Going through my products stash I noticed the expiration date on my LUSH big tease gel was coming up so I popped it into the shower as a reminder to use it up. I also did a search on NC.com for product shelf life and stumbled upon two threads, one of which had me smelling my tub of KCCC. Like one of the posters, I found that my tub has a little bit of a sour scent to it. Crap. Into the shower my tub went as a reminder to use it as well.

While in the shower yesterday I thought to kill two birds with one stone and try layering the lush gel over some KCCC. I cowashed and conditioned with Oyin HH (using a light hand) and scrunched in more Oyin (about 3/4 of a dime). I gently scrunched out a little bit of the drippiness and scrunched in about 5 quarters of KCCC. I scrunched out a bit more water using my Curlease and then scrunched in probably 4 dimes of the big tease gel. My waves were looking fabulous damp. I plopped for about 15 minutes and then diffused with my Sedusa and DevaFuser. The crunch, while pretty intense, wasn’t too difficult to scrunch out and I was left with nice, defined, waves and **curls**! When I met up with my family later that evening for dinner, my sisters exclaimed over how good my hair smelled – something definitely attributed to the LUSH gel. On top of that, the hold was phenomenal, there wasn’t any frizz to speak of, and it lasted all day.

I thought to try out the combo with afroveda’s PUR gelly underneath in lieu of Oyin HH and the results are just as nice, but with a little bit more frizz – another characteristic that I attribute to overuse of the big tease. Back in the day when I first discovered this gel, I was able to get it to work for me. Unfortunately, that’s not the case these days. On Saturday I used the big tease as my sole styler and the result was big, fluffy, rough, undefined hair that just increased in size as the day wore on; it reminded me of my first run with KMF upper management gel. My boyfriend actually noticed it enough to say that the gel definitely wasn’t working for me.

Would I repurchase the Big Tease again? Possibly. It has great hold and a yummy scent to boot but it’s not a styler that can be used on its own.

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Protein overload led me to naturallycurly.com. Before I learned how to care for my hair I was using sulfates and a Rusk conditioner LOADED with protein. Needless to say, my hair was not making me happy those days. Frustrated, I googled “how to care  for wavy hair” and the rest is history. My experience was horrible enough to make me shy away from many a conditioner containing protein. My hair responded well to protein-free conditioners so I figured my waves were just fine on the protein end and just needed to be balanced with a good dose of moisture. Over time, I explored with leave-ins containing soy protein amongst a mix of oils, humectants, and emollients. Since my hair seemed to tolerate soy protein, I expanded my current conditioner collection with a couple of conditioners containing moderate amounts of protein but kept my fail-proof moisturizing conditioners ever so close.

The past few days with Oyin HH, my hair was feeling mushy and overly soft when wet – a good indicator of overconditioning. This morning I broke out a conditioner that I had placed at the VERY back of my stash: Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner. My very first Curlmart order included this conditioner which almost every single curly/wavy on NC.com was raving about at the time. My hair must not have yet recovered from the protein onslaught I had subjected it to because the minute EMBC touched my tresses, it freaked out. Until today, I hadn’t touched the bottle with a 10 foot pole.

After a cowash, I scrunched in good amount of EMBC and let it sit while I finished the rest of my routine. My hair immediately felt better as I was rinsing it out. The SO and I didn’t have any plans since I was waiting for my Pottery Barn packages to arrive so I just scrunched in the remainer or my homemade FSG and topped it off with some Nexxus rigid gel.

My hair has more life and while it’s still soft, it isn’t’ overconditioned soft – a definite reminder of why maintaing a balance between moisture and protein is so important.

I cowashed, conditioned with Oyin HH and scrunched in a bit more per the icequeen method, rinsed out upside down, scrunched in about 3 dimes of the Afroveda PUR whipped gelly, and stopped it off with two dimes of BRHG scrunched in.

I have to say I’m somewhat taken with this gelly. I definitely cannot use it as a gel because there really isn’t any hold to speak of but when used as a creme/leave in, I found it to be moisturizing and clumping.  The texture is like a thick, chipped cream. It spread easy in my hands and once scrunched in (after scrunching out a little water), clumps were forming. I smoothed/scrunched in a bit of BRHG for hold and I was done.

