Category: haul

Highlighting my Hair

Let me preface this by stating I did my research before attempting this AND have taken the precautions to strengthen my hair beforehand.

Spoiler alert: the results are not at all what was expected and I have finally been able to stop crying long enough to get dressed, go to work, and have some semblance of reality again. Boy oh boy was this a learning experience.

A quick reminder of what I went in with before this experiment:

This photo is from a month ago.

Last week, I made an appointment to get my hair partially highlighted at my local Ulta salon. The balayage that I did over a year ago was starting to grow out and look less balayage and more just neglected. So I wanted to get some caramel/honey highlights to blend with the remaining balayage and add some dimension to my naturally dark hair. I had prepped my hair and clarified to ensure the highlighting would be safe and had a bottle of Olaplex waiting for me at home for afterward to repair the hair follicles from the color lift. I had seen some YouTubers and friends go to their local Ulta salon and had some great results, so I decided it was a risk worth taking – I mean you can’t go that wrong with highlights, right?

My appointment was at 2:30 pm. I didn’t get home till 6 pm. Almost 4 hours for partial highlights – no cut, no styling, just highlights. This is almost the same amount of time it took to get balayage done for my whole head…

For starters, the stylist didn’t utter any of the variations of the dreaded “wow…look at all that hair” so I thought that was a really good sign! Once I sat down and explained what I was looking for (caramel/honey highlights to blend with my balayage…I am sorry for the repetition but it is key to what is to come), she got started on splitting my hair up into sections and brushing it out (meh, okay).

Here we go!

As we got to talking and she mentioned her sister had curly hair so another sigh of relief as I thought ‘hey, she must have some curly hair know-how’. And then the process began! I was so excited to start the process and was thrilled that this was so convenient – I was able to book my appointment online and for a Sunday! And even though Ulta is a Redken salon, I know that they have curly products (that’s where I bought some new products I will be reviewing for you soon) and thought hey…worst case they’ll pull them (yes, they can and do this). But even so, I’d give Redken a go and then style it my way once I got home.

Brushed out curls and lots of foil

Then came the rinse time. Before she rinsed it out, I got to take a quick peek and I was so happy with the results – yes, a little light but overall not bad! She even said she was so happy that I wasn’t brassy or over-processed. But then she grabbed the toner. The toner, y’all. So okay, maybe it was a translucent toner or something just a tinge darker than the highlights to tone down the blonde a smidge. I thought ‘hey, it’s okay if it is a bit warmer because it is fall.’ After 20 minutes sitting at the rinse station, she came back and rinsed it out, applied a deep conditioning masque and rinsed that out after a few minutes.

After chatting about how I usually don’t apply heat, how she wanted to showcase the highlights on her IG and how diffusing would take me about 45 minutes at home, I opted to have her diffuse it – gotta help promote each other, right? Mind you, at this point, my hair was wet so I didn’t see any highlights but thought once it dried, they’ll pop out.

She applied some serum to my hair (think FrizzEase from the 90s) by Redken – I honestly have no idea what it was. And then she pulled out the diffuser attachment and went to town – physically lift chunks of my hair while seated upright and holding it to my scalp with the diffuser. What is happening right now? At that point, I was too shocked to say anything and I kept thinking, alright, at least I’ll be able to see the highlights. Five minutes later she was done. DONE?! My hair was still wet and I looked as frizzy as a poodle, in Florida, that air-dried after a rainstorm. Can’t picture it? Well, here is an example:

So okay, she can’t style curly hair – totally okay because I can fix it when I get home. But here’s the thing…where are my highlights? Where is the blonde from my balayage? I saw the foils in there y’all. The proof exists above! I even IG’d it. So where are they? Am I being punked? Where are the highlights?!

I then panicked. I wanted to get out of there and to my shower as quickly as possible. I even paid, though I wholeheartedly am not sure why, and ran home in tears. TEARS! My poor husband tried to coax me into thinking it looks alright but even he was shocked.

Home in 5 minutes and I was in the shower with a clarifying shampoo then chelating my hair like crazy! I needed to remove some of this toner and revive my curls. Now if you don’t know what chelating hair is, it is a very extensive process of stripping your hair to remove any build-up and often times temporary color which toner essentially is. If you’re interested, I will do a post about it.

The result? Let’s put it like this – my curls are safe but I am not necessarily looking in the mirror too long once the bonnet or scarf comes off. I am already gearing up for the next wash day and mentally preparing for a lot of deep conditioning. Here’s the final product:

Still can rock it!

Overall, it is an improvement from what I walked out of the salon with but it is still not what I asked for or anticipated. I am shocked. I am dumbfounded. And overall, I am NOT going back. I am going to let the toner run its course and hope that the blonde will end up seeping through with time and look okay. Ultimately, it isn’t that bad and is aligned with the season change but it is not what I expected, asked for, paid for…

This was a failed experiment overall and a reminder that you cannot go to just anyone when you have curly hair. Highlighting may be more universal, but if they do not understand the structure of your hair, the end result may not be what you expected. So perhaps it is slightly my fault… Maybe my assumption of your run-of-the-mill caramel/honey highlights is not so common and I should have had examples ready.

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you had a poor experience with coloring or highlights and if so, how did you respond? How have you revived a coloring mishap?

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Ulta Mini Haul

When you have curly hair and are running low on products, have a birthday coupon and a sale running all at the same time combined with a day off…well, you have the recipe of an Ulta mini haul.

It might not look like a lot but trust me that the receipt says differently! After coupons, sales tax, and me going a little overboard (c’mon who doesn’t from time to time), my grand total was $233.22. Honestly, this will last me and my husband for a couple of months so I do not feel that it is too bad of a deal!

