Capitalization choices again questionable.
SUP friends?! Today we’re going to talk about the results of my numerous natural beauty experiments conducted in 2011. That’s right, I conducted experiments on myself for an entire year just for you. Well, and me. Because I am a vain, vain woman.
Let’s get started. For reference:
Hair type: straight, with a mix of fine and thick hair (I don’t know how this happened either), lots of premature greys
Skin type: fair and freckly, fine lines, prone to redness and blushing. Oily forehead, dry nose.
Now you know more about my ass than you ever wanted to. Joy comes in all shapes and sizes.
1. Shea butter
I’ve talked about shea butter before, but it’s such a wonder product it must be discussed again and again until every person on this planet replaces their chemical laden lotion nastiness with it. Shea butter is made mostly in Africa from the butter of the shea (karite) nut, which is boiled to separate the fat from the rest of the nut and then refined naturally. Now the word refined is a tricky one, because one thing you don’t want in your shea butter is the word REFINED. When I say refined, I mean African women grind and separate the oils from the water and form it into balls which are then ready for use. When a package of shea butter says ‘refined’ it means it’s been chemically fucked with to create a different look/smell/composition, the process of which essentially destroys the healing properties of the butter itself. Like all things, you want to go ORGANIC and FAIR TRADE for shea butter, and make sure it is what it says it is. I’ve had quite a few experiences buying shea butter which had been partially refined, or mixed with other substances, etc. It DOES NOT have the same healing qualities as organic, natural shea and should be avoided as it insults not only the product itself, but the African women who labor to make genuine shea.
Shea butter can vary in smell and color, but you want to avoid butter which is all white or a shade of bright yellow, as it’s been refined and/or cut. I buy whipped shea mixed with scented essential oils, and they’re almost always a nice shade of slightly beige-ish yellow like this:
So, again: avoid WHITE and BRIGHT YELLOW shea, only buy something which is close to the color above.
Uses: moisture and healing. Chapped skin and lips benefit most from shea butter, although I’ve used it on the ends of my hair at night for very subtle moisture while I sleep. Some people say it’s God’s gift to hair healing, but my results were, as stated, subtle. It’s food for the skin! Shea also has a very slight sunscreen property to it, and this is, again, something I have tested with good results. I’m very fair although I don’t burn as easily as some pale ladies, and I have both tanned in a booth with fair skin without burning after the application of shea and stayed in the sun for an hour without sunscreen following the application of shea. Both times were successes although obviously caution must be taken. Shea butter melts at body temperature, so keep it out of hot places unless you want it to melt and re-harden annoyingly. You simply take a dollop, warm it in your palms, and rub it anywhere you’d like. It’s the literal holy grail of natural beauty products. Replace your lotions, lip balms, and mineral oils with this.
2. Olive oil.
Ah, olive oil. One of the most amazing properties on the face of this earth! It’s tied with shea for ease of use and versatility. So what do you use it for? Moisture. Olive oil has been tentatively found to stave off cancer in mice after exposure to sun via application to the skin, so every time I sunbathe, I rub myself with oil afterwards to make up for the fuckery I have wreaked upon my skin via Apollo. However, this isn’t a change in my usual routine because I apply olive oil to my skin after showering every day in lieu of lotion. Apply while you’re still wet, rub in, then towel off. You’ll be AMAZED at how effective this is. I use shea on my face, olive oil on my body. It’s the only thing that keeps my fragile skin from flaking and cracking due to exposure to the hard water we roll with in Downtown LA.
I also use olive oil to relax my scalp and treat my busted ass hair. It works wonders on my dry, often flaky scalp and makes my hair shinier for a day or two. Contrary to what people say, when you’ve fucked up your hair, it’s fucked for good. Shea butter and olive oil will slightly “heal” dry, brittle hair but it’s temporary, so keep that in mind. No hair miracles here, sorry. However, scalp wise, olive oil is a miracle worker. Cold weather is no match for EVOO.
Important to note is extra virgin olive oil seems to work best, so go for EVOO over regular ol’ OO when you can, and make sure it’s COLD PRESSED. This goes for all oils-cold pressed is the way to go. This ensures the oil never reaches temperatures higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit when being expelled, which is important to the structure of the oil and the healing benefits related to the product. American pressing standards are shoddy at best, so if you can readily find cold pressed oil from elsewhere, snap it up. Many America cold pressed oils have been heated momentarily to temperatures much higher than 120 degrees, so *as usual* don’t trust America to deliver you products that are good for you. I buy olive oil from all sorts of places, but since we’re being real I’ll tell you I mostly buy mine from the grocery store, imported, with tasting notes described as light, fresh or fruity (just because it makes sense to me). I then throw that shit in the shower and boom, done.
3. Green tea
I’ll readily admit I’m obsessed with The East for many reasons, but first and foremost is because Asians never fucking age. I’m sure this has a lot to do with their collective attitudes, emphasis on respect and philosophical viewpoints, and mostly natural diets, but for purposes of illustration I’m going to say it’s all thanks to green tea. Green tea is a wonder drug of magic times for your insides, associated with everything from lifting depression to preventing cancer. As a once obsessive coffee drinker, it was not easy for me to switch from coffee to tea, especially slightly bitter sorta nasty green tea. I worked in a high stress Big Girl power suit job for many years where I became not only used to but reliant on coffee for energy and social needs (both in terms of breaks from work and also networking). In 2010, I noticed I was turning into a coffee crackhead, always super chirpy and reliant on coffee to “wake me up” and turn me into a human being. I was also beginning to get weird chest paints a lot and other very subtle but alarming body memos which told me HEY ASSHOLE STOP PUMPING ME FULL OF CAFFEINE THANKS. I tried tea to no avail, until I eventually started working from home, in my own environment minus tons of ringing phones, sassy clients, and assholes in suits. Once I was working in a normal environment, it was easy for me to forego coffee and start FINALLY drinking tea. The health benefits have been amazing.
But we’re talking about beauty so let’s stick to it. Beauty wise, I look *much* better without the dehydrating effects of coffee, but green tea is great for weight loss and *my personal favorite* reducing redness on the skin. My skin goes between being normal and being slightly reddish and blotchy depending on the weather, and when the latter comes to visit I simply throw a room temperature or cooled green tea bag on my ugly mug and rub it around. Yep, just save your used tea bag from earlier and rub it on your face (or wherever). In just a couple of minutes, your redness should be down if not gone, and you can thank me later. Remember to buy organic green tea without FLUORIDE. Contrary to what we’ve all been told about fluoride being some wonder drug for your teeth and bones, it’s probably what’s been making you break out and might be fucking with your thyroid. Avoid fluoride at all costs, especially in your drinking water, toothpaste, and tea.
Because I experiment for so long and with so many variables, these are all of the products I can BAR NONE advocate at this moment, but I’ve got some others on my daily rotation as follows:
Vibration for cellulite
Replacing shampoo and conditioner with baking soda and apple cider vinegar
Curing candida with baking soda
African black soap
Stay tuned. I’ll be bukkaking your minds and faces with organic information soon.