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BEE’S HAIRCARE REVIEW: Coconut & Vanilla Elixir By B.U. Beauty United

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a new Parisian company called B.U. Beauty United, who asked if I’d like to review their Coconut & Vanilla Elixir. Mama ain’t raise no fool, so after a chat and Google search, I said “Hell yeah!” Let me tell you – this was one of the BEST hair decisions I’ve made in a long time!

B.U. Beauty United’s main ethos is to provide the highest quality in natural products without sacrificing efficiency. With one line dedicated to salon professionals (to encourage them to utilize natural products versus heavily chemical ones), and one dedicated to the public, B.U. Beauty United is on a mission to increase the use of natural ingredients in curly and coily hair care.

I was sent the Coconut & Vanilla Elixir and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

B.U. Beauty United Coconut & Vanilla Elixir

B.U. Beauty United Coconut & Vanilla Elixir

Ingredients include: coconut oil, grapeseed oil, sesamum indicum seed oil, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, and natural coconut fragrance

I utilized the elixir in a couple of different ways. First, I used it as a moisturizing product as I set some Bantu-knots on my previously blow-dried hair. As I separated each section (about 12), I detangled then applied the elixir before twisting and knotting. I added a tiny bit of Shea Moisture Coconut Milk to help seal my ends, then knotted it up.

The next day when I took the Bantus down, my hair was noticeably softer – and smelled delicious to boot! I suffered from serious hand-in-hair syndrome for most of the day which turned my billowy Bantu knot-out into a semi-frizzy mess, but it was SOFT.

Yummy, soft hair

Yummy, soft hair

I also used the elixir as a scalp treatment, with wonderful results. I applied small amounts all over my scalp, especially around my front hairline where it was most dry. I tied my hair down with a satin scarf and headed to bed…then woke up in the morning with a happy, non-itchy scalp! It’s been a couple of days since I applied it as a scalp treatment, and the flakes and dryness have yet to return.

I’m looking forward to trying the elixir as a hot oil treatment, which I’m already predicting will be divine. Should you decide to purchase (it retails for 22 Euros), the good news is that while it’s a 30 mL bottle, a little bit goes a LONG way. I find that some oils just sit on my hair, but my hair and scalp were able to soak up the elixir without greasy residue.

I’ve got a little treat for y’all – in efforts to add the “multi” to my media, I put together a quick little video with the help of Qwiki and YouTube for your viewing pleasure! Get into this visual softness!

YouTube Preview Image

All in all, I’m digging the Coconut & Vanilla Elixir. Merci beaucoup, B.U. Beauty United!

Be sure to check out B.U. Beauty United’s site! To my French readers, let me know if you’ve tried any B.U. products, and what you think! I’m definitely interested in the global natural hair scene, so let me know how things are in your neck of the woods! 

GET TO KNOW: Absynia Jewelry & Vintage Line

When I was younger, I used to be so uncomfortable with the things that made me unique. As shy as I was, I hated the fact that I could never just blend in and move with the crowd. If it wasn’t my height, it was my skin colour. If it wasn’t my skin colour, it was my hairstyle. Something always made me stand out, and I didn’t appreciate it. Now? You wouldn’t know I ever had a problem with standing out. I think I’ve fully grown into accepting the things that make me me, and I love my uniqueness.

Uniqueness and originality are things that I now seek out in the way that I present myself to the world. From my hair to my clothes, I love creating original looks that represent me in all my fresh flyness. As a big fan of accessories, I know that the right bauble can set an outfit off just right, so I keep my eyes open for cool lines that don’t kill my wallet. One of these such lines is Absynia, created by Elle Lewis.

I introduced y’all to Absynia earlier this year when I purchased a pair of earrings for myself (and a ton of one-of-a-kind items for my girlfriends). I quickly fell in love with the beautifully-crafted pieces (for men and women), and was extremely appreciative of the fact that I was able to obtain high-quality, original jewelry at amazing prices. To boot, Abysnia’s customer service was top notch! Clear, quick, and kind – just the way I likes it. Y’all know I love to spread the word of amazing companies and lines, so allow me to formally introduce you to Absynia! I reached out to creator Elle Lewis to ask her some quick questions about the line – check out our mini-interview, and stay tuned for the special deal she gives ’83 To Infinity readers! Once you finish reading, head on over to Absynia’s online home, launching today!

Source: Absynia.com

Introduce yourself to the ’83 To Infinity readers! Tell us 3 interesting things about yourself.

Hi there readers! My name is Elle and I’m the brains (so to speak) behind Absynia!  Some interesting things about me:  I’ve always been an artist and an entrepreneur. When I was 7, I would draw stories and sell them around the neighborhood for .5 cents. My mother used to tell me that story all the time, whenever I moved on to the next thing. I was always trying to make and sell something, dreaming of creating something great.  I was voted class dreamer in a graduating class of 200+ students.

What inspired you to get into the art of jewelry design? 

