Step 2. Get to know your hair, is it fine or thick? Wavy, curly, coils, kinky? Low density or high density, low or high porosity. It seems complicated but take it one at a time and you will be just fine.
Pasteurised Ylang-Ylang Floral Water (Cananga Odorata)
I have been using Anita Grant’s Ylang Ylang floral water for a couple of months now and I can tell you, I’m in love.
Styled with Ylang-Ylang floral water, photo 1st published on Instagram.
It’s perfect for refreshing day 2 or 3 curls, for prolonging wash day by giving the scalp a clean feeling and removing any itchiness that might be present for at least 2 full days.
Another name for Ylang Ylang is cananga odorata and one of the reasons I think it’s so great for the scalp is that this plant has been purported to have sebum regulating features for the skin and scalp. It is also said that it contributes to hair growth and while I have no hard evidence of this claim, I have noticed my hair growing like weeds lately! Coincidence or causality? It’s up to you to find out for yourself but I think there is something at play here and it’s good.
If you would like to try this floral water you can find it here: Anita Grant
This review contains an affiliate link which gives me a small commission should you decide to make a purchase on the site, as you know me this fact however does not affect my opinion and the review is objective. I have not been payed in advance to write it.
A few things that you might know about me because they are obvious: if you follow me on Instagram dr_vasquez_md, is that I’m not very good with the social part of media, and with the media part of social as well.
It was fun at first but then it became a chore as I started to follow certain guidelines.
I noticed that creating my posts was taking longer time and to be honest I was not in my element. This does not mean I will give up, but it does pose a question…why was I using Instagram in the first place?
I thought Instagram would boost my readership here, but it did not, rarely anyone clicks on my link in bio. I tried too hard to get the perfect selfies, the product showcases and ultimately ended up neglecting my blog post content creation, which I enjoy more than taking selfies.
I then stopped using Instagram altogether, because it was not fun anymore and I felt that I had no time for that and missed a few good opportunities to do collaborations with people whom I admire. Last December I returned to instagram, and I find myself enjoying it again.
I returned to a book by Sir Ken Robinson and this book helped me to get back on track with my blogging goals. The key point of this book is about finding your element. It’s rather difficult to explain briefly, but it is a good read if you need to refocus.
My Science based Hair blogging goals are to find my element and stay there and produce content there, but also to have fun while doing it.
I share with you now, my first attempt at reinventing myself as a blogger of sorts in a visual media format, as an experimental approach to determine what I enjoy about content creation asides from writing long wordy pieces for this WordPress blog.
I hope you like this raw edit, mixing lots of hair shots & nature to reflect the permanence of things while constantly changing at the same time.
Your essence remains the same regardless of looks, in the same way the cherry trees blossom at a specific time in Spring and they stay the same tree the whole year round.
You will blossom when the time is right and it’s never is too late to bloom.
So far I have tried the floracurl claywash and it works wonders.
I really like it, it leaves my hair clean but not overly stripped, smells very pleasant and it’s not difficult to mix.
I need a lot more than the recommended amount but that’s because despite the shrinkage my hair is loong. It is easy to rinse out and I usually follow it with a deep conditioner and my hair feels soft, clean and moisturized.
The floracurl hair mist has to be my favorite product of this box. It is just so light weight and fresh and functions as a great primer before applying my styling products or as a daily refresh during the cold harsh winter days.
The Aunt Jackies curls and coils “fix my hair” deep conditioner leaves my hair soft and moisturized without using too much product AND it has great slip so it helps to detangle if I need it to. The only product I have been having trouble figuring out is the Curl mane-tenance defining curl whip, it’s my first time trying a product as thick as this one so I will have to try and continue experimenting with it to give a proper review of it, but so far I haven’t found a use for it. Once I do, I will definitively report back as I have been very impressed with the flax seed recipes line of Aunt Jackie’s Curls and coils.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I wanted to start the year on a good note, so I will be sharing some of my favourite haircare and skincare products for this winter season and the number one is…drum roll please…the Anita grant creamy cafe latte.
🍫Creamy cafe Latte daily Leave in Butter🍫
The Anita Grant creamy cafe latte butter is intended for usage on dry hair and it helps me to break out my gel cast, create bantu knots and to smooth out my hair for braiding, the difference with other products when braiding is amazing, it makes the process easier and the final result a lot shinier and well put together.
It also helps to detangle due to having among it’s ingredients a naturally derived ingredient called Behentrimonium methosulfate, which provides slip. I promise that a label decoding for this ingredient is coming up soon but for now just know that if a product has it, the likelihood of great slip is higher.
The fact that the creamy cafe latte is cacao based and smells amazing is just a cherry on top!
