Karen's Essentials

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Alikay Naturals Honey and Sage Deep Conditioner Review


Alikay Naturals Honey and Sage Deep Conditioner $14.99 Target https://www.target.com/p/alikay-naturals-honey-and-sage-deep-conditioner-8-fl-oz/-/A-15114756

You guys know I have a thing for deep conditioners I have a few in my arsenal that I love and I can easily pick up from Target or Sally’s. Corey (my daughter) told me about this deep conditioner a few years ago and I have used it off and on ever since.

First 5 Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol (a fatty alcohol that is emollient, softens the hair and adds great slip) Aloe Vera Juice, Stearalkonium Chloride (anti-microbial to prevent bacteria and mold in the product), and Honey. This conditioner also contains oils and other nourishing ingredients. When I am choosing any product I always check the ingredients I know that my hair responds well to Aloe Vera, honey and most of the other ingredients.

The first thing you notice is the color, it has a tan brownish color, with a pleasant smell that’s kind of herbally/earthy (which I love). The texture is thick you can turn over the jar and it won’t dump out but it absorbs into the hair easily and quickly. A product that easily absorbs means it doesn’t just sit on the top of my hair it actually penetrates and absorbs into my strands. The slip is amazing which makes it easy to apply it glides on.

I apply the conditioner after cleansing, to each section (6-8 sections) and then I twist each section put on a conditioning cap and my hot head for 20 minutes and rinse. My hair is so shiny, moisturized my curls are plump and juicy after using it. My hair feels and looks nourished. I would highly recommend this product.

I have learned what ingredients my hair likes and which ones to avoid; you can’t make your decision when purchasing any product by looking at the claims on the front of the bottle, the ingredients tell the real story; If you don’t know what an ingredient is google it. You will save tons of money and aggravation by just taking that small step. CHECK THE INGREDIENTS before you buy.

Do you read ingredients lists? What ingredients seem to work well for your hair? What ingredients do you avoid? Are ingredients important to you?

Mented Cosmetics Everyday Eyeshadow Palette Review

Mented Cosmetics Everyday Eyeshadow Palette $28 https://www.mentedcosmetics.com/products/everyday-eyeshadow-palette

Mented Cosmetics has released their first eyeshadow palette, the everyday eyeshadow palette. I love the packaging, simple matte black, it has a huge mirror perfect for doing your makeup on the go, with the white Mented logo I love it! The packaging as you can see does get dirty but it can easily be wiped off. What’s most important though is what’s inside.

Top row: Bae-ge, Light Bright, First Date Middle: Tandemonium, Upside Brown, Second Date Bottom: Redbone, Queen Sugar, Brown Out

The shade names are so cute, there are 6 matte shades, 1 satin, and 2 shimmer shades. The shadows are super pigmented and easy to blend. The colors are right up my alley, as the name of the palette suggest these are everyday shades to quickly create a look to get out the door. I prefer this type of palette because it doesn’t have too many shades to overwhelm me nor does it have shades that aren’t wearable. The formula is very soft and it blends easily which reminds me of Lorac eyeshadows (which is one of my favorite brands for eyeshadow), there is some fallout when blending but that doesn’t bother me at all. The shadows don’t fade and the color lasts all day, I have super oily eyelids so I always use a primer (primers also help shadows pop). Side note if your eyeshadow disappears or fades on you by the end of the day try using an eyeshadow primer (game changer).

I attempted to do arm swatches but they turned out less than perfect lol. Eyeshadow swatches aren’t always indicative as to how a shadow will perform. I tried but I need more practice it’s not as easy as I thought it would be lol lol.

The price point is affordable at $28, I own several palettes that I have paid twice as much for. Since I am not super adventurous when it comes to makeup, especially eyeshadow this is a perfect addition to my collection.  I am loving this brand. Mented Cosmetics is a brand to watch!

You may have noticed I have not done a post on my beloved subscription boxes, I have decided to cancel all of my subscriptions and use that money to explore more BOB (Black Owned Businesses). BOB’s don’t get the publicity like mainstream brands, I think it’s important to spread the word and to share my thoughts.

How often do you wear makeup? Do you wear eyeshadow? Do you play it safe like me when it comes to makeup or are you more adventurous?

I know many of you are saying “But Karen what about the giveaway?” I am still doing a few giveaways this month (I have all the products, even the boxes to send them in) but I want it to be fair. To be honest, I thought the process would be easy.  NOPE. I am hoping to have everything ironed out and set up by the end of next week which will make every giveaway after the first one easy.





Oyin Handmade Hair Dew Giveaway #1

Oyin is one of my favorite natural hair brands; Oyin also holds a special place in my heart because the company is a local Baltimore based business. Oyin products are sold at Target and on their site. Hair Dew is one of my favorite leave-ins; it smells like shortbread cookies ( my favorite) which if you don’t like sweet smells you may not like this. The scent isn’t overpowering or too sweet. It has the consistency of a body lotion (hence the name lol) that isn’t too thick. I use the Hair Dew as a leave-in for my wash n go’s, or twist outs, it can be used on wet, damp or dry hair; the versatility of this product is amazing. My hair is moisturized for days after using this product, a little goes a long way and it has a good amount of slip.

