Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Weird Product Wednesday: Aubrey Organics Mandarin Magic
"Hey, wait a minute," you're saying. "Doesn't Jillipoo like this product?"
Well, yes. And no. Therefore, it's weird and qualifies for the Wednesday treatment.
When I read some of the threads over at NaturallyCurly.com, I am frequently struck by how instinctive product application and combining is to some women. They are inspired cooks in a kitchen, knowing mysteriously and miraculously that a dash of this thing will be the perfect complement to that other thing. Meanwhile, just as I need a cookbook to navigate the creation of a meal, so, too, do I need hand-holding and advice when it comes to products.
I am the type of person who buys something and uses it. Whatever it does, it does. If the bottle tells me to use it a certain way, that's what I do. That is, until I read about some intrepid soul who has combined it with something else or applies it to sopping wet hair or only uses it on dry hair. Then, I will give that idea a whirl. You might say I am wholly unoriginal and completely uncreative when it comes to product usage.
That is my shame.
But I've experimented a little with Mandarin Magic now, thanks to the trail blazed by others, and I'm ready to report my results. I should also say that I bought this product because I'd read that it was a kind of substitute for Kinky Curly Curling Custard. The comparison intrigued me -- because who can get enough of the wonders of KCCC? -- so I had to give Mandarin Magic a try.
Mandarin Magic used by itself
When I first get them, I often like to see what stylers do when unaided by other products. It establishes a baseline. It helps me know what I can pair them with to counteract some features or play up others. (Yes, okay, I do think about combining, but my repertoire is pretty limited, I think.)
Mandarin Magic gave me volume as well as lovely, natural-looking clumps. My hair felt soft, pretty, and productless. I was hopeful! KCCC doesn't do this when used alone (at least, for me it doesn't) so this aspect of Mandarin Magic had me very excited. I also got big banana ringlets by the end of the day and I love that.
I did get a little frizz, though, so I knew I'd probably have to pair it with a gel for the next round.
Mandarin Magic and B5 Design Gel
I figured that since both were Aubrey products, they'd play nice together. I was right. This was a great combo -- it gave me the same fullness, curls and volume I got before only this time, the curls had more definition for a longer period of time and there was less frizz.
In case you're curious, my Excel spreadsheet indicates that I used Robert Craig conditioner as my rinse-out and Aloeba as my leave-in. I applied the MM and then the B5.
Donna Marie Lock & Twist and Mandarin Magic
I mixed these together and scrunched them in. The dew point was ideal for Lock & Twist, so I felt confident it would work well. But the combo was not a success, and looking back on it, I think it's because I didn't follow it with gel. I lost definition soon after scrunch-out and had a fair amount of frizz by day's end. Boooooo.
Really, I should have known better. I need gel.
Donna Marie Honey & Aloe Jelly, Mandarin Magic, and Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee
To be fair, the Honey & Aloe Jelly never worked well for me, and I think I paired it with this because I thought the MM would kick its ass. And I thought the BRHG would keep frizz to a minimum.
What I got were decent curls (thanks to the MM) but a fair amount of frizz (thanks to the damn honey in the jelly). I think the BRHG just looked at the combo and shrugged. I can only imagine what the frizz situation would have been without the BRHG, though. Yikes.
Karen's Body Beautiful Super Silky, Mandarin Magic, and Max Green Alchemy Styling Gel
I tried this because kathymack mentioned that she often used Mandarin Magic to distribute other products better. This seemed like quite an inspired idea to me so I tried it with Super Silky, mixing two squirts of SS with about twice as much MM. Understanding by this point that gel was important, I scrunched in some MGA Styling Gel, one of my favorites. The dew point was 23 that day, so I thought the Super Silky was a good product to use (no glycerin).
Overall, my hair was on the flat side, I had a small amount of frizz fairly soon, and although my curls started strong, they fell as the day went on. I like all of these products separately, but they didn't seem to like one another. Perhaps it was the Super Silky -- I always have better luck when I use this product on dry hair.
In any event, this is not a combo I'd attempt again.
Confident Coils, Mandarin Magic, Kinky Curly Spiral Spritz
Nope. Not a good combo: stringy curls that were a little frizzy by day's end. Confident Coils is a great product and I've been having luck with it as a weather protector for some time, so I think it's blameless in this scenario.
Kinky Curly Spiral Spritz, however, is another story. Of the four times I've used this product, I only had one good experience, and I think it was a fluke that I can never duplicate. Spraying it on results in an undistributed mess so you really have to spray it into your palm and use it like a serum. It sort of performs like a gel on wet hair but not as well. And I think we've already established that I need gel.
So, class, what have we learned from these Mandarin Magic experiments? First, team it with gel. And second, keep it simple. This is a very unique product and certainly worth keeping in your stash. There aren't many products out there that make your hair feel soft and natural but this is one of them. I also love what it does for my curls. Thumbs up on this baby!
How about you? Got any great combos using Mandarin Magic? Any usage tips?