My Curly Hair Routine

This post will be my current hair care routine and how I go about styling it. A little background on my hair, I have naturally curly 3B hair with low porosity. If that sounds like a lot a mumbo jumbo, you can check out this website for more information where you figure out how to classify your curly hair type, its porosity, and what products will work best in your hair for control. I’m a fan of letting my hair be natural, even if that means being a little frizzy. I don’t use any heat on my hair, not even a hair dryer, and I haven’t used a straightener on my hair in years. My hair is pretty healthy and it seems to get healthier each month. First of all, I do not follow the curly girl method. I want to put that out there as a disclaimer, because I know a lot of curlies looking for hair care routines are looking for CG methods. Sorry about it! I’ve tried the CG method in the past, but it just doesn’t do well with my hair. I went back to using products that just work on my hair and I don’t have any problems with build-up of silicones or shampoo drying out my hair hair. That brings me to my first step, cleansing. I co-wash often like most curlies, and I use the cult classic Suave Coconut Conditioner every time I get in the shower to condition. Then twice a week I’ve been using theCantu Shea Butter For Natural Hair Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo, 13.5 fl oz“> Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo*, holy crap long name. Despite the name of this product, there are mild sulfates in this product, but I don’t think it’s as drying as other shampoos can be. I really love the smell and the consistency of this product and it works great to clean my scalp, which is what I need out of a shampoo, not necessarily to clean my hair. I run often during the week so I pretty much need to shampoo more than once a week. Next, I’ve been conditioning with the Suave Shea Butter and Almond conditioner*, which was in my April Empties. This conditioner isn’t ground breaking, but I did add this to my holy grail list because it performs wonderfully. Moisturizes, controls frizz, and detangles. I got a few bottles when they were on sale for $3 at CVS back in March and it should last me through to July. To detangle I just use a wide tooth comb while my hair has conditioner in it and then rinse. I wrap my hair up in a Turbie Twist while I dry off, moisturize, and prep my skin then I quickly comb through to get the last few tangles out. If I need I use a leave-in conditioner to help detangle, and right now I’m using the L’Oreal EverCreme Nourishing Leave-In Spray, which is OK but I really prefer the Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner. It’s a little pricey, but I love the consistency, scent, and it’s a little less heavy in my hair. To style I’ve been experimenting with new products and techniques, including plopping. Thanks to Reddit, I started plopping my hair with one of Jake’s tees I had in my apartment and I think I’m loving it. At first, I was leaving my hair in the tee for too long, but now I do it for about 20 to 25 minutes while I’m doing my makeup, then let my hair dry by air. As for products, my holy grail leave-in cream that I’ve been using for at least two years is the L’Oreal EverSleek Humidity Defying Leave-In Cream*, which I believe is being discontinued but I saw them at Target recently. I run this throughout my hair and it just smooths my hair down a bit. Some curlies may not like this if volume is your thing, but I prefer my hair to be pretty sleek so this is perfect. Then I’ve been using the Argan Magic Defining Curl Cream* and the Aussie Instant Freeze. I really like the Argan Magic, but I can already tell that the Aussie is going to be a holy grail for summer. It locks my hair in place and resists the humidity. It holds up pretty good for second day curls, but not so much as resisting humidity the second day. After plopping and letting my hair dry, I just wear it down. Sometime I pin my “bangs” back, but I’ve been loving it without pinning it, and a lot of people have been complimenting it. I hope this helps someone out there and you found some new products to try out. I definitely suggest trying out the Aussie Instant Freeze if you’re a curly looking for a new hold product.

April Favorites

I’m trying to get into monthly favorites posts. Mine will include a bit of everything, beauty, fitness, lifestyle, foods, and whatever I’m loving. Let’s get into it!

