Saturday, May 14, 2011

How to Clean Hairbrushes and Combs

Howdy (wow, so old West!), it's been a long hiatus from posting.  I thought of several topics to blog about but was just too lazy to do it - it's been SO HOT (apart from last weekend's typhoon - why does it always seem to hit on a weekend??)

Anyway, the topic today is how to clean hairbrushes and combs.  No tiptoeing round it - hairbrushes and combs get dirty too.   Our brushes and combs pick up the sebum and grease from our hair, and over time this results in a visible build up of gunk on the bristles of hair brushes and teeth of combs.  Here's the step by step procedure to rid your hairbrush and comb of the gunk and have them all nice and clean again.

1.  Weed off any strands of hair that may have gotten tangled round the bristles of your brush.  You may use your comb to weed them off.  When your hairbrush/comb is rid of these, you're ready for the next step.

2.  Have ready a basin large enough to contain your hairbrushes and combs.  You're going to put them in the basin.

3.  Lay your hairbrushes and combs in the basin and pour water over them, enough to cover - you want even the tips of the bristles to be clean.

4.  Get some baking soda - in the tin canister or in a packet, it doesn't matter.  Sprinkle baking soda onto the base of the bristles/teeth.  A tablespoon should do one hairbrush and one comb.  Use more if they really need cleaning.

5.  Leave your hairbrushes/combs to soak for 30 minutes (or more, if they need serious cleaning).

6.  When you next check on them, you'll notice scum floating around - this is the dirt from the brushes/combs.  If the bristles are white, you'll notice they're back to their pristine white state.  Your brushes/combs should now be clean.  Pour out the water.

7.  Rinse your brushes and combs, and dry them face down.  Viola!  They're all clean and ready to be used again.

There are other methods I've read about, like swishing your combs about in washing liquid or shampoo - but this, to me, seems the absolute best way to get them really clean.

Now, please do tell me if this works for you..!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dry skin, meet your match .. AmLactin Moisturizing Body Lotion !

There are  hundreds of drugstore body lotions out there, but for dry skin, I'd recommend AmLaction Moisturizing Body Lotion.  I first read about it in a site specifically for sufferers of the skin condition "keratosis pilaris", which is characterized by little red bumps on the skin of the upper arm, and sometimes the back of the thighs.  Supposedly it is little plugs of keratin which the skin produces, that do not properly come off.  Hence, the cure is for something (the lotion) to help ensure the skin is exfoliated and the plug removed.

AmLactin says it is a "clinically proven formula - Alpha Hydroxy Therapy"  and that it "Moisturizes and Exfoliates Rough, Dry Skin."  The lotion does its work of softening the plugs for easier removal the next time you buff your skin (the exfoliation part), but it's not 100% successful as a cure for KP as the redness and the rough skin remain.  Not a surprise really, since as of this date, if you do a search of the medical websites, you'll find there is no definitive cure for this condition. The lotion is runny, however it absorbs well and there's no greasy feel after.

It's as a dry skin reliever that it comes into its own, however. My mom has really dry skin on her legs (you can see that it's dry because of the tracery on her skin, and the papery sound it makes when you rub it), and smoothing this on has made her skin less dry (no more papery sound, and the lines get a bit evened out) and more supple looking.  It leaves a sheen on the skin, making it look glowy.

The bottle (225g or 7.9oz) says that it's fragrance free but it does have a strong medicinal smell, which wears away after a few hours.

Five thumbs up for AmLactin Moisturizing Body Lotion!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review: Deep Cleansing Nose Pore Strips by Beauty Formula

Bothered several days already by unsightly darkened pores on my nose, I have been on a cleansing regime to rid my nose of these. I used my Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Treatment mask faithfully but to no avail - sure it cleaned my face and the pores on my nose, but it did not clear the icky black dots on the sides of my nostrils.  Then I remembered something I used to use - the Biore pore strips that I first heard about and used more than 10 years ago.  I would ask a flight attendant friend to buy them for me.  I recalled looking at them at the local Shen Shiong in Singapore, but not buying.  I think they were around Sing 3-5 per box of 6 strips, same brand, Biore.   The strips have an adhesive side which you stick on your (wet) nose.  You leave the strip on for around 10-15 minutes (or more if you like), and peel it off carefully.  If you're brave enough to look at what's on the peel, you'll be gratified to note little plugs that come off with the peel - blackheads and oil plugs!    Anyway, I looked for Biore locally but could not find them.

I took a look at Watson's Greenbelt but could not find any pore strips. Finally, today, I found a similar product at Watson's Mall of Asia!  I asked two sales girls about pore strips but they pointed me to the facial stuff, but nope, no pore strips (sometimes it seems like they don't know what they have in-store).  But on the way out I spotted the Beauty Formula Deep Cleansing Pore Strips (see right).

