morosophical beautification? (feat. notepad)

(S)-5-hydroxy-1-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-3-decanone

Last updated: 2015-09-12
First posted: 2011-04-09
This blog is: A tragicomic moral tale of one woman’s valiant struggles with first-world problems and her moves towards minimalism, environmentalism, and liberation from consumerism. In other words: hippy-dippy tree-hugging granolarama sh*t, occasional arty-farty vapid airy-fairy nonsense musings, sanctimonious pontificating rants, may contain nuts and other irritants, but but BUT: with regular chocolate.
This page contains: an introduction, quick links to the blog’s ten cardinal posts and some other main stuff, and a “notepad” of chocolate, skincare, and other grooming titivating beautifying stuff in current use. This page used to be a sticky post, till I got tired of seeing it at the top of the blog every day. That old post is still kicking around, along with predecessors, but any future updates will be made to this here page.

meet a beautiful folly (says over-optimistic gent to beauteous lady)

INTRODUCTION
TO
THIS
HERE
BLOG

WHAT?

Morosophical beautification: because morosophy has its beauties too.

This blog started up as an extension to my MakeupAlley Notepad, and as an archive of my stuff over there. The rest of this page is that notepad. Basically, the “current affairs” of what I’m using currently. This will include metaphorical “life partners” such as oil (of one sort or another); as well as occasional on-off liaisons, extra-marital relations, and light-hearted flirtations (e.g. mascaras). Being pretty vanilla, none of these are very exciting or risqué.

Much of what follows below is over on that MUA notepad, but this stuff here is maintained regularly and is more up-to-date and more accurately represents the reality of everyday Ginger O’Rama beautificatory life. Another reason for maintaining my MUA notepad off-MUA is that updating the MUA one is often glitchy (compatibility issues, long story over many years). That MUA notepad also contains the stuff on this here blog on ethics and this stuff on politics (originally appeared in relation to a MUA board-discussion).

QUICK LINKS TO SOME OTHER POSTS ON THIS BLOG

(subject to change etc. etc. etc.) Here are the other main basic foundational posts, at the core of this here present blog:

  1. sensitive skin: a user’s manual
  2. in case of emergency
  3. resources: skin and its sensitivities
  4. Earth Day Special: Gingerrama’s Green-ish Lists (2012)
    and the 2013 version
  5. sunscreens
  6. antioxidant serums:
    especially the vitamin C serum post series
  7. ersatz (1): hair product find of the millenium
  8. ersatz (2): cleanser
  9. DIY multi-purpose oil
    and ersatz (3): moisturiser
  10. and, beyond beautification-products proper:
    Consumer Rights: draft Ten Commandments
    reducing consumption
    cruelty-free resources

See also: dropdown menu of categories and “search” box ( → on larger screens, ↓ on smaller ones).

QUICK LINKS TO SOME PAGES

Everything here is all relevant and massively important and totally worth reading, and in the drop-down menu, but:

  1. For criteria used to select and buy “better” (including but not only ethically), see: credo & caveats
  2. For some more “what” plus the “how” and “why” of this blog; its description and purpose; my ethical positions & posturings, and some further pontification: raisons d’être

WHO, HOW?

SKIN:
sensitive—(structurally/physically) thin, fragile, delicate, fine (fine-grain, no visible pores)—irritable, reactive (ex. photosensitive), some allergies—on/off eczema—no acne, but subject to irritation breakouts—no wrinkles but gradually acquiring lines of expression: as befits age, experience, and hopefully also wit and wisdom—slightly dry—Baumann type DSNW (for whatever that’s worth). Usual condition: good. 

HAIR: short
(pixie)—fine—thick/dense/lots of it—wavy (2a-c depending on time of year, weather conditions, etc.) with curly and frizzy bits—normal to dryish, porous—natural (not dyed or retexturised or otherwise buggered around with using heat, a.k.a. “styled”; left to its own devices to dry naturally) 

COLOURING:
PPP < sub-NW10—some freckles—some blue-purple shadows in inner eye corners—grey/green eyes—red hair 

A.O.B.
Otherwise a boringly healthy, medium-sized, 42-year-old female in reasonable condition.

Stuff used = a mixture of “greener” and “less green,” primary considerations being that the stuff works and is cruelty-free. If there’s a more ethical version, within reason (i.e. not at an insane price), I’ll give it preference.

NO NO NO:
I don’t use any of the following, due to incompatibility with sensitive etc. skin: 

  •  scrubs, Clarisonic, Pretika, Mia, other physical exfoliants: hands & facecloth is as much as my skin can take; 
  • AHA (except a very mild version of lactic acid, in the form of yoghurt), BHA (very low percentage & dose salicylic acid OK, used if I get a zit; not happened in a long time though), and basically generally chemical exfoliants and peels; 
  • pH that is too low or too high: thin skin, thin skin barrier, easily damaged 
  • retinaldehyde: though skin can handle the small amounts of low-dose weaker less usable retinol in rosehip seed oil; 
  • and a bunch of known irritants / reaction-triggers, compiled over the years: c/o doctors, plus trial and error:
    no. 1 being fragrance/perfume/scent, which in turn includes most essential oils (and all of them, for the eye and nose area);
    alcohol, bismuth oxychloride, cyclopentasiloxane (OK now), DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, l-ascorbic acid, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, niacinamide, quaternium-15, sodium lauryl sulfate (but s laureth s is OK), triclosan, triethanolamine (in eyes, e.g. in mascara = not OK); 

 My skincare is very very very vanilla. But: it works for my skin; and better boring than exciting, when exciting means reactions, damage, and pain…

xkcd deep cleaning pore strips

I use a Diva Cup.

I also use conventional drugs (i.e. “medicine” with thanks to “science”) as appropriate: when in need, in pain, under instruction from a doctor, etc. There are limits to hippy-dippiness. Those limits are (a) common sense, (b) sense full stop, and (c) basic animal dislike of pain, liking being comfortable, and survival/life-instinct.

I believe in sleep. And not much else. OK, chocolate. 

 
SKIN PHILOSOPHY:
I don’t want to call what follows in the main notepad below a routine. Sounds too… rigorous? Regular, regulated, religious, repressive? Politically worrying, given the proximity between “regimen” and “régime”? Quite aside from any absolutist, tyrannical, or cultish associations: the implications of organization and discipline—be that imposed by external authority or self-discipline—would be very misleading. The notepad-stuff doesn’t always happen, doesn’t always happen in that order, and can take any length of time from 10 minutes to a good hour or so. Bearing in mind the sleep factor, as well as caffeination and chocolate-hunting urges and emergencies.

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NOTEPAD:
CURRENT
SKIN, HAIR, & COSMETIC
PRODUCTS

THE BARE NECESSITIES:
QUICK LIST OF PRINCIPAL PRODUCTS
(FACE, BODY, HAIR, MAKEUP: THE WHOLE LOT)

1. Shampoo/body-wash
2. Conditioner
3. Oil: eye make-up removal, cleaning, moisturising, shaving, hair
4. Oil/beeswax balm: moisturiser for everything
5. Zinc oxide (+/- titanium dioxide) sunscreen: face and body
6. Zinc oxide sunscreen stick: lips and eye-area
7. Coconut oil/bicarbonate of soda/starch deodorant cream
8. Mascara: black, waterproof (can double up as eyeliner)
9. Concealer: for eye area
10. Lipstick

ABSOLUTE BASICS

1. Oil
2. Sunscreen (actually, could skip this and just use clothing and avoid sun, if we’re thinking Doomsday scenarios)
3. Mascara

IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD, YOU’RE ON A DESERT ISLAND, AND YOU CAN ONLY HAVE ONE COSMETIC* ITEM

1. Mascara Sunscreen (OK, let’s be practical: after all, it is the end of the world)

* as defined in, for ex. EU law: not a medically-necessary thing; includes skincare and haircare

