Homemade Shea Butter Mix Recipe

The last two times I installed yarn wraps in Z's hair, I made sure her hair was properly moisturized before wrapping each section. I would dampen her hair with distilled water (spray bottle), apply a leave-in followed by aloe vera gel and shea butter to seal the moisture in her hair. It was a time consuming process of having to squirt some leave-in in my hand, pump out some aloe vera gel, and scoop out (and warm up) some shea butter for EVERY section of hair at a time. 

I figured to cut down time and effort for her third yarn wrap installment, I would just combine all the ingredients together to create a mix I can apply in just one step. I prepared the mix as followed:
  1. Measured (approximately) 1 tablespoon of Shea Butter. I nuked it in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften/melt it.
  2. Added two tablespoons of coconut oil (already melted from being in warm kitchen).
  3. Added a tablespoon of Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk.
  4. Added two tablespoons of aloe vera gel
  5. Mixed together.
The consistency of the mixture changed as it cooled. Initially it was soupy and then became more like a borderline gelatinous cream. Nevertheless, my daughter said it smelled good (because of the coconut oil) and I totally agree. I am half way done with installing her yarn wraps and this mix has been a breeze and time saver. All I have been doing is spraying each section with distilled water and applying a generous portion of the homemade shea butter mix to the hair. The mix instantly smooths down the hair and creates a nice curl definition:

It has been a long time since I have whipped up some homemade mixes before today but am definitely ready to get back to it especially for our skin over the winter. Aloe vera gel + coconut oil + shea butter = blissful dry skin relief. I guess this will be my next concoction soon.

Next updates will be on Z's yarn wraps, which I plan to complete tomorrow morning! She braved out the 4.5 hour session this afternoon (with lots of TV, markers, paper, and snacks, of course). She saw what I did so far and felt like a rock star with the front section pinned the way it was and the yarn wraps in a pony tail. She even requested to just wear it as it was. She's too cute.

I kindly told her no because momma is taking a hairstyling break for 3-4 weeks after tomorrow. :-)

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November Length Check

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Z Wash Day Updates | Her First Protein Treatment

Last night, Z's wash session went like this:
  1. Took down Corkscrew Ghana Plaits
  2. Divided hair into four sections. Pre-pooed with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle conditioner for 15 minutes (covered hair)
  3. Rinsed and shampooed with Pantene Pro-V Expert shampoo (contains sulfates to remove build up and was what I had)
  4. Rinsed and applied Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor for 5 minutes (covered hair). I definitely did not feel like one application (from the 2 application packet) was enough for her entire head. By time I got to the fourth section, I barely had any left. Next time I use this protein treatment, I will just use the entire 2 application packet on her hair (or just buy the bottle)
  5. Rinsed, t-shirt dried for 10 minutes, and applied Shea Moisture African Black Soap Purification Masque + Aubrey Organic GPB Balancing Protein Conditioner for 25 minutes (covered hair). I bought the balancing protein conditioner at Whole Foods after reading lots of raving reviews online. The texture is very thick for a conditioner...almost like a paste. I added the protein conditioner (+ Shea Moisture conditioner) primarily on the section that I felt was lacking during the protein treatment
  6. Rinsed with water then conditioned hair with Giovanni Smooth as Silk conditioner to detangle hair (her hair was extra tangled...not sure if it was because of the protein treatment or because her hair was just tangled from the ghana plaits and then the shampooing process. Nevertheless, I divided her hair into 8 sections to really detangle her hair with my fingers (first), wide tooth comb, and at last the denman brush. I will say once her hair was detangled, her hair felt very smooth and stronger. Even when I twisted each section after detangling, the ends of her hair clumped nicely together in a curl.)
  7. Rinsed and did a ACV rinse to help reduce dry itchy scalp (in preparation for yarn wraps). Did not rinse out
  8. T-shirt dried for 10 minutes
  9. Without removing the twists, I LOCed her hair with water, Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk + Olive Oil, and Shea Butter
  10. Covered hair with bonnet
  11. Put her to bed :-)
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Wash Day Updates | My First Real Protein Treatment

