Review: Natural Aqua Gel Cure Exfoliating Gel

The Natural Aqua Gel Cure is a Japanese exfoliating product that I used it for a couple of weeks. I used it every other day and replaced scrubbing my skin with a coarse wash clothe with this product. Its breakthrough ingredient is “activated water” according to the advertisement. I’m really not sure what “activated water” is, but anyway.

There are some things I really like about it: First, it’s very gentle. I use it under my eyebrows, and it never irritates. It’s also not too expensive: I bought a bottle for $30 on Amazon, and this should easily last three months using it every other day. As I said, I also ordered it on Amazon, and it shipped from Amazon, making it very easy to get a hold of if you live in the US.

Somethings I didn’t really like about it: The gel turns into a liquid while you’re massaging it into your face and gets a little messy. It has a tendency to run down your arms. Another thing I don’t really like is just how gentle it is. For someone who struggles with the scabbing of seborrheic dermatitis, this product doesn’t do enough to smooth the skin or remove the excessive dead layers.

This product would probably be good for someone who has surface acne (as opposed to deep acne that’s mostly under the skin). It would also be good for someone who has very sensitive skin. However, if you have seborrheic dermatitis, this may not be enough to smooth your skin.

For seborrheic dermatitis, what I prefer to do is use a lemon juice and brown sugar scrub three times a week. Just cut a lemon in half and squeeze a small amount of the juice into a small bowl. Drop a teaspoon of brown sugar into it. Take a cotton pad and drop it in to soak in the lemon juice. Using the cotton pad, massage some of the brown sugar on your face to exfoliate. After exfoliating, let it sit for 5 minutes before rinsing it off. The lemon juice will help break up the sebum and dead skin, as well as brighten your complexion and improve discoloration. I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks after trying the exfoliation gel and prefer this. It’s more effective, but be careful if you have very sensitive skin.

Femininity and Vulnerability (Mostly Ranting)

Femininity is a dying quality. Women today seem to feel like they need to behave like men to survive, to survive. You see, women are in survival mode. They don’t have fathers or brothers or boyfriends looking out for them or protecting them or guarding them in any way. Women are having to be independent to survive.

I’m not going to say this is all men’s fault. The second wave feminist movement started this mess when they said women don’t need or want men and then convinced a whole slew of women that this was true. As these women got older, they realized it wasn’t true, but it created a generation of men who leave the women in their lives to their own devices. It’s a sort of the chicken and the egg dilemma.

The result, however, is still difficult for women. Women now feel like they have to be strong and independent to survive, because no man will step up to protect them (and when I say man, I don’t just mean a boyfriend or husband, but fathers and brothers, too). Then men wonder why women behave the way they do: they’re unfeminine. Women are serious, closed off, defensive. Some women have started to pride themselves in their ability to be one of the boys, while other women struggle being in survival mode just to make it through the work day. And there’s no off and on switch for this mode of living, especially if you’re unaware you’re doing it.

Working in a male-dominated field in the hard sciences, I see this with the women I work with. They carry themselves like men, talk like men, and the ones they end up treating the worst are other women. I have a manager who is very much the quintessential one of the boys. I’m very girly. I love presenting myself as a woman and not being sloppy. I’m only 4’11” (151cm) and 105ish lbs (46kg) and need help reaching things or lifting things. The response I often get from her for this is beratement. “We need to toughen you up,” “we need to work on those muscles,” and all these comments about how I should be more independent and, essentially, more masculine.

This bothers me. Why are women putting more pressure on other women to be this way? Why do women put this masculine expectation on other women? What is so wrong about a woman needing to ask for help and showing she is vulnerable and not completely independent? It doesn’t bother me to have to ask for help. Why does it bother her?

Growing up, I also received a lot of these types of comments from my dad. “I’m trying to toughen you up, make you stronger, make you more independent.” Why do I have to be independent? Why is relying on others so bad? Isn’t that what makes women women is their relationship with people? Yet it seems today women are more competitive with each other than men are–and worse, women are competitive with men! This is not how women fundamentally function. It’s been ingrained into their minds that this is the only way to “survive”. And most women are in survival mode right now. Is it self-inflicted? Partly. Is it a result of men not being masculine? Partly. At the end of the day, there’s no point in laying blame on anyone. This is a problem that needs to be addressed.

