Sunday, 12 August 2018

Today´s hair

Figure 8 bun.

I haven´t done these in a long while!

I´ve been just living in braids that can be turned into buns in the morning for months. It´s just more convenient for me to make a nice braid or nice braids in the evening and then wrap them up as buns in the morning. It saves me time in the morning and I still look and feel well put together.
But since today was a free day, I felt like doing something not braided.

I bought this (Gandalf the white) stick for the exact purpose of doing figure 8 buns, but it´s actually just a bit too long for comfort: When I was getting in the car, the top of it hit the opening and I made a totally not embarrassing squeaking noise in surprise. So happy no one saw or heard that! 
(People totally did. Sigh)

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Caroline von Holnstein II

Darkhorse suggested I try my own version of Caroline von Holnstein´s hairstyle. I liked the idea!

What I liked about the last try I did of this
I felt that the back bun in my attempt had a good placement. Even though this was way, way too low down if you look at the original painting. It had a sort of long and elegant neckline-look to it.
In fact, I liked it so much that I might start placing my buns higher for normal wear!

What I disliked about the last try I did of this
The center part. It flat out hurt my scalp.
(I have such an odd natural parting: My follicles twist just a few degrees above my left eyebrow, but there is a lot of resistance and strength in the direction)

The weird sort of "ram horn" sort of shape of the front braids. I just don´t have anything to nice to say about that. It just looks plain weird in real life.

Nightgerbil shared pictures of the show Victoria, where she wears a sort of "reverse" version of the front braids. Wrapping the front braids down and around is way more wearable. Here is a good picture where it shows the partings were way further back than for Caroline´s.
On a side note, the style probably evolved into this, since Caroline's (Age 19) updo is from 1834 and Victoria's recreation (Age 18 in the beginning of the show) is from 1837.

Anyways. Here goes...

Two asymmetrical front braids and a back braid.
I got really bored braiding those long, thin lengths.
This must be the First World Problems version of the longhair circuit!

Look how thin my front braids are compared to Caroline´s:

I know this shows my thinnest braid best, but still:
Her front braids are almost as wide as her lips. Mine? Maybe as wide as my nose?
It´s a pretty big difference in the amount of hair in the braids.
Definitely either some false hair added, or some PaintShop. You are still all obligated to laugh at Mr. Igor´s joke. Thank you.

I had the thought I would make a five stranded back braid, but I just couldn't be bothered.....

Back braid up in a Nautilus.

And the two front braids wrapped around. Except that my front braids are wrapped tight around my head, this looks a bit like the pictures Nightgerbil shared of the show Victoria.

I took this picture to show how just the exactly wrong angle can make any updo look bad. It´s funny how every single updo have that one angle that just makes it look... "Meh".

After taking the pictures out of the phone, I realized I had put one of the front braids in the wrong "track". Arrgh!

Not so cute at a direct side view either. Nautilus buns can sometimes result in that awkward cannonball-effect where a bun becomes too "high" for the base.
Maybe a Royal bun would work well with this?
The flat, wide Royal bun with the two accent braids could result in some huge head-eating bun.

I did like the discrete, face-framing effect of the front braids!

Monday, 6 August 2018

Today's hair

Heh, that turned out pretty cool. I need some pins of a more fitting length though: These are too long, but every other pin I have is too short!

The top bun ended up pretty high on the head though, so every time I saw myself in the mirror, it left me with ½ second of confusion. I'm used to seeing my buns in the mirror, but usually they only show on the side or sort of the bottom of my head?

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Today's hair

Three English braids stacked on top of each other. Going to see if I can turn them into three braided Nautilus buns stacked on top of each other tomorrow.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Throwback Thursday

Ah, the time where I managed to stuff all my hair up under a wig. Doubt I could do that now without looking like a scary cone-head.
I quite liked it actually. Wonder where that wig went? Probably lost it last time I moved?

Monday, 30 July 2018

Elvive Extraordinary Clay Conditioner

Today I was rummaging around my messy storage of mixed products to find a conditioner that wasn't too heavy and would be suitable for a quick scalp-scritching and CO wash. I found a L'Oreal conditioner I had honestly forgotten I had. 
I brought this conditioner home from Madeira as a sort of souvenir. I bought that exact conditioner because I wasn't sure if I had seen that one at home before. Usually the L'Oreal products are "colour coded" and easy to spot, but this one originally didn't ring a bell for me. Maybe that's why I didn't read through the ingredient list when I bought it.

