Best Tools for Natural Hair

Happy Wednesday, Pals!

I have had natural hair for about 4 years now, and when I say natural, I mean that my hair hasn't been chemically straightened. It's been work to find tools and products that work for me and don't damage my hair, but I feel like I'm finally on the right track.

Shampoo and Conditioner

The first step is finding shampoo and conditioner that works for you. I have been using Shea Moisture products for about two years, and I love them! I was using them for curly styling, but I now straighten my hair using heat, so I wanted to switch to products that would give me more moisture. This conditioner really does add more moisture to my hair, making it easier to style once it dries. 

The shampoo is from Function of Beauty. They are a company that allows you to order custom shampoo and conditioner based on your hair type and needs. I have 4C extremely course and dry hair, so I need all of the moisture I can get. I've only been using this shampoo for a couple of months, but I love it so far! Plus, it's sulfate-free :-)

Kiss Ionic Ceramic Blow Dryer

Whenever I wanted to heat style my hair, I would always blow dry it before flat ironing or curling. However, with the blow dryer I used before, it would take me HOURS (seriously) to get my hair dry. My hair stylist told me to get a blow dryer with a comb attachment, and that was the best hair advice anyone has EVER given me. It cut my blow dry time is half, plus I can comb through my hair as I dry it, killing two birds with one stone! I got this off of Amazon for about $20. If you're a curly girl who likes to heat style, invest in one of these. You won't be sorry.

Croc Flat Iron

The next thing my stylist told me was to invest in a good, quality flat iron. I had previously been using a cheap one by Remington, and it was frying the ends of my hair and doing a poor job of straightening altogether. Then I received this Croc flat iron as a gift, and it has seriously made a night and day difference. It has four heat settings, and an automatic shut-off after an hour. The hand is ergonomically made, so it's comfortable to hold it your hand for long periods of time. Buying the right QUALITY heat tools makes all the difference, ladies. Flat Ironing Pro Tip: Only do two passes AT THE MOST over your hair to avoid serious heat damage. 

Natural Hair Styling Products

Finally, invest in good styling products. This Shea Moisture Intensive Hydration Complex is amazing. It has made my hair incredibly shiny, and has cut down on the amount of dandruff my scalp produces. Bonus, it smells like Heaven! I add a few drops over my scalp a couple of times week to help with moisture.

We all know we have to take care of our edges, so I just use an alcohol-free gel and a toothbrush to smooth out my edges after I'm done styling. I also make sure to use a wide-tooth comb when combing through my whole head. Brushes and small-tooth combs can add to breakage, so I only use a rat-tail comb when flat ironing. Any other time I comb through my hair, it's with a wide-tooth or a pick. 

There you have it, my favorite products and tools for styling my natural hair! What tools and products you guys use? I'd love to know!

LesLeigh J.

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Best of Health and Beauty 2016: Game Changers

I know we're more than halfway through January, but I wanted to share my favorite health and beauty products from 2016. These are products that I found in 2016 that completely changed the game for me, as in, I'm never...going...back. 

Best of Health & Beauty 2016

1. Drunk Elephant Skincare

Drunk Elephant Products

I talked about D.E. a little bit last week when I updated you guys on my skincare routine, but I just cannot rave enough about Drunk Elephant! Their skincare has completely changed the game for me. I don't think I'll ever use their entire product line exclusively, but I love my B-Hydra, my C-Firma, my T.L.C. Framboos, and my Marula Oil. I've also been using their SPF for a few months now, and I love it. You can mix it with the B-Hydra to thin it out, and it doesn't leave a white cast on my skin. Check them out, you guys! You won't be disappointed.

2. Glossier

Glossier Products

I love Glossier! I love how chic, simple and effective their products are. I use the Milky Jelly Cleanser (which I mentioned last week), the Stretch Concealer, and the Haloscope in Topaz. The stretch concealer is great for when you want a simple makeup look. You can just dab it on with your fingers and go! And the Haloscope is an amazing illuminator! If you're wanting a highlight that's going to blind passersby or can be seen from outer space, this ain't the product for you. BUT, if you are like me and you want a dewy (not sweaty) effect without having a streak of random color across your cheeks, then check out the Haloscopes. The Topaz shade is great for dark to deep skin tones, but they have two other colors that would be more suitable for light or medium skin tones. Fun Fact: Glossier was founded by Emily Weiss. Does anyone else remember seeing her briefly on The Hills?

3. Urban Decay & Hourglass Priming and Setting Products

Primers and Setting Spray

You guys...
You. Guys. If you have not tried any of the Urban Decay Setting Sprays, stop what you're doing RIGHT NOW and go out and buy some. They are the best in the game. And when combined with the Hourglass Mineral Veil're makeup ain't goin' nowhere! Seriously though, I love the B6 Spray because it's hydrating and it's full of vitamins. It's great for a simple, short term makeup look that doesn't call for a heavy duty primer. The Hourglass primer will hold your makeup on all day, and it will keep you matte, oily/combo girls. Finish it off with All Nighter Spray, and your makeup will stay on all day and all night. 

