The past few weeks I’ve been experimenting with five things: Fruit of the Earth avg (or aloe vera gel to the uninformed), theraneem avg, ARTEC textureline volume gel, LA looks sport, and alaffia shea butter and honey nourishing conditioner. 

LA Looks – I still don’t see what all the fuss is about. It has hold, but not the crunch like the BRHG it’s been likened to. I feel like I need a lot more of the lalsg to get crunch as opposed to sally’s spike it, MGA sculpting, biolage sculpting jelly, or BRHG – my hard hold gels. On its own or with a leave in, lalsg has left me feeling like I’m not cool enough to be part the crowd that lauds its virtues. 

Fruit of the Earth AVG (FOTE) – I’ve tried this multiple times only to determine that, for some reason, FOTE couldn’t and wouldn’t work for me. I must have been brain dead or completely discouraged because I NEVER thought to try it as a leave-in under gel. I always assumed other gals who had luck with FOTE were ONLY using it as a regular stand alone gel. After actually reading and not skimming over a recent AVG thread on nc.com, the lightbulb (finally!) went off. I’ve only tried FOTE under artec textureline volume gel so far but I may just be hopping onto the FOTE bandwagon. Today I cowashed with my VO5 clarifying conditioner, rinsed out devacurl one c, raked – yes, rakedin FOTE upside down, poured some water over my hair in a modified rudee’s super soaker/icequeen method, scrunched out excess h2o, and topped it all off with a generous helping of artec volume gel. The result is similar to yesterday’s: great wave boosting, clumping, shine, hold, and waves up to my roots! There are even tight, ringlet tubes interspersed amongst my waves! I’ll have to try FOTE with other gels but so far so good.

Theraneem AVG – I tried theraneem as a stand alone gel prior to my belated lightbulb moment with FOTE and this didn’t disappoint. It provided light hold, tons of moisture, and unlike most AVG when used as a stand alone product, my hair didn’t feel dry nor end up as frizzy and lifeless. I have as yet to try it as a leave in but this is proving to be a repurchase item.

Artec textureline volume gel – this is quite an interesting gel. It doesn’t weigh down my waves and its runny like biotera but boy does it give you crunch! I’ve tried it over KBB nectar and super silky only to end up with nicely defined but limp waves. On its own it worked well but made my hair feel a bit plasticy but washed out easily with water. Over FOTE it ends up being a great combo.

Alaffia’s shea and honey conditioner – will not repurchase. It gives a decent amount of moisture and the protein content didn’t seem to aggravate my waves, but its consistency and lack of enough slip push it over to the “works in a pinch” category. Consistency-wise I found it similar to the rinse out I’ve been rotating it with – devacurl one c but there have been times where I’ll squeeze some out only to see little chunky globs amongst the puddle. Granted the blobs went away when raked and combed through in the shower but it was a bit disconcerting nonetheless. As for slip, it wasn’t lacking like ohm’s herbal conditioner but it wasn’t remarkable. After a couple of uses, my crown seemed to glom like it did when using Suave as a cowash. Vegetable wax buildup? Luckily it wasn’t anything a wash with jessicurl gentle lather shampoo couldn’t fix but I wasn’t too thrilled by it either.

In skincare news, I’ve been using the i-skin pore perfecting system for about 5 days in lieu of my regular facial brush and have to admit a noticeable difference. My skin looks brighter, my slight forehead lines aren’t as noticeable, my skin feels smoother and my pores are slightly less noticeable. It’s cheap alternative to the pricey Clarisonic but I wouldn’t pull out my wallet just yet.

My gripes about the tool are

  1. brush size – it’s just too big for my face
  2. bristle length – too long so it didn’t glide over my face easily
  3. placement of on/off switch – inconveniently placed on the outside of the handle so my fingers were slipping and accidentally turning it off when wet or dry
  4.  design – how I wish there was some gripping plastic or ridges to make it feel more substantial in my hand and not like something that could slip out at any moment

The biggest pro about the i-skin? Price. You definitely cannot beat $29.99 or $24.99 with the member discount.

Overall, I think the i-skin was a great introduction to a more “advanced” way of washing my face but I’m looking forward to my drugstore.com order with my Pretikasonic dermabrasion facial brush.