Monday night for my hair went down like this:
  1. Pre-pooed with Trader Joe's Tea Tingle Conditioner + Coconut Oil (for 20 minutes)
  2. Shampooed with Pantene Pro-V Expert Collection Advanced Keratin Repair Shampoo (something I got for free with a coupon awhile back. Since my Shea Moisture African Black Soap Shampoo does not contain any sulfates, I just used this Pantene product instead to really get my hair clean. Need to find a good clarifier shampoo...suggestions?)
  3. Towel dried hair to absorb extra moisture
  4. Applied Aphogee 2 minute reconstructor for 4 minutes underneath a plastic bag (smelled a little like a very mild relaxer as time passed...not sure my senses were getting the best of me as I was very tired by this point) 
  5. Rinsed hair with warm water and deep conditioned for 30 minutes with Shea Moisture African Black Soap Purification Masque (covered under a plastic bag)
  6. Rinsed hair, towel dried hair for 5 minutes (I was extremely tired by this point)
  7. Sectioned hair into five sections for banding
  8. LOC hair with water, Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk, and Shea Butter
  9. Pinned the banded sections close to scalp and tied hair up
  10. Went to bed :-)
So after my post explaining my quest to understand the concept of protein/moisture balance, I took the dive and did my first protein treatment ever since starting my healthy hair journey. Now that I think about it, I do remember YEARS ago purchasing some kind of hair mayonaise. I tried it once, and it made my hair feel not so soft. Therefore, I ditched it. Clearly, I was unaware back then that it was actually a protein treatment that was to be followed by a moisturizing DC. Other than that instance, I do not recall any other experiences with protein treatments.

I will admit that I did not know what to expect from the treatment other than the fact that my hair could end up hard and brittle. From my experience with my hair texture, I basically know how it feels when it is either dry or super moist (which I thought was the desired feel and end goal). However, after I applied and rinsed away the protein treatment from my hair, I realized what I considered all these years to be well moisturized hair was actually mushy, over moisturized, limp hair ( = moisture overload).

This light protein treatment blew my mind. Despite the fact I felt like the 1 application (2 come per packet) was not enough for the amount of hair on my head, I am still pleased with how my hair felt after the treatment. My hair was stronger and smoother instead of limpy and mushy soft (what I thought was normal). I did the strand test on a wet shed hair, and my hair did not snap easily and had strength. I was able to stretch it, and it coiled right back into place. Oh, and did I mentioned my hair was smooth?!! #ahmazing

As I detangled my hair, I noticed way less hairs on my denman brush and in the hair stopper. To my surprise, detangling was much better than I anticipated. When I banded each section, I saw how shiny my hair was. I am really pleased with my first protein treatment and definitely will incorporate it into my regimen. For now, I will do it once a month after shampooing my hair. If that is not enough after trying it monthly for a few months, I will bump it up to twice a month. I do have another protein treatment I bought from the beauty store so I will try that one next month. I will hold off on the stronger Aphogee 2 Step Protein Treatment. I watched YouTube videos of naturals using that stuff, and it seems like serious business. I do not believe I need that level of protein in my hair at this time.

So to conclude, this wash day was revelating and a success! My hair will be under wraps (a wig) so manipulation will be very low as usual until the next wash day next week. On a side note, I am noticing SOOOO many gray hairs popping all over my head. I have convinced myself to just let them be...I admire women who embrace the gray. But my convictions may change someday down the line especially when I  wear my hair out more. Eh, just taking this journey day by day.

