Review: HASK Curl Care Collection

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It should come as no surprise to anyone when I say that I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. Naturally thick and curly- unlike anyone else’s in my immediate family (most who have generally pin straight hair)– I have always appreciated and even enjoyed how my curls made me stand out from everyone else. It’s been my trademark of sorts- the way some other women might claim a shade of lipstick or a fashion accessory as their own. My hair has always been my “thing”- something that made me a bit unique- even when I began experimenting with different colored dyes and highlights in my teens through present day.  The curls have always remained in tact to set me apart.

Styling my hair, however? That’s a whole other story. I can remember being a little kid and my scalp being in a perpetual state of agony every morning before school while my poor mother worked tirelessly to get a hairbrush through my curls without ripping them right out of my head (spoiler alert: it never worked out too well) and trying to fight that dreaded “crunchy” look with so many different creams/gels/sprays has always been- and will forever be- one of the most frustrating things for those with curly hair like mine.

Although my styling method has since become less time-consuming and a bit easier with updated, lightweight products and accessories (hello, Wet Brush!)– humid days are still a cause of dread for me and finding hair care formulas that don’t completely dry my curls out can be challenging when so many brands use color-stripping chemicals and otherwise harmful ingredients.

So I was very grateful and excited when HASK recently sent me a package containing full-sized bottles of their coconut milk-infused Curl Care Collection to try out for myself. With shampoo, conditioner and a deep conditioning mask- I couldn’t wait to get started!

Coconut Milk & Organic Honey Curl Care Shampoo:

From HASK’s website:

“Calling all curls! Add shape and bounce with HASK Coconut Milk & Organic Honey Curl Care Shampoo. Enriched with hydrating coconut milk and nourishing organic honey, each wash removes build-up without stressing or stripping curls of their natural oils. Our Memory Curl Complex helps curls bounce back with frizz-proof definition and nonstop shine whether your hair is wavy, curly or coily. Hello colossal curls!”

I just want to start my review off by saying that each of these products smelled absolutely amazing- like toasted coconut and the tropics. If these aren’t the perfect Summertime shower essentials to whisk you away to an exotic beach somewhere- I don’t know what is.

But I digress! This shampoo lathered up really nicely and a little went a long way- cleansing my hair from root to tip with only a nickel-sized amount in my palm. At first, I was a little concerned that my hair felt a bit slick after I first rinsed the product out, since coconut oil can be on the greasier side depending on how much you use- but after a few more minutes under the running water and the “oily” feeling went away- leaving really soft and tangle-free strands behind, instead. I actually think this shampoo is so moisturizing that it doesn’t even need to be followed up with the conditioner! That’s the only time I’ve ever been able to say that about a shampoo- considering most of them can be on the drying side and a conditioner is almost always needed to replenish basic hydration- but this one did the trick all on it’s own!

Coconut Milk & Organic Honey Curl Care Conditioner:

From HASK’s website:

“What’s the ultimate style guide for curly hair? HASK Coconut Milk & Organic Honey Curl Care Conditioner! Blended with moisture-rich coconut milk and nourishing organic honey, this formula locks in moisture and luster to help bring dehydrated curls back to life. Our frizz-proof Memory Curl Complex helps every curl bounce back to its unique curl pattern, whether your hair is wavy, curly or coily. Go ahead, celebrate your curls!”

Even though the shampoo was, in my opinion, moisturizing enough- I still followed it up with this conditioner in an attempt to keep my frizz at bay. Much like the shampoo, a small amount of this product went a long way. I was able to coat my curls from my scalp down to the ends with just a couple of pumps before letting it sink in and work it’s magic for a few minutes. Once I combed it through and rinsed it out- my hair felt even softer and smoother- which I didn’t even think was possible!

When I got out of the shower and started drying my hair, I noticed that my usual amount of frizz was pretty much non-existent. My curls were more defined and looked considerably shinier. Even after I’d styled my hair and headed off to work for the day- there was no poofy-ness or unexpected 80’s hair metal band vibes popping up by the afternoon. Needless to say- I was thrilled!