I really just did it. I was buying a ton of cheap jewelry that would break all the time and hated to throw it away.  Sometimes I couldn’t fix it so I’d make it into something else. It wasn’t long before people started to notice  and when someone tried to buy my earrings from my ears, I figured I had something here.

The Kahina necklace ($32)

I’ll admit – the first thing that drew me to your line was the name. How did you come up with the name Absynia?  

I’m the daughter of a Rasta and so growing up I learned a lot about Africa. When I was thinking of what to name my line, I thought it should be something to represent me. I mulled over names of African empires and chose Nubia, the empire that I have a strong religious and cultural connection to because of my father. Abyssinia is the Biblical name for the region once known as Nubia, Absynia is just a shortening of that.

You also carry select vintage items, which I love. Why was this important for you to include in the Absynia brand?

I expanded to vintage because I love vintage items. The quality, the style and the idea of preserving something for the next generation, all appeals to me.  So much of our current economy is about making things as quickly and cheaply as possible and that is a shame, I think. Absynia is all about standing against the “buy-it, toss-it” idea so it was fitting that Absynia includes quality, vintage items as well.

To me, the Absynia brand represents being unique, presenting quality, and maintaining personal connection with its customers. How do you accomplish these things so successfully? Is there anything else that Absynia represents?

Maybe this is ambitious but I think and hope Absynia as a brand, represents the growing handmade community. I’ve observed that people now want to return to knowing where their items come from and who made  it. They want to be responsible with their money and invest in responsible companies who treat them well, provide quality and are ethical in their practices. I run my company as a customer. I LOVE fashion, I LOVE to shop and I use my experiences as a customer to make my company work. I made jewelry I wanted to buy and I treat customers the way I wish I was treated, for me it’s that simple.

The Idalia bracelet ($12.50)

How has your knowledge of worker abuse, child labour, and other cruelties in the global marketplace framed the way you run your line? 

Definitely. I’m not comfortable participating in an economy that disenfranchises and even enslaves people. When I first learned about what really happens in the fashion industry I was frozen. I didn’t know what to do, where to buy or if I should buy. Discovering an artisan community like Etsy really helped me. When I started creating I had a network of people to reach out to, to find out where to buy supplies. I support other artists, local suppliers and this year I did my most exhausting sourcing of materials, tapping into Native-run businesses and local artisans

What advice do you have for others who want to take the plunge into entrepreneurship? 

The best advice I can give is really consider who you are and what you stand for, then take your company in the direction that reflects that. I know a lot of people who want to jump on trends because they think they can make money but if it isn’t authentic then it won’t last. When your company is a reflection of who you are, people respect and connect to that. It also makes it very easy to be your own brand ambassador when you aren’t hiding who you are. I’m a Pro-Black, Pan-Africanist. It shows up in my jewelry, in my aesthetic and people- whether or not they’re from the Diaspora or not-respect that. And they support it- which gives me such joy I can’t even describe it.

The Zy earrings ($15)

What’s next for Absynia? When you look 5 years into the future, where do you see the line? 

When I look five years down the road, I see continuous growth-Growth of me as an artist and of my company. There are things I want to try with resin, with metal and with butane torches.  I see myself fully immersed in my craft and my customers benefit from that.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Yes! www.absynia.com is opening on Sept. 24th and I’d love to share a deal with your readers! When they go to www.absynia.com or www.absynia.etsy.com there is an option to leave a note for the seller when checking out. All they have to do is mention where they heard of  Absynia and I will refund their shipping charges, no matter how much they order. It’s just a small thank you for stopping by.

So, there you have it, folks! If you’re looking for unique, conscientious, gorgeous, and exceptionally-crafted jewelry and vintage pieces at incredible prices, Absynia is where you need to be. Take advantage of Elle’s awesome deal, and treat yourself or someone else! Now, let me get on and snatch up a few pieces that have been calling my name…happy shopping!

Thanks so much to Elle for her time, and make sure you follow @AbsyniaShop on Twitter! Don’t forget to vote for ’83TI in the Black Weblog Awards (Best New/Personal/Int’l/Writing In A Blog) – 1 more week to go in the semi-finals!

BREAKUPS TO MAKEUPS: Falling Out Of Love With Your Hair

I’m well overdue for a hair post, and I’ll be honest: my hair and I aren’t really getting along right now. We’re in a rough patch in our relationship and we need help, y’all. Can I vent and cry on someone’s shoulder real quick? Sigh…

I don’t have much time for her these days, and she’s starting to get pissy and rebellious. I try to set aside time to have a special date with her every now and then, but it seems like no matter what I do, it’s never enough. She’s tangled, she’s frizzy, she’s not enjoying the summer heatwave, and she just wants to be put in a bun and left alone. I’m trying to get us going on a good note, so pray for us, y’all.

