Cheap Cosmetics Review

March 8, 2010

Suitable Hair Gels for the Curly Girl Method

If you too are following the CG method, you would already know that a very important part of our daily routine, after co-wash and conditioning, is to apply a hair gel and then “plop” our hair for about 30 minutes.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with “plopping”, here is a refresher video.

I do not know about products in the US but it is quite hard for us UK girlies to find products that are suitable. Most of the help we find on the internet is aimed at the US market. Also, finding the right hair gel can be a minefield considering that some alcohols have a drying effect on your hair while others do nourish your hair.

One thing I had been trying lately was to use 100% Pure Organic Aloe Vera Gel from Holland & Barrett. It did hydrate my hair and felt “fresh”… However, it only had limited hold and was giving very little curl definition. I looked like a fried poodle by the end of the day. The thinking behind using this gel (normally made for skin) was the idea that it didn’t contain any nasties.

Then, on recommendations by a fellow UK curly girl on the forum, I tried VO5 Mega Hold gel. It will set you back about £3 in Superdrug. It did give me the right curl definition but I was running out of this pretty fast. I needed to buy one of these every 6 days! Not so much a price to pay if you consider that I used to be on Frizz Ease serum every single day. At £5 for a tiny bottle, I was pouring money into my hair.

I decided to trawl the forums yet again and managed to find this little marvel: Boots Essentials Extra Firm Hold Gel. At only 89p for 250ml, it is a bargain! It does the same thing as the VO5 Mega Hold gel and contains no nasty drying alcohols. It also fits in very well with the new experiment I have been trying out: mixing essential oils with my hair gel. This allows me to apply oils evenly without causing any mess and spills and keep my dry and porous ends hydrated throughout the day.

What kind of essential oils do I use? Well, I do my own mixes see. I pour my Boots hair gel into a 350ml container and I make up the remaining 100ml with my oils. I mainly use a good serving of jojoba oil and melted pure coconut oil first (about half each) and then I add a few drops of Lavender oil which helps tame the frizz. If you feel like you want to have a “just fresh” feeling, then you can also add a few drops of tea tree oil.

As a rule of thumbs, the above mix lasts me for about 2 weeks. All essential oils can be found at Holland & Barrett.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on!


March 4, 2010

Joico K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor – a review

This review might be under the Curly Girl category, but this product is a miracle worker for anyone with damaged hair.

I am a curly girl and for a very long time, I was guilty of not treating my hair right. Years of using silicon-based products culminated with the irreparable damage some stupid hairdresser inflicted on my hair with a pair of GHD straighteners and a curling iron. All of this because they were trained to think that “hair is hair, all hair is cut and treated like straight hair”. No consideration for curlies out there.

When I decided to apply the curly girl method, I chose to go for a protein based diet for my hair. And this is where Joico Deep Penetrating Reconstructor comes in. Please note that this product is officially only available from salons, but huge 1 litre bottles can be purchased on ebay for about £30.

First off, this product, contrarily to your usual shop-bought conditioners, is very thick. So thick that I have trouble squeezing it out of the bottle. It also does not contain any “nasties” for us following the curly girl method: no “cones”, no sulphates and it actually contains keratin (which is what your hair is made of).

The smell is absolutely lovely to me but could put other people off. It reminds you of a tropical island with scents of banana and mango/papaya.

The results, if you follow the rules by the letter, are amazing. This has brought back the springs in my curls. To anyone following the curly girl method, my hair was a usual frizzbucket and I could manage with silicon-based products were some botticelli curls that would end up dry and limp at the ends. Thanks to Joico, my hair now gives me lovely and tight corkscrew curls.

However, there are limitations. Because proteins are only good for your hair in small doses, this should not be used as a daily conditioner but as a biweekly treat maximum (once a week if your hair is reasonably healthy). Please keep in mind it is a “reconstructor”. Also, if it states to leave on your hair for only 5 minutes, there is a reason to this. While proteins would help reconstructing your hair, too much proteins for too long could also leave it brittle. So my advice is never to use this as a leave-in conditioner. If you want to do this, there is a Joico K-Pak conditioner I will be reviewing soon.

Also, the other limitation I have found is the fact that it is recommended to use the Joico K-PAK Moisture Intense Hydrator after having used the Deep Penetrating reconstructor. Why? you may ask. Well quite simply, the reconstructor does not moisturise your hair for you, it only “rebuilds” it. Using the reconstructor without the hydrator could leave your hair feeling “dry” and a bit haywire. All of this product application and rinsing madness does not make for a quick passage in the shower.

So to sum things up, here are the cons:

– relatively expensive (the recontructor and hydrator cost £30 for a litre each on ebay)

– relatively time-consuming

– only has limited use (frequency and cannot be used as a leave-in conditioner for slip)

And the pros:

– I would qualify this as being a miracle product, no less.


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