Showing posts with label afro hair. Show all posts
Showing posts with label afro hair. Show all posts

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Hair | Combat Dry Winter Strands


The past month has been rough on my curls. I think back-to-back 'Wash & Go’s’, neglecting my haircare habits coupled with the crisp winter air are the main culprits. I know how to keep my hair in good condition in cold weather but I haven’t lately. At all. In truth I’ve been lazy since I completed my transition to natural in 2016. I rarely use heat and I don’t use chemicals so I was lulled into a false sense of security. How could I have damaged hair? I don’t do anything to it - but that’s precisely the problem. My laziness made me forget the impact a little TLC can do to winter-beaten strands.

What I've noticed is that I was far better at caring for my relaxed hair and in looking back I've realised there's a few areas I’ve slipped up, especially during these colder months. There’s 5 ways I’ll be taking steps to prevent chronically dry strands for the rest of the winter and if your hair is suffering too, give the following a try.


Have a winter routine
Having set steps on how and when to care for hair and switching it up depending on the season will help eliminate dryness. I was so regimented with my routine when I had relaxed hair and during winter protective styles were key, I cleansed once a week with shampoo and never without following with a masque or treatment to keep my hair hydrated, moisturised daily, limited direct heat to no more than once a month to prevent drying my hair out further and spaced out relaxer services for several months. It sounds like a lot but once you have a routine in place it becomes like second-nature. Since becoming natural I gradually lost consistency with what I used or did to my hair and I stopped adjusting for the season but I've now created a new routine for my curly hair which includes most of the below points (I'll share the full details in another post).

Get that daily hydration
I’m just not talking about drinking enough water everyday (which I'm definitely trying to do more of). There’s several ways to inject moisture back into dry hair during the colder months but my main focus has been using a daily moisturiser. This is where I’ve slacked most but being consistent with adding a little moisture each day makes a huge difference by the end of the week during the winter. In general I like to keep any daily moisturising light as my hair gets build up easily so I tend to use water-based sprays and milks. If your hair needs less just use a light oil whilst the hair is damp to seal in moisture and if your hair tends to need more layer products or apply thicker, buttery moisturisers which are longer-lasting on very dry porous hair.


Treatments and masques
When it comes to wash day I’m usually pretty good with sticking to only using gentle moisturising shampoo and conditioning formulas which my hair love. However, what I haven’t been doing as regularly are pre shampoo treatments and intensive conditioning masques after shampooing to counteract the impact of the cold - but these can make the biggest difference. You can do both for maximum moisture or use one or the other depending on your needs. Applying treatments before shampooing tends to work better for fine hair which can get build up easily and masques after shampooing can be more effective on porous or thicker hair but it really depends on what products are being used. I like to use lighter natural oils as a pre shampoo treatment and I’ll mix my favourites together and warm them up - I love Jojoba, Coconut and Avocado. I then saturate my hair in the oils and let it sit for at least 15 minutes or I'll leave it in overnight and wash out the next day to save time in the morning. This means when I come to shampoo my hair feels like butter and detangles like a dream (no, really). It makes my wash day routine a breeze and if I finish off with a hydrating mask it’s the ultimate for a happy hydrated fro.

Try protective styling
Braids, twists, weaves, wigs, buns - whatever will keep the hair tucked away from the elements will mean it’s less affected by the cold weather and it’ll stay moisturised for longer. I wore a lot of protective styles whilst I was relaxed and when I first became natural and looking back has made me want to try more. I recently installed crochet faux locs for the first time myself just for fun as I wasn’t sure whether I’d like them on me. The process was much easier than I thought, especially as I'm not the best when it comes to styling, but I'd love to try it again. As I often need my hair curly for photoshoots and events it's been hard to protective style as much as I would like which is why the Wash & Go’s have increased. Combine that with leaving the house with wet hair in freezing cold weather and of course my hair was going to suffer. It’s screaming at me to tuck it away it so for the rest of the winter I’ll experimenting with more protective styles as much as I can.

Trim away damage
Knowing how often to trim really depends on hair texture, condition and how it's styled. My hair is fine (but looks thick as the strands are densely packed) and it can knot and split very easily. Dryness worsens this problem so my ends can become more damaged during winter. When ends are split and damaged the only (permanent) solution is a trim and the more regular the better. Every 6-8 weeks is suggested for damaged hair but as hair becomes stronger the time between trims could be as long as 2-4 months. I was obsessed with trimming or 'dusting' (very small trims) when my hair was fully relaxed a few years ago. When the hair is straight it's so much more obvious if your ends are split, thinning or damaged so I would snip at these every month. I didn't take off much hair but enough to keep my ends neat. With curly hair it can look in good condition when it's not and curls are also more prone to splits so you really have to pay close attention to minimise damage. I can usually tell when my hair is off - the ends get super dry and can be difficult to style which I've seen a lot this winter so I got a trim this week. I definitely left it longer than I should have as my last before that was in November. My hair feels so much better already and until my hair is in better condition, I think trims every two months are needed.

