Sally Van Eycke's Twitch

Sally Van Eycke's Twitch

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

St Ives

Random time to review a bodywash, I know. But I've been using this stuff at the gym instead of the antibacterial stuff provided for free at the gym. The free stuff, although tempting because of FREE, is no good for me. It dries my skin so much, I get flaky and itchy in the summer. No bueno. Also, I'm showering twice a day usually now because: once after working out in the morning & again when I get home from work. I hate going to bed dirty.

I found out about this St. Ives Oatmeal and Shea Butter bodywash over the winter when my skin was so itchy and dry it was like it was made of chalk and poison ivy. This stuff is amazingly soothing and calming. I figured if it has oatmeal (which is what I used as a kid when I had poison ivy/oak/sumac and YES I've had them all, augh) so it can't be bad. And Shea Butter isn't going to hurt my poor dry skin. If anything, I thought it'd smell like the wet-cardboard smell of oatmeal. But nope. Smells good too!

I originally got this in the full size version (which is great, you should too!) but I found out CVS has it in the travel section too. Which is doubly nice. That means I can refill my little bottle to take with me to the gym or travelling or conventions. So convenient! I'm pretty sure anyone can use this body wash and love it. It seems like it'd be fantastic for sensitive skin (like me), dry skin, skin you're overwashing, winter skin, black skin, anyone who needs a break. I'm not sure about oily skin, but it doesn't leave any residue so I don't see why not. I wouldn't use it to wash my face, but that's more because I like my acne wash and moisturizer separate and this both washes and moisturizes.

Maybelline vs. Avon

So I blogged in the past how I've been using this Avon washable waterproof mascara my mom had given me. I liked how it wasn't clumpy, it looked natural. But I really didn't like how it washed off and I never liked how (not) dark it was. I compared it to my old standby, Maybelline in Blackest Black (oh so goth! I know!) But I've finally come to the end of the Avon's life and am back on my usual mascara. So now I can do a for real side-by-side comparison. And I think both brands have something they could do better....

There on the left is the Avon, on the right the Maybelline.

I gotta give it to the Avon, I love their applicator brush way better. Its thicker, has more bristles, and the bottle squeegees just enough off. The Maybelline, not so much. I find I have to wipe part of it off on the inside even after taking it out of the tube. It's also not as easy to apply (goopy!) because the brush isn't as nice.

But... Maybelline is totally super black. It is NOT natural. And I actually love that about it. Mascara makes an amazing and appreciable difference when compared to naked eyelashes. I have to say, if I were allowed to only wear one makeup item, it wouldn't be foundation or concealer, it'd be mascara. It doesn't hide part of you, it enhances it.

Both kind of suck about washing off and I'm not sure which I hate more. The Avon comes off all clumpy and flaky all over your face in the shower. You really have to scrub it to get it all off. Kills your eyes. Equally, the Maybelline makes you have the most epic raccoon eyes that ever did happen. If you can conjure up the image of a ridiculous drunk woman crying, that's what this stuff is like every time you go to wash it off in the shower. And it stains the ever loving god out of whatever washcloth you choose to use. Both are technically "washable" but seriously, make your life simpler and just use eye make up remover.

I guess if you are going for natural, or think you might cry for some reason, go for the Avon. If you are going out at night and want bold, noticeable eyelashes (and don't want to put falsies on), go for the Maybelline. It might be time for me to experiment with other mascaras, though... both have shown me what the other is lacking. I've gotten some Sephora samples but so far, nothing has blown me out of the water.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Green to Red

So I stripped what I could of my green out of my hair in order to go red finally. Red is my old stand by, I will always return to it. Also, Dragon*Con is coming up and I only cosplay redheaded characters. Sally, Jessica Rabbit, Kim Possible, and Sexy Lady Hunter S. Thompson. Uh, that last one is a cross play and was bald. I can do what I want with my hair for that!

So here's the laughable mess of greeny-gold hair I started with. I have it clipped all up into different sections. Top will be bold red, sides will be orange, back/underneath will be a brownish red-orange. I guess you could call that auburn. Shut up.

