Learn to Love Your Naturally Wavy Hair! Episode 3: The Right Towel & Drying “Technique”

Is your towel causing your hair to be untamable? In this video I cover why you should avoid drying your hair with a big fluffy towel, and what you should use instead.

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Let’s be friends!

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Learn to Love Your Naturally Wavy Hair! Episode 2: Quit Brushing You Hair

Before I get into the specific techniques I use to style my hair, I thought it’d be best to go over some of the habits you’ll want to unlearn, that are more suited for caring for naturally straight hair. The first straight-hair-only habit that you’ll want to quit, is brushing your hair. You read that right. You absolutely do not need to brush your hair (though for those with naturally straight hair, it could be beneficial). Don’t you worry: the video talks about how to handle those inevitable tangles.

As always, if you have any questions, requests, etc, just let me know!

Oh, and here’s a link to the book “Curly Girl” that I mentioned in the video. It’s THE resource for those of us with naturally curly or wavy hair.

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Let’s be friends!

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Learn to Love Your Naturally Wavy Hair! Episode 1: Why Go Natural?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve fought your hair’s natural texture your whole life. If you’re curly/wavy, you straightened it, and if you’re straight, you curled (or permed!) it. One of the awesome things about motherhood is that it’s encouraged me to accept myself the way I am, inside and out. And once I had Ellie, my time became far more precious. Rather than spend an hour straightening my hair (yes, it used to take me an hour), I learned to embrace my hair’s natural texture, and after learning a lot about caring for wavy hair, I’ve grown to love it!  The best part is that my hair “routine” takes all of 4 minutes, and because I’m no longer heat-styling it, it’s in better condition than ever.

So, this is the first episode in a series of videos I’m producing about how to care for (and love!) your naturally wavy hair. Like I said, I’ve learned a lot over the past few years, and I can’t wait to share all my tips and tricks with you wavy ladies. If you have any questions/requests/etc, please let me know!

And just a bit of background, so you know where I’m coming from: I HATED my hair texture. I have really thick hair, and tons of it, and if I ever tried to wear it naturally, it would pouf out and frizz all crazy-like. That’s because I didn’t know that wavy hair needs to be treated differently that straight hair. Most people don’t know. It’s not our fault, it’s just not something that gets passed down from mother to daughter, because most mothers don’t even know, themselves. With a few small changes in your routine, you can save hours of primping and fighting your hair, and tons of money in unnecessary products and tools.

I hope you enjoy the series, and your gorgeous, natural hair!

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Let’s be friends!

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Makeup Fast: Days 17-23 (I’m Like a Hermit Crab?)

Fresh-Faced For 40 Days Icon

To read about the fast from the very beginning, just click on this picture.

(Friday, July 6 – Thursday, July 19)

Let’s get one thing straight: if you have the bar set high for this post, go ahead and take it down a notch or two (or several). Nothing earth-shattering happened this past week in the realm of the fast, or rather, the most noticeable things that happened during this week of the fast are the things that didn’t happen. (Is that what people mean when they say something is Zen?) Let me explain.

This week is the third week of the fast, and, as habits are formed or broken around the 21 day mark, I do not think it is a coincidence that day 21 was a turning-point for me. Day 21 actually turned out to be a “cheater day,” because I was filming for work, and had to put my makeup on. Hold on. I should back up a bit.

I’ve been keeping pretty busy, you know, with the mothering, and the wife-ing, and the working and the writing and the and the and the… You get my point. I really haven’t thought much about the makeup fast at all. I’ve been so delightfully consumed with life, that not only am I no longer afraid to go outside without makeup on, but I’m actually liking my naked face better than my made-up face. How rad is that!? I might make myself a hot-chocolate to celebrate.

Okay, back to day 21: the cheater day. I had to put makeup on that day, for work, and after I finished applying it, I did not like what I saw. I mean, it was whatever. It was pretty, I guess, but who cares? This “who cares” mentality is completely new territory for me. I’ve been feeling validated so much more in my real life stuff, that I couldn’t care much less about whether or not my pores are visible from outer space (they are, I think). I don’t mean to say that I am becoming sloppy or anything. I still have excellent hygiene. 🙂 What I mean is that I’m not seeing the value in looking superficially pretty the way that I used to. I’m too much in love with my family, and too excited to be hearing from so many people that my writing has touched their lives in some way, and too blessed with God’s renewal and acceptance and peace to care much about how my face compares to the faces I see in magazines. I don’t think God cares all that much about it, either. And I think God loves me, regardless of my giant pores. I think he gave me giant pores on purpose, and he’s probably glad that after 28 years of life, I’m beginning to accept and be grateful for what I’ve been given.

Before you all think I’ve gone off the deep-end: yes, I still appreciate prettiness. Yes, I still see makeup tutorials on Pinterest and think “oh, I should try that someday!” BUT I don’t care much how my face compares to other faces, and that is huge for me. And honestly, I feel like I could carry on like this forever. I mean, technically the fast is over on day 43 (40 days, plus 3 “bonus days” to make up for when I’ve had to cheat), but I don’t want to go back to wearing makeup the way I did before I started this fast. I feel like a hermit crab* that’s outgrown its shell. I just can’t fit back inside that old-me anymore. At the point where fasting ceases to feel sacrificial, does it also cease to be a fast? I’m not completely there yet, but it’s fast-approaching. And then what? Where do I go from there?

