The product junkie club Spring 2018

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

  1. This is a freestyle challenge so each one of us brings a personal twist to it.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

      1. 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).
      2. Repurchase of Holy Grails is allowed, so don’t worry you can keep your curls happy.
      3. 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.
      4. 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!
      5. Don’t give up!

      Shopping (saving) ideas

      1. Take advantage of seasonal sales for your favorite products.
      2. Enter giveaways.
      3. 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.
      4. 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.
      5. 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

      Curlymamaxx
      Curlysue291

      Feel free to follow their accounts for inspo & great tips.

      We have had our ups & downs but little by little we are getting there.

      May the odds be ever in your favor” may The Hunger Product Junkie Games begin.

      May the force be with you

      Hi my name is Lelia and I am a product junkie.

      No Heat Challenge Lite: 2017 Update

      Lite: “A simpler version, or subset, of something (especially software), in which complexity is forgone for the sake of easier application (or modified application); for example: Nintendo DS lite” Wikipedia.

      I have a “problem” I am a flat iron & heat tools junkie and that is unlikely to change, unless I make an effort, but change is difficult;  so I propose a Lite Heat Free Challenge for the impatient Curly Girl. Care to join me? Then, read on!

      The longest I had managed to be relatively heat free, before doing this challenge was 5 months now I can say I have been almost heat free for almost an entire year.

      If you are struggling to give up heat cold turkey maybe the #noheatlitechallenge is for you

      This is how I did it and maybe it can help as a guideline to create your own challenge.

      No Heat Lite Club: The idea is to have a small community of curlies who still use heat because we are still in the heat transition phase or because we like it, while still allowing for some freedom once the need for heat becomes too much.

      Rules of the Lite Club

      First rule of Lite Club: rules are relative, more than rules we have guidelines.

      Second Rule: The flat iron is forbidden, this one is the only guideline that must always be followed.

      Third Rule: If you get bored, feel tempted or need help finding styling ideas always ask for help, the club will always be there for you.

      Rule four: Have fun, try new things & share what works for you.

      The Guidelines

      1. No flat iron during the entirety of the challenge. using it even once resets the “heat free calendar”
      2. Avoid the blow dryer except for diffusing.
      3. Diffusing allowances: Ideally always dry hair on cool, but low heat is allowed no more than once a week. Medium heat should not happen, but if it must then only once per month or it means reset of the “heat free calendar”.
      4. Start the “Heat Free Calendar” with a Complete Wash day Including all your important steps like pre poo, shampoo, deep conditioning and your preferred heat free styling method, mine is the wash and go.
      5. If your own a hooded dryer then try it out on the lowest possible setting, no more than once a week, if you don’t own one like me maybe we can find a good one together.
      6. Hot Rollers are allowed but only once a month and the drying and stretching should be done heat free. Blow drying + hot rollers also resets the calendar so choose this option wisely.
      7. Flexirods, perm rods, magnetic & foam rollers are your friends.
      8. Always protect your hair at night.
      9. Do a Wash Day only when you have time, for example on your days off ideally when you don´t need to leave the house. If you don’t have time try and refresh only or “put it in a bun” or “wrap it up”.
      10. Have Fun and try your best. We promise we wont judge!

      Here are some style inspos for the Heat Free Challenge Lite:

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      Style with Hot Rollers 

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      Wash & Go

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      Curly updo with bangs

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      Half up curly do 

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      Twist out

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      Flexi Rods

       

      My last flat iron: Sept 26 2016

      Challenge Start date: Nov 27 2016

      Challenge Duration: 6 months.

       

       

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      4/16  vs. 27/11/16  wash & go

      Let’s see if this Heat tools Junkie can survive six month without the Flat iron, join me and we can motivate and teach each other new tricks to stray true to the Curly life!…I can tell you now that I did survive 6 months & beyond without flat ironing my hair and I think my curks have improved quite a lot since the beginning of the curl journey, with it’s most dramatic transformation happening after I gave up direct heat.