You have to prep your dyes before getting really into it. The below is actually a pic AFTER I had already dyed my hair. I was sure to have redundant amounts of everything just in case I needed more than anticipated. It is never fun to have to make your hair dying experience two separate jobs or having to force someone to run out and buy more hair dye for you. Always get more than you think you'll need. I cut it very close with this. I was scraping the bottle in hopes to not have to mix up more hair dye. I made it, but only just barely.

L'Oreal Excellence HiColor in Red Hot
L'Oreal Excellence HiColor Highlights in Red

L'Oreal Excellence HiColor Highlights in Copper
L'Oreal Preference Mega Reds in Dark Intense Auburn Red

L'Oreal Preference after color conditioner (came in a box color that my mom gets)

Not pictured are the vinyl gloves, processing cap, applicator bottle, Salon Care 40 Volume Creme Developer I used. Also the butterfly clamps from before, a wide tooth comb, 2 hand towels, 1 washcloth, rubbing alcohol, 1 hair chopstick & roll of toilet paper. I'm really considering getting a color key because those High Lights colors are thick as hell and very difficult to get out of the tube without uncrimping the wrong end and making a damn mess.

I  started with the copper on the sides. Clipped those up, and then did the underneath. The hair chopstick comes in handy when mixing the highlights colors. Again, they are really really thick so in order to make sure they're mixed in well, I have to use the chopstick as a whisk. They sell haircolor whisks, but I'm not quite to the point where I want to get one yet. Also considering a hair color mixing tub instead of a bottle because it might be easier to dump onto my excessively long hair.

Here it is all colored, clipped and in a processing cap:

I let this sit for about an hour after everything was done.  Back:

To rinse it out, I unclipped everything and used the tub spigot first. Be sure to keep your eyes tightly closed, this stuff is seriously harmful chemicals! I used warm water. Once I got the bulk of it out, I stood up and turned the shower on. I used the wide tooth comb to comb out some tangles first, then applied some of my usual conditioner. I used this and the water to get all the knots and tangles out. Once it was pretty combed out, most of the hair dye was rinsed out & I applied the fancy color locking conditioner. I used almost that entire tube on my hair. Its fantastic, I love it. I combed that through and let it sit in my hair for as long as I could. I used my big hair clip to clip it up wet. To pass the time in the shower, I washed the hair color off the shower walls & tub, brushed my teeth, washed my face & body and just as my hot water was running out, did a final rinse of my hair in pretty cold water. Followed that all with putting it up in a towel.

After a bit, I took the towel off, combed it again and let it air dry. A shot while it was still wet after the towel:

My hair seems to look best when air dried. Blow drying removes all the curls. And I'm mean enough to my hair as it is. Fantastic Back shot once mostly dried:

And the front:

And when it is twisted it looks super cool. This is how you can preview what it will look like when it is braided:

Hope you had fun seeing my process and have inspired you to have awesome hair too!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cutting and stripping

So I recently had a bit of my hair cut off. Not a whole lot, maybe like 2 inches. My friend Cate did an excellent job last time she cut my hair so she's now officially one of the only people I will let come anywhere near my noggin with scissors. She put in layers last time and maintained it again. I've noticed it's much more flowy that way as opposed to the straight along the bottom blunt cut.

Before, left. After, right.

As you can tell, she didn't take much off. Just enough to go from below my waist to at my waist. It wasn't really frayed at the ends, I just wanted to clean it up a bit since I want to dye it soon.

Speaking of dyeing! I needed to strip what was remaining of the green out of my hair. The cut got the moldy green colored tips off, but the rest of my hair still had kind of an olive hue to it.

A couple before stripping (but after cutting!) pics:

And as a better indicator of just how green the underside of my hair still was, check out my braids the day after getting it cut:

I used the same color remover as I had when I went from red to green: One 'n Only Colorfix. I liked how well it removed my permanent red and so decided to give it a shot on my semi-permanent green. It warns on the instructions it is designed mostly to remove oxidative dyes (permanent) and not direct dyes (semi-permanent). So I knew going into this that it might not work at all. What I like is that it doesn't bleach or lift, it just removes color. I don't ever want to bleach my hair again.

