Product Review: Dark and Lovely’s Au Naturale Anti-Shrinkage Clumping Curl Crème Gel

There’s a lot of trial and error that comes with finding the right hair care products that work for both my daughter and me. We have two different curl patterns and usually what works well for her, doesn’t work for me. While she has fine, looser, easily tangled curls, I have denser, zig-zag coils and kinks that require tons of moisture.

Well, to my surprise and delight, Dark and Lovely’s Au Naturale new Anti-Shrinkage Clumping Curl Crème Gel is a godsend for both of our hair types. Formulated with two of my favorite hair care ingredients: argan oil and coconut oil, it provides ultra hydration while instantly eliminating frizz. For my daughter a small dollop defines her curls, creating perfect ringlets. While for me, it elongates and makes my hair easier to style. Also, in case you didn’t know, “clumping” refers to the process of hair strands binding together to create a natural, bigger and better curl.

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Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Anti-Shrinkage Clumping Curl Creme Gel (L) and two of my other faves from the brand: Easy Twist Gel N’ Butter and the Clumping Curl Clay Cleanser.

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In addition, I love that this gel comes in a convenient mess-free tube. I don’t know about you, but packaging can make or break a product—and unlike many crèmes and gels, this one is designed smartly. Plus, did I mention how good it smells? The tropical scent takes me back to my recent trip to the Bahamas.

If your curls needs to be awakened, run don’t walk to your nearest Target or other mass retailer to pick up this product. Trust me, it will breathe new life into your hair.

Have you tried Anti-Shrinkage Clumpling Curl Creme Gel ? If not, what’s your favorite Dark and Lovely product?

Say Hello to Your New Favorite Style Control Gel: Carol’s Daughter Pracaxi Nectar

I’ve been covering new hair care products for over a decade. Needless to say, throughout the years I’ve reviewed countless shampoos, pomades, puddings, creams, conditioners and more. So, when something earns a spot in my tried and true rotation, it’s GOOD.

Enter: Carol’s Daughter new Pracaxi Nectar Style Control Gel. Infused with acai extract and natural oils, this miracle in a tube instantly awakens my daughter’s curls.

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Carol’s Daughter Pracaxi Nectar Style Control Gel available here, $10.99

Although it’s formulated to reduce frizz and tame flyaways, it makes her dry hair super soft and moisturized—something that doesn’t happen with most gels. I don’t know about you, but in the past when I’ve used products that aim to “control,” I’ve been left with sticky and goopy concoctions that slick down hair making it hard and crunchy. Oh and let’s not forget that crusty white film that they create.

Well, this control gel defies the odds and manages to keep curls defined and hydrated. Plus, it smells so good! If you like tropical scents, this will become an instant fave. Coming in a little over $10 at Sally’s, you’ll want to stock up on this soon-to-be staple.

What’s your all-time favorite Carol’s Daughter product? 

Event Recap: Texture Media Presents Texture On the Runway 2016

New York Fashion Week is in full swing and this past weekend I attended a show, but the focus wasn’t on fashion—it was all about the HAIR! Yep, Texture Media’s 4th Annual Texture On The Runway Show sponsored by Target was a showcase of curls, coils, kinks and waves.

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Held at City Winery in Soho and hosted by Michelle Breyer of Naturally Curly and Patrice Yursik of Afrobella, the evening was a celebration of textured hair. Not only did the runway feature ravishing crowns, but also the entire room was jam-packed with women of color rocking beautiful natural styles.

The 45-minute long show was broken down into five parts featuring styles from popular hair care brands such as Dark & Lovely, Cantu, Crème of Nature, Design Essentials and Garnier. Dark & Lovely got the party started with their energetic presentation set to the upbeat Beyoncé track, “Grown Woman.” Big, bushy Afros moved to and fro as the dancers grooved to every beat. It was an incredible way to start the show and set the tone for the rest of the night.

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Next up was Cantu with cute short curly styles and bold, eye-catching updos. They were followed by a red-hot set from Crème of Nature. Their lineup included Diana Ross-esque blowouts, big bouncy curls and a stunning, precision cut Afro. Then, Design Essential models donning unique styles such as a lop-sided faux bob, textured topknot and a lavender cascade of waves strutted down the catwalk. The show’s finale included a lovely wash-n-go, a center-parted teased bun and a flirty, curly ponytail.

