Your Weekly Deep-Clean For Your Pores -- 4 Steps Clean Out.

Today I'd like to share with you a four-step treatment that I have been doing since some years to keep my pores small and clear.
The pores around my nose and my forehead get clogged with sebaceous filaments aka sebum (which are mainly fat and dead skin cells). While sebaceous filaments are perfectly normal, over time they can widen the pores, giving you that strawberry look. Cleaning out your pores will not shrink them, but it will keep them from getting bigger.

This method has four steps and is best done when you have some time for yourself, as you have to take some time between the steps. I like to do this on weekends or quiet weekday evenings.

What You Need To Cleanse Your Pores

You need:
* An AHA or an enzyme product to exfoliate. If you are doing this in the winter, and committing to using sunscreen you can pick a product with alpha hydroxic acids. I use one I made myself. An enzyme product can be used all year, also on dry and sensitive skin. I like Orientana's papaya and ginseng scrub, or ___________
* A 2% BHA product to dissolve the sebum. I use Vianek's normalising cleansing gel. You can use Stridex strips, the Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, Logona Aktiv Pickel-Stopp Bio, or diy a BHA toner.
* A clay mask to draw out the gunk from the pores. The Queen Julep mask is very popular for this, I use Kaolin clay.
* Oil to dissolve the remaining sebum. I use either sunflower, jojoba or grapeseed or my own mixes, but you can use any face oil that works for you.

How To Clean Out Your Pores In Four Steps

This is the basic enzyme/aha-bha-clay-oil method that I use. You can modify it to suit your skin. If your skin is dry and sensitive, work only on the areas with clogged pores. And try skipping the AHA.

0. Start with clean, product-free skin. Remove any dead skin cells on the surface with a cotton or microfibre face cloth, a soft brush, a konjac sponge or gauze or a silicone scrubby.

1. Apply the AHA or enzyme product and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. This will act as a mechanical peel and loosen dead skin cells from the surface.

2. Apply the BHA product on the areas with clogged pores. Leave on for 15-20 minutes. The BHA will penetrate the sebum in the pores and loosen it.

3. Apply the clay mask, keep it on for 10-15 minutes. Spritz it with water and don't allow it to dry out. This will draw the gunk out of the pores to the surface. Clean off the clay with a cloth.

4. Apply oil on your face and gently massage with your fingers for 2-5 minutes. At this point some people start feeling "grits", which is sebum and dead skin cells. Wash off the oil. You can do this with a washcloth dipped in warm water, or with micellar water or another cleanser.
Enjoy your clear skin! You can continue with your regular routine now. I like to just use a hydrolate, and light moisturiser if my skin feels dry.
I like to repeat this weekly, 

Photo credit: VenusianGlow

I Didn't Shave My Legs This Summer, Here Is What Happened (Nothing)

Hello everyone

So it all started with me re-thinking my body hair this quarantine. Well, honestly it kind of started with my now-tween, and her worries about her (pretty much invisible) leg hair that led me to ask myself questions about beauty, body-acceptance and the role of society in our beauty standards

Also, I realised that in quarantine I couldn't be bothered to shave my legs. I had so much going on, and when I looked down at my shins and asked myself if the hair really bothered me that much, the answer was "nah". So I decided to roll with that for a while and see what happens. 

Why I Am Testing Single Hair Products And Tracking Them In A Spreadsheet

Hello everyone,

I hope quarantine has not been treating you too badly. Here in Germany shops and schools have reopened, though with a lot of restrictions. I'm still working less hours as I normally do, and decided to use this to go back to the basics of caring for my hair. I want to understand how specific products and ingredients work with my hair. I normally use several products and techniques and often don't know why the work (or not). I also see a lot of magic combos online -- detailed routines and product lists that I then try to copy.

Now it's back to the basics -- I'll wash my hair any do just one thing. Only aloe vera gel. Or only a protein mask. Or only a vinegar rinse. I document the results in an excel table: I record volume, curl, definition, shine and softness. I also note how my hair looks on the second and third and fourth day. I also test and record techniques. For example air drying vs air drying most of the way with a hair dryer at the end vs using the hair dryer first and then letting my hair air dry.

