Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Skin and Anti-Acne Regimen

DISCLAIMER: See a dermatologist if you have severe acne or extremely sensitive skin.  

Summer is here and you are noticing more pimples and blackheads than usual.  You also don't feel like purchasing expensive, over-the-counter skin products that may or may not eliminate the acne ...  OR maybe you want a more natural alternative to commercial products that are loaded with chemicals.  Well, here is a regimen I drafted that worked well for me; I've also included additional steps for the more stubborn pimples and blackheads.

You will need:
olive oil (makeup remover)
grapeseed oil (blackhead zapper)
baking soda (dirt & oil remover)
brown sugar (exfoliant)
honey (anti-bacterial)
witch hazel (toner)
cotton balls
washcloth (1-2)
cleanser (of your choice)
light moisturizer (of your choice)

PRE-CLEANSING (if wearing makeup):
1. Drench a cotton ball with olive oil and proceed to wipe face and eye area to remove any makeup.
2. If necessary, repeat step #1 until most of the makeup dissolves.
3. Wipe away any excess oil with a damp washcloth.

1. Wash face with your usual cleanser mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda.
2. Rinse then massage the brown sugar scrub onto damp face for 5 minutes avoiding the eye area.  (Brown sugar scrub: two tablespoons of brown sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of water.)
3. Rinse face with warm water or wipe with a second warm, wet washcloth.

1. Moisten a cotton ball with witch hazel, and proceed to gently brush the face paying close attention to acne areas and avoiding the eye area.
2. Wait 2-3 minutes before applying the moisturizer of your choice.
3. (Optional) Moisten a cotton swab with grapeseed oil and apply to any blackheads on the face.

For the more stubborn acne, you may want to try a homemade chemical peel after washing your face (in place of the scrub).  Read my earlier post for recipes and instructions.


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Underrated || Safflower Oil for Hair and Skin

Many women use olive oil, coconut oil, and even jojoba oil on their hair in some fashion, but few use or know about safflower oil.


1.  It is inexpensive.  Compared to your more popular hair oils, this one is fairly inexpensive.  Depending on where you purchase safflower oil, it can cost almost 20-50% less than extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil.

2.  It is very moisturizing.  The safflower oil sold for cooking purposes is generally high in oleic acid, which is a fatty acid that possesses conditioning and moisturizing properties.

3.  It is fairly light.  The consistency of safflower oil is somewhere between that of jojoba oil and olive oil, and somewhat similar to grapeseed oil.  Thus, if you find olive oil to be too heavy and jojoba oil to be too light, safflower oil may be worth a try.


1. As a sealant.  Depending on your hair, safflower oil may work just fine as a sealant after a good wash and deep condition.  I used to use this oil as a sealant during humid weather when my hair didn't require a heavy product.

2. To enhance a moisturizer.  This oil can be use to enhance your current moisturizer.  It works really well in whipped butters.

3.  To enhance a lotion.  Yes, it can be used on the skin too!  You can add this oil to your body lotion or facial moisturizer.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A to Z List of Common Ingredients in Products

Yesterday, I found a link describing many of the common ingredients we find in hair and skin products.  Below are some of the more popular ones; for the remainder, check out the original article:

Alcohol Denat (aka Denatured Alcohol): The European name for SD alcohol, it is ethyl alcohol made undrinkable for legal use in cosmetics. It acts as a solvent, disinfectant, and freshening agent in skin care products and a solvent in fragrance oils.
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate: This salt, a natural coconut alcohol derivative, is a mild surfactant used in rinseable skin cleansers.
Avocado Oil: This organic emollient and carrier oil is used in makeup, moisturizers, and creams for its high levels of fat and vitamins A and C. It is also among the most effective naturally-derived sunscreens.
Beeswax Yellow or White: Derived from virgin bees and is primarily used in skin care products and makeup as an emulsifier.
Bentonite: This white clay is an important makeup ingredient — it absorbs oil and reduces shine. It is also used to thicken cosmetics and skin care products and to emulsify oils and masks.
Burdock: The roots, seeds, and leaves of this plant contain an essential oil used in beauty products for its soothing effects on the skin. It is also an astringent and antibacterial agent.
Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter): From the nut of the Mangifolia tree in Central Africa. It’s also called Karite Butter or African Shea Nut Butter. Shea butter is high in triglycerides, has a high content of vitamins A, E & F and will soften and maintain moisture to the skin without greasiness.
Butylene Glycol: This humectant is used in hairsprays for its resistance to humidity.
Cetearyl Alcohol: This alcohol derivative is an emollient and emulsion stabilizer used in skin lotions, hairstyling creams, and deodorants.
Coconut Diethanolamide: (coconut oil acid, cocamide DEA, ninol, witcamide and calamide) A coconut derivative and common ingredient in skin care products; it works as a detergent creating a stable soapy lather moisturizes and softens the skin. Like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), coconut diethanolamide can break down skin’s oily barrier layer and dry it out. Some people develop allergic reactions to it.
Coconut Oil: This coconut kernel extract is a natural lathering and cleansing ingredient, and is often blended with other fats. Frequently found in skin cleansers, oils, and moisturizers, as well as hair care and nail care products.
Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Extract: Derived from the milk or coconut “water” inside the hard exterior that is the endosperm or food for germination of the plant. It is highly nutritive, containing amino acids, sugars, vitamins and plant growth factors.
Collagen: A fibrous protein that makes up the connective tissue in the body. In cosmetic products it is used as an emollient.

For the remainder, check out the original article.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Remnants of PJ-ism: Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk

This is a short series on my attempt to finish a few remaining products from my 'product junkie' (PJ) days (though the below case was a slight exception).

product junkie /ˈprädəkt ˈjəNGkē/ Noun
A person with an obsessive habit of purchasing and collecting products, particularly hair products.  

Today's remaining products: Shea Moisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk.

In short, this product does not keep my hair moisturized.  (For the FULL product review, read this post.) 

Finishing strategy: For the past month, in an effort to use up this product, I've been overlaying it with pure shea butter.  After my wash routine, I apply the Shea Moisture to wet hair and then apply shea butter on top of it.  Sometimes, if I need just a hint of moisture before wash day, I apply the Shea Moisture solo.  However, that is rare; I usually follow up with shea butter.

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Hair Diary || Protective While Straight

This will be a monthly series in which I discuss my hair journey from now through my 5-year nappiversary in February 2013.

After three weeks in flat twists with twists (see earlier post), I flat-ironed my hair for an event.  It was more out of necessity than desire, but I enjoy the temporary change-up from my usual routine of twists.  

If you choose to flat iron your natural tresses, be sure you are aware of AND prepared for the possible risks (e.g., split ends, heat damage, breakage).  I purposely refrained from flat ironing my hair during the early part of my natural journey because I did not want to risk a setback.  Now that I am at a comfortable point in my hair care journey, I do not mind straightening my hair once in a while (~3 times a year).  

I started with freshly washed, detangled, and conditioned hair that was air dried in ~12 braids.  (See this page for my wash-condition-seal regimen.)  Then I undid each braid, applied Proclaim heat protectant generously, and proceeded to flat iron smaller sections with a maximum of two passes. 

My straightened hair will be in pinned up jumbo twists for the next two weeks (if not three).  Just because my hair is straight does not mean I can shy away from protective styling altogether.  On the weekends, I might wear twistouts, depending on my mood.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Recipes

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

As the summer time is slowly creeping by, more and more people are starting to instill healthier eating habits and a new fitness routine to their busy schedules. Becoming healthy is a full lifestyle change. It is not just a fad you can stick with for a few weeks to see the results that you are wanting. It takes WEEKS of dedication and hard work insides and outside of the gym. The biggest part of getting healthier is eating healthier. Today I am sharing with you some easy, yummy, and not too hard recipes of some great meals you can try this summer!


