Sunday, August 24, 2008

back on the grind

i'm back at school where the air is cleaner, water is softer and organix hair care products are BOGO (kmart)...yay! but fair warning: internet in my apartment complex is shoddy right now, to say the least. posts will be limited till management gets off their butts.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

garlic: bread, biscuits

because of MT, my hair has been shedding like a small animal lately. i thought i would just ride it out but i really can't take it anymore. i dont feel my scalp or anything so it's not bad in that sense, but seeing all that hair still freaks me out. garlic is good for stopping shedding, among other things, so i tried a garlic paste concoction last night. i smelled like spaghetti night for a few hours but i thought it would be worth it...but i was rinsing it out and still pulling back hairballs. i wanted to cry but instead i hopped on LHCF and read up on garlic supplements, with the prior knowledge that they can stop shedding in 2-3 days. wal-mart has a twin pack of garlic tabs for less than 6 bucks so i hopped in the car (at midnight) and went straight to the pharmacy section. they are 1000mg each so i took two as soon as i got home, then cowashed again this morning...and you know what, the small animal that was living on my scalp left a hairball BUT THATS IT. i mean, before last night i couldnt even run my hands across the TOP of my hair without pulling back about 5 strands. detangling was a joke, even with my shower comb...but i fingercombed and then detangled this morning and my shedding was down to about 1/4 of what it has been. idk whether this is a coincidence or what, but...i'm not complaining!!! maybe in a few days it will be gone altogether! what a great discovery.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

oils > butters, dang it

i am STILL looking for a moisturizer for my rollersets even though it is long gone now. i have been experimenting on my 2nd day puffs, and unfortunately had to come to the conclusion that my hair hates butter. i tried putting shea butter on my ends - they were dry as crap. i tried it in my DCs - dry hair under the showerhead. i even baggied overnight with the stuff - how did i wake up to a dry puff under the baggy?! of course i'm frustrated being that i bought 8oz of the stuff and have yet to use about 4-5 oz of it, but it's making me wonder what i CAN use on my hair. i know it loves oils, especially castor oil and my beloved africa's best herbal oil, so i guess i will have to break down and get some coconut oil like i keep on saying...this is a sad sad day but at least i pinpointed what it was that i added to my DCs that kept them from working their magic.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

the ups and the downs

the up: after 9 weeks on RAM and one week on MaMa lotion, i finally feel like i am getting to the point where i am happy with my skin. i keep catching a glimpse of my face in the mirror and for once i'm not embarrassed to look; the chronic patch of small bumps on my left cheek is going away very rapidly and the acne scars are fading too. that picture that made me almost break out in tears a few weeks ago now brings me joy, cause i almost have the skin of my 12-year-old self again. i expect to be fully satisfied in a few weeks, right on time for me to start school makeup free. (well, concealer free...i like the other stuff too much!) right now i have one active blemish on my very resistant forehead, and a red spot on my left cheek. i got the RAM .1% the other day and i actually think i like it better; it is making me peel more like the derm said but underneath the peeling is flawless skin. i took more skin pics tonight and i am still keeping track of what is going on. even my pics from august 8th look worse than the ones from today and that was only a week ago. i'll keep my fingers crossed and hope that i'm not seeing things.

the down: ugh, my hair is breaking and shedding like crazy. i am pretty sure it is the MT making me shed like an animal, but where the breakage is coming from has me dumbfounded. i DC'd tonight with kenra mc for a few hours (half an hour with heat) and when i was rinsing it outm y hair felt was weird. then i did a 2 min aphogee treatment hoping to work things out and that didn't help either. i was running conditioner through my hair and pulling back hair balls, the most distressing thing ever. i sighed, put some suave tropical coconut in my hair and slapped it in a wet bun (hey i can do a wet bun!), and tried to figure out what to do. the rollersetting/flat ironing i had planned for the rest of this month is defintely out, cowashing is back in, and i will have to do a garlic powder/EVOO treatment, once i get the recipe out of the MT thread. that should take care of the shedding; as far as the breakage, guess i'll have to peruse Supergirl's breakage thread. i just don't want to lose all the progress i have been making this summer.

another up: it's been two months since my BC! yay! and that means there are only two months left till my birthday...and my APL goal check-in.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

flat ironing success!