Here's me just before applying the stripper. One side of my hair is just un-braided. The other side is unbraided and brushed for hilarious effect:

I followed the directions for the most part just as they tell you to for what they call "partial" color correction. Meaning I used One part of the Color Reducer + One part Conditioning Catalyst + 4 parts shampoo. In a normal haircolor applicator bottle, that came to 1 oz each of the color reducer & catalyst, 4 oz of shampoo (I used my Biolage Normalizing shampoo) for a total of 6 oz out of the 8 that the applicator holds. Because I washed my hair and towel dried it before applying this concoction, it saturated pretty quickly. I had 2 oz of each of the color reducer & catalyst left, so I mixed the rest of those alone in the applicator bottle and applied the rest of that to my head. I kneaded, combed, and pretended to wash my hair (well I guess technically I was) there at the sink.

Here I am with it all fully worked into my hair and with a processing cap on:

I let this sit in my hair for about an hour. Let me mention here that this stuff reeks. Not a normal chemical reeking either, it's a very unique ass-smell. And it does not go away for the first few washes. One downside I guess. I just washed my hair for the second time and its still pretty dang stinky. All I can recommend is to use some leave in hair conditioner that smells nice to try to cover up the smell. I'm using Josie Maran Argan Oil right now (more on that in another post).

After letting it set, I washed it out very thoroughly in warm water. I used my normalizing shampoo that I love for exactly such applications. Then conditioned liberally with my moisturizing conditioner. I don't feel like this stuff is as harsh as a bleach is but it doesn't seem like a bad idea to really baby your hair after processing it with this.

Here I am the next day with my hair all dried.

As you can tell, it did dramatically lighten the green in my hair. It didn't bleach my roots either. Those are light enough - that weird border between blonde and brown. However, it did not completely get rid of the green. Also however though, it got rid of enough that when I apply my red permanent hair dye, there should be absolutely no issue. I think the last time I did this, I did a different ratio of shampoo to the stripping chemicals. The key point in both instructions (for both full and partial color correction) was that you use equal parts color reducer & catalyst. As long as you do that, you can cut in as much or little shampoo as needed depending on how much or how little color you want to remove. I perhaps should have done a 1:1 ratio of chemicals to shampoo rather than a 1:2. For those of you confused about the math there, I should have used 2 oz color reducer, 2 oz color catalyst, 4 oz shampoo rather than the 1 oz, 1 oz, 4 oz I did use this time around. Also, it says to put on dry hair for more color reduction. That part sounds a bit harsh though.

More to come on dyeing it red very very soon.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Going Purple

My friend Sarah wanted my assistance in dyeing her hair purple. I was of course very excited because I love colorful hair. And so we made her hair purple!

Some advance back story about Sarah's hair type: her hair is super fine, very soft, doesn't keep curl to save it's life, and her scalp is exceptionally oily. Her hair is also thick, she has a lot of it. She tells me she has to wash her hair every day, otherwise it is dripping with grease. 

Here is her before, normal brown hair. Note that her hair was previously dyed black but her roots are grown out and so just the tips of the hair have remaining dark brown/black dye on them.

To get her hair blonde, Sarah used Blond Brillance. I didn't assist with this part of the process, she had a handle on it herself.

In the process of blonding:

A re-usable shower cap! Excellent idea!

After shots of the blonde. First, indoor lighting:

Natural lighting:

Sarah did all the bleaching herself, but I did come over to apply the Manic Panic to her hair though. We went with Ultra Violet on the top layer and Purple Haze on the underside. When you want to section off different areas for different colors, I recommend  butterfly clamps. Something non-metal is best, especially when dealing with permanent colors. We didn't use clamps with Sarah, I had to make her hold the top section of her hair while I applied the color to the bottom part. She also used vaseline around her hair line, her ears and neck to make sure the color didn't get her skin. I skip this step personally because I hate the feeling of vaseline on me and I always end up with it in other parts of my hair, but it is a good way to keep from being some colorful skinned person for the next few days.

