Yet another QB Review

Winter always means down time for my hair. When I say ‘down time’, I mean it’s hat season. Don’t expect anything too cute from me. This winter, I’ve pretty much kept my hair tamed in two styles: plaited   pig tails or double-strand twists. That’s it. The cold weather really does affect my hair, and I’ve noticed that my eldest girl (whose hair is like mine) has the same issue. Despite it all, our tresses are healthy and thriving and I’ve become even more of a Qhemet Biologics fan than I was before. A couple of months ago, I purchased the last three items from the website that I had yet to try. I don’t know why I didn’t splurge on them before, but now they are a part of my regular line up. Let;s check ’em out…

Karkady Tea Replenishing Mist-  I’m starting with the mist because it was my biggest surprise.  By now, any one who follows this blog knows that I am a HUGE QB fan.  Everything I have tried has worked well with my hair, but I just never gave the mist much thought.  I still can’t say why I bought it, but I did and boy am I hooked.  Many of us natural ladies know (or should know) that water is our friend.  Unfortunately, tap water (with all its chemicals and chlorine) is not. I don’t have to use water to dampen my hair anymore for styling.  My first time using the mist produced fabulous (yes, fabulous) results.  I washed my hair and put in my regular mix of Biologics products; however, I also spritzed my hair with the mist and worked it in really good before twisting.  The next morning, I took out my twists and found my hair so soft, silky and shiny, with gorgeous waves. I couldn’t stop touching it!  Several co-workers asked what I did to my hair.  KTRM is now a staple.

Tea Tree & Grapeseed Therapeutic Pomade- Winter isn’t only harsh on my hair and skin, it’s  hard on my scalp.  My scalp needs only half a reason to start flaking, so I really have to be diligent with how I care for it.  I started using this pomade because I was seeing those few tell-tale flakes as the weather became colder.  So far, so good.  I have to say, it isn’t my only line of defense in preventing dry scalp, but it works well and it’s light.  I would buy it again, no problem.

Castor & Moringa Softening Serum- Great, great stuff!  Castor oil, in my opinion, is one of those oils that works wonders.  If you consider that the castor bean itself is toxic and a hazard even to reap, it is amazing that the oil from such a bean is so beneficial to us.  I bought the serum to protect my hair (especially my ends) and to stop them from getting brittle.  I have to say, I got more than I bargained for. The oil  has become something I use on my children daily.  My daughter’s hands became frost-bitten (a painful condition as anyone who has experienced it knows) a short while ago due to her refusal to wear her gloves.  I began treating her hands with the serum, followed by A&D ointment twice a day.  Her hands have healed beautifully without me having to put prescription creams or the like on them.  The serum has also become what I use to protect my kids’ faces before they go out in the cold each morning.  My mother used to use Vaseline or A&D on us.  I find the serum works terrific, and protects their skin  from getting chapped without having the ‘shiny face’ my friends and I had as children.

There are, of course, other products that I still support and enjoy using.  They are currently awaiting warmer days when I can style my hair and not have to don a toque.

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This Little Piggy…

I am blessed with two very ‘girly’ little girls.  The love to play dolls, dress up, and both share a preoccupation with all things beauty.  During the last year, they have requested lip gloss over their lip balm, added a spritz of perfume to their morning routine, and  begged to wear nail polish.  My mom didn’t allow me to wear polish until I was thirteen, and even then it was the ‘clear with glitter’ kind.  History does repeat itself, and although I answered ‘no’ every time my girls asked, my mind flashed back to wanting some colour on my nails and using marker in a desperate attempt to get my way.  Recently, I was reading a blog (I can’t remember the name of it, sorry) and discovered something called “Piggy Paint”   What is Piggy Paint?  It is the invention of a mother who realized that nail polish is not a child friendly product.  She  made her own kid-friendly version and now markets it under the catchy moniker.  I visited the website, liked what I read, and ended up purchasing the Cotton Candy gift pack.  This evening I painted my little one’s nail in Clouds of Candy, a pastel blue polish, while my eldest chose Angel Kisses, a fun pink.  The polish went on easily, dried fast and looks great so far.  Every one seems to be a happy camper: the girls have pretty, polished nails and I don’t have to worry and wonder if the product is going to harm them.