Final side note: I love my natural heart shape. It shows the many different textures of my hair: tight and coily in the back, loose and unruly at the top. The top just can't wait to grow out and flop over. :-)

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving holiday! Share your wash day experience here:

The Wash Day Experience

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Understanding Protein/Moisture Balance | Please Share Your Experiences

Saturday, I went to the local beauty world store to pick up a few items including some aloe vera gel and a pump for my gallon size container of Giovanni Smooth as Silk conditioner which I am really stoked about! No more tipping over a huge bottle for me. :-)

Side note: I recently caught on a great deal on this particular sized bottle of conditioner at Massage Warehouse (.com) for $35 including shipping. Literally, I caught the last 3 minutes of this deal otherwise I would have posted it for others to take advantage if they like this particular conditioner (and some others on the site). Still, it is great to check there from time to time because they regular run some type of promo to use on their products.

Anyway, I passed by the end cap with all the little packs of deep conditioners, treatments, and enticing little goodies that always catch my attention. I decided instead of looking at them for 10 minutes and walking away, I would pick up a few packs to try out for once in my life. I read a lot about the Aphogee treatment and the 2-minute reconstructor so those were automatic for me to pick up and the third pack--Naturals by HASK Strengthening Masque--just seems to be filled with so much potential without the use of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, (and the rest of that stuff we are told is not good for our natural hair) that I went ahead and grabbed that too.

Now, here I am with three packs on protein treatments, perplexed In all the 10.5 years I have been natural, I unfortunately lack big the full understanding of protein/moisture balance. Ok, let me give myself some credit...I do understand the moisture component but when it comes to protein, I am somewhat at a loss.

From what I know based off my (quick) research:
  • Our hair is composed over two-thirds protein (keratin)
  • Under normal conditions such as washing, combing, manipulating, and styling, our hair gradually loses protein over time thus weakening it and making it more susceptible to split ends and "wear and tear" breakage
  • Protein treatments is a temporary solution to filling the gaps along the hair shaft
  • Key ingredient should be hydrolyzed protein
    • This simply means that the protein has been broken small enough to attach to the hair shaft
    • The protein in eggs is unhydrolyzed and the protein structure is too large to have any significant impact on the hair. Some swear by it so I guess your mileage will vary.
  • Depending on the hair condition and type of protein treatment, one should do a treatment every 1-6 weeks.
    • There are four types of proteins:
      • Protein pack (for slightly damaged hair)
      • Reconstructor (for severely damaged hair...I'm confused because the Aphogee 2 minute reconstructor is considered a light protein by some women ::shrugs::)
      • Deep penetrating treatment (for moderately damaged hair)
      • Light protein treatment (for slightly damaged hair)
    • Different hair conditions that may warrant a protein treatment:
      • Relaxed hair
      • Color/heat treated
      • Finely textured
      • 2+ year old hair
      • Damaged hair with severe breakage
      • Moisture overload: the hair does not snap back once stretched
This is pretty much the gist of what I understand so far. Oh, and that too much protein can leave your hair feeling really hard and brittle. Also, protein overload is harder to correct than moisture overload. Also, as the protein is applied, it supposed to make your hair hard until it is rinsed out, and it is critical to follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner to restore balance.

Whew, no wonder why I have been so hesitant!!! So many conditions to consider. Nevertheless, I am determined to understand protein and how it works for my hair and Z's. A part of that is trial and error (I know), but I like to be as informed as possible. Neither one of us have had any direct heat to our heads in 5 years (yes, never for her) and we have not experienced any noticeable breakage. 

Z has very fine hair so I believe she would benefit from a light protein treatment especially since I am planning on installing yarn wraps to her hair on Wednesday. My hair on the other hand is made up of many different textures but mainly thick, wiry strands. I will say that I have noticed some mid-strand splits in some of my shed hairs and this has been an ongoing issue for me ever since I have been natural (and never done a protein treatment ::sideeye::).  So to me, that signals I need a protein treatment. 

I am thinking about using the Aphogee 2 minute reconstructor on our hair Wednesday (since there are two applications per pack) and will report back later this week. The Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment might be too much for us right now so I will just hold on to it for another time once I have gained more insight on this protein business.

