Showing posts with label tools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tools. Show all posts

Saturday, September 27, 2014

How I Removed Mineral Build Up From My Steamer


This month marks the second year since I bought my Secura steamer (my product review is posted here) and it's been about a year since I took the time to remove mineral build up from the heating coil. I know, I know, shame on me. I'll go sit in my corner now :(

Last week while emptying and washing out the water reservoir, I stopped to look—like really look because apparently I've had blinders on for a year—at the heating coil and couldn't believe how much mineral build up I had let accumulate. When steaming, I use water from my bathroom shower, which is filtered using a shower filter (the one in this post here) to remove minerals from the water (I have hard water in my home), but as you can see, even after a year the small traces of minerals that are not removed from the water add up.

Step 1: I soaked the coil in water (I simply filled it to the point where the coil was fully submerged) and added 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Total soak time: 1 hour. The little bubbles/fizzles you see in the photo below is the ACV dissolving the mineral build up on the coil. 

After 45 minutes, the steamer was nearly mineral build up free.


To remove the last traces of build up, I rubbed off all remaining bits with a paper towel and was rewarded with a clean, shiny, steamer coil. Whoop whoop! And at no cost and without fuss!

Seeing all the build up on my coil really reinforced the importance of using a chelating shampoo (my fave is Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo) to remove mineral build up, because although my filter removes 99% of minerals from the water, that 1% accumulates over time and is just plain gross.

Moral of the story: (1) my dearest JGAers, don't be like me. If you have a steamer and do not use distilled water, then check your steamer for mineral build up regularly. If you spot it, grab your bottle of apple cider vinegar and go, go, go. (2) If you aren't periodically using a clarifying/chelating shampoo to remove product and mineral build up from your hair, you should start!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Product Review: Culligan Filtered Showerhead

This review was two years in the making so at least I can safely say I have thoroughly reviewed this shower filter :) 

Price: $22-$35 (price varies depending on where you purchased it. I purchased mine for $25 but it is currently listed on Amazon.com for $22)

Promises: "With the powerful filtration system of the Culligan Level 2 Wall-Mount Showerhead, you can reduce the chemicals in your water for a cleaner shower and softer skin. Featuring an anti-clog rubber spray nozzle and sleek chrome finish, this showerhead offers the choice of five spray settings. The Culligan Wall-Mount Showerhead provides filtration against sulfur, chlorine, and scale for up to 10,000 gallons of water, and it meets NSF standards for water safety. Reduces Chlorine and Scale Buildup for a Softer Shower The Culligan Level 2 Wall-Mount Showerhead offers a refreshing shower experience by reducing harsh chlorine levels and damaging scale buildup. The filtration system removes up to 99 percent of chlorine, as well as the impurities within water that can damage hair follicles and result in dry, itchy scalp. Additionally, by reducing the amount of scale (a hard, filmy residue created by minerals in water), the showerhead is able to give you more of the hydrating nourishment your skin and scalp need. Five Spray Settings to Suit Your Mood -- In addition to offering a cleaner, more nourishing shower, this showerhead offers five spray settings to suit your mood. Choose from a full-body spray for maximum water coverage, to an invigorating pulse for a relaxing muscle massage."


My Assessment: Moving from a soft water area to a moderately hard water area took a toll on my hair and skin.  Prior to installing this showerhead, the hard water in my apartment would make my skin very dry and itchy and the minerals in the water would cling to my hair. Over time, the mineral build up would prevents conditioners and moisturizers from penetrating into my hair making my hair dry and dull.  I started using this showerhead in March, 2012, and it has been a life saver.  After showers my skin is no longer dry (and if I use a good moisturizing soap, I'm able to skip lotion afterwards) and my moisturizers and conditioners no longer have to try to fit their way through mineral build up.  I still use a chelating shampoo (Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo) to remove minerals (and product build up) that may still cling to my hair but my hair feels worlds better than when I used to wash my hair with hard water.

