Thursday, May 21, 2009

Strengthen Weak & Damaged Hair Naturally

Dr. Hauschka Neem Hair Lotion   
"This neem treatment lotion encourages healthy hair growth and normalizes oil production of the scalp. Soothes an itchy, irritated scalp, helps prevent flaking and hair loss, and strengthens fine, thin hair while providing balance. Neem leaf and other plant extracts have an enlivening effect." ~ Spa Look
    I've never met a Dr. Hauschka product I didn't like. Neem Hair Lotion is no exception. I only have one criticism, and that would be the packaging. While this odd little bottle is probably most ecologically sound, I'm not sure how to apply it to my scalp. It's not a lotion per se; it's a runny liquid.
Am I to just turn the bottle upside down and splatter the inch and a half of squirrel fur I always seem to be rocking along my part line, or should I use a cotton ball and daub it into my temples and hope for the best?
I can't help wondering whether it wouldn't be even more fabulous in a pump/spray...
Neem is prized in Ayurvedic medicine as a healing, strengthening, cleaning tonic. This product has been helpful in reconstructing my hairline after the ravages of over-processing, pregnancy, hormonal shifts, slip-shod nutrition on the run, stress-induced hairpulling...You know, life! I like it, and I've used it a few times a week for over a year, and I definitely see a difference! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yesterday I Dissed, So Today I'll Kiss: Best Self-Tanner

Lavera Organic Self Tanners Hello, kittens. On the cusp of summer in Indiana, I'm looking at how my skin over-wintered. Not particularly well. For the first time ever, I'm a little craggy. Dehydrated. And terribly pale and freckly. It's beginning to show just how carefree and hedonistic I've been on thousands of splendid summer days. Fine. I own the fact I destroyed my collagen, melanin and whatever the hell else by baking and browning myself steadily from 1987-1997. As a teenager, I would emerge from our Hoth-like back door in my bathing suit at the sight of the spring's first rays to brave at least a windburn  in order to escape being so pasty white. 
When tanning beds came to town, I was banging on the salon door to get in, sometimes twice a day if need be. Like most broads of a certain age, I used the baby oil & iodine preparation along with foil-covered album covers, iridescent pool floats and silver space age tanning blankets to maximize sun exposure. People who knew me back in high school probably wouldn't recognize me now that I rock my natural skin color. Compound all this exposure with numerous tropical vacations and lots of bad equatorial sunburns since, and it's no wonder I have to have not one but two complete skin checks a year, and I'm covered with scars from icky spots that had to be removed. 
Let me be the first to tell you IPL treatments will blast the hizz-ell out of some sunspots, but it's like 100 angry bees buzzing your cheeks. Imagine an episode of Tom & Jerry where Tom's tail is on fire. It turns firepoker red, his blood boils, steam comes out of his ears, and then he starts yelping. That's what laser treatments are like: not too bad on the first zap or two, but pretty soon, you're holding yourself down and bracing for it! They're really effective, but you pretty much have to do it numerous times, and the treatments are expensive (my doc charges $250-300 per session). 
    And whilst you wait for the damage to visibly work its way to the surface of your skin, literally crusting and flaking off in your personal molting process, you must avoid contact with sunlight to the point of vampirism (*side note, i don't mean vampirism per se, or even that you must secret yourself away to read Twilight books (cack!), but i do mean you can't be out at the ballfield, or boating, or gardening. sunlight will roast the hell out of your newly refurbished complexion and whatever damage you had before will be worse... and also, if you have had a really good run of it, you won't want anyone to see you looking like Howdy Doody with all this brown flecky shit all over your face!).
  Since stopping such sun worshipping foolishness once I turned 30, I find myself to be an underbelly of a fish kind of white. We're talking about a pallor of such magnitude one could easily show an outdoor movie at night on my sizable forehead. Needless to say, I find myself trying every bronzer and self tanner on the market, constantly hoping to find something decent that doesn't make me look Oompa Loompa Orange. I've found a few that don't make me want to throw up in my mouth, but everything at every price point is full of parabens and who knows what else. 
I may have mentioned in earlier posts that I have sensory issues (with everything, but especially food and makeup). The smell of most self-tanning creams just grosses me out. I don't like milky preparations, and I hate telltale streaks. I hate dirty hands, and messes.... so sunless tanning at home is not very feasible for me. 
I used to go to a spray tanning salon to be professionally airbrushed, but stopped doing it on a regular basis when they couldn't or wouldn't ever tell me what ingredients comprised their formula. I'm not comfortable with that, obviously. Also, I never found it terribly convenient to have to find a crappy bathing suit to wear to the place, make sure I have a brown or black schmata so I don't ruin a light colored tracksuit, avoid bathing for 24 hours and then stain up my nice white sheets. Eventually, I just threw in the towel and accepted my albanescent legs and even let them be hairy!
Finally the universe took pity on me (or perhaps those who have to look at me on a regular basis) and united me with one of my very favorite natural cosmetics companies, Lavera. They are the only skin care company to produce a totally safe sunless tanning product. 
On their website, they explain, "Two natural ingredients, vegetable-derived DHA (Dihydroxyactone) and the sugar agent Erythrulose, give your skin a wonderful fresh tan on a natural basis. These two ingredients react with the amino acids of the skin, resulting in a brownish tint of the pigment. This reaction is completely harmless and a safe alternative to chemical tanners. As with all Lavera products, our self tanners are certified natural...contain organic ingredients and are free of parabens and other synthetic ingredients."
I find the Lavera sunless tanning and sunscreen products delightful. They smell fine (a little orangey to me), and they actually work! Using the lotion, I was able to develop a subtle glow overnight, and didn't have schmears of product all over the place in the morning. It seemed to absorb quickly and get right down to business browning me up for a summer sundress! Best of all: no parabens! Vegans, rejoice. Lavera has you covered with many appropriate options, including the aforementioned sun products. 
Remember kittens, you really should get checked over from head to toe once a year, regardless of your skin color. Also, self-tanning products do not protect you from the sun in and of themselves (unless it says so specifically on the package), so YOU MUST USE SUNSCREEN!!! Apply it to yourself liberally at least 30 minutes before you plan to be in the sun (if possible). Reapply and wear wide brims and enormous sunglasses!  

