I have enjoyed this week of churning out some product reviews which I have been promising to do but had life take over and not allow me to get to them. I will be doing more.
I was lovingly gifted a few products to review by Nature and I and I took some time to just enjoy the products and consciously use them (sometimes we use things without really noticing their effects or lack thereof). I was gifted their 'For The Cold Bundle' seeing as it is winter here in South Africa and winter can be drying and damaging to our hair so it is worthwhile stocking up on as many items to assist with giving ones hair some extra care and extra love.
I was gifted the following and as already mentioned I keep my reviews honest and of my personal opinion regardless of whether an item is gifted or bought:
Now I have tried them a few ways and will continue to use them and try even more ways and update the posts accordingly. Earlier on in the week I had tried two other products, a leave-in conditioner and hydrating custard which just did not like each other and my hair ended up quite hard and more or less dry and matted. So I thought it would be nice to use the above product and see if they could help my hair.
The above is what I started with. I could not even detangle before shampooing so I went straight ahead and started the shampoo process.
Shampoo was applied about twice to get rid of products previously used
The Design Essentials Curl Cleanser Shampoo was used. It is quite gentle and has a nice feel and texture to it as well as is quite lathering/foaming. The hair found it to be moisturising enough do a little detangling. (not too much).
The treatment masque was applied and heat wrap used for about 30mins
I then followed this with the Raw Shea Treatment Masque. The masque/mask went on to the hair fairly easy but did not allow for much detangling. It did however strengthen the hair, like made it tougher without making it hard. Certainly less breakage. (I also applied some olive oil and the hair did not like it, I will try again by mixing it in the mask and then applying).
On the Right - Crème Brule Cream was applied and on the Left - the mask was rinsed out hair and excess water blotted out before applying the cream
I ended off by applying the Crème Brule Whipped Curl Cream (I did use a little oil on day one but on day 3 I just co-washed a little and applied the cream on its own). I tried to detangle further and did get some knots out just not to the standard that I wanted. I put the hair in 4 large twists, covered with a silk cap and went to bed. In the morning I unravelled the twists, styled and fluffed out the hair a little with my fingers. There was frizz but that is from trying to detangle after applying the cream - the night before. My curls define better if I just leave them after washing or applying water. By the evening the hair was quite dry (you can feel and hear it) so I knew I had to co-wash or drench it the next day.On the Left - day one hair which had been further detangled and allowed to semi dry over night and on the Right - day two hair was slightly co-washed and only cream applied and allowed to air dry (no combing) and the hair was quite soft by the way.
All in all - the hair was hydrated and smiling again.
What do I think about sticking to a single brand or complete range of product?
My understanding is that complete ranges are designed to work together especially shampoos and conditioners for example when it comes to PH balance and getting the full effect of the range. I really don't see a problem with them but I have found that some lines of product do not offer the full required package. Say for example I want to pre-poo oil, wash, condition, treat/deep condition, apply leave-in, oil, apply a cream or styling product, and go further and seal with a heavier product or oil. It can be hard to find a range or brand that allows me to do all of these things and a range that compliments one another at each step. Some locally produced products only offer the oil and moisturiser/butter/styling product with no shampoo or conditioner. Most ranges do not offer a leave-in conditioner which for me is key and used even daily. Cost wise it can be also cheaper to use natural oils and DIY products alone or together with the store bought ones.
In terms of sticking to a single brand - I also do not see a problem with this especially if it works and my hair loves it. I think one also needs to be equipped with the knowledge of when to clarify or to use a chelating shampoo (good for hard water areas) to sort of reset the hair as we sometimes give up on a brand or product because we think it has lost its effect when in actual fact we have product build up.
Its about listening to ones hair so as to know what works and what doesn't and being open to trying new things and yet having 'holy grail' products that one can always go back to. Personally I am still on a QUEST to find my 'Holy Grail' or 'Go To' products and so will try new things all the time. As long as there is no damage to my hair and because my hair like, me is growing and changing then trying new things and product is what I do.
I will also state that product alone regardless of the brand or range is not enough - Product PLUS Technique are key. From a scientific level like understanding what to use and how to use it to help the cuticle close and lay flat TO doing things that help one have plain and simple healthy fabulous looking hair.
What do I think about mixing brands for specific requirements?
I am all for this - especially as mentioned, some brands and ranges may not meet a specific requirement like something as simple as requiring products for the LOC method. Another example can be wanting a styling product such as gel and not finding a brand that stocks a good alcohol free one. One must also be open minded as it is trial and error - as per my experience above where I used two different products from two different brands and they did not work well together at all. I am all about doing what works for me just like I encourage everyone to listen to their hair and do and find what works for them. It can also be due to cost that one will use a cheap (yet effective) shampoo from one brand and a really expensive (and effective) conditioner from another brand. If it means mixing brands and as long as hair health is maintained then go for it.
Do I feel the 'For The Cold Bundle' Products work better together or separate?
Good question - unfortunately hard to answer. Yes and yes. They are unique to the steps they are designed for. The shampoo designed for cleansing is actually a good cleanser, does what it should but it is hard to shampoo only and I think it can be used with any other conditioner or leave-in and further moisturise and protect or retain that moisture. Using the Curl Cleanser and Treatment Masque and following with the Crème Brule worked just fine together as well as using them separate with other products such as conditioners or gels worked just fine as well. I would just maybe be wary in terms of what was already mentioned like PH Balance and maybe use Design Essentials Conditioner and the treatment and cream are fine to use after this.
So - you have seen how I got my hair from a bad state to a good enough state and also my take on product and brand use. Its all about keeping our hair healthy and using both product and technique/method and if we have found what works then great and that is okay and we if we are still searching and like trying different things then great and that is okay, ultimately we listen to our hair and love it and it loves us back.
Thank you Nature and I and much love to you all.