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The ‘No Straighteners’ Challenge: An Update

 

 

Back in April, I told you that I was planning to ditch my hair straighteners, having used them constantly for almost a decade. As I have unruly, ultra-wavy hair, my straighteners were most definitely my best friend, and I always felt my most glamorous with super-sleek, straight hair.

Unfortunately the battle with my hair really began early last year. Years of straightening had left my hair frazzled, parched and a little on the static side. There were days I looked like Mr. Majeika and no amount of hair product would help. I was beginning to lose hope of ever having hair I could be proud of again.

I  made a great egg and olive oil conditioner – but was too lazy to prepare it every time I washed my hair. Naughty! I also tried a variety of shampoos and conditioners which I thought might help improve the condition of my hair. Everything helped to some degree but nothing eradicated the problem completely.

That’s when I decided that the only thing left was to ditch the hair straighteners. I knew it would be hard because without straightening my hair, I look like a small shrub! Would I be happy for Mr.D. to see me looking like this every day? Could I walk down the street and not mind the horrified stares? Would  I be able to ignore the smirks from my students?

But I knew that if I continued to straighten my hair, it would just become an even bigger mess. My hair was so straw-like I felt as though I had a haystack on my head. No, the straighteners had to go.

So they did. Well – almost…

I set myself a challenge that I would go a month – possibly longer – without straightening my hair and see if it made any difference. For the most part, I was actually very good and kept to my word BUT…  I couldn’t stand the kinked sections of hair that framed my face, so I cheated a little and straightened those sections. But that’s all I did. The rest of my hair was completely untouched by my straightening irons. Thankfully my Tresemme Keratin Smooth shampoo and conditioner left my hair adequately sleek so that I could get away with not straightening my hair.

In fact it’s only been in the last couple of weeks that I’ve taken to straightening my hair again but not in the same capacity as before. The straighteners only come out when necessary and even then it’s only to smooth down the sections that really need it.

And what’s the condition of my hair like now? A million times better! All the effort was so worth it. Yes, I still have a little frizz going on but my hair is definitely more soft, shinier and a lot smoother. It’s less dry and looks and feels much, much healthier. It’s definitely been given a new lease of life, and I intend to keep it this way.

 

I’ve also been paying more attention to my diet and been eating more fruit, vegetables and oily fish as well as taking vitamin supplements, as I know that what you put into your body is just as important as what you put onto your hair. I’ve also felt that having super hot showers might also have been drying out my hair, so I’ve been washing my hair in much cooler water.

So I didn’t adhere to the challenge one hundred per cent – but I still think I did quite well. And now I no longer depend on hair straighteners to have great looking hair.

 

So for you ladies out there who are reaching the end of your tether with dry, straw-like hair, there is hope. The best advice I could give you is a healthier diet and using your heated hair appliances a lot less.  It could well be the making of your hair!

 

 

Good luck!

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Double-Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise: However Did I Go So Long Without it?

 

 

 

MRS. D’S SKIN PROFILE:

– Eczema prone skin in recovery (using prescribed cream, vitamin supplements, suitable skin-care products etc )

– Suffered from slight acne during teens and early twenties.  Outgrew acne.

– Combination skin: slightly greasy T-zone, dryness around cheeks and mouth.

– Starting to get first signs of fine lines on forehead and faint smile lines.

 

 

I was brought up on the ‘cleanse, tone, moisturize’ mantra but nobody ever told me to ‘double-cleanse, tone, moisturize.’ I have recently discovered the benefits of double cleansing and I can honestly hand-on-heart say that my skin has never looked so good. Being the kind of girl who has never been blessed with perfect skin – and never will be – I have to work harder than most to keep it looking as healthy as possible.

 

THE PROBLEM:

But about a month ago my skin looked – how shall I put this – bloody awful! It was dry, tight,  blotchy, itchy and a very unflattering shade of grey. As I suffer from a very mild form of eczema, I was having flare-ups in very quick succession despite using my prescribed cream. I was also convinced that I could see the faint traces of lines beginning to form. Nothing I used or did seemed to work. I’d be applying more make-up than usual, and I knew I still looked horrendous. It’s times like this, I wish I wasn’t so anti-Botox!

THE REASONS:

Unfortunately I commit way too many skin sins: I go to bed way too late; don’t exercise enough; wear make-up every day; drink coffee every morning; drink alcohol but not enough water; eat way too much junk… the list just goes on and on. This summer I committed the cardinal sin of not wearing any sunscreen. Terrible! I also have been guilty of using facial wipes to remove my make-up which doesn’t effectively remove all the impurities. And admittedly there were times I actually went to bed with my make-up on. It’s no surprise my skin looked horrendous.