Monday, May 11, 2009

Boscia Bombed With This Breakout Treatment

I love Boscia. It's preservative free (made in a sterile facility and packaged in ways not conducive to festering bacteria) and botanically-based. It never smells gross, and their cleansers are amazing for my uber-sensitive skin.
Willow bark is a known anti-inflammatory compound. Coupled with soapberry peel and vitamins, I thought Boscia Willow Bark To-Go Breakout Treatment would help me deal with this bizarreo adult-onset acne my otherwise porcelain complexion is suffering. NOT!
First of all, this, clicky, rubber-tipped applicator gets graphic quickly. With a turn to the base, a little urp of clear goo extrudes disturbingly from a tiny hole in the top. Do you see where this is going? I mean, really, Eewwww.
It also fails my texture test, as it's quite like snot as it dries, effectively varnishing your zit and making it even more tempting to OCD pickers like myself. Furthermore, it seems to do nothing once it shellacks down the blemish. Muffy said it was like supergluing a pimple to your cheek. She, too has buyer's remorse. We hate this shit! I will, however continue to buy Boscia facial cleansers and use them all over my body. Still looking for a suitable natural blemish healer, so if you have any suggestions...please post!  

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fighting Fugliness One Moisturizer At a Time

First, please allow me to apologize for the image. This is not a photography blog. I used my crappy camera, which I usually carry in my back pocket. My backdrop is a manilla file folder juxtaposed with a washcloth from my very own powder room/cosmetic arts laboratory. I shoot on my desk because I'm too lazy to schlep downstairs to use the tabletop photo studio. Also, I have wet toenails. And ADD....
BeeCeuticals Organics "Queen Bee For a Day Cream." Natch, I got mine from (which, BTW, is totally addictive and I'm not sure how I survived out here in the middle of nowhere till I discovered this dual site which allows you to shop two stores with one shopping cart. In other words, you can get your organic tampons and Method Cleaning products at Drugstore and then click over to the Beauty side for luxe cosmetics).
At any rate, BeeCeuticals is 80% organic, paraben/SLS/synthetic fragrance-free, and is not tested on animals. With their "Bee-yond the Bottle" campaign, the company donates a portion of their profits to crucial bee conservation efforts. It's made in the USA, and is Fair Trade certified. Pretty much meets all the treehuggers' criteria, but what about Kitty's approval?
Well, it's a bit expensive for what it is, but I respect it's made from high quality ingredients, and I'm willing to pay for organics. This products is meant for the face and neck, but I use it only on my neck and chest. It's very rich. A little greasy at first, but it seems to absorb and solve this problem after a while, unless of course you moisturize and have to put your makeup on immediately thereafter. Then it's an oil slick for the rest of the day. It smells good. Although I like it well enough, I'm not sure I would make it a regular part of my arsenal against fugliness. I think it would make a nice present for a product purist/minimalist, someone with incredibly dry skin, or a beekeeper. Seriously, yo.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mask imperfections with Dr. Hauschka

In a previous post, I mentioned I like Jane Iredale (the gold standard in cosmetic purity) Circle/Delete concealer for under-eye circles and baggage. As great as it is, I'm not in love with its blemish covering power. Instead, I use Dr. Hauschka's Pure Care Cover Stick to cover up beastly little spots like freckles and pimples. Very blendable and dependable! Like all Dr. H products, it smells nice and botanical, too!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I Love Dr. Hauschka

Dr. Hauschka is without a doubt my favorite natural cosmetics brand, and the Moisturizing Day Cream is my favorite product. It smells like the Portland Rose Garden and is light and non-greasy. No disgusting ingredients. Its only downside is its price, but a little goes a long way and the bottle lasts about three months. It's glass, so it recycles easily. I've taken to buying it online because the only store that carries it in Indy is Wild Oats, and that's too far to drive for me. Actually, I've been getting most of my cosmetic staple items online anyway, so as to cut down on the impulse buys I'm prone to commit! These days, I'm showing restraint. I'd say I allow myself about $100/month in cosmetic purchases. I'd love to know what you kittens are spending and what you're using!

A Great Natural Concealer

 Jane Iredale's "Circle/Delete" Concealer is totally natural makeup that totally works. This stuff is marvelous for under-eye circles, and stays dewy rather than drying up into an under-eye mess. It really brightens up my eyes, but it's not the greatest for covering blemishes. It's not quite spackly enough for that job! That said, however, a little goes a long way! made in the USA and not tested on animals: right on!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ooops! I did it again...My pampered ass is now destroying forests!

  I’ve blogged before how shocking it is to examine one’s own consumption and the consequences thereof; we’ve made great strides in our overarching family culture in terms of how much plastic, gift wrappings/trappings, and bottled drinks we consume. We recycle diligently, plant native species in our landscape and  we’ve switched to geothermal HVAC in our home. Not good enough, I’ve learned. Not good enough.

    Apparently, Americans (including my family) are deforesting the planet at an alarming rate for the sole purpose of wiping our snotty noses and pampered hineys with thick, soft, white paper.  According to...please click here to read the rest of this post...thanks!