Source: The Little Loaf's visit to Tapas24, Barcelona

Source: The Little Loaf’s visit to Tapas24, Barcelona

BASICS & SUPPLEMENTS:

  • evening: (for medical reasons–anaemic–and as prescribed by doctor: iron (chelated)
    + vitamin C (ascorbic acid; stopped ester-C because kidneys)
  • morning: vitamin D: vegetarian (D3 or D2; FYI fungal-derived D2 is vegan, much D3 is from sheep lanolin (check product ingredient label) and usually therefore vegetarian, some D3 is not as from fish), 2000 IU
    + Probiotic: 10 billion+, 8+ strains, microencapsulated, no FOS (indigestion), vegetarian; Jamieson or drugstore (SDM) own-brand
  • + food (repeated as needed throughout day); leafy greens and basically lots of veg (especially fried in oil or roasted), whole grains, pulses, herbs, spices, tofu, nuts, avocadoes, seaweed / sea vegetables, olive oil; houmous (with generous extra black pepper, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ginger) on toast with nutritional yeast on top as my munchies-staple; flax and hemp seed oil for GLA and omega-3, breaking vegetarianism to eat local wild salmon and some other fish (if sustainable etc., like herring); assorted teas, genmaicha green tea with toasted brown rice, coffee, and most importantly GOOD RED WINE
  • teeth: Preserve (Whole Foods) toothbrush: partly recycled, recyclable, and cruelty-free manufacturer
    + a toothpaste, with fluoride, without SLS (eczema etc.), with mint (by which I mean actually tasting of actual mint): ex. Sensodyne (several, especially the old Fresh Mint one in a giant tube) or Jason PowerSmile
  • household cleaning stuff: dish-washing liquid, laundry detergent, cleaning stuff: usually unscented (I’ll use scented kitchen stuff + gloves), sensitive-skin-friendly, no SLS (eczema: SLES fine thought), biodegradable, cruelty-free. Enzyme-free laundry detergents, for most fabrics (plus some hydrogen bleach where appropriate). AspenClean, Bio-Vert (Canadian), Ecover, NatureClean (Canadian), Seventh Generation. Some DIY stuff too (baking soda, vinegar). No enzymes in laundry detergent. Cool to cold washes where/when possible. For hand-washing—bras, mainly—something mild: currently Everyday Shea unscented body wash and using up any old unscented shampoo.

CURRENT CHOCOLATE:

Zazubean Nakid 73% chocolate with cocoa nibs.
Beans from the Dominican Republic and Ecuador.
Organic & fair-trade.
Swiss manufacture.
Local company (go Van!).

CONTENTS OF THE REST OF THE NOTEPAD:

And there’s links to chocolate-based recipes along the way; images of said chocolate-based delights feature along the way.
TOOLS

  • using soft (or, elsewhere, softened) tepid water, body temperature or slightly cooler
  • face-cloths a.k.a. baby washcloths, cleansing cloths, (UK) flannels:
    for washing skin on body.
    Made out of muslin or fine cotton flannel, square, around 20 cm x 20 cm, cheap, plentiful, most of my collection is now also elderly and grubby. Changed regularly (every one or two days) and washed at the end of the week. Bought from various places over the last 20 years or so. Use: thorough but gentle cleansing, mild exfoliation. If you want more, apply more pressure, speed, roughness…
  • soft reusable pads: for washing face and removing eye make-up (used with oil) or washing face (used with water and cleanser).
    Made from recycled cotton flannel sheets or pyjamas, or from bamboo which is more sustainable and environmentally-friendly (needs less water, faster-growing crop, better for the soil) or hemp fleece. Purchased on Etsy; I made my own before, but badly, so they disintegrated in the wash. Easy to make yourself so long as you have a sewing-machine and do the edges really well. I use a fresh one every time; like the face-cloths, they all go in the wash every week.
  • towels: cotton towelling, and as with face-cloths, various sources. Some are even—how bleeding-heart granola can you get—made from sustainable organic cotton. Allegedly. Others were donated by or long-term-borrowed from parental units, former flat-mates, and other associates in previous existences. There’s at least one garish 1970s towel (faded psychedelic peach/lilac flowers) that used to belong to my grandparents. In short: I don’t know where most of our towels come from, and I’m not sure I’d want to. But if getting more, we buy cheap AND organic etc. cotton.

I. HEAD
and everything else that’s above nipple-level

MORNING

This usually takes about 15-25 minutes, depending on how asleep I am and how long is spent under a shower in an attempt to wake up. And depending on whether or not hair is washed; that adds another few minutes. Turning water off while conditioner soaks in and so on (unless still half-asleep: ethics wake up with rest of thinking-parts-of-brain, not yet a conditioned reflex). “Face” here includes neck, throat, décolleté, ears, tops of shoulders. Shorthand for “those parts of me that face the world, are located above the boobs, but do not necessarily include the eyes”; The Bosom and The Gaze also having somewhat different/differentiated, shall we say, outlooks and being-looked-upon rôles to play. 

 

CLEANSER

  • Something mild and unscented, but that does actually do the job of cleaning. See also ersatz (2): cleanser.
    • usually a rich, creamy, very bland syndet (non-soap) cleansing bar or else whatever shampoo I’m currently using (if it’s an unscented one), all over head to toe
    • currently: Pure Anada Scentless Creamy Cleanser
    • application: onto dry skin, using hands, massage around face and neck and bosom, remove with wet cloth

MOISTURISER (1):
HYDRATING, HUMECTANT LAYER +/- also ANTIOXIDANT & SPF-BOOSTING

  • Purpose: soothing skin, adding a hydrating layer before moisturiser (attracting and trapping water under oil), and boosting sun protection.
    • currently: nothing
    • previously: an antioxidant serum: Garden of Wisdom majik green tea hydrogel
      = Poor Man’s Replenix serum, somewhere between their CF one and the Power of Three, but cheaper and without some ingredients that can irritate my skin.
      Application: patted onto damp skin and generally moved around to ensure even coverage; sinks in fast and smoothly. I use it as an SPF booster on high-traffic body areas (hands, arms, tops of feet).
    • (eye area) Garden of Wisdom Anti-Puffy hyaluronic acid, caffeine, peptide (Matrixyl 3000) Eye Serum: dabbed on undereye area and lids, great stuff.

MOISTURISER (2):
EMOLLIENT, OCCLUSIVE LAYER

  • FACE & EYES
    an outrageously bland basic banal oil / emollient cream / barrier-repair cream / balm; unscented; see also ersatz (3): moisturiser

    • currently: ShiKai borage dry skin remedy hand cream
    • previously / previously:  multi-purpose oil (meadowfoam + sunflower)
      and/or a cruelty-free bland emollient / barrier-repair cream ex. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast baume, Impruv cream, Vanicream / Cliniderm, Allergenics non-steroidal emollient cream, Avène Cicalfate (similar sort of thing to LRP Cicaplast but not cruelty-free), etc.
    • application: all over face, neck, throat, down to bosom.
      If using oil: just use oil on damp skin (with or without the extra step of an intermediate antioxidant layer applied after cleansing) while in the shower so skin is still warm and damp. Leave on to sink in. Once out the shower, move and pat remaining stuff around to drier areas (ex. forehead).
      If using moisturiser (current situation): pat skin dry-ish, then apply moisturiser.

MOISTURISER (3):
EYES & LIPS

  • More stuff for drier areas, with more delicate skin that’s even more useless than the rest at producing and retaining oil: mostly balms, with an interesting eye serum too. Also using the balms on any dry areas of skin.
    • (eye area) same moisturiser as rest of face, dotted and dabbed on gently. Usually just eyelids up to brow-bone + outer corners of eyes. Not the undereye area which is prone to bagginess if I use anything there that’s heavier than a very lightweight gel / serum.
    • (lips): currently: DIY multi-purpose balm: currently a 1:1 mix, melted together then set, of:
      extra-virgin olive oil + beeswax (unscented Badger Balm in big tin)
      + refined shea butter (L’Occitane)
    • application: dotted on skin, pressed on and patted in.