I tried buying her gifts. A new conditioner, Eden BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Revitalizing Conditioner, has been making her smile on wash dates. Thick and creamy with great slip, this Eden BodyWorks conditioner makes her feel soft and smooth, and makes detangling a total breeze. The jojoba is great for moisturizing my hair and scalp, and the monoi oil (derived from Polynesian Tiare flower blossoms) adds amazing repairing properties. When I throw this conditioner in the mix, she’s happy and stops nagging me for a while.

I tried to appease her with another present: Shea Radiance’s Maximum Curl Defining Cream. This awesome leave-in styling conditioner has water, aloe vera juice, and unrefined shea butter among its top ingredients, which pleases my hair greatly. It provides perfect, non-sticky hold in my wash & gos, and helps to beautifully set my twist-outs – all while providing great protection from humidity. A little goes a long way, so I’m sure she’ll be happy with this product for a while to come. Not only does she like how this cream makes her feel good, but she’s happy to know she’s doing good by supporting the Nigerian women who help to create the product.

Even with these great gifts, her and I still have a ways to go. She hates it when I come home and choose the laptop over her. I wake up in the morning and have to beg and plead with her to allow me to coax her into a style that resembles something appropriate for work. I promise her that if she just works with me today, I’ll make sure to treat her better that night. I haven’t been doing right by her, and I know I’ve gotta get better.

We have 4 weddings in the next 4 weeks to go to. I’m just hoping that we’ll find a way to rekindle our love affair so that she doesn’t embarrass me at these upcoming events. We might just need professional help, y’all. A trip to the salon might be what we need to get back on track, so I’ll just have to suck it up and make an appointment. Keep us in your prayers, folks. Mama said there’d be days like this…

Have you ever fallen out of love with your hair? Have you ever hit a patch where life got in the way and your hair regimen went out the window? How did you get back on track? Has anyone used Eden BodyWorks or Shea Radiance products? Big news: Shea Radiance will be available in Target as of August 16th!

Product Review: Earthtones Naturals

Photo via earthtonesnaturals.com

Your girl is making the internet rounds, y’all! We’re already at the tail-end of January, and this month I was blessed to be featured on two awesome sites: This Is Your Conscience and Canadian Curlies. I was a Featured Curlie on the latter, and spoke on my hair journey and current regime.

As of late, my product junky-ism has been tamed. I’ve pretty much been sticking to my shea butter, coconut oil, and Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner, but I’ve been looking for some new products to try. Thanks to the generosity of the good people at Earthtones Naturals, I got my wish!

The first thing that caught my eye about the Earthtones Naturals line was that its products contain nearly all pure, natural ingredients. Think coconut milk, aloe vera juice, avocado and jojoba oils (two oils that I also use for skin care), and flaxseed extracts. The next thing that caught my eye was that the line was created by a Naturopathic doctor – I loved the fact that not only was Susan Walker, ND passionate about natural hair care, but she also had the scientific knowledge needed to create healthy and effective products. The final thing that made me say, “I NEED that in my life”? Earthtones Naturals is a Canadian line! Yes, you read that right – a Canadian line created by a Canadian woman. I had to try Earthtones Naturals if for no other reason than to be a bit patriotic and support some homegrown talent.

I received quite a few products to try, so I jumped in the shower and got ready to wash!

Photo via earthtonesnaturals.com

After I shampooed, conditioned, and detangled, I dried my hair with an old T-shirt. Then, I applied some of the Moisture Milk to my damp hair and got ready to twist!

Hair shampooed, conditioned, T-shirt dried, and Moisture Milk applied

I found the Curl Enhancing Gelly to be similar in consistency to Kinky Curly Curling Custard, with one noticeable difference. The Gelly was less sticky than the KCCC, so when I was through, my fingers didn’t feel tacky with buildup. Like KCCC, a little Gelly goes a long way, so I learned not to overdo it. I can’t wait to try this in a wash n’ go, but was excited to see how a twist-out would look.

Chunky, shiny 2-strand twists - I did about 18 twists in total.

I left the twists in for a day, and voilà! I rocked a fluffy, soft as silk twist-out for the Husband’s annual birthday party, known as Blue Bash:

After using the Earthtones Naturals products, my hair was so soft, with a light, delicious scent. My twist-out was bangin’ too! The gelly added enough weight to help stretch my hair, and even my trouble spot in the back of my head blended in well with the rest of my hair.

Gave myself a little trim, and took a quick shot to show you what I mean by multiple curl patterns/textures. The looser curls are from the front and sides of my head, and the tighter corkscrews are from a portion of the back of my head. The back shrinks up much more than the front, hence my "problem area" that never seems to blend in as well with the rest of my head.

By the time you’ve read this post, I’ve already tried the Earthtones Naturals products twice. Personally, I’m quite happy with the line, and hope you naturalistas out there give it a try too! The price point is much easier on my wallet than a lot of other products, and I’m very appreciative of the high quantity of natural ingredients. Also, it’s nice to see a fellow Canuck doing her thing!

Make sure you find your way to the Earthtones Naturals site and their Facebook page, and take a look at the product line! I’ll be featuring an interview with the creator of the line, Susan Walker, ND coming up tomorrow!

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