Curly Product Review: Aveda

Aveda has found its way to the salon I frequent the most, and since they have a curly hair line, I thought I would try a couple of products.

First, a little background about my 3A curls: they’re thick, and there are a lot of them. My greatest battles are with frizz and volume. It has low porosity, and so I’ve been using a keratin and Agadir oil shampoo until recently when I switched to the Keratin Complex shampoo and conditioner.

I haven’t tried any Aveda shampoos or conditioners, but I have tried one of their volume-reducing masques: the Smooth Infusion Smoothing Masque. It worked like a charm! My hair volume was definitely under better control, and it made my hair really soft. It was easy to use and fuss free, though a little bit on the expensive side. However, it also really made me break out around my ears and frizz was still a bit of an issue.

Now, I’ve included the Aveda Be Curly Curl Controller. It’s also good for reducing volume, and it doesn’t bother my skin like the masque does. It’s a little bit difficult to say how much the Curl Controller is doing for me and how much of it is from the Keratin Complex treatment I recently had done (more on that in a later post). Either way, I’ve started mixing the Curl Controller in with my Redkin 16 Hardwear styling gel to soften the crispy effect of the gel and to help keep the volume under control. If you have trouble with hair volume, I definitely recommend trying it! If you don’t have breakout-prone skin, it would be worth trying the Smoothing Masque as well.

Femininity Lost

It’s been a while since I’ve written about femininity, or I have written about it at all ? I don’t even remember. Anyway, I’ve been doing some Googling on it to see what is out there, and I’m amazed at how many more resources and relationship counseling professionals are talking about it now compared to even just three years ago. I’ve thought this for a very long time (probably eight years since I took an interest in the topic of femininity/masculinity in Japanese language), and finally there are a lot of other people putting it out there: people are so confused. When it comes to relationships, nobody knows how to act anymore. Men act masculine, and women have been instilled with the idea that they must act masculine, too, in order to be successful. So when it comes to personal relationships, men and women come together and everybody is masculine. The funny thing is, and I’m not an expert but use history as a guide, most men are not attracted to masculine. The result is women who struggle to figure out why they are unsuccessful in relationships, and men are frustrated because their relationships aren’t going well either. Everybody is so confused!

Times are also changing. Traditionally, men had more formal education than women, and women with more education than average typically ended up old maids. Now, that is being turned on its head. Women are increasingly earning more of the higher degrees awarded than men, but most women still want a man they can look up to, a man who knows more than they do, and a man who has more education than they do. It’s getting tricky for everyone out there. As someone who is considering a PhD, I can’t help but think about these things as well. I’ve always thought I would like to find someone who has the academic ambition to get a PhD, whether or not I ever got my own PhD. But now I wonder is that unattractive to have a PhD? Would it make it harder to find someone to marry if I decided to go in that direction? Would it make it harder to find someone who would be that person to look up to with more knowledge than myself? Because like other women, that’s what I would want.

Talking about how confused women are over their spirit (whether it be a masculine core or a feminine one), it should be mentioned that there are women who are naturally more masculine in their core. There are women who are neither masculine nor really feminine in their core. Most women are naturally feminine in their core, though, and always having to go against their nature by being conditioned to be masculine is hurting these women in their relationships and in their very core beings. These are women who are at odds with themselves. I can speak from personal experience to this. I grew up a tomboy, convinced when I was 15/16 that I would have a sex change, and struggled intensely with disliking my body for being female. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I began to be able to begin embracing my feminine core, and it took years to be able to fully embrace it. But I am so much happier for it now. I know who I am, and I am not just at peace with that part of myself but in agreement with it.

