15 Jan

Skin Care Products I’m Currently Using – ROUND 1

moisturized natural hair

Being a woman of color, I tend to put most of my beauty focus on my hair. It’s a well known fact that black women love all things hair! Now, that may sound like a blanket statement and it is. Of course, not every single black woman is this passionate about her hair but majority place a huge emphasis on the importance of hair and how it’s tied to her physical appearance.

As I’m getting older however, I need to shift some of that “hair love” over to some “skin love.” I used to talk more about skin care back in the earlier days of this blog and now it’s time to return to our roots! (no pun intended)

So, being that I’m working on a new me that includes long healthy hair, I’m also working on weight loss so that I can be Fit by 50 as well as beautiful clear skin.

I’ve struggled with having clear skin for many years and while I have the no wrinkle thing down pat at my ripe “young” age of 46  (as of the publishing of this post…It’s my birthday today!), I have some old acne scars and the occasional outbreak that likes to creep up. This is due to having Oily Acne Prone Skin.

Therefore, I’m paying a lot more attention to how I treat my skin and what I put on it. It all started with my visit to the Mario Badescu Spa in NYC a couple of weeks ago…

I got a European Facial and a glycolic acid treatment to help begin fading my dark spots. I purchased a number of products from the spa that I planned to make staples…until I read the ingredients.  Of course, I should have read the ingredients first but I assumed that this spa was offering natural products.  Sadly, their products contain parabens AND sulfates. Booooo!

I’m going to use up the products I have because after all, I paid for them! (and thank God I only bought two) and then I’m shifting gears. I’ll be using these products along with some others I have so that I can use up my stash. (I’m currently on #OperationUseUpMyStash for hair products. I’m not include my skin care products in this as well!)

For round 1, my facial routine using the products I will NOT be repurchasing will go like this:

mychelle dermaceuticals

Day

MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Cleanser (this is actually a good product line. I may or may not return to this after trying another line. Keep reading!)
MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Mist (a toner)
Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream (received in a Birchbox, not pictured)
Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Moisturizer SPF 15 (not pictured)
Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Eye Cream (not pictured)

face toner

Night

Mario Badescu Facial Cleanser with Glycol Acid (samples to use up, not pictured)
Mario Badescu Glycolic Toner on affected dark areas only
MyChelle  Fruit Enzyme Mist on rest of face
Zyana Gel (dermatologist prescribed – Will use until finished with the tube, not pictured)
derma e Night Cream (not pictured)
Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Eye Cream (not pictured)

MyChelle Vitamin A Plus Serum (2x a week) – at night on Wednesdays

In conjunction with my day and night routines, I’ll be doing weekly facial steaming with my Dr. Gross Facial Steamer followed by using MyChelle’s Fruit Enzyme Scrub, MyChelle’s Vitamin A Plus Serum and Dr. Gross’s Hyaluronic  Moisture Cushion Cream.

healthy skin lessons

These are the products I’m currently using but they are not staples. I just have so many products (many sent for review, given as gifts and in beauty sampler boxes) to use up that I need to do so in a strategic way.

Every 4 weeks (these are the rounds) I’ll switch to a different series of products until I’ve used everything up. Then, I’ll be switching over to try products from Vasseur Skin Care http://www.vasseurskincare.com. I follow Vasseur Beauty on Youtube and while she isn’t a woman of color, her skin is the most radiant I’ve seen yet. The products are indicated for skin types and skin problems so while we may be of a different race, oily acne prone skin doesn’t discriminate and uneven skin is uneven skin. Those are the two issues I’m dealing with as well as being proactive to prevent wrinkles.