Plus, all of the show’s vendors were on hand to give attendees information about the products used in the presentation and how to recreate some of the looks at home.

The diversity of textured hair is remarkable and this showcase is just a wonderful way to put our manes on a celebratory platform.

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The night of the show I was suffering from a bad hair day, but managed to salvage my curls by tying a colorful, wiry headband scarf around them. 

Whether you wear your hair straight, curly, in braids, in an Afro or somewhere in between, what do you love the most about your hair? 

Mizani Launches New True Textures Line

Known for being the authority on relaxers, Mizani has now launched an entirely new line for naturals—True Textures!

The L’Oreal-owned brand has done a complete overhaul of its former True Textures line and has upgraded it with products to enhance our curls, coils and waves. The 8-product line includes: Moisture Replenish Shampoo, Moisture Replenish ConditionerCream Cleansing Conditioner, Style Refresher Milk, Curl Enhancing Lotion, Curl Define Pudding,  Intense Moisture Replenish Treatment, Twist and Coil Jelly. All of the products are infused with natural ingredients such as marula, olive and coconut oils, which provide a balanced level of deeper moisture for creating gorgeous curls.

My ultimate favorite is the Twist and Coil Jelly. The consistency is of course like jelly and the smell is downright divine. It gives hair the hold it needs for optimal definition, without the flakiness or dryness that comes with other brands.

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While Mizani is a professional brand, these product are incredibly consumer-friendly. Ever since cutting my hair a couple of months ago, I was hesitant that my former shoulder-length twist-outs would look like a bunch of shrunken crinkles, that has not been the case. I’m loving my short curly Afro and Mizani’s new products have made my transition to short hair so much easier.

From professional hairstylists to bloggers like me, this new line is sure to be a favorite amongst those who love and care for natural hair.

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To purchase Mizani’s True Textures visit shopsalon.com.

Have you ever used Mizani? What’s your favorite natural haircare brand?

 

 

Get Class Picture-Perfect with Conair’s Quick Twist Hair Styler

I can’t believe we’re already a month into my daughter Ava’s school year. I’m even more shocked  that her class picture day is next week!

School pictures are a big deal—at least they were when I was growing up. But, that was before digital cameras and cell phones. When I was in school, my mom would style my hair in special ways for the big day. Back in the ’80s and early ’90s that meant pressing it straight then curling the ends.  Since I won’t be doing that, I do plan on using  Conair’s new Quick Twist Hair Styler  to create fun, twisty braided-ponytails.

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Conair Quick Twist Hair Styler available here, $30

Ever since we attended the launch party for the product last month, Ava has been so excited to use it on her hair. During the event we were able to test the hair tool with the help of a professional hairstylist.

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One of the hairstylists using the Conair Quick Twist Hair Styler on my daughter, Ava’s, naturally curly hair. 

At first, I was skeptical that it would work on naturally curly hair like my daughter’s. To my surprise and delight, it worked perfectly. Plus, it’s super easy to use. The hair clamps into two grooves and the rotating head quickly and gently twists the hair creating effortless two-strand braids. However, if your child has short hair, this product will not work well. The hair has to be long enough to go into the clamps in order to create a twisty braided look.

So, on picture day Ava will rock her signature ponytails, but this time with a twist!

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What’s your favorite hairstyling tool? 

My Mane Man: How Patrick Wellington Rescued My Neglected Hair from Further Damage

I recently had to do what I’d been dreading for months—cutting my hair. Yep, I had to snip off nearly 5 inches of hair that had been damaged due to split ends and lack of proper trims. I’d been doing my hair myself for over a year and clearly that wasn’t a good idea.

After putting my hair through enough stress and suffering, I finally called the only person in New York City that could rescue my tresses before any further damage could be done—Patrick Wellington of Patrick Wellington Hair Spa. I’d gone to Patrick several times over the years, but stopped because I thought that as a naturalista I could pick the right cocktails and conditioners and be good—not! While many of my fellow BGs do an excellent job maintaining and styling their natural hair, I’m just not one of them.

When I called to book an appointment I was nervous, but knew that my hair would be in good hands. To my surprise I was asked to come in the very next day! Once I sat in Patrick’s chair he had never seen so much breakage from a naturalista like me. I informed him that I’d been wearing my hair in a topknot for months, which obviously isn’t recommended. Not only was my hair breaking, it was incredibly dry. Plus, it was sprinkled with unsightly gray strands. He quickly assessed that I needed a dark color to cover the grays and a deep conditioning.