Update:  Went to Singapore last June and came back with the Biore Pore Pack.  It was Sing $4.95 for 10 pcs, a much better deal and a much better product!

The instructions say to clean your face first (wash with soap), and then stick the pore strip on a wet nose. The pore strips are shaped, meaning they're cut into a shape which folds neatly on your nose, and the sides of your nose.  If your hands are wet when you apply the pore strip, you run the risk of having the adhesive run, and you lose adhesive on the strip that you stick on your nose. No goo, no sticky stuff, and the strip won't adhere to your nose. I kept it on for 20 minutes and peeled it away.. a slight pulling sensation, not painful, occurs when you peel the strip off.  And viola...! You have the pleasure of seeing all the plugs on the cleansing strip!  A good enough deal at P179 for a 6-pack.

 I think the Biore is cheaper and has a better adhesive (gets more gunk off)  but the flipside is it's not available here.  Will buy the Biore in Singapore and compare it with this Beauty Formula nose pore strips.  Ta!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review: the Ped Egg

I'm sure you've noticed, I haven't been a (beauty) blogger long.  But I've always been a fan of make up, lotions, hair things, beauty gear (that is, affordable beauty gear - if it's expensive, I figure let the experts use it on me, right, rather than me doing things with an expensive contraption via trial and error) ...  Well, anyway, this post is about an implement not many get to use, I think.. and this is the remarkable Ped Egg!

We normally take our feet for granted, thinking that its baby softness will last forever.  With wear and tear, however, I noticed my feet - that is, my heels - were starting to feel thick and rough.  The clincher was when a pair of stockings tore in contact with my heel when I was putting on stockings.  That did it.  It was either go for a foot spa of some sort (no time, too busy) or buy a Ped Egg.  I'd first seen the Ped Egg locally in True Value, where it cost something in the region of P1200 (not too sure about this price, but sure that it was more than P1000). I wanted to try it out, but it was a bit hard to swallow specially since the price of one on Amazon was at most $10.  I settled for slathering on foot moisturizer on my heels before going to bed, and wearing socks.  My heels were softer and smoother, but not baby soft.  Well, on a recent trip to Vancouver I found the Ped Egg on sale for CAD4.99 - and I held off, thinking I might find it even cheaper across the border in Seattle, but no luck - it cost US6.99.  So I finally bought it in Canada.

It's essentially a sort of foot grater, which is meant to shave off the hardened skin of the heels and feet.  It's in the shape of an egg, and when opened you have the plastic cover, and the shaver, sort of a grater, which is locked closed over a container (the other part of the egg) which catches the dead skin cells etc.

The grater is meant to be used on dry feet.  You start by taking the grater and rubbing it over the rough areas of your feet (in my case, heels).  That's all it takes.  The rough bits (which are the hardened skin cells) are whittled away and fall into the container. You throw the stuff that's collected in the container.  I admit to an unhealthy fascination with the dead skin in the container.  It was just SO darned satisfying grating them off, seeing the fluttery byproduct in the container, and seeing and feeling smoother, baby soft skin on the heels of my feet again.

I'd definitely buy another one if this one wore out.

Review: the Body Shop Tea Tree Oil

I am almost out of The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil and I decided I'd write about this tiny wonder bottle.  It's 15% tea tree oil (diluted, unfortunately) and this is what the bottle says:

This antibacterial oil is diluted to 15% to help soothe and cleanse.  Apply directly to the skin to help combat spots.

Ingredients are the following:  aqua (water), alcohol denat (denatured alcohol?), melaleuca alternifolia (the tea tree oil), polysorbate 60

If we're to go by conventional wisdom, the first ingredient in an ingredient list is the most plentiful in volume, so I guess this little bottle (10ml) is actually mostly water and alcohol denat.  My next bottle is either going to be more of the same (The Body Shop) or I may spring for one of the other brands that I saw the last time I was at Beauty Bar Greenbelt 5, which have a higher percentage of melaleuca oil.