That being said, I receive a lot of hostility from female coworkers who behave very masculine. Some of the women I’ve worked with have been naturally more masculine, and that’s okay. The ones I find that are hostile toward me are the ones who seem to be forced into behaving that way (perhaps through their position at work or maybe because of how they were raised) and resent me. Now that I am in the working world, I’m feeling more push from my work environment to be masculine. It’s quite difficult to navigate, too. Workplaces are not open-minded about being anything but masculine, especially in the science field. This is one of the reasons I want to leave industry (let’s face it, business is a very masculine field, no matter where in the ladder you are) and move back into academia. Additionally, I want to leave chemistry and do linguistics/teaching English as a second language, because I feel the environment would be healthier for me as a feminine individual. Sadly, this should not be the case. Women who want to embrace their feminine core should not feel uncomfortable in their work environments because of expectations, but that is the reality of it. And until more women are able to accept their feminine core, the rest of the world will not accept it either, and the expectation will never change. I get the impression this is especially a problem in the US and is a problem to a lesser extent in Europe, where women were never really ingrained with the idea that to be successful one must behave like a man. I blame this mentality on the second wave feminist movement. The feminist movement started as something very good, but was hijacked and became something that told women to behave in a way that went against their nature. Many of these feminists are also the most miserable individuals you’ll ever come across, so really not many people benefited from the mantra of the second wave movement.

I think it’s time more women started to let themselves be women. For many of us, it will take deep digging to find that feminine core. For many of us, we will be surprised at just how feminine we actually are (I certainly surprised myself in this). Most importantly, those of us who discover our feminine core, we must learn to embrace it and express it. It does little good saying, “I know it’s there” and then just staring at it. We need to relearn how to live our lives and prioritize our values accordingly. It is very important that we learn how to express our femininity and become comfortable with it, but also learn not to apologize for it. Many women may have relatives, friends, or people at work or school who push her to be independent, assertive, and career-oriented, and it will be hard to say, “I’m just not like that, and I don’t really want to be”. Accepting it yourself will be a journey. Getting others to accept it will be a battle, especially in a world that is only open-minded to certain ideologies.

While I do not excel at direct confrontation, I can stand against what is being pushed on me quietly and continue to carry myself as is natural for me, despite what the world says. The world cannot force my behavior, but I also don’t have to be brazen in my going against it and thus making myself a target. It will depend on the individual what approach works best, but I hope any woman reading this will take time to consider it.

Blephoritis Not Clearing Up?

For a few years now, I’ve struggled with blephoritis. Small surprise considering I already have oily skin and seborrheic dermatitis. For the past few years, I’ve taken good care to have good eyelid hygiene: wash twice a day with facial cleanser, scrub with a washcloth to remove any dirt, and moisturize with an oily skin-friendly product. The doctors always tell me this should be good enough, but it hasn’t been. It’s only gotten worse over the past couple of years, and I’m at my wits end. My eyelids are puffy and there are splits in my eyelash line. My eyes get dried out from the puffiness of my eyelids. I have tear attacks, where my eyes start randomly watering and stinging and then watering more (and they happen at very bad times like when I’m driving). So I got on the internet, because so far the doctors have been only useful for getting antibiotic and steroid eyedrops from–which never solves the problem.

What I found was quite surprising. Another common cause of blephoritis is an allergy or infestation of skin mites (demodex), which naturally reside on the skin and help remove buildup. These skin mites can also cause the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. With an allergy, like an allergy to dust mites, this would obviously cause swelling, which leads to clogged pours and all of the other problems encountered with blephoritis. I would guess with an allergy, one of the most common symptoms is probably itching, which I’m not sure all blephoritis sufferers have this. I entertained the idea that maybe a mite allergy or infestation was the problem, so I kept reading to see what solutions might be.

They were quite simple: good eyelid hygiene (check) and a 5-35% tea tree oil solution. I could have spent $50 on a tea tree cleanser for my eyelids, but I already had tea tree oil sitting around the house, so I decided to try that first. I diluted it to approximately 5% with sterile eye wash water and applied a drop with a dropper to a cotton ball and dabbed it onto my eyelids, making sure to get the eyelash lines. I had immediate relief from the itching, which really surprised me. I didn’t expect results, or at least no results that quickly. I’ve continued doing this twice daily for three days now and already have had fewer tear attacks and less eye dryness. If you haven’t tried this for your blephoritis woes yet, it’s inexpensive to try and may be the solution you’ve needed all along.There’s also the option of looking for a demodex cleanser online, which can get more expensive, but may be a better option for some. If you think your seborrheic dermatitis may be a demodex-related issue, it would also be worth trying the tea tree cleansers to see if it clears things up.

