Fashion & Beauty

Whew! For the past six weeks, I’ve used six different Schwarzkopf hair products, and I have to say — this is the most attention I’ve paid to my hair in a long time :) When Walmart asked me to try the products for such a long stretch, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Because — as I’ve said time and time again — I’m particular about my hair, and my hair likes what it likes.

Well, as it turns out, my hair actually likes these products. One in particular is my absolute favorite and will become a part of my regular hair care routine. Check out the video to see which one I liked best:

In case you didn’t — or couldn’t — watch the video, my favorite product of the group, by far, was the Schwarzkopf wax powder.

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It’s a product I never knew I needed, but now will use all the time. It lays my edges down perfectly. Every. Time. Like it did today:

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It does tend to build up a bit, so it requires washing my hair after I use it for a few days, but I’m usually using it when wash day is approaching anyway.

My other favorite product is the hair beautifier/repairing cream, which is light enough to use every day, and really has helped my hair retain moisture.

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Some of the other products, like the shampoo and conditioner and curl defining cream, get a “no” from me just because I can’t tolerate the smell. Too perfumey and artificial for my tastes, and I can’t walk around hating the smell of my own hair. Otherwise though, they were really effective. The other products just don’t really have a place in my hair care routine. I’d almost never use them.

Still, at the end of this, I’m pleasantly surprised to have found a few products that I’ll keep using, and that any of them worked on my hair at all. I can honestly say I’m glad I did this.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

OK ladies and gents. We’ve reached week 6 of my Schwarzkopf hair care experiment, and I have to say — I’m digging the way my hair looks and feels right now. To recap, Walmart challenged me to use 6 different Schwarzkopf hair products for 6 weeks and share my results. The vast majority of the products have worked really well for me in spite of my own expectations that they wouldn’t. So I’m happy to report that I really like the sixth and final product in the lineup: Essence Ultime Omega Repair & Moisture 11-in-1 hair beautifier. (Side note: All of these products have really long names!)

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This is a light hair dressing cream that you can apply to wet or dry hair as a leave-in moisturizer and hair repair aid. I saved the sharing of this product for last because I’ve actually been using it for few weeks and I wanted to share after I’d seen what it can do over time. While it does add moisture when you first add it, it’s designed to be used daily.

My hair has a tendency to be really dry once I get a few days out from a wash. I usually spritz it with water or conditioning spray and add some sort of creamy moisturizing product to combat that dryness. It’s just a fact I’ve come to accept. I took this photo of my hair 2 weeks ago, when I was in need of a wash.

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You can see how dry and straw-like it was. It happens pretty regularly.

Well, I started using the hair beautifier daily as I was styling my hair. My hair soaks the stuff up like a sponge, but it is pretty light. I’d simply smooth it over my edges and run it throughout my ends. I’m not going to sit here and claim it’s some magic potion that will end dryness, but I can say it’s worked well for me with daily use.

This is my hair after washing and styling with the beautifier.

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My hair is still a little damp, but you can see it looks a lot better than it did in the previous photo. I still have to apply it daily, but it feels like my hair holds moisture longer and my ends don’t seem to get tangled as quickly. That’s a big win for me.

If I had a complaint, it’s that the bottle it comes in is so small, and I use quite a bit of it for my thick curly hair, so I can go through it pretty fast if I’m not careful. It also has the same fragrance as some of the other products, and I’m not a fan of the smell. However, the smell seems a lot lighter in this product that some of the others, so it doesn’t stick around as long.

Overall, I really like this product, and this is one of a couple I’ll likely continue using once this product test is over.

Early next week, I’ll share my thoughts on all the products I’ve tried, including which ones I liked and didn’t like, and which ones I’ll keep using. Stay tuned!

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

It’s finally here! My oldest daughter is out of school, and baby Juliza is — well — being baby Juliza. But finally, the days have come when the kids can sleep late in the morning and stay up late at night, and we can spend afternoons lounging at the park. The challenge? Well, both Ja’Naya and baby Juliza have grown at a pace I could not have predicted, which means that their summer wardrobes are a bit lacking. So when Walmart challenged me to find some summer gear for them under $30, I couldn’t wait to see what great, inexpensive goodies I would find.

Of course, there’s the cute factor too. :)

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“Dressing” Up

For my family, summertime is all about doing things the easy way. For me, that means wearing maxi dresses that let me look put together without much effort. For my girls, that means cute sundresses they can throw on with some flip flops.