Beauty

Argan Magic Defining Curl Cream
I have been lurking on Reddit a lot the past month, and one day in the Curly Hair thread I found a post talking about this product and immediately ran out to purchase it. Unfortunately, I think this product has been discontinued as I found mine at Marshalls and TJ Maxx at 50% off the original retail price. It can found on Amazon, but at a inflated price. I’m not sure I would pay the inflated price, but at retail price and especially the $9.99 I purchased my three bottles at, I would recommend it to those with curly hair. It currently on Hautelook* this week, along with some other Argan Magic products. I have 3B curly hair, that needs a lot of moisture and high hold to control frizz. I stocked up on this stuff and will be using it until I’m out (like I said, three eight-ounce bottles with pumps!) then I will likely go back to my Curly Sexy Hair Curling Cream that I’ve been devoted to for the past two years.

Essie Madison Ave-hue
I got this polish during a present exchange at work two Christmases, but unfortunately it was limited edition. I finally used it on my toe nails at the beginning of April when the weather started warming up, and loved it! I repainted my toe nails with the color and painted my nails with it. I’m really enjoying it, which is surprising for a pink! I usually shy away from pinks on my nails, particularly my finger nails, but this color has a hue of mauve, as the name would suggest. There’s also the tiniest bit of shimmer in this color, which I don’t mind. I used to strictly be a cream finish nail polish girl, but the shimmer looks nice in the sunlight and is hardly noticeable the rest of the time. It’s just enough. Edit: My nails ends up chipping so fast, not even two days in. Just a fair warning about Essie nail polish.

Maybelline Bad to the Bronze
This is an oldie, but a goodie. I’ve owned this cream eye shadow for a while, but mine was so dried it that it just didn’t perform the way it was supposed to. So I repurchased it and I’ve been using as my eye shadow base or alone every day since repurchasing it.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer – Custard and Ginger
I didn’t want to like this concealer. I didn’t want to like it so much that it took me a year to admit that I like it. It gives great coverage for my acne scars, any discoloration on my skin, and works under my eyes. I recently purchased the color ginger, medium 2, to mix with custard, medium 1, because last summer I wasn’t able wear the custard shade because it way too light after I got a little sun. I think the custard matches me more-so than ginger, but I’ll work with both to get the perfect shade! Next, I’d love to try the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer!

OGX Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Intense Moisturizing Treatment
Holy moly, this is my new holy grail deep conditioner! For a long time my holy grail was the Macademia Deep Repair Masque, which is a pretty penny as it’s a salon brand. I had tried the OGX Hydrating Macademia Oil Intense Moisturizing Treatment assuming that it woud be a dupe for the Macademia deep conditioner, but I wasn’t impressed. I had heard good things about the Renewing Morccan Argan Oil treatment, but put off trying because I enjoyed the L’Oreal EverCreme enough to repurchase it on Amazon. This stuff though, is way better than the L’Oreal deep conditioner, even better than the Macademia deep conditioner. It leaves my hair so moisturized, soft, and manageable. I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes when I use a deep conditioner my hair doesn’t work well with my styling products, but this product is the exception to the rule. I will keep repurchasing this product for the foreseeable future and I highly suggest trying it out if you have drier or curly hair. If you have hair on the thin side, this product may be a bit too much, but you’ll never now until you try. I’m planning on trying the regular conditioner from this line and I have high hopes for it.

Contouring
Side note: not Kim K contouring. Light handed, soft contouring with powder bronzer. I forced myself to take the time to contour and bronze the past few weeks, and it’s finally something I appreciate in my makeup routine. I don’t have a favorite bronzer or brush I can recommend at the moment, but I’ll keep working on my technique throughout the summer.

Lifestyle

Declutter Videos
Jessica Murphy has a good playlist of her declutter videos and I know there’s other gurus that have been doing it for a while, but I feel like it took off in 2015 as lot of peoples’ New Year’s resolutions. I’m moving in a few months and I need to downsize so decluttering my makeup and beauty collection is proving a challenge. I threw away a lot of nail polish right away as I came to the conclusion that I use the same five colors in rotation year round, despite what season it is. I also tossed a ton of lip gloss and lip sticks away as a lot were, frankly, expired or never used. I decided I’m never buying lip gloss again as I literally never use it; I hate it.

