What I Learned About Healthy Skin Last Year

healthy skin lessons

Skin care lessons learned from 2013

healthy skin lessons

January has always been a month of reflection. Earlier this week I shared a bit of what I learned about my natural hair last year. Today, I’ll share what I learned about healthy skin.

Having healthy skin sans acne, blemishing and pre-mature wrinkling takes some work and consistency.

I’m far from being an expert in skin care but I am quite the enthusiast and love sharing what I learn from my trial and error experiences with products as well as what I learn from my dermatologist and aesthetician.

Here’s a list of a few things I learned about healthy skin last year:

  1. There is no one size fits all skin care routine. While there are guidelines for healthy skin care, when you factor in the use of various products you’ll discover that what works for one may not work for you.
  2. Natural skin care products work best for the basics. Many will not agree with this statement. That’s OK. Keep piling on the chemicals and allowing them to seep into your skin and ultimately your blood stream. (did that sound judgmental or what? LOL) If you have sensitive skin like me, then you may be able to relate. When it comes to the basic aspects of skin care like cleansing and moisturizing, natural skin care products are best for skin health. Unless you are allergic to a specific natural element, using an all natural cleanser and moisturizer is safer. If you are into using specialty skin care products like serums that help fight off wrinkles, then you may need a product that is not fully natural. My only caution would be to investigate the full list of unnatural ingredients to make sure they have not been linked to any cancers.
  3. Facial steaming is everything. My pores sometimes get clogged and while I have done the occasional face steaming in the past, I had not been very consistent with it. After seeing an aesthetician several times, I realize that my skin really does need regular steaming. That’s why I couldn’t wait to jump on purchasing one of QVC’s featured products – Dr. Gross Facial Steamer with Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion Moisturizer. I can’t wait to get this. I’ll be steaming twice weekly to keep my pores open and detoxed. I also like the fact that Dr. Gross is a NYC based dermatologist. I may need to pay him a visit :-)

What have you learned about having healthy skin? Share it in the comments section!

brown beauty gal

What I Learned About My Natural Hair in 2013

natural hair

Lessons of discovery – natural hair and what makes/keeps it healthy

natural hair

January is all about new beginnings and what better way to start the year off than to reflect on what you learned from the previous year? Since this is a beauty blog, let’s start with hair! Before I get into it, check out this fun review of my natural hair throughout last year:


2013 was one heck of a year. If you have been on a hair journey for as long as I have (over 10 years….I’m no longer counting), it’s tempting to think you’ve got this whole natural hair care thing down to a science. And while it is sort of scientific, a lot of caring for your natural hair is intuitive.

I’ve learned some very specific things about my natural hair last year – things that can make or break a healthy regimen including hair growth and length retention. Now, for my little disclaimer…

What I’m about to share you may not exactly agree with.  Remember though, this post is all about what I learned about MY natural hair LOL

While much of what I have learned comes from the trial and error of using multiple hair products, some of what I learned comes from trying specific hair care techniques. I guess you can call them the nuts and bolts of hair care. OK. Let’s get to what I learned (I’m going to list them out to make it all plain ya see!)