When my hair dried, there wasn’t a lot of crunch to scrunch out but when I did SOTC, I didn’t lose definition. My hair doesn’t feel producty and while this sample I have is floral scented, Mala went back to the original vanilla scent – a plus. I received a compliment today which was surprising considering I’ve had other, more pronounced, good hair days. One of our administrative staff actually asked me if I get my hair done since she thought it looked really nice.

As for Oyin, I like the moisture it provides but I don’t like how it elongates my wave pattern near the crown. Time will tell if this one is a keeper.

I’ve been toying with the icequeen clumping method and yesterday’s hair was a major success. I cowashed as usual but used AOHR as a rinseout. I wanted to see how MGA  sculpting played with AOHR this time around. I applied conditioner right side up, detangled, flipped over and scrunched in a bit more conditioner. After finishing my regular shower routine, it was back to flipping over to rinse out the conditioner. I raked through with my fingers and again tossed my hair gently to loosen the roots. Only complaint about this method? I still can’t prevent water from entering my nose. Hm…maybe the next time I have my yearly physical for work I’ll ask the nurse if I can just keep the nose clamp I have to use for the stress test.

In any case, I wasn’t really expecting much because the SO and I didn’t have any plans and were just heading to his house for the weekend. Imagine my surprise when I SOTC and saw my hair looking like this:

I was just amazed (and told my SO we had to go out for dinner lest my hair be a total waste).  For the first time, my right side actually looked better than my normally wavier left side! Not only that, but the root volume I had experienced the last time wasn’t a fluke:   I definitely recommend this method if you’re having trouble achieving root volume.

With the skinnier clumps I’ve been getting with MGA sculpting, I thought to try a method I recently read about on NC.com. Basically you apply your rinse out conditioner with your hair flipped over, scrunch in a bit more to get the clumps going, and rinse upside down as well. It’s been a while since I’ve done anything with my hair flipped over because my roots would get all wonky and I never seemed to get the product distributed well enough. Since my hair has been treating me well in general, I decided to give it a shot.

MGA sculpting straightens my roots when I cowash so I water washed initially, scrubbing my scalp vigorously with my finger pads, applied and half dollar of my calming chamomile cowash, and continued scrubbing. I scrubbed as I washed out the cowash, parted my hair as usual and applied my ng rose and persimmon rinse out right side up and flipped over. I scrunched to get the clumps going and then flipped right side up to continue the rest of my shower routine.

It was a bit weird not feeling the weight of my damp hair. Usually after applying my rinse out I’ll comb through with my Mebco detangler and loosely twist my hair up with a stick so as not to have it against my back during the rest of my shower routine. My hair is bra strap length when dry but reaches to almost the upper small of my back when wet. Yeah. It’s insane how much length I lose when my hair is styled and dry. With this new method, my scalp felt much lighter without the weight of my hair and I didn’t feel the need to use a hair stick since my hair was sticking away from my scalp and the back of my neck.

When it came time to rinse out, I flipped over again and just raked my fingers through as the conditioned was washed out. I lightly shook my head a bit to break the mass of my hair at the scalp, raked my fingers through a bit and then scrunched in MGA sculpting. I’ve been using a half bottle of MGA sculpting since Sunday and I’m already at about 1/4 of the tube left. Hm. In any case, I used about 8 quarters total, scrunched with my flour sack towel, and diffused. Immediately after using my Sedusa and diffusing under the canopy with the Devafuser, I noticed that the lightened feeling on my scalp was still there and that was definite volume at the roots without having even clipped yet.

I scrunched a bit too early and my chubby 5-month old nephew’s little grabby fingers didn’t help much, but he’s so cute that I don’t mind if he musses up my hair. Overall, I didn’t notice chunkier clumps but there is a lot of root volume…enough to result in waving up to the roots!!

Ugh. Those ends need to be trimmed.

Yesterday I stopped over at Sallys with the intention of simply returning a soft bonnet attachment. When I picked up my Lustrasilk tubs at the Sallys near my work, I thought to search for a deep conditioning heat cap. The sales associate showed me two options: a $30 Gold n’ Hot conditioning heat cap and a $10 Conair Pro soft bonnet attachment. Considering I only do deep treatments every other week, if at that, I took the more economical route. Well, more economical isn’t always good. Sure, on the box the model looks all cheery while her hair is getting conditioned, but there has to be some invisible/clear strap under her chin because that sucker Doesn’t. Stay. On. Luckily I tried it on dry hair – heaven forbid if I were really doing a DT. The minute I turned on my blowdryer, the contraption started to inflate per the picture but once fully inflated, it also proceeded to blow off my head. Nice. I checked out the $30 cap online, but figured that I’d most likely end up stuck next to an outlet. I ended up adding a Hair Therapy Wrap to my recent Curls purchase and am pretty excited to try it out.

