Hair: At A Crossroads

I’m happy to be a member of #TeamNatural. However, as my hair gets longer, the curls are finer than I expected. I’m also having difficulty finding protective styles that are age-appropriate. As I crawl down the rabbit hole of Pinterest and YouTube tutorials, the styles (time, upkeep) are just as complicated as when I relaxed my hair.

When I see pixie cuts, my heart aches. If I cut two years of growth, my heart will ache. Knowing these feelings are temporary isn’t comforting. Getting opinions of close friends are good, but rarely objective. The all-consuming humidity of New Orleans doesn’t help me keep a great, straight style, even with a relaxer.

I welcome comments about what you do, have done or solutions to in-between hair lengths. Please!

A quick note: the long hair photos are my goal, not current length.

IMG_0154.JPG

IMG_0160.JPG

IMG_0153.JPG

IMG_0157.JPG

IMG_0149.JPG

IMG_0156.JPG

IMG_0148.JPG

IMG_0161.JPG

It’s That Time Again: Breast Cancer Awareness

As I’ve written before, I’m a two-time survivor and next year will be my 10th anniversary, God willing. I’ve never seen so much marketing around the pink ribbon! Sure, it’s easy to buy that yogurt, lotion or fragrance and feel good. But what’s truly important?

Be available for that friend or family member. Write a check. Volunteer.

My previous posts all list great organizations that are happy to utilize your time and money.

And, go get a mammogram if you’re over 40. I was 38 when diagnosed during my first one. Later this month. I’ll be getting my annual…stay tuned!

Review: eSalon At-Home Professional Haircolor

IMG_0122.JPG

I have had the pleasure to try eSalon’s system for haircolor in the privacy of your own home while getting professional results*. I haven’t had my hair professionally colored in decades, with mixed results. I would say it’s usually either an error on my part in selecting the wrong brand/shade/amount. Also, grey hair is more resistant to the dye adhering to the hair shaft. I was curious to try, so…I did!

The website is a breeze to use and offers a great little discount for anyone reading this post can use – pass it to your friends and family who would like it, too! If you’re skeptical about the color swatches? eSalon allows you to post a recent pic of yourself so the colorists can see what they’re working with. It did wonders to alleviate my fears.

The packaging is great and includes detailed step-by-step instructions. My before and after will be in a separate post this week. Sorry – I have to keep some suspense! Plus, rain in New Orleans makes for bad hair days pics.

No A/C?

Yes, our ancestors lived without heating and cooling and persevered. Don’t make any bets on my household this week. The window units have all died. Nights are long and fairly sleepless.

A good reason to hit the gym.

Sunday? Sun Day! or, Hey! What’s In This Stuff?

There are so many sunscreens on the market. Do you just grab the one that’s on sale? The one with highest SPF? Or the same brand you’ve always used? You’ve thankful it works, but have you thought about how it works? You may discover there’s a better one for your skin type. 

First, chemical versus physical sunscreens:

Chemical: absorbs into skin and then absorbs UV rays; 

Physical: stays atop skin to block the sun’s rays

Physical is what gives those with brown skins that ashy look and feel heavy. There’s many on the market nowadays that alleviates that unpleasant aspect. While there’s some controversy surrounding certain ingredients in chemical sunscreens—some have been potentially linked to cancer and chemical disruption—many dermatologists say there’s no cause for concern. Most important? Wearing an SPF that offers broad-spectrum protection, shielding against both UVA and UVB rays.

 

Zinc Oxide

Physical or chemical: Physical
Great for: Calming sensitive skin. Zinc oxide is a natural anti-inflammatory, quelling redness and irritation while protecting against UVA and UVB rays. This is wouldn’t be your go-to when applying makeup, but great for a day outdoors. 

 

Titanium Dioxide

Physical or chemical: Physical
Great for: Natural, non-irritating broad-spectrum protection. Titanium dioxide is typically blended with zinc oxide to achieve a higher SPF. This is where you most often see the ashy cast on darker skins; the best option is to wait 5 -10 minutes after applying before applying foundation, BB cream or tinted moisturizer. 

 

Oxybenzone

Physical or chemical: Chemical
Great for: Non-greasy, weightless protection without the white cast of some physical formulas, though it can be irritating to sensitive skin. Often, oxybenzone is blended with other sunscreens to provide broad-spectrum protection.

 

Octinoxate

Physical or chemical: Chemical
Great for: Pairing with an under eye cream—its feather-light, easy-to-blend texture ensures you don’t tug on the delicate skin there. When mixed with zinc oxide, it delivers broad-spectrum protection.

 

Octisalate and Octocrylene

Physical or Chemical: Chemical
Great for: Providing sheer protection that layers well under your go-to products. Like octinoxate, these chemical agents are lightweight and easy to blend.

 

Avobenzone

Physical or chemical: Chemical
Great for: Providing UVA and UVB protection that’s ultra sheer. While most sunscreens won’t cause acne (added fragrances and oils are the culprit behind most SPF-induced breakouts), this chemical often appears in formulas for your face because it won’t clog pores or look greasy.

 

Homosalate

Physical or chemical: Chemical
Great for: Working in tandem with other sunscreen ingredients to provide higher-than-average SPF protection and achieve the broad-spectrum seal of approval.

