Friday, January 19, 2018

How I Took My Hair From Brittle & Breaking to Long & Strong: Part II

In Part I of this post I discussed how for years I struggled with hair loss that eventually progressed into hair loss combined with brittle and broken hair.  I then explained that I became committed to healing my hair and in about nine months I was able to take my hair from falling out and breaking to quickly growing and the healthiest it has ever been.  In that post I detailed each step I took to rehab my hair and explained how I got it to grow and get to the point I'm at now (you can read that post here).  Now that I've shared all of that information, today I will be sharing with you how I now take care of my hair to keep it healthy and continuing to grow.  Below I'm breaking it all down for you!

I don't like using sulfates in my shampoos for numerous reasons, they can irritate skin (which they do to mine), completely strip your hair of its natural oils, dry out your hair, and more.  Sulfate free options are better for the overall health and condition of your hair and skin as they are much more gentle at cleansing.  As I mentioned in my last post I make an effort to really "baby" my hair and be as gentle on it as possible to keep it at its healthiest and sulfate free shampoos really help me to do that.  A few of my favorite sulfate free shampoos are this, this, this, this, and this.

In addition to using a sulfate free shampoo another way to gently wash your hair is to only shampoo your roots.  When you shampoo only your roots you are cleansing the source of the oil (your scalp) and leaving alone the drier part of your hair, the ends.  Your ends will still get cleaned too when you rinse the shampoo from your roots and it washes out down through your ends, they are just cleaned in a way that is much easier on them and less drying.

After shampooing your hair you absolutely need to replenish the moisture you just removed by using conditioner.  You need to find a quality conditioner that fits your hair's needs - fine, thick, curly, straight, etc., as this will supply your hair with the correct nutrients to keep it healthy and looking its best.  Some of my favorite conditioners are this, this, and this.

When you condition your hair you want to only apply conditioner to the bottom two-thirds of your hair, avoiding the roots.  After you apply the conditioner then use a wide tooth comb to brush through your hair and evenly distribute the conditioner.  By doing this you're ensuring that the ends of your hair are being evenly conditioned and nourished.  You absolutely have to use a wide tooth comb or Wet Brush when doing this though because as I explained last week, when your hair is wet it is in its most fragile state and very prone to breakage and if you use a regular brush on it it will definitely cause damage to your hair.

Whether you color your hair or not it's important to take care of your hair color so that it looks its best, especially when you're blonde.  I don't dye my hair, but when I started this journey I also started using purple shampoo once every one or two weeks and I could not believe how much better my hair looked.  I didn't realize that the water in my shower had been making my hair look very brassy and I love how much brighter it looks after washing with the purple shampoo.  I really love the dpHue Cool Blonde Shampoo 
(c/o) and dpHue Cool Blonde Conditioner (c/o), and they make shampoos and glosses for other colors too.

Try switching out your shampoo and conditioner for an apple cider vinegar rinse.  An apple cider vinegar rinse is a very, very gentle way to wash and condition your hair and it also saves time!  I am completely obsessed with dpHue Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse (c/o) because it cleanses and conditions my hair in one step; it also calms down any scalp irritation I might be having and leaves my hair incredibly soft.

Using deep conditioner, hair masks, and oil treatments is so important to the overall health of your hair.  I aim to use one of these at least once a week.  These go beyond your normal conditioner to deeply nourish and hydrate your hair.  They also help to prevent further damage, strengthen your hair, soften it, and improve its overall appearance.  Deep conditioners I love include this, this, and this.  I'm also a huge fan of natural oils, like coconut oil, jojoba oil, and DIY treatments, like this and this.

Both alcohol and silicone are bad for and cause damage to your hair and should therefore be used only in moderation.  Alcohol is very drying, which can lead to breakage, so I try to limit or not use products that contain it.  Silicones make your hair look healthier, but in actuality are damaging it.  Silicone creates a buildup on hair strands that isn't broken down by shampoo, and conditioner cannot penetrate this buildup.  Conditioner instead sits on the surface of you hair, which makes hair brittle and can cause frizz and breakage.  I avoid all products with silicones on my hair and have seen a major improvement since I began doing this.  You can learn more about silicone in hair products here.