I used a handful of this to do a quick scalp wash. I had some white flakes that was irritating me around my parting but nowhere else on my scalp (Too much sun exposure maybe? Since it was pretty much only around the parting), but my scalp wasn't really greasy or needed washing otherwise. It's funny; most people complain about their flakes coming off as "white gunk" under their nails, mine just stays dry and sticks around certain patches of my scalp. So I just needed a "base" to do my scritching and massaging to loosen up the flakes. Water-only just isn't as effective to carry the flakes away as a conditioner is.

It did a good job too. My scalp felt clean and not dry afterwards.

But then I took a closer look at it...

Ingredient list Elvive Extraordinary Clay Conditioner
Aqua / Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycine Soja Oil / Soybean Oil, Cetyl Esters, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Argilla / Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride, Salicylic Acid, Linalool, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate, Montmorillonite, Isopropyl Alcohol, Kaolin, Alpha Isomethyl Ionone, Geraniol, BHT, Citric Acid, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Glycerin, Parfum/ Fragrance, F.I.L. C180281/1.

Ugh. This is not a happy ingredient list to run through cosdna.

25 ingredients in total.
  • 11 in green (I almost want to exclude water from this statistic)
  • 10 in yellow
  • 2 in red
  • One in green-yellow and one with no information found.

Statistically, this is probably one of the worst products I've ever had through cosdna's analysis. A lot of the ingredients in yellow are far down the list, but as someone who is allergic to certain ingredients,
"more" or "less" of that ingredient doesn't make a difference.


Breaking the ingredient list apart
The first things that I notice is that it has two interesting acids in it:
Sodium Hyaluronate or Hyaluronic acid. It's one of those awesome moisturizers that I always look for, at least in my skincare products. Not entirely sure how much it would do in a rinse-off product though.
Salicylic Acid or Beta Hydroxy Acid. This is an acid that loosens the bonds between dead skin cells. Since it's oil-soluble it can work below the skins surface, in the pores. This might be a very interesting acid to have in a washing-conditioner, especially if you have issues with dry flakes, sebum plugs and white gunk on the scalp.

Next, I find myself looking for the clay. After all...
"For the first time, L’Oréal Paris Laboratories have combined 3 REFINED CLAYS to create its first re-balancing range revealing perfectly balanced hair." 
Quoth The Official Website 
I love the caps lock here.

I recognize Kaolin as a clay.
But what else?
Cosdna doesn't give an explanation to what Argilla is, but Google leads to a lot of pictures of clay work. So I guess that's #2.
After checking through each ingredient, I find the last clay: Montmorillonite. According to Wikipedia, it's named after an area in France. I actually have to give L'Oreal some credit for not plastering "Refined French clay!!!!" all over this conditioner.
These three clays are also fairly high up on the list, which makes me think they could actually help absorb excess oil and sebum from the scalp. Not sure what they would do for the length of the hair.

The two ingredients in red for safety leave me confused, because they seem unnecessary.
Benzyl Salicylate: A sunscreen. Now, don't get me wrong: I love sunscreen. And I often harp on about the importance of sunscreen in hair products (Hair cannot recover from sun damage like skin can! Sun damage on hair is not reversible!), but it seems unnecessary to add a sun screen if it's a known unsafe and restricted ingredient.
Geraniol: A fragrance. Another thing I often harp on about, is that "natural" does not often mean better or safer. (Said Igor, who is violently allergic to completely natural ingredients like aloe vera skin and sea buckthorn) And here we have a completely naturally occurring, known unsafe and restricted ingredient.

The Extraordinary Clay Conditioner also contains an annoying and unnecessary long list of fragrances:
  1. (Glycine Soja Oil)
  2. Linalool
  3. (Benzyl Alcohol)
  4. Alpha Isomethyl Ionone
  5. Geraniol
  6. Citronellol
  7. Hexyl Cinnamal
  8. Parfum
This just seems unnecessary. Seriously. Couldn't they just have picked a single, or maybe two fragrances and stuck to those? This many ingredients for scent only is a risk for everyone with sensitive skin or allergies.

It also contains a lot of preservatives:
  1. (Behentrimonium Chloride)
  2. Phenoxyethanol
  3. Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride
  4. (Benzyl Alcohol)

My feelings towards L'Oreal right now can be summed up as this.

