Thursday, April 4, 2013

Some Samples from Kara's Way

Items were received by Kara's Way complimentary.

Kara's Way was kind enough to provide a few samples for my consideration and these happen to be some of my favourite types. It should come as no surprise that I love soaps and hair care is something that I am quite discerning about. As these were provided complimentary, I know that some of them appeared in previous boxes that have already gone out.

Aubrey Organics
Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Shampoo & Blue Camomile Hydrating Conditioner

First up is the Honeysuckle Rose shampoo which is free of sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens or petrochemicals. Which basically means that there is minimal lather. The scent took me by surprise (I'm not sure what I was expecting) but it was wonderfully light and refreshing. It was easy to work with in terms of being able to wash it out quickly.

I followed up immediately with the Blue Chamomile conditioner and that also had a very surprising scent which was also quite lovely. The conditioner was creamy and while a bit on the liquid like side, it just made it easier to work with. The two combined smelled fantastic.

After my hair dried I noticed that quite few curls came in which is slightly unusual but very welcomed. My hair seemed to be enthralled by this new combination. Grant it those curls slowly dropped to wurls throughout the day but the fact that my hair even started on a happier note was wonderfully unexpected. Now all I have to do is find it at my local stores.

Price: $10.48 each for 11 oz.
Stars: ★★★★★
Takeaway: Great unexpected results for a first go. My hair was softer and bouncier which was great plus it has a great light scent that almost feels like it sticks with you throughout the day.

Fundamental Earth
Fundamental Shampoo (For All Hair Types) and Fundamental Conditioner (Normal to Dry)

I will completely admit that this one somewhat took me by surprise. I hadn't heard about this company before so while I did have a little bit of skepticism, I overlooked it. What I mean is that I frequent a lot of hair forums and weirdly enough this one never came up. On the day that I tested it for the first time, Nicole (at Spialelo) asked me if I had any recommendations for a shampoo and conditioner that was free of sulfates, silicones, and protein. Admittedly protein had never been anything that I was cognizant about so the first thing I did was check the products I had been using lately.

Of the many I have been using and/or recently tested the only ones to pass that test was Disney Baby Daily Renewal Naturals Baby Shampoo (check out the review here) and Fundamental Earth. Incidentally 100% Pure and Terressentials Organic hair care also seems to fit the bill (but I haven't tested these out). In general though, it seems that finding a protein free haircare item that is also free of sulfates and silicones is pretty tough.

Moving back to Fundamental Earth, the ingredient list is paired down which makes for a simplistic blend that hopefully couldn't go wrong. And it didn't. The shampoo had a lot of different scents such as ginger extract, honey, lavender oil, lemongrass oil, rosemary oil, etc. The one scent that really came out though was the rosemary. It worked much like any other shampoo and had a great lather. As one could imagine, it was therefore really easy to wash out.

The conditioner is somewhat similar when it comes to the ingredient list (by what black magic does this happen?!) which means it's also quite simplistic. This one has hops extract, balm mint extract, honey, Moroccan argan oil, chamomile extract, lemongrass oil, etc. It looks and feels exactly like any other conditioner that I've used but the added bonus is that with the argan oil already in there, I don't have to follow up later with a leave in. Okay, maybe that's not really a good perk to focus on, but honestly, the chamomile scent was refreshing when I used it the first time. My hair was soft and bouncy and overall seems quite happy with this one.

Price: $16 for the shampoo (12 oz) and $17 for the conditioner (12 oz).
Stars: ★★★★★
Takeaway: Definitely a great shampoo and conditioner combination; I'm even more impressed by this one since it fit all of Nicole's criteria (being free of sulfates, silicones, and protein). My hair loved this a lot and this will definitely enter the standard rotation of hair care.

Coastal Scents African Black Soap

As I already mentioned, African black soap was something I grew up with -- specifically Nubian Heritage African Black Soap. I haven't really been able to find it in local stores since I moved out to the West Coast which is why my usage of it dwindled. I received two samples of this soap from Kara's Way so I feel as though was ample to work with in order to provide a review of the long missed black soap. So wait, a step back for anyone who isn't familiar with black soap... what is it?

Black soap, or rather this particular blend of black soap is made with coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa pod ash, and palm kernel oil. The soap itself is great for trouble skin (such as eczema), reducing blemishes and the appearance of fine lines, and evening out dark spots. It also offers light exfoliation so at the end of the day what really works for me is that it provides moisture back to my skin (via the shea butter) and provides light exfoliation which is great for my dry skin without overdoing it.

A note from Coastal Scents is that they do say that you shouldn't use this directly on your skin and you should use a wash cloth or sponge. I didn't know that at the time so I used it directly on my skin and didn't have any issues. With that being said, if I did order a full sized bar (16 oz) then I'd likely follow their directions.

Price: 79¢ for a sample and $12.95 for a full bar.
Stars: ★★★★★
Takeaway: Another win for dry skin but this one is a bit different given the slight exfoliation present in this bar. Black soap is a long time favourite of mine and I'd definitely recommend their blend especially given the cocoa butter element.

This product was featured in the December Kara's Way box and was given to me complimentary for my evaluation.

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