Best of Hair: What I Love

I must admit that I don’t put a lot on my head styling wise, but I do have some favorites that I go back to every time I need to restock.

Shampoo – When I was home for the holidays my mom had this shampoo and conditioner set and my hair never felt better, especially when washing it in her well water. The Jason Natural Restorative Biotin Shampoo doesn’t have any fancy smell or cost a lot of money but it really does restore! The conditioner is great too but I have one I like a lot more…

Conditioner – The S-Factor Smoothing Conditioner smells so good and makes my hair feel amazing. I get it in big pump bottles from Marshalls or TJMaxx on the cheap.

L'Oreal Total Repair 5

Hair Mask – The L’Oreal Paris Advanced Haircare Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm hair mask is a great deal and really does feel like it erases years of damage from your hair.

Scalp Mask – I’ve perfected my DIY Scalp Mask and like to use it at least once a week to keep the hair coming out of my head nice and strong from the start.

giphy7For Bleached Hair – If you get your hair bleached at a salon, I hope they are using the Olaplex system. If you do it at home like I do, then buy it for yourself too. Olaplex no. 3 is the at-home version they can sell you in salons, it’s great to use as a hair mask every so often and the week before a color treatment to get your strands ready. It rebuilds the protein bonds in your hair, scientifically rebuilding the hair shaft. it is truly an incredible product and I would probably be bald without it.

Leave-In Oil – I love to use the L’Oreal Extraordinary Oil on dry hair before walking out the door. I have fine, damaged hair and it never weighs it down or makes it look greasy, but it seals up the split ends so that it looks a lot smoother.

Air Dried Waves – When I want to enhance my natural wave I use the DevaCurl Whip It Good Wave Maker Texture Whip to tame frizz and give volume.

Dry Shampoo – Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Dry Shampoo is my favorite but it’s no longer available, when I’m done with the bottle I plan on trying the Bumble and Bumble Pret a Powder Shampoo to check out the hype!

giphy8Heat Protectant – This Suave Keratin Infusion Heat Defense Leave-In Conditioner is a super value option that won’t weigh your hair down and protects before you heat style.

Leave-In with SPF – Don’t forget that the sun can damage your hair just like it does your skin! In the summer I like to use Sun Bum 3 in 1 Leave-In Spray to protect my already fragile hair. Coconut Oil and Argan Oil also have natural SPF in them and are good for the hair! Slather some on at the beach as a hair mask, style and protection.

Alcohol-Free Volumizing Mousse – Anything with alcohol in it is going to be very drying on your hair, that’s why I like this TRESemme 4+4 Styling Mousse, it’s alcohol-free but still nice and foamy which gives me great volume and no sticky feel.

giphy9Hair Brush – I know it seems ridiculous to spend this much money on a hairbrush, but the Mason Pearson hairbrush is very gentle and detangles without pulling or tugging. My mom uses these wooden brushes and it’s like getting a scalp massage everytime you brush your hair. Also great if you suffer from static!

Do you have any hair products you can’t live without? Let me know!

Header Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash

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What Not To Wear: Ingredients To Avoid

giphy3There is nothing worse than looking at a favorite product and realizing it has sulfates or parabens or petrochemicals. Ever since I have become more conscious of the ingredient list on my beauty products I’ve been able to educate myself on what is worth using and what to toss or retire.

Petrochemicals

Petrochemicals can come in many forms: mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin, petroleum, propylene, ethylene, butadiene, benzene or xylene. These are found in most candles, many beauty products such as Neosporin type gels and of course, Vaseline. The scary thing about petrochemicals is that they cannot be metabolized by your body, which means once they go in, they don’t come out. Ever. They just accumulate in your body, and on top of that they aren’t nourishing, are possible carcinogens, hormone-disruptors and they don’t let your skin breathe. There are so many alternatives out there, so pay attention to the labels and try to swap out any products with petrochemicals for ones that don’t mess with that ish.

Parabens

animated 4.GIFLook for any word ending in -paraben on a label and you will find a product that uses this hormone-disruptor as a preservative. It is usually found at the end of the ingredient list, which means the ratio is small, but still not worth risking. To my dismay one of my favorite angry, winter-skin products the Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream for Dry Skin had parabens. I haven’t decided if I won’t replace the tube once it’s gone, you have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it to hold on to the products you love.

