As promised here’s part dos of the review. The leave-ins are the real stars of this line for me.
They also behave dramatically depending on whether you’re a curl scruncher, comber, or just let them be. How do you do your curls?
Confident Coils Styling Solution (16.95 / 8oz): The claim? Defined but not enhanced, beautiful and touchable curls. Totally true! It’s really surprising to me when a product actually does what it claims. But both these leave-ins do exactly that. I love this one. It reminds me of an Aveda product I’ve mentioned in the past that my entire family was once hooked on. It’s consistency is light and a bit sticky, which is really good for curls. It kind of just makes your existing curls their best selves. If you’re like me, sometimes you comb through and scrunch your curls for more bounce, while other times you finger-comb or don’t touch them at all. This responds well to both, and can also be used with…
Rockin’ Ringlets Styling Potion (16.95 / 8oz): The claim? The tightest, most coiled version of your curls without giving you “ramen noodle hair” according to the site copy (hilarious). When I was kid we called these bottle curls, and it’s not a look I usually rock out on a Tuesday. But, again, because this product actually delivers I discovered that it’s pretty fun to be able to suddenly have a ringlet head. When I used this product and did a traditional towel scrunch, I easily lost two inches in length and gained a veritable helmut of ringlets. One day, even a friendly construction worker guiding me through a barricade called to me through his window: “Go on through here, Shirley Temple!”
Awe Inspiring Spray (16.95 / 8oz): I’ve never really been one for sprays, other than the Intelligent Nutrients Volumizing one (still a fave). But this is not a hairspray like that—this is more of a curl refresher. It’s perfect for mornings when you don’t want to jump in the shower but your hair needs a little wakeup. Or maybe in the evening after a long work day before you head out for dinner. It’s got aloe and a little jojoba in it, so it’s hydrating with just the tiniest bit of control. Very convenient.
I’m also curious how these leaves-ins would work on straighter hair. I feel like they could be a real boon on a humid day for any hair, especially because they’re light. Have any of the straight girls tried curl-geared products in the past? Let us know, and happy Friday!
P.S. We are completely floored by the amazing applications we got for the assistant job. We have no idea how we’re going to decide yet, but a huge thanks to everyone who applied—we’ll definitely put up a post to let everyone know when we’ve decided!
Sometimes having curly hair can feel like having a pet (that you never asked your parents for). It needs constant love and attention, petting, fluffing and calming, and you can’t just leave it out in the rain and expect it to behave.
Then one day you discover that, in fact, it’s not as needy as you thought. It actually wants to be independent, and if you just let it do it’s thing and don’t coddle it like a crazy person, it might actually be able to survive in the wild.
K, this is a weird metaphor. But it sort of sums up what happened to me and my curls and I went clean. The constant monitoring, treatments, and loads of leave-ins proved to be a bit moot once I just learned to let it be, not wash it much (or ever), and use a good, thick, natural conditioner. Suddenly: Nice curls, responsive to heat if I wanted to style it, and I could even sleep on them and not look like a total animal in the morning.
For a while there, I flat-out lost my taste for hair products, because it was such a revelation not to need them. But these days, I’m working my way back to the middle because—as I almost forgot—the right products can do a lot for a curl. It can make it springy and tight, or loose and lovely. And this line does it all.
Who is Jessicurl? Some quick reading on their website says it’s a brand started by a woman (Jess) who grew up fighting her curls until one day she discovered a natural and DIY approach to haircare and learned to love them. Sound familiar? Cut to: Ten years later she has her very own line with very nice people working with her. These folks were kind enough to send me their entire Rich and Radiant Collection, which I’ve now thoroughly tested.
Note: There are a few ingredients in the line that aren’t perfect. The last two ingredients in the conditioners and leave-ins get a question mark on SkinDeep (4-6), though I’ve never heard of them (have you?) and the cleansing cream contains a PEG. While that gets a low hazard score, if memory serves PEGs run the risk of being contaminated with 1,4-dioxane—which is really bad stuff. I have not emailed the folks at Jessicurl about any of this yet (feel free to post in the comments, guys), but given how clean the rest of the line I’m feeling a bit forgiving about it. Especially on the products that I’m obsessed with. :)
OK, let’s go through it!
Hair Cleansing Cream ($16.95 / 8oz): Touted as an alternative to shampoo this product foams just a little, featuring gentler surfactants. As promised in the description, your curly hair will actually look great on the same day as washing (on the rare occasions I wash, I’ve found this to be true with most good natch, and non-stripping, shampoos). Remember when your curls were absolutely destroyed by hair-washing and you had to wait several days for them to get back into their groove? Man, those days sucked.
