Safer Skin Care

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For years now I’ve been buying safe cleaning products. Since having kids , it just made me feel better to use products that were free of harsh chemicals. Especially when the boys were little and would lick the front door glass and the bathtub. (Ok, they probably still do these things…Boys.) I buy organic fruits and veggies about 75% of the time. I thought I was doing great. That is until about two months ago. I came across a website called ewg.org It stands for Environmental Working Group. They have tons of articles on all types of scary things but what I like is the fact that you can scan (from their app) or type in a product or the ingredients  and it will tell you just how safe it really is. It’s great but it also caused me to have a massive freak out moment. I started scanning all my beauty and makeup products and the results weren’t good. I had never really gave much thought about myself and all of the things I put on my skin every day. My skin!! The largest organ of my body!! Soaking up potentially hazardous chemicals on a daily basis!! I seriously came close to having an anxiety attack. I can’t afford to replace everything, but I didn’t want to keep putting harmful, cancer causing products on!! What was I going to do?!?!? After a few days, I talked myself off of the ledge. I decided there was no need to freak out, but do some research. There are a lot of products that seem like they are safe, but may not necessarily be. I’ve been using a certain makeup for years. I was under the impression that this particular brand was good as far as chemicals. I started doing some research and even though these products don’t seem to be the worst, they aren’t the best either. According to the website, a good product is ewg certified or its scores a 1-3. My make up products were around a 5-6. (There are some out there that are. 7-9. Yikes!!)

I decided to just replace products as I ran out. I’ve read a lot of great reviews about Beauty Counter. They make safe makeup and skin care products. I think I have decided to give it a try. I recently ran out of my favorite night cream and I’m trying to decide which one of these Beauty Counter ones to try.

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All of these have great reviews on Beauty Counter website

I’ve also decided that if I can’t find anything that I like as much as one of my old products, then I’m just going to keep using it (as long as it’s not above a 5 on the ewg website). If you are using safe beauty products let me know what you’re using and why you love it!

Three Lessons I’ve Learned About Hair: Lesson 3

Happy February! I don’t know about y’all, but I have my fingers crossed that the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow tomorrow …or does see his shadow… I can’t remember but whichever one gets me warmer weather stat!! Today wraps up my final post on my hair lessons and before I get started on it, let me go ahead and tell you that it’s going to freak some of you out. Please don’t let it. Just keep reading and hear me out. This is a conversation that I find myself having with people and I know some of you just are not going to have it, but here goes….

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My 3 day non-washed hair.

3- STOP WASHING YOUR HAIR!! I know, I know! Some of you are saying, “No way, I HAVE to wash my hair every day.” The truth is that it’s really bad for your hair to wash it every day. I promise! When you wash your hair with shampoo, it strips your hair of its natural oils. Now you’re thinking, “Duh, that’s what I want it to do.”. When the shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils, it replaces them with harsh chemical oil replacements, the chemicals are bad for your hair and it produces more oils to replace the ones you stripped. The more you wash and strip, the more oil it makes to compensate, the greasier your hair gets. It’s a bad cycle. Break the cycle! Start by looking at your shampoos ingredients. I use to be the girl that walked in the drug store and bought whatever was on sale and/or smelled the best. Big no,no! Pick a shampoo that is paraben and sulfate free. These are harsh chemicals that are bad for you. I can’t tell you more than that because I’m no expert, but google it. They’re bad. Next, check the ingredients for alcohol. Most shampoos contain some form of alcohol (even if it’s listed some other way), but make sure it’s at the end of the ingredients list. They are usually listed in order of prevalence, so if alcohol is listed third on your bottle, there’s a lot in your shampoo.

So, you have a new shampoo, now what? Start off small and wash your hair every other day. I’m not going to lie, it isn’t easy. It takes a while for your hair to adjust to this, but I promise it will adjust. Once your hair gets use to this, you can slowly go longer without washing, especially in winter months. I usually wash my hair about every four days or about twice a week. In summer, it’s more like three times a week. I know that grosses some of you out but my hair has never felt more healthy or been more manageable. You see, when you wash less, not only do your natural oils become more balanced but you are drying and styling less which helps keep hair healthy. You’ll have less split ends and breakage.