The bottle has a sort of eucalyptus-y scent, so it's actually rather pleasant.  It's definitely an oil.  I use it to  treat my skin when I feel a pimple on its way - the dreaded bump under the skin that means a pimple is on the way - no head on it - but definitely there.  I dab a little oil on the emerging pimple with a clean fingertip and that's it,  I forget about it. I re-apply at night.  Next day, the bump is smaller.  I apply some more for 2 or 3 more days to make sure that it's gone, and that's it. Usually, it's a case of "Voila!  Pimple gone!" (I also use a little of it on my feet to make sure my feet stay fresh-smelling. Sort of like foot deodorant.. Tea tree oil works!)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Love your hair! - Bain Satin 3 by Kerastase Nutritive Review

With or without rebonding, my hair's natural state is kind of dry, and with the rebonding, more dry.  I made a note to buy Kerastase Bain Satin 3 in Singapore during one of my trips to visit family, and promptly forgot to look around for it. I mentioned it to the boyfriend (now ex) - that I forgot to buy, not that I wanted him to get me some - and he promptly bought me a bottle, with the matching Masquintense conditioner (Epais, for thick hair).  He experienced sticker shock (well, I didn't ask him to buy any of it!) when he spent close to a hundred dollars for the lot. And he had to FedEx it to me, but that's a whole other story.  Anyway, it was really sweet of him, bless him, whatever he's up to now.

So.  On to the bottle.  The bottle says Bain Satin.  Dosage Gluco-Active 3. Shampooing Nutrition Complete Chevaux Desseches et - oops, that's the French.  In English, Complete Nutrition Shampoo - Very Dry and Sensitized Hair.

What it says it is:  Complete Nutrition Shampoo for Very Dry and Sensitized Hair.  Complete nutrition from the roots to the ends.  Hydration of the scalp.  Soft, supple and light hair.

How to use:  Apply to damp hair. Massage, rinse and repeat.  The bottle dispenses a pearly lotion, not a thick goop.

Effect on my hair:  Leaves it light and silky.  My hair's texture smoothened, the straw-like feeling disappeared.  The ends were smooth too.  It was - well, silky smooth and fragrant smelling.  Yes, there is a light fragrance.  I've read of some being bothered by the scent, but I actually find it quite pleasant and not at all overpowering.  It's barely noticeable, you'd have to lean in to smell it.  The effects are quite lasting, and I was tempted to only shampoo twice a week, but I'm not used to Not shampooing for longer than every other day, and even if the texture and smell were still okay my scalp was not used to it.  I alternate this shampoo with the drugstore brand Clairol "None of your Frizziness", and another Kerastase shampoo Bain Oleo-Relax and it works quite well for my hair.

It's lovely!  Buy some, and love your hair.  I always have a back-up bottle.  Price: USD34 for a 250ml bottle.

Note:  this used to be THE shampoo from Kerastase's Nutritive line, for Very Dry and Sensitized Hair.  I just took a peep at the site and this shampoo's been moved to the Very Dry line - a new product, Bain Nutri-Thermique is now the star for the Very Dry and Sensitized line.  Hm, something new to try!

Kerastase Nutridefense (Dosage Gluco-active) Review

After more than half a lifetime ignoring my hair, I finally decided to give it a break and plunged wholeheartedly into the world of expensive hair products that promised to do wonders for my hair.  To be honest, my hair is blessed with curl - not the Shirley Temple type curl, but the variable, some of it in waves and some of it in frizz type curl.  Hair stylists would usually cluck over it, and the experience of having them do that eventually led me to either have it cut short and layered (a disaster when it grows out as it's like a pyramid, I really needed a trim every 6 weeks) or just in one length, in a pony tail all the time, to keep it tame. Nowadays I spring for a regular rebonding at one of the Korean salons.  And with that rebonding, I also decided  in for a penny, in for a pound, so I treat my hair to the aforementioned hair products.

I was first introduced to the Kerastase line more than 10 years ago but it was (still is) pricey.  Well, it is pricey, but in my opinion, worth it.  

Kerastase Nutridefense is a leave-in spray, and this is what it says on the front of the bottle:  Anti drying nutri protective spray,  dry and sensitive hair.  It's a styling product, and actually has nothing to do with frizz or curl!  :)

This is what it claims to do:  Hair is replenished and shiny, full of softness and incredibly light.  

Usage:  Use Spray Nutridefense daily for optimum protection.  Shake and spray onto lengths.  Avoid the roots.  Complements Masque Nutridefense.  Avoid spraying towards the eyes or inflamed skin.  In case of contact, rinse immediately with plenty of water.  Shake before use.

How I use it:  on days when I use a plain-Jane shampoo.  I towel and air-dry my hair, and spray it on to make combing easier.  Despite the rebonding I still get tangles about three-fourths of the way down my hair.  I do exactly what the instructions say - spray it on the lengths and near the ends of my hair.  Two or three spritzes is enough. I comb through.  The effect of silky smoothness is noticeably pronounced when my hair dries completely.  It's really really silky smooth.  The scent is mild, not at all overpowering.  

Would I recommend it to others?  Yes!
Note:  I'm not too sure they still sell it, though. Price: I think it was USD27 for a 200ml bottle spray.