Rolled Lasagna
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Makes: 4 servings


• 8lasagna noodles
• 3tablespoons olive oil
• 1clove garlic, minced
• 112 ounce can crushed tomatoes
• 2ounces goat cheese
• 1/2cup chopped sweet onion
• 1large leek, white part only, chopped
• 1 3/4cups sliced cremini mushrooms
• 1bunch asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 2ounces low-fat mozzarella, grated
• 1/8teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4teaspoon salt
• 1/4teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2cup chopped fresh mint
• 1/2cup chopped fresh basil
• 1/4cup grated Parmesan


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon pasta water.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add the garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes; cook 15 minutes. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the goat cheese until combined. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion; saute 3 minutes. Add the leek; cook 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms; cook 10 minutes. Add the asparagus; cook 3 minutes.
  4. Turn heat off; add 1 1/2 tablespoons goat cheese and the mozzarella, reserved pasta water, nutmeg, salt and black pepper. Add the mint and basil, reserving 1 teaspoon of each.
  5. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Spoon 1/2 cup vegetable mixture onto each noodle, roll up and place seam side down in baking dish. Drizzle with remaining tomato sauce; crumble remaining goat cheese on top. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with the Parmesan and reserved mint and basil; serve.

Nutritonal Informaiton:
Amount Per Serving:
Fat, total(gm)18
Saturated fat(gm)6
Dietary Fiber, total(gm)6


Lemon Basil Pasta With Summer Squash


• 2ounces (2/3 cup) dry whole-wheat penne
• 1/2cup chopped zucchini
• 1/2cup chopped yellow squash
• 1/2cup canned white beans, rinsed and drained
• 1lemon, juiced
• 1/4cup chopped fresh basil
• 1tablespoon Parmesan cheese
• 1tablespoon olive oil

Make it:
Boil pasta and drain. Toss with remaining ingredients.

Nutritional Information:
Amount Per Serving
Fat, total(gm)16
Saturated fat(gm)3
Dietary Fiber, total(gm)8


Spinach-Mushroom Pizza
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 15 mins 425°F
Makes: 6 servings


• 112 ounce whole-wheat pizza crust, such as Boboli
• 1/4cup pizza sauce
• 1/2cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
• 1/4small red onion, thinly sliced
• 1cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
• 6medium cremini mushrooms, sliced
• 1/4cup part-skim ricotta
• 2tablespoons grated Parmesan
• 1tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2teaspoons balsamic vinegar


  1. 6 servings
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a large heavy baking sheet on the bottom of the oven. Lay the pizza crust on a work surface.
  3. Spread the crust with the sauce, followed by the spinach and onion. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and mushrooms. Dollop the ricotta over the pizza and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Drizzle the olive oil all over.
  4. Use a thin cutting board or the back of a second baking sheet to carefully transfer the pizza to the preheated baking sheet on the bottom of the oven. Bake until the crust is puffed and beginning to color at the edges and the cheese is melted, 10 minutes. Take the sheet out of the oven and preheat the broiler.
  5. Broil the pizza, watching carefully, until the cheese is browned and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Let pizza cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the balsamic vinegar, slice into wedges, and serve.

Nutritional information:
Amount Per Serving
Fat, total(gm)10
Saturated fat(gm)4
Dietary Fiber, total(gm)5


Mushroom and Asparagus Fettuccine
Prep: 25 mins
Makes: 4 servings


• 8ounces dried fettuccine or linguine
• 8ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
• 3cups sliced fresh shiitake or crimini mushrooms
• 1medium leek, thinly sliced, or 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 3cloves garlic, minced
• 1tablespoon olive oil
• 1/3cup mushroom broth or vegetable broth
• 1/4cup half-and-half or light cream
• 1/4teaspoon salt
• 1/8teaspoon black pepper
• 1cup chopped plum tomatoes
• 1tablespoon finely shredded fresh basil
• 1tablespoon finely shredded fresh oregano
• 1/4cup pine nuts, toasted
• Finely shredded Parmesan cheese(optional)


  1. Cook fettuccine or linguine according to package directions, adding asparagus the last 1 to 2 minutes of cooking; drain. Return pasta mixture to saucepan; cover and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook mushrooms, leek, and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in broth, half-and-half, salt, and black pepper. Bring to boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. Stir in tomatoes, basil, and oregano; heat through.
  3. Spoon the mushroom mixture over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat. Divide among 4 bowls or dinner plates. Sprinkle with pine nuts and, if desired, Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information:
Amount Per Serving
Fat, total(gm)12
Saturated fat(gm)3
Monosaturated fat(gm)5
Polyunsaturated fat(gm)3
Dietary Fiber, total(gm)6
Sugar, total(gm)5
Vitamin A(IU)777
Vitamin C(mg)19
Pyridoxine (Vit. B6)(mg)0
Cobalamin (Vit. B12)(µg)0
Calcium(DV %)71
Iron(DV %)5

I hope that the few recipes I just shared you will try! And remember…you can always add/subtract/or substitute ingredients for things that you want!