Sticking to the above has already started having an impact on my strands so I'm hoping constant dryness will be a thing of the past soon!


How do you care for your hair during the winter season? 

Christine Stewart x

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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Natural Hair Update [Video]



A long overdue hair update / where I've been video is now up on my YouTube channel. I felt like an explanation was needed on the year long hiatus and why I moved away from posting specifically about my hair during the past year. 

There's more videos to come so as ever, if you have any requests let me know

The video


Christine Stewart x

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

5 curl defining products which actually work


I'm constantly asked "What hair products do you use?" and any curly will know that finding the 'perfect' products takes a lot of trial and error. Achieving defined curls in particular was something I used to struggle with and I've tried so many gels, creams and mousses in the past which don't work well for my hair at all that I thought I'd share what does.


All have pros and cons but these are the products which always deliver for my hair which is mostly closest to 3c in texture (see Naturally Curly chart). How I prep and care for my hair for definition is key and I've detailed my full process in post but the most essential part is having clean, wet hair first. I've found that gel-based stylers and creams are most effective for me and I don't tend to use any of these products together as I've found they work enough on their own to provide the kind of hold I'm looking for. The definition from each product usually lasts for a couple of days before it wears off and I can usually get away with spritzing my hair with a light moisturiser or water to revive the product between washes.


The Gels 
I currently rely on the  (£14.99/227g) most. It was originally gifted to me by the brand last year and I've been buying it on and off since as it's not always easy to get hold of and I've confused it with the As I Am Coil Defining Jelly so many times which performs entirely differently. The Curling Jelly is a gel-like liquid texture containing Aloe Vera, Beetroot extract and Vitamin E. You don't need a lot of it for definition as the hair can look a little crispy if you use too much. My hair needs to be well moisturised with a leave-in before applying but my curls always look beautifully defined with this. I just rake in small amounts in sections and let air dry.

I also love the (£9.50/340g)* which contains Aloe Vera, Sunflower Oil, Marshmallow Root and Coconut Oil. It's much thicker than the As I Am Curling Jelly but I can go heavier on application without the hair looking coated and the hold is natural-looking. I've found the Design Essentials Gelée works best with other Design Essentials products (posted here) as I've found it can go a bit flaky or leave a residue when I've used it with some of the other leave-ins I have - a good way of testing out whether products will work together in your hair is to rub a little of each of them together in your palms before applying.

One of my other favourite gel-like products is the (£10.99/326ml). It's the easiest product for me to get hold of as it's available from Superdrug or Boots, tends to be on special offer a lot and the product lasts me a long time too. You only really need a small amount for hold as too much can also make the hair sticky. Like the other products it contains Aloe Vera (I'm starting to sense a pattern) and I'm convinced the Agave Nectar inside (a humectant which provides hold) makes this product so good at giving my hair definition without drying it out.

The Creams 
I love to use creams too as I've found they provide a more hydrating, natural hold than gels in general. The two cream products I use most are the (£21.50/200ml)* and the (£24/250ml). The Aveda curl enhancer contains Aloe Vera and Marshmallow Root like the Design Essentials Gelée but the texture is quite runny - it feels and looks like a light conditioner. The Bb Curl Creme is much thicker and needs to be smoothed and worked into my low porosity hair for definition and it contains Babassu Seed Oil, Brazil Nut Seed Oil and Beeswax. Both also contain 'cones' which can build up on the hair if overused and not shampooed out thoroughly so I tend to apply small amounts of either of these products on wet hair after conditioning. I've found that I mostly use these when travelling as, unlike the gels, they don't require a leave-in to be applied beforehand. 


These are my favourite products to use but this is not an exhaustive list. I've always made a point of trying as much as I can to find what works best and with curly hair experimentation is key. If you're struggling with styling try the products you have in a different way or add something new. It definitely took me a while to figure out my hair so don't be discouraged if you haven't figured out yours yet.

*samples - read my disclaimer here.

Christine Stewart x

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Monday, 24 July 2017

Hair | Braid maintenance


Braids are a great protective style and every Summer the humidity has me itching to try them again. I had my hair cornrowed at Salon* recently (see my last style here) and it's been good to give my natural hair a break from daily styling. The fro is back now, but my hair feels so much better after being tucked away for a couple of weeks. I don't change my routine massively but I've outlined a few ways I care for my hair whilst it's braided up below.


