5 tips to protect your hair while protective styling (ft. AddWigs)

There are lots of people who say that you shouldn't keep a protective style (sew-in) in your head for more than 2 months at a time. This may be true for some, but for me, I believe that you can keep a protective style in longer IF you know how to take care of your hair while doing so.

This is month 2 that I've had my sew-in and I wanted to share with you all my top 5 tips for maintaining your hair under that protective style. 

  • Make sure that you leave out your edges (front, side & back) to prevent breakage. These areas are the most sensitive part of your hair and excessive stress can prevent growth.
  • Get a protective style that matches your hair type/texture as close as possible! If you are a natural and leave out your edges and you install silky straight hair, you will tend to flat iron your natural hair so that it "blends in". Excess heat will cause breakage and minimize growth. Remember the point of a sew-in is to PROTECT your hair from damage.                                                                          

 If you want a specific type of texture that your natural hair doesn't match, try a lace closure (that's what I have), works perfectly!!

  • Moisturize your hair (and new growth as it comes in) with natural oils and/or liquid moisturizers (leave in conditioners are great). Make sure that you use a spray bottle and distribute evenly with your fingers.
  • Wash your hair at least twice a month with a clarifying/hydrating shampoo (Giovanni has a great one). Make sure to take your time and go through each braided section. Make sure that you rinse thoroughly to ensure that your hair is free of shampoo and sit under a hooded dryer (to help minimize the chance of mildew in your natural hair).
  • As you would do with your natural hair, protect your install at night by using a satin bonnet, scarf or pillow case. 
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It is also imperative that when you are protective styling that you use quality human hair to also maintain the longevity of your hair. Add Wigs has a great selection of quality human hair at an affordable price. They have textures for all types of hair- from straight to kinky curly which is a big plus because not all companies cover the range of hair types. Also, if sew ins are not your thing, then you can also try a U-part wig and they have a great selection of those. A U-part wig will get you the versatility of a sew-in without the full time commitment. You can still protect your real hair under the wig (which most likely will be braided), but at night you can take off the wig!

Make sure you head over to their site for 15% off and free shipping over $69.

 

Every one knows their hair and what works for them..... These are things that I do to my hair every night to ensure that my natural hair is taken care of and to preserve the life of my install.  For me, this keeps my hair healthy every time I take down my sew-ins.


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Maple Holistics | Tea Tree Shampoo & Conditioner (review)

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 I was recently contacted by Maple Holistics to try out their Tea Tree collection. I must say that I never heard of the brand, so I decided to do a little research about the company before I gave them a yes, and what I found out I did love.

Maple Holistics carries a line of hair, skin, bath, body and personal care products for men and women. They even carry healthy snacks like nuts and berries for consumption. The company believes in creating natural and holistic products using high quality ingredients and therapeutic agents that are sulfate and cruelty free as well as safe for color. 

Tea Tree Shampoo- medium consistency, but it is very concentrated and lathers up very well, even on the first wash when product build up is most potent (a little goes a long way).

Tea Tree Shampoo- medium consistency, but it is very concentrated and lathers up very well, even on the first wash when product build up is most potent (a little goes a long way).

I was really excited to try this line out because as of lately ya girl has been having a very itchy scalp and I don't suffer from dandruff (it may be that I don't wash my hair every week and just the environment). The reason being is because Tea Tree has great medicinal proprieties, such as killing bacteria strains, viruses and fungi. In addition it contains natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and one of the many benefits is that it helps to treat dry and itchy cuticles (raises hand high). 

Upon my first lather, I felt and smelled the Tea Tree working it's magic with it's tingling sensation and fresh camphoraceous scent (a clean, sharp, slight medicinal smell...... my geeky biology/chemistry background coming out). I did not need to use a lot of it, maybe 2 quarter sized amounts per wash was good enough for my thick hair. 

Tea Tree Conditioner- medium in consistency, but very concentrated (again, a little goes a long way, no need to over saturate).

Tea Tree Conditioner- medium in consistency, but very concentrated (again, a little goes a long way, no need to over saturate).

