Karen's Essentials

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Hot Head Review

Hot Head Thermal Care $29.95

I have used my beloved   http://www.hairtherapywraps.com/services.html for years to add heat to my deep conditioning regimen but after 7 years of almost weekly use it finally just fell apart. I have seen several reviews for the Hot Head Thermal Care https://www.thermalhaircare.com/hot-head/ and added it to my natural hair Black Friday sale list.

I purchased my Hot Head from their website during the Black Friday sale 30% off plus free shipping; the regular price is $29.95. I received my order very quickly, there was a handwritten note thanking me for my purchase. There were clear simple instructions on how to use and care for the Hot Head.

Wash day for me normally takes about 2 hours ( cleanse, deep condition and style). The great thing about both The Hot Head as well as the Heat Therapy Wrap is that you can do other things while you’re deep conditioning versus being stuck under a hooded dryer.

To use the Hot Head I cleanse my hair, gently towel dry and add my deep conditioner, put on a plastic conditioning cap, follow the heating instructions for the Hot Head and leave on 20-40 minutes. Adding Heat to your deep conditioning treatment allows the product to really penetrate the hair for added moisture.

  • Place Hot Head on a clean glass or ceramic plate in a 1000-watt microwave with elastic facing up. Power level must be lowered accordingly for higher wattage microwaves! Refer to your owners manual to find out how. Heat for a total of 3, 30-45-second intervals, removing your Hot Head to flip inside out and replace in the microwave at each interval. If additional heat is desired proceed in 10-20sec increments, following the above flipping method, until desired heat level is achieved. Do not exceed a combined total of 3min, from start to finish.
  • The care instructions spot clean with a damp cloth and a mild detergent.

The Hot Head is very well made, the outside is made of cotton and the interior is a terry cloth like material. It has a nice hefty weight and is filled with flaxseeds which help it retain heat; in my experience for up to 40 minutes. There are several patterns to choose from and it also comes in a child size.

While I loved my Hair Therapy Wrap I prefer the Hot Head because it retains heat longer due to the flax seeds, there are no gel packs and it comes in several colors and patterns.

It is vitally important to deep condition regularly especially during the colder dryer months to retain moisture and length.

How often do you deep condition your hair? Do you use heat?


Original Moxie Shape Shifter Re-Forming Creme Review

Original Moxie Shape Shifter 12 oz $34

9 day twist out (smiling to hide how sleepy I am)

Day 9 Twist Out!

The Wash n Go is how I style my hair 99% of the time and an occasional twist out or two strand twist but I love Wash n Go’s! However, this disrespectful weather with high temperatures in the teens and the dreaded wind chill factor in single digits or lower has forced me to forgo my beloved Wash n Go (takes my hair a full 24-48 hours to dry). My favorite product for twists and twist outs is the Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter https://www.camillerosenaturals.com/products/almond-jai-twisting-butter

I, unfortunately, waited too late to purchase it during Camille Rose’s Black Friday sale it was sold out (also sold at Target). I was looking through my stash and came across Orginal Moxie Shape Shifter Reforming Creme. I have had this product over a year I purchased it at the salon (Oasis Hair Salon in Rockville, Maryland) the stylist used it on my hair after he trimmed and shaped my hair.  http://www.oasis-salon.com

After he styled my hair with it I loved the way my hair looked but I only got 2-day hair; I tested it several times and it would always flake on me like HUGE flakes that required me to re-wash my hair. So it sat for a year. Out of desperation, I reached for it again since I was out of my go-to product.

I decided this time to actually read the directions, this product has to be applied to soaking wet hair I used a dime-sized amount on each section (In my defense I have always used creams/butters that can be used on either wet, damp or dry hair). Using the product correctly gave me super bouncy, shiny, well defined, moisturized twist and amazing twist outs. The product is described as moisturizing with a flexible hold; I would totally agree. The hold is firm but doesn’t leave my hair crunchy or hard. I am currently wearing a 9 day twist out (I leave the twist in for 3 to 4 days) and undo twist on the 5th day and wear a twist out (I normally re-twist at night). I have used it at least a dozen times and have about a quarter of it left which I can easily get another 5 or more uses.