*i know you want pics, but i have none. i'm just as sad as you

two days after i rollerset my hair, my mom came to me and told me she wanted her hair straightened. i offered to rollerset hers as well but she has a strong aversion to hood dryers, the same fear that kept me from DCing with heat all summer, so i had to find another way to do it. i suggested flat ironing - and she agreed - so i did it.

i prepared by DCing her hair with kenra mc, no heat of course. after that i put sabino mc in her hair, and i'm pretty sure i skipped the giovanni direct for whatever reason. instead of putting it on rollers i put it in the ponytails like i did with mine and i braided them up till the next morning. i thought i was doing pretty good, being that i had already perused LHCF for straightening tips and added as little product as possible, but for whatever reason her ends came out horrible. yeah her hair was straight, but it looked dry, and her ends looked horrible despite the fact that she BC'd just over a month ago. thank goodness the next day she got caught in the rain.

for round two, i used ElleDoll's tips for "lightweight, silky flat ironed hair" (found here) minus the chelating part, which contrary to what i was told this weekend suggested blowdrying then adding the heat protectant. well i tried it...and i dont know if it was that or the blowdrying but her hair came out BEAUTIFUL, relaxer straight and just so shiny. even her ends looked fabulous, the way they were supposed to look. we both sat and thought as to what made the difference; while i think it is the heat she thinks it was the longer DC time. here is what i did this time:
  • DC'd with lustrasilk for an hour and a half, no heat.
  • rinsed and applied giovanni direct.
  • plaited into sections and blowdried each on medium with my cheapie ionic hair dryer. once again i used pinkskates' tension method, holding the ends with my denman.
  • got scared cause her hair was really big.
  • parted her hair into 5 sections (half mohawk at the top, two sections on the sides, and two in the back).
  • applied sabino mb to the first section (i started in the back) by covering the bottle opening with my fingers and tipping it upside down. everytime i poured it out i got too much so this worked well.
  • flat ironed small sections using the comb chase method.
  • repeat with other 4 sections.

her hair just curled up so easily with just a bend of the solia - so i knew i had a winner on my hands. i was just going to wrap it but i decided to try pin curling her hair instead, and the pin curls just looked so silky that i just kept complimenting her. this might sound petty...but i can't wait to hear my stupid cousins' mouthes when they see her hair. i'm so happy, and the important thing is she is too! i was planning on waiting until september to flat iron my hair, but who knows, i could end up doing it a lot sooner if i keep looking at her hair.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

skin update

not to sound vain, but i've been watching my face like a hawk. i guess it's me believing in the power of topical retinoids, but i also think part of it is being bored to death. every few days i sit and think about how my skin has gotten better or worse, and i guess that's a good thing cause i was very well prepared when i went back to the derm today. for the past week i have been getting less of those gawd-awful cysts...thank goodness cause if it was a permanent thing i would probably shoot myself in the foot. at one point thursday there were actually NO active blemishes on my face for what i would say is the first time since my 9th grade year. two or three swelled back up later on friday but they were still smaller, and i gotta take progress for what it is. i have used my MaMa lotion twice so far - once thursday night and once sunday night, and lucky ol' me woke up to peeling skin on monday. ah, the joy of "results". it's ok, i went to walgreens today and noticed that their offbrand cetaphil moisturizing cream is even cheaper than wal-mart's, so i will definitely be going back tomorrow for that (and some AHA body cream, but that's another post). if you have never worn mineral makeup, let me be the first to tell you that it will make your flaky skin look even worse, and no amount of blending will fix it, so i stepped out today wearing nothing but mascara and sunscreen. no wonder they still make liquid foundation.

anyway, i was nervous while waiting for the derm to call me back so i made a list of things i wanted to ask:
  • my cheeks and chin are clearing up, so why does my forehead hate me? it must be because i have called it big for so long.
  • why did the blackheads on my nose come back?
  • if i switch from RAM .04 to RAM .1 will i go through an IB again? that thing was bloody hell.

not to say he quite answered them all...boy is he a fast talker...but i did get an answer to the most crucial question, and he told me that .1 would work the same but make me peel more. not exactly the answer i wanted to hear on a day like today where it looked like my face was seconds away from falling off, but he did offer me about a month's worth of samples so i can see if there is a difference. i used the first one tonight, and i am crossing my fingers that my nose doesn't peel off before i can get to walgreens. he also put me back on an oral antibiotic since my face did so much better when i was on doryx, except he wrote the prescription for doxycycline 100mg. i have no idea what the difference is, but that's what the message boards are for. gotta love the internet. so here is my new regimen, as of today:

AM: doxycycline capsule // wash with johnson's head-to-toe // clindamycin pad // eucerin EP with spf 30 // mineral makeup if i dont look like a mummy