When it's time to condition after my wash, I don't towel dry, I leave my hair soaking wet, because I don't want to disturb my curl pattern and it helps me to use less conditioner (ladies, you know we stay piling it on). I was skeptical using this conditioner because lately my hair has been acting very restrictive- not absorbing the conditioner (short version, my hair was not feeling silky smooth and my curls weren't poppin). However, upon using this conditioner, my hair ate it up and I could tell because when I steamed my hair, my curls were hanging and becoming more defined. Before, with the other 2 conditioners.... under the steamer, my hair was a flat matted mess.

One thing I wish was different was the use of the Tea Tree oil in the ingredients. Seeing as it was listed towards the bottom of the ingredient list, I am assuming not much was used. Although there were other natural oils and botancials used and tea tres by natural is potent, it still would have been nice if a bit more was used.

However..... I would definitely recommend you try this line out or any of their products. It will be money well spent. Also you can get your free samples here


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Hair Talk: How Often Should You Deep Condition?

TheKaShonnaFiles.com

Think of deep conditioning like this- when you stop your life to watch Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder and Empire. Yes ladies, it's THAT NECESSARY! Deep conditioning, especially for my natural chicas is essential if you want to have healthy hair.  Not only does deep conditioning install moisture, improve elasticity and make your hair manageable for styling, it also provides key vitamins and nutrients to sustain your hair until your next wash day.

For me, I deep condition under my steamer after every wash, which is usually once every 2-3 weeks. The results leave my hair softer with more moisture, and less frizz when my hair is styled versus when I just co wash.

 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A GOOD DEEP CONDITIONER

  • Penetration. A good deep conditioner should "go deep" into the hair shaft and stay there. 

  • Emollients and Humectants. Your deep conditioner should contain lubricants that will help coat the hair for added slip and help to seal the cuticle which in turn will help prevent your hair from losing moisture and help alleviate frizz.

  • Protein. This is the most important ingredient that a deep conditioner should contain because protein is a macro nutrient that your body is made up of and needs multiple times a day. Protein will help your hair grow as well as build, strengthen and repair keratin.

INGREDIENTS THAT "GO DEEP"

SOME OF MY FAV DEEP CONDITIONERS

SOME OF MY FAV DEEP CONDITIONERS

Here are some ingredients you should look for in your deep conditioner that will penetrate the hair shaft because of their small molecular weight...

  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Olive Oil (extra virgin)
  • Argan Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Castor Oil

INGREDIENTS WITH SEALING PROPERTIES

Here are some emollients and humectants that will stay on top of the hair to seal in moisture because of their high molecular weight...  

  • Shea Butter
  • Vitamin B5 (panthenol)
  • Mango Butter 
  • Fatty alcohols(ex: lauryl, cetyl,  stearyl, cetearyl, lanolin, isocetyl and isostearyl act as softeners for your hair)
  • Aloe Vera

EugeniaShea.com has an amazing Shea butter that also includes Shea oil, Baobob oil, and Moringa oil that gives your hair a one stop shop to receiving antioxidants, vitamins A,D,E & F as well as essential fatty acids.

 

TIPS FOR DEEP CONDITIONING

Hydrated Curls after deep conditioning under the steamer

Hydrated Curls after deep conditioning under the steamer

  1. Deep condition after every shampoo day.

  2. Add heat with a steamer or hooded dryer for at least 30 minutes to open your hair shaft to penetrate  and increase absorption rate (time depends on hair porosity).

  3. Rinse with cool water to close the cuticle and prep for styling.

 

How do you deep condition? What are some of your favorite products? Comment below.....

Golden Rules for Care of Long Hair

natural-hair-straightened.jpg

It was meant to be Samson - a man - who lost his strength when his hair was cut. But for most modern women, the same concept sounds incredibly familiar, doesn't it?

There's something about long hair that most of us can't resist. It becomes a form of security blanket, separating us from the world and giving us our own private space. Whether you wear it natural or straighten it out, there's no denying the feeling that there is something more inherently feminine about long locks. Many a reality TV show contestant has had a meltdown when faced with the idea of her hair being cut. While we may judge their melodrama just a smudge, there's also a part of us that thinks: "I get it. If someone tried to cut off my hair I'd do more than just cry..."

So for most of us, we're the female equivalents of Samson. Our hair is our crowning glory. Not only do we feel the psychological and confidence-related boosts of long hair, but we also treasure the practicalities. There are more style options to play with and more styling products to use to create different looks. 

