I No ‘Poo, Do You?

Ahoy-hoy! Happy Friday folks! After the total and complete train wreck that was yesterday morning, I could honestly not be happier that Friday is here. Granted, my day got decidedly better after 5 PM, but it still took me a bit of shopping and a lot of deliciousness to pull me out of my funk.

Thankfully, my friend Lara was more than happy to help me achieve both. I met her at Tysons Corner, where we did a little of what was supposed to be window shopping, and then grabbed a bite to eat at La Sandia.

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La Sandia is an upscale Mexican restaurant that I’ve been meaning to try forever, but never got the chance to. It always whet my appetite to see the diners out in the “patio” area having fresh guacamole prepared tableside. Naturally, Lara and I had to follow suit!

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The guac was fantastic, as you’d expect. I also got a glass of sangria that was nice and strong — not watered down and overly sugary like you often find. I didn’t get a chance to try Lara’s margarita, but I assume it was also pretty bangin’.

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For my entree, I got the grilled skirt steak tacos. They came with three mini tacos, rice, refried black beans, and salsa roja on the side. The rice and beans were delicious, as was the steak, but I guess I had kind of forgotten that I’m not a huge fan of the texture of corn tortillas. I ended up eating one full taco and then the filling out of the other two, haha. Overall, I would definitely come back to La Sandia again, if for nothing else but the guac. I think it’d be a great happy hour spot, though it is a little on the expensive side.

U-No-Poo

So despite what you may think, the title of this post does not, in fact, refer to constipation nor to the hilariously named confections that I picked up in Harry Potter World. I am instead referring to the on-and-off experimenting I’ve been doing with my hair over the past few months. The ‘poo is simply “shampoo”, shortened. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you may remember that I tend to change my hair — both cut and color — quite often. In fact, I often joke that I could start an entirely new blog about just that.

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I’ve actually been pretty lucky that all the wear and tear I’ve performed on my hair (rhyming!) hasn’t destroyed it too much. That said, I do find that the regular ol’ shampoo and conditioner caboodle hasn’t really been doing it any favors either. I have bone-straight, medium-thickness hair that gets greasy pretty easily. Because of the grease factor, I was washing my hair every day, which meant my hair color would fade very quickly. So in order to preserve not only my locks, but the many bottles of drug store hair-dye that I pour into them, I figured it was time to test out some other solutions of the non-shampoo variety.

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I started doing research online and decided to try remaking myself from Beauty Base Zero. I read about the methods of cleansing your hair using baking soda and apple cider vinegar. I know, strange, right? After all, we’re not baking up in here! But still, I figured I’d give it a shot. I made a “shampoo” solution with baking soda and water, and used watered down apple cider vinegar as “conditioner”. To my immense surprise, the vinegar actually really worked as a conditioner. The baking soda definitely made my head feel clean, but it tangled up my hair something fierce, as you can imagine. Pour a little of the ACV solution on it, though? Bam. Silky. It was crazy! The instructions said you really only need to do this every couple of days, but after about half a day my hair would start greasing up again. In the end, this method just wasn’t for me. (I should note: most of what I read said that it takes a couple weeks of the baking soda/vinegar thing to really reset the balance of your hair, so if you stick with it then your oil levels will reduce and you really can go days and days without needing to wash it. I just wasn’t patient enough to wait that long, haha.)

I went back to shampooing with “color protecting shampoos” (what a load of crock) in the meantime, before remembering something. See, way back in college, my now-friend and then-classmate Tiffany gave a presentation on Wen Cleansing Conditioners. Created by celebrity hair stylist Chaz Dean, these puppies were designed to cleanse and conditioner your hair in one — without any of the harmful, oil- and color-stripping ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (the thing that makes your shampoo lather and makes your hair feel “clean”). It took me a while to actually commit to trying it out, since it’s like $35 a bottle, but when I did I was admittedly quite impressed. It doesn’t give you that same lathering effect that shampoo does, but when you add a little bit of water to it and really massage it into your head, it froths up a bit (bonus: it tingles!). You leave it on your head while you go about doing all the rest of your shower biz-niz, and then rinse it out REALLY well. The end effect? Super soft hair that really DOES feel clean! Clean enough to go a day without washing, in fact. AND there’s much less colorful run-off water from my burgundy coiffure. Whaaat?

