Freelance writer, content creator, and traveler. She enjoys the beauty of simplicity, a peaceful life, and a big curly fro. Connect with Krissy on social media @iamkrissylewis or check out her blog at www.krissylewis.com.
I Tried A Dance Workout Class & It May Be The Best Way To Get Active
Working out has been a big priority for me recently for both vanity and health reasons (shrugs). I want a toned and fit body and I know I can achieve it with discipline. Also, with recently turning 30, it is imperative that I form healthy habits as I age. I figured the longer I wait, the harder it will be. I’ve tried working out in the past and it didn’t do it for me. I would get bored or discouraged and just stop doing it. I realized the best way to be consistent with something is to not only be disciplined but to also fall in love with the process. It’s easier to do something you actually love than to do something you have no joy or connection with.
In an attempt to fall in love with fitness, I found activities to do outside of the gym. I started indoor rock climbing, yoga, and recently dance workout classes. I love all of them but the dance workout class is what I love the most! It’s both fun and challenging, it’s upbeat and has a ton of benefits. I joined the AKT dance studio here in Atlanta and here’s why it may be the best way to get active.
You burn calories.
Dancing is an effective way to lose weight because you burn a good number of calories and build lean muscle. Different dance classes can yield different results. For example, the workout class I take at AKT is a hip-hop and pop dance class. Hip-hop classes are typically faster and high intensity which causes more calorie burn as opposed to something like ballroom dancing. If done frequently it can also increase your endurance and stamina.
Courtesy of Krissy Lewis
You can tone your body.
If weight is not your primary goal, that’s okay, you can also tone your body. At AKT, they incorporate bands and weights in their classes. The weights target the back, arms, and leg muscles and if you engage your core it can help tone your stomach. The bands help with strength training and muscle build-up. Resistance bands do the same thing bulky exercise equipment does and provides similar gains.
In addition to the gains you get, the use of bands can also increase endurance, muscle activation, body composition, and flexibility.
It can improve your mental health.
Research shows that dancing can reduce stress and anxiety while improving your mood overall. Dancing releases endorphins and other positive hormones into your system to boost happiness and positive thoughts. According to WebMD, it’s a way to escape negative thoughts and worries.
Dance classes are usually in a group setting, and with this, you also gain a sense of community and feel connected to other people.
Courtesy of Krissy Lewis
It improves your brain function.
Dance workouts are a great way to sharpen your brain functions and coordination. When I took my first class, I couldn’t believe how uncoordinated I was. I haven’t done any workout that required me to learn an entire routine on the spot at such a fast pace since cheerleading in high school. That triggered a new opportunity for growth for me. I want to challenge myself to learn things quicker and soak in information better.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the cerebellum (a small part of your brain located in the back of your head) is responsible for coordinating muscle movement, sense of timing, balance, and learning new skills. So if you’re looking for ways to sharpen your mind, this is a great start.
It improves your quality of sleep.
Exercising earlier in the day and more frequently has been shown to reduce insomnia and decrease the amount of time it actually takes to fall asleep. According to John Hopkins Medicine, exercise raises your core body temperature which alerts the body clock. After about 30 minutes, our body temperature starts to fall which causes us to feel sleepy. The bottom line is exercise can provide energy but once that adrenaline wears off, it signals the body to sleep better and faster.
If done consistently, dance workouts can lead to positive effects that your mind and body will thank you for. It’s also pretty affordable. I signed up for three classes for $39 and most studios work with ClassPass. Also, some gym memberships offer dance workouts, so your opportunity is endless. If you’re interested in giving AKT a try, click here to find a studio near you.
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Featured image by Luis Alvarez/Getty Images
I Tried VIP Luxury Hair Care And It May Be The Strengthening Treatment You Need
When it comes to growing and strengthening natural hair, a dynamic duo of products and a healthy routine are necessary. It's unrealistic to think you can do one without the other and expect strong, healthy, and vivacious curls and coils. If you're wondering why your hair is damaged or in a stagnant phase, you may need to take a look at your routine and make sure your hair is getting the care it truly needs.