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Long hair remains the thrall for most of us - but does that mean we know how to care for it?

It seems not. It's easy to think that if hair is long it is healthy; after all, unhealthy hair would not be able to sustain the length - or so we think. Yet as soon as your hair gets past a certain length (around ear length), the demands placed upon you to maintain its luster begin to grow.

What such demands? It's simple enough - so long as you know the golden rules to follow. As soon as your hair begins to gain any length at all, you have to swear to abide by these - or risk a frizzy, untamed mess that you'll never be able to get to look good...

Golden Rule #1: You Do Need To Cut It

When you are growing hair out, the idea of taking a pair of scissors to it is anathema. It's not helped by the fact that we have all had a hairdresser experience that was less than thrilling. It’s all the more concerning if you have difficult or natural hair - anything a hairstylist has less experience with is rife for errors. We have all bitten the inside of our cheeks, nodded our assent to the stylist and then walked home crying - why risk that again given you're growing it out anyway?

Hair needs regular trimming to keep its shape, prevent split ends and ensure it's growing uniformly. Just don't go back to a hairstylist that has upset you in the past - ask friends or click here for recommendations to prevent future catastrophe.

Golden Rule #2: Search and Destroy

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Long hair - no matter how you wear it - is more likely to suffer stresses, which can lead to split ends and torn strands. Every few days, go through the ends of your hair on a "search and destroy" mission. You can't heal a split end, so when it happens, the best thing to do is just remove it entirely.

Golden Rule #3: Keep Products Light

When your hair is longer, gravity plays more of a role in how you want to style it. The longer it is, the less product you should be using to control it. This is especially true of the roots, which can be pulled down and cause even the most natural curls to lose their oomph. Keep conditioner and other smoothing products from the ears down, leaving the roots to do their own thing.

Golden Rule #4: Scalp Massage

Massaging your scalp should be a regular part of any hair care routine, but it's especially important when your hair is long. A quick massage stimulates blood flow to promote healthy growth, and will also help rid you of loose hair that can make things look messy.

Don't be alarmed by hair loss, especially if you have used weaves or extensions in the past - when your hair is long, more fall is to be expected thanks to gravity. It may take awhile for your hair follicles to adjust to hair being longer and heavier.

Golden Rule #5: Don't Wash Too Often

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Excessive washing will make hair harder to style. Given styling is an essential for long hair, you don't want to make life more difficult than you have to! Washing once or twice (depending on your hair type) a week is more than sufficient, with a quick spritz of dry shampoo to keep your roots fresh where needed.


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Vital Products Every Girl With Natural Hair Needs

Ladies....

As you might know, I'm passionate about natural hair. You can do whatever you like with your hair, but if you keep it natural, it deserves to be cared for. There are several things you should and should not do if you want to keep your locks in good condition. It's a careful balancing act to keep it hydrated without weighing it down and keep it clean without drying it out.

I have a list of essential products that every girl with natural hair should keep in her bathroom. It includes products to use in your hair and items you can use to style it.

Check out some of my essentials....


Natural Shampoo and Conditioner

I'm all about keeping things natural when it comes to my hair. I don't want any nasty chemicals ruining its delicate balance. So I'm always on the lookout for organic products that won't do any damage. 

Your shampoo and conditioner are often the two products you use the most. If you use them all the time, they have to be kind to your hair. There are lots of products to choose from that contain natural ingredients. Right now, I am loving the CURLS "Blueberry Bliss" Hair Wash and Leave in Conditioner because of their natural and sulfate free ingredients and they are packed with protein, amino acids and other naturally powerful oils and botanicals to keep my strands moisturized, hydrated and healthy.

In addition, it's also a good idea to have a deep conditioner that you use regularly or at least every other wash for added hydration for your curls.

 

Spray Bottle

The holy grail of natural hair....

Too much product can weigh your hair down, make it stick together or worse, make it look greasy. It's often better if you can spray products on because you can get a finer mist. Not everything comes in a handy spray bottle, though, so some empty ones can be very useful. Just add whatever you want to the bottle and start spraying. It can be one of the most versatile hair products you own. You can just fill it with water or with oil if you want to smooth down some flyaway hairs. Make your own mixes too so you can get the perfect formula.

