Struggle Bus Naturals Post- WTF DO I DO NOW…

Ahem.

Hello my loves. It has been a while since I’ve made a struggle bus naturals post so here go.

My name is Shannon and I’ve been natural for years now and I struggle. I’ve been working on identifying my natural hair struggles and I’ve had a lil bit of a breakthrough.

  1. Problem number one. I have not updated my practices with my hair enough. I realized this when I tried to do a high bun and realized I haven’t done one in long enough that my prev methods were for shorter hair.
  2. Related to #1, I over trimmed again and my length is awkward.
  3. I fell off doing what works for me.

My hair is not in bad condition at all. Up under my wigs since forever, things are going well in there. I am a mostly juices and berries natural. I just am. I think I got a little caught up in the natural hair community again and that is not my jam.

I am a henna loving, handmade sheabutter using, oils and butters and herbs type natural. SO during the time where we need to be wearing masks I got me a whole ass new plan.

I am rebooting my routine and protective styling to fit what I LIKE doing with my hair, what my hair likes, and what suits my life.

The first thing I’m bringing back are henna glosses on the regular. I won’t be doing full henna treatments because our pipes are old but, a gloss goes all right.

I’m sticking with my hardcore LCO method. It is what my hair thrives on. I’ll do an updated post on individual treatments later.

I’m gonna keep doin my lil ugly Miss Celie braids.

New thing. I’ve purchased a few new headwraps. Since I am an essential worker and I ride mass transit I’ve been wearing masks out. I find it easiest to wear then around a headwrap bun.

I’m going to go back to studying more ayurveda and other herb type things. I love learning more about it and frankly I’ve done well using them.

Now, my goal is to get my hair back to full health with good ends. I’d like to repair or try to fix some of my stress hairloss. If i don’t..fine.

THEN next hurdle will be styling.

How y’all feelin babes?

And a foto of my hair as I was moisturizing and detangling yesterday.

20200422_180508

[image description: the author a brown skinned femme with naturally curly hair sectioned off, lookin tired.]

Y’all I was spent but I put my lil plaits in and got my hair fully detangled and moisturized.

Wig Review-Janet Collection Natural Me Human Hair Blend Lace Front Wig – Ann

OH babes. I am so in love right now. I snagged the Ann wig from the really lovely Janet collection Natural me line from Divatress.

First up, let’s talk about the store Divatress. Divatress has become one of my go to places on the net for hair. They have a HUGE selection of wigs at varying price points and styles. Easy navigation, their customer service is pretty ding dang good too. They offer some bomb coupon codes and have reward points. Just on my last purchase of this wig and a few other things, I saved about enough to cover my shipping cost.

NOW let us discuss Ann.

From the website:

Product Description
Deep Part Lace
100% Hand Tied Swiss Lace
Ear to Ear Soft Swiss Lace
Special Knotting on Back Nape
Natural Hairline & Natural Yaky Texture

She comes in standard colors, black, brown, a nice caramel ombre and a burgundy and, the silver foxiness you’re about to lay eyes on.

20200204_070829

[image of the author: Brown skinned NB femme wearing a cute silver fox bob wig and smiling a bit]

OKAY now I mean……….I’m feeling myself okay. I’m feeling some Big Silver Daddy Energy.

And yes. Going full steely grey without an ombre root is a thing it is a statement. I had wanted a whole ass different wig but she was sold out literally everywhere after a lot of glowing reviews so, I found Ann and I love her.

Right out of the box I love the texture of the hair. It feels like a thicker version of my natural blown out hair. Slightly crinkly, fluffy, soft. The cap construction is pretty usual, inside the part the combs are a bit too close to the front of the wig for my liking so I might move them. Without a wig slip

She is VERY big head friendly. I have an average sized head (I forgot to put my wig grip on this morning) and had to tighten her up quite a bit for a secure fit.

The lace is decent. It says “soft” lace but it is not extra soft if you get me. It isn’t as scratchy as I’ve found some brands the shade is a nice sheer shade.

Pros:

  • Soft and fluffy
  • Gorgeous color mix. They really nailed a luxurious silver fox colorway.
  • Inexepensive. Most places are selling this unit for between 25-35$ and she retails for 49$.
  • Doesn’t need a whole lot of work can be worn right out the box.
  • Just a really pretty wig.

Cons:

  • AH LAWD she sheddin. I am not sure about the other colors but, this one sheds like hell.
  • The cap may just be too dang big. Without a wig grip, if you have an average to small head security is gonna be an issue.

I highly recommend this particular wig for folks who don’t want to mess with baby hairs or securing a unit with glue or whatever. If you don’t have wig customization skills, she is real cute right out of the box. If you are an older person who wants to try out going grey, do it. Or if you are in fact Old AF and just want to be a silver fox, do it.

Overall I am totally in love with Ann and might try out another wig in the line.

10/10 would buy again.

Do Overs….End of the year faves. Skin Care edition.

Hi. I know. I KNOW I done fell the whole hell off. I’m here.

So let’s talk year end favorite stuff. Skin care edition.

There will be affiliate links with * near.

FIRST UP let’s talk about skin care faves of 2019.

Cleansing.

I am a double cleanse devotee and have been casting about for great oil cleansers. My faves from 2019″

Palmers Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Cleansing Oil, Face, Rosehip Fragrance.* Pros- very accessible. Inexpensive. At $10.49 from Amazon, one bottle of this lasted me months. Does a nice job removing even a WHOLE lot of liner and mascara. Cons- scented. If you are careful about freelanced products don’t do it G. Overall though, I went through 2 bottles this year.

