The very good people at Head and Shoulders sent me a message asking if I was interested in getting styled by celeb hairstylist Sunnie Brook. Is that even a question? Heck yeah, I was interested. I messaged back Scotty Warp Speed to let them know just excited I was to have a phenomenal stylist lay some magic on my tresses.
I arrived at the “Beauty Box”, a small pop-up type salon at Head and Shoulders, and was greeted by the friendliest smiling face that was Sunnie’s. She immediately made sure I felt completely comfortable by proceeding to ask me about myself. I felt like I’d known her forever. That’s really the mark of a true stylist. You feel like she/he is a true friend.
The “Smooth and Silky” line promises frizz free hair while still keeping your scalp clean and healthy.
I arrived with my curls and she began working her magic.
The first step in Sunnie’s process was straightening out my tighter curls using a flat iron. Invest in a great quality flat iron because it gets the job done in half the time because the heat is high enough to straighten without damaging your hair.
Snapping the ever elusive mirror pic. I can never get those right. We are almost done with the straightening.
Almost There. I have thick, curly hair so straightening can be a process but Sunnie’s technique is quick and painless.
Look ma, no curls! Lol. I would have walked out and had been perfectly happy with the bone straight style but Sunnie was only in the middle of creating magic.
She used the medium barrel curling iron to create super sexy beachy waves. Proper equipment and products are key to creating million dollar styles.
How amazing are these waves though!!??
Here she is, Ms. Sunnie Brooke. Magic maker. Hair Slayer.
Can’t wait to give my Head & Shoulders, “Smooth & Silky” shampoo and conditioner a twirl.
Video of the process:
Shot by John Ricard
There are loads of different beliefs as far as what is best when it comes to washing curly hair these days but I can assure you that for my hair, it is necessary that I walk away from that shampoo basin with clean scalp. I use product (gels, curl creams, curl jellies and all types of curl shenanigans) in order to keep the frizz at bay. When wash day rolls around it is imperative that I wgrab a shampoo that can get to the root of removing all of these products from my hair and scalp.
Head and Shoulders was kind enough to send me their shampoo for textured hair and I am taking it for a whirl on “wash day.” Head and Shoulders is a staple and it works for keeping dandruff at bay. A clean scalp is necessary for growing long and strong hair so what better place to start than with a trusted shampoo.
After a deep shampoo and a leave in conditioner, I comb through my hair with a wide tooth comb and then brush through with a wide tooth brush. I then add my pure coconut oil to my hair and scalp (conservatively, not liberally) in order to guarantee a great shine. I am also trying a Txturepro comb and brush for the first time today.
The most recent Curlbox Natural box has been dubbed the “Bohemian Summer Box”. Who doesn’t love a Bohemian girl with free flowing curls? The box went on sale at curlbox.com and sold for $40. It’s a great deal because of the five full sized products that fill the box. The incredible True by Made Beautiful products are free of sulfates, parabens and silicones. I know that this is key for many curly girls but is not really a priority for me. I figured the sale of the box as a great time to try the “curly girl” styling products for the month of August and see if I really see a difference in my hair’s health.
The True products have a great fruity scent. It is infused with shea, honey, coconut and mango. There is a full line of products in your box to cleanse and style your curls. The co-wash was good but I have not been using a load of gels or styling products in my hair so there is not much to cleanse. I fear that if I go heavy on the gels then I may have to grab a bottle of shampoo. Overall, the line is great. I’m very pleased that I can use it on my daughter’s hair as well. I adore the leave-in-conditioner and the hydrating hair butter. Your curls are defined and left shiny with very little effort. (Oh, I did add some natural oil along with the hair butter for added shine. I placed a natural oil on my wet hair along with the hair butter and my curls dried defined and oh so soft.)
The signature Curlbox mag card with information about the products that you get in your box.
The “Curl Refresher”, “Hair Butter” and “Treatment Masque”.
The “Co-Wash” and “Leave-In”.
The full line-up of products from the Curlbox Natural.