There is no quick fix to rapid growth but if you schedule your trims, keep your hair hydrated, and use products with ingredients that stimulate growth — it'll get you on the right track. This is why I want to introduce you to VIP Luxury Hair Care.
VIP Luxury Hair Care was created by Ashanti Lation to help with the growth, health, and overall maintenance of all hair whether you're relaxed or natural. The brand offers three different lines to cater to your needs — the GREAUX Collection, SILK SHOT Collection, and the DAY PARTY Collection. I had the opportunity to try their most popular collection, the GREAUX Collection, which offers six growth stimulating products.
Here is what I thought of each product and how my wash day went using the collection.
The GREAUX Shampoo Review
VIP Luxury Hair Care
The first thing I noticed about the GREAUX Shampoo prior to actually using it was the product looked like a conditioner. I actually had to double-check to make sure I was using the right product, which to me, isn't a bad thing. At the beginning of my wash day, I completely drenched my hair in warm water and added the cleanser to my scalp while working my way down. I didn't detangle my hair or pre-poo before starting and I was actually shocked by how silky and light my hair felt.
On top of getting a really good cleanse, I felt my hair becoming more moisturized, and my curls bouncing back from their dry and brittle state. I was able to run my finger through each strand without many tugs and tangles. This isn't standard for most shampoos and cleansers. I won't typically recommend detangling during the shampoo phase, however, my hair felt so soft it was hard not to. Because the shampoo is made with a mix of biotin, aloe, ProVitamin B5, and rosemary, it provides a nice soft scent, slip, and moisture that I was truly impressed by.
Honestly, this is one of the best shampoos I've used and I would definitely recommend it.
Now, let's move on to the conditioner.
The GREAUX Conditioner Review
VIP Luxury Hair Care
The shampoo really set the tone for the GREAUX Collection, so I was excited to condition my hair and see what my hair would feel like. Chile, the conditioner did not disappoint! After rinsing out the shampoo, I made sure my hair was drenched before adding the GREAUX Conditioner. I used a very generous amount and coated my roots as well as the ends of my hair. Because the ends are the oldest strands of hair and are exposed to the most friction, I focused more on that area. After coating my hair, I detangled with my fingers and a wide-tooth comb then left it in for about five minutes.
While detangling I noticed, I didn't have much to do, my hair felt soft, silky, and shiny. After rinsing out the conditioner, my scalp felt very refreshed and rejuvenated. I actually couldn't believe the difference in my hair. To give you an idea, prior to wash day I had been wearing my hair in a puff with just two products. I didn't realize how heavy and weighed down my hair felt until washing it.
The consistency of the conditioner isn't thick but you can tell it's packed with the proper nutrients. Like the shampoo, it's made with biotin and aloe, along with sage, silk, amino acids, and botanical extracts to strengthen and repair your hair.
The D.LUXE Detangler and Leave-in Conditioner Review
VIP Luxury Hair Care
After rinsing the conditioner out of my hair, I immediately added the D.LUXE Detangler & Leave-In Conditioner to my damp hair. I like adding it while it's still damp or wet so my hair can absorb the leave-in better. The leave-in was a little runny and is very lightweight. Like the products of the brand's GREAUX Collection, the leave-in conditioner works to strengthen your strands, soften, and detangle your hair for an emollient feel.
ProLong Hair Oil
VIP Luxury Hair Care
I used VIP Luxury Hair Care's ProLong Hair Oil along with a styling cream to twist my hair. I added a small amount to my fingertips and applied it to my hair mostly focusing on the ends of my hair. The oil is very lightweight and feels more like a serum. This is a good option if you're looking to energize the scalp and prevent breakage.
It's light enough to use every day or as needed to add shine and softness to your hair.
The Final Results
The products I used gave my hair lasting moisture and softness. I definitely will keep it in my natural hair arsenal. It's a multi-use product for all my styles, whether I'm wearing my natural curls, braids, or a silk press. I 100% recommend this line to those who: wear protective styles often, have damaged or dry hair, and want to grow and strengthen their hair.