Since a big part of rehabbing my hair was using less heat on it I needed to learn to style my hair while air drying it.  There are so many great air drying products on the market now and you can get them anywhere from Sephora to the drugstore.  I use this product to smooth and nourish my hair, this one to help my hair grow and also smooth it, and this to add waves and texture to my hair.

Another big part of rehabbing my hair was washing my hair less and in order to do that I needed to be able to extend my hairstyle.  To extend my style I use a combination of baby powder and this dry shampoo.  To learn more about how I use them read the post I did on it here.

This is how I take care of and continue to rehab my hair!  You can find Part I of this post here.


Today I'm linking up with Friday FavoritesFriday Favorites, and Fab Favorites.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Capes for Winter

Cape: BP.  |  Boots: Sole Society (similar here)  |  Handbag: Louis Vuitton

I have had a serious obsession with capes for the last few winters now.  I think they're so chic and I love how they keep you warm too.  They're also great because they can be worn alone on a warm winter day or layered under a coat when it's super cold out.  I know you can't see it, but here I have this cape over a simple long sleeve black dress so that the cape and boots could be the stand out pieces of this outfit.  I got this cape last year at Nordstrom and they don't have it anymore, but below I've linked a bunch of different capes that I'm loving.  There are so many cute options that you can wear all through winter to keep you stylish and cozy!

Do you love capes for winter too?



Thursday, January 11, 2018

How I Took My Hair From Brittle & Breaking to Long & Strong: Part I

For years I struggled with hair loss that eventually progressed into hair loss combined with brittle and broken hair.  I have never dyed my hair or had any chemical treatments done to it and I thought that I was taking good care of my hair so I could not understand why it was falling out and increasingly getting worse.  My hairdresser also noticed its declining condition and could not understand what was happening to it because my hair had changed so much.  In retrospect we now know that my hair issues stemmed from several health problems, medications, vitamin deficiency, stress, and over heat styling.

I knew that in order to heal my hair and get it in better condition I needed to make some changes and figure some things out.  The go to treatment for brittle and falling out hair is biotin, however, I have Crohn's disease and everytime I tried biotin it would flare up my Crohn's making it a nonviable option for me.  Once I finally accepted that (I tried it and subsequently made myself sick way too many times before I got to that point) I slowly started making other changes, I sort of figured out more things that would help as I went along, and in about nine months I was able to take my hair from falling out and breaking to quickly growing and the healthiest it has ever been.

The most important thing to understand about this process is that there really is no quick fix to rehab your hair and get it to grow longer.  This will take time, but  don't let that deter you because in my opinion it is very worth the time.  It also takes a combination of things to get your hair healthy and growing quickly.  Prior to doing all of this my hair was actually falling out in large clumps when I touched it and constantly breaking.  Now my hair is so strong and has gotten crazy thick; it's also growing quickly and my Mom, my hairdresser, and I cannot get over how much better it is doing!

I was going to write everything I've been doing to get to this point all in one post, but honestly there is just too much information so I decided to break it into two parts.  Today I'm sharing the steps I took to rehab my hair and get it to grow and then next week I will be sharing how I take care of my hair to keep it healthy and continuing to grow.  Below I'm breaking down what worked for me in a hope that it can help someone else who's struggling with their hair like I was!

So I am (very obviously) not a doctor and I want to pretense this by saying that you need to speak with your doctor before adding any vitamins to your life.  With that said during my bi-yearly blood work my gastroenterologist found that I was severely Vitamin B12 deficient.  She explained to me that for the amount of Vitamin B12 I needed it would not absorb well when taken orally and gave me the option to take it via daily prescription nose spray or monthly prescription injections.  Well I hate nose spray and don't mind shots so the monthly injections it was.  These have helped with my hair growth so, so much and I think when I started taking these is when my hair health journey really took a turn for the better.  I would highly recommend asking your doctor if you can take an oral Vitamin B12 or finding out from him or her if you need a higher dose and can get a prescription for Vitamin B12.

