hair, hair product review, review

Product Review: Taliah Waajid’s Curly Curl Cream

I know, I know. It has been AGES since I wrote my last hair product review! I decided I should continue doing these since my past reviews still get the most views. They seem to be helping people with their hair routines, and I still enjoy doing them so why not? I try to be consistent with my products but moving from country to country always makes things difficult. My issue now is that the products I buy one week won’t be in stock the next which forces me to try other things. This time it worked in my favour, and I am back with a review on a styler – SURPRISE it’s NOT a gel! I’m not sure if I’m a “gel girl” any longer and have been using mostly creams and custards for the last two years or so. Today, I will be reviewing Taliah Waajid’s Curly Curl Cream.

The Promise

Taliah Waajid’s Curly Curl Cream promises to define curls, coils, kinks and waves by adding moisture and eliminating frizz. It also conditions and nourishes hair while adding shine, and holds hair in place for longer lasting styles. On wash day, it will easily shampoo out with no residual build up.

How did it work?

For the last two years, I stopped chasing after super defined hair and focused more on hair health. I don’t need to control or tame my pattern and often allow it to be free even when it’s really frizzy. Basically, I’m a lazy natural that got a bit lazier. However, when I stumble on a good product that helps me to maintain/moisturise my hair AND leave it defined, it’s a plus! This Curly Curl Cream does exactly that! The label suggests that you use fingers to distribute smoothly to define, shape and style curls. It can be used on its own after rinsing out conditioner.

Wet hair on the left | Diffused hair on the right

What I do is prime my hair with a liquid based leave-in first (I’ve been using Taliah Waajid’s Intense Moisture Bamboo and Coconut Milk Strengthening Leave-In). Then I apply the Curly Curl Cream to my hair which I section into quadrants. I use about a quarter-sized amount per quadrant and distribute it evenly with my Denman brush. Afterwards, I rake through my hair with my fingers to separate the curls, and smooth them down with praying hands. This product definitely leaves my hair moisturised and frizz free. My hair dries soft but with enough hold for my curls, and stays defined until my next wash which would be in 4-5 days.

Day 2 Hair

What to expect

The Curly Curl Cream is beige in colour, and is very thick and heavy. It has a light herbal scent which I prefer over products that smell like strong perfume. I know frizz seems to be a curly girl’s enemy, so I’m happy to say that you can expect this product to leave your hair frizz free. In fact, it ticks all of the boxes: moisture, definition, shine and hold. I think it will work for any hair texture, but definitely adjust the amount you use based on the thickness of your strands. Actually, speaking directly to my fine or thin haired ladies/gents, Taliah Waajid makes a lighter formula of this cream called Curly Curl Cream Creamy Hair Lotion. I’ve also tried this cream and can attest to it being super lightweight. So, if thicker products tend to weigh your hair down, I recommend you go for the hair lotion instead!

Special Ingredients

The featured ingredient of the Curly Curl Cream is Shea Butter.Shea butter is an emollient that softens the hair and seals the cuticle whilst also providing shine/gloss.

Full Ingredient List:

Water (Aqua), (PEG-75) Shea Butter Glyceride (Butyrospermum Parkii), Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Sodium Cocoyl Glucamate, Sodium Polycrylate Ethylhexl Trideceth-6, D&C Caramel 050, Sage Extract (Salvia Officinalis), Caprylyl Glycol Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum).

Other details

Because I became hooked on the Curly Curl Cream, and it’s no longer in stock at my local beauty supply store, I have been ordering strictly from the official website. The cream is fairly affordable being $8.00 for 6 ounces. The products from this brand are paraben free and cruelty free, although not all of them are vegan. Otherwise, I would be purchasing a lot more from the product lines.  

