Product Review: Free Your Mane Series (Reviving Spray)

Authors Note: Free Your Mane was kind enough to give product for me to sample.

Free Your Mane. The story of this company warmed my heart. In 2003, Israel because the proud adoptive father of two African American sons. Well, He tells the story better than I do. From his website:

In 2003 I became the proud adoptive father of African American twins. One of the trickiest and most important responsibilities for me was grooming, and I was eager to meet that challenge with love and care. As someone with coarse, curly hair, I have shopped in the 'ethnic hair' section of the beauty supply since I was a teenager. On the hunt for the elusive solution to my own hair issues, I became very familiar with those products.

Surprisingly, most of the same products that I'd tried as a teenager in the 1980s were still on the shelves, and with the same old formulations. They are composed primarily of cheap fillers, low quality ingredients such as petrolatum and mineral oil — basically the waste from the petroleum manufacturing industry.

The other options were the all-natural 'kitchen' remedies responding to the nascent green market.

I tried them all. The mineral oil based products were somewhat effective, but ultimately too greasy, outdated and unhealthy. The natural products were ineffective and overly fragranced.

Working in fashion and advertising for the past twenty-five years has kept me current on the amazing breakthroughs in chemistry which have benefited the beauty industry. It became clear none of these advances had made it to the African American hair care market.

My frustration echoed the frustration of countless others. Every African-American woman I spoke to had shelves full of disappointing products - there was a powerful need to be met.

This was the birth of Nola Industries, Inc.

After three years of intensive research, development and testing, I am thrilled to announce the arrival of free your mane, a revolution in black hair care. The free your mane product line has been developed for adult women of color whose needs, until now, have been summarily ignored by the beauty industry.

All free your mane products blend the best of nature and science. We fuse the finest natural ingredients with cutting edge technology for a modern, stylish and very lightly fragranced product. We ban mineral oil, petrolatum, sulfate, phthalates and parabens from our entire line. 

As the guardian of my children's future, I was driven to create a product that is eco-conscious and sustainable, while promoting social responsibility. With this inspiration, I created "SE%EN," the nonprofit division of Nola Industries, Inc. 

Amazing huh? I thought so. There are several products that they sent me to try out, so I am doing this as a series.

Reviving Spray
I love this stuff. Basically, I do not have to wash and go everyday with this.  It has a mixture of baobab seed oil, Argan oil, and pomegranate oil. I spray it on my hair. It rewets my hair and moisturizes it all in one swoop. I can then fluff my hair out with my hands and go! Love it!
It really is moisturizing. My hair feels good without feeling greasy. I love it. 
One thing I am not a fan of is the smell. I like really light smells. Floral, lemony, and light. This is kind of a heavier scent. It reminds me of an amber musk type scent. 
I would purchase this product. It's a great addition to my styling regimen.

Product Review: Hair Rules

The people at hair rules were uber kind enough to send me product samples to review. I chose the Hair Rules nourishment leave-in conditioner and the Hair Rules kinky curling cream.
I like the fact that the product is light smelling. It’s packaged in small convenient bottles that I can pack in my purse if needs be. The designs on them are too cute for words. I mean, C’mon!

So, I had a bit of a problem with the directions on these. I am used to applying leave-in conditioner out of the shower. Let me type out the instructions on both of these bottles and see if you can make sense of it:

Leave-in Conditioner: Apply a nickel size dollop to damp hair and leave in. Add more based on thickness and length of hair. Apply Kinky Curling Cream, Curly Whip, or Wavy Mousse and dry naturally, or blow dry using a diffuser. Follow with Hydrating Finishing Cream.

Then, the Kinky Curling Cream: Use in the shower! Apply to soaking wet hair. Saturate hair with product in sections, while smoothing and stretching with fingers or a wide-tooth comb. Do not rinse! Lightly re-wet hair, what you see is what you’ll get. Air dry or set wet curls under a hood dryer. Follow with Hydrating Finishing Cream.

Does anyone see where I got confused? Am I to apply the leave in conditioner in the shower and then follow up with the Kinky Curling Cream? That is what I did. Directions be damned.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been dealing a lot with shrinkage in my hair. I am happy to say that this product helped out A LOT with that. It made it look like I had a full head of hair again, and not some teeny weenie afro. I was able to rock my puff at Anderson Apple Orchard today!

I know, I look too cute for words… I just got that top from Old Navy too! My eyebrows need plucked desperately though.

The one major problem with this product that I have is that it takes forever for my hair to dry. I got out the shower at 11:38 this morning. It is now 10:12pm and I still have a slightly damp patch. That is my only main concern.

Bottom line: Hair Rules is a great product that helps with the stretching of the hair. If you can see, even though my hair is stretched, it did not take away the definition of my curls. The instructions are a bit confusing, but the way I used them worked out for me. It defines and shines though unless you blow dry, please be aware your hair may take a long time to dry especially if it is thick.

