Theraneem is truly deserving of my affection. My waves are moisturized and defined, there’s no frizz, my waves are boosted and the combo gives great hold! The little wisps near my forehead are actually little define ringlets. It’s amazing! My routine today consisted of a VO5 cowash, alaffia shea and honey rinse out, theraneem raked in and again scrunched in after pouring water, and ARTEC volume to top it off, albeit with a lighter hand than the past couple of days. Even with less ARTEC, there was more crunch than FOTE + ARTEC and the plasticy feel that I’ve casually complained about with ARTEC is instead replaced by touchable, defined waves.

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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.