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May 15, 2012
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Happily Ever After: L'Oreal EverCrème Review

I'm pretty sure you think I'm exaggerating because hyperbole is kinda' my thing. I kid you not though; DIY hair almost always ends up in disaster: brittle, angry hair. After a lot of time, energy and sometimes tears (don't judge me), I end up begging my hairstylists to take me into their salons the very next day. Ask them. I've offered to be their best friend, hugs, and even said I could stop by their homes to make it more convenient for them.

That last "offer" borders on a threat, but desperate times...

Despite knowing all of this, from time to time I trick myself to believe that if I just change my products and get professional heating tools, I can have salon-perfect hair.

So when I attended the L'Oreal Paris EverCrème event, I took it as a divine sign to try again*. Instantly smitten, I met Johnny Lavoy. He is not only L'Oreal's official hair expert, but for 30 years (no idea how this is possible...he looks so young!), he has styled celebs like Cindy Crawford, Raven Simone and Gail King. He has also worked a ton of runway shows and magazine gigs. So when Lavoy told the intimate group of beauty bloggers & editors that EverCrème was perfect for dry, naturally curly, and chemically processed hair, I believed him.

The feature product was sulfate-free EverCrème Cleansing Conditioner ($6). One part cleanser-three parts conditioner, it leaves hair clean, super soft, and ready to combat environmental factors and heat styling. Plus, it smells unbelievable. To explain how yummy it smells, I was on the subway and a young woman sat next to me. I recognized the scent immediately and we proceeded to talk about how much we love EverCrème.

Believe me; I don't spend my time sniffing other chicks, so imagine how fantastic it smells!

Back to my DIY experience...well, I gave it a go with the cleansing conditioner and my hair was so very soft. I could hardly believe it! My styling "techniques"? Um, I went to the salon the next day. There are just times when we have to recognize our limitations. My kryptonite is apparently blow drying my hair and cooking anything other than pasta dishes. For the record, I can also make a mean English muffin pizza.

*P.S. I sing this through my DIY-hair sweating & crying fits

April 02, 2012
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Break Up to Make Up: KeratinPerfect Review

My dad's canary-yellow Lincoln Mark V is synonymous with R& B classics for me. Mostly because before I even entered it, I'd hear the music blaring and my dad belting out tunes. One of his favorites was "Break Up to Make Up" by The Stylistics. As I found myself nostalgically downloading the best of The Stylistics a little while ago, I remembered those days...visibly embarrassed, but singing along with him (in my head). Since then, after loving and losing, I can honestly say I understand the song. I get it now, Papa Brathwaite.

The concept of "break up to make up" doesn't relate only to romantic relationships.  I've oft-confronted my split ends with scissors, but recently I was introduced to keratin treatments. As I'm sure you know, over time our hair loses protein (chemical treatments and heat exacerbate this natural process). Protein-depleted hair is dull, rough, dry, frizzy, and lifeless. Sound familiar? I'd heard quite a bit about Brazilian Keratin Treatments and relaxed hair. I gotta' tell ya, from formaldehyde formulations to just god-awful results, I had no interest in joining that club.

Well, KeratinPerfect is different. It's called a "smoothing system" because it uses naturally derived protein (from sheep's wool to be exact) to infuse hair with much-needed strength and shine. So yeah, I was invited to an event where attendees were shown how to complete a successful DIY blowout using KeratinPerfect.

For the record, my DIY hair projects end up with me begging my gracious hair stylists (i.e. hair angels) to fit me into their busy schedules. I figured I'd cut out the trauma of trying to fit a hat over my stay-puft hair and just watch the professionals teach more able-bodied bloggers and editors.

I happily took my products with me to my one of my favorite hair angels, Shedelle Holmes. She used the sulfate-free Perfect Cleanse ($24), Perfect Silk Conditioner ($24), and Keratin Blowout Booster Cream ($34). As she shampooed she said, "you can feel the difference even when shampooing". As she blew out my hair, she marveled at its shine and said it actually looked stronger and more healthful...score!

I haven't tried the full, 30-day smoothing process, but it seems so simple...even I could do it (maybe):

Apply Clarifying Shampoo

Apply The Perfector & leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing out

Blow Dry using a dryer like the soon-to-launch in the US *ghd air. Here's a sneak peek!

Flat Iron hair using a tool that goes up to 430 degrees

Et Voile...this version doesn't hold a candle to my dad's, but I guess it'll do...