Installing this showerhead was very easy to do and took about 5 minutes from start to end.  Check out my full post on how I installed it here.

The showerhead filters water for six months (or 10,000 gallons) before it needs to be changed.  Thankfully Amazon's nifty "Subscribe & Save" feature helps me stay on top of buying a replacement filter every six months by automatically deducting the cost of the replacement filter from my account (at a discounted price courtesy of the "Subscribe & Save" feature) and shipping it out to me.  The price tends to fluxate a bit (as all Amazon items do over time) but I've paid between $9-$12) for the filters over the last 2 years.

Lastly, this showerhead is backed by the manufacturer's limited five-year warranty but over the last 2 years I haven't had any issues with it.

Have you tried this filtered showerhead? Or another brand?


Disclosure of Material Connection: Items in this post were purchased with my own funds. I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, April 4, 2014

It's The Little Things, Like Tea Infusers and Oil Sprayers

... that perk up a DIYers day. Or maybe just this DIYer.

Tea rinses happen frequently around these parts and many of my teas are loose leaf. Since the dawn of time my approach to brewing my loose leaf teas has been very simple: boil water, add loose leaf tea, steep, and then use a strainer to catch the herbs. Water, steep, strain. See? Simple.

While at the grocery story a couple weeks ago I picked up a stainless steel mesh tea ball for $2 to simplify my tea-brewing routine. After stuffing the little ball with herb-y goodness, I plunked it into hot water and let it steep overnight. Stuff and steep. Even simpler. If you can't find tea infusers in your local grocery store, there are quick a few on Amazon.

What's in the tea ball? Hibiscus, lavender, green tea, and nettle leaf tea.


Many moons ago (and by many moons I mean last month lol) Nadege of Relaxed Hair Health posted (here) about the awesomeness of the Misto Oil Sprayer. Fiona of Love Your Tresses recently shared her excitement (here) about this Misto oil spayer as well. Both ladies successfully piqued my interest so I decided to take the plunge give Misto a try.


I couldn't find it at my local grocery store so I grabbed it on Amazon for $9.99. How does it work? Fill the bottle half way with oil, pump the cap 10 times or more to pressurize the contents, and spray. Take care to only fill the bottle only halfway or else you'll end up with an oily pump like yours truly.

The Misto Oil Sprayer delivers a fine mist that allows me to use less oil while using less oil. Any time I'm able to use less oil, it's a good time. In addition to using it when sealing in my moisturizer, I used it last wash day to apply sunflower oil to my hair for my hot oil treatment and it made application a breeze: section my hair hair, spray, massage the oil in my hair, and throw in a happy shimmy... you know, just because.

Is it a necessity? No, but I do not regret purchasing it. It's a handy little gem that frankly makes applying oil to my hair fun while delivering the oil in a fine mist for a more even coverage and less mess.

Don't you just love when items that should live in the kitchen find their way into your hair items? I do!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Conditioning Heat Caps vs Steamers

When I first started my hair journey in 2009, I relied of my Gold 'N Hot Conditioning Heat Cap for my deep-conditioning-with-heat needs. Last October I purchased a Secura Steamer (same set up as the Huetiful Steamer but costs less) and this month I bought a Hot Head heating cap. While it's not written in stone that I must deep condition with heat, I always do because the use of heat helps the conditioning agents penetrate the hair shaft. After all, if I'm taking the time to deep condition I might as well make sure my hair is receiving all the moisturizing goodies it can.

There are several types of conditioning heat caps and steamers on the market but I've limited my point of view to the ones I've tried:

Gold 'N Hot Conditioning Heat Cap
• Cost: $35.00 // I purchased from Sally Beauty // also available on Amazon
• Pros: This cap gets pretty warm but the heat never reaches an uncomfortable level. It actually auto-cycles on and off, with a noticeable "CLICK" that sounds when it's turning off for 60 seconds before it starts to warm up again. The cord is plenty long as well. There are three settings: low, medium, and high. I've never used it on anything other than the high setting. Even though this conditioning cap doesn't get the best reviews, it hasn't failed me in the 4 years I've had it. It has worked well for me,
• Cons: This has one design flaw: unless I rest my head back on the couch or lay back in bed when wearing this cap, the back of the cap doesn't touch my nape.

