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Yesterday, I made a couple of stops to some local beauty supply stores in search of a product or conditioner to help me address my unusually dry hair.  My hair was in need of something special and intense.  A product with the ability to transform it with just one use.

Once I arrived at the second location, I realized that the answer to my ultra dry hair would not be found at any of the stores.  I didn’t need another product, I need to refine my technique.  More specifically, a technique I developed a couple of years back when my hair was at its worse.

I’m here to share this intense moisturizing technique with you today.
The entire process consists of 4 steps.  But, it’s so powerful that I was able to execute only two of the four steps yesterday and create amazing results.  The moisturizing technique is a play on the L.O.C (liquid, oil, cream) Method but with a few minor differences to make it more intense.

When I first implemented this technique, I wanted to do more than just moisturize my hair, I wanted to infuse it with moisture.  This meant that I had to get a little creative with a few tweaks here and there.

Ok, here’s a break down of my intense moisture infusion routine.

STEP 1.  Hydrate
Before I moisturize with a creamy product I hydrate with a liquid.  This is somewhat typical of the L.O.C process.  But I like to make sure that the liquid both dampens the hair while actually moisturizing it.  Water alone isn’t a great idea.  Instead, I create a moisturizing water that’s comprised of ingredients my hair adores.  Examples include aloe water, a small amount of my favorite leave-in from Biolagepowdered MSM, and maybe a tiny bit of ACV to help bring down the pH.  Lastly, I make sure that I use a spray bottle with an ultra-fine mist because I don’t want to wet the hair, I want the tiny water particles to be absorbed by the strands.  This makes a difference.

STEP 2:  Oil Mist
Here’s where it gets interesting.  Instead of grabbing oil from a bottle on layering it on the hair, I reach for my nifty oil mister.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, you can add your favorite hair oil to a salad oil mister and lightly oil your hair without weighing it down.  For my intense hydration method, this is ideal.  My goal is to that the products penetrate my strands so I use (fractioned) coconut oil to mist my hair for now.

Once my hair is lightly coated with a hydrating water and fine particles of oil, I tie my hair up in a satin scarf to allow everything to penetrate.  This step is key.

Thirty minutes to an hour later, I check in on my hair to see how it’s going.  Sometimes, those two steps are enough.  But if my hair needs a little more TLC, I then move on to steps 3 and 4.  Basically, I then reach for my favorite daily moisturizer and sealing oil and apply as normal.  Steps 3 & 4 are meant to moisturize and seal the outer layers while steps 1& 2 moisturize the deeper layers.

The end result is a total transformation of my hair.  The difference between how my hair looked and felt yesterday versus this morning is like night and day.  Best of all, the moisture actually lasts.  Sometimes we work on strengthening our cuticle layer so much that products have difficulty penetrating. If you have low porosity hair, this method might work well for you.

I’m officially going back to this way of moisturizing until further notice.  This time, I may experiment a bit with various oils.  For instance, I’m really curious to see what it would be like to try squalane or baobab oil in the mister.  Oh, and if this technique doesn’t work for your low porosity hair, give the moisturize, heat, seal method a try.

A few years ago Salma Hayek stated in an interview that she doesn’t have much time to work out to maintain her lean figure.  Instead of sweating it out in the gym, she holds her body in a way that “activates her muscles” all day long.

When I first heard of this, my mind immediately wanted to dispell her “fitness secrets” as a big fat lie.  Shortly after giving the interview, a bunch of news outlets published articles to dispell the myth that holding your body a certain way to maintain a toned figure is possible.

Over the years, I’ve really reflected on what Salma said and now I realize that she may actually be on to something.
Part of the reason why I couldn’t just dismiss her claims is because I’m fully aware that certain “exercises” don’t require gym equipment to provide solid results.  All we have to do is engage them properly to enjoy the benefits.

I’ll give you some examples.

Most women are encouraged to do kegel exercises for the sake of strengthening their pelvic floor.  Kegals are simply a series of contractions that can be done anywhere, anytime.  By pulling in your inner pelvic muscles you strengthen that area.  If any of you have consistently practiced your kegels, you know that they really do work! Some will notice a difference in strength within weeks.

The other movement I know that offers muscle toning without traditional exercise movements are transverse abdominal exercises.  Basically, these exercises target our inner corset (the transverse muscles).  Back when I was serious about creating a toned/fit waist, I invested a couple minutes a day contracting the deepest layers of my core.  The results were astonishing.  All I did was pull in my tummy as much as I could while holding the contraction.  That movement created enough tension to activate the muscles in a powerful way.

Salma Hayek wearing a corset to help snatch her waist while maintaining good posture.

