Friday, January 6, 2012

Shower Regimen - Bare Bones Beauty

I'm a quick and dirty kind of girl.  I like most things fast and easy.  In MMORPGs, I prefer questing to hour long raids.  I'd rather have a quickie in a car than some all night shagfest.  And when it comes to showers, I'm in and out in fifteen minutes.  I really don't understand people that spend an hour in there.  (Plus, my shower doesn't drain well, and after about ten minutes the dirty water starts to pool around my shins.  It's so icky.)  That's why I have a get in, get out philosophy when it comes to showers.  Here's some broad strokes on the crap that makes that happen. 

Hair Products
I'm half Mexican (I'm sure you've guessed that by now!) and half Irish.  So my hair is curly, frizzy, wavy, and generally confused.  I also have an angry scalp.  So I have to use an anti-dandruff shampoo, all while trying to find products that keep my hair from looking like the angriest little puffball.  I have a three pronged approach to this that after a long time searching, actually seems to work for me.

For dandruff control, I've been using Garnier Fructis Anti-Dandruff: Intense Clean.  This actually has little exfoliating beads in it (that you'll end up having to clean out of the shower after you get out).  But it feels awesome, and within a day or two, I stopped itching my head randomly.  Seriously, it was starting to seem like I had scabies, or mange.  My dandruff was never visible, it just made me miserable.  I'm not the kind of person who can just stop itching.  I'm the kind of person who will try to rip the skin off with her fingernails.  No skin, no itching!  But this stuff cleared that problem up within two washes.  I'm a devotee, and sort of alarmed that I'm starting to see it in fewer and fewer stores.  I picked it up in a Walgreens because it was on clearance, and I should've grabbed more.

After that wash and rinse, I use another shampoo.  I know people say not to do that, but I really don't like how the dandruff shampoo cleans my hair.  It does a fine job on my scalp, but if it's the only one I use, I notice my hair gets limp and greasy and starts to look like Ally Sheedy's hair did in the Breakfast Club.  Not cute.  So I follow up with this little number:

Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Fortifying Shampoo.  It's the hippiest of hippie shampoo, and it smells like heaven.  That's why I have such brand loyalty to Garnier - the stuff smells bomb.  This is for normal hair, and even though my hair tends to be on the dry side, anything more in terms of moisture makes my scalp cry.  It's a terrible cycle.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking that I use a conditioner.  And for years?  I did.  But one day I just forgot.  And my hair looked gorgeous.  I just shampooed.  It was like my hair was happier to be alive than it ever had been before.  So I just stopped.  My hair is happy and healthy and I haven't conditioned in months. 

This last hair step is one I do right after I get out of the shower.  I dry off so I don't break my ass in the bathroom, then scrunch my hair dry.  Then I put a dime size drop of Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum in one palm, rub my hands together, and scrunch it through my wet hair.

Picture taken from
Oh.  My.  God.  This stuff smells the way I think cruise ships should smell - citrusy, with a tiny bit of floral behind it - and it makes my hair behave.  I have my natural curls and waves, but without the tiny flyaways that were tamed only by hats.  It doesn't weigh my hair down, and it makes my hair so damned soft, I caught one of my cats kneading my head the other day.  That's fucking soft.

It should also be noted that I do not blowdry my hair.  This saves on a lot of heat damage and breakage.  I also very seldom heat style.  I let my hair be naturally wavy and just do what it wants to.  This is probably why I can sneak by with just washing and argoning. 

Body Cleanup
Oh, soap.  How I love you.  And don't get me started on that body wash crap, you take up too much room.  No, I'm an old school soap girl through and through.  But it can't be too drying.  You've read how I've got dry skin in my argan oil post.  Why would I want to exacerbate the issue?  Ivory doesn't do squat down here.  So I shopped around for loads of different soaps, and spent years in a dry skin'd wilderness of flakiness and weird smells.  And who would've thought it - I found my favorite soap maker on Etsy.  BodyLuminosity makes a whole host of tonics and lotions, but my favorite products of theirs are their handmilled soaps.  I annually buy at least two of their Candy Corn scented soaps ever autumn, and then proceed to purr while I bathe.  But when that's not available, I get their Coconut Dream Pie soap. 

BodyLuminosity's own photo
It smells just how it looks, but not overwhelmingly so.  You'll be okay to put on perfume later without having to worry about your soap clashing with your scent.  But while you're in the shower, scrubbing your butt, you will be so happy you found these girls.  Mmmph.  I want to go home and bathe.

You know what sucks?  Sensitive skin.  You know what else sucks?  Getting bumps on your legs every time you shave.  I don't care how many blades my razor has (as long as the blade is new).  You could have 456 on there, and my legs would still look like I was stung by fire ants when I was done.  The only thing that saves me and keeps me shaving as often as I do is Bikini Zone.

Yes, you can use it for said obvious bikini zone.  I have, and I will.  But I use it most often on my legs.  It seems to make my shaves last longer, and it's the only way to keep them from looking like a general itchy plague area.  Which brings me to the last bit of my ritual ...

Facial Cleansing

I hate my face.  Well, that's not true at all, I love my face, I just hate the skin that covers it most of the time.  I have a hormonal disorder called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and one of the symptoms is facial skin being just breaky outy all the damn time.  As I've gotten older, it's evened out a bit, but I still have to work hard to keep it clear.  This isn't just a vanity concern; the pimples I do get are the deep cystic ones that hurt if you move your face (and I move my face constantly, I overexpress without thinking) or rub it while putting on a shirt.  The ones where if you sneeze, you're in a world of pain.  But again, I try to be fairly low-maintenance (most of my makeup is for fun, I will totally run out of the house bare skinned if I'm just running to the grocery).  So here's what I've whittled the regimen down to.

This is Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control, 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment.  Aside from having the longest name in the world, it really does the tric when it comes to my periodic acne.  It's got 2% Salicylic Acid, so if that's something that upsets your skin, you'll want to steer clear of it.  But for me, that's the perfect twice daily dose to keep most things in check.  I use it with my Clarisonic Mia, which I got for Christmas, and already have a deep love affair with.  (I'll go more in depth on it in another entry, when I've got three or so months of use under my belt.)  But obviously, the trick to any skin care regimen is consistency, so I don't care if you put it on with your elbow, just put it on.

Once I'm out of the shower, I use the Clinique Acne Solutions Clarifiying Lotion as a toner, and then once that's absorbed in for about five minutes, I use the Clinique clearing moisturizer from the same line.  Now, nine times out of ten, this is enough to keep my pimples in control, but if I have a spot that won't listen to reason, I bust out my Zeno.

This thingie heats up in a minute to what is allegedly the Optimum Heat for murdering acne germs.  And it must be; if I feel a dangerous spot lurking beneath the surface, within two or three cycles (twice a day) of this thing, it dies.  That may seem like a long time, but some of my worse cystic pimples don't come to a head until they've lurked for seven days or so, and then they don't clear out fully for another seven.  I'll take two days over fourteen.

And there you have it!  My long winded diatribe on something that takes maybe twenty minutes, tops, and that's only if I'm having issues.  Granted, most of the products change every two or three months because I'm a product junkie, but this is where I'm at right now.

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