MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50 review

Even though I’ve been blessed with good skin I’ve been  contemplating different ways to improve both my skin  care and make-up routines lately. I say blessed because my skin is rather clear with no marks or blemishes and I hardly ever experience any breakouts. But I do realise that this may not last forever and at some point the natural ageing process could make my smooth facial skin a  thing of the past. I also love wearing make-up and for the last few months I’ve been considering different ways to make my make-up last longer.

So in steps MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50.

After trolling loads of beauty blogs and websites I finally decided to give this primer a try.

What it says

New formula – lighter, weightless and invisible. Lotion-like, skin-protecting cream with SPF 50. Apply under makeup to prime the face before exposure to the sun. Fast absorbing, leaving skin free of any white residual effects. Wear daily to guard against skin discolouration, premature ageing, dryness and other effects of sun exposure. Suitable for all skin types.

What it does

Exactly what is says! I love the fact that it’s a light weight moisturiser and sunscreen in one. Usually I just moisturise my skin with coconut oil, but I’ve also been wanting to incorporate  some type of sunscreen into my daily routine. I’m now experimenting using the moisturising primer first and sealing it with the oil. I do this on the days when I’m not wearing make-up.  On the days I do wear make-up, I apply my oil first as usual, wait for a couple of minutes for it to absorb into my skin and then I apply the primer. A little goes a long way so you really don’t have to use much, only about a pea-sized amount.

It’s amazing as it really does make my pores look smaller, especially around my nose, and it has a slight iridescent finish, which helps to brighten the skin.

Best of all my foundation goes on a lot smoother and does seem to last hours longer.  I’ve been using it for about two weeks and still feel like I’m experimenting with it, so I’ll be sure to give another update in a few months.

What are your thoughts? Do you usually use a primer before your foundation and have any of you used this brand before? 

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For the love of the Braid-Out

Hello Naturalistas!

We had a public holiday earlier in the week and I thought it was the perfect day to showcase my favourite hair style, the braid-out, while enjoying the lovely Autumn weather with a picnic on a row boat. I haven’t styled my hair like this in a few months so I was quite surprised at how ‘lengthy’ it looked. This is a major reason why I love this style so much – it really stretches out the hair to get maximum ‘hang time’.

Can you believe that this is actually 3rd day hair? I really love the results of a style that’s a few days old: My hair just gets bigger, fluffier and more voluminous. Usually I maintain my styles with the pineappling method, but in this case I opted to braid my hair up into 5 braids for bed time after which I wrapped it in a silk scarf.

Different products work differently on different hair, but in case you’re interested in my styling process for this look, here it is:

– Pre-poo treatment with coconut oil and Hello Hydration conditioner

– Cleansed with Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture shampoo

– Deep conditioned overnight with a mix of TRES Emmé Naturals conditioner, Aubrey Organics protein conditioner, honey and coconut oil

– Moisturised with Mixed Chicks Leave-In conditioner and coconut oil

– Styled with Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

I let my hair air-dry few for a few minutes after which I braided it into a total of 8 braids, 4 on each side.

Back to rowing though, check out my rowing-concentration face while still trying to look cute 🙂

My hair isn’t perfect, but I do love it, frizz and all.

Thanks so much for reading and love your curls!

x

Natural Beauty – SEV

Introduce yourself.

My name is SEV and I’m from the East Rand in Johannesburg. I’m an anthropologist. I’m a feminine woman. Describing myself is harder than I could have imagined. I enjoy the arts, travelling and most creative activities. I’m an avid gardener, a fair cook, and a sportswoman practicing kung fu, pilates and yoga. I’m a novice guitar and voice student. My repertoire includes DIY projects and I’m a hair enthusiast.

How long have you worn your hair natural and what made you decide to do it?

I have been natural for seven years. It was a decision ushered in by motherhood. That emerged from a self-interrogating evaluation of how I wanted to raise my daughter. I wanted my child to be confident regardless of her looks and to evaluate herself and others based on the internal person. However, I do have a parallel aesthetic drive that I view as an add-on to the essence of who I am.

When did you first realise that you love your natural hair texture and what exactly do you love about it? Describe your hair.

As a child, right before my straightener was due, the coils at my roots were fascinating. I often wished my whole head could be covered in long coils. I admired images of women with this very different texture. But I had no idea where to begin. Also, the rhetoric around natural hair was taboo. It was simply considered sub-standard and information was thus hard to access.

My hair has a few different curl patterns. At the nape of my neck up to my crown I have neat cork screw curls. The mid-section has zigzag shapes and the front has some less neat patterns. The top of my head and particularly the parts I wear out tend to get more sun damaged resulting in less perfect curl shapes. That along with frequent styling leaves the front of my head with less defined curls. I am also guilty of heat offence. However, I find that a quarterly or six monthly blow wave to be a necessary break from my afro. Although it damages / stretches my curl pattern it keeps my other more permanent harmful urges  (colouring and chemical straightening)  in check. I am a crafter and my hair is one of the ways I express this skill. I am easily bored with the same look and am constantly trying out new looks.