Progress Report, and Looking Forward

What I was looking for, in beginning this fast, was to trade my ridiculous reliance on makeup (and all of the negative emotions and beliefs that come with it), for an honest-to-goodness identity in God, and while that will always be a work-in-progress, I feel as if I’ve cleared the biggest hurdle. And God has been so ridiculously faithful. I don’t know why I’m so surprised that God is showing up…I guess it’s just humbling to think that he cares this much about our relationship. That he doesn’t think I’m silly, or petty, or too needy or whatever. My tiny brain just doesn’t get it. How does he love me this much?

All that being said, I am really looking forward to the next 20 days of the fast. What an awesome journey these past 3 weeks have been! On a related note: are you at all interested in trying out the Fresh-Faced for 40 Days Makeup Fast? If so, JOIN US in our Facebook group! There are just less than 60 of us doing this together, and it is such a blessing to hear the other ladies’ stories and encouragement along the way.

And now, for photographic evidence that I’ve been adhering to the fast:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On a purely administrative note, we are moving next week (to Morro Bay, which is only 30 minutes north of Shell Beach, where we live presently), and unless I’m struck with some crazy compulsion to write something, I’m taking next week off from writing. We move a week from tomorrow, and I have packed exactly 2 boxes. YIKES. I’ll still try and remember to take naked-face photos, and I’ll still try and keep up with the social networks, but with the move, and Ellie’s 2nd birthday on the 28th, I’m not going to be around much. That’s all to say: Don’t worry, I haven’t died. (Unless I have died, which would be creepy and tragic.)

xoxo,

mj

*Comparing myself to a hermit crab is unfortunate, but I couldn’t come up with a better comparison. Well, I could have compared myself to a butterfly, emerging from its cocoon, never to return to it again, but COME ON. A butterfly? Puh-leeze. I’ll call myself a hermit crab, thankyouverymuch.

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For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

If you’re interested in participating, join the Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

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Let’s be friends!

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Makeup Fast: Days 8-10 of 40 (I Have Yogurt on My Face)

Day 10 of 40. Naked face + Naked Baby!

You know what stinks? Going to a party while you’re fasting from makeup. That’s what we did on the 4th of July, which was day 8 of the fast. It’s just that people tend to try and look nice at parties, and there I was, looking as if I had just woken up (it’s the blonde eyelashes). At least no one wanted to commemorate the holiday with a picture. Dodged a bullet on that one.

Nothing worth noting with regards to the fast occurred on day 9, so we’ll just skip it. Today was day 10, however, and I had a realization: just because I’m fasting from makeup doesn’t mean that I can’t indulge in a little at-home facial-action. So I hopped onto Crunchy Betty (AMAZING website full of DIY beauty treatments using stuff you probably have at home, in your fridge), and refreshed my memory on how to mix-up a yogurt mask. (Turns out it’s just yogurt.) So I slathered some greek yogurt all over my face (read about the benefits of greek yogurt on your face here), made a cup of tea, and plunked myself down in bed to moderate comments and answer emails.

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To be honest, all of this sudden interest in my blog is cool and all, but, well…I’m not writing as much as I was before that one post blew up. And that’s the whole point, right? Writing? I haven’t done any research for my book (which I’m hesitant to even call a book, because I don’t even have an agent yet) at all in the past four days, and I don’t like how administrative tasks are eating up all of my actual writing time. So while I’m enjoying engaging with so many people ( well over 1,000 comments in that thread so far), I do look forward to getting back to my regular schedule. There’s no book if I don’t write it.

Oh also, we’re moving. In three weeks. And Ellie’s birthday? Also three weeks away.

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And the only way any of that is related to the makeup fast is that all of the stress (good stress and bad stress) is seriously effecting my skin. Hence the yogurt mask. If you’ve never been to Crunchy Betty, and you’re into DIY beauty recipes, then head over. You’ll love her, I promise.

Spiritually, I haven’t felt much movement on the “loving what God gave me” front, but boy have I been strong in the Spirit. I have a feeling the “loving what God gave me” will come slowly and naturally, and that the margin created by the fast is what made my big-time post possible. Regardless, I’m grateful to be used for a purpose, and to see so many people talking about God as a result of that post. It’s incredible.

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You won’t hear from me about the makeup fast again until Monday, so until then, have an excellent weekend!

Melissa

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For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

Please join me! You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

Makeup Fast: Day 6 of 40 (I’m a Cheater)

(Written on Monday, July 2)

Today was supposed to be day 6 of my makeup-fast, but I’m declaring today AND tomorrow a do-over. Allow me to explain myself.

If you’re new here, I work, part-timeish, as a writer and host for iFixit.com, and when I’m hosting, I appear on camera, and when I appear on camera, I must wear makeup. That makes fasting from makeup hard, and presents some unique challenges.

Last week, when I went in for filming, I arrived at the office barefaced, applied my makep, filmed my segment, and then promptly washed my makeup off. Today was different, because today there was a film-crew from France in the office, capturing interviews and maybe some b-roll, and I was NOT ABOUT TO BE CAUGHT ON FRENCH NATIONAL TV BAREFACED, Y’ALL. Hate on me if you want to, but in all seriousness, I might use some of that footage in my demo-reel, and I cannot be looking like a wildebeest in my demo-reel, OKAY? Okay. Glad we’re clear.

So I arrived at the office this morning in full makeup, and because I forgot to also pack my face-wash and moisturizer, I couldn’t wash my makeup off before I left. Because of all of this, I am declaring today a do-over. And tomorrow? Tomorrow I’m filming alllllll day, and the French crew will still be around, so I’m preemptively declaring tomorrow a do-over, also. This all means that I’m adding two makeup-free days to my calendar, making my new ending date August 8, 2012, because I am nothing if not committed.

