Follow Me!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ballin' on a Budget: The Hair Edition

Happy Monday lovelies!

I hope you have had a tremendous start to your week! Today I'm going to post about something that is near and dear to my heart: hair care on a budget. When you're on a hair journey, it's extremely easy to become a product junkie. I mean you want to try EVERYTHING you hear about...or read about...or everything that happens to catch your eye. Product junkie-ism wouldn't be so bad if you didn't have shampoos and conditioners that cost 30+ bucks a pop. If you're like me, paying $15 per bottle of conditioner (knowing good and hell well your hair soaks up conditioner like a sponge) every few weeks can add up quickly. Or you may be new to your journey and you're hesitant to shell out so much money for a product that you may or may not use (or like). Or, better yet, you may be a student with a limited budget but still want to take great care of your hair.

So what do you do? Can you have great hair without breaking the bank?

I say you can, you just have to know what products to look for/use. While my list is by no means complete, I have found that you can take great care of your hair with products that don't try and stick you for your paper.

For the sake of keeping this post as succinct as possible, my list is only going to cover the basics for now (Shampoo, Conditioner, Moisturizer, Styling Aids). I think budget friendly styling tools, relaxers, and all that jazz will come later.


Sulfate-free shampoo: Elasta QP Creme Conditioning shampoo

If you've been following this blog for awhile, you know that this shampoo is a staple of mine. Aside from being great for my hair, this shampoo doesn't break the bank. I've typically been able to find it at my local BSS and an 8oz bottle costs a little over $3 (gotta factor taxes in to it!) while a 32 oz bottle will set you back $8!!

Personally, I purchase the 32oz bottle since I can get more washes out of that bottle. One 32oz bottle lasts me at least 3 months.

Sulfate Shampoo: Silk Elements Mega Silk Neutralizing Shampoo

Yes. I know it's a neutralizing shampoo but this shampoo multitasks as a regular old sulfate shampoo as well. Let me tell you that it is a good shampoo. It left my hair feeling moisturized with having that icky stripped feel. A 16oz bottle costs between $4 and $6 (depends on if there is a sale) at Sally Beauty Supply.


Here is were you can break the bank if you're not careful. However there are some budget friendly, exceptionally awesome conditioners.

Light Protein DC: ORS Replenishing Pak

This is a favorite of mine. ORS Replenishing is just a perfect DC for my hair. It has the right balance of protein and moisture...and truth be told, I can go months using this as my sole DC. One pack will run you about $1.12 at Wal-Mart and depending on how your hair responds to conditioner, this may be all you need. However, I prefer to use the larger 33.8oz bottle of this product. It sets me back $15 but I get more uses out of it. You can also get a 12oz bottle for $6-$7. Whichever size you choose, it is a great DC for the price!

Moisturizing DC: ORS Hair Repair Nourishing Conditioner.

I have done a review on this condish that you can see here. If you are in need of a pure moisturizing DC, this is the one to go to! In true ORS fashion, this product is only available in pack form and costs $1.12 at Wal-Mart.

Co-Wash Conditioners: Your call

So I say your call because co-wash conditioners are supposed to be the cheap conditioners. This includes Suave, Aussie, Herbal Essences, Tresseme, VO5, etc. So ultimately, it depends on what you are willing to pay for a conditioner that you will be using (and therefore, replacing), frequently. Some of you may not mind spending $5 for cowash conditioner....some of yall might.

Suave is the biggest budget friendly co-wash with prices ranging anywhere from .99 to $2. So if you co-wash frequently, this line may be the best way to go.

My personal favorite is Herbal Essences Hello Hydration. A 23oz bottle costs $5 at Walmart but it tends to last me a while since I primarily co-wash in the summer. Another option if you co-wash a lot is the 29oz bottle of Aussie Moist. It costs anywhere between $5-$6 (depending on your location) but may be a good deal since you are able to get more washes out of it.

Moisturizer: Elasta QP Mango Butter

Another gem from the Elasta QP line. I used this at the start of the my journey but moved on to different moisturizers as I progressed. It's very thick and is more suitable for colder months (in my opinion) but a solid product nonetheless. 8oz of product will set you back $4. Not bad!

Moisturizer: Organic Root Stimulator Carrot Oil

Love love LOVE this product. It is the perfectly light moisturizer for the summer (and has no petroleum/mineral oil!! I find that it lasts for a long time however, prices vary for 6oz of product. Some places have it for $5 while others have it for $7 or $8. It really depends on where you purchase it.

Gel: Ecostyler Olive Oil Gel

Sometimes, your edges need slicking down and that's where Ecostyler gel comes in. It gives great hold without being too hard or flaky. At my BSS, 8oz of gel is only $1.49 while a larger tub cost little more than that (between $2 and $3).

Also, don't forget you can supplement your hair stash with items from your kitchen? Have some honey? Add it to your DC for an extra moisture boost! Cook with extra virgin olive oil? Use it as a pre-poo or add to your DC. Eggs can be used as a protein treatment for your hair (Ok...Ive never tried it but I have friends who have...and they got positive results). These items can give you more bang for your buck hair wise.

