Friday, July 20, 2012

to make your strands of 'dead cells' come alive.

Hair. Just strands of "dead" protein. I use the quotation marks because I refuse to acknowledge they are dead cells! Just like your body - which is alive, right? - it reflects how well you take care of it. We dye it, we perm it, we use all sorts of heat tools on it, we blow dry it, we tease it, we hairspray it until it is rightfully labeled dead. 

I write this post to urge all of you to give the TLC it rightfully deserves because imagine if we were all bald. 

Dang it, some of these celebrities still look gorgeous without hair. But for the most part, you can see that a huge part of their beauty comes from how their hair. Some people that I personally know have given their hair to and went bald for the cause. Yes,  I'm talking about women here. These women are so amazing cause I personally can never voluntarily go bald. Cut a lot of my hair for the cause, yes. Just not bald, please. 

I have recently learnt that I have COMBINATION HAIR. Which is pretty much the worst of both worlds - Oily scalp and dry ends. But I find comfort knowing it is pretty common for people with long hair. So now, I will share 8 simple rules of caring for combination hair, without breaking your bank!

1. Only condition your ends
For the past month or so, I've stopped conditioning my hair right after I shampoo it. What I do now is only shampoo, and after I get out of the shower, I take a quarter-size drop of conditioner(less if you have short hair) and apply it all over my hair from the ear-down, while using my finger to kinda comb through it. I do not wash it out after, which is why I use so little of it. I find this method not only helped with my oily scalp, it's helped my hair looking more luscious and voluminous. If you are one to comb your hair in the shower, STOP! IN THE NAME OF LOVE! it will only make your hair more brittle and prone to breakage. If anything, use a wide tooth comb when it is towel-dried on your knots if you really have to. 

2. A dose of natural oils
It seems counter-intuitive, but to combat oily skin, you moisturize. With that theory in mind, you can trust that this will work. If you have extremely bad split ends and dry ends, you will have to do this over night. If your ends are not that bad, you can maybe do this 30-mins to an hour prior to washing your hair. Use any natural oil (castor oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, almond oil, kukui nut oil...) sephora consultants rave about the Josie Maran Argan Oil but if you don't have the budget for it, the aforementioned natural oils really do work wonders. I either use evoo or coconut oil because I use them for cooking as well. I do this about once a week and have seen a drastic change for stronger and shinier hair. Haven't found any split ends lately either!

3. Clarify your scalp
You may or may not have heard of the dangers of Sulfate ingredients in shampoos. If you have not, educate yourself by clicking *here*. After reading that, you might wanna avoid sulfate products completely. However, sulfates are excellent cleansing agents. They allow the water to adhere to dirt and grime so that they can be removed from hair and scalp. The clean feeling that you experience after washing hair is because of the work of sulfates. In my opinion, switching your shampoos up, will lessen the harmful effects or if not negate it. Use a sulfate-free shampoo as a go-to, but a clarifying shampoo(which will most probably have sulfates in it) once a week or when you've had that intense work out, beach time, or mud-slide party. 

BUYER BEWARE: L'oreal came out with a line claiming it is sulfate free. But if you look at the ingredients, it still lists "Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate and Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate." Kinda misleading, so yeah, just pay attention to the ingredients and look up reviews before you purchase anything. 

4. Play it cool
You already know that the less you use heat tools, the better it will be for you hair. I used to blow dry my hair on the daily and it became an addiction. When I don't blow-dry it, it becomes all nappy and frizzy. I felt that blow-drying it gave it more shine and body. I had to endure a good few months restraining myself from going for the blow-dryer but it's finally paid off. Sun also damages your hair so  if you love tanning and going under the sun, wear a hat, or spray on sunscreen. Not the aerosol kind, but the spritz kind. Like this:
I don't know how many of you have experienced it, but burnt scalp is not fun dude... Mine hurt for a week and my scalp peeled so I looked like I had a serious case of dandruff. But I learned... Heat, in any form, even while washing your hair, will cause your scalp to produce more sebum. So if you're trying to avoid having oily scalp, wash your hair with luke warm or cool water. This is definitely something you wanna try ASAP!

5. Hydration and nutrition
Is it a surprise that a diet high in oily food and grease will result in a scalp filled with sebum?  Cause and consequence, my friends!  Drinking more water, eating more fruits and veggies, and consuming fewer alcoholic beverages can all reduce the amount of sebum your scalp produces, helping to solve half of your combination hair problem.  What's more, the extra water you drink will help to heal that dry hair at the same time. Just a little FYI, antioxidents, vitamins B2, B6, C, E, Beta Carotene and Biotin is essential for luscious locks. And in every case, hydrate! Not with coffee, soda or even juice. With H2O!!! 