      Today is September 1st 2017 and I have not used a flat iron since September 2016, the 1st few months of the challenge were difficult because old habits die hard, but I found a very supportive group of curl friends to do it with. I followed the “flexible rules” for the 6 months of the challenge, in July I reintroduced medium heat because I needed to dry my hair faster and because I started playing with my texture to create big hair routines and it does not seem to be a problem for my curls, I will post in the future how I dry my hair using a diffuser but in the meantime you can follow my progress on instagram here on The Hair Lab and feel free to use the hashtag #noheatlitechallenge so I can follow your curly hair journey too!

      PS. This is the picture of my last wash day! Would you like a full updated wash day routine & to know which products I used? Let me know in the comments 🙂

       

      Big big big hair Curly Hair Routine

      About the wash

      Prepoo/Detangle with a conditioner with good slip, I used L’oreal Botanicals Fresh Care Camelina.
      Massage scalp with a shampoo brush.
      Alfa Parf Volumizing shampoo, focusing on the roots and avoiding piling up the hair on top of the head.
      Alfa Parf Volumizing conditioner for about 3 minutes
      Then applied more conditioner while still in the shower, using the squish to condish method, in which you take soaking wet hair and scrunch in conditioner without rinsing it out so it works like a leave in conditioner, you should hear a squish-squish squishy sound. The idea behind this is that the water provides the hydration pulling the conditioner along with it into the hair fibres.

      Styling wet in the shower

      Without removing the excess water I applied all my styling products with my head flipped upside down.
      First use a primer like condition & sculpt from Jane Carter Solution, which helps to set your curls but without weighing them down; something very important when going for really big hair.
      Then I applied a small amount of Jane Carter solution curl defining cream specially in the lower layers and scrunched very well with my hands.
      This seems a bit complicated but honestly it was quite fast, the whole process took no longer than 15 minutes.

      Drying

      I carefully scrunched some more with a soft tshirt, this removes excess product and water, you can also use a microfiber towel; just make sure it is a soft fabric as this step can encourage too much frizz, this big hair routine takes advantage of frizz but it also needs some curl definition to work, at least for me.

      I set my curls using a hair dryer with a Remington diffuser attachment but any conventional one should work to be honest.

      Start with low heat alternating with cool shot, then you can either use a devafuser attachment to lift the roots using cool mode or skip this step and continue using your conventional attachment at medium heat alternating with cool, dry until about 60% dry without any attachment only medium heat.

      Tips & tricks

      At about 60% dry I like to spray a volumizing mist like Shea Moisture yucca & baobab Volumizing Moisture Mist for fine thin hair focusing on the roots, I find that if I use a Volumizing mist, I can really give that extra hold to my hair strands so they go up and stay up.

      I continue drying the roots using my deva fuser attachment low speed/low heat until 90% dry and then finish off by removing all diffusers and drying at medium heat/low speed and a final with a cool blast all over.

      About the Volume

      Once the hair is 100% dry you can use a hair pik to increase the volume of the top layer, you can encourage frizz if you do it vigorously (this is how I do it) or preserve the curls if you go more delicately, just make sure it is 100% dry or you wont be able to control the desired texture.

      I also use my fingers to fluff some more. I used a pea size amount of nourish & shine to not frizz to much while fluffing, but any lightweight oil or butter is fine.

      My hair type

      I have high density, fine-medium thickness, low porosity hair and it is quite frizz prone so this routine also allows to take advantage of the frizz for a lot of volume while still retaining some curl definition.

      The haircut

      FYI: I have a layered cut with short layers on top to be able to create a voluminous final result and long layers in the back.

      ….And that’s it big hair for short-medium length hair in less than an hour!
      If you have any questions or comments please let me know, I’d like to hear from you. I preferred to take a video so you could see the texture but for more pictures & routines feel free to visit my IG: The Hair Lab PS. I did not manage to take many pictures that day so I included a texture snapchat vid…and the only selfie I could find. I will write another post using the same routine with different products where I did take a proper selfie 🙂 let me know what you think of this routine!

