Saturday, 19 October 2019

Today's hair

Braided Nautilus bun made with a five stranded braid started as a three stranded braid for the base.

It's held with a soaring butterfly Flexi 8.

This is a good example of the updos that have really good and really bad angles. Some angles are really pretty and other just look weird and lumpy.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Interview with Nightblooming


Famous in the longhair circuit for her products. (You know you have made it when memes are made about you!)

Author of some of the classic haircare literature.

She can be found on twitter and instagram:

Melissa's twitter
Melissa's instagram

It's been almost a month to the day since Nightblooming launched her book.

Igor: This must have been a crazy busy month for you. How does it feel?

Nightblooming: Pretty surreal. Being a Real Fantasy Authorhas been such a goal for such a long time the reality of Heaven’s Silhouette being out there in the world is still registering. The other day I was thinking about some edits for Mourning's Dawn (book 2!) and drafting book 3 and then I could cycle back to Heaven’s Silhouette… and then realized that flow I’m so used to is broken. There’s no Heaven’s Silhouette to work on anymore because it’s done.

Igor: Okay, so this wasn't really a question but I still had to include it. Buchfreundin commented:
"You better believe that my mouth fell open when I saw this. A collab between Lady Igor and Nightshade aka the best longhairs out there?! Count me in, I'm sitting tight for that interview.
I'm also quite excited for Melissa's book, I've followed her blog over on LHC, where she posted the steps to become a published fiction author. This is soooo cool..... And her author page pictures are just beautiful."
And I have to say, wow. Just from my own point of view I felt both really flattered and really embarrassed!

Nightblooming: Oh goodness, I blushed just reading that, it’s so sweet. My aunt and uncle are photographers (they also shot my wedding photos as a gift), and I was able to take a trip to visit them for a long weekend for my author photos. There were some pretty hilarious outtakes from that shoot, but this one is probably my favorite:


My poor aunt was pretty much on full-time duty trying to wrangle my hair for photos. In the end, they did a fantastic job with the photos and I’m over the moon with how everything went. The strangest thing, though, is the idea of being a somewhat ‘public’ figure now. I was on LHC for almost 15 years before anyone saw my face and now that’s out there, too. 

Igor: *Laughs* Well, what can I say other than I appreciate very much that you shared that? I don’t think a lot of “public figures” would have shared that!

Nightblooming: The sense of notoriety takes still takes me by surprise. For me, I’m just a person writing books and covering her house in henna dust. But I’m always deeply touched and flattered by compliments like Buchfreundin’s. 

Igor: I know what you mean, seriously, I have never been able to make peace with being a "hair guru" or "influencer" or whatever people use to describe it. I mean, that's crazy, right? Me? What? Why? How did this happen? But last year I was recognized out "in the wild", and I have to say it was probably the most surreal experience in my life!

Nightblooming: Ha! I haven’t been recognized ‘in the wild’ yet, but I can see how that would give you a start.

Igor: It really did. I have a question from an anonymous commentator here. And they can of course get in touch if they want their name or link put into this post, but anyways: 
“Can I ask Nightblooming anything for the interview? Because I really want to know about her haircare routine! What does she do for her waves? Are those natural waves? Is her color natural or is it henna? Which of her products does she use?”
That’s quite a mouthful, Melissa. Ready to spill your entire routine?

Nightblooming: I suppose that is the best thing about making your own products--when you’re your own guinea pig you wind up with a routine that works in the end!  To answer Anon’s questions more directly, I think I’ll go backwards. (Also, amazingly, I don’t have this in any sort of blog post and really should!) 

Washing is three times a week, and I use Max Green Alchmey’s Scalp Rescue Shampoo and conditioner. When I get out of the shower, I mist on some Selkie Herbal Detangler (and on my person, too, it’s great for skin and smells amazing), then use a smidge of Freya’s Hair Salve on the ends. After it’s dried to damp, I put it up for the night. I do wear my hair up a lot, all day every day at work and when I’m making stuff for NightBlooming. 