NYX Cosmetics Stripped Off Cleansing Balm. If you have used the TAKE THE DAY OFF CLEANSING BALM* this product comes in solid form, and you use it the same way. It is a solid and you rub it between your hands then on your face. The NYX is SUCH a better deal bro. If you wear full coverage or a lot of long lasting or waterproof stuff, that Nyx balm is the SHIT yo. One tub will last a long long time. Absolutely a great option and in my view better than the Clinique thing.

Honorable mention, the OG cleansing oil I used the The Face Shop Rice Water BrightLight Cleansing Oil.* This is a GREAT entry oil to try out. I also highly recommend if you don’t wear foundation. It will struggle a bit with waterproof liner/mascara but will get it done. According to Amazon I first purchased this in 2016 and I’ve used a few more bottles yearly since.

Second Cleanser.

Before we go here. Can I just say that my FAVE cleanser of all time is expensive as fuck. My philosophy in terms of cleansers has always been, I just want it to get the job done. Then this shit came along and god damn it. I am kinda ruined. BUT it isn’t the only one. I’ll get to it last.

I cleanse in the morning and switch off two cleansers from Garnier. First one is the SkinActive Soothing Milk Face Wash with Rose Water. This milky cleanser is so soothing. BUT it also is scented but not heavily to my nose. This one is great for days when my face is being weird or peely. From the same line ….um. Apparently this one isn’t being made anymore it isn’t on the official website. Well shit. anyway it is the SkinActive Face Wash with Aloe Juice.* This was a cleanser I tried for nighttime and nah. But for morning it just leaves my fave cleansed of the night before (my skin care, drool whatever) and my skin isn’t too stripped, feels clean, bouncy and hydrated. I’m gonna have to stock up.

Honorable mention for morning. Tree Hut Skincare Purifying Cleansing Gel, Balancing Rosewater*. Now this one is a little more cleansing than the Aloe one but, I like it. It is a great prep for matte full faceballs make up.

NIGHT TIME. THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE.

Y’all. Youth To The People Kale Superfood Cleanser* – Gentle Gel Face Wash with Spinach and Green Tea. THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE GOD DAMN IT. First of all, this bitch is 36 goddamn dollars for an 8 oz bottle. Right around my birthday this year, I grabbed a 10$ travel size (we’ll talk about it) with my birthday Sephora purchase. Here’s the thing about cleansers. If they promise you baby butt skin in ONE USE..skip it. I’ve been getting into more clean beauty and I like the ingredients. And then I noticed after about let’s say three months of use, my face was like YASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS BITCH. For YEARS I’ve never been able to use one cleanser and have it stay effective for months. This shit…is so good. It has helped keep my skin more clear. I rarely get the same level of pimples as before. My face always feels very clean, hydrated, happy. God. Damn. It. THIRTY SIX dollars. So disrespectful but I feel real good. BUT good news is, you can get a travel bottle for 10$. Since it is my nighttime cleanser (it is a little too cleansing for me for morning) and the small bottle lasts me months. I’m still mad tho.

Serums.

I’ve done a lot of serums that were meh. I have stumbled on a few things that have worked SO WELl.

First one, The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + Ha.*  There are a lot of things I love about The Ordinary. High quality skin care that is quite extensive and pocketbook friendly. The downside of this is that they don’t do a lot of explanation. You HAVE to do your research. We’ll talk more about this later. In my research I was recommended this product to help with my quest to deal with my hyperpigmentation and facial scarring. Y’all. I’ve been using this product for about 6 months. I don’t use it twice a day as recommended, it didn’t agree with my other stuff but holy shit. My skin…..I wish I’d taken before photos but, I’ve tried so many things and nothing has worked like this. I had a purply black newish scar on my forehead and after a month, that bitch straight up peeled OFF. Left no other mark. My chin scars are faded, my forehead scar is faded. And more impressively, though I do still get the dark marks they aren’t immediately the super dark black/purple kind. They are a few shades darker brown than my face and they fade. I’m on my second bottle.

Moisturizers.

Am moisturizer. Gosh. Daytime. I am only this year a convert to the keeping my SPF and moisturizer separate. I did not want this to make a difference but damn it did.

First up, my holy damn grail after going through TWO minis. Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream.* I am not really a sucker for high end but, I used this cream from Jan-April. DAMN IT DAMN IT DAMN IT. It is so good. My allergy riddled face was not irritated but I still got the benefits of the vitamin c. I was SO HYDRATED. Y’all this bitch is SIXTY FIVE damn dollars. I also hate that it is in a jar. I could literally slather my face in it but, it really didn’t take a lot to spread nicely and leave my itchy, peely, irritated ass face SO PLUMP AND MOIST. Shit.

Y’all. I’m using a perfectly -nice- day time moisturizer. InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer. Like…I kind of don’t totally love the finish but it is nice. It hit the buttons I wanted, Vit C, no dimethecone. It was easy on my bank account. But it is not Sunday Riley so I hate it…..I KNOW this is unreasonable but y’all. Shit.

My PM moisturizer eh. I’m using a perfectly okay one but I’ve yet to be wowed.

Few other honorable mentions:

Lips. My lips have been SO TERRIBLE. My work moved to a new building that I think is dryer than the last and my lips have just been in terrible shape.

Aritaum Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask. I have been through two tins of this. It is thick, not slippery and awesome. Link is gone but it is good.

Basically, 2019 has exposed just how much of a bourgie bitch I am and I’m kinda okay with it.

Coming 2020. A skin care series for those who are lost, poor or otherwise confused.

MORE NATURAL HAIR SHITS.

I hope the new year brings all of you what you need.

Love,

Shannon

Over 40 Skin Care-new goals

Hi sugar!

Let’s talk about skin care. I’ve been doing some changes, seen some progress and discovered some new goals.

There will be some affiliate links so watch for the *. I get some pennies if you click or buy.