This is Stephanie from Infinite Life Fitness. Please feel free to check out my website at for more health and fitness tips!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Healthy Hair on Youtube: MsTanish

I've been watching MsTanish for a few years now, and recently her hair has flourished out of nowhere.  This type 4 natural has managed to retain some serious length in the past year or so.  Do not be fooled by her height (taller than 5'10", I believe).  Her hair is fairly long ... and healthy!  In this particular video she discusses her detangling routine for loose hair that has tangled over the course of a few days.

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Mixology || Field and Sea Body Scrub

Are you interested in mixing your own body scrub?  Well perhaps you can try the following recipe. (Recipe Source)

Kelp Powder--3 tbsp
Oatmeal--3 tbsp
Orange Peel, grated--3 tbsp
Sea Salt--3 tbsp
Sunflower Seeds, ground--3 tbsp
Grapefruit--3 drops
Sweet Almond Oil

Save Sweet Almond Oil for later. Mix all dried ingredients and Grapefruit essential oil in a jar. Keep jar sealed until use. Blend with almond oil to a desirable consistency just before using.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Healthy Independence Day (US)

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Yes it is that time of year again!

Time to call your friends and family and plan a BBQ out at the park or at the lake. Just because it is a holiday does not mean you can ditch your healthy eating habits for the holiday celebrations. There as SO many HEALTHY options you can incorporate into your BBQ that will be tasty for you and your guest.

Here are a few things to consider when planning your menu:

  • Lean Turkey Burgers
  • Grilled Vegetables
  • Boiled Shrimp (or you can grill it!)
  • Watermelon (or other types of melons)
  • Chicken Kabobs/Veggie Kabobs
  • Corn on the cob
  • Frozen Fruit bars (chop up fruit get a low calorie fruit juice and freeze it!)
  • Strawberries and Berries with Light Cool Whip

Here are some other tips that may help you out:

  • Watch what condiments you eat with! Try to stay away from ketchup and mayo and BBQ sauce! Try mustard or salsa or spices to help add flavor to your meals.
  • Chicken and fish are some of the best choices of meats you can cook/grill for the BBQ
  • This may be a far stretch but try the hamburger WITHOUT the bun! You can have it with mustard (or salsa) and put some lettuce on it (or you can even wrap it in lettuce!) This can help cut out the calories that are found in the bread.
  • Grilled veggies are ALWAYS a good option. Try some onions, bell peppers, and squash (you can even add fruit like pineapple or mangos to add some great flavor!)
  • Try to stay away from the macaroni salad and cole slaw! Those are jammed pack with mayo and other ingredients that make it a high calories side dish. Try some seasoned corn on the cob, grill mushrooms, or even so grilled sweet potatoes.
  • Fruit salad can be a great dessert! Combine some of your favorite fruit with a dash of honey (or splurge and get some low fat whip cream) and you have a sweet healthy treat to snack on while you light your sparklers! You can even try Jell-O or frozen fruit popsicles!

Like I said there are dozens of healthy options you can still have your BBQ that will be delicious and nutritious! Try not to forget your salad and drink lots and lots of water! It is supposed to be hot in most parts of the country and you do not want to get dehydrated!

This is Stephanie with Infinite Life Fitness. Please feel free to stop by my site ( for more health and fitness tips.

Hope you have a happy and safe 4th of July!

Monday, July 2, 2012

3in6: Challenge Ends!

For the challenge guidelines, see this post.

The 3in6 Challenge ended yesterday! I won't be doing an official length check until August 1st (which marks my 6 month update since my nappiversary).  However, I can tell, that at the very least, my front hair has grown.  For some time, I thought it had reached its terminal length, but I was wrong.  

Will I be holding another 3in6 Challenge?  I don't know.  I feel that my hair is at a length that calls for a regimen change in terms of styling.  It is something I have to ponder over this coming weekend.   Thank you to all the ladies who joined in on this challenge.  I hope you found it successful!

Did you retain any length from this 3in6 Challenge?

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