March 13, 2012
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The Hairess Diaries: Do I Need A Relaxer Intervention?

Yo Diary,

I've had some inner turmoil going on. You see, I have this friend. No, not like I'm talking about myself "friend"; "one-of-my-closest-friends-in-the-world" friend. Anywhoo, we have a couple of tacit agreements:

#1 We will be roommates in hell.

#2 We will never cross over to the "other side" (unless that "other side" is hell, which of course, we will do hand-in-hand).

In short, we're both on "that stuff"...the creamy crack. But like any good addict, I've been keeping a big secret from her. And if she's reading this, I'm sure she's shaking her silky-haired head.

For the past year, I've been stretching out my relaxers (I average about 10-11 weeks). As I've taken a glimpse at my natural texture, I've kinda' been rocking with my locks. BUT by the last week of my stretch, when the shedding gets unbearable, I ask myself "so what are we going to do?".

I contemplate just cutting it all the hell off because as India says, "I am not my hair...I am not your expectations...no". Then I remember the good times I've had with my signature bob. India chimes in again. Then I switch over to Jim Jones because all of that thinking is draining. I also schedule a relaxer appointment.

Once again, I find myself walking down a dusty road contemplating my next move...like good ol' "Bruce Banner". Cue the saddest television theme song ever made.

November 28, 2011
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It's A Miracle: It's A 10 Miracle Shine Spray Review

It's A 10 Miracle Shine Spray

Do you believe in miracles? Despite my status as a native New Yorker, I still do. I mean, yeah; I have my moments when my inner cynicist (like a lyracist, but more embittered), makes an appearance. At those times, I play Culture Club songs and do the Boy George dance ( in my head...mostly).

When that doesn't work, I find new beauty products to obsess over. Enter Miracle Shine Spray. Like all of the It's A 10 products, it has 10 benefits. Here are a few: it adds weightless shine, softens coarse hair, contains antioxidants, minimizes frizz, offers thermal protection, and locks in moisture. Plus, it can be used on wet hair and dry hair.

If you find yourself looking for softer, shinier hair, I suggest Miracle Shine Spray. Now, if you find yourself in a contrary mood, I suggest this:

August 09, 2011
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The Hairess Diaries: My Not-So-Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Yo Diary,

Mama recently experienced a chemical treatment of the relaxer persuasion.

I won't go into the details, but I will tell you the result: strands...and...strands...and strands...of hair in my hands. And on the floor. Trauma.

Considering I've had a relaxer since the the heyday of PCJ, this certainly isn't the first time my strands have been damaged. But my goodness, it's not fun to be here again. So yeah, I've come to the final stage of mane mourning: acceptance. The obvious solution would be to cut it, but gah, I always do that.

Before I resort to the "take-off-as-much-as-you-need-to-I-don't-care" chop, I'll give Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus (~$20) a go. Since you are all-knowing, hair diary, I won't tell you that protein is super important for distressed hair--like ahem, over-processed relaxed hair; it strengthens weak manes and has restorative powers.

Oh yes, I just said "powers". Anything that can possibly stop the kind of shedding my joint is doing, is in fact, magical. Say a prayer for me, hair diary. Me thinks, I'll need it.

I totally remember watching this PCJ commercial. You?

 

xx Shaunequa

 

July 05, 2011
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Survival of the Glammiest:
Ginger & Liz + Indique Glam Survival Kit

When I received an invite to the Glam Survival Kit launch party, my presence was a given. And not just because I was curious about the contents of said Glam Survival Kit. I have been obsessed with the hostess, beauty expert, Lianne Farbes' "soul hugs" from the moment I met her at Cocktails & Couture. Plus, I wanted to congratulate her in person for being one of the bloggers chosen to create her own limited-edition MAC Cosmetics Bloggers' Obsessions product! Of course I didn't remember to congratulate her, but hey, it's the thought that counts.

I did, however, help myself to a manicure featuring Ginger & Liz nail polish in Indique Pink (such a pretty, pretty color) that's included in the survival kit. But what else is in the kit?


The Glam Survival Kit ($458) features clip-in Indique hair extensions (choreographer Laurieann Gibson loves PURE Wavy btw) as well as the Indique Pink nail color. You can kinda' see the color in this pic of me and Christina, Ms. Love Brown Sugar, herself.


I had the most fun hanging with her and some of my other favorite beauty bloggers on the planet; and yes, DanielleFelicia, and Nikkia (to name just a few) are worth the hyperbole.