Too Shea! Conditioner ($16.95 / 8oz): This is a really nice hydrating conditioner that leans more towards the sticky than the greasy side in consistency. I’ve been using this most days as my conditioning cleanser and it’s absolutely great. The whole lines smells good too, in a natural good way, and the presence of peppermint in this conditioner makes it perfect for waking up in the morning shower. This conditioner gets my solid stamp of approval, and I think it would work especially great for women who don’t want their curls weighed down. I, on the other hand, also happen to enjoy a really heavy conditioner too… Which is why I use it in tandem with…
Deep Conditioning Treatment ($16.95 / 8oz): This conditioner is the bomb. It’s so thick that it’s almost tough to squeeze it out of the bottle. Heavy and rich, it literally seems to detangle curls on contact. Funnily, it has almost the exact same ingredients as the previous conditioner, but the proportions must be totally different. According to the description, I’m not the only curly girl obsessed. While it was once marketed as a weekly treatment, so many women started using it daily. That’s what I’ve been doing, and the results are GREAT.
OK, that’s a wrap for now. Tomorrow I will cover the three amazing styling products that came in the set. But tell us, curlies and wavies: What is your washing and conditioning curl ritual? Have you heard of JessiCurl?
Meet young Lina, a Cali girl who loves her products, relishes in pampering, and knows her way around a good face mask.
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Current Weather: Sunny
Skin: Fair-Medium, prone to pimplies!
Hair: Almost at mid-back
Favorite celeb from the past: Isabella Rossellini
I’ve always loved having a “skin regime.” I think it’s fun and it gives me great joy to have a routine that is unique to me, and to try out new products with my sister. When I was 10, I had my first encounter with pimples, my skin calmed down after, but ever since then I have really taken an interest in taking care of my skin. Following a very emotional period in my life a few years ago, my acne came back very badly, and I was prescribed an oral contraceptive. It worked like magic, but wreaked havoc on my body. I found myself barfing, being sensitive to smells and even occasionally seeing stars. I decided this wasn’t what I signed up for, and got off it. It’s been about a year and a half since I’ve gotten off, and my skin still isn’t back to normal. It was hard, seeing my clear skin once again ridden with acne and scars I’d worked so hard to fade. In retrospect, I almost see it as a blessing in disguise because it brought me to the world of clean products. I know in the long run, (the long long run), when my skin is clear, it will be my own bodies immunity and not some quick fix. That makes me rest easy, along with the results I see with the products I am using. When I first got off the oral contraceptive, I started using the Tata Harper line and that really opened up a new realm of skin care to me. I love her products but they get pricey after a while. With much trial and error, I finally think I’ve found a routine that I can see myself using for awhile.
Now, before I divulge my routine, I must warn you, I love the process of pampering my skin so it appears like I have a lot of products, but somehow it works for my skin.
Before the shower…
I like to do a quick swish swash with my Konjac Sponge Company Bamboo Charcoal Sponge. This is my sole “face wash” when I am not wearing make up. Then I put on a layer of Really Raw’s Raw Honey and step in the shower.
Inside the shower…
I like feeling the shower steam really intensify the power of the honey. I wash my hair with John Masters Organics Evening Primrose Shampoo for Dry Hair and condition with John Masters Organics Lavender and Avocado Intensive Conditioner. Once a week I like to use Theraneem Organix Scalp Therape Shampoo to condition my scalp. I use this great soap with turmeric and honey I got from Whole Foods for my body with a scrubby towel. I forget the brand name since I’ve long since ripped the label off. It lathers quite well so I use it as a shaving cream for my legs as well.
Outside the shower…
Once out of the shower, I’ll wash away any remaining honey from my face and spray on Pai Lotus and Orange Blossom BioAffinity Toner. I love facial mists, and this smells divine. Then I’ll apply Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate, followed by Dr. Alkaitis eye cream. Once the BioRegenerate soaks in, I’ll apply Kahina Giving Beauty Brightening Serum. Then depending on my how my skin feels I’ll apply Pai Chamomile and Rosehip moisturizer if my face feels dry, if not, I’ll just follow the serum with Nature’s Way Liquid Coconut Oil. I put the coconut oil on the front and back of my neck too, it makes my skin super soft! If I’m going to bed, I’ll apply some castor oil to my brows and eyelashes to condition them. Right before I sleep I like to put on Badger Balm Sleep Balm, moisturize my hands with Simply Divine Botanicals How Now Brown Cacao, and slather some Hurraw Night Treatment Moon Balm on my lips. It’s always quite a symphony of smells before bedtime.
For my body, I alternate between Weleda Baby Calendula Oil and Acure Cocoa Butter + CoQ10 unscented lotion. The Weleda really makes your skin incredibly soft if you pat it on when your skin is a little damp, right out of the shower. Then I’ll finish it off with a spray of Maya Water Organic Goji Facial Mist on my face. I adore this spray and the smell always cheers me up.