Before I conclude and solicit your advice and experience, I am considering picking up a bottle of the Aubrey Organics GPB Balancing Protein Conditioner to use as a light protein treatment particularly on Z's fine hair.

Here are the sources I used for this post: {Source 1},{Source 2},{Source 3},{Source 4}

Whew...I think I laid it all out. So here's your turn. Please share your thoughts about the route we should take starting off and share your experiences using protein as a part of your regular natural hair care regimen. What is your favorite brand? How often you use a protein treatment? I appreciate all responses in advance! :-)

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Hair Tip: How to Save Time During the African Threading Process

Check out a few of the African Threading hairstyles I have done on my daughter's hair (click on the picture to see more details about the style...will open in new window):

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Experimenting with Rinses to Reduce Natural Hair Shedding

After doing some research and reading up on different wash day routines of various bloggers, I came across this process of rinsing the natural hair (after shampooing) with tea/coffee. Essentially the idea is that the caffeine in the tea/coffee blocks the effect of a chemical known as DHT  (the trigger for hair shedding) thus leading to increase hair retention over time. {Source}

I thought this was an interesting discovery, and immediately curiosity kicked in. Conveniently for this non-coffee drinker, I had some coffee in the cupboard from when my parents visited me a while back and figured I would go ahead and give the coffee rinse a try. I, the non-coffee drinker, actually own a coffee maker but did not feel like digging for it underneath the counter so I did the following steps to prepare my coffee (the bootleg way, I guess ::shrugs::):

Total prep time: 40 minutes (30 minutes of that were inactive)
  1. Gathered materials: a coffee filter, coffee, and two mason jars. I added 1.5 tablespoons of instant coffee in one mason jar (brand unknown).
  2. Filled the other mason jar with water (approximately 24 oz) and microwaved it until boiling.
  3. Poured the hot water into the jar with the coffee in it.
  4. Let sit as I pre-pooed and shampooed my hair (approximately 30 minutes). Next time, I will probably opt for an overnight steeping process for a stronger coffee.
  5. Added the coffee filter inside the mouth of the other mason jar (that originally contained the water). Secured the filter with a rubber band.
  6. Poured coffee mixture into the mason jar. 
  7. Allowed all the coffee to pass through the filter. Note: I made the mistake of stirring the coffee mixture prior to this step thus causing most of the coffee bits to float all throughout the mixture (instead of remaining settled at the bottom). This made the filtering process much longer.
  8. The finished product. It was cool by the time I was ready to do the rinse.
For the actual rinse, I took a large bowl that served to catch the coffee as I poured it over my scalp. I did this by holding my head over (face down) the sink with the bowl inside the sink. Starting at the nape of my neck, I slowly poured the coffee over my scalp making sure to cover the entire area. It was soooo cool...brrrr. After I finished the first rinse, I took the coffee in the bowl and poured it back into the mason jar and repeated the process two more times. Before the final (fourth) rinse, I dipped my ends inside the bowl, not knowing if this would have any type of effect. Then I proceeded to pouring the coffee through my hair, allowing the coffee to go directly down the drain.

Once my hair stopped dripping, I let the coffee sit in my hair for about 10 minutes before deep conditioning my hair for 30 minutes. I detangled my hair with my denman brush and rinsed the conditioner from my hair. 

I noticed not as much shed hair was in my hair stopper nor my brush at the end of the process. Now, I am not sure if the decrease in hairs was a result of my hair already being well detangled from my co-wash this past Sunday or because of the "immediate" response to this rinse process. I am going to add this step to my regimen and reassess it by the end of the year. I plan to do the coffee rinse every other week so by the end of December, I should be able to better note any changes in my shedding rate. Nevertheless, my hair was well cleansed and moisturized at the end of my entire wash process.

