Product Review: Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lavender Mint Moisturizing Conditioner

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lavender Mint Moisturizing Conditioner ReviewPrice: $13 for 1L

Purchased At: Ulta (during liter sale)

Product Claims: "Put hair and mind at ease with the comforting fragrance of lavender, mint, and tea tree oil. Ideal for dry, coarse, and unruly hair, this rich conditioner soothes sharks and quenches moisture-starved locks while helping to improve manageability and thwart split ends. Safe for color treated hair."

Directions: Apply a small amount to clean, damp hair. Massage. Rinse completely.

Ingredients: Water, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Quaternium-52, Stearyl Alcohol, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Bis(C13-15 Alkoxy) PG-Amodimethicone, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Linalool, Glycerin, Panthenol, PPG-2 Myristyl Ether Propionate, Pentaerythrityl Tetracaprylate/Tetracaprate, Lavender Oil, Peppermint Oil, Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Acetamidopropyl Trimonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutyl-paraben, Tetrasodium EDTA, Trimethylsiloxy-amodimethicone, C11-15 Pareth-7, C12-16 Pareth, Trideceth-12 

My Experience: If you don't already know, let me tell you now: I LOVE products that make my scalp tingle! That was part of the reason I wanted to try this product. Another part? Hype. People rave about this stuff. So when I saw it on sale at Ulta, I went for it. Even though it might not look like it in the picture, I have used it a number of ways, a number of times. 

The directions - apply, massage, rinse - make it seem like this conditioner is one that does its job in a few short minutes. Yea... no it doesn't. I tried just leaving it in for 5 minutes or so in the shower and it left a lot to be desired. Nothing compared to what my beloved Aubrey Organics conditioners do in that amount of time. I ended up deep conditioning with a different conditioner after that.  As for deep conditioning with it, I have to use heat in addition to my usual plastic cap in order to get good results. And by good, I mean my hair just feels fine. It's not extra moisturized or very soft like it would be with my favorite moisturizing conditioners. Nothing wrong, but nothing that great either. 

The product itself is very creamy and is not too thick at all. It does have a lot of slip, which was great when I used it to help rinse out my henna treatment. It smells just like its name: tea tree, lavender, and mint. Seriously, it's kind of herbal/medicinal to me. If you're not a fan of those particular scents, you should stay away from this. I don't mind them, but I don't really like how long it lingers. The packaging is great- having a pump for conditioner makes things so easy.

I was pretty much ready to give up on it before I decided to use it as a pre-shampoo treatment. Here's where it shines. It only really sinks into my hair when I use it this way on dry hair. My hair feels great when I use it like this. Like so great it tempts me not to shampoo after. But come on... I didn't buy this expensive conditioner to use solely as a pre-poo! Which is exactly what I'm going to be doing with it unless I can give it away. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I'm sure some of my disappointment was because I had high expectations, but a conditioner that I have to use with another better conditioner to get my desired results or can only use as a pre-poo is never going to make my favorites list. I probably would have returned it quickly if I would have payed regular price for it, which is around $30.  

Moral of the Story: I'm not too impressed with this conditioner ladies. Sure, it works great as a pre-poo, but for me, that's it and that's definitely not worth it. Especially when you compare that fact to its to the regular price. I definitely won't be repurchasing. 

Has anyone else used this conditioner? What was your experience??

(Co)Wash Day

I decided to go for a quick co-wash since I hadn't done one in awhile and they were working so well for me. I want to try out a cleansing conditioner, but since I haven't picked one up yet, I proceeded like a regular wash day minus the shampoo step. 

{1} Finger detangled and divided my hair into 8 sections.

{2} Pre-poo: Applied Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Moisturizing Conditioner and oil mix (grape seed & coconut) to each section and braided it. Put on a plastic cap & scarf for a couple hours before rinsing.

{3} Towel wrapped my braids to soak up the excess water for about 20 minutes.

{4} Deep conditioned with Aubrey Organics Island Naturals Replenishing and Tresemme Naturals conditioners for 2 hours. 

{5} Rinsed with cool water followed by ACV & Aloe Vera Juice, which I did not rinse out.  

So after I towel wrapped my hair again, I totally passed out. I don't know how long I had been sleep before I woke up long enough to put on a satin cap and went right back to sleep. The next morning, I woke up intending to finish my hair as usual, but I was pleasantly surprised by the state of my hair when I started taking out my braids. 