First, the first bare faced photo of yours truly of the year.

[image description: the author. Brown skinned femme with no make up on. Smiling a little]


SO I mean, I hate to brag but y’all look at me. Had you told me even at 30 that I’d ever a.) post a no make up selfie OR be proud of my faceballs, I’d have laughed in your face.

If you’re new let’s talk about my skin struggles. I’ve had oily skin on my face forever. At one point, I had a dermatologist just say, oh wow. My skin is also very reactive, sensitive, easily irritated and acne prone. A whole ass hot mess. Add in that my face scars if I look at it crooked. I am also in perimenopause which means, my skin goes buck fucking wild for no reason.

First let’s talk about my current routine.

I don’t do most things on a schedule. Just like with my hair care I tend to feel out what my face wants and deliver. My current round up of products on rotation goes like this.

Oil Cleansers:

DERMA E Nourishing Rose Cleansing Oil*- I grabbed this on sale and it is okay. If you are scent sensitive don’t buy this, I thought it might’ve had rose oil in it but it just has a rose scent. Scent doesn’t but me. If you wear full foundation, this one probably won’t do you good. I tend to only use it if I’ve got on light make up (concealer) or if I’m not wearing any.

Nyx Stripped off Cleansing Balm– This is an all time fave I will go back to forever. If you love the Clinique take off the day balm, this is a great dupe. The cost is far lower. Head to head here’s how they stack up. Cost. Nyx winds hands down. Nyx loses a couple of points for being slightly scented, Clinique has no detectable smell. Both work great at removing full coverage foundation. They can easily remove the 17 pounds of mascara+liner I like. They are both great formulations.

boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil* This is my third product try from boscia and I feel a little, eh about it. boscia is one of those brands I really wanted to LOVE but it didn’t really move me like that. This cleansing oil is good, it has a tiny bit of scent not much. I fell for branding and really wanted to love it. It is just a meh for me. Once my bottle is empty I won’t repurchase.

Foamy/lathery/second Cleansers:

Tree Hut Skincare Purifying Cleansing Gel*. I love this cleanser. Some of the ingredients are not the greatest, we’ll talk about that but I love having it in my stash. It works the best for me pre-chemical exfoliation. My skin absolutely loves it. I get squeaky clean without the squeaky feeling.

Garnier SkinActive Face Wash with Aloe Juice*- I had a coupon and wanted to try out this line because I LOVE the sheet masks and Garnier is usually pretty good to me. This is a loose jelly texture, no smell I can detect, super gentle and my skin just loves it. This is pretty great for days when my skin feels grimy or generally a little irritated or peely.

Andalou Naturals Meyer Creamy Lemon Cleanser*- Andalou naturals is a newer to me brand and y’all. I love this brand the way I wanted to love boscia. I don’t know about the brightening but, I just love this cleanser. It does have a slight citrusy scent that isn’t overwhelming. It smells like it has citrus in it. My skin just loves this stuff. It is creamy and doesn’t foam, cleans nicely and leaves my face feeling soft af.

A few honorable mentions. Sometimes I still use my liquid african black soap on my face. It is SUPER drying and I usually only do it as a mini mask when my face is acting a damn fool. Also if I have any sort of irritation. I also almost always have a bucket of Noxema on deck.

Now, if it isn’t a mask night this is what I do at night before bed.

I’m looking for new toners, right now I use Shea Moisture problem skin toner. It is…okay.

After toning I go back to my ride or die Claire-ity 25% Vitamin C Serum* y’all. I’ve been using a C serum for about 4 years. I’ve tried drugstore, high end. I’ve tried liquidy serums, cream c, powder. This brand is my ride or die. Great price point at 15$, it is super gentle and I have absolutely seen a difference in the hydration and smoothness of my skin when I’ve gone a few months not using it.

Next I use a retinol cream. Retinol is another thing I’ve used for the past few years in one manner or another. My fave now discontinued one came from the ordinary. I’ve been searching since. I’ve gone through a few kinds of retinol and this one from Nuva Skin has been great for me. The jar is air tight so no contamination, it is a very rich cream. This is a 2.5% retinol product that also has hylaruanic acid, aloe and other skin loving stuff. For me, cruising at 2.5% has been great for my skin.

Then I lay on some moisturizer. NOW y’alls. I fucked up. I was fbing late one night and came across some super organic fancy ass skin care that is normally out of my price range. I had a few bucks in my paypal and saw that they have sampler kits that with the code, NONTOXIC comes to about 4$ shipped in the US. I grabbed one and okay. The cleanser is nice but not amazing. The rosewater is yanno rosewater. The deep hydration moisturizer tho. Y’all. This is the first moisturizer I’ve used in a while that just, my skin eats it up and LOVES. It is also out of my price range rn for one product. When I can afford it, I will be buying a full size jar.

My last nightly step is I slather my face in Rosehip oil that I got at CVS or Walgreens or something.

I’ve been using some masks but I think I’ll save those. Basically I do a deep clean one on Saturday then a chemical exfoliant midweek ish.

My goals last year were mainly to get my skin cleared up, fewer breakouts. I accomplished that. Also, the texture of my skin has VASTLY improved. I’ve got a glow now. My skin feels plump and silky.

This year my goals are as follows:

  1. Help myself avoid further hyperpigmentation and continue treating what I have slow and gentle like.
  2. MORE hydration.

Basically that’s all I want to do. I feel like my skin glow up is going pretty well. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back into higher end skincare later this year and we’ll have a post about questionable ingredients, money and whatnot.

Struggle Bus Natural- Big ole Update

Let’s talk about my hair.

So this is gonna be a lowkey hair growth update and some observations because I blew out my hair and have been wearing it out.

