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Curly Nikki

My Rio Haircare Kit

By January 27th, 202154 Comments
My Rio Haircare Kit
My ‘poo’s missing! My CURLS Cleansing Cream along with the products donated to Estimativa are currently held up in customs.  Put a pin in that.  

Note the full size bottles.  I can’t do samples *shrugs*.

I knew it’d be ridonculously humid in Rio and that I’d be here for a minute, so I packed accordingly.  I’d rather have a heavy bag and product to spare, than to be looking like Martin from that episode (that I saw recently for some reason, lol) where he runs off and joins a cult… with his hair all half braided.  So without further ado, the winning products and why they made the cut-  

Redken’s Smooth Down Butter Treat An overpriced (18 got damn dollars) deep conditioner that I’ve been using for about a month now.  I like the fact that I can get it on the ground and love the fact that it rinses clean while leaving me with detangled, smoother, softer, stronger feeling hair.  I first read about it on LongHairCareForum years ago, and while (unnecessarily) perusing the hair aisle at CVS a few weeks back, felt compelled to put it in my cart and I’m happy I did!  I’ve learned that if my hair is saturated with moisture during the washing and styling process, that it is less likely to pull from the atmospheric moisture, which prevents shrinkage, rough cuticles, frizz and tangling.   For those of you that enjoy a product that works double duty, the directions claim that you can also leave a little in if you’re super dry.

AG Fast FoodA leave-in recommended to me by the one and only Wanda Sykes.  I tried it two weeks ago (gifted) and was surprised at (1) how much hold it has on it’s own, (2) how moisturized it left my hair, and (3) how little I needed for it to be effective.  Slip for days!  I use it alone or underneath the Ouidad Hydrafusion.  I love this stuff! 

Ouidad HydrafusionY’all already know how I feel about this one.  I love that the ingredients, upon research, are supposed to really help to stave off the rough, dry, swelled hair thing I get from humidity.  So far so great!  It’s super moisturizing, smooths and holds without that icky crunchy feeling. Also, neither the Hyrdrafusion nor the Fast Food contain glycerin (at least not in the top 5)… I avoid it because of my highly porous hair, it only adds to the ‘swell’.  See THIS ARTICLE for more deets.

Mineral oil  I know, I know… you’re like, ‘nikki, shut your mouth when you’re talking to me’.  But look…

It was that first article that pushed me right over the edge. I bought a bottle of cosmetic grade (for 3 dollars… 8 ounces! What?!) mineral oil and I promise you, hand over my heart, my ends, my hair, has retained more moisture than ever before.  My Twist-n-Curls usually dry out after 2-3 days and I’ve been successfully getting to day 4 and 5 without the need to re-moisturize.  It smooths my strands, adds shine, locks in moisture and also helps with humidity… all without being greasy or heavy.  I’m super lighthanded and haven’t had any difficultly washing it out with a milder, cocobetaine containing ‘poo (like Elucence or Giovanni).

CURLS Curlicious Cleansing CreamI’ve
tried many ‘cleansing’ creams and to say that I’ve been less than
impressed is an understatement. They usually go on rough, suds too much
or too little and sadly, I find that many leave me feeling gunky and
oily or just the opposite, totally stripped. This was the first
cleansing cream that actually did what the product label claims. First
of all, it’s slippery (yeah for
Methosulfate) and any shampoo that helps to kick off the detangling
process is a winner in my book. It removed build-up from my gel with a
low-lather and upon rinsing, left my hair feeling clean, soft,
moisturized and a bit detangled! I highly recommend this one. The
price? A little steep for my taste, but the quality is obviously there.
I received the poo from While I’m absolutely over
the moon, I can’t tell you that I’d purchase it. I’d love to find an
equivalent product on the ground… and for much cheaper, lol. I wonder
if the Curls for Target Curls Creamy Cleansing Cream performs similarly? At any rate,
if you’re in the market for
an effective yet gentle cleanser that adds moisture and aids in
detangling, then this one’s for you! Oh, and the vanilla fragrance is
divine. Two thumbs up!

Below is a pic from last night.  Three things to note here- (1) that’s Nina, one of the founders of Estimativa… the girl is dope and so is that puff, (2) we walked through the rain, umbrella-less to get to that restaurant, and (3) I’m on day 5 hair… that’s hair from BEFORE my Carolina trip and yes, I used the product combo above!

My Rio Haircare Kit 
My hair on day 4… last day in NC before we jumped the plane to South America
My Rio Haircare Kit
For those of you that crave the details–
  • I apply the Butter Treat in the shower and leave-in during my shower rituals. 
  • Rinse and detangle under the shower stream
  • Wring hair of drippies and allow to air dry for 10 minutes or so
  • Apply AG Fast Food (quarter-sized amount to each side) throughout
  • Section and twist, applying a pea-sized amount of Ouidad’s Hydrafusion to each section
  • Add a nickel-sized amount of mineral oil to ends, distributing leftover through the length
  • Roll ends on flexis  
Do you have any experience with the above products? Share!
What are your musthaves when you travel? Are you a full size girl or a sample girl? 