PM: remove makeup with baby wipe or EVOO // wash with johnson's head-to-toe // wait 30 mins and apply RAM .04, RAM .1, or MaMa lotion depending on the night // selectively moisturize where needed // meditate, relax

in with this are the mint julep mask once a week, 100oz of water a day, and the hair/skin/nails vits and flaxseed oil geltab. once i get back to school i'll throw in a healthy dose of exercise. reassessing, i am aiming to clear up as much as possible by august 30th. if i'm not at 100% by then i am cool with that. i took new before shots last week so i have something to compare.

p.s. scored another doc connect..."you need to hurry up and finish school so you can come work with me." the downside? " but you gotta go straight through no stopping - i can't wait too long, i'm getting old." so much for that year off on the dr. fuller plan.

love it or hate it: queen helene mint julep masque i have still been looking for a good mask since unfortunately the whole indian healing clay thing didn't work out. i mean, it went on fine and all, but i got tired of mixing it and the BURN was so unbearable. it probably doesn't burn regular thick-skinned people, but RAM is a killer and i am forced to accommodate. i've heard a lot of things about the queen helene masks lately, specifically the mint julep and mud masques, but i never really bought into the hype. that is, today when i went on a store run to walgreens and ended up spending 45 minutes perusing the makeup and skin care aisles. (yes, you know i stopped on the hair care aisle too.) i saw a lot of things i have been wondering about, including amlactin, neosporin dry touch sunblock, and the walgreens-brand AHA cream and knockoff cetaphil cream, but when i ran across the masques on sale BOGO i had to jump. i figured best case i can give one to my brother, worst case i can take them back, cause i always keep my receipts.

i decided there was no time like the present to try it, so after an early evening nap i swiped off my makeup with a baby wipe and washed with the johnson's head-to-toe before screwing the top off the mask tube. i really thought it would be a squeeze type flip top thingy, but whatever. i had to squeeze kinda hard and when i saw the stuff i was taken aback. it i know that it is "mint julep", but i didn't think it would be green! i shrugged and put it on my face, and immediately felt a sting. it was so bad that i wanted to stop applying it halfway through, but then i remembered that earlier today i wiped the extra glitter from the dream matte mousses i got on clearance off my cheek with a baby wipe and it stung when i reapplied my eucerin moisturizer, and that stuff NEVER stings. i really think it was the baby wipes, so i am glad my sister has been sneaking them to use when she changes my baby cousin's diapers. on MUA i heard that simple wipes are good, so maybe i should find out what those are next. back on topic...i survived the pain and then the stinging went away. there was this strong smell of mint, but it wasn't overpowering; it smelled like i was putting doublemint gum on my face. it actually made me smile a bit. the instructions say to leave it on about 15 minutes, but with my sensitive skin i planned on cutting that down to ten...then my boyfriend called and i got on the phone. uh-oh. twenty minutes later, i put him on hold and raced to the bathroom to rinse it off, fearing the worst - but unlike the indian healing clay, it did NOT prevent me from moving my face and it DID come off easily. score! i waited a good 15 minutes waiting for some extra burning, and it never i took the other bottle out of the bag and threw away the receipt. it or hate it? love it. it's a good clay mask, very inexpensive, already mixed so it's foolproof, and it actually did what it said it would do and gave me a good deep down clean. i will reassess in the morning to see if this blemish on my forehead has cleared up any, and if it has then i will also have an excellent spot treatment.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

love it or hate it: johnson's head-to-toe baby wash

it's no secret that i have skin problems, some of them simpler to solve than others. i decided to attack one of the easier-to-fix ones by switching my face wash from basis sensitive skin bar to something else. i really thought i had a winner with this (being that it was less than $2) but boy was i wrong. my skin was so DRY after washing with this stuff, and i think it clogged my pores and made me break out. i have some wal-mart brand clearasil that i was using a few months ago, and it didnt leave my skin AS dry so i used that in the meantime. while browsing various boards (MUA,, LHCF) i noticed a lot of people raving about johnson's head-to-toe baby wash, and since i am dumb enough to become desperate i pilfered the travel-size bottle my brother has and tried it out. definitely a lot watery in consistency than the soaps and washes i am used to, but this may be because it's not full of fillers. it wasn't really thick on my face, but that's ok, i just wanted it to get the job done. i felt like i had to use more in the shower cause i couldn't tell if it was on my face, but over the sink this was not a problem. the real test came after waiting 10 mintes after washing to see if my skin felt tight...and surprise, it didn't! even better was the price; the wal-mart version of JBW is $1.18 for 15oz, so it is wayyy cheaper than the eucerin i was considering and even cheaper than the basis i got to be economical. it or hate it? so far, love it. i will use it for another 2 weeks to see if it breaks me out, but i really dont think it will. i love being able to simplify my regimen.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

