Now that winter is in full swing, moisture is the name of the game. Ensuring that both hair and skin stay soft, supple and moisturized is top priority; and there are a lot of products that you could just slather on and keep it moving. With the holidays, travel and time with loved ones taking over, we are all a little short on time for proper hair care and would just like to make-do. I am no exception. Every time I think of taking a shortcut, some choice words from blogger Shelli of Hairscapades comes to mind: moisturized hair starts on wash day. Shelli wrote this post when I was about 5 months into my transition and although I probably never explicitly said so (I hope she’s reading this now!), it dramatically altered the way I looked at how I incorporate moisture along every step of my routine. Now that I’m dabbling in skincare, the same applies — moisturized skin begins on wash day! Clearly, wash day is every day, or twice a day, or however many times a day you wash your body and face. Without rambling on too much further, let me share what goodies I’ve come across that help me maintain a tremendous amount of moisture on both my hair and skin.
From Cream and Coco
I have recently fallen head over heels in love with Cream and Coco. From Pink Cookie (read more here) and beyond, Cream and Coco has tons of luxurious and amazing smelling goodies for hair and body.
· Gooseberry Aloe Pudding: Formerly known as Curls for Days, this pudding smells super berry sweet and edible (and I almost tried it once). It looks thicker than it actually is; but make no mistakes about how rich this pudding is! My hair loves avocado oil and aloe, both of which are in this pudding — on top of shea butter, horsetail, amla, and more. It is definitely one of my favorite defining and moisturizing products. You can read more about the moisture and curl defining goodness here.
· Glaze Tincture: This stuff should be called “miracle in a bottle”. I love tons of skincare products, but the Glaze Tincture has found its way into my favorites category — and has undoubtedly become a Winter staple. The only thing I don’t like about the product is the fact that I only ordered one during the Cyber Monday sale. If I knew then what I know now, I would have ordered a lifetime supply. There are tons of fragrances, but I purchased the Coconut Macaroon scent, and it is absolutely decadent — just like all the fragrances from Cream and Coco. It is a luxurious blend of oils that are glaze-like in consistency. Definitely liquid, but not runny. The magic of this product is how amazing my skin feels afterward. Soft. Velvety. Ridiculously smooth. Oh, and this feeling lasts all day.
· Island Nectar Cleansing Milk: Cream and Coco definitely has some interesting products, and the cleansing milk is one of them. It has the consistency of a conditioner or lotion, and has a rich tropical scent. It contains a combination of saponified oils (soybean, olive, coconut), castor oil, shea butter, aloe juice, and more. It has tons of slip, and genuinely can be used from head to toe. It doesn’t have tons of lather, but leaves hair soft, super shiny, and clean feeling. I also followed the instruction o the bottle and used it as a shampoo, face wash, and shave cream. It works wonderously well in all capacities and didn’t dry my skin out in the least.
To get your Cream and Coco on, visit www.creamandcoco.com.
From Brown Butter Beauty
I recently discovered that Brown Butter Beauty not only shines when it comes to hair care, but they’re off the charts for skincare. I have been using a number of Brown Butter Beauty goodies on my face, and on my hair.
· Botanical Cleansing Cream: This creamy herbal cleanser is based in sweet almond oil, and contains rose water, chamomile, and other calming essential oils and extracts. It is free of artificial fragrances and colors, and is perfect for sensitive skin as well. It gently cleanses without drying the face. Remember, moisture starts on wash day!
· Green Lady: Although Indian Healing Clay (Bentonite) makes for a great purifying facial mask, it can be drying. Enter: Green Lady. A gentle blend of green clay, kaolin clay, ground oats, calendula, lavender, fennel, and more, this vial of powder has given me some of the best facial treatments I’ve ever had. Although the jar is only 2oz, it lasts forever. I’ve done at least 5 or 6 masks, and haven’t even made a dent in the container. It can be mixed with water, apple cider vinegar, rose water, honey, lemon juice, turmeric, and more to suit your skin’s specific needs. I am forever a fan of Green Lady!
· Blemish Minimizing Serum: This little gem is less about moisture, and more about keeping skin clear and healthy. Many of the oils, butters, and moisturizers we lather onto our faces during the colder months have the potential to be comedogenic (pore clogging/acne causing). This little vial of goodness helps keep breakouts in check, thanks to skin-calming aloe vera, zinc, and a number of extracts, vitamins, and essential oils.
· Fresh Face Moisturizer: Thicker than traditional face moisturizers, Fresh Face Moisturizer is perfect for locking in moisture and giving the face and neck a velvety smooth feel.
· Monoi Tahiti Hair and Body Butter: This smooth and creamy butter is truly a heaven-scented gem. Monoi de Tahiti is handcrafted coconut oil infused with fresh gardenias. This butter definitely carries that floral fragrance forward. Combined with cocoa butter, olive oil, and more, this butter is a great moisturizing alternative for those who don’t care for shea butter. It seals moisture in the hair quite well, and leaves an amazing light, floral scent on both hair and skin.
