Archive for the 'Beauty' Category

Jan 14 2014

Just real quick.

Published by under Beauty,Parenting,The Boy

I don’t really have the time or energy to write a big post, but I wanted to get something down.

The behavior issues are still prevalent. Time Out stopped being any kind of effective, and actually ended up being something that would cause even more distress. The biggest issues we have are throwing things and hitting people. For the throwing, I have instituted the “penalty box”. When something is thrown, it goes in the penalty box for the rest of the day. The two exceptions are balls (because they are appropriate throwing objects) and his lovey (because if I took that away for the day we might as well just blow ourselves up and save the bother). So far, this seems to be working…ok? Yes, he’s still throwing. However, the emotion I attached to him throwing things is gone. Before, when he threw something, I would begin to get upset and angry because I knew that was just the beginning of a long, horrible struggle: he’d throw, then we’d do the time out thing, and that would cause crying/screaming/fighting/hitting, and what was supposed to be a 1 minute time out would inevitably turn into a 5 – 10 minute tantrum. Now that I know I no longer have to deal with that, I am able to just say “Oh, you threw Object A. We’re going to put Object A in the box and you can have it back tomorrow.” Done. Does it help cut down on throwing? I don’t know. It’s only been about three or four days. Today has been a really, really bad day. He woke up very early, took his nap very early (like 1.5 hours early), woke up from that early, and all day long has been screaming and acting out. The penalty box is pretty full. Usually there are only a few things in it.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that I’ve been having issues with my nose piercing (did I mention I got my nose pierced? I can’t remember). I kind of slacked off doing the recommended sea salt solution soaks (say that 10 times fast) while we were in Tennessee. As a result, the dreaded Horrible Bump developed. I immediately went back to doing morning and night soaks, but the bump was stubbornly staying put. So…I did some looking online and found basically an intensive regimen that is supposed to get rid of said bump (assuming it’s not keloid scarring). It pretty much sounded like things I was told not to do, but I know my body and sometimes it needs to have things turned up to 11 in order to respond. I don’t know that I’d recommend anyone with sensitive skin or whose body usually responds to normal strength treatments use these methods, but they are working for me. I’m going to try to find the exact URL I read but in the meantime, here’s what I’ve been doing:

1. Regular sea salt soak morning and night (1/4 tsp sea salt in 8 oz of water)

2. During day, leave uncovered. Several times a day, apply tea tree oil using Q-tip. This also cleans off the crusties that form during the day.

3. At night, after sea salt soak, apply several grains of salt directly to bump and cover with small round bandaid. Leave on all night.

The bump is already a lot smaller, but it is raw looking. It’s pretty much dissolving from the outside in, though, so what do I expect? Once it’s gone, I’ll just do the regular sea salt soaks and maybe put tea tree oil on at night, before bed.

OK, I gotta get back to the monster man.

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Dec 23 2011

Drip dry.

Published by under Beauty,Rants,Stupidity

When it comes to moisturizing options, I prefer body oil over lotion. It just seems more efficient to me: get out of shower, slather on oil, dry off, all done! It absorbs better than lotion and I don’t have a greasy feeling. Sometimes, I make my own, sometimes (like lately) if I’m lazy, I’ll buy it and try different kinds.

What strikes me is that on just about every commercial version I buy, the instructions are some variation of: “Smooth onto damp skin after bathing, and then pat dry with towel or allow skin to dry naturally“. Allow skin to dry naturally? Do you know anyone who does this? NO ONE does this. But every single body oil has to recommend it. Can you even imagine someone standing there, post-shower, dripping on the mat for 15-20 minutes, staring vacantly into space, just waiting patiently for nature to take its course and the miracle of evaporation to occur? No, you cannot. Because you are a normal person, and you have Things To Do. Do you know the last time I dried “naturally”? When I was a child, in summer, fresh out of the pool, tear-assing around the yard. That’s what kids do: they get out of the pool and launch right into a game of Tag or something. They’re dry in two minutes. I don’t really have the option of greasing myself up and then running around the house (or God forbid, the yard) in order to more efficiently “dry naturally”. So, I shall pat myself dry with a towel, always wondering if I’m missing out on the nirvana of skin moisturizing by not taking the natural route.

For the record: Neutrogena Body Oil (Light Sesame Formula) is WAY too light for me. I don’t think it did anything – my skin still feels pretty dry. However, if you are someone who doesn’t need much in the way of moisturizing, give it a go.

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Feb 23 2011

One of these things is not for shaving.

Published by under Beauty,Rants,The Man

Since The Man has started shaving with a straight razor, I have become sort of familiar with the different little props that guys get to assist in the Big Shaving Routine. When he was shaving with a regular old Mach 3 safety razor, his shaving supplies consisted of razor, shaving cream, aftershave. But NOW, oh NOW, we have:

  1. Two straight razors.
  2. A set of “hones” for sharpening.
  3. A strop. (The strop hangs in our bathroom and has inspired several tentative questions into what exactly we get up to in the bathroom. I guess people see a long, wide, leather strap and their minds go right to The Bad Place)
  4. Copious amounts of shaving soap.
  5. A brush.
  6. A scuttle.
  7. After shave balm mixed up by Dr. Mom.

