Ditch the tights: Get your skin ready for Spring!

Spring time is upon us, and even though the weather is still fluctuating, there are some days (like today) where you feel like it’s just about acceptable to start baring your legs. But after a long British winter, our skin is left feeling dry, pale and dull. Hopefully this post will help prepare you, and your skin, for long sunny days to come and help you to look and feel your best.

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I am a self confessed goo hoarder. So I have tried to narrow this list down to just one of each different type of goo…there may be a couple of overlaps..

The first thing you will want to do to get your skin ready for show is moisturise it. If you are anything like me, you haven’t moisturised much over the whole winter period because who is going to see your skin in winter? This is where the overlap occurs because there are three different moisturises pictured above if you exclude the coconut oil and aloe vera. Which can also be used. But they all have their different times and places. First of all, the Bathina Body Oil by Benefit (£26.50). This came out at the end of last summer so I haven’t had many opportunities to use it, but when I am having a pamper evening, I’ll apply this all over after a nice long bath just to feel soft and smell nice, winter be damned. You spray it directly onto the skin so you don’t have to get your hands oily if you just want to spray it on your legs and chest before you leave the house.

The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Body Oil is, yes, another oil but it is much cheaper (£4-ish). I love cocoa butter so much, it is a classic and it smells like chocolate so why would anyone not love it? I use this oil in tanning. Moisture is essential in maintaining a tan – natural or fake. So in the summer I apply this every morning and evening to make my tan last longer.

Then there’s the Agent Provocateur L’Agent Silk Body Elixir (£30). This exact product is now discontinued which is a huge shame because it is an exact smell-a-like to Chanel No.5. And it leaves the skin unbelievably soft and silky. You can still get the Body Elixirs but with different perfumes. I use it very sparingly so I don’t run out. Basically only on special occasions, like those parties where even your skin needs to dress up.

So that’s moisturisers. Now for those of you who need a bit of help with your tan or who don’t like to damage your skin, Xen-Tan is my all time favourite fake tan. And believe me, when it comes to tanning I know my stuff. I was bleach blonde and caramel tanned from the ages of 18-20 and over that time I tried all the different fake tans, but this one is the best for your money. These days I sun bed (it is my only vice) so I don’t really use fake tan but I still keep a bottle for emergencies. I have a tanning mitt but because Xen-Tan goes on with a guide colour it is easy to wash it off your hands after application, just use a bar of soap and hot water. Once you wash the guide colour off it is streak free and because the undertones are green, it is olive toned, not orange.

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See how tanned! I miss those days 😦

For those of you who are sun worshipers like me, I love to use Aloe Vera gel as an after sun because it has an instant cooling effect and works really well on burns. Aloe Vera can also be used as a moisturiser AND as a hair treatment, but read my post about hair porosity because if you have low porosity hair, this will dry it out. Another sun essential is SPF for the face. I have to admit I don’t really use sun cream (which I don’t condone, unless you are a naturally dark skin type like I am and don’t burn) but I do apply factor 15 to my face on holidays and because recently I have been doing lots of acid peels on my skin, I have to use factor 30 even in England to protect the lower layers of skin that are now exposed. In general using an SPF on your face daily is a great way to protect your skin from ageing.

Finally, Coconut Oil. This has so many uses, it would need to do another post just to list them, but the one I recommend it for in this article is shaving. I know it sounds weird but it has to be tried to be believed. You can use coconut oil for shaving and because it leaves a residue on your legs, you don’t even have to moisturise afterwards. I would just advise rinsing the bath out thoroughly afterwards so it’s not slippy. Or keep it au naturel and don’t shave at all. Whatever you prefer, both are good.

And the most important rule to look amazing for spring…smile! The sun’s out! 🙂

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Natural Hair Care: Hair Porosity

Aloe Vera is amazing for your hair. I helps stimulate growth, it treats the scalp, it conditions the hair making it soft and silky and controls frizz by smoothing the hair cuticle. So why then, when I used it, did it make my hair dry and brittle as straw? Apparently, it is because I have low porosity hair and I didn’t even know about it. 

Hair porosity is basically like how many gaps there are in your hair. This picture explains it better: 

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It effects how well moisture can penetrate the hair shaft. Very porous hair absorbs all the moisture not leaving anything behind whereas on low porosity hair it will just sit on the strand unable to get in. Essentially high porosity hair is not healthy hair. And low porosity hair already has all the health and goodness it needs. This is why I was so surprised to find out I had lo-po hair because I always thought my hair was incredibly porous. Probably because when I used to get it bleached every 6 weeks my hair dresser never used toner because of how porous my hair was. But my hair must have repaired itself and all the care I’ve been taking must have payed off because it seems now my hair is healthy and no longer porous. 

An easy was to tell how porous your hair is is by placing a single hair strand in a glass of water. If it sinks quickly it is porous. It has absorbed all that water quickly which weighs it down causing it to sink. Therefore if it takes a long time to sink or just floats at the top it is low porosity. Or you could run your fingers up a strand of your hair towards the scalp and if you feel a lot of bumps it is highly porous. If it feels smooth, it is not porous. 

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So with that all being said, what does this mean for my hair? And why does it not like Aloe Vera? Basically because aloe vera smooths cuticles and mine are already smooth, it’s redundant. Why this leaves my hair dry and brittle, I don’t know. There is also a school of thought about protein sensitivity in hair which is that some hair is already full of protein so rejects any more protein you apply to the hair which leaves it dull and dry. Some people vouch this is true for them, others claim protein sensitivity is a myth.

So how do you look after lo-po hair? 

Basically, if you have lo-po hair you are kind of blessed and don’t need to do much to it. However if it is really dry and you want your hair cuticles to open up to take in the moisture from a treatment you are using, you can always use SAFE heat. For example, heating the product (oil, conditioning treatment) before applying it. You can also sit under a hair dryer while your hair is safely protected under a shower cap which will help the moisture penetrate the hair shaft. However because I avoid ANY heat on my hair (I even wrap it up when I’m sunbathing) I will not be doing this. I am too chicken. Another way to get your hair to accept the moisture from the product is only to use a tiny amount of it. I have been doing Coconut Oil pre-poo treatments (pre-poo meaning before you wash your hair) and leaving the coconut oil in my hair overnight. It worked beautifully the first time, however the last time I did it my hair felt really dry when I was washing it out. This could be because I used too much and next time I should use only the smallest amount. I am going to keep trying to see if I can get the amount right, because coconut oil has SO many benefits for hair. 

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Please let me know any experiences you have had, good or bad, with hair porosity, aloe vera, coconut oil, anything! I would love to know about other hair experiences.