Why It's Important to Read the Ingredient List

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

About the Ingredient list header image

Like many people, every morning, I go through my emails to see if there's anything that I need to respond to. Sometimes, it's work related. This morning it was seeing if there was a response to my email to cancel a 10-day trial for Washington Sports Club (they have yet to respond *eye roll*). But an email for a new product also caught my eye. Briogeo, a hair company that I've wanted to try for awhile, has put out a new product called Curl Charisma chia + flaxseed coil custard. I've always wanted to try a product with flaxseed. I've made flaxseed gel before, and I like the end result on my hair, but not so much the time and effort it takes to make it. Products with flaxseed are actually pretty difficult to find, so I was beyond excited to see this product...until I read the ingredient list (*eye roll* again).

Briogeo's Ingredient List:
Water/Aqua/Eau, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol*, Cetearyl Olivate*, Glycerin*, Sorbitan Olivate*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Rice Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Quinoa*, Keratin Amino Acids*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Salvia Hispanica Seed Oil, Lactobacillus/Tomato Fruit Ferment Extract, Cellulose Gum*, Xanthan Gum*, Microcrystalline Cellulose*, Acyl Coenzyme A Desaturase*, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance (Parfum). *Coconut, vegetable, plant, or sugar derived.

If you, like me, were looking for the chia and flaxseed in the first few ingredients, you won't find it. It's not like those first ingredients are bad, but I was looking for what was prominently displayed on the front of the label. If you, like me, are staring at those ingredients looking for chia and flaxseed anywhere, yeah...(*eye roll*). It took some googling, but flaxseed is "Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil" and chia seed is "Salvia Hispanica Seed Oil," which are 13th and 15th in the ingredient list, respectively. And if you know anything about ingredient lists, you know that the ingredients are listed from most concentrated to least concentrated, and anything beyond the first five or six is negligible, so chia and flaxseed oil aren't making up much of this product.

I'm not saying this product is bad, nor am I saying that you shouldn't use it. In fact, the ingredient list, and their Curl Charisma line overall, looks really great, and I am still 100% interested in trying Briogeo's products (I hope to get their heat protectant in the near future). But, it's just a lesson in the importance of reading the ingredients. There are, of course, other reasons to read the ingredient list, like if you're trying to avoid silicones or you're allergic to ssomething. But it's also just good to know that the front of the label of marketing, and the back of the label is fact.

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How to Pick a Great Stylist

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

7 Tips for Finding a Great Stylist header image

If you know me, you know that I'm really apprehensive about going to a hairdresser. Before I went natural, I often relied on a hairdresser to relax and/or style my hair, but my experiences were always average, at best. Despite knowing some amazing hairdressers today, my reception of many has still been lukewarm. But as my hair gets longer, I'm hoping that I'll warm up to the concept of getting my hair done again soon (because these 5 hour wash days are not fun).

But when I am ready, I will use these seven tips to find a great hairdresser that I can trust.
  1. Do they work with natural hair: When I say natural hair, I mean can they style a twist out, do a roller set on kinky hair without blow drying first, comb natural hair properly. The reality is many hairdressers who say they work with natural hair, really mean they know how to straighten natural hair. And if that's not what you're looking for, finding someone else is your best option. 
  2. Look through their portfolio (or Instagram): A picture speaks a thousand words. Along with making sure they can create beautiful hairstyles, you can get a general idea of their style and expertise. 
  3. Get a rundown of their process: If you don't want to style your own hair, at the very least,  know how to do it so that you'll know if a hairdresser is doing something wrong (i.e. detangling hair with a fine-tooth comb or blow drying on the highest setting possible).
  4. Know what's in the products: A woman once told me she doesn't know what her hairdresser uses on her hair, and that it's "already mixed" when she gets in the chair (I suspected relaxer was mixed in). Don't let this be you. Know what products the hairdresser is using on your hair, and inform them of any potential sensitives or allergies you may have.
  5. Read reviews: Reviews are hit or miss, so take them with a grain of salt, but if you notice a trend, such as the hairdresser doesn't listen or she can't cut straight (personal experience of mine), then walk away. Also, talk to their current clients if you can too. 
  6. Ask about rates and fees: Know all potential rates and fees ahead of time so that you know how much everything will cost, and if there's something that seems unnecessary (i.e. charging extra for natural hair). Also, be familiar with any late or cancellation fees that they may have. 
  7. Know when to walk away: If you've done all your homework, and you're getting a small toothed comb raked through your hair, get out of the seat. If a hairdresser is doing anything wrong, speak up, and if they don't change, know when to just get up and leave. It may seem mean or insensitive, but at the end of the day, it's your hair and you have that right. 
Of course, these can work for anyone who touches your hair, from a hairdresser to a braider, and even your own mom. What are some things you ask a potential hairdresser before you sit down in their chair?


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Bon Matcha: A Matcha Lover's Dessert

Thursday, August 9, 2018


What's sweet, earthy, and a delicious, cool treat for the summer? Matcha soft-serve ice cream!

On I street, nestled on the outside of DC's Farragut Square district, is Bon Matcha, a small shop that sells, you guessed it, Matcha ice cream. If you're not familiar with Matcha tea, it is tencha tea that is ground up into a fine powder. When served as a traditional tea, it is whisked in hot water right before drinking. It is very creamy, with an earthy and full-bodied taste.


But Bon Matcha takes this traditional tea, and jazzes it up creating ice cream and swirling it with a sweet honey dew melon flavor. The result is a really satisfying and sweet soft serve perfect for summer.

My first trip there, an impromptu walk suggested by my boss to cool down on a sweltering day, sadly did not result in any ice cream (I ended up getting a iced matcha latte, which was still really good). They ran out of a cream. But today, I finally got to taste this green soft-serve, and it was definitely worth the wait!

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