Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Product Review: Lush Perfumes

I looovee Lush. let me repeat. I loooovvveee Lush. So much. I spend too much money there. It's quite obscene. Anyway, for those of you who don't know, Lush is a shop that sells all kind of yummy natural and fresh products.
I've tried loads of their stuff, but one of their product lines that I've really been enjoying is their perfume line. I love essential oils, aromatherapy, and any kind of smelly stuff. In fact, I probably have a tendency to get too smell happy. I also react badly to most shop bought perfumes and deodorants because of the chemicals in them (I get rashes etc), which can be really frustrating as natural deodorants aren't usually as effective, but Lush has been my top choice so far.

Lush perfumes come in 3 strengths. The big black bottle is the strongest, the thin atomiser is the next strongest, and the solid perfumes are the weakest. I only ever try the solids because £5 is pretty good to spend on perfume, plus you can carry them with you anywhere, and they last long enough to be worth the dosh.

So, onto the product review:

1) Karma Solid Perfume

I've shopped at Lush for ages, and ALWAYS hated this perfume. I thought it was earthy and hippy in the worst possible way. I also usually hate any scent that's mildly fruity. Buuuut...I recently went in to my local Lush to pick up my usual cleanser and moisturiser, and happened to sniff my way over to the perfume section. I sniffed Karma, to remind myself how much I hated it, and strangely, my nostrils caught a rather pleasant odour.

This perfume has  orange as a top note, and patchouli as a base note. It has quite a sweet, slightly fruity, but spicy scent.

You will either love it OR hate it. It's the kind of scent that if I wear it strongly enough, I will offend someone. I happen to be a convert...sample it in the LUSH shop and see what you think.
Pity about the name - i don't believe in Karma.

2) Lust

This is pure Jasmine. It's loud and heady, but a scent I always get compliments on. Again, i think you will either love it or hate it, BUT most people I've encountered love it.
It also has notes of Vanilla, which is another scent I absolutely love. The name rings quite true, it is, I believe, *blushes* fairly sensual, but, that was definitely not my intention when I bought it, I just liked the smell. Lol. (Had to put that disclaimer out there). Again, pity about the name.

3) Vanillary

Not much to say about this one. It's vanilla with notes of tonka and jasmine. It's pretty inoffensive, girly and smells like candy. Definitely not a love or hate like the other two, it was the first ever Lush fragrance I bought, and my favourite for ages until I discovered Lust.

All 3 perfumes are roughly £5, so head to your local Lush, and check them out!!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

How often should you wash your hair?

I remember hearing of competitions way back in secondary (high) school (not my school by the way, other schools :-/) , where people would see how long they could go without washing their hair.

3 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks?? It was kudos to the person who had the longest run. I always remember thinking ' that is way gross!!', but for some reason, it was just acceptable for black women to not wash their hair that often. If you washed your hair more than once a week, folks would give you the side eye like 'whhaat? do you think you're white or something?'

So ladies, how often do YOU wash your hair? How often should we wash our hair?

Honestly, I'm not sure...I once met this girl in a hair shop when I was around 10 years old, who had the longest, thickest, lushest hair imaginable. It looked clean and healthy and shiny,  and I couldn't smell it from where I was standing. Her Mum swore she only washed it twice year. I was in shock. I think my Mum tried that tip for like 2 and a half weeks, and then gave up.

See, your scalp is skin. We wash our skin every day at least (I hope so...I'll say that again for some of you..I hope so..), so shouldn't we wash our scalp fairly frequently as well?? Also, presuming you're doing the healthy thing and exercising regularly, you sweat from your scalp - some more than others, and all that stale sweat can't be good lingering there for weeks. It is possible to cleanse your scalp without cleansing your hair, but it's a lllooottt more tricky.

The sebaceous glands on our scalp are a lot more than on any other section of skin. This means they produce more sebum (an oily fluid). Sebum keeps our hair nourished and soft, but dirt that finds our hair also clings to the sebum. So, our scalp needs regular cleansing...
Scalp Section
BUT, natural hair is very fragile and prone to dryness, so there needs to be a fine balance between keeping the scalp and hair clean, and not removing moisture. The tight curls of natural hair mean that sebum finds it harder to moisturise the entire hair shaft.

