Socks and Deodorant

Funny title, right? Not really. I take these things seriously! I’ve been looking for the perfect, most effective natural deodorant for over twenty years! I’ve ruined so many tops and t-shirts on my search for a great deodorant. In any case, I believe that I’ve found it. I happened upon it through a friend of a friend. I just so happened to mention something about deodorants about three years ago, and this friend of a friend said “I have this deodorant sample that my sister left behind…she used the other one, but you can have this one.”

I believe it was Primal Pit Paste’s Orange Creamsicle jar I’m not super crazy about putting citrus scents on my body, but this was nice and sweet, so I tried it. I think that I placed a full order the same week.

Let me say that deodorant is not an antiperspirant, so I do sweat. But when I do, it doesn’t smell bad — even on the hottest days, and things get pretty hot in Chicago and Chicagoish (Note: as long as I cover my armpits with the right amount, and allow the deodorant to set before I put anything over my armpits).

I was never really comfortable using drugstore antiperspirant because of all of the chemicals, and it would leave crystals/stains in the armpit area of my shirts. You can’t get that stuff out!

I use the regular formula of the PPP, and I purchase the jars (I tried a stick, but I didn’t like it–you may like it; they have sensitive, regular, and strong). My favorite scents are Royal and Rogue, Patchouli, and Coconut Lime (I do randomly still use the Orange Creamsicle, and tried the Thyme and Lemongrass, which was HORRIBLE –it didn’t work with my body chemistry).

If you don’t already, I suggest using a wash cloth to wash your armpits between use. Don’t just swipe a bar of soap over the area because the deodorant leaves buildup, and will cause a rash and irritation (I did experience this and almost stopped using it until I figured out what I wasn’t doing). This deodorant contains coconut oil (antibacterial) and shea butter (no, they don’t stain your clothes), and baking soda and arrowroot powder to reduce sweating (it’s the baking soda that can cause irritation, so you want a clean armpit upon each application).

Moving on, about three years ago I was looking for a Christmas gift for my teen niece, and saw an ad for Rhianna socks (Fenty). They were selling them at this online shop called Stance . I went to the site seeking socks for my niece, and ended up buying a few pairs for myself (Aaaah, Christmas, ha!). I love, love, love their socks especially their Classic Crew and Ankle socks.

Stance not only makes their crew with appealing designs, but they are so luscious and comfortable! You could have a shoe with no support, but put a Stance crew sock on, and it will feel like you are walking on a foam bed. They are best for the fall and winter months (even though I have snuck these in on a 50-70 degree day). My second love, are the ankle socks. I was really hesitant about the ankle sock thing, but I purchased some, and I love them. They are perfect with straight leg pants or jeans. My last favs are the Tomboy Light socks. These are like a a hosiery sock, but thicker. I have a couple of pairs of these, and I just ordered another…I am just obsessed now, and my sock game is tight, ha!

 

 

 

 

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Shampoo Update: “Boing!”

Okay, so in January I tried two different shampoos, Not Your Mother’s Naturals Tahitian Gardenia Flower & Mango Butter Curl Defining shampoo and Ouidad’s  Climate Control Defrizzing shampoo

As you can see, I didn’t add a link to the NYMN shampoo because, meh, it was almost too mild. I would almost categorize it as a baby shampoo. I think it could still be for curly hair, but not coarse curly hair. Also, I wasn’t really pleased with how my scalp dried out. Conclusion: Mild, fruity scent, still suffered from scalp irritation.

Now, the Ouidad shampoo is a different story. Initially, I thought “meh, this one is not that great either,” but I decided to rotate it with the Aveda Rosemary Mint shampoo. First, it passed the scalp test with very little scalp irritation. Second, it did not strip my hair. Let me say that my hair feels clean after use, but not stripped. It does have a really frothy lather, which initially freaked me out (the scent is very mild and clean). Also, this is one of those products that one has to use several times before coming to any conclusions. I’ve noticed after using this for over six weeks that I’ve gotten consistent results–no super dry hair or scalp, minimal tangles, and my crown is not as dry as it usually is by wash day (I only had to refresh one section). That is, I think this shampoo has progressive results.