I had THEE softest hair ever!!! Like pillowy soft hair! Aaahhh with NO extra leave ins. An unplanned experiment gone amazingly right! 

{6} My hair was still a little damp so I sealed with some coconut oil and rocked a braid out. 

That was it! Apparently, my hair truly loves the ACV and Aloe Vera juice combo. I never would have guessed that using it alone as my leave in would allow my hair to feel so great. It lasted for a couple days, too. The rinse is officially a staple! Although I probably won't make passing out with a wet head a common practice :) 

How was your wash day this week? Be sure to check out other Wash Day Experiences over at SavingOurStrands and JustGrowAlready!

Twisted Back Updo | Tutorial

I love styles that look intricate, like they took forever to achieve, but really they're pretty easy to get done. This is one of those styles. It really comes down to six twists pinned up. I waited probably too long to do this tutorial so that I would be able to show what it looks like on my own hair, too. Big, crochet braided hair is not required to achieve this awesome protective style.

The state of your hair - textured or straight - when you begin is really up to you. I go for big, air-dried or stretched hair though because I like the fullness it gives the style. You do want to make sure your hair is well moisturized, as this is a style you can keep in for a few days.

Supplies Needed: Bobby pins, 2 hair clips to hold the sections

  1. Separate your hair into front & back sections (part from ear to ear), clip to hold in place.
  2. Divide the back section down the middle and make 2 two-strand twists on each side. 
  3. Secure each twist underneath the other with a bobby pin. 
  4. In the front section, part your hair how you like it (middle or side-part), clip to hold 1 section. 
  5. Divide the other section in half (top to bottom) and two-strand twist twist each.
  6. Secure each twist in the back with bobby pins.
  7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 on the other section in the front. 

Voila! That's it. On my hair this looked a little more like a faux bob style because of how loosely I twisted my hair in the back sections. If you two-strand twist your hair tighter, you will get more of the detailed look I had with the crochet braid style. I like it both ways. Also, you can switch this style up some by simply using the tuck, roll, pin technique in each section instead of a two-strand twist (pictured below). Happy styling ladies!

Wash Day - Crochet Box Braid Takedown

So, I came in a little under 3 weeks with my crochet braids, again. I was totally fine with that until I took my hair down and had NO idea what to do with it... sigh. I think protective styling has won me over ladies. I can't believe it. Either that or it's spoiled me too much. Maybe a little of both? Anyway, here's how my wash day went:

{1} Cut the braids a few inches from my scalp and unbraided. Easiest braid removal ever.

{2} Pre-poo - coated my hair with Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Moisturizing conditioner and a mix of oils (olive, safflower, grape seed & a few drops of peppermint) overnight under a plastic cap & scarf. 

{3} Took braids out, removed shed hair, detangled and sectioned into 8 braids.

{4} Shampooed with CON Argan Oil Moisturizing shampoo.

{5} Deep conditioned with L'oreal Damage Erasing Balm under a plastic cap & scarf for a few hours.

{6} Rinsed then did an ACV & Aloe Vera juice rinse. I let this soak in for a bit, squeezed the excess, but didn't rinse it out.

{7} Towel wrapped my braids to soak up more of the excess juices for about 20 minutes.

{8} Section by section - I removed each braid and applied my leave-ins: grape seed oil, Whipped Creme Ends Hydration, my DIY shea butter mix. Not much detangling needed *woot woot!* 

{9} Tension blew dry my roots

{10} Applied Eco-styler gel on my edges, tied them down with a scarf and let it air dry the rest of the way.

The big hair is back! I'm pretty sure once I get to the point where all my bone straight ends are gone, I will totally be able to pull off a fro lol! And I will love it!! Never would've guessed that would happen. My roots are becoming a serious matter, but the braids throughout my wash days are keeping tangles to a minimum. *happy dance* I'm loving these easy, peasy wash days. AND keeping my hair in braids for washes has liberated me from the multiple shower trips. That's cause for a whole nother *happy dance*! Ha! It's so much easier to be able to just rinse my hair in the sink without worrying about it getting tangled from me flipping my head upside down. For now, I'll just be letting my hair rest for a bit before relaxing. 

Yaaay for awesome wash days! How was your wash day this week? Be sure to check out other wash day experiences over at SavingOurStrands and Just Grow Already!