But what made me laugh about this ingredient list, is that as the third last ingredient listed is... *drumroll*... Glycerin! A good old, inoffensive, safe, non-irritating, moisturizing ingredient. Far down the list with that one, uff!

And I think I could actually build a fully functioning, completely normal conditioner out of the remaining ingredients I haven't commented on:
Cetearyl Alcohol (Surfactant and emulsifier)
Cetyl Esters (Emollient)
Isopropyl Alcohol (Solvent)
BHT (Antioxidant)
Citric Acid (pH adjuster)
Just add water, a single preservative and a single fragrance source, and you would have a conditioner I would be happy to use!

I guess this just shows how much unnecessary crap they have stuffed into this conditioner. Extraordinary? Yep. Sure is. But not in the way that L'Oreal intended.

So. This was a long post of me dissing an ingredient list. 
And make no mistake, I think this ingredient list sucks. This ingredient list is everything that can be wrong with ingredient lists.

But it did a good job cleaning the flakes from my scalp. My scalp felt clean, but not dry. 
My personal conclusion for my own scalp type is that this Extraordinary Clay conditioner might be a very good choice for scalp washing, but I would not want it on the length of my hair. 

But for someone else with a different scalp type and different needs for their products, I have some other thoughts...
I think the two acids are a very interesting choice (and combination, since one is a chemical exfoliator and the other will help keep your skin from drying out, which could otherwise cause a bad circle of drying out the skin and the skin overreacting with producing excessive sebum to protect itself) to put in a conditioner. I think the three clays are high enough on the ingredient list to actually absorb some unwanted oil and sebum. 
I think this may be a conditioner you want to give a try if you have issues with sebum plugs, white gunk build up on the scalp or dry flakes.

Apply after using Extraordinary Clay Rebalancing Shampoo. Leave on for 1-3 minutes. Rinse. For longer lasting freshness use Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo. Suitable for color-treated hair.

Friday, 27 July 2018

1000th post!

Wow. How cool is this?
This is my official 1000th post on my independent blog.

I've been blogging since I first found LHC back in... Summer of 2002 I think? (Before that I was on some Yahoo-groups. Wow. This is a million years ago in internet terms!) So this has been a really long-running habit.
I started blogging here on Blogger back in January 2011, so it has pretty accurately been 7½ years for this blog!

Blogging is perhaps my best tip for those growing or maintaining their hair. It helps you keep track of what products work or doesn't work for you, what updos you can do (Surprising how often an updo just "falls" out of rotation!) and what you would like to try in the future.
It's such a helpful tool. And sometime it can be really funny to look back on your own story.

I think the only reason I managed to keep blogging for so long, is that my blog was always mostly for me. I never blogged to impress or convince anyone, I just blog to keep up with the reasons I mentioned above.
I rarely did anything for or with my hair that I wouldn't have done without the blog, so my blog is a pretty good representative of what it really is to live with long hair: Some times you have time and energy to experiment, and other times you just settle into your usual grove and go through the work-free time-sleep-routine.
(And I never got the points of setting up artsy pictures with freshly cut flowers, philosophy books and pearls lying around in the background. Is that just me?)

So... To another 1000 posts!

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Caroline von Holnstein

This post will probably end up on the same blog page, so it won´t need introduction. But anyways,  here is the original post on Caroline von Holnstein´s hairdo.

I tried to find something in my closet that was at least pink-ish, but I don´t have any, so I settled for the white shirt as the closest I could get to her clothing.

Okay. Not really off to a good start here: I have parted the hair according to what it looks like in the picture, and the two front braids are painfully much thinner than the back. I guess this is why the other blogger who did a style like this took some hair in from the bottom too.

Did she maybe do a five strand braid for the front? A five strand braid will significantly fatten, but flatten a braid. So from the right angle, it will look a lot thicker than a three stranded braid.
Of course there is a strong possibility that the painter made her hair thicker than it was. Only a stupid painter would paint the rich and powerful true to nature, right?

(See historical case of the painting of Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein the younger supposedly being so far from the truth that king Henry the VIII had very little interest in her once they met in person)

Mr. Igor wants you all to know he called the phenomenon PaintShop. You are all obligated to laugh at his joke. Thank you.