MORE MOISTURISER

  • if dryer and/or in very cold dry weather, on any dry patches: there’s an escalation of other things used, depending on extent of dryness and whether it’s eczema too: starting with using a different oil, balm applied more generally, barrier repair cream, then greasier and heavier stuff; for more, see EXTRA STUFF further down.

SUNSCREEN

  • FACE & EYES
    a minimalistically beautiful SPF 30+ physical sunscreen, unscented, no heavier oils and waxes, moist

    • currently (calamity skin): CoTZ Sensitive SPF 40 (20% ZnO) or the Pediatric one which is identical
    • recently: Derma E Face SPF 30 (16% ZnO).
      Sort of Poor Man’s Replenix, close enough to the feel of the Replenix Sheer Physical Cream but a fraction of the price and no irritation. When I first tried out Derma E Face, it was way too dry. Over my current heavier moisturiser, it’s fine. Feel and finish close to the old BurnOut Eco-Sensitive.
    • or: Replenix Sheer Physical Spray SPF 50+ (12% ZnO).
      This stuff does take a few minutes to settle and until it has settled it will look and feel greasy. Be patient: once settled, it is imperceptible. In more serious sun, I usually apply a second layer 10-15 minutes later or just before going out. Which is a bit finicky. Fine for about three days in a row then I get red itchy irritated bits around my nose and mouth.
    • I’ve also used the cream version, Replenix Sheer Physical Cream SPF 50+ (13.75% ZnO, which is nice but horribly way expensive here in Canada, and with which I also got the nose/mouth-area issues.
    • or EltaMD Pure Physical SPF 47 (10% ZnO + 5.5% TiO2): moister but easy to smoothe on, super soothing stuff. Like with the Replenix: eventual less-than-fine-ness, though that takes longer (about a week).
    • or Derma E Body SPF 30 (16% ZnO): nice for ages, using it up on body, something in it currently irritates on face (? the vitamin E or safflower seed oil, of which the former is more likely; these are the only ingredients in the Body version that aren’t in the Face; the Face has slightly more decyl glucoside so the Body would have proportionately slightly higher concentrations of xanthan gum, potassium cetyl phosphate, glyceryl stearate citrate–but all of these are at way under 0.5% anyway and none are known irritants on my skin)
    • or Vanicream SPF 50 (7% ZnO + 5% TiO2); too moist / heavy on skin right now, this is a fall-winter regular
    • application: to dry skin (wait for moisturiser to sink in); on all exposed flesh.
      Replenix spray: spray into palm of one hand not directly to face (about 6-8 squirts for face, ears, neck, throat); apply to moisturised skin once moisturiser has sunk in; rub palms of hands together and pat onto skin.
  • EYES & LIPS
    a moisturising SPF 30+ zinc oxide lip sunscreen, unscented and preferably unflavoured

    • currently around eyes: regular face sunscreen + sunglasses if sunny
    • currently on lips: CoTZ SPF 45 lip balm (4% TiO2 + 5.5% ZnO). Slight tint so can be used alone on lips, also as a decent pretty moist base for lipstick. Not unscented, slight ginger flavour.
    • application: regular sunscreen around eyes avoiding eyeballs and lashes; the lip stuff on lips like any other twist-up balm.

EVENING

I should explain and apologize that I’m not very good at the whole night-time ritual business. Even worse than my usual tolerance (and competence) towards rituals and routines. Hence there are several of them.

I’m very good at wanting to go from day/clothed/awake/vertical to night/PJs/asleep/horizontal as quickly, efficiently, and lazily as possible. Unfortunately, I am not Wallace and don’t have Grommet and brilliant gadgets to help. Practice makes perfect, though; decades of daily practice have knocked the total time for the whole process down to 2 minutes (I cheat in that garments are flung off and get folded the next day).

Also, my skin often (when in a normal state and if not using a tenacious silicone-based sunscreen) seems to be happiest when it’s only cleaned once a day. Sometimes even every couple of days.

EVENING NON-ROUTINE #1

  • clean teeth, do nothing at all to skin (or to hair)
  • remember to switch off bathroom light and other lights, check front door is locked
  • go to bedroom
  • remove clothes
  • go to bed
  • sleep

EVENING NON-ROUTINE #1B

Currently, with calamitous skin, I’m cleaning said skin twice a day, morning and evening. Partly about the bacterial infection, but doesn’t take too long and worth doing anyway when using a more tenacious sunscreen during the day.

  • remove eye make-up using multi-purpose oil (meadowfoam + sunflower), and tepid water
  • technique: using reusable cotton or bamboo pads: first soak pads with warm water, hold over closed eyes for 30 seconds, then swipe, then poke around at lashes with fingers (= removing tubing mascara); rinse pads; repeat process, with pads soaked in oil (= to remove other eye makeup); a combination of warm water and pressure (for tubing mascara) and oil removes most stuff
  • clean face using mild unscented cleanser (same stuff as morning), face-cloth or cotton pads, and warm water
  • pat face dry
  • moisturise: cream all over, balm on lips (as morning)

EVENING NON-ROUTINES #2-5

Sometimes I add various other steps, instead of the first item in ROUTINE #1 above:

→ See also: EXTRA STUFF: DRYNESS & ALLERGIES
Delia Smith's chocolate mousse

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II. REST OF BODY
= nipple-line and below

STUFF FOR HANDS, NEXT TO BATHROOM & KITCHEN SINKS

  • Everyday Shea Unscented Moisturizing Body Wash
  • oil (multi-purpose oil & mineral oil in bathroom; olive and hemp seed (refrigerated) oils, also used for food, live in the kitchen)
  • multi-purpose balm
  • bland moisturiser (currently ShiKai borage dry skin remedy hand cream or La Roche-Posay Lipikar baume (using up the latter: “waste not, want not”))
  • no nail-varnish: reasons of environmental queasiness (ex. using all these cotton-wool pads, then thrown away into landfill) and laziness, also irritation from fumes (removers but also even big 3- and big 5-free polishes) and drying of nails (even with ditto re. polishes): prone to breaking, splitting, cracking, hang-nails, brittleness, and infections; a bad combination when you add my bad nail-/finger-chewing habit.
  • SPF 30+ zinc oxide-only physical sunscreen (see further below)

TOOLS

  • face-cloths, as before
  • Gillette Venus 3-blade razor: the brand is now cruelty-free, though owned by P&G; that old version of the razor TTBOMK antedates their take-over; all the plastic parts can be recycled, including the head though that means messing about delicately with the actual blades; they, too, can be recycled separately depending on your available facilities, manual dexterity, and number of remaining fingers (let’s just say I’ve had a few close shaves and advise caution)

CLEANSER

  • usually, for a rapid a.m. shower, just multi-purpose oil as 2-in-1 cleanser/moisturizer
    • application: wet skin, pour some oil into palm of hand, rub hands together, apply, move hands around a bit, rinse
  • + on pits, pubes, and any sunscreened areas: a bland boring cleanser: current shampoo (see further down) or bar cleanser or face cleanser
    • applied with hands then massaged around using hands, them rinsed off
    • using soft (or, elsewhere, softened) tepid water, body temperature or slightly cooler

SHAVING STUFF

MOISTURISER

  • multi-purpose oil
    • application: if less dry: in shower, leave on for about a minute, rinse off
    • if more dry: apply more at end of shower, leave to absorb
  • hands, rest of self under clothes, eczema-prone areas:
    • ShiKai borage dry skin remedy hand cream
    • multi-purpose balm
    • Prevex cream, La Roche-Posay Lipikar baume, or the SDM knock-off of Aveeno unscented oat lotions and creams
    • if drier or otherwise more needy, something from EXTRA STUFF

