Feelin Myself- Hair n Beauty updates

Oh hay y’all.

As we are ending the trash fire that 2016 has been, I want to end on a few good notes.

Including, stuff that I am super into beauty and hair wise.

Hair first.

I’ve been doing the L.O.C (Leave in, Oil, Cream) method of moisturizing my hair for a while now and wow does it work. It took a few months for me to figure out that my hair once it is well moisturized, only wants to have the full LOC done on it twice a week while I’m protective styling.

Now I am hardcore protective styling. I’m using wigs and I only manipulate my hair to wash it. I’ve decided to protective style until, uh, well whenever I’m done I guess. My hair is healthy enough right now that I’m focusing really heavily on retaining my length.

My current rotation of products is: (affiliate links ahoy)

Liquid-Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Moisture L.O.C. Super Quench Leave-In Spray– not bad. Not quite liquidy enough for my tastes. If you prefer a finer spray this one is good.

Oil- I use half and half of the African Royale Hot Six Hair Oil and JBCO. I added some powdered MSM to it as well.

For my cream (My holy grail is still Oyin Handmade Whipped pudding, but real talk I can’t generally afford it) Aunt Jackie’s Flaxseed Recipes Seal It Up Hydrating Sealing Butter. I actually bought that on a whim. A few months ago I spent about 50$ on a TON of hair care stock up and this was on sale and a big ass jar. I’ve used some of the jar and it is super moisturizing. It is also kind of heavily perfumed with a powdery scent I don’t think is stellar. The secret is to make sure hair is good and damp or wet before application.

Simple. Easy. My hair is thriving very nicely.

I have also discovered a new type of bonnet to sleep in and I LOVE IT. No irritation, no pressure on my edges. The Magic organic argan oil treated sleep cap.  I dunno if the treatment works or no but, it stays on. I sleep like a demon and used to have to tie other satin bonnets on tightly and that does not work when you get migraines. These are loose and I’ve yet to force once off and no marks on my forehead when I get up. A+.

Now let’s talk my skin.

I had one indulgence on Cyber Monday and I bought the Spin for Perfect Skin brush from Groupon.

spinbrush

I did a TON of research and decided to give it a shot. Y’all……..holy shit I’m in love with it so hard. First of all, it was 80$ off (don’t worry links in a minute) it came with: the machine, a soft brush (lower left corner), an exfoliating brush (right bottom), a body brush, and a pumice stone. I have used all of them and wow.

The soft daily face brush is very soft. This thing spins at a good clip and leaves my skin super clean and smooth. First, I remove my makeup with my Rice, Bright cleansing oil, then I put liquid African Black soap and spin away. I’m careful not to press hard and my skin has already shown some improvement. My dark spots are fading a bit faster, my period break outs are less intense. It actually works better for me than my Clarisonic.

Once a week I use the exfoliating brush with a creamy cleanser. Usually Sunday’s because normally I don’t wear make up on Sunday. Then I follow up with a mask.

Excellence. The exfoliating brush has decreased how many ingrown hairs I get on my chin and is great overall.

The body brush…….zomfg. My skin is very dry and peely in the winter. I have to have good exfoliation a few times a week and this gets the job done. After I exfoliate with a moisturizing body wash, after I slather on my moisturizers. My booty is smooth and the dry patch I have is already starting to shrink.

NOW. If you don’t already use groupon please consider using my referral link to sign up. You can find the brush here. It didn’t come with a fancy case which is fine. I sanitize my brush heads after use and it goes on a shelf. Honestly, it was a great investment and I’d pay full price for it.

Winter is always tough on my self image. It’s taken me all these years to figure out how to dress and stay warm, to have a nice coat, to have my skin in check. I’ve decided in 2017 in order to continue my glow up, I’m gonna change up my skin care a little bit. Just a few minor tweaks.

Coming up soon I’ll do a post and show y’all my little wig collection. Also, I’ll show y’all how I braid under my wings. It’s not the fleekiest method but I can’t cornrow and it works.

After new year, look for some thoughts on turning 40, hopefully some thoughts about an adventure in perfumery and some angst about underwear.

 

Approaching 40. The Glo Up is Real

Hello darlings.

I will be turning 40 in just a few months. I decided that for my bigger dollar purchases this year I want skin care.

My skin is still as I said way back in this entry the best it has ever been in my life. Overall I am more than delighted by the state of my skin. My breakouts are so few they aren’t even really a thing. I have some new things, a few stubborn blocked pores and blackheads but nothing terrible.