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So today, when I arrived home, the first thing I wanted to do was wash my face. Can you believe it? Like I mentioned a few days ago, I’m in a weird spot where I don’t really like my bare-face, and I don’t really like my makeup-face anymore either, so the only option is a paper-bag, right? Or maybe, like, a fancy mask with feathers? (Someone get on that.)

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Last thing, I promise. I’m beginning to notice that lots of women don’t wear much makeup. I mean, basically everyone I see wears some makeup, but many ladies only have on mascara and lipgloss. Was I the ONLY one applying my makeup with such regimental zeal? How come none of you told me this, huh? Isn’t that what friends are for? To tell you when you’re being a complete moron? Please, friends, I invite you to tell me I’m being a moron, if, in fact, I am being a moron.

xoxo, mj

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For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

Please join me! You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

Makeup Fast: Days 3, 4 and 5 (I’m Beginning To Like This!)

(Written between Friday June 29 and Sunday July 1)

I know I’ve said this already, but I LOVE how much time I have in the morning, now that I’m not putting makeup on. It feels so good to be able to leave the house so quickly! On Friday, Ellie and I went swimming, and usually we don’t leave the house until 10:15-10:30; this time we left the house at 9:15! All because I didn’t have to keep Ellie entertained while I applied my makeup (it takes at least twice as long to do my makeup when Ellie is around). When we got to the club, it was practically empty, and there was no one else in the pool area. So for a full hour we had the pool and sauna all to ourselves. It felt like we were on vacation!

And can I tell you something surprising? Only one person has said anything about my naked face, and it wasn’t even critical. I would have thought for sure that someone would have told me I look unwell, or that I look tired by now. (I’m sure no one has commented because they all know that I’m fasting, so they’re already expecting me to look terrible. My friends are very kind like that.) But regardless, I’m pleased. I really hate being told I look tired, only because I’m not wearing mascara, so this is a welcomed surprise.

Elle and I went swimming again on Saturday (what can I say, we love the pool), and it was so nice to not have to worry about her splashing me in the face. I realized (as she dunked half of my face into the pool), how restricted I usually am in playing with her in the pool, because I don’t want to get my face wet. How boring! We’re having so much more fun at the pool, now that I’m not afraid of getting my fece wet (“I’m melllllting!”)

I was really nervous to go to church on Sunday. No one there reads my blog (I don’t think), so no one was aware that I was going to look like a sea monster. I wonder if I should have posted this on our Facebook page? Or sent a mass email? “Be warned: Melissa Godsey will not look like herself on Sunday, but DO NOT mention it under any circumstances. In fact, tell her she looks well-rested, and prettier than ever!”

Church-folks should be the least of my worries. I mean, “judge not,” right? But NONE of them had ever seen me without makeup. Not even when I was sweating to death on a rooftop in Mexico. I just look…different. Well, only ONE person said a thing at all, and it was only because we’re buddies on Instagram, and she happened to see my naked face photos. So, I’m chalking that up as a win.

Side-note: I was by myself all weekend because my husband was out of town for work, so I completely forgot to take photos to prove that I’m not sneaking makeup on when you guys aren’t looking. I promise: I was barefaced.

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On Sunday night, while I was pulling my hair back, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and for a fleeting moment, I liked my naked face. I mean, I didn’t think it was pretty in the way that faces are generally regarded as pretty, but I liked it. But even then I thought, “why do my eyelashes have to be SO blonde? Ugh.” But hey, Sunday was day 5 of 40, and I already had a moment where I liked my naked face. That’s progress! I’m just getting to the point now where going around naked-faced isn’t feeling completely mortifying, and I still have 35 more days ahead of me. I expect that now that I’m edging out of complete and total discomfort, my ears will be a bit more open to what God has to say to me, and I have a feeling that that’s when all the difficult, heart-changing stuff happens.

35 more days to go!

xoxo,
mj

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For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

Please join me! You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

Makeup Fast: Day 2 of 40 (I’m a Showoff)

(Written on Thursday, June 28, 2012)

In the shower this morning, I was thinking about my decision to avoid eating lunch in public yesterday, and something about it was really bothering me. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t avoiding seeing people I know just because I am ashamed of my naked face. There was more to it than that, but I wasn’t sure what.

After I finished drying my hair, I got to thinking about where I would go to do the morning-part of my work. (I work best when there is food and coffee readily available.) Usually I go to Sally Loos, because the coffee and food is BOMB, and I like the atmosphere. But today, I decided to stay in (again), and that’s when I got to thinking: how much of where I go is determined by what I look like? On the flip-side of hiding from people I know because I don’t like my face, there’s this: am I going out in public because my face looks pretty? Am I showing off or something? Yikes.

Now, don’t misunderstand me on this one: I’m certainly not getting super dolled-up every day, just to go to all my favorite local haunts preening in front of strangers and acquaintances. I’m no Kardashian. If you know me at all, you know that my standard makeup MO is to appear as natural as possible. I’ve never been one of those ladies who looks like she’s wearing a lot of makeup. But, isn’t that a little bit worse? A little more deceptive? Diligently applying makeup in order to give the appearance that I’m naturally poreless? Kinda sketchy now that I look back on it (you know, with a whole TWO DAYS worth of hindsight and wisdom and perspective).

So no, I wasn’t showing-off in a show-offy way, but in a somewhat more pathetic, somewhat more self-satisfied way. I’m pretty sure one of the reasons I do so much of my work outside the office is because I like to be seen looking nice. And it pains me to say that in public. I care so much about how other people see me, even strangers, and I’ve placed so much of my value in being recognized as pretty. It’s really humbling to stare so directly at my flaws, both character and physical, and it’s hard to not feel compelled to cover them up.