I love air drying my hair in the Summer.
Hair that is about 90% air dried.
Wet Hair. You can already see the curls formed from the “Nourishing Leave-In Conditioner” and “Hair Butter” being applied. Then you wait to air dry.
Sitting with the “Insense Treatment Masque” after the co-wash.
I was scrolling through my twitter feed recently and saw a Head and Shoulders shampoo post. I reached out via “at” reply to let them know how much I love the shampoo and to my surprise they reached out and offered to send me some samples! What? How exciting!
**I feel the need to add a quick disclaimer much to my daughter’s chagrin. I don’t suffer from dandruff but my daughter has a dry patch on the right side of her temporal lobe. No joke. She has dandruff in a particular spot on her head. Her dad has the same dry patch btw and he lived for Head and Shoulders back in the days when he had hair. **
Now back to the story. So Head and Shoulders reached out because it truly is one of the only brands that works to eliminate her dandruff. I’ve tried to be economical and try the drugstore brands but ewww. Every drugstore brand leaves behind a scent of sulfur that is just unbearable. There is no sulfur smell with Head and Shoulders and how excited was I when I saw they made a line for textured hair. Win! The Co-Wash is my daughter’s favorite and she shampoos and detangles all by herself. Her curly hair is left manageable, great smelling and dandruff free.
Check out Head and Shoulders on Twitter and IG.
So this one time on Instagram my cousin and I won a Carol’s Daughter and Walmart collab giftcard and I balled out haaaard at www.walmart.com. I couldn’t have the Walmart in-store experience since, well, there aren’t any Walmart stores in Brooklyn, New York. The online shopping experience was great however. I was able to browse the products very easily and even got a few extra things other than hair products because the prices were that great. I was able to get a watch for my daughter for about 4 bucks. I bought myself a black jumpsuit for under 20 dollars and a microwave egg cooker. Don’t ask me why I got it because I don’t cooks eggs in the microwave but I had about 5 bucks left on my giftcard and I had to pick something up before checking out online.
My hair goodies (and misc goodies) all shipped and were delivered in about a week! Wow! This online shopping business is quite expedient. I have to admit that I am not much of an online shopper. I really like to see the goods that I’m buying. I cannot stand buying something online and have a certain expectation of what the product looks like and then it’s delivered and I’m stuck on sadface. Well, it did not happen here. Walmart delivered!
The Carol’s Daughter products were a real treat. It was great to have the full line and I can’t wait for shampoo days. I’ve used a majority of them before so I am a fan.
Let’s dig into my favorites:
The championship lineup. I made sure to order a shampoo, conditioner, leave in treatment, detangler, curl creme and hairdress. A full line is really essential for styles that are well defined and long lasting.
I have tried the “Hair Milk” and love it but have never tried the “Styling Pudding”. I live for a great curl pudding. I’m not sure how my curls survived before the invention of a good pudding.
Now THIS “Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner”, I really enjoy using. I spray it directly onto my scalp when my hair is braided or onto my hair when I’m wearing it curly for moisture, shine and just overall healthy hair. It is a staple of mine.
I’ve tried the “Black Vanilla Shampoo” but this is the first time that I’ll be trying the “Black Vanilla Conditioner”. Did I mention how amazing the Black Vanilla line smells? Yeah, it smells amazing. These two will leave your hair smelling great but not overly perfumed.
I received a small sample of this “Combing Creme” in an Essence Beauty Box and fell in love instantly. I normally detangle my hair and my daughter’s hair with spray detangler. You know the kids detangler you get from the drugstore. That was my staple but now I have a new one. This creme literally melts the tangles away. It makes combing through freshly washed hair so easy. Great for kids wash days.
This is so nice that I had to list it twice and look, there’s a wuttle baby version! I have been a fan of the “Mimosa Hair Honey” since Carol from Carol’s Daughter was selling her line out of her Brooklyn storefront. I tell you no lies. This pomade and I go way back. This pomade does not leave your hair dry and lackluster after use like most pomades that I use in my daughter’s and my hair. The shine and smoothness that it adds to the hair is incredible. Cruly hair is prone to drynesss but a little bit of this everyday goes a long way and helps to ward off the dryness.
