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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! 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

My skin stopped responding to Origins. Just like it stopped responding to Proactive. It happens! My next step in my skincare journey was Shea Moisture Problem Skincare Line (infused with African Black Soap). It helped improve the surface of my skin, giving it a clearer, smoother texture.

It gently exfoliates your skin while releasing acne-reducing properties into your pores. This line provided balance to my sensitive skin. The combination of African Black Soap with other certified organic, nutrient-rich ingredients, like Tamarind Extract and Tea Tree Oil, helped purify and redefine my skin's appearance to reveal smoother, brighter skin.

Acne and Anti-aging Skincare that Continues to Get Results

I just found a sensitive skincare line just as effective and inexpensive. My new friend, Acne Dote by Alba Botanica. You can find the best price at Walmart. It's vegetarian (not to be confused with vegan) and formulated the botanical key ingredient willow bark extract and the active ingredient salicylic acid. Willow Bark extract contains a naturally occurring type of salicylic acid, called salicin, which has anti-inflammatory benefits. Let it sit on your skin for 1-2 minutes. You'll feel the willow bark extract's subtle minty sensation as it gently works its way into your pores.

It's been working well for me - Its big benefit is its key ingredients penetrate deep into the pores and continue to work after rinsing.

After cleansing with the Acne dote Deep Pore Wash, I lightly sweep over my face with a cotton round dabbed with the Acne Dote Astringent. It's a gentle toner the removes any makeup, dirt, or oil residue left behind. My face, neck and decollete' always feel well hydrated, squeaky clean, and the zesty, minty smell is a built-in mood booster.

I apply the Acne dote Face & Body Scrub in the shower 3 times per week after cleansing for extra defense for my super sensitive skin. Its naturally-occurring active ingredients plus ground walnut shell go to work to help reduce acne on the skin's surface by sloughing away oil, dirt, and dead skin cells.

The Acne dote Oil Control Lotion sounds promising, especially since my skin loves to work my nerves with its oily surface. But being a woman of a particular age (yes...I'm proud), I prefer to apply a more nutrient-dense, robust moisturizer, especially overnight. But it's probably perfect for daytime.

And speaking of particular age...

In the past year, I dipped my toe (actually my face) into the age-defying skincare pool. I'm not one to drop a bag on one skincare product. I just can't do it unless I know with 100% assurance it's gonna improve my skin's appearance. And I can't know that. So I went the diva-on-a-budget route and spent some time looking for ingredients I've come to know intimately writing blogs for beauty and personal care brands.

I chose hyaluronic acid, a moisturizer containing Vitamin C, and eye cream to see if the desired results manifested. I'm willing to invest a little more in hyaluronic acid products with great reviews and a Vitamin C moisturizer. They give my skin life! Hyaluronic Acid adds a super dose of hydration to my maturing skin to maintain a supple texture and the Vitamin C moisturizer brightens and evens my skin tone.

I tried a collagen serum at night for added moisture to plump my skin and smooth fine lines, and help combat signs of aging skin. The results have been life-changing. My skin had become saggy and dull. I thought I had to surrender to the process of aging. But NAAAW! The key is prevention, not correction - although it's never too late to restore skin to a more supple, glowing, smooth surface. I love the results of my concentrated skincare efforts...and you will too!

One of my favorite things to use is a rosewater toner immediately after I cleanse my face. And a good face oil - two super moisture boosters. You can mix in your face oil with your moisturizer or apply the oil before you moisturize.

Rosewater is a skin-nourishing workhorse. It helps improve skin's appearance by clarifying and balancing its natural oils and reducing redness. It's a hydrating beast, and it tones, unclogs, and tightens pores to help prevent and reduce the appearance of those sneaky little fine lines. It's a beast indeed...a pretty, naturally rose- scented beast.

My fav face oils - Shea Moisture Daily Hydration Overnight Face Oil, E.L.F. Nourishing Facial Oil. And my newest experience, E.L.F. All The Feels Facial Oil formulated with hemp-derived Cannabis Sativa. E.L.F. just released 100 mg Facial Oil. I can't keep up! It's a full spectrum CBD Oil infused with Marula Oil to help balance your skin. Scented with Chamomile and Japanese Citrus, this oil calms skin as well as nerves, and brightens your skin tone! If you're willing to spend a little more money, go for it!

CBD oil soothes and calms inflammation, redness, acne, and other skin imperfections acne can cause. If you have sensitive skin, CBD Oil may be a good choice for you. It helps calm your skin and reverse it back to a smooth, supple appearance. Remember, the sooner you start

nourishing your skin, the better to help prevent signs of aging down the road, like fine lines and wrinkles, sagging, and skin discoloration.

My fav moisturizers - For daytime moisturizing, I like Shea Moisture Hydrating Moisturizer w/ Frankincense & Myrrh and Shea Moisture.

I recently discovered E.L.F. SuperHydrate Moisturizer formulated with squalane. Squalane is a plant-derived oil that delivers hydration and moisture deep into the skin. It behaves like the squalene our body produces naturally. Squalene diminishes as we age. So the innovation of squalane is its ability to restore moisture balance, elasticity, and protect the skin's surface.

At night, I apply Shea Moisture Glow Getter Pressed Serum Moisturizer. This multitasking moisturizer is hydration x 1000. Formulated with Manuka Honey and Yogurt, it worked miracles - literally overnight - to smooth and hydrate my skin. And the glow, as promised, is real! I wouldn't apply this product in the morning. You may shine more than you glow.