There are tricks you can do to help make the process easier. Dry shampoo works wonders. Spray your roots and let it sit for a minute. Then style your hair as usual. I like to spray it and then blow dry my hair upside down just long enough for my hair to get hot, then I let it cool upside down. This gives it lift and volume. Try different dry shampoos in travel sizes to see which one you like the best. I don’t have a favorite dry shampoo and usually have a can of whatever I happened to grab at the store. One of my favorite things to use is Fekkai Blow Out Hair Refresher Dry Shampoo. I love the smell and its light enough to just “refresh” my hair on days two or three. It’s not a very “thick” dry shampoo and I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re just starting off and are trying to control the oil. It’s great to just spray on and make your hair smell better. On day four or during the summer months I actually prefer to still use my trusty old baby powder. I really do like it better than any dry shampoo. I realize that it won’t work for brunettes and I’ve heard that cocoa powder works well, but I’ve never tried it.  Some other tips to help the process, is to wear your hair up or put some lose waves in it on days you didn’t wash it. When I was just starting, I would have clean straight hair on day one, maybe leave it for day two or put lose waves in it and then wear it up on day three. I also love a good hat! A hat looks stylish and no one has to know how terrible your hair looks underneath it. So, there you have it! If you missed lessons 1 and 2, you go back and catch them on the blog. Hope y’all have enjoyed my rambling about hair all week!

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Three Things I’ve Learned About Hair: Lesson 2

IMG_0283Welcome back! This is the second blog in a series of hair lessons that I have learned  over the years. Now, you may be thinking what does she know about hair? Let me tell you, I’m no expert. But, I have spent 39 years with some difficult hair. I just want others to not make the same mistakes I’ve made. I’ve survived the Big Bang/choke on hairspray stage in the late 80’s-early 90’s, the spiral perm stage of the same time period, the “Rachel” in the mid-90’s (mine did NOT look like hers), and the Dharma/Faith Hill short hair from the late 90’s/early 2000’s. That one was actually really cute, but growing it out, not so much.

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Hair Ghost of the past!

I’ve dyed my hair myself and had to suck it up and go to my stylist with my tail tucked for her to fix the orange mess I made. I’ve gone to the mall for a quick trim when my stylist didn’t have time and left in tears with a free haircut because it was SO bad. Extra side lesson: NEVER GO TO THE MALL TO GET YOUR HAIR DONE!!! And now, lesson two:

2- Expensive products aren’t always better, but often times they are well worth the money. My hair is such a pain to wash and dry that I have always hated having to style it after all that, so often times throughout my life, my hair has been a large frizzy mess! I’ve also never been into super polished hair. I’ve always liked it a little unkept but still pretty. (Think Gisele Bundchen or Blake Lively in Gossip Girl. Perfectly unkept hair.)

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Still in search of the key to perfectly tousled, low maintenance, beautiful hair… 

The thing is I just wanted my hair to magically look like that without putting any effort into it. A little over a year ago, I started experimenting. I finally came to the conclusion that maybe I needed to up my game. Products have never been my thing because in the past I would go to CVS or Walgreens, grab something to try and end up with crunchy, limp or nasty hair. But, products have come a long way over the years. Tons of products come in travel sizes and it’s a great way to try new stuff without the commitment. I was constantly hitting up the travel products at the drug store, Target and Ulta. By doing this I discovered a few things.