Website: https://naturalhair.org/

Would I buy it again? A resounding yes!

books

101 Ways to Go Zero Waste

Cover Image for 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste found on Goodreads

What time is it? 4AM! But it’s also time for another book review! *cheers* For the month of February, I chose to read 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste by Kathryn Kellogg. I wanted to learn more about sustainability and also fulfill my monthly quota of reading one book per month. So, I decided to “feed two birds with one scone” (shout out to PETA) and read about zero waste which is something I heard of but knew very little about. I’ve always wondered if people were truly able to fit an entire year’s trash comfortably in a mason jar. Before I read this book, I honestly could not wrap my head around the idea. And now, I am equipped with 101 ways that I can theoretically do it too. In this condensed handbook, Kellogg shares everything you will need to know to start a zero waste lifestyle , and dissects information into simple steps that beginners can tackle. These include her DIY secrets such as beauty/personal care recipes, cleaning hacks, product/brand recommendations, and being a conscious consumer. 

Right off the bat, I will say that I love that Kellogg made it convenient to access her collection of tips and recipes in one place being this book. It is divided into several sections which makes it a breeze to find the information you are looking for, and serves as a valuable resource as you take small incremental steps towards being zero waste. This book is loaded with great ideas and tons of easy swaps to create less trash. Some of these swaps I already do (i.e. bamboo toothbrush, metal straws, reusable bags, etc.) and others I am eager to phase into my life such as swapping tea bags (which apparently contain plastic!) for loose leaf tea, and paper towels for tea towels. The specifics on the different types of plastic was very insightful as well as her “Ultimate Guide to Recycling.” Recycling has always confused me, but I feel armed with the knowledge to do it more properly. However, I’m not sure how recycling works here in The Bahamas, so that’s something for me to look into. That said, I know recycling should not be my main focus but a last resort. It is more important to reduce what I need and reuse what I have as much as possible to avoid sending waste to the landfill.

101 Ways to Go Zero Waste has definitely changed my outlook on my future purchasing decisions, and made me aware of my contribution to society’s issue with overconsumption and overindulgence. Much like veganism, I can make a small difference with every purchase I make, and now I am looking to reduce my carbon footprint in whatever ways are personally sustainable. Individual action leads to group action which eventually leads to policy change. Before I read this book, I watched countless videos on zero waste lifestyles and was still very confused and overwhelmed despite seeing people in action. Something about this book just “clicked” for me which is why I think it is an excellent read for beginners.

Of course, not every tip of Kellogg’s is “do-able” and may not be a good investment for some people and their families. A portion of her tips may take some growing into. For example, tip number 36 on swapping for a stainless safety razor is just a no for me at this time. There’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to using one. She then mentions discarding her blades in a steel blade bank and having to take it to the metal recycling facility once the bank is full since you can’t just put it in your curbside bin. I know there are a lot of pros to using a safety razor and it’s one of the more sustainable options, but this is a tip I would have to grow into. 

Although there are many facts presented in 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, there are also several unsourced claims. Some of her statements were also scientifically watered down, which made it difficult to fully understand some of the information she shared. This is not to say that what’s she’s stating isn’t true, but it would make her statements a lot more credible if they were properly cited. A reader’s response to this would naturally be to do their own research which is always a good thing, but to me, this is an area where this book falls short. 

The zero waste Lifestyle is not one-size-fits-all, and everyone’s journey will be quite different from each other’s. However, 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste has a little something for everyone. As Kellogg suggests, “it’s not about perfection; it’s about making better choices.” Choices that are sustainable for both the environment as well as yourself! I recommend this book to anyone interested in  sustainability, the zero waste movement or reducing their plastic waste. I especially recommend it to newbies like me! 

What are your thoughts or tips on going zero waste?