Planks are another (more advanced) version.  Again, all you have to do is “hold your body a certain way”  (parallel to the floor) and you activate and strengthen your entire core muscle group.  There’s no contraction involved (unlike sit-ups) but they still tone the core in a major way. There’s something to be said about contracting a muscle to help it maintain it’s strength. Obviously, exercises that involve a full range of motions is ideal.  But, we can discount the potential of simply activating our muscles.

I remember the old workout videos from the 80’s.  At the end of each set of reps, the instructor would urge everyone to hold and squeeze the muscle to feel the burn.  And burn it did.  This was often the most difficult part of the workout.  All we were doing was holding and squeezing.

Again, simply contracting and hold the muscle doesn’t create an ultra-toned physique. But, we can’t completely reject Salma’s technique of holding and activating her muscles all day as nonsense.  Because it kinda does make sense. At the very least, we know that by contracting and holding, we activate the flow of blood to that area.  This brings more oxygen to the muscle and that’s a good thing. More blood to the muscle means we create more energy (ATP).

Sitting or standing in a natural, fully relaxed position, requires little to no effort.  But the simple act of focusing on our posture, or better yet, contracting and engaging our muscles requires a bit more effort.  This could this could result in burning few extra calories per day.  Heck, if you simply stood up while working on your computer versus sitting, you could burn up to 50 extra calories per hour.  No extra movement involved.  Imagine the possibilities if you coupled standing with kegels and transverse exercises while squeezing the glutes.

At the very least, I believe we should be conscious about engaging our bodies and maintaining good posture at all times.  Most everyone slouches but if you focus on being poised, it helps you stand out.  I’m sure Salma still works out, she probably incorporates this technique as a supplement for those times when she can’t step for in a gym.  By keeping her muscles engaged, she probably retains more muscle tone than if she were to go weeks or months without working out.  This fully won’t replace your gym visits for gaining muscle but it certainly can’t hurt to try.

Self-care is something that I’ve been very interested in over the past few years.  The idea of treating and nourishing your outer and inner self was just too attractive not to pass up.

I fell in love with the idea of enjoying facials, massages, and various other beauty rituals as a means of taking care of myself.  All of these things are really great. But they fall into the category of what I call “self-care 101.” These are the easy activities that we enjoy doing but they only scratch the surface of the layers that make up one’s self-care journey. 

Let’s talk about some of the not-so-easy self-care activities that are just as important as getting a mani-pedi. 
But first, I’ll tell you a quick story. 

Back when I worked in corporate America, one of my responsibilities was to address employee complaints.  Often times, employees would request a transfer from one location to another because of disputes with their supervisor.  They’d complain that their manager was too strict or had too many rules.  Sometimes they’d ask to go to a location where they knew that manager was much more lax about following every rule.  The person assumed that they’d be happier working in an environment with less accountability.

More often than not, once the transfer was granted, the employee would soon realize that they made a mistake. Because they already know the value of working in a well-run environment, the difference at their new location is like night and day. They assumed that having fewer rules would make them happier but they were mistaken.

The truth is, many of us thrive in an environment that consists of daily rituals, clear expectations, and various routines that support optimal outcomes.  A well-run organization is one where a solid foundational structure is in place.  In our personal lives, however, we often live unregimented lives.  Don’t get me wrong, we do follow some routines.  But most of them are in place because if we don’t do them, we will suffer a consequence (example, we go to work every day otherwise, we will lose our job).

On the flip side, there are rituals and routines we should incorporate and follow because they support our overall well being.  Those are the first ones to suffer whenever laziness creeps in.  Why? Because the consequences aren’t immediate. Since the consequences seem far away (or non-existent) these self-care activities take a back seat.

Some examples of self-care rituals that tend to fall by the wayside are:

A portion of the items on the list are enjoyable, but many of them aren’t.  It’s kinda like working for a boss who’s making you do things you don’t feel like doing.  But, there’s a reason why she has such high standards.  It’s because she knows that a great running operation will generate greater rewards.  Many of the employees didn’t realize it, but transferring to another location where the manager didn’t run a tight operation meant that they’d probably receive a smaller performance bonus (because the other location was underperforming in sales results).  In the end, they were only hurting themselves.  
We have to get really serious about our self-care.  It’s more than just splurging on skin products or treating yourself to your heart’s desire.  What we truly desire is to feel fulfilled.  And most everything I listed above will contribute to your fulfillment.  
Do you have to do everything on that list at once? 
Nope. 
Just pick the one or two habits missing from your life that could really make a huge impact on your overall wellbeing.  Once you get rolling, you’ll continue to build on your self-care routine as time goes on.  But, let’s not forget that sometimes, the harder actions can contribute to you the most.  

As a woman with tiny little eyes, I’m forever grateful for the advent of mascara.  Unfortunately for me, simply coating my lashes with mascara doesn’t always produce the result I want.  I’m pretty sure that I own over 20 tubes of mascara.  Each one of them promised to give me the appearance of false lashes but many failed to deliver.