Coconut Milk & Organic Honey Curl Care Deep Conditioner:

From HASK’s website:

“Keep your curls looking their best with HASK Coconut Milk & Organic Honey Curl Care Deep Conditioner. This deep conditioning treatment quenches thirsty curls on contact for control and definition. Complete with our Memory Curl Complex to help block out frizz, seal split ends and keep unruly curls in line with extra bounce and shine.”

This packet of creamy conditioner is meant to be used as more of a deep repair mask instead of a daily treatment- so I used the product sparingly- applying it twice a week and leaving it in my dampened hair for about ten minutes before combing it through my curls and rinsing it out. While the shampoo and the regular conditioner I’d received from HASK had been working wonders for my hair all on their own- I did notice a significant difference in my ends each time I used this mask- and I strongly recommend it to anyone who may have ongoing issues with split ends. This product fixed them right up for me- and I have color-treated hair that requires a pretty good amount of TLC to maintain- so I was really impressed with this one!

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Overall, I was absolutely blown away by the results I achieved with HASK’s Curl Care Collection in such a short amount of time. My hair is soft, smooth, shiny- and most importantly-manageable! Not only does the entire collection work really, really well- but HASK’s products are also fair and affordable- and there’s a little something for everyone and their individual hair care concerns: color-treated care, thickening solutions, strength-building, damage detox, etc.

I cannot say enough good things about this brand and I urge everyone to give them a try if you’re feeling unsatisfied or underwhelmed with any of the pricier products you might be using right now. I know I’ll be making the switch!

Thank you again to HASK for such a lovely package and for giving me the opportunity to talk about their brand and my results. It was a pleasure!

**I was not paid for this post and all opinions and content contained within are strictly my own. I am not nor have I ever been employed by HASK Beauty. This partnership was made possible by BrandBacker.**

xx

May Hits List!

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Good Morning and Happy Memorial Day, everyone! I hope those of you who have the long weekend off are savoring it with friends and family, and those of you who have to work through it are surrounded by caring, kind, and fun people to make it a little easier and more enjoyable.

Memorial Day is a lot of things to a lot of different people. For many, including myself, it’s a day to give pause and appreciate those who have died while serving in our country’s armed forces in order to keep the rest of us safe. For many businesses, it’s an excuse to send a ton of spam e-mails and produce tacky commercials advertising low prices and weekend-long sales events…

… But Memorial Day also commemorates the beginning of the Summer season. Cookouts, BBQs, getting a pool or sprinklers ready for impending heat waves and long, lazy days. I’ve been waiting for Summer to arrive for what feels like an eternity- so I’m more than happy to kick off the season with some of my mom’s famous macaroni salad and a juicy burger later on this afternoon at her house.

Now, May was a bit trying for me- the details of which will be shared in tomorrow’s scheduled “In a Nutshell” post- and while I was handling some personal matters, I didn’t quite accumulate a lengthy list of favorites these past couple of weeks. Nevertheless, I did want to share some of the things that helped alleviate a lot of stress throughout the month and products I’ve been seriously praising recently.

So here it is- short, but sweet- my Hits List for May 2016!

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With the hotter weather seemingly here to stay for the foreseeable future- May became all about updating my day & night skin care routines to allow my face and body a chance to adjust and get acclimated to the Summer temps. Gone (for now) are the days of heavy moisturizers to outlast the colder elements and harsh, stripping cleansers- and in are the days of lightweight SPFs and replenishing nighttime creams. I’m thinking of doing an updated skin care post next month to show exactly what I use on my face & body- and when- but here are three products that I implemented into my regimen in May that I’m absolutely loving. From left to right:

I’ve been keeping my hair and makeup as simple as possible lately. Not only because it’s hot out- but because I have to go to work AND squeeze in a workout after I leave the office Monday-Friday (and on Saturdays, too.) I don’t want to spend a lot of time getting ready when I’m just going to be a sweaty mess by the time I get home- but I also don’t want to skip a daily moisturizer and SPF, either. This mattifying, quick-absorbing moisturizer from Cetaphil (with SPF 30) has become a lifesaver in the mornings when I’m on the go. It hydrates my skin without clogging my pores, keeps my face shine-free- and gives me plenty of sun protection when I’m outdoors, too.