I’ve already narrowed down the products I am going to get to create a complete and effective regimen for my skin’s needs:

Day

  • Olive Oil Cleanser: Gentle pH balanced cleanser will deeply clean and restore healthy moisture to your skin.
  • Papaya Enzyme Toner: A freshening anti bacterial toner infused with fresh papaya enzyme that removes dead skin cells and deep cleans the skin.
  • ALA Cream w/ Azelaic Acid (AZ): Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is one of the most powerful anti-aging, antioxidant, anti-inflammatories available. AZ helps clean the pores to prevent build up.
  • Day 25 Cream: Sun protection, daily moisture, antioxidants. Non-pore clogging

Night

  • Olive Oil Cleanser: Gentle pH balanced cleanser will deeply clean and restore healthy moisture to your skin.
  • ALA Cream w/ Azelaic Acid (AZ): Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is one of the most powerful anti-aging, antioxidant, anti-inflammatories available. AZ helps clean the pores to prevent build up. Used under Reveal 10.
  • Reveal 10: Helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, helps with overall brightening of skin tone and helps with skin imperfections.
  • Eye Q Gel: an innovative, lightweight anti-aging eye treatment gel that contains a dynamic combination of GABA (i.e. topical botox), DMAE, vitamin K and hyaluronic acid that instantly tightens and brightens the eyes and reduces fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles.
  • Night Cream: Provides extra hydration and is applied over Reveal 10.
  • Fade Cream:  Corrects dark spots, age spots or pigmentation.
  • Beauty Pillow: Used to prevent the development of sleep wrinkles. (This is optional but I do plan to get it at some point)

The Vasseur Skin Care line is not cheap but many are sold as part of skin care kits so you can try them in smaller sizes first. So, before I commit to the entire list of products I just shared, I’ll be getting the Starter Travel Kit. And because each order comes with two free samples, I’m hoping they will be 2 that are on this list that are not part of the kit!

vasseur starter kit

When I’m done giving Vasseur a whirl, I’ll either stick with it and buy the full size products in the line or I will return to MyChelle. I know that I need some consistency and these two lines both use natural botanical ingredients.

Stayed tuned for regular updates because 2015 is truly the year I plan to recreate a new me! Clear skin, weight lost, long hair. Yes!

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12 Jan

Wash Day Chronicles: WEEK 2

wash day chronicles

This is week 2 of 52 wash days chronicling what I’ll be doing to take my bra-strap/arm pit length fine natural hair to waist length. Subscribe to this blog to be notified when future posts are published.

Pre-Poo: None
Cleanser: Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo (sulfate free)
Strengthening Treatment: Henna Sooq Organic Rajasthani Indian Henna, 100 grams
Deep Conditioner: 22nd Natural Woman Citrus Deep Conditioner (Handmade)
Rinse Out Conditioner: TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner (not pictured. I decided to use this after the photo was taken)
Leave In Conditioner: Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave In
Sealant: Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter
Styler: None
Tools: Fingers, Plastic Bowl, Spatula, Plastic Gloves, Plastic Wrap, Plastic Cap, Hot Head Microwaveable Deep Conditioning Cap, Satin Scrunchee, Satin Scarf

dirty natural hair old wash and go

Wash Day Procedure

natural hair care productsrajasthani henna

  1. Applied shampoo over canopy of hair and massaged into scalp.
  2. Leaned over tub and allowed warm water to run down hair for 3 minutes and then completely shampoo’d.
  3. Rinsed thoroughly, blotted hair with an old t-shirt and applied henna to hair, focusing on the roots and working down to the tips
  4. Wrapped head in plastic wrap followed by putting on a plastic cap and sat around with henna in my hair for 3 hours while watching Netflix all afternoon :-)
  5. When the time was up, I rinsed out most of the henna with lukewarm water kneeling over the tub. After most of the henna was out,  hopped into the shower and rinsed the remainder out of my hair.
  6. Applied deep conditioner to hair from tips to root and put on plastic cap to deep condition for 30 minutes using my Hot Head.
  7. When finished, partially rinsed out the deep conditioner, applied rinse out conditioner and finger detangled hair in 4 sections. Rinsed thoroughly.
  8. Applied leave in conditioner and further defined this fine natural hair with my fingers using a raking motion.
  9. Applied a small amount of hair butter, smoothed into each section and pulled the front of my hair up into a high ponytail while leaving the remainder out.
  10. Added a little more hair butter to edges and tied down the edges with a scarf. (At night, pulled back of hair into a loose french roll with the ends up to meet the top ponytail to sleep)

fresh henna natural hair with hennahenna covered gray hair

Focus & Thoughts

This week’s wash day micro focus was to clarify my hair and cover my grey :-). Since, I started the Curly Girl Method last week, I realized that I hadn’t given my hair a deep cleansing so that’s why I used the Shea Moisture Deep Cleansing Shampoo.