And *drum roll please*... the winner of the $100 Amazon Gift Card is Annabella Freeman. Please email me your contact information!

June 28, 2011
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Get Lifted: Oscar Blandi Hair Lift Review


Believe it or not: I was awake early Sunday morning for the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K Race, which supports gynecological cancer treatment. Since I didn't pack a sweaty-chic outfit for my trip, I gratefully paired my friend's gray and navy Sauconys and tangerine nylon shorts with an inside-out Beeing Mike tee.

I then noticed my entire ensemble, which also included a brown and tan headscarf-turned-headband and *wait for it* black socks. I immediately compared myself to Jenny from "The L Word" when the motley-yet-stylish crew found themselves in an intense basketball game (video below).

I considered taking the scarf off, but I wasn't willing to piss away my new Oscar Blandi'd tresses. I used Oscar Blandi Hair Lift Thickening & Strengthening Serum ($28) last week and was in love with the oomph it gave my hair.

Just a dime size plumps the hair shaft (thickening up to 47%), strengthens (promoting elasticity and body), and protects hair from heat styling. It also includes rice starch powder, which absorbs excess oil that tends to weigh hair down AND unlike other volumizers, your hair will have movement: win-win-win!

And speaking of winning, that's exactly what "The L Word" crew didn't do in this scene...enjoy, it's hilarious!

April 29, 2011
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It's Your World, But It's Phyto's Universe

You guys, I just had the most incredible Shaunequa in Wonderland beauty experience. Follow me down the rabbit hole as I tell you about my afternoon at Phyto Universe.


Phyto Universe

The Ambiance

Though I'd gone to Phyto Universe for a party, I somehow missed the beyond-tranquil, flora-fauna sanctuary that it is. I was greeted by a bevy of smiles and multiple beverage requests. Impressed, I sat in the waiting area and then I saw Ron.


Super Stylist, Ronald Williams

The Stylist

Ron Williams is walking Southern charm. That's the first thing. He has done the tresses of the "Gossip Girl" and "America's Next Top Model" casts, journalist Jackie Reed, and a bushel of beauty editors. That's the second thing. With over 15 years of experience, Ron uses a scientific approach to train stylists around the country on retexturizing curly hair (i.e. relaxers, redefining curls, etc.). That's the third thing.

Oh and you know how your stylist vaciliates from you to other clients? That's not the Phyto way. Ron finished with his client, escorted her to the lobby and then my surreal hair experience began.


Phyto Scope

The Phyto Scope

Phyto Scope was crazy cool. It magnifies the scalp, follicles, and hair strands by 200 times. In short, I saw the good, the bad, and the rather embarrassing. Among product build up and a cringe-worthy amount of dead skin cells, I saw one strand of hair was in a knot. Ron told me that was the first time he'd seen that. My response: "Cooky girl...cooky hair. What can I tell ya?" Here are a few examples of what you might see depending on your hair type.


Healthy Hair Dry/Brittle Hair Ultra-Dry Hair

The Treatment

After Ron analyzed my hair, he created a conditioning cocktail specifically for my needs. Since I was also getting the Phytorelaxer (which Ron customizes to your hair's curl pattern), we didn't aggravate my scalp with exfoliation--gently brushing the hair to lift dry skin cells (dandruff) and product build up, but that's certainly part of the traditional cleansing-conditioning treatment.

Relaxer girls, the Phytorelaxer is egg & soya based so it doesn't do the damage that typical lye and no-lye relaxers can do. Plus, it doesn't stink or burn; as I've mentioned before, I have the most sensitive scalp EVER.

After I walked over to the next room, Ron promised I wouldn't have to get up again until it was time for me to leave. "This is a relaxation day. We come to you". And that they did. When I sat in that chair, the washing bowl was rolled over to me. Then the steam treatment thingie came around as the plant protein-based, Phytospecific Vital Force mask conditioned my hair. Though by miracle, a glass of water appeared by my side as my scalp and face pores luxuriated in the steam.

Finally, with a rinsed-out hair mask, the blow drying commenced. I walked out with soft, bouncy hair and a head full of tips, tricks, and Ron's mantra, which I feel like tattooing on my face.  He says, before applying anything to your hair, ask yourself, is it going to: HYDRATE, NOURISH, REPAIR or RESTORE? If not, think twice before using it.

March 11, 2011
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The Hairess Diaries #5: Hold It!

Rene Furterer Vegetal Finishing Spray

Yo Diary!