Next- I know people have been raving about micellar cleansing water for months, now- and I’m seriously kicking myself for not listening to them sooner. This stuff is a game changer and a must-have for anyone and everyone who wants a quick and efficient way to remove makeup and/or cleanse their skin without leaving behind any kind of greasy residue or worse- drying themselves out. I’ve been using this one from Garnier for a few weeks now in the morning and at night- and it literally pulls the impurities from my skin. I can actually see it working. My skin feels refreshed and cleaner than it does with just a regular cleanser.

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Finally, I have found my new favorite Summertime night cream in the form of this firming night balm from FARMACY. I received this product in a recent POPSUGAR ‘Must Have’ Box and I have been hooked ever since. The product looks and smells like lime Jell-O (just stay with me here) and melts into your skin as you apply it- finally setting in as a lightweight oil that hydrates and firms while you sleep. When I wake up, my skin looks brighter and feels so much softer and smoother. A little goes a long way with this stuff, too- so I know I’ll only need a little bit each night to get through the Summer.

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I have been spending a lot of time outdoors since the weather took a turn for the better, and I plan on spending even more time out in the sun now that Summer is here- but since my hair is (dyed) red- I have to be careful and use the proper products to keep it from fading into an awkward tangerine color. Enter this spray in color-protectant from Not Your Mother’s. After I wash and towel dry my hair- I spray some of this product from root to tip and work it through with my fingers. Then I style as usual. My reds have stayed considerably stronger than they did prior to me using this stuff- and it’s pretty helpful at keeping my frizzy flyaways at bay, too!

My only gripe with this spray is the smell. It kind of reminds me of grape cough syrup and I find myself frantically grabbing for my styling products to mask the fragrance in the seconds after I work it through my curls so I don’t gag.

Next- I am a total germophobe when it comes to my makeup brushes and sponges. I have this whole, intricate system of soaking/scrubbing/drying my tools that can actually take a couple of hours to see through from start to finish. In the Summer- that germophobia gets even worse since sweat is continually thrown into the equation. Thankfully, BeautyBlender threw me a time-saving bone with this solid version of their sponge/brush cleanser. All I have to do to get my blenders/brushes sparkling clean is wet them and swipe them across this solid soap a couple of times and presto! Foundation, dirt, grime and sweat are history!

I especially love this solid cleanser because it lasts way longer than the liquid one- and it works just as good- if not better!

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I had eyed this Prince pillow (as well as it’s tote bag version) from Heart Felt Design months ago- but had never got around to actually ordering one for myself. After Prince’s passing, it seemed like the right time to finally own a version of the legend that I could hug, squeeze, and make my home look really awesome with. This recently arrived in my mailbox and I have been head over heels in love with it since. Each pillow is handmade- with loving and precise detail- and arrives a few weeks after ordering.

Heart Felt Design has a wide variety of items, too- music legends, movie/television/book characters, custom designs and so on. Definitely go check them out if you’re looking for something unique to spruce up your space!

And now, for the stuff I couldn’t photograph!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • Summer Blockbuster Season is upon us! – The new Independence Day movie? ‘Jason Bourne’? ‘Star Trek: Beyond’? ‘Suicide Squad’? I feel like a good chunk of my Summer 2016 is going to be spent in air conditioned movie theaters and munching on popcorn. Although I got a head start catching flicks like the new Captain America movie and Key & Peele’s ‘Keanu’ a couple of weeks ago- I’m really looking forward to shamelessly diving into some over the top action movies this Summer.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

And that is pretty much everything for the month of May! I’m sure now that Summer is officially underway- my list for June is going to be much larger than this month’s Hits List was- and I’m looking forward to it!

And as always, feel free to share your Hits for May 2016 in the comments.

Have a great Memorial Day, everyone!

xx

April Hits List!

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This post is a couple of days late, having just missed the end-of-April deadline I’d set- but I’m not being too harsh on myself considering how busy I was last month. Having the best intentions when it comes to a regular posting schedule is all well and good- but juggling that with the other day-to-day tasks in life, love and leisure can be a bit challenging at times. My hats off to Vloggers who continually create, produce and publish content on a schedule without fail. I don’t know how you all do it without visibly stressing out or losing your composure- but more power to you!

