Category: hair

new stuff: shampoo and conditioner

long time no see…

Life here in Vancouver continues. There has been the bad: heavy workload, work stress, and recent events in the outside world; that is, The Big Bad World that lies beyond my work-place, and indeed Vancouver, and well beyond the little bubble of pulchritudinous morosophy, such as the world of MakeupAlley. Some of the Bad Shit Going Down made me stop reading MUA altogether, because I just wanted to shake and spank MUAers for being vapid vacuous ****s.

“Spanking,” metaphorically-speaking–obviously one can’t actually go around and physically personally assault every irritating individual–and besides, however bad Things get, I absolutely must remain anti-violence. Also, it would be impossible in practice. Metaphorical spanking means expressing anger and home truths, calling a foolish spade a foolish spade. But I would be kidding myself if I thought for a minute that’s not violent too: it can hurt people. Like it or lump it, one’s own intentions are partly a selfish urge to express anger: to expel it from oneself, get it off you, no matter what the consequences are, not caring if anyone else is affected. That’s selfish. It’s uncaring: no care for others, and I think that I (and we all) have a duty of care towards others. It’s unthinking and reckless, not giving any consideration to consequences and to other people. All of these things make metaphorical spanking Bad, Immoral, and Unethical. So it is a thing that one should not do.

Also, in the online version, it’s one of the classic forms of trolling. It may start out as sincere trolling, but damn it, it’s still trolling and there’s the additional danger that one might get Into It. Keep doing it for the sake of doing it. Become more involved with goading other people and interested in their reactions (thus also: less angry, losing that original raging serious edge), invested in trolling itself (rather than one’s message). It could be enjoyable and addictive. As with certain very heavy and very illegal drugs, it may be a cowardly move, but better not to start at all… You all know my relationship with chocolate. I could be one of those addictive-personality types, I’d rather not risk finding out the hard way.

Furthermore, saying mean things to other people is mean. No matter what your intentions are, and no matter they have said and done. And meanness is something to be avoided. (Critical comment is different, but if and only if it is constructive and with the intention of opening, engaging, and continuing conversation.) Just like it’s wrong to murder satirical cartoonists. And that is all, on here anyway, that I’m going to say about that recent event in The Big Bad World outside.

And finally: it’s actually really nice and good to see everyday life continue, in its simple and often sweet way. One of the finest things about the online beautyverse, including fora like MakeupAlley, is that simplicity, continuity, and humanity. It’s peaceful. That peace is precious. Vapid and vacuous can be–usually is–wonderful.

On MakeupAlley, I often don’t have anything to contribute for good reasons (besides sitting back and enjoying normal human peaceful interactions). It’s great to just read what other people say, instead of blabbering on yourself. Sometimes I have nothing to say because the conversation is about something I know little or nothing about, and on which I have no personal experience: I can listen and learn. Sometimes I could say something useful, but by the time I read a thread–several hours later, or a day, or a week, or even longer–the moment has passed, and nearly every time someone else has said exactly what I would have said. Often better and in fewer words. Silence can be positive.

So I’m more at peace with myself, and the world, and the online world; however godawful yoga-selfie-Vancouverite that sounds.

There has also, as ever, been The Good of living in Vancouver and the happy positive uplifting aspects of my work. As ever, I don’t want to talk about work-stuff on here–I prefer to keep it and at identity separate, also it’s not really that relevant. It’s nice to have other places to talk about other things, relaxing, and helping to maintain perspective. Life in Vancouver is always brilliant, and the non-work stuff helps: simple things like going out the door and enjoying a pleasant walk in woods or along the beach, these too help with perspective, mood, thanking one’s lucky stars for the good things one has in life, going “OMG isn’t life brilliant!” at least once a day, and other aspects of basic good mental health and hygiene. Even if, as recently, it can be very foggy for days on end and it looks like our lovely mountains have disappeared.