Have you tried this Carol’s Daughter line? How do you like it and what are your favorites?
So it’s been a busier than usual hair week for me. I decided to do a “Wash n Go” early in the week because I wanted to try a Pantene Mousse instead of a curl cream. Before curl creams, my only weapons for curly hair victory was the mousse and gel. The mission was always to find a gel and mousse that did not leave my curls crunchy and hard. Crunchy curls are no fun to feel or detangle. I popped in to Walgreens/Duane Reade in NYC and saw they were having a BIG sale on hair products. They had an amazing 3 for 2 deal and I was there for it. I ran out of Pantene shampoo and conditioner and decided to re-up and then thought about trying the mousse for the wash and go. I saw “volume” on the canister and was sold. My hair has been thinning and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older of if my hair is just plain old damaged. I’m a lover of “big hair” and anything selling me volume is considered sold.
The Pantene Trio.
It guaranteed volume and that’s what it delivered honey! My hair was big and I was loving every minute of it. The only thing I added to this combo was some hair oil. Curly girls know that dry hair is the devil.
The curls were soft and bouncy. Just the way I like them.
So after about 3 days of volume and big girl curls, it was time to detangle (insert scared emoji face here). It really was not that scary. The front of my hair always detangles easily but the back, eeek. The nape is always a bit scary because this is the portion of your head that rubs against your coat or sweater and those elements cause the hair to tangle. I whip out the large tooth comb and my spray detangler and get to work and the hair was detangled in less than 15-minutes. The next day was a wash day for both my daughter and I and thought that the L.O.C Method would be good for getting some oils and moisture back into the hair and prepare for buns and braids.
Right, L.O.C Method? What’s that? Look above. I like the method and quite frankly, you were probably doing this before someone coined it as a method. After doing the L.O.C, I like to braid or plait my hair. I feel like everything is soaking in and I don’t have to worry about putting my hair through another detangle session anytime soon.
Which rituals have you been using lately?
“I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros.”
“I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.”
Those are probably the most decadent and provacative lyrics from Beyonce’s, “Formation”. Why? Because she was not only speaking to the masses and letting you know that Black is Beautiful but directly to Black Folk who make frequent comments on her baby’s hair texture and style and the size of her lover’s nostrils. The people who comment the most about Blue and Jay Z are people who look like Blue and Jay Z. We are the most offended by our hair texture and nose size.
We have been taught to hate our Blackness subliminally by the media and at times, within our own familial structures. There is a standard of Eurocentric Beauty that is upheld not just in our society but worldwide. There is an understanding that lighter skin, a narrow nose and fine features are what is considered beautiful. And the complicated topic of hair! Where do you begin with this tumultuous topic? There is a natural hair “movement” happening where Black women are embracing and wearing our hair the way it grows from our scalp. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? Oh, but it is. Hair has also been defined as a standard of beauty and straight hair has been a mode for upward social mobility within the Black Community. As a mater of survival, we have had to cover our scalps with toxic lye in order to take out the kinks that reminds us and the greater society of our Blackness. I can comfortably say that there is a huge change in the way society and our own communities have embraced our distinct kinks and curls.
But let us hone in on Beyonce’s visuals for a minute. Not her video but her. Her skin is a light shade of brown and hair is dyed blonde. She is a great performer, hard worker and is wildly successful. She might have contemporaries in her field who may be just as hard working and brilliant performers but may never achieve worldwide success because they may be a darker shade of Black but that visual has not been praised as brilliant and beautiful.
Beyonce is the epitome of what society upholds as beautiful but she wanted to remind y’all what she finds beautiful. She like her baby’s hair with baby hair and an afro. She likes her Negro’s nose with wide, Jackson Five nostrils. Those visuals are not what society considers beautiful but she covets it. With her influence, she is looking to debunk the myth of the American Beauty.