      InstaCompare? No thanks. Friendship please.

      iDisclamer: The only science involved in this post came from the developers of apple that created this iPad and of the creators of the internet, the rest is just my opinion not as an MD or a scientist but as a “Curly Girl”, reader discretion advised.

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      Weird disclaimer is it not? Still, I am trying to make a point and I will get there.

      I officially joined the Natural Hair Community in March 2016, with my 1st Curly Community fan page post, and my 1st hair instagram account, later on in april the Hair Lab was born.

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      I never saw another curly girl IG, or blog or web page until last year after I had cut off all my chemically straightened hair. Why? My 1st contact did not cause a good impression and I left. In 2013 or so I googled about curly hair and the first impression was mostly of a competitive, divided, toxic & overall negative environment, my sources where limited to the USA; but that was my turning point of thinking OK I know medicine, I have the books the journals let’s do this on my own terms, I do not need that negativity in my life. You know what? it was great; it gave me time to understand the anger and decide that to each their own and that there are so many different subsets of Natural Hair Communities not only one.

      I never googled about hair outside of google scholar since then until 2016. I did my transition alone and yes I made many mistakes and no I do not know how to braid my hair, yet.

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      Finger curling pre hair blog vs post hair blog lol 

      Find your Element

      I clearly did not belong in the community of the 1st encounter I had, I now understand where they come from though and I empathize with some, but it was not my element as Sir Ken Robinson puts it, now I Have found my hair element the part of the community that helps me grow.

      I belong here in what I call the “curly community”, the name is irrelevant but I avoid using certain terms to avoid controversy. I may or may not write about it in the future; but for now about my lovely curly community.

      Our community is inspirational, professional in our own individual way it includes hairdressers, students, doctors, restaurateurs, journalists, photographers, models, engineers, moms you name the profession and we can find it, off course bloggers and vlogers too. In this group “our clique” we are responsible in the way we share our journey, we promote self-love and growth instead of comparison charts and above all we strive to be positive, humble and real.

      We always cheer for each other no matter if it is something big or small, we genuinely wish the others success, we do not compete we grow together.

      Today I can say This hair journey has given me more than hydrated locks, it has given me women and friends I admire from afar and who are great role models for the younger girls out there looking for powerful, positive female role models.

      We do not compare each other, we support each other and learn together, we are friends.

      Thank you for your friendship my (curl) friends.

      A product Junkie Rehab: The Cantu case

      Hello Again Curl Friends. I had the idea of write this a detective story but I utterly failed so it will be factual.

      Lately the Hair Lab is conducting financial planning experiments, aka trying to control the full blown Product Junkie in order to not go bankrupt.

      Today I will share with you: The Cantu Case.

      This is the 1st brand all curlies want, because everyone loves it. I only heard of it 3 years after the beggining of my journey. So I imported from the US and spent a lot of money on a relatively cheap product.  I had it imported because I thought it was hard to find it here in Germany so imagine how disappointing it  was when it did not work for me as a Leave-in for wash and go (my basic style) so I left it on the “products I hate” shelf, but somehow it felt wrong since this is top on curly girl product love, also the smell is just too pungent for me. 

      Twistcantu

      The Hair Lab: Twist out with Cantu

      I still wanted to love it so I tried it again as a styling cream for a wash and go and my hair looked amazing for 1 day, then used it again for a wash and go, it was not good at all and I just gave up for about 3 weeks.

      I started using it as an overnight prewash detangler and it worked wonders in making my wash days faster because of how detangled and soft my hair was the next morning.

      A few months ago I was finally able to get good results with Cantu Shea Butter Leave in Conditioning Cream for my wash and go.