So what’s up on the Products front? Continue reading

summer updates

magic oil

I was away. This involved not carrying too much stuff. Unfortunately, until the FAA and suchlike get rid of that absurd 3-1-1 max 3 oz / 100 ml rule, I am obliged to check in one bag when flying, so as to have adequate sunscreen supplies. Until the kind of sunscreen I can use on my skin is available more widely, I am stuck with carrying around my own supplies. (Next time you see someone with a more visible disability than my relatively trivial one, spare them a thought.) Given that I live half-way around the world from the various places I was going, and given that I didn’t have the time to go by slow boat or foot: I was obliged to fly. Yes, I made my carbon-offsetting donations (and percentage-of-ticket-price donation to trees), like a good person.

Here are the lucky beautification products that accompanied me on my jet-setting adventures.

Continue reading

new irritants

bah humbug
Exciting news! And we all know that you can never have too much excitement. Except when it comes to skin. And that ancient curse, “may you live in interesting times.” So … exciting news about over-excitement: good news because it’s news and, well, new; bad news if you’re my skin.

Adding these to the list:

  • decyl glucoside (aka decyl polyglucose)
  • cetearyl alcohol: though OK in low-contact wash-off stuff like bar cleansers
  • cetearth-20
    (often combined with cetearyl alcohol as emulsifying wax; and ditto)

How they were discovered:

  • my scalp got bumpy and itchy and, eventually, that itching turned hurty 😦
  • and, by a happy coincidence, it was time for my regular allergen check-up

Continue reading

short hair

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 11.39.39 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 11.39.59 PM

Natalie Portman with a shaved head. Photo: Getty
Natalie Portman with a shaved head. Photo: Getty

The “manosphere” really hates short-haired girls. On “game” forums and in personal dating manifestos, the wickedness of short-haired women pops up time and time again as theme and warning – stay away from girls who’ve had their hair chopped off. They’re crazy, they’re deliberately destroying their femininity to “punish” men, but the last laugh will be on them, because the bitches will die alone. Yes, there are people who really believe this. In 2014.

This week, a writer going by the handle Tuthmosis put out a short article explaining why “Girls With Short Hair are Damaged”. The piece has now received over 200,000 interactions on Facebook, so I’m not going to link to it again here. If you scrape through the layers of trolling, though, Tuthmosis’ logical basis for declaring short-haired women “damaged” is pretty interesting.

He writes that long hair is “almost universally attractive to men, when they’re actually speaking honestly. . . Women instinctively know this, which is why every American girl who cuts, and keeps, her hair short often does it for ulterior reasons . . . Short hair is a political statement. And, invariably, a girl who has gone through with a short cut – and is pleased with the changes in her reception – is damaged in some significant way. Short hair is a near-guarantee that a girl will be more abrasive, more masculine, and more deranged.”

The essential argument is: men like long hair, and what sane woman would ever want to do anything that decreases her capacity to please men?

The advantage of articles like this, pantomimic though they be, is that they make misogyny legible. There was a time when feminists had to do that all by ourselves, but now we don’t have to point out the underlying assumptions of a lot of the bullshit we deal with every day, because there are people on the internet doing it for us.

So I’m almost grateful to Tuthmosis for writing this particular piece of recreational sexist linkbait. I thought I’d never have an even passably good reason to write about how little things like short hair change the way patriarchy responds to you.

[Read the rest…]

skin & hair updates


Experiment with using up old avocado oil (we just don’t use it enough or fast enough in the kitchen), alone or mixed with meadowfoam seed oil: over. Using up the last of it on body. Zits on face. It is more moisturising than meadowfoam alone, initially anyway. And less zitty than olive. But for moisture-retention by the end of the day, better results can be observed by changing from a hyaluronic acid-based serum to a moister one without (Garden of Wisdom oat serum). I tried that with the meadowfoam-avocado mix, then with meadowfoam alone.