Keep styling light
Hair that's braided doesn't tend to need as much moisture as when it's left exposed to the elements. When using products I find it's best not to oversaturate the hair or use heavy products as this only results in build-up. A little of a light moisturiser spritzed over the hair daily is usually all that's needed to give the hair moisture - look for milky rather than creamy products so it can be absorbed easily by the hair. I've been using  (£9.00/236.5ml) * or (£26/100ml)*. Both make my hair feel refreshed and I only need to spray a little over my braids. You can also just dilute your usual moisturiser or conditioner by adding a little water to it in a separate spray bottle. The idea is to give your hair a boost without overdoing it. I also like to apply a little of the (£6.99/120ml) with a toothbrush to smooth my baby hairs/edges but again I don't overdo it to prevent build-up.

Protect 
Cotton sheets tend to soak up moisture and can cause friction on the hair as you move about whilst you sleep. To keep braids as smooth as possible whilst I sleep I'll protect them with a satin or silk scarf or pillowcase as these materials are gentle on the hair. I purchased most of my satin pillowcases from H&M but you can pick them up in a few places and scarves/headwraps can be bought from most Afro/Caribbean haircare stores.

Avoid scratching
Sometimes that itch creeps in and getting my hands up in my scalp for a good scratch is so tempting but it will cause braids to loosen and could damage your scalp. Instead gently pat or try applying a little of a natural oil or an oil mix into your scalp for relief. I like to massage in a little of the  (£7.60/120ml) or  (£21.50/30ml)* following moisturising.

Dry Shampoo
As a curly I've been engineered to be wary of both of these words so I avoided using dry shampoo on my curls for a long time. The right dry shampoo can refresh when you can't wash - look for one that's moisturising and doesn't leave residue. I've been using (£4.49/200ml)*. I spray a small amount throughout my roots and gently massage in. It smells so good and gives a quick refresh.

Deep cleanse
Cleansing with water too frequently can make the style loosen quicker - especially if your hair had to be blown out or straightened to braid in the first place. I'd much rather be comfortable and have a clean scalp so I'll remove any buildup after a few days but it's up to you how often you cleanse. I don't use any special shampoos or conditioners for my braids, only what I use normally - but I dilute everything I use with water in a separate spray bottle before applying as this makes it easier to remove from the braids. I tend to only concentrate on my scalp so this is the only area I'll get wet and then I use a damp cloth to wipe away any residue / build-up on the length of the braids.

*samples and complimentary hairstyle - read my disclaimer .

How have you been styling your hair?

Christine Stewart x

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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Thoughts on one year natural


Last month marked one year of me being fully natural. In the past I've put together 'hair updates' to mark any differences or goals reached but what I've noticed is my hair hasn't dramatically changed in the past year. What has changed though is me - how I feel about myself and my attitude - and having natural hair has been a huge part of that.


The change I've seen in myself as you'd expect didn't happen overnight. When I initially chopped off the last of my chemically treated hair back in May 2016 my feelings about my natural hair were mixed. I'd never been totally satisfied with my hair throughout my life and as I've always adored curls on others I thought I'd love my natural hair. In reality I felt ugly initially and I worried whether people would accept the natural me.

With big hair you instantly stick out and being an introvert has always made me want to blend in. My instinct was to hide my hair - which I've done as both relaxed and natural. I'd take select photos of my hair to post online mostly as I felt it was a safe space occupied by fellow curlistas where I could be my natural self. In person however I mostly tucked away my bushy curls from friends, family and my boyfriend by always wearing it up in a neat bun.

As the months went by blogging and working with brands which celebrate individuality and diversity (particularly freelancing with ASOS) encouraged me to wear my hair out more in person. I've found my boyfriend, close friends and family to be nothing but supportive about my natural hair too which made me wonder what I was so worried about. Complete strangers also regularly stop me in the street and on public transport to compliment me on my curls. I'm still stunned every time it happens. I never, ever expected that sort of reaction and I realised most of my anxieties and insecurities were in my head.

The takeaway? I view my negative feelings about my hair as an expansion of how I'd felt about myself for years. I've always been my worst critic and it was truly stifling. I knew I couldn't continue that way and I needed to accept myself as I was (frizz and all). I've stopped pursuing perfection - it's not attainable anyway and my flaws don't need fixing - and this belief has helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin however I choose to wear my hair.


It feels bizarre saying it but the Coco Chanel quote "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life" has never rung truer for me than it has in the past year. Cutting off the last of my relaxed hair has led to me gaining so much more than a new a hairstyle. It forced me to accept and love things I previously didn't like about myself. It's given me a new lease of life.


I hope you all know what beautiful women (or men) you are already but just in case you feel like I once did know that you are enough as you are. 