I smell an imposter!!!

Something very terrible has happened.

Let me start at the beginning.

What seems like many years ago, Dolce & Gabbana released their first fragrance for women.  It was simple known as Dolce & Gabbana with the red top (aka pour femme).  The perfume was a love it or loathe it creation.  With its citrus and herbal top notes, heady floral heart and vanilla-musk base, there was nothing shy about it.  The jus had tons of sillage and could easily wear the wearer instead of the other way around.

I was just out of high school when I discovered this heavenly creation.  It was love at first sniff, and it was the first fragrance that was powerful enough to affect my mood.  All I had to do was wear it and I felt like a confident, sexy, bombshell instantly. It was brash and brazen, yet somehow still sophisticated.  It was my mother who treated me to my 3.4 oz bottle, and whenever I wore it, the compliments came all day long.  I was careful with my bottle of treasured perfume, so I only wore it on special occasions.  Recently, I took a good, long look at what was left of it and decided to retire it.  Here’s why: My bottle of D&G was purchased in 1998 and I was pretty certain that the jus had been altered since then.  I resolved that I would buy myself a new bottle and keep what was left of the vintage elixir for any super special moments.

When Your Nose Knows:

I received my new bottle of D&G pour femme and tested it on my arm.  Instantly, I knew that something was wrong. Very wrong.  The top notes seemed thin and not rich as they should.  As they developed into the heart of the fragrance my nose couldn’t get past a particular synthetic note that overwhelmed and altered the entire composition of the jus.  The dry down was the ‘politically correct’ version of what it used to be.  The fragrance itself had changed drastically.  It was an imposter!

To further convince myself of what I knew to be true, I asked my hubby to smell the new version of the perfume.  He has always loved the ’98 version on me.  He smelled the new stuff (not knowing what perfume it was) and declared that he didn’t care for it.

So am I crazy? No, not at all.  There is a great explanation as to why a perfume that is the same brand can (and often does) smell different that a previously purchased bottle.  Companies and Perfume Houses (especially the big ones, ie. brands found in a dept. store) often substitute or swap ingredients or change the composition of a fragrance for several reasons.  The raw ingredients needed may become scarce, the powers that be may issue the order to make the jus more cost efficient, etc.  The most troubling reason of late has come from the IFRA who are set to ban a host of natural ingredients that have been at the heart of great perfume making for the last hundred or so years. Classics will soon become ghosts of themselves without ingredients such as oak moss and jasmine.  Instead, fragrances will become synthetic in nature (which they already are, sorry to say).  Out with real ingredients, in with man-made formulas made to smell like the genuine article.  Needless to say, there are many people (myself included) that see this as the death of the art of perfumery. Good-bye Chanel No. 5, Farewell Joy.  I can’t help but wonder why the perfume houses are essentially agreeing to these restrictions and thereby, actively contributing to their own downfall.  As I type this post, I am sitting here, wearing the imposter fragrance sold to me as D&G.  I will have no choice but to stockpile certain favorites of mine before they are altered.  I wish I could say that this has been my first encounter with a fragrance that has been drastically reformulated; unfortunately, it has not.  Lucky for me, I have my original, beloved D&G tucked away for safe keeping (what is left of it, anyway), and the perfume I wore when I married.

One final note.  It truly does peeve me that these perfume houses are substituting real, quality ingredients for poor substitutes without admitting it or lowering the price to reflect their now inferior product.  Perfumistas, we must find a way to make our voice heard.