Fabulous product all in all and did I mention it smells great? (I got the unscented one) It does not build up on the hair and so far so good, also works wonders for preserving stretched hair (heatless stretched hair, blow dried or roller sets, etc.).
I rarely purchase butters, however the formulation intrigued me and it delivered so this one is a keeper and lasts a long time, a little goes a long way. It is also Shea Butter free, for those of you who prefer products without Shea butter.
It’s a multipurpose leave in and it has many more uses, especially in winter, so now I will share why I love it in winter.
I really like this product during winter times because it’s full of lovely ingredients such as Macadamia nut oil, Organic Castor oil and behentrimonium methosulfate (you know I love this ingredient, but had to mention it again) which gives it a nice slip that helps in dry detangling, yes you read correctly, dry detangling as in for preshampooing (one of those things we should be doing in Winter). It’s also very moisturizing and boosts shine.
The scent is lovely and yeah it has coffee in it so it was bound to be perfect (my OG curlfriends know about my coffee obsession), but back to the review…I also use it to refresh my curls when I don’t want to rewet my hair but still want to seal in the moisture and get a kick of shine!
Scalp massages with this are also possible and it contains caffeine which has been purported to stimulate hair growth so no harm in trying!
In case you did not know Anita Grant is a British brand with handmade, cruelty free and naturally derived products that ships reliably worldwide, so even after moving to Japan I can purchase their products!
Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this mini review, and if you want more tips for winter scalp care check out this article.
This one is going to be short and sweet and with a discount code!
I decided to restock on my favorite detangler kinky curly knot today before running out because this product is in high demand on iherb (where I regularly buy online) as well as the curling custard.
I still have plenty of curls products but I am almost out of kinky curly. I know this is truly a holy grail brand for me because I start considering a new order before my current stock runs out, the detangler is simply the best one I have used so far, I have another fave but since I can’t get it online in Japan due to import regulations this is the only one I can get, the other one is the giovanni direct leave in hehe.
Have you tried kinky curly knot today? I will share with you another mini review in case you are wondering about it.
I use it as a detangler, deep conditioner, rinse out & leave in conditioner so it is a product I use up quite quickly.
It has amazing slip and a very mild fragrance that does not linger. It contains film forming agents such as marshmallow root that help to a certain extent to block humidity but it is mainly moisturizing, suitable for any porosity and tangle prone hair will like it a lot (mine does) for best results in extreme weather conditions (rain, unstable weather) it is best paired with the curling custard of the same brand. It is vegan friendly and although chemistry is part of nature all the ingredients are naturally derived, it is a rather standard brand that has been around for years but for me it was a big Discovery sometime last year. A consideration for people with fine hair is that it has a thick consistency as far a leave in conditioners go but if used in small amounts or diluted in your hands with water it does the job without weighing the hair down, this is the main reason I also use it as rinse out deep conditioner, sometimes I leave about 40~60% on my hair and use it as a base for my styler.
Do you have a holy grail among the products in the picture?
All of these are among my holy grails, but I am slowly prioritizing which products are the absolute go to’s and if I had to choose one over the other I would say kinky curly gives me more consistent and predictable results in all weather conditions and it’s easier to access by international curlies.
Do you Live in Japan too & Don’t know where to get it?
Here is an friend referral link for it in Iherb japan which basically ships anywhere, the link should include a 5% discount code 😉
Rest of the world
Alternatively go to Iherb.com select your country of choice and use this code: COR0548 at checkout and get 5% off your 1st purchase (I think they have a $40 minimum purchase to be able to use codes but I would have to double check, let me know if you you use it how it worked)
Have a Happy weekend my friends.
PS. This is not a sponsored post, never done one but since everyone can refer friends using the reward system I figured why not make it available to my readers and see how it works. I have been using iherb for quite sometime now and feel confident enough to share the findings.
Have you ever experienced itchiness, flaking during winter time?
The answer is probably yes, at least for me it is specially now that I wear my hair naturally curly and pay attention to it!
The reason why this happens is a generally a dry scalp, it could also be due to dandruff but then it would not be a seasonal thing…but we will get to that later.
The scalp is part of our skin complex so the same way the rest of our body is exposed to lower external temperatures, dry heating indoors and overall winter abuse (so much drama XD) our scalp also suffers, but there is hope. I will share with you a few tips that help me keep my scalp happy, my hair growing and my winters carefree.
Keep your scalp clean: It is true that shampoo has a drying effect in our scalp but don’t rule it out completely in this season because we don’t want to end up in a situation where we create so much build up that end up getting dandruff making matters worse.
2. Cleanse your scalp correctly: This point varies from person to person but a few general guidelines can be followed:
Avoid harsh shampoos for example 2-1 shampoos tend to contain more than one deep cleanser, the same is true for shampoos for oily hair.