Christine Stewart x

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Monday, 27 February 2017

TreasureTress | February 2017


I'm no stranger to beauty boxes though I haven't tried anything specifically curated for naturally curly and kinky before. Cue TreasureTress, a UK-based monthly subscription box, unique in that they provide 3 different boxes each month for young children, teens and adults (Mini Me, Tween and Qween) all priced at £20 + P&P.* You simply pick a box according to your age and the idea is that both mothers and daughters can try out a range of new hair products tailored towards their hair. 


I received this month's Qween box which contains Palmer's products mostly from the Manuka Flower Honey range which I've not tried before. Inside was the Manuka Flower Honey Strengthening Shampoo (£6.99/350ml), Manuka Flower Honey Nourishing Conditioner (£6.99/350ml), Manuka Flower Honey Protein Pack Deep Conditioner x2 (£2.99/60g), Manuka Flower Honey Leave-In Spray (£5.99/250ml), Manuka Flower Honey Leave-In Cream (£6.99/190ml), the Olive Oil Conditioning Spray Oil (£4.69/150ml) and a useful card containing information about the products and a few tips.

With all beauty boxes the main selling point is that you can try something new for a snip of the usual RRP and you do get quite a lot of products in this box. This is really ideal for those who haven't quite found the right products for their hair yet. The subscription cost is worth it providing you like the products inside and where most beauty boxes fall down is that you don't actually know what's in the box until it arrives. Currently you need to have started your TreasureTress subscription before the 5th of each month to receive that month's box and there's no hints about what might be inside. I think it's quite a lot of products to receive each month too but it is handy to have full size products so you can really get an idea on whether you like them. The subscription can be cancelled at any time too and there is the option to skip the next month when you open an account.


I've had these products for almost two weeks but I usually like to spend a couple of months using hair products to really get a feel for them so I won't be reviewing these in detail here. As you can guess from the name, the Manuka Flower Honey products all contain Manuka Flower Honey as well as Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter and Amla Oil. The products are also formulated without sulfates, parabens, phthalates and dyes and are stated to be for all natural hair textures. The products are scented, and whilst I don't love the scent, thankfully it isn't too overpowering. 

So far the standouts at the moment are the Nourishing Conditioner and the Leave-In Conditioner Spray. Both leave my curls feeling really soft and hydrated and I'd buy the conditioner to use as co-wash. The Leave-In Conditioning Cream I had less success with. It's really thick and, whilst I followed the instructions which suggest applying to clean dry hair, my hair didn't really absorb the product - it just kind of sat on top and made it feel a little sticky. I tried it again the next day but this time with my hair still wet first and the product seemed to work better but I have other hair creams which I'd reach for over this. I haven't yet tried the Protein Packs or Shampoo. The Olive Oil Spray works great for added shine but I don't tend to use these types of products often when styling as I only really use oils or oil-based products when I'm conditioning.

Overall this month's Treasure Tress box was a great introduction to Palmer's haircare products and as someone who's tried a lot of products before it was great to experiment with a brand I'm not familiar with already. I'll continue to use the products to see how they work for me over the next couple of months.

If you're interested in subscribing check out the TreasureTress website

*sample - read my disclaimer here.


Have you tried TreasureTress?

Christine Stewart x

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Monday, 20 February 2017

3Thirty Salon [Revisit]



I've been itching to get my hair cut again so went back to 3Thirty Salon on Old Street, Shoreditch this week. I first reviewed the salon back in June (see ) and I really loved my haircut as it gave my hair so much shape.

Since my last visit the salon has had a revamp. The decor still has a modern yet French baroque inspired feel but there's now a coffee and cake bar within the salon. They do more than just coffee though (for the hot chocolate and tea obsessives like me) and there's also a hot desk area which freelancers can work from.


I met with Salon owner Tiff-J again and explained I wanted a similar shape to before which had slightly grown out and I needed some sort of style to the shorter front pieces of my hair which I usually don't know what to do with when styling. She suggested a moisture-packed treatment before a small trim and she would blend the pieces at the front with my layers to create a slight fringe.*

Similar to my last visit Tiff started by cleansing my hair with  and to condition she applied a mix of and L'Oreal Fiberceutic. My hair was then detangled before Tiff trimmed the ends and brought back the shape. She then re-rinsed my hair and styled and diffused my curls with  applied.

I absolutely love the cut and like before I feel like it's made such a difference. My hair has grown a lot since my last cut and I think the extra weight was making certain areas look quite flat so it's like it's had some life injected back into it.

As I've had two really good experiences at 3Thirty I will definitely be returning when I need another haircut. Whilst they're most known for styling afro hair, they also have expertise working with European and Asian hair. If you're interested there's more details on their services on their website .