Conclusion: face: back to meadowfoam oil for moisture, and back (actually, way back from before this here blog…) to that oat serum.

Skin being very reactive at the moment: entirely to do with work stress. But that means that many substance that are otherwise OK on my skin, or have been in the past, trigger reaction. Vitamin C (even the very mild MAP) and green tea, for example. The antioxidant serum with which there have been least reactions has been another GoW one, Majik Green Tea. Still not as good (on me, right now) as their oat one, with which there are zero reactions.

We’ll see about reintroducing antioxidant serums for boosting sun protection, once there is more sun (and once skin is less irritable). Eating antioxidants seems to be fine, fortunately; would be disastrous otherwise, as I’m more or less vegetarian (with occasional fish).


My hair is currently shortish.

Over the course of my/its/ our life it has mostly been long; if you are an actual natural redhead and your hair looks nice, there’s often family, societal, and amorous pressure to keep it long. As it’s wavy to curly, and not uniformly, certain cuts and styles don’t work. Remember that I am lazy. So I usually have more or less the same cue, one length, longish. That also means hair can be trimmed every couple of months at a cheap unisex place.

But it gets dry and tangled, can cost a lot in products (been OK recently), certainly costs time and effort. Just getting conditioner through the stuff in the shower, for example. And, for numerous reasons and sometimes for none at all, sometimes I cut it. Lots of it off.

I went into a hairdressers when the “GET IT OFF ME” urge struck. This was, luckily, not only a good hairdresser but one who knew what to do with intermittently wavy hair, and who understood lazy people. I don’t know whether she is also lazy herself, or diplomatic, or genuinely neutral and non-judgemental. But she was sympathetic, and the first hairdresser I’ve met (or remember) who didn’t try to change my whole hair routine and force me to style and blow-dry the barnet. She did amazing things. Hair stayed amazing for the next six weeks. It also grew, as usual. I returned for some maintenance, reshaping, like topiary. (Sorry, at the start of a shorter hair phase, I find I’ve forgotten lots of stuff since the last time and have to learn all this hair excitement all over again.)

Happy hair.

It does, however, need a little on the product management side. Hence re-excavating the products that lurk at the back of a cupboard under a sink in the guest room, so mostly used by visitors. Some stuff had been left by visitors too. Plus collected samples, freebies, etc. Many were off (to the trash!) and many smelled awful, or anyway, bad to my nose. Some led to sneezing.

Adding more conditioner: meh and greasy
Adding more of other conditioners: ditto
Shea butter on ends: good against dryness, not good on flyaway cowlick bits, just greased them
John Masters Organics shine on: bugger all difference, and if you add too much hair gets weighed down and greasy rather than shiny.
JMO gel, the one that smells of orange: good, but smell got to me
Giovanni, The Body Shop, Desert Essence (various): scent issues and skin reactions. See, that’s something to remember with shorter hair: more surrounding skin is exposed…
And a bunch of others that went in the trash.

So I went on an expedition, online and IRL. Looking for something gelid but unscented. There may well be others I didn’t get (feel free to add comment below…), but the one I did get, being easily obtained here, was the Curelle gel. It does what I need it to do: tame flyaways, control frizz, generally help hair to behave itself. And it does so with discretion. Apply small quantity, distribute evenly through hair, let hair dry, that’s it. You don’t feel the stuff all day, no grease or crunching or desiccation. And no sneezing.

how is coconut oil different from palm oil?

the return of the lady of shalott

ginger, shallot, and knife

ginger + shallot + knife (1)
= ???…
(It’s OK: this is only the first of a [ed. METAPHORICAL / FIGURATIVE / ANALOGICAL] sequence, the rest of which offer some solutions. Please note that this parenthetical note does not give away the plot or ruin the dramatic tension. Promise.)

Remember this?

Well, we’re back!

Back with a difference.

No more service.

Tolerance and patience have reached their limits.