Hot Head Heating Cap
• Cost: $29.95 // Purchased from Hot Head Etsy Store
• Pros: Unlike my steamer or my Gold N' Hot Conditioning Cap, this heating cap doesn't need to be plugged in. You pop it into the microwave for 1 minute, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
• Cons: This heating cap has is that it doesn't get as warm as the Gold N' Hot, but I never expected it to because it is not powered by electricity, and it only stays warm for 30 minutes. The six flax seed packs into the cap are located at the top and spaced out on the sides of the cap, sort of like a flower. Because of how the flax seed packs are arranged, there are gaps on the side where there is no heat. In order to get the maximum use of heat from this cap you have to place most of your hair on top of your head.

Secura Steamer . . . full review of this steamer is posted here.
• Cost: $80.00 // I purchased from Amazon, it's (listed as Secura S-192 Hair and Facial Steamer)
• Pros: After using this steamer to deep conditioner, my hair is softer, remains moisturized longer after the initial DC (tested this out my not moisturizing and sealing for a few days after wash day). My conditioners also sink in more. When deep conditioning with my steamer, my hair is definitely more moisturized after. Unlike the conditioning caps that simply warm the conditioner up to help it better penetrate into the hair shaft, my steamer is goes one step more and gives my hair an extra boost of moisture via the steam. When I use my steamer, my hair stays conditioning longer during the week.
• Cons: This steamer has a similar flaw as the Gold N' Hot Conditioning Cap. In order for the steam to reach my nape, I have to flip around halfway through my steaming session. Because of the way the dome is angled, it the steam is focused at the crown and sides of my head. I'm not sure if this can be really be called a flaw but the plastic of the dome is pretty flimsy. Being the clutz that I am, I dropped the dome once - on carpeted floors I might add - and the lip of the dome cracked.


So which is better?     
If you're taking into account cost, ease of use, and ease of storage well then the Gold N' Hot Conditioning Cap and the Hot Head Heating Cap are the better choices. The Hot Head Heating Cap (to me) works better in shorter deep conditioning sessions. For a longer deep conditioning sessions I can see myself getting annoyed pretty quickly if I have to get up to heat the cap up repeatedly so in those situations the Gold 'N Hot Conditioning Cap wins.

If you're assessing on the basis of which conditioning tool helps the most with moisture, then the steamer wins because it's helping condition your hair on two fronts: the heat it produces is helping the conditioner penetrate into the hair and the steam itself is helping pump hair with moisture. When I deep condition with my steamer, my hair stays moisturized longer which really helps keep my new growth moisturized during the week.

My bottom line: steamer wins.


A few questions JGAers had:
Kem asks:
If you were on a deserted island that somehow had electricity and you had to pick between your steamer and conditioning cap which one would you choose?
Hmmm, I think I'd choose the steamer. It adds additional moisture to my via water and my hair reaps the benefits of its use in a short amount of time: I'm good to go in 15-20 minutes.


Gael asks:
Are there certain times you'll choose to steam instead of use a heating cap?
Generally, when I'm not in the mood to sit and would rather nap while deep conditioning haha.


Tiffany asks:
Do I have to use heat when I deep conditioning at all? Is it necessary?
No it's not necessary, just beneficial. You could forgo using heat when deep conditioning if you wanted.


Pauline asks:
Can I use a hooded dryer when deep conditioning instead of a steamer or heating cap?
Yes you absolutely can!

Do you deep condition with heat? What's your preferred method, steamer or a conditioning cap? 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hot Head Conditioning Cap, Come To Mama

I've wanted a Hot Head heating cap for well over a year now (maybe longer) and finally caved and got one (cost: $29.95 from Hot Head Etsy Store).