Since this is really new to me, I am very curious to know your experiences with coffee/tea rinses! Please share your techniques and types of teas/coffee brands you use.  What results have you achieved with rinsing? Is this a regular part of your regimen? 

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Wash Day Updates | First Coffee Rinse Experience

I decided to do something new: a coffee rinse. I will explain the process in another post soon but just want to quickly layout last night's session:

  • Pre-pooed with Trader Joe's Tea Tingle Conditioner + Coconut Oil (melted and mixed). This combo smells so good! Covered hair with plastic bag for 15 minutes. Hair was soft and had good slip.
  • Shampooed with Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo. Diluted about 1.5 tablespoons of shampoo with 7 oz of warm water in a nozzle bottle to focus on scalp. Massaged scalp to remove dirt and proceeded to the ends. Had a very nice lather. Rinsed hair with warm water.
  • Coffee rinsed hair (will explain in a post very soon) 4 times through. Let sit for 10 minutes and t-shirt dried hair to absorb excess moisture. My hair did not feel hard at all at this point.
  • Deep conditioned with Shea Moisture African Black Soap Purification Masque. Covered hair with plastic bag for 30 minutes. Rinsed hair with warm water.
  • T-shirt dried hair for 5 minutes. 
  • Applied Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk Moisturizer to hair followed by extra virgin olive oil and a thin layer of shea butter to LOC hair.
  • Banded hair into five sections.
  • Covered hair.
  • Went to bed. :-)

  • I will reassess my hair on Sunday to see if I need to remoisturize it. If all is well, I will have another wash day update on next Thursday instead (where I plan to just co-wash hair).

    How was your wash day? Share below in the comments or at the link below:

    The Wash Day Experience

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    Hair Tip: T-Shirt Drying Over Towel Drying Natural Hair

    You spent precious time washing, conditioning, and detangling your child's natural hair. Once the process is finally completed, you go and reach for the...

    Bath Towel?

    That seemingly soft, plush, and cuddly material that feels so good against your child's skin can actually wreck havoc over the hard work you put into managing your child's hair. The surface of the towel can create friction against the hair shaft and lead to frizz and tangles especially if you scrunch the hair inside to absorb as much water as possible.

    Instead of the towel, grab an old t-shirt to do the job. The surface of the t-shirt is much smoother and gentler on our curly locks. Also, scrunching and bunching the hair to dry is hardly ever a good idea anyway because it can cause unnecessary tangling and knotting. Rather, just cover the entire head with the shirt and let the hair rest for 10-15 minutes if possible to absorb the excess moisture. If you are pressed for time and the hair is already twisted/braided in sections, just take the shirt and dry the hair in a downward motion from roots to tip (never tip to roots).

    A little moisture is a great basis for the LOC method to help keep your child's hair sealed and hydrated especially this time of year.

    How do you typically dry your or your child's hair?

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    Hair Tip: Diluting Shampoo to Effectively Cleanse Scalp and Save Money

    When it comes down to shampooing our hair, the main focus in the process is getting the scalp clean. The ends of the hair automatically get clean as the shampoo runs down the hair shafts from the roots. 

    As our hair gets longer, thoroughly applying undiluted shampoo directly onto our scalp with just the fingers/fingertips has increasingly proven to be a very inefficient method of cleansing our heads well. I have found myself using way more shampoo than necessary just to ensure I am adequately covering all the sections of our heads.  Therefore, to really reach the entire scalp, I have been using a nozzle bottle (bought at local beauty shop) to dilute between 1-2 tablespoons of shampoo with warm water.  With the nozzle, I can easily access the scalp and apply the solution over the entire head. Then, I am able to gently massage the scalp to work the shampoo in and cleanse it efficiently without having to waste extar shampoo straight from its original container. In the end, I am getting a better bang for my buck and achieving a cleaner scalp for both me and my daughter.

    Hope this helps! How do you apply shampoo to your hair/scalp?