I have used it with various styling products, gels, twisting butters and it works well with them all. Since this product has a great balance of moisture and oils I don’t have to use an oil to seal the moisture in as I would with other leave-ins. I use it to retwist my hair, to refresh my wash n go’s I have even used it on my body.

If you have not tried this product you are missing out! Oyin Handmade Hair Dew and Oyin’s Ginger Mint Co-Wash (see review) Oyin Ginger Mint Co-Wash Review round out the Wash N Go giveaway prizes.

Details Coming Soon.

Have you tried Oyin? What’s your favorite Oyin Product? What would you like to try?

Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic Review Giveaway #1

If you guys have been following me for awhile or know me personally you know that this product right here is Bae, all-time favorite never let me down gel. I am never without this product and I always have a back or 3 lol. I have been using UFDCM for years and years when the company first launched. I am a product snob when it comes to my hair, ingredients reign supreme.

There are 4 things I am looking for in a styling gel and UFDCM meets each requirement:

  1. Ingredients- UFDCM has stellar ingredients that are natural, many of the key ingredients are organic and I can pronounce each ingredient. Some of the key ingredients and extracts are Marshmallow Root, Chamomile, Horsetail, Nettle Organic Aloe Vera Juice, and Organic Agave Nectar. I love the list of ingredients because they soften the hair, add tons of slip which make the product easy to apply to the hair evenly, the ingredients are also super moisturizing and provide a great hold without making my hair hard and crunchy.
  2. Slip- The ease in which the product applies to the hair is everything to me if the gel is too heavy or has no slip I struggle and it slows me down. Slip is also key to prevent frizz because you can easily smooth the product unto the hair.
  3. Moisturizing- my hair like most naturals tends to be really dry and I have worked at keeping my hair moisturized by deep conditioning weekly, using a leave-in everytime I style my hair, adding moisture when needed throughout the week. Why throw away all that work to keep my hair supple and moisturized only to ruin it by using a styling product that isn’t moisturizing. The key to maintaining moisture, in my opinion, is using ingredients that promote moisture each step of the process being careful of course not to over moisturize (yep that’s really a thing).
  4. Must Play Well With Other Products- Kinky-Curly Curling Custard was my jam early on in my natural hair journey (still love it) but this product is super finicky if not paired with the right leave in. UFDCM pairs well with all of my favorite leave-ins, butters and other stylers. It is no fun doing your hair only to find out the products used don’t like each other (by flaking, the little lint ball things). Who wants to start that long process over not me and unfortunately I have learned the hard way.

UFDCM- is versatile I use it primarily to do wash n go’s but I also use it to refresh my hair, to slick my edges, and BOMB twist outs that look like a wash n go. I have tried so many gels over the years and there have been several that I have liked but UFDCM is my absolute favorite. Uncle Funky’s products are sold at Target in a 12-ounce size and on their website. I buy my stash twice a year when it’s on sale from their site, which has the larger 18-ounce size.

To celebrate my 1 year blog anniversary I am doing a few giveaways, I will review the products in the giveaway. The first giveaway theme “Wash N Go Giveaway”. UFDCM is the first product in the Wash N Go Giveaway. Details coming soon.

One Year Blog Anniversary


One year ago today I hit publish and shared my first blog post; I am amazed how well my blog has been received. I have learned a lot about blogging over this last year but I have learned so much more about myself! I knew absolutely nothing about blogging to make things even more challenging Word Press is not the easiest platform to navigate for a new blogger. The last year I have had hundreds of ideas that I have cataloged for a later post some may never see the light of day, but the process is what I enjoy most.

My intention in starting this blog was to share my love of all things beauty with women over 40 I love doing reviews, sharing my thoughts and opinions! What has been the most rewarding and also the scariest is sharing my heart and allowing myself to be vulnerable with a community of women. You guys have been so supportive and also very transparent I love reading your comments as you share your own very personal journeys.

When I started this blog I really had no goals of having a huge following or reaching the masses, this last year has been about me allowing God to STRETCH me! Hitting publish every week still makes me uncomfortable and nervous the crazy thing is I like that I am being challenged!

My blog is modest by most blogging standards I don’t have a huge following, brands aren’t chomping at the bit to work with me and that’s okay with me for now lol. Karen’s Essentials has been a resounding success not because of the numbers, likes, hits, and followers but because of YOU. I have struggled with comparing myself with other bloggers and what they have to offer. I have learned there are literally millions of other blogs that are “better” but no one can be me except me! You guys accept me for me warts and all and I am so grateful.

The blog has become the baby that I have loved and nurtured for the last year, and just like having real children I have at times been overjoyed, proud, excited and then there are the times I have felt overwhelmed, exposed, angry and disappointed.

Where do we go from here? I would like to grow and enlarge our community of women and I have some ideas how to do just that. Thank you all for coming along with me the last year, thank you for your support, encouragement and honest feedback. Thank you for sharing your heart in such a public forum I know it’s not easy!

Before I become too emotional WHEW; there will be a giveaway to celebrate this milestone. I haven’t decided if I will do one big give away or do a few throughout the month I will share the details soon.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for hanging out with me for the last year!