all straightened out

ok guys...i am going for it. after 2 months of nothing but the curls i have rollerset my hair. i am sitting under the dryer as we speak and though i have had plenty of rollersets at the dominican salon this is my first time doing my own. i used pokahontas' ponytail rollerset method cause i am deathly afraid of puffy roots, and i probably won't feel like flat ironing a THING after going for so long without heat on my hair. so here is what i did...
  • prepooed with an old bottle of pantene R&N intensive moisturizing conditioner that i have not thrown away. glad i didnt, i read the ingredients and this stuff has jojoba and coconut oils in it. wow, pantene.

  • rinsed out with trader joe's nourish spa conditioner. i guess i should have used this as a regular cowash condish first since i still have to do a love it or hate it on it, but so far so good.

  • added 2 quarter sized amounts of sabino MB to wet hair.

  • grabbed supplies...and made 9-10 ponytails using cloth bands, cause i dont have enough nylon ones. this reminds me i should go looking for them this weekend...and next time i will soak them in oil prior to use.

  • rewet the ponytails with water (well there was a little suave tropical coconut in the bottle, since i refilled an almost empty bottle) and smoothed hair with a denman and a rattail comb.

  • rolled em. i used the turquoise and the tan colored magnetic rollers. dont worry, pics are forthcoming.

  • i have been under the dryer for about 20-25 minutes; i will stay under for about an hour more. or until it gets too

CROSSING MY FINGERS! learning to rollerset is one of the things on my "things to do before you go back to school" list, and if it comes out right i hope to use this as a staple style during the colder months. i will update when the rollers come out.

UPDATE: after the 1:15 i spent under the dryer, i took out the rollers and blew JUST my roots a little straighter using pinkskates' tension method. then i just enjoyed my curls. no swang but i'm not sure if i could get that without flat ironing...either way i love my hair. the next morning i flat ironed my roots on low to smooth things out in the front. definitely a keeper.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

fasting is NOT just for buddhists!

i am thinking about adding a one-day-a-week fast to my skin care regimen. well i guess it would just be something to add to my life to make me healthier, but perhaps the effects would be seen in my skin. i have never fasted before, but if i am looking into doing a raw food detox later this month i guess it would make more sense to do it for at least one day so i know what i am getting into. i also planned on adding healthy fridays into my routine, where i add a new health goal for the week in every friday, but doggone it i keep forgetting to post on fridays! i will just make a list of what i am currently doing and *see* if i remember to add to it this friday, which is highly unlikely because i think i will be too busy out enjoying the sunshine. i get to get out of the house again, yay!

what's going on now: hair/skin/nails vits, flaxseed oil tablet every day. (i am thinking about switching to a regular multi and omegas when these two are gone.) 100oz water every day.

UPDATE: i made this thread in the LHCF health and fitness forum...and apparently my question has become a challenge. yay! i unofficially started this past wednesday, so with my 100oz of water i also had a small salad, a few saltine crackers, a plum, and a celery heart. it went great, but next week i will try to have more fruit and teas on hand.

Friday, August 1, 2008

let's hope this works...

after hearing lots of rave reviews about MaMa lotion on i bit the bullet and purchased it tonight. it was $44.50 on but i had a 20% off coupon and there is free shipping. (told you i hate paying for shipping.) hopefully it will arrive by wednesday so i can get a few uses in before my august 11th derm appointment. here's to brighter skin, i guess...

now for some PROGRESS

i didnt make my skin goal. boo hoo. on the positive side, i have seriously cut down on the skin picking...i feel uncomfortable talking about it but reading up on it made me realize it's an actual psych thing, kinda like trichotillomania. my brain hurts from all the willpower but my face looks better so i can live with the headaches. other goals i accomplished yesterday:
  • i got my 100oz of water in! four and a half 24oz glasses of water (nalgene was dirty) along with some ice in the evening.
  • i made baked ziti for pics, they ate it too fast. (yay i'm learning to cook)
  • i DC'd in my cornrows...3 hours, no heat with lustrasilk olive oil cholesterol. as a result i megassaged twice...once this morning then again after the DC. highly unusual but whatever.

it's the little things that i do that make me happy. almost like baby steps towards a happier, less stressed life. this will be my year (academic year, so aug-may) and i am starting NOW on making it all that.