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, 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?


Alice said...

I love that you keep track with an excel spread sheet!

Also, what is MM supposed to DO on its own? It doesn't sound heavy enough to be a gel...

Sage Vivant said...

Ha ha! I have to use a spreadsheet or I'll never remember what worked and what didn't!

What an excellent question, Alice. To this day, I don't know what MM is supposed to do on its own. If I weren't a devotee of, I would never in a million years have given this product a second look because it doesn't really claim to do anything but moisturize.

It does have a wee bit of hold. Well, not hold as much as control. It does encourage curl, I can definitely say that much. So if a product claims to provide moisture and then produces nice curls, I'd say it's fulfilling its promise.

But honestly, it's kind of amazing that anybody buys this because there is no clear claim about its purpose or intended results. Maybe that's why no stores seem to carry the stuff -- it would go bad from people just passing it by!

Wanda said...

I love that you seem to have every product discussed on LOL

I used to keep track of my product applications the same way as you but now use my fotki instead should I want to keep the results.

Sarah said...

I read this a while ago but I just came back to it and I'd like to say that AOMM paired with BRHG is one of my absolute favorite combos (It is neck to neck with Pink Boots and BRHG). I put in the MM then plop for a while and then take down the plop, fix my part and add the BRHG. Let me tell ya it is some kinda miracle. BTW I have porus/fine hair.

Thinking-Mom said...

I know this is an old post but I wanted to chime in and echo what Sarah said.
I have porous/fine hair, weighted extremely easily.
AOMM and BRHG together (nothing else) is the magic ticket for me. I have never used anything that does the same.
I use a bit more BRHG in my combo than most on claim is necessary.
Gonna go into major depression if they ever quit making either of these. ;-)