>The more natural path

I have began to appreciate the value of returning back to natural methods of skin and hair care that modern society has mostly abandoned.

I'm not using any salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide on my face now. The only things I use are water, olive oil, aloe vera gel, and a bentonite clay masque. I wash with water daily, using very warm water first to open my pores and wash away surface sebum and dirt, then cold water to close my pores. Once a week I apply olive oil to my face and sit in steam to open my pores up and allow the olive oil to get down deep in to my pores. This helps to loosen up down deep dirt and sebum so that when I wash it off and apply the bentonite clay masque it can easily soak up the sebum and dirt from my pores along with the olive oil. It is the deepest cleansing method I have ever used in my life and it's not over drying; probably because I soak my skin in warm oil prior to using the clay masque. After I'm done cleansing with which ever method, I apply aloe vera gel as a lightweight moisturizer and pH corrector. My skin is clearing up beautifully. I noticed today that even my dark circles have lightened up so much more than they did when I was using expensive eye gels and creams (now I dab a little aloe on them). And all of this is starting to make me realize I had all these skin issues in the first place because I was overtreating it. If a problem came up I went out and bought something to resolve it, then if another problem came up I bought something else to resolve that without even thinking that maybe the first product was causing the problem, and on it went.

I have also realized that there are ethnic products that I really can use on my hair besides cholesterol conditioner. I've also learned a lot about my hair and its unique biracial needs. I was doing good by trying to get all natural style products, but where I went wrong was I was buying products for Caucasian hair and using Caucasian hair care techniques. Umm... guess that's what comes of being raised by my Caucasian mom, LOL. But it's more than that, too. My hair ended up having more fine strands and mixed/medium strands than coarse strands, so it looks more Caucasian than it does African American (I hate that word, I'm part West Indian, but for sake of political correctness I will use it here). But true to its African American roots, it's got a hard time keeping itself moisturized and oiled. The problem was that I knew nothing about ethnic hair care products so what I tried (with the exception of protein and cholesterol conditioners) was way too heavy on my hair. That along with seeing my African American friends struggle with their kinky 4 hair was the driving factor in making me decide that I was supposed to be using Caucasian hair products.

Well, thankfully, going without shampoo helped to start making me realize how thirsty my hair really was. I started washing with conditioner and adding a little bit of olive oil to my hair after each wash. I was really cautious because I was scared of weighing my hair down too much. Then I went to a hair stylist that knew how to work with ethnic hair and she gave me some suggestions on products to try instead of the olive oil and mousse I was using. Wow, they made such a difference. I could not believe the hair I was looking at. I didn't know it could look that nice and healthy. I finally understood why she said, "people pay hundreds of dollars to have hair like this" and "everyone wants to have a perm that looks like this."

Since then I've gone ethnic hair care crazy. I've been reading posts at BHP and reading ingredient lists on products in stores. I'm really impressed by how natural even the cheapest ethnic hair care products are.

There's the braid sheen spray that my new hair stylist recommended in place of olive oil. It's based on jojoba oil and also has shea butter and a ton of plant extracts. It's extremely lightweight and it feels like I'm misting water on to my hair (the bottle says it's conditioning as well which I won't argue with). Gives a nice shine to my hair and helps keep frizz at bay better than anything I've used (including Frizz Ease). It cost me all of $2.50. The foaming wrap lotion she recommended to take the place of my mousse is a lot like mousse but wetter and collagen based instead of silicone or wax based. It doesn't dry out my hair at all, and gives the most natural hold I've seen a styling product have. It also helps seal in moisture and shines up my curls. It was $3.50.

I found out soon though that these products alone weren't going to cut it for my hair. So I started using my conditioner as a leave in as well by working a dime sized amount in my hands until warm and frothy and then applying it my wet hair. I still had issues, but they were more easy to pinpoint now. First I noticed I needed to do something for my hair at night as through out the day no matter what I do it seems by night time it's ready for some extra moisture. So on the recommendation of the BHP forums I started putting aloe vera gel in it at night. I also noticed that the reason my hair goes afro in the morning is because it's dry, and again the BHP forums helped explain that it was because my pillow was wicking moisture away from my hair. So today I got a satin wrap to sleep in so that doesn't happen. I am going to be so thrilled the first morning I wake up without my hair sticking out like a dry bird's nest!