4. ColourPop Cosmetics

ColourPop Eyeshadows and Lipsticks

Y'all, I have seen the light, and the light is ColourPop eyeshadows and lip products. I'm just kidding, kind of. The eyeshadows are like butter, you guys. They are so pigmented, you'll want to cry when you swatch them. And the lip products...thank you, Lord Jesus, for the ColourPop lip products! I love them all; Ultra Satin, Ultra Matte, Ultra Glossy, Lippie Stix, Lippie Pencils. Give them all to me. And the best part is, everything is like $6 or less. It can't be beat. Now, are they completely chemical free? Of course not. But...give me all the eyeshadows and lipsticks and no one gets hurt.

5. Schmidt's Natural Deo

Schmidt's Natural Deodorant

I'll be honest, when I began the search for a natural deodorant early last year, I was skeptical that I would find one that worked. Much to my surprise, my search began and ended with Schmidt's. It was the first natural deo I tried because it was the least expensive one I could find with the best reviews. Well, I haven't looked back since! It can take some getting used to because it's not completely dry, and in the heat of summer it will never completely dry down. Pro Tip: set it with some baby powder and you'll be good to go!

So there you have it! These were all of the products that changed my life in 2016. What did you try out in 2016? What worked and what didn't? Let me know!

LesLeigh J.

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Skincare Update: 6 Months

I spent a good chunk of my online shopping time in 2016 browsing for nontoxic/chemical-free skincare products (observe here & here). You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find effective, nontoxic skincare products that don't break the bank! 

There is a market out there for them; just check places like Safe & Chic and Petit Vour. But the problem is that most are so expensive, that it really would be gamble to try them out. They might work, but if they don't, then you're out $65 on the low end, or maybe even up to $100 on the high end.

Even with the difficult search, I've finally found a regimen that works for me, and I'm really seeing an improvement in my skin.

First up is my cleanser. For over 6 months now, I've been using the Glossier Milky Jelly, and I love it! I have combo/oily skin and using gel products can really help with oil control, as gel products are much more moisturizing than cream products. One of my favorite YouTubers, Jackie Aina, actually mentions this in one of her videos on how to combat large pores.

Though the Milky Jelly isn't at all chemical-free, it has made a difference in the hydration of my skin because it doesn't strip my skin of that natural oils & moisture as I cleanse.

Next up is my hydrator. Check it, I said hydrator NOT moisturizer. I've been using the Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel after I cleanse, and it has made a world of difference as well. The reason I want to emphasize that this product is NOT a moisturizer is because, if you buy it expecting it to perform like a moisturizer, you will be disappointed. It is meant to penetrate deep into your skin and hydrate it from the inside out. A moisturizer is meant to be a moisturizing barrier between your skin and the dry environment. Moisturizers are meant trap moisture inside of your skin, you feel me?

I have the little baby trial size of the B-Hydra because it's not cheap, and I wanted to see that it worked for me before I dropped $50 on the full size. 

Lastly is my Green Apple Peel from Juice Beauty. I LOVE this peel! It is an AHA peel, meaning it exfoliates your skin and helps with cell turnover, which is great because mama's got some texture on her skin. The reason I use the Pregnancy one is because Vitamin A/Lactic Acid/Alpha-hydroxy Acid/Retinol can be problematic for women who are pregnant or nursing. 

Honorable mention: I've also been using the C-Firma Day Serum, the T.L.C. Night Serum, and the Marula Oil also from Drunk Elephant. I love how they're working for me, but they all cost a pretty penny as well, so we'll see if I jump on the full-size bandwagon or not. 

I am now on the hunt for a chemical-free gel cleanser, and the perfect moisturizer. Update will be given once I find things that work?

To all my oily/combo girls out there, what products work for you?

Happy Wednesday, Pals!


*This post contains affiliate links*

Browsing for Beauty: The Chemical-free Deodorant Search

Is it just me, or is anyone else particular about their pits?

I have been using your ol' fashioned gel and powder deodorants since I've been old enough to wear deodorant, and though gels don't irritate my underarms as much as powders, they both leave me feeling itchy most of the time, and especially after I shave.

So, I've been on the hunt for a natural alternative. If you haven't noticed by now, I'm really into making my health and beauty products, and really all "products" in my life, as natural as possible. As usual, I like to do my research and see which brands are the most popular (as in, they work) and have the least amount of chemicals.

The problem with regular deodorants found in drug stores or grocery stores, is that a great many of them are also antiperspirants. The main chemical used as an antiperspirant is aluminum, which is a neurotoxin. It works by blocking the pores to keep the sweat from exiting. Now, I don't want to be funky just as much as the next person, but I also don't want my pores blocked. Sweating is also one of the ways in which we rid our bodies of toxins, and if we can't sweat, where are the toxins going?