I’ve also changed my leave-in. I mentioned that I was rotating in the Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter. Well, I decided to use this as a leave-in and rotate out Curl Junkie’s Smoothing Lotion, which has been what I consider a HG product. I was really hesitant about taking this out of the rotation, but I see the results are completely different and in a good way.

I have gotten more “pop, boing!” and longevity with my curls than with other regimens I’ve used over the past 8 years. And I’ve significantly reduced scalp irritation and itch. I’m

gonna keep doing it until, and if something changes.climatecontrol_defrizzing_shampoo_8.5

 

 

 

Shampoo Update 2017

Happy New Year All! I was settling, but not completely satisfied with the Aveda Rosemary Mint shampoo. I am still going to use it because it is the most non-irritating shampoo I’ve used. Well, that is, until yesterday.

So I decided to do a little bit more digging on the surfactants/detergents in shampoo. This is ongoing research for me, but I decided to venture back in to see if there was more detailed information. And there was. I found it on Curly Nikki’s website. I didn’t go directly to her site, but used Google, and a link to this article popped up. I was searching for shampoo for sensitive scalp, but this one on shampoo for dry natural hair was on the return results list. I won’t go into detail because all of the information is contained within the article, but I can say that this helped me select a different shampoo.

nosulfates

I have found that after being a serious product junkie that my scalp had become super sensitive. I’ve had severe dry scalp, sore spots on my scalp, and some hair loss — from cheap sulfates!! When I use anything with SLS/SLES or Sodium C12-14 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, I have an instant reaction. As soon as my hair dries, my scalp is dry and within a day or two my scalp is itchy, and then a few more days out, my scalp is itchy and has sore spots. When I attempted to do no-poo (with Wen and many other cleansing conditioners) the same thing happened.

I decided to go back to Aveda brand shampoo. I first purchased their Scalp Benefits formula, but that made my scalp dry and itchy (see the ingredients list). And then I moved on to the Rosemary Mint. This shampoo significantly reduced my symptoms, and it’s actually supposed to be a clarifying shampoo. I thought that using it once a week would dry my hair out, but it doesn’t. And as I mentioned in a previous post, my scalp seems to prefer watered down sulfates. I still get the itchies with Rosemary Mint, but it’s nothing like the severe reaction I get with the other shampoos. That is, on a scale of 1 to 10, Rosemary Mint is about a 2-3 by wash day. But I think that this is only part of the story.

After reading the article on Curly Nikki’s site, I ran out and purchased Not Your Mother’s  Naturals Tahitian Gardenia Flower & Mango Butter Curl Defining Shampoo . I really don’t like fruity body care products, but I decided to give this a shot. I purchased this because of the mild cleansers. Mild doesn’t mean that this won’t get your hair clean. It means that it is less likely to irritate your scalp. I would usually wait until I’ve used a product for four washes before I post, but after my first wash, I could tell that this was going to work. I have not experienced any burning or itching so far. I will definitely be able to confirm by Saturday.

I purchased a Ouidad brand shampoo with C14-16 cleanser — I knew that I should not have because the Organix brand uses this cleanser, and it always dried my hair out, and irritated my scalp. But because Ouidad is supposed to be great for curly heads, I decided to risk it. Well, it didn’t work, ha! So, I exchanged it for the Ouidad Climate Control Defrizzing shampoo . I was simply going to return the Ultra Nourishing formula, but I noticed that the Climate Control formula contains some of the milder surfactants. So I will try that one next, and let you know how it goes.

I’m not that thrilled about how my curls turned out with the Not Your Mother’s, but if my scalp is inflamed and not healthy, it’s not going to matter too much anyway, so I’m sticking with it! All of this is connected to my slow hair growth! Ugh!

