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.

      Summer Holiday Haircare tips

      1. Always wear a sunscreen for your hair & skin.
      2. Always saturate the hair before swimming.
      3. Head scarfs & Hats are a must, they protect the hair from the aggression of the environment and look super cute.
      4. Do not be afraid of silicones, they do help protect your hair just make sure to remove them well after the holiday is over.
      5. Co-wash if you intend to use the pool or swim at the beach for several days in a row.
      6. Keep at hand a spray bottle with either water only or water mixed with your fave conditioner.
      7. Take a travel kit with a few curl essentials either repack in small travel bottles your holy grails or buy one with a full set of products. I will try to review my favorite travel kit on a future blog post.

      There are many ways to saturate the hair before swimming

      1. Water only: this is particularly useful when using public pools where conditioner might not be allowed and/or as a courtesy to fellow swimmers.
      2. Apply deep conditioner before swimming or any kind of conditioner for that matter just let it get absorbed into the hair and coat it very well. I like Aussie hair 3 minute reconstructor because it’s a good one for on the go.
      3. Seal with oil before swimming so that way you reduce the amount of external agents that can enter the hair shaft, you can saturate with water 1st and then seal or just seal with oil if you like (I don’t do this as I use products with silicones that have a similar function but I think it is not a bad idea)

      After Sun Hair Care

      Apply a good conditioner right after swimming even if you don’t wash or co-wash your hair right after your swim, this step will prevent your hair from drying out more until the time that you do so and at the beach it would give you a very nice “summery look” and maintaining hydration while you enjoy the sunny days by the pool or at the beach.

      Once back home

      Clarify with a deep cleansing shampoo. I like kinky curly come clean and if this step is not enough you can also use clay masks such as bentonite clay to remove any traces of product and keep your scalp clean and free from build up.
      Deep condition as soon as you get back home, and more frequently, 2 times a week would be ideal; your curls will thank you for that.
      Consider doing a protein treatment if your curls are still feeling off balance after deeply cleansing & frequent deep conditioning.

      It seems like a lot to do but you can pick & choose how to protect your hair, this is just a collection of things I have found useful and I hope they can help you too.

      Is “No Poo” healthy? A medical opinion

      One thing that is extremely popular on the internet are mentions to the “No poo”method and products.

      The methods:

      1. Only water cleansing: Only water

      The purest variant is to wet your hair with spring water. Advocates say that, although your hair gets greasy in the first few weeks, its appearance subsequently improves greatly because sebum production eventually regulates itself.

      I have nothing to say about this except that water is not a cleansing agent and even if you never use hair products, you are exposed to pollutants, your natural oils or sebum and sweat which water does not have the ability  to cleanse.

      2. Baking soda/ apple cider vinegar (ACV)

      Natural is not always better. Just because it is in your pantry it does not mean it should go on your hair and skin.

      Baking soda has a pH=8, ACV has a pH=2-3 one is too alcaline and the other one too acid.

      The alkaline pH causes hair shaft swelling. This swelling loosens the protective cuticle predisposing the hair shaft to damage. It can also cause irritation of the scalp, hair loss and bleaching.

      Don’t do it.

      Even if it “looks good” a few times, it will eventually have a rebound effect and even increase the production of sebum, defeating the purpose of being a cleasing agent.

      ACV is not as harmful as baking soda but still is not a good idea if you want tight curls.

      3. Cleansing conditioners or cowash products and regular conditioners:

      They contain cationic (positively charged) surfactants such as stearalkonium, cetrimonium, behentimonium chloride, behentrimonium methosulfate, and stearamidopropyl dimethylamine which soften the hair and stick to it (because hair has a slight negative charge), which in theory could lead to more buildup. But at the same time, they do possess some capacity to gently lift dirt and oil.

      *Also another worthy molecule included in cowashes is cocamidopropyl betaine (amphoteric), but this one deserves it’s blog post.

      My opinion as a medical doctor:

      The no poo trend is probably not what it is hyped out to be and can be harmful, but using conditioner or cowash products to cleanse the scalp can be an aid to refresh hair in between shampoos, that can be as separated as 4 weeks depending on lifestyle and baseline dryness of hair.

