Cream to powder makes beautiful and innovative products. There’s cream to powder blush from which you can apply just what you need for a natural finish. There’s even cream to powder lipstick, like this one from Peripera in coco-cola can red. It’s matte, but bright. Very classic, very nice. Plushy and soft. There is no need for a lip liner, and it stays well. Weird. But cream to powder foundation? It’s usually way too matte. Still pondering whether you should go dewy or matte with your foundation? Read on.
There were certain black magazines I avoided as a youth and others I looked at over and over. The ones I avoided had models with flat faces–matte makeup. The others had fresh, dewy makeup, even though highlighting wasn’t a thing back then.
Dark skin is typically dry, not oily. So what were they mattifying? Even for those with oily skin, matte makeup flattens the many contours of brown faces. I get that it lasts longer and is great for full coverage, but it makes us look ashy. Even with highlighter and contouring, it looks ashy. It’s just fine when only used on the T-zone, or only where it’s needed. A dewy foundation can then be used for the rest of the face. I’m a dewy fan.
Matte looks lovely on lighter skin tones, though. To see examples, scroll down on this page for an Urban Decay medium coverage, matte finish foundation. Check the faces. All is fine until you get to the medium dark range. From there on, everyone looks flat.
So like the picture of the little girl in this article, we host different colors and depths of color on one face. If you look closely, she has at least seven colors on that one cutie-pie face. Because of this shading and depth, matte makeup makes our noses, chins and cheekbones recede. If you have large eyes, matte can be just what you need to bring out a baby-doll look. Otherwise, it just looks imbalanced.
Recall the last time you wore a nude, matte lipstick. Did it look good on you or did it make your mouth recede into the background. Kinda funny looking? That’s my point.
Challenge: I was looking at some of the astounding makeup on https://www.instagram.com/blackopalbeauty/ Can you tell me which of these women are using matte foundation and which are using dewy foundation? Dewy foundation is amazing on dark skin, but if you’re still on the fence, maybe Black Opal’s Instagram can help you choose.
Below are some cream to powder tryouts, so you can get a more in depth look:
In the nearby future, hopefully I’ll write something up about how to bring out the beauty of dewy makeup on dark skin. Thanks for reading. 😉
A big thanks to Emily Beyda at Vegamour for quoting me on the importance of using a pH balanced shampoo: “pH makes a big difference when it comes to closing the hair cuticle. Heat from a warm water shampoo is going to open the cuticle, but you need it closed to minimize frizz and keep the hair moisturized.” She quoted me as part of my work with The Right Hairstyles.
What non-pH balanced shampoo can do to hair cuticles
There are a few other reasons why pH is important when it comes to shampoo formulas and hair products in general, so I wanted to elaborate on that and show more ways shampoo pH can affect the hair. Research published in the International Journal of Trichology talks about how alkaline shampoos increase friction between hair fibers and how these electrostatic charges could lead to cuticle damage, tangling and hair breakage. Frizz is only the immediate concern that shows up when using high-alkaline shampoos for cleansing. But what high pH shampoo can lead to is actually something more serious: damaged hair.
The study goes on to say that less than 40% of shampoos in the consumer market are considered pH-balanced shampoos. That’s downright frightening. Of the shampoos you might find in a hair salon, 70% fall into the ideal range of ph level for hair, between 4.5 and 5.5.
Hair conditioner and harsh shampoos
Using hair conditioner after shampooing with an alkaline solution can decrease some of the electrical charge on the hair fiber surface. A leave-in conditioner works even better in this scenario because presumably it has more time to do its job. But who wants to sort out a matted mane after the hair washing routine in the conditioner phase? Many of us have come to expect a great deal of hard tangles after shampooing, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
An active ingredient that can make alkaline shampoos less irritating
Cationic ingredients added to the shampoo can also help make the alkaline solution less damaging, the Journal says. This is why many shampoos that are made for curly hair contain cationic agents like behentrimonium methosulfate, behentrimonium chloride and cetrimonium chloride. Curly and afro hair have twists and turns, so their tangles are not the same as straight hair tangles. Cationic actives ease the friction from the electrostatic charges between the hair strands that’s caused by the alkalinity of the shampoo. This way the hair detangles easier and isn’t as matted by the time you reach for a conditioner.
Alkaline shampoos and scalp disorders
pH balancing can help protect the scalp from fungal infections like seborrheic dermatitis, more commonly called dandruff. Shampoo that has a pH above 5.5 can cause scalp irritations and an imbalancing of the scalp. This is part of the reason why so many women with straight hair also have excessively oily hair. Maybe it’s also the reason why those with curly, afro hair have dry scalps. Who knows.
Alkaline chemical treatments and pH levels
Extremely alkaline products, apart from shampoo, also play a role here. It probably won’t matter much if your shampoo has a pH of 6 if your hair pH level (thehairroutine.com) looks like this:
A shampoo with a low pH of 4 might help chemically-processed hair, though… a little.
Examples of pH-balancing shampoos
pH balancing shampoos hydrate hair strands by trapping moisture inside the hair shaft. They therefore encourage healthy hair growth by discouraging breakage due to brittleness. Most product labels do not reveal the pH, but the company is required to list it on their material safety data sheets. Camelia Smith at Salon Worthy Hair did an extensive amount of research into what shampoos have pH balancing. Here are some of the popular brand shampoos that feature themselves on her list by virtue of caring about hair health and pH levels in their formulas.
GK Hair pH+
Naturally, the list isn’t exhaustive because there are thousands of shampoo brands. Every product produced by these companies isn’t ph-balanced or low pH, only most. Olaplex, in particular is used to help prevent damage from chemical processing like bleaching, so it isn’t surprising that the brand is pH balanced.