The New Normal?

baby1I’m probably going to offend somebody with this post, but it’s my blog, so I’m going with my opinion.  A few days ago, I was listening to Michael Baisden’s show while cooking dinner.  First off, I love listening to the show because it’s intelligent, informative and funny.  One of the topics of the day was appearance in the workplace.  Everyone knows that finding a job right now can be downright exhausting.  Yes, what’s on your resume counts for a lot…BUT…let’s not fool ourselves.  Looks count.  Wish they didn’t, but they do.  So, the panel on the show were talking about people who have the bright coloured hair, neck tattoos and piercings.  Long story short: do they have a right to complain that it is harder for them to get hired?

Rainbow Hair, Tattoos & Piercings, oh my!

I don’t have a problem with the punk coloured hair.  Honestly, I wish I had the courage to do it.  If you have a job that allows you to do it (ie. you aren’t breaking their dress code) then go ahead.  I could get away with crazy coloured hair where I work, but I’m too afraid I’ll damage my now healthy tresses.  If you don’t have a job but you’re on the hunt…well, best not to do this yet.

When it comes to tattoos, I think a lot of people have taken it wayyyy overboard.  I can understand a couple, but covering your body or sporting tattoo tears? I don’t get that.  Might as well tattoo a frown on your mouth, to match the tears.  Same with piercings.  Don’t get it.  My best friend pierced under her lip, as many are doing these days.  It’s her choice, of course, but I’m simply not a fan of these piercings.  Ears and nose, cool.  Everything else is pretty much a fad.  It seems there are more people (especially teenagers) inked and pierced than there are without markings.  It makes me wonder if this is going to be how everyone will look in ten years.  In 15 years, will my accountant, lawyer and doctor look like they were/are  in a rock band or rap group?  I think people are entitled to express themselves as they choose.  We are individuals, and it’s beautiful that we can be so different.  However, I don’t think this wave of tats and piercings is so much about expression as it is about following a trend.  So, essentially, there are a lot of people following instead of leading.  It may be wrong to factor in looks when choosing who gets the job, but hey, if I own a company, then the person I hire is representing me (my brand).  Maybe my target customer is conservative in nature.  Tattoo tears aren’t going to help me make money.

I Love This Book!

ilovemyhairIf only I had owned this book when I was little.  I bought I Love My Hair! a few years ago when my eldest daughter was going through her own hair tribulations.  Like the heroine in the book, my little one hated having her hair combed, no matter how gentle I was.  So many of us have hair issues that start when we are still in single digit years.  Sometimes these issues are handed down to us by parents (whether consciously or not), or from our own experience with having our hair combed out.  I remember being in kindergarten and looking at the hair commercials for Flex and Finesse.  They always had some glamorous blond swishing her long, silken tresses.  I would do the same, of course.  This memory is so vivid for me that I guess it must have been a really big deal on some level.  I even remember asking my mom why no one in the commercials looked like us (as in, black people).  Thankfully, I haven’t been traumatized by the media in any way that I can think of; however, I find myself worrying about what my children will swallow from all the junk being fed to them from media’s various sources.  How can a young girl grow into an able, confident woman if she is unable to embrace who she is?  If I could have my way, this next generation of young ladies would be one with poise, intelligence and integrity.  Forget about beauty making the top three.  The truth is, beauty is nice and all, but it doesn’t last and it can’t stand on it’s own.  Besides, since it really is in the eye of the beholder, chances are someone will always find you attractive anyway.  I’m rambling on, it seems, but there is a connection to my ramblings and I Love My Hair!.  The heroine of this book describes her natural hair poetically.  It is compared to fine wool, a forest, wings for her to fly when combed in two.  Her mother has not fed her the all too common rhetoric about needing straight hair or having naps.  Instead, Mama nourishes this child’s spirit and esteem by telling her why her head of hair is so special.  There is also a book written for little boys, Bippity Bop Barbershop.  I have not read this book, but have heard good things about it.  Both books are written by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley.  Also highly recommended is Whoever You Are, by Mem Fox.  It’s a simple book that teaches children that though we all seem different, we really are the same.  The only beauty that will not fade is that of a kind heart.