The frequency that my face is peeling or rashy is way way down. My face is bouncy and super friggin soft.

Currently I’m doing a multi step nightly skin care routing. I use (per usual all links are affiliate links) The Face Shop – Rice Water Bright – Cleansing Light Oil (full write up/review soon) to remove my make up, rinse well, use my liquid African black soap and my trusty Clarisonic. Rinse well. Then a few times a week I use some sort of sheet mask. I have a bunch of them. Or I use my OG ride or die oh shit my skin is trippin’ Origins Out of Trouble Mask.

A word about that mask. It is intense. If you’ve used the Queen Helene Mint Julep mask, the Origins mask is that times four. I used to use the Queen Helene religiously and then my breakouts defeated it. I picked up the Origins mask in a little gift size and holy wow. It is one of the first masks I’ve used that will dry up some pimples with a quickness. It does uh, warm a bit. Some folks say it burns. I do get some redness and my eyes water because of the sulphur in it and whatnot. I went from using this religiously once a week to now, really only if my skin is trippin. It works. Totally worth the price.

Next I use Claire-ity Skincare 25% Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E. Of the vitamin C serums I’ve tried I think this is my favorite. It has a really nice gel texture and goes on nicely, is a bit sticky then absorbs. My skin definately is extra soft, my dark marks are less dark. Very nice.

I follow up with the moisturizer of the moment. Right now I’m using a sample of tarte
Rainforest of the Sea™ Drink Of H2O Hydrating Boost Moisturizer that I picked up at a Sephora event. It’s nice. It’s nothing spectacular for me. I like the texture, it does the job of keeping my faceballs nice and moist but there’s no wow factor for me. It is not The One.

Now let’s talk about my ambitions.

I want to find the one great one in terms of facial moisturizers. I know it when I feel it.

I have some stuff I want to try. Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream is close to the top of the list. I tried out this cream once and omg. So silky. I absolutely want to try it again. I’m also super interested in trying out the Origins Dr. Andrew Weil For Origins™ Mega–Bright Skin Illuminating Moisturizer. I do love anything illuminating and Origins is great in general for me.

If we can talk holy grail only if I won the Lotto I’d try this shit here. Shiseido
Future Solution LX Total Regenerating Cream. I mean that shit is 260$. Just once I’d like to put something that luxe on my face and you are damn skippy I’d use EVERY LAST BIT OF IT.

What else am I interested in skin wise?

I think I want to try some peel oriented products. I’ve got my eye on the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. I tried a little jar of these and thought they were nice. I’d like to get a big one and try them out for a few months. I also want to try the Murad Intensive-C® Radiance Peel. My skin responds to vitamin c really well.

I also want to try out the Peter Thomas Roth Mask-A-Holic 5-Piece Kit. Honestly I’m really just a mask junkie and those look so fancy.

To fund my adventures in skincare I’ve been saving up my Swagbucks side hustle gift cards. It isn’t the greatest, but it helps. I got a 25$ Sephora gift card last month and I’m on track to get another one this month as well. Also, I save using my Ebates as well.

On Cyber Monday I allowed msyelf one indugence. I have been stalking the Spin for Perfect Skin brush and picked one up on Groupon for like 20$ with specials. I’m totally late on the groupon but I actually have gotten some good deals there. AND they do a referral thing so if you are so inclined to sign up with my link and I’ll get some coins.  I will do a full review of it soon.

Between side hustles and my mad saving skills, I’ll be expanding my skin care slowly.

That’s all folks. Reviews for stuff I get forthcoming.

My Best Skin Ever.

I have always had a lot of issues with my skin. From puberty until this minute, my skin has been by turns:

  • Super holy shit oily
  • Scaly
  • Rashy
  • Sensitive
  • Acne prone
  • Fuzzy
  • Prone to hyperpigmentation if I scowl at it
  • Mysterious
  • Hateful

You get the idea.

As a youngster my problems with my skin were heavily involved in the very few images of Black beauty I was exposed to. Like many other folks of color, as a kid, I was quite a bit darker skinned and that was a problem for me. By the age of about 15 I thought I knew how to fix my face:

  • Lighten my skin
  • Fade dark marks at any cost
  • Pluck my face clean of EVERY SINGLE FUCKING EXTRA HAIR

Etc.