He really likes his new shaving routine. He thinks it’s interesting. I like it, too, because now I have an excuse to go to antique stores and look for things like straight razors and shaving scuttles and stuff. And this brings me to the point of this post.

ATTENTION SELLERS: MUSTACHE CUPS ARE NOT FOR SHAVING.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a mustache cup listed online or in a store as a “shaving mug”. The first time, I didn’t know any better, and I was left puzzling as to how a round cake of shaving soap was supposed to fit on that little half-shelf that mustache cups have. For those of you who are lost, here is a mustache cup:

Mustache cup.

It has a little shelf, so that a gentleman with a grand mustache can drink his tasty beverage without getting his fine facial hair soaked in tea or coffee or whatever.  The little shelf holds his ‘stache out of the drink, and everyone is happy. But it is not a shaving mug. I can see how it could be confusing, because it kind of has a shaving scuttle set up. You see, in a shaving scuttle, there is a shelf for the soap to sit on. Warm water goes into the resevoir underneath, to heat the lather and to dip your brush in. It looks like this:

Scuttle MugSee how the shelf is a whole circle? That’s because cakes of shaving soap are ROUND. They come in ROUND SHAPES. Not in little half moon shapes.

What’s even more annoying is when the vendor knows that a mustache cup is not supposed to be used for shaving, but in the product description says “this mug was used to keep a man’s mustache out of the drink but I think it would be great for shaving too kthxbai”. Because that is STUPID. Some girl whose boyfriend or husband or father uses shaving soap is going to see that and go “Oh, OK, I’ll get that for Bob”. And poor Bob is going to open that up and be like “WTF?” Because how many guys are willing to take a piece of soap and a knife and whittle their shaving soap into the proper shape to fit onto that little shelf?

Do not be fooled by vendors who don’t know their business or who are trying to fleece you into buying something that will not work. Mustache cups are not for shaving. They are for mustaches.

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Jan 11 2011

Face freeze.

Published by under Beauty,Health

You know how people are always telling you to wear sunscreen? Even on your face and under your makeup? Well, those people aren’t blowing smoke, or talking to hear themselves talk. Wearing sunscreen is a good friggin’ idea. Leaving aside the daunting prospect of skin cancer, sunscreen is good from a strictly cosmetic standpoint.

I’m one of those people who never spends too much time in the full sun. I don’t like going to the beach, particularly, I never went tanning, and I never had access to a pool regularly. Except two summers ago, my sister and brother-in-law gave us their Intex pool – the kind with the blow up ring on the top? But this one is the super-size model that is big enough to actually swim in. And that summer, I decided that I wanted a TAN. Why? WHO KNOWS. The only sunscreen I used was SPF 4, and I was in the pool every single day. And I never burned! And I came out of that summer with a fantastic tan! Except…when the tan faded, I was left with two brown splotches on my upper lip that made me look like I had dirt on my face, unless I caked makeup on them. Which I did, all winter.

When summer rolled around again, I was still caking makeup on my “dirt spots”, but in summer it’s a lot harder to keep things covered up, since you’re sweating a lot and also since I was swimming a lot again (using SPF 50 this year, no messing around). These spots were starting to bother me, because, let’s be honest, I’m vain.

When I went back to my dermatologist in December for my check up, I asked him about the spots. “Sun damage,” he ruled. “It’s really important to use a good sunscreen. I can remove them, if you like. I just freeze them off. I can do it now, but the skin peels and you might be flaky for the holidays”. I decided I’d rather not be “flaky for the holidays”, and made an appointment to get the freezing done in mid-January. My appointment was yesterday.

First of all, let me just say that if this is a procedure you’re thinking of doing, I would recommend NOT doing it in summer or anytime where you’re planning to be outdoors for an extended period, because it’s recommended that you avoid a lot of sunlight while you’re healing. Second of all, if you have a low pain tolerance, you may want to opt for the slower-acting but pain-free bleaching cream alternative, because I’m not going to lie: getting liquid nitrogen sprayed on your face HURTS.

So, here’s how it went for me:

  • Get put in an exam room, wait around for 10 minutes.
  • Doctor comes in, acting as though this is just another normal checkup, asking if I’m happy with how things are going, etc.
  • I remind him that I’m here to get the sun damage treated.
  • He looks at the chart and says “Huh, nothing in the chart about that”.
  • I repeat our conversation about freezing that happened in December and he’s like “OK, no problem” and starts looking at the spots.
  • He picks up a metal can with a spray nozzle on the end and says “Keep your eyes and mouth closed”.
  • I shut my eyes and mouth.
  • He starts spraying one spot with the liquid nitrogen. It’s cold. Then, it stings. Then, it really starts to hurt. I make a small sound, because I have to keep my mouth closed so I can’t holler like I want to. Tears start to leak out from under my eyelids.
  • He starts on the second spot. This one hurts, too. A lot.
  • He notices a third spot that I guess he wants to treat, too, because the wonderful sensation of freeze/burn pain starts again.
  • He tells me I’m done, and I open my eyes. I start sniffling because I’m a big baby.
  • He says, “Yeah, brings a tear to your eye, huh?”
  • I kind of nod, and refrain from pummeling him. He must see that I am UNHAPPY because he beats a hasty retreat, leaving the nurse to tell me that if the skin blisters, I should put polysporin ointment and cover it with a band-aid. She also tells me that it would be a good idea to avoid sun exposure as much as possible until I heal.
  • I refrain from asking how in the world I’m supposed to fit three band-aids on my upper lip.
  • I go home.  The treated spots are starting to darken up.
  • I wake up the next morning (today). The treated spots are three times as dark as they previously were. If I cover them with makeup, they look like they did before the treatment…or rather, they looked like they used to when I wasn’t wearing makeup at all.
  • I decide that I’m not going anywhere unless I have to, because it looks like I have a chocolate milk mustache.
  • Did I mention I’m vain?

The big question – was it worth it – is not one that I can answer until I’m done healing, which might be a couple of weeks away. It certainly was more painful than I was expecting, so that’s a big downside right there. I understand that the skin darkening may get worse before it gets better. I do have several blisters (water blisters, although blood blisters are also possible with this treatment), but as long as I don’t drain them I don’t have to worry about how to fit band-aids over them. And also, I have no idea if this is actually going to work. I could have gone through all this and end up looking no better than before.

Knowing what I know now – about the pain, especially – I think if I have to treat sun damage again, I’ll try the bleaching cream first. The freezing method might be faster, but I think slow and steady might just be less bother in the long run.

However, I have started looking around for a really good facial sunscreen. Since I have problems with acne as well, I don’t really want to just slap some Coppertone on my face. I’m going to try Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion (SPF 30) first, because it’s gotten mostly good reviews and it costs around $10. If I don’t like that, there are others on my list, but they are much pricier. I guess the old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true, because let me tell you, no tan (no matter how fabulous) is worth getting liquid nitrogen sprayed on your face. Or skin cancer.

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Sep 24 2010

Dry shampoo.

Published by under Beauty

Before I start, let me add a brief disclaimer: I am fully ready to admit that I might have done something wrong here. I mean, the instructions were pretty clear-cut, and I don’t see how I could have bungled them, but I know that is a possibility. I can only write about my experience, which sucked. OK. Disclaimer OUT.

I was cruising around the internet today before I got in the shower. I am not a quick starter in the morning. I like to meander. So, I’m clicking around, and I happen on this article about making your own dry shampoo from stuff around the house, for those days when you can’t or don’t want to wash your hair. The article I read billed dry shampooing as a quick alternative to a shower when you just don’t have the time to wash/dry/style your head in the morning. PLUS: it’s totally green, you guys! You are cleaning yourself with corn products, which are natural and not full of unpronounceable chemicals. It must be better!

Basically, the article boiled down to: sprinkle some stuff in your hair and brush it out. The “stuff” they recommended was corn meal, or corn starch, or ground oats. Or a mix! I did have both corn meal and corn starch on hand, so I decided to do a 50/50 mix of these items and see what happened. The article promised that this would be easy, albeit a little messy, and would leave me with soft, shiny hair.

So, I mixed up 1 tbsp. of corn starch and 1 tbsp. of corn meal (2 tbsp. being the recommended “dosage” for normal length hair) and headed to the bathroom. I took the precaution of moving the rugs to one side, and started sprinkling corn products into my hair. It was unpleasant. I got corn meal in my eyes. I got corn stuff on the floor, in the sink, and on my pajamas. A lot of it DID end up in my hair, so I dutifully (as instructed) massaged my scalp, then brushed my hair to spread the mix through. That really gave my hair the coveted “just escaped from a building demolition” ashy look. I let my hair alone for two minutes (as instructed) to let the corn mix really grab onto the grease in my hair. Then, I turned my head upside down over the sink and started brushing root-to-tip to remove the mix from my hair.

And I brushed. And I brushed. And I brushed. I flipped my head around and brushed from another angle. I flipped it around the other way. I brushed more. I flipped my hair back upright and realized that instead of the ash-drenched look, I now just looked like I had really bad dandruff. I could see tiny corn starch particles still clinging to every follicle of hair.

I brushed some more. And some more. And even more. I looked in the mirror again: still gross. Not only that, but the whole sink and floor was littered with corn residue. My brush was also clogged with corn starch/meal. THIS is supposed to save me time in the morning? Between the 1000 brush strokes apparently needed to get the gunk out of my hair, and the clean up time that will be required to get the stuff off the floor and out of the sink, not to mention off my brush, wouldn’t I have been better off just washing my hair and sticking it into a ponytail?

In the end, that’s what I did. I got in the shower, squirted some chemical death on my head, massaged it around, rinsed it out, and was done. Ten minutes in the shower meant clean hair, clean body, and no extra clean up. Ten minutes with dry shampoo doesn’t even come close. If you’re really that pressed for time, just don’t wash your hair. Most people can get by with only washing their hair every other day.

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