Fitness and Food

I started my spring fitness routine back in the first week of March, which was high reps/low weight during gym time and an extremely clean eating diet. I don’t mind the weight lifting part so much, it’s the eating clean that’s hard. I wasn’t doing very well with my clean eating, ended up going out for dinner and drinks with coworkers and friends plus date night with Jake at a few restaurants, and a few weeks ago I decided to put an end to that. No more random dinners out for pizza and no more drinks just because. Jake and I did get sushi for date night this week, but I don’t consider that to be so unhealthy as most other restaurants. It’s been two since I re-evaluated my clean eating and I have to say I’m very proud of myself and the results so far are impressive. I’ve lost a pound, which is a lot for my size and frame, but I would like to point out that it’s not really my goal to lose weight, but trim some fat off.

My breakfast has been a protein shake every morning, with almond milk and half a banana. I eat the other half of the banana for a snack after a few hours at work. Lunch has been salads, with many vegetables and fruits, or a prepared dish that consists of broccoli, mashed sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Dinner has been more random, sometimes salads with a side of soup, frozen “chicken” nuggets with a side of vegetables, or cottage cheese with vegetables and fruit. Of course, I slip up and have some peanut butter or pretzels. The real secret to all of this is water. Water. And more water. I drink so much of it, not in an unhealthy amount, but I’m very conscious of being sure I am getting enough to feel full when I may otherwise want to snack. Anyways, I’m loving the healthy eating kick that I’m on and really hope I can stick to it for another month or so for summer.

*Post contains affiliate/referral links

January Fitness Update

January is a popular time of year for people to get back into their fitness goals as well as for people to make New Year’s Resolutions to get involved with fitness or lose weight.  January is also the time when I re-evaluate my fitness goals and start preparing for the spring cutting season.  I know spring seams far away, but by the time it arrives the hope is that I have built up enough muscle to be able to cut and still maintain my strength levels.

A few weeks before Christmas, Jake and I started a new lifting routine which includes a basic three-day split.  I decided to invest in a pair of lifting straps at the advice of a coworker to improve my grip strength and overall improve my dead lifts.  For the past two years, I’ve used gloves for lifting but it’s not my hands that need the help anymore as I’ve built up some pretty good calluses.  Ladies, do not be afraid of getting calluses from weight lifting.  Mine aren’t even noticeable to the eye and most days no one is holding my hands to feel them.  In addition to our three-day split, my goal is run or do some form of cardio twice a week.  I don’t put a lot of emphasis on cardio during fall or winter, but moving into spring I like to keep it consistent.  I’ve never been one for doing ab exercises (I hate them), but this year I’d like to make it one of my goals.  Jake and I will probably add ab exercises onto leg day because generally that is our fastest moving day.  This weekend I’d like to find a basic everyday ab exercise that I can do in the mornings or evenings on a yoga mat, nothing intense likes those ad challenges I see rolling around on Pinterest.  Remember abs are made in the kitchen, not at the gym.

During the fall and winter months, I spoil myself with Pumpkin Spice Lattes, pumpkin cookies, holiday parties, and all weight lifting at the gym.  Right now at the turn of the year, I have decided to start tracking what I eat and count my calorie intake.  I have used the app My Fitness Pal in the past and I really enjoy it.  Not only does it allow my to track my calories, but I can also see the breakdown of the nutrition in the food.  The app can keep track of your exercises and how many calories you burn which are then negated from your daily caloric intake.  The one downside to the app is that it doesn’t know how many calories are burned during strength exercises.  One of my best tips to eating healthy is to meal plan.  I like to prepare my lunch and dinners every week, cooking on Sunday’s and packing everything in containers for busy weekdays.  I just ordered a weekly whiteboard so that I can better organize meals for myself and for when Jake comes over.  I love lists and organizing my thoughts and I have been wanting a whiteboard for over a year now.

I’d like to do these fitness updates every three to four months, during the change of the seasons and fitness routines.  Moving into spring, my diet will become more strict with less carbs and high amounts of vegetables and protein.  The most important part of my fitness routine is making sure I’m keeping hydrated: drink all the water.  Start with a glass right after to step out of bed and add an additional glass or two if you exercise that day.