As much as I love my steamer and Gold N' Hot condition cap (which I've had since 2009!), both require that I remain tethered to a nearby outlet. As you may have already guessed, I was drawn to these Hot Head heating caps because there's no cord to plug into an outlet. Deep conditioning with heat all while moving freely around? Oh yea, I'm excited. I kinda feel like I'm in a Southwest Airlines commercial: ding! I am now free to move about the country apartment. 


How does it work? "The Hot Head heat cap is filled with renewable flax seed which will generate heat when warmed. It is also reusable and the most environmentally friendly way to deep condition your hair with heat at home. There is no need to plug it into an outlet or use batteries to power the heat. With just a minute or two in the microwave it will produce up to 45 minutes of heat. The fact that there are no cords and no plugs means that you are free to move about while deep conditioning your hair." Source: product listing from Hot Head Etsy shop.

Six flax seed packs
Purple is my favorite color so I'm so in love with the pattern/color of this heating cap.


Can't wait to try this heating cap out next month... won't be trying it this month because I'm sticking to my October goal of using my steamer every time I deep condition.

Oh and I forgot to mention it's reversible.

Update: I was impatient and used this cap while I pre-pooed during yesterday's wash, so my first impressions will be up soon.

Update #2: My first wash day post using the Hot Head cap is posted here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Trimming With Creation Magic Hair Cutting Clip

I finally got around to using the Creation Magic Hair Cutting Clip last week. If you're familiar with the CreaClip, these cutting clips have the same design... they're basically CreaClip minus the $29.99 price tag and name brand stamp.

Ideally, I would have used the larger white clip to cut my hair into a nice, soft U-shape - which is my preferred cut - but it was too difficult to maneuver the white clip down to the length of my hair. The little teeth on the insides of the clip also kept combing/snagging on my hair as I tried moving the clip down. After 5 minutes of struggling with the white clip, I abandoned it and grabbed the shorter blue clip.

To use the shorter clip, I gently combed my hair back into a ponytail and used a second hair band to secure my hair and prevent it from shifting around. Instead of sliding the blue clip down the full length of my hair I started under the second band and moved it down until I got near the end.

When I got down to the last 2 inches, I flipped my ponytail forward and used the built-in leveler to slide the clip straight down until I received the spot where I wanted to cut. I repeated the process 3 times to make sure I achieved the straightest cut possible.
Note: I cut below the clip, not above!

Using the shorter blue clip gave my ends a blunt cut. I would have preferred using the larger u-shaped clip but for now, I can't figure out a way to comfortably use it on my own.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Creation Magic Hair Cutting Clip

After posting about these clips in Sunday's Hair Babble post I remembered I had an Amazon gift card and after a few clicks (and maybe a squeal of excitement), I finally have a hair cutting clip in my life.


If you're familiar with the CreaClip, this clip is pretty much the same... minus the "CreaClip" stamp and the $29.99 price tag for the set. How much did this set cost me you wonder? A whopping $6.99 from Amazon. I've wanted a CreaClip for a while now but did not want to commit to the price tag, so you can imagine my excitement when I found the same clips for a fraction of the price.

Here's a quick look at the clip.



As a self-trimmer (the last time a stylist cut my hair was December, 2010) my biggest concern is an uneven cut, so I'm very happy the clips come with built-in levelers to ensure I'm cutting my hair straight.

 And they swivel!

The steps when using these cutting clips are to clamp the clip around the hair, slide the clip down to the spot you want to make your cut, and well, cut.

The only thing I'm not too fond of are the little teeth on the inside of the clips. I imagine the little teeth grabbing and snagging my hair. We'll see how it goes with these teeth in 3 weeks when I end my stretch and give myself a trim.


So there you have it, a quick peek at these hair cutting clips. If you're like me and wanted a CreaClip but did not want to pay full price, these hair cutting clips might make you break out in song and dance.