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Not only were my gray hairs distracting, they were also incredibly dry and brittle. 

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The deep, dark brown color that Patrick applied to cover my unwanted grays. 

As I continued to sit in his chair I knew that I’d probably have to get the “big chop” in order to start over. The night before my appointment I searched through tons of tapered TWAs (tiny weeny Afros) on Instagram and took screenshots of several that I thought were cute. I showed them to Patrick and he said that he’d prefer to blow my hair out to see just how much needed to be cut. Sensing my nervousness about getting a “big chop” (when I transitioned from relaxed hair in 2007 I avoided the big chop and just let my relaxer grow out), Patrick reassured me that he would make it work. And he did.

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Sitting under the dryer getting a much-needed deep conditioning.

After the color, deep conditioning and blow out, it was finally time to cut away! It was a shock to see myself with straight hair since I hadn’t had it blown out in almost two years. I typically don’t like my hair silky straight, but I trusted Patrick to work his magic on my mangled mane. Concerned about retaining my curls, Patrick reassured me that my natural kinks and coils would return upon washing. Once he finished flat ironing my hair, he began to cut it into a modern, chic bob! To say that I was blown away with the results would be an understatement. My hair was severely damaged and I left the salon looking as if I had a healthy head of hair! Full of body, my hair was shiny (not greasy) and bouncy. Since I’d worn my hair in a natural topknot or bun for the better part of two years, this was a drastic change for me and I loved it. Although I felt like I was cheating on my curls, I knew that after washing my hair they would return to their natural state.

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After the initial blow-out. 

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After the blow-out and flat iron.

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After the initial cut and color. 

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Final look at home—sleek, silk press. Peep my daughter admiring my new short ‘do!

Patrick is one of the most knowledgeable and attentive hairstylists I’ve ever encountered. Plus, he truly cares about the health and the integrity of his clients’ hair. If you’re in need of a relaxed or natural style, Patrick’s your man. And his cuts are priceless! Don’t take my word for it, check him out for yourself and tell him BGG sent you! Also, if you’re in need of a good massage, on Sundays his studio now offers body relaxations treatments from their on-staff masseuse, Holly.

Main Takeaways: Get frequent trims, switch up your style and moisturize, moisturize, MOISTURIZE! Plus, we naturalistas can do a lot of DIYs with our hair, but sometimes you just need to seek a trusted professional to maintain our hair’s health.

Patrick Wellington Hair Spa is located, 119 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011. Call (212) 206-7962 to book an appointment. 

Do you have plans to switch up your hairstyle for fall?

Event Recap: Curly Girl Collective’s CurlFest in Brooklyn

If you’re a natural girl in the New York City area and didn’t attend the CurlFest this weekend, you missed out! But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Hosted by Curly Girl Collective, the second annual CurlFest took place on Saturday in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.  Dubbed a hair and beauty festival and picnic for curly girls, it was the perfect gathering to celebrate and rock our natural kinks and coils.

While there were food trucks onsite and picnic blankets aplenty, many were there to check out the picnic chats (guest speakers), hair stations and vendor booths. Throughout the day, online influencers and popular bloggers such as Jenell B. Stewart of KinkyCoilyMe.com and Naptural85 were there to talk about what else—natural hair! Set up with picnic tables, cute blankets and pillows, the designated picnic chat area was inviting and comfy.

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In addition to the hourly chats, attendees had the option to see what the hair stations offered. Several leading natural haircare brands including Carol’s Daughter SheaMoisture, Dark & Lovely, Curls, Kinky Curly and Eden Bodyworks were on hand performing demos, express styles and braids. As a beauty blogger, I was already pretty familiar with the haircare brands so my main focus was picking up merchandise that celebrated and complemented natural hair. I picked up two statement tees and several unique twisty-tie headbands. From vintage pop-up shops to books all about Afros, there was something there that would fancy most curly girls.

The music, picnic chats, hair stations and vendors were all fantastic, but the overall good vibe is what I loved the most. The sense of community, camaraderie and admiration that was felt made me super proud to be a BG rocking my natural curls.

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It was a gorgeous day and simply beautiful to see so many of us naturalistas fully embracing our beauty and celebrating it together!

Did you attend CurlFest? If not, what has been your favorite summer festival this season?