Every now and again something surprising pops up in my inbox. A few weeks ago I was contacted by Stevonne, the owner of Beija Flor Naturals. Despite my harsh review policy Stevonne offered to send me some Beija Flor Naturals products in exchange for a review, and I agreed. Beija Flor Naturals is an 8-year-old natural skin and hair care company. (Want to know the meaning behind the name? Click here to find out.) Three years ago Stevonne opened the doors to a brick and mortar lifestyle boutique, Concept Forty-Seven, in San Francisco’s Bay Area. Today Concept Forty-Seven remains a labour of love, and features a wide range of products from more than 70 independent artisans.
Beija Flor Naturals recently launched its re-branded product line. For Stevonne, like many other green beauty pioneers, necessity was the mother of invention. She began creating her own beauty products when those by so called high-end beauty brands not only failed to cure her skin issues, but actually made them worse. A quick trip to a dermatologist resulted in a surprisingly simple prescription: drink more water and cut out petroleum-based products (turns out she is allergic). Stevonne followed doctor’s orders and her skin immediately cleared up. That would be where the story end for many people, but for Stevonne it was just the beginning. She began researching natural beauty ingredients and their uses for skin and hair. Many years of research and development later, Beija Flor Naturals was born.
Today, Beija Flor Naturals is a must for those in the know. Especially their flagship product, Crème Brûlée for Kinks, Curls and Coils. For those who don’t yet know this great indie brand, allow me to introduce you to the 3 natural products you need to try from Beija Flor Naturals: Agave-Aloe Polisher, Coco Mango Buttercream, and Crème Brûlée for Kinks, Curls and Coils (of course). I committed myself to weeks of the difficult task of exfoliating, moisturizing, and nourishing my skin and hair with these products, in order to bring you the most thorough review possible. The results? Read on to find out!
Agave-Aloe Polisher (4 oz/118 mL)
Puerto Rico is one of my favourite places for a quick getaway during a long weekend. Somehow, it manages to be both big and small, modern and timeless, and domestic yet exotic all at once. This is particularly true of Old San Juan, which also has the same charm and romance as any other great “old city” that you love.
During one weekend excursion to Puerto Rico, I found myself in the cutest little café enjoying a great breakfast. I wish I could remember the name to share it with you, but for the life of me I can’t. Maybe a return trip to Puerto Rico is in order so I can find that café again. Anyway, during breakfast I excused myself to use the restroom, and was surprised with what I encountered when I entered: a dish filed with an exfoliating scrub and a spoon. How unexpected. I think I spent about 5 minutes washing my hands before returning to my breakfast date. As soon as I opened Beija Flor Naturals’ Agave-Aloe Polisher I knew exactly what I was going to do with this exfoliator – create a little spa luxury right in my own bathroom, reminiscent of that trip to Puerto Rico.
Due to the risk of micro tears, I shy away from using anything but the finest physical exfoliants on my face. Whether it is jojoba beads, sugar, bean powder, granulated cherry seeds or something else, whatever is doing the actual exfoliating must be tiny and smooth. I know sugar and salt granules melt and are generally safe for facial exfoliation, but my face is very finicky so I like to treat it extra gently. That being said, I love this Agave-Aloe Polisher for exfoliating my entire body except for my face. As a sink-side luxury for you and your guests to achieve baby soft hands, the Agave-Aloe Polisher is perfect. Your shoulders, elbows, knees, toes and most places in between will also thank you as this exfoliator polishes away rough patches of skin and frees ingrown hair.
I also kind of wish Beija Flor Naturals made a balm with the same scent so I could use it when I am sick, and, truth be told, when I’m not. Having organic rosemary, sweet orange and grapefruit seed extract as key ingredients, Agave-Aloe Polisher has the most unique, invigorating, Vicks-like but good smelling fragrance. The scent of Agave-Aloe Polisher is as addictive as it is unique, and this exfoliant is a great, spa-worthy addition to any skincare regimen.
Cocoa-Mango Buttercream in Blackberry Sage (4 oz/114 mL)
The fruity scent of Cocoa-Mango Buttercream in Blackberry Sage is enough to turn anyone into an instant fan. The summer fruit fragrance of this hair and body butter is not saccharine, and was an instant winner for me. If you do not normally like fruity fragrances buyer beware, the fruity, slightly tropical scent is quite potent. But if you like sweet-smelling scents, your olfactory glands are in for a treat. Used alone, or layered with Shea Moisture’s Superfruit Complex Body Oil, this butter will have your skin smelling and looking its absolute best. Added bonus – the scent has surprising staying power for a body butter.
