New Year New Look: My New Healthy Hair Routine for 2019

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HaircareWithIntegrity #CollectiveBias

South Beach Miami Beaches
Summer in Mami South Beach
Summer Style in Miami

How is the first week of 2019 treating you? Hopefully you are recovered from plenty of time spent ringing in the New Year, and are ready to start the new year with a bang! This time of year is great for reflecting on all the changes the previous year, diving into your goals, and trying something new. I’m not particularly one for New Years Resolutions, but I did set one that I’m going to try to keep – take better care of my hair! It may sound shallow compared to people that are setting career, fitness and other big life goals. But self-care is important, and it goes for both the inside and out. I have to admit that I was not the best to my hair in 2018!

I experimented with color and a chemical treatment, and did way more straightening than I used to. By the end of the year my strands were, dry, frizzy, full of breakage and desperately needing some TLC. I decided that I’m going to dedicate the first half of 2019 to restoring the health and strength of my hair. Part of that journey means lots of protective styling to give my hair the break it needs. Protective styling breaks are essential for naturally kinky textures since our hair tends to be drier, more coarse and prone to damage from frequent manipulation. So you will see me wearing lots more protective styles like braids and wigs, which still allow for flexibility and fun with your hair, but they keep your natural hair safe from damage causing elements. I also found some new star products that so far have been a hero for my hair! 

Hover over the image below to start shopping the products!

Biotera Natural Origin Collection features seven color-safe products that gently restore beauty and radiance, delivering the honest-to-goodness healthy hair you need to achieve salon perfection. The products feature up to 97% naturally derived ingredients, offering a high quality alternative to some premium products for a fraction of the cost. 

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I’ve been using the NURTURE Conditioner and Masque, which is perfect for dry hair. It’s enriched with nourishing Coconut Oil and Honey and smells just delicious! I alternate the NURTURE line with the RESTORE strengthening line, which repairs damaged hair. It’s enriched with nutrient-rich Goji Berry and Chia Extract, and all their products are free from silicones, sulfates, parabens and dyes. They also use biodegradable formulas and 100% recyclable packaging, so you can care for your hair and the Earth at the same time. Here’s a quick tutorial on my new healthy hair routine and how I’m saving my strands without compromising my style! 

Sunday’s are wash day so I start by gently detangling my hair using the Biotera Nuture Conditioner. I separate my curls into small sections and using just a little bit of my homemade spritz (aloe vera juice & rosewater) and a lot of the conditioner, I gently finger detangle each section. I do not use a comb or any styling tools, just my fingers and a lot of patience. Then I pop on a plastic cap and let that sit for a bit, mostly just to give my arms a break! Then shampoo and follow with a deep conditioning mask. I alternate between the Nuture and Restore Masques to balance moisturization and strengthening. As far as styling, I’m keeping that super simple! My hair hangs out in braids or twists and during the week I play with fun hair accessories, headwraps, or wigs so I always look cute and stylish. The routine is easy, simple, and keeping my hair healthy. 

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When shopping for my hair/ beauty essentials, like my Biotera products or fun hair accessories to style with, Sally Beauty is the place to start. Look for Biotera next time you are there, and learn more about the brand and product line on their site!

Let me know what your 2019 resolutions are, for beauty, hair, health or whatever! 

Secret Weapons for Healthy Hair

Holiday Glam Hair with Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KeratinAtTarget #CreateYourStyle #CollectiveBias

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Who is ready to get holiday glam?! I love taking every opportunity to dress up, beat the face, and go over the top with my hair. Since I love to switch up my look a lot without compromising the health of my hair, I tend to wear a lot of wigs and extensions this time of year. I alternate between synthetic and human hair wigs, depending on the style and of course my budget, and I found some AMAZING wig deals on Black Friday so I got a few more to add to the rotation. One of my favorite wigs that I found was a little darker than I liked, so I wanted to try to add some dimension to the color as well. I tried the Schwarzkopf® Color Ultime® last year, turning an old blonde wig a vibrant auburn, so this time turned to Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color from Target! 

Brazilian Remy 360 Lace Wigs are usually super expensive because they have so much lace they can be parted in any direction, or even worn in an updo or high ponytail, but this one was only $137! Similar styles can actually go for over $400, so definitely a steal. However, all wigs need some customization to fit your face, wear naturally, and get the perfect color, so here are a few steps I took to perfecting this wig. 

