REVIEW | Camille Rose Lavender Collection Aromatic Growth System

Lavender-100 (1).jpg

Whenever wash day comes around, I consider it a full self-care experience -- aromatherapy with essential oils plays a huge role in my lineup especially depending on my mood. Typically when I want to relax before bed or destress, lavender is an excellent choice. Not only is lavender known for its aromatherapy benefits, but there are also amazing results for hair and skin.

When Camille Rose initially launched The Lavender Collection last year, it only consisted of three stylers: the Shaken Hair Spritzer, Crush Defining Gel and White Clay Edge Custard (now renamed Edge Glaze). Honestly, all of the products were huge game-changers for my 4C hair, but it was an in-and-out collection at Sally Beauty and ever since was sold sparingly on their site. Now it's back as a full "Aromatic Growth System" with everything from cleanser to edge gel! Last year, I filmed a twist-out tutorial and review on my YouTube channel, so decided to give an update on my thoughts here and share the very first wash & go video on my channel. 

Fresh Cleanse

This cleanser kind of reminds me of the Clean Rinse from Camille Rose, but with all of the benefits of lavender, jojoba and black elderberry. It lathers a little bit and leaves the hair/scalp feeling super clean without stripping the strands or dryness. Like other Camille Rose cleansers, I noticed that I could easily detangle while working Fresh Cleanse through my hair and I love that! To me, there's nothing worse than feeling dry and detangled after using a shampoo.

Quench Deep Conditioner

Lavender-126.jpg

Deep treatments are always so fun and therapeutic to use -- Quench Deep Conditioner is no different! There is a little bit of menthol in this treatment, so a slight cooling sensation can be felt on the scalp with use. I've seen some reviews where they felt the cooling sensation was too much, but others (like myself) either didn't feel anything major or didn't find it intolerable. Quench Deep Conditioner is a great, creamy conditioner that any hair type can use as well as low- and high-porosity hair.

Whipped Cream Leave-In

I never really like moving on to a gel without a leave-in conditioner, so I'm really glad that Camille Rose added Whipped Cream Leave-In to this Collection. Last year, I used Shaken Hair Spritzer as a liquid leave-in (which was okay), but sometimes my hair needs something thicker and this is it! In my opinion, Whipped Cream Leave-In acts as sort of a nice "primer" for the hair before adding Crush Defining Gel to style. However, cream leave-in conditioners like these can be so difficult to squeeze out of a bottle without a pump, so I hope they add one in the near future.

Lavender-111.jpg

Crush Defining Gel

Being a natural with 4C hair, it has been incredibly difficult to find the perfect defining gel. It always seem like most are better with looser curl types and don't have nearly enough hold to keep my kinky coils prominent and defined. I've been waiting on the return of this collection specifically for the Crush Defining Gel -- the other new products are certainly a bonus, by my gel has been long gone for many months. Luckily, I do not experience any flakes or residue when I use this one like I have with others. My coils also feels soft rather than hard and crunchy. Wash-and-go's have never been as amazing as they've been with Crush Defining Gel. 

Curl Maker vs Crush Defining Gel

There is quite a bit of difference between the two defining stylers from Camille Rose, Curl Maker and Crush Defining Gel. For me, it's more difficult to achieve a wash-and-go with Curl Maker, and when I do use it, I have to use Fresh Curl (my hair's absolute favorite Camille Rose leave-in). The hold is lighter whereas Crush Defining Gel has a much stronger hold that is perfect for naturals with type 4 hair who may be feeling discouraged in the wash-and-go department.

Shaken Hair Spritzer

Last year, I used Shaken Hair Spritzer as a leave-in conditioner during my styling process and a refresher during the week to make my style last. Now that there's an official leave-in cream, I only use this product to refresh and add shine to my hair before/after fluffing or separating my coils. No matter how I use it, Shaken Hair Spritzer definitely makes my hair even softer and adds moisture when it's feeling dry. As Camille Rose's first liquid refresher, I hope they make this in a smaller, travel-sized bottle one day so I can keep it in my backpack...but the fact that there's a new locking nozzle will hold me for now!

Lavender-118.jpg

Edge Glaze

Lavender-104.jpg

I can't seem to keep Edge Glaze in my possession because my mom loves it just as much as I do! Edge Glaze is a strong hold gel that can be used on the edges and/or to hold styles in place. While I can semi-appreciate EcoStyler for it's lighter hold, it just hasn't always done the trick for my kinky edges. Lavender as an ingredient also helps promote hair growth just as it does with the entire collection, so if you're experiencing thinning edges, this might be worth a try. I'm a little heavy-handed with edge control products and use quite a bit when I do, so I'll be stocking up once the collection is available individually. 