Long time no write (I know, I know). Remember when I jokingly told my grandma about a life decision I made, knowing she'd disapprove? And she glared at me, as if to say, "so help me, if you are serious, I will stab you".

Though her latest accessory is a walker, when she sternly says, "hold it" mid-conversation, she ain't playing games. Speaking of "hold it" (mmm hmm segue time), I have been super excited to tell you about Rene Furterer Vegetal Finishing Spray ($27). Now normally I shy away from using any kind of holding spray on my fragile, winter-molested tresses. But this one is supposed to be different. It offers hold and hydration without weighing hair down; it has Vitamin B5.

And you know me, dear diary. I put this bad boy to the test: during the east coast's latest precipitation-wind mash up. I have to tell you. I ran my fingers through my hair just now and it felt soft and managed. Kinda' like the way I feel when my grandma gives me "the eye".

Write ya again soon,

S Breezy

December 08, 2010
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Hairess Diaries Shanna # 4 - So Fresh and So Clean

Image courtesy of Estee Lauder

When I got a call after 6 pm for a job interview with a well-known makeup company the next day, I immediately thought about my hair.  I knew I missed the cut-off for my salon, and didn't want to chance being late for the interview dilly-dallying during a morning salon appointment.

So I whipped out the magnetic rollers I bought last year and never used.  The stylists make it look so easy, I thought I could do it too.  Two rollers in and I understood my DIY skills had a limit. This was best left to the professionals.

Not to be discouraged, I decided to wear my hair pulled straight back with a side part for a touch of drama.  I abandoned my dream of having my bangs lay perfectly at my brow after having accomplished an at-home blow-out.  I tackled what I knew I could manage, like making sure my hair was freshly washed, conditioned and shiny.  Isn't that what counts?

So instead of face-framing bangs, I channeled my inner Jody Watley and Liya Kibede, both rock a fresh yet sophisticated face. Lesson learned - keep it simple.


Image courtesy of xolondon.blogspot.com

Posted by Shanna Sabio

November 10, 2010
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Hairess Diaries Shanna #3 "When I Break, I Break"

Hey Hair Diary,

This week I went to my salon to get my relaxer touched up, and the most horrifying thing happened.  My regular hairdresser was not there!  Not to be deterred, I decided to try another hairdresser there and while touching up my relaxer she did a BIG NO-NO.  She applied relaxer to my already relaxed ends!!! I was horrified.

You and I know that you should not reapply relaxer to already-relaxed portions of the hair because it thins it, leading to breakage.  You know how fine my hair is already, so of course I asked her rinse it off, and when I left, I promptly sought a remedy.

Luckily I found L'Oreal Hair Fixer.  It's a bit like a science experiment (which being the nerd that I am, I love).  You drop a tablet in the mixer bottle supplied, add the solution, and shake.  Apply it to your hair and the effects accumulate over time, strengthening your hair.

I bought three boxes; one can never be too safe...

-Posted by: Shanna S.

September 21, 2010
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The Hairess Diaries: Shaunequa #4
"Someone Call My Hairstylist STAT!"

Yo Hair Diary!

I took a walk on the wild side and washed my own hair last Friday. I totally was open to the possibility that as a result, my hair would be dry, dull, and er, stiff. You see, it's so easy to sit in my miracle-working stylist's chair and know I'll walk out happy. But when did you know me to do anything the easy way? This time, I was armed with Ted Gibson Shine Lotion ($15.99).

Well the scent is out of control and it works super well on my dry hair...especially when said dry hair was washed, dried, and styled by Jasmine. The result of my wash-n-blow? Pretty close to terrible. Luckily, Jasmine was available today.

Besos,

Breezy

August 31, 2010
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The Hairess Diaries: Shaunequa #2
Happy to Be Nappy

Image courtesy of Shoppinglifestyle.com

Yo Hair Diary,

I know I was a little whiny pants about the textural state of my hair last week. I mean, I had a wedding to go to, man! But this week I'm embracing my coarse curls and rocking my signature goddess updo.To add some sheen (you know how dry relaxed hair starts to look when it needs its creamy crack), I spritz Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In Moisturizer ($11.50) before twisting my tresses.

I'd take a picture of the style, but I'm bloated. Just imagine Nicole Richie's 'do with (much) tighter and darker curls. You get the idea, right?