6. Protective hairstyles
Hats, scarves, turbans, turbands, bandanas... they are all great accessories you can also use to safeguard your hair against too much sun and wind exposure. Go on Pinterest and YouTube. You will find so many braids, buns, low chignons, twists, and curls without using any heat or chemicals. try them and you will love them!! :)

7. Trims
Your dead ends will not go away unless you cut them all off. Old must go so new will come. Cutting your ends will not magically make your hair from your roots grow faster, but you prevent split ends from splitting further and becoming more brittle so in a way, it does help with your hair growing longer. If you have severely damaged ends, it really is the best to cut if off. Give yourself a fresh start. 

8.  Treatments
Professional or DIY, use 'oily hair' treatments so that it doesn't look dull, flat and greasy quick. Most treatments, even for oily hair will still moisturize, smoothen and make your hair shinier. Eggs, honey, lemon, lime, oils, vinegar, and ripe bananas are ingredients you can trust to make a good DIY hair mask. Please stay away from Mayonnaise. I forgot where I've heard this as an excellent home remedy but it is NOT! It is absolutely the most horrible thing you can do to your hair and yourself!

So there you go. All these methods are really tried and tested by Moi. These before/after pictures are 6 months apart. 

It's still a work in progress but I'm happy with how it is right now. No more split ends and less fall outs. Smoother, shiner locks with less greasy scalp. All I want my readers to know is this - Don't lose sight of that ideal hair - it is totally within your grasp! Remove the dryness, fight off the oily scalp, tackle them both with a combination of good nutrition, the right products and a change of grooming.  Oily and dry are not a winning combination.  But with consistent care, you will have lively, healthy hair.   Good luck ;)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

to get help when you need it.

Since young, I've been taught that MY BODY IS A TEMPLE and I should do everything I can to protect and nurture it. So what do I do? I eat well! Really well! But let's face it. Good food can sometimes be bad. This past year I've been paying closer attention to what I eat. Simply because I can afford to now, and I have the time to prepare meals daily. 

But even eating well does not guarantee the daily vitamins and nutrition your body needs. So I take quite a few supplements to help out. 

Biotin: I started taking biotin early 2010 because I had really damaged hair from perming it, coloring it and constant exposure from sun and salt water. I started with 1000mcg, loved it and switched it to 5000 mcg a year later. There are so many brands out there but for me, this brand from walmart only costs $6 for 120 capsules. I see absolutely no reason to spend more on other brands cos It's been working so well for me. 

Women's Ultra Mega Active: This is my multivite. I've been trying a few brands but I honestly feel a huge difference with this one. I actually feel more alert after taking it and my pee comes out neon yellow!! Lol. My friend Cristy takes this as well and she has researched the yellow pee phenomenon and it's because when our bodies ingest too much minerals and vitamins, our liver simply gets rid of the excess when we pee. 

Oxyelite: This is a thermogenic I take every morning right after I wake up. Well, actually, right after I feed my fishies cos my poor babies have been starving all night long!!! But yeah, a thermogenic basically helps you lose weight and go harder when you work out. I find that Oxyelite doesn't really do anything for me when I don't work out. My weight remains the same. But it helps me sweat more and be more focused when I work out. 

Iron: I am slightly anemic. When I'm not eating properly or when I'm having my period. So I only take this when I feel like I have to. The Multivite I take already has iron so I barely take this now. 

Fish Oil: I've heard so many benefits from consuming fish oil. I've read that Omega-3 help with depression, psychosis, ADHD, Alzheimer's, age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, asthma, developmental coordination disorders, movement disorders, dyslexia, obesity, kidney disease, weak bones .... the list really just goes on and on. And for women, it helps avoid painful periods; breast pain; and complications associated with pregnancy such as miscarriage, high blood pressure late in pregnancy, and early delivery. I was actually told by my doctor to start taking them because I've had reoccurring cases of endometriosis even after having a surgery to remove it last September. If all these benefits do not stand a reason for you to start taking them, I don't know what will. Personally, I've seen a huge help in defusing my period cramps. I used to have them pretty bad. But now I really don't even feel it anymore. 

Psyllium Seed Husk: This has been such a huge help for my in losing weight! I am such a snacker and I can literally eat all day. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you I'm not shy when it comes to eating. I sometimes eat more than my husband does and he'll testify to that too. Anyway, what I have been doing for the past 3 months, is after breakfast, take 2 capsules, and after lunch, 2 again. There are psyllium seed powders you can mix with water or juices but I find them kinda hard to down cos they expand really fast. Another benefit from taking so much fiber is I go #2 with such ease!! Not to be gross, but it's an amazing feeling when you feel so cleansed every morning! Lol. But having a healthy bowel also means having better skin and general health. Simply because your digestive system is not storing all the bad toxins.