      In fact there is an old “guideline” from the american asociation of dermatology for afro hair care recommends washing it every 1-2 weeks, with the option to cowash you can still enjoy the benefits of cleansing your scalp and hair without drying it out more.

      Natural is NOT always better.

      Please don’t put baking soda and apple cider vinegar (undiluted) on your scalp and hair, it may look good at first but you will in general have problems down the road and it will take a while to solve it.

      They may be in the pantry but they are not good for the hair or scalp.

      Water never hurt anyone but all it can do is hydrate, it really does not clean properly.

      In principle it is not harmful to only use conditioner (regular or the more expensive cowash products) and they can mildly cleanse the scalp and hair if left on and massaged in the scalp and then rinsed out as any other shampoo would be, yet eventually you should shampoo (succinates are a great alternative to sulfates, if you dont like sulfates look for this) for clarifying.

      If you want to “no poo” prefer cowashing with products (I cowash sometimes because I work out regularly), either with high end cowash products, if you have big pockets or an ecofriendly condish (like the one From bodyshop) or a good ole cheap condish like Aussie and shampoo at some point.

      A mix of dedicated cowash & conditioners

      Is it necessary to buy a special cowash product?

      Probably not, I compared a few cowash ingredients on various products and the cleansing agents are the same the difference are the specialty ingredients and the formulation (cream, foam etc) same as in any cosmetic product a part of the effective marketing, and better performance.

      You dont need to buy a conditioning cleanser, but if you can afford it and want to do so you totally can.

      Conditioners that work well as cowashes ingredient wise and that I have tried:

      Aussie Moist, Tresseme Naturals, rainforest coconut oil by the bodyshop. The absolute on a budget condish with great smell the white rain Coconut or even better the lavender one, I cant get it in Germany but its so good.

      Cleansing conditioners I have tried:

      Macadamia cleansing cream.  I liked the fact that it is a foam and smells so fresh but the price of about 20 euro for a 100ml flask it’s not worth it in comparison to less than 10 euro for 400ml of aussie or 200ml of coconut rainforest for the same results.

      Trying this product will be my guilty pleasure

      What do the experts say about shampoo?

      The Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV)

      “… shampoo removes the oil produced by the sebaceous glands that traps dead scalp cells, dirt and other substances we apply, such as sprays, gels, etc. This oil or sebum must be removed periodically for reasons other than the merely aesthetic, as it is an important source of microorganisms that could induce infections.”
      The Dermatolology times Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos (she has written really good scientific review papers about hair care products)

      “The frequency of hair washing depends on the sebum and sweat production of the individual and the geometry of the hair. Hair that is straight will rapidly wick the sebum and sweat from the scalp while tightly kinked hair wicks very poorly. For this reason, individuals with very straight hair usually prefer to shampoo daily while individuals with kinky hair shampoo once every one to two weeks. It is likely that most Americans shampoo their hair too much, accounting for the huge sale of hair conditioners designed to replace sebum with a more cosmetically acceptable synthetic ingredient.”

      Dr. Robert Dorin, a board-certified hair transplantation surgeon in New York City.

      “the scalp beneath the hair needs to be regularly cleaned of oil, dried sweat, dirt and dead skin cells, Those using “no-poo” products “aren’t really cleaning their scalp,”.  “They’re not taking off the environmental impurities.”People who don’t use detergent shampoo to clean the scalp run the risk of developing fungal and bacterial infections”

      Stop using too much shampoo😂😂😂

      The bottomline:

      Eliminating shampoo from the hair care routine is probably a bad idea, but reducing its frequency of usage (instead of eliminating it) might be beneficial and all you need to do.

      Choose the right shampoo for you (even if it has sulfates a pH balanced for dry hair shampoo can be good, the mix of ingredients is more important, don’t like sulfates then use a different surfactant)

      Shampoo correctly with small amonts of product also, only your scalp needs a cleansing massage, the hair just gets cleansed with the foam.