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What is your hair regime? What do you do to keep it healthy?

My regime comes from having spent so many years trying to understand my hair. I try to keep my maintenance routine very simple. In general I wash my hair once a week unless I need to change the current shape of it. I use Wen cleansing conditioner followed by a detangling conditioner and then a leave-in. I deep condition once a week and I diligently add my own oil potions along with a curl cream to ensure my hair stays moisturized.

I have a couple of  steadfast rules:

Products – I’m intensely aware of the play between product marketing and reality. I scrutinise product labels to ensure that they do not cause any harm. When unsure I check a product directory such as the one provided by Terry La Flesh on tightlycurly.com. I use shampoo with caution when necessary and only apply it to my scalp. I enjoy DIY treatments and figuring out what in them works for my hair and what doesn’t. My kitchen often looks like a lab with concoctions all over the place.

Process – Patience when detangling / combing using a head massager instead of a comb has proved less painful and less damaging. Air-drying my hair when I plan to wear it curly. Replacing my towel with an old t-shirt to soak up excess water. 

What have your experiences been as a natural, including reactions from friends, family and colleagues? Have you experienced any opposition from anyone in your life regarding how you wear your hair?

I made a sudden shift from long perfectly manicured tresses to  a TWA. The change was a shock to my inner circle. Some were vocal about what they perceived as my dissidence to my feminine identity. Also, cultural heritage and pride meant that well taught girls do socially acceptable things and cutting off one’s crown was a big side-step. However, with time I discovered many new ways of caring for and styling my natural hair, eventually receiving some unexpected approvals.

What is your favourite go-to hair style for days when you don’t have a lot of time?

A big bun or updo. Mid-length curly hair updos are quite simple. A few pins can work wonders for a ‘not today’ hair day. The easiest thing I find is to pick a few looks from a resource like YouTube. I practice in my spare time so that the next time I need to pull a rabbit out of a hat it just appears.

What is your hair goal? 

This is my second natural run. In round one I became bored after four years and started dyeing my hair. I paid a dear price when I had to go back to a TWA. The various hair colours wreaked havoc on my hard earned length. This time with some hindsight I know more of what not to do. That ultimately is what my hair journey is about, its constant discovery, potential, boundaries and what its eventual full length will be.  I have no idea how long it can get but I hope to find out. The longest I have seen it was beyond my bra strap. My current goal is for my coils to reach elbow length.  Assuming a 15 cm per year growth I am about three years away from this point.

What is your best hair advice to someone who is thinking of going natural, but who is apprehensive about doing it?

“Try it, try it and you may. Try it and you may I say” – Dr Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.

The level of difficulty or ease really depends on the individual. If you are like me and have a need for perfection and perfectly manicured hairdos then you will experience various challenges. Make peace with your hair and accept it for what it is and learn what it can do. Understand that anything in life can be learned and that no knowledge is beyond anyone with access to information. Invest some time in learning and you will enjoy the natural hair experience.

I have several friends with natural hair who are not as pedantic about how their hair looks. They are at peace with whatever their hair decides to do. If you are this person then you will be happy indeed.

Hair is a craft and if you spend the time on it you will discover a wealth of information. Natural hair has both its challenges and rewards.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during your natural hair journey?

Being natural has taken me through a wide range of emotions from utter satisfaction at my own confidence to feeling insane. When I buried my processed hair I gave away the quick and easy cover of who I was. I was suddenly exposed. Often on the receiving end of criticism for how I looked. I had to justify this choice.

I had to find a way to fit this new hair into my life. Daily rigorous physical training proved a real challenge. I eventually decided to leave it be till it was long enough to just use a ponytail to deal with the immense mushroom head. I accept that my hair won’t always be perfect and that is just what it is.

Do you have a favourite life lesson? If so, please share it with us?

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” – Dr. Seuss.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me on Facebook at  www.facebook/silkhelmetlady

A Note on Happiness

Coffee

I was sitting at my kitchen table catching up on the news with a cuppa java in hand when I experienced what can only be described as a coffee high. It’s as those endorphins came rushing in that I felt the inspiration to compile a little coffee post.

You see, coffee is my favourite beverage. I drink it daily. And none of  that freeze-dried instant or chicory nonsense. Only the best coffee ground from real beans will do for me. Mostly I drink it in the afternoons when I’m sitting in front of my computer contemplating life and whatever I’m working on for the moment, or on weekends while having a lazy lie-in. You’d think living in Japan that tea, specifically green tea, would be my thing. But the truth is I distinctly dislike green tea, and the only reason I drink it is because it makes for an interesting and healthy alternative to plain old water.