Overall, I love the collection and would definitely keep this in my natural hair arsenal. There are other products the VIP Luxury Hair Care brand has to offer that are worth trying like the Greaux Healthy Hair Drops and Elite Edge Control. If you're looking for non-toxic and strengthening products, I would definitely recommend you get your hands on this!
To get your beauty fix and to stay up to date with the latest trends, check out the xoNecole Beauty section here.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis/xoNecole
Master Stylist Ashanti Lation Talks Success And Molding Normani's Iconic Ponytail
I have a love-hate relationship with the classic '90s ponytail. I love how versatile it is. It works for every hair type/texture and it fits every occasion from day to night. On the not-so-loving note: It's an addictive style and doing it too much can mean constant tension, eventually wreaking havoc on your roots and edges. If done right though, you can get the sleekness without the damage.
My forever high-ponytail inspo is our Queen Normani. She kills it every time. From the debut of her "Motivation" video to "Wild Side," it has become her aesthetic, and she's bodied every version of the '90s look since. So who better to get tips on creating a high ponytail from than one of her stylists, Ashanti Lation. The master stylist and CEO of VIP Luxury Hair Care sat down with xoNecole to tell us how she got started, her best tips for creating the perfect ponytail, and how to protect your hair while doing it.
xoNecole: What inspired you to become a hairstylist? Where did you start?
Ashanti Lation: I started doing hair in high school because I wanted my hair done all the time. Then, I would try [styles] and it came out good to me, [so] a few other people would ask me to do their hair. About a week later, I started charging my neighbors and other high schools in my city. From that point on, I got popular.
I also have eczema and allergies so because of that the skincare aspect of doing hair was always important to me. I always focused on the hair [and scalp] because I was particular about what my clients used and didn't want it to affect my skin. If you know anyone with eczema, then you know if it breaks out on your hands or neck, it takes a long time to recover. In initially being cautious, my clients would have great results for their hair, and I followed that path with them. I started studying the skin [and] scalp and creating products.
Jerritt Clark via Getty Images
When did you start working with Normani?
I'm the healthy hair guru, and a couple of celebrities and people in other industries have reached out to me asking for hair advice. She [had been] using our products [Greaux Drops] because a frontal had damaged her hair a little bit and the product was helping her hair grow back. She [contacted me] when she was in New Orleans and said, "Let's connect," and so we did and I did my thing. From that moment on, I've been her go-to haircare specialist.
When it comes to styling ponytails and keeping haircare in mind, what recommendations do you have to avoid damage?
It can be trying on the edges and at the top of your head from tension. Some people start to have bald spots at the top because the ponytails are very heavy, so I always tell people:
Avoid too much tension. Some people will make a section then swoop another section on top [to make it sleek and get it in a ponytail] it's too much. Try to get the hair as sleek as possible before you pull it up in a ponytail. So if you have to get a silk press first to smooth it out, then do that first. Prep the hair before you start the ponytail!
Use less product. Use holding spray first because sometimes using excessive gels, puddings, and wax, can become a lot, especially for the finer hair types. It will pull it out then thin it out.
Use the right band. Putting too many bands [on your hair] can damage the crown and cause balding. I like to use thick black rubber bands. Some people like scrunchies but I never try to unwrap them when taking them out. Just cut it out and throw it away! Don't try to keep using it because you'll get it tangled like that.
The base of the ponytail is important. Don't just use one rubber band. Use at least two and the wraps to create a structure like you're building something. It needs to be strong enough to support the hair. If you're doing one band, all that tension falls on your hair trying to hold the ponytail up. You can also do the ponytail on your thickest area so it will be less damaging to your hair.
Be gentle. Haircare is a slow dance, not a fast song.
Noam Galai via Getty Images
What products are needed to achieve a Normani-inspired ponytail?
A pomade like Jam and an edge control like Elite Edge. You can use wax if you want but don't use gel. You'll need the hair of your choice. You can finish with a light-holding spray. You'll also need thick rubber bands and wrapping strips.
Can you walk us through your step-by-step process of creating a ponytail and prepping for it?
For a heat-free process, you'll need more product to sleek it because you're laying it down. For Normani's hair, we don't use any heat at all. We twist it and let it dry overnight. It will be sleek and you'd think we pressed it.