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I always start by trimming all the lace off the wig, then deciding where I want to part it. Since this is a 360 lace wig, I can change the part whenever I want, but for now, I’m starting with a side part. Carefully tweeze out some of the hairs along the part to make it look extra defined, and along the hairline to thin the edges out for a natural look. Most wigs have a very straight, almost boxy hairline which is completely unnatural! Everyone has a little thinning along their hairline and edges, so plucking out those extra hairs will make it look so much more natural. It’s not really an exact science, just follow your natural hairline and how your hair falls and try to mimic that. Like I said earlier, this particular wig was a little darker than I liked, so I wanted to try to add some dimension to the color as well.

Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color formula has a cutting-edge anti-breakage technology with K-BOND PLEX™ to repair the hair structure and leave your hair looking healthy and strong. And if you invest in a wig you want it to last, choosing the right color system matters! I especially liked that it included a Pre-Color Serum, which conditions the hair before coloring for a more even color result from root to tip. The K-BOND PLEX™ salon inspired anti-breakage technology will ensure great color plus shiny, healthy looking hair! I chose to do balayage style highlights in the shade Light Golden Brown. I didn’t want to color the whole wig one shade but was hoping for a subtle medium to chocolate brown highlights that would add dimension. Please note, you can ONLY dye a high-quality human hair wig, not a synthetic! The color will not take and if it’s not a Remy wig the results won’t be optimal.

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To start, secure the wig to a Styrofoam head using bobby pins and apply the pre-color serum, then section off the hair. I did 6 sections so I could see exactly where I was applying the color and make sure all the highlights were even. Then just mix the Color Crème into the bottle containing the developer, give it a good shake, and try not to be alarmed by the strange color it may turn. 

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Then moving quickly, I applied a bit of the color to small pieces of hair, starting about an inch away from the roots. The nozzle tip applicator was super easy to work with, and it took about 25 to 30 minutes to do the full head of balayage on the wig. Since I knew it would take a while to apply, I went with a safer shade instead of one of the bright blondes and worked across in horizontal sections, so each layer of hair would have even color. I was nervous that if I went with a brighter shade the bottom would be fully processed before I made it to the top then it would just look completely uneven and crazy. 

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Total processing time for the section I started with was about 45 minutes and for the last section, I made sure to give it the recommended 30 minutes before rinsing and following with the K-BOND PLEX™ conditioner. I just applied a little bit of moisturizing curl crème then let the wig lay flat on a towel to dry. Avoid putting a wet wig back on the Styrofoam head to dry because that can actually stretch out the cap! And here she is after!

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In the morning, I put it on over a wig cap, and secured it with a tiny bit of a super strong hold gel. The wig comes with combs but I prefer not to use them because they pull on my hair and are pretty uncomfortable, but the last thing you want is your wig slipping off. Glue is a great alternative to uncomfortable clips and wig tape that can destroy your hairline or the risk of losing your wig to a strong gust of wind. 

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And here’s the final look! Even though the color is super subtle, I love how smooth and shiny it was. In retrospect, I could have gone with one of the lighter shades for a bolder look, and if you are starting on super dark hair you may want to try going lighter than you think you need to for color that really pops.

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If you want to try Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color, or any of their other brands (got2b®, GLISS®, Smooth ‘n Shine®, got2b® Color & Color Ultime®) the best place to get it is at your local Target! They make shopping super convenient and they’ve got a great promo between 12/16-12/29 for buy 4 get a $5 gift card for Schwarzkopf Hair!  And stay tuned for their new product that will be released soon! I can’t share details yet, but it’s designed to work on all hair textures, plus it's moisturizing & deeply nourishing.

Let me know if you guys try it and what color you go for! I would love to see your results! 

At Home Hair Care with Yeluchi by Un-Ruly!

This post is sponsored by Yeluchi by Un-Ruly. All opinions are my own

This post is sponsored by Yeluchi by Un-Ruly. All opinions are my own

This summer has been one of various hair styles for me! There has been the balayage color I did in Spring, then the Brazilian Blowout, the natural curls, and of course, various braided styles. I tend to rely on protective styles more in the winter, but braids are becoming a new go-to for summer. They are chic and stylish and let you hop out of bed with your hair done for weeks on end. What's not to love! 

I was researching hair braiders looking for a stylist and some inspiration for my next style when I found Yeluchi by Unruly.

Yeluchi is a at home hair styling service powered by Un-Ruly, the popular media hub dedicated to all things hair for Black women. They serve select areas of NYC and offer an array of services from various braided styles to weaves to blowouts. The Yeluchi team graciously comped my service for review, so check out my thoughts on the experience!