While spending more time and money at Sallys than I had intended, I came across the GVP Nexxus Aloe Rid gentle clarifying shampoo (the last bottle and on sale too!). I’ve read some good things about this clarifier on NC.com and MUA so I added that to the growing jumble in my shopping basket.

I also perused the skincare aisle and came across a promising eye cream: Beyond Belief VitaC+ nourishing eye treatment. At only $5.99 for 0.5 oz and with an amazing ingreds list, that went into the basket too. Googling ingredients and reading the scant reviews on the line posted at MUA make me feel more confident about my purchase. I’ve used it twice and feel that it provides a good amount of moisture and doesn’t leave a greasy film like over eye creams I’ve tried.  I looked online at other eye treatments Sallys has to offer and this is something I definitely plan on checking out next time: Purist Naturals restoring gingko eye cream. Hopefully the ingredients look just as good as Beyond Belief.

I’ve been noticing a bit more frizz and too-soft hair so today I clarified with my newest acquisition, GVP aloe rid, did a mini treatment with GVP Aussie 3 MM, cowashed with VO5 calming chamomile, and rinsed out AOHR. It’s another stay at home day so I finished the remainder of my homemade FSG and scrunched in about 4 nickels of MGA sculpting gel. I’m not too keen on the rosemary in it (my nose is very sensitive to that) and was surprised by its consistency: for a rather solid looking gel, its quite runny. I was expecting it to be akin to LA Looks gel consistency-wise, but it’s more like LUSH the big tease gel. Since it spread so easily and seemed to disappear into my hair, I wasn’t expecting much hold at all and definition. Boy was I wrong! I just barely diffused thinking to give my hair a break so I fully expected loose, undefined waves. Instead, I got crunch, definition, and some wave boosting. As this is the next gel I’m experimenting with, I’m looking forward to how it plays with my waves tomorrow.

Today’s hair is brought you in part by: a VO5 calming chamomile cowash, AOHR rinse out, and homemade FSG.

I had my ever so understanding boyfriend take these pictures and afterwards was rewarded with this comment, “Your hair looks curly.” I do notice that FSG tightens my wave pattern and while I know it’s not really curly by those in the know, it definitely is a MAJOR difference from what I used to consider a good hair day before coming across NC.com and learning what works and what doesn’t for my waves.

Taken almost 2 years ago on what I used to consider a good hair day.

Taken almost 2 years ago on what I used to consider a good hair day.

Back in grade school and high school I wore my hair super short because to have it longer would mean willingly subjecting myself to one of two things: ridicule or everlasting ponytails. I had no idea how to care for my hair back then. I faithfully washed, conditioned, and brushed in hopes that one day my hair would actually do what I wanted it to do. I would envy friends who had glossy straight locks or beautifully controlled curls. My hair was neither one of the two: not yet curly and not quite straight, and determinedly frizzy overall. There were times when I would apply mousse on semi-damp hair and air dry and on those days I got quite a few compliments, but I failed to grasp the fundamental fact that my hair needed moisture. Instead, I was robbing it by daily shampoos, junky conditioners, silicones in an attempt to get smooth hair, and heat. Before I found NC.com, my hair routine was this: sulfate shampoo, silicone-laden conditioner, bath towel dry, rake in either Kiehl’s silk groom or Bumble and Bumble curl conscious creme, scrunch, and then top it all off with a generous whirlwind of hairspray. Ick. My hair didn’t look as terrible as the line of products sounds, but god forbid I blow dry it before heading out (I had no idea what a diffuser was back then) or try to run my fingers through my hair once dry. I had a misconception that using gel would make my hair look crispy rather than the soft, touchable waves look that I longed for.

Ever since I stopped abusing my hair and listened to what it wanted, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments. Compliments are wonderful but most of all, I love that I LOVE my hair.