So I know this is the most frustrating advice to get when you're trying to grow your hair because it seems like an oxymoron.  However, this really is one of the best things you can do for your hair.  Since I had a lot of breakage this has been so important for me both for the health of my hair and for growing it.  The only way to treat split ends and breakage is to cut it off so that it does not go further up the hair shaft and cause more problems and because of this regular trims are a necessity.  I now religiously get my haircut (just a trim!) every 8-10 weeks to get off all of the dead ends and prevent breakage and I think this has been so important in my hair journey.

So prior to this journey to rehab my hair if you had ever told me that I would go without blow drying and flat ironing or curling my hair I would've thought you were absolutely crazy.  Well that right there was a big problem.  I tried to use heat as little as possible, but was still using it way more then my hair could handle.  I embarked on a mission to learn how to air dry my hair so that I thought it looked presentable because I was convinced it could not be done.  Thankfully I was very wrong!  It took some trial and error, but I finally found a way to air dry it where I like the way it turns out.  Now I let my hair air dry the majority of the time and only use heat styling products for "special occasions."  In my next post I'll share the products I use to air dry my hair, but if you take away one thing from this post please let it be that you need to step away from the heat stylers!

Whenever you do use heat stylers you absolutely must use a heat protectant before!  A heat protectant will minimize the damage done to your hair when you're using a blow dryer, flat iron, etc., which will in turn help with your hair's health.  I use this heat protectant spray both before I blow dry my hair and then again before using a flat iron or curling iron.

I am a big believer that you should not wash your hair everyday.  I think that washing it everyday strips your hair of its natural oils and causes damage.  I wash my hair one to three times a week so that it gets a break on the days in between washes.  In next week's post I'm going to share the products I use to extend my style on days I don't wash my hair, but in the meantime check out this post for an idea of how you can do it.

About halfway through my hair journey I was sent this hair growth spray from I Heart Mimi (c/o).  I think that using this was a huge turning point in going from focusing on rehabbing my hair to focusing on really growing it longer.  Grow It Girl is a 100% natural product that promotes fast and healthy hair growth.  On their website they explain, "It balances the PH levels of the scalp and eliminates dandruff, flakes, and itchiness. It works by replacing dead cells with yummy nutrients to encourage cell renewal and feeds each follicle those nutrients needed to stimulate new growth."  After washing my hair I make little parts along my scalp, spritz this at the roots of my damp hair and then massage it in.  I've seen great growth since I started using this and I also love the way it smells and how it adds shine to my hair!

In an effort to treat my hair as gently as possible I switched from using a normal terry cloth towel to this microfiber towel turban.  Microfiber helps your hair to dry a lot faster and is much more gentle on your hair then a regular towel.  This step is especially important if your hair is damaged as microfiber will essentially "baby" your hair and cause less breakage.  Additionally, it will help to reduce both frizz and drying time (which is helpful whether you'll be blow drying your hair or not!).

This is both the most recent thing I've learned and the one that saves me the most time.  After I shower I put my hair up in the towel turban and leave it on while I put on my facial products and body lotion, I then gently brush my hair and apply products, after this I take paper towel and blot my hair with it.  I start at the ends of my hair and go upwards blotting with the paper towel; I typically break my hair into four sections to do this.  By doing this I get out a ton of extra moisture that even the microfiber towel couldn't get (my hair holds a lot of water anytime I get it wet).  In turn this lets my hair dry faster, which like I mentioned above is helpful whether you're blow drying (less time drying equals less damage) or air drying your hair (less time with wet hair is always a win).