Thrifted Vanity | DIY

After shopping for a vanity for awhile and not finding what I wanted (within my budget), I decided to make my own. I love thrifting and I love Do-It-Yourself projects! So why not, right?! Before this, I hadn't upgraded my thrift shopping to furniture, however, I'd seen enough golden finds to want to try it out myself. 

I set out on a mission to find a table (with or without drawers) or a desk, and a large mirror. Thrift shopping takes patience for a number of reasons - you never know what the store is actually going to have and you're probably going to have to dig before you find the good stuff - so I didn't expect to find it immediately. But I finally scored a quality Bassett desk for, wait for it... $20!! Please follow the link if you've never heard of Bassett or their $1K-$2K prices for this kind of furniture (yes, desks!) so you can truly understand how great of a deal this was! Needless to say, I was super excited. And when I went back to pick it up, I found a large mirror to go with it for *drumroll please* $5!! Woot woot!! 

Commence project planning! I didn't like the wood color on either one so I decided to refinish them both. The wonderful thing about getting quality wood furniture is that, with a little elbow grease, you can redesign them this way. And when you watch HGTV as much as I do, you feel like you can do anything lol! I went to Lowe's for my supplies: sandpaper, wood & satin finish, sponges, paint brushes, cheese cloth... fun stuff! I borrowed my aunt's hand sander and got started. 

Refinishing wood is a 4-step process: 

  1. Remove old finish by sanding the wood (following the wood grain)
  2. Thoroughly clean the sand from wood  
  3. Apply wood stain
  4. Apply wood finish
Sounds simple right? Well it is and it isn't. In that properly sanding wood is no joke! I felt like my arms were gonna fall off! My dad laughed at me cuz he thought I underestimated how much work it would take to get the old finish removed. Yea... he was right, but don't tell him I admitted that. Thanks HGTV. The pic above is when I first started sanding and realized I needed to step my weight up. It took a little while for me to get the hang of it. That was really where the most work was required in this project, which I didn't mind at all. Once I was done with the desk, the mirror was easy peasy. 

When I thought I was done sanding, I learned the hard way how important following the grain of the wood was with my first coat of wood stain. Yep, that top pic is the result of me "getting the hang of it" with the sander. Ha! Basically, if you don't follow the grain the stain will show every wrong direction you chose instead. Fun fact. So I had to re-sand that part to get the smooth finish fro the bottom pic. Thank God that was the only issue I ran into. After staining and putting on the finish, I also switched the drawer handles (pictured below) to complete the vintage-like look I wanted. Very reminiscent of the vanity my grandma would sit at while I watched her hot comb her hair :) 

I really enjoy creating and figuring out how to do things. I think it's kinda therapeutic for me, and when I'm done I get so excited when it turns out well. I love it! One of the best parts is I spent a little over $50 for the desk, mirror, and supplies. That cannot be beat. And if I get tired of the wood grain look, I can just paint over it. The drawers are so deep, it holds my ridiculous product stash, hair accessories, tools, and makeup quite well.  Pretty much exactly what I wanted!

Crochet Braids #2 - Box Braids

For my second set of crochet braids, I went for a box braid look. If it's one thing that can be said of crochet braids, it's that they are so very versatile. Who ever would've thought that that old childhood style would come back better than ever? Not me. That's for sure. Or was I the only one whose mom braided her hair up and then put those fake curly braids in it??? Oh... ok. 

If you've never looked up crochet braids on YouTube, let me tell you - ladies do alllll kinds of things with this style. I seriously had no idea! Because of the fact that it has been working out well for me, I realized I could easily keep styling my hair this way for months on end without getting bored or having to repeat a certain look. With that, I'm sure I will get better at installing, too. I think I am going to be protective styling a lot longer than I originally intended. Especially since I am planning to cut 2-3 inches sometime this month. My nape is just thriving and that is no small matter. Of course, it's benefitting all the rest of my hair, too. I want to at least protective style through the summer, taking little breaks in between each style. I'm not sure if I am going to be using crochet braids that whole time or not, but I do know I want to do them at least one more time after this. 

So, to achieve the box braids, I used pretty much the same braiding pattern that I did the last time, but I switched up my technique of crocheting in the hair. Normally, you grab a loop of hair with the crochet hook, pull it through the braid, then pull the length of hair through the loop to create a knot. Instead of pulling the hair through the loop to knot it after crocheting it in, I pulled half of the hair through to the other side of the braid (pictured below). This way, once the hair is braided, it surrounds the braid (covering it), instead of creating a knot. It may not sound like it, but it wasn't any extra work to put the hair in this way and it actually makes the hair a little easier to take out. For those reasons, I think I like this technique better than the regular way when it comes to going for this look. 