Some people will say to use a shampoo with sulfates to clear your hair of any build up or silicones before starting the Curly Girl Method but I didn’t want to do that since I’ve not used silicones in my hair for a number of years. Besides that, I did a bentonite clay wash just a few weeks ago and had barely used any products with silicones in them. I may have used a conditioner with silicones in it once or twice. That’s why I opted for a gentler, sulfate free shampoo to remove any mild build up. It’s a good thing too because my hair still felt a little stripped after using the SM Deep Cleansing Shampoo. I’m definitely returning to co-washing with Eden Bodyworks or clay washing.

Last week I mentioned in Week 1 of my Wash Day Chronicles that I was going to wash mid-week because my hair felt oily. Well, I did so following the #CurlyGirlMethod and I used gel to set my curls.

One of the biggest concerns that curly girls have is frizz. Especially curly girls with fine natural hair like me! That’s where the conditioner and gel come into play. It’s the main method of styling hair on the Curly Girl Method.

While I like the control that gel provides, I decided to set today’s wash and go without gel and use a hair butter for the “weight.” I wanted my hair to have the extra weight without having to scrunch out a gel cast.

wet curls

wet fine natural hairLast off, I know I said I’m using up my products so I wouldn’t be purchasing anything new but I have been wanting to try Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter for the longest! I hate the smell though and definitely won’t repurchase it. It’s just nothing special to me.

I also purchased the deep conditioner made by Youtuber 22nd Century Natural Woman because it’s handmade with no preservatives and I wanted to try it first before committing to make it myself. She provides a tutorial on how to make the deep conditioner on her channel.

So, I’m  still working on #OperationScaleDownMyStash. I just took a short detour :-) However, I didn’t really go backwards since I threw away 6 or 7 almost finished hair products that I didn’t like anyway!

I give today’s wash day a 3.5 out of 5. My curls have a semi-firm (not crunchy hold) but they are slightly loosened at the nape due to the henna. I’m OK with that because the conditioning effects and grey coverage that henna provides is more important to me. I wish my crown had loosened though because it’s the most coarse and tangles more than the rest of my hair. Also, I had high hopes that I could finger detangle my hair using the deep conditioner before rinsing it out but it didn’t have enough slip for the task. However, it is a good deep conditioner. It’s just not meant to be a combing conditioner.

fine natural hair

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08 Jan

Hair Products to Restock & Operation Scale Down My Stash

natural hair products

I’m thankful for the manufacturers that offer natural hair products. These are the brands I’ll buy again and again. Then there are brands that I have tried just once and my hair said, “Don’t you ever again.” We won’t talk about those.

Let’s talk about the hair products that I am scraping the bottom of the jar/bottle and will probably blame an unsuspecting party for using up the last drop if I don’t repurchase them soon:

  • Curls Blueberry Control Paste
  • Shea Moisture JBCO Strengthen, Grow and Restore Mask
  • Eden Bodyworks Coconut Co-wash

And, here are the products I need to buy now that I’m doing the Curly Girl Method as I mentioned in my first wash day chronicle:

  • Tresemme Naturals Conditioner
  • Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner (Hey, I need to rotate each week!)
  • Kinky Curly Curling Custard (I’ve been itching to try this!)

In the following two videos I share all of the hair products (some are not Curly Girl friendly so I will shelf those until I discover if my hair changes by omitting them) I brought along into 2015 that my hair love love loves. It’s not as much as what many naturals use and I’m good with that. I’m pretty stocked on all but the ones I list above.

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