I may simply rotate these with the Rosemary Mint. But I first have to try the Ouidad!

Did this post help you? It’s taken me about five years to figure all of this out, and I am surprised that I’m not bald. Let me know.

 

Finals Week ‘n stuff

*Skipping a discussion about the 2016 Presidential election because…yeah…it’ll just stress me out.*

So, it’s finals week at the University, and things are slowing down in the library. I am really satisfied with what I am doing right now, though, I feel that tug of “There’s more that I want to do, let’s do it now,” which has caused great instability in my life. I’ve had to accept that I can’t sit still. I have a wanderlust when it comes to work, and fortunately this position has a lot of tasks to hold my attention. I now need to settle down and write — easier said than done.

I’m currently reading The Racial Contract by Charles Mills, a Caribbean scholar. It was suggested by a French political scholar on Twitter (I have a Twitter problem). It’s really driving home the point that racism is integral to the functioning of politics in the Americas (global white supremacy is more accurate). Racism is fundamental. And he uses philosophy (on which Western governments are based) to deliver his argument. It’s very good so far.

It’s now winter in the central Midwest (Chicago–the most important city in the Midwest, ha!). I crocheted a hat over Thanksgiving break. It’s beautiful and made with a wool/silk blend so that it won’t grab my kinks and curls. I am so happy with it that I am going to make another in a different color.

In any case, with winter comes the winter hair regimen. I don’t really do too much differently from season to season. I probably should, but my hair has medium/high porosity, so the most important thing is locking moisture into my hair. I’ve had to ditch the Lush Fairly Traded Honey shampoo. It was eating away at my hair. I mean…ugh, Lush! So I’m back with Aveda Rosemary Mint shampoo. I’m also experimenting with Kinky Curly’s Stellar Strands. It’s okay…smells really weird, but I do notice a difference in softness when I rinse it out. So I will use it up, and give a full review then.

So here’s what I learned in the past week about this shampoo. The reason why it’s not as drying/stripping as the other Aveda shampoos, is because it contains a watered down sulfate (interesting because it’s supposed to be a clarifying). My scalp likes sulfates. I’ve tried mostly coconut based shampoos — who am I kidding — most shampoos have coconut cleansers, but my scalp hates full on coconut cleanser shampoos (I’m looking at Shea Moisture.) My scalp goes into five-alarm itch mode. Also, there are so many different names for coconut cleansers that it’s impossible to find a shampoo without one unless you go straight clay. My hair loves clay, but my scalp does not. Simply, my scalp likes to be cleansed with a sulfate shampoo. But sulfates dry my hair and scalp out!

So, here I am with Aveda Rosemary Mint again because it just works. I still have to put a little bit of Jojoba oil on my scalp, but it just works.

Talk soon!

‘Luke Cage’ second season on its way from Netflix — Mashable

I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix lately. This is one of the shows that I love! I got my mom and sister hooked on it too. Netflix is winning at the moment.

Christmas just got a little sweeter. Netflix revealed Sunday via Twitter that Marvel’s Luke Cage is definitely coming back for a second season…we just don’t know when. SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about Netflix downloads The 13-episode first season of Luke Cage follows the bulletproof hero of the Harlem streets as he learns…

via ‘Luke Cage’ second season on its way from Netflix — Mashable

Hair Products 2016

I’m not sure when I wrote the last post, but ‘hello there.’ I thought I would post more after finishing my graduate program. But, alas, one has to build a career. In any case, it seems appropriate to warm-up with a post about  hair. It’s very easy, and, yes, 7 years later I am still obsessed with my hair.

So I’ve found out a few things about my hair and scalp. Yes, that’s right, I was using the anti-dandruff shampoo by Shea Moisture. Well, now I’ve concluded that I simply cannot use Shea Moisture products. I don’t find them moisturizing, and the shampoos ultimately make my scalp itch. Which leads me to  a video I found about three weeks ago. Hair vlogger, Naptural85 posted a YouTube video about her sensitivity to coconut oil. Not just her sensitivity, but why she stopped using coconut oil. Upon hearing her symptoms, I thought about what I had been experiencing with my scalp –itchiness, sore spots, and dryness/flakiness. I decided to eliminate coconut oil and as many coconut derivatives as possible.

