Thanks so much for stopping by! I wanted to share all my favorite things and give answers to a lot of questions I get about what I use and buy with my own money. Please note that this list is not sponsored in any way, these are all things I use and love by choice. While I have grown to love so many things as a result of product testing, this page is home to my ride or die life essentials. These are things I buy/would buy with my own money and fully stand behind. I have also taken the time to find some budget friendly options wherever possible. I have conveniently linked all my favorite things in one big article so you don’t have to go digging through posts. Always consult with your doctor or specialist before adding anything to your skin or healthcare routine. The items listed below are specifically what works for ME and may not be applicable to everyone.
Ok So let’s first talk about my hair. From a general standpoint, my hair is thick, super dry and hard to manage, curly and I have been chemically relaxing it since I was a child. It’s been highlighted and dyed etc as well. I am always in need of moisture. As of recently, I got Brazilian micro link extensions and so my hair routine has changed a lot and I have to manage it a little differently now. I will go over things I love for with and without.
General Hair Care
I recently picked up THIS SHAMPOO, and THIS CONDITIONER from the salon I go to. I rode it out until they were done and I think they are okay, but I probably will be trying something else to experiment.
I have also had great experiences with THIS CONDITIONER by Paul Mitchell it’s amazing as a detangler and a leave in.
If you are on a drugstore budget I am obsessed with THIS SHAMPOO and THIS CONDITIONER from Pantene. and I also tried out THIS MOISTURIZER from them as well. It’s super inexpensive and great for thick or relaxed and dyed hair and I think it works comparably to salon brands and I always keep it in my shower.
I also alternate hair products frequently and like to try out new things.
I found 2 hairbrushes that I really liked pre-extensions. I love THIS BRUSH from Laline and THIS BRUSH from Goody. I go through brushes a TON like multiple per year and these two have lasted me months and months and still lots of life left.
After showering I always lightly towel dry and then generously apply detangle to my hair My hair is so curly and tight when it is wet and let me tell you it ISNT cute when I let it air dry like George Washington has a bad hair day bad LOL. I love THIS detangler by Dove but THIS detangler from WALMART also does a great job. I just started using THIS AMAZING LEAVE IN PRODUCT after my detangler. It’s life changing.
I also tried THIS leave in serum pre-extensions and it’s amazing, smells amazing but it’s hard to find. It came in a birch box and was awesome. I will probably be trying out some more things from this brand soon.
Here is another good hair serum that works well with straightening by paul mitchell
I am also trying out this masque from Caviar as well
THIS is another good one I got a sample of in a Glossybox or a Birchbox and it was also great.
I let my hair sit in a relaxed towel bun for like 15 minutes. Then I use the towel to get as much water out as possible and then spray on THIS HEAT PROTECTANT by CHI before I blow dry. Once my hair is relatively straight and blow-dried I spray on THIS HEAT PROTECTANT before using my flat iron.
Using Hair Tools:
INVEST IN YOUR HAIR TOOLS. By the time you have gone through all the ones you bought at target you will have been able to afford the good ones. I have tried ALL THE BRANDS.
I have been through several hair dryers in my life. Hair dryers to me are kind of all the same but I did notice that when I used the ones that are 2000 Watts I get better results, the downside is they are harder to find because they are not standard wattage and even the super nice ones are I think 1875 Watts.
For the past few years I have been using THIS HAIR DRYER by Conair
I recently got THIS HAIRDRYER by Babyliss and it’s also great
If you are on a budget I recommend THIS HAIRDRYER by Remington.
Ok so now on to straightening:
THIS FLAT IRON by Brocato is AMAZING. I purchased it from ULTA. It vibrates and it’s awesome and it’s lasted me several years now. The person who did my hair in college used it on my hair and I loved it. (shout out to Charlene she was amazing)
Before that I was using THIS FLAT IRON by Sedu and I think it’s really good as well, My hair stylist at the Salon I go to uses THIS FLAT IRON by Rusk on my hair and it works amazing and will probably be purchasing it soon.