I narrowed it down to the following five brands by consulting this article from Elle, this article from InStyle, and this article from Organic Spa Magazine. These were the brands that either mentioned in more than one of these articles, or they had a good review.

So without further ado...

Fat and the Moon.jpg

1. Fat and the Moon

It's retails for $12, and is aluminum free. The only (potential) downside is that it does contain baking soda, which can be an irritant to some people. It also contains black pepper essential oil, which I'm not sure I'd enjoy smelling all day.

Lavilin 2.jpg

2. Lavilin 72-hour Deodorant

This one retails for $16 (steep!) and is not completely chemical free. It does, however, claim to last for 72 hours, which I'm not sure I believe, nor would I want to test that out. It appeals to me because it's a roll-on, and therefore easier to apply than a cream, but the $16 price tag makes me hesitant.


3. Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream

I've mentioned MMT products before, some I'm loved and some I haven't. Their deodorant cream has pretty positive reviews, though, and you can buy a trial size, which I love! The full size retails for $14, and they offer a baking soda-free option for those that get irritated by it.


4. Schmidt's Bergamot + Lime Deodorant

This one is the most attractive to me because of the price, which is about $9. It's the least expensive of the bunch and is really popular on the interwebs. Plus, it comes in stick form, in case the cream consistency freaks you out. It also has a few different scents to choose from. I think it's the one I want to try first.

Soapwalla 2.jpg

5. Soapwalla Deodorant Cream

This brand is also one of the highest rated on both it's website and the interwebs. It retails for $14, which is still kind of pricey for a deodorant, but I hear it lasts a long time. I would like to try this one first, but on the off chance that it doesn't work for me, I will then be out $14 plus shipping. If Schmidt's doesn't work for me though, Soapwalla is where it's at! 

I'll follow up with another post once I've tried one and found that it works. In the meantime, have any of you guys tried any of these brands? Did they work for you? If not, which natural deodorant brands have you tried?

Let me know!

Chemical-free Skincare Update

Happy Monday, everyone!

So remember this post, where I compared a few chemical-free skincare options and chose one to try? Well, I have bought, tried, and moved on to a different brand and regimen that so far, I am loving!

Originally, I tried MeowMeowTweet, and while I loved their body oil for my ever-growing pregnant belly, and their toner as a nice little face refresher (is that a term?), I did not care for the cleanser at all. The consistency was weird and it didn't leave my face feeling clean, which is something I need for my combination/oily skin. 

My skin is important to me, since it's the only skin I get for the rest of my life, and I desperately want to find something that works well for me and isn't riddled with chemicals. Hence, my new regimen...

I really liked Juice Beauty products, and how you can have them sent to you as often as you want from their website, and since they're also sold at Ulta, I figured there wouldn't be that much harm in trying them.

I've only been trying the Exfoliating Cleanser, and so far, I like it! My face actually feels clean after I use it, but it doesn't drain every ounce of moisture from my face.

I've also been using Simple's Micellar Water to remove my makeup before cleansing, and I like it as well! I was previously using a Mary-Kay makeup remover, and while it was effective, it's still full of chemicals that I don't want on my face, and especially around my eyes.

I'm hoping to find a moisturizer that I like pretty soon. Using oil, such as coconut or olive, doesn't work for me, so I'd like to find a cream or a gel moisturizer that's pretty chemical-free and isn't too heavy or expensive. The search just never ends, does it?

What skincare is everyone else using? Do you have a moisturizer you can suggest? I'd love to hear about it!

Catch you guys on Wednesday!

What's In My Make-up Bag?

Happy Monday, y'all!

After my last post about the lipsticks I'm craving, I decided to show what's already in my make-up bag. Now, as I've said before, I am not a beauty blogger (yet), and I'm also not rolling in Benjamins, so my make-up collection is pretty basic right now. Anyway, check it out!

These are the products I use on a daily/weekly basis. Finding products that work for me has been a process over the years (did anyone else start out with CoverGirl?), but I feel like I'm really finally honing in on the stuff that works the best for me and doesn't overwhelm my skin.

1. MAC Fix+, 2. HOL Au Naturale Lashes, 3. Tarte Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation
4. Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel, 5. Tarte Clay Pot Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner, 6. Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof 12-hour Concealer, 7. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, 8. NARS Blush in Seduction, 9. Benefit Browzings Brow Shaping Kit, 10. Mary Kay Lash Love Lengthening Mascara, 11. Stila Eyes Are the Window Shadow Palette in Spirit 

I'll probably do a post later on explaining why I use these particular products and how they work for me specifically, but for right now I just wanted to share the collection I'm building. It's small, but it's a work in progress!

Any other make-up lovers out there? What's in your make-up bag? Share in the comments below!