I’m glad that putting some much-needed distance between me and my makeup bag is already revealing some handicaps in my character, but I’m not going to lie: I’d rather you all didn’t know I’m so shallow.

Even now, after recognizing that I care way too much how people see me, my primary concern is that people don’t think I’m too shallow. When will I stop caring how people see me? And where is God in all of this? Why can’t I look to him first, like, ever? Why is it so natural for me to seek first the approval of others? I really, really want that to change.

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We did some filming at work today, so I had to “put my face on,” and a funny thing happened: I really didn’t like my “made-up” face. It just looked…wrong. Like I was trying too hard. So, when I was done shooting, I went into the bathroom and washed off the makeup (just like I promised I would, y’all!), and it was actually somewhat relieving to get that stuff off of my face. Not that I like my naked face any better, because I don’t. But still. Washing it off felt good.

2 days down, 38 to go! Have any of you started going makeup-less? Tell me all about it!

xoxo,

mj

Day 2 of 40

Day 2 of 40

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For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

Please join me! You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

Makeup Fast: Day 1 of 40 (I am a Coward)

Written on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Let’s start out on a cheerful note, with a list of things that I don’t like about my face:

  • I have really large pores
  • My skin gets very oily
  • Forehead wrinkles
  • My under-eye area is a little baggy, and is getting wrinkly
  • Blemishes (this is a big one around certain times of the month)
  • Uneven skintone
  • My eyelashes are so blonde, they might as well be invisible

I don’t know why I started this fast today. This is the worst time of the month for this kind of thing, on account of my crazy hormones giving me the skin of an adolescent girl. I was getting Ellie ready to go to her Nana’s, and I brought my makeup along with me, and just never ended up putting it on. (I was in a hurry.) Then I drove to work, parked, and stared at my makeup bag for the better part of a minute. Normal-me would have put my makeup on in the car (I’ve done it countless times), but today I just knew that it was the beginning of the fast. So I grabbed my makeup bag (not unlike a security blanket?), and snuck, barefaced, into the office.

I’ve been planning on doing this fast for a couple of months now, but could never muster the courage to actually begin. But today, during my staring-contest with my makeup bag, something snapped, and I decided it was go-time. I didn’t even consult my calendar for conflicts, I just did it. (This is crazy behavior for me. I don’t just do things. I’m a planner, you see.)

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Want to hear something embarrassing and stupid I did today? (Of course you do.) I was at the iFixit office (none of them said a WORD about my hideous face, by the way. Such gentleman, those guys.), and when it came time to go to lunch, instead of going to lunch in public, like a normal person would, I was so self-concious that I drove home to eat lunch by myself.

And I never went back to the office.

Fortunately for me, I can write from anywhere, so I ate my lunch on my own, and then plunked myself down at my desk to begin working on scripts for upcoming projects. On the upside, I saved myself 7ish dollars on lunch. On the downside, I am so ashamed of my naked face that I’m actually avoiding contact with other people. Wowza.

Usually, I would have went to a place called Kreuzberg for lunch, because the food is okay, and there’s wifi, and the atmosphere is conducive for iFixit-script-writing. BUT there is a chance that I would see somebody I KNOW at Kreuzberg, and what if they saw my face? Don’t ask me how I’m going to make it out to do my grocery shopping, or take Ellie to the pool, or go to church of all places, because I just don’t know. When writing the rules, I should have also forbidden the wearing of ski-masks, because I’m seriously considering picking one up. (You know, to wear to church. Can you image that?)

Tomorrow we’re going to do some filming at work, which means I’ll have to “put my face on,” and it is going to take every shred of will-power I have to wash that stuff off when I’m through shooting.

To say that I’m eager for a change to take place is an understatement. I am so totally and completely uncomfortable in my own skin, it’s pathetic. Oh, and I took a picture to commemorate this awful day.

Why did I do this to me?

I kept my glasses on for the picture, because they kind of make up for my invisibly-blonde eyelashes. I’m so cowardly. :/

xoxo,

mj

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For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

Please join me! You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

Fresh-Faced for 40 Days: Because You Should Love What You Look Like Naked

Fresh-Faced For 40 Days Icon

Feel free to share this button to link back to the challenge!

First, the point: I am quitting makeup for 40 days. I began today.

(Actually, I’m calling it a fast, but for those of you who do not subscribe to a set of spiritual beliefs that engages in fasting, you can just think of it as quitting, and that’s fine by me.)

Next, the ugly truth: I do not like my naked face. I think it is ugly. Showing my naked face in public terrifies me, and that makes me sad, and I think that is a problem.

And finally, the rules: I will not wear anything that alters or obscures the natural appearance of my face for 40 days. (June 27, 2012 – August 6, 2012)

  • This includes all standard makeup products, but also tinted moisturizer, tinted lip-balm, and pore-reducing or anti-shine lotions and potions. If it feels like cheating, it probably is.
  • This does not include: my standard moisturizer or regular old chapstick. A girl’s gotta stay hydrated, am I right?
  • On days where I am to appear on camera at work: I will arrive to work barefaced, apply my makeup just before filming, and wash it off once we’re through. (Washing it off will take every last ounce of my will power. God help me.)
  • I will not avoid having my picture taken while barefaced, and I will continue to video-blog, au naturale.

Okay, that’s basically the gist of it. The rest of this is supporting exposition that I’d love it if you read, and I insist that you read before you make any sort of comment whatsoever.