SUNSCREEN

  • covering up using a hat and clothing: cheaper and more effective than any sunscreen
  • + SPF 30+ physical unscented sunscreen:
    • currently: CoTZ Sensitive / Pediatric SPF 40 (20% ZnO)
    • recently: Derma E Body SPF 30 (16% ZnO),
      Replenix sheer physical spray SPF 50 (12% ZnO).
      No particular preference.
    • other times of year: my hands are usually the only exposed body part below the neck when the weather is cool and damp, and for reasons of comfort and common sense I spend the non-summer parts of the year covered up in warm waterproof clothing
    • application: on any exposed flesh

DEODORANT

  • unscented solid deodorant
    • Primal Pit Paste unscented deodorant

SCENT

  • solid perfume: can’t use alcohol-based scents, rashes ensue. Plus sneezing and streaming nose and eyes from many scents, and with some, a different sort of irritation expressed in shuddering reaction and gagging.
  • (E)au naturel(le): the usual, for work

→ See also: EXTRA STUFF: DRYNESS & ALLERGIES

Delia Smith's molten chocolate puddings

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III. HAIR

As with anything else, using soft (or, elsewhere, softened) tepid water, body temperature or slightly cooler. With minimum time spent under the water, for environmental reasons, when possible / I remember; winter early mornings = stay under warm shower until wake up…

Occasionally, a pre-wash condition: multi-purpose oil, massaged into scalp, left to sit for at least 30 minutes (ideally an hour) before washing hair. Not done this in ages (and not more often than once a week, as a weekend treat) due to The Horrors Of Work. Or, more accurately, The Need For Sleep. Which would be disrupted by getting up earlier to wash hair, or cutting into precious evening down-time (a.k.a. Total Collapse).

SHAMPOO

  • somewhat-moisturising shampoo, fragrance-free and usually unscented; see also ersatz (1): hair product find of the millenium
    • currently: Earth Science fragrance-free shampoo
    • recently: La Roche-Posay Lipikar Syndet fragrance-free body cream-gel cleanser. Yes, it’s actually a shower gel, but it also happens to clean hair well without drying out my scalp and (on me anyway) that works out better and cheaper than many regularly-available unscented shampoos (ex. my previous regular, Free & Clear / Cliniderm)
    • application: head tipped upside down, gentle on the scalp, rinse thoroughly with lots of water.

CONDITIONER

  • moisturising-but-not-heavy-and-greasifying conditioner, fragrance-free and usually unscented
    • currently: Scentuals scentfree conditioner or Earth Science fragrance-fres
    • recently: Free & Clear / Cliniderm conditioner: fine for a few months then feels drying
    • application: on washed well-rinsed-out hair; applied all over, mainly the ends but including some areas that are near the scalp and roots, where some of my hair is otherwise more dry and frizzy; rinsed out immediately after.

STYLING

  • currently: aloe vera gel; Mountain Rose Herbs, also has xanthan gum (aloe + gum = key for stylin’ styling style), citric acid, potassium sorbate (i.e. preservative, necessary if you wish to avoid bacterial contamination and infection, especially if you’re currently fighting off bacterial infection on skin…).
  • previously (if the weather is very damp/wet) a tiny dab of Aveda Light Elements anti-frizz fluid or their Smooth Infusion style prep smoother
  • sometimes a dab of multi-purpose oil on the ends if dry (not happened in a good long while now)
  • also used more-or-less recently: John Masters Organics Shine On. I’m looking out for anything else like it that has an aloe vera + flax seed gel base, containing little else, unscented, MUST have decent preservatives. Better than the JMO or the DYI version you have to keep in the fridge and that goes off in days. See, the DIY version is really not worth it, for the amount of time and labour, unless it’s a minor by-product from making larger quantities of flax-seed gel regularly every week (= substitute for eggs in cooking and baking).

See also: EXTRA STUFF: DRY HAIR

TOOLS

  • an old wooden brush with wooden quills (instead of regular bristles), FSC-certified wood, from The Body Shop. The bristles are nice for massaging scalp.
    • on dry hair to get out any tenacious tangles ex. if I’ve been walking/running on a windy day
    • short hair = I can often get away with not brushing it. All-day bed-head FTW!
    • there’s also a comb in the bathroom, but I’ve not used it in ages. A Kent comb: plastic, hand-cut, with fairly wide-spaced largish teeth that are rounded and smooth at the ends (an unusual feature in combs). About 20 years old, no idea what the model’s actual name/number is. Looks like lots of other plastic combs with handles seen in lots of shops (except for those smooth ends). Not used very much: my hair behaves better if I don’t comb it when damp, if I just use fingers gently instead; thanks curly people for passing on that tip.

Nigella Lawson's Molten Chocolate Babycakes

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IV. MAKEUP

These are either being used currently right now, or are in The Bag and have been used at some point in the past month. First one in the list is current everyday thing at this very moment. Further levels at the end of this post.

TOOLS

All are cruelty-free, vegan, cheap, and made from sustainable materials (bamboo, FSC wood) or recycled and/or recyclable ones (the plastics used)

  • small brushes (intended for eyeshadow, used for concealer): EcoTools
  • kabuki brushes: The Body Shop (and their twist-up blusher brush), EcoTools (travel one in aluminium tube)
  • lash & brush comb: Marks & Spencer, from their mini travel set
  • Tweezerman metal-toothed lash comb (unless, as I’m doing right now, using tubing mascara)
  • cotton-wool buds/Q-tips: the ones with paper sticks, organic cotton, recyclable, from Whole Foods

NAILS

No nail varnish: dry brittle nails, prone to hang-nails and breaking (and being chewed), easily damaged by all known nail-polish removers, and desiccated by nail-polish itself. Including Big 3- and Big 5-free, water-based, etc. I attempt to mitigate the damage and alleviate pain using oil and/or balm.

LEVEL ONE: EVERYDAY NORMALITY

Skin currently in decent shape; but I refuse to leave my burrow and encounter fresh air outside, let alone people, without a minimum coating of mascara. Down to roots of lashes, looking vaguely convincing as though tinted. It’s a little bit like drag, in terms of one’s “normal, natural” outside appearance differing from one’s “true” inner perception of self. The real true me has dark lashes, the incongruous false outer appearance needs tweaking to reflect that, and I simply don’t feel comfortable or myself until the lashes are dark. Can go from alien to human-ish-oid in an easy comfortable 10 minutes (with tea), current record (just eyeliner and mascara) is 4 minutes.

EYELINER
For tightlining:

  • Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in bronze shimmer ink
  • applied using a short-handled brush (the whole brush is about the length of my pinkie-finger) that came with Clinique brush-on cream liner. Liner applied to lash roots, dot-and-zigzag motion, all along the upper lash-line from inner to outer corner, not on lower lash-line. The brush has a very short firm head—about 3mm long—with quite stiff bristles, straight across; not an angled brush, not a fine-tip liner brush. Suits me best, technique-wise, as I’m short-sighted and applying “blind” (i.e. taking advantage of my naturally superior close-up vision).

MASCARA

  • in black; unscented, no clumping or flaking; no smudging and ideally waterproof. I wear glasses, they sit close to my eyes, and I have long eyelashes that brush the lenses. Glasses covered in oily gunk is not good.
    • currently: Clinique naturally glossy
    • recently: Bobbi Brown intensifying long-wear tubing mascara
    • Blinc Amplified tubing mascara
    • Clinique Lash Power tubing mascara: not as good as the Bobbi Brown one, longer brush and thinner formula, flakier, takes more time and coats for a lesser result (but cheaper and more readily available)
    • on non-tubers, +/- a waterproofing topcoat (Marcelle): topcoats currently irritate, but CNG alone is infallible as ever (though not as long-lasting and impeccable, rain-proof, etc. as a tubing mascara)
    • Herban Luxe waterproof mascara (Etsy): currently irritates
    • application: a rapid once-over, top and bottom lashes, upper and lower sides; a second quick-swipe coat on upper lashes; but no going back over lashes in another full coat.