I plan to write a follow-up post in maybe a month and hopefully will see a reduction in swelling and pore clogs.

Towards a Cuter Wardrobe: Candy Rain

If you’re into frilly, girly, princess clothing that’s not quite to the point of himeloli, look no further than Candy Rain. YesStyle sells Candy Rain, but you can find a lot of Candy Rain items on eBay for slightly less. It tends to run a little expensive on YesStyle, but you know you’re getting real Candy Rain items when you order from them. The only downside is that eBay usually has a better selection, but you won’t find the listings under Candy Rain. Instead, you’ll have to search for something slightly more generic like “sweet lolita princess blouse/skirt…” If you live in the UK, you can buy from Cutesy Kink‘s shop or order online. They’re the only UK seller of Candy Rain. There’s also a dedicated princess shop on AliExpress called Loliloli Shop that has a better variety of Candy Rain items than YesStyle with prices and shipping being around the same. They also sell lots of other cute himekei lolita type accessories (including tights, socks, hair accessories, hats), shoes, clothing, and underthings, including clothes from a brand called bobon21 (listed as GOGO Girl on YesStyle).htb1-ye3gxxxxxccaxxxq6xxfxxx4Anyway, Candy Rain has some of the cutest items. They’re good quality, but run quite small. Great for petite ladies who like the Japanese princess look. Most of their clothes are in icy colors (great for neutral or cool undertones) such as lavender, mint, baby pink, and baby blue. I’ve only bought a couple of items from them so far, but they certainly haven’t disappointed! The blouse (pictured above) was £18 or about $25. The gray blazer below I bought for $65.

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These are also some of the most comfortable frilly clothes I’ve tried. No itchy lace, just adorableness. I also really like the colors. A lot of Asian brands tend to use either neutral colors or colors better for people with warm undertones, but Candy Rain uses colors more suited toward cool undertones. I also like that Candy Rain items easily integrate into everyday wear for people who can’t wear lolita outfits to work.

If you look for this brand on Rakuten, it’s listed under the brand name Snow White.

Lotions Suitable for Seboherreic Dermatitis

I’ve experimented a lot over the past few years trying to find skincare items that work for me. No thanks to this pesky condition, things have been quite tricky. That’s why I want to share some of the lotions I’ve found work really well for me. Maybe you’ll find them helpful, too!

・゚:*Face Lotion*:・゚

The first and probably most important. It took a while and a lot of experimenting to find something that worked, but I actually found an amazing lotion that has high concentrations of antioxidants in it, which actually helps to treat the condition. After I found it on Amazon, I noticed a lot of Amazon reviewers with this condition were saying the same thing, so I hope you’ll try Topix Pharm Replenix CF Cream. It’s a little expensive ($37-50, depending on what deals are available at the time), but it really is worth it. I save a little money by only using it in the evenings, but I would be better off using it twice a day. Also, be careful to get the cream and not the serum. I found the serum doesn’t work as well.

・゚:*Body Lotion*:・゚

While I was living in England, I discovered an amazing website: mypure.co.uk. I still order a lot of my skincare products from them (and all my lipsticks, Lavera is the best!), and they’re great! Great customer service, fast shipping, and their shipping costs are very reasonable. They carry a brand called Madara, which has saved my skin in a way I didn’t think was possible. I started using Madara’s body washes, and my skin doesn’t get anywhere near as oily as it used to. They’re very gentle and light and not at all drying. Additionally, I also started using their Moisturising Lotion (£13 or about $16) for normal/dry skin. This lotion absorbs quickly and moisturizes well without leaving any heavy residue on your skin. Even for my skin, which tends to be oily, this lotion is heaven! I will never spend another dime on any other lotion again.