My New Favorite Tank

I have a new favorite gym shirt, well tank top. I was out doing some Christmas shopping and catching up with a good friend when I stopped into Old Navy.  Old Navy isn’t my favorite store, the clothing doesn’t fit me the best.  But I was trying to kill time waiting for my friend and there was a 60% off sign in the window.  I’m not usually one for buying active wear that is cute or trendy because that’s not what going to the gym or being active should be about.  I get it though, having cute clothes to wear even to the gym is a part of the fun.  I went right to the active wear section of Old Navy hoping I would find an active top I could bring to Iceland in two weeks, the kind that wicks moisture away, but I didn’t want to pay a lot because I’ll likely never wear it to work out in.  I was distracted by a super cute tank top with the words “Drop, squat, & hustle.”  I love this tank top.  It’s the best.

Drop, squat & hustle

Squats are my favorite exercise, even more, leg day is my favorite day at the gym.  I’m really good at squats and my legs are where most of my strength lies.  Most of the time people moan and groan about leg day, but not me.  I’m very proud to say that my current personal record for squats is 155 pounds, 40 pounds more than what I weigh.  I just found out that a co-worker of mine also lifts and her personal record is 260 pounds! I’m completely jealous of her and it’s all the more motivation I need to work towards my personal record going even higher in 2015.

This tank top is great and all, but there is one little problem with it: I can’t wear it to do squats in. Once you get past squatting a barbell, 45 pounds, performing squats in anything less than a shirt is uncomfortable.  I’m getting to the point now where I have to put a towel on the bar otherwise it presses too hard into my skin.  My gym does have barbell pads, but they are so thick I fear the bar would slip right off my back.  Moving forward, I may invest my own barbell pad thinner than the ones at my gym as Jake and I keep adding more weight on to our lifts.  I also may invest in grips or straps for my dead lifts, especially straight leg dead lifts, as my grip strength has yet to improve even after two years.  Any suggestions on helping my lifts or accessories that I could use to improve my lifts are welcome!

My Favorite Foundations

Over the years, I’ve tried multiple foundations, all from the drugstore.  I’ve finally figured out the best way to apply them and also how to color match myself correctly.  For many years I was color matching myself at a much lighter shade than I really am.  So here we go.  I have two foundations to share with you.

Revlon ColorStay Whipped Cream Foundation Medium Beige 250
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone.  I feel like this foundation has almost all good reviews.  The only exceptions I could see to liking it would be if you aren’t a fan of the feeling of this foundation on your skin.  I don’t mind it though after it is set with a powder.  I got this in summer, which prompted me to start wearing sunscreen under the foundation as it does not contain SPF.  I don’t mind this though because it works perfectly for photographs.  This was my foundation of choice for a wedding I attended and with no SPF, there was no reflection from the flash or lights.  The finish of this is semi-matte and the coverage is medium and buildable if you want more.  I think I do need to go up another shade in this foundation, especially in the summer when I’m more tan.  If you love foundation and you are looking for a good coverage, I suggest this one.

L’Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation Natural Buff N3
I am very surprised with this foundation.  I did not think I was going to like it because I heard it was very similar to the Neutrogena Healthy Skin foundation, and honestly that makes my skin very oily throughout the day.  I have combo skin I’d say, and in the winter it tends to get a bit more dry.  This L’Oreal foundation has been really nice in keeping my skin looking healthy and awake.  I do think that the color is a little warm for a neutral color.  My skin does swing a bit on the warm side, but I think it will look better in summer when I have more of a tan.  For reference, I do wear W4 in the True Match powder, so the color I picked out is not too dark for me.

A close runner up to these picks is the original Revlon Colorstay Foundation.  The reason it’s not in the picks is because of the SPF with the coverage, which is the same as the whipped, and the finish.  It’s closer to a matte finish and honestly it makes me look a little unhealthy.  As I said, I have the Neutrogena Healthy Skin along with Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse and Dream Matte Mousse, the Rimmel London Lasting Finish Foundation, L’Oreal Magic Smooth Souffle and the original L’Oreal True Match and none of those have worked well for me.