Booking

It was smooth and seamless! I already had ideas for the style I wanted and using the suggestions on their site I was easily able to select the appropriate service. You can also add links to images of what you want for reference so they know what you are looking for an can accurately match you to a stylist. I was hoping for an after work appointment but couldn't find one, so settled on a Sunday morning. I did ask my stylist if they offer evening appointments and she said they do, but they tend to fill up fast so you have to book early. For the sake of research I did some digging, randomly selecting various styles and neighborhoods and checking the calender on site through October. I found nothing later than 1pm. If you don't keep standard office hours during the week that's probably fine, but if you do, plan to keep your appointment for the weekend. 

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The Service

My stylist Roxy was prompt, friendly and professional! I had aleady prepped an area in my living room so she would have space on the table to set up, then tuned into my favorite YouTube channels while she got to work. The only issue we had was a technicality with the style I chose. The cornrows in the inspiration photo I sent were stitch cornrows, not regular ones. If you don't know the difference, here is an example of stitch vs regular! Both cute, just different details. 

They actually do not offer stitch braids, and Roxie let me know she told the company before taking the appointment but they didn't update me.  So I ended up with 6 regular cornrows that we then tied together into 1 chic bunch with gold thread. It was a little disappointing because the stitch effect was the main thing I wanted, and if they would have told me in advance they couldn't do it I would have just picked a totally different style. But I didn't have time to look for a new style in that moment, and also didn't even know if time or the amount of braiding hair I had purchased would allow. I let her practice a little just to see if she could try it, but it wasn't the exact look I had in mind. However I was still happy with the results and her technique, especially how she respected my edges! I also love that she didn't know I was blogging about the experience. Sometimes companies roll out the red carpet for bloggers and you never know if the experience you are getting is the treatment everyone gets. 

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Final Thoughts

Overall my style was cute, trendy and got me tons of compliments! She also braided carefully and attentively, checking in to make sure it wasn't too tight. You guys know it only takes 1 aggressive braider to permanently ruin your edges so I was very happy to feel like the health of my hair and scalp was priority. It's been about a week and a half since my appointment and the style still looks great. I expected to keep it for 2 to 2.5 weeks and I'm pretty much on track for that. I will probably take down the long threaded braid and wrap the cornrowed ends into a bun just to switch things up the last week. 

If you guys are curious about at home hair styling, definitely check out the services offered by Yeluchi! I'm already thinking about my next look for later in the summer!

How to Be Your Own #HairGoals with Prose Customized Hair Care

Summer Little Black Dress and Bamboo Bag

Let's be real - we are all on the quest to have the best hair possible. However you define your best hair is up to you - whether that be short and straight, long and bouncy or kinky curly. Great hair starts with health and I've been through HUNDREDS of products looking for the ones that would keep my curls hydrated, shiny and strong enough to resist breakage and maintain length.

I discovered Prose through Octoly, an influencer network and I was immediately intrigued. A fully customized hair care line based on your lifestyle and hair goals? Sign me up! I did their assessment online which asked a series of questions about my styling process, environmental conditions, and hair and scalp characteristics. 

My products arrived a week or 2 later with a detailed guide to the ingredients chosen and why they would be good for my hair. Some of the key ingredients were argan and jojoba oils for moisture, hyaluronic acid and collagen to repair and restore, and oat lipids and sunflower seed extract for color protection. My instructions are to shampoo and condition 2x a week, use the mask once a week, and 2x a month leave the mask on overnight for some ultimate hair rehab. 

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I noticed a difference right away and my hair has been getting even better with continued use. I mean take a look at these curls! 

Summer Style Little Black Dress

The shampoo cleansed without leaving my hair feeling stripped, and the conditioner and mask are rich, creamy and super hydrating. In short, it works wonders for my hair because it's made for my hair.

If you are interested in trying Prose check them out! And the only thing I can ask from the Prose team is to pretty please add in styling products! 

Spring Ready Hair with Stylebox Salon!

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So I'm sure you noticed my new look on Instagram and my stories lately, so I'm finally spilling the tea! I'd been wanting to color my hair for sometime, debating the shade, the process, and how it would effect the health of my hair overall. Luckily I had found an amazing salon and a stylist I trusted to get me to the color of my dreams! 

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Stylebox Salon is a new gem in Brooklyn, with friendly and attentive service, talented stylists that serve all hair types, and a fantastic bar so you can sit drink and be merry, as they say on their site! They use amazing vegan products and even keep the bathroom stocked with organic tampons! 

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The process started with choosing a color, so I settled on a full head of caramel blonde balayage. I'd been obsessed with the technique forever but only ever seen it on straight or wavy hair, so wasn't sure it would work on kinky textured hair. 

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The brighter blondes were kind of calling me, but I decided to play it safe since it was my first time coloring. Nicole carefully painted tiny stands of my hair, keeping them separated with foil. Then I hung out with a bellini while it processed!