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      The Hair Lab: Wash & Go Preliminary Result

      Things I did different:

      1. I Used less product.
      2. Applied only in the sections of my hair that do not curl well and finger coiled (this product is great for finger coiling because of the slip and quick definition it gives)
      3. Tried my best to overlook the smell lol.
      4. Used it as a stand alone product, I did not used the LOC method.
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      Finger curling only the upper layer of the hair

      After it was 80% dry I lifted with a wide tooth comb and an afro pik and shook my head a LOT

      My latest test included using 2 cantu products as follows:

      1. Conditioning cowash
      2. Cantu beauty leave in conditioning CREAM: the cream part is important to note as cream my low porosity high density, fine-medium very curly afro hair can not stand it, it is too heavy. Instead I used it as a very rich rinse out conditioner using the squish and condish method, this also deals with the scent issue.
      3. I oiled the hair with a coconut oi blend from the body shop
      4. I used Jane carte solution revitalizing conditioner as the only leave in product to heat protect.
      5. I used the diffuser in medium heat low speed and was ready in 15 minutes.

      It def is not a holy grail product for me but I feel better knowing that I can get good results with it. Not all curlies are created equal and what one person might love the other might think meh. Still I enjoyed playing around maybe next time I can use it as Leave in again just to see what happens.  

       

       

       

       

      5 Errores que cometí durante la Transición

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      5 errores que cometí durante la transición a cabello Natural

      1. Me hacía y me hacían plancha, ojo yo amo los rizos pero tb mi look lacio, para mi todo cabello natural es bonito, dicho esto plancha en la transición es mucho riesgo de ruptura capilar y big chop obligado yo tuve suerte y con buena técnica pero el cabello es frágil en ese estado. NO NO Lo haga.

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      Just say NO asi sea la super Ghd ultimo modelo NO

      2. No leer blogs de cabello natural, error grave y por eso 🖕🖕🖕eso pasó. Lea blogs no sea como yo.

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      3. Querer complacer a la Jefa, no diré más de esto pero mis colegas me entienden.

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      Credito: Tallncurly.com

      4. Hacerse alisado en las raíces para que la plancha quede mejor. ¡Cringe! Esto es consecuencia de la 3.

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      5. Vivía debajo de una piedra. Nadie nace sabiendo, conecta pregunta en redes sociales todos somos humanos buscando mejorar y juntos somos mas fuertes. No seas como yo en mi transición a menos que te guste hacer todo a lo loco entonces sí lol 😹😹😹😹 no seas una isla se un archipiélago, pero créeme los vlogs y blogs ayudan. No todo es correcto pero para eso esta el señor Google.image.jpeg

       

      The Best Hair Tool for Curly Hair!

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      The Hair Lab

      Have you tried a Hair Diffuser to dry your hair?

      If the answer is no you must! Yesterday I finally tried one and OMG! I loved it.

      How to use

      1. Style hair as usual
      2. Dry with a microfiber towel or air dry until hair is not dripping wet
      3. Flip your head upside down and gently place curls on the diffuser attachment
      4. Always use low/medium heat or cool air to diffuse (Do not use high heat it will cause frizz and Damage the Diffuser)
      5. Dry the roots fully to minimize frizz
      6. Pick the roots and shake for more volume.

      I absolutely love drying my hair using the diffuser attachment, it controls frizz, increases curl definition to another level, makes the wash and go last longer and if you have low porosity hair like me and workout a lot and need to wash your hair at night for some reason this is definitively a must have in your curly hair care cabinet!

      Here a video on how to use a diffuser Curlyhair Routine

      Silicone Free Challenge for Natural Hair

      As you all know I am a naturalista that uses sulphates and soluble silicones after determining they are safe and effective products for me that are as long as the mix of ingredients is not overly drying and they are pH balanced. That being said I love a challenge here and there.

      I checked my product cabinet, and to my surprise I have more products with silicone than not so I sorted the products to see what I had to work with. Yes I wrote cabinet in the previous sentence OMG I have a “cabinet”, when I had keratin blow outs or relaxers or creamy crack on my hair I simply used shampoo, deep conditioner and a rinse out conditioner that also functioned as a leave in, Oh!the simple times LOL.

      My product cabinet is now divided in products with silicone and without silicone so I decided to simply use only the products that were silicone free as part of my challenge. I also purchased a few new silicone free products and was actually amazed.