Around this age, I (this was 1992ish) I also started to realize that the methods for dealing with problem skin, foundation and concealers etc was not available to me. When I went to Rite Aid or where ever the darkest shade of anything I could find was usually Tan. Or rarely I could find either a pale caramel color or super dark. Nothing in between.

Thus began a (at this point) 20 year search for “good” skin and the start of my very fraught relationship with skin care.

Up until about five years ago my quest was for smooth, velvety perfect brown skin. Achieved either through skin care or make up or both. Flawless the way Black women are supposed to look according to what I knew about Black beauty.

I researched and have spent thousands. I tried saving up for microdermabrasion, I bought at home microdermabrasion products (don’t), expensive systems (proactiv etc), scrubs, fancy cleansers, special fucking towels all promising to fix my problem.

A few years ago I decided to stop trying for the perfection I thought I was supposed to have.

Well, what actually happened was while I was looking for some foundation that provided coverage, didn’t break me out and that I could afford I broke down into tears at home because I couldn’t find or afford anything that seemed like it would help. My face was broken out and my hyperpigmentation issues were getting worse and my latest DIY terrible idea had made things worse.

I also sat myself down and wrote in a journal what I really needed from my skin and skin care. This is what I came up with:

  1. Less discomfort in the form of rashes, itching, irritation.
  2. Affordable in terms of the amount of self care money I set aside quarterly.
  3. Smoother skin
  4. Moisturized skin

With that in mind I started with doing a few simple things. I started drinking more liquids. I figured out that my body functions better on more hydration. I also got back on the vitamins I take. Yes, I know a lot of folks say that vitamins are bullshit. For me, if they are bullshit they are bullshit that helps me feel better overall so it’s worth it.

Next thing, I found my perfect combination of skin cleansing. On the advice of many  YouTube makeup folks, I remove my makeup with wipes. I use the ones I buy at Big Lots or Grocery outlet. I’m not super particular as long as they are good and moist and can remove at least 95% of the five pounds of eye make up I wear regularly.

Second, I worked on finding the cleanser for me. I bought a lot of high end deluxe samples of things and used some drugstore stuff. What I need in a cleanser is gentleness that also gets my skin squeaky clean. I went back to a product I don’t know why I ever stopped using. African Black Soap. Now, let me explain y’all a thing. The secret to success with African Black soap is in finding the company/formula that works for you. I prefer to use it in liquid form. I also use it to shampoo my hair and wash my body fairly often. If you use the bar, remember it shouldn’t be solid black generally speaking. Handmade African Black soap is brownish and looks kinda poopy and is soft.

My next important cleansing thing is my Clarisonic Mia. Yes, that is expensive as shit. I was gifted one, but had been saving up.

Here is my super pro tip. Prior to even thinking about getting it, I picked up the Dynamic Duo face brush from Sephora. It’s like a big version of those little face brushes you can get at the drugstore. I used that daily, and still use it on my chest and back of my neck and it led me to investigating the Clarisonic. It is pretty great to use, fits nicely in the hand and does a lot of what I like about the Clarisonic.

As I’m talking about these things, bear in mind that it took me a good year or so to get through and figure it all out. I have a rule about trying out skincare. Barring immediate skin irritation, I use products for a full 60 days before I decide if they are working or not. Take photos of yourself before or jot down in a note how your skin feels or how your makeup goes on if you wear it. If you have menstrual cycles, try to give a product, at least 2 (if you’re regular) full cycles to see how it works.

So if we pause there, here’s what happened. I noticed after a few weeks of just these changes that my foundation was going on far easier. It took less to get on my face. I also started to notice that long term gentle treatment of my hyperpigmentation caused a lot of it to start fading.

The next thing was to find a good nighttime moisturizer. On a whim, I went with a Vitamin C serum and the Olay 7 Effects moisturizer. The combo of these things has made my skin routinely silky and the serum has upped the efficacy of my Black soap in helping keep my skin clear even around my period and has prevented a lot of hyperpigmentation and faded a lot of what I had.

Overall, what I’ve learned is to be gentle with my skin. As oily as it is, usually we’re told to throw EVERYTHING at it to stop the oil. That doesn’t work for me. I need clean, well moisturized skin.

My rules for the best skin I’ve ever had:

  1. Use suncreen/moisturizer every day I go outside.
  2. Give Products a chance to work.
  3. Don’t expect miracles.
  4. Drink some damn water.
  5. Always remember to remove make up.
  6. Have some fucking fun.

There you have it.

And here you have me with my spotty nekkid face and my fully beat all glam face.