How a volumizing shampoo works on the hair shaft
There are times when a high pH or alkaline solution works well as a hair-volumizing shampoo. That’s for those whose tresses are fine and limp. For them, alkaline shampoos cause the hair cuticle to lift so they can have more volume. Still it’s a less than ideal situation for the hair cuticle to be opened by alkaline ingredients. For all hair types, alkaline shampoos can result in poor results with continued use.
Should you trash your non pH-balanced shampoo?
There are a few things you can try if you want to use the last of an alkaline shampoo and not waste money. If you must use alkaline products, don’t try detangling immediately after using one. Instead, apply hair conditioner and let it sit before detangling with the product in your hair. This will help, but if your hair already has stiff tangles, there will probably still be breakage.
An acidic solution can neutralize the effect of an alkaline shampoo
Probably the best way to neutralize the alkaline level of your shampoo is with an acid like apple cider vinegar. An apple cider vinegar rinse, when used in a solution of 1:3, is an excellent detangler and can also help keep the scalp healthy. It’s cleansing and clarifying, removes excess sebum and can be used as a natural shampoo substitute. Pour it through your tresses and leave it in for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Then use conditioner and detangle with the product still in your hair.
Lemon juice is very drying, so unless you have oily hair, it isn’t ideal to use after shampooing. Coffee has an acidic pH level and the caffeine in it is great for hair growth, but it’s better when restricted to scalp use because coffee residue can also cause friction between the hair fibers, even though it’s an acidic solution.
Basically, ditch the alkaline shampoo as soon as you can and find a low pH or pH-balanced shampoo. Pass this article along, if you can, because the more people that understand ph levels in shampoo, the more the haircare industry is likely to cater to our needs.
So many times I’ve purchased a face cream or other product that specifically says, “Avoid under-eye area.” Like, why? This feels like the mattress tag I absolutely cannot cut off until I read the fine print and it actually says I can cut it when I get home.
So what’s the fine print here? I understand that the under-eye area has sensitive skin and sometimes dry skin too. I also get that a lot of beauty products aren’t tested in that area. But for real? Are you suggesting the only solution is a $100 under-eye cream made just for the purpose, like under-eye under-eye cream cream cream. Ugh! I’m not paying $100.
Assuming you aren’t either, here are some things you can do if your under-eye area is puffy, dark or wrinkled. I’ve included an ingredient or two that can actually can go under the eye and, oh, eye products that are inexpensive.
Dark undereye circles and multi-vitamins
I’ve struggled with dark circles for probably a decade now. While caffeine and vitamin C serums seem to bleach the area temporarily, and in a way that’s not totally desirable, the dark circles come right back the following day. In recent years, I started getting that morning puffiness that was turning into bags. If you didn’t know, a dark or puffy undereye area is one of the first indicators that something might be going wrong with your health, kind of how your hair quality can also tell on your health.
For whatever reason, I’ve avoided taking a multivitamin, but once I started, both problems went away. Just taking iron alone was not cutting it. My eye area now looks fresh and young. So, yeah, we can chalk that up to malnutrition. I could go into how our soil no longer contains the vitamins and minerals we used to get from our food when we were kids–well, at least when I was a kid. But to save you that lecture, I’ll just tell you which multi I ended up with.
NOW being a brand from Illinois, and me being from Chicago, I actually remember my mother purchasing NOW brand products when I was a kid. I’ve purchased several as an adult and I like the quality and the price. Of course, you can go with your own brand, but this is one that I trust. Take a look at the back label on these.
Yes, it has everything but the kitchen sink, plus biotin, which is great for the hair. More later on that. I started with only one tablet a day and worked my way up, assuming my body wasn’t going to assimilate all of those heavy percentages at once. Bang! No dark circles. Oh, okay, yeah, here’s the front picture:
Now let’s list the alternatives, in case this doesn’t work for you:
Hyaluronic acid serums
As long as you find a product with a simple formula with glycerin, water and hyaluronic acid, it should be safe for the under-eye area. I would stay away from drying alcohols in the formula, that’s mostly for people who are trying to apply it and run out the door without a greasy or wet under eye. Just apply your natural serum at night, and you won’t have to worry about that.
Hyaluronic acid, as an active ingredient, is going to increase hydration and plump the area which could lead to a lighter appearance. As it so happens, this NOW formula fits the bill. It also contains aloe vera for more moisture, green tea extract for reduced wrinkles and soluble collagen as an emollient that also smooths the area. Soluble collagen is from animals, though, so I haven’t used this product.
Vitamin C creams
Vitamin C is known to be irritating and also unstable. There are plenty of companies that use vitamin C, but it should contain vitamin E and ferulic acid to make low (non-irritating) concentrations more effective. The vitamin C lotion I use for my face is from Pixi. I smooth it right over my eye area with no problem at all. In fact, it was my dark circle lightening cream before I started taking my multivit. As far as serums are concerned, the vitamin C concentration is probably going to be too high for the eye area. I make my own, courtesy of Lab Muffin, but I would never put it on my eye area.
In-office dermatological treatments
Sometimes nothing else works for dark circles under and around the eye, or the issue is simply too far-gone. Your local dermatologist’s office might be able to deal with it. Fillers under the eyes and in the upper cheek area can help bring back the padding that sometimes gets lost with age. When the padding is gone, the under-eye area sinks and becomes darker.
Puffy undereyes and dark circles
If you have a puffy under-eye, it could be a circulation or nutritional issue, similar to dark circles. As mentioned above, a multivitamin got rid of my dark circles and puffiness, but that’s not going to work for everyone, although it might help most people! Vitamin C and caffeine can increase circulation in the tiny blood vessels in the area to remove excess fluid.