About once a month I give my hair a soak on Alluvial because we have ungodly hard water, and I color my hair (roots-only at this point) with Fire Genasi. So no, my hair color isn’t natural! It is very convincing, though. Once, when I went in for a skin check, I argued with my dermatologist for 20 minutes that I wasn’t actually a redhead (I have really pale skin and lots of freckles and while there is some natural red in my hair, it isn’t see-from-space-copper on its own).

Those are and are not my natural waves! When I started using henna, it knocked my waves down a lot and I went from a solid 2a/b to a 1c. My natural waves look like that for a short while after my hair dries, but henna and the weight of my hair pulls them out pretty quickly. Thankfully, bun waves are my best friend, and that’s what you’re seeing in the pictures--it gives me my natural waves back, but they actually stick around.

Igor: Thorough answer! I can’t believe a dermatologist would argue with you about your own hair colour. I mean, you should know, right? But it seems a lot of people assume the low Fitzpatrick types are only limited to the redheads. 

Nightblooming: You’d think, but I eventually just gave up trying to convince him, or his intern.

Igor: We’re almost henna-twins. I use the Fire Genasi too when I do my carria/mild henna treatment. Just in really, really small doses. It’s mostly just to brighten my natural red tones, not really to colour it.

Nightblooming: I’ll admit, I’d love to see you go full-on firehead, though. *evil grin*

Igor: *Laughs* I’ve considered it, but meh, not entirely convinced I should. So the same Anon also asked me about time management for work and studying and I have covered that in a post for itself. But hey, it might be a good idea to get your input on this too. I mean, you work, you have a house with a big garden, family, hobbies, a successful store and now you wrote a book too. How do you balance all that?

Nightblooming: My go-to answer for that is a joking-but-not-joking “I don’t sleep.”  Which is true, I have something called Delayed Phase Sleep Syndrome which means that I’m hardwired to go to bed at 3-5am my time and sleep late and I cannot budge that. My internal clock can’t be adjusted.The bad news is that I’m a total wreck in the morning, but the good news is that I get my best hours for me. After work I take a nap to mentally reset, and then dig into NightBlooming and writings in the evenings, and often go into the wee hours of the morning writing and making products for NightBlooming.

Igor: I have honestly never heard of that before. Fascinating. I guess that’s also a good point for the Anon. That self awareness and understanding is very important for managing your life when you’re busy.

Nightblooming: I’ve had people ask me in the past why I don’t work a second or third shift job, but the reality is that this way I keep my best and most productive hours for writing and NightBlooming.

Igor: Well, you did hit twenty five thousand sales a while back. That's pretty wild!

Nightblooming: It’s wild for me, too. When a coworker of mine pointed out that NightBlooming is in the top .05% of Etsy stores I about fell over. I could never, ever keep organized without my Bullet Journal. That thing is a godsent for making sure everything gets done and don’t forget to order supplies. When it comes to time management I don’t think there is a better, more customizable way to keep organized than that.

Igor: I felt forced to Google to see how many stores Etsy has! Wikipedia says “As of December 31, 2018, Etsy had over 60 million items in its marketplace and the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods connected 2.1 million sellers.” Wow. That puts things in perspective, even if I don’t think the “handmade and vintage” section covers the entire Etsy?

Nightblooming: You’re right, the big third section is crafting supplies.

Igor: Melina asks:
What is going to happen in the future? Will there be more books? Do you have any plans for new products? How about a youtube channel? Do you have any plans to expand the Nightblooming brand?
And I can already answer one of the questions here: Yes, there will be more books. 

Nightblooming: There are more books!  Iyarri Chronicles Book 2: Mourning’s Dawn is already written and in the editing process. I anticipate having it out in fall 2020, but you can actually track it’s progress here. None of this GoT-style wondering what’s going on or where the next book is at!  I’m currently drafting the third book in the series, have plans for a prequel, and some special side projects tied to Patreon.