books

Mentors: How to Help and Be Helped

Cover Image for Mentors: How to Help and Be Helped found on Goodreads

For the month of January, I decided to to read a book written by Russell Brand called Mentors: How to Help and be Helped. My love for his reflective and insightful yet entertaining videos and podcasts are what ultimately piqued my interest. I chose Mentors because I was curious about Brand’s use of the word ‘mentor’ in the context of the guru-disciple relationship, especially since we do not have a natural equivalent to this type of dynamic in the West. Rob Preece explains why in his book, Preparing for Tantra: Creating the Psychological Ground for Practice. He states that in the west we tend to be more individualistic and less likely to give our power away to someone else. In addition, we also have a greater disposition to challenge authority and would not usually let ourselves be guided without question. We are less likely to put ourselves in spaces that leave us vulnerable, yet here we have Brand with various mentors to guide him in every aspect of his life whether that be as a recovering drug addict, comedian, spiritual being or martial artist. As we are all works in progress, he believes that we can improve individually and collectively through a chain of mentorship. For relationships of this nature, he believes that honesty is non-negotiable, and trust is needed in order for your mentors to guide you. Through this book,  Brand  encourages his readers to find mentors of their own and gives insight as to how mentorship is transforming him into better versions of himself throughout his life journey. 

Mentors reads a lot like how its author speaks, and therefore comes across as rather verbose. However, I found this aspect of the book charming because I could practically hear Brand reading to me with inflections and all. Each chapter stands alone as it’s own story depicting his experience with each of his mentors. At first, it was hard to ignore how disjointed these chapters are, largely due to Brand’s very non-linear writing style. This generally makes Mentors a bit hard to follow, but as I continued to read, I grew to appreciate how each story was assembled together to create a lighthearted yet profound memoir. 

There were several moments where I found myself stunned at how deep and complex his thoughts became. Some were so poetically and articulately written as if they were speaking to my soul. I highlighted many gems of wisdom as I read along – quotes that made me stop reading as I attempted to grasp its full meaning. In the chapter “Answering The Call”, he recounts the day he was asked to speak to a grieving mother who had lost her son. He sets the tone for this story so well that you feel as though you were also listening in on their phone call and hearing the pain in her voice. Although Brand felt unqualified to give her advice or counselling, he says “…practical and rational limitations simply cannot be allowed to prevent me giving her the comfort and love her situation demands.” In that moment, he reaches beyond language and form to offer her the best of him which is love, sympathy and empathy. In this chapter, he also shared his thoughts on William Blake’s tableaux of Job’s trials and suffering which stood out to me quite a bit and were one of the many philosophical instances that Mentors had to offer.

My overall favourite chapter in Mentors is “Fatherhood: How To Practice”. I definitely teared up the first time I read it, but it’s so heartwarming yet hilarious that I reread it from time to time. Brand describes being a parent as parentheses: to hold your children like () while they grow. This is an amazing analogy, and the first time I’ve heard it used in this context. I love the way he speaks of his children with such reverence, for example, he refers to one of his daughters as “pure light and golden hair” and as ” an irrefutable proof of God’s love.” What a parent’s love for their child must feel like, I can’t quite fathom at this stage of my life. I also enjoyed the tale of the first time another kid had pushed/punched/struck his little girl in the face, and how it nearly knocked the wind out of him. As emotional as that memory probably was for him, I enjoyed his story nonetheless and can truly see how fatherhood has reshaped his worldview.

All in all, I don’t think this is a book for everyone, mainly because of the writing style and lack of usefulness to much of its audience. It’s also very far from the self-help book that I and many other readers thought it would be. Ironically enough, Mentors does not focus heavily on how to help and be helped as the title suggests (although there are little tips here and there). Personally, I was expecting something a bit more instructional with the focus being on the reader’s life instead of the author’s past experiences. That’s a big part of why I refer to this book as a memoir more than anything else. However, in reading Brand’s experiences, we get the sense of how invaluable mentorship could be in our own lives, whether we are doing the mentoring or not.  I recommend Mentors: How to Help and Be Helped to those interested in Russell Brand, and persons that enjoy biographies and stories about personal development. 

death, Games, Mortality, The Sims

The Sims, Mortality and Death

Earlier last year I rekindled my love for The Sims game series with The Sims 4, and I was amazed by its vastness and complexity (I’m from the Sims 2 era). But one thing that stood out to me now more so than the previous games was the concept of death and mortality.