But really my beverage of choice is coffee. I prefer it hot with milk, but won’t say no to it black. No sugar. And if you can give it to me flavoured I’ll love you even more. Coconut flavoured, chocolate and macadamia flavoured to orange liqueur flavoured coffee, I love trying them all.

It’s one of those little things in life that  helps to make me happy. More precisely, it’s the intoxicating aroma and taste of coffee that give me my moment of bliss. We all need a bit of that everyday.

What’s your cup of coffee?

Image Source: Pinterest

How to save a not-so-great conditioner

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I’m sure I can’t be the only one who has ever been excited to try out a new product only to find that  it doesn’t do much for my hair. It’s not particularly bad, it’s just not particularly good either.

Currently I have two such products in my collection. The first is Palmer’s Coconut Oil Repairing Conditioner. I was looking forward to use this product for the first time as it does not contain any sulphates or parabens, you know, all the bad stuff. Unfortunately I found that it didn’t provide much moisture or any slip for effective detangling.

The second product is Aussie Mega Instant Conditioner. After having heard this product raved about so much, I was extremely disappointed when it didn’t do anything for me. My hair didn’t really feel moisturised after I left it in for a few minutes and again it didn’t provide any slip for detangling. What an anti-climax.

So instead of throwing these conditioners away (because that would be wasteful), I have come up with a few ways that I can still get some use out of them.

1. Use it as part of your pre-poo

Since a pre-poo treatment gets washed out anyway,  you can easily mix up some of the ‘dud’ conditioner with a dash of oil and a bit of water, and use this mixture as a pre-poo treatment. Not only will you have found a use for the product, but you won’t have to use your more effective, and often pricier, conditioners for the pre-poo.

2. Use it as a ‘quick conditioner’ before you apply your deep conditioner

As I wash my hair in 4 sections, I sometimes add a bit of the ‘dud’ conditioner to the just-shampooed section before I move on to wash the next section. This ensures that my hair isn’t left with the often dryish effect that shampoo can have, for any period of time. Once I’ve shampooed and conditioned each section, I’ll rinse out all the ‘dud’ conditioner after which I proceed to apply my deep conditioner.

3. Use the conditioner as a base for a deep conditioner

You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can turn your ‘dud’ conditioner purchase into a happy mistake, simply by adding some of your favourite oils,  honey and aloe vera juice.  To turn up the slip factor, add a lot of extra oil to ensure a  veritable spa session for your strands.

Has this ever happened to you? Comment below and let me know what you do with your not-so-great conditioners.

Love your hair!

xxx

5 ways to reduce natural hair damage and breakage

The Fro

Even if you take the most loving care of your hair, some form of mechanical damage is inevitable. The mere acts of just washing and styling our hair can lead to a minimal amount of breakage, no matter how cautious we are. I’m sure we all know by now that  moisture is key to natural hair. Without the necessary moisture, our hair becomes dry and brittle, which leads to breakage. However here are five practices to be weary of  if you’re still experiencing excessive breakage.

1. Do not use heat (excessively)

Frequent and  high temperature use of heat are going to lead to heat damage. There’s just no getting around it. So make sure that you use heat as little as possible throughout your regime, and if you can’t do away with it completely, use a heat protectant and set the dryer on a low heat setting.

2. Stay away from the chemicals 

Chemicals such as relaxers and the like break down the protein bonds of the individual hair strands. It can also cause severe burns to the scalp. In addition, hair dyes are extremely drying to the hair. It’s possible to limit all this damage through regular protein and deep conditioning treatments both before and after the chemical processes, but ultimately some form of damage and breakage is unavoidable.

3. NEVER dry comb / detangle your hair

If you’re always trying to detangle or comb your hair while it’s dry, you best believe you’re going to experience breakage galore. Adding water or a moisturising product such as conditioner – along with an oil for an even smoother experience – will soften the individual hair strands and make them more flexible, enabling you to glide through those tangles.

4. Avoid constant restyling

It’s simple: The more you manipulate the hair, the more susceptible it is to damage and breakage. So it stands to reason if you only style your hair once every few days or weeks, you’re likely to experience less breakage simply because you’re not constantly handling your hair.

5. Don’t be scared of protein

As hair comprises 90% protein, it makes sense that we should replace  the protein lost to manipulation and damage. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing an intensive protein treatment. If you’ve consistently been looking after your hair, it can be as simple as regularly adding strengthening ingredients into your routine. Examples  include plain yoghurt, avocado, egg  and my personal favourite,  coconut oil, which is highly effective in reducing  protein loss.

These steps have all worked collectively to ensure that my hair stays healthy and strong. Let me know if there are any other ways to prevent damage and breakage to our natural hair that I can add on to this list?

Thanks so much for reading and love your hair,

xxx