You would not believe how many products use coconut oil or coconut cleansers. And the many names of coconut cleansers. I’ve been using shea butter, avocado oil, and sweet almond oil as sealants and refreshers for a while, so it wasn’t a big deal to eliminate coconut from the line-up. It was simply finding products that didn’t include coconut oil.

Along with the elimination of coconut oil, I’ve also started to reverse wash. I love the results. I think this is particularly helpful if you have fine, natural hair, and you have scalp issues. The two things that I’ve noticed is that 1) My hair has more volume and body. That is, it’s fuller and it has more movement, and 2) It has, along with the elimination of coconut oil, significantly reduced the scalp itch and irritation. I think the reverse wash gets rid of any conditioner product that may get left behind– reduces build-up.

Now, I’m not completely sold on my current shampoo because it seems a bit drying, but it doesn’t have any coconut cleansers. And I add a light coating of Jojoba oil to a clean scalp, and this combats any dryness that may occur (I use a Q-tip to apply the oil to my scalp).

So without further ado here is my current product list:

Reverse Wash:

  • Inexpensive conditioner (I just found out last week that Aussie Moist has added sodium chloride to the current formula, so I am now searching for a new conditioner. I thought Tresemme would be good, but their conditioners have potassium chloride, which is just as bad as sodium chloride–they are cheap thickeners and just don’t feel good on the hair. I felt that the sodium chloride reduced slip. I may go back to Herbal Essences Totally Twisted)
  • Obia Naturals Babassu Deep Conditioner (So good!)
  • Fairly Traded Honey by Lush (really sudsy and drying, so I don’t use a lot. Also, I’m super critical of Lush. The products smell great, but most of their products are not ph balanced–their bar soaps and regular shower gels make my skin crack and break out in these weird thingys. I don’t know what one would call it, but when I stop using their stuff, my skin clears up. Also, they still use parabens and haven’t come up with a satisfactory reply to why they still use them, “there are parabens in your food…” just doesn’t cut it for me.
  • Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion (Leave-in, Holy Grail product!)

Leave-in/Stylers (I use the LOC method):

  • Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter (Liquid:  In addition to the Curl Junkie Smoothing lotion, I use this as a leave-in for wash ‘n go styles. I have yet to use it for a twist out, but it is as good as people say. I was hesitant to try it for my own reasons. Also, I had been using Jessicurl Deep Treatment, which is still good, but the Camille Rose is a nice change)
  • Qhemet Biologics Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm (Oil: Holy Grail! I love this stuff, and it took me a while to figure out how to use it. I actually gave my first batch away because I couldn’t figure it out. I learned how to use it from a curly who used to be really active on naturally curly’s curl talk forum. You have to emulsify this with water. So I squeeze a small dollop into the palm of my hand, add a few drops of cool water, and then mix it into a cream. I add this in sections
  • My DIY shea butter mix: (Cream) shea butter, avocado oil, and sweet almond oil. Mix with hand blender or if it’s a small batch, you can try to blend it with a spoon.
  • Spritz my hair with water (bottle from Sally Beauty Supply)
  • Apply Kinky Curly Curling Custard (Holy Grail! I’ve been using this since I found it, and I think that was 6 or 7 years ago. It freaks me out because I should probably try something else, but this gives me consistently great wash ‘n gos, and hold for days! I can’t quit it)

Yes, this seems like a lot, but my routine has actually gotten simpler over time. I want it to be even more simple! I wish that I could find one moisturizing leave-in, but my hair is porous, so no go. And the Shea Moisture High Porosity Masque seemed ‘Ok’ at first, but I started to notice that my hair was tangling more.

Has anyone had scalp issues? Problems you’ve noticed with certain product lines? I hope to post soon!