Let’s backtrack. I started off creating my Sim as a reflection of myself, and I cherished her. She was everything I wanted to be and MORE! And then she aged up. “This is too fast,” I said. I wasn’t ready to be an adult; she didn’t live her young adult life to its fullest!  Then she accidentally aged up again, and I quickly restarted the game. Desperately, I tried to de-age her. I was relieved when I found the youth potion, only to realise, to my horror, that it could not de-age you but take you back to the beginning of that stage of life. So, I was stuck as an adult. I saw Sims that I once knew and didn’t know dying every hour… okay that’s an exaggeration but it certainly felt like it. What was my next solution? I turned the aging off. I was able to live life at my leisure and do all the things I wanted to do! Get married. Be successful in any career I wanted. Have three kids and a clone daughter! Become a mermaid! But, now what? Now what…? The mirror was pointed at myself. Why was I so afraid of aging? Why am I so afraid of dying – Or is it that I’m more afraid of not existing?

I think many of us have a fear of death. It can be triggered by – well anything. Your 30th birthday. Your 50th birthday. Death itself though, when we really strip it away for all it is, can either be the simple cessation of life or a portal to another life; metaphorically speaking, a wall or a door. Of course, our perception of death depends on our religious beliefs as well. When we speak of death, we can not avoid the usage of some sort of metaphor because this is one thing we know for certain: we can not accurately say what happens to us when we die. Maybe it’s not death we fear. Maybe it’s the ‘how?’ The fear of how we are going to die because we may experience some kind of suffering beforehand. Even now, I say beforehand as though I am certain the dead are relieved of their suffering or that some part of them still exists not to suffer.

For me, maybe it’s that idea of not remaining any longer. I suppose what the Sims has inadvertently done is put me in a position to confront the reality of our finite and fragile human condition. I always knew that death will happen eventually to us all, but only now am I becoming increasingly aware of my mortality. Despite the uncomfortable feelings this topic has brought me, I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this simple reflection on mortality and death and its significance. It’s easy to get caught up in the trivialities of everyday life. Many of us live like we have forever and get caught up in endless cycles of mundanity and procrastination. On the other hand, to be so fixated on death – a concept we know so little about – only takes us away from truly living thus dampening our experience here on earth. I realise that I have to change my perspective of death.

Living like we have forever is not really a bad idea, as long as we are aware that it’s not forever. But, we must also truly live. As someone recently told me: Life is more than working a job we hate just to get a paycheck, pay bills and repeat until we die. It’s saddening. We must find out what our passions are, find our purpose, help others, LOVE as much as we can, and leave the world a bit better than how we met it. Truly live.

Personally, I have lost what makes me passionate, but I’m working hard to reconnect with it. As for the Sims 4, my character has done so much that I’m not even sure if there’s anything that makes her passionate anymore. I guess I’m ready to turn the aging back on. But in this world, I am comforted by the thought of reincarnation and death as a portal. So, this isn’t the end of me yet lol. 😊

2020, happy new year

Welcome MMXX

A new year without resolutions!? That sounds very out of character for a stubborn traditionalist like me. I love reflecting on the things I learned in the previous years and assessing which areas I need to do some growing. By setting these intentions for the new year, it not only helps me to live a purposeful life, but also creates clarity and redirects my mind. Through this process of self-discovery/transformation, I get the chance to realign my mind, body and spirit. If I had to choose a few words to sum up my intentions, they would be: mobility, transition and expansion. As per usual, I’ve made a list of three changes I would like to make this year.

1 – Run

I want to get back into the habit of running and actually like doing it. I was never really a long-distance runner, not even when I was on the track team in high school, but I would like to change that through building my stamina and endurance. Last year, I wanted to encompass more exercise, and I ended the year with a routine but with no specific fitness goals I wanted to reach. So, this year I wanted to start off by training to comfortably run 5K. I’m using the Couch 2 5K program to start. I will expand on this and share my progress as I continue on.

2 – Read

I don’t read for leisure nearly as much as I used to. Everything I do read nowadays is related to my career whether its scientific journals/articles or textbooks. This has to change! I challenge myself to read at least 1 book a month. I’m not really that into fiction, so most of the books that I will go for are probably self-help or spiritual. I’m really looking forward to this and would love to share more of my thoughts on what I read! If this goes well then maybe I can try a book a week in the future.