Watch My Tutorial:

Shop the Lavender Collection on Camille Rose's website

Photography by JaleesaCharisse

Clarifying Cannabis Sativa in Beauty | Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil

Hemp is such a huge trend in beauty right now. Several products are popping up on the market, but not all oils are equal and it can be quite difficult to clarify them. Many beauty brands want a piece of this $1 billion pie, so they aren't all clear about their sources or ingredients. In fact, the dozens of articles that do exist can easily confuse someone who is new to the idea of hemp and CBD oils.

First, let's break down the basics:

HempVsCBD.jpg

Hemp Oil

Hemp oil is pressed from the seed of the cannabis sativa plant. If you're looking to get high by consumption, it's not going to happen! Hemp oil contains low levels of CBD which means that it is super low in cannabinoids. It contains no THC, so it is non-psychoactive. 

CBD (Cannabidiol) Oil

CBD oil, or cannabidiol, is extracted from the flower, leaves and stalk of the cannabis sativa plant. You still won't get high since this oil contains very little to no THC making it also non-psychoactive, but you will be able to experience the many medicinal, or therapeutic, benefits. CBD oil obviously contains higher levels of CBD (thus the name), so there are more cannabinoids.

There are 113 phytocannabinoid compounds in cannabis resulting in different forms of CBD oil, so this is where it can get a little tricky when attempting to choose products and differentiate. 

Isolate vs Full Spectrum CBD

Isolate separates CBD from all other compounds in the cannabis sativa plant -- this is strictly CBD. Full spectrum can contain other cannabinoid compounds and may even have very small traces of THC. Depending on the benefits you are looking for, this is definitely something to pay attention to or ask about when doing your research and selecting specific products.

Uses & Benefits for Hemp Oil

While hemp seed oil or extract is used in several beauty products, it is greatly used for its nutritional benefits which makes it amazing for improving hair, skin and nails. 

  • Can help reduce inflammation
  • Grow stronger nails
  • Promote healthy and shiny hair
  • Helps alleviate skin conditions, like eczema
  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles; great for anti-aging

Uses & Benefits for CBD Oil

CBD oil is quite frequently used in skincare and body products for its therapeutic benefits. Many of the benefits for hemp seed oil apply to CBD oil, but here are some additional benefits:

  • Might help reduce and relieve stress and anxiety
  • Encourages overall skin, hair and nail health
  • Might help improve heart health and other internal systems
  • Might help relieve pain

Disclaimer: This blog post and graphics created by me is meant to aid in your overall research on hemp oil, CBD oil and/or the cannabis sativa plant. I am not making any medical claims and encourage all readers to do proper research for themselves before using these products whether orally or topically.

How To Achieve the 'Perfect Pout' with Sara Happ & Review

Last Saturday, I spent the afternoon with Sara Happ at Nordstrom (she's seriously the sweetest) -- I've wanted to try her products for a very long time, so I bought a few treats for my lips! While skincare has become one of my greatest topics on this platform, there are still areas of it that I'm interested in exploring more. Lip care is one of them. I've had an opportunity to try all of these products several times this week, so I want to share my thoughts and how I used all three to create the 'Perfect Pout'.

sarahapp-204.jpg
sarahapp-201.jpg

The Lip Scrub

sarahapp-205.jpg

When I sniffed the Sprinkles Red Velvet Lip Scrub, I absolutely had to have it! First of all, it smelled delicious. Second, I love to eat...so why not? Everything about this lip scrub was spot-on. While I've only owned this lip scrub for one week, I've used it about every other day and can totally vouch for it. It gently rids the lips of dead skin while moisturizing it with natural oils such as jojoba and grape seed. The texture is also much different than other scrubs I've tried -- many (like Lush) tend to be extremely dry or end up drying out quickly. I immediately noticed that Sara Happ's lip scrubs have a creamier texture and I could tell that the formula is packed with beneficial ingredients for repairing and nourishing lips. 

I also have Brown Sugar, but neither my sister or myself have dabbled in it yet; however, the ingredients are fairly identical aside from the flavor/aroma.

sarahapp-211.jpg

Sweet Clay Lip Mask

This little pink lip mask has made its way to my "Beauty To Try" Insta bookmarks probably every time I see it posted. Needless to say, I've wanted to try this particular product since it was released...and now I've finally tried it! 