For more goodies from Brown Butter Beauty, visit www.brownbutterbeautyshop.com.
From Lia Naturals
· Black Soap Body Scrub: I am a scrub lover and have been for ages. I love oil and sugar scrubs as much as the next person, but I have a particular fondness for thick creamy scrubs that don’t drip oil all over my shower (and make me a little paranoid when stepping out). The Lia Naturals Black Soap Body Scrub is just that.
· Handmade Cold Process Soaps: Lia Naturals soaps are amazing. They are as gentle as they are gorgeous. The fragranced soaps smell amazing (Pumpkin Latte is my personal favorite), and the unscented soaps (Gentle Green Tea is a winner) are perfect for those with sensitive skin, or skin issues. I love the fact that you can see and feel the ingredients in the soap. You can see the oatmeal in the Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey Soap, the green tea in the Gentle Green Tea Soap, the activated charcoal in the Charcoal soap; I could go on, but I think you get the point. As far as my psoriasis goes, the Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey soap was one of the best in terms of being gentle, soothing, and non-irritating. All of the soaps had an amazing lather, went on easily, and didn’t leave my skin dry afterwards. Not to mention, the bars are HUGE! I cut them in half to use them — and they last twice as long.
· Coconut Mango Hair & Body Butter: I cannot get enough of this stuff. From the moment I tried it, it became an instant favorite. I love the sweet oatmeal and honey fragrance, but fragrance-free options are available as well. I like shea butter, but my hair responds better to other creamy butters — like mango, avocado, and aloe. This Hair & Body Butter has a short and uncomplicated ingredient list — mango butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, wheatgerm oil, brahmi oil, vitamin E, and fragrance (if requested). It is thick, but not super stiff, and melts onto skin and hair easily. A little bit goes a long way. I love to use this butter on especially dry psoriasis patches on my skin to soothe and moisturize. For my hair, it is perfect to seal in moisture and protect my ends. I can’t say enough good things about this butter!
For more gorgeous soaps and goodies, check out Lia Naturals at www.lianaturals.com.
What I love most about the Senica line is simplicity. None of the products have super long ingredient lists, and none of the fragrances are overbearing. They are all distinct, yet mild and gentle.
· Brown Sugar Scrub: When I first got my Senica Body Scrubs in the mail, I was confused when I heard what sounded like a solid disc rattling around in the jar. I immediately started feeling around the jars and in the box, looking for leaked out oil. Once I couldn’t find any, I opened a jar and saw what appeared to be a solid clump of brown sugar. The jar was sealed, so I figured they had just forgotten to add the sweet almond and apricot oils that are listed on the ingredient label. But when I got in the shower, it hit me: brown sugar absorbs oil. The moment I scooped some out of the jar, I felt the oil inside of the brown sugar granules. Scrubbing it all over was confirmation. My skin was soft, smooth, and the water just beaded up over it — letting me know that the oils were definitely present. Duh, Christina. With all that being said, Senica’s Brown Sugar Scrub is definitely a favorite. It isn’t nearly as messy as a lot of other scrubs where the oil is more visible, and I love how soft the brown sugar feels against my skin. If you’re looking for a scrub but are concerned about abrasiveness, definitely check this one out.
· Body Lotion: I’ve been looking for a small business line with a dedicated body lotion, and Senica offers just that. I love being able to have natural, quality ingredient small business alternatives to mainstream products. The Body Lotion is a legit water-based lotion full of shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, glycerin, and vitamin E. It goes on smooth, rubs in easily, and leaves skin incredibly soft. It is rich without being greasy, and a little bit goes a long way. Although I personally haven’t, you could probably use this lotion as a hair leave-in, because all of the ingredients are commonly found in other hair goodies.
· Shea Moisturizer: The Senica Naturals Moisturizer feels more like a shea-based pomade. Although it is based in shea butter, avocado, coconut, and grapeseed oils and can be used on both hair and skin, I prefer it on targeted areas for both. On my skin, I use it on dry skin and psoriasis patches to soothe and moisturize. It has a soft hold, and is great for slicking back edges. Because my jar is small (even though it is only 2oz, it definitely lasts a long time), I often stick it in my purse or gym bag as a backup when I have dry lips. Yes, it makes an excellent lip moisturizer too!
For more amazing goodies from Senica, visit www.senicanaturals.com.
From Ella’s Concoctions
Ella’s is a new brand on the natural hair and skincare scene. Launched in the summer of 2013, Ella’s Concoctions is focused on using 100% raw, natural, and organic products to heal hair and skin, and promote health.
· Holy Grail Oil for Women: I received my Holy Grail Oil for Women (there’s one specifically for men too) after I had already flat ironed my hair for the holidays, and was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to try it out before getting this article completed. Two days after straightening my hair, my scalp felt a little dry (thanks, winter psoriasis), and I decided to put the jar of oil and dropper to use. The dropper was such a blessing, as I was able to apply the oil directly to the scalp and not weigh my hair down. My flaking/dryness has also slowed tremendously thank s to the oil blend, and the infused horsetail herb. Many customers that use the Holy Grail Oil report a decrease in scalp flaking, and complete regrowth of thinning/broken edges — all inside of a month. I don’t have edge issues, but I always like to quote Suga Free in this regard — if you stay ready, you ain’t got to get ready! Holy Grail Oil is a little expensive, but if you are looking for an oil that will give you real results, it may be worth it.
