About Me

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Acne Post

I've been battling acne since I was 15. And while it comes and goes in hormonal waves and is not half as bad as it was in high school, it's still the bane of my existence. I have tried literally hundreds of acne products. In high school I mainly used Clean & Clear and then Proactiv, followed by a more aggressive approach recommended by a dermatologist that involved some kind of oral medication I can't remember  combined with 2 creams I can't remember. More than one dermatologist has prescribed Ziana gel for me. I've switched birth control pills more than once. And then I've tried the natural approach with tea tree oil and also dabbing on a spot of toothpaste. And nothing, NOTHING has been effective over the long run. 

It's a minor health problem, but it has majorly effected my self esteem over the years. In high school it was mainly why I didn't talk to boys. Post-high school I can think of several occasions on which I've rearranged my schedule because I was having a bad skin day. I even had a pimple on my wedding day, and acne is something I never thought I would have to be dealing with at this time of my life, at 26. The bottom line is that it sucks. There is no "cure." And for many people, it doesn't stop when you leave your teens. 

There are products that can help, and the point of this post is to tell you about two of them: Boscia Willow Bark Breakout Treatment and Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment. I've been using the Boscia treatment for about a year now and it's gentle, unscented, and goes on clear (pretty much the opposite of the Kate Somerville product). It's effectiveness varies, but with smaller pimples it has made a noticeable difference overnight. For bigger pimples I reach for the EradiKate. This stuff is potent. It's Pepto Bismol pink, with a sticker on the top telling you "DO NOT SHAKE," and it smells very strongly of sulfur, its primary blemish-fighting ingredient. Be forewarned that this stuff is a man-repellant, so be choosy with which nights you apply it. The pink sediment will separate from the clear oil in the bottle, and you're supposed to stick a cotton swab directly into it all the way to the sediment at the bottom. I usually do this but add in a swirl with the q-tip, to make sure you get the sediment and not just the clear stuff, which does nada. You want to make sure the pimple is completely covered in pink after you apply it. It usually stings a tiny bit when you first put it on, but that quickly fades.

I would estimate that my success rate with EradiKate is 90%. It almost always reduces pimple size. It's more effective on the over-the-skin pimples like whiteheads than the more frustrating under-the-skin pimples. But, I'll take it. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Night Hair Woes

I'm very curious how long it takes most women (or well-coiffed men with long hair) to use up an entire bottle of conditioner. I have only used up a bottle of conditioner to the very last drop once in my life, and it took almost two years. It never made sense to me why they sell conditioner in the same size bottles as shampoo, since you use less than half the amount of conditioner than shampoo every time you wash your hair (at least I do?). The only plausible reason I can fathom is, as likely is the case, the greed of cosmetics companies. Because of convincing marketing campaigns, most women think that shampoo and conditioner have to go together, and you can't use one without the other (I say most women because my husband says he has never used conditioner and stubbornly refuses to try mine).  Shampoo companies tout, "Use together for best results" in the marketing copy on the back of shampoo & conditioner bottles (I read every single word on any beauty product I buy, in case that was ever unclear). Why spend $22.99 on some Bumble & Bumble shampoo when you can drop another $20 for the "best" experience? After all, if you just buy one, your hair will undoubtedly be inferior. 

Which brings me to my latest hair conditioner purchase: Aveda Be Curly. A new hair stylist suggested this to me after a recent hair trim, saying something about it being a "protein" moisturizing conditioner, and since my hair seemed a little dry she thought it would help. (She wasn't at all pushing products and actually only suggested this after I asked, which as a side note is a very refreshing experience at a spa or salon and I wrote her a glowing online review later.) I've been using the conditioner for about two weeks every time I shampoo (which is usually every other day) and it does seem to make my hair softer and less "dry" feeling. I had been using Lush's American Cream, which was the weakest excuse for a conditioner I've ever tried, but on the plus side it smelled nice. Be Curly also smells nice, in a clean, mild grass-like kind of way.

I also don't have just one, but TWO bottles of shampoo in my shower currently. And that's not all -- I have two more bottles waiting patiently in line in my bathroom closet just waiting for their chance in the spotlight. (Do you see now why I started this blog?) In my shower is Lush's Cynthia Sylvia Stout Shampoo and L'Occitane's Aromachologie Soothing Shampoo. I am underwhelmed by both, but determined to not be wasteful and use them up. The Lush shampoo I think might be partially responsible for my dryness (but it is cool that it's made with beer), and the L'Occitane one doesn't lather AT ALL, which is frustrating, since I feel like I always miss spots. A couple of times after drying my hair, I've noticed that the underside of my hair, closest to my scalp towards the back, is greasy, like it was never shampooed. Has anyone else had this problem? The only method I've found to ensure it doesn't happen is to flip my head over and put some shampoo directly on the back of my scalp, lather it and then rinse it thoroughly. I suppose this would only be a problem for people with long hair, but it drives me crazy. Sigh. First world problems. 

I've clearly been ranting about shampoo for long enough. If you've made it this far and could let me know if I'm not the only person who has a beef with conditioner and misses spots when they shampoo their hair, my sanity will thank you.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


It's been an insanely busy week. A huge part of my job over the past 3 months has been planning for a big conference that just took place on May 1 & 2.  I also had two smaller events on the days before and after. Everything went smoothly over all but working 12 hour days really took its toll on me. I didn't eat right, didn't get enough sleep, and didn't work out. I did yoga for the first time since last weekend this morning and I was shocked at how stiff my limbs left. Poses that were usually easy were surprisingly challenging. It reminded me of the importance of having a daily yoga practice, even if it's just 10 minutes, something to get your muscles working. I'm going to try harder to do that, even on days when it seems like there's no time for anything other than vegging on the couch and eating some takeout.

But on to one of my favorite natural brands: Weleda. Like another one of my favorite natural brands, Dr. Hauschka, Weleda is a German brand, and their products are made with ingredients that are sustainably farmed. While still on the pricey side, they're more affordable than Dr. Hauschka, and with very similar ingredients. I'm currently using their Almond Facial Cream, Iris Hydrating Night Cream, and Wild Rose Smoothing Eye Cream, and I love them all. I have a bad track record with having allergic reactions to almost all of the eye creams I've tried, and this one is lovely. The night cream is super hydrating on my parched skin, and I alternate between Almond Facial Cream and Almond Facial Lotion during the day, using the cream when my skin is feeling drier, and then top it off with an SPF not from Weleda (they don't make any sun protection products). 

Weleda is also well known for Skin Food, an all-purpose rich moisturizer, which I have not yet tried. They also have an extensive line of natural baby products, which I have also not yet tried but I'm sure I will at some point in the future! As I was cruising around their website earlier I also noticed they have a "Medicines" section with both OTC and prescription medicines. I'm certainly intrigued.