If I’m wearing make up, I’ll use Pai Camellia and Rose cleanser with their muslin cloth, followed with their Kukui and Jojoba Brightening Exfoliator. I sometimes like to use Ancient Harvest’s Quinoa Flakes as a gentle facial cleanser and exfoliator all in one. I put a handful in my hand, put warm water on it and squeeze out the milky water and apply to my face. Then I repeat that a few times then rub the soft flakes around. It’s super cheap and works really well for my skin. I bought it to eat but didn’t like the taste, who knew it would make a nice face wash! It took me a while to find a great make up cleanser. I used to be devoted to Shu Uemura Brightening Cleansing Oil, but its base is mineral oil. I tried RMS coconut oil but somehow coconut oil doesn’t work for me as a cleanser. It only works when it’s layered on top of other products. I used to mix 1 part Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar with 3 parts Heritage Products Rosewater as a DIY make up remover, and use Waxelene for my eye make up remover. The ACV was a little too stripping for daily use. The Pai cleanser is so effortless because I can use it on my eyes too, and it’s so gentle but removes everything. Every Wednesday Hump Day, I like to use Acure Brightening Scrub, it’s just a little mid-week treat for myself I can look forward to.
Then on Sundays, if time permits, I’ll treat my skin to a Dr. Alkaitis Univeral Mask whilst taking a bubble bath. I mix it with Wedderspoon Manuka Honey. I’ll spritz my skin with the Maya Water Goji Mist prior to applying the mask, and during, and after it’s removal. I love using California Baby I Love You Bubble Bath. It smells amazing and comes with two bubble wands in it! However, the bottle I have is one I bought a while ago, before they changed management and their formula, I don’t like their new formula, (the main ingredients have been moved to the end, so there is more filler, less real substance), so I really cherish the one I have right now.
I also have two other facial masks I squeeze in whenever I feel the need. The first one is Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Mask, as it’s supposed to brighten the skin. I am forever on the search for a clean product that brightens well… and the second is Just Be Weekly Glow and Go Mask. You mix it with some apple cider vinegar and let it work its magic. I also do enjoy mixing some lemon juice with manuka honey every so often as a mask too. In the summer, I like to freeze ice cubes of rice water and glide one on right after I wake up or after a face mask. I find it really helps the overall condition of my skin.
I have so many facial products but not as many makeup products. I do very minimal makeup, or so I think. I use Vapour Stratus Soft Focus Instant Skin Perfector when I’m feeling fancy, otherwise I’ll just start off with Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation. If needed, I’ll apply some Vapour Illustionist Concealer on spots and under eyes. I use a bit of Alima Satin Matte Eyeshadow in Raven to add some subtle oomph to my brows. Then I’ll put some RMS Living Luminizer on my cupid’s bow, nose, chin and inner corner of eyes. If I feel like it I’ll put some Vapour Aura Multi Use Blush in Spark. As for the eyes, I love using D.J.V. Beautenizer Fiberwig LX. It’s by no means clean, but it comes off with just a bit of warm water, and that gives it major kudos in my book. Since it’s a fiberwig mascara, it doesn’t feel as clumpy and heavy as other mascaras too. If I’m not using mascara, I might put on a small cat eye extension just on the outer corners of my eye, 1/16th of an inch on each side with Tarte Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. It is the only eyeliner that won’t fade away right away for my lids. Then I’ll top it all off with a spritz of the Maya Water Goji spray. For lips, I love Ilia Lip Conditioner in Dizzy, it gives a nice brightness to my lips. If I want more impact, I’ll use Ilia Lip Conditioner in Crimson and Clover. But most days, I’ll just put on Dr. Alkaitis lip balm in the lime flavor, or Hurraw Lip Balm in Black Cherry, which imparts a barely there red tint. And finally, if I’m feeling up for perfume, I’ll put Tsi-La Organics Fiori D’Arancio if I’m feeling playful, Tallulah Jane Eau de Parfum Tallulah if I’m feeling more serene, and if I’m going out I put Givenchy Dahlia Noir. I’m always on the search for a new scent though.
After writing all this, I do realize I am quite the product junkie, but clean products have such amazing scents and ingredients that I always want to try everything out! And most of all, I enjoy the process of pampering my skin and knowing that everything I’m putting on is clean. I also look forward to my nineties because I know my skin will still look great thanks to all the amazing clean products out there! I’m excited to continue down this path and glad that I have NMDL to do it with. :)
Ever since my most beloved face cleanser underwent a formula change, I’ve been searching. See, I was one of those who practically cried when Kahina changed. Yeah, I know. Not a world-shattering problem, right? But when you rely on a product to do an important function for you every day, and you love every single thing about it, it’s a serious bummer when you can’t get it anymore. I don’t mean to dis the updated Kahina cleanser formula, it’s nice—but it’s not perfect for me. I want my cleanser to wash off all my makeup at the end of the day, including eye makeup, in one step. It needs to leave my skin feeling soft and hydrated, not squeaky or tight. It has to be unscented, or only have the mildest scent, which I love, and that does not stick around. It must suit my sensitive countenance, and of course be super clean, vegan, and gluten free. Dang, I am demanding.
