Tag: producttesting

Curly Hair: Product Review

So there has been a couple of curly hair product lines that have been taking over the market these past few months – namely CurlSmith and Not Your Mother’s. Now, the latter of the two is a lot easier on the wallet and commonly has a sale at Ulta, Walgreens, Target or CVS (Buy One, Get One 50%).

And when Ulta had a sale and I had run out of shampoo, can you guess what I did??

Yep! I went shopping and wanted to try a few of the Not Your Mother’s (NYM) naturals line. These are all sulfate, silicone, and paraben free. And with their normal price point (around $8.99 USD) and the sale, I thought it was the prime time to shop online! Oh my…please forgive that rhyming – it was completely unintentional.

One of the lines that I wanted to try was the Activated Bamboo Charcoal & Purple Moonstone line. There are 3 products: the scalp scrub, the shampoo, and the conditioner all for $8.99 USD each. I wanted to try these because I have found that many of the other lines have been amazing for my hair (cue matcha green apple or blood orange), and I needed a little scalp TLC.

So this is what happened…

Let’s chat about just the scrub for a moment. This is a scrub that you use in the shower, once your hair is wet. It smells great and has gentle exfoliants made with natural jojoba wax beads which claim to detoxify and cleanse the scalp while absorbing impurities for a balanced PH. Sounds great, right? Well, I applied a fairly good amount in the shower and got to scrubbin’.
I could feel the wax beads and my scalp/hair felt clean – almost like it could breathe! The hair was a bit dry but I am not expecting my hair to feel moisturized with a scalp scrub…
So I rinsed it out well and moved on to the shampoo.

The shampoo smelled great and had a nice grey color to it – not mush grey but almost pearlescent. I used my shampoo brush and cleansed my scalp primarily since I never use shampoo on the length of my hair. My scalp and hair felt clean but dry. Again, I wasn’t expecting moisture from the shampoo so no concern there. I rinsed and applied the conditioner.

The conditioner is thick and smells great. But that is about all the nice things I can say. I had to apply a LOT of conditioner to the lengths of my hair and even after leaving it for 5 minutes+ with a shower cap, I could not detangle my hair at all. There was NO slip. I had to result to one of my Garnier 1-minute masks to get my hair moisturized enough to detangle.

I styled as normal and my hair turned out pretty good despite the conditioner debacle. The next day when I went to do my nightly scalp massage, I felt something in my hair and low and behold – the scrub never fully washed out or dissolved. The beads remained long after scrubbing, rinsing, shampooing, conditioning, conditioning again, rinsing, detangling, styling… THAT is concerning so to test if it was just me or not, I had my husband give the line a go too.

My husband has 3C/4A hair and keeps it relatively short (I have even been maintaining his length during quarantine). He tried all of the same products and had the EXACT same experience without being prompted. The beads form the scrub did not fully wash out. The shampoo worked great but the conditioner did not do much for his hair -although it was better than my experience.

In reviewing the ingredients, I realized there are alcohols in this line which helps with the cleaning but not with moisturizing.

So final decision? I will definitely use up what I have and will probably buy the shampoo again, but I will pair it with another conditioner since this did not work for me at all.

So inquiring minds want to know…What product do you use to scrub your scalp? Have you ever tried NYM products? If so, which one is your favorite?

Enhancing My Coffee

I am proud to call myself a coffee addict. I am not trying to be a part of Coffee Addicts Anonymous. But rather I am declaring my love for that morning wake-me-up. And I can almost say with 100% confidence that those around me love that I have my morning cup (or two since we are being honest) because without it I admit to limited functionality…and even some outbursts of aggression.

So I started to research some new additives for my coffee to change it up a little. I tried creamers which were quickly shot down because of the heaviness of the cream and the chemicals in many of the popular brands. I tried adding a shot or two of Starbucks sugar syrups only to realize how many empty calories I was consuming! I also came the realization that I don’t like my coffee that sweet anyway. I even tried switching up my milk selection and trying cashew, oat, almond – even went back to dairy for a bit. I then came across this ideaology called “Bulletproof Coffee” with the catchy headline that stated:

“It’s a high-performance drink that has a massive impact on your energy and cognitive function. Bulletproof Coffee has helped everyone from driven CEOs to professional athletes to busy parents increase their energy so they can do more of what fulfills them.”

Intrigued at the opportunity to essentially spike my coffee game and get an increase amount of energy that is supposed to last throughout the day, I jumped on the bandwagon.