 

Hair Wrap

When your hair is looking its best, you want to protect it. A lot of women use a wrap to keep their style while they're sleeping, working out, or doing other things. Scarves are popular choices for protecting hair. A wrap can be more convenient, though, especially if a scarf won't stay on at night. I recently tried one out, and it felt secure and kept my style in tact for the next day.

 

Oils & Serums

Products containing oils will help to keep your hair hydrated. There are so many different products you can try. Coconut oil is often a favorite, but you can also find argan oil, almond oil, and much more. Finding one you like is a process that you have to explore. 

I am loving the Rosarco Oil by Briogeo because it contains many oils like rosehip, coconut, argan, sunflower and rosemary oils to name a few and it keeps my strands silky and smooth and protects it from the harsh chemicals in the environment.

 


There are lots more products every girl with natural hair should have. These are just some of them so find the ones that work for you, but whatever you do, remember not to overdue it because too much of a good thing is just that, too much.


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Super Defined Braid Out w/ L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil Collection

For all my naturals out there, YOU already KNOW how we are about our hair and the products that we put into it.... no sulfates, no harsh chemicals, etc, etc. So needless to say, I was a bit skeptical to try the new L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil collection because all products are not made the same and what works good for ladies with straight or relaxed hair is not always the best for use kinky/curly chicas.

So before we get into the review, let's talk a little bit  about these products....

Influenster and L'Oreal Paris handpicked myself and a few other bloggers to try out their new line of hair care products. The Extraordinary Oil Collection is a 4 part system formulated to restore and nourish dry hair. It contains lightweight essential oils like Argan, Chamomile, Coconut, Amla, Soja and Sunflower to revitilize, moisturize and add shine to hair. It's mentioned to eliminate dryness in just 1 wash.

My Review

I was surprised at how the products worked in my hair. With the shampoo containing our dreaded frenemy as naturalistas... SULFATE, it actually did not dry out my hair and I was very surprised at how moisturized and shiny it left it (I have black permanent color on my hair, so the curls were DEF poppin). The conditioner is semi-thick in consistency easily detangled my hair, so I was happy about that.

When it came to the styling process... I used the oil-in- cream along with my Hello Curlies gel and they paired really well together with no sticky or white residue. The oil-in cream, really helped to maintain that softness and sheen from the wash process which I really liked. I used the Oil serum during the take down process of my braid out and it really helped with elevating frizz. NOW I know a lot of bloggers say this, but seriously, you don't need a lot of this oil and it really did help with preventing frizz because when I separate my hair, as much as I try, I do get some frizz but not this time!!

Here are more pics of the finished results...

BOMB.com!!!

You can find out where to buy these products by visitng L'OREAL's website and if you are skeptical about the shampoo, make sure you definitely try the other products. The conditioner can definitely double as a deep conditioner and the cream oil leave in and oil serum are amazing.

MAKE SURE YOU CHECK OUT THIS STYLE FROM START TO FINISH ON MY LATEST YOUTUBE TUTORIAL


DISCLAIMER: This post was sponsored by L'Oreal Paris via Influenster, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!


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My Experience at DRYBAR Atlanta

On Tuesday, I was invited to get my hair done at the Drybar located in Buckhead. If you don't know what Drybar is, it is a salon that specializes specifically in blowouts- no cutting, color... just blow outs. 

I was VERY nervous about getting my hair done because 1) I have natural hair... 2) I had never been to the salon before... 3) Not everyone KNOWS how to properly straighten natural hair for it to revert back properly to it's natural state and 4) Did I mention I have natural hair?!!! Needless to say, my anxiety definitely kicked in when I walked in the door.

The atmosphere of the salon is very light, airy, cute and contemporary, giving you that Southern L.A. feel (hence the 1st Drybar was founded there), with the humming sounds of blow dryers galore!! The stylists were busy at work performing fabulous miracles on these ladies hair- they walk in looking 1 way and walk out looking like a million bucks... seriously! No Lie!! What "sorta" eased my natural hair anxiety was that the women walking in to get their hair done did not look THE SAME. I saw black women, white women and Asian women being services by stylist who were also of different races plus I saw some textured haired ladies.. yes, Yes and YES!! BUT... let's not get ahead of ourselves, I was being haunted by a bad heat damaging hair experience.