I’ve been using GoW’s heather blossom cleanser for the past month or so in the mornings and this is just another GoW winner in my book. It’s gentle but with some slight scrubbing action from the oatmeal and it cleans my pores out very well. In the am I can see some areas where blackheads have decided to make camp overnight in my pores but the heather blossom cleanser evicts them right away.

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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.

For the sake of experimentation (and to see what bars really do for my hair) today I did a cowash with Suave peach essence, rinsed with an ACV/honey mix (I know that it isn’t necessary with a cowash but I need to get rid of a particular ACV bottle), and conditioned with KBB milk in cocomango. I scrunched in a nickel of CJ coffee coco and being my alertself at 415 in the morning, I forget to apply some to my other side and proceeded to scrunch in a dime of PBH passion shine +  a quarter of LA looks sport on either side. I diffused with my Sedusa and Devafuser and clipped. I truly do love the Sedusa. My hair, of course, is never going to be 3a status but I do love how my hair dries so much faster with the contraption. My Devafuser also has a special place in my heart because it dries my roots and nape quick style. Now, when I get to the office, I can scrunch the crunch within an hour! I plan on alternating between cowashing and bar washing this week to see if there will be any buildup at the roots.

In other news, I’m loving the L’oreal HiP jelly balms. I have them in all colors (thanks to BOGO at Walgreens) and I can’t really pick a favorite color from amongst them. What’s great about these little pots is that they marry both color and shine in the perfect package. My main gripe with most lipglosses is that the color isn’t true to the pot and that it wears off pretty quickly. With the HiP pots, the color is true to the pot but sheer and it wears surprisingly long for a lipgloss. Also, the caramel scent is incredible. The MUA reviews are a bit mixed; it seems as though some women were expecting the color to be true to the pot. I think a lot of them forgot that uh, it’s a lipgloss? so there has to be some give and take. On the flip side, the jelly balms are pretty pricey as far as lipglosses go so I would definitely only purchase this during BOGO time.

So I tried out my new Sedusa last night and I was quite impressed. I washed with a new bar – kathymack’s Bay Rum bar, ACV rinsed, conditioned with SheaM, and then scrunched in SheaM (my feelings on this are changing a bit). I scrunched and plopped with a flour sack and go to it with the Sedusa. First off, it is a bit unwieldy. It’s quite large and the nozzle of my trusty conair doesn’t quite reach the end so there is a bit of wiggle room there. That being said, it can hold quite a lot of hair. I tried it out first with all my hair placed inside but since my hair is layered and some of the side portions were falling out, I haphazardly parted it (read, my hair falls into two sections when leaning to either side) and diffused on the warm setting at low speed. It only took me about 10 minutes total to get my hair about 85% dry! There is a learning curve in getting ones hair out of the contraption, however. I thought to try massaging the Sedusa to get some root action but I think that contributes to the difficulty in getting my hair out. Needless to say, my hair didn’t look too bad for just having sheam in. Yes, it was somewhat frizzy but had I just sprayed in some gel I would have actually looked decent enough to go out. (+1 to Sedusa)

Today I shampooed again with my KM bay rum bar, ACV rinsed, conditioned with KBB hair milk in cocomango, used GDLI as a leave in, scrunched in two dimes of CJ coffee coco curl creme, and followed with two golf balls worth of PBH passion shine mixed with LA Looks sport (I love how the blue and orange mixed together resulted in a clear gel). I scrunched and plopped and then Sedused. I followed up with my devafuser to get the scalp and voila! 15 min total and my hair was 90% dry. Gotta love that. What I found to be amazing with the Sedusa is that usually when I pixiecurl, my right side doesn’t hold the wave/curl very well so when I release it, it can easily lose waves just hanging there. (This is why I can’t air dry. The weight of my wet hair pulls out the majority of my waves/curls.) However, with the Sedusa, my hair sprung up to half its size and stayed that way. Huzzah! I find it funny that my diffuser attachments together cost more than my entire hairdryer with the diffuser and concentrator attachments combined.

I did noticed a marked difference last night and this a.m. using kathymack’s bars. The lather with her bars is much richer and creamier than the CV bars. Not only that, but they sud up much faster than the CV bars so I don’t feel the need to rub the bar over my head more to get some lather. However, when using my windblossom bar a while back, I noticed my roots feeling a little gunky/oily. I’ll see if I get this feeling with the bay rum bar. Worst case, I’ll just alternate between CV and KM bars on a weekly basis.