Do you have a CreaClip? Or a Creation Magic Hair Cutting Clip? Do you like them? Love them? Hate them?



Disclosure of Material Connection: Items in this post were purchased with my own funds. I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Roots Only Applicator Bottle: A $5.99 Gem

I posted about the Roots Only Applicator Bottle a few posts ago and thankfully Southern Girl (thank youuu!) posted a link to the bottle at Sally. I had a 15% coupon for Sally Beauty so I broke my no-buy goal for March (and I don't feel bad!) and grabbed two bottles.

I still stick by what I originally said about the Roots Only applicator bottle - it's not a necessity if you have a regular bottle with applicator nozzle - but it's still a convenient gem to have.



The comb-like tips make it very easy to get right to the scalp and apply oil evenly and faster. You know me, I'll all for anything that cuts down on manipulation so what I like is that I don't have to part my hair a hundred ways for even application. All I do now is stick the tips in, squeeze a little while the tips down, gently, and massage the oil a bit with the pads of my fingers and move on.

If the tips were a little bigger, I think this bottle would be nice for applying shampoo to the scalp (if you dilute the shampoo a bit to make it easily dispensable), oil (clearly, right?), or applying tea rinses right to the scalp.


I was super excited when I realized that the Roots Only nozzle fit perfectly on my bottle of Hair Trigger. A couple of twists and my oil applicator got a nice upgrade... and I'm such a dork because I thought it was nice the nozzle matched the HTEGE graphic on the bottle :D.


I'm glad I had a Sally coupon which is ultimately what convinced me that it was okay to snag these bottles. My mom and granny both regularly do scalp massages with oil so once my local Sally Beauty has more bottles, I'm going to grab some for them.


Well that's all there is to this quick review of the Roots Only bottle. If you're willing to spend a few bucks, just don't forget to look online for a Sally's coupon code if you're purchasing online... there's always a Sally's coupon code floating around the web.



Disclosure of Material Connection: Items in this post were purchased with my own funds. I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, October 22, 2012

Product Review: Secura O3 Facial & Hair Steamer

Price:  $80.00

Purchased At: Amazon.com (listed as Secura S-192 Hair and Facial Steamer)

Promises: "Moisturize and hydrate your hair, prevents breakage and split. Improve absorption of conditioners and other treatments. Instantly convert to a tabletop facial steamer. The ultra-fine mist opens and unclogs your pores allows you to remove dirt, oil and grime from your skin. The facial spray rod attachment is included. Build-in ozone generator controlled release negatively charged oxygen which helps reduce itchiness and prevent dandruff. Besides skin care, the steamer can also be used for interior humidifying in a powerful and efficient way."

My Assessment: This steamer was so easy to put together... which makes me wonder why something made nearly entirely of plastic that can be put together in a few simple snaps would cost $80-$120 (depending on what brand you buy, Secura or Huetfiul). Don't get me wrong, I don't regret purchasing my steamer, it's that just for these prices, we should be getting "more," whatever "more" may be...

For the last 3 years, I've used my Gold N' Hot Conditioning Cap to pre-poo and deep condition so I have a pretty good idea of how my hair is supposed to feel with the use of heat. After using my steamer for pre-poos and deep conditioning, I noticed my hair felt much softer, my conditioners just "sunk" into my hair more, since steams allows for better penetration into the hair shaft, and my hair retained moisture longer during the week. I still moisturized and sealed every day (I'm not willing to break this habit) but the first few days after steaming, I didn't have to moisturize. It's great knowing that after steaming my hair is thoroughly moisturized so if I miss a day of moisturizing and sealing, I won't have to worry about dry hair. In terms of how it effects my bone straight ends versus my texlaxed hair, my texlaxed is softer and fluffier, than the bone straight ends but both retain moisture to the same degree.