The rest of this is the story behind this insanity.

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Lies.

We all tell little lies. The biggest lie I tell every day is my face. My face says I’m well-rested (I’m not), that I’m well-hydrated (I’m not), and that I am poreless, and without blemishes (I most certainly am not). My face says I’ve got it all together (I don’t), that I’m not aging (I am), and that being pretty is effortless (it isn’t. Well, it isn’t for me.). I put so much time and energy into telling lies with my face, that it’s making me sick. What a complete waste of time and money, and what a terrible example to set for the women who know me. And what an affront to the God who created me. (N.B. You and I might not subscribe to the same spiritual beliefs, and that’s completely cool. Please do not let my spiritual beliefs stand in the way of you, perhaps, learning to love your naked face a bit more than you do now. Deal? Read on, friend, read on.)

I know, I know, you’re thinking that I’m being too hard on myself. “It’s JUST MAKEUP” you’re saying. “We ALL do it.” Trust me, I hear you. Really, I do. But something inside me has snapped, and there’s no going back to the way things were.

I Love Makeup.

I LOVE makeup. I’m a makeup-aholic. Is there anything more fun than taking the time to do your makeup really well? Sephora is my favorite store of all of the stores, and every time I walk in there I get giddy with the excitement of hunting out a new product and sampling all of the goodies. I love the artsy quality of makeup. I love what can be communicated by makeup: how you can be a blushing, natural-looking girl-next-door one day, and a smoldering femme fatale the next, just with some smudges of highlighter or blush, or some well-placed lashes. I enjoy makeup for many of the same reasons that I enjoy fashion. Many of you already get me on this point, so I’ll leave it at that.

Applying my makeup in the morning, while enjoying a cup of coffee, used to be one of my favorite parts of the day. It was fun, and somewhat artistic, and who doesn’t enjoy looking lovely? But at a certain point, I can’t really pinpoint when, I began putting on makeup not because it was a mode of self-expression, but because I felt that I needed to cover things up, because I wasn’t proud of my face the way it naturally looked. It became less and less about choosing to put “my best face forward,” and more and more about keeping up appearances (and yes, I can appreciate the irony of this). Rather than making an informed and empowered decision, I had become a slave to my daily makeup routine; I watched as hundreds of dollars slowly dripped out of my checking account, and hours were lost in front of my bathroom mirror, painting over my blemishes and accenting my best features. I’m not sure when it happened, but eventually I lost sight of all of the good and healthy reasons why women use makeup, and I had become dependent on it, maybe even addicted to it. It became so that I could not see myself as pretty when I wasn’t wearing makeup, and that’s where I’m writing from today. (Of course none of you have this problem, right? Riiiight.)

I think makeup is an amazing tool that women have at their disposal, and it can be used to increase confidence, but at some point I traded my actual confidence for my makeup bag. I’m not sure why it never bothered me before; maybe I was really good at justifying my makeup use to myself, but when I think about how much I dislike my naked face, and how scared I am to be seen in public without makeup, I get really really angry. Who is this unconfident, sad little woman? And why is she so afraid to bear the face God gave her? Does she really think she can improve upon the creation of God? It’s a terrible comparison, but I keep imagining somebody walking up to the Mona Lisa and gluing on some false eyelashes, or increasing the size of David’s “manhood.” Am I saying that I am unique, and beautiful, and artfully created by the Master of Creators? Well…Yeah. (Aren’t we all?) So why can’t I look at my face in the mirror, and thank God for it, and tell him I like what I see? (Something in my head is broken, that’s why.)

Confronting My Fears

Nowadays, the idea of leaving the house without makeup is (literally) terrifying. And this is a big, ridiculous problem. For perspective: Looking back through my photos, I can’t find a single picture since junior high where I wasn’t wearing makeup. Summer camp, 12 hour dance rehearsals in the heat of the Texas summer, doing missionary work in rural Mexico, I’m wearing makeup in every single picture. The photos taken during the labor and delivery of my child? I’m totally wearing foundation, bronzer and mascara. (I remember applying it before my contractions got too painful to concentrate.) It’s the bronzer-whilst-birthing that makes me realize I have a serious mental-problem.

I remember my reasoning for applying makeup before I gave birth to Ellie: “these pictures are going to be around for who knows how long” I told myself. “They define this moment of my life. Why not have an even skin-tone and pretty eyelashes?” It all sounds harmless enough, but if a woman can’t feel at ease with her face while she’s giving birth to a child, what hope does she have for feeling at ease with her face in any other circumstance in life?

Are You Like Me?

If you’re not getting me yet, here’s a fun little exercise: if you’re a woman, close your eyes, and imagine yourself as a man (maybe your husband, or your father, or your brother, or even a coworker). Now imagine yourself getting out of bed, and getting ready to go to work. What do you do? You probably shower, shave your face, brush your teeth, apply some deodorant, and fiddle with your hair (if you have any) for about seven seconds. If you’re fancy, you splash on a bit of cologne. Then you get dressed, and leave for work. You don’t think to yourself, “my eyelashes are so light, they’re practically nonexistent!” You don’t inspect your pores thinking “if only I could make them smaller.” You certainly don’t apply that lip-gloss that makes your lips sting because of its “plumping agent.” Doesn’t that minimalist morning routine sound absolutely liberating? (And to you women out there who already have very minimal morning routines: I salute you. I also hate you a little bit, because I envy your confidence and grace, but it’s a loving kind of hate, if that makes sense.)