Don’t get too lost in all of the other lyrics that may not have too much of a political message. It is, after all, Beyonce. She is a Popstar not a Politician, not a Social Activist. She is a Black Woman who has experienced an amount of privilege because of her light skin and dyed blonde hair but she just wants to remind you to not let her “visuals’ fool you. She has that privilege today and she would have had it if she were alive 100 years ago in the American South. The visuals are to remind you that she is aware and she’s woke.
Hop on over to www.beyonce.com and watch if you haven’t seen the video already. While you are at it you can order a sweatshirt or a bag with a witty saying.
Don’t call it a comeback, curly hair has been here for years. Yup, I just did a play on words for one of my favorite rap songs of all time. If you don’t know, now you know. I can keep going. LOL. But really, if you are looking to add some oomph and volume to fine, straight hair, look no further than a Marcel Curling Iron and Sexy Hair styling spray. Our Fab Stylist,Brendan Dowling, armed himself with the proper tools to give Lauren the “go to” look for the season. Take a peek at the step by step below in order to create your own curls.
Lauren before her curls.
Brendan chooses to use “Sexy Hair” styling spray in order to get the desired volume and hold necessary for wearing curls.
First, you spray a light layer of volume spray onto the hair, making sure to focus on one small section at a time.
Next, you use your iron to create the soft Shirley Temple curls Remember getting those wen you were a little girl? But nope. These won’t stay Shirley nor Temple.
Finally, after you have curled all sections of the hair you spray some light holding spray and then do the “hair flip”. You finger comb those neat curls out and flip your hair to and fro in order to achieve the perfect bouncy do.
Photographer: John Ricard
Stylist: Brendan Dowling
Model: Lauren Casaranova
The shoulder length!!! Got some great layers and can wear it parted in the middle or side.
The side part option.
Shoulder length cut after it is blow dried and curled.
Hair at bra strap length. I found that my hair tangled more frequently and I often opted for the bun instead of wearing my hair “out”.
After wearing my hair both ways for some time now, I still cannot definitively say I like one style over the other. They both have benefits. I cut my hair to a shoulder length at least once a year. I’m not sure why. It’s almost a ritual at this point. When my hair is shorter , it is more difficult to scoop up in a bun so I end up styling it more. I prefer to run my fingers through my hair when it’s shorter. This is a more difficult task with long hair. My fingers are always caught up in my hair midway and my hands exit unsuccessfully after trying to get through numerous tangles.
It’s about that time of year again where I chop my hair to shoulder length but I don’t know if I’m quite ready. I have been religiously scooping my hair up in a bun so I haven’t really enjoyed it long. To be honest, a great wig or weave is calling my name right about now. I’ll keep you posted….
I’ve been friends with or following Jhaszmyn on Instagram for some time now. She is a creative and it was a great thing when I saw that she was doing henna tattoos ad not just doing the tats but also making house calls. It was too good to be true. I’ve been wanting to get henna-ed for some time now and I’m not sure why it took me this long. I suppose the time was never right and the right situation never happened till now. Jhaszmyn arrived at our noon appointment time and she was ready to get right to making art. She is super sweet and very creative. She was more than happy to give me the design on my choice and made sure I was happy with my choices.
After getting the henna, I now needed my photog extraordinaire hubby, John, to hook me up with some awesome photos. We worked together and got some awesome shots. He was kind enough to capture some beautiful images for me. It only took him a short period of time to do it but he created some stunners here.
What a great way to spend a Saturday!
Jhaszmyn, the henna artist, hard at work.
No real meaning or occasion for the henna. Just an outlet for some creativity that I was feeling.
Love the way these rosebushes matched the feel of the henna and the deep wine color of the nails is perfect in the midst of it all.
Feeling a little like bad Gal Rih Rih with these digits tatted.
The curls aren’t fully dried but I used “Creme of Nature’s” Butterliciuous Curl Cream on the curls today.
Henna Art: Jhasmynpratt