      My original intent was to also co-wash during the entirety of the challenge but I had to stop at the 2 week point mark because of product build up and reintroduced anionic surfactants such as coco-sulphate and sulfosuccinates and my hair was still very hydrated towards the end of the challenge, the key to that I think is the pre-poo.

      The results

      After a week of unmanageable frizz my hair started to show more curl definition and so far product build up was not an issue. After that while it looked great my scalp was not feeling fresh and I was getting more tangles than usual so I switched back to shampooing on an “as needed basis” for last 2 weeks of the challenge.

      Some products I used during the challenge were Devacurl One Condition Decadence line, Cantu (Co-wash and Leave in), Curls Blueberry Bliss Leave in conditioner. In terms of price Cantu is the cheapest, in terms of final results I preferred Decadence plus Blueberry Bliss; but all products I used made my hair feel happy :). I will start writing product reviews sometime next month once I have a little more free time.

      Tips for a successful Co wash. My Silicone free Challenge experience

      1. Shampoo or clarify with a Deep cleanser before starting the Challenge
      2. Be 100% sure the products you are using do not contain any form of silicone
      3. Shampoo if you get product or dirt build up
      4. Do it with an actual co-wash product, that way you can experience the maximum benefit and if you like it you can then either change to a regular conditioner with similar ingredients or stay with the co-wash.

       

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      The Hair Lab: Week 4 Silicone Free Challenge

      I want to love this product, but can’t!

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      This is probably the first “for natural hair” product I have purchased and so far I am not loving it.

      The first time I tried it I used it to replace my usual leave in conditioner one that so far I have not seen in the raving reviews honor roll, but that for me works wonders. I purchased this cantu product because is a super beloved brand. My hair felt heavy and oily even somewhat gluelike, I thought maybe it was a bad mix and left it at that.

      The Second time did a twist out and the result was great, although it took forever to dry and I thought maybe it was because of my low porosity hair; since the definition and hold was great I started liking the product.

      Now I have finally run out of my macadamia oil leave in conditioner, I used it again as wash and go (my staple style, twists are nice and I cant braid for the life of me plus I have no patience). The results where less than flattering, it dried very slowly, its a sticky, oily, frizzy, undefined, tangled mess on day one, will have to wash again tomorrow. The  smell is also fatty and “humid like” hard to describe but not very pleasant, so far the worst smelling product I own. I did not mix it with other products.

      Anyone else had similar stories with this or other popular natural hair products? Any tips on how to use this particular cream?

       

      Wash day! Is your wash day too complex?

      How long is your wash day?

      Sometimes for the fun of it I follow all the steps I can find for my wash day and I have found that for me simple and “short” (if you can call short any curly girl full wash lol) is better.

      My 45 minute wash day is a little like this:

      1. Coconut oil pre poo night before
      2. Shampoo (in 4 or less sections)
      3. Deep condition (10 mins with hot towel)
      4. DETANGLE (once with tangle teezer, wide tooth comb and finger detangle)
      5. rinse out conditioner.
      6. Styling

      My 90 min wash day

      1. Overnight pre poo night
      2. Conditioner DETANGLE-1 (finger detangling + wide tooth comb)
      3. Shampoo (in 4-6 sections)
      4. Deep condition (30 mins with hair cap and blow dryer)
      5. DETANGLE-2 (with tangle teezer, wide tooth comb and finger detangle)
      6. rinse out conditioner.
      7. Styling

      My 2 hr plus wash day

      Hot oil treatment for 30 mins leave in it on for up to 2 hours with no heat and then add the 90 min wash day or deep condition for 2 hrs.

      The crucial and most time consuming step is detangling and it should be present in all curly hair wash routine at least once. It is really not necessary to detangle more than once as long as it is super well done or the hair is not too tangled, if you wash your hair twice a week and refresh with a cowash chances are your hair will get less tangled and the need to detangle will be less. So its a matter of either doing shorter wash days more often, as long as you deep condition your hair (up to 2 times a week is is perfectly fine), this is not a problem and is actually great for refreshing from the summer time heat and activities.