Let’s talk curlers, my worst nightmare. I have NEVER EVER been able to curl my hair to the point where I am actually upset that I know how to now and hate all the years I exclusively wore a ponytail and a million barrettes and horrible buns. I would only wear my hair down if I had a blow out. LAME.
Clip curlers, curler sets, curling with a flat iron, rollers none of it ever EVER worked EVER.
Last year I purchased THIS flat iron, curler duo tool by Kardashian Beauty and was able to curl my hair a bit for the first time. I did not use it as a straightener though. It’s worth trying and you can always return it if you don’t like it. If you have finer hair I think it will be perfect!
Last year on a whim I bought THIS on Amazon and my life was forever changed. Definitely read the reviews, yes, it can cause a little frizz at times but let me tell you, I have THE most difficult to manage hair and I felt like a brand new person. Just learn how to use it before you judge it. My hair was curled in like 15-25 mins. and the curls lasted a long time.
I have had my eye on THIS curler by t3 Micro and decided to grab it the other day. MIND BLOWN. Just do it. If you are on a budget, STILL JUST DO IT, eat ramen for 2 weeks you will be so GLAD and you’ll be too obsessed with your hair to care. I use the 1 inch regularly to get my waves and I am obsessed and it works amazing on my hair extensions as well. The tapered attachment is great too for tighter curls, and the larger attachment creates looser waves for me. Seriously buy it.
For finishing, I just started using THIS mist by Alterna
Hair Care Tips with my Extensions:
I still use THIS SHAMPOO and THIS CONDITIONER from Pantene as a base, it’s not sulfate free ( I know, ugh) but I still really like it, I always use the conditioner no matter what.
A hair mask is a must now since the top of my head is all my real hair and the shorter layers, those have to remain relatively conditioned so that it mixes well with the extensions which are 100% human hair. I had received a sample of THIS HAIR MASK in a Birchbox and was hooked, I went out and bought the full size single serve packets and will be riding that out until it’s gone but so far it’s a keeper and my hair is so soft afterwards. I highly recommend that you put it on and then put a cheap clear shower cap over it while you wash or shave or something and leave it on for at least 10 minutes before you wash it out, the cap will help it from rinsing out to early.
After Showering I apply a detangler I have two linked above that I like and that are affordable, I also just started using the It’s a 10 line and spray that one and use a heat protectant before I blow dry. with extensions you HAVE to be gentle or they will snag. Use a detangler brush and use your hands to blow dry. I even started using the cool setting to get close to the roots. I flat iron and curl the same way and those items are linked above.
I purchased the hair for my extensions HERE and at first I was hesitant because it was all the way in Brooklyn (I live in the city) and in a neighborhood I didn’t know. IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT. The hair is beautiful and it was reasonably priced and Alexander did a superb job mixing the hair and matching it to my actual hair. I recommend you do a lot of research before doing this and go with somewhere you trust or comes recommended from someone you trust that knows what they are talking about.
I also found that after adding 6 0z of hair to my head with the extensions I could no longer use a regular hair tie comfortably so I found THESE HAIR ELASTICS by goody and they are extra large and can go around 3 times comfortably.
You can also conveniently find detangler brushes like this at places like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx for really cheap (Under $10)
When finishing my hair use a light hairspray so you don’t dry your hair out. I have been using the one linked above by Amika Lately.
I finish off my hair with the mist I linked earlier called Caviar by Alterna and It smells amazing.
At night I put my hair up loosely in a satin cap, or in a very loose bun or pony tail within it. It helps to keep my hair from drying out at night. I LOVE THIS CAP, it has a wide band and stays on all night! I also started sleeping with a SATIN PILLOWCASE that I got off amazon. I am also planning to buy THIS ONE by Slip, but it is a little more expensive but again investing in yourself is always worth it.