Sulfates

giphy3Sulfates are used as a foaming agent is many shampoos, face washes and hand soap. It strips the moisture out of your skin and scalp and can also make your hair color fade faster. It is very easy to find products that don’t have sulfates, it’ll usually be the second ingredient but most shampoos will advertise sulfate-free right on the bottle! Sulfate-free shampoos won’t be as foamy and it may feel like your hair isn’t getting squeaky clean, but this is better in the long run. I like to use a buildup removing shampoo every other wash since blonde hair likes to cling to the minerals in the water. Fairy Tales Lifeguard Clarifying Shampoo doesn’t have any nasty ingredients and smells like Juicy Fruit gum. You use the clarifying shampoo first then your regular shampoo and you’ll notice even if it’s sulfate-free the shampoo you follow up with will be very foamy. That’s because you’ve removed the product and mineral buildup and it can do its clean thing.

Aluminum

giphyAluminum is an ingredient found in most deodorants to serve as an antiperspirant. It does so by blocking your sweat glands from perspiring, which already sounds pretty bad since your body needs to be able to release some steam that way. It has also been linked to breast cancer and disrupts the lymphatic system, which is unfortunate given the proximity of the breasts to the armpit. I love these deodorants by Native, the scents are great and they are all-natural, effective and aluminum-free. While I have tried to make my own deodorant with coconut oil, arrowroot powder and essential oils, this stick is way more convenient.

Oxybenzone

giphy1Chemical sunscreens are very effective and convenient, but oxybenzone can contribute to cellular damage and hormone disruption. Mineral sunscreens are a great alternative but they require some more babysitting and reapplication. Chemical sunscreens work by being absorbed by your body while mineral sunscreens using, for example, zinc oxide, sit on your skin and block the rays that way. My fav mineral sunscreen is Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 with Sunboost ATB. It is so moisturizing and does not feel or smell like a sunscreen at all.

Triclosan

giphy2Another hormonal nightmare, triclosan is often found in anti-bacterial washes, toothpaste and mouthwash. It also has been linked to having a negative environmental impact when it gets into the water supply on UV contact as well. My favorite triclosan-free toothpaste is Tom’s of Maine Luminous White, it has fluoride which my cavity-prone teeth need and whitens wonderfully.

While we’re on the topic of teeth, do yourself a favor and get a new-gen Philips Sonicare toothbrush (with the clip on heads, not the screw tops) and get the DiamondClean heads. My teeth have never been whiter and they feel like I just left a dental cleaning.

Dedicating yourself to paying attention to and adhering to avoiding chemicals in your beauty products is hard work. Looking at a beloved product hoping that it has been serving you well all this time only to find that it is filled with parabens or petrochemicals will absolutely break your heart. It can feel like losing a best friend, a confidant, someone you have relied on for so long and now you have to find a replacement. Which means you get to go shopping!

What ingredients do you look out for? Are there any I’m missing? Let me know!

Header Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash

Sleeping Your Way to Better Skin and Hair

giphy7We all lead busy lives, we do what we can in the way of lotions, potions, habits and diet, but what if you could also utilize those eight hours of shut-eye to prevent aging and repair your skin? I’d give all the money in the world to wear Melisandre’s necklace and be done with it but unfortunately, we have to take other precautions.

Satin Pillowcase

giphy8Bedhead no more, if you hate showering in the morning (or would slip fall and die like I would), then a satin pillowcase will be your best friend. Non-satin fabric will tangle your hair and make it a bird’s nest by morning, but any satin fabric is going to let your hair slip and slide to prevent tangling. Beauty-boosting pillowcases by mē Glow or illuminage have double the benefits because they are also good for your skin (more on that next). But if your hair is your only concern then any satin/silk fabric pillowcase will do.