In my opinion, good lip treatments that aren't just a bunch of hyped BS are really difficult to come by. Even I've been fooled by fancy marketing. *shrug* I once spent about $50 on a treatment and was highly disappointed with the results...or lack thereof. Sitting at a retail price of $32, I will say that I initially hesitated to purchase it because there are so many cheap little gel lip masks out there. Sweet Clay Lip Mask is pretty unique with it's frosting-like texture and ingredients such as bentonite clay, shea butter, and Swertiamarin which helps heal and regenerate the lips. According to the instructions, you can apply a generous layer to the lips for 2 to 20 minutes (I admit that I could be using more) and it does not dry down or crack. As of now on the market, I don't think you're going to find anything like it on the beauty shelves. I would definitely recommend if you want to add something new to your lip care routine for extra benefits.

Lip Slip One Luxe Balm

When it comes to lip balm, I'll use pretty much anything I already have if it contains natural oils, doesn't quickly rub away and won't leave my lips feeling tacky/sticky. This balm definitely fits that description and there are no weird tints, so any skin tone or complexion can use it. I maybe only have a few lip balms (not glosses) that I use on a consistent basis. It sort of reminds me of the translucent pink Jouer Lip Enhancer which I do use often alone as a gloss and under lipstick -- between the two, I noticed that Sara Happ additionally includes macadamia seed and sweet almond oil which are both great ingredients for lips. I also spotted copolymers which I believe help the product last much longer. If you're on the hunt for ONE good lip balm that you can use consistently in an everyday routine, then I would recommend this. It is also available in a tube like Jouer for easier application on-the-go. 

Watch the tutorial:

Shop This Post:

Does Oily Skin Need Hydration? | TULA Probiotic Skincare Routine & Review

The Answer Is: YES!

When TULA first sent their products my way to try out, I was a tad bit skeptical. I've tried so many skincare products that do absolutely nothing special at all for my skin and are, quite honestly, a waste of money. While some of these products just worked "okay" for me, others amazed me...so I definitely thought it was worth sharing my thoughts.

Tula-200.jpg

Step One: Cleanse

Purifying Face Cleanser

This cleanser with blueberry extract, turmeric and chicory root may seem like a gel at first sight, but it's actually a foaming cleanser which I noticed upon lather. I wasn't really super impressed with this particular cleanser and could probably switch it out with other formulas that I prefer more. It wasn't extremely drying, but I might not reach for it unless I run out of my faves. For my combination-oily skin and because I'm always wearing makeup, I would want to try the Kefir Replenishing Cleansing Oil out next time.

If I did continue using this cleanser, I'd probably use it when I double cleanse at night -- Kefir Replenishing Cleansing Oil first, then Purifying Face Cleanser. 

Step Two: Multi-Mask

Exfoliating Treatment Mask

Now y'all know I LOVE face masks and I was really excited to try the Exfoliating Treatment Mask with lactic acid and bentonite clay. For this formula, I received a small sample size, but I pretty much got the gist of it and a little bit goes a long way as you only need to apply a thin layer. The number one thing I love about this treatment mask is that it exfoliates while performing as a mask. I'm not the best at remembering to exfoliate; however, I never ever forget to mask -- it's one of my favorite beauty rituals! I believe in using a face mask at least two to three times per week and that's exactly how much we should be exfoliating. It's a total win-win.

How It Works: Apply a thin layer to the entire face, let sit for 5-10 minutes, press warm towel against face for 10 seconds, rinse and massage the mask away

 A closer look at the consistency of the Purifying Gel Cleanser 

A closer look at the consistency of the Purifying Gel Cleanser 

Tula-202.jpg

Step 3: Tone It Up

Pro-Glycolic 10% pH Resurfacing Gel

When I received these products, I couldn't figure out whether to use this or the Aqua Infusion Power Liquid first...but the Resurfacing Gel acts as a toner. I haven't had very much luck using toners/exfoliators with acids even with my skin of steel and I was reluctant to use it, but this one was very gentle. I've found that sometimes formulas can be way too harsh for my skin. The Resurfacing Gel is alcohol-free and combines 100% natural probiotics and glycolic acid to exfoliate minus dryness. It even has a hydrating effect with natural mushroom and beet extract which are said to be more hydrating that hyaluronic acid. *gasp* Contrary to what you may have heard, oily skin does need hydration, so don't shy away, Beauties! 

How It Works: Squeeze one to two pumps of the Resurfacing Gel to a cotton pad and apply to entire face. Let dry before moving on to apply serum.

