Archive for November, 2007

Cool Dollar Store Finds for Hair and Skin

For the natural hair newbies or for anybody on a budget trying to maintain natural hair, the dollar store has what you need.  These stores have an endless supply of hair and skin products that really work and won’t break the bank.  Most hair products may be discontinued or reformulated, but are worth buying.  Visit often as their stock changes week to week.  I’ve purchased quite a few products at Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and even Family Dollar.  Listed below are some of my finds.

Breck Restorative Conditioner (18 oz.) – Ingredients include rosemary, nettle and horsetail extracts, vitamins A, E, and B3.  Unbelievable how soft and detangled my hair  is after use.  I use this conditioner as a wash, in my spritz, and use as a leave-in with a little olive oil or castor added.  I’m liking this better than my beloved Suave and the $1.00 price for 18 oz. can’t be beat.  There are several other formulas (and shampoo) available also.

Breck For Kids Tangle-Free Detangler:  Not just for kids, this detangler really works.  After spraying the hair and letting it sit about 15 minutes, detangling is a breeze in the shower. 

Fruit of the Earth (FOTE) Aloe Vera Gel (12 oz.) – I have found both the regular FOTE Aloe Vera Gel and FOTE Aloe Vera Gel with Vitamin E in the dollar stores.  Both products are beneficial to hair and skin.  I use the FOTE with Vitamin E exclusively for hair because it’s more moisturizing.  Those of you who prefer lighter body butters and lotions, add regular FOTE aloe vera gel to heavier products to thin the product’s consistency. 

Pears Original Transparent Soap – This soap has been around for ages and is great for sensitive skin types.  Gentle to skin, light scent, and won’t clog pores.

Soft and Beautiful Botanicals Anti-breakage Braid Release (8 oz.) – This product is a detangler and comes in handy when taking down braids and twists.  Regularly priced at $4.99 and up. 

Discontinued Joico Products Never used this brand, but I do know how expensive Joico is, and how it feels when they discontinue your holy grail.  Even if you try it and don’t like it, you’ve only wasted a buck.

  • Joico Con-Text Conversion Spray (12 oz.) –  Non-aerosol spray that adds extra body and volume.
  • Joico Con-Text Assertion Spray (12 oz.) – Flexible aerosol holding hairspray.
  • Joico Con-Text Light Wax (2 oz.)  – Soft, light wax that shines and defines.
  • Joico Con-Text Putty (4.4 oz.) – A molding putty for thick, coarse hair.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Soybean Oil Blend – Multiple usage product.  Use for hot oil treatments, after conditioner wash moisture sealant, and cooking in the kitchen.

Honey – You know the one in the bottle shaped like a teddy bear.  Add it to olive oil for a deep treat or to conditioner for extra softness and shine.

Hair Accessories:  An abundant supply of hair accessories here.  Plenty of headbands, barrettes, clips, combs, brushes.  For bed and bath; stock up on the microfiber items such as headbands, turbans, and towels. 


Christmas Gifts Worth Giving, Pt. I

Yay!!  My favorite holiday is fast approaching; Christmas.  There are some great plus size gifts and stocking stuffers out there.  Between now and Christmas, check back often for my list of gifts and stocking stuffers worth giving.

onavytrapzswtr.jpg Old Navy Boatneck Trapeze Sweater (Moose Brown), Sale $25.00

oldnavcrmkimo.jpg Old Navy Cable-Knit Kimono Cardigan, Sale $29.50

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Old Navy Women’s Plus Pointelle Henley and Lounge Pants, 2 for $25.00

sephcargo.jpg Sephora:  The Cargo Collection, $45.00

sephbrzgloss.jpg Sephora Brand Round-A-Pout Gloss – Beach Bronze, $9.00

sephhilt.jpg Sephora Hi-Lights Hair Mascara (Bronze, Cognac), $20.00

nordbrimhat.jpg Nordstrom BP. Pointelle Brim Hat, $14.00

lbredwrap.jpg Lane Bryant Metallic Fleck Ruana, $39.50

lbspanxcami.jpg Lane Bryant Spanx Hide and Sleek Cami, $42.00

Keeping Kinky-Curly Hair Clean and Buildup Free

Conditioner washes clean my hair and scalp pretty well, but sometimes conditioner washes alone won’t remove hair and scalp buildup.  An itchy scalp and dull hair are telltale signs of buildup for me.  I usually shampoo 1-2 times per month and try to buy shampoos, soaps, and conditioners that are gentle to my hair and skin.  Of course I’ve listed some of my favorite cleansers below.

