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?
After discovering that curls can be nurtured into fabulousness instead of frizz, I began my quest to cultivate healthy, moisturized hair. I don't use anything with sulfates or silicones, and like my hair at last! This blog is one way I am indulging my obsession.