I get 15 minutes of steaming action from a cup (not a metric cup, I mean a "steaming cup," where I add water to the reservoir until it hits the "max" line) and then the steamer automatically turns off. This isn't a big deal but 15 minutes just isn't enough for me, haha. However, I DO like and appreciate that the device automatically shuts off when there isn't enough water. It's a great safety measure; I don't have to sit there while the heating coils sizzle behind me.

The height and angle of the dome cannot be adjusted. This is the number one 'con' I have about this steamer... an adjustable dome would certainly qualify as the "more" I mentioned earlier. I'm 5'7" and to sit comfortably under the steamer, I have to prop a big law casebook under it. Having to put a few magazines, books... or cinder block (I kid, I kid) under the steamer isn't a big deal, but for $80-$120... well you know what I mean. Because of the angle, when I sit under the dome my nape gets absolutely no steam love. After the first 15 minutes I flip around in the chair so that my napes gets some steam action.


In the picture below, you'll see that under the edge of the dome is a little spout with a stopper. Once the steamer cools down, you simply pull out the stopper and drain the water that has collected in the drain, located in the white area right above the stopper. Now, do you see the little loop right beside the spout? Well I noticed (after the first time using the steamer) that somehow, water will drip from this loop... hot water... and the first time it happened, right onto my bare shoulder. Ow! I learned two things from that experience. One, drape a towel across my shoulders when steaming, and two, place a cup behind me, directly under the drippy loop to collect the water. I'm not sure whether the drippy loop is specific to my steamer (ladies, if you've experienced this, let me know) but for $80-$120... there's that "more" again.


I like that the vents were added into the dome. Once I'm done, I slide them in the open position, releasing the steam still trapped in the dome and speeding up the cool down time. Once I'm done with something I don't like leaving it out, so this is a "pro" for me because I don't have to wait too long for the steamer to cool down before I can stash it away until the next use.

A few other mentions: the steamer heats up pretty quickly, it takes about a minute for the pretty blue bubbles to kick in (the lights turn off when the "ozone function is flipped off - didn't notice a difference in performance without the ozone function on). It's light and it's easy to remove the dome for storage. According to ladies who have the Huetiful steamer, this steamer is set up the same way so I saved money in purchasing this one over Huetiful - always something to be happy about! It's not too loud, I'm still able to hear my phone ring or watch a movie on my laptop while under it. As for the facial attachment, I've honestly never used it, sorry!

Overall, I don't regret purchasing my steamer, unadjustable dome, and all. Those are all little things (to me) in comparison to how much my hair has been benefiting from regular steaming for pre-pops and deep condition sessions, although, I plan to write/call Amazon and/or the manufacturer about the leaky hose thats causing the drip. My hair retains more moisture, the conditioners I've used penetrate more effectively into the hair shaft, and my hair is soft after. Hydrated hair withstands breakage better, and we all know breakage is the last thing we want when seeking to retain every inch we grow. If my steamer were to ever break (knock on wood!) I would definitely purchase another one.

I tried to be as thorough as possible, hope this was helpful!



Disclosure of Material Connection: Items in this post were purchased with my own funds. I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, October 5, 2012

First Look: Secura O3 Facial & Hair Steamer

Tada! Here's the first look of the Secura O3 Facial & Hair Steamer (Model S-192) I got this week.


Apparently I'm not the only one who was excited about the steamer. As soon as I took it out the box my cat, Shaddy, wasted no time in claiming it as her new fort.




It was really easy to put together. Seriously. It was a three step process and then it was done -- I attached the weirdly shaped piece (that looks like wings) to the main body of the device, then I put on the dome, and connected the hose.


And of course added water . . . after my cat helped herself to first cup of water I brought out for the steamer.


At the top of the dome are three vents . . . I plan on using the steamer with the vents in the closed position, directing all that yummy steam to my hair.


It took about a minute for the water to heat up. Aren't the blue bubbles pretty? Haha.


That's it! Let the steaming begin!