1. Make sure you smooth your ponytail out as much as you can before you put the product on it.
2. Use a pomade like Jam and add the Elite edge control on top of that and smooth it out with your hands.
3. Tie it up with the black hair wraps and let it settle until it's fully dry.
4. When you take it down it holds but it's still soft.
5. Use two bands and then start your top knot.
If you use heat and flat-iron it first, you can pretty much slick it up with a little serum and a holding spray to keep it in place.
What hair would you recommend? We know that some hair can be heavier than others.
There's human hair or braid hair. Try to weigh it out and see what feels better to you. It depends on your texture. Less is always more if you can get hair that's fuller. And avoid using too many bags of hair.
For more hair tips and product recommendations, follow Ashanti Lation on Instagram.
Featured image by Jerritt Clark via Getty Images
I Tried Cantu's Raw Blend Hydrating Skin Collection & Here's What I Think
Cantu has literally had its foot on our necks with their newest releases and it seems like they're moving in an even more natural direction when it comes to ingredients. Although Cantu products have always been free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates, they're now incorporating more natural ingredients with their Skin Therapy collection. When Cantu initially released their Skin Therapy collection, it consisted of body lotion and creams, now they've added a Raw Blend line of products for people with extremely dry skin.
Cantu Skin Therapy Softening Hemp Seed Oil Raw Blend & Cantu Skin Therapy Hydrating Cocoa Butter Raw Blend
The collection aims to deliver head to toe moisture with just three simple and natural ingredients. Each moisturizer is made with coconut oil and shea butter, but you also have a choice when it comes to your active ingredient of choice including Hemp Seed Oil, Cocoa Butter, Tea Tree Oil, and Mango Butter. This is honestly right up my alley because my skin tends to get drier the more I travel and I get eczema flare-ups if my skin isn't moisturized properly.
So I decided to try the Cantu Skin Therapy Softening Hemp Seed Oil Raw Blend and Cantu Skin Therapy Hydrating Cocoa Butter Raw Blend on my skin (and hair) and this is what I thought…
I love that what you see is what you get as far as ingredients goes, each formula has only three ingredients, which also means no added fragrances. The Cantu Skin Therapy collection doesn't really have a smell, in fact you may only notice a faint scent of the raw shea butter or oils, but nothing else. So, if you don't mind the smell of shea butter and natural oils, then this is right up your alley.
If you're also someone who struggles with sensitive or acne-prone skin, then a fragrance-free and natural moisturizer would be the most ideal option to minimize breakouts. In fact, clean beauty can be more effective when treating skin concerns like dryness, acne, psoriasis, eczema, and general skin irritation.
Before actually trying the Cantu Skin Therapy Hydrating Cocoa Butter with Shea Butter & Coconut Raw Blend, I thought it was going to feel like raw shea butter. If you've used it before, then you know that it's very thick and can sometimes take a lot of muscle to rub into your skin. I'm happy that this moisturizer is not as difficult to massage into your skin or hair. It's more of a rich balm texture and it does have some weight to it. It looks pretty thick in the jar but once you apply it to your skin, it literally melts, leaving your skin or hair soft and smooth.
I love the finish of both the Cantu Skin Therapy Hemp Seed Oil Raw Blend and the Cantu Skin Therapy Cocoa Butter Raw Blend, it gives your skin a very dewy and radiant glow that lasts for hours! The moisture is long-lasting and you won't need to reapply throughout the day. However, you should know that it is a bit greasy so avoid using too much.
When I applied it for the first time, I used way too much for my hands and needless to say it left greasy fingerprints around my apartment. You can literally see everything I touched. To remedy this, I just wiped my hands with a cloth and even though I removed the extra grease, my skin still felt moisturized. When it came to hair, I applied a dime-sized amount or even less, a little goes a long way.
My Final Thoughts
You don't need to buy every type of Raw Blend moisturizer. As I mentioned earlier they offer a range that includes Hemp Seed Oil, Cocoa Butter, Tea Tree Oil, and Mango Butter and to be honest, if you tried one, then you have tried them all. I also feel like this is more practical and efficient as a skincare product and not a haircare product. I say this because thicker moisturizers like shea and cocoa butter should be used as sealants and not moisturizers. It also does the same thing an oil does, seal in moisture and add shine.
