Glowing Skin & Growing Hair for Busy Budgeters
Updated: Nov 23, 2021
Beauty and personal care products are so flippin' yummy! Packaging. Scents. Textures. The high I feel when I'm loving on my skin and hair makes me feel like dancing in the sun!
If you're like me, you love sampling products with the hopes of amping up your beauty routine. Also me: too busy (or impatient) for bespoke or time-intensive personal care. And I'm hard-pressed to spend big cash on all that beautifully packaged magic in a bottle. It's an expensive and complicated relationship. So stuff needs to work!
As a recovering acne sufferer, I tried a crazy amount of products promising to keep my sensitive skin in check - and repair blemishes left behind. Some worked for a while, but nothing was ever faithful.
Over the past few years, I've learned so much about skincare. Remember when oil was the enemy of good skin? Turns out it's acne's kryptonite! My hubby's Grandad used to say, "The greatest thing is to know." That's not only good for skin, it's just good!
I have a coily 3c/4a pattern prone to breakage and dryness. But I'm cracking the code to ultimate hair health - for me. And hopefully for you. But it's a work in progress.
My hope is you'll discover something new for your on-the-go hair or skin that just might solve your most pressing beauty problem.
My Favorite Products for Tightly Coiled Hair (like mine)
I've gone from relaxed to natural several times in my womanhood. That's the beauty and versatility of our hair.
We once referred to our hair as "good" or "nappy". At long last, these derogatory terms are being replaced by insight. Andre Walker's Hair Typing System personalizes and demystifies our hair. His system opens up the floodgate for more customized haircare creatives, finally giving us more desired results than ever before. Our hair has an identity...commanding worldwide respect. As a modern culture, we're being baptized in the beauty of our multi-faceted textures and shades, and the truth of our beauty is being restored.
I've gone from relaxed to natural several times in my womanhood. That's the beauty and versatility of our hair. But after the last big chop, my hair will NEVER see another chemical relaxer - and I'm good with that. It was haaard because my hair was long...but the fullness and my edges were thinning.
*Good hair* is properly cleansed, nourished, and protected hair...whether it's natural, relaxed, or color-treated. Here's what works for my natural hair to cleanse, nourish, and protect it.
Olive Oil and Coconut Oil: My Best Conditioner...Ever
My hair has a combination of tight coils and looser curls. It's prone to dryness, frizz, and breakage. I've gotten fabulous and fast results mixing extra virgin olive oil into organic coconut oil and applying it either before conditioning or with my favorite conditioner when I'm in a hurry to get out and get going.
Olive oil deep conditions my hair leaving it well-nourished, and coconut oil adds strength, shine, and lots of hydration. I melt the coconut oil into olive oil and store it in a recycled jar in my bathroom.
After cleansing, I mix a dollop of my favorite conditioner or hair mask and a dollop of olive oil and coconut oil in my palm. I massage it into my hair and scalp. Then, I use a wide-tooth comb to detangle. I let it sit on my hair while I shower and then I rinse it out. The cocktail leaves my hair with a silky smooth veil of hydration and protection.
It Was Just a Mix-up
A well-priced haircare line that gets results is Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing Shampoo. It's the bedrock of Carol's Daughter haircare. Its pearly, silky texture is formulated with Monoi Oil (nourishes low-porosity hair), Tiare Gardenia (helps boost hydration), Bamboo Water (deep cleans to detoxify), and Hydrolyzed Silk (for elasticity and moisture). This formula worked especially well for my relaxed hair, but is gentle enough for my coils.
Update: I broke up with Carol's Daughter hair care line because my natural hair needed products formulated specifically to nurture my coils. I missed that beautiful scent, so I purchased the Shower Milk, Transformative Cream Oil, and Eau de Toilette, giving me that same intoxicating scent. If silk had a scent, this would be it!
Although many of the Shea Moisture hair products don't work for me, I've gotten great results from the following line. The cocktail of key ingredients has proven efficacious for my hair prone to dryness and breakage.
*I'm still sampling other brands, but haven't yet found one giving me better or even equal results. I'm excited to discover a black-owned and operated brand to promote the health and growth of my hair...
Now, I use Shea Moisture Strengthen & Restore Hair Care - formulated with Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Shea Butter, Peppermint, and Apple Cider Vinegar for cleansing, conditioning, treatment, AND styling. I love one-stop-shopping!
In tandem with these organic key ingredients, Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids help fight hair breakage, thinning, and split ends promoting hair growth. That's why we do all this right? To encourage our hair to GROW!
A Little Help?!
I added a protein treatment because I notice more of my hair shedding. What was happening? Change of seasons? Turning a year older? Stress? What?! Maybe my hair was lacking the hydrolyzed protein silk it was receiving from my ex-haircare brand.
But, before I put you on to what I use, let's talk about what protein for hair is. Natural protein in the hair cuticle - keratin - maintains strength and structure. But without the proper protein + moisture balance, hair can become stiff and brittle - or limp and lifeless. As we get older, this balance can become upset. So we have to compensate for the loss of either...or both.
If you notice your hair losing its luster and has become dry, brittle, or weak, try a protein treatment like Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Protein Power Treatment w/ Mafura & Baobab Oils to add strength and moisture. It's helped turn around my weakening hair shaft and restore its strength and structure.