For Juliza, I grabbed this lightweight Healthtex striped dress with awesome contrast detailing around the waist. At just $4.97, it was too affordable and too cute to pass up. Plus, just look at her in it!

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The back has a cute bow detail and a cutout that shows off her little baby rolls. Swoon!

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Ja’Naya picked out this pattern-mixed, bow back dress from Faded Glory for $9.97, but there were tons of cute options to choose from.

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I love the stripes on the bodice and the floral pattern under the tulle skirt. Super cute!

Now that she’s almost sized out of kids’ clothes, it can be tough to find clothes that fit her properly, but I can usually count on Walmart‘s 14-16 sizing to fit well.

Swim Time

Warning: The images you are about to see may render you senseless due to extreme cuteness.

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See. I did warn you.

There were so many cute baby swimsuits that I wanted to bring home, but come on. Was there ever really a competition when this tulle skirted one-piece from OP was among the options? Just. Had. To. Have. It.

Juliza spent a solid 30 minutes twirling around the room in this swimsuit. It took more than 100 photos for me to get a couple where she was standing still enough for me to use. Most of them looked like this:

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SMH. The girl is a bundle of personality.

Ja’Naya chose a great OP crochet-style tankini in bright neon colors. I love the fact that the tankini top is long enough to skim the bottom, making it look like a one piece.

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She loves the fact that it is a two-piece, which she says are more comfortable. She’s probably going to spend half the summer like this:

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Given that she’s constantly upside down, I’m not sure how wise this choice was, but we absolutely love the styling. And we really can’t complain about the price: Like Juliza’s, this one was just $8.97. We could likely outfit the whole family — including my hubby and I — with swimwear for less than $60.

Something for Mommy?

I admit I left the store feeling a little jealous. I’m still carrying post-baby/breastfeeding weight, and my own summer closet is a bit sparse. I love the red maxi dress I bought last month, but I’m planning to head back for more, because there are a bunch of new styles available since then. I also need a new swimsuit, and the mix and match swimwear shop at Walmart.com has already got my eye on a few options. Mama wants to go to the pool in style too. And with the right swimsuit, we just might make room for a trip to the beach this summer.

What about you? Are you and your family stocking up on new summer clothes? What are some of the first things you look for?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

It’s been 5 weeks since I started trying Schwarzkopf hair products, courtesy of Walmart, and I have to say — I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Going into the project, I honestly didn’t think that any of the products would work for my super thick, curly hair. They’ve had their pros and cons, but overall, they’ve done a great job doing what they’re supposed to do.

Until this week.

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This week, I tried Schwarzkopf’s Satin Frizz Control and Protect Divine Finishing Polish. Whew! That name is a mouthful! To put it briefly, the spray can be used on damp hair before styling to help control frizz, or on dry hair to add shine. I was actually excited to try it. I mentioned in the last post that my favorite easy hairstyle is a high afro puff. This is especially true in hot weather. It keeps my hair up and off my neck and just generally out of my way.

The challenge is that no matter what I do — tying it up with a satin scarf at night, adding a little water and/or product every day, by the end of the week, my hair is dry and dull. Like this:

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Not a good look. My hair resembles the bird nest that we found on our patio back when we lived in an apartment. Great for birds. Not so great for me.

I prefer to wash my hair on the weekends, because it is a job that takes at the very least a few hours. So what do I do when my hair is dull like this during the week? I was really hopeful that this finishing spray would help me out.

Alas, it was not meant to be. I sprayed my thirsty hair with a little water just to bring back a little bounce and give it some life. Then I added the Divine Finishing Polish, pulled it through my hair and crossed my fingers. Unfortunately, this time it just didn’t work for me.

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My hair was just as dull as it was before I used the spray. I tried it a couple of days on my hair in various states of dryness just to see if it would change the result. It didn’t.

In fact, my hair felt “crunchier” after using the spray — not exactly the desired result when I just want to add some moisture and shine. It also didn’t really help with frizz. And this product has that same synthetic smell that the shampoo and conditioner had, which I don’t like at all. So for the first time in all the products I’ve tried, this one was just a fail for me and my hair.

Oh well. Considering that I have a very specific hair type, 4 out of 5 products tried so far isn’t a bad record. And I still have one more product to try next week. Wish me luck!