I feel like I need to repeat myself again, because someone out there is not hearing me: I love makeup. I love being pretty. I love making a good impression. I love “going the extra mile” and polishing my appearance. I love that with a few products from my makeup bag, I can stack-up against the likes of hollywood starlets. I’m a die-hard makeup fanatic; I get all of the reasons why makeup is awesome, and I am not judging you, or your relationship with makeup. But my reliance on makeup not just to feel beautiful, but to feel acceptable to be seen in public, is crushing my heart, and is preventing me from seeing myself the way God sees me. The only way I am going to break free is to give up makeup cold-turkey. Not for forever, but for long enough that my vanity can be completely uprooted, and a healthy appreciation and respect for the face that God gave me can grow in its place. I approximate that this will take (at least) 40 days.

Why 40 Days?

Surely a week or so would be good enough, right?

I have a couple of reasons for setting 40 days as the minimum duration of my makeup-fast.

  1. I am stubborn, and it takes me a bit longer than some other people to get over things.
  2. Most research says that habits can be broken or formed in 21 days, and since 40 days is roughly double that, I feel confident that real, lasting change can occur.
  3. In the Bible, a 40-something time period, whether days, months, or years is always a period of testing, trial, probation, or chastisement (but not judgment) and ends with a period of restoration, revival or renewal (for example, Jesus 40 days spent in the desert, fasting and being tempted by the devil). There is a lot of hocus-pocus-ey sounding stuff on the Internet regarding the significance of the number 40 in the Bible. Honestly, a great deal of it sounds superstitious to me, and I am not an adherent to any kind of superstition, but, if Jesus chose to fast for 40 days, I see no problem with mimicking him.
  4. But mostly numbers 1 and 2.

The Seed

For several months I’ve prayed that I would grow to love my naked face more than my “made-up” face. And guess what? God has not blessed me with an appreciation for my naked face, which comes as no surprise to me, because that’s not really how God works. What God did do, however, was push Jen Hatmaker and her book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excessacross my path, and slap me in the face with this question: “What, in my life, if taken away, would alter my value and my identity?” Yikes.

And you know, at first, the only things I could come up with as an answer to this question were 1. My husband, and 2. My daughter. (Then I gave myself a mental-high-five for being so level-headed, and so in-tune with God’s priorities for my life.) But then, later, as I was putting on makeup to take Ellie to the pool (yes, I’m that mom), it hit me: I am the most vain person I know. That is not an exaggeration. I don’t think I’m the hottest lady on the block or anything, but I place so much of my value in the fact that, when made-up, I can be very pretty. My identity? When made-up, I am a Pretty Lady. What kind of crap identity is that? And temporary, to boot. Once I realized this, I might have shame-spiraled a bit, and sought comfort in my guys Ben & Jerry. (Don’t ask me why I’m confessing this to you. I guess when I start telling the truth, it just all comes out.)

So that’s the seed that sprouted this whole insane, scary, exercise in self-torture. Jen’s book “7” inspired me in many, many other ways, but the only thing that actually scared me was the idea of going makeup-less. I know how trivial of a problem this might sound to some of you, and I get that. I get how trivial and petty and self-absorbed I sound. “Privileged white-girl from beautiful Coastal California chooses to fast from her makeup collection that probably costs more than some people’s cars.” Please believe me when I tell you that I know this exercise epitomizes the expression “first-world problem.” But I also know that each little step I take is valuable, and just because other people might think it’s silly doesn’t mean it’s not important. I need to get over my vanity. I need to get over myself.

Concerns and Expectations

What will people think of me when they see me barefaced? Will people assume that I’m lazy? That I don’t care enough to put effort into my appearance? Can I handle being told I “don’t look so good” every day? Or that I look tired? Or being asked if something is the matter with me? Will people hear about my fast and think I’m some holier-than-thou crazy-lady? Or a militant feminist with an anti-makeup agenda? Will people look at me and think, “Gosh, if she just tried a little, she could be kinda pretty?” Or, “I feel sorry for that uggo’s husband?” It’s my obsession over what others will think about me that really upsets me. My primary concern shouldn’t be what people will think of me, it should be what my Creator thinks of me. This verse keeps coming to mind: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14) And this lyric by the David Crowder Band: “You make everything glorious, and I am yours. What does that make me?” I know in my head that’s what I should believe, but my heart puts so much value in how others consider me, that this whole idea of simply not putting makeup on has my stomach in knots. It’s ridiculous, and that’s why I have to do something about it.

What do I expect at the end of the 40 days? For one thing, I expect that I’ll be thrilled with how much time I’m saving by abstaining from makeup. And of course I’ll also be saving some money. But bigger than that, I hope I’ll grow to love what I actually look like, without all the cosmetics, and come closer to seeing myself the way God sees me. And I hope that I’ll have more grace for the rare makeup-less women I come across in the world.

And for the record, my husband thinks this is my best idea yet. He thinks it’s crazy that I don’t like my bare face. He’s a keeper, that Mr. Godsey.

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So, for the next 40 days I invite you along with me. You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

If you’re joining me on this fast, of course you can be as flexible as you want to, but I encourage you to go Full Monty on this one. Also, feel free to use the button  I’ve made (up at the top of this post, or in the sidebar) to link-back to this insanely long post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

xoxo,

mj

Frugal Beauty Tip: Swap Your Makeup Remover

For full disclosure, I tend not to wear a lot of makeup in my normal day-to-day life. (I find that it makes me look older, and–blemishes excluded–I like how I look naturally.) But when I do “put my face on” I use the serious, heavy duty stuff that’s meant being photographed under intense lighting by HD cameras (for work). And if you’ve ever used that stuff, you know what a nightmare it can be to remove. It is, after all, meant to stick all day long, through sweat and the like.