      No poo in its purest form( all natural no product)is unhealthy, since it can lead to sebum, dirt, oil and environmental pollutants build up which then can lead to scalp diseases such as fungal and bacterial infections or can cause damage to the hair shaft by exposure to caustic agents such as baking soda ultimately causing breakage.

      Experiment #2:Carefree Hair or Naked Hair

      In my first post I wrote about observation being the first step in the scientific method, well in the natural hair community is very common to use a lot of products in our hair, who does not love to discover new ways to get our hair on point? Well today’s experiment will help you do that and it’s not as pricey as you think.

      In general knowing how to care for our hair comes with a lot of trial and error, but knowing some information can help us make it a more efficient and pleasant task (and as a byproduct reduce the curly hair tax every naturalista has to pay, a.k.a. The 47 Million hair product tax)

      1. Type of Shampoo
      2. Type of Conditioner
      3. Type of Weather conditions we live in
      4. Humectants
      5. Antihumectants
      6. Gels
      7. Hair cream

      …and I could keep going, but the number one thing we need to know is our hair.

      There are many hair properties we should take into account:

      1. Hair density
      2. Texture
      3. Curl pattern
      4. Porosity
      5. Length

      …and the best way to get to know those things is seeing how our hair behaves when it’s in a clean undisturbed state, for this purpose I decide to try simply washing and conditioning my hair with basic Suave Shampoo & Conditioner.

      The pros

      1. Short styling time
      2. Fast air drying
      3. Super defined curls, coils and waves

      First day hair was simply amazing, it dried it a way I had not seen before and I really liked the shape, also it took very little time to be ready and it was dry after about 2 hours which for low porosity + High density hair is quite fast. I saw a lot of S patterns of curls and O patterns and an amazing curl definition.
      The cons

      1. Too many tangles
      2. Dryness
      3. Longer time in next wash day (oops detangling time)

      After day 2 hair it as simply downfall in the sense that the hair was very tangled, it felt somewhat dry and could not stay any longer without product so I oiled the hair in the 2 and used a hair cream to style on day 3. Left the hair undisturbed for as long as I could bear with it and washed it again after 6 days. I normally wash my hair every 3 days but was curious to see how long I could prolong the wash day.

      The Conclusion

      Asides from learning certain qualities about my hair such as:

      1. Hair prone to tangling
      2. Dry hair
      3. Multiple curl patterns: loose curls on the front and crown area, well defined curls on the sides and perfect coils on the nape of the neck

      I also liked the aesthetics of my hair without leave on hair products.

      I liked naked hair because my hair actually looked really pretty and I reduced my styling time considerably and probably will try it again but with a few modifications:

      1. Add deep conditioner to the routine (to tackle dryness)
      2. Blow dry instead of air dry (reduce the tangles)
      3. In case of tangles or excessive dryness cowash on second day hair

      The reason I have 2 names for it is that after I saw the results I found a couple videos on YouTube with “naked hair” vs my “carefree” and the ideas to improve it next time came from this video in particular.

      Naked natural hair
      Honestly, I decided to not follow any natural hair “must dos” because  I was starting to get tired of the excessive amount of care and time it takes and wanted a change.

      I did not  expect my hair to look good enough, but to my surprise it was one of my best high volume hairstyles ever!

      On my next post I will write about my next wash day and the reason why is probably better to use natural hair as a one day thing and not a full week like I tried.

      On the topic of Exercise & Moisture 

      On the topic of workout and hair lately I was feeling my hair a bit too wet most of the time so today out of curiosity with no prior planning did this mini experiment.

      Not use Leave in conditioner, sounds criminal for low porosity hair but it was great

      I simply cowashed, applied oil and very little mousse (All 3 Aussie brand, now available in Germany yei) and finished with Argan oil. My hair was nice & dry hair in less than 3 hours.

      I don’t know my curl pattern because I tend to decide based on porosity, density & texture instead.

      I am low porosity, high density and mixed hair.

      Curl pattern unknown.

      Exercise & Moisture