  • Anonymous says:

    I'm from NYC and I recently moved to Sao Paulo, can anyone recommend a hairdresser for me pleasee!

  • Nona says:

    So, I'm traveling next week to Kansas City. I will be gone for 9 days.

    I invested in the Rio Travel Kit, sans the Curls Cleansing Cream, Mineral Oil, and Ouidad Hydrafusion (hubby looked at it and said that ish won't work…LOL).

    Ulta was having a sale on the Smooth Butter Down Treat…B2G1F. I found 2 bottles of the 20 oz. AG Fast Food for $13.49 each(on clearance), praying the whole time that my hubby would kill me for feeding into my pjism and that this expensive crap works. I had coupons, too! (#secretfetish)

    Last night, I washed with Giovanni 50/50 Balancing Shampoo, DC'd with the Redken, applied the AG Fast food in sections, and moisturized with Shea Moisture Curl Smoothie, sealing the ends with oil.

    I flat twisted with a right-side part and wore the twist out this morning.

    OMG…my twists were defined, fluffy, and soft. And they still are almost 12 hours later!

    This is a definite regimen keeper…thanks for the idea.

    Just one question…Like you, Nikki, I have the non-conformist waves in the front of my head. It gets progressively corkscrew-coily towards the pack. Do you re-moisturize each day?

  • Elle at says:

    Hey Nikki,

    Your trip and hair looked FAB! I want to know if you were doing wash n go's with these products or your typical twist n curl? Thanks for the visual inspiration and the cool tips!

  • stephanie says:

    I'm good without using mineral oil. It's still a product that is a by product of petroleum and I still want to give that natural resource a rest as much as possible.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this!

  • Anonymous says:

    I feel like another commenter who said, "I should have never read this" haha, but I'm glad I did! So happy for you that you're in Rio doing ur thing! I'm going to New Orleans soon and this is exactly what I needed to know to figure out how to deal with my hair whilst down there. Thanks a bunch!!

  • Margaret says:

    I am so proud of you. :) Who better to represent USA and the Natural community other than our Curly Nikki!!! (Along with your Professional Credentials). One thing I will always remember when reading your story is about how hair connects to a woman's self esteem. This truly opened my eyes and these woman will be Blessed by your prescence and advice. You and your husband will have a wonderful time! My must haves during traveling are Shea Butter Mix, Coconut oil, Satin scarf, Spray bottle w/ distilled water and conditioner mix.

  • Tea Wash says:

    i have to always take my shea butter with me. i use sample sizes because i dont want them to take any of my stuff. sometimes i also find it useful to mix products with similar ingredients in travel size bottles. doing that limits how much i have to take and i still get to have all the products i love with me

  • Sieta says:

    I think this tip is very useful. I struggle with humidity and hair styles.

  • marianela says:

    These are awesome tips and I plan on using them. I use to use mineral oil a lot when I was younger and it use to work well and the reason I stopped using it was because I was told that it was bad for my scalp and hair. I am glad it still has purpose because I still like the shine it leaves ;).

  • Anonymous says:

    Nikki…whatever you're using in your hair is working. Your hair looks beautiful! I'm glad that you are open to a little experimentation, rather than allowing others to dictate the type of products you choose to use on your own hair. I have tried a mineral/coconut oil mix in the past and it was great for frizz reduction, but I think the coconut oil made it a bit heavy. I think I will experiment with pure mineral oil in the future to see if I like the results better! I read in one of the articles you provided a link to that mineral oil works best when it is not mixed with other oils. I will have to remember that in the next time around.

    Thanks for sharing all your hair experiments with the crew! Have fun in Rio, girl! Also, I have never tried any of those other products, but I am interested in trying the Ouidad product one day.


  • Anonymous says:

    I tried Smooth Down Butter Treat a few years ago and didn't care for it so much.
    I would never use the mineral oil due to acne promoting effect on my skin.
    I would try Ouidad product only if samples become available, as it would be a waste of product and my money if I don't like it. Ditto for AG product. Thanks for the recommendations/suggestions, though!

    I travel with travel sizes ( a whole collection of them). Lol! Fortunately, I have managed to collect a large variety of samples from various product lines which I know are effective on my hair- as well as some new, untried products. So, I just end up traveling with them.
    My athletic wear/equipment ends up getting the bulk of space in my suitcase when travel.