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    Corkscrew Ghana Plaits Hairstyle via African Threading Technique

    This is probably going to be the last style I am going to do on Z's hair before installing yarn wraps to her hair on next Wednesday. I chose to do corkscrew Ghana plaits on her hair because I have not done them this particular way since last year in October when I first attempted the style and was curious to see how they would look now that her hair is longer.

    Style Removal and Detangling:

      • Dampened hair with distilled water (spray bottle)
      • Starting from the back, thoroughly applied Trader Joe's Tea Tingle Conditioner + Extra Virgin Olive Oil to section of hair
      • Finger detangled section to remove shed hairs and knots from ends of hair
        • the conditioner made my hands very cold during this process...probably because of the peppermint oil
      • Twisted section and worked my way up the entire head resulting in about 7 chunky twists
      • Rinsed hair with warm water (with twists still intact)


      • Starting from the back, unraveled two twists and applied Shea Moisture Curl Milk to section of hair and sealed with Olive Oil
      • Decided to do scallop parting to save time and eliminate activating my perfectionist tendency of making perfect box parts
        • Click here to learn more about how I did scallop parting when I first attempted this style last year
      • After making the part, I clipped remaining hair out the way with an alligator clip
      • Took a piece of weaving thread and made a knot 3 inches from one end of thread
      • Grabbing section of hair at the base, I wrapped the thread around the section of hair (as close to root) several times, using the knot as an anchor so the thread would not slip as I wrapped
        • Was careful not to secure thread too tightly at the roots (to avoid causing pain and pulling/damage)
        • See this video for a better visual of how to get the thread started and secure at the base:
      • Once secure, I started wrapping the thread down the section of hair, making sure not to wrap too close to the previous wrap. This is the key to getting the corkscrew look at the end!
      • At the end of the section, I held the thread taut and gently pushed the hair toward the base of the section
        • This action is similar to pushing beads up on a string. The hair will "slide" in a corkscrew look
        • The hair can be adjusted as needed to even up the spacing between each corkscrew
      • When desired look was achieved, I moisturized the ends of the section, detangled section with a fine tooth comb, and folded the ends up. I continued wrapping the thread around the ends to completely hide them underneath the threading and keep them protected
        • Watch this video for an excellent visual on this process
        • I repeated these steps for the remainder of Z's hair until completed. I remoisturized each section with distilled water as necessary throughout the styling process
    More pictures coming soon! It was late when I finished Z's entire head so the last thing on my brain was to take pictures. :-)

    Update--Here are a few shots of her hairstyle:

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    Style Idea: Curly Twist Out Puff

    Just a little update on a simple style that can be quickly done to extend the life of a twist out by another day or two. If I did not already plan to restyle Z's hair yesterday, she would have been sporting this cute little curly twist out puff today. 

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    Quick Style Update: Free-Spirited Twist Out

    Since yesterday was a half day at school for Z, I decided to wrap up her twist hairstyle with a twist out. She has not worn her hair "loose" or "out" since starting school because I typically like to keep her hair in some sort of protective style and was not sure how well she would handle her hair being out. She likes to play in it when it is down and has a tendency to manipulate it especially when she is around her friends. Plus, there's always that one story where a child comes home with her hair hacked by her male classmate with scissors or somehow manages to get gum stuck in the hair...lol. But I figured she would be away for only a few hours and all would be just fine. I mean how much can a hairstyle change over the course of 4 hours in an environment where the focus should be on learning? 

    When doing a twist out, I typically apply oil to my fingers as I unravel the twists to minimize frizz during the process. However, in the morning rush, I did not do that this time, but all was fine. Her hair was well moisturized so I did not add any additional product to her hair. Her hair was in a curly bun overnight (as a result of using flexi rods days before) so her twist out had a free-spirited flow rather than an uniform, hang straight down look. She loved her hair and decided to throw on her Hello Kitty necklace to match her Hello Kitty clips that were used to pin her hair back on one side. 