Some things: I tend to avoid synthetic chemicals whenever possible, especially on my face. Sometimes I have sensitive skin. I dry out easily, but I also get pretty oily as the day wears on. Oh, and me and my family are certified penny-pinchers. And all of those things considered, I’m SO glad I discovered this beauty “trick.”

I say “trick,” because it’s really so simple. Instead of spending dollars on makeup remover, just use oil. Like, literally, olive oil. It works way better than any commercial makeup remover I’ve ever purchased, it’s great on sensitive skin, it’s safe to get near your eyes, and it’s hydrating. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Slather some oil on your face. If I measured it, it’d probably be about a teaspoon’s worth, which is way more than necessary. And like I said, you can use regular old olive oil, or if you want to get real fancy, you can upgrade to almond oil or grapeseed oil for about $4.00 at your local health-food store. (I use sweet almond oil. Example below.)
  2. Massage it all over wherever you’ve applied makeup (including your eyelids and underneath your eyes). Take your time and enjoy it! Pretend you’re getting an awesome, overpriced facial during which the esthetician tells you all about how Nicole Kidman swears by almond oil or whatever.
  3. Wipe the oil off of your face with a cotton-round or a clean washcloth.
  4. Wash your face as normal.

Easy peasy, right? And it’s way cheaper than springing for some commercial makeup remover (that’s probably half oil anyway!)

If you’re thinking that applying oil to your skin is bad or will cause breakouts, you’d be mistaken. Sure, certain oils are comedogenic (clog pores), but olive, almond, grapeseed, castor oil, and many many others are perfectly fine for your skin. In fact, they’re good for your skin. Each oil has it’s own beautifying properties (castor oil, for example, is a great cleansing agent, and is better for naturally oily skin), and if you really want to get fancy, you can make a custom blend of your own, specifically tailored to your skin needs. (Head over to Crunchy Betty and read all about it. Her website is BOMB for natural beauty remedies. Can’t recommend it highly enough.) And let’s not forget that oils are excellent at preventing premature aging, which in itself, is worth it for me.

If the idea of slathering your face with oil still makes you uncomfortable, bear in mind that you’ll still wash your face afterwards. It’s not like you’ll be going to bed with oil-face. (Yuck.)

The fact is that most people over-cleanse their skin and hair, stripping it of it’s natural oils, causing their hair and skin to overproduce oil to make up for it. It’s a vicious cycle. Would it surprise you to know that I wash my hair once or twice a week? (GASP!) That’s because I use an extra mild shampoo, and my hair doesn’t produce nearly as much oil as it used to. (It took a couple of weeks to for my hair to transition.) And would it surprise you to know that I use a facial cleansing oil and not the foamy stuff? “Like dissolves like,” so in order to best remove all of the dirty oil on my face, I should replace it with clean oil, not strip it entirely. It takes some getting used to (I happen to like frothy, foamy face-washes), but I promise you that once you give it a fair chance, you won’t go back.

In case you’re interested in knowing specifically what I use, here are my two favorite oils, with info, pictures and links from the manufacturer’s website:

 

NOW Sweet Almond Oil (Got mine at New Frontiers, but I’ll bet they carry it at Whole Foods, too.)

Condition: For skin in need of clean and natural nourishment, as a moisturizer or for massage.

Solution: 100% Pure Almond Oil is an all-natural oil that’s perfect for nourishing and reviving any skin type. Almond Oil is easily absorbed and won’t clog pores, promoting clear, soft, healthy skin. This all-natural skin-nourishing oil is ideal for the entire body. Almond Oil is an all-natural oil derived from pressed almonds. Vegetable-derived oils date back to Biblical times, when they were mixed with fragrant herbs to create traditional ointments.

 

NOW Grapeseed Oil (Got mine at New Frontiers, but I’ll bet they carry it at Whole Foods, too.)

Condition: Sensitive skin in need of an all natural moisturizer and protection from premature aging, without clogging pores and causing breakouts.

Solution: 100% Pure Grapeseed Oil is a light, odorless oil with mild astringent and emollient properties. This versatile oil contains numerous essential fatty acids including Linoleic, Oleic, Stearic, Palmitic, Myristic and Lauric. its rich, silky texture is perfect for soothing away dryness and irritation and is suitable for all skin types since it won’t clog pores or cause break-outs. Grapeseed Oil is perfect as a base for lotions, and it’s mild enough to use as a conditioner for all hair types.

Have questions? Fire away! I’m always happy to share information, especially if it can save you a few bucks. Enjoy the an-home facial!

***And in case you’re wondering, I did not receive any sort of compensation or gift or anything whatsoever for this post. I’m just super excited about skin-care. 🙂 ***

Sephora, Drugstore-Brands & The Proverbs 31 Woman

Whatever your opinion of the “Proverbs 31 Woman” is, I feel as if we can all agree that she is prudent with her money. That she’s a good steward of her family’s finances–with what God has provided to her for the benefit of her family.

There are parts of the Proverbs 31 Woman that I reflect well, but I fall short on most it (don’t we all?). The thing that’s really stuck out to me recently is the bit about ‘using her money to plant a garden, and with the profit, buying a vineyard’ (totally paraphrased). I’m definitely not turning my money into more money. I have a couple of plans for that, but before I get there, I’ll admit something else: I could probably spend less money on makeup. Like, a lot less. Before I worry too much about turning my money into more money, I should probably become a better steward of what I already have.