  • Anonymous says:


  • Anonymous says:

    Smooth Down Butter Treatment was my go to conditioner during my flat "frying" days (2004-2009). I was natural but a slave to the flat iron. I could always depend on it to soften and hydrate my hair. Still have a nearly empty tube lurking in the bathroom! Been thinking about putting it in rotation again.

    ~ greatgraneecurl

  • Barbara says:

    Hey Nikki,
    Where can I purchase mineral oil? At a beauty supply store?

  • hairscapades says:

    I haven't tried any of those Nik … and I won't be *buying* any of them … but if I happen to be *gifted* them, I won't turn my nose up at giving them a try!! LMBO!!! I just have far tooo much stuff under my sink.

    #naturalhairmoment: Wanting to give away products from under your sink
    so that you can make room for new products.

    As to travel … couple day trip, I can do travel size. But a 5 day or longer trip to Rio, Greece or Cali?!?! Sorry, I'll eat the $50 baggage charge (grrr arghh) 'cuz I need my full size hook-ups. One time I tried to pack lightly in regard to my clothing and shoes … worst mistake EVER!! I need options!! I would sooooo rather be overpacked than under-packed, even though it doesn't seem that way when I have to lug a 49.9 lb bag all over Timbuktu! LOL!!


  • watkinsabob says:

    what do you gain by putting a product on while still in the shower? What if i don't wring my hair out, step out and then apply the product in sections? The reason i do this is because I NEEDS A MIRROR. hmmm…guess i should buy one for the shower, huh? :-D

  • Anonymous says:

    You look great! Thanks for sharing your list!

  • Nichole says:

    Bar shampoos are great for travel. I don't want to check in luggage just for hair so I keep it sample sizes of conditioner and jojoba/olive oil are great which can double duty as a skin moisturer. The old school lotion Lady Hilda which has mineral oil was great on my hair and I gave it up but maybe time to revisit.

  • Sophie says:

    I haven't tried any of these products and I probably won't ever because my hair is low porosity and easily enters the "greasy but dry zone", but I have been thinking about travel hair! I'll be visiting my bff for a bit this summer in the UK, and I've been thinking hard about what to bring. I decided to just do kinky twists as a protective style, then bring Oyin Juices and Berries and some good shampoo just in case. She's a curly girl too, so I can nab some conditioner from her in a pinch! I'm actually a sample size gal these days because I'm a natural over-packer and so I'm challenging myself to bring carry-ons only for trips under two weeks. With TSA side-eyeing all liquids, my travel regimen is getting simple!

  • TTsGurlBB says:

    Ugh, stop bragging already!! LOL. Righ not, I'm just shooting for 3rd day hair, let alone 5 days. I need to step up my trial and error experiments so I can find my winning product combonation. You're hair always looks great!!

  • Abby says:

    hmm I might try these when it's payday. Herbal Essences just don't do it for me…..

  • StaceyMarie says:

    Cirrus, my beautiful dark brown cloud of (mostly 4B/C) hair, DEMANDS that I bring full-size conditioners unless she's already in a protective style or my trip is 2 days or less! Otherwise, she acts a complete donkey. I tried using samples for a week-long trip to Cali, but I needed 8 tiny bottles when I could've just brought one big bottle! I have small containers for oils and butters and a travel spray bottle, though.

    My Essential Travel List:
    *giant black scarf that fits over any 'do
    *Ouidad double detangler comb
    *Denman brush
    *bottle of co-wash conditioner
    *bottle of styling conditioner
    *sm. jar of hair butter(shea or QP Elasta Mango)
    *sm. bottle of hair oil(coconut or castor)
    *travel size bottle of emergency castile soap
    *6-8 oz spray bottle
    *bottle of water from the plane
    *3-4 metal-free hairbands
    *scarves(silk or satin)to match my outfits
    *a handful each of hairpins and bobby pins
    *my oversized shower cap

    If my hair has been (temporarily) straightened:
    *a small bottle of castor oil
    *a comb
    *a medium boar bristle brush
    *same black scarf as above
    *same accessories as above

  • What It Means to be Eternally Beautiful... says:

    what pattern do you put your twists in Nikki?

  • Anonymous says:

    i am gald you decided to try the mineral oil. you can always wash your hair if you don't like it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have not tried any of the above products and I travel sample size. I've been travelling for years and could live out of a carry-on suitcase comfortably for a month. Lol!

  • Bobby says:

    @Anon 12:40pm…no you are not alone, I tried all the so called "good stuff" and my hair was dry, and got knots and did I say we got to do us and not get caught up in the bandwagons :-)

  • Anonymous says:

    Nikki you are a beautiful woman. I hope you and your husband Doctor Daddy have the time of your lives in Brazil.