April’s ‘Hits List’ might appear small at first glance- but a lot of these items have helped me tremendously during my past few weekends when traveling out of state- and some of them are just plain old silly fun I’ve been enjoying since the beginning of last month.

Like I’ve done with past installments of this monthly series- I thought I’d start by sharing the items/products that are easier to be displayed and photographed- before I go into things like music, movies, games and television.

Let’s see what made the list last month!

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Carrying over my Springtime/Summertime coconut-scented-everything obsession from body washes, lotions, and candles into my hair styling regimen, these two products- both from OGX– have made my “apply and go” morning hair care routine even more easy and beneficial to my curls these past few weeks. After washing/conditioning my hair and scalp in the shower, I work a few pumps of the clear COCONUT MILK SERUM through my still damp hair to tame frizz and keep my curls glossy and hydrated from root to tip.

After that, I work through the COCONUT CURLS MOUSSE through my hair- again, from root to tip- before letting it air dry. This product defines my curls without making them crunchy or overloaded with sticky product build-up. And of course, both products smell incredible and don’t cause any kind of fading or discoloration to the red dye/highlights I have.

My hair has been looking and feeling on point since I started using both of these products at the beginning of April- effortless but still well put together. I don’t plan on switching up anything in my routine anytime soon- which should make Summer an easy time for styling!

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I am a shameless caffeine addict. I can barely function without my morning latte and the smell of coffee instantaneously puts me in a more relaxed mood- so it seems only fitting that I would turn to my one and only life source by slathering it all over my face/neck/shoulders to combat clogged pores and dryness, right? I have been absolutely LOVING this ‘Cup O’Coffee’ mask/scrub from LUSH lately- and this is a must-have for any other coffee lovers, too!

I typically use this mask 2-3 times a week- mostly in the morning since the scent gives me a nice boost of energy- leaving it on my skin for a good twenty minutes before I gradually rinse/scrub my face by adding warm water. After I pat my skin dry, my face feels smooth and considerably softer- not tight or dried out.

I’m actually running a little low on this product, so I have a feeling I’ll be replenishing within the next week or so.

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When I was in Virginia at the beginning of April, and spending a couple of days in Alexandria- I was quite surprised by how few souvenirs there were to commemorate the little town- especially now that ‘The Walking Dead’ has made the area even more popular. Every gift shop or gas station I stopped by was filled wall-to-wall with Washington D.C. memorabilia- but nothing for Alexandria. No t-shirts. No postcards. Nothing. Nada.

That’s why I was so happy when I spotted this mug on the top of a shelf that was otherwise lined with cheap aluminum replicas of the neighboring National Memorials. I was quick to snatch it up, elated I’d finally found something to mark my brief but wonderful stay- and I’ve been using it to sip my evening tea before bed.

… And maybe also pretending I’m Rick Grimes while I do it- but that’s another story for another day.

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Is there anybody in this world (apart from Robert Downey Jr.) who is more excited about this week’s release of ‘Captain America: Civil War’ than I am? It feels like I’ve been waiting ages for this movie- and all the promotions, appearances, and advertisements have all but turned the days leading up to it finally arriving in theaters into a week-long event in itself. Of course I’ll be there on opening night- popcorn in hand and probably sporting my favorite Winter Soldier hoodie to celebrate!

Knowing how pumped up I am to see the flick, my friends have been picking up assorted odds and ends for me as presents- the most recent being these two FUNKO figurines of Cap and Black Widow to add to my collection. I’ll never get over how cute these things are- although I’m starting to run out of places to display them!

I have a feeling these two will find a home on my desk at work.

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I’m actually surprised I haven’t mentioned Veet up until now considering it’s been a Spring/Summer staple-slash-lifesaver of mine since my Junior year of high school (yes, really.) I use this gel cream hair remover once a week or every couple of weeks in-between touch-up shaving and it keeps my legs (and arms, depending on how fuzzy they’re looking) smooth and stubble free for DAYS with no irritation and no dryness. I swear by this stuff.