When your hair is wet it is in its most fragile state and very prone to breakage.  Therefore, when your hair is wet it's important to never use a regular brush as it will definitely cause damage to your hair.  With its special bristles a Wet Brush easily detangles your hair without pulling, tugging, or causing damage.  To take the ultimate care of your hair and be as gentle on your strands as possible a Wet Brush is a must have!

This was something my Mom taught me as a child that always confused me at the time, but I'm so thankful that I learned.  When your hair is wet it is important to brush your hair starting at the ends and working your way up to your roots to avoid damaging it.  If you start brushing the ends of you hair you can work out any knots or tangles more easily or gently and further avoid causing damage to your hair.

Typical hair ties (especially ones with metal fastenings) can damage your hair follicle and cause breakage (check out this post from Marie Claire to see all the ways pulling up your hair can cause issues).  In an effort to be more gentle on my hair I switched to Invisibobble to put my hair up.  Invisibobble's unique telephone cord shape places uneven pressure around a ponytail, allowing hair to be held strongly in place without causing kinks and the smooth surface and spiral shape help to prevent split ends.  Now anytime I put my hair up I don't have to worry about causing damage to my hair and as a bonus I never get a headache from wearing my hair up!

Check back next week for the second part of this post!  I will be divulging all the information and products that I use to keep my hair healthy and growing.  Also let me know below if you have any questions or if there's anything specific you want me to put in Part II!

Today I'm linking up with Friday FavoritesFriday Favorites, and Fab Favorites.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Beauty Behind The Blog: Who Else But Kels

Today I'm back with my another installment of Beauty Behind the Blog with an interview of Kelsie from Who Else But Kels!
Name: Kelsie
Age: 22

Who taught you about beauty?
As a very young child I would say my mom. However, as I got into high school and started experimenting with makeup I turned to YouTube gurus like Elle and Blair Fowler!

What is your favorite thing about beauty?
That you can express yourself and enhance your natural beauty in any way you choose! I also find my skincare routine to be such a ritual. My day doesn’t begin until I’ve washed my face and done my makeup and I cannot think about getting into bed without washing it off at night.

Do you have a favorite beauty blogger or vlogger?
My favorite vloggers are Amelia Liana and Lydia Millen. Neither of them are true beauty vloggers, but they do talk about makeup often so I guess I would say them!

Do you have a best kept beauty secret?
Hmmmm I’m not sure if I have any…I guess the fact that I have veneers and wear hair extensions often are two secrets!

Do you create any DIY beauty products?

What is your favorite natural beauty product?
My charcoal soap! I also try to buy from brands that don’t test on animals like IT COSMETICS.

What is your skin type?
Normal to oily.

What is your basic skincare routine?
In the morning, I wash my face with Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Wash and finish with Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner and a day cream.  At night, I wash my face twice using charcoal bar soap (like this). Then I use Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner, DifferinElemis Resurfacing Night Cream, and It Cosmetics Confidence In An Eye Cream.

What is your biggest skin issue?
Recently, acne has been an issue. However, usually it’s uneven skin pigmentation and oil.

What are your must have skincare product?
All of the ones listed I in my routine!

What is your favorite skincare splurge?
A good toner and a moisturizer.

What is the first thing you do when you get a breakout?
I’ll wash my face like normal and then use GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment as a spot treatment overnight.

What is your everyday makeup look?
In my opinion, my look is pretty natural. I use a peachy blush, and lightly contour my cheekbones. Usually I won’t wear eyeshadow for the day and sometimes leave eyeliner off too.

What is your go to makeup look when you go out?
For going out, I keep the same face makeup, but add eyeshadow and eyeliner if I wasn’t already wearing it. I really don’t play around too much with my makeup. I travel around so much that my collection is limited to my travel bag!

What is your favorite makeup splurge?
YSL lipsticks!

What is your best makeup trick?
I’m not sure if I have any! I mean I can do my makeup well, but I don’t do anything fancy!

What is your hair type?
Very thin.

