Category Archives: seasonal

Treats for summer hair

I have wavy hair that tends to be dry. Pair this with my sensitive, allergy-prone skin, and I’m constantly on the hunt for a new conditioner that will soften my hair without leaving my scalp itchy. I have a bathroom cabinet filled with past failures. But this time I think I’ve found a good one!

Image courtesy of TheBodyShop.com

The Body Shop’s Banana conditioner was discontinued for a long time, but they’ve brought it back. I heard nothing but good things about this mythic conditioner so I jumped on the chance to try it out (especially since it’s on sale right now – 2 full-size bottles for $10 instead of the usual full price of $8.99/bottle). I’m so glad I did! This is good stuff! It conditions really well without being heavy which is fantastic for the summertime. Also, while I usually go through conditioner by the gallon, I don’t need much of this to make my hair feel great. It detangles really well, too. There is a strong banana smell, but if you use any kind of styling products in your hair it’s easily covered.

If you want to go the real all-natural route, you can make your own banana and honey conditioner. You can add things like olive oil, an egg yolk, or avocado as well for a deeper conditioning treatment. (The recipe says you can keep this in a bottle, but I would recommend making it fresh every time you use it since it contains no preservatives.)

Once your hair is well-conditioned and feeling gorgeous, you might want to create the “beachy waves” that are always on-trend in the summer. Kate Hudson is known for this look.

Plenty of brands sell texturizing sprays designed to help create this look. Herbal Essences recently released the Tousle Me Softly line designed to create these loose waves (I occasionally use the mousse, but it doesn’t have the best hold. I haven’t tried the gel or the spray.) A lot of products, like Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray, use some form of salt to create waves. Want the waves without the $23 price tag? Try this DIY styling spray from NotMartha.org. With some hair gel, epsom salt, and water, you can make your own version of the B&B spray and enjoy your waves while you spend your cash on something else.

With any kind of wavy or curly hair it’s important to maintain moisture – frizz is caused by the hair’s cuticle expanding to grab moisture out of the air, which is why hair frizzes more in humid weather. If you keep your hair well-conditioned you can avoid a lot of frizz. Rinsing with cold water helps to seal the cuticle as well. And resist the urge to touch your hair while it’s drying! Ruffling the hair while it’s wet will make the cuticle stand up which creates more frizz. I haven’t used a salt spray myself, but I would recommend a little extra conditioning afterward since salt can dry out the hair. Though with all the chlorinated pool water and salty ocean water that come with summer, a little extra conditioning is never a bad idea anyway.

Make your own cooling skin mist

After an hour or two out in the hot sun, skin can become parched and starving for moisture. There are plenty of products on the market now to refresh your skin on the go: The Body Shop makes a facial mist with vitamin E, and Juice Beauty offers one with natural oils and extracts. Or if you want to just waste some money you can always buy an aerosol can of plain old water for $10.

Evian Mineral Water Spray, $10 at Sephora.com

But if you want a refreshing, cooling facial mist and cash in your pocket, make your own at home using this easy recipe from the July issue of InStyle:

Brew and steep plain green tea (you can find Bigelow tea bags in most grocery stores) and cool. Pour over ice in a spray bottle and voila! A cool, refreshing skin mist. And the antioxidants in the tea will help repair sun damage. You can make this in advance and keep it in the refrigerator, too. And if you make too much you can always drink what’s left over since green tea has plenty of health benefits. For extra cooling power, find a spray bottle with a fan like this one:

You can always experiment with adding extra components if you want, like aloe vera juice or vitamin e oil. Just keep in mind that once you get into mixing things you need to think about spoilage. So it’s probably safest to keep the tea on its own and mix in any additional ingredients on a per-use basis instead of storing it.

Summer-proof your beauty routine

It’s hot out there!

Summer means a lot of time outdoors. And while I know plenty of women blessed with gorgeous skin and coloring that requires no makeup, I am not one of them. That means that when summer comes I start worrying about raccoon eyes from melted mascara, unintentional smokey eyes from smudged eyeliner, creasing shadow, and oily skin. That means adjusting my routine to accommodate the heat and humidity as well as the increased oil my skin produces when it’s warm. Continue reading

Quickie: The bracelet that tracks your sun exposure

So you’ve applied your sunscreen dutifully. Great! But what if it wears off? How will you know before it’s too late? Now there’s a way to tell: the UVSunSense bracelet:

Developed by a nuclear physicist, the UVSunSense wristband technology is similar in principle to monitoring devices used for personnel at nuclear power plants or in jobs dealing with nuclear medicine. But instead of measuring gamma rays, UVSunSense is calibrated for ultraviolet – or UV – radiation present in sunlight. The band’s four color stages indicate changing conditions and how a user should adapt to the sunlight. The wristband is orange when removed from the packaging. It becomes purple when exposed to the sun, indicating that it has been activated. When it transitions to a dark brown the wearer needs to immediately reapply their protective sunscreen. If the band turns a salmon color, the wearer should get out of the sun completely, having approached the recommended daily limit of UV radiation. Further exposure will likely result in painful sunburn and increase the risk of sun poisoning, also known as photodermatitis.

Here’s a diagram to illustrate the color changes:

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

The UVSunSense band is available in packs of 7 for $6.85 (plus shipping) at Amazon. Or you can check out the “Where To Buy” link on the UVSunSense website (linked above) for local retailers.

Weekend Quickie: Hit the Sales!

It’s a big sale weekend, so if you have the time, hit the stores for some great deals.

I just got this dress at New York & Company for $19.99, reduced from $56.95:

Image courtesy of NewYorkandCompany.com

It’s smocked under the bust which creates a flattering line, and it’s super comfortable. Plus the halter top let’s you adjust the strap length.

Other retailers having big sales this weekend:

Bath and Body Works – Up to 75% off bath and body products, perfumes, and cosmetics.
Victoria’s Secret – Get deals on lingerie, clothing, and beauty products (though the clothing is only available online).
Gap – I saw better deals in-store than online, so check out the store in person for additional discounts if you can.
Payless – Select styles as low as $7!

There are plenty more that I’ve missed, so hit your local mall if you have the time for some great summer deals.

Braids aren’t just for little girls anymore!

If you have wavy/curly hair like me, the approach of summer means one thing: frizz. At least once a summer I consider chopping off all my hair to escape the heat and the frizzy mess it becomes when exposed to humidity. There are ways to fight frizz (Allure has nine handy tips), but some days you just want that hair off your neck, out of your face, and off your mind. The hot way to handle that hair this summer? Braids. Check out this season’s looks after the jump. Continue reading

Quickie: Here Comes the Sun

Sun protection is important year-round, but once the weather warms up we all spend more time outside. Gone are the days when brown, tanned skin was in style – the new tans are fake and sometimes unfortunately orange. But whether you choose to fake bake or embrace the pale, you need to protect your skin from sun damage!

Most facial moisturizers and some foundations contain a sunscreen now. But the sunscreen in that facial moisturizer and foundation may not be enough and the rest of your body needs protection too.

Confession: I don’t wear sunscreen every day. I use a facial moisturizer with SPF, but I don’t apply sunscreen anywhere else unless I’m planning to be outside all day. And with my fair Irish skin I really should. The truth is, almost everyone is making mistakes with our sun protection.

Allure Magazine explains the nine biggest sun-protection mistakes most of us make every day. Did you know that your face should get about a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen every day? And that your scalp still needs protecting? And that certain medications can increase your sun sensitivity? I didn’t either until I read this!