    When I picked her up from school, all was well! No chopped areas, no gum, no glue. Just a few pieces of straw from playing at recess. I guess I can handle that. ::smile::

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    5 Ways to Use Low Cost Commercial Conditioners

    Natural hair care businesses are constantly pushing us in the natural hair community to purchase their specialized lines of products, which typically start at $9.99 per bottle. And I am not talking about liter sized bottles either but rather a cup to 1.5 cups of product! Now I do understand that these products have quality ingredients and are generally free of the harsh chemicals usuaslly found in commerical hair products that have been reportedly linked to cancer. Because of this, Shea Moisture, Giovanni, and Kinky Curly will continue to have our support especially since they have worked well for our hair and are organic/natural (for the most part).

    However, as much as I would like to fully support these companies and enjoy the benefits these targeted products bring to the unique characteristics of our natural hair, it is just not feasible for three reasons:

    • Budget: Just like many families, we are striving to balance our budget and save money when and where we can. I am all for using organic/natural conditioner on our hair, but using half a bottle of an expensive conditioner (or $5 in terms of money) to cowash two heads under 10 minutes is just not economically wise for our pockets.
    • Regimen: We use a quality shampoo because it is used sparingly (no more than twice a month) followed by a quality conditioner. We use a quality deep conditioner (bi-weekly) because it is designed to penetrate our hair shafts over a 30 minute time period. We use a quality leave-in because this is what sits on our hair over the course of the week to help keep our hair moisturized against outside elements. However, for certain techniques and routines established in our regimen that require regular usage of conditioner between two heads, we can go through expensive conditioners (and money) in no time.
    • Deals: It is hard for me to pass up a good deal on cheap commercial conditioners when I know these products can satisfy some of our natural hair care needs. Plus, I can use these products and not feel guilty using so much of it within in any given moment. Anything under $4 per bottle is a deal in my book. Hint: coupons!

    So with these reasons stated, here are the ways we use our cheap conditioners:

    1. Pre-poo Treatment: If our hair is feeling really dry before shampooing, I apply cheap conditioner to help add back moisture and make the hair more manageable during cleansing.
    2. Detangler: What better use of a cheap conditioner than to detangle natural hair? Spritzing the hair with water and adding conditioner provides the slip I need to take down old braided hairstyles on Z's hair and detangle frizzy ends.
    3. Co-Wash: Between washing sessions, a quick co-wash can help restore moisture to our hair. Also, I like to co-wash after a hard workout session.
    4. Swimming Protection: Water + conditioner on your natural tresses can create an effective barrier against the chlorine and salt found in pool water while locking moisture inside. If you are an avid swimmer, a cheap conditioner is your best (and economical) friend.
    5. Shaving Cream: Isn't the hair on our legs natural as well? ::smiles:: Even some cheap conditioners are that bad that you refuse to use them anywhere near your head again. That does not mean you have to throw them out for good. Use the remainder as an alternative to shaving cream that will leave your legs feeling silky smooth.
    I hope this helps those who feel pressured to buy lots of expensive hair conditioners to cover every single natural hair care need. In the end, you have to do what is right for your regimen AND budget. That is being a wise naturalista!

    What other ways do you use cheap conditioners? What are some of your favorite low cost brands?

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    How to Install Faux Locs in 5 Hours or Less (Video Tutorial Included)

    As I was researching about faux locs, I came across a blog post titled:
    How To Install Faux Loc Extensions In Under 5 Hours
    Wait!!! What?!!! REAALLY?! I was flabbergasted at the mere thought that this feat of installing faux locs (or genie locs) could be achievable in under half a day! I definitely got sidetracked from my original task at hand as I took a deeper look into what this post was all about.