Green or black tea bags
Instead of spending on an under-eye cream with caffeine, you can just take a steeped tea bag and place the warm, moist bag over your under eyes. Press gently for a few minutes and your eye puffiness should be reduced. This works well if you’re puffy because of a lack of sleep.
Eye patches that reduce the appearance of puffiness
These are relatively new products. I have seen a few clips of girls with weird looking things under their eyes while they do their hair. Turns out they were eye patches. I haven’t tried any of these, but some common ingredients to many of them are aloe vera to decrease fluid retention and vitamin C to improve circulation and brighten. Obviously, these are not going to work on the eyelids because they just go under the eyes.
This one from Derma E has the ingredients mentioned above and also caffeine, cucumber extract (always good, right?) and vitamin B3 to brighten.
In-office dermatological treatments
If you’ve got puffiness that has turned into bags and you want a semi-permanent solution for it, check with your dermatologist. She might recommend a gentle chemical peel or laser resurfacing. Both of these will remove the outer layers of skin around the eyes and stimulate collagen so that your new skin is firmer and brighter. Of course, this happens over time. If you want to try a gentler exfoliation, look for an eye patch or cream that contains a very low concentration of retinol, somewhere around 0.05%.
Wrinkles and collagen
Many eye wrinkle formulas contain soluble collagen, but according to EWG, soluble collagen is animal-based. Sorry vegans. Regular collagen does not absorb into the skin, but soluble collagen does. What the deal with collagen anyway? Well, as we age, actually after we hit the ripe old age of 20 or 25, collagen production starts to slow in the body. This means that, over time, skin elasticity degrades and the appearance of wrinkles begins. For most people, this starts with eye wrinkles.
The vegetarian version of collagen is marine collagen, and there are a few skincare products that contain marine collagen, but the results of these products are inconclusive. It’s way better to just ingest it. Still, because I love skincare, and the delivery method of Maryann’s marine collagen cream is pretty cool, not to mention high reviews, I’ll probably try it someday soon. Maybe it works!
For right now, though, since my production of collagen is probably pretty low, I’ve beat my undereye wrinkles by ingesting marine collagen. My choice, below, also contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin C within the formula. If you work at a desk all day, as I do, and have developed back problems, as I have, this product can also be indispensable for pain-relief:
In-office dermatological treatments
If the wrinkles keep coming despite all that you’re taking and doing, you can consult a dermatologist. She will probably recommend a laser treatment to increase cell turnover. This combats wrinkles in the delicate skin of the area and can also stimulate collagen. Or maybe he will combine laser therapy with radio-frequency treatment to tighten the skin.
Sunscreen and skin protection
Although us melanated (melaninated?) folks might be able to get away with only using vitamin C, which helps heal sun damage to a degree, if you are low on melanin, please use a sunscreen. The best wrinkle treatments are preventative. This will help prevent wrinkles in the eye area and everywhere else. I don’t have any suggestions in this area, because vitamin C has been working for me, along with all the other stuff you see here, even though I live in a very sunny climate, the Dominican Republic. I’ve seen what the sun can do to people with lighter skin, though. And harmful UV rays are around wherever you live, so consider a sunscreen regardless of your skin type or color.
I have refrained thus far from doing product ecommerce articles. That’s because I don’t trust some of the affiliate programs out there when it comes to beauty products. I’ve worked in ecommerce before, and I can tell you that many reviews on larger sites are fake and some of the products are fake, too. If I’m going to recommend something, I want to make sure it’s legit before people go slathering it on their skin or putting it in their hair.
I actually first started trying skincare products via iHerb.com and their trial products. That was years ago, but I’ve never received a fake or questionable product from them. During pandemic times, they ship to my door here in the Dominican Republic for less than the normal courier costs to bring shipments from the US. I like iHerb. If you shop with them, I hope you will, too. The links in this article are affiliate links from them, so I’ll earn a small percentage. Many are my personal favorites, but if I haven’t tried the product myself, I mentioned it, so you know.
Skincare has made scientific leaps and bounds over the past ten years, at least in terms of what’s available to a wide audience cost-wise. I don’t know, maybe our favorite Hollywood stars from the 90’s always had vitamin C, retinol, and glycolic acid at their disposal. It doesn’t look like it. (Ba-doomp-doomp. Ching.) It’s probably safe to say skincare advancements that help everyone look younger are relatively new.
But what are the long term effects, if any, of using such advanced skincare? I mean, we’re no longer dipping our noses in honey, here, these are raw chemicals. What happens when the jig is up? Can skincare products stop working? And what happens if the skincare you buy is based more in feel-good, smell-good than in actual science? Let’s answer some of these questions.
Are Skincare Products Regulated By the Government, Like Food?
In the US, the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for regulating both food and cosmetics that go on the market. When it comes to cosmetics, however, the FDA is only making sure that the product is labeled accurately. Whether it works as stated or has dangerous quantities of some chemicals is up to the manufacturer.
There are a few ingredients that are restricted by the government. Apart from that, no testing is required for the skincare products you’re using and the industry is largely based on trust.
That said, there are a variety of products that don’t work period, or that stop working quicker than what’s stated on the label.
Do Collagen Creams Work on Lines and Wrinkles?
As a molecule, collagen is too large to be absorbed into the skin topically. So the answer is, “No.” It might provide some hydration benefits, though.
Solution. When taken internally, however, collagen peptides can help improve collagen levels in the body. Eventually, those benefits might make it around to your skin.
Retinol, vitamin C, and glycolic acid do help with collagen production at skin-site. But there are a few problems with these, too.
How Quickly Does Vitamin C Skincare Expire?
First of all, turn the product around and make sure you have the best form of vitamin C for skincare, which is L-ascorbic acid. If your product contains a different form of vitamin C, look on the website to see if they have a good reason behind that.