I hope this helps!

Working Out? The Beauty From Within

These high blood pressure meds have got me down. Not crazy about how my clothing fits these days. Not getting any younger. Body parts move in a manner that is less than ideal. I do walk with my dog several times a day, but they’re short walks and neither of us can take the summer heat of New Orleans. I have to take it indoors in order to be successful with weight loss.

The benefits are myriad: improved mobility, stronger heart and bones, boosts confidence, glowing skin and hair. Almost seems like a magic bullet? Maybe, but in my instance, slow and steady will win the race.

In an odd circumstance, I needed new sneakers. Not really odd, really a case of timing. I can’t afford expensive ones, so I went to eBay. Bid on three pairs, thinking I’d win only one. Now there’s three pairs en route to my home. No more worries about swapping shoes out. I own workout clothing, so the next hurdle is the kitchen cabinet.

My family is health-adverse, so I am creating my own plan, based on low-glycemic foods. I love pastas and rice more than anyone should have a right. There’s lots of studies showing direct correlations between high blood pressure and diabetes. That’s something I don’t want to prove it’s correct!

I’m open to suggestions, but no supplements right now.

IMG_0277.JPG

IMG_0275.JPG

IMG_0276.JPG

DIY Mixology: Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s DIY Grenadine*

I hate grenadine. Hated it since childhood. I remember being served my first Shirley Temple – no older than seven, I think – and though it was crafted by a veteran bartender my first impression was real booze has to be better than this syrupy stuff. Never had one again.

Jump to modern times. Guess why I hated it? It didn’t taste like its namesake: pomegranates. I will definitely try easy method this and revisit what could be the beginning of a new love and experimentation with new drinks:

Makes about 1 quart

  • cups fresh pomegranate juice (two to four large pomegranates) or 100% pomegranate juice like POM Wonderful
  • cups unbleached sugar
  • fluid ounces (1/4 cup) pomegranate molasses
  • teaspoon orange blossom water
  1. If you are using fresh pomegranates, slice them in half and press the juice out using a citrus juicer. Strain juice, crushing any unbroken arils with the back of a spoon. Alternately, you can seed the pomegranate, then blend the seeds in your blender and strain out the juice.
  2. Heat the pomegranate juice over low heat, just enough to melt the sugar (well below the level of a boil). Stir in the sugar until the mixture is clear and the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Stir in the pomegranate molasses and orange blossom water and stir until dissolved.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool and transfer to a bottle for storing in the refrigerator. If you won’t be using within about a month, you can optionally add an ounce of vodka, or freeze the syrup.

*This is courtesy of Food52.

2014-0204_genius_grenadine-337

Review: COVERGIRL QUEEN COLLECTION JUMBO GLOSS BALM

btw…could you follow me on Bloglovin’, please? Many, many thanks!

This lip gloss comes from Covergirl’s Queen Collection, designed for women of color. I tend to avoid jumbo pencils mainly because they’re difficult to sharpen. Since this has a twist mechanism, what could it hurt?

Touch – goes on smooth and sheer. A little sheer for my liking, but good for those who like just a hint. I feel like I should apply another layer of color, but perhaps that’s just a habit on my part?

Buildable? Yes, and not sticky or goopy. Yes, I said goopy. 

Hair Review: Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea – LUV!

How can you be a member of #TeamNatural, and not want to try new products? I received the full line of Eden BodyWorks‘ Coconut Shea* products awhile back and cracked them open this week. My first word was, “Ahhh”, as the coconut scent was soft and sensual. It was a welcome change from the fruit salad/cotton candy scents of others. I was so excited to try them – their founder’s story is so great and she’s so passionate about what she is doing!

I used the first day (in order of routine):

COCONUT SHEA CLEANSING COWASH

cleansing-co-wash_1024x1024

COCONUT SHEA LEAVE IN CONDITIONER

leave-in-conditioner_1024x1024

COCONUT SHEA PUDDING SOUFFLÉ

souffle_1024x1024

No pre-poo this time; I wanted to test the lines on its own merits. I combed the co-wash through my hair and let sit for approximately ten minutes before washing and rinsing. After using an old t-shirt to absorb excess water (traditional towels rough up curly/kinky hair shafts), I sectioned my hair and applied the leave-in, followed by the pudding souffle. This week, my hairstyle was a low, loose puff (no pics – sorry!), so my hair air-dried. Subsequent days, I used the hair oil before bedtime and the hair balm to smooth in the AM.

Results? Loved the feel and since it did a great job of moisturizing, my curls were softer and looser. I’ll definitely use this again and the next time try the Curl Defining Creme to see if there’s a different outcome. Thank again so much and I am a big fan of your mission AND the products!

What would I change? Probably the packaging. There’s no trial sizes for travel and the jars are too large for a carry-on. As a personal preference, I refer squeeze bottle for haircare. You’ll have to DIY it with those travel kits

*I received this box of full-sized products by winning a contest during their #CelebrateMyBeauty visit in New Orleans during EssenceFest. I was no way required to write a review or testimony in lieu of receiving these items. All photos are from Eden BodyWorks website.