[Ed. Now updated with notes indicating which parts of what follows are METAPHORICAL. The reason for this is that there have been misreadings, elsewhere; while bad reading is to blame, I must also blame my own bad writing. Even though it’s in the nature of the figurative to be opaque and ambiguous, I must take my share of the fault here, as Chief Fool of my own blog.

Also, as this post is about vice. And an important first step in dealing with one’s own sins is to look clearly, and to acknowledge them. I try to remember this:

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
(John 8:7)

The good reader will too.]

As have time and energy: hell, I have other things to do, and other ways to spend leisure time. Like what, say you? (Cheeky monkey.) Like digressing in a leisurely way, says I; which as we’ve seen previously is a crucial leisure activity. Like writing about having other things to do. At great and tedious length. See this here post? That’s over 3,500 words’ worth of digressionary idle chatter: I admit that at least half of that is mine, and I also admit that it’s a far cry from Wordsworth. Now, wouldn’t it be bloody brilliant if we all (myself included, and first and foremost) put that much time and effort and dedication into writing novels and poetry and political rants and generally Using The Pen To Benefit Humankind And For The Greater Good Of The Entire World, Universe, And Anything Else There Might Be And Mayhap Might Come To Be, Potentially, In All Eternity And In Every Dimension / Possible World / Et Caetera Ad Infinitum Et Ultra?

Hence why, if writing anything more than 500 words long, it must include at least a Moral Of The Story (or two, or more; such things usually go in multiples), if not a full-on rant for at least a paragraph. I think I’ve obeyed that rule so far; will try my best to follow it henceforth. That compromise is the best I can do. After all, retrospection is all too easy: it makes one want to punch both one’s own past-self and one’s future-self, simultaneously and at once, and irrespective/disrespectful of not disrupting the time-space continuum. And legislation cannot, in a proper good fair just system, be retroactive. That might also be for good sound space-time-continuum-preserving sci-fi reasons too.

Anyway. That’s at least one digression out the way. Onwards and upwards and back on-track:

Yes, it’s nice to be great and good and know stuff. To be Richesce personnified. And it’s nice to then do something about it and incarnate that greatest of Medieval virtues, Largesce. But remember, remember: Continue reading

review: Ballyhoo Bath hair stuff

update: coconut oil experiment

dr bronner's coconut oil

EXPERIMENTAL METHODOLOGY AND RATIONALE: see tentative pre-review (2013-04-11)

NB: what works for my hair won’t necessarily work for anyone else’s hair.


1. Hair =

  • fine (strand-diameter)
  • thick (density, number of strands)
  • slightly wavy all over (2b), curly to frizzy in places (3b) especially in the underside and at the temples: this is the hair that grows the slowest and is most prone to breakage, on many people
  • dryish
  • longish: longest bits are between shoulder-blades, definitely now well below shoulder-length but not yet in the bra-hitting zone
  • sensitive scalp, can be eczema-prone
  • untreated: never been dyed, retextured, straightened, hot-iron-tortured, etc.
  • very rarely blow-dried (like maybe once a year or so, plus when at hairdresser’s even though I’m training them, slowly but surely, not to dry my hair to death every time and to respect the curl, man; may also be time to shop around on the hairdressing front)
  • and basically healthy

2. Coconut oil =


  1. Brush hair
  2. Scoop oil out of jar. Melt between palms of hands.
  3. Apply to hair, raking it through. Concentrating on underside and known frizz, then rest of hair. When all hair is oiled, I’m done.
  4. Twist into a medium-high bun and wrap up in cloth. Usually half a leg of an old pair of cotton/bamboo thick winter tights. Yay for recycling.
  5. Leave hair and oil to their own devices for an hour.* Make coffee, eat breakfast, drink coffee, read the news, start the usual daily deletion of pointless email crap, start dealing with email crap that’s not pointless (and, if very lucky, isn’t basically crap. With all possible due and undue respect to colleagues and others I work with.)  Continue reading