What is your basic hair care routine?
I shower in the morning and then let it start to dry while doing my makeup. I’ll finish drying it with a blow dryer and a brush, which takes all of two minutes. Then, I’ll run a straightener over the ends or if I want it curled I’ll use a curling wand. I also wear a hair piece that clips on top of my natural hair to help with thinness so I pop that on and I’m good to go!

What is your biggest hair issue?
How thin it is!

What are your must have hair products?
My hair piece and my clip in extensions! 

What is your favorite hair care splurge? 
Does my time at the salon count? Getting hair colored is so expensive!

How do you style your hair everyday? 
Usually just down and straight and sometimes loose curls.

How do you style your hair when you're going out?
Same as for the day. Since my hair is thin and I wear the hair piece I’m a bit limited in styles I can do!

What is your best hair trick?
The hair piece for sure! Nobody ever has a clue and it makes me have twice the amount of hair!!

What is your basic body care routine?
I’m sooo bad with this. I try to use a body scrub in the shower twice a week, but I never remember to put lotion on unless my legs are showing! I also think sunscreen is super important in the summer so I always wear that.

What are your must have body products?
I have Elemis Body Oil, which I love, but always forget to put it on. However, I would definitely recommend it! Also Neutrogena Sunscreen!

What is your favorite body product splurge?
Elemis Body Oil

What is your basic approach to nutrition and dieting?
I’ve dealt with disordered eating in the past so, now I try not to diet or restrict myself from any foods. Rather, I eat what sounds good and am mindful to make healthy choices most of the time and not overindulge.

What is your current workout routine?
Since, I’m traveling, I don’t have a routine. However, I used to love lifting five days a week with cardio on three of the days. I try to walk my dog for an hour a day when it’s nice and I love yoga classes. Oh, Zumba is also super fun and I enjoy hiking while I travel! 

A huge thank you to Kelsie for sharing a look into her beauty routine!  Do you use any of the same products?  Let me know below! 

Today I'm linking up with Your Whims WednesdayOh Hey Girl!, and Trendy Wednesday.  

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Golden Globes 2018 Gowns

Who else loved all the fashion at Sunday night's Golden Globe Awards?!  I especially loved how (almost) everyone wore black to stand in solidarity with the incredible Time's Up movement.  It was really awesome to see so much of Hollywood come together for such an important cause and I thought using fashion was a great way to do this.  It was also amazing to see how many unique ways there are to wear black and there were so many gorgeous looks!   Below I've put together all of my favorite looks from the red carpet for The Blush Blonde Golden Globes Best Dressed List.

Jessica Biel in Dior  |  Penélope Cruz in Ralph & Russo  |  Diane Kruger in Prada

Heidi Klum in Ashi Studio  |  Kendall Jenner in Giambattista Valli  |  Jamie Chung in Ermanno Scervino

Samara Weaving in Laura Basci Couture  |  Renée Bargh in Rachel Gilbert  |  Giuliana Rancic in Sherri Hill

Greta Gerwig in Oscar de la Renta  |  Zoë Kravitz in Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello  |  Jessica Chastain in Armani Privé

Kerry Washington in Prabal Gurung  |  Susan Kelechi Watson in Monsoori  |  Yvonne Strahovski in Kaufman Franco

Margot Robbie in Gucci  |  Alexis Bledel in Oscar de la Renta  |  Katherine Langford in Prada

Nicole Kidman in Givenchy Haute Couture  |  Emma Stone in Louis Vuitton  |  Frankie Shaw in J.Mendel

Lena Headey in Elie Saab  |  Issa Rae in Prabal Gurung  |  Dove Cameron in Monique Lhuillier

Tracee Ellis Ross in Marc Jacobs  |  Millie Bobby Brown in Calvin Klein by Appointment  |  Eva Longoria in Genny

Reese Witherspoon in Zac Posen  |  Mandy Moore in Rosie Assoulin  |  Viola Davis in Brandon Maxwell

Which look was your favorite at the 2018 Golden Globes?


Today I'm linking up with Style Sessionsand Confident Twosday.