I’ve been natural for I dunno how long. I had a few times where I went back to relax my hair a bit.

Last weekend I gave myself a blow out because I got bored with my wig and am in the home stretch of my move and didn’t want to really be messing with my hair.

For a while I’ve been kind of struggling thinking my hair was thin. Now that I’ve figured out more how to care for my hair I dunno. I think that too many years of following other naturals who don’t have the same texture as me or my head of hair was rearing up.

I don’t have the big magnificent hair that we see as the marker of Black beauty. I just don’t. It is big. It is not orderly and my fro does this when I don’t mess with it:

That is how my hair looks completely nude. No product. Freshly washed and just let to do what she wanna do. I have a deep natural part in my hair that literally goes from my forehead to almost the crown of my head. I have always had it. The texture of my hair along the part is looser and grows almost kinky straight.

I also thought my edges were thinning. I do have one slightly baldy spot in my edges on the left that happens when I am too stressed out. It just does. This move has maxed my stressed levels so my lil freakout spot is filling back in but was clean bald for a minute. Also the softest bit of skin ever on my whole body for a bit.

I looked at some older photos that I can’t find now and y’all, that’s just how my edges are.

My fellow struggle bus naturals. Hey, you. Come here. If your hair isn’t the fluffiest most plum n juicy curls it is okay. Your hair is great. My hair is great OKAY.

Okay.

SO I gave myself a BOMB blowout. I prepood with coconut oil. A word about coconut oil. I know it has fallen out of fashion. Personally my hair is not on the straight protein bandwagon and doing an overnight coconut oil prepoo once or twice a month makes a huge difference for me. If I use coconut oil a bit sparingly, it works way better. Pro tip.

Then I double cleansed. I used the Shea Moisture (yeah I know we’ll get to it) Raw Shea butter shampoo. (YES amazon affiliatelinks cause Auntie needs coins). So a while back Shea Moisture decided to cash out and go “multi culteral” and in their ads, really ignored the Black women mainly who shot that brand into the stratosphere. They did apologize but I am still not really into them. I also know that some of their products have changed a lot so they are more friendly to White folks and that just makes me angry. I had some of the JBCO lines and compared bottles on the same products and it was very disappointing. THey also called some Black bloggers liars for pointing it out. So I don’t really fucks with them that much.

I had it around and used it.

I followed up with a sulfate shampoo. Garnier Fructis Brazilian Smooth Fortifying Shampoo. Y’all, I have so many Garnier products they are really going in. I LOVE their stuff and it is so inexpensive and easy to find. When I know I’m going to use heat I always use a shampoo that is either anti breakage or fortifying or smoothing. Straightening wash day is about keeping my hair strong and moist.

I followed up with my black tea rinse. I use a jug basically and hot tap water. I drop 4-6 bags of plain black tea in there the night before (I like it strong, if you don’t drink tea or coffee do it an hour before you wash) and then before I wash I dig out the tea bags and drop in a few drops of lavender essential oil or peppermint. Over the years I’ve tried many anti breakage and anti shedding remedies and always come back to black tea. You can also do it in a spray bottle as part of your leave in or do it like I do. After rinsing out all my shampoo I saturate my hair with the tea and massage it into my scalp. Then I added my deep conditioner on top.

I always mix my deep conditioners. I have yet to find one single formula that does it all. This particular mix I wanted some strength and a lot of moisture and less oil than I use when I am not heat styling. I had some trial packets of the Garnier Whole Blends Repairing Mask Honey Treasures so I used some of those. A few sploots of Pantene Pro-V Anti-Breakage Conditioner that I picked up at Grocery outlet a while back. Interestingly, the black folks line from Pantene irritates the shit out of my scalp. I filled it out with some random other moisturizing conditioners. And of course I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil and just the smallest dollop of castor oil. I sat under my bonnet dryer for fifteen minutes, had a hot flash and went and took a nap.

I have a handheld dryer with this giant weird comb/brush/roller attachment thing. It is really old and they don’t make it anymore. But basically it has a finer tooth comb bit, then the air comes out of the larger tooth bit and on the back are these little velvety roller things. Once I figured out how to use that with the tension method voila. For heat protection I used Garnier Fructis Style Smooth Blow Dry Anti-Frizz Cream. Y’all that shit is so good.

This was my result, no other product. Just before I cut about 2 inches off.

hairs

[image description: The author, brown skinned person with kinky blown out hair. Wearing glasses and a lip ring]

Y’all look at my hair.

Is it the thickest? No. But it is so beautiful and I’m so happy with my progress. My roots weren’t super straight which is fine. Yes, all my hair photos I’m bare ass because I don’t wear clothes when I do my hair.

My next project post move will be to make more of my hair growth/scalp stimulation/healing oil. And this summer I might start whipping my own shea butter. AND this summer, I’m tackling some styles so stay tuned for that.

That’s all babes.

Struggle Bus Naturals Post- Curl pattern or nah?

Hello my fellow Struggle Bus Naturals.

So hey…..hey boo.

A few weeks ago yours truly had a wee bit of a hair meltdown. We all have them. Whether it is a setback an oops etc. My last one you can read about here, my not about that braid life hella fail. 

Ahem.

SO what had happened was I feel victim to following too many other naturals. I know. Y’all. I know.

So with my hair getting longer and it being healthy as hell and beautiful I’ve been wanting to do some styles between wigs. I’ve looked at braid out, twist out, wash n go tutorials galore and had come to the conclusion that somehow I had damaged my hair and broken my curl pattern.

I have been misunderstanding my curls.