My stylist was Rain and she came over and greeted me with a smile and complimented me on my natural hair. We had a quick style consultation and then she took me back to the wash station where she cleansed and conditioned my hair. My only note about the wash process is she only washed my hair once and did not leave the conditioner in long enough for my curly coils to process it. What I absolutely loved about the wash was they use super soft microfiber towels to dry the hair so they don't pull or snag at the hair... Yes!!

After the wash process, I asked Rain again if she knew how to straighten natural hair and with a smile she said "yes". She began the blow drying process by using the Drybar Velvet Hammer "Hydrating Control Creme" and the Hot Toddy "Heat Protector Frizz Fighter". She took small sections of my hair and began to blow drying my hair with the Drybar Buttercup Blowdryer. What I love about this hair dryer is that it is bioionic and unlike that 1 time I went to the Dominicans and almost had my brain fried (no shade), I did not feel any heat and it had me wondering if it was even doing the job. Rain blew my hair out with ease doing each section of hair inch by inch not to damage my curls and with each section, I felt more at ease. After the blow dry she used the Drybar "Treatment Oil" flat iron to straighten my hair and then followed up with the curling iron to give me the Cosmo-Tai hair style. To finish up, she used the Drybar "Flexible Hold Hairspray".

Needless to say, I loved my style and the way that Rain used care to straighten my hair. What I will say to all my natural curly/coily ladies who are thinking about trying this place out... Do it because it all depends on the stylist and their experience and comfort level with doing this type of texture.. not the salon. My one recommendation is that since there are lots of natural ladies (black and white) that come into the salon, they should think about adding a hair steamer for deep conditioner, because it makes sure that our curls have extra moisture for heat styling and it is just an added bonus for relaxed and straight ladies.

I will definitely come back to the salon for my Rain experience! Check out their website HERE to learn more about their services.


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Target Beauty Box Unboxing

When I found out about the new Target Beauty Box from my boo @HeyCurlie, I rushed to the website so fast to order mines! This was an amazing deal that I could not past up on... 6 generous size product samples for $5 + free shipping- yes, Yes and YES!!

Here’s what I got in my Target Beauty Box:

target, beauty box, target beauty box, dove, dove creme serum, jane carter solution, jane carter solution leave in conditioner, aquaphor, shea moisture, shea moisture styling lotion, jbco, Jamaican black castor oil, curls, natural hair, natural hair products, curls creme brule, colgate, colgate toothpaste, toothpaste, colgate optic white, beauty, hair products, hair care

  1. Jane Carter Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner – Who doesn't love Jane Carter Products?! I remember when I first went natural, these products definitely helped me get a handle on my hair and for that, I have always been a fan. Their leave in conditioner is amazing at de-tangling all hair types while leaving the hair moisturized and soft.
  2. Dove Quench Absolute Crème Serum - I had never heard of this product, but when I read up on it, I was very curious to try it. I did use it to take down my two strand twists and I liked the way that it moisturized my hair. Next time, I plan on trying it as a styler. Stay tuned on the results....
  3. Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil – JBCO has been the talk around town from a lot of bloggers and naturally curly ladies with regards to stimulating hair growth, so I was excited to see that in this product. 
  4. Curls Crème Brulee Whipped Curl Cream – Love CURLS, so of course I was excited to see it in the beauty box. If I  use the creme brule, it's as a daily moisturizer because it does not give enough hold for my tighter curl pattern but it contains ingredients like shea butter, sweet almond milk, and aloe leaf juice to keep my curls soft and help fight frizz.
  5. Aquaphor Healing Ointment – I love their products because it has so many mulit uses- lip moisturizer, make up removal and to soft the skin (especially the fee). I love that it came in a cute travel size so that I can pop it in my purse and use as needed. 
  6. Colgate Optic White Platinum Express White Toothpaste - You can never go wrong with toothpaste! Although I haven't tried this particular brand of Colgate toothpaste, I'm curious to give it a go especially since it guarantees whiter teeth in 3 days- who doesn't want whiter teeth? 

The box also included a 20% off coupon for Dermstore and a $3 off coupon to use at Target.