idasoap.jpg  CHAGRIN VALLEY SOAP:  I have a hard time selecting which shampoo/soap bar I want every time I visit this site.  How can you not order with names like Babassu and Marshmallow, Carrot Milk & Honey or Honey Beer & Egg.  As you can probably tell, the ingredient list is impressive and good for you.  The shampoo bar and bar soap lists are long, but sample sizes are available.  They are big enough to get several uses out of it which allows you to try different soaps without breaking the bank.  The shampoo bar is mild, fatted, and gives a good lather, but don’t sleep on the bar soap selections.  They’re superfatted and just as moisturizing as the shampoo bars.  End result:  Hair that is soft and fluffy, never stripped.  

kiwilime.jpg  V05 KIWI & LIME SQUEEZE CLARIFYING CONDITIONER – I use this condish as a substitute shampoo, especially since I rarely use heavy products (pomades, gels, etc.).  V05 Kiwi & Lime is a clarifying condish with lemongrass and rosemary extracts that removes light buildup I may get in-between shampoos.  Those who use heavy stylers may not benefit from using this as an alternative to shampoo, but it does make a great conditioner wash too.  End result:  Yummy smelling, clean, fluffy hair.   Fine haired curlies get the extra benefit of more body.  

s2sproducts.jpg  SIZTA 2 SIZTA:  This company has quite a few wonderful moisturizers and conditioners with good, healthy ingredients.  The products are sold locally in Detroit area at Lee Beauty Supply stores, as well as Sista’s PlaceMotown Girl also gives rave reviews on several of her products. 

avalonmango.gif  Avalon Organics Awapuhi Mango Moisturizing Shampoo, 14 oz., $8.95.  A sulfate-free shampoo that is gentle and nonstripping.  Perfect for dry, damaged hair.  Adds body, volume, and shine.  Ingredients include vegetable glycerin, aloe, awapuhi, mango, vanilla and ylang ylang blossom.  End result:  Moisturized, shiny hair.

BAKING SODA:  Add to sulfate-free shampoo (without Sodium Lauryl, Sodium Laureth or Ammonium Lauryl) to help remove buildup from hair and scalp.  Add a pinch to the amount of shampoo you’ll use to wash your hair.  Note:  Can be drying if used with a shampoo with sulfates as sulfates are drying on their own (which is why they are sometimes avoided).  Also works well added to conditioner washes if your hair is feeling a little coated.  End result:  Scalp is clean and fresh, and your hair soft.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR:  Some hair care products have cones (amodimethicone, dimethicone, etc.) which over time can build up, leaving a residue, making your hair dull.  How can you tell?  Your daily products no longer work.  Just add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup of water and rinse through hair.  I put mine in a spray bottle which makes it easier to distribute.  Note:  I prefer apple cider vinegar, but white vinegar will work too.  End result:  Soft, shiny hair.

Snoods, Part II

I’ve got this hat thing going on and now find myself seeking out hats in department stores, thrift stores, Etsy, Ebay, and other online stores.  I just can’t get enough of them.  I love the colors and textures of hats.  Below you’ll find more hats from some of my favorite sellers and a new one, Didymus Dreads and Threads, an Ebay store with a lot of unique and colorful hats.

PURPLE SAGE DESIGNZ:  Sigh.  I really want to learn how to crochet beautiful hats, but until then, I have Purple Sage Designz to keep my hat addiction going.  Everytime I visit, I find new hats to fall in love with.   They’re perfect for those of us with “big hair” (natural, braids, dreads) who desire hats that are roomy, stylish, and comfortable.  Get your hat fix on and don’t forget to check out her other creations at Purple Sage Designz.

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  1. Handmade Grape Visor Beanie Hat and Spiral Waves Set, $29.00
  2. Baby Blue Child (Girl) Visor Beanie, $14.00
  3. Sunny Skies Cotton Slouchy Beanie, $16.00

LOLABEAR’S NEEDLEWORKATORIUM:  More beautiful hats from one of my favorite Etsy sellers.  I love the elegance, color combinations, as well as the soft, feminine look of Lolabear’s hat creations.  These are perfect for the upcoming holidays.  Don’t forget to check out Lolabear’s Needleworkatorium store on Etsy for her other beautiful creations.  