 

 

 

David Bowie: “Let’s Dance”

(No images, video or music with this post because I don’t know about copyright on his work, also you should be able to find plenty online if you are interested.)

The first David Bowie experience I remember was the release of “Let’s Dance.” This R&B tinged, bass-thumping, infectious pop single from the album of the same name, was on heavy rotation in the room that I shared with my older sister.

I’m not saying that I had never heard Bowie before this, but like many older musicians when one is young, there is a time when an artist or musician invades ones reality, and this was it. The entire album was part of the soundtrack of my 1980s life! “Modern Love,” and “China Girl”…Mmmm, so good!

Flash forward to 1990, and I was in my first year of college—a college I soon left because I couldn’t afford it. Through a series of odd events I ended up spending the night at this redheaded, freckle-faced androgynous, passionate kid’s apartment between Lake View and Buena Park. When we woke up, he wanted to play some David Bowie for me. And I thought “Great!” Thinking of my close attachment to the “Let’s Dance” album. But this Bowie, this Bowie I didn’t know. I had never met this guy—this person? He looked like an alien and called himself, his band Ziggy Stardust. Of course there was “Life on Mars,” which I heard often while growing up (it was released in 1971, the year I was born.) And I still love this song. There are many other singles from that time, but none resonated with me as much as much as the entire “Let’s Dance” album. I think this has to do with coming of age. Coming into reality. Coming into dreams. Everyone has that part of life.

The following years were, and continue to be, filled with classic Bowie singles: “Heroes,” “Under Pressure,” and “Fame.”

In December of 2014, I had the pleasure and the luck of seeing the “David Bowie Is” exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago. I took my 11 year-old niece who I am certain did not appreciate it as much as I did, ha! But I got to share a glimpse into a master artist’s life’s work with her. We walked through the decades to a Bowie soundtrack; packed full of costumes, doodles, albums, and other precious artifacts (a giant Kimono.)

One area: a dead end into a small studio recording room with black, soundproof insulation on the walls. We were then drawn into a mini movie theater where Bowie’s film roles flashed on the screen. We hung out in this room, as there was so much to process that it was nice to take a brief time out before walking into the 21st century.

There was a giant room with concert footage projected onto the walls, which were constructed of see through screens; when one projection ended you could see through the screens to Bowie’s performance costumes on Bowie-quins.

There was so much more. But here we are.

 

Hair update and 2016

Happy New Year! Okay, so it’s very strange to have my first post of 2016 be about hair, but there’s too much stuff going on (or not enough? stuff going on) in my professional life to post. And I don’t want to devolve into complaining. So let’s talk about what I am excited about, and that’s hair.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been struggling with scalp issues (dry, itchy scalp) for about two years. Before this, I never had scalp problems. I think being a product junkie triggered an imbalance (I particularly noticed a problem after using a bentonite clay based hair wash.) It’s taken me two years to find a shampoo that doesn’t dry out my hair, and at the same time doesn’t leave my scalp dry and itchy (this could also be due to product being left on my scalp.)

I want to note here that this scalp problem has caused slow growth, and some hair loss and thinning.

Initially, I used Aveda Scalp Benefits, which worked enough. That is, it reduced the itchiness, but didn’t get rid of the small flakes I had due to dryness. After this, I tried Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap shampoo formula. It’s for people with dandruff and various forms of scalp dermatitis. Yes, it got to a point where I thought I had a form of dermatitis. This formula worked for a few washes, but then stopped working, and actually made the itch and dryness worse.

I had some Aveda Rosemary Mint lying around (an Aveda consultant/stylist recommended that I use it once a month while using the Scalp Benefits), and I decided to use it, as the first time I used it, it didn’t dry my hair out and I don’t remember being super itchy a few days out from wash day. Welp! I’ve decided that I am going to use this formula as my regular shampoo.

I haven’t had any flakes, and my scalp is better than it’s been in the past two years.

