A quickie post this one, mainly as a pathetic excuse to repost some glorious images of chocolate-based tasty treats!
It is now winter. Not quite officially, we have a couple of days yet to go. Unofficially, and according to older calendars, we’ve been in winter since the beginning of November and will stay here until the beginning of February. At once a more pessimistic version of the season—it starts earlier—and a more sensible and practical one. As soon as you’re wearing extra woolly layers and scarves, it’s winter. Sorry.
This older version of seasonal categorization also works out better at the other end: the start of spring vegetables (and, alas, lambs destined to live and end their lives as “spring lambs”). It may still be freezing cold in February, but you’ll also be noticing more light. Even in the horrors of extreme northerly areas such as those I’m originally from, and from which I’ve spent as much as possible of my life escaping by living in lower slightly sunnier latitudes like Vancouver.
But winter means winter skin. And hair. And nails.
OK, my nails are a disaster zone at the best of times, and best off with Prevex cream slathered on top and permanent gloves. I apply shea butter from time to time, including globs of it on nails and cuticles left to sit around for as long as tolerable. But that’s not compatible with most of the practicalities of work. So let’s just ignore the nails for the moment. Hope they’re still there when I next look in the spring.
Hair got chopped recently, so I can no longer use it as a second inner scarf. A good reason to dig out some thicker scarves I don’t usually wear that often (kept for trips to places like Montréal). Shorter layered etc. hair has the advantage of quicker drying. And seems to be behaving, more or less. I tried out some Products from the last dramatic cut, and meh. I’ve been sticking various things on the hair ends, which can be dry, and this has been good: the easiest one to do has been whatever I’m sticking on my face and/or hands. Shea butter has been good. That was an experiment, and a happy one. I’m lazy so if “doing me hair” is just the final stage of “doing my lips and hands and any dry patches” then I’m happy. This doesn’t work with my usual lip/eye balm, though: hair just stays greasy and lank. My gut says to blame the beeswax; might work well as a pomade for much shorter hair, or to slick it down.
Adding to the multi-purpose products, then: shea butter. For nails, cuticles, hands, and hair-ends.
Oh, and chocolate is relevant: “good” “healthy” fats, antioxidants, and lighter happy-making drugs. All of them just what you want for the winter: for skin as much as for mood and mental well-being.
The other winter thing: avocado oil. I’ve used it off and on for years on drier skin, eczema, and general flakiness. Sometimes it works better, sometimes it makes little difference, sometimes my skin is very irritable and nothing works except the blandest of the bland. In (d)ire straits, that means mineral oil. Or meadowfoam seed oil. Meadowfoam continues to be great stuff, and to be compatible with the most reactive states my skin’s had in the last long time (it’s nearly two years since I started using the ‘foam).
When I’d last used avocado, I’d used it alone. I’m currently using it mixed with meadowfoam, in proportions of somewhere between 3:1 and 4:1 avocado:meadowfoam. How I’m using it:
- eye make-up remover:
Applied to a damp reusable cotton or bamboo pad
Got them on Etsy, they last for years: keep in one small net laundry bag, put the used ones in a second bag, then just wash with other linens (towels, bedlinen, etc.) in the regular weekly laundry session
- pre-wash, if skin is drier and more sensitive:
Dampen skin, apply a small quantity all over face and throat, move it around, remove using water and hands; follow with regular cleanser and a washcloth.
Evening: dampen skin, move oil around on it, rinse but leave skin a little oily. NB if your skin is oily and/or clog-/zit-prone, this is probably not a good idea…
On body. Usual morning shower: I use cleanser proper in pits, pubes, feet; oil all over. Rinse off rapidly.
This requires an oil (or, as here, an oil blend) that sinks in fast but is moisturising. Many of the oils that sink in fastest (ex. grapeseed, hazelnut) are unfortunately not that moisturising; and many of the moistest ones (ex. olive) don’t sink in fast. Meadowfoam and hemp works super well, in my experience; avocado works well if combined with meadowfoam, but works like olive if used alone.
- face moisturiser:
Apply to damp skin after washing, pat and press in. All over, including shoulders and upper arms, down to the nipple-line.
- body moisturiser:
As needed after shower, applied to damp skin.
Ditto, and after hand-washing. Followed by shea butter, or using shea butter instead. If I were to have a New Year’s resolution, it would be do this more often. As soon as hands start feeling dry and itchy, MOISTURISE THE DAMN THINGS.
On the ends, after washing.
All over and rubbed into scalp, before washing: applied to dry hair, leave for a while (say, an hour), then wash and condition hair.
More on avocado oil:
More on meadowfoam seed oil (also in the eponymous category):
- green grease (2012-02-13)
- current skinsperiments (2012-02-29)
- all about the meadowfoam oil (2012-04-06)
More on shea butter:
Bonus simple recipe:
- avocado chocolate pudding: this takes about 5 minutes to make (you’ll need a blender though); all over the web. The link there is from Kirbie’s Cravings, San Diego food blog. Vegan and can be palaeo if you’re that way inclined. I recommend making it with the best possible cocoa you can lay your beautiful avocado-oiled paws on; works really well with almond milk, some folks prefer cow or coconut milk for assorted personal reasons including taste.
- here are the bazillion other recipe links c/o Google