Over the years, I picked up a few tips to help improve the end result. Some worked well, others, not so much.  But today, I learned a new trick that made an immediate difference.  Best of all, the solution is absolutely free and takes only a second.
This answer that I’ve been waiting for is so easy that I kick myself for not figuring it out sooner.

Most of us have half a dozen or more mascaras in our possession.  The reason for this is because we’re steadily looking for the absolute perfect mascara.  Little did we know that we may already have our holy grail mascara in our possession without even knowing it.

Let me explain.

My top 3 favorite mascaras are:
1. Heroine Make 
2. L’Oreal Telescopic
3. Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes

I adore these three because each of them has something to offer. I’m addicted to Heroine Make’s long lasting, ultra black formula, but in all honesty, the wand is quite basic.  Telescopic has this tiny little wand that has the ability to find and enhance my tiny lashes.  And Charlotte Tilbury’s mega wand gives me volume like no one else but the formula isn’t all that great.

If only I could combine my favorites into one.  That would be a dream come true.   Today I realized that combining their qualities is actually possible.  All it took was dipping Telescopic‘s wand into Heroine Make’s tube.  The combination of my favorite wand and my perfect formula created magic, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.  My lashes were ultra defined (thank’s to Telescopic’s wand) and very pronounced (shout out Heroine Make’s ultra black pigment). This combination far surpasses all the mascara’s I’ve ever tried.

Ever.

If you have a mascara with an amazing formula but a so-so wand, it’s ok to experiment to find your perfect combination.  Do a little swapping and see what difference it makes.  This could be a real game changer.

I adore when celebrities give us a glimpse of products they’re loving.  Some of them are very generous with sharing some of their #notsponsored favorites.  Karrueche Tran is a favorite on this blog because (1.) she’s really into her skin and beauty routine and (2.) she shares what snapshots of the products she loves.

The other day, she shared a simple image of a product with no caption.  As usual, I took a screen shot.  After taking the screenshot, I did something I’ve never done before.  I immediately went online and purchased without even researching any reviews.
Luckily for me, I found a sample size to try.  The product is not cheap so I wanted to test it out for minimal investment.  Also, the sample is perfect for travel.  A few days later, the mask arrived.  At this point, I still hadn’t researched reviews so I had no idea what to expect.

Farmacy’s Honey Potion behaves much differently than your typical honey mask.  I’ve masked with pure honey before and loved it! This face mask is nothing masking with honey alone.  When you visually inspect the mask, it has the look, texture, and thickness of golden honey.  The best way to describe the consistency is like a gooey (luxurious) balm.

But once the product touches the skin, magic starts to happen.  During application, the mask quickly transforms into a rich cream.  Moments later, you start to feel a warming sensation on your skin as the mask begins to activate.  You heard me right, this is a warming mask that stimulates the skin upon application.

Some of the hero ingredients include honey (of course), royal jelly, and echinacea which is rich in antioxidants.  They also source the honey from bees who pollinate echinacea plants.  Studies have found that echinacea is effective at reducing the appearance of wrinkles in as little as 1 month of use.   Basically, this mask is not only hydrating but has potent anti-aging benefits as well.

So far I’ve used the mask twice.  I’ll share my thoughts by first starting with the drawbacks.  Honey potion is marketed as a hydrating mask.  I’ll be honest with you, it’s not all that hydrating.  Honestly, using plain honey (or better yet, manuka honey) on my face produced superior hydration.  I’d describe this more as a nourishing mask. 

Even though it’s didn’t deliver with regards to its promise to hydrate the skin, I still love this mask and here’s why.  With most masks, you apply then wait patiently and passively to finally rinse it off.  With Honey Potion, you are expected to actively participate in the masking experience by massaging the skin while you wait.  THIS IS THE PERFECT MASSAGE MASK.  Your fingers easily glide over the skin without feeling sticky.  The more you massage, you more you engage the warming sensation.  The warming sensation is so valuable because that means that blood flow is being directed to the face.

This precious blood flow to the face is worth its weight in gold.  I believe that younger skin receives more circulation to the face than mature skin.  It’s part of the reason why younger skin has a certain glow while mature skin appears flat and lackluster. With Honey Potion, you manually promote facial blood flow via massage while enjoying a little extra help from the product itself.

NO OTHER FACE MASK PRODUCT IN MY ARSENAL DOES THIS.

For that reason, I absolutely adore this mask and plan on investing in the full size. I also believe this is one of those products that provide cumulative benefits with consistent use.  I say this because that has my experience from only using Honey Potion two times.  Once I get the full size, I plan on using it regularly while executing a full facial massage routine.