Now onto new products! Shea Moisture has just released a line of low porosity and high porosity hair lines. I’ve linked resources that define these two types of porosity, but they are not that great. So do your own research.

Working with my hair, I do not use or purchase products according to my curl pattern, which is 4a. I work with porosity, ph, and hair strand density. In other words, I have fine hair strands that are highly porous. The key to maintaining hair growth is to use products and processes that reduce tangling and dryness, which cause breakage. I pre-treat with coconut oil and conditioner. This allows me to do a small amount of dry detangling before I wash. My HG conditioner is Aussie Moist.  I use it to pre-treat and then detangle after washing.

Okay, all of that to get back to the new Shea Moisture lines. I have highly porous hair, and selected the High Porosity Moisture-Seal masque. I found both High and Low porosity lines at Target. I first saw the High Porosity line at a Target in Pennsylvania (I think it was the Cheltenham/Wyncote location). I didn’t purchase because it was the holiday, and I was low on funds. Anyway, after I left Pennsylvania, I was kicking myself because I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to find it once I got back home. But, as you can see below, I found it at my local Target!

This line has a shampoo, co-wash, styler, and a deep conditioning masque. I decided to try the masque only because Shea Moisture products haven’t worked for me. I don’t co-wash anymore because I think this is one of the things that set off my scalp problem. I will not try the shampoo, but might try the styler, though, I do have an HG styler.

I had low expectations for this product. I’ve tried three different Shea Moisture masques: Coconut Hibiscus, Raw Shea Butter, and the African Black Soap Plantain. They did absolutely nothing for my hair. I didn’t feel like they moisturized or protected in any way.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I sank my fingers into the High Porosity Moisture-Seal Masque. Amazing! Seriously. It is rich, creamy and moist. I think it is because the first few ingredients are moisturizing alcohols. It supposedly contains Mongongo and Hemp seed oils…I don’t trust Shea Moisture, but it very well could contain micro amounts of these oils. It also contains apple cider vinegar (ACV), which, with its low ph (around 3) helps close the hair cuticle (locks in the moisture); though, I don’t know how ACV reacts when combined with other ingredients.

I’ve heard other curlies describe a conditioner that melted their tangles, but I had never experienced it until now. Upon first use, I used way too much because a lot of it stayed on my hands (this is how rich it is, and not rich in that thick way, but in a creamy way.) The scent is like a cheap, men’s cologne, but not offensive.

This contains mild proteins, which is good for fine natural hair. I can’t use heavy proteins because they dry my hair out.

I have nothing left to say about this except that I will continue to use it unless it does something weird to my hair.

4/5 curls from me! I gave it 4/5 because the price ($12.99) was higher than what I’ve paid for other Shea Moisture masques.

Check out the High/Low Shea Moisture lines at your local Target. I think they may be slowly rolling these out, so if you don’t see it there, check back! The Low Porosity line comes with a bright orange label and is protein-free.

BTW, it looks like they are introducing Detox and Refresh, and Frizz Defense lines, too. I’m not messing with those tho, :).

IMAG0907

Shea Moisture High Porosity Moisture Masque 2016

The unbearable whiteness of librarianship

Some good reading for you while I am away. It’s a year old, but a year in librarianship? What’s that?

Feral Librarian

Yep, I’m still harping on that theme of the stark lack of diversity in librarianship. For a profession that claims Diversity as a core value and declares that “We value our nation’s diversity and strive to reflect that diversity by providing a full spectrum of resources and services to the communities we serve” to be so lacking in diversity is embarrassing.

How far from reflecting our nation’s diversity are we in terms of credentialed librarians? Using the ALA Diversity Counts data and comparing it to US Census data for 2013, and US Census projections for 2060, it is clear to me that we are nowhere close.

There are a few different ways to illustrate the disparities between the racial make-up of credentialed librarians and the current and future US population.

For the visual crowd, a simple bar chart comparing percentage of librarians by race (2010, based on ALA Diversity Counts…

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