The consistency is very liquidy with lots of slip, the scent isn’t my favorite it reminds me of playdough but it doesn’t linger at all. I have used it with several leave-in conditioners without any issues. This product is among my top 3 for twist and twist outs. Orginal Moxie can be purchased on their site https://www.originalmoxie.com/curl-cream/

The ingredients are amazing:

Aqua (Water), Linum usitatissimum* (Flax) Seed Gel, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Aloe barbadensis Leaf Preserved With Potassium Sorbate*** & Citric Acid***, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic-Capric TG (Fractionated Coconut Oil and/or Palm Kernel Oil), Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed (Cupuaçu) Butter, Jasminum grandiflorum (Jasmine) Wax, Ricinus communis (Castor) Oil, Polyquaternium-10, Sorbitol***, Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid, Polianthes tuberose (Tuberose) Wax, Essential Oils of Vanilla planifolia (Vanilla), Styrax benzoin (Benzoin), Santalum album (Sandalwood), Cananga odorata (Ylang Ylang), Jasminum grandiflorum (Jasmine), Cinnamomum cassia (Cassia) Bark, & Elettaria cardamomum (Cardamom).
*Certified Organic

I made a rookie mistake early on not using this product as directed the first time and tweaking later if needed. I would highly recommend this product!

Do you have a similar experience with a product that you didn’t like but later loved it?  Do you style your hair differently in the colder months if so what is your go-to winter style?





Oyin Ginger Mint Co-Wash Review

Oyin Ginger Mint Co-Wash $11.99 8 oz

Oyin released a new Co-Wash in October and I purchased mine during their Black Friday Sale. My favorite cleansers are both from Deva Curl No-Poo Decadence and DevaCurl Micellar Water Cleansing   Deva Curl Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum Review 

See the review for the Buildup Buster. I love both of the Deva Products the Decadence No Poo because it cleanses my hair without stripping it and leaves my hair really soft. The Build Up Buster cleanses a little better than the Decadence but doesn’t leave my hair quite as soft.

Oyin’s Co-Wash, however, is a GAME CHANGER I Absolutely love this product! The scent is light and refreshing the ginger and mint are a nice combination one doesn’t overpower the other. I don’t normally like minty smelling products but this is nice. The consistency is that of a light lotion, it has tons of slip which glide through the hair very easily. The mint is soothing and cooling to the scalp and cleanses the hair very well. The best part is how my hair feels after rinsing it out. My hair feels very clean, but not stripped, and super moisturized. I have used the product 4 times to really test it and I love it! The price point is reasonable $11.99 for 8 oz. I got it during Black Friday for 30% off. I purchased 3 of them because I saw one of my favorite Blogger /Youtuber Elle review it on her youtube channel check out her blog and channel here:  http://questfortheperfectcurl.com

Elle raved about this product and I love the Brand (my favorites are the Oyin’s Hair Dew, Burnt Sugar Pomade, and Frank Juice). I don’t use shampoo and I rarely try new co-washes because I was very happy with Deva. The Ginger-Mint Co-Wash is a winner!  I only wish it came in a larger size! The ingredients are incredible no sulfates or parabens and if you wondering how can a co-wash cleanse your hair the ingredient Cocamidopropyl betaine is a compound derived from coconut oil that acts as a surfactant instead of harsh sulfates found in most shampoos. Do yourself a favor and try this Co-Wash. Right now the Co-Wash is only available online on Oyin’s website http://oyinhandmade.com

What do you use to cleanse your hair shampoo or Co-Wash?


No Doubt

It has been a minute since I have posted almost 2 months; I have missed writing and missed interacting with you all. As you may remember I started a new job in October I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep all the balls in the air and well obviously it didn’t work. So to make a very long story short I am back. I know we have all been inundated with Resolutions, Declarations and all the other things that we usually give up on by February. My focus this year is a little different I no longer want to live in doubt or fear of the unknown. Here is a break down of what God has allowed me to see throughout this year.

