Mmmm, Grapes …

grapesI decided to have a little spa night of my own the other day and this was the perfect time to try out using home made scrubs and masks. So I settled for what was in the fridge which was grapes and sour cream (had run out of yoghurt and couldn’t be bothered to go out and buy some more and lactic acid is lactic acid, right?) to make my face mask and to use the castor oil sugar scrub.

Grapes have tartaric acid which is used for skin exfoliation and sour cream is made by fermenting cream with lactic acid bacteria. Lactic acid is used in beauty products for the purposes of exfoliating and softening the skin. With these two combined I figured I couldn’t go wrong since both fall under AHA’s.

Since this was an impromptu thing, I didn’t have enough supplies to make my own bath salts and what not but no worries, it was still a fun time.

After using the castor oil sugar scrub and steaming my face I applied the grape and sour cream mask which I had made by mixing the two ingredients in my little blender. A few things I noted were:

  1. I really need to go out and buy some gelatin/kaolin or other binding agent cos it was runny! And the bits of grape skin wouldn’t allow me to use a cotton ball to apply it properly and it’s hot this time of year. So what started out as a semi liquid mix ended up being an entity that had a life of its own running down my fingers and hands before I could get it on my face.
  1. A little bit goes a long way. Since I am averse to measuring things I just threw in a handful of grapes and a big scoop of sour cream. I had a lot left over and I had to go around applying it on someone who was more interested in what it would taste like than actually sitting still and being pampered. To avoid having the bulk of it staying in the fridge I put in on my arms, legs, everywhere. Still some left over and I’ve been using it the past couple of days but I don’t know how long it will keep.
  1. I used the grape and sour cream mask after I did the sugar scrub and it stung a bit. I’m wondering if I was a bit too enthusiastic with the exfoliation. Or maybe I did it in the wrong order – am I meant to first do the mask then exfoliate?  Is this just another case of me having to suffer for beauty’s sake? Asilia bots, help!

Final conclusion? Grape + sour cream mask = Asilia Prime! Despite the runny consistency and the grape skin that just would not blend my skin is feeling fantastic. I have been using the left overs the past few days* and I have had two people tell me I’m glowing. My t-zone area was less oily too and that’s always a good thing as sometimes the shine on my nose surpasses that of my nose ring.

Next on my list to experiment with: mangoes! I’m going through all the contents of my fridge and pantry and seeing what I can do with them.

*Masks that one buys from the store says that you use them once a week for a reason – the concentration of ingredients is high and over use could result in stressing/damaging your skin. One made at home from fruits is relatively safe to use on a more regular basis since it’s gentler on your skin, though it may take a few applications to see results.

Smooches!

I don’t usually wear anything fabulous on my lips…I have tried countless lipstick shades but I always feel so silly, I end up wiping the stuff off two seconds after I put it on – the most I do is a lip-gloss…sometimes a tinted lip-gloss even!!   But living way up North where the winters are oh so cruel, I have to put some effort into taking care of my lips.  So lipbalm lipbalm lipbalm!!  I was using the Himalaya lip balm, but sadly it got finished!  Since nobody in this place seems to know about Himalaya products, I had to get the next best thing.  So now I’m using the bodyshop Vitamin E lipbalm. I seem to like it and so do my lips.  Himalaya was good as well, but sometimes it felt like it didn’t “soak” in, instead sort of felt like just a layer of something on the top of my lips.  But the Bodyshop one is good – soaks in and everything – just doesn’t smell of edible fruits of vanilla – I guess I’m growing up!  So apart from that, sometimes my lips get all peely and just ugly looking and so I lather on some vaseline, get my old trusty toothbrush that I also use to brush my eye brows and just lightly brush my lips until most of the peeling is gone.  After which I lather on some Bepanthen.  Now I don’t know, but I havn’t seen Bepanthen in too many countries, or maybe its because I don’t have a baby and so wouldn’t know.  See Bepanthen is used for baby’s bum bums.  To help heal nappy rash and it contains lots of vitamin B5.  It’s truly one of the greatest products I know.  It aids healing of almost anything – I put it on those zits that just pop up at that time of the month and is kinda raw, I put it on cuts, grazes and it just heals everything like magic!!  It’s fabulous!  So after my brushing I put a generous layer on my lips and let it just soak in nicely.  It’s ok for lips because mothers can use it while they breastfeed as well – so it’s safe.  Also on those days when the wind and the cold have thoroughly abused my lips, I lather some on and voila!!  Apart from that, and I must confess I havn’t been too good with this recently but I will get back into once winter kicks in – good old nivea creme!  Like the type in the blue round tin container.  Right before bed, put a generous amount over your lips and lights out – wake up to nice supple lips!  So Bepanthen and Nivea creme – Asilia Primes!