Probiotic: What is it? WHO defines it as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” If you think about it, many of our common-day chronic ailments begin in the digestive system. This natural antibiotic increases our ability to produce antimicrobial action against the pathogens in the food we eat, the air we breath, and the things we come in contact with. Stress, unhealthy lifestyles, and most importantly, unhealthy acidic diets, destroy our natural amounts of probiotics. Taking a healthy dose of probiotics daily will help with: 

  1. Enhanced immune system response
  2. Reduces negative affects of taking many types of antibiotics
  3. Aids in preventing and treating colon inflammation following surgery
  4. Helps to prevent eczema in youth
  5. Increased ability to digest food
  6. Therapeutic for viral respiratory tract infections by enhancing the overall immune system
  7. Reduces lactose intolerance
  8. Reduces incidence of yeast infections, vaginitis and candidiasis
  9. Increases ability to assimilate the nutrients from food
  10. Alleviates many common digestive disorders such asconstipation, diarrhea and IBS
  11. Acts as a remedy for bad breath (halitosis)
  12. Increases ability to synthesize vitamin B
  13. Increases ability to absorb calcium
  14. Promotes anti-tumor and anti-cancer activity in the body
Bee Pollen: This is more of a herbalist-naturalist-hippy approach towards vitamins and nutrients. I've done my research and webmd *click* and it says "scientists still cannot confirm that bee pollen has any health benefits." So yeah.. I'm not counting on it, but I sprinkle a spoonful on my smoothies cos I like how they taste! mmm :)

I know this post is pretty wordy and long, but it's meant to be informative. I remain that 


Hope you guys found this helpful and please share if you are using other supplements and how they have helped you. Outties! :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

to lash out on you.

Probably the question I get asked the most - beauty related - is:
"Are your lashes real?"

And this is waaay before I got my eyelash extensions. And before, I would be able to proudly say "YES!".
In these pictures I do have make up on. My mascara routine would be 2 coats of Cover Girl Lashblast Fusion
I use both the regular and the waterproof one. First coat regular, cos I hate pulling all my lashes out when I wash it off, and then the second coat, I use waterproof to avoid any smearing and smudging from rain, humidity, sweat and tears.

Now, of course, you can always wear falsies, but I avoid them because my eyes are reeeaaallllyyy ridonkulously sensitive. So to my dismay, I can't wear falsies and contacts without tearing up and itching. Plus, I've read that lash glues eventually thin out your natural lashes because of the chemicals in it. Rumor or not, I just can't chance it!

Eyelashes are important because they could drastically change the appearance of your eyes. They make them more feminine, more expressive and definitely sexier. Like my neighbor's car here. Without the lashes, you would just think it's just like any other car. You wouldn't know the gender of the car, or the driver. But with them, you would KNOW it's a sassy, classy, boss lady car and that all reflects on the car owner as well! At least that's what I think... 

There are some things like height, blue eyes, bone structure that you are either born with, or without. Now luckily, if you're not blessed with amazing lashes like some people are, you can enhance them without surgically doing anything to your body! In the market, there are tons of eyelash enhancing serums. I can't review all of them, but I can tell you about 2 of them that I have used. 

The first is Enormous Lash.
Cost: $59 and up. 
You can bid on ebay and get it for cheaper but I personally never bother with bidding. 
you can get it in a pack of 2 for $99.95 with free shipping from this user *click* and that is usually what I'd do. Each tube will last you for about 4 months even if you use them religiously each night. 
Length it gave me: 3/5
Volume it gave me: 2/5
Side effects/Irritation: None.
Overall: 3.5/5

I like Enormous Lash because it did not give me any irritation whatsoever and I did see longer+fuller lashes in about 2 weeks with 2 applications a day on both upper and lower lash lines. 
I did not like it because no one else noticed the change and it seriously took EFFORT to make it work. 
"1st application in the morning, upper and lower lash line, 2nd application before bed, upper and lower lashline blablablablabla u get the point!"

The second is LiLash 

Cost: usually around $100.
But I have found an ebay seller *click* for $64 with free shipping with 100% positive feedback. You're welcome! :)
Length it gave me: 4.5/5
Volume it gave me: 4.5/5
Side effects/Irritation: Really bad itching and redness for the first 2 days. Consistent redness after.
Overall: 4/5

I like LiLash because that's when people REALLY started to notice and compliment me on my lashes. And being asian, I loved the fact that my lashes started to naturally CURL UP! Without me using a lash curler or anything. It is a really strong formula that is guaranteed to work. With only 1 application a day, you will notice changes within a week.
I did not like the redness and irritations it causes though. The first time I used it, I applied it both on my upper and lower lashes, because I was so used to my Enormous Lash routine. It literally BURNED my eyes. That was not fun... My eyes do not itch, swell or burn from using them anymore. They do, however still go red. I have to use eye drops every 2 hour or so to make the redness go away. As I've said though, my eyes are unusually sensitive so they might not give you any irritations whatsoever. 

So that's my reviews for these 2 products and that's how this asian has long and full lashes. As for now though, I am taking a break from all these serums and have resorted to eyelash extensions. 

The top left pic is the before, the rest is after.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I'll be happy to answer all your inquiries. Till then, stay lovely <3 .