Peace in the Middle East,

Breezy

August 24, 2010
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The Hairess Diaries: Shaunequa #1

Yo Hair Diary,

I've noticed a little something. Every time I'm like a week away from a relaxer, it's the same time as a wedding or big vacation. In other words, there will be loads of pictures taken where my tresses look BUSTED.

I'm hoping you can shed some light on the matter. Is this follicular culture clash an exercise of continued humility? Is it so I can more deeply explore my creativity (i.e. finding ways to make the best of a tangled monstrosity)?

I'll wait for your answers...

Love (not now, but usually)

S Breezy

July 29, 2010
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Good VIBE-rations: VIBE Magazine & Luster Brand Honor LeToya Luckett


Last night I went to a Luster Brand-VIBE Magazine Event honoring the haircare brand's newest spokesperson, LeToya Luckett. For the first time in my blogging life, I attended an event in *gasp* jeans. C'mon...we all know when we're on our A-games. Yeah, I was like on a C or D-game. "D" is for "Duh, Breezy. Why didn't you go home and throw on one of your party dresses or at least switch out bags?

But I did have fun. Oh-oh-oh and there was a surprise, Keisha Knight Pulliam (AKA Rudy Huxtable) was also there!

If you've been lucky enough to miss hearing about my little girl dreams of being a child star, you know I had an internal beef with "Rudy". Bear with me here. "Rudy" was allowed to wear dangling earrings before I could. She wore black before I was permitted to. Don't even ask why I was banned from the color until I was 9; my guess is it was some bizarre Southern rule. OK fine, back to the party.


Aren't her hot pink lips BEYOND? And her hair...now if you tell me she uses Luster Brand products, consider me a customer for life!

You probably associate the Luster Brand name with the once-ubiquitous, pink bottle. Well, Smooth Touch not only looks different than the infamous Pink Oil collection, but it also has different ingredients like olive oil, aloe, and coconut oil.  I'll try out some of the products and will let you know what's up!

December 31, 2009
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This Goes Out to All My Creamy Crack Chicks: 2009 Roundup


Wella Power MaskMy name is S Breezy's hair and I am a creamy crack addict. Yup, my hair is in follicle rehab for creamy crack abuse. I will explain more once it makes it through its 12-step program. You just back off, natural-hair girls, it's just a hiatus. My hair will be back: fried, dyed, and laid to the side. Until then, I'm dedicating this to my fellow creamy crackheads out there.
It is possible to have healthy, chemically treated hair. Here are a few of my favorite products: 

Wella Power Mask ($58) is super hydrating and it's made to soften the most coarse and moisturize the most dehydrated hair.

Dry, prickly ends in need of a trim? Look no further than Avon Advance Techniques Dry Ends Serum ($5) to keep 'em looking fresh. I know I mentioned this earlier, but I love it, and heck it's the 2009 roundup, right?

Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-InTruth be told, Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner ($11.50) is also great for natural girls. It leaves your hair really soft...and yummy-smelling.

Well you guys, I'll see you in 2010...Happy New Year!

September 30, 2009
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Isn't Chi Lovely?

 


If you've known me for the past, say, 16 years you have been privy to my bob-mentality. Yes it has gone through a few iterations: the asymmetrical (think "Kelis' "Bossy" days) and the page boy (er, when I had enough of my "bossiness"). I never planned to change it; it was my signature hair style. Until one of my girls was like, "Your hair always looks so pretty, but would you ever think about changing it?" In true S Breezy style, I quickly dismissed even the notion, "Never! I'm bobbin' till I have nothin' left to bob!" Later, replaying the conversation in my head, I began to feel embarrassed by my response (such a rarity I hardly recognized the sentiment).

Ch-ch-ch-changes...I've been growing out my hair over the past few months. I've received a bevy of compliments and loved my new follicular opportunities: the French braid, the chignon, the goddess twists (made that name up).

But then I had no idea that my new length required more maintenance than my shorter hair. I was faced with lackluster, brittle hair. My hair needed to be cut and for once, I didn't want to.

So I turned to my trusty Chi Shine Infusion Thermal Polishing Spray ($12.99). It was like it breathed artificial life into my broken hair. Though my hair is healthy now, I'll never forget what Chi did for me when times (and my tresses) were rough. I've used it for the past 3 years and it continues to add shine and depth to my hair. So whether you have naturally straight or blow-dried/chemically straightened hair, this is one product one you must, must try!

Oh if you live in NYC and want to buy it, I found a spot that sells it for 9 bucks. Give me a shout and I'll let you know.


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