Feedback on jmmk’s castor oil face scrub…

So in a bid to try out the wonder castor oil that jmmk posted here , I finally  found castor oil…with the help of google translate and some helpful pharmacists…woop woop…so excited that I came straight home to try it out!  So I didn’t do a scrub…I just did a cleanse.  As much as I was a little worried about the whole oil all over my face as a cleanser….I put on my brave face and went for it.   So I put some castor oil, some EVOO and a couple of drops of tea tree oil.  Reasons were, I read castor oil can be a little drying…(yes even I was surprised – oil and dry don’t go too well together…) so the olive oil was my carrying oil as well as my moisturizer in the mix and the tea tree oil…well its supposed to be good for all things antibacterial, acne, anything that needs healing basically.  so I mixed it all in my palm, rubbed it between my hands and then massaged it into my face (I sorta forgot the whole neck thing – I promise to do that next time jmmk)…anyway, rub rub rub as I meditated on smooth as a baby’s bum skin.  It felt alot thicker than I actually thought it would feel and the tee trea kinda gave it a nice tingly smell.  So massage massage massage….and after…well after me singing as much as I could bear to hear myself sing renditions of random songs, I had a face cloth in hot water, wrung out the water and placed it on my face to steam away the oil.  I must confess I didn’t really feel the “you will feel the oils pull out the dirt and impurities from your pores” that everyone who does the castor oil cleansing seems to talk about, but I enjoyed the steaming hot towel and re-did it like 2 or 3 times…yes it is addictive.  – Hi my name is Kipepeo and I’m addicted to putting steaming hot face cloths on my face!  Anyway, I then wiped the oil that was still left behind mainly near my nose with the hot face cloth, let my face dry a little but not too dry and put on some of my vitamin E moisturiser.  At first it just felt like I had on a bit more oil than usual, but 10 minutes later it was glorious soft skin all through!  As I write this half an hour later I keep having to pause to feel how nice and soft it is…yes I know I should not be touching my face all the time…but I just can’t help it!!!!  It’s sooo yummy!  So woop woop…Asilia Prime!  Thanks jmmk for showing me the castor oil light!!

Product Junkie

beauty stuffI was supposed to have started the oil cleansing method experiment last week but the time just flew and the weekend kinda got away from me so I’m recommiting myself to it this week and see how seven days of the doing goes for my fickle skin.

One of the thingI was supposed to be doing was figuring out what skin type I really am. Usually I just tell myself it’s combination but I have never really put that much thought into it. It was off to the google to see what was going to pop up. Some suggestions didn’t help me at all, like this one – surely what’s a girl to do when for every question there is more than one answer you can choose? So I just decided to stick to take advice from all the articles I have read from magazines and settle on combination. Now I will have to hunt for some sunflower oil so I can get cleansing and see if it helps.

My confusion about my skin is probably the reason why I am a product junkie. That picture right there? It’s all the skin care stuff I could find in my bathroom and that’s just what was within reach. Lotions, oils, butters, gels, jellies … name any of them and I have a version of it stashed somewhere in both scented and unscented forms.

True story – I never bought any skin care products on my own until I left home. My mother used to do this thing where she would go into the supermarket and buy a ton of different oils and lotions (she has had people stop her and ask her if she ran a massage parlour or something) and then take them home and mix them. She would bottle up what she had made and then distribute it to the rest of the house and her sisters. The result is silky soft skin for everyone and confusion for us who left home and had to fend for ourselves in foreign countries when half the things we were used to having around were just not available.

I have tried to replicate the mixing, oh man have I tried. All attempts to do so end up in utter fail and to make it worse, there is no recipe you can follow.She keeps telling me to just add and mix things and it will turn out right but that has never been the case. Having never been able to replicate the formua or find a product that works for me I have shea butter for when my skin feels dry in the winter, some mango chocolate oil for when I feel like smelling nice, some random St. Ives product for after I have used my body scrub, vaseline for the feet (apply after giving yourself a pedicure and pop on some socks and in the morning you they will be nice and soft) aloe vera for when I’ve had too much sun … on and on the list goes.

This most definitely is an asilia crime. One, the amount of money spent tends to add up and two, I have more stuff in my bathroom and bedroom I have barely used/forgotten about for long periods of time than I care to admit.So I’m putting to a halt all purchases of lotions, oils and the like. Well, apart from sunscreen* and coconut oil which is what I use on a very regular basis. Anything else will have to be put to the test as to whether I’m just blindly adding to my collection or whether it will help me towards my desired state of asilianess. I will use what I have already until my junkie ways are gone forever or at the very least under control.