  1. Being a product junky is not productive. While it may be fun to experiment with different brands, (especially those that smell so good!  B.A.S.K. ring a bell? LOL!) using a bunch of products when you don’t really know what your hair takes to, does not help you get any closer to your hair goals. If you are using 30 different conditioners and 17 different stylers on a rotational basis, which one (or two) is best for your hair? There’s no way to really know until you narrow them down. And, narrow them down I have.
  2. Why cutting your hair has nothing to do with hair growth. Now, this one I’ve known for quite some time now but it was further reinforced last year after doing several trims. Hair grows from the root. The health of your scalp has more to do with hair growth than the ends of your hair. Sure, split ends can leave your hair looking raggedy. There’s also an increase in tangling when there are a lot of split ends. However, split end or no split end, you can still grow your hair down your back without ever trimming it. And, when you eliminate heat styling and rough handling, you’ll find you don’t need to trim as often. I’ve discovered that I can simply trim off the pesky SSKs (single strand knots), and keep my ends relatively healthy. It’s sort of like the SnD (search and destroy) method only I’m not searching for splits. My hair is so darn fine, I can’t see them anyway! Instead, I feel for tiny little knots. When I find them, I snip them off. Simple.
  3. Whoever said washing your hair weekly was the rule? For years, I washed my hair once a week because that’s what I thought everyone else did (Well, except those chicks who wash daily. Who has time for that?!) On the contrary, I found that washing my hair bi-weekly is way better. Now, this may change as my hair gets longer or if I choose to switch my products up but for now, bi-weeky washings it is.
  4. My scalp does not like JBCO (Jamaican Black Castor Oil). I know a lot of ladies swear by the use of JBCO, how it stimulates hair growth and such. It never worked for me. Not only that, it made my scalp itch like crazy. The whole time I thought I just had itchy scalp but when I eliminated JBCO from my hair care regimen, my scalp was fine.
  5. Silicones are a God-send. I know. I know. So many naturals say that silicones are evil, build up on your hair and doesn’t allow it to breathe. The Curly Girl Method is the only way for naturally curly hair. Blah Blah Blah. The fact of the matter is with hair like mine that tends to frizz, silicones are my friend. They help keep my hair smooth and free of fly-aways. As far as build up, I never have moisture retention problems and one apple cider vinegar rinse takes care of any build up (however slight).
  6. Protective styling only works sometimes. Braids and mini twists take a lot of manipulation to  install and while I don’t add hair, I find that too much manipulation on my fine strands causes breakage. The only way it would be worth it is if I kept them in for at least a month and there’s no way that’s happening (#HairADD LOL)! The most effective protective styles are those that I don’t need to re-do daily (ex; side buns tied down at night, large twists that I can pin up ) and/or don’t require much handling. That’s why I looooove my banana clip. I don’t have to detangle my hair to style with it.
  7. Ouchless elastic bands aren’t really ouchless. I may be special but my hair still gets tangled when removing Ouchless elastic bands. The Ouchless ribbon bands work much better and never get stuck in my hair. When doing a ponytail of some sort, it’s best to use either the ribbon band or a satin scrunchy.

I told you what I learned about my hair may not be what works for everyone. The great thing about having natural hair is YOU get to discover whatever it is that works for your hair. If you haven’t quite figured it all out yet, maybe some of what I’ve shared may help :-)

What have you discovered about your natural hair in the past year(s)?

 brown beauty gal

Beauty Items for The Skillfully Challenged

defined eyebrows

Hair, Nail & Beauty products for easy beauty routines

So, I meant to publish this post back in 2013 but was enjoying vacation sooooo much (3 whole weeks!) that I didn’t get around to it. Forgive me. Let blogging resume….

Have you ever seen a hairdo or a manicure you absolutely loved and then when you went to recreate it, it was a hot mess? Me too!

Well, fortunately technology has evolved to the point of simplifying beauty. Below are some beauty items that make otherwise “difficult” to achieve beauty routines much easier for those of us who are let’s say….skillfully challenged :-)


nail vinylsNail vinyls make creating designs like chevron or zebra nails so easy to do. No more free handing for me! Check out this site http://nailvinyls.storenvy.com The prices are great and even I was able to successfully create some pretty cool manicures. Here’s one that looks simple but if you don’t have a steady hand, you need some nail vinyls to help you out:

half moon manicure

Want a salon worthy manicure that shines bright like a diamond? Gel manicures are made easy with the Gelish Basix Kit! (link at bottom of post)


I have always wanted brows as sharp as the actresses you see in the movies. While there are some skilled ladies out there in the “real world,” many ladies don’t know how to define their brows. Eyebrow stencils make the job much easier.

While I have finally discovered how to tame my brows, when I want to try on a different shape, eyebrow stencils help make it happen.

defined eyebrows


As Seen on TV is one of the best sources to find hair accessories to help you create hairstyles that may seem difficult without them. Here are a few of the ones I’ve used:

– Bun maker
– Bump it – instant volume without all the teasing
– Topsy Tail – for unique hairstyles

Check out this quick demo of how easy it is to use the Topsy Tail on natural hair:

If you’re skillfully challenged with creating certain beauty looks in any way (like me!), you know how valuable beauty tools like these are. They help simplify and make life easier. Long gone are the days of plain manicures, ratchet brows and plains ‘ole hairdo’s!

brown beauty gal