This is what my hair looks like  freshly washed and deep conditioned.

wethair

[image description: brown faced author, with half of their face visible and a look at crinkly black hair]

Okay so that is just what she is. My hair has a mix of just kinky hair and wee tiny coily curls. The ends of my hair will do lil ringlets when clumped but, when left alone this is what happens. Now here is where I shouldn’t have believed my eyes. When my hair was shorter and also virgin, my hair had a bit more round type curls. But only when wet. As my hair has gotten healthier it has gotten thicker and my actual texture is very much a mix of 4c/zish.

A lot of the natural hair folks I was watching, have looser curls. I do follow around a good number of type 4 folks but, I did not parse that most of them are wearing/doing styles with their hair stretched.

DING DING stretched.

Stretched.

Whoa.

So the meltdown was in my air dried hair having no coils or juicy curls. Not manipulated my hair when dry is crinkly and kinky. Beautiful. Full and bouncy. Leonine.

I don’t have a good pic but take my word for it.

Y’all, shit got real. I was moisturizing and shit and was teary. I thought I needed to big chop again and I worked SO HARD to nip away damage from an intense color I had, I spend so much time loving my fro and y’all….

Luckily I learned from the last time I did that shit and I did not. I did my LOC method, braided and did some research.

Turns out, my hair is fine.

I also figured out that my hair is medium porosity.

What I’ve figured out is that my method of just really paying attention to how my hair feels keeps it in the best condition. The one thing I think I’ve been doing not quite right is not detangling well enough. With my medium porosity hair that is slightly protein sensitive, it stays well hydrated if I do the FULL LOC method on wash day then mid week or so I spritz my hair with my Oyin Juices and Berries leave in. If I need to detangle I use a more intense leave in.

I need slip because my kinks like to cuddle and that has led to me having some epic knots and y’all, I had a period of only finger detangling and that is not the business. That was also part of the problem with my fail braids. I hadn’t detangled with tools and it was a mess.

So lately on wash day if I’m doing the full prepoo, shampoo (double cleanse) and deep condition I will start the detaingling while I do my prepoo. That is when I finger detangle. This seems really extra but when you’re already prone to terrible migraines AND you are absurdly tender headed, it works. One problem with being really tender headed is that my scalp starts to get sore and I don’t want to detangle anymore. So I stopped doing it all in one go.

After that, I do a bit more while cleansing. With my fingers. Then after I DC I detangle the most under my shower. Any knots remaining I use a denman and I twist or braid each section, and I use a bit of tension to stretch my roots.

Since I’ve been doing that my shedding is way down. OH also because I’ve been tea rinsing but I’ll talk more about that later.

My breakage is also super down.

SO the lesson here my fellow struggle bus loves is as always, sometimes you cannot take the word of anybody except your own.

Now my loves. Next Struggle Bus post will likely be a lil length check after my next trim and straighten. I’m HYPE to straighten my hair I haven’t done so in like two years.

Until then I love y’all!!

Skin Care updates.

Hello darlings.

Let’s talk about skin care today and the state of my skin and whatnot.

For reference. I am 40 will be turning 41 in March. Very VERY oily skin that is prone to:

  • Peeling
  • Rashes
  • Dehydration
  • Major hyperpigmentation and scarring often for no damn reason.

I also have skin that is highly sensitive to weather changes, hormones, anything. My skin as I get older gets more extra.

SO wanna see?

nakedface

[image caption: photo of the blogger, brown skinned femme with a naked face.

I really wish I still had my old phone so y’all could get a better idea of where I started. I do still have a scar/s on my forehead from a bad bout of dermatitis but, with gentle regular care they have faded. Also if you look at the corners of my mouth where my skin splits in the Winter, it is lookin pretty clear.

On my check on the right, you can see two dark marks. Both of those are from two MAJORLY clogged pores. Traditionally, since puberty I’ve been prone to whiteheads. From the teeny ones to big ole HOLY SHIT WHAT IS THAT type ones. The smaller ones caused the most hyperpigmentation on my face. Even if left alone.

Those two marks were the other clogged pore, just clogged up for ages without a bump. I treated them at first with a drying solution which only made the top layer of skin peel.

SO y’all…I know this is counter intuitive but I ignored them.

My skin care routine has been a little off. I’m trying not to buy new skin stuff until after we move and I figure out my storage situation. Here’s what I do in general lately.

  1. Remove make up with whatever, balm, oil, make up wipe. Occasionally I take my eye make up off with castor oil if I’ve been more extra than usual that day.
  2. Cleanse with cleanser.
  3. Rinse very well.
  4. Pat dry.
  5. SOmetimes mask right away.
  6. Or skip #5 use my ACV/Water toner.
  7. Vitamin C/hyalauranic acid serum (under 20$)
  8. Retinol (I’m out and my fave is discontinued *SAD MOO*)
  9. CVS even skin oil.
  10. Moisturizer.

Now. I’ve been doing the 10-sometimes up to 13 step skin care for about a year now. This is the result. My skin is visibly softer, I am way WAY LESS prone to scarring. Let me tell you a story.

A few periods ago, I grew a monster pimple. The likes of which I thought I left in my 20s. It hurt, it was red and ragey for a good four days before it even started to whitehead up. I treated it with my favorite OH SHIT mask.

Let me pause here.

ORIGINS Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask to Rescue Skin Problem. Y’ALL. I know I talk about this product every skin post but I am on tube #3 and it is my real ride or die oh shit product. It is potent. I used a dab of it on Zitzilla every day and it withered. It is in fact expensive but one tube goes a LONG way if you have fairly clear skin and only really need it for oh shitness.

Now, even two years ago I would have wound up with a big almost black mark on the side of my face. When my face scars, the hyperpigmentation will sort of spread like a blob as you can see.

I had a faintish darker than me brown spot for a few weeks and it was gone.

That is HUGE.

Now for most of my life I’d STILL have the scar.