*I will do an entry on sunscreen soon but use it! Especially if you live in a place where the sun shines alot. Vitamin D requirements aside it’s important to remember that people of colour get skin cancer too – think Bob Marley.

Moisture moisture moisture….did I say moisture?

This is one of the key factors that ensure your hair stays happy and healthy. Audrey Sivasothy a self made hair guru with beautiful locks to boot, explains all about the fine art of balancing protein with moisture here.

Before I got into a whole new world of hair care, as far as I was concerned some ‘hair moisturizing lotion’ such as this every other day would without a doubt keep my hair ‘moisturized’. However, I have come to learn that the only true moisturizer is water. Although a whole book could be written about moisture and the great deception that is most commercial hair care products, this post will focus on my leave in conditioner/moisturizer.

As part of my regimen, I make a point of keeping my hair moist through out the day. Because it is not realistic to heave around bottles of product with you as you go about your day, I needed a simple effective solution. In addition, because I knew from my research what my hair needed to remain soft and moisturized without weighing it down, I decided to make my own leave in moisturizer.

My ‘recipe’ is simple. The moisturizer is made up of mostly water, very little conditioner, a tad bit of honey – (honey is a humectant and therefore attracts and retains moisture), and a dash of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to help seal in all the goodness. I bought a spritz bottle that’s small enough to carry in my bag, and whenever I get a chance (or my hair feels like it needs it), I zip into a bathroom and moisturize it. Because I live in an extremely hot and humid country, it has really worked wonders.

Before I started this moisturizing regimen, my hair would be dry and frizzy by evening. Now, it is always slightly moist and doesn’t frizz like it did. Breakage has drastically reduced, and I believe moisture has contributed greatly to this. For beginners in the hair game, it should be among your number one priorities.

There are no hard and fast rules as to what ingredients and you should use, but do your research first. Water is always a must, and natural oils such as castor oil, coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil are great to seal in the moisture. You can even try add a drop of one of the essential oils. The rest is up to you.

Banana Treatment: Crime or Prime?

Wow…WHAT an experience! Me being the lover of experiments that I am, I decided to try a banana treatment on my hair. Bananas are known for replenishing moisture and adding fabulous shine to hair, as well as being great for the scalp.

To quote miss banana head:

Bananas contain tryptophan, a rich amino acid that is known to be extremely beneficial for hair and skin. They are chock full of potassium which adds super softening properties to the hair shaft. Along with vitamins A, B, C and E bananas contain rich natural oils and carbohydrates. All these goodies shore up the natural elasticity of the hair and prevents split ends.

So I got two extremely ripe bananas and pureed them. Mixed in one egg (because it was my protein DC day) and two dollops of mayo. I let the mixture sit for a bit, and man did it look gross! The mixture smelled only of banana, and I thought that was a good thing because hey, it masked the egg smell right? So wrong. Hmm…more on that later.

I let the treatment sit in for about 4 hours, and by the time those hours were up, I was so ready to wash it off. I did one rinse with cool water because there was egg in the treatment, and then tried to wash out the stuff. It was a MESS! There were banana particles all over me and my bathroom. It took forever trying to wash out the banana bits from my head, and after forty minutes, i was fed up! (aside: if by any chance you end up in this predicament, section the hair into about ten to fifteen sections; rinse and add conditioner to each. The conditioner adds slip, making it easier to pick out the banana boogers and is way more effective than rinsing the whole head. ) Adding insult to injury, I reeked of a banana factory!  Adding more conditioner did not help the situation. This I hated.

However there is a silver lining: Once I was all nice and dry, bathroom washed and all, is when I actually noticed the state of my hair. It was extremely shiny! Unmistakeably so. But even then, randomly amidst the shine were still a few persistent ‘nana flecks. I gave up. The bits were gone in a day but it took about three days for the smell to completely disappear. I know, not fun! I was ready to declare this an asilia crime but guys the shiiiine!

So I’ve done some more reading up on banana as a hair treatment and it seems all hope is not lost. Here are a few tips for those brave enough to try:

  1. Try substitute bananas with banana baby food. It is simply banana with some citric acid as a preservative. It eliminates the problem of particles as well as the strong smell.
  2. If you decide to use bananas, or cannot find the baby food; Make sure you thoroughly blend the banana, adding a bit at a time, and after blending the fruit, take the mixture through a sieve. Straining it ensures there will never be any particles to pick out of the hair. EVER.  (Point to note: Simply mashing will not do.)

All in all i was thoroughly tortured, BUT I’m not ready to let that shine go and so I will not give up just yet. It will take a while to gather courage but when I do, I shall attempt this treatment again. So if your in search of moisture and shine, go ahead, give it a try. However, be advised, it is not for the faint of heart.