So how often should we ash our hair?

I think it's entirely up to the individual. I think any longer than 3 weeks or so is getting a bit yuck, in my opinion, but everyone needs to find what works for them.

Hair should't be smelling, or tacky and greasy before you decide to wash it. Also, your hair shouldn't look dull and lifeless, that's a definite sign that it's in for a wash.

 I generally wash my hair once every 2 weeks when it's loose in winter, and once a week in sumer. I use a mild natural shampoo, or co-wash with a  cheapie conditioner.

Tips for maintaining moisture - cleanliness balance:

1) Try co-washing. Washing with conditioner can help maintain  a clean scalp while not removing moisture.

2) Use a non-sulfate, all natural shampoo. E.g. Dr Bronners Castille Soap, Anita Grant Babassu shampoo bar....there are loads of others.

3) When washing, focus on shampooing the scalp and let the remaining suds fall down the hair, instead of lathering shampoo into the hair strands,

4) Wash your hair gently, don't scrub and rub, as this will make the hair more prone to breakage and damage.

6) Do water only rinses between washes.

Love, Peace, and Hair Grease folks x

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

"Loving you is easy cos you're beautiful...."

I don't usually think the term  'self love' is a good thing necessarily. It'd often associated with a form of psychology that I don't agree with, that focuses on self-esteem and tends to be quite narcissistic. Me, me, and more me, is the international anthem of modern society, which ironically, has chronic rates of depression, low self-worth, and body image issues.

So, interestingly enough, focusing so much on ourselves doesn't seem to be the answer to loving ourselves. There must be a better way. There must be a way to become comfortable with the person in the mirror. Or in my case, the afro that takes up half of the mirror space.

Black women have hair issues. I've mentioned that a lot. We spend the most time, money and energy on our hair out all races of women, but yet we still don't seem to be satisfied with it. It's a cycle - we spend money because we're not satisfied, then because we're not satisfied we spend more money. Is it possible to come to a place where we are satisfied with what we've got? Where we wake up in the morning, and not in vanity or self absorption, look at our hair, and smile and think "awesome"?

I think it is. I can say with 100% certainty that I've got to a place where I absolutely, totally, indefatigably LOVE my hair. I genuinely do. Not that I don't have bad hair days, or occasional panic attacks, but I wouldn't trade my hair for the world. Although I jokingly might say 'I would kill for so and so's hair...', deep down, I know I wouldn't have mine any other way.

So how did I get to that place of acceptance? Firstly, I found out who I was and WHOSE I was. I unashamedly believe that I am a child of God, and therefore am an important and beautiful member of this universe. If he took care to know each page and letter of the script of my life before I was even conceived, how can I not love what he made me to be? Every kink, curl, knot, and napp is a wonderful design from the Creator God. Genesis says that he SAW that it was good. Isn't that powerful? And so, I asked God to help me see how he saw in the beginning.

Secondly, I absorbed as many beautiful images of women who looked liked me as I could. My parents always surrounded me with positive images of black women, and as I got older, I would choose for role models people who represented me. These were women of all races who offered valuable things to the world, but in terms of beauty, I chose to counteract the Eurocentric standard of beauty offered to me by looking at images of women  - celebrities, ordinary women  who had hair like me, noses and mouths like me, skin like me, and place them as my standard of beauty. There's a wise phrase that says 'by beholding, we become changed', and it's true.

I chose to mentally close my ears and eyes to images that told me that I wasn't beautiful. Sure, I saw them literally, but on a mental plane, I actively rejected them.

Encouraging women to find beauty in themselves is something I'm so passionate about, because I know how long it took me to find it in myself. I hope this short word of encouragement helps someone else a little on their way to believing that they are beautiful. Not because I said so, but because God said so.

Peace, Love and Blessings x