I know Target has had beauty boxes in the past, but it seems like they had a special place in their hearts for us curly haired girls this time around and I'm here for that!!

The box is currently sold out, but you can head over to Target.com to pick up full size versions of everything!

9 Hair Tips To Keep You Flawless For Date Night With BAE

                                                                Wand Curls on stretched hair.

One of the most important steps of preparing for a night out is getting your hairstyle right! If you don’t take your time with it, it will end up going flat or puffy (for my natural gals) after about an hour or so - def not a good look! If you don’t cut corners, your ‘do’ can really make you stand out in a crowd and keep BAE drooling for you all night.

So I have 9 tips to perfect your night out hairstyle!


1. Research/Prep Your Style

Why not try and be a little more adventurous and find something new to try from a tutorial on the internet? Pinterest and Youtube are great places for inspiration. Pick something a little different, such as a plait incorporated within your usual loosely curled hair.

2. Practice First

If you’ve chosen something new to try, make sure to have a quick attempt first to see if it will look good on you! The worst thing you can do would be to spend so much time getting it right, only for it to fall out when you get there!

                                     Twist out on freshly washed hair w/ front pinned up

3. Use A Good Conditioner

Using a good conditioner is really important to making your hair look shiny and soft, ready for your night. I have reviewed plenty that you can choose from! If your hair is really damaged, it might be worth looking at getting a deep conditioning treatment.

4. Tame Your Hair

Spritz some anti-frizz into your locks to help when you are styling! If you are natural like me,  an oil serum would also help to keep your hair in place.

5. Back Comb

If you have straight hair- back-combing a little bit at the roots is a great way to create volume. Lift up sections of hair and back-comb underneath. Do not do it on the top! You want volume rather than a bed head!

If your natural- break out that pick and fluff and separate to create volume.

                                       Twist Out- fluffed and separated with a pick and hands.

6. Use Extensions

Extensions are a brilliant way to add some serious glamour to your hairstyle. Virgin hair companies supply some fabulously thick hair extensions that come readily waved or straight.  

                                             Virgin wavy hair extensions, loosely wand curled.

7. Dry Hair Shampoo

Dry hair shampoo can be your surprising new best friend if you have straight or very loosely wavy/curly hair. As well as removing excess grease in your hair, this product can create even more volume for your ends!

8. Do Not Use Too Much Hairspray

As bomb as hairspray is, be sure to be sparing with it. Though you want your hair to stay put, you’ll still want it to bounce and have some life to it and not leave your hair with a nasty sticky residue. Besides, the less you use, the more you’ll be able to still smell your lovely conditioner!

9. Take Spare Bobby Pins With You!

No matter what style you chose, be sure to take some bobby pins with you just in case. If you’ve decided to put some of your hair up, the extra pins will be your Savior when it comes to dealing with flyaways. If all of your hair is down, they may come in handy if your bangs are irritating your face later on in the night.

 

Sound Off: What is your go to style for date night with BAE?


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Tutorial- Bantu Knot Out w/ the Hydra Steam Moisturizing System

In this tutorial, I'm reviewing the Hydra Steam Moisturizing System from SoftSheen-Carson using my professional Hair Steamer on my friend Marissa. Her hair is currently heat damaged (mostly in the front) and she wants to transition back to her gorgeous curls. I believe this system is going to make her hair stronger and help create amazing moisture for her two textures. 


The Hydra Steam Moisturizing System is a five-part system that gives hair ultimate hydration to provide you with frizz-free curls with definition and moisture. These products contain aloe, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help restore the pH balance in the hair.

FEATURED PRODUCTS

  • Sulfate-Free Cleanser removes build-up in the hair, helps to hydrate and preps it for your conditioning steam treatment. 
  • The Steam Masque is activated by using steam (preferably from a hair steamer) to infuse your hair with water and install moisture.
Hydra Steam Moisturizing System- The KaShonna Files
  • Moisturizing Sealing Spray is a leave in conditioning spray you use after your steam treatment that ensures moisturizing ingredients are secured in your hair for lasting moisture.
  • Curl Designing Cream gives a medium and flexible and leaves your hair with lots of moisture and definition with frizz control.

I am loving how this system makes natural hair more manageable and defining!  Have you tried these products yet?