  • I started this blog March 1, 2017- I allowed fear and doubt to keep me from launching earlier I doubted anyone would be interested in what I had to say. To date, my blog has had almost 5,100 hits.  I hadn’t looked at my stats since November I was so encouraged to see the level of engagement even with a two-month hiatus. This has fueled me to keep taking chances and sharing my experiences in hopes it would encourage others. The encouragement you guys have given me through your comments, emails and sharing my blog with your friends has been amazing.
  • My children-even when they go through tough seasons either from their own doing or due to circumstances beyond their control. I have decided to encourage more and lecture less, to wait to hear from God before I speak so I won’t resort to guilting or shaming. I can always pray. I can always be available without judgment or damnation instead exercise grace and love.  I can trust that the same God that has/is working on me and is still working on my children. Most importantly I can move out of God’s way and allow Him to move in their hearts.
  • New job-I am learning to not let fear and doubt cause me to question my decisions. To leave a job after 14 years to do something vastly different is a huge deal, but in my mind the transition would be smooth  (why did I think that). There is a lot to learn, how am I going to remember it all, this is too hard I can’t (all the conversations I have had with myself).  I refused to give into it. My co-workers have been super supportive and encouraging they have said we have all been there you’re doing great. I would take two steps forward and ten back as it relates to my confidence. Guess what? You don’t actually die from being uncomfortable, and unsure. I am getting it and feel more at ease daily still overwhelmed at times but I know it’s a process.
  • My Plan- to stop allowing fear and doubt to hold me back. Reading my devotion on the First 5 App a few weeks ago stopped me in my tracks. The question: Does unbelief ever hinder God’s work in your life? Oh my goodness! Really Lord? I have struggled with decision making lately; is this…God’s will for my life. To be honest I have never felt quite sure what His will is for my life. The writer referenced  James 1:6-7 Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry” their prayers’ are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open (The Message). This passage was like a bucket of cold water a reality check of sorts.

Trust me I still struggle with exercising, eating healthy, making time for self-care and all the other obligatory New Year’s resolutions; but all those things pale in comparison to living with confidence in what God is equipping me to do. Remembering He is with me and He wants me to be Strong and Courageous in every area of my life. I have to stop throwing my hands up when things don’t line up the way I thought they should but to keep pushing, and striving and trusting God!

I am thankful to look back on 2017 remembering the many challenges of being a wife, mother, daughter, employee, blogger and future entrepreneur. What has encouraged me the most has honestly been the times that I did “it” scared and God was whispering I got you keep going. I can’t let the noise of doubt drown out God’s plan for my life.

Do you struggle with doubt? Worry? What are your plans for 2018?




Depression is not a topic that is frequently talked about; let’s face it mental health particularly depression is not a feel good topic. When talked about it can be awkward and uncomfortable at best.  Most of us have felt deep sadness; the death of a loved one, a breakup, the state of the world you name it we all have felt sadness. What do we do when it’s more than sadness?

I have been seeing a therapist weekly for the past several months; my initial reason for going was to continue working through the many phases of healing from my childhood trauma. I couldn’t figure out what was triggering flash backs, anxiety and just feeling very sad. I certainly didn’t think I was suffering from depression but after further digging through my counseling sessions I was diagnosed with moderate depression.  During my sessions I spent more time talking about the hopelessness I felt at my former job than my past trauma.

Things were complicated and I didn’t want to believe that my job was making me sick; so much of what was happening, I had absolutely no control over (which took me back to that little girl who was victimized so long ago). I hated feeling like I had no control, it was like a heavy weight that was dragging me down.

I could not wrap my mind around this but if I am being honest I knew the situation wasn’t healthy for me but I bargained, talked myself out of leaving it was a constant battle for years. Now, 30 days later and a new job I am a lot more cautious; not timid or anxious but firm when drawing the boundary lines of work and personal. I feel so much lighter, like this burden is slowly being lifted.    Once again learning to Relax, Relate Release (in my Whitley Gilbert voice).

Possible signs of depression:

The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.

I experienced fatigue, I had a hard time sleeping,  trouble concentrating, mindless eating just feeling BLAH! I never felt suicidal but I did feel hopeless, angry and agitated. I am sharing all of this in hopes that someone will be encouraged to seek help if they are dealing with depression.

As women we wear many hats, as caregivers for our spouses, children, parents we are employees, business owners, etc., if you are anything like me you keep it moving because life doesn’t stop.  This season has taught me to slow down and take personal inventory of where I am, emotionally and not to just brush off what may be brewing under the surface. I thank God for leading me to an awesome therapist (who happens to be a Christian). My prayer was to find a good fit, not some weirdo (which I have had in the past) or someone that was super aggressive, and pushy. Kristin has been a Godsend.

Have you ever experienced depression? Did you see a therapist?

I was very hesitant to share this post I started writing this several months ago but just couldn’t hit publish. I was nervous how it would be received;  but tonight the timing feels right.