  • Anonymous says:

    As a person going out to buy the list, let me just say I wouldn't do it if I didn't have prior experience based on Nikki's suggestions. Apparently our hair has a similar personality because it tends to like what hers does. I don't mindlessly buy products. But even if I did: to each his own, it's my money wasted.

  • Anonymous says:

    People should do their research before they go out and "buy everything on the list". Know what you are putting in your hair and you shouldn't go out and buy something because it works for one. I seriously cringe when I think about coating my hair with mineral oil.

  • Anonymous says:

    I like to experiment & come up with my own stuff. My hair seems to respect that; it's jealous; doesn't want the formulas of others. (smh) As long as I have the moisture down pat, the rest just falls into place….

    pun intended!

  • Anonymous says:

    I should have never read this–I will be headed out to buy everything on this list sigh…I feel like a crack head who just went into the crack house after being clean for a month. Oh well (shrugs)if this works to battle this Florida humidity, it will be well worth it. By the way, where did you purchase the mineral oil?

  • Anonymous says:

    I need the bad stuff too, glad I'm not alone! I will be buying a bottle of pure mineral oil as bad as that sounds!

  • Anonymous says:

    I have not tried any of the products you mention; have enough stuff in bathroom that I'm trying to get rid of now. Mineral oil might be added if I have problems w/ dryness this summer. Just went on leave and refused to travel without shea butter mix and Aussie moist conditioner. Even grabbed some Garnier fructis leave-in and a ginormous bottle of Suave coconut (use for henna) while I was stateside. Well I didn't read the label so it actually turned out to be a ginormous bottle of Suave shampoo…ugh..oh well…Funny cause my little sister is natural too and has the same conditioners, so I just used hers. <:) I don't have long, long hair, but I sure do have a LOT of hair, so samples are not enough. I go full size, seal in ziploc bags and put it into my checked bag.

    Miss TeeTee

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    ^^^ @Bobby, me and you both! #LooseCannonCurly

    Thanks for your comments ladies!

    @KinkyMil, thanks for the recommendations! I'll do all of the above and take pics!

    The AG is similar to the consistency of Giovanni Direct… great, clean fragrance. Light but moisturizing.

  • Bobby says:

    My hair needs mineral oil and cones…if not it will be dry and get knots. I cant do those all natural products, my hair likes the old school stuff…next Im going to try Blue Magic Argan Oil..

  • Dara says:

    Thanks for the response, I think I am gonna try it :)

  • KinkyMil says:

    Hi Nikki! Hope you enjoy my beautiful city! There are some wonderful scarfs to put on hair and summer hats in place called Copacabana.
    Do not hesitate to go to Lagoa and drink coconut water! It is an amazing place where you can really feel how the nature was good to us. And if you like meat you must go to a carioca rodizio restaurant! Is is super. Say hello to the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) He is very nice guy …lol … enjoy!

  • Anonymous says:

    To add on to that, what does it smell like?

  • Anonymous says:

    I love light conditioners in the summer. What's the consistency of the AG FastFood?

  • Anonymous says:

    What an arsenal!

  • Anonymous says:

    You are both cute!

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    Thanks ladies!

    @dara, yes… it's like the seal of the grease but without the 'product' feel. My hair still feels light and airy… like I used a silicone serum. The mineral oil lasts longer and smooths better than any silicone serum I used… so it's like the best of both worlds (grease and silicone serums). The mineral oil will not completely seal out (or seal in) moisture… it does provide a barrier, but it breathes. Try it for a few weeks and see what you think. Our hair is different (I'm highly porous) so you may hate it, lol.

  • DARA says:

    you ALWAYS wake up my inner PJ Nikki!! tsk tsk…:) Love the hair (as usual) do you feel a big difference in the sealing of your ends than when you used the Dax, I remember you stated that the Dax was the best seal you've ever gotten, I have low porosity hair and I need to be able to draw in as much moisture as possible, I love glycerin in the first five ingredients, without it, my hair will fall flat…will mineral oil block moisture out of my hair? I want an oil that seals like Castor, but is not thick and sticky like it. Dax was a wonderful seal for me but after a month of using it,my strands paid the price!

  • Anonymous says:

    The results are beautiful! I'm resisting the urge to buy the Redken product!

  • Anonymous says:

    I just bought the Fast Food earlier this year and I'm very impressed. It's good for dry hair but doesn't weigh down too much.

  • Jillian says:

    Beautiful hair in both pics! I love that you guys walked through the rain and still look fabulous!

  • Anonymous says:

    Nina looks very pretty! I can't wait to read more about the organization. Be safe Curly Nikki!

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    sorry! adding the link!

  • Anonymous says:


  • Anonymous says:

    I love Redken smooth Down Treat too! It's my go to deep conditioner and leave-in especially in the winter.

  • naturallychelsea says:

    I'm first lol and i love your hair in the second pic. It's hunormous

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