L-ascorbic acid is the main ingredient in vitamin C skincare that’s worth it salt. It sparks collagen production in the skin, making it very effective at helping to fight signs of aging. But because ascorbic acid is an unstable compound, it becomes ineffective quickly when exposed to oxygen, heat, and light.
Tube packaging that doesn’t permit the entry of light helps keep ascorbic acid active. Otherwise it will oxidize within three months. You can tell by the change in color of the product to yellow or brown.
Solution. If you’re pretty sure that you’re not going to use your vitamin C product within three months, it’s best to buy an ascorbic acid powder. That way you can mix a little with your favorite moisturizer or serum as you go along. The benefits are more potent this way. Just make sure not to use too much.
How Quickly Does Retinol Skincare Expire?
Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A. They are also known as retinols, isotretinoins, or tretinoins. Retinoid-based skincare reduces inflammation and increases cell turnover. For this reason it works well on acne, acne lesions and signs of aging.
But the problem comes in with the reactivity of retinol with oxygen. Like vitamin C, retinol is an antioxidant. So when it comes into contact with oxygen, it reacts, changes, and becomes less effective at its original job.
Solution. If you’ve purchased a retinol serum that uses a dropper, there’s plenty of oxygen going into that bottle all the time. If you happen to keep it refrigerated, it might last you three months.
Does Glycolic Acid Expire?
Apparently this molecule doesn’t expire, although, naturally the product should be used up before the expiry date. Glycolic acid products tend to come in clear bottles with no special dispensation gadgets. So we could guess that heat, light, and oxygen don’t affect it at all.
Glycolic acid works about as effectively on acne, scarring and signs of aging because it turns over the skin cells. It also stimulates collagen production in the skin. But you’ll find over time that you need to keep increasing the dosage for the glycolic acid to work on your skin.
Solution. As the percentage of glycolic acid in a solution gets higher, it’s recommended to use it less frequently and to have it applied by a professional. Just so you don’t burn your skin off.
Do you really need all of these components in a skincare regimen?
Well, no. You don’t need all of them. It depends on how your skin reacts and what it likes best. Another factor to consider is whether you can get your money’s worth before the product expires.
…And When the Jig Is Up?
When the aging process advances so much that none of this gives you the results you want, it’s time for botox. Sorry. Your skin will age. At 70 you won’t look the same as you did at 20. It just isn’t going to happen like that. So prepare for the day when you will look… old.
All these chemicals produce temporary results. So even if you stop using them for a few days, you will notice the difference. That’s a boon for the companies selling these products, but for the consumer it means you’re basically hooked for life – unless you can get accustomed to seeing wrinkles and age spots in the mirror.
They know just how self-conscious you are about preserving your looks. So new products keep coming out, and percentages of active ingredients keep getting higher until the day finally comes when you can adjust to how you really look as you age.
Has your skin been affected by the pandemic? I’m aging, okay. But the loss of collagen over the last year has been astounding. Then one day, my facial tissues began to slip. And they kept slipping!
I won’t get into the brands I was using. But I was slathering on vitamin C and glycolic acid products hoping for a change. Eventually, I found out that your skin actually hits a plateau, and there are times when you need something stronger. This was one of those times!
The Ordinary had been on my radar for a while, but honestly every time I went to their website I got confused. I was like, what the heck is this, people! I am not a chemist! So I continued to forego.
But as the situation became dire, and I started to block my camera on Zoom calls, a decision needed to be made.
What Should YOU Buy From The Ordinary?
I made up my mind to just buy what I had been accustomed to buying, at the lowest strength available. Here’s what I ended up with:
Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. I wasn’t currently using a retinol product, but when I had been, some years ago, the results were great. This is an emulsion, as the other had been. So add to cart.
Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. I know hyaluronic acid helps aid elasticity, so that your face stays in place despite the pull of gravity. It seemed my face didn’t just need the plumping that hyaluronic acid provides, but something to sort of stick my face back to my face – elasticity. Plus my glycolic toner already had hyaluronic acid. Add to cart.
Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG. I had already been adding a little coffee to my under-eyes prior to the Covid pandemic – time for better technology.
Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. I’ve always had great results with glycolic acid at unmentionably low concentrations – i.e., the concentrations were so low, brands forgot to mention it. With glycolic acid, I had fewer fine lines, more plumping and more glass skin, like for real – glass skin. But lately, those results were too temporary. I would use it, and my skin was ugly and a-droop in a few hours.
Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA. It says it repairs the skin barrier. So just in case I messed everything up and burned my skin to kingdom-come, I bought the large size. Add to cart.
First Impressions: Out Of The Ordinary
Admittedly, my skincare products have never cost more than $25. But what was I getting? A plastic coated jar or bottle thrown into a box.
With The Ordinary, I spent less than $40 for five products. And, dearie, I got tissue wrap! Scroll up to the picture I took up top if, like me, you haven’t seen that in a while.
Then as an additional welcome, I got a thoroughly detailed email about their philosophy and science vs. nature in skincare products. Although The Ordinary uses plenty of natural essences, they believe chemicals have a bigger place in the world of results.
After using their products for less than a month, I agree.
Put Your Fears Aside – The Ordinary is (Mostly) Mild
Although The Ordinary uses plenty of natural essences, they believe chemicals have a bigger place in the world of results.
After using their products for less than a month, I agree.
(After pic! Back to normal. >>)
How did all this work? Well, I have to say that most of these products are really mild, despite the feeling that you’re taking the risk of being someone’s chemistry experiment. When I first opened everything up, I actually thought the retinoid was the caffeine eye serum (the writing is a little small) and happily put it all over my eyes. No my eyes didn’t tear and the delicate skin didn’t bubble. It took away the dark circles, though! I’m not recommending anyone else do that, and I haven’t done it since, but their stuff is overall pretty mild.
