Friday, June 21, 2013

Exotic Argan Oil-Yea or Nay?

New attention has been given over the past few years to oil as skin care and hair care treatments.  And before you raid your pantry for the bottle of canola oil, hold up!  The types of oils that have been most widely talked about are not sold at your local supermarket. These oils are much more exotic.

I am currently on my second bottle of the most popular exotic oil in recent times--argan oil.  Although argan oil is found in products all over the place, the oil I am using is 100% pure.  There are no silicones added as in the top selling Moroccan Oil hair product.  I bought my oil from an ebay store, Sweet Essentials.  It's cold pressed oil imported from Morocco, the country of origin for the argan tree.

I use the argan oil to seal the cuticle on the strands of my hair after I shampoo and condition.  Because my hair is naturally kinky-curly, it has a tendency to be dry and fragile.  Color treated hair is also prone to dryness and damage to the cuticle.  Argan oil applied on wet hair keeps the moisture from the water in the strand.  It is naturally rich in the anti-oxidant Vitamin E .  The serums sold in Sephora and other BSS normally add silicones and other ingredients.  So the effectiveness of Argan is diminished. And some people's hair dislikes"cones", and behaves poorly as a result. 100% Argan Oil can also be used as a pre-shampoo treatment, just as the Big Name serums can.  To save money, I mix my argan in with olive oil, coconut oil, or black castor oil to seal and as a pre-treatment.

Pure argan oil is also a nice, lighter-weight oil to be used to seal moisture into the skin.  I use it on my face at night every so often, and I wake up to smoother skin.  Those with drier skin or more mature skin can use it every night.  Argan oil is also special because it is not comedogenic (does not clog pores and cause acne).  In fact, many acne sufferers report that their acne is diminished as a result of using this oil on the skin. I am betting that the good stuff in this exotic oil helps to regulate our skin's own oil and decreasing inflammation!! I have even used argan oil straight from the bottle on my baby nephew's skin  just after a bath (to seal in moisture) and it relieved a stubborn patch of eczema from his back. Just don't use the hair serum on the skin.  Those "cones" will do more harm than good.  Go pure!

So I am convinced it's worth it.  Give 100% Argan Oil a try!

Ebay Store-Sweet Essentials-- 4 oz. of Organic Cold Pressed Oil for $17.99.  This is a reputable and trustworthy ebay store IMO.

if you must have it TODAY, you can splurge on Josie Moran Pure Organic Argan Oil at Sephora stores. 4 oz. will run you $96.  Although Josie makes some quality stuff, probably more quality than the Sweet Essentials, it is not worth to pay such a mark-up for the pure oil.  In my opinion, the high price tag is for the celeb label (Josie is a former model and eco-conscience celeb cosmetics maker) and the fancier packaging.

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

BB's for Dummies ;-)

Let me begin by saying that I don't really think any of my readers are dummies.  Uninformed, maybe.  Please don't get uptight.  It's just a saying!  So, have you noticed the term BB being thrown around in the beauty advertising world? 
Can ONE product do it all???

Within the past year, the term "BB", or Beauty Balm, has gotten VERY popular in the beauty industry.  There are an abundance of BB's on the market, from the higher end cosmetics lines to the drugstore staple brands.  So what is the big deal with all of these new products?

Well before I elaborate, I'd like to state, BB's are really nothing new.  They are essentially what used to be called tinted moisturizers, repackaged and spruced up.  Tinted moisturizers were always popular with the active crowd, with the oily skinned ladies, and with the women who didn't like the feel of makeup on their faces.  They were summertime staples for women who didn't want a heavy liquid foundation, or a thick solid stick foundation that melted in the heat and that looked very conspicuous as it slid down their faces as they perspired.

Then came the advent of mineral makeup, most notably Bare Escentuals.  Mineral foundation cornered the foundation/makeup base market very quickly, and soon every company was clamoring to put out a powdered mineral product that could be swirled on with a kabuki brush. 

Now I really like mineral foundation, but the "fad" has waned, and the fickle beauty market went on to look for the next big thing.  Today, it is the Beauty Balm, which as I said is a tinted moisturizer--a regular facial moisturizer + a foundation like tint.  Many of todays BB's have added sunscreens, which further simplify the morning routines of busy women.  I like this, as anything that will keep a lady from complaining about the extra step of applying sunscreen is a big + in my book.  BB's may also add other ingredients to help with firming or mattifying depending on the skin it is indicated for.

Why have I not run out and bought a BB yet?  Well, my regimen is way too complicated (and satisfyingly so) for me to be satisfied with a BB.  I switch up my products on a day-to-day basis, and usually use a serum, a moisturizer, and a makeup primer with SPF.  But I think they are nice products IF and ONLY IF you can find one to match your skin color and undertone.

Most mainstream brands make a Light, Medium, and Dark formula.  This is a pet peeve for me!  If someone like Katherine Zeta-Jones is considered Dark skinned, then what about the rest of us!  This leaves out the Diva and those with even deeper tones.  Boo!!  Yes, most mainstream brands are made for people of European descent.  But if you look hard, you can find some good ones that work for darker skin tones.  And just because a formula says Medium doesn't mean it will work for every medium-hued Caucasian sister.  If you have a warm undertone, a peach or rosy toned color will not do you any good.  Just keep in mind, we are not cookies, so no there is no cookie-cutter formula to fit us.
I will be on the lookout for the best Beauty Balms in my next post.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Breaking In: How to break in Birkenstocks

"Ehh, Doc, I told you to break in your Stocks before you go hoppin' around all day!"

Lately I've been raving about the comfort of the Birkenstock cork orthopedic footbed.  The footbed is designed to mold to your own feet for a customized fit, like the custom orthotics you get at a podiatrist's office.  Those orthotics will run you a pretty penny.  I once paid $300 for a pair that my son refused to wear.  Yes, this is why Birkenstocks (and Birkenstock like cork sandals) are so expensive, they are doctor developed for the best environment for your tootsies.  And this is why they can be so comfortable.

The one caveat, they are not ready to go once you take them out of the box.  You need to break them in so that while they are molding to the contours of your feet, they are not making them sore in the process. So eager to wear my new Bionaturas, I didn't follow this rule when breaking in my own  sandals. ( Bionaturas are yet another brand, but with the similar orthotic footbed! Check out the clearance page at  Even if you get the Stocks with the padded footbed, you still need to follow these steps for breaking them in:

1. Out of the Box--First of all, wear the shoes for about 15 minutes INSIDE your house.  This is to ensure that the size is correct and that you like the look of the shoes before you scuff the soles.  Many stores will not take them back if they look like you wore them outside. (If you had them properly fitted by a salesperson at a full service shoe store, you may skip this step).

2.  Day One--Wear the shoes for about 45 mins. to an hour--NO MORE!  You can wear them to the grocery store or to run some errands that won't take much time.

3. Day Two (doesn't have to be the very next day, but don't wait too long)--Wear them for about  2-3 hours max.  If you feel your feet start to hurt or feel fatigued, switch shoes.  That means you should bring another pair of shoes if you are going to be walking a lot.

4.  Day Three (again, don't wait too long between)--Try wearing them for a half of your average day out. 

5. Subsequent Days--Build up to a full day of light to average walking.  If you plan on doing a lot of walking, bring another pair of shoes just in case.

Once you've broken them in, you should see a slight imprint of your foot in the sandal footbed.  This is good; it means they are molding to your feet.  After this point, go to the mall, light hiking (they are not like hiking boots) or for long walks in the park.  You will love the way the shoes conform to your feet and feel great!