A Few of My Favorite Things

As I have often said, I am firmly against Product Junkie-ism.  I believe in finding a few products that work and sticking to them.  However, there is no harm in trying out new things from time to time, and sometimes you will find new products that you prefer or work better.

I generally do not do product reviews, and I have never done a solicited product review for anyone.  But in the past few months have tried some different products that I have added into my personal maintenance routine, so I wanted to share a few of my favorite things for loc care and maintenance:

1. L'Oreal EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care System

When you have colored tresses, it is important to protect your investment by using shampoos and conditioners that will minimize fading.  This shampoo and the accompanying conditioners are designed for colored hair, but L'Oreal also makes several other products for non-color treated hair in this same sulfate-free line (my daughter uses the EverCreme products).  The EverPure shampoo and conditioner leave my locs incredibly soft, but not weighed down.  I use the conditioner regularly, but the Restorative Masque is great for using after you've done a clarifying treatment on your hair (which strips out the excess oils and goo from your locs) or anytime your locs feel dried out.  And the best part is that it leaves your locs smelling absolutely amazing with its rosemary and juniper scent. This has by far been my favorite shampoo and conditioner for color treated hair.

2.  SheaMoisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo and Purification Masque

I recently purchased this shampoo and conditioner on a whim while looking for a clarifying shampoo.  It was on sale at Target so I decided to try it.  As I was shampooing my locs, I honestly didn't like the feel at all.  I actually had to look at my hair to make sure it was lathering, and it felt like I was drying my hair all the way out.  The purification masque kind of had the same feel, like it wasn't very moisturizing.  HOWEVER, keep in mind that these are clarifying products, meaning they are meant to strip the excess oils and buildup out of your hair.  Once I moisturized my locs and dried them, they felt amazing.  It definitely did the job of removing the gunk that was weighing down and dulling my locs, and my hair feels much softer and lighter and the sheen came back.  I'm definitely keeping these in the rotation for the occasional clarifying treatment in addition to my apple cider vinegar rinses.

3.  Ixora Botanical Beauty Macani Miracle Butter

I learned about this small independent business via her customers on Twitter who absolutely swear by her all-natural products.  I happened to be  looking for a new moisturizing product, as I had been using coconut oil which was very moisturizing, but I was noticing that it was starting to weigh my locs down after awhile (thus my need to seek out the products in #2 above).  After reading a few tweet reviews, I decided to order the Macani Miracle Butter.  I. Am. HOOKED.  This is, by far, the best moisturizing product I have ever used in my 10 years of locking.   I am always hesitant to use butters on my locs for fear of it building up and weighing my locs down, but this stuff just melts into your hair.  And a little of Ixora products truly do go a long way; just using a small amount leaves my locs incredibly soft and shiny with zero weight or greasy residue.  I apply it right after washing my locs before I dry them, and usually don't have to apply any more until after my next washing (though I do wash my locs once or twice a week).  The ingredients include Macadamia Nut Butter, Nilotica Shea Butter, Illipe Butter, Argan Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Emu Oil, Honey, Peppermint Oil, Tea Tree Oil, and Ylang Ylang Oil.  The smell is absolutely wonderful and compliments the other products I use in my hair.  I've also tried (and loved) a few of her other products, including the Whip It Up shea butter, the Cara Hermosa facial butter, the Ash Today Gone Tomorrow butter, and......

4. Ixora Botanical Beauty Loc and Twist Butter

Results of the Ixora Loc & Twist Butter
I had previously been using Carol's Daughter Loc Butter for retwisting my roots, but I was never really 100% comfortable with it because it contains beeswax, which is a big bad naughty no-no for loc buildup.  However, since I only using it sparingly on just the roots of the locs along my hairline (I latch the rest of my hair and rarely retwist my entire head), I was okay with using it.  So when Ixora promised to develop a loc butter that contained no beeswax, I was intrigued.  Like the Macani Miracle Butter, I absolutely love it.  It is incredibly light and creamy, but has a great hold that leaves my roots smooth and shiny using just a very tiny dab on each loc.  Ingredients include Nilotica Shea Butter, Hempseed Butter, Avocado Butter, Aloe Vera Gel, Coconut Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Macadamia Oil, Peppermint Oil, Teatree Oil, Vitamin E Oil.  Again, smells amazing, and feels great on my scalp.  I must also say that I've been impressed with how fast Ixora makes and ships their products.  And for you environmentally conscious people (or people like me who love free stuff) they have a recycling program.  Good customer service is always a plus with me. 

So there you have my all-star cast of products that have me absolutely in love with my locs right now.  They have never felt so soft, light and shiny in all my years of locking.  I often find myself mindlessly stroking my own locs because I just love how they feel, and I love when I turn my head just right and catch a whiff of their delectable scent.  These are a few of my favorite things, and I hope some of them become a few of yours, too.

It's Been a Long Time.... I Shouldn'tve Left You

I started this blog two years ago with the thought that I would fill it regularly with all of my loc wisdom that I have accumulated since 2002. I'm sorry to admit that I have failed miserably, and for that I apologize. But, in my mind, there just isn't that much to locs that I can't sum up in one sentence: Wash 'em, moisturize 'em, twist/latch 'em (if you feel like it), and style 'em. On a day-to-day basis, that's pretty much all I do with my locs. I don't go through 8 hour routines of washing, no 'pooing, deep conditioning, detangling, moisturizing, twisting, untwisting, protective styling, etc. that the loose natural women go through. That's part of the reason I went back to locs in the first place (NOT saying that locs are better than loose natural for that reason, because loose naturals are gorgeous as well). I got over my Product Junkie phase, trying out a new product or technique every other week, a very long time ago. Basically what I am trying to say is: I just don't have much to say.

However, I do get plenty of questions on Twitter about various things that perhaps in my 10 years of loc'dom that I take for granted. I'm sure I had a thousand and one questions when I first started locking.... In fact, I am sure of it, because I was on at least three Yahoogroup loc listservs (back in my day, we didn't have all these websites and message boards and blogs and Twitter and Facebook groups). Forgive my old head status.

So, I need your help, and your questions. What do you want and need to know about locs? What questions do you have? Feel free to e-mail me at naturalafrodisiacblog [at] gmail.com or hit me up on Twitter @afrodisiaclocs and perhaps we can help each other out.