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  1. Chic Chenille Beret (Claret and Gold), $35.00
  2. Glitzy White and Gold Rasta (Adult L), $40.00
  3. Dark Rainbow Beret or Rasta, $35.00

DIDYMUS DREADS AND THREADS (EBAY):  Added to my list of favs, this Ebay store belongs to twin sisters whose handmade hats are the bomb (hippie, rasta, headbands, buckets, kerchiefs, beanies, etc.).  They also take special orders on all styles of hats.  Anyone familiar with Ebay knows how important good customer feedback is, and Didymus Dreads and Threads’ feedback is awesome.  If you’re looking for various styles of hats and other head coverings, be prepared.  This is hat heaven on earth!   Please check out Didymus Dreads and Threads’ other hat creations at their Ebay store.

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  1. Hippie Crochet Beanie/Tam, $8.49
  2. Rasta Head Wrap Kerchief, $6.99
  3. Black Flapper Bucket Knit Hat, $6.99
  4. Rasta Headband Head Wrap, $9.99

I need books to help me learn how to crochet.  Anybody know of any easy how-to-crochet books out there?  Please let me know.

Hair and Scalp Treatments for Kinky-Curly Hair

Since cooler weather has finally arrived for a lot of us kinky-curly gals, additional help is needed to protect not only our fragile tresses, but our scalp as well.  Healthy, moisturized hair and scalp can be achieved with the right products.  It’s not necessary to spend a fortune (unless of course you got it like that), and it is possible to find reasonably priced products to fit anybody’s budget.  I love grapefruit, peppermint and lavender essential oils and they tend to be listed in the ingredients of a lot of products I buy specifically for hair and scalp treatments.  I also buy them as essential oils for at-home hair recipes.

Basic Lavender and Peppermint Scalp Massage – In a bowl, add 4 tablespoons of almond, olive, or grapeseed oil (or base oil of choice).  Add 3-4 drops each of lavender and peppermint essential oils.  Massage into scalp and wrap in a hot towel for 15 minutes.  For those with hair loss, lavender and rosemary essential oils can be substituted in the scalp massage recipe.  

**Please note some essential oils should be avoided in pregnancy and by epileptics, and used with caution for those with sensitive skin.


Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair and Scalp Treatment, 6.8 oz., $14.00.  This treatment has a fresh, wake-me-up minty smell (tea tree, peppermint, lavender) which tingles the scalp.  Other ingredients include soy proteins, panthenol, vitamin E and shea butter.  Definitely a protectant against cold weather.  This product leaves your hair strong and soft, and your scalp clean and fresh.   Buy online at, Trade Secret, CVS, etc.


 Elasta QP Intensive Breakage Control Serum, 6 oz., $5.99.  This is a heat-activated treatment (dryer or hot towel) that is great for hair prone to ends that are dry or have split ends.  This product quickly cut down on the amount of shedding I had.  It also strengthened and revitalized my hair.  Curls were soft, defined, and felt stronger.  Elasta QP is easily found at any neighborhood beauty supply store.




 sebastian9.jpg  Sebastian Potion 9 Wearable Treatment, 5.1 oz., $14.99.  What does the “9” in Sebastian Potion 9 mean?  There are 9 essential extracts in this product that moistures, repairs, and revitalizes your tired, damaged, and dull hair.  The essential extracts are jojoba seed oil, safflower seed oil, sesame seed oil, babassu oil, olive oil, evening primrose oil, rice bran oil, willow bark and green tea extracts.  A little pricey, but you won’t be disappointed.  It’s definitely worth it.  Buy online at or Trade Secret salons.

betterbotanoil.jpg  Better BotanicalsHerbal Hair Oil, 4 oz., $15.99.  This ayurvedic herbal oil improves the strength and condition of the hair, especially hair that is dry or damaged.  Ingredients are peanut, sesame and sunflower oils, extracts of bhringraj, brahmi, amla, harad, behra, nagarmotha, jataamansi (ayurvedic herbs), and tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E).  This herbal oil is also good for the scalp and can be used weekly as a hot oil treatment.  Results give you hair that is shinier, softer, and stronger.  Also found at Vitamin Shoppe and Ebay.

Let me know what other hair and scalp products work for you.