Golden arches

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I’m not talking about McDonald’s. What I am thinking about are perfectly shaped eyebrows. I have a fascination with brows, mainly because I suffer from eyebrow envy.  What I wouldn’t give for thick eyebrows that I could shape anyway I pleased.  Unfortunately, I came up extremely short instead, and so, I do my best to protect my puny brows against the threat of annihilation.  My removal method of choice is threading, hands down.  I’ve stayed away from tweezing to avoid the over plucked look.  The first time I had my eyebrows done was in college.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Like I said, I don’t have a lot to begin with, so I wasn’t walking around with a uni-brow or anything like that.  There was an Indian girl who threaded in a store across from my university.  Needless to say, she was the one who shaped my virgin brows. Even today, no one has come close to doing as good a job as her.  She was truly an artist at shaping the perfect brow so that it framed the face.  Since then, I’ve been in search of some one who can do a half-decent job on my eyebrows.  It’s easier said than done.  I did try waxing, briefly, several years ago, but soon switched back to threading. Heads up: It can be very painful the first time or if you have grown your brows back in order to get a new shape.  Three weeks ago, I was on my way to work, standing at the corner of 23rd & 6th when I saw a man wearing a board advertising threading and mehendi.  I took the card from him and went home to do some research on the place.  Yelp.com was helpful and produced a great deal of positive reviews in terms of the quality of their threading.  A week later, I stopped in and had my eyebrows done by Suneta.  She took her time and did a pretty good job.  I left feeling pleased.  It was $6 well spent.  www.uniquethreading.com

Update: I went back today them done again.  This time Saima threaded, and she did an almost perfect job.  I think I’m going to become a regular patron of hers.

Lovin’ the skin I’m in!

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My life has changed since my last post.  Not because I am now officially out of my twenties, but because my skin looks AMAZING.  Last week was my anniversary (and my birthday),  so my husband went about the motions of trying to get me something I would really enjoy.  He took me into Sephora, walked through the aisles as though he’d been there a thousand times before and knew where he was going…then, he stopped.  “This is your gift,” he said, and pointed to a package.  My gift was a Clarisonic skincare brush.  Honestly, I’d never even heard of it before.  He thought I’d really like it, and added that he’d done some research and the reviews and info he came across were favorable.  All I could say was, “we can’t afford this.”  But he insisted it was fine, and that he wanted to get it for me.  The man put all of this thought and effort into my gift, so I wasn’t about to say no.  I was touched, more by the sentiment than the gift, truth be told.

In my post about African Black Soap, I mentioned how challenging my skin can be.  Must stress yet again: Black Soap is awesome.  Anyway, that night I used my Clarisonic with my black soap, and thought, hmm…my face doesn’t feel any different.  I realize that many things do not work overnight, and I was forewarned to use the gizmo for a month before seeing any true results.  I’ve used it everyday, twice a day so far, and on the weekend I noticed that not only is my skin as smooth as a newborn’s bottom,  it looks GREAT.  I’m glowing, and people have noticed.  Clarisonic is a sonic skincare brush that gently removes the dirt and makeup trapped in the pores and fine lines of your skin.  The model I have also comes with a body brush (spot treatment- ie. elbows) which I have not yet tried.  There are different types of brushes depending on what type of skin you have.  I chose the sensitive brush head.  A sample of skin cleansers is also included, although, I would rather stick to what I know works for me.  The Clarisonic is completely waterproof (except for the charger), so it should be great for the shower.  This device is incredibly gentle, so much so that I didn’t think it was really doing much; however, the results are beyond anything I could have imagined.  I’m so used to trying things and seeing mediocre results, so this was something that came as a surprise.  The cost is steep (approx. $225), but it is so worth it.  A facial costs close to ($100) at the place I visit (roughly once a year), so I consider the Clarisonic a pretty good deal.  I received mine with the assurance that if it didn’t work for me, I could return it and hubby would get a refund.  I didn’t see what there was to lose.  It is now a part of my routine and I can’t imagine going back to cleansing without it.

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