Except for the glycolic acid. It burned. I put it away until all hint of irritation was gone – which took about two weeks. Then I diluted it 50/50 with water and tried again. It toned very well, and I saw evidence of glass skin returning. I will alternate it at night with the retinoid, use less water over time, and try to get back here for an update.
[Update: I had to discard the retinoid as it’s supposed to be refrigerated so it can last three months. It had already stopped working and started putting little bumps all over my face after about a month, so I ditched it and am using glycolic acid (full strength) now. After three days of glycolic acid, my texture issues are mostly gone.]
I found the caffeine solution to spread better if applied over the moisturizer. Otherwise, it’s so viscous, I’m afraid it will help wrinkles set in as it dries. It has improved my dark circles, though.
The hyaluronic acid was thick and sticky, too, but a drop spread around well on wet skin. I think it has helped more than the retinoid to restore my face – not my skin, my face.
It took less than a month for my face to go back to normal. I don’t know if that has to do with melanin or not.
Don’t Let The Ordinary’s Scientific Language Put You Off
So if you’re dealing with a hefty dose of premature aging, now you know where to go and what to do when you get there. Don’t let the scientific language put you off, just buy what you’d normally use, at the lowest available strength.
My trust of this company has led me to experiment more and order other products. But see for yourself. I think you’ll love the parent company, Deciem, too.
**Why no affiliate links? The Ordinary products are cheapest on the Deciem website. I’ve also noticed a lot of complaints circulating about counterfeit The Ordinary products. So for those two reasons, I decided to just give my opinion in the hopes it will help another face-slipper on a budget.
I work in the beauty industry and I’m gonna tell you, I see new hair companies cropping up all the time. I don’t mean hair product companies, I mean hair companies that sell hair.
It’s a huge business. In the scheme of things, the growth of human hair companies is right after that of hair loss companies. Is there a reason for this?
Well, yes and no, sorry, yes.
Are hair extensions bad for your hair? To be frank, hair extensions rip folks’ hair out, so I would say, “Yes”. Wigs are a little better, but if they are worn constantly, they don’t allow the scalp to get sufficient air which can cause hair growth problems. And if you’re wearing the same one over and over, it breeds bacteria.
But all this is addictive, right? There’s nothing quite like getting the hair of your dreams in a one day process. Long, strong and straight…
Wait. Did I say this was somebody else’s hair?
Where Hair is Produced
That lace front you’re wearing is likely made from the hair of hundreds, if not thousands, of women who sold their hair to make it through the week or had it forcefully taken from them.
The hair industry is largely unregulated. Hair companies only know that maybe 20% comes from Hindu temples in India where the hair is donated for religious reasons. What about the other 80%? No one really knows. Rather I should say no one really wants to know.
Those tape extensions look really nice, don’t they?
How to Tell if Someone Is Wearing Someone Else’s Hair
Sounds stolen, doesn’t it?
Well, anyway, let’s break from the ethics for a minute and get straight to practicalities.
Black women. Most have hair that in its natural state is thick and short. When straightened, it becomes thin – more so over 30 years of age. There are exceptions, of course.
White women. Hair grows longer but tends to get really thin around 30 years of age and over. Naturally, there are exceptions.
So all these people over 30 – black or white – who are sporting bouncy, voluminous locks are probably wearing somebody else’s hair.
But before we say, “Do your thing, girl,” let’s look at the consequences.
The consequences are baldness, baldness, and more baldness. I hope I’m being clear. Anything that weighs on and pulls in your hair follicles is going to eventually pull out your natural hair from the root.
Constant pulling also causes inflammation inside the scalp. Inflammation fosters permanent hair loss because the hair follicles die under its pressure.
From Weave to Wig
So now it’s permanent wig time to hide the bald spots.
Unless you have a Hollywood supply of decent human hair wigs – please, really, no synthetic hair – you’ll be wearing the same two or three choices. Considering the way wigs are woven, there is really no way to get them thoroughly disinfected without ruining them. So you’re looking at breeding bacteria, fungus and more complicated alopecias.
Okay I love makeup, but I don’t always wear what’s popular. I tried blue lipstick once. Nah. I never wanted cat eyes. My facial bones stand out already, so I don’t need extra angles. I have brows that are already bushy, and I don’t want dark wings on my forehead.
Shall I go on? It’s been a weird 5 years or so. Thankfully, this is the year of a more natural looking beauty. So I’ve been told. I’m in.
No more fear of getting the cakeface totally wrong or looking unpolished at the other end of the spectrum.
But what’s with all these reports about celebrities coming out on Instagram wearing no makeup, like, for real? My thought process goes something like this:
So instead of believing the hype, I look for what’s supposed to be nonexistent. No eye bags or dark circles? Unless you’re 15, I’m guessing you are concealing. “Oh! Is her neck a different color?” (Yep.) These are sure signs.
Well, let’s just say there is a way to get a no makeup look without people like me that are trained to look for makeup doing a classic double take.
A Skincare Routine is #1
Listen, collagen starts to degrade in the human body before 21 years of age. So even if you just officially became an adult, get a skincare routine. On your “no-makeup” days, start with exfoliation and a toner. Then do your facial massage when applying your moisturizer.
Improved circulation to the face can give you a glow like you’re already sporting highlighter.
It isn’t just for taking off years around the eyes. That’s too obvious. Instead blend it into imperfections around the face, then go for a light dusting of powder to even out your skin tone without the need for foundation.
Instead of using concealer around the entire socket, pick up a nude matte eyeshadow pallette and go to work. The first shade you chose should match the skin around your eye so well that you can go around the entire eye. Do one eye at a time mimicking our natural facial structure with one or two other colors in the palette besides.
