I got an e mail from a reader recently, regarding Miss Jessie’s Stretch Silkening Creme.

How is this not PERM or TEXTURIZER (perm by another name)?!?”

I see where the reader could think that — after my interview with Titi Branch of Miss Jessie’s, wherein she explained what the controversial “silkener” treatment was (sodium hydroxide, AKA lye) — I know quite a few diehard natural bellas who hadn’t yet tried the products, were more than a little skeptical.

I appreciate Titi’s honesty, but I understand where customers are coming from — if you declare yourself to be a natural woman, chemical free, it can be disappointing to realize that the styles you’ve been admiring on bellas you percieved to be all-natural as well, aren’t achieved by all-natural means.

I have two bits of news about Miss Jessie’s Stretch Silkening Creme.

1 — it is NOT a chemical treatment, it is NOT the silkening treatment that the Branch sisters offer at their salon. This is a styling product.

2 — what it is, is a new hair creme that I’d say can best be described as hair souffle/curly pudding-esque.

Stretch Silkening Creme is described on the Miss Jessie’s site as: “Miko’s favorite. Introducing Stretch Silkening Crème, an amazing addition to our ever expanding curl crème empire. “How’s it different from the rest?” I’ll tell you. Stretch Silkening Crème is a quicker to dry whipped soufflé that delivers an amazing plump curl and a brilliant shine. Fabulous for fingerstyling. The lightest of the curl crème bunch.”

I have been trying the product out for over a month now, and it might be Miko’s favorite, but it isn’t exactly mine. Here’s why.

It’s a texture thing.

I like my hair to be shiny, bouncy, full of life and fun all over. Shrinkage doesn’t bother me, as long as my curls are fluffy, moisturized, and defined. I like a product that just works when I’m on the run – I am a wash n’ go kind of girl. I don’t currently own an overhead dryer (but I want one so much! I want this one!). I need a no-fuss product to match my no-fuss lifestyle. And I LOVE Miss Jessie’s — I swear by Curly Meringue and Buttercreme to weigh down my curls while giving me that definition I crave, and moisture I need. So I wanted to be blown away by the results from the Stretch Silkening Creme. And… I wasn’t exactly.

Let me explain with a photo.

Here’s the back of my hair after using Stretch Silkening Creme and following the recommended method.

Applied when my hair was wet, straight out of the shower. Let it air dry, and stretched my curls down with my hands (I honestly don’t even know if I still own a hair dryer). Because of the schizophrenic kinks of my hair, the top of my hair tends to be frizzy, sproingy, and undefined. The back is very defined, very spirally, and tends to shrink quite a bit. My experience with Miss Jessie’s Stretch Silkening Creme is, it’s not a match for my unruliest curls. The back felt too weighed down and limp, and the top… well you can see for yourself. Frizzy and out of order as always. Not stretched or “silkened.”

Perhaps that’s because the creme is too light of a moisturizer for me — as this great Long Hair Care Forms post indicates — “If you are looking or expecting this product to provide extreme “silkening” or “texturizing” like results, it won’t and I suggest you don’t spend the money. But if you are looking for a product that will eliminate frizz, provide definition and allow you to keep volume, softness and fullness, give it a shot.”

I think my hair’s a little too “own-way” to behave with this product. Or maybe I came to Stretch Silkening Creme with expectations based on the name. Either way, I’d say it probably would be best for a bella with a looser curl pattern, who just needs moisture and shine to tame their frizzies. For me, a bella whose hair seems to have several different personalities — heavier products with not a lot of hold work better for a uniform look. I’m back to my Meringue.

But bellas – the wonderful thing about Miss Jessie’s now, is they’re making different kinds of products for curly girlies — for example Quick Curls is meant mostly for caucasian and Latina bellas — and they also now offer their products in a variety of sizes. And the small sizes work GREAT for travel. So if you’re wondering which would be best for your crown, I’d say spring for the 2 oz jars, they’re $7 a pop, plus shipping. The Value Pack gives you little 2 oz samples of everything. If you’re a bella who’s on the go, you can’t really go wrong!

Have you tried Stretch Silkening Creme? What do you think? Do you have a favorite Miss Jessie’s product?

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