I shampooed with LaCoupe Orgnx ReBalance shampoo (smells great and seemed to do the job without leaving my hair feeling stripped), conditioned with NG rose & persimmon, applied some GDLI onto soaking wet hair. I applied the KMS to dripping wet hair. The clumps here phenomenal but once I started diffusing, the alcohol must have sped up the process and caused frizzies. Great. It doesn’t feel producty but it also doesn’t have the hold of a “firm hold” gel. A couple more attempts and this just might hit the reject bin.

I’ve only used it for the past two days and so far it’s…meh. It’s thick and somewhat sticky and it has an awful but thank god, not lingering, honeysuckle fragrance. Every time I’ve used it, my waves ended up stringy and somewhat limp without much holding power. The pro about it is that it doesn’t leave a producty feel to my hair. Ingreds: Water, VP/VA Copolymer, Isopropyl Alcohol, Sorbitol, Carbomer, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Piper nigrum (Black Pepper) Seed Extact, Aminomethyl Propanol, Hydrolyzed Yeast, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Propylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, Sodium Benzoate, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance/Parfum, Blue 1/C.I. 42090.

The conditioner I’m trying out is Nature’s Gate Organics Persimmon & Rose Geranium Moisturizing Conditioner. Ingreds: water, pelargonium graveolens (rose geranium) flower/leaf/stem extract, mentha aquatica (chocolate mint) flower/leaf/stem extract, cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, glycerin, rosa gallica (french rose) flower extract, viola tricolor (pansy) extract, diospyros kabi (persimmon) fruit extract, litchi chinensis (lychee) fruit extract, punica granatum (pomegrante) extract, malva sylvestris (mallow) extract, tilia cordata (linden) wood extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root extract, equisetum hiemale (horsetail) extract, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf extract, hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed wheat starch, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed extract, panthenol, simmandsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, bisabolol, hydroxyethylcellulose, saccharide isomerate, tocopherol, polyquaternium-10, butylene glycol, fragrance, diazolidinyl urea, methylparaben, propylparaben, disodium edta. So far, my impression seems to be similar to Laurabeth’s review posted on the Conditioner Chronicles (http://www.naturallycurly.com/curltalk/showthread.php?t=10605&page=2). My hair is definitely softer and the first time I used it, I saw little ringlets. I’m guessing that maybe with the right styling product, this would work well.

In other news, my skin is healing and feeling MUCH better. I tried an oatmeal and honey face wash one night and it seemed to soothe my skin. Last night, I did a honey mask and that worked wonders in calming down the redness. I’m still using my GoW rosacea serum (LOVE IT!), hydrocortisone, and neosporin sparingly to help speed up the healing process.