3 – Live More Sustainably

I’ve been a bit more conscious of my impact on the environment lately and decided to include this as a way to explore what it means to live sustainably. I have made little changes here and there, but I’m essentially starting from zero.  I would like to do more research in this area and see what differences I can make in my life.  Sustainable living is a pretty broad concept to tackle though, and is interconnected with various social domains such as politics, economics, ecology and culture. It’s honestly a little terrifying, so much so that I almost backed out of doing this. But it’s easier to be scared of the things we don’t know, so this is the perfect opportunity to explore sustainable living.

2019, reflecting

2019: A Reflection

To me, 2019 felt like an extension of the year before it which made it extremely long and trying but full of many life lessons. There was a lot of growing. But although I’ve been experiencing this personal growth, I can’t help but feel stagnant and restless. Why do I consistently feel as though there is something more that I need to be doing? I haven’t quite figured that out. I took a break from blogging/writing last year. I can’t remember the reason as to why. I suppose I just wasn’t up to it as much and was in the process of sorting out my priorities. 2019 was definitely a year of exploring uncharted territories. I experienced so many new things – visited new places and met new people. I feel blessed in a sense. But, I also feel that I am subconsciously avoiding and running away from some things. There is an eeriness hovering over me at times and it often leaves me feeling unsettled.  Despite all of that, I have lived to see 2020 and I am immensely humbled by that fact. It feels fresh, and maybe that’s my intuition telling me that it will be a year of change. I definitely foresee a lot of changes not just for myself but for the people around me

A decade has ended. A new year has been born. And, I’m back in this space again. Giving myself a purpose to write and share random snippets of my life as important or unimportant as they may be. Welcome MMXX.

Thank you for having me.

2019, happy new year

Welcome MMXIX

It’s that favourite time of year again where I set my intentions for the new year. This one started out on a better note than the previous years as I didn’t have to spend it alone. I’m not sure what awaits me in 2019, but I will be treading new territories and learning some life lessons for sure. There are so many goals that I want to take on for the year, but I have narrowed them down to my “doable 3”; the 3 major ones I need to focus on.

#1 Follow Dr. Gregor’s Daily Dozen List

I want to be a healthier vegan, and I want to make healthy vegan choices! I want to limit processed foods and learn how to centre the majority of my meals around whole plant foods, and Dr. Gregor’s Daily Dozen is an excellent tool to keep me on track. I have been following Dr. Gregor for quite some time now and love the way he presents his information especially by using citations from journal articles. I listened to his interview for the food revolution summit and was amazed at his knowledge of food and nutrition. I have the Daily Dozen app (completely free) to help check my progress and serve as a reminder to eat a variety of health food every day.

#2 Exercise

Technically Dr. Gregor’s list encompasses exercise, but I still need this to be its own goal. I’ve become TERRIBLY complacent about exercise, and I just don’t do it enough. I benefit so heavily from being active every day, and I experienced this last year when I went for daily runs – My back pain had suddenly disappeared! Then I stopped, and the pain returned…. Exercise can help with everything from mental health and improved sleep quality to cancer prevention, immune function and even lifespan extension! I will try to aim for 40 minutes of vigorous exercise most days (jogging, cycling.. maybe)and 90 minutes of moderate exercise on my rest days days (brisk walking, yoga).

#3 Paint

I don’t know the first thing about painting, but I want to learn how to do it. Ultimately I want to paint in my free time as a way to keep myself calm and relaxed, and enjoy my time alone. Recently, I learned that painting (along with other activities such as gardening and writing) creates a certain quality of being called “flow.” Flow is the state of being completely engaged in something to the point of being in a near-meditative state. It’s kind of like meditation in a sense, and leaves you feeling less stressed. I start by using skillshare and watching Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting to learn the basics and practice different techniques.

Love and light to everyone this new year 😊.