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Fashion Project. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Over the last few years, I’ve become a bit obsessed with with fashion: The trends, the brands, how to incorporate both of those into my personal style (and budget), etc. I use fashion as a tool to help me feel my best, and I bet a lot of other women out there feel the same way. Unfortunately, I also I know a lot more about cancer than I would like, thanks to my daughter’s battle with leukemia when she was just 4 years old. I saw firsthand how the side-effects of cancer — severe bloating from steroids, pale skin, hair loss — can weigh on a person’s self confidence. So when I learned of a project that aims to do something about that through fashion, I couldn’t wait to share their cause with you.

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The mission of the Look Good Feel Better program is to help people who are fighting cancer also fight back against the changes to their appearance by offering free workshops that include lessons on cosmetics, skin and nail care, wigs, turbans, accessories and wardrobe. Well, they have partnered with Fashion Project, a new “thrift store” option that donates a portion of the profits from every item they sell to the donor’s charity of choice. So for example, if you had a designer handbag you wanted to donate to a regular thrift store, that handbag might end up on the shelf for only a few dollars. Great for the customer who finds it, but Fashion Project allows you to put that bag to greater use by reselling it for a price closer to what it’s worth, then donating up to 55% of the proceeds charity.

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So how exactly do these two organizations work together? Well, you can now shop the Look Good Feel Better boutique at FashionProject.com, which features clothing and accessories donated by members of the Look Good Feel Better and Fashion Project communities, along with celebrities and designers. So you can shop and donate women’s designer clothing and accessories in like-new condition to the boutique through June 7. More than 850 items have already been donated, and more than $4,000 has been raised for the Look Good Feel Better program.

What that means is you can find gorgeous clothing, shoes and accessories from brands like Vince Camuto, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Alice + Olivia and even Givenchy for up to 90% off, and your purchase will help women with cancer feel better about themselves throughout their battle. You can also donate clothes to the sale.

I genuinely cannot think of a more worthy cause or a better excuse to shop.

Hairspray is not a product I typically buy. In fact, I can’t really remember the last time I’ve owned any — or at least not your typical hairspray. I usually buy moisturizing sprays with water as the first ingredient and a variety of oils and other goodies that give my hair some extra bounce and hydrate it. So when I realized hair spray was one of the Schwarzkopf products I was going to be using, courtesy of Walmart, I admit it gave me pause. I had no idea how or when I’d use it.

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But it really shouldn’t have been so complicated. Hair spray is designed to offer hold, and Schwarzkopf’s Styliste Ultime Biotin Volume & Texture Hair Spray is no different. While I usually don’t style my hair in any ways that require the stiff hold hair spray provides, there was one style I thought it might help me with: My topknot.

Really, with natural hair, it’s more of a twisted bun. You see, when I pull my hair up, like I did last week when I used the wax powder, it usually looks like this:

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It’s just a big puff, usually the back end of a twistout that is no longer defined enough to loose. Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE my high puff. In fact, it is probably the style I wear most often. But sometimes I want something a little more…well…tame. So I twist all of that into a bun.

I know. You’re probably wondering how the heck that happens. Well, first, I separate my puff into 5-6 sections, add some moisturizing spray and a little curl defining cream, stretch as much as possible and twist. The twists are far from perfect, but they get the job done — even if look like a spider afterward.

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Finally, I wrap each of those twists around the base of the puff, securing with bobby pins. A LOT of bobby pins. And this is where the spray comes in. Because my hair is so curly, the bun is usually really highly textured, and fly-aways happen almost as quickly as I can get it pinned up. So I coated the topknot and surrounding hair with spray to keep all of that in check.

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I have to say, the hair spray did it’s job, and well. Throughout the day, my bun stayed in place, and fly-aways were minimal. Those were probably because I didn’t use a lot of spray.

However, even though I used a little bit of spray, it still had a bit of a “crunch”, which is what usually makes me wary of hair sprays in general. Plus — you know — the whole aerosol thing. So though the spray did what it was supposed to, I can’t imagine I’ll be using this very often. It’s just not really a product I want or need to add to my regimen.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

I’ve been using Schwazkopf’s hair products for three weeks now courtesy of Walmart, and I admit that I was a bit worried this week. Using the shampoo and conditioner, and the curl defining cream were pretty straightforward, but I wasn’t sure what to make of the next product: Styliste Ultime Wax Powder.

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My first thought was “Why the heck would I want to put powder in my hair.” Then, “Will this even work for tightly curly hair.” As it turn out, it has been perfect for a specific purpose: Taming my edges.