I’ve heard complaints from people who have tried NAIR, another similar brand, and stated they were burned or the product just flat-out didn’t work for them- and honestly I’ve experienced similar issues when I’ve used NAIR- but I’ve never had an issue with Veet. As long as you follow the instructions, don’t leave it on for too long, and make sure to exfoliate and apply some lotion after use- this will be your new best friend in the warmer months. I promise you.

And yes, for curious minds- they have other formulas, too- for face, the bikini area, etc. Just make sure to read the directions before use and you should be just fine and silky smooth in no time!

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And finally, since Prince’s passing- I’ve been re-visiting my vinyl collection as I own a couple of his albums through years of thrifting with friends- and seeing some of what I’ve accumulated over time has been a tremendous amount of fun in recent days. My favorite so far, I have to say, is a copy of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ I bought for about $3 circa 2006/2007 at a Salvation Army near my hometown. Inside the album, I found a series of magazine clippings from the 80s and fan drawings by a girl named Pam (dated 1983) who I can only assume is the previous owner of the record.

Once I’m done re-organizing my collection (and playing ‘Purple Rain’ some more)– I think I’m going to try to track Pam down to return her drawings to her. They’re quite nice!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • ‘Preacher’ – I should really consider buying stock in AMC these days considering how much they own my Sunday nights. ‘Preacher’, set to debut on May 22nd- stars one of my many man-crushes, Dominic Cooper- and is based on the comic of the same name. The previews look awesome, a little creepy, intense and pretty funny- so I’m really excited to sit down and start watching this one once ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ winds down (I won’t be doing a recap of the season, FYI.)

– TECH/APPS/GAMES –

  • Grand Theft Auto – An oldie but a goodie. My friends and I had taken an indefinite hiatus from blowing each other up and running each other over instead of successfully completing missions in GTAV- using our video gaming time to play scarier and more story-driven games in recent months- but April saw us returning to the land of Los Santos to partake in crime sprees and mass destruction once again. If only the world could hear the laughter coming from our microphones late at night when it’s a free-for-all in the streets and we’re hijacking planes, trains and automobiles.
  • eRewards – This is another website I’ve been affiliated with for quite some time now, but am just getting around to mentioning now. eRewards is a survey site, plain and simple- no strings attached. The company will e-mail you a couple of surveys every few days that range anywhere from five minutes to a half hour to complete- and every survey that is completed/partially completed adds a dollar amount credit to your account. After you’ve accrued some money, you can trade it in for gift cards, restaurant vouchers, frequent flyer miles, etc. I’ve been doing it for a few years and I’ve already gotten plenty of Starbucks gift cards, points towards my airline and hotel chain of choice, Macy’s and American Eagle vouchers, etc.

Best of all? It’s completely free to join and there’s NO spam e-mails. Just the surveys!

I think that’s pretty much it for my April hits. I’ve already started compiling my list for May- which I intend on sharing (on time!) in a few more weeks.

And as always- feel free to share your favorites from last month, too!

xx

Summer Hair Care.

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When it comes to my hair, I typically get asked one of two questions when I meet people for the first time:

1. Are my curls natural? (Yes- and I still have no idea where they came from since nearly everyone in my family has had pin straight to lightly/barely wavy hair.)

2. Is red my natural color? (Nope! I’m a brunette by birth!)

Once those are out of the way, I am then usually asked one of two follow-up questions:

1. How do I keep my curls looking hydrated, healthy, and bouncy?

or 2. How do I keep my very bright, very vibrant reds from fading- especially in the Summertime sun?

The truth is, it’s not easy. Curly hair is typically dryer than straighter hair (which leads to a LOT of frizz and flyaways,) and red is the hardest hue to maintain- often fading to a rusty orange or even a dull pink-ish if not kept up with religiously or taken care of/styled with the appropriate, color-safe products. Red hair is a commitment- both physically and financially- and one I’ve stayed true to for quite a few years now.

During the 4-5 years I’ve been a Faux-Ginger, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two. I’ve learned to always find the time to schedule monthly root touch-ups (the unintentional ombre that occurs when my natural hair color grows in for an extended period of time is not a good look on me,) and I’ve learned how to efficiently clean up the shower and my towels after the first proper shampooing following the aforementioned monthly root touch-ups to avoid my bathroom looking like a bloody crime scene.