Do not let go too long in between (shampoo) washes, this is the season to cowash midweek or once a week depending on your previous schedule to replenish moisture and remove debris from your scalp at the same time.
Use warm water to cleanse, avoid hot water as it will only help dry out the scalp even more.
3. Scalp Massages: Consider including oils in your routine even if you normally avoid them, nightly oil scalp massages can go a long way in keeping your scalp healthy and itch free during winter. A few good options are castor oil, black castor oil and jojoba oil.
4. Use scarfs and hats to protect not only your scalp but your hair from the harsh weather.
5. Exfoliate your scalp: You can make a basic sugar scrub with olive oil, jojoba oil, or coconut oil or get commercial scrubs as well.
6. Stay hydrated: Even if we don’t sweat as much in winter as we do in summer the insensible losses from our skin, breathing, etc. puts us at risk of being dehydrated; so make sure to drink plenty of fluids!
In case of dandruff all of the above also applies, but make sure to not skip on your regular antidandruff shampoo and if the dandruff worsens or scabs and skin lesions appear on your scalp make sure to visit your physician to figure out the issue.
When I 1st started the natural hair journey ( I chemically altered my hair, not only heat damage it) I had a specific look and goal in mind.
I wanted my hair to be as kinky as possible because that is my father hair type and I absolutely love his hair.
I simply assumed my hair would turn out like my dad’s. I kept using heat because my curl was not what I wanted it to be, I became instead a naturalista with natural straight hair regularly using my flat iron with heat protection & protein treatments of course.
Some time later, along came Instagram and thanks to my friend from Curly community. The Hair Lab was born. My blog & IG account became my journal where I logged my progress and my fails always trying to figure out how to fix the mishaps. In no time I started falling in love with the flexibility my hair had to offer, gave up heat entirely and now my curls are as kinky and coily as ever with loads of volume. I adjusted my goals to what I had and it paid off.
I would not change my frizzy head of curls for anything, it still gets annoying at times the work I need to put into it and it still surprises me how different in can look depending on how I do the wash day routine, but we can get into that once we have the basics in order.
A few things I wish my fairy godmother had told me before I started!
1. Take a deep breath, you might be overwhelmed at first, but there is no need to worry we are here for you.
Do this at your own speed.
Take it slow if you need to, no judgement, no rush.
You can either transition and cut the damaged parts little by little or get a big chop and start fresh, but do it only when you are ready.
2. Keep it simple.
If you can’t or don’t want to buy a full set new products at 1st, do it one by one by like adding a good leave in conditioner, styling gel or cream to your routine while you finish the old products and learn to read labels.
When the journey starts the hair is rather damaged so very fancy products are not an obligation, be comfortable with your own budget.
Use less heat, or even better no heat at all, this will help prevent breakage in the demarcation line which is the point where your old damaged hair gets in contact with you new natural curlywurly-frowywavy new head of hair.
3. Take the time to observe your hair.
Is it fine, is it dense, wavy, curly, kinky?
I recommend you to not obsess about curl typing, this early on.
You will learn later as you familiarize with the curly terminology and your own hair.
4. At first the chemical or heat damaged hair will be highly porous so look for deep treatment masks and products with keywords such as repair, strengthen, restore; they usually contain protein and protein is what damaged hair direly needs.
5. Chemical damage cannot be reverted, I cut my hair gradually for about a year. Heat damage can revert with proper care. I did not chop off my heat damaged hair, instead I gave it super intensive care doing what I call a “partial curl recovery” as I was unwilling to cut the hair all over again.
6. Be patient, have fun and don’t compare your beginning to the middle of others, surround yourself with good vibes only.
Embrace your curls be them wavy, curly, kinky, coily or everything in between they are yours and you will learn to love them, I promise it will happen.
The journey is challenging but it is totally worth it and your curls, waves, kins, and coils will love you back with good care.
7. Naturally curly hair is for everybody.
Whoever has it and wants to wear as it grows out of their head can wear it curly.
No matter the shape, texture or color curly hair is not a problem; it has just been misunderstood for many years.
I’m here to help you every step of the way in any way I can so don’t feel shy to email me or post your questions in the comments section.
We decided to have yet another challenge & I write we because I got brainstorming help from one of my curl friends!
This challenge is starting to become a yearly thing for me and this time we have more curlfriends joining welcome Hispaneek
A few ideas for the challenge
This is a freestyle challenge so each one of us brings a personal twist to it.
There are no forbidden products, all you need to do is test your old products and if you need help deciding whether to use them or not ask the rest of the group and we might be able to help.
Organize your products by categories.
The old products
Garbage bin: those with smells or ingredients that We hate and the very old ones, let’s say older than a year must go in the bin. *If you don’t remember when you bought a product it is best to send it to the bin. I ended up with a huge bag of this kind that was discarded.