Product Review: Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil

Author's Note: Tropical Traditions was kind enough to provide me with a sample of their product.

So I recieved my jar of virgin coconut oil in the mail, and naturally (since it is hot here in the midwest), It was pure liquid when it arrived to me. I waited until it solidified until I started to use it.
I mainly used this oil as a pre-pooing treatment. It felt like my hair was absorbing it very well. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Lately though, when I get out the shower, instead of using a leave-in conditioner, I use a small amount of the coconut oil. I work it through my hair and then detangle. It works out wonderfully. 
Yesterday I sat it by my laptop fan to kind of get it back to liquid, and I went to town. I coated my hair carefully in it. I was doing a pre-poo, but it was the first step in my braid out, so I wanted to make sure everything was moisturized to it's fullest potential.
I now use the coconut oil in everything. I put a little water in a spray bottle along with a little coconut oil. Voila! I use that little concoction to wet my hair down when I am not in the mood to co-wash completely. It has a great smell to it, a very very mild coconutty smell. I think of a very mild pina colada. 
All in all, I would say this product has worked out great for me! 

I’ve never won blogging awards before :-)

How awesome is this?! Emily over at Family and Life in Las Vegas has awarded me with some awards 🙂

How vonderbar!You are to tell 7 things about yourself, but much like Emily, I hate odd numbers (ocd thing possibly?) So you get 6.

1. I love my dogs. If something happened to them, I may not make it through.
2. I am currently studying for my A+ computer certification. I try and make it through at least 3 chapters a day on the book I am using. I wanted to take it before I started school back up, but they didn't have any openings the Friday before. So I am taking it the week school starts on a Tuesday.
3. I discovered yesterday as I was conditioning my hair, that I am officially out of the TWA (teenie weenie afro) stage and into the medium afro stage. YAY ME!
5. I love clothes, makeup, and fashion...but I love a bargain even more.
6. I have lost 14 lbs in the past couple of weeks. I AM WELL ON MY WAY!! YAY!!!

Now, I must pass these awards to a couple of other people:

1. Black Girl with Long Hair - I enjoy her informative interviews with people as well as her thought provoking "what do you think?" articles

2. Fab Finds Under $50 - She is an Indiana girl like me, she has impeccible taste in fashion, and she loves a bargain as well

3. Beauty and the Bitch - They are just good clean snarky fun!

4. Mommy Loves Stilettos - She is honest, in your face, and unapologetic about it. I like her.. a lot.

Welcome Wednesday- Product Edition

If you want to be a part of Welcome Wednesday, just follow these 5 simple steps:

1. Follow the Welcome Wednesday Host (Take It From Me)as well as the 2 Spotlighted Blogs of the Week. (These will make up the top three slots on the Linky)
2. Link up your blog name and URL with our Linky. (You only need to add your info once for it to be seen on all the blog hops)
3. Grab our Welcome Wednesday button and include it in a post about the event on your blog.
4. Go to as many blogs on the MckLinky as you want and Follow them. Be sure to tell them you are from Welcome Wednesday!
5. Be sure to Follow back any followers you have gained from our Welcome Wednesday event!

In my most recent blog post I told you about purchasing products and helping out a great cause. Well because I have been swimming, my hair hasn't been feeling the greatest. My husband doesn't notice a difference when he touches it, but I do. I decided to try out some of the products That Shonika and Rashida sent me, to see if it would help the situation.

The two I used in this instance are Darcy's Botanicals Vanilla Delight Leave-in Condtioner and Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive heavy cream.
Using both of these my hair feels exactly like it did before I took up swimming. My hair is soft and managable. Before their fundraiser ends in November, I will probably purchase a few more samples of both so that I don't run out too fast. After that it looks like I will be purchasing the full price stuff. 

Thanks Shonika and Rashida for getting me interested in new products! 

Hair products and Helping with Leukemia and Lymphoma

Well, that is an odd title isn't it? I mean, even for me it seems a little out of place doesn't it? Normally you would be right, but today that is not the case. On Twitter (or The Twittah as I refer to it) I follow the trend #naturalhair.
That is where I met some of my readers and I also read interesting things that people are doing to their natural hair.
One day there was a post about getting sample sizes of products inexpensively. I contacted the person and they explained to me what was going on.

Shonika Griffin and her twin sister Rashida make up the team PB&J for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They chose the unique way of selling product samples to raise money for their cause. I immediately ordered. 11 years ago I had an incredibly close friend pass away from Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I was 17. She was 19. I know how devastating these diseases can be and was eager to help their cause.

In that vein, I wanted to do an interview with Shonika. This was a unique fundraiser, and the way she was getting attention to her cause was unique as well. She agreed to answer the questions that I e-mailed to her.