Anyways, so far I have completely eliminated soap and most artificial skin/hair products from my life and have replaced them with water, a hemp rope exfoliating mitt, a facial cloth, and oil. My hair and skin are a lot healthier for it, too! I no longer have issues with dry skin or allergic reactions or even body odor. The only reason I wear deodorant now is to keep my underarms dry. There's no odor for it to fight.

Makes life not only simpler but a lot sweeter as well. :)
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>People take their online gaming WAY too seriously

>Well, looks like I've been busted by the Sorority Life police for my year old how to guide that I wrote when no one else cared enough to share any tips with the newbies online:


ROFL. Jeez, thanks guys for reminding me of why I edged off on playing that game. I'm not sure if I should be admiring your dedication or looking to get a restraining order but I have at least given in to your demands and taken my oh-so-offensive outdated guide down. Please don't hurt me. LOL

Anyways, here's that link back one of you was dying for, whatever it's worth.

P.S. Thank you to the one commenter that showed some common sense. :) I appreciated the compliment as well. However, I have disabled comments on this post as your comment made me realize that there are sure to be others coming here looking to stir up drama, and I simply don't want any part of it. This is just some little personal blog. I don't bother anyone and don't get involved in flame wars. I never thought that guide would have brought on all this, otherwise I would have never posted it. However, do not appreciate the negative PR and will throw some back right at ya just to say thank you for the love. ;)
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>adventures in hair and skin care

Bottles of shampoo and lotions manufactured by...Image via Wikipedia
My quest for the perfect natural skin & hair care has led me down some interesting paths, perhaps the most interesting being the replacement of conditioner, body lotion, and shaving gel with olive oil (even tried it as a "night cream"). Once I started playing around with olive oil I noticed that I had to reapply it after every shampoo because shampoo not only stripped it out of my hair but stripped my hair of its moisture as well no matter how moisturizing and gentle it was supposed to be. I had heard you could cleanse your facial skin with oil so I wondered if you could do the same thing with your hair and started researching to find out if anyone had tried it. I came across a lot of sites about water only cleansing, and after reading up on it some it caught my interest. 

The idea is that water is really all you need to cleanse your hair. It's possible for it to remove dirt and grime without stripping your hair of its necessary oil. The stripping of oil that comes with shampoo stimulates over production of it, which is why your hair gets so greasy after not being washed for a while. If you drop the shampoo, your hair will balance out its normal oil production. Shampoo came out during the Industrial Revolution for people to use to get excessive dirt and chemicals out of their hair, and our use of it just hasn't stopped since even though we don't need it any more and we haven't needed it in the centuries prior to the Industrial Revolution. 

This is much the same argument that's used for water only and oil only facial cleansing. It's pretty valid. My only question was if it would work for my hair in particular since my problem is not oiliness but dryness. So I looked up biracial hair care and got a nice big shock. I'm only supposed to be washing my hair about once a week, a little more than that if it's prone to getting oily in that time period, but not much more than that. No wonder I've had so many issues with frizzy, dry hair no matter how much conditioner and styling product I put on it. I'm washing it waaaay too much!

The water only cleansing site recommended starting out by slowly reducing shampooing so your hair doesn't turn in to a giant oil flat while it's readjusting, so I figured dropping down to my recommended weekly shampooing would probably be the best place to start. I washed my hair every day with hot water, scratching my scalp and making sure to work it through my hair real good, and then once a week I shampooed and followed up with a little olive oil in my hair to help compensate for the stripping of oil. 

So far it's been working out great. My hair is softer and less prone to frizz naturally than it's ever been. People have even commented on how much softer it feels. 

As for skin care, I still haven't quite found the trick to get me off the skin care products, but I have at least reduced the amount of chemicals I am introducing to my face by replacing my paraben-laced Cetaphil cleanser with hot water. Still got to do the salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide treatments along with using a moisturizer/sunscreen but at least the parabens are out of my life (hopefully for good). Since I switched my skin seems to be a lot more balanced, not drying out or getting oily as easily as it used to, and the hot water has actually helped with blackheads more than anything else I've tried besides perhaps a volcanic ash based clay masque, which is pretty even on performance with the hot water only I can't do it daily.

I'm also wearing makeup a lot less. Even though I still wear it pretty often because I like it, I've cut down dramatically on the foundation because quite frankly I've realized I don't really need it every day, not to mention it's not very skin healthy. I use just enough to enhance my natural complexion and then go. Might as well enjoy my smooth skin while I'm still young. LOL
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>Brennans's photo book for 2009-2010, second year



>Brennan goofs off with my Blackberry while at a diner