The results have been very illuminating. I know now that anything with protein will give my hair a lot of curl, that aloe vera gives me hold and a nice texture and I can use tons of it without overdoing it. And yes, most of the products I tested are simple kitchen-shelf type of things because they just work so well for me. I have written a lot about these here.

I really recommend trying out a hair diary, whether a detailed excel sheet or a quick jot of what you did and the effect. Don't forget to include the weather, especially if it's raining, as that can influence frizz levels!


Photo credit: VenusianGlow

DIY Rice Water Protein Hair Rinse For Smoothness And Curl Definition

Rice water is one of my very best hair care tips. The proteins my waves more pronounced. It keeps my hair fresh, because the starch absorbs oil. The rice rinse also calms frizz and makes my hair smoother to the touch, and much easier to detangle. It minimises breakage through rubbing because the hair cuticles get smoother, so it's perfect for high-porosity hair.

How to make the rice water hair rinse

Here are a couple of methods that bring slightly different effects. I suggest playing around!

I Tried A Sea Sponge Natural Tampon -- My Experience And Review

Hello everyone, I recently go the chance to try sea sponge tampons from Tom&Pat and I was really curious. I am all for natural, low-waste periods, and while I am a big fan of my period cup I realised that they may not work for everyone. The sea-sponge is a natural alternative to a tampons, there are low-waste since on can last around 6 months. They are a renewable resource, and have been used in ancient times -- and here I was, thinking that tampons are a modern invention. They are also a good alternative if you want to avoid the pesticides, bleach and halogenic organic compounds that are often found in conventional (non-organic) tampons and pads.

The sponges that I got are roughly the size of a plum, which makes them suitable for anyone with  medium flow. They got me through 8 hours of bleeding (I removed them after that time as I would a tampon, to avoid TSS). Tom&Pat offer them in three sizes, depending on how your flow is.

So, did they work? Yes! I didn't leak at all, and the sponge contained everything. And it was super super comfortable.

What Everyone With Greying Hair Should Know About Sunlight -- Aka How I Fried My Hair Last Summer

This was taken in June -- the beginning of summer -- but you can already see the dryness and coarseness in spite of loving conditioning.

Hey everyone, now that summer is coming I have to write about this. I made a huge mistake last summer which really damaged my hair, and I hope that this post can help some of you from repeating my mistake.

To preface this -- I have quite a bit of grey hair. I started greying when I was in my early twenties, a few whites here and there. Now there are many more, though not yet enough for a proper salt-and-pepper look (I tried, and it did not look good). If you have any greys you might know that they don't just have a different colour, they have a whole different texture. You might have noticed your first grey because they grew straight up like an antenna (I did). They are coarser and stubborn. And they are very susceptible to UV damage.

I did not know this.

Weekend reads 10-20-2020

Hello everyone, hope that quarantine is treating you right! Here are a couple of lovely links to sweeten your weekend:
  • This stork nest webcam is so adorable. My favourite part is when the dad(?) returns to the nest at dusk and they kind of greet each other and chat before settling down to sleep.
  • I  am doing the Science Of Well-Being online course from the Yale University and can really, really recommend it. It goes beyond the basics and delves into really interesting research (did you know that our minds are really bad at predicting what will and won't make us happy?) and is very pragmatic.
  • Älois Guinut asks thought-provoking questions about fashion and consumerism post-Covid. We all hoped that the quarantine would save the environment, but it looks like production and consumption is going to soar as soon as quarantine is over.
  • Kim's Convenience is a series that I have been binge-watching. It's about a Korean family that owns a small convenience store in Toronto. It has a comforting humour and deftly plays with east-asian stereotypes without falling pray to them. My favourite part are the weird repeat customers in the stores and the very dorky Shannon.
  • The Hemingway Editor is not only an amazing spelling and grammar checker, it will streamline your writing style and help you keep your sentences readable.
  • Chilled Cow is fully of low-fi beats for the best background music. This track is my current favourite.
  • And now I give you the best fashion and makeup channel on youtube: Aly Art. I recommend starting with her body type videos. Dipping into this system of understanding face and body types has really done wonders for me in terms of understanding why certain looks don't work for me even thought they should because I'm a "pear" or whatever. Aly throws in tiny pearls of wisdom in her videos that have been game-changers for me -- for example I followed her suggestions for my body type (SN) and did my eyeliner soft and chunky and then lightly smudged my lipstick in the corners, and bam! I can't believe what a huge difference this made.
  • @brownhistory is the most interesting account of instagram. It documents unseen and forgotten moments in the history of brown communities, with both heartbreaking and heartwarming and sometimes quite humorous stories and pictures.
  • @mazale has the most swoonworthy home ever.