I looked high and low, in brick-and-mortars and online boutiques, studying reviews and the recommendations of natural beauty bloggers. I bought lots of things, and thought I came close a couple of times.
I tried both soap-based and detergent-based cleansers. I became determined to hone my DIY skills and create a complicated brew, but in the time I had to spend on this, was unable to find success. I ended up revisiting the oil cleansing method, and was quite pleased with using coconut oil all through the winter. But the weather change made me yearn for a nice, light cleanser.
And then, as if by magical convergence of all things clean and gluten free, Julie Longyear posted some brilliant comments on this blog, with links. Who is this free-spirited chemistry goddess, I wondered? I followed the links to some very helpful information on her blog, and discovered she is the founder of Blissoma Solutions. The brand name rang a bell, and I located several very favorable reviews on Fig + Sage, which I recalled reading. I hadn’t tried the brand at the time, because I thought the essential oils would be too much for my skin. Recently, though, Julie created a new group of products for ultra sensitive/reactive skin. I immediately ordered the set, and (cue the rising music) found the Holy Grail.
Free – Rejuvenating Herbal Gel Cleanser and Makeup Remover: In short, it meets all my demands. While the instructions say to moisten skin first, I prefer to just put it right on my skin and massage it in, as with oil cleansing, then wipe it off. It takes off all makeup with ease and gentleness. If I don’t have any makeup to take off, I follow the instructions and use it like you’d typically use a cleanser, splashing it off with water. The scent is unusual, and I really love it. It just smells like its ingredients, not like it’s trying to smell like anything. My skin feels wonderful afterward, ready for the rest of my routine of hydrosol, serum and oil. If you have oily or combo skin, you might not even need to do any other moisturizing at night, but I’m the dry/mature sort. I wouldn’t call it a gel exactly, maybe something between a gel and a cream cleanser. I love the pump container, not a typical pump but basically a giant serum bottle. I’d call the price mid-range, at $26.99 for 4 oz.
I’m also loving the Amend serum, and I’ll do a thorough review after I’ve used it a bit longer to really see the effects—and I have a few honorable-mention face cleansers that are great enough to post about soon. But for now…
Have you tried Blissoma? What do you love?
Oh god. Are seasonal allergies contagious?
The answer, obviously, is, “Of course not,” (thanks, Yahoo Questions) but it’s been looping around my monkey mind all week. For about a month, I’ve been hearing people say this is the worst allergy season in ages, and I’ve seen up close how it’s been affecting my Claritin-cloudy friends, my colleagues, my guy. About a week ago I started feeling kind of crappy: runny nose, sneezy, headaches. Naturally, I thought it was either contact allergitis (this is not actually a thing) or, more plausibly, adult-onset—which would make sense since they hit my brother when he was in his early 30s. My dad has terrible allergies, t00. Ask him how he’s doing this time of year and the answers tend to be along the lines of “I can breathe today” or “I could smell a little this morning.” Suffice to say, and sorry to all you allergy sufferers out there, I was horrified at the idea of staring down the next 50 years in your camp.
Turns out, lucky for me, I just have a cold.
But what about all these poor suckers I care about? There’s got to be something other than a daily Allegra or Claritin that can help, right?
I’ve seen some interesting research about acupuncture helping with seasonal allergy symptoms (see here, here, and here), but it requires frequent visits, which is inconvenient and can be prohibitively expensive if your insurance doesn’t cover complementary medicine. (Course, if you compare the cost of thrice-weekly acupuncture for four weeks with a daily pill for four months, for years on end, the needles would probably win, but whatever—I know it’s not for everyone.) Over at Prevention, where I work, we have a neat piece about yoga poses that alleviate allergies, as well as a “Problem Solved” column with 10 solutions, many of them natural, and all of them science-backed. A woman I work with told me the other day that her husband started putting a teaspoon of raw local honey in his coffee every morning and is happy to report this is his first symptoms-free allergy season in years. Of course, there’s research debunking the effectiveness of local honey for allergies, but if you do what I do for a living, you learn that there’s a study for and against pretty much everything under the sun.
So we turn to you. We know y’all are a crafty bunch, and we’d like to know what, other than neti pots, you’ve tried with some success. Or, if you don’t have allergies yourself (high five!), what have you heard works well? Share, share. Our friends need us!
Image of my favorite flower, which is conveniently allergies-friendly, via