Curl them first. Use one coat of black mascara, but only if your lashes are naturally dark. Otherwise use brown, aka Heidi Klum. (She has minimal makeup here, despite the headline.) Make sure to brush it out well. No clumps! No clumps! There you go.
Remember when you were in high school and you popped lip gloss on… and that was it? Guess what, a shiny lip gloss not only plumps your lips but it draws attention away from other areas of the face. The nice(r) thing about gloss is that you can use a liner to define your lips too, without anyone noticing.
Highlighting? A little, if you must, as long as sparkles are kept out of the mix.
You could do it. Yes, of course. Go borrow Mom’s hairdryer from the Ice Age and get that blowout done! No? True, you’ll only be in the bathroom for hours huffing and puffing to hold that heavy thing up. And did it ever get hot? No. Okay, let’s get back to 2021.
Technology has us all running to keep up with the latest, so let’s see what’s new in hairdryers and get it done right. Tourmaline? Ceramic? Titanium? Which will give us hair that runs with the breeze – even if it’s just for a week?
What Is A Natural Hair Blowout?
Blowouts are designed to give movement and flow. You can almost see each hair move in the same direction as the head turns. Beautiful. That’s a good blowout.
Blowouts can be accomplished on pretty much any head of hair. To get that swing, Type 2 hair needs it too! For curly and coily hair types, the process becomes more involved. That’s because you’re breaking down the natural curly bonds of the hair to assume a straight structure, get rid of frizz-like-never-before, and produce movement.
Stretching Your Natural Hair or Blowing It Out?
We’re not just stretching the hair here. If that’s what you’re after, you can stretch your hair with braids or knots. Stretching the hair is perfect for checking your true length or for trimming damaged ends. But don’t use a blow dryer to stretch your hair! After all, why take the risk with heat damage, if you’re going to bun it back up anyway?
That’s not what we’re after. We want it to whip then revert in a week or two back to curls.
The Tools: What Does A Great Natural Hair Blowout Require?
There are a couple of essential items you need to get a good, moving blowout at home.
Movement Sans Damage: a Bonnet and a Bunch of Rollers
Rollers, what?? Let me say this up front. If you’ve ever blow-dried your hair and eventually suffered breakage, it’s because putting focal heat on wet or damp hair causes bubbles within the hair shaft. In short, that means brittle, dry hair that eventually breaks.
The best way to avoid damage and retain a straight blowout is to use rollers on very small sections and dry your hair first using a bonnet attachment. (It is old technology. So don’t let anyone see you.)
Once your hair is fully dry, only then use a blow dryer. Yes, this is the Dominican blowout method. Before you stop reading, compare the length retention of Dominican hair and ours and get back to me. (Ahem, it’s the same hair.) Our normal straightening procedures make us constant targets for big “trims” at the salon.
That point aside, it’s just easier to straighten the keratin in your hair when it’s already partially straight. As in, we blow dry first then use a curling iron. Check.
Okay, so use rollers that are big enough for your hair to only wrap around one, or one and a half, times. The curls aren’t the point, but stretching the keratin is. So roll with tension. Rollers also give a lift to the roots and that’s where the movement starts!
In a salon, they use hard, plastic rollers. For home use, a few dozen Velcro rollers will be easier to work with.
A round brush is the second step to get movement. 1 ¼” or 1 ½” barrel brushes are the easiest to handle because they’re the same size as the average curling iron. Go bigger if your hair is longer. After your hair is dry from the bonnet, use the round brush to streeettttch each roller section straight with the fantastic heat of your new blow dryer. Focus the dryer on each section, one by one. The coarser your hair, the harder the bristles you will need.
Blowouts require a good blow dryer. We need the right shape, though. If you can’t maneuver a 12” nozzle around your head with a round brush, what’s the point?
Your blow dryer also needs to be powerful enough to straighten curls and coils – at least 1600 watts are needed. But unless you’re a pro, it can’t be too powerful or too hot, or instant damage will result. So which type will combat frizz and give you the movement you’re looking for?
Which Type of Dryer for Natural Hair Blowouts?
Cut. Got a friend with a story about her hair reverting unexpectedly at a party? She probably used her mom’s dryer. Take two.
Okay, so here’s what’s up. There are basically three types of hairdryers in the at-home market, although you’ll find some that have more than one technology: tourmaline, titanium, and ceramic.
With ceramic dryers, the heat from the dryer passes through a ceramic device that changes the structure of the heat and allows the hair to heat up evenly. That means you won’t have patches of breakage from the dryer distributing too much heat too suddenly.
These dryers give off an abundance of negative ions with even heat. They seal the cuticle of the hair, preventing frizz and excessive damage. There’s a problem with titanium, though. It heats up so quickly that it’s hard for the average user to control the levels of heat applied to the hair. So it’s probably better left to professionals.
Tourmaline basically heats evenly like ceramic, but it uses ionic technology to produce shine and reduce frizz. You could consider it a milder form of titanium.
Good news: Many dryers are both ceramic and tourmaline, making them great for at-home blowouts – more movement, less frizz!
Other considerations: Wattage
We don’t need the wattage to be so high that the minute you turn on the dryer it frizzles your hair up into smoke! You guessed it, super-high wattages are for professionals. Of course, we want the dryer’s strength to be enough to do the job in about an hour, (No, thanks, Mom. Keep your dryer.) Still, for novices, look for watts between 1600 to 1875 – no higher than 2000.
Best Blow Dryers for Natural Hair Blowouts
We kept an eye on the shape and weight for ease of use.
Okay, it looks old school. But the shape of this dryer makes it easier to work with while using a round brush. It also comes with a brush attachment that will give you some tension – just not as much as a round brush. It has 1875 watts.