Look at my left cheek, no scar.

Up close I have a few little slightly darker brown scars but they fade fast.

The huge thing is that I stuck with the extra routine. The basics are my skin likes being very clean then, exfoliated and heavily moisturized. This is where I say, you have to give stuff a chance to work.

Right now this moment my face is a bit broken out because I’m out of some of my stuff as I mentioned. My skin is still in good condition, I am concentrating on keeping my skin well cleansed, I do a light peel mask weeklyish and I am still using my spin brush. I also moisturize really well.

I moisturize more than I thought I ever would. I mean, had you told me twenty years ago I would not only moisturize but not be using sebum killer cleansers and aggressively trying to perfect my skin.

Instead, I’ve learned to be gentle with myself even in trying to clear up my skin.

So there it is. After we get moved and whatnot I will talk about what I’m putting back in and going to try out.

 

Aromaleigh- Indie Make up Review

Hello darlings.

Long ago yours truly was SUPER HEAVILY into indie make up. I bought a lot of it and sort of fell off of it.

Not long ago Aromaleigh came across my FB feed and I hadn’t bought anything from them in years and I made a wee tiny order.

Well after my order came I was fairly violently reminded why I stopped buying a lot of indie.

So let’s go.

I purchased a sample of the Porcelana Oil Control Mattifying Primer PowderSPIRITS WEPT Lip Lush and a lip balm.

Let’s talk about the primer first. Frankly I was really hesitant to order because at a glance, obviously this is not really for brown people. The face stuff from this brand is not really brown friendly and hasn’t been, wasn’t when I first ordered years ago and I don’t know what I was thinking. From the site:

Porcelana Oil Control Mattifying Primer Powder is a Magnesium-based translucent primer powder which is finely milled with a creamy feel. A thin layer of Porcelana applied to your problem areas can greatly help in keeping your image of perfection… all day long. This product is based on Aromaleigh v1’s “Porcelaine” Primer- it has the same exact formula, but we’ve adjusted the 3 tone levels to be more user-friendly. Instead of coming in light-medium, medium and medium-deep, Porcelana is available in light, medium and deep.

Ahem. This is the “deep”

20180118_115358.jpg

[image caption: a baggy labeled deep porcelana oil control primer powder, set on brown skin]

Ahem um.

Okay this should be renamed. There is literally nothing “deep” about this shade. It is deep beige? So opening my pretty little package I just sort of stared at it because…look at it.

Now I did try it on my face. I’m experienced with primer powders, I’ve been doing that Jackie Aina trick of powdering pre-foundation for years. First impression when I put it on, holy shit this is ashy. It was not cute and I had to really work my foundation to cover the ash and STILL got some flashback. Not awesome.

Also, it made my face greasier than normal. When trying out primers, I do nothing else different to my face. Daily I wash my face with cold water, I put on my Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging Daily Face Moisturizer With SPF 30 (review soon), use either Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer (review also coming soon) or Pixi Flawless & Poreless Primer, use powder then foundation. Normally, at this point in my face I maybe blot before I leave work but otherwise after about 6 hours my face goes from matte to satin.

This primer had me at full greasy shiny in less than 4 hours.

I honestly shouldn’t have bought it, after reading the page on the site about picking foundation shades and seeing this:


Deep (Aromaleigh Level Four): Your skintone is darker, possibly of mediterranean or other ethnic descent, and you tan easily.

“Other ethnic/tan easily” is cosmetic code for nah. this is not for Black people darker than tan. So Aromaleigh for us browner folks in terms of face stuff, skip it. Just don’t.

However, the lip and eye products are so beautiful.

The liplush in Spirits Wept is such a perfect reddish brown nude for brown skin. If you don’t want a lipstick and want something with a bit of sheen and moisture this is the business. It is so close to my natural lip color I can’t even get a good photo. It has a slight lovely scent, goes on silky smooth. Definitely a great thing and I will buy more. I’ll probably grab a few more shades because a nice not streaky brown nude lip balm is a really great addition to your collection. Especially for folks who don’t really go for a lot of make up. If you want a bit of zoom but nothing like BAM POW LOOK, this is a great product for a great price.

As I remember now, this is a great brand for very beautiful eye color formulations. Hands down, Aromaleigh has my favorite color shifting eyeshadows. These are so beautiful and so soft and blendable. I have several and they are another thing I can recommend for brown skin. A wash of a nice colorshift on the lid, mascara and gloss and voila. Low key glam.

So overall, I’m generally pleased. We all know I LOVE my lippies and even the regular balm I got has been settled into regular rotation. I use it under my Rosebud balm on my lips before bed and my regular winter cracked mouth is healed. If you are darker than Rihanna, don’t bother with the face stuff.

Next time, I’ll review one of my all time fave indie companies Fyrinnae. 

2017 for the Struggle Bus Natural.

About the last one for the year y’alls.

I’m gonna look at hair stuff.

SOoooo y’all.

I had intended to make this big dramatic post, patting myself on the back and twerking in joy because I found a braid extension that doesn’t involve cornrows and that I can do. If you are interested see here. If you want to learn how to do cornrowless crochet braids of any type, seriously sub to Jazz Nicole and learn. Her videos are easy to follow and even I COULD DO IT.

So I practiced. And Sunday I got started.

First thing what had happened was-

I had some MAJOR knots down at my goddamn scalp. I could feel them. Getting them out was traumatic. Because I’ve been mainly finger and wide tooth comb detangling, I’ve avoided a lot of breakage buuuuuuuuuuuuut them little evil ass gremlin knots slipped through the big comb and I damn well know that gliding my fingers from scalp to ends is a no go. SO that was, fucking terrible.

Y’all.

Y’ALL.