If you must have salon quality items, I suggest going to your local Ulta, and determining when they have liter sales. You may be able to stretch your dollars that way as well.

ETA: I also wanted to add, if you must try the more pricey lines (Qhemet Biologics, Miss Jessie's, Bee Mine, etc.), try samples first! Some sites have free samples while others have a small fee (e.g.--$5.00 for 2 oz of product), it really just depends. However, by trying samples you can determine how a product works for your hair, how long it lasts, etc without wasting a lot of money. That way, if the product is a dud, you're only out a few bucks.

What budget friendly items/lines would you add to this list? I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Back To Half Wigs and My Review of Outre Yasmine

Happy Saturday lovelies! I am so glad the weekend is finally here!

Anyway, last week I realized something. I am completely and utterly bored with my hair. I just wasn't having fun with it. Then it also hit me that I had been bunning consistently since March. No wonder I was bored. Doing the same thing for 4 months straight can drive anyone crazy.

So...I decided to half wig it up again. That way I can spice up my (hair) life for awhile. The first half wig I'm going to wear is Outre Yasmine. I purchased this half wig months ago (December anyone else noticing that I have had things that I could have reviewed months ago lol) and I'm just now getting around to wearing it. I paid around $20 for it at a local beauty supply store in VA but this wig can be purchased at

Outre Yasmine is a synthetic half wig but I found the texture to be very soft and it is true to color ( I purchased Yasmine in 1B and it was a true 1B...not brown) The wig contains 2 combs (one in the front and one in the back) and it has a perfect fit (not too tight). In terms of length, Yasmine is long--it is BSL-ish. The style of the wig is very wavy. In fact, when I pulled Yasmine out of the package, I found that the waves are deeply set. I wasn't a fan of that (it looked too fake to me), so I brushed the wig out a bit with my wig brush to make it look a little more natural.

As par for the course with half wigs, I left a little bit of my own hair out to blend. I found that Yasmine is a very easy wig to work with. All I did was bump the ends of my leave out a bit and proceeded to blend my hair with the wig. In terms of ease of blending, this ranks up there with Outre Tammy and I would recommend this wig to first time half wig wearers.

My only gripe with Outre Yasmine is that it sheds A LOT. I know that some shedding is to be expected but it just seems like Yasmine sheds more than it should. Also, if you like big, diva hair Yasmine is not for you. Yasmine isn't as voluminous as most of the half wigs I own.

Nevertheless, Yasmine is a solid half wig and is a great style for the summer. Check out me wearing Yasmine!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

First Impressions: Qhemet Biologics Olive and Honey Hydrating Balm

Technically, this isn't a first impression sort of review. I have had Qhemet Biologics Olive and Honey Hydrating Balm since December 2011 and have been using it quite regularly. For some reason, I'm just now getting to review it.

Well better late than never, right? Let's get to the review!

Price: $16.00+ tax for 8 oz (I picked this up at Freestyle Beauty Supply in Alexandria, VA but it can be ordered online at Sage Naturalceuticals)

Ingredients: Pure grapeseed oil, pure olive oil, vegetable glycerin, vegetable emulsifier, pure wildflower honey, MSM, naturally scented

Consistency/Scent: Being that honey is an ingredient in this product, the product itself is thick and viscous. There wasn't an overpowering scent in the product that I could detect. There is a faint citrus-y/lemony scent but it's not like someone squeezed an orange into the jar

Their Claims (per the Qhemet Biologics website):

"Our pure and natural hydrating balm leaves dense, coarse and dry hair touchably soft, moist and supple."

Does not contain mineral oil, lanolin, proteins, silicones, artificial fragrances, dyes or parabens.

Has a natural, light citrus scent.

I gotta admit when I first purchased this product, I saw the word 'hydrating' and immediately thought of moisture and thought it would be a good substitute for Qhemet Biologics AOHC (see my review here). So the first way I tried to use this product was as a moisturizer. I mean, honey is a humectant right? Plus, the company claims the product is moisturizing. Well using the product as a straight out of the jar moisturizer was a complete and utter FAIL on damp,dry hair, straight hair, and not so straight hair! My had had never felt so dry! Honestly, it turned me off to the product for about a month or two.

Then I did some research and came back to it.

I found that a few people use the hydrating balm as more of a sealant than a stand alone moisturizer. So, I decided to apply Qhemet Biologics AOHC to damp hair and then apply the Olive and Honey Hydrating Balm. To my surprise, this combination leaves my hair soft and moisturized. I find that the addition of the balm allows my hair to stay moisturized until my next wash day. So,the olive and honey hydrating balm is a solid product when used in conjunction with another moisturizing product.

Also, just a general fyi, because this product is so thick you really want to take care not to use a lot of it. I think it would be easy to wind up with weighed down, sticky hair if you do. Finer haired ladies may want to skip this product as well since it can be pretty heavy.

Bottom Line: I was rather underwhelmed with the product's performance as a stand alone moisturizer and feel that it doesn't live up to its claim. Qhemet Biologics Olive and Honey Hydrating Balm is a good product in combination with a great moisturizer (whatever your moisturizer of choice may be)--making it an excellent sealant. I think it is a nice product to have but if you have a sealant that works for you, there really isn't a need to break your neck to purchase it. All and all, it's a solid product for me but isn't staple worthy.