As for CJ, it does have protein but it isn’t in the top 10 listed ingreds so I may not have to worry so much (Ingreds: Distilled Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, (Vegetable) Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Panthenol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Bean Butter, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Camelina Sativa (Camelina) Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hyrolyzed Wheat Starch, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Stearalkonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Chloride, VP/VA Copolymer, Dimethicone Copolyol, Polyquaternium-44, Sodium PCA, Lactic Acid, Sodium Lactate, Urea, Collagen Amino Acids, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Mangiera Indica (Mango) Oil, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Oil, Corylus Americana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Punica Granatum Linn (Pomegranate) Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, Gardenia Tahitensis, Silk Amino Acids, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Agave Nectar Extract, Tocopherol, Propylene Glycol, Diazolindyl Urea, Iodopropynyl, Butylcarbamate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance). It smells yummy and it’s actually pretty thick (like sheam) so I only used a little bit.

ETA: The Sedusa definitely requires a learning curve. I love how quickly my hair dried and I love the volume I seem to be getting with it along with the Devafuser.

I’ve been having some mediocre hair days for the past two weeks. I think it’s due in large part to the fact that I’m slowly working through my PJ stash and discovering quite a few duds: GVP Paul Mitchell sculpting gel, GVP Paul Mitchell extra body sculpting gel, arcangell, and angell, and while LA Looks sport has worked for me in the past, it seems to be reneging on its promise of giving me “absolute fixation” and “absolute durability.” I’m not giving up on it yet, however, since I think my hair still needs to rehab from the other duds.

I’ve been using my CV babassu and marshmallow shampoo bar sample and so far I’m not really feeling it. Granted, it’s still hard to tell given the “quality” of the styling products I’ve been using. Maybe I’ll break down and re-open my KCC tub just to see what the shampoo bar really does to my hair. Who knows? Maybe the soap is the cause of the crap hair?

I had some pretty good hair days with the CV carrot milk and honey, and honey beer and egg samples so the light bulb went off and I thought to try honey 50:50 with my KBB hair milk coconut mango sample (really liking this!!). The slip wasn’t all that impressive but roughly 4 hours after styling my hair, I do think honey may be on my repurchase list. I have some pretty good wave and curl…unfortunately, that is eclipsed by the unusually high amount of surface frizz I’m experiencing.

My experiment today included trying the Paul Brown Hawaii passion shine gel I’ve secreted from my sister’s old hair stash. It. has. no. hold. Sure my hair is soft and not crunchy at all but that’s because there is no hold to speak of whatsoever. Boo.

I’m still on a shampoo bar kick. Yesterday, I washed with KM’s windblossom bar but regrettably forgot to pour out ACV for my follow up rinse. I figured that I’ve been able to pull off a no ACV rinse before so my hair shouldn’t cause too much grief. I followed up with Curls coconut, 2 dimes of KBB nectar, 2 peas of white boots, and the remainder of the SS hold and shine gel mixed with LA looks wet look. Well, my waves were boosted and I had volume, but I also had frizz. Ick. Something I haven’t dealt with in a long time since using soap bars and KBB nectar. Mind the frizz wasn’t as horrendous as the first day using KMF upper management, but it was unusual for having had to deal with it in a while. I have now learned my lesson, ACV, and I shall not go astray.

Today, I decided to switch things up and I used a different bar. No, not one of my two new KM bars that I received in the mail, but one of my CV samples: honey beer and egg. I’m interested to see if the proteins in the beer and egg yolk will wreak havoc on my hair like regular ol’ hydrolyzed wheat and the like. The lather was surprisingly thick but it didn’t leave my hair as squeaky feeling as KM’s bar.

I followed up with Curls coconut, KBB nectar (2 dimes), white boots (2 peas), and angell mixed with la looks sport. I have already given up on angell. I know that it will never work on my hair on its own and so I mixed it with a harder holding gel. Esp on a rainy day like this, I did NOT want to have to deal with the minimal hold of angell. So far, my hair is holding up and I get the yummy starfruit scent every time I move my hair.

ETA: Ouch. By midday the hold started to dissipate and the “hold” I experience with angell took over…so basically, about 15 hours later, my hair is frizzier than usual. Boo.