*complementary treatment received - read my disclaimer here.

Do you go to a salon?


Christine Stewart x

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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Andre Walker Hair Launch


Last month Andre Walker, the man behind Oprah's locks, launched his haircare line in the UK. As I've already tried and love the Andre Walker Hair TKO Ultimate Moisture Conditioner (reviewed briefly here) I've been keen to get to know the rest of the range which is pretty streamlined. The Andre Walker Hair line contains simply a shampoo, a deep conditioner, a hair oil and a leave-in each for curly, kinky and straight-styled hair which all retail from £10.99 each*. When it comes to styling Andre's products are designed to be used alone (with a philosophy of no more 'cocktailing').


Prior to the launch event I was styled by Andre himself, starting with a thorough cleanse with the Ultimate Moisture Sulfate Free Shampoo and conditioning with the TKO Ultimate Moisture Conditioner. The conditioner was rinsed completely from my hair and Andre applied the Beautiful Kinks Styling Crème Gelee and a little of the Quench-Essential Oil. Having my hair styled by Andre was absolute pleasure. He was so welcoming and he gave me lots of tips and tricks on styling and caring for my hair. He also advised me that my hair was more on the kinky side and suggested it was type 4 of his hair typing system (see his hair typing chart ).

(left to right) Ebony modelling styled Type 3 hair, Kiyarni modelling straight styled hair, Andre Walker and me. 
Photos provided by Glen Nuñez, 

I've tried to stick to just using this line for the past few weeks to get an idea on how the products work for me so far. I still absolutely love the TKO Ultimate Moisture Conditioner (£15.99) and I'm now on my second tub. It contains Aloe Vera, Keratin and oils such as argan, avocado and mongongo. This Conditioner does also contain dimethicone but I've never really had an issue with 'cones' so this is definitely at the top of my list to purchase when it's finished. I have so many shampoos on hand that the Ultimate Moisture Sulfate Free Shampoo (£10.99) comes up against some pretty stiff competition. It is gentle but I have far gentler shampoos which cleanse just as well.


With styling I found that the Beautiful Curls Styling Crème (£15.99) works well for me, despite it being designed for type 2 and type 3 hair. It's a smooth consistency that's just so light it moisturises without weighing down my low porosity hair. Beautiful Kinks Styling Crème Gelee (£15.99), which is designed for type 4 hair, is much creamier and thicker in consistency and it gives my curls a lot more hold than Beautiful Curls. Both products are conditioning but are very different in terms of the main ingredients. Beautiful Curls has Aloe Vera, Ginger, Sea Kelp and Acai Fruit Extract whilst Beautiful Kinks contains Shea Butter, Avocado oil, and Jojoba oil. The products are designed to be used alone depending on your curl type, which I've tried, but I actually prefer using them together. I concentrate Beautiful Curls on the looser areas of my hair at the bottom and Beautiful Kinks towards my crown and edges where my curls are much tighter. I have a habit of layering product and I'd say that hasn't really changed though if I had to I could just use Beautiful Kinks by itself. Each time I've styled my hair with these products my hair has been staying moisturised and defined for at least 2 days before I need to rewet my hair and add a little more product.


I've not used a lot of the Quench-Essential Oil (£15.99) but it looks and feels very similar to a serum with cyclomethicone and dimethicone as the main ingredients. It also contains Mongongo and Argain oil and my hair feels smooth and less frizzy when I use this. I very rarely use heat anymore so I haven't tested out the Get It Straight Styling Crème (£15.99) yet but I scanned the ingredients on the bottle (twice) and they are listed exactly the same as the Beautiful Curls product. The same is true of the ingredients listed individually on the brand's website. It could be a misprint, but both products look and smell the same. The only physical difference from what I can tell so far is the packaging. I'll be using both together soon to see if there really is a difference.

Overall I love the simplicity of this line as I am trying to generally use less on my hair but I haven't quite given up 'cocktailing' yet.

Andre Walker Hair products are currently only available through  in the UK and from the brand's website or Target in the US. 

*samples - read my disclaimer .

Have you tried Andre Walker Hair products?

Christine Stewart x

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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Review | Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Conditioners


I've always had such good success with the Shea Moisture conditioners I've tried so I've been itching to get my hands on the Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil line. I couldn't find it in a lot of the shops I usually buy Shea Moisture products from but it is stocked in a few places online. I picked up the Intense Hydration Conditioner and Masque from  back in September and I'm in love.