I have used all of these products now, some more than others, so I wanted to do a little break down of the products, cost, and especially for my curly girls, the benefits. Each product photo will link to the Ulta website if the product is available and will have a rating -this week will be little piglets since I am a smidge obsessed!


Dose of Color (regularly $18.00) – This is a nice liquid lipstick in a dark salmon, burnt Siena color that does not feel very dry. It does not last all day but especially when you’re an avid coffee drinker like myself, it is almost impossible to find that perfect product. It goes on smoothly and fades evenly. It does not have a strong odor. It was my first DOC product and I am happy with the purchase but probably won’t run to buy another. I have found other products that are more pigmented and with a better-staying power. Rating: 🐷 < strong>Tarte Shape Tape Concealer (regularly $27.00) – There is no comparison for this product on the market that I have been able to find. This concealer, though limited by its shades especially for olive and darker skin tones, is a stay-all-day, no crease, non-oily, non-drying concealer. A little goes a long way so this is worth the splurge. I have even spoken with Sephora employees that flock to this product time and time again. With a little setting powder, you can get a full day out of the product. It is intense coverage without being heavy so it doesn’t clog my pores or affect my sensitive skin. This is a rebuy and I will continue to flock to this product. Rating: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Mask (regularly $36.00) – When you live in a climate that has very little humidity, some colder temperatures and work in an office with what seems like recirculated air, your hair starts to suffer. When you have those issues and have curly hair? Well, that’s just asking for trouble! I never had the need to deep condition as much as I do now and finding a product that was good to my hair (meaning free of parabens, sulfates, and other harmful chemicals), while still affordable and doesn’t leave my hair greasy enough to coat a frying pan…well, that was a challenge. However, I bought the sample size of this mask and both my husband and I used it several times now and I am so grateful for having this. It has a strong but mild scent that is very enjoyable -almost matcha green tea like. You do need to use a good helping depending on the length of your hair, but I find that if I make my hair just a tad damp, this product goes a bit farther. You can leave this on overnight (I’ve done that when my hair was super dry), leave it on for 20 minutes, use a heat cap, or leave your hair in a messy bun for however long you want and yes, I have tried all of these methods -my favorite is with a heated cap or a messy bun for a couple of hours. Rating: 🐷🐷🐷🐷

DevaCurl Super Cream (regularly $28.00) – This product was a bonus for me because my Ulta was selling liter bottles, with a free Super Cream, during a recent sale. So I definitely scored with this one because this is a great product. This is a coconut oil infused cream that does not weigh down your curl unless you want to stretch them out (it is all about application and styling). This helps control my frizz and actually gives my curls a little extra oomph to be just a little bit tighter. My hair is soft, has movement and body and is really great for refresh days after I spray a little water on my hair. Rating:🐷🐷🐷🐷 DevaCurl One Conditioner (regularly $44.00) – With long curly hair, and a husband with tight curls, the liter size products are the only way to go! This is a daily conditioner that is packed with essentials oils and has a beautiful lemongrass scent; don’t worry though, the scent does not stay in the hair forever so you won’t get sick of it! It is a very thick conditioner with a lot of slip and contains olive oil to help strengthen and revive the shine in my curls. Rating:🐷🐷🐷

DevaCurl Low Poo (regularly $44.00) – Though this is technically marketed to “wavy” hair, I use this product versus the “No Poo” because I need a real cleanser. With the amount of deep conditioning, masks, and treatments that I do, along with the products that I use to keep my curls intact, I prefer a cleanser that will remove the build-up without damaging my hair. The “No Poo” is great and I have that too, but I needed something a little stronger on the cleansing side versus the conditioning. This scent is amazing and has a light lotus flower/citrus scent that wakes up the senses. It is a very mild lather that is gentle yet thorough. It does have rice protein so if you are protein-sensitive, this may not be the best option for you. Rating:🐷🐷🐷

DevaCurl Hairspray (regularly $25.00) – Sometimes you want that extra hold but gel won’t cut it. Sometimes you want to help speed up the drying process (yep, a little trade secret) because you don’t have 4 hours to wait for your hair to air dry. Sometimes you want to slick back those baby-hairs without locking them down when you rock an updo. This is a flexible hairspray so my hair is not crunchy but also not flying around everywhere. It again has protein so you should be careful if you are sensitive. It is lavender scented and the scent does linger so if you are sensitive to smells, this may not be ideal. The best part is that because it is a DevaCurl product, it is always sulfate, paraben and silicone free. Rating:🐷🐷🐷🐷

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels (regularly $15.00) – This was a first time buy for me but this will not be the last! With my sensitive skin, finding products that help without hurting is tough. But my eyes were looking a little tired and puffy regardless of how much water I drank or sleep I got, so I needed to try something to help. These patches are cool to the touch so they almost immediately reduced the swelling. The peptides and botanical oils help improve blood flow making the dark circles look less visible. These, like most of my products, are paraben, sulfate, phthalate, petroleum, and mineral oil free. Rating:🐷🐷🐷 Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (regularly $17.00) – I want to think I have flawless skin, but being realistic, my skin has a break out here and there -especially during that monthly visit! So when I start to notice a little pimple popping up, I apply this drying lotion at night and wake up with a visibly reduced break-out. This is a repurchase for me and I will continue to use this product! This is a spot treatment with salicylic acid, calamine, and other drying ingredients. Don’t shake the bottle though! Just use a cotton swab and dip it in the product to apply to a certain spot, or two. Bonus: when you get a mosquito bite, applying this will help the itchiness and dry up the bubble very quickly! Rating: 🐷🐷🐷🐷


I hope this helps you on your next stop at Ulta! I will keep you updated on any future hauls and if any of the products are kicked from the top for something new!