Washday is once a week, and I usually pre-condition with my protein treatment. I part my hair into four sections and thoroughly coat each. I cover it with a plastic cap for at least 30 minutes and rinse. My hair has more softness and slip, making detangling (and styling) less time-consuming and way less laborious.
I follow up with my favorite shampoo. Right now it's Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Shampoo - formulated with Shea Butter, Peppermint, and Apple Cider Vinegar. It eliminates any trace of build-up without stripping my hair's natural oils, so it's well hydrated and manageable.
Takeaway: Textured hair needs extra hydration to promote a smooth, strong hair shaft. Try adding a pre-conditioner to combat dryness, breakage, or just to give your hair a little more of what it needs. To streamline your washday when you're short on time, skip the deep condition, and try mixing olive oil and coconut oil with your go-to condition to ensure your hair doesn't miss out on the extra nourishment and hydration our hair thirsts for. You just might love it as much as I do!
My Pick for Leave-in Conditioner
I am fan of Shea Moisture Strengthen & Restore Leave-in Conditioner. Like the entire line, the key ingredients are Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Shea Butter, Peppermint, and Apple Cider Vinegar. I massage it into my damp hair after cleansing and conditioning. Then, I comb through my hair with my fingers so it penetrates the hair shaft, leaving no trace of white residue. The scent is earthy and woodsy but subtle. The end result is well-defined, hydrated coils slipping through my fingers -root to tip.
My Coily-haired Wash-n-Go Stylers (and 'dem edges)
Unlike the wash-n-Go, I haven't yet perfected the twist-out. But in my defense, I've made very little time in my life for the process. The few times I attempted a twist-out, I'm pretty sure I did it wrong because I looked like Medusa. So, I don't have any products to recommend for 3c/4a hair. But I love the versatile style and I want to get it right.
A wash-n-go is my everyday go-to for a free lowing style or pineapple. I love the pineapple style because of the minimum effort to achieve this attractive look. It's simply a loose elastic around my hair pulled to the top of my head...and go!
To get coil definition, I use my fingers to comb in As I Am Coil Defining Gel for tightly coiled hair. It lives up to its promise to deliver shiny, well-defined spirals. IT. NEVER.FAILS. I use it every morning on my damp or dry hair. #asiamnaturally stopped production, but thankfully, I can still order it from Amazon or my local hair supply store.
I finish with a light sweep of ECO Styling Gel for a little more definition and hold. I tried a few other styling gels, but they were flaky or oily. I like ECO Styling Gel Olive Oil formula or ECO Black Castor & Flaxseed Oil. I discovered another ECO formula Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Oil, Black Castor Oil, and Olive Oil. It has a light, perfumy scent and gives my hair the same hold and definition.
Just in: I recently discovered Shea Moisture Strengthen & Restore Haircare Line now includes a Max Hold Gel. I love that it has the same key ingredients as the entire line, however, when it dried, it left behind a gummy, flaky residue. But not so much when I apply a small amount to my edges and as a layer to finish my style. But it does deliver great hold and definition.
Now, about 'dem edges!
Our wavy, curly, coily, or kinky tresses are so delicate. They need tender love. Our edges? Even more amore'!
I've been applying the Shea Moisture Strengthen & Restore Edge Treatment and Strengthen & Restore Hair Serum to amp up my effort to reverse hair loss. I've seen a regrowth in just a few weeks, so I'm a believer! The hair serum is the most promising. Since I've introduced it to my haircare routine, I've seen the fastest results in all-over hair growth.
So there it is - my coily hair care routine. It's an ever-evolving, fluid process, but I'm okay with that because discovering new hair products is better than Pumpkin Spice everything in the Fall!
Our hair is our crowning glory. It's just like anything else that has life. If we nurture and love it (add a little patience), the results will be well worth the effort.
Budget-Friendly Skincare for Sensitive Skin
My skin doesn't define me. I'm fabulous whether it cooperates or not. Confidence looks good all day, every day - beautiful skin is simply a confidence booster. So take good care of it, hunnay!
My face has always been prone to acne and scarring. And I couldn't seem to nail down what was causing it to break out. I tried so many OTC products - astringents, lotions, soaps, creams, and skincare systems like Proactiv. Most of the time, I never saw much change. Proactiv cleared up my skin for a period of time and then became ineffective. As my skin matured, I had specific, targeted acne that responded to nothing I used. So I hit the mid-priced skincare counters a the mall to find a solution.
I was impressed with Origins because it's natural and organic skincare, and I was able to get a crash course at the counter about my skin and learn why I was having problems with acne. The blemishes on my face started occurring primarily along my jawline. Origins cleared this problem area beautifully! Bonus...my skin became supple, and my pores appeared smaller.
If you have sensitive skin prone to acne (possibly caused by overactive sebaceous glands), I suggest using the Mega Mushroom Skin Relief and Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion (feels and looks more like a toner). Follow it up with the Mega Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum. Don't mind spending a little more? Add the Mega Mushroom Face Cleanser and Soothing Face Lotion. Did I mention this brand is certified natural and organic?
Shea Moisture For Skin