**Please forgive the photo quality. I'm making do with the cameras I have currently**

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Chat: Paranoia...Everybody's Coming to 'Trim' Me.

Yes, we all know that trimming is good for you hair. I mean at some point you have to do it right? What good is long hair with raggedy ends?

Yeah. That's all well and good but....

I'm finding that the longer that I have been on this DIY hair care kick, the more trims terrify me. I can't tell you how many times I've logged onto LHCF and some poor soul is crying her eyes out because some stylist has hacked off all their progress. I'm not going to lie, I would kill someone dead if they thought it wise to 'trim' my progress to SL.

Trick, you weren't in the bathroom washing and DCing my hair every week (for 3 years!).

Anyway, a two weeks ago, I had gotten my hair straightened and my stylist wanted to trim my hair. Lawd, I almost fell out. I had to stress to her not to cut too much off. She said she wouldn't.

I watched her like a hawk. My ears suddenly became bionic as I began listening for the sound of too much hair being chopped off (yall know that sound). For the minute and a half it took her to trim my hair, I did not freaking breathe.

I wasn't always like this. I swear I wasn't. Shoot, I was the girl that cut her hair every 2 years just because. This hair journey is making me paranoid yall...and I can't say that it's a problem.

What are your thoughts about trimming? Does other people trimming your hair make you nervous (or makes you itch? or gives you the shakes?)

Been A Long Time.....

...I shouldn't have left you without a dope beat to step to. Step to. Step to. Step to..

How many of yall caught that song reference? Ha ha.

After well over a month of not posting, I am back lovelies! I didn't intend to stay gone for so long but between school and the general lack of give damn I had a bout my hair.....there really wasn't much for me to post. Unless you guys would have liked to hear about how I threw my hair into a lazy bun again, I think it was best for me to stay away. Anyway, this post is just to update you guys on some things that have happened during my hiatus.

---The bun challenge ended on the 1st day of summer (back in June). In terms of retention, I feel like my hair retained growth a little bit (meaning: I was more MBL instead of a little MBL) BUT between getting my hair blown out TWICE and getting a trim...yall wouldn't be able to see much of a difference. However, when I straighten my hair again or when I relax again (whichever comes first), I promise, promise, PROMISE I will thrown in the obligatory length check for you guys.

--- A few months back I posted about a Dominican salon here in Birmingham as referenced in this post. An experience happened to me there where I feel that I would be remiss if I did not share the experience with you guys. I like to give my readers as much info as I possibly can so that way, they can make their own decisions.


One weekend, I was feeling incredibly lazy and decided to get my hair blown out. So, I carried myself to the Dominican Salon in Homewood. This visit started routinely enough: got my hair washed, conditioned, and prepped for the blow out. There was quite a wait but I went to the salon at the height of the day so that was expected. When it was finally my turn for the blowout, I was assigned to an older woman (named Maria, I think. She is the mother of the owner) whose station was dead center. This woman, gets to work blowing out my hair. Wouldn't you know it, the woman had that hot ass blowdryer thisclose to my damn scalp! Of course it was unbelievable pain and I was flinching and crying out in pain, telling this woman not to put the blow dryer so close to my scalp. All she replied with was "Mami, it's gonna be afro if I don't. Sorry" So naturally my ass kept flinching and crying out in pain (which the stylist to my left and the another worker in the salon noted). One of the workers tried to tell chick that i'm obviously in pain. So this chick tells me to relax and close my eyes. I tell her (via a translator) that it doesn't matter if I close my eyes, if she keeps getting to close to my scalp, it will still hurt. I tried to relax but since I didn't close my eyes, chick lost her ish, slammed the blow dryer down, walked away and proceeded to talk about me in Spanish (which I understood every word. Just because I can't formulate a response in Spanish doesn't mean I don't understand). So me, the stylist to my left, and the worker that translated for me stood there looking pretty dumbfounded. I was like 'Really? Because I won't close my eyes?" I could not believe it. I was floored. I have never in all my days been witness to such unprofessionalism. I vowed never to go back. If I'm going to pay $50 for a blowout, I'm going to a salon where they are professional, speak English, and don't talk about their clients in another language (I actually have a review of a salon that I need to post).

However, if you are in the Birmingham area and still want to go to the Dominican salon in Homewood, request Josefina (sp?). That was the stylist that I had during the visit in my review of the salon. Do not, do not, DO NOT get your hair blown out by Maria (the older chick who wears glasses and occupies the center station), especially if you are natural or stretching. She will not do right by your hair. In fact, during my first visit, one client (who was natural) told me not to let that chick touch my hair because she wouldn't do right by it. I should have listened but hindsight is 20/20.

Also, just for future reference, if anyone who is blowing out your hair has to put a hot ass blowdryer that close to your scalp so 'it won't be an Afro,' they don't know what the eff they are doing. Politely get up in run from their chair.

Whooooo...I'm getting mad just thinking about that situation.

Anyway lovelies, I'm back and ready to post!

What has been new with you?