EYE CONCEALER

  • skin-coloured, non-transferring (same reason as mascara)
    • currently: (whole eye area) Silk Naturals HD cream foundation in C10; on eyelids, eye area up to brows, in the under-eye areas, inner corner next to nose + often elsewhere on face (as a highlighter, under eyebrows, on nose)
    • recently: Bobbi Brown tinted eye brightener in Porcelain Bisque I, but irritates eyes and skin in eye-corners
    • Bobbi Brown long lasting cream shadow in Bone: slightly pinker than SN foundation, but much of a muchness on me anyway and BB is much more expensive
    • application: using fingers, melted between finger-tips then dotted and pressed on gently.

LIPS

  • an everyday rapid Ones’ Lips But Better:
    • currently: Clinique Chubby Stick in Bountiful Blush or Lipstick Queen Jean Queen
    • or Silk Naturals Kisser Slicker in Raindrops on Roses : looks like the name suggests, MLBB. This is also the lippie living in my bag
    • or Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

LEVEL TWO: ONE STAGE UP

Same as Level One, except:

LIPS
A vamped-up subtle rosy-red tint (if “vamp” and “subtle” aren’t mutually exclusive):

  • more coats of Silk Naturals Kisser Slicker in Raindrops on Roses 
  • Lipstick Queen Medieval

LEVEL THREE: UP ANOTHER NOTCH

Still just basic normal-human-simulacrum drag. The maximum-fifteen-minute version.

+ FACE

  • Silk Naturals HD cream foundation in C10: finally, a foundation the colour of my skin, that doesn’t dry it out or irritate it, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg
    • applied using fingertips and/or a stubby kabuki brush + a teeny eyeshadow/concealer brush
    • using this as full-facial slap if there’s any risk of someone taking photos of me; while my skin is basically in good condition, no visible flaws in normal viewing conditions, bare-faced in photos accentuates every deviation from the norm. (Weird, that: photography is supposed to be an accurate snapshot of reality, yet all too often it’s a caricature.) Somehow, smoothing stuff helps airbrush photo-reality.

LIPS

  • Lipstick Queen Medieval
  • or Silk Naturals Kisser Slicker in Bitten: similar shade to Medieval, slightly more pigmented and redder. Sometimes I’ll also use lipstick as blusher.

This lot lives in an appropriate receptacle for shiny things: an old Gift With Purchase space-age silver Clinique makeup bag. The bag also contains backup supplies of everyday stuff: mascara, lip-balm, lipstick. Other levels also exist.

→ See also: EXTRA STUFF: MAKEUP

Dennis Cotter's olive oil chocolate mousse

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V. RECIPES FOR THE IMAGES ON THIS NOTEPAD

This last one below isn’t really a recipe, except insofar as it might be a recipe for happiness (and possibly also–or therefore also–an elixir of eternal youth and magic beauty-potion): chocolate. At least 70% cocoa solids. Eat daily. At least once daily.

chocolate stack chocolate stack chocolate stack

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VI. EXTRA STUFF

This section and others further below aren’t updated very regularly, but most of what’s here is probably still generally useful, and general enough so that alternatives or parallels can be found, adapted, used. Being ecologically sound here, in preserving information for reuse and recycling…

EXTRA STUFF (1): SEASONAL ALLERGIES

EYES

  • eyebright (euphrasia) sterile aqueous solution eye lotion: apply to closed eyes using pads, allowing some of it to go into eyes. Hold pads over eyes for a couple of minutes.

NOSE

  • apply unscented lip balm or other waxy stuff to inside of nose. A first step of defence against pollen, spores, etc. from invading, sticking to hairs inside nose, and triggering reactions.

SKIN (FACE & BODY, ALL OVER)

  • back to basics, and cleaning self as little as possible, minimal water-contact, much use of oats
  • CLEANSER: oil or emollient cream, working up to oat-and-water paste, then oaty unscented syndet soap-free cleanser
  • MOISTURISER: oil or emollient / barrier-repair cream (more on them further down)
  • SUNSCREEN: Vanicream SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO₂)
  • DEODORANT: zinc oxide baby butt cream
  • HAIR: unscented mild stuff shampoo & conditioner
  • MAKEUP: level 0 (see further below), just a very reliable plain mascara, many (except tubing ones) can also be used for tightlining

ALSO / GENERALLY

EXTRA STUFF (2): DRYNESS

DRY AND INTOLERANT
Substituting in spring to early summer super-mega-allergicky bonanza-time, and other occasional bouts of irritability through the year:

  • CLEANSER (face & body): oil (a basic bland one: mineral, sunflower) or emollient cream, working up to oat-and-water paste, then oaty unscented syndet soap-free cleanser

  • method: cleansing with water once a day maximum, and very little water and minimum skin-water contact: standing over a sink or shallow-filled bath, rather than hosing myself down in the shower. If my skin’s very unhappy, I’ll only clean skin with water every other day (and only once then), otherwise cleaning myself water-free.
  • TONER: cool-to-tepid tap water (my local water is lovely, soft, off glaciers, and well-treated); if I’m away somewhere with lousy hard water, I’ll resort to bottled mineral water
  • MOISTURISER (face & body): oil or emollient / barrier-repair cream; heavy waxy stuff on lips and around eyes
  • SUNSCREEN: Vanicream SPF 50
  • HAIR: unscented mild shampoo and conditioner, washing only every 4 days, and putting hair up in between (plaits/braids, messy bun, etc.). When my skin’s been very troublesome and I’m on minimum-water-contact, I’ve been known to get someone else to wash my hair for me, with my head tipped back over a sink or tub (like in hospital or at a hair salon).
  • DEODORANT & SCENT: zinc oxide cream: baby butt paste, a.k. diaper- / nappy-rash cream

General approach and technique to dealing with dry skin: layering. Reasons for why:

  1. Just as with separate shampoo + conditioner or separate moisturiser + sunscreen: better functionality for both purposes than a 2-in-1; in my experience, 2-in-1s are never “the one product that does it all” but tend to be at best 1/2-and-1/2.
  2. Parallel with clothing: there’s greater flexibilty in having a wardrobe of garments of different weights, warmths, etc. and layering them. Allows you the freedom to adapt to circumstances: some areas being drier than others, variations from day to day, changes in weather and seasons, etc.
  3. Dry dehydrated skin: what seems to work best is sandwiching a layer of water under a layer of oil, and if need be repeating in double-deckers, triple-deckers, etc.

On days when the weather is colder, drier, and/or windier:

  • FACE & EYES: add a layer of shea butter or other heavy waxy stuff as required
    • application: small dab, rubbed and warmed-up between fingertips, dotted onto drier (and thinner-skinned, more delicate) areas such as forehead, cheekbones, bridge of nose, and around the eyes, and smoothed in.
      If you see my forehead in real life, you’ll laugh at my calling it “delicate” in reference to anything other than skin. Flattering people have referred to it as “aristocratically Renaissance” or further physiological evidence of pre-Raphaelitism. Yes, it’s a five finger forehead: and what would be more appropriate for me than being a five-finger-er? If I were a guy, I’d be a slaphead egghead…

DRY, JUST PLAIN DRY

When skin is drier, which might or might not coincide with whatever’s going on with the weather and/or allegies: I use one or other or some combination of the following assorted stuff in the emergency tool-kit. All over or on localised dry patches. They’re listed in approximate order of increasing seriousness:

EMOLLIENT / BARRIER-REPAIR CREAMS

Here are some moisturisers I’ve used and abused in dire straits, and sometimes kept using once skin was stable again. Most are emollient or barrier-repair creams; the products below don’t all call themselves that, but these are useful terms to look out for. Some call themselves “balms” but are really richer thicker creams.