If I can get to 100 Patrons, the plan is to go back through Heaven’s Silhouette and do a chapter-by-chapter behind the scenes chat about this. I haven’t decided on a format, but video is one of the options I’ve considered! Especially if I had people submitting questions in advance. I’ve also considered Twitch as an idea, so people could ask questions in real-time, but that might be both outside of the scope of platforms that I’m willing to sink time into.

The next big side project would be an illustrated book on the Iyarri. I have SO much written about them, their society, how their magic works, etc. and hitting that Patron goal would be the kickoff for bringing that to my readers.

Igor: So organised! 

Nightblooming: Hahahaha I have to be or I’ll go mad. For the NightBlooming side of things, I have an entire list of things I’d love to do for future products, but product development takes a really long time, partially because that’s not just the development, but also testing, branding, creating the packaging, taking all the photos, writing the listing, etc. I consider myself pretty lucky if (new oil blends aside)  if I can eek out one new product a year. As for a NightBlooming YouTube channel, I’m not sure. The idea is interesting, but I also know that maintaining a YT channel and producing quality content is an immense amount of work. Maybe that’s something I could consider when I eventually am fully employed for myself between NightBlooming and writing.

Igor: I guess the Nightblooming store on Etsy wouldn’t have remained this popular if you weren’t thorough with all the steps. The longhairs who are into more herbal and natural haircare are famously picky! 

Nightblooming: They are, but so am I, so it works out pretty well for all of us.
Igor: By the way, I’ve been meaning to suggest you get a ko-fi account. I know I’m going to sound like I’m advertising for them, but it is by far my favourite way to show support for the content creators that I enjoy. Their concept is basically that you can tip people by buying them a coffee, something small and simple and it feels less like a commitment than patreon.

Nightblooming: That’s for sure worth looking into. I’ve really enjoyed being on Patreon in part because of that commitment factor. There’s an idea that if you’re a content creator you need to find 1000 True Fans to make it work, and I think Patreon is the best home for those in it for the long haul with me. Ko-fi would be great for those people who are gun-shy about subscription based programs, though!

Igor: Well, I think Patreon is more suited for your customers. I think most people who go with oils and herbal products for their hair and skin like what your Etsy store offers, are in it for the long run. I think the demographic attracted to the Nightblooming products are the people who would like a Patreon subscription. But there might also be the curious people who enjoy your products irregularly and sometimes they want to leave a little “Hey, thanks”. 

Nightblooming: For anyone that’s read this far, I’ve got a discount code for you at NightBlooming. Just click on this link and you’ll get 10% off Oct 16-20!

Igor: You spoil us! Thank you, Melissa. Seriously, this is really sweet of you. You have really spoiled us with Nightblooming discount codes! And thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down and answer some questions. I really appreciate it. 

Nightblooming: It’s always a pleasure! I look forward to doing this again in the future.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Ew, gross

I washed my hair today (Well, CO-washed anyways) and grabbed my trusty scalp scrubber/massager.
And noticed there was some really disgusting residue inside it. Ew!

Unfortunately it makes sense that with the design of this scrubber/massager, you will have water and shower residue trapped inside it. I guess without the soft and flexible "pad" under it, it wouldn't be as comfortable as it is, but that leaves a space for dirt to get trapped in.

I almost threw it out, but I got it in a Memembox five years ago (Wow) and it is just so much better and more comfortable than any other scalp scrubber/massager I have gotten my hands on since. 

So... Cleaning time.
Turned out pretty well, but I wish I could get under that white plastic layer too. Strangely it doesn't look like it gathers residue there?

It did make me wonder about my other hair tools and toys though. Shouldn't things like hair sticks also get dirty from being exposed to leave in-conditioner, sweat, sebum and what else you have going on inside an updo?
Maybe I should gather and clean everything that can be cleaned... Obviously things like wooden tools can't be cleaned, but everything in metal, plastic, silicone and hard rubber should be washable, right?