· Juicy Nectar Spritzer: This spritzer has helped my hair tremendously recently, and I didn’t see it coming! I’m on day 4 of my wash and go, with the softest hair I’ve ever had. I have sprayed the spritzer into my hand and worked it through sections of my hair each night before bed, and sometimes in the morning to refresh. It is a huge 16oz bottle (honestly it seems bigger than that — my 16.9oz regular sized bottle of water is dwarfed by it) blend of water-based moisturizers, botanicals, and oils that can be used as a leave-in, sealant, refresher, and even skin moisturizer. It has a light floral/vanilla/toasted marshmallow scent that doesn’t linger. I am generally not a fan of spritzes and sprays, but Juicy Nectar might’ve just changed my mind. Check out my Instagram for more pictures of my hair using Juicy Nectar Spritzer!
· Oil Facial Cleanser + Refreshing Toner: I really like this duo, it has completely revolutionized my facial care routine. I’m trying to be more disciplined and have a facial care regimen, and the oil cleanser and toner both help out. The oil cleanser is perfect for those who are already using, or looking to use the oil cleansing method. The toner is super gentle, refreshing, and leaves your face with a cooling sensation afterward. Previously, I had been using witch hazel and apple cider vinegar to tone my face — both of which were effective, but drying. After using the oil cleanser and toner combination, my skin is super soft and moisturized, yet clean feeling — perfect for winter weather!
· Aloe and Green Tea Butter: I love aloe — in juice, gel, and butter form. The soothing and anti-oxidant rich combo of aloe and green tea in butter form just makes my day. This butter is creamy, lightweight, and incredibly versatile. I have used it to moisturize my hair edges and ends, as a facial moisturizer, and as an all-over body moisturizer, and more. It soaks right in to my hair and skin, and doesn’t leave a super greasy residue behind.
Ellas Concoctions is offering 25% off all orders now thru Saturday using code MO25
Interested in Ella’s Concoctions? Check out www.ellasconcoctions.com.
From Kyra’s Shea Medleys
Attention shea butter lovers! Kyra’s Shea Medleys is another relatively new brand, focused on high quality butter blends for an assortment of hair textures, types, and issues. The KSM brand is focused on ingredient integrity, and products that are effective and multi-use.
The KSM line offers an assortment of butter and essential oil blends that provide a wide range of benefits. My absolute favorites thus far are the Strength + Emollient Butter Cream, and the Rejuvenation Butter Cream. The Strength + Emollient Butter Cream is based in aloe vera juice, carrot seed oil, and mango butter. It is super soft, melts easily, and can be used from head to toe. I love to use it on my scalp between washes, or melt some down and apply it to my hair as a pre poo or henna mix-in. My absolute favorite Kyra’s Shea Medleys product is the Rejuvenation Butter Cream. It smells like mint chocolate chip ice cream — thanks to the cocoa butter and peppermint essential oil mixed in to the kokum and shea butters. I use the Rejuvenation Butter Cream specifically to keep my edges in tact overnight, helping to stimulate growth and keep my edges from thinning. Like I said before, if you stay ready!
Tempted by Kyra’s Shea Medleys? Visit www.kyrasheamedleys.com for more!
From tgin Moist Collection
I cannot stop raving about tgin! I love their entire line of products, and so do many of the people around me who I’ve introduced the line to. Great ingredients and great value are definitely the hallmarks of this brand. I love all of the products (I really do, and it was so hard to do this), but here are the 3 tgin products I won’t let my winter (or year round, really) hair live without:
· Sulfate-Free Moisture Rich Shampoo: This shampoo is so good it makes no sense. Moisturized hair truly does begin on wash day with this shampoo. Not only is it sulfate free, but it is extra gentle while being effective in terms of cleansing. My hair and scalp feel clean without being stripped. It has tons of slip, helping keep hair detangled. And afterward? You might just feel like you don’t need to condition (but of course, you do). My hair feels that way every single time.
· Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner: The Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner can easily be mistaken for a deep conditioner. It is rich, effective, moisturizing, and everything you’d expect from a deep conditioner — but it is a regular daily use conditioner. It is honestly a new favorite and staple product that I will carry with me into 2014. It leaves my hair silky, smooth, soft, velvety, conditioned, and detangled. What more could you really ask for?
· Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer: I love the Butter Cream Daily moisturizer — I loved it for both my transitioning and natural hair. It is super moisturizing, but does not leave greasy or oily residue behind. It acts as both a cream and moisturizer, leaving my hair soft, nourished and moisturized for days on end.
Start your wash day off right with tgin at www.tginstore.com.
What are some of your favorite small businesses to support, to keep your hair and skin moisturized during the Winter months?