There's only 4 products available in the Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil line - a shampoo, conditioner, masque and a treatment oil. I have so many shampoos and oils on hand currently I only really needed the conditioners. As you can probably guess from the name the star ingredients in this line are Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil which both help keep the hair hydrated. Mafura Oil has long been used to nourish the skin and hair in Africa but I haven't seen it used in many hair products available here. Other ingredients include Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, African Rock Fig, Baobab Oil and Rice Protein. Like a lot of the Shea Moisture line these conditioners are also formulated without sulphates, parabens and mineral oil. With such an impressive ingredients list it was hard not to have high hopes for these products.

Both of these conditioners really deliver on injecting moisture into dry strands and I've had consistent results with each use. My hair is prone to (a lot of) tangling too and lately these are amongst only a few products which I can rely on to melt away the knots. I tend to use the conditioner as a co-wash and the masque with a steamer after shampooing. I found these products really similar to the Superfruit Complex line (conditioners reviewed here) in terms of the scent, texture and ingredients but I find these slightly more moisturising. There's not much between them though and I'll probably continue to buy from both lines. Overall these are definitely winners for me. It's a shame there aren't any Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil styling products as I would definitely buy these too.

Have you tried anything by Shea Moisture?

Christine Stewart x

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Saturday, 3 September 2016

It's My Hair Tag collab with Kay Amoah [Video]



It's been a while since I did a tag and I think it's such a good way to know a little about me without me rambling on randomly in a video or post. I usually get a lot of questions about my 'hair journey' so the 'it's my hair tag' which was circling a couple of years ago seemed a natural fit. This video is also my first collab with Kay (find her channel ). We've become friends recently and I just love her energy and warmth so we're planning to make videos together in future.

The Video
Christine Stewart x

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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Wash Day with Briogeo & Antidotestreet [Video]


It's been a while since I've made a wash day video so I've gone back to basics and show how I shampoo and condition my curls here. This video is sponsored by , an online retailer for black hair and skincare, and they've kindly provided the Briogeo products used in this video.* I've been using the Briogeo Rosarco Reparative Shampoo & Conditioner for the past few weeks and they're great for adding strength back to limp curls. Check out the video to see exactly how I use them.


The Video 

Both Antidotestreet & Briogeo have also provided discount codes if you're interested in trying these for yourself.

UK & Europe

Code: LESLEY15
Discount: 15% off
Excludes Big Hair No Care and Hair Consultations

US

Code: FRESH
Discount: 20% off all products
Term: 08/17/2016 - 09/17/2016

*This is a sponsored post - read my disclaimer .

What's your wash day like?

Christine Stewart x

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Thursday, 7 July 2016

Review | Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque



If you've followed my blog for a while you'll know I'm a hoarder of many products but deep conditioners in particular. I feel uncomfortable having less than 3 on hand at any given time (weird, I know) but there is one I've been reaching for over the others recently - the (£12.99).

I bought this beauty back in April along with a couple of other Shea Moisture masques (thank you Boots 3 for 2 offer) but I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I asked a few of you on Instagram and many claimed this was one of their 'holy grail' products whilst others were less impressed, preferring some of the other Shea Moisture conditioners. This masque is formulated with damaged, transitioning hair in mind but don't let that put you off if you have all natural or relaxed hair. Apart from some pesky split ends, my natural hair has been thriving lately but I knew this product would keep the protein and moisture balance in check.


It's a very thick, buttery consistency with what I can only describe as a faint scent of the sea. The strange scent must be due to this being made with sea kelp which admittedly I Googled as I wasn't entirely sure what it was or how it could be beneficial to hair. Sea kelp is a brown algae rich in minerals and said to be good for hair growth, though this doesn't appear to have been proven. It's supposed to give a smoothing effect here. The formula of this masque also includes ingredients such as castor, olive, carrot and argan oil with a hearty dose of shea butter. What I did notice is the formula of the US version of this product is slightly different (see ), with some ingredients in smaller quantity (shown nearer to the bottom of the list) or omitted entirely for the UK product (see ).

Without trying both I'm not sure how much of a difference this actually makes but with one use I noticed good results - soft and moisturised curls - and that has continued with every use since. I had best results when used with my (as with most deep conditioners I have) but if you don't have one covering the hair with a plastic cap will do the trick. I only have a very small amount of this masque left now and I would definitely buy this again.

Have you tried any Shea Moisture products? 

Christine Stewart x

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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Review | 3Thirty Salon



I must be getting more comfortable with being back in a stylist's chair as this year I've frequented salons more than I have done in the last decade! Blogging has been the primary reason I've been able to of course which I'm so thankful for. If you've followed my blog or YouTube channel for a while you'll know if been dying to get a professional cut so it was perfect timing when Shoreditch-based Salon reached out to me.