A Quick Way To Get Rid Of Cherry Angiomas (Red Moles) At Home

Hello everyone

Here is a tip I have been sitting on for a long time, no idea why I didn't share it yet! It's my favourite kind: quick, easy and so effective.
Cherry angiomas are small, red mole-like skin growths that often appear on the chest area and sometimes on the face. Often they turn up when you turn 30. They are harmless and usually pretty unnoticeable. I had a couple and they didn't bother me, but when I heard about this way to get rid of them I got curious had to try it out.

Here is how to do it: you get a needle or a pin (pins are better because the plastic head doesn't get hot any you can hold it). You heat up the pin on a candle flame and then lightly touch the cherry angioma with the tip. The cherry angioma just pops! 

This method of removing cherry angiomas doesn't leave scars and the cherry angiomas haven't come back (it's been a few years).

So there you go! If your cherry angiomas are something you're not so fond off, give this a try! If you want to keep them, that's find too. Just one thing -- don't try this on spider veins, regular moles or anything else, it won't work, and you might get a scar.

How I Currently Deal With Anxiety -- My Tips For You

Hello everyone

I'm back after a long time. I had been very busy with a vocational training and life in general. Now because of the quarantine, I found myself with extra time on my hands -- so here I am, with a new post.

When the quarantine started I found that my anxiety skyrocketed. And I'm definitely not the only one, I realised that a lot of people around me were dealing with similar issues. Everyone is going though a hard time with all the uncertainty around the Covid virus, but people with pre-existing mental health issues can have an extra hard time.
So I wanted to share a little bit how I take care of my mental health right now. and I hope it is useful for you.

Reader Question: My Bra Strap Pinching The Brachial Nerve On My Shoulder!

A while back Irene, a reader from Ottawa with severe scoliosis wrote in with this problem:

For the post few years I have relied primarily on extenders -- an elastic piece with hooks and receptors which is attached to the bra back.  But the same problem of the straps being moved so far over that they fall off.   I remedied this by attaching a thin elastic between the straps to keep them loosely taut.  However, I find that one strap presses on my brachial nerve, causing pain in the shoulder and arm area. This also happens with racer back and cross-backed bras.
 I can only wear the bra on “out” days.  Otherwise I go braless and wear seasonal vests for cover.
I have also tried sticky bras, but at my age, 74, droop makes this unattractive.  Strapless bras work for short periods, but the underwires do dig in.
I had a lumpectomy 18 years ago and use a variety of padding, depending on what bra I’m wearing .
Would be great if someone invented a “better mousetrap” for this problem.

Weekend Reads November 2019

From my other blog

 * @mazale_ has the most beautiful home ever.

* Seven ways of accessorising vor visibility.

* Hitting those high notes. Wait, what?

* Can exercising make your skin look younger or even reverse ageing?

* The Ashen Cat

* What is really behind the trend of modest clothing. A multi-layered and fascinating read.

* Small space hosting hacks, from people who actually live in small spaces.

* A Top Derm On What Every Woman Should Know About The Beauty Industry. A very interesting episode, even if I don't agree with all of her opinions.

* TrippinThroughTime. I love this one.

Turkish reporter talking to a mushroom instead of microphone


Greasy Hair Even After Washing? Might Be Seborrheic Dermatitis

Since a while I have been struggling with waxy, sticky buildup on my hair, which appeared hours after shampooing. Usually a small patch at the back of my head, and sometimes the entire back of my head. I blamed my Henna, I blamed my styling products, till I found out that this waxy buildup on my hair was in fact a form of seborrheic dermatitis.

This blog post explained that a waxy, greasy scalp can be a symptom of seborrheic dermatitis. I very much agree with her that certain foods can trigger outbreaks of waxy buildup. (Especially animal protein, for like her I am milk-protein intolerant but am not very good at avoiding it). Stress, depression and sickness are other triggers.