  • A-Derma Skin Care Cream (note: not fully cruelty-free any more)
  • A-Derma Exomega balm or cream (ditto)
  • Allergenics cream; there is also a less-moist lotion
  • Avène Tolérance extrême cream (note: not cruelty-free any more)
  • Avène TrXéra + Sélectiose cream or balm (ditto)
  • Avène XeraCalm cream (there is also a balm, but less good IME; stickier, no more moisturising, a little itchy; and ditto)
  • Ayelet night cream (Etsy)
  • CeraVe lotion or cream
  • Chagrin Valley Whipped Squalane Mousse
    = shea olein + olive squalane + olive butter + jojoba oil; see ersatz (3): moisturiser
    Alas, it’s no longer unscented.
  • several Derma E creams
  • Dr.Hauschka rose day cream (yes, scented; yes, weirdly, this stuff has been known to work on my skin)
  • Elave cream
  • ShiKai borage dry skin therapy lotion or hand cream (yes, all over, face and eyes too)
  • Vanicream
  • Vitec (made by Vanicream)
  • Weleda (scented) baby Calendula moisturisers
  • and assorted other UK and European emollient creams not available here in Canada, at least not in actual real live shops here:
    Barefoot Botanicals,
    Faith in Nature,
    Green People,
    Lavera Neutral range,
    Urtekram,
    etc.
  • the DIY multi-purpose skin oil or some heavier oils (e.g. avocado, hemp seed) under moisturiser or mixed in with it
  • argan oil under moisturiser or mixed in with it (Mountain Rose Herbs, but brand doesn’t matter–exact same stuff).
    On why it is NOT worth spending lots of money on Josie Maran and suchlike (OK, unless suffering from the matchy-matchy variant of OCD), because argan oil = argan oil = argan oil: see review (2011-08-12) and update (2011-08-27).

OINTMENTS, BALMS, WAXY SOLID UNGUENTS

The next stage is heavy-duty balm, including some lip balms.

  • DIY multi-purpose balm
    = plain refined shea butter (L’Occitane/NOW; refined without hexanes)
    + extra-virgin olive oil + beeswax (both = Badger unscented balm).
    RECIPE: Boil some water (about a cupful) and pour it into a small saucepan. Scoop balm ingredients out into a smaller bowl (it should fit inside that saucepan and be heat-proof). Chop roughly into smallish pieces (so they melt quicker and more evenly once heated). Place metal bowl insaucepan of water. DO NOT LET ANY WATER INTO THE BALM-MIX.
    Alternatively: put ingredients, chopped up, into a bowl. Heat in microwave.
    Heat until not just melted but boiling, mixing along the way. Remove bowl from saucepan (or microwave) and pour contents into containers (old balm tins etc.), and refrigerate. Remove from fridge once balm is solid. Add lids. Use.
    Over-heating the balm results in a texture, look, feel, and performance that is more like Vaseline than the more usual softer creamier non-petrolatum balms. A fortuitous accidental discovery when I used a metal bowl for the bain-marie…
  • Allergenics non-steroidal ointment
  • Aquaphor, the ointment: petrolatum + lanolin mostly
  • Badger balm, unscented version in the tin
    = extra-virgin olive oil + beeswax
  • Dr Bronner’s Magic All-One Balm, unscented “naked” version
    = jojoba oil + beeswax + avocado oil + hemp seed oil + vitamin E
  • Dr.Hauschka lip balm or eye balm, the stuff in the jar; scented but good, in my experience
  • lanolin ointment or balm, or alone; ex. Lansinoh. Often sold as nipple-balm for lactating mothers. Ethical issues: most lanolin is unethically derived, some is wild-harvested (check with manufacturer; embarrass them is they don’t know or care)
  • Madre Bees unscented organic lip balm
    = extra-virgin olive oil + beeswax + hemp seed oil + vitamin E
  • petrolatum a.k.a. petroleum jelly, the Unilever branded “Vaseline”
  • Prevex Protectant Cream: petrolatum + silicone + microcrystalline wax
  • shea butter
    Many/most prefer raw unrefined shea, but my skin doesn’t so far. It is irritated by octyl methoxycinnamate and (many, but not all and not in all concentrations) other cinnam- chemical relatives, inc. cinnamic acid in unrefined shea butter. So I use the refined kind.
  • Silk Naturals plain organic lip balm
    = olive, castor, jojoba, & avocado oils, beeswax, candelilla wax, hemp & cranberry oils, carnuaba wax
  • Weleda calendula ointment: this has been reformulated, and is not always readily available. It’s unscented and lives in the First Aid section of health-food stores.
  • WeledaWeather Everything cream/balm: this is an oily ointment
  • Weleda Everon lip balm

REALLY DRY & SCALY, esp. EYE AREA

  • soak pads (cotton-wool, reusable cotton pads, a small towel, or similar) with cool liquid:
    water,
    witch-hazel hydrosol,
    or milk (cow, goat, or plant)
  • use two old teabags (black or green tea; or indeed certain others such as rosehip or chamomile), soaked in cold water, one over each eye. Hold over closed eyes for a while. Relax.
  • apply raw honey to scaly bits: I’ve used manuka honey with a UMF of 10-15 for this (higher is probably best reserved for more serious medical use), and also local raw unpasteurised etc. honey
  • honey mixed with a dab of neem oil. Yes, neem smells totally rank: but it’s good stuff.
  • redo the cool compresses thing (first step above); if very dry and scaly, thin slices of beeswax /straight honeycomb can help.

DRIER: BODY

Additional or changing moisturiser, used as needed: on hands, feet, and any dry patches; in ascending order of severity and seriousness, this is the arsenal:

  • hands, nails, cuticles: Prevex Protectant
  • add in hemp seed oil to the oil mix (other oils used too, previously; hemp is the current “emergency” oils living in the fridge)
  • an emollient cream
  • Aquaphor on hands and cuticles
  • a heavy waxy balm: ex. shea butter, BalmBalm, Jason 25,000 IU vitamin E cream (great on elbows, knees, feet; warning–not face!), Badger unscented balm
  • olive oil rub and soak (hands, feet)
  • armpits: layer of zinc oxide baby butt paste

EVEN DRIER

  • CLEANSER (all over): substitute an unscented emollient cream
  • MOISTURISER: substitute a very heavy-duty unscented minimalist emollient / barrier-repair cream/balm

DRIER STILL, AND/OR FLAKY AND ECZEMATIC

  • increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (oily fish, flax seed)
  • borage / starflower seed or evening-primrose oil: I’ve also used it on skin, but have better results from ingesting it in the form of capsules
  • tweak the DIY multi-purpose oil: substitute hemp  or avocado oil (for both, food/edible sort, in refrigerated section of shops; keep hemp refrigerated); adding a layer under moisturising cream.
  • on top: substitute an emollient cream for usual moisturiser
  • neem oil (any brand: currently using Alaffia): great on all manner of small sore bits & bites, zits, irritation, etc. Stinky though. Apply only a tiny amount, and directly to the affected area.

VERY DESICCATED INDEED

  • more layering. Spray/slap on an extra layer of water on top of moisturiser, then seal it in with very heavy-duty waxy stuff. Yes, I have been known to use Aquaphor, Prevex, or plain petrolatum (any brand). The stuff is damn good on sealing seriously flaky skin. I’ll avoid it in favour of a sustainably-produced plant-based alternative when possible, but not all things are possible at all times and in all circumstances. I’ll avoid Vaseline for Unilever reasons, unless it’s the only thing going and a life/death situation for skin.

See also: in case of emergency.

EXTRA STUFF (3): DRY HAIR

Main thing:

PRE-WASH CONDITIONING TREATMENT

  • virgin coconut oil (organic unrefined etc.; current one is Dr. Bronner’s, chosen as it’s also fair trade)
    • used anywhere between every wash and every two weeks or so, depending on state of hair
    • applied to dry hair, all over except the scalp itself, usually for 1 hour. Less than 45 minutes doesn’t give it time to absorb; I’ve left the stuff on successfully for up to 3 hours before washing. Longer, and there’s no further difference or my hair is flat (hair is fine but thick; on coarser hair, leave on for longer; some may be able to leave it on overnight). Then wash hair as usual.