The butters and oils in Cocoa-Mango Buttercream are equally good at nourishing and moisturizing your hair. As the butter is quite soft and oily, only the smallest amount of product is required. Many butters claim to be formulated for hair and body, but this is one of those rare gems that truly works well on both. Needless to say, I’ve added this to my travel arsenal, not only because it performs double duty, but moreso because it does so well, while also being carry-on friendly.
Crème Brûlée for Kinks, Curls and Coils (8 oz/236 mL)
Can you keep a secret? Seriously. Okay, so here it goes. This is actually not my first time using Beija Flor Naturals’ Crème Brûlée for Kinks, Curls and Coils. I had initially tried this hair butter a few years ago and did not like it, at all. I wasn’t blogging at that time, so I have no memory of why I didn’t like it. But I distinctly remember that neither my hair nor I were overly impressed, so I quickly moved on to the next product in my stash. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to have a full 8.0 oz of Crème Brûlée to try. But Stevonne had signed up for the good, the bad and the ugly, so a short while later I washed my hair and set out to put Creme Brûlée through the paces.
First, let’s establish what Crème Brûlée for Kinks, Curls and Coils is not. Anyone who has ever tasted creme brûlée might think that a product with that name would be some sort of gel or curling pudding. Wrong. Beija Flor Naturals’ Creme Brûlée is not an Eco Styler or Kinky Curly Curling Custard type product. It will not create popping curls or waves in your type-4 hair if that is not how your hair texture is naturally. If you want a product that you can apply right after washing your hair to style your wash-and-go and walk out the door, you are better off with a gel. Now let’s establish what Creme Brûlée really is.
Beija Flor Naturals Crème Brûlée for Kinks, Curls, and Coils is a hair butter that works best for setting an overnight wash and go. I use Whitney White a/k/a Naptural85’s winter wash and go technique, which you can view here. Using her technique, Crème Brûlée provides a soft, slight hold of your own curl pattern, and imparts moisture into parched strands. If you are heavy handed like I was my first time using it, your hair will be extremely oily. Once I figured out how to best use it my hair was not oily, and the same jar has lasted for several months now. Word to the wise, a little goes a long way.
Crème Brûlée is the only product I’ve come across that works well by itself to set and moisturize my strands into the perfect wash-and-go. After washing and deep conditioning my hair, I section it into quarters. Recently, I have been applying half a dropper to one full dropper of Uma Oils Hair and Scalp Oil to each section while still soaking wet. This step is not necessary, but it is undeniably luxurious and my hair loves it. I then finger detangle, using Crème Brûlée to set each section into 3 twists. Next, I apply a little more oil using the dropper, this time directly to my scalp, put on my satin bonnet and let my hair dry overnight. This routine leaves me with the most touchable, deliciously scented hair imaginable. In the morning I simply unravel the twists, separate to my liking, and that’s it. Depending on how much my hair did (or didn’t) dry overnight, a certain amount of shrinkage is expected over the course of the day.
You will absolutely fall in love with Beija Flor Naturals’ Crème Brûlée for what it is: a game changer. Gone are the days when you need 4, 3, or even 2 products to achieve a defined, touchably soft wash-and-go. With Crème Brûlée, all you have to do is apply the product to freshly washed, still wet hair, and the end result will be hair that is both moisturized and defined. As I mentioned earlier, you can use this hair butter over an oil, but that really is not necessary. As it is, Crème Brûlée contains no less than 2 oils, 2 butters and tons of other quality ingredients. That is why it performs so well alone. Used alone or in any variation of the L.O.C. method, Crème Brûlée really is a wonder product for styling wash-and-gos and twist-outs.
Before I end we have to discuss the scent. Oh my goodness. It is amazing! Everyone from my hairdresser to complete strangers have complimented the scent of this product. Beija Flor Naturals’ Crème Brûlée has an enticing, warm baked goods, perfect-for-fall scent. The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, pumpkin, and a creamy sweet vanilla base are all detectable and almost make you sad that this Crème Brûlée is not edible. While there are many things in the world we can use to divide ourselves, one thing that we can all agree on is that Crème Brûlée smells fantastic! If only Beija Flor Naturals had a Crème Brûlée-scented leave-in conditioner spray, my arsenal of hair products would be complete.
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