When we last left off, I shared with you how I had achieved this awesome (but slightly frizzy) twist-out with Schwarzkopf curl-defining cream:

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Well, my typical hair styling process involves pulling my hair into a “pineapple” with a satin scarf every night to preserve my style for as long as possible. That’s usually about a week. This time, I got 5 days out of the twist-out before I moved to my next step: Pulling it into a high puff until wash day.

The challenge is that my curly rarely go into a puff willingly. It takes a little wrangling. So I start like this, with a ponytail holder loosely holding my ends together:

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Gorgeous, right? Don’t worry. It’s OK if you say no :)

Anyway, I spray my hair with a bit of water and use a little curl defining cream to add some moisture so I can brush the front, sides and back up, and then I secure the bun with a shoestring. Yes. A shoestring. But with just the curl defining cream, my edges are never quite smooth, and I always have fly-aways. Wax powder to the rescue!

It is designed to control frizz, offer light hold and protect the hair from humidity. First, you shake a little powder into your hand:

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You rub it around with your fingers, and it turns into a sort of creamy paste:

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It took a few tries before I figured out how much to use. In my experience, it is best to use a little at a time, because the paste isn’t slippery-creamy. It’s more waxy-creamy, so you won’t get a lot of movement out of it once it’s rubbed. Anyway, I smoothes a little of it on my edges all the way around my hairline, and let me tell you — my edges were LAIDT!

If you’re not familiar, that means they laid down perfectly smooth. It’s hard to show in a photo, but I’ll try.

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Seriously, they held really well and stayed put all day. That last detail is the clincher, because many products will work for a little while after I apply them, but lose effectiveness as time goes on. This really worked all day, and I will absolutely be continuing to use it to tame my edges. Of the four products I’ve tried thus far, this is my hands down favorite, and I’ll be heading to Walmart to pick up another one as soon as this one is done.

This has got me excited to move onto next week’s product.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Last week, I shared with you that I’ll be using Schwarzkopf hair products for 6 weeks, courtesy of Walmart, and sharing my results. Last week, I used the shampoo and conditioner. This week, I’m trying a product I was surprised to find in their lineup: a curl defining cream.

Washing and conditioning my hair is just the start of my regimen. It’s the longest part, thanks to the careful, thorough detangling my curls require, but it is just a small part of what I do. I wish I could say that I could rock the infamous natural “wash-n-go” style with ease, but it really just doesn’t work for me. My hair gets dry, frizzy and tangled within a day when I try this, and I end up having to wash and detangle again just to tame it. So when I discovered the Styliste Ultime curl defining cream was a part of the Schwarzkopf arsenal I’d have to work with, I was surprised, but relieved.

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Why surprised? Well, curl defining cream isn’t something a lot of mainstream beauty brands bother to carry. There’s hairspray, and mousse and gels and more, but usually nothing this specific.

You may recall that this is where we left off last week, after I’d washed and detangled:

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Well, my next step is to style my hair in two-strand twists to define and stretch my curls a bit. The Styliste Ultime curl defining cream was thick and…well…creamy. It was the perfect consistency for my hair. I separate it into small sections, rubbing a little cream on it from root to tip, and I twist. I have a lot of hair, so the whole process takes about an hour — even after detangling. But the result is worth it.

This is my hair immediately after twisting:

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Shiny and soft. This is my hair when I took down the twists the next day after my hair had fully dried.

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Perfectly defined and clumped. I will say that it felt a little bit “crunchier” than I would like. I prefer a soft hold, and while this wasn’t hard at all, it just felt a little different from what I’m used to. This gut feeling proved true when I started separating my curls. The ends were a bit frizzier and drier than normal:

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Don’t get me wrong, I liked the result. Big hair on the first day is always a good thing. My only issue is that because the ends frizzed so quickly, I knew my style wouldn’t last as long. Usually, I can “pineapple” a twistout for a week. To “pineapple” means to bring all my hair to the top of my head and tie it up with a satin scarf at night to preserve my curls when I sleep. In this case, I was only able to do it for a few days before I had to resort to a high bun.

Still, all in all, I was pleased that it worked really similarly to the curl defining products I’m used to. I’ll go a little lighter with my application next time to see if that helps with the “crunchiness”, but it really worked.

I’m still not a fan of the fragrance though. Like the shampoo and conditioner, it was strong and perfumey and lingered for more than a day. I know fragrance is a completely personal and subjective choice, but it is the kind of thing that can make or break a product for me. If I don’t like the way my hair smells — especially when my wash has to last a week or more — I’d hesitate to use it.

Next week, I’ll be trying hair oil, so keep checking back!

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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