[The mext section is other hair stuff that was on my notepad when my hair was long. It’s been irrelevant for me and my hair for ages now, but I’m leaving this stuff below up on this page in case it helps anyone else.]

LONG HAIR: THE PRINCESS SHINYLOCKS SPECIAL TREATMENT

Apple cider vinegar rinse: diluted 1 part vinegar to many parts water, in an old “sports top” plastic water-bottle (any squeezy bottle will do). Using any brand of vinegar, whatever we’ve got currently in the kitchen.

My use of this is limited by my skin’s tolerance-levels: even diluted:

  • semi-DIY clarifying shampoo: mixed in palm of hand with regular shampoo, on my second shampoo, then applied to hair from there

Sometimes I blow-dry my hair properly, for extra smoothness and shininess:

  • a tiny dab of silicone serum (any simpler kind that’s as cloase as possible to being just silicones, ideally; one of the best things to use is actually unscented personal / intimate lubricant) + vented brush + an eco-friendly hair-dryer (it’s green and white, made from recycled materials, recyclable, and low-energy).
    Leaving hair to its own devices until nearly dry, and not combing or brushing through afterwards, as that is one of my paths to guaranteed frizz. Then rapidly blow-drying the curlier bits. This doesn’t happen very often: I’d like to say it’s because I’m such a virtuous energy-saving person sacrificing my frizz-free-ness to the greater good of the planet, but really, it’s just that I can’t be arsed.
    Note: works for a limited time, my current record is about 3 hours, before hair starts to revert to type. Better solution = pro job from hairdresser, lasts a day or two. Another option might be straightening irons but I’m against and will not use (reasons: not that good for hair, a probably irrational fear of burning (if someone else is doing it, anyway: if klutzy me, then perfectly rational), energy consumption, limits to the reasonableness of vanity & folly-praising, and anti-racist & feminist discomfort about not embracing and celebrating non-straight hair).

LONG HAIR: PRE-WASH CONDITION

A sort of variation on the condition-wash-condition technique; seems to help hair dryness and frizzliness. Has more effect—hair not drying out so much between washes—than applying oil at the conditioning stage, either before conditioner or mixed in with it.

DRY

  • DIY hair oil
  • coconut oil(see further up)
  • various oils, using the multi-purpose oil (the skin one), a DIY hair oil, etc. The hair oil has been known, over the years, to be a separate entity from the multi-purpose oil (which is then technically just skin oil, really, and not all that multi-purpose) and to contain varying combinations and proportions of the following oils, being ones that are supposed to actually do something to hair all the way to the core:
    – argan
    – avocado
    – coconut
    – jojoba (less evidence for this penetrating to the core)
    – meadowfoam seed
    – olive
  • any brand: usually something cheaper and decent like NOW, Garden of Wisdom, Mountain Rose Herbs, etc.; for avocado or olive, a food/cooking one
  • decanted into a plastic bottle, with a plastic flip-top or pump top, living in the shower
  • application: wet hair with warm water and oil it up pretty much everywhere except the scalp (unless it’s dry: then it gets oiled too). Coil up hair and secure. Leave it be for at least 15-30 minutes (meanwhile: breakfast + cup of tea). Wash and condition as usual.

LONG HAIR WHEN DRIER

  • leave oil on for longer, for at least an hour or so. Usually at the weekend.
  • if scalp is dry: oil rub, with usual multipurpose oil or plain meadowfoam seed oil
  • if hair is feeling dry after it’s been washed and has dried: a drop of meadowfoam, avocado, or argan oil on ends and any frizzy bits.

LONG HAIR WHEN DRIER STILL

  • olive oil as a pre-wash treatment, rather than the usual DIY hair oil; very occasionally warmed up slightly as a hot oil treatment (errrm, around about twice a year max); left on for longer than usual. This does leave (my) hair a bit greasy and heavy, though.
  • avocado oil, as above
  • whether or not hair’s being dry, sometimes I’m being really scuzzy and/or simply don’t have time to wash and dry my hair. I’ll get another day out of the hair by doing a dry shampoo. Done this previously with actual dry shampoo; and with various fine-grain baby/dusting powders. Silk powder is a very good one for this purpose. Brush hair–apply to roots and scalp, basically the greasy bits–leave on for 5-10 minutes–brush out

LONG HAIR: POST-WASH LEAVE-IN STUFF

Depending on dryness and ambient humidity or lack thereof:

  • coconut oil
  • multi-purpose oil on the ends, fly-aways, etc.
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • avocado, or hemp seed if my skin and hair are being very dry and skin’s in flaky (or indeed fully eczematic) mode
  • argan oil
  • John Masters Organics Shine On leave-in treatment
  • a leave-in conditioner such as Beauty Without Cruelty or John Masters Organics
  • a moisturising skin cream, such as Allergenics emollient cream
  • a balm, such as the DIY one
  • a silicone-y serum, if it’s very humid and/or I’m blow-drying; my hair gets weighed down by these horribly, and I am prone to irritation on the neck and other surrounding skin, so this is a last resort. A compromise is to use a skin-moisturiser containing silicone. Or, my usual one, personal lubricant…
    Usually leaving hair until nearly dry, then rapidly blow-drying the curlier bits. This doesn’t happen very often: I’d like to say it’s because I’m such a virtuous energy-saving person sacrificing my frizz-free-ness to the greater good of the planet, but really, it’s just that I can’t be arsed. Ditto on the oil vs. oil+silicone experiments.

[end of the old stuff from when I had long hair; hasn’t been relevant for a long time for my shorter hair]

(4) MAKEUP, LEVEL ABSOLUTE ZERO

In case of skin emergency:

  • MASCARA: Clinique Naturally Glossy or a tubing one
  • and no other makeup
  • no, nothing at all. Nothing! Nada! OK, if I’m using a non-tubing mascara (ex. Clinique Naturally Glossy) I’ll also use it for tightlining.
  • (I tend not to have the energy, will have mind/attention on other things, and may well be asleep especially if doped up on whatever is being used to combat whatever the affliction might happen to be)
  • in an ideal world: if I were very very very ill indeed, some kind soul would come in to hospital and tint my eyelashes for me, and maybe pop on a teeny hint of lipstick & blusher, and help me look/feel more human and less like a lump of health-service-property meat🙂

and yes we CAN… wear pink

(5) MAKEUP, LEVEL FOUR: UNUSUAL EXTRA STUFF

DEFCON 3 status. All-out conventional war.*

Sometimes I wear more makeup. Very rarely. The most recent occasions have been weddings, job interviews, and other situations which involved Meeting The Public (and/or other Strangers) and having to look more “groomed” than usual. Don’t ask; I disapprove, but Toed The Line out of politeness for hosts and occasion, to protect others from the embarrassment of being scared by pallor. Though it is nice when other people are nicer to you because they think you’re ill; then again, probably won’t nail you the job if prospective employers think you’re fragile, potentially problematic, consumptive, etc.

MASCARA

  • as in Level One etc., waterproof tubing mascara

EYELINER
(tightlining)

  • same as Levels One – Three, or Nvey Eco solid cake eyeliner in brown (moistened with plain water)

EYE CONCEALER

  • Laura Mercier eye basics in linen, plus as needed, Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in #1.
  • or usual eyelid stuff + Silk Naturals HD cream concealer in #20 (undereye)

FOUNDATION:

I loathe and despise foundation, but sometimes there’s these weird social obligations to use the damn stuff. Silk Naturals HD cream foundation (C10) is about the best one I’ve found. I can’t use silicone-based foundations (alas, the otherwise lovely FaceAtelier had to go…), and a host of other ingredients in around about every one on the market irritate my skin, and that’s even before we’ve tried to match my ≤NW05 skin plus occasional freckles (which I don’t feel any urge to expunge).