Name-Brand Devotee

I generally consider myself a low-maintainence type of gal, but the fact is, the only two locations I can purchase my preferred brand of makeup are Sephora, and, well, the internet. I really enjoy being well educated on cosmetics–I could easily lecture extemporaneously about the pros and cons of most of the brands carried by Sephora for an hour–but I can’t help but see all of the bargain-priced drugstore brands and feel like an idiot for not saving my family a ton of money by simply switching to something more common. Yes, you get what you pay for (especially with cosmetics), but I have to believe that with everything I know about cosmetics (and the chemicals they’re comprised of), I could find some kind of affordable alternative to Laura Mercier. (The primary ingredient in her setting powder is talc. Talc! That stuff shouldn’t cost me over $30!)

Drugstore-Brand Diva?

That all being said, I need your help. I’d like to become a drugstore-brand diva, but after wandering through Target I was positively overwhelmed. Ask me to compare/contrast Nars/Smashbox/Dior/Laura Mercier, and I’m totally your girl, but I have NO idea what the differences are between Cover Girl, Maybelline, L’Oreal, Revlon, Neutrogena, etc.

I’d like to begin my transition to drugstore brands by switching out both my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer and loose setting powder. If you know me at all, you know that I SWEAR by this tinted moisturizer. I spread the gospel of this moisturizer freely and with abandon. I truly, with all of my little heart, believe there is nothing on this planet that can rival Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer…but I’m gonna try anyway. I’m far less passionate about the setting powder. I’m pretty sure I can find a drugstore brand to replace this with lickety-split.

My first inclination is to look to Aveeno’s new tinted moisturizer as a replacement, but like I’ve said already–FAT CHANCE. If I come back with anything good at all to say about it, you’ll know that it’s legitimately good. 🙂

Hedging My Bets

And before I embark on this embarrassingly scary and somewhat silly journey, I’d like everyone to know: If I can’t find a replacement for my tinted moisturizer, then, well, WHATEVER. It’s not like we’re eating Hamburger Helper over here (that’ll happen over my cold dead body). I’ll find another way to pinch my pennies. 🙂

Thank you thank you THANK YOU for your wisdom. And for not laughing at me for being such a priss about makeup. (Or for at least keeping your laughter to your darnself.)

mj

(If you help yourself to the ‘Helper, we’re still cool. I just can’t eat it.)

My Experience With Postpartum Hair Loss

As I was combing my conditioner through (because I’m the type of girl that meticulously follows instructions, even when printed on the back of a bottle of conditioner), my pulse quickened as I combed out so much hair I thought I might be going bald. Uncle Fester bald. Rest assured, dear superficial internets, that I’m simply experiencing one of the many “wonders” of motherhood: postpartum hair loss.

When one is expecting a child, one’s normal hair-loss pattern is paused (which is why many women report wearing luxurious locks during their preggo months), and, usually a few months after birth, all of that saved-up hair seems to fall out all at once. Even though I was expecting an exodus of hair, nothing prepared me for the drain-clogging Cousin-It looking nightmare that has befallen me. I thought to take a picture to show you, but even I have a sense of privacy.

(Un)fortunately for me, I’ve got the thickest hair I’ve ever seen on a Northern Italian, so this sudden hair loss is such a blessing. I was growing weary of figuring out just what in the heck to do with all of that hair. And unlike some women, my hair is falling out evenly, which is convenient. I’m approaching my next juncture (new hair style!) faster than I anticipated, so I’m taking suggestions. I’m thinking blunt-ish eyebrow length bangs with collar-bone length, dirty-blonde layers. (While we’re talking about this, can we also come  up with another name for “dirty” blonde? I’ve never liked that sobriquet.) Here’s a picture of a hairstyle that I really like, although I just cannot remember where I found her:

Share your scary hair loss stories in the comments below, or pitch in on my new hair style! (Also, just so you know, I gave myself a high-five a la Liz Lemon for making two Addams Family references in a single post. Just before Halloween. Unintentionally. Holler!)

The Benefits of a Cold Shower

I must have showed up late on the day that God assigned me a super-power, because I didn’t get anything cool like the ability to stop time, or the ability to fly. I got a powerful sense of curiosity and a knack at conducting research. Pretty much the nerdiest of all the available super powers. (Geeze louise, three sentences in and I’m already digressing.) The point: when confronted with a topic I know little to nothing about, my instinct is to research it enough to have a reasonably informed conversation about it. The result: a dilettante’s understanding of a variety of subjects. This is one of those subjects.

It was revealed to me through a recent conversation that some people were brought up to take cold showers. This is the first I’ve heard of it, but it also doesn’t particularly surprise me, as every credible source on skin or hair-care instructs to always end one’s cleansing routine with a cold water rinse. A cold water shower isn’t so different. Cold water rinses are great for the face because they close one’s open pores and increase circulation. Similarly, for hair, a cold water rinse seals the cuticle, leaving one with shinier, smoother hair.

After reading as much information as I could find on the subject, there doesn’t seem to be any scientific evidence to prove the health benefits of cold water showers, but there are a great deal of personal testimonies, which weigh almost as much in my opinion. Many people attest that a cold water shower (or even simply a three to five-minute cold water rinse) helps build immunity against viruses like the flu, increases circulation, relieves depression and increases energy. As someone who already embraces the cold water rinse for her face and hair, it’s easy for me to want to test this out. (Although I love a luxurious warm shower, so I’ll most likely go for the three to five-minute cold water rinse instead.)

Were you brought up to take cold water showers? Rinses? Does it sound more like a low-grade torture method than holistic medicine? Tell me all about it in the comments below, because sharing is caring.

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