    Now upon further reading of the post, I learned that the faux locs shown are different from yarn wraps. I know the terms (along with genie locs) are used interchangeably, but in this case, no yarn was used to achieve this particular style. In a sense, I started not to feel as bad for enduring almost a day worth of time installing my yarn wraps and was calm enough emotionally to enjoy the article. lol (But seriously, if anyone knows how to reduce the time to install yarn wraps, PLEASE share. Really, I am urging you....::smile::).

    The concept (as explained in the video shown below) is that majority of the locs are crocheted into the hair with a front section of loose hair designated for individually installing sections of faux locs.

    This is so ingenious (in my book)! I have never done a crocheted style myself and have not worn one since I was a teenage so I probably would have never come up with such an idea myself.

    After watching this YouTuber's (teeday6) tutorial and seeing her amazing results, I just could not help but to share her video here for my reference and possibly inspire someone out there to try this install method. Under 5 hours is very hard to pass up! Time wise, this method is a very reasonable (and ideal) alternative to the original yarn wraps. Cost wise, the materials used totalled under $50 which is not bad for about 5 hours of work as long you are getting a good wear out of them.

    Ok, enough yapping!!! Check it out and let me know what you think. Would you try this? How long does it take to install your faux locs? Does it beat this record? 

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    Initial Review: Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner

    In my search for good "cheapie" conditioners, I have found a few sources where some women have raved about Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner as a good economical co-wash conditioner option. Who would have known that Trader Joe's had their own line of hair products??? Definitely not me! I rarely had a reason to stop by Trader Joe's except to pick up some coconut oil, maple agave syrup blend, and a few bags of their yummy garlic dough. Nevertheless, for under $4 a bottle, I could not help to dart myself to Trader Joe's Friday to pick up a bottle of this conditioner--along with some more coconut oil and dough while I was at it--to use for tonight's co-wash session.

    It must be a pretty popular product because there were only a few bottles of the conditioner left and no more bottles of the corresponding shampoo on the shelf. Must be a good sign, eh! I was highly curious to see what this product was all about.

    At first glance, reading the back label, the Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner contains lots of organic ingredients, has no sulfates or dyes, and is cruelty-free (for the vegans and animal rights/conscious naturals out there). The claim is that this conditioner:
    • will rejuvenate your hair with its refreshing tingle
    • will moisturize and clarify hair while alleviating dry scalp
    • is suitable for all hair types
    No red flags here and this product looks a whole lot better than the Suave and Pantene conditioners I picked up recently! So I proceeded to my tonight's co-wash session.

    The conditioner has a nice peppermint scent that is not overbearing at all. The texture is not as thick as the Suave Professionals Almond + Shea Butter Conditioner but has a pretty decent weight to it (aka not super runny). As I applied it to each section of my hair to finger detangle, I initially felt there was not as much slip as I would have liked. Also, I did not feel that tingling sensation right off the bat as I massaged my scalp with the conditioner. Nevertheless, I continued with my massage and focused on fully saturating my ends with the conditioner. I took my denman brush and detangled my hair to remove the shed strands and allowed the conditioner to sit on my hair for 10 minutes as I proceeded with the rest of my shower before rinsing it from my hair. My hair felt adequately moisturized.

    As I stepped out the shower and the cold air hit my head, I immediately felt the tingling sensation all over. Whew!!! It was nice AHA moment! :-)

    I sectioned my hair into four parts, applied extra virgin olive oil followed by shea butter to LOC the moisture inside my hair. I banded each section and tied my hair up for the night.

    Even 2 hours later as I type this post, I am still feeling the cool tingles on my scalp! I am feeling quite positive so far from my initial experience with the Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner. Over the next several weeks, I will revisit this review as I continue to use this product for my co-washes. The only thing I might do differently is to add some oil (extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil) to a small batch of the conditioner to provide more slip. Other than that, I am hoping for the same tingling feeling I experienced tonight. I can't wait to try this on Z's hair soon!

    Have you tried the Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner before? What was your experience(s) with it? What other cheap co-wash conditioners do you use/recommend? Leave your comments below or on our Facebook page (click here).

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