Copper Oxide Infused Cloth

The copper oxide fabric works by improving elasticity in your skin on contact. Anti-aging gloves, socks, pillowcases, eye masks; can they please also make whole sheet sets and clothing? I don’t feel a need for the socks by illuminage, but I did get the anti-aging gloves because I’m getting a few age spots on the back of my hands. I sleep with them every night and have only occasionally ripped them off somehow. I’ve been using them for a few weeks and the back of my hands have much less hyperpigmentation. The eye mask by mē Glow also ends up slipping off in the middle of the night, but I’ll take whatever fleeting benefits I can. It’s meant to help smooth out wrinkles around the eyes but the way it lays I don’t see how it can reach some areas around the eyes to do its magic. It is probably more effective on the crow’s feet area and the forehead lines. These products may seem silly to a partner you share a bed with, but seeing as I am single I have not yet encountered this issue. In some of the reviews for the gloves women have stated that they wear them at work (???) which is a commitment…

Anti-Aging Pillow

giphy6This crazily shaped pillow by Save My face! will help alleviate wrinkles by not letting you smush your face into the pillow for hours while you sleep. Your face ends up in the cut out so that it floats instead of creasing. This works great if you are a stomach or side sleeper, but it also works for the back sleepers by keeping your head in an optimal position so your double chin doesn’t create neck wrinkles all night. It always ends up on the floor by the time I wake up but at least it helps while it can. I also like to fold it in half and have both crescent ends cup my neck when I am reading or watching something in bed.

All of these items are machine washable, just don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets, I air dry mine. I think they do specify a limited amount of washes before you should replace them to be effective, but seeing as all of these options come into personal contact with your skin they would probably need to be replaced regularly anyway.

giphy9On a final note, aging is inevitable, even for Melisandre who is some sort of red witch. It’s never too early to start thinking about how your habits and lifestyle will affect your aging and what you can do to slow it down, but embracing the way your body reacts to your time spent on this earth is a privilege!

Do you have any crazy products, tools or techniques you use to stave off aging? Tell me about them in the comments!

Header Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Cheap Hair Masks That Work: from Drugstore to DIY

giphy1I mix it up depending on how I will be spending my time when said hair mask is applied. For example, if I am going to hot yoga I like to apply my DIY scalp mask and some coconut oil through to the ends so that the heat and time can allow the oil to penetrate the hair shaft and do its magic on my scalp. The good thing about this combo is you can get up and walk around since it is an oily hair mask, not drippy. Most hair masks need water to apply and that can get a little messy.

DIY Scalp Mask

For great hair, you need to start at the root. Your scalp needs love and TLC if you want it to support and grow beautiful hair, so why is it the one place that we neglect the most? You can mix and match different oils to make your perfect scalp mask, but there are a few staple ingredients that are best for your scalp.

IMB_G2QOkS.GIFThis lineup consists of Coconut Oil, Castor Oil and some essentials oils: Cedarwood, Lavender, Rosemary and Tea Tree. The fats and omegas in Coconut Oil and Castor Oil are a wonder for the scalp, aiding with dandruff issues and sebum production to combat scalp acne. When combined with Tea Tree oil you have a nice refreshing scalp mask that can stop all your dandruff woes. Lavender is the most universally useful EO, Rosemary has antimicrobial properties and Cedarwood is very moisturizing for the hair. As a bonus, you can add Red Raspberry Seed Oil which will help with any psoriasis and eczema afflictions on the scalp. You are also welcome to add Jojoba or Almond Oil if those are your favorite oils if they work on your skin your scalp will likely be a fan too! Yes, I have a 54 oz tub of coconut oil, don’t @ me.

Mask Proportions

Most of these can also be used on their own to target specific issues, but keep in mind that the essential oils need to be diluted with a carrier oil (jojoba, almond, coconut etc), so do not apply them directly to the skin.

L'Oreal Total Repair 5If you aren’t the DIY adventurer, try L’Oreal Paris Advanced Haircare Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm. This little tub of gold promises to erase 10 years of damage and I certainly feel results when I slather it on and leave it on for ~45 minutes while I take my weekly detox bath. It smells lovely and makes me believe that Blake Lively may actually be using the products she is a spokesmodel for.

Got any hair masks you swear by? Share your secrets Blake Lively! Because you’re worth it.