1. Why did you pick this charity? 

We chose the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) for a few reasons

a. There was a bone marrow drive held in 2009 in the city (NYC) for a little 6 year old girl named Jasmina Anema. She was one of the only African-Americans that we had ever heard of having Leukemia. When she passed in January 2010, it really struck a chord with us.

b. We were on a mission to get healthy. We started running, but didn't really know anything about form, stretching, clothing, etc. LLS had a program called Team In Training that helped train people for endurance events. We thought that was great! We could get more fit and also run for a reason. So we signed up to run our first half marathon (13.1 miles)

We are running in honor of 5 beautiful ladies, including Jasmina

> 2. I think it is a great idea selling the sample sizes of the hair products. It gives us product junkies a chance to try out different things without breaking the bank. How did this idea come along?

 Now there are so many different products out there for us natural haired Divas. But even a sample size can run you as much as $6.00 and that's not including taxes and S&H. Who wants to decide between eating or buying one 2oz sample size? We thought this would give people a chance to sample a few different products without breaking the bank. With that same $6.00 you can get as many as 6 different products with us. And it all benefits a wonderful cause!

> 3.

 Who is (or are if they're multiples) your partner in helping you? How did you guys meet up? 

My partner is my twin sister, Rashida. She's my best friend. I didn't think it was possible, but training for this event together has brought us even more closer. When one of us feels like giving up, the other is right there to lift you up. It's a beautiful thing to have someone who is just as passionate and competitive as you are!! We always stick together (hence our nickname Team PB&J)
> 4.

 Do you have a website I can send people to? One where they can either donate or sign up for products that they would like? 

To make a donation, please visit our fundraising websites. Mine is My sister's is To order products, simply email us at or

You guys, this is a great cause. It is also a great way to try different products without having to shell out a ton of money. I hope that you guys will give Shonika and Rashida a ring....or an email.. You know what I mean. 
Tell them Leslie sent you. 🙂

Trying a new product…as soon as it gets here.

I am not going to lie to you. I am picky and finicky. I have a standard I expect to be reached with customer service. Before I got my degree I worked in customer service for years (Old Navy anyone?).  When a company disappoints me starting from the gate, it makes me wonder what the product is going to be like.

Let me back up.

I was on facebook, and one of the businesses I friended on there is StrawberriCurls . She is a naturalista and my beautician hipped me to her. I noticed the other day she was doing a contest. The winner got some sort of product. I wanted to check out the  product so I went to the website.

Texture Playground

For those of you that do not know, I have an Associates Degree in Computer Information Technology. I am currently in school for my Bachelors. I looked at her sales page, and it kind of hurt my heart and my head. Some people are not tech savvy though, so I wasn't going to hold that against them. I boldly went forth and read the descriptions of everything.

I decided that I was going to purchase the Curls Nurture Cream and Hydrating Hair Butter. Lord knows I need some hydration. I noticed that the Hydrating Hair Butter was currently out of stock. Not a huge deal, I will go ahead and add it to my cart, and I am sure they will send me a notice saying when it will be in and so forth and so on.

I placed my order. I did not receive a confirmation in my e-mail, I didn't really get anything. I ordered everything on 06/14/10. I noticed that Texture Playground had put up a blog on the same day saying that they would have larger sizes of what I ordered in stock starting tomorrow (06/15/10). So I assumed that maybe what I ordered would be back in stock, since it is the SAME EXACT THING, ONLY LARGER!!

You know what they say about assuming right?

So no confirmation, no contact from the website at all. I keep checking my bank account and my Paypal to see if the money has been withdrawn. FINALLY on 06/19/10...5 DAYS AFTER I PLACED MY ORDER Paypal shows a tracking number for the USPS for me.

I am a little nervous to receive this product. If it is as half assed as how they run their site, lord help my hair. Review on the actual product to come when have received it and am able to use it.

In the beginning there was me.

Natural? What is Natural. For me Natural wasn't a well thought out plan, a choice, or a dare. I didn't weigh pros and cons, think about my big chop daily, or ask friends about it. It came about in a rather matter-of-fact type of way.
I had micro braids put in my hair. My relaxed hair. When it came time to take them out, I discovered that the girl who put them in wasn't as compentent as I originally though. I had mass clumpy tangled hair, that was in noway going to untangle. My hair dresser suggested I go natural. I am glad that I did. She cut my hair so that an inch or two was maybe left around. She put it in little divided curls and sent me on my way.

I am a product of my upbringing. That is to say, that I always thought in order to be pretty, Long hair must be had. For example:

I was always taught I had "bad hair" That I needed to straighten it within an inch of its life for it to be okay.

That is not the case any longer.

I love being natural. There is an ease with it, that I have never experienced in my life with my hair. I get up, wash my hair, pick it out and go.

The reason why I started this blog is that, I want to show other girls out there, that it is okay to be natural, while discovering new tricks and secrets along the way. For right now, I use olive oil to moisturise my hair, and Suave conditioner in the shower. I want to learn how to do new things weith my hair, and learn to love and completely accept it. I still have my days where I miss the length and the straightness, But I am not giving up.