I used a different kind of hair this time (Sensationnel X-Pression Braiding Hair), which was about $4/pack at my local beauty supply. My sister gave me 3 packs and then I bought a couple extras just in case. I used 3.5 packs and then... I basically gave up. Ha! This all happened over two days. I don't like sitting for too many hours at once and just doing the style straight through because I get bored. Maybe I should try it that way next time though. 

I definitely could have used another pack of hair to fill it in more and do a better job covering up my own braids, but umm... I got tired!! I made the mistake of putting most of the hair in before I started braiding it. OMG ladies never do that!! It created so much more work for me than was necessary. Which is probably the real reason I got tired and gave up. If I were to do this style again, I would definitely braid as I put the hair in. I don't know what I was thinking ya'll. The hair started blending together and I had to be extra careful to separate it since it hadn't been secured on my head yet and could basically slide right out from under the braids. Sigh. Bad idea Melanie. Bad idea. Lesson learned. 

Other than that little mishap, I love the braids! It's like all the fun of box braids without any of the "Aaaahh-I'm-bout-to-lose-my-edges" hassle! No "Eeek-my-braids-are-so-tight-I-could-cry" moments! Yessss! That's a win. After I was finished braiding, I dipped the ends of the hair in hot water to set the braids. That's it! I love that it looks like I really have braids in my hair. I could even get them up into a high bun! I've had them in for a little while now and am enjoying styling them. The only problem I'm running into right now is excessive dryness. It's so weird, too. I'm moisturizing and sealing just as I have with my other protective styles, but the next day my hair will be bone dry as if I've never attempted to moisturize it. I'm beginning to suspect it's just the hair that I used that is drying my hair out. No good. I really liked working with this non-tangle prone hair, but I will definitely be taking these out sooner than planned if my hair keeps up this way. Either way I'm gonna rock it as long as I can!

Wash Day - Crochet Braid Prep #2

After having my new growth coil up on itself for the last two weeks, I decided to revisit washing my hair in braids. I hoped that this would make for a lot less time spent detangling my hair. 

{1} Sectioned my hair in 7 sections. Detangled each section.

{2} Pre-shampoo with Aubrey Organics Island Naturals conditioner and a mix of grapeseed, olive, and safflower oils. After applying, I braided each section and put on a plastic cap & scarf overnight

{3} Shampooed the next morning with CON Argan Oil Moisturizing shampoo (hair still in braids) using applicator bottle

{4} Towel wrapped my hair to soak up excess water

{5} Deep conditioned with L'Oreal Damage Erasing Balm. At first, I was going to just apply the conditioner right on the braids, but I ended up actually unbraiding to apply my deep conditioner and rebraiding. I am sure it probably would have done a fine job the other way but... yea I wanted to be sure it was done thoroughly. Put on a plastic cap and my scarf for about an hour and a half.

{6} After rinsing with cool water, I tried something new - ACV rinse diluted with aloe vera juice and I didn't rinse it out. I let it sit for a few mins before squeezing the excess out. OMG my hair was SO SOFT!!!!! 

{7} While my hair was still wet from the acv/aloe vera, I unbraided each section and sealed with grape seed oil, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and my shea butter mix. Knowing I was going to braid my hair up for another set of crochet braids, I wanted to really make sure my hair was moisturized and sealed well beforehand.

{8} Tension blow dried on cool/low. My hair was pretty much still detangled from step 1 which I was very pleased about. 

{9} Braided it up for my next set of crochet braids. 

That ACV & Aloe rinse was ah-mazing!! The only thing about it is I tried two new things at once: leaving the ACV in my hair and using aloe instead of water to dilute it. So I don't know exaaactly which made it so great or if it was the combo of both. I should know better, right? Either way the softness of my hair from that point on was delicious! I just wanted to play in it! It might just be a new staple step in my wash day, taking my beloved ACV rinses to a whole new level. I also loved washing my hair in braids. (Except the unbraiding/rebraiding was probably unnecessary.) I think I'm going to keep that up for the remainder of this stretch. It made for a no hassle wash day.

How was your wash day this week? Be sure to check out other wash day experiences over at SavingOurStrands and JustGrowAlready!

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