IMG_0281 There are shampoos and conditioners for every type of hair! I started trying different types to manage frizz. (My main problem) I found some drug store shampoos that work pretty well, like L’Oréal Nutri-Gloss High Shine but my favorite is Redken Frizz Dismiss. It cost more than I had ever paid for shampoo and conditioner but it has been worth it. I buy the large pump bottles from Ulta when they go on sale for buy one, get one 1/2 off. And since I get the big bottles, I only have to buy a few times a year. I also discovered that my hair really needs a serum or oil to help tame the frizz. I run some through my hair while it’s wet and then more on the ends once it’s dry.  I like the serum by Garnier Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum for a less expensive drugstore option but my favorite is Hydrating Styling Cream by Moroccan Oil. Once again, more expensive, but worth it. And my absolute, hands down favorite upgrade is my T3 Featherweight Hair dryer. Trust me when I tell you that all hair dryers are NOT the same. I spent a good year playing with this dryer every time I went in Ulta but the price was crazy!! Who pays $200 for a hair dryer? But the reviews were amazing and it’s better for your hair (it doesn’t just blow hot air directly at your hair) and it cut drying time in half. Last March, I woke up in the middle of the night, flipped the tv to QVC for some random reason and there it was! My dream dryer on sale for $150 with 6 easy pays! It was just after my birthday, so I pulled the trigger as a gift to myself. Y’all, BEST PURCHASE EVER!!! Seriously!! You may be reading this and thinking I’m out of my mind, and I’m telling you that I will bring this dryer over for you to try. It cut my drying time in half!! My hair is smoother and straighter, even if I don’t use a serum and round brush. It feels lighter after I’ve dryed it. I even took it to my stylist to try on my hair just to make sure I wasn’t crazy. She agreed it was faster to dry and my hair was lighter and smoother. I’ve been letting my hair grow out and every time I have tried this in the past, I always given up and cut it because it’s just too unmanageable, but not anymore!!  Between my upgraded products and this dryer, it’s a totally new ball game. Don’t be afraid to try new products. Do some research. Read reviews. Find what works for you, even if it cost a little more. You might find it’s worth the extra money!

Three Things I’ve Learned About Hair: Lesson 1

IMG_0264I have started this post about four times over the past couple of months, but I stop every time. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about exactly. But after having the same conversation recently with several different people, I was able to narrow it down. Brief history of my hair: it’s been a love/hate relationship my entire life. When I was little my mom kept it long and it was really pretty. And I hated it! I wanted it short and would beg her to cut it but that was not going to happen. My hair is REALLY thick, so it was/is a pain to wash, a bigger pain to dry and when I was little it was usually in a ponytail. It would hurt so bad by the end of the day, I wanted to cry. If you don’t know what I mean by that, let me educate you. Thick hair is heavy, so you will often see people with long think hair constantly putting it up and down. This is because the weight pulls it down and after it’s been up for a little while, it will start to hurt at the scalp. Leave it up long enough and it can bring you to tears when you take it down. No joke! I’ve been through a lot with my hair and I could fill up numerous blog post with stories, but I’ll spare you. Instead, I want to share with you what I think the three most important things that I’ve learned about my hair are, in three different blog post. So, here goes….

1- Don’t be afraid to try something new! But, please know that your stylist is not a miracle worker. Your hair is what it is. Mine is super thick, course and slightly wavy, so I will NEVER be able to pull off a cute little pixie. And y’all, I’ve always dreamed of a pixie! My stylist (love you, Steph, if you’re reading!) has the most gorgeous face and the cutest pixie cut. I’m so jealous, because I know it will never happen for me!! If you have curly hair, then you have to embrace that and find cuts and styles that work with your hair and face. Where to start? Do your homework. Pinterest is a great place to go. Just put in your hair type and what you are looking for. Always take your stylist a picture! They aren’t mind readers. Show them what you want and ask them if they think it will work for you. Also, ask how much styling is involved. If you’re going to have to pull out the flat iron or curling wand every day and you hate to do that (like me), then you better make sure the style is low maintenance. When it comes to color, I also say go for it! I’ve been light brunette, dark brunette, strawberry blonde and a few months ago had rose gold highlights put in. Keep in mind, again, that your stylist is not your fairy godmother. She can’t turn your dark brown hair to platinum blonde in one visit. Lastly, don’t freak out!! Please know that not every color or cut you choose is going to look good on you, but you can always change it back. If you experiment enough, eventually you’re going to do something that you immediately regret. (Me- every single time I cut bangs) But, that’s the great thing about hair! Color can be changed and hair grows!! Hair changes- Go for it!!