Tula-112.jpg

Step 4: Boost with Serum

Aqua Infusion Power Liquid

Serums are usually some of the best formulas in a skincare line because they have the most powerful and concentrated ingredients. This means that there are more nutrients and vitamins for your skin to drink up! The Aqua Infusion Power Liquid is a gel-like serum that feels super hydrating from the very first touch. I really liked using this serum especially at night and the overall health my skin each day was wonderful in appearance and texture. The serum uses one of my favorite skincare ingredients for improving texture, prickly pear, as well as hyaluronic acid and lactococcus ferment lysate probiotic. If you're going to switch up anything in your daily skincare routine and need hydration, I would recommend giving this one a try.

How It Works: Squeeze a dime size of the serum onto fingertips and gently pat into skin

Step 5: Moisturize All-Day

Tula-110.jpg

Option 1: Hydration Day & Night Cream

Moisturizers seem to make my top favorites a lot when trying out a new skincare line. Between the Day & Night Cream and Gel Cream, I was so confused on which to use and when. I decided to use this one on most days in the morning and before bed. It contains rice nutripeptides, watermelon extract, retinol and Vitamin A. If you're really into skincare, retinol can be drying especially in serums where it's more likely to be stronger, so hydration is important. This cream gives your skin both a dose of retinol AND the hydration.

Option 2: Aqua Infusion Oil-Free Gel Cream

I tried the Aqua Infusion Oil-Free Gel Cream before going out just last night and I was stunned at how well my skin reacted even with makeup on. Even though the Hydration Day & Night Cream didn't leave my face feeling greasy and oily like a lot of moisturizers tend to, I think the Aqua Infusion Oil-Free Gel Cream just might be my absolute favorite out of everything TULA sent because...it's just a game-changer! 

I've tried countless face primers and setting sprays...and most of them keep the makeup in place, but don't prevent serious shine. It becomes a waste of money and it can get frustrating as hell. As a matter of fact, many moisturizers play nice with makeup...but this one takes the cake. Based on my experience, I would absolutely purchase it on my own to use as a moisturizing primer. The skin absorbs the hydration ,which is exactly what oily skin needs, and fights the oil. By the end of the night getting in after 1AM, my makeup was still in place and my skin was NOT shiny AT ALL. Usually it's an oil slick....but it had a natural, dewy glow and texture. I couldn't believe it. NEED this in the larger size ASAP. 


Shop This Post:

These products were received courtesy of TULA for review and editorial purposes; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

REVIEW | Aveda Cherry Almond Softening Shampoo & Conditioner

Hey Beauties! If you've followed this blog for a while, then you already know that I adore Aveda products for both skin and hair. As a matter of fact, their shampoo formulas are some of the few on the market that I truly trust for my kinky, 4C hair. Why is that? Aveda has been apart of my wash day routine for years

My Cherry Almond Story

As a little girl of color before the many black-owned natural hair brands lined the shelves, my mom would wash my hair with Aveda's Cherry Almond Bark (now simply called Cherry Almond) shampoo and conditioner. I absolutely dreaded the lengthy process of detangling and hot combing my hair before a fresh week of school, but I did look forward to the sweet scent of Cherry Almond Bark. There was nothing better than having my scalp massaged with a scent that I could only describe best as a little girl "like cherry pie". 

Each wash, I would request that my mom use this particular shampoo and conditioner. It made my early hair experience a thousand times better and I genuinely looked forward to it...until one day, my mom told me that she could no longer find Cherry Almond Bark and that it had been discontinued (in 2007) by Aveda. I was extremely crushed and hurt. We used what was left of the shampoo and conditioner we had and then it eventually became another distant childhood memory. 

Over the years, my mom and I have reminisced about the wash days when she used Cherry Almond Bark. This always lead me to continue hoping that Aveda would one day bring the duo back. I've searched the internet high and low for similar products, but could find absolutely none.

We Asked, They Answered

Last June, I tweeted Aveda practically begging them to bring back Cherry Almond Bark... (receipts from Twitter below)

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 9.30.51 AM.png
Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 9.30.59 AM.png

...and this summer they actually have! I was scrolling through Instagram on Sunday and stumbled across a post on Aveda's page for Cherry Almond -- apparently I was a few weeks late on the news thanks to the stupid IG algorithm. *rolls eyes* You can probably imagine just how ecstatic I was though! I literally bounced around the house singing and thanking the Aveda gods until I rushed out to the Aveda Experience Center at NorthPark Center a few hours later to pick up my own duo. And here I am to tell you all about the products I love so much...

Naturally Derived Ingredients

The Cherry Almond aroma is crafted by Aveda's pure-fume™ masters from an amazing 38 flower and plant essences which includes naturally derived tonka bean, ylang ylang and certified organic orange. Of course, both formulas also contain sweet almond oil and cherry extract.