I think it needs to start with women. Stop putting other women down for being okay with their femininity and accepting themselves as women. Stop being competitive with women, and for your own sake, stop being competitive with men (men don’t like this). Learn to be vulnerable and accept help. Women in their heart of hearts want to be protected, but unless women learn to be vulnerable and show they need protection, no one will ever step up and say, “I’ll protect you!” But as long as women are going after other women for trying to return to their feminine core, this won’t happen. What I really can’t understand is why have women become woman’s greatest enemy ? Shouldn’t we be supporting each other?

Once women can learn to accept their own femininity and their own core as women, I think both men and women will be happier as individuals and in relationships. Once women start acting like women again, men can start acting like men again. At least, this is my hope.

Best Websites to Shop for Feminine Petite Clothes and Japanese Fashion

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As a petite girl, I used to struggle with finding clothes that fit like they were made for my size. For the past eight or so years, though, I’ve been shopping on websites that carry Asian clothing and have found the fit to be supremely better.

Another reason I really like shopping on Asian websites is the clothing styles you can find are a lot more feminine. If simple is more your style, you can find these clothes, too. If you’re looking for something with more frills and lace, you’ve come to the right side.

I still occasionally look around to see what websites are out there that are selling Asian clothing, and especially the Japanese fashion styles that emphasize girliness like hime and lolita style. As such, I’d like to share the ones I know about with anyone else who’s petite frame is making it difficult to find clothes that fit or who are wanting to find something a little more girly than what you currently have.

YesStyle.com is my first go to for almost anything. You can find all sorts of styles on here, whether you’re looking for simple clothes, frilly items, Korean style, Japanese style, or just some basics. They have a huge amount of variety. They also sell some great Asian cosmetic brands like Etude House, Innisfree, and CANMAKE. If you know what brand you’re looking for, they sell Snow White (under Candy Rain), DreamSwing (under Altalena), and bobon21 (under GOGO Girl).

eBay is also a great place to look–if you know how. I mostly use eBay for finding the frilly, girly Japanese styles. Brands like Snow White, DreamSwing, and bobon21 are often available on eBay for competitive prices, and sometimes the selection is slightly better. It’s also a great place to find really cute Japanese style lingerie. Asian lingerie runs small, so it’s a great resource for small framed girls. For example, I normally wear a 28/30 band size, but a 32 band size in Asian lingerie fits me perfectly. There is some variation, but I’ve never bought a 32 band size from an Asian brand that was too big (even if I had to wear it on the tightest hooks).

Another resource is a store called Loliloli Shop on AliExpress. They also carry bobon21, Snow White, and DreamSwing. They also have a huge selection of accessories like socks, tights, and hair accessories. I’ve only ordered once from them, so I’ll have to write a review once I receive my item to share my experience.

If you’re savvy in shopping on Japanese websites, most Rakuten.co.jp shops will ship internationally. You can find Snow White, DreamSwing, and bobon21, as well as lots of other frilly, girly, petite brands. I’ve never ordered through Rakuten Japan, but so far I haven’t needed to either. All the clothes I’ve been looking for are available through shops that are better equipt to deal with international orders and deliveries.

I hope these have been helpful! If you have any resources you want to share, feel free to comment. As I learn about other sites and shops, I will definitely continue to update this blog.

Blephoritis Tea Tree Oil Treatment Update

So this is a follow-up to my post about tea tree oil for treating blephoritis. Luckily, I write this with good news: it’s made a huge difference. I’ve been using it for two weeks now, and I’ve seen some big changes. First, I’m not having tear attacks daily (when your eyes start randomly watering and then start stinging). I still get them occasionally, but they used to occur every day. Another thing I’ve noticed is my eyelids are starting to become sensitive again. This might sound strange, but something I’ve noticed about blephoritis and seborrheic dermatitis is how insensitive skin becomes. I used to scrub my eyelids every morning and evening with a pretty rough wash cloth to exfoliate, because it was the only thing I knew how to do. It was never painful and my skin was never sensitive after that. Now, however, I can’t use a wash cloth to scrub my eyelids anymore. It becomes very irritated, which I actually take as a very good sign. I’m seeing similar changes to using tallow on my eyelids and face (see my post on tallow for oily skin and seborrheic dermatitis to find out more).

When I first started using the tea tree oil, I applied it twice a day to the base of my lashes. I found it to be too irritating to use twice a day after about a week, so I’ve reduced it to once in the evening now. My eyelids still get quite oily during the day, but I’m hoping with time this will improve.

I have added a couple new items to my daily routine: Moroccan Rose toner and Natural Aqua Gel Cure exfoliator. I haven’t used them long enough to write a review for them yet, but I’ll post a review for those soon. Another item I really like for blephoritis or just tired eyes are hot eye masks by KAO. They’re so relaxing, and unlike taking a wash cloth with warm water, the heat lasts 10-15 minutes. It’s about $15 for 14 masks, and you can find it on Amazon in several different scents.