Because I don’t heat style more than maybe once a year, I had to fight them knots. I was very gentle but about a quarter of the way through, my scalp started to hurt really badly. Just, sore and bruised so I stopped and resumed on Monday. When I was almost in tears because my whole goddamn head was hurting like I got hit, I should have stopped but………..I did not.

Listen to your Auntie babes.

If your body is saying. HEY NO PLS WHAT THE FUCK STOP NO FUCK U BITCH! Listen.

However, after a few maybe scissor happy trims my hair is doing very well. It is juicy moist, soft. Everything I want and I’m retaining length. That is huge for me because I’m going for booty length hair and I can’t be losing my inches to bullshit.

 

 

The evolution of oh noness. First pic, doing the first section. Holding my hair out I was feeling myself. Second photo, me feeling myself HUGELY. My pretty little braids were soft and shiny. Swingy. Third photo, hours later this is the sweaty face of defeat. That was the point I decided to just give up.

So defeat.

But! Good news.

I have added a new layer of understanding about my hair.

I need a hard all the way down to the scalp, tiny ass comb detangling at least once a month.

My current routine is working out very nicely. Here’s how I get down.

I am hardcore protective styling. I’m wearing wigs.

Doing the LOC method regularly works for me. My hair still loves a heavy ass butter/oil PAPOW combo. When I’m on my game, I only really need to moisturize after washing, then two days later. Then again on wash day.

Now let’s talk about some products I like.

For moisturizing. For a non handmade cream I like some few brands.

Asiam Double Butter Cream. Not bad. It is nicely moisturizing, has good stuff in it and is pretty easy to find.

Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream. WITH a caveat. Cantu products are VERY proteiny. Use with caution especially if your hair is protein sensitive. That said, it is a great one to use if your hair is feeling a little weak. Not a lot, a little goes a long way.

Really for me if something has a good base of shea butter AND has oils, it’s gonna be great.

Oils:

Commercially blended oils.

This one does have a silicone but it’s not a biggie for me. My hair isn’t mad about cones. Hot 6 oil. I love to use it as a base for other stuff.

I like to mix in:

Jamaican Black Castor Oil. Always a fave of mine. My scalp LOVES this shit and when I have an itchy spot it does it for me.

I will also drop in a little bit of peppermint or tea tree oil.

For commercial oils, what you want is to make sure they don’t have mineral oil and if you’re sensitive to silicones skip it.

Oils from the grocery store.

Coconut oil. Y’all do not get fooled into paying vast amounts. Go to a hood grocery, buy a jar of coconut oil. I know it isn’t the big thing anymore but my hair loves it.

Other kitchen oils: olive oil is amazing. For me I like my oils a bit heavier but olive is great and no it doesn’t have to be the fanciest most extra virgin olive ever. Plain ole olive oil, just check the label to make sure it is pure olive oil.

If you live where you can get to a brown folks grocery, look for palm oil.I’ve used it as a hot oil treatment and it was GREAT. Also avocado oil but it is expensive where I live so I tend not to use it.

For ultra softening get a good fatty ass oil.

Non eatin oils:

I LOVE light castor oil and buy one or two bottles a year. My brand is NOW Solutions Castor Oil. Y’all. This is so great to have on hand. I use it to boost conditioners, I use it when I have dry scaly spots on my butt. Honestly that one is my one true love. I’ve used others, jojoba etc but my hair likes it heavy.

Leave ins:

I bounce between two primarily.

My first love is the Oyin Juices n Berries. I am a ride or die og Oyin fan. They make my FAVE whipped butter.  I love the light mist and the scent of juices and berries. This is great for me. It does have glycerin in it so I alternate it with another leave in.

Creme of Nature with argan oil – Strength & Shine Leave-In Conditioner. I LOVE this product. It is a bit more of a heavy spray but gives some excellent slip. Really great. I love this one.

Plain water is great. Occasionally I like to do water mixed with a sploot of oil.

The biggest thing I’ve learned this year about my hair is that I really need to just do me. I LOVE learning about the big wide diverse world of natural hair, I just gotta remember not to try EVERY DAMN SHINY THING ON MYSELF.

Also y’all, I had some setbacks didn’t make my goal length and I am so happy. I love my hair so much.

Coming up in 2018 I’m planning on going HARD on the protective styling. What can I say, I want mermaid hair.

There will be more wig reviews, maybe some struggle bus how to basics?

I dunno.

Happy new year y’all.

2017…look back at it Make up Edition

2017 hot garbage we know.

SO let’s talk about make up that rocked my lil world. *Again affiliate links, y’all know.

Foundation:

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Total Control Drop Foundation. – Y’all. Y’ALL. 14$. The MOST adjustable coverage. I love this foundation. For drugstore, it is my holy grail even though it isn’t technically matte or long wear. A++

L’ORÉAL Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation. Honorable mention. This was my ride or die for a long time but, unfortunately when my skin cleared up it stopped being quite so awesome. Still HELLA good though.

Powders:

The Fiona Stiles INVISIBLE FINISH LOOSE SETTING POWDER is great. Not 26$ great, I picked mine up on super clearance at ULTA in the shade Sorrento. Finely milled, no flashback. Nice velvety finish. Ulta doesn’t carry it anymore but if you can find it discounted on Ebay yes. I’ve been using it under my foundation (we’ll talk about that later) and it is a very nice powder.