However, I’m not a complete skin sinner. I have started to make an effort to eat healthier; I don’t smoke; I limit myself to one cup of coffee a day; I take vitamin supplements; use mainly organic products and being habitually late for everything means that I get regular exercise in the form of power walking! As I wear make-up everyday (although not a lot) I’d gotten into the habit of giving myself mini-facials every Sunday in order to get my skin feeling really clean.

THE SOLUTION:

So after a considerable amount of time feeling sorry for myself, I decided to spring into action.First of all, I decided to get rid of anything that I thought might be making my skin look bad and feel irritable.

  • I stopped the mini-facials as I felt that the frequency of these might actually be doing more harm than good.
  • I ditched my wash-off cleanser even though it’s organic as I figured that water might be drying out my skin.
  • I then used a mixture of manuka honey and cream to cleanse my face – until I found a more convenient substitute.
  • I started drinking more water.
  •  Cut back on alcohol.
  •  Upped my intake of fruit and veggies.
  •  Started going to bed early (well for me anyway!)

Slowly I started to see a difference.

THE MIRACLE:

Then I heard about the concept of double cleansing. It basically involves using an oil-based pre-cleanser before applying your usual cleanser and then toning and moisturising as usual. I wasn’t sure how effective it would be with regards to my skin problems but decided that I had nothing to lose by giving it a go – and seeing all the amazing products that are available  made the decision even easier! The aim of the pre-cleanser is to get rid of ‘nasties’  that your normal cleanser alone may not be able to handle on its own such as excess sebum, sunscreen, waterproof makeup, environmental pollutants and residual product build-up.

GETTING STARTED:

I eventually settled on a pre-cleansing oil and wipe-off cream cleanser by Una Brennan which is available from Boots. I chose the hydrating rose variety as I felt that my skin would benefit from it the most. It’s not organic but it does contain many wonderful skin-friendly goodies such as shea butter, rose oil provitamin B5 and marshmallow.  And although I know it makes sense to use products from the same range, I had already bought some argan oil day and night creams which I had felt would be beneficial to my skin so I didn’t bother buying a new moisturiser. I really liked the description on the pre-cleansing oil that stated that we should leave the oil on our faces for a while before wiping it off just to enjoy the aroma and this was my inspiration to turning my night-time cleansing ritual into a real pampering treatment.

 

THE DOUBLE CLEANSING METHOD:

  1. Warm 2-3 drops of Una Brennan’s Miracle Makeover Facial Oil  in the palms of your hands.
  2. Slowly massage oil onto your face and  in slow circular movements.
  3. Leave for a few minutes.
  4. Then dampen a flannel in warm water before carefully wiping off oil.
  5. This is followed by using the Calming Creamy Cleanser, applied with fingertips in slow circular movements.
  6. Remove using a flannel dampened in warm water.
  7. Pat face dry.
  8. Tone skin using pure rosewater.
  9. Apply vitamin E oil.
  10. Apply argan oil day/night cream.
  11. Apply eye cream.

It may seem like a lot of steps but it really is quick, simple and effective. If it works for someone like me who is always pushed for time, it’ll work for anyone!

 

THE RESULTS:

In one word – amazing! My skin feels so soft and smooth and looks clearer, radiant and healthy. The dry, tight sensation has gone and I’m now having to hunt the fine lines I saw! It itches a lot less and my skin feels less rough and bumpy. I’m getting fewer spots and I feel that the double-cleansing treatment is really effective as I feel that my moisturizers are being absorbed into my skin much more. I have been using this method for only three weeks and can already see the difference which surprised me because I thought I would have to wait a lot longer to see results. The state of my skin used to depress me but now I feel confident going make-up free.

 

Obviously everyone’s skin is different and responds differently to different products. The secret is in knowing your skin and understanding what works best. I believe that the combination of rose, vitamin E and argan oils are working wonders for my skin but others may find that different products work effectively for them. I also believe – for me at least – that it’s necessary to change products every so often as I’ve found that it is possible for your skin to become immune to products that were once very effective.

 

Right now I am loving my skin. Great skin is an excellent base for make-up and if you haven’t got that then no amount of make-up is going to improve the appearance or condition of your skin. And double-cleansing has also meant that I’m getting the most out of my moisturizers as it absorbs a lot faster and leaves my skin feeling moisturized for longer. It seems that lots of people have cottoned on to the concept of double-cleansing long before I did (always was the last to find out!) but now that I have discovered it, I will be putting it to good use.

 

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