Most importantly, I’ve learned that keeping my curls and hair color safe- especially in the hotter, more humid months- does NOT have to break the bank or take up a ton of counter space with an overwhelming amount of products. I’ve pinned down an efficient and simple Summer hair care system with just four core products- all of which are inexpensive and all of which can go hand-in-hand with your favorite styling products without weighing your hair down or making it feel or look sticky/greasy.

Here’s what I use:

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TO CLEAN:

John Frieda’s “Radiant Red” Colour Protecting Shampoo  ($4.97 – $6.59)

Back when I made the bold decision to go platinum with my hair, I stockpiled pretty much everything from John Frieda’s “Sheer Blonde” collection because it was one of the few, affordable, geared-for-blondes lines that kept my tresses hydrated (an absolute necessity considering how fried my hair had become at that point,) and prevented discoloration. When I came to my senses and went back to brunette, the “Brilliant Brunette” line became my ally for the very same reasons- the results and the price.

Of course, as we all know, I have since given in to the temptation that was fiery red hair- and sure enough, John Frieda’s “Radiant Red” line was there to have my back. Although “Radiant Red” does not have nearly as many products as the SB and BB lines, I’m more than content with this shampoo and swear by it when discussing hair care for redheads. While I do shower and condition my hair every day, I only actually wash my hair with this product once or twice a week. It lathers up nicely, cleans my hair without stripping it down- and really brings out the different tones and shine in each of my curls. The cherry on top? It smells awesome!

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TO CONDITION:

Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Color Care Conditioner ($3.49 – $6.29)

Since I use way more conditioner than I do shampoo, I want something lightweight and relatively inexpensive that will help nourish and de-tangle my curls without fading my color. While I do like John Frieda’s “Radiant Red” conditioner that goes hand-in-hand with the shampoo, it is tricky to find it in stock in a lot of stores. This Suave conditioner, infused with Moroccan oil and easy to locate at pretty much every pharmacy or drug store- makes my hair ridiculously soft and shiny, leaves it moisturized and easy to comb through- and doesn’t fade or cloud my red at all.

I tend to apply a generous amount from my roots to my ends, and leave it in for 5-10 minutes while I shave/wash up the rest of my body/sing into my shampoo bottle/zone out completely- before I rinse it out and then go about gently patting my hair dry with my towel and styling.

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TO PROTECT:

Suave Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil ($5.99)

In the Summer, I style my hair with a lot of sea salt sprays to soften my curls and give them a more wavy, “just got back from the beach” look. It’s wonderful- except that the salt in the sprays is notorious for sucking the moisture out of hair. To counteract this, I use a few pumps of this Suave Moroccan oil from my roots to my ends while my hair is still damp before I spritz in my salt spray and let it air dry. This oil keeps my hair hydrated and shiny without making it look or feel slick or sticky. It also fights frizz, and smells really good.

I often use this when my hair is dry, as well- applying a few pumps into my palm and smoothing it over and through my hair when I’m on the go to combat flyaways and dryness. It can also be applied as an overnight hair mask, too- although I prefer to use something else for a deep repair treatment- which brings me to…

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TO REPAIR:

Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil ($6-$8)

By now, most people know about the amazing benefits of coconut oil. It’s essentially a miracle in a jar- good for everything and everyone. I get a lot of use out of the Trader Joe’s brand- from my nails, to my teeth, and especially to my hair. I use coconut oil as a weekly overnight repair mask, applying and combing it through damp, clean hair- braiding or twisting my hair into a bun- and tucking it into a shower cap that I leave on while I’m sleeping (it’s more comfortable than you’d think.) In the morning, I simply take the cap off and wash and condition my hair as usual.

The results are deeply moisturized curls that are free of frizz and split ends. Coconut oil doesn’t harm my color, either- which makes it safer to use than other hair masks that may contain sulfate or other chemicals that cause fading or discoloration.

And there you have it! Four simple products to use in the Summertime for easy hair care and maintenance that won’t put a strain on your budget.

Of course, my products do get switched up a bit when it comes time for Fall and Winter, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m not exactly eager for Summer to be over, after all.

xox