Note: We wouldn’t recommend the hot air brushes that have a round brush shape as none of them go over 1100 watts. They’ll straighten your hair, sure, but it won’t last.
Made just for resistant coils and curls, this dryer combines all three technologies. It’s ceramic, tourmaline and titanium. It’s 1875 watts. Because it has titanium, I would start working with the low heat setting first.
This 1875 watt dryer also has a short nozzle and it uses ceramic and positive/negative ionic technology. It reduces frizz but is best for looser curl patterns.
The Art: How to Get That Flow from a Natural Hair Blowout
The best results I’ve seen from blowouts have been in the Dominican Republic. Now I know Dominicans have a bad reputation, and not all of it is false. But if you’re able to do your Dominican blowout at home, you won’t have to worry about anyone putting a spoon of relaxer in your conditioner, right? Some stylists do that because of a lack of technique.
But imagine Dominicans doing this process every two weeks and still having healthy-looking hair. No, it will probably never revert to their original curls and coils. We recommend you only do a blowout a few times a year. Your hair won’t suffer, and you should revert to your natural texture without any issues.
Here’s the full process:
Wash with a clarifying shampoo then deep condition and rinse. It’s better still if you wrap the deep conditioning product onto your hair and apply heat to allow the product to penetrate.
Roller set with a water-based leave-in conditioner. You could also layer your heat protectant in this phase by using a straightening balm instead. Don’t be heavy-handed.
Otherwise, your hair will revert in less than a week as the product wears off.
Grab that hairdryer bonnet. It mimics hooded dryers that give a constant, indirect flow of air. Did you know that for wet hair, the dryer should be kept 15cm away and used with a constant motion? The proper way to use a blow dryer on wet hair will only give us a frizzy, tangled mess! We recommend a larger bonnet to keep the air flowing constantly. Check!
Hairdryer bonnets are designed to slip right over the barrel of your dryer, and the tube is at least three feet long for indirect heat.
Use focused blow-drying on the hair with a heat protectant and round brush only once your hair is completely dry.
Flat iron, with no extra product added – and only if necessary.
Now here’s the thing. Silk presses are way more popular than the Dominican blowout. But because they skip the hooded dryer step, it will damage your hair more than the Dominican blowout ever could. Remember no direct heat on wet hair! If you keep silk pressing, and your stylist keeps cutting your “ends”… eventually you might be using a silk press wig instead.
The Products: What Does a Great Natural Hair Blowout Require?
Use no oil-based products with heat! Our hair loves oil, but using oils with heat literally leads to frying. Ah, yes! That old smell of burning hair in the kitchen. You get my point.
A Good Conditioner
Don’t just start with freshly washed hair. It’s good to prepare your hair before the blowout by using a good hydrating mask or deep conditioner.
Heat Protecting Serum
Now here’s the thing, hair can only accept temperatures up to 130 (266F) before damage starts to occur. The highest most blow dryers go is 140C.
Dow, a manufacturer of silicone products, wants us to know, “Silicones [form] protective film to help prevent water loss from the hair shaft caused by the heat of dryers or heated styling tools.” You’ll need a good heat protectant because heat destroys the inside of the hair first by boiling the water inside it and evaporating it. Healthy hair is about 25% water.
Heat protectors allow you to use high temperatures while protecting some of the integrity of the hair. Heat protectants do not protect the hair fully, so some damage will still occur. Proper technique and a good heat protectant will help out.
Because most heat protectants are made with silicones, the downside is that you might need a sulfate-based shampoo to get it out fully.
Note: You do not want water in your serum before blowing it dry as, again, your hair will boil from the inside. The serums below contain no water or oil.
These do contain water, so I would use these like leave-in conditioners by smoothing a little into the hair before rolling during the first phase of drying.
How Long Will My Natural Hair Blowout Last?
It really depends on the humidity in your area, so don’t expect miracles. However, if you wrap it nightly, your straight hair should last at least a week.
We also like using a little no-water serum combined with pin curls or Bantu knots. But if you’ve reached day five and your hair wants to revert, use a little water-based serum or leave-in conditioner instead with your knots.
Can My Hair Handle A Natural Hair Blowout?
Blowouts, well, heat period, are really only for certain types of hair. In short, your hair needs to be able to endure the heat so that it doesn’t break off while you’re blow-drying.
Hair that is thin in diameter is usually not as strong as hair that is thick in diameter. If your hair strands are thin, but your hair is abundant, you’re probably thinking that a blowout will help you reduce tangling. That’s true – if you have good tensile strength. And even if you do, know that your hair is more fragile than coarse strands.
Weak tensile strength
Grab a strand of hair from your comb or brush. Stretch it between your fingers. If it pops easily, forget about that blowout.
Heat will exacerbate breakage if your hair is already damaged. Use protective styling until you feel comfortable cutting off all the damage, then try a blowout.
Working With “Problem” Natural Hair in a Blowout
Curly hair that has thick strands blows out easier than coily hair. Here’s what to do if you run into “problems” with virgin, coily hair.
I should call this healthy hair. It’s hair that has never been straightened – or “trained.” Make sure to use plenty of rollers to get each strand as straight as possible in the first phase. You’ll almost certainly need a flat iron in the end. Sometimes a point is reached where the hair just refuses to go further. Wrap it and leave it for the next day.
The weird thing is that, regardless of texture, Dominicans use very little product when doing a blowout. We’re used to applying a lot and that can make your blowout revert almost as quick as you unplug the dryer. So change a few habits, even if they are different from what you are used to getting at the salon.