Also, I’m planning to start a video blog to accompany my posts. I mostly want videos to go with my reviews, so if you’re more of a video person, check out my channel and stay tuned! I hope to have my first video review posted within a week.

Tallow For Oily Skin and Seborrheic Dermatitis

I’m really excited to get to do this review, because I feel like I’ve really hit the jackpot with this find. To warn you upfront, it isn’t glamorous, and it’s a little bit strange, but it really works. If you’re struggling with oily skin or seborrheic dermatitis, you will want to read on.

Let’s start with what tallow actually is. As I said, it isn’t glamorous, but I’m going to tell it to you straight: it’s beef fat, usually blended with olive oil and essential oils for ease of application and scent. What are the benefits of beef fat for your skin?

Fatty acids! Tallow is full of naturally occurring fatty acids that your skin needs to repair itself and stay plump and moist. Fatty acids are also natural antioxidants, which helps fight aging and acne and seborrheic dermatitis (both of which are caused by inflammation). Most beauty products rely on adding fatty acids to them, usually by either by extracting them from natural sources or by making them synthetically. The nice thing about tallow is that all of the fatty acids are naturally occurring and are readily available for your skin to absorb and use them.

Vitamins! Tallow also is full of naturally occurring vitamins. I don’t think I need to explain the importance of vitamins to you, but I’ll point out a couple of important ones for your skin. Vitamin A (retinol) is essential for helping with acne. Accutane, a prescription drug used for severe acne, is really just highly concentrated and very readily absorbed vitamin A. Vitamin E (you’ll see this often listed as tocopherols) is an antioxidant and moisturizing agent. This vitamin is great for helping skin stay moisturized, as well as fighting aging and any inflammation-based problems.

Collagen! I know collagen has in the past been a bit of a negative word, but collagen is essential for the skin to rebuild itself. It’s a building block for cells, which means you’ll want readily available collagen for your skin to help keep it youthful and healthy.

What about the cost? Tallow is actually very inexpensive. A 2oz jar of organic tallow from grass-fed cows will cost about $25, but you use an extremely small amount of tallow on your skin. I estimate even used generously, a 2oz jar should last about six months or longer.

Why is organic tallow from grass-fed cows so important? For cows to be healthy, they need to be fed grass. Cows cannot digest corn or grains (this is what they’re fed on industrial farms) and become malnourished when they do, because they cannot absorb any nutrients from this. If the cow cannot absorb nutrients from its food, the fat in the cow will have no vitamins or fatty acids in it. This malnutrition will also cause stress on the cow’s body, leading to the production of all kinds of things in the fat that your skin will not thank you for. Speaking of stress, it’s very important for cows to be able to graze freely. Being locked in pens for 24 hours a day is also very stressful and not good for a cows health. An unhealthy cow will not produce good milk, good meat, or good fat.

A little bit about my person experience with tallow: I was very skeptical at first, but I’m always exciting to try something new for my poor, desperate skin. I read some reviews online where people who had problems with oily skin said it did wonders for them, and even some people claimed it erased blackheads. Intrigued, I jumped online to see what different places sell good quality tallow. I ended up going with Vintage Tradition and purchased their Almost Unscented balm. The reason for this was it sounded like with the essential oils it had in it, it should have a warm, woody scent. That ended up not being the case, and the scent is too light to really cover the smell of the tallow up well, but it still is amazing for my skin. My next tallow will be the Pretty Girl with a floral scent.The consistency of Vintage Tradition’s tallow is a lot like unrefined shea butter, and it needs to be rubbed with your finger to be able to get a little bit out to apply to the skin.

After using it for a couple of weeks, I noticed my skin is so smooth and soft. My makeup goes on smoother, and I even apply tallow lightly under my makeup because it helps it go on so much better.  I used to get rough patches when applying my foundation, because of the seborrheic dermatitis. Now the only rough patches I get are under my eyebrows. My foundation seems to stay on a little better, too. My skin also is a little less oily, and I’m hoping after several months of use to see my pores get smaller and my skin get less oily throughout the day. At night, I apply the tallow a little heavier over the Topix Replenix CF Cream, and after showering I apply it on the most dry-prone areas over my favorite Madara body lotion.

All in all, I would highly recommend this to anyone. Whether you have skin problems or not, you can’t go wrong with tallow from a high quality source. My mom and sister even started using it after I had been the guinea pig for the first week. So check it out and tell me what you think!

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.