In my opinion, oil is an easier and efficient sealant when it comes to any density of hair. Because this is a thicker sealant, it can clog the pores in your scalp and prevent moisture from getting in. So if you do choose to use it on your hair, use a little to trap moisture in, instead of using it as a moisturizer.
Lastly, I think this is a good product especially for the price point ($5.99). I would personally use this as a sealant for my skin as well to ensure all-day moisture. I wouldn't use it as a standalone product. It's a great sealant and will easily give your skin that natural summer glow.
I would also just use this on my body, but it is a natural product so you can wear it anywhere you choose.
Featured image by LaylaBird/Getty Images
I Tried Cantu’s New Jamaican Black Castor Oil Line On My Type 4 Hair
I can honestly say that I haven't used Cantu since I went natural back in 2016. It's not that I don't like the brand — let's be honest, Cantu is the holy grail brand that a lot of us probably started our natural hair journey with. It was and still is affordable, accessible, and effective haircare. I somewhat strayed away though because it's very easy to get caught up in trying different brands that some products honestly just get lost in the sea of haircare. Nevertheless, Cantu has dropped a few collections that I couldn't help but try. One of their most recent drops is the Jamaican Black Castor Oil line which works for all hair types but is made with 4C hair in mind.
What really piqued my interest in this drop is that Cantu partnered with Emmy award-winning hairstylist and entrepreneur, Angela Stevens. Angela has worked in the hair industry for over 16 years with a focus on healthy versatile haircare, hair education, and celebrity styling. She has worked with a variety of talents like Rita Ora, Elaine Welteroth, and brands like Mielle Organics, Girl + Hair, and now Cantu.
I always appreciate when brands consult or partner with hairstylists because it provides an extra layer of trust to me. It shows that the line was put together with haircare in mind and is working to solve haircare problems that many of us face at home.
About The Jamaican Black Castor Oil
As I mentioned earlier, the JBCO collection is made with 4C Kings and Queens in mind. While I don't have 4C hair, I think this collection also works if you have very dense and dry hair. The line features five styling products: a detangling primer, a curl stretch paste, a taming gel, a styling gel, and finishing spray. Each product is made with Jamaican Black Castor Oil, so it has a heavier consistency than most to provide hydration and moisture retention.
Cantu Jamaican Black Castor Oil Detangling Primer
The primer is the first step of styling, it acts as a leave-in conditioner to help detangle, soften, and smooth your hair before you start your twist/braid-out or wash n' go style. I personally prefer lighter consistency leave-in conditioners because my hair absorbs it better. This was just as easy to detangle my hair because it has a heavy slip that helps your fingers easily glide down your strands.
You can feel a difference in your hair as soon as you apply it and I noticed that I didn't have to use as much as I usually do. I'm pretty generous with leave-in primers and conditioners but I didn't have to apply too much of this. It provides enough slip and moisture that a little goes a long way with this product.
If you try it, I recommend paying attention to your hair and how it feels. You'll know when you've used enough and it's important to keep in mind that the products are heavy and this is just the first layer so you don't want to use too much.
JBCO Curl Stretch Paste
This product is mainly for styling braid-outs, twist-outs, and rod sets. It's a pomade-like paste that elongates, stretches, and defines your hair. When I used this to style my twist-out, the paste felt really sticky. I wasn't a fan of how it felt on my hands but I loved how it felt on my hair. When I applied it, it moisturized, defined, and added hold to my curls.
In my opinion, the curl paste is moisturizing enough that depending on your hair needs and density, you can probably skip the primer or leave-in. This would be a great one product styler if you wanted to use less products. This is a one and done product for me, meaning, it does everything you need it to.
Cantu Jamaican Black Castor Oil Taming Gel
This is another product that felt sticky on my hands but amazing on my hair, but that's common with most gels. I think the JBCO is perfect for laying edges, slicked-back styles, flat twists, and especially wash n' go's. I used this mostly for styling my wash n' go styles because it adds moisture, a long-lasting hold, and tames frizz and flyaways. My wash n' go lasted five days before I had to refresh it which is surprising because traveling dries my hair out quicker than usual, plus wash n' go's are already a drying style so I was impressed by the longevity I had with this product.