View from the top.
My scalp really hated the center parting. Although my natural parting appears very weak due to just shifting the growth direction a few degrees, there is a lot of strength in the direction of the follicles. It was surprisingly uncomfortable (And unflattering)

Made a bun out of the back braid and pinned it up. Although I started the braid as high up as I felt I could (Sitting in a chair, leaning back and braiding), I guess it wasn´t high up enough. It slid down a lot as soon as I formed the bun. I think a high ponytail start probably isn´t a bad idea for those interested in recreating this better.

I tried to do the “loop” and then pin the front braids up. But the back bun is obviously too far down. It just looks silly, but then again I can´t imagine adding a tall braided bun directly on top of my head would do much to complete the look?

(And holy shit, do I look tired. Time to take a few days off from work maybe?)

Side view isn´t a whole lot better.  It just looks bizarre. This might be cute if I had wrapped the front braids under and around the bun instead of above. Like the pictures from Victoria that Nightgerbil linked to.

One more try to get the back bun up higher: I poke a stick through at the very top, right where the parting is. Really not feeling like having to re-do this thing, so I´ll see what I can do with the base….

The back braid wrapped around the base of the hair stick into a cinnamon bun. This actually looks like the royal bun a bit. But obviously I´m still not getting it up high enough on my head to get the same effect as Caroline’s.

Back view actually looks pretty nice. And again: It looks a lot like the royal bun.

This got a little closer to the original: This time you can actually see the bun from the front, but it´s obviously lacking the height of Caroline´s.

Also this leads me to the observation that I´m having a hard time finding the angle where the front braids doesn´t show up in the right way? In the original, the front braids sort of “disappear” into the updo and doesn´t show their track like mine does. Maybe the front braids are “fed in” in the middle of the back bun instead? Or… PaintShop maybe? (You are all still obligated to laugh at Mr. Igor´s joke. Yes, even when repeated. Thank you)

Saturday, 21 July 2018

1 month with the Neutrogena visibly clear light therapy mask

So, I've had and used the Neutrogena visibly clear light therapy acne mask for a month now. I've already posted some thoughts on it, but here is what I think after a month of use...

First, I think I have to point out that the hack made such a big difference in how much I like this mask. I think I would have absolutely hated this thing and would have been super pissed off at it (And Neutrogena!) if I had been forced to buy a new activator for every 30 x 10 minutes of use.
Knowing myself and my attitude for that kind of shit, I would not have repurchased an activator.

I can't say my skin has improved remarkably from using it. I'm honestly not sure it has made a difference. (But then again, to be fair, you rarely can tell apart a single factors influence on skin from everything else that affects it!)
But, I still think it can't hurt to incorporate it in my routine. So (With the hack) I think this is a mask that is worth spending the money I did. The activator is around one third the price of the mask, so if you couldn't hack it, it would make the total price way higher.

It also feels like this is a "gateway mask". It was easily accessible for me, and it made me curious to try a more expensive and fancier light therapy mask if I should encounter one some time in the future.

After a month of use, I have two major criticisms:

1) The mask could have had way more LED-lights. Especially in the forehead area, where it feels like they cheapened out by only having a single row of lights when there were obviously room for two. The lights are packed way denser around the mouth, but could also have used a row higher up to better "cover" the upper cheeks and nose area.

2) The blue light, which combats bacteria, seems to run out of power/lose intensity (?) when in use. Luckily I'm mostly interested in the inflammation-dampening red light, but still!
The picture below shows how it has "faded" more than the red after having left it on for a while.

In conclusion: I think I recommend this mask. It's cheap (If you hack the activator), easily accessible (I got mine at lookfantastic, but I have seen it other places too), probably has some effect (Definetely haven't hurt my skin, but it might give a different result for someone with actual acne issues) and will easily give you an idea if a light therapy mask would be something for you or not.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

The hatpin peril

While working my Google-Fu trying to find information on Caroline von Holnstein, I ran into this:

Articles about Edwardian women defending themselves against harassers using their elegant hatpins (And the lawmakers who panicked and starting outlawing long hatpins)

I remember that hairsticks for self defense have been discussed on LHC many times. And to be honest, some of the ones I have could do some serious damage...

Anyways. This was a fun, frustrating and enlightening read, so here are some links:
The hatpin peril
The sting of a hornet
The hatpin as a lady's weapon of choice
Call the fashion police! I'm wearing an illegal hatpin!