Towards a Cuter Wardrobe: Bra Sets

One of my favorite things to shop for is lingerie. Almost anything frilly, lacy, with ribbons and bows is game. But bras are something most girls can’t live without, so I will limit this post to bra sets.

It took me a long time to find bras I loved. My size is quite difficult to find, which limited my options in terms of styles I could buy, and I really wanted under garments that were as princessy and adorable as my other clothes. Then one day (this was about a year ago now), I was shopping around on my favorite clothing website YesStyle and noticed they were starting to sell some of their bras in a size I could get away with wearing. Band sizes in Asian bras run small, so if you’re a 30 like me, you could get away with getting a 32. It was at this point that I started to search elsewhere online to see if the same bras were available in a wider variety of sizes. I must have spent hours perusing the likes of DHGate and other bulk ordering websites but lucked out and found the same bras on eBay–for less than Yesstyle! Since they were pretty cheap (about $15-25 for a bra and panty set, though this is also very much dependent on sizes available), I took a shot in the dark and ordered a couple (and they were so cute, I couldn’t resist!). I got lucky and found that my usual 30DD size converted quite nicely to Asian 32D and occasionally 32C. I went crazy buying bra sets (including those shown below), as they are usually less than $20 a set on eBay.

Having some of these items for over a year now, I have to also mention that the quality of these items is stunning for the price. The elastic on all the ones I’ve bought so far is still perfect. Another thing I should mention is that they’re pretty much all push-up bras. This took some getting used to, but I actually found they gave better support and were in the end more comfortable. A lot of them are also longline bras, which are the most supportive and the elastic tends to last the longest. All I can say is that I absolutely love these bras!

Sizes most commonly available are 32, 34, and 36 (70, 75, and 80 in Asian sizing) in A and B cups. Some styles come in C cups, and very occasionally will also come in D cups. D cup bras go quickly, though, so if you’re looking for one, you’ll have to look often. As I mentioned before, the band sizes run small, so actually, sizing is probably closer to 30, 32, and 34.

eBay can be hard to search when you’re actually looking for something specific like this. Here are a couple eBay shops I’ve ordered from that sell these bras to get you started:
loveshop708 (I’ve purchased 75% of my bra sets from this shop. They have a good reputation and good selection, especially in terms of sizing) and usa-top. In terms of searching and just looking around, if you look for “lace push up bra,” you’ll find a lot of these types of styles.

If you’re looking for the more girly types (like those shown below), searching will be your best bet. I played around with this for a while on eBay to see what gave the best results, and the phrase I’ve found that pulls up pretty much exclusively this style while still giving a lot of variety and pulling from different shops is “sweet cute girls push up bra set”. This style is usually more limited in size (only A and B cups, 32 and 34 band sizes, sometimes 36), but if you’re lucky enough to be able to wear them, there are lots of cutesy styles out there on both YesStyle and eBay!

Towards a Cuter Wardrobe: Poetic License

Shoes. I’m so particular about my shoes. They have to be cute with something interesting on them, but at the same time I don’t want them to outshine my outfit. I love heels, but the heels must be delicate: not too high and not too chunky, but still sturdy so I don’t feel like I’m walking on toothpicks. Most shoes that meet these requirements are inspired by retro shoes. Meet:

・゚:*Poetic License*:・゚

This is a brand I recently stumbled across on ModCloth. You can purchase directly from the Poetic License website, or other stores online (Amazon included).

These are the two shoes I bought. I love the big ribbons, the scalloping, and the vibrant colors on these shoes. As of yet, I haven’t worn them enough to be able to review them on comfort, but I can say that the heel is perfect: delicate while still being stable. The designs are quite colorful and these should could be the focal point for an outfit. That being said, I feel like they have the potential to outshine a cute dress or skirt, but it can still work. These shoes are good quality, but I would have liked to have had more cushioning on the insole. You can find these at a wide variety of prices. The blue-laced shoes were $79, while the lavender-laced shoes were $140.

Poetic License has a pretty wide variety of styles, so I definitely recommend visiting their website or shopping around a little.