One thing to keep in mind is, you don't need a lot. When I first tried it, I wasn't sure how much hold I was going to get so I packed it on and I noticed I had a lot of flakes and it stuck to my clothes and everything. I recommend applying it in small sections on detangled hair so you can see how much you really need and make sure that your strands are completely coated with the gel. If I would have started in smaller sections, I would have made sure that my hair was properly coated and I wouldn't have to go back and add more.
Cantu Jamaican Black Castor Oil Finishing Spray
This finishing spray does exactly what it claims, it basically just adds the finishing touches to your styles. I used it on both my twist-out and wash n' go once my hair was completely dry to help seal in moisture and add shine. I would recommend using this after your hair is dry regardless of the style because I really believed it helped make both my styles last as long as it did.
I actually really appreciate the oil being in a spray bottle because it helped me use the right amount of oil. Again...she's thick! I didn't use more than three sprays for my hair, but I think that varies depending on your hair needs.
My Overall Review of Cantu's JBCO Collection
Overall, I loved the collection and I would actually recommend getting all four products. I do think that this collection caters to curls and coils that struggle with getting moisture in and are more dense. I would not recommend it for those who have extremely thin or less dense hair because the line might be too heavy for your hair. The thing about castor oil is that it can be good and bad if not used correctly. What I mean is, it can clog your hair follicles if you use too much and because it's heavy and thick, it doesn't take much to do that. This line is also made with other heavy ingredients like shea and cocoa butter. So, if your hair is thicker it can take the heaviness, you just have to use the right amount.
Courtesy of Krissy Lewis
I think the line offers a variety for each styling need. I don't think you need to use every product in one styling session and I wouldn't recommend it if you have my hair type (4A/4B) because it would be way too much. I can't speak too much for what would be enough for 4C hair, but I recommend just trying it out until you find out what combo works best for you. However, based on my experience with the product and Angela Stevens' recommendations, here's a product combo for different natural hair styles:
- JBCO Detangling Primer and Taming Gel: wash n' go's, edges, slicked-back styles, flat twists, and up-dos. Add finishing oil to seal.
- JBCO Curl Stretch Paste and Finishing Oil: twist-out, braid-out, and rod sets.
You are not limited to this though, natural hair is not a one routine fits all so you have to find out what works best for you.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis/xoNecole
The beauty industry is an ever-growing industry. There are constant releases in haircare, skincare, and makeup and it can be overwhelming and expensive to keep up with. However, if you're someone who likes to try new things for a portion of the price, then you may want to consider a subscription beauty box. It's a simple way to get everything you need delivered right to your door. And if there's anything that this pandemic taught us, it's how to survive when the world is forced to stay six feet apart. Even though most of the world is going back to "normal," this is another option for those of you who still want to keep it safe.
Let's address the elephant in the room, one of the biggest concerns with beauty boxes is having a box full of products that don't fit our skin or hair type. It is very frustrating to get a box of eight products and you can only use two of them. One key thing to look into when joining a subscription service is, who are these products really for? Is it made with black women in mind? Does it provide useful products for me? Don't worry...I got you, sis.
Let me save you the hassle and tell you why Femailer is the subscription box you never knew you needed.
What's a Femailer?
Femailer is a quarterly beauty box that features a range of 5-8 full-sized beauty products for women of color at an affordable price. The value of a typical box is up to $120, but as a member, you get it for more than half the price, $30 to be exact -- every season.
The creator of Femailer, Ashlee Gomez, has combined her 11+ years in the beauty industry as a licensed cosmetologist and beauty marketing professional to deliver a solution that allows women of color to identify and embrace not just their outer, but more importantly their inner beauty.
Each box is curated with three main missions in mind: to satisfy your beauty needs, give you inspiration and resources that'll help you flourish inside and out, and introduce you to quality products by other black-owned brands.