Cherry Almond-123.jpg

Cherries offer a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants which can help promote hair growth; sweet almond oil is a personal favorite of mine and helps strengthen hair. Plus, I love to eat both of them as snacks!

Cherry Almond-106.jpg
Cherry Almond-108.jpg

You may notice that sulfates are used in the Softening Shampoo, but Aveda notes that babassu and coconut-derived ingredients are used meaning that the cleanse will be gentle rather than harsh and drying. The Softening Conditioner contains certified organic coconut oil and shea butter, but no silicones. See below for the ingredients listed on their website:

Softening Shampoo - Water\Aqua\Eau, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Propanediol, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Hydroxypropylsulfonate Laurylglucoside Crosspolymer, Babassuamidopropyl Betaine, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Prunus Serrulata Flower (Cherry) Extract, Glycerin, Glycol Distearate, Acrylates Copolymer, Polyquaternium-10, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Geraniol, Limonene, Sodium Phytate, Benzoic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate

Softening Conditioner - Water\Aqua\Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Prunus Serrulata Flower (Cherry) Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Lactic Acid, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Geraniol, Amyl Cinnamal, Citronellol, Limonene, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate

Beautiful New Packaging

The packaging for Cherry Almond Bark used to be very simple and in-line with the rest of Aveda's packaging at the time. Now, the packaging is much more updated across the board and the new Cherry Almond is no exception. The new bottles and tubes are a natural almond color with magenta outline silhouettes of cherry blossoms and caps/lids. It's super cute and a very nice design.

Cherry Almond-110.jpg
Cherry Almond-119.jpg

Step 1: Cherry Almond Softening Shampoo

In the shower, I began my routine by rinsing my hair with water under warm/hot water. I know that for us naturals a dime size of product doesn't always work for the entire head, so in order to prevent wasting I use a dime size at a time on sections of my hair. 

Consistency: This shampoo has a pretty normal consistency for this type of product; however it does remind me of the Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse. There is a pearly appearance and suds very minimally. 

Scent: Both the Cherry Almond shampoo and conditioner have the same sweet, floral scent. I loved massaging my scalp and stimulating the scent. Every Aveda scent gives a different experience aside from the benefits and results. They're all very enlivening, but this one is less herbal and floral-like.

The Results: Once through massaging, I rinsed the shampoo out with warm water. My hair didn't feel difficult to detangle and my hair also was not dry after using it...so that's a huge plus especially for curly, Black hair!

Step 2: Cherry Almond Softening Conditioner

After rinsing the Cherry Almond Softening Shampoo, I followed with the Softening Conditioner. I worked it through sections of my hair. Do to the scent, it was so hard for me to not squeeze it out in huge globs! I can be pretty heavy-handed when it comes to a good conditioner. Thinking to myself: dime-size, dime-size. I'll definitely have to invest in the liter sizes!

Consistency: The conditioner has a creamy lotion-like consistency. It also has pretty good slip and helps detangle the hair while distributing through each section. It's not a heavy or thick conditioner, so those with fine strands won't experience impossible tangles when using this. 

The Results: My 4C hair LOVES heavy products from conditioners to stylers because my high-porosity hair drinks up the moisture and hydration. The shea butter in the Cherry Almond Softening Conditioner leaves the hair very moisturized and soft after rinsing with cool water. Dry hair after rinsing my conditioner is no bueno for me, so I was happy with the results.

I followed by twisting out my hair using my favorite Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter blended with almond milk and honey because I like keeping with ingredient themes when it comes to my routines!

Cherry Almond-101.jpg

I am extremely happy that Cherry Almond is back on the Aveda shelves! It brings back so many childhood memories for me. I'm not sure if Cherry Almond is limited edition or if it will be permanent, but I'm crossing my freakin' fingers that it will remain available for a long time! Aveda, I know I said "just one more time"...but can Cherry Almond stick around?! I am considering purchasing the larger liter sizes next month because I'll be CRUSHED if I don't have some to last me for a WHILE. I highly recommend you try it out while it's available, Beauties! See below for a code to sample them and receive free shipping on your next order.

Cherry Almond is free from animal by-products, silicones, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, gluten and synthetic fragrance. These products are 98% naturally derived.

Shop Aveda Cherry Almond Shampoo & Conditioner // Receive a free Cherry Almond sample duo + free shipping with any order using code: SOFT78

Disclaimer: I purchased Cherry Almond Softening Shampoo & Conditioner with my own money. This post is not sponsored by Aveda. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.