Natural Skin Care with nyakio

This post was written in partnership with nyakio, who sent me a free product to review.

nyakio mud mask

I recently had the opportunity to try nyakio, a skin care line from beauty expert Nyakio Kamoche Grieco and Sundial Brands, the company behind Shea Moisture.

Marketed as featuring traditional beauty ingredients from around the world, nyakio products feature Fair for Life-certified shea butter and African Black Soap sourced from a women’s cooperative in Ghana. When I asked the company for more information about their ingredients, they sent me details on one of their suppliers who is certified organic with the USDA and fair trade with FLO-CERT, including specifics on harvesting practices that revealed a welcome level of transparency.

I got to try the African Black Soap Purifying Mud Mask to review. The first time I tried the mask, I experienced painful stinging around my nose. I have very sensitive skin, and occasionally I’ll encounter clarifying products that are just too strong for me. However, when I tried the mask again a few weeks later and steered clear of sensitive areas, I merely felt a pleasant tingle as the product went to work on my skin.

My skin definitely felt smoother after using the mask, and I think my pores were a bit tighter and clearer. Mostly, I just had fun using the mask — mud masks are one of my favorite self-care treats.

nyakio mud mask

nyakio is carried exclusively at Ulta, which is a big win for beauty fans thanks to Ulta’s generous return policy. Ulta allows the return of products if consumers are not satisfied after using them, which I especially appreciate when I make the investment on natural or organic beauty.

Ethically-sourced products often are nowhere to be found on the shelves of big cosmetic stores, so I’m excited to see nyakio and Ulta working together to make sustainable options more accessible in the beauty world.

Check out nyakio’s complete line at and let me know which product you love!

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Nourishing My Curls with Shea Moisture

I originally wrote this post without input from the Shea Moisture brand, but after reaching out to the brand for more information, they generously provided samples for me to review and give away. Stay tuned for an awesome giveaway in a few days!

I’ve been sharing recently about going curly after years of straightening my hair. An important part of that process is the product I use.

Ingredients are key for curly girls. Traditional hair products are filled with sulfates that strip out moisture and silicones that weigh down curls. While my previous hair products were paraben-free and cruelty-free, I was eager to move on to something better for my hair AND better for the planet.

Right now my favorite line is Shea Moisture. I love the natural ingredients and ultra-readable label, and I appreciate that any fragrance in the products comes from essential oils or other plant-derived ingredients.

Founded by Liberian-born Richelieu Dennis, Shea Moisture is a tribute to his grandmother, Sofi Tucker, who began selling handmade shea butter soaps and salves to support her family in Sierra Leone. Today the Shea Moisture brand puts profits back into their producer communities and other initiatives to empower women in the United States and Africa.

Shea Moisture’s parent company, Sundial Brands, is a Certified B Corp with a Fair for Life certification for shea butter sourcing. The company seeks to source ethically and support partner communities with fair wages and infrastructure investment, with 10% of the proceeds of select products going back into communities and non-profits as part of the Community Commerce program.

So far, my favorite Shea Moisture lines are Coconut & Hibiscus and Raw Shea Butter. They keep my hair moisturized and have a delicious smell thanks to the yummy ingredients. (However, I was not a fan of the Jamaican Black Castor Oil line due to the strong scent.) Shea Moisture recently sent me additional products to try, and I’m super excited to use the Fruit Fusion line for my fine, curly hair.

Shea Moisture hair products have long been used by women of African descent, and you often can find the brand in the multicultural section of hair care aisles. In recent years the brand has launched a #BreaktheWalls campaign to address segregation in the beauty aisle. This year the brand encountered controversy as some marketing materials featured fewer of the black female consumers who have supported the brand for years, potentially to attract more white customers. I am ill-equipped to address this issue, but welcome comments on the topic if you want to share your experience. In the meantime, I am thankful to have found Shea Moisture to support healthier hair, a healthier me, and a healthier planet.

If you’re ready to treat your hair, check back in a few days for my ultimate hair care giveaway featuring products from Shea Moisture and Lakeshore Dry Goods!

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Happy Hair with a T-Shirt Towel

This post was written in collaboration with Lakeshore Dry Goods, who sent me a product to review. 

Sunrise Bliss hair towel
So I’m learning all the curly girl secrets for reducing the frizz factor. One ultra-important tip? Don’t dry your hair with a towel! Those rough terrycloth towels are tough on hair.

Soft t-shirts are the choice for those in the know. For a few months now I’ve had various t-shirts hanging in the bathroom next to my regular towel. Usually I dry my hair with an old, ripped shirt that is no longer wearable.

Let me tell you, holey t-shirt is great bathroom decor.

Fortunately, Lakeshore Dry Goods is here to rescue my hair and my bathroom with their adorable Sunrise Bliss t-shirt towels. Each towel is made from Global Organic Textile Standard organic cotton and is sewn in small batches in Detroit, Michigan. The adorable patterns and colors give the towels a fun, retro vibe, while the thick cotton absorbs well and dries quickly.

Sunrise Bliss hair towel

After shampooing, I use my Sunrise Bliss towel to scrunch my hair upwards, gently restoring my natural curl pattern. Then I use a technique called plopping, where I flip my hair upside down and wrap it tightly to my head with my Sunrise Bliss towel. This gives my hair lift while allowing the breathable cotton fabric to dry my hair a bit. After 15-20 minutes, I take my hair out of the towel, shake out my curls, and allow my hair to air dry.

I truly love this towel. Ever since I tried it I’ve used it almost every single time I dry my hair.

Sunrise Bliss hair towel

A Sunrise Bliss towel from Lakeshore Dry Goods is a wonderful, little luxury if you are looking for some organic, made-in-the-USA self-care.  It’s the perfect gift for a girl headed off to college — we all know those communal dorm bathrooms need a little brightening. The towel is also a nice treat for new moms who may need some gentle encouragement; they can use the organic cotton towel as a travel blanket or a burp cloth until they actually find time to wash their hair.

Check out the current colors and patterns of Sunrise Bliss towels at Lakeshore Dry Goods. And be sure to check Beyond the Fried next week for a giveaway that your hair will love!

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