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My hair is super porous so it processed pretty quickly. However it decided on its own that I should be a redhead. My hair turned a shade of red that wasn't anywhere near any of the colors in the book!  Luckily Nicole expertly toned the color down so instead of leaving looking like Ronald McDonald, I ended up with this!

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And here's a close up of the finished style!

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Overall I ove it and my hair feels healthy as ever! I may make a second visit in a few months to try and go lighter, but for now just going to see how my hair feels. 

Have you guys tried balayage or are you debating? And check out the full Stylebox Menu for all their service options! 

How to DIY Your Hair Color with Schwarzkopf Color Ultime!

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This shop has been compensated by Schwarzkopf. #FashionColorExpert  #sponsored

It’s the season for a new look! All the Halloween décor and makeup is getting me inspired to break out some new beauty goodies. As much as I love dressing up, you can’t be in full costume all day every day, but there are lots of small Halloween themed get togethers that pop-up here and there. The best way to get spooky glam for a last minute Halloween event is a quick hair and makeup change. You guys know I’m a fan of wigs, and when I got the opportunity to partner with Schwarzkopf for a hair color challenge, I decided to makeover one of my go to summer wigs to make it appropriate for the new season.

Schwarzkopf Color Ultime hair color comes in several vibrant, fashion shades that provide long lasting, high shine color that lasts up to 9 weeks! The kit comes with everything you need and is super convenient.

If you've never worn a wig before they are perfect for experimenting with a new style or color, or just spicing up your look for the holidays or a special occasion.  The one I'm wearing was my summer go to since I loved the light reddish blonde, but was hesitant to make such a dramatic change on my natural hair, especially since it would require bleach.

The first (and hardest!) step about wearing wigs is finding the one that fits your face best. If you're a newbie go to your local beauty supply store and try a few on to get an idea of textures and shapes that work for you.

Second, think about how much you want to spend on one! They can be as low as $20 and high as over $500 depending on whether its synthetic hair or human hair, length, texture, and the construction. The wig I chose is a mid-tier quality human hair wig. I think those are worth it since they have the most flexibility and can be styled and colored just like natural hair. 

Third, after you've tried on a few and consulted some YouTube reviews you may be feeling more seasoned and can get into shopping for wigs online. You'll find the widest selection and lots of discounts. Just be careful because most are very difficult to return, if not final sale! 

Wig care is easy, just gently shampoo and deep condition after a couple of wears, and store it either in the packaging or on a wig head. 

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Check out my step by step tutorial to go from strawberry blonde to Amethyst Black!

First, I prepped my surfaces by lining the sink and floor with plastic, then detangled the wig and coated the lace with Vaseline just to avoid staining it in case the color seeped through. 

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Then, per the instructions, squeeze out the color cream into the plastic bottle of developer and shake it up until everything is evenly mixed. As I read the instruction leaflet in the box I realized they recommend 2 boxes of color for hair that is longer than chin length. The wig I was dyeing was about bra strap length and pretty thick and wavy in texture so I was worried I wouldn’t have enough. But I didn’t have time to get another box so I just went ahead and started the application, focusing on the front and upper layer of hair just in case I ran out. I figured it would have the effect of low-lights, instead of only having one half of the hair done! I ended up having enough to go back and do a proper coat, so it worked out just fine. But keep that in mind if you do have very long/thick hair because it wasn’t written anywhere on the outside of the packaging or on the product page on Walmart.com.

After that you let it process for 30 minutes, rinse, then shampoo it out! Fair warning it took about a dozen rounds of shampoo, rinse, repeat before the color was all out and the water was running almost clear. Finish the process by applying the Intensive Care Elixir, leaving it on for a few minutes, and then rinsing out.

And here is the final look!

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The color came out beautifully and the purple is popping! And as you can see, it looks just like the color on the box!

Schwarzkopf Color In Store Available at Walmart
You can find Schwarzkopf Color Ultime at your local Walmart. If you are ready to try a new look, get your Try Me Free Rebate now! And check out the Social Hub for some #FashionColorExpert inspiration!

Something's Navy

Going monochrome makes dressing easy. When in doubt or in a rush just don the same hue head to toe for an instantly chic look. For a last minute cocktail near City Hall, I went for this silk Derek Lam dress with elegantly distressed detailing, navy Christian Louboutin slingbacks, and vintage Sergio Rossi butterfly cuffs for a bit of drama. Since it was too hot to deal with my curls, they went up into a simple crown braid. And done. 

Images by Marcus Stukes of Silverscreen Productions