I've been cutting my hair myself for the past few years partly as I didn't know where I could get a good cut and also as the goal until recently was to slowly cut off all of my chemically-treated hair -which made forking out for a decent hair cut pointless in my eyes. With my hair naturally curly my main goal was getting a cut that gave my hair a good shape and was tailored to my curls as I have no plans to wear my hair straight in the immediate future.



I met with Tiff J, owner of 3Thirty Salon, recently and after a consultation she recommended one of her custom blended hair treatments and a cut (£87)*. She focused on adding moisture so after washing my hair with , she applied a mix of and . My hair was then wrapped in a plastic cap and left to infuse under the dryer for 20 minutes. My hair felt so soft afterwards and it was good to note a couple of products I'd used in the past on my relaxed hair still worked as well for my hair in it's curly state too.

Whilst still damp, Tiff meticulously cut my hair small sections at a time, taking care to ensure an even cut based on how my curls fell. I can part my hair anywhere and she took so little off the ends. For me it's night and day - my hair has more movement, looks more even and allowed me to wave goodbye to some pesky split-ends. After cutting, my hair was styled with , diffused and finished with a little . I only had my phone on me to take a few snaps in the salon but restyled my hair the next day at home so you can see how the cut looks in the first picture above.

The salon itself is gorgeously decorated and pretty convenient for me to get to. The cost of the services I received is a lot if you're like me and you're used to doing everything yourself. I have created my own DIY salon at home in lieu of frequent visits to a professional but I'm the first to (reluctantly) admit I can't do it all. I just loved the general aura of the salon too and I could see it as place I'd be returning to. Tiff explained that the cut she gave me should last 4 months but when I need another I know where to go.

*complementary treatment received - read my disclaimer .



Do you go to a salon regularly?


Christine Stewart x

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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Hair By EbonyB


I very rarely entrust my hair into the hands of others (my paranoia stems from one too many bad experiences in the past). Whilst I've gotten used to styling my own hair I'm the first to admit that there's a lot more styles I'd try if I had the skills to do them. One thing I've never been able to do well is braid and I've been itching to try another cornrowed style.


I've been in contact with Zuwena, owner of , for the past few months and I met with her for the first time yesterday. The salon is located in North Manchester which is a bit of a trek from my neck of the woods but it was fairly easy to find. After a chat about how I generally care for and style my hair Zuwena suggested a braided style. My hair had only been washed the day before so she blowdried my hair before cornrowing with extensions. She was so gentle with my hair and I absolutely love the result so expect a few snaps of how I'll be wearing this style to pop up on my  page soon.

This style usually costs from £35* and if you're interested in trying it too you can get 10% off by quoting 'Hairstyle Design' when booking between 7th - 21st June.


*Complementary hairstyle

What hairstyles do you like to do? 

Christine Stewart x

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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Review | MIZANI True Textures


Earlier this Spring salon-exclusive brand MIZANI (a division of L'Oreal) unveiled the new look for their True Textures range targeted at naturally curly, coily and wavy hair. I've tried a few MIZANI products before but mostly when my hair was straighter (relaxed/texlaxed). I recently cut off the last of my chemically-treated hair (see ) and now my hair is au naturel it has been interesting to dip into the wealth of products now available for curly hair. I was sent a few True Textures products, but the Cream Cleansing Conditioner (£13.80/250ml)* and Moisture Replenish Conditioner (£14.30/250ml)* are the ones I've been using most.


Both of the products are paraben-free, have a subtle floral scent and are infused with coconut, olive and marula oils. The Cleansing Conditioner is essentially like co-washing. It's sulphate-free but the formula does foam a little. I've been applying the product throughout my hair before massaging in and then rinsing as per the instructions. I have to admit though whilst it's in your hair it doesn't feel like it's doing anything. In fact, it feels like my hair is quite dry but after rinsing it's a different story entirely and the softness appears out of nowhere. Gentle cleansing is so necessary for my thirsty hair so I rely on co-washing or mild shampoos weekly, I'll continue to use this until it runs out.

Though technically the Cream Cleansing Conditioner is designed to be used alone, I've almost always used it with the Moisture Replenish Conditioner. As much as I've become more comfortable with a one-step washing process lately I still can't escape my impulsive need to do extra conditioning. I find it difficult to proactively moisturise my hair during the week, so the more conditioning I do, the less I tend to need styling product. The Moisture Replenish Conditioner isn't technically a deep conditioner but I've been leaving it in my hair for about 15-30 minutes and the results rival some of my favourite hair masks. The main downside however is I got through the now empty tub in 4 uses even when using sparingly.

Both are great products though a little out of my budget currently. When am able to splurge I'd definitely pick up the Moisture Replenish Conditioner.

The new MIZANI True Textures range is available from MIZANI appointed salons nationwide which you can find through their website .