Keep in mind that, in school, your hairstylist had extensive education about hair Types 2A and 2B. Some things from cosmetology school apply to most hair types, but when dealing with coils things are learned along the way. Then there’s word of mouth, and you know how fast that travels about hair. Regardless of what anyone says, there’s always room for new straightening techniques, a little more science, and a lot less burnt and damaged hair.
So go hand your Mom back that hairdryer from 1952. She’ll be asking you to do her hair in a minute with your new one anyway.
Make products? Here’s a writing sample that conveys important information without sounding like an encyclopedia.*
People start losing hair for many reasons, but these days there’s a lot of talk these days about people having hair loss from stress. Yes, Pure D. Stress. Sometimes there’s a background cause like medication, an autoimmune disorder, covid-19, hormonal changes, or Stress’s ugly cousin named Trauma. All of these things can cause premature aging, but who wants to lose hair on top of that?
Stress Hair Loss From the Follicles
Whatever type of hair loss you’re enduring, your scalp went through pretty much the same process to get there. It concerns the little pore-like structures on your head that hold your hair in place – the hair follicles. You might be dealing with traction alopecia or are getting little bald spots from playing with one or two spots in your hair. So here, your hair follicles met Pure D. Stress because of your yanking on them, loudly proclaimed they weren’t going to take it anymore and went to sleep.
The only problem is that while your follicles are in this sleep state, your hair falls out. It’s actually normal that about a hundred hair follicles go into the inactive sleep, or telogen, phase and eventually shed hair. What’s not normal is for two or three hundred to go into telogen at the same time and cause more hair loss than usual. That’s not mechanical stress like when you’re pulling on your hair follicles. Hair loss all over is usually emotional stress – what a lot of us have been dealing with this past year sitting at home alone, or with kids that use you as their entertainment, or with a loved one you can’t stand.
This kind of diffuse hair loss can also be related to trauma from losing family members – not because your follicles dropped strands from pulling your edges back too tight.
Hair Loss Cycles
Whatever the reason, we need to get your hair follicles kicking again. Get ’em out of bed and doing jumping jacks, or whatever it takes, to produce hair again.
Hair follicles work in cycles. So a follicle will grow new hair, hold on to it for a time, go to sleep and shed it. If you are losing hair, they are holding on to it for a shorter time and going to bed early.
Unfortunately, if they sleep for too long, they can die and can never grow hair again.
Harsh Styling Means Hair Loss, and Sometimes Follicle Death
There are clinical names for hair follicles going from sleeping to dead, like androgenetic alopecia, frontal fibrosing alopecia and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia. Those last three are forms of hair loss that disproportionately affect women due to strenuous styling practices like:
Repeated tight pulling of the hairline or crown with extensions or weave, and
Years of hair relaxers, perms or hair dyes depositing corrosive chemicals into the hair follicles, and
Extreme heat on the scalp from flat irons and blow dryers.
Some of us engage in all three practices at once… right?
As a warning sign the scalp sheds hair to let you know that what you’re doing is just too much. If you don’t put a stop to it, the hair follicles of the scalp can become inflamed. You won’t see the inflammation, but it keeps the hair from growing at a normal pace, sheds what is there and eventually scars – after which no hair will grow. Yes. Disaster!
Hair Loss Is (Usually Pretty) Gradual
The good news is that, like most other forms of alopecia, the process is pretty gradual – unless your hair is literally coming out in clumps because of chemo or a traumatic episode. Because most types of alopecia boil down to the same problem, inactive hair follicles, the solution is also pretty much the same, too: putting and keeping as many hair follicles as possible in the growth phase. So let’s get to the good news.
How Hair Growth Products Work
I don’t want you going out shopping for minoxidil, but it works. Luckily, there are natural oils that do pretty much what minoxidil does: increase the blood flow to the scalp to keep the hair follicles from going to sleep. There are other oils that work like the hair growth drug finasteride and wake up dormant hair follicles.
I linked some scientific studies below so you know natural stuff is legit, too, and can do pretty much the same things as minoxidil and finasteride. They also don’t have any side effects, are multipurpose and are cost effective. If you’re into natural hair care already, you probably have some of these in your home already. In case you don’t, I restricted the list of oils to what’s readily available.
Growing Your Hair Again
“Wake up!” It’s time for hair follicle jumping jacks.
Castor oil or Jamaican black castor oil – mimics the body’s natural hair growth stimulator PGE2.
Pumpkin seed oil – even when taken orally, it can increase hair density up to 40% for men suffering from genetic alopecia.
Rosemary essential oil – compares well to Minoxidil regarding the rate of growth after six months
Peppermint essential oil – works quickly to put more hair follicles into the growth phase.
Natural Substances That Help More Hair to Grow
Your hair follicles need certain building blocks to build hair and help it grow faster. Keratin, which makes up 96% of the hair shaft, can help – that’s if your follicles have more if it available.
Collagen and biotin also aid keratin production, but these are better taken as supplements.
Natural Hair Growth Extenders
Sounds kind of like we’re adding extensions here. We’re not! I’m talking about keeping your existing hair in for longer. Our hair follicles hold on to hair for two to six years, normally. The longer it stays, the longer your hair grows. If you’re losing hair, it’s not even lasting for the two year minimum, but falling out before that time. So we need to try to extend the time the hair remains in it’s follicles, and keep the hair follicles from falling asleep prematurely.
There are so many more. If you make products from some of the ingredients listed here and I missed you, just drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
And whether you whip up your own or choose something that’s pre-made, I wish you a full head of hair… and less stress in your life!
*Now for my pitch: The above is a sample of my hair care researchand writing. It’s written in my own personal voice, but hey, I can mimic yours if I see a sample of your writing. Let someone write for you, because you really don’t have to do Ever-Thing yourself. Need someone to take care of your blog? Drop me a line here: email@example.com