MAYBELLINE Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder. I picked this up in deep IN A DRUG STORE NEAR MY HOME, y’all that shit was amazing. So the powder is very finely milled, very soft and smooth. I’ve used a lot of loose powders and this one is right up there with my beloved Cover Fx matte powder. Even when I wear a satin finish foundation on occasion it keeps my face more matte than not. Even in the middle of the  period skin freak out, my face didn’t lose coverage or grease up. I def. recommend also it comes in a good variety of shades.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but I spend a lot of time looking for a pressed powder that works for me somewhat close to Mac Blot Powder (holy grail powder) and this year I’ve gone through a few. My current go to fave with notes is the Wet N wild Photo Focus pressed powder. Okay first impression I found it a little hard to manage. It added coverage and is very easy to cake up in a bad way. Also the compact has no goddamn mirror.

HOLD UP.

HELLO ENGINEERS. Yes the little dome packaging is sleek, it has a weight in the hand that doesn’t say, this is cheap shit. BUT, do you know how hard it is to hold your phone up to your face, palm your powder AND put it on. Nah son.

That said, I used a super fluffy little kabuki rather than the puff and made sure to blot before powder and the finish is lovely. Velvety. Very pretty. I recommend this one for folks who wear little or no foundation. It will add a bit of coverage and keep you lookin smooth.

NEXT ONE (I KNORITE, powders and lip products man.)

Honorable mention: MAYBELLINE Fit Me Matte + Poreless Powder. This is the pressed powder and like the wet n wild can do you dirty if not applied carefully. That said it does give that silky velvet matte finish. Also super affordable. This one I don’t find in drugstores so much in my color.

Mascaras:

So I usually have a rotation of four or five mascaras depending on how I want my lashes to look. In the last few months I’ve been using ONE.

Rimmel Volume Accelerator Mascara, is a fucking ALL STAR. On the face of it, I thought I’d hate this mascara. This version has a huge brush, is very wet but y’all. First of all, it gives my lashes a lengthened fanned appearance. Also, I think it has indeed accelerated my lashes. I didn’t do before photos because I didn’t think I’d get effects. Even the Uniballer noticed my lashes look fuller. I want to try the serum too.

Wet N Wild Lash Renegade. It has a weird spiky brush with a wand and once I got the hang of it, I am very into the look. I like to wear fourteen pounds of mascara and I can with this without it getting too messy. WNW is cruelty free if that’s a thing you are into. It is cheap and hugely available. The only reason it isn’t my go to is because I have shaky hands and sometimes I can’t be having a spiky thing near my eyeballs. Love it. It is super good on the lower lash line for me, my bottom lashes are stumpy and this brush grabs them without being messy.

Lips:

I am a lip product FANATIC. Lipstick, lipgloss, balms, tinted balms YOU NAME IT! I love it.

First some all star balms. I suffer easily dehydrated lips. I have allergies and sometimes I mouth breath in my sleep and my lips crack.

A new favorite balm is the Badger Creamy Cocoa Cocoa Butter Lip Balm. I grabbed it on a whim and am very pleased. It goes on nice and thick, the cocoa butter melts right into your lips and they are very soft. It isn’t strongly flavored, it smells/tastes like unrefined cocoa butter. Also it makes an amazing matte lipstick remover and after scrub balm.

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Pineapple Quench Lip Balm.  Another newer fave. I love this one for nighttime under a heavy thick product. Nothing weird in it, it doesn’t taste/smell super strongly. This is a great balm for people who don’t like a beeswaxy or thick balm.

Gloss next. I don’t mind a matte lip but at heart I am a gloss person. I love a wet look shiny lip.

First up a brand new fave. The Milani Stellar Lights Holographic Lip Gloss. Y’ALL. I haven’t been looking at make up for a couple of months since we’re moving/saving dollars. However, to celebrate my little poetry book coming out I snagged this on a whim because it was blue and shiny. YO. First of all, how DARE they come out with a duochrome gloss that is also hella sparkly. Second of all, the depth of sparkle in it is gorgeous. This is the holo/duochrome I’ve been DREAMING ABOUT. The color shift is visible on naked lips and it’s just amazing. I will be buying all of them.

Pro tip for brown babes especially those with dark or not red lips. Glosses like these are AMAZING on non red lips. If you want more of a nude sparkle, go for a goldenish tone version. For real.

I’ve gone through two tubes of the BURT’S BEES Lip Shine this year. One in pucker and one in the brownish shade. I found the coverage to be buildable from totally sheer to tinted. This is another one in that browny shade if you have brown or dark lips is !!!. A tiny bit sticky which I don’t mind. It is very moisturizing to me. And shiny.

For high end, hands down my pants Mac Lipglass is my shit. I buy one probably once every couple of years for at least ten years now? My favorites are the kind of milky shades, the nudes. The high sparkle ones. My favorite of the last few years came from their Star Trek inspired collab. MAC Star Trek Dramatic Color Lipglass (Warp Speed Ahead). Not the best feeling but it is so pretty I don’t even care.

Shout outs to the two dollar store glitter glosses I have that have more glitter than the more expensive ones. Don’t sleep on the dollar store y’all. Especially for small things like glosses and nail polish.

What else?

OH I have bought and used concealers and primers. Normally I don’t do all that but sometimes I like to have them on hand.

For my brown folks with the blue toned hyperpigmentation. Baby, come here. Closer, listen to your Auntie. This shit right here. WILL block that blue/blackness so you can be great. My favorite color corrector of ALL FUCKING TIME. L.A. GIRL HD Pro Concealer 

Y’all. If you are brown you want the orange. Start with a wee bit and play with it. SHIT WORKS. If you are tan down through medium beige, get the peach. If you are medium beige to very pale, get the peach and the white and mix them down.

To do undereye non hyperpigmentation things, I use NYX Professional Makeup Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand. I grabbed it on sale and it is creamy, easy to blend for concealer noobs and is amazing.

Okay my loves. I will calm down. These are my absolute stand outs for new/recurring make up faves. Next it will be hair stuff.

Stay tuned.

Auntie loves you.