Superstar face mask - The overarching motif of this blog is quick and in-a-hurry skincare. Face masks are a self-care, lie-back-and-relax kinda situation. I rarely take "me time", so my face never receives the benefits of consistently applying a mask. Shea Moisture Glow Getter Honey Mask, formulated with Manuka Honey, Yogurt, and Vitamin C, solved this problem for me.

I have the pleasure of applying this mask every day! I can apply it in seconds and quickly remove it by dabbing my face with a damp cloth. In fact, this quick-penetrating mask leaves a velvety-soft, radiant veil on my face and neck that feels clean and glass-smooth to the touch. By the time I finish showering, brushing my teeth, or making my bed, this time-saving and efficacious face mask has done its job...and well!

So here's the takeaway. My skin used to be difficult to manage. I've discovered what works for my skin NOW, but like my hair care, it's an ever-evolving process of trial and error.

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!

Body Party

I recently discovered the cure for my dry skin. It's low-cost, emollient as heck, and it works. Especially for quick movers like me.

Do it in the shower...Nivea In-Shower Nourishing Body Lotion is magic in a tube. Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer is also effective for smooth, hydrated skin. It's available in a variety of infused essential oils.

I also use Neutrogena Body Oil. But Nivea and Jergens moisturizers are better priced and just as effective for my dry skin.

I apply it to my wet skin right after I shower. Then I let my skin dry on its own. You may not like "air-drying" your skin - I had to adjust. If I'm in a hurry, I pat lightly with a towel to help the process.

My dry skin transformed into a dewy wonderfulness in about two weeks.

It just comes naturally...

I use to be a loyalist to those highly scented body washes good for a girl's budget. Now I use Shea Moisture Bar Soaps. My fav is 100% Virgin Coconut Oil bar soap made with Coconut Milk for super hydration and Acacia Senegal known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

I've tried several formulas, but the best sensory experience for me is Sacha Inchi Oil Omega 3-6-9 Rescue with Quinoa and Rose of Jericho Extract. I love the entire line's earthy, spicy fragrance...and of course, the key ingredients all work in harmony to calm, protect, and hydrate dry, irritated skin.

These natural ingredient beauty bars are budget-friendly beauties indeed, especially when you catch a great sale! Sample a few and discover your fav.

Smooth Moves

I love all the products in this HUGE collection for skin and hair when I want to feel extra pampered. It's the earthy, spicy scent for me!

I used to have prettier feet, but now I have feet pushed into too many wrong-fitting stilettos, sandals, and boots.

An inexpensive, everyday, super-effective lotion is Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Foot Cream infused with Aloe. This stuff really works. It penetrates fast, and it's non-greasy. I noticed a big difference after only one use.

And I super love Gold Bond Ultimate Pedi Smooth. But I never find it on the store shelf, so I order it online. Its claim to extend your pedicure, with an exfoliating complex and 7 intensive conditioning and softening moisturizers, rings true for me. Put it to the test - you'll be sold how your feet lock in all that softening hydration!

The best, quickest, easiest, most efficacious remedy for dry, thirsty hands is Vaseline. I coat my hands in Vaseline and slip on moisturizing gloves for a couple of hours (works magic on feet as well). This does the trick to hydrate and soften. Or you can use a pair of footies on your hands. If you're comfortable enough to sleep in gloves or socks, you'll wake up with soft, supple, well-hydrated hands and feet. Or you can watch your favorite show or sit back and listen to music for an hour while your skin soaks up the Vaseline. If you'd rather stay away from petroleum, choose organic coconut oil, olive oil, or your favorite moisturizer thick and hydrating enough to penetrate the skin on your hands and feet.

No Scrubs

My favorite body scrub is Shea Moisture Sacha Inchi Oil Omega 3,6,9 (builds a nourishing moisture barrier) Rescue Hand & Body Scrub. That's a lot of label for a jar. But this product lives up to it. It's pure. Grainy, but not abrasive.

Other infused minerals are Quinoa-rich in protein and vitamins. And Rose of Jericho extracts draw in and hold moisture. When you use this product, you'll have a wonderful emollient veil - not oily or slippery - left on your hands and skin. I use the scrub on my knees, elbows, and under my arms at least 3 times a week to gently remove dead skin cells and deodorant residue.

I love all the products in this HUGE collection for skin and hair when I want to feel extra pampered. It's the earthy, spicy scent for me!

The cheaper keeper. And the winner is...

The best shave cream is Aveeno Positively Smooth Shave Gel. It's rich and lives up to its claim to smooth the skin, and helps prevent razor bumps. Bonus: As the product claims, the more you shave, the lighter hair reappears.

Aveeno Positively Smooth Shave Gel is a jewel of a discovery. I've used it for many years. I tried other shave creams, but always came back to this one right here! No other shave cream or gel works as well for me.

These are a few of my favorite things that help me look and feel my best. They set the tone for beautiful makeup, hair, and attitude. These brands have proven faithful for me - and I don't have to drop a bag to get desired results.

If you're kinda like me, you don't like beauty brands. You LOVE them! We're always looking for the thing to solve our beauty issues. I hope something I've recommended helps to make your skin, your hair, and your day just a little bit brighter.

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