Sunday, June 12, 2011

Shielo and My Luxe Lock Awareness

This morning, a dear friend pointed me to a very insightful article in the New York Times. The conversation we were just having over drinks delved into the paper's same candid topic of hair. There were three very different heads there that night: one straight & maintained, one gorgeously curly, one au naturel, and all 3 envying each other. No matter the type, we all long for something that we don’t have. If it’s straight we want curly. If it’s brunette, we want it blonde. From relaxed down my back to my current natural do, I’ve done it all to my lovely locks and learned a vital hair lesson very young. When I first started in fashion a stylist told me, “No matter what I do to your hair, it’s hair & it grows back.” I listened then and never looked back. I have no fear when it comes to my hair but that may be coupled with the fact that I come from a long line of women that are able to do their own hair. It’s a very rich traditional in the African-American community for people to pass on their amazing hair skills to the coming generations. My grandmother, who learned it from her hairstylist mother, passed it to my mother and it was all passed down to me. “Going Natural” as it has come to be called, was once very taboo but now women are embracing all things natural and that includes hair. The green movement has quite literally gone to our heads.

As we attempt to create the latest and greatest hair styles we test the limits of our hair. Like everyone else, I too used products, relaxers, blow dryers, curling irons, and hot combs to achieve hair greatness. Most people do not understand that the maintenance of African-American Hair is a process. A long process. (Just ask my husband). For decades I longed to cut it all off and start over again so I did. It’s freeing, cathartic and wonderful but going natural has it’s own set of hair challenges. The biggest being my quest for moisture. My natural hair thirsts for serious moisture and I’ve tried to quench it with products from everywhere. I sought out the “best” product line to moisturize my hair and would spare no expense when it came to my tresses. But now I am sick of searching. I need the good stuff and I need it bad, baby so my quest began. Hmm...the best for a great price? Sounds like a road I have been down before but I’ve just come to a road sign, people: Shielo. Originally designed for top salons in New York, Shielo created it’s highly innovative line to create more voluminous styles for clients. In 2007, the line was made available for home use and the brand extended to more hair care areas, like color treatments and their patented Spatial Expanse Technology that gives hair greater strength and flexibility.

When companies send me samples of hair care products, I am always a bit weary. I just cannot mess around when it comes to my hair. So when I received a few small samples of their Shielo Moisturizing shampoo & Vibrancy conditioner I was just as timid in trying them out. They both smell amazingly which is a great first impression. But as I’ve done with most products lately, I began to dig into what the product is all about. The Shielo company is a luxurious mix of professional grade quality and environmentally aware standards. The company adheres to some pretty strict practices and standards for all of their products. Here are a few:
  1. uses recyclable packaging
  2. vegan plant based materials in most of their line
  3. against animal cruelty
  4. uses botanicals that are grown naturally
  5. against the use of synthetic pesticides or chemicals
All of the raw ingredients contained in Shielo products contain plant, non-petroleum, inorganic or other natural source materials. 65% of the molecular weight of their products comes from these materials. Without getting in to the science of it all, this is pretty good especially for the cosmetic industry. The FDA does not regulate what we put onto or into our largest organ-OUR SKIN. Why don’t they? I don’t know but here are a few misconceptions about the beauty and cosmetic industry that are quite telling. Basically, we need to know exactly what we are shopping for when it comes to our toiletries. Shielo gives us their own version of natural luxury because these products out perform most. Both of my samples are from their Hydrate line which pretty much says it all in my area of hair needs. As soon as I began washing with the Vibrancy Shampoo, I could feel my curls breathing. The shampoo was doing the trip and when I rinsed, no stripped feeling or unmanageable curls. Life had returned to my locks. Next I used the Vibrancy Conditioner and this is the standout for me. I left it on for a bit while I literally felt my hair getting softer and softer. My curls were formed and silky and this is a rarity for me, especially when trying out a product that is claiming so many natural elements behind it. I hate to admit that salon quality products are where it has been at for me in the hair care department. I was not even aware of the ingredients that made them up with my focus being on how well it worked and how good my hair looked. My effort to go Green with style seemed lost in the world of hair care until now. With Shielo, I now have the best of both worlds-luxury & awareness. Though my journey to achieve the perfect coif will continue, I know I will take Shielo along with me.

The Shielo website is also full of beauty and Eco-friendly information relating to hair care. Check out their styling tips here. Sites like this, Natural Chica and Hair On the Brain have made advice giving more tangible as they offer real life experiences, celebrity styles, tips, and product recommendations for readers to learn from. A type of virtual hair classroom has been created so that people can do it themselves with all of the right products. LuvNaturals is a site offering products sales, advice and most importantly hair videos that even offer at home recipes for creating your own hair care products. This saves the planet, gas, time and money. I love it.

And the Shielo price point? Affordable. With products for both the hair and body, prices range from about $13-$30 which is amazingly affordable for luxury salon quality products that boast natural elements and environmental awareness.

Click here to access the Cosmetic Database which will give you the low down on your products’ ingredients and safety. Fair Warning here! You will be surprised to see the ratings of some of the world's most popular cosmetics.

A big thank you to M.P. for reading the NY Times Style Section on Thursday & for not judging me as I go on my hair journey. You support me in more ways than you know. Many blessings.