Each quarterly box features premium haircare, skincare, makeup, and lifestyle products from brands like Creme of Nature, Black Radiance, SheDavi, Lottabody, custom Femailer jewelry, and much more.
In my box, I received:
- "I'm Speaking" Tote Bag
- Lottabody Boost Me Curl Boosting Smoothie
- Lottabody Hold Me Maximum Hold Styling Gel
- Lottabody Elongate Me Curl Stretcher
- Beauty Bakerie | Brownie Bar
- AHAVA l Mineral Hand Cream
- KISS - Glam Fantasy Nails | Trampoline Set
Along with two bonus items:
- Lottabody Satin Scarf
- "I'm Making Herstory" Button
Each product is hand-picked, Ashlee and her team actually use themselves to make sure members are getting quality products that promote healthy hair and beauty practices for each season. It's also worth mentioning that Femailer also provides tips and tricks on how to use each product. So whether you're a beginner or seasoned beauty guru, you get access to tutorials, reviews, and even members-only pop-up shops.
I'm saying...this is a lot for just $30, it's definitely a steal!
My honest review:
Let's start with the Lottabody products.
The entire Milk & Honey collection is made with milk protein and honey to help restore moisture to your hair. Here's a breakdown of each product I received:
The Lottabody Milk & Honey Boost Me Curl Boosting Smoothie
The Lottabody Boost Me Curl Boosting Smoothie is a curl-enhancing formula that adds definition, shine and a light-to-medium hold to your hair. This product is so good it can stand alone to style and refresh your curls. Because of its versatility, it can be used as a leave-in and styling cream for wash n' go's, twist-out, and braid-out styles.
The Lottabody Milk & Honey Elongate Me Curl Stretcher
The Elongate Me Curl Stretcher is a thick nourishing cream that treats dry, rough strands and helps restore moisture to brittle hair. It can be used as a styler and leave-in. It moisturizes your hair and helps minimize frizz. To be honest, it's a tough claim to elongate curls with just a product because shrinkage is inevitable.
I wouldn't rely heavily on this for fighting shrinkage, but it's good for added moisture and definition. To help fight shrinkage, you can use the raking method and apply the gel after to hold your curls in place.
The Lottabody Milk & Honey Hold Me Maximum Hold Styling Gel
Lastly, is the Hold Me Maximum Hold Styling Gel. The hold with this gel is 10 out of 10. I say that because it has the key things you want in a styling gel: hold, crunchless curls, no flaking, definition, and shine. The Hold Me styling gel also helps prolong the wear of your hairstyle; it kept my curls intact for 4-5 days.
On the right, old twist-out; on the left, old twist-out refreshed and revived with Lottabody.
I used the Boost Me Curl Boosting Smoothie and Hold Me Maximum Hold Styling Gel to refresh my old, dry twist-out and those two products were all I needed. It enhanced my curls and gave my hair more volume and hold. I don't think you need to use both the curl stretcher and the curl boosting smoothie together, one or the other is fine but it depends on what your hair needs.
On the left, close-up of pigmented highlighter; on the right, defined cheekbone with Beauty Bakerie.
The next product I used was the Beauty Bakerie Brownie Bar Face Palette. I've been wanting to try Beauty Bakerie for a while, so I'm glad I was able to try it out because I love this palette. The Brownie Bar comes with a powder contour, bronzer, and highlight. The formula is buildable so that you can start light and get the hang of how and where to contour.
I need to warn y'all though, I'm very new to bronzing and contouring but this is very beginner-friendly and gave me the confidence to try it out. It's also very blendable and pigmented, so a little goes a long way especially with the highlighter. On the left is a close-up of how pigmented the highlighter is and I only used a small amount. On the right is how defined my cheekbone is after using the bronzer.
Overall, I definitely think Femailer is worth a try. It features products for women of color with all skin and hair types so you'll never have to wonder if a product will work for you. In my experience, I also think it motivates you to try new products and techniques! Like I mentioned before I've been wanting to try contouring and it's like the universe heard me and brought me this.
I also want to add that the vibe of the bag was very empowering, from the statement tote and pin to the beauty finds, I really enjoyed the experience Femailer provided.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis/xoNecole