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

What hair products have you been using?

Christine Stewart x

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

How To | Smooth Edges [Video]


I've been smoothing my edges down using pretty much the same method for a couple of years so thought I'd dedicate an entire video to it to show exactly what I do. I'm definitely looking to be more active on YouTube now as I've finally got the hang of making and editing videos so if there's anything specific you'd like to see next let me know in the comments.


The Video:


How have you been styling your hair lately?

Christine Stewart x

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Sunday, 17 April 2016

Fluffy Twistout Tutorial [Video]


It's been a really long time since I've tried a twistout on my hair surprisingly as this used to be my go-to style. I stuck to only creating a few twists on wet hair and the result was big fluffed up curls. See the video below for how I did it.


The Video: 

How have you been styling your hair lately?

Christine Stewart x

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Sunday, 10 April 2016

Hair Update | April 2016 [Video]



It's been a while since I just sat down and talked about what's going on with my hair so I thought a hair update video was due. Let me know what videos you'd like to see next.


The Video:

What have you been doing with your hair lately? 

Christine Stewart x

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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Event | Charlotte Mensah Haircare Collection


Award-winning hairdresser  unveiled her new haircare collection at her salon (Hair Lounge) on Thursday evening and it's stunning. On the night Charlotte talked us through her high-end collection which has been 6 years in the making.


Manketti Oil Shampoo (£18/250ml) | Manketti Oil Conditioner (£18/250ml) | Manketti Oil (£36/100ml)

The Charlotte Mensah Haircare Collection contains 3 products at present, a shampoo, conditioner and hair oil - all containing sustainably sourced Manketti Nut and Ximenia Oil. I've tried a whole host of oils on my hair and skin but Manketti, which has been used in Africa for centuries, is entirely new to me. At the event vials of the Manketti Hair Oil were available and it melts beautifully into the skin. I can only imagine what this will do for my hair so I can't wait to try it properly.

Decorated with beautiful gold detailing, Charlotte (left below) assured us that what's inside is every bit as luxury as the packaging. She's created her line by testing it on her clients throughout development and it aims to deliver hydration, superior softness and shine to undernourished hair.


At the event she demonstrated using the Manketti Hair Oil and the Manketti Conditioner on a variety of curly hair types (see above) and explained that her products have multiple uses. I'll definitely be trying the Manketti Oil as a pre shampoo treatment and to seal in my moisturiser. Charlotte suggested applying the Manketti Conditioner as a leave-in too by mixing a 50p sized amount of the conditioner with water in a spray bottle. I'm excited to see how well these will work for me so I'll keep you posted on the results.


The Charlotte Mensah Haircare Collection is available online at 
Images of the event were provided courtesy of Charlotte Mensah Press Office.

What haircare products do you use?

Christine Stewart x

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Thursday, 10 March 2016

DIY Hair Growth Oil [Video]


Until recently I haven't really been concerned about the length of my hair and I stopped doing all of the things which helped me get longer hair in the past. It wasn't a conscious decision but where I obsessed over hair growth for 4 years, when trying to reach waist length relaxed hair (see ), I naturally took a step back and just enjoyed my hair for what it is. I've been pretty scissor happy lately too, chopping randomly at my ends since I completed my transition (to ) back in  last year. As a result I haven't retained a lot of length in the last 6 months but I would love to have a little more hair to play with since the shrinkage is a killer!


I used to regularly rely on an oil mix containing natural and essential oils to promote growth when my hair was fully relaxed. I'd apply it with a massage every few days and mix a little into my shampoos and any conditioners which needed a boost. In past year I've only really been using or and I've merely used them to detangle or as a pre shampoo treatment.

I've been loving Fiona's () posts on hair growth recently (found and ). She reminded me how beneficial natural oils can be for the hair, especially essential oils like peppermint, and detailed a really interesting study regarding its effect on hair growth in her post. She suggests putting a mix of peppermint essential oil and carrier oils in every product which comes into contact with the scalp to boost growth which is such a great idea. I've now gone back to making my oil mix which includes peppermint oil and I'll be applying it to my scalp regularly. I'll probably add it to certain products like shampoos, conditioners and hair gel too, but I haven't tried this yet.

The below video details the oils I use and how I mix them together. I'm relying on oils I've always used in the past so feel free to make substitutions if you try this or let me know what your favourites are if you already do this. I don't have an exact ratio for my oil mix but I always ensure there's enough carrier oils in the mix to counteract the potency of the essential oils included as they can cause irritation. If you've not used them before, definitely test the essential oils on the inside of your forearm first in case it results in a negative reaction.

The Video:



How do you boost your hair growth?

Christine Stewart x

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