CONCEALER:

  • whatever’s lying around. There may stil be some Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage somewhere. Not checked in forever.
    • applied using an EcoTools mini short-handled eyeshadow brush, sold in multi-pack and very fine indeed.

BLUSHER:

  • Silk Naturals in Petal (loose powder)
    • applied using old Clinique mini blusher brush
  • or Silk Naturals Cream Blush in Tickle
    • applied to back of hand, and from there using finger-tips

EYE SHADOW:

  • um, well, about once in a blue moon I’ll use something neutral but vaguely sparkly, from a bag of assorted Silk Naturals ones. Things like Purr, their Stila-Kitten-alike

LIPSTICK:

  • Lipstick Queen Invisible Lip Liner and their Medieval

CONSEQUENT CHANGE OF EVENING CLEANSER: instead of usual cleanser, substituting one of The Things That Live Under The Bathroom Sink. Next to bathroom cleaners and other regular undersink-dwellers, so care must be taken not to get mixed up. If tired or other reason for being uncoordinated, I’ll avoid them all so as to avoid accidents, swipe some witch-hazel around, and go to bed:

  • a creamy cleanser
  • or a cleansing oil

This lot (with the exception of the Levels One & Two stuff) lives in the Level Three Makeup Box; deep in an Infrequent Use drawer, behind an old dismantled lamp, some old linens (used for mopping up spillages, for under wet rain-boots, etc.), and a couple of old spare raincoats used for visitors coming here ill-prepared from drier climes; and that drawer is in a clunky piece of furniture behind the rack for air-drying laundry. The box: reusing a usefully-shaped old one; I left on one label and added another, together summing up my views on fecking & blinding makeup–hmmm, and maybe literally not just figuratively in both cases–and its social obligations:

Other stuff known to be living in that box; there may be more in the lower depths:

  • unscented dusting powder for a layer 3 to the deodowich, as needed: if exercise, hot sweaty weather, or wearing a Summer Frock: to ease the chafing of the inner thighs (my thighs aren’t dramatically thunderous, but I’m prone to sweat-rashes and a lady civilised socialised human being shouldn’t really scratch itches in public): arrowroot powder, rice powder, silk powder, assorted baby powders
  • Bobbi Brown eye brightener & shimmer eye-shadow in Bone
  • Dr. Hauschka silk dusting powder stuff, for use as body powder (see above) and as dry shampoo
  • a cake mascara from Etsy, and a recipe for making more: saved up in case of zombie apocalypse and the end of fresh mascara supplies
  • Sephora twist-up retractable self-sharpening eyeliner in brown
  • NYX retractable eyeliner in Bronze
  • Stila smudge pot in Bronze
  • Stila smudge stick in Lionfish
  • Silk Naturals cream eyeliners in Mahogany (brown) and Amethyst (deep plum)
  • Silk Naturals lipsticks: Aria (MLBB pink, but there’s something not quite right about this shade on me right now: seems dulling), Birthday Suit (demoted from everyday lippie: looks brown on me right now), Soft (pink), Sweet Nothing (plum, tricky to use unless with a very light touch, otherwise you get late ’80s raisin); plus a handful that didn’t work out and that I haven’t yet swabbed with alcohol to clean them before donating them to the local women’s shelter
  • two old blushers, for colour-comparison purposes: Clinique Iced Lotus and Korres 16 Pink
  • archaic Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, their cream-gel eyeliner in Black Honey, Maybelline eyeliner in Eggplant/Aubergine: being kept for colout-matching/-replicating
  • old mascaras, kept for brush-comparison purposes: Clinique Long Pretty Lashes, Clinique Lash Power, Maybelline Lash Discovery, Origins Fringe Benefits, Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined, Urban Decay Cannonball WP, Fresh Supernova, Lavera, Beauty Without Cruelty
  • eye things: Bobbi Brown tinted eye brightener in Porcelain Bisque I, long-lasting cream shadow in Bone, Tarte Amazonian clay concealers (stick and tube), Clarins stick concealer in 00(keeping for shade-matching purposes)
  • ever-expanding sack of free Silk Naturals eye shadows and other colour cosmetic glittery gaudy delights: no use to me, unsure whether I’m keeping them for posterity or for a bling-loving younger relation or for adding to swaps *shrug*
  • assorted brushes and old sponges in a ziplock bag, out of sight out of mind (cleaned properly first)

SOME OF THAT STUFF IS GOING IN THE BIN and has been struck through: reference staying, so that you can read through/under the line, for colour-reference purposes for myself and others. It’s a symbolic strike-through.

Reason: Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Origins: see posts on here from around 2012-02-17. Korres: subsequently (subsequent to my buying that blusher) bought by J&J corp, so I’m not rebuying from them while they’re under their current controllers.

Yes, most of this really ought to go in the bin sometime soon anyway. The powdery stuff won’t go off, and should keep OK in the dark; other items will (or have) go(ne) off, and some colours may have degraded. Probably no fungi, as-yet unmet household pets, or Lurkers in the Deeps. I’ve now given away all my old nail-varnish; I wore it so seldom that it hardly seemed worthwhile, and they were useful colours (Revlon neutrals and their gorgeous blue-red Cherries in the Snow). I mainly wanted rid of the stuff for hippy environmentalist reasons; from manufacture and formulae—yes, even Big 3 Free ones like I’d been using for aaages—to effects on nails and skin, and the cotton-wool pads and solvents used to remove the stuff. Good riddance. Need nails to look polished? Just buffing them then rubbing in heavy-duty balm.

*There is a DEFCON 1 status, but it’s only ever appeared very rarely, not for a long time, and only ever applied by other people from their own kit. In very unconventional carnivalesque situations requiring drag-like extreme disguise, war-paint for going into battle, and often masks and other incognito devices suitable for engaging in debauchery.

Also rarely used due to the PITA of getting all the crap [and crud] off the next day/day after that/some point afterwards and consequent skin irritation and general grumpiness of coming back down from such outrageous raging–errm, well, circumstances.

Furthermore: older, wiser, learned years ago that DEFCON 1 is all most unnecessary for its intended purposes anyway. Gingers of the world: we’ve already got plenty weapons of mass destruction at our disposal–if that’s the game being played–even at DEFCON 5. “Nod nod, wink wink, say no more.”

Image at top: Wikipedia article on gingerol

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3 comments

  1. Miss Ratatoeskr

    Hi,
    I came across your blog by accident. I am a big sunscreen user myself ( even in winter, even indoors, almost even in bed) , very prone to hideous pigmentation in the face. Need factor 50 though, preferably water resistent and without silicones, because I suspect they contribute to my acne breakouts… Bought Coola sunscreen ( unscented, Sport SF 45) because I believed it to be silicon free….And Eco sunscreen ( which states it is silicone free, but a prime suspect for breakouts….
    As for my skin colour: yellowy white and – alas- no red hair…
    As I believe you must get 1001 mails per day asking your advice for sunscreen, I will refrain from that and simply CONGRATULATE YOU on a FANTASTICALLY INFORMATIVE; INTELLIGENT AND AMUSING BLOG….. I will keep browsing it! THANKS a LOT for all the bits and pieces of information you post..
    Miss Ratatoeskr

    • gingerama

      Thanks and that’s great, glad you’ve found sunscreens you love!
      Heh, there’s a load of stuff in the Eco (Eco Logical I presume?) that could break one out: no silicones, but: capric/caprylic triglycerides, caprylyl glycol, cetearyl alcohol, rosehip seed oil, green tea extract. More so in the body and baby ones: no silicones again, but: capric/caprylic triglycerides, beeswax, shea butter, jojoba oil, rosehip oil, avocado oil, green tea extract. The Frankincense in the Baby one can be an irritant too.
      Swings and roundabouts, you can’t win…

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