I found a recipe online which consisted of the Bulletproof coffee (substituted for my Kirkland coffee), ghee (think butter fat) and bought the Brain Octane Oil on Amazon.

The results that are expressed on Bulletproof’s website state that I should experience the following:

1) Suppressed hunger. Brain Octane Oil balances ghrelin and CCK, your hunger hormones, keeping you full until lunch.

2) Steady lasting energy. The saturated fat in grass-fed butter slows the absorption of caffeine, which gives you even energy for several hours instead of a caffeine spike and crash. No jitters, either.

3) Mental clarity. Brain Octane rapidly converts to ketones, a type of molecule that your brain uses more efficiently than carbs or sugar.

Okay so I didn’t use the Bulletproof coffee but couldn’t justify paying $14.99+ for 12 ounces of grounded coffee beans. So I guess the question is if the ghee and oil helped? I bet you can guess the answer…

I tested out the oil component several ways over the course of a few weeks to give it a fair shake and I cannot notice a difference at all except that my coffee now leaves my lips moisturized and there looks to be a film on the top of my cup. I blended it and it did nothing to make it better other than a frothy cup of coffee -also nearly impossible to do during the week because it’s more of a pour and go in the morning. I added the ghee even though I am trying to be calorie conscientious because a little extra fat cannot hurt, right? Then I tried the oil without the ghee because why am I starting my day with extra literal fat.

I really gave this a go. I really wanted this to work because who wouldn’t want to jumpstart their day with extra energy, eliminate the brain fog (ESPECIALLy on Monday mornings), suppress my nagging cravings to snack… I even got my husband to give it a try and see if this was a hormonal thing. We tried it on weekends AND during the week (yep, even woke up earlier to dedicate the time to try this). We tried it on nights we slept well and nights were sleep alluded us. We tried it with frothy milk and with our regular cup. The end result was a major fail for us. 

Maybe I need to try this with the coffee but I still cannot bring myself to shell out the cash for the coffee grinds just yet. They did start to carry this brand at my local grocery store so if I can get my hands on a coupon, I’ll try it and see if that combination makes it better. But for now, I have to pass on this one.

So inquiring minds want to know…. Have you tried bulletproof coffee or brain octane oil? Have you ever added butter to your coffee? Do you add anything extra to your cup in the morning?

Winter Product Flop

After moving to central California after living in southern Florida for a few years, my skin was responding well. My normally oily and sensitive skin was dry, flaky, sensitive and dull. The humidity is Florida is nothing to joke about but it was certainly good for my skin!

Well, fast forward to month 4 in the new climate and while I found some products that helped revive my skin, it was still not at its normal state. It was no longer dry but it wasn’t oily either -I guess my new normal was combination? Anyway, I wanted to find something to help slough off the dead skin cells and bring back that healthy glow. That’s when I had the bright idea to use my birthday coupon and gift card to Sephora to try another product from Peter Thomas Roth -whose masks and creams are amazing.

This toner is notated for all skin types and is meant to help reduce wrinkles, improve radiance and boost smoothness. It was recommended to use daily. But just because there are some directions on the box, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know your own body well enough to create your own regimen.

Because I knew my skin has always been sensitive, I started trying this out with one day yes and one day no. I had used Alpha Hydroxy Acids (or AHA’s) in the past and I knew I could tolerate it but this was a new product so I wanted to start slow. Day 1 was fine but I felt a little tingle -that’s normal when you apply a light acid topically, but no negative side effects. Day 2 (which technically was day 3 but you get the idea), I did the same thing -wash with my Clarisonic brush, apply toner, apply eye cream, apply moisturizer and hit the sack. The next morning my skin started to break out a bit but I though “hey, maybe it’s stress” so I went for day 3 of the product application… Well, after a week of every-other-day, I didn’t seem to have a bad reaction, so I thought, and bumped up my regimen to daily. Big mistake.

This was the result of back-to-back applications and please excuse the lack of makeup but I wanted to show the full effect:

That’s when I knew it was time to discontinue use immediately and try to fix the damage.

Thankfully I still had my Sephora receipt and their return policy is amazing. I walked in to my local store and was able to show the clerk what happened to my skin and without any further explanation, the product was returned and she said that it was probably too strong for my skin. Boy was she right!

I am now trying to mend the breakouts and rash with my tried and true products before trying anything new. I also am refraining from any makeup which makes me glad it’s a 3-day weekend and I don’t have to go back to the office till Tuesday!

In the end, I still love the Peter Thomas Roth line but I have to say that this product was a flop.

Until next time!