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Of course, as mentioned, this ish is kind of expensive (says the girl who pays $40 for her face wash, haha). So when I ran out of Wen the first time, I didn’t bother replacing it and backslid into my old shampoo-ing ways. It wasn’t until I had to redye my hair YET AGAIN this time around that I realized I should probably try getting back on the horse. In doing a little more research, I found out something interesting for the budget-conscious of you, however. The ingredients in Wen are pretty similar to the ingredients in the conditioner I already had (purchased in conjunction with the aforementioned color “saving” shampoo). In fact, while waiting for my new bottle of Wen to arrive from Amazon, I tried using the same method with my regular conditioner and guess what? My hair felt totally clean. I think I read that the cleansing ingredient is the cetyl alcohol which is found in a lot of conditioners (including super cheap Suave brand), so they have the same cleansing ability for a fraction of the cost! I still really like the smell of Wen, so I’m not that upset that I committed to another bottle of the stuff. Still, I’ll definitely be experimenting with other, cheaper solutions once this one runs out, and suggest you do the same!

What’s your ‘poo philosophy? Are you an everyday shampoo-er? A non-shampooing hippie (heh)? A cleansing conditioner convert?

Skin Care

Happy Vampire Diaries Day Thursday, everyone! I hope that you’re making it through the week relatively unscathed. I’m continuing to fight off a cold that I REFUSE to give into. Here’s hoping that the 10 gallons of Airborne-infused water I’ve been consuming doesn’t affect next week’s weigh-in, haha.

So given that I recently spent time detailing how eating poorly wrecks my face, I thought it might be interesting to talk about skin care. I would say something about how I’ve received questions on my skin care routine from readers to make this seems slightly less self-indulgent, but while make-up questions have indeed been issued (for which I’m flattered!), face wash-related ones have not. Regardless, it’s my blog and I can write what I want to, so here we are. 😉

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As I did mention in the other post, I actually have been pretty lucky when it comes to my skin. Growing up, I never had to deal with really terrible acne, just a pimple or two that would pop up here and there. Nowadays I mostly deal with small bumps and redness issues and my skincare routine is pretty low-key. That said, I am a total sucker when it comes to beauty products (seriously, I have to give all the kiosks in the mall a wide berth, because if they suck me in I know I’m going home with an ion hair straightener or nail buffing kit), so I’m constantly trying new things (cleansers! serums! scrubs! lotions!) and reevaluating out what I like using best. So here’s what I like best for now!

To preface this, I should probably state that I have fairly normal skin (slightly oily t-zone, slightly dry cheeks) that strays to the sensitive side.

Face wash: Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. This cleanser was recommended to me by a salesperson at Sephora, and I am in love with it. It’s pretty expensive ($38 for a full sized bottle, or $15 for a small) but I can’t help it. I’m addicted. And considering I use it twice a day on my precious, precious face (haahahahaha), I think it’s worth it. It’s a gel-type cleanser that does lather slightly, but is super gentle. It has a vague cucumber scent, so while it’s not mentholated or anything, it does have a slight cooling sensation. I also love it because it’s a pretty fantastic make-up remover on its own. I do have a separate eye makeup remover for the rare occasion I get all fancied up, but most days I don’t use anything else to take off my makeup.

Exfoliator: Clarisonic Mia. I purchased the Clarisonic Mia after reading about it in a magazine and getting totally swept up in the hype. It’s a significant purchase (they run about $100+) but it is a machine, after all. I use it about once a week/when I remember to exfoliate (I should probably be utilizing it more often, but oh well) and my skin always feels so soft and refreshed. The Fresh face wash works really well with it, which is another reason why I like it so much. I distinctly remember making a baby’s bottom comparison right after the first time I used the Mia. Smooooooooooooth.

Moisturizer: Fresh Soy Face Cream. During the winter, I moisturize after washing my face both in the morning and at night. During the summer, I tend to only moisturize at night (if at all) since my face gets greasier much more easily. Right now I use the cream that Fresh makes, but I’m not as obsessed with it as I am with the cleanser. I don’t love the smell (refreshing as a cleanser but cloying as a lotion), and while it doesn’t cause me to breakout or anything, I just feel like it’s not the best value. I use it right now because I’ve gotten mini bottles of it when I buy the cleanser. I’d be happy to take your moisturizer recommendations!

Eye cream: Mary Kay Indulge Soothing Eye Gel. I’ve been to a few Mary Kay parties (even hosted one!) over the past year, and I always have so much fun primping and feeling girly. Of course, I always have so much regret after I realize I’ve purchased even more beauty products that I probably don’t need. I was glad to have discovered this one though! I don’t use it as regularly as I probably should, but this eye gel is awesome. I dab it on before bed sometimes and it soothes and relaxes, or dab it on in the morning to help de-puff my sleep-deprived eyes. They say that for even more cooling benefits you can keep it in the refrigerator, but I know if I did that I would never use it (also, I would probably inadvertently eat it.)

So there you have it! The four little products that help keep my face, uh, clean. And stuff. I’m super interested in this stuff, so I’d to hear all about your favorite tried-and-true products, too!

What does your skin care routine entail?