The “I like you, but forgot about you” bin: Self explanatory, basically products we liked even holy grails but stopped using in favor of our excessive hair product shopping. Prioritize to finish these ones first.
The Swap/gift box: Here I include products that other naturals loved but that somehow did not become a favorite for me; but that have a good quality and/or overall good reviews. This serves 2 purposes: making another curly happy and if you can’t swap it give it as a present and help to reduce waste, might be your curl friend just found a Holy grail thanks to you. This can also apply to unopened products that you have failed to use due to whatever reason but you think a fellow curly can love. I have received a few nice things from fellow curlies already and it really did make me very happy.
This challenge is open to everybody, everywhere. It is more like a club of curly friends who shop too much.
Our hasthtag #productjunkieclub2018
Our Ethos: shop smarter & more consciously
Our Goal: reduce waste and in the process save money or invest our money only in good products suited to our hair type.
A few ideas to get you started to clear out the old to make room for the new
Group products by brand and use them together on the same wash day according to your hair needs & routines (try the same wash day at least 2 times in a row, if you like it continue the same routine until finishing the products or if you need or want a change).
Repurchase of Holy Grails is allowed, so don’t worry you can keep your curls happy.
Have a budget idea: setting up a budget is up to you, but using the base of another challenge I participated in (& failed miserably at) aim for $30, £30, €30 a week or the equivalent in your local currency, or whatever sum you can afford for hair care products. This is just a guideline.
Buying products to complete existing hair lines is ideal. You can also choose to not buy anything so the budget goes from 0-30 depending on your intent. My personal intent is to reduce waste, so it makes sense for me to purchase less items and aim for zero expense, obviously this did not happen but for a few short months; once my holy grails ran out I repurchased mercilessly but lifestyle changes do take time!
Don’t give up!
Shopping (saving) ideas
Take advantage of seasonal sales for your favorite products.
Get a subscription box, I joined one for £20 pounds plus shipping & I got at least 5 full sized products in each box to try at an accesible price. I have still have yet to try many of them, but the ones I have tried so far have been very good and at a fraction of their retail price.
2 empties allow you to purchase one completely new product you have not tried before and empty holy grails can always be replaced as they empty so your curls are always on point.
Look for eco friendly packaging when possible to reduce waste too.
If you want more info about these shopping hacks let me know in the comments section, or on my instagram.
Happy, conscious shopping!
P.S. This is not a competition, but a collective effort to improve our consumer habits as a curly community.
Share your findings positive or negative but always saying something nice, if you follow me on IG The Hair Lab you know I am all about positive vibes so just be kind when sharing the fails, be kind to yourself & others in this curly hair adventure.
Other curly girls who have joined me since the beginning in this effort to shop more responsibly are
For people outside the Curly world ( which includes wavy, curly, kinky and coily hair) concepts like a hair milk or a curling custard could be quite confusing, well for us curlies it can be too.
When I first opened the blog almost 2 years ago I got offered a collaboration with Naturally Curly, my favorite curly hair educational resource.
They approached me for my opinion on the topic of why beauty brands use food names to entices us.
There is in a academic circles a phenomena called food imitating products which is aimed to make the consumer associate a cosmetic with food so they feel safe.
Another question I was asked was about product consistency and if it made a difference, to be honest back then I had not tried enough products to speak from experience, now as a product junkie in Rehab I can confidently say that in my case yes it does a big difference; but it’s a tricky subject and a matter of trusting the marketing from the manufacturer.
I still feel intimidated by platforms like Facebook or instagram to promote my personal projects or achievements in the blogging universe.
I do not like conflict online, and in WordPress I have found is my safe place, where I can write with no word count limit and I can engage in friendly conversations.
After a year on IG writing about hair or sharing selfies I still do not know if it is the right platform for me.
I will continue as long as it is fun, and I admit that it has been fun so far albeit time consuming. If I do leave instagram altogether, I will send my contacts to those who have helped me learn more but it will be a silent goodbye.
My focus right now is working on my public outreach writing skills and my wordpress “toolkit” skills to optimize my blogging experience.
I wanted to publish this little note on a Thursday in the spirit of throwback Thursday in September 2017, but I was too shy to do so.
Today is my 2nd year blogging anniversary and felt like getting personal & finally sharing my thoughts & feelings about my usage of social media, but also because looking back it was a pretty big deal to have been asked for my opinion when my blog was still more or less anonymous and I was not confident enough to “self promote”.
I still need to work on promoting myself and have gotten so much help from other bloggers on instagram and for that reason alone, I stay in social media trying to improve. WordPress is my forever comfort zone, I have a few followers but I do have readers that silently give me their support and to my readers and curl friends I say thank you for staying with me on my journey to bring more science into our daily lives.