An important step is making sure the hair is fully saturated. I start around the hair line and coat that thoroughly before I start globbing on the dye by the fingertip-full. Be sure to always separate the hair and apply to the scalp in multiple areas. You have to give your scalp a nice massage and squeegee from root to tip a lot to assure good coverage. A comb is nice for very long hair. I always recommend to get a bottle or two more than you THINK you need. No one wants to be halfway through their hair and have to send someone to the store. You can always return what you don't open. Speaking of opening: prep your space accordingly. Get out towels to cover anything you don't want hair dye to get on. Get at least 1 washcloth and hand towel you don't mind destroying to wipe up messes on you and your bathroom. Open your jars (at least the ones you know you'll use, not the reserve ones) now because without gloves is certainly easier than with hairdye-covered gloves. I keep rubbing alcohol out to get spots off my skin and ceramic sink.

Here's her dye applied and hair covered with a plastic shopping bag to process:

Sarah was only willing to leave her hair dye in for a couple of hours, but I feel like the longer you can stand it, the better. You can also heat process to get a bolder color. I personally sleep on my Manic Panic dye. Its usually in my hair for about 10 hours. I put two grocery bags on, a towel on my pillow and go to bed. When you rinse, I suggest the coldest water you can bear. I can't bear much myself, so I usually kneel hands and knees in the shower and rinse my hair off using the tub filling spigot. Put your chin as close to your chest as you can and use freezing cold water. I use a wide tooth comb, but Sarah's fine hair doesn't get tangly like mine. Once you've got the majority of it out there, you can stand up and turn on the shower. Again, use the coldest you can stand. You'll have to leave your head way back with your body facing away from the shower head. Scrub like you are shampooing your hair. Once the majority of it is out (not when it "rinses clear" that's total BS), condition your hair. If you have a nice color protecting conditioner, now's the time to use it.

Once your hair is all rinsed out, you can clip it up in the shower. Turn your water to warm/hot and wash all the color off your body. Pay special attention to your face, ears, neck, back and butt crack. Those will assuredly be colorful. If you can't get anything off in the shower with your regular facewash, you can use cotton balls and rubbing alcohol once you get out of the shower. Towel drying your hair is recommended but you can blow dry it too.

Here's Sarah the day after dyeing it. Blam! It's purple!

In order to try to keep this color, Sarah used a combination of Ion Sulfate Free Shampoo, Conditioner, and hair color lock in conditioner. But all these measures, as well as waiting days to wash it for real the first time, didn't help her keep her color long. She reported to me her hair faded almost instantaneously. Here it is just 4 days later in inside lighting:

Then she went to the zoo and spent all day in the sun. She said these were taken a week after and she had washed her hair four times with the sulfate free shampoo & conditioner.

The underside was less faded:

So I think we learned some things by dyeing Sarah's hair. Wear a hat or bandanna to avoid UV fading. This goes for any hair colors but there are certain dyes Manic Panic makes that are UV reactive (glow under black light) which may be even more susceptible to fading than their other shades. Other tips to avoid fading are: washing your hair less, washing it in cold water, using sulfate free/color safe shampoos and conditioners, avoiding swimming (or getting your hair wet really, especially just after dyeing), waiting longer & washing more between bleaching and dyeing your hair (I actually recommend 1-2 weeks of being blonde before dyeing it), using a ph neutral shampoo/conditioner after bleaching, leaving your hair color in for a long time, heat processing your hair once the dye is on.

I also have a theory that perhaps Manic Panic might not work well on fine hair. When I say fine, I mean the hairs themselves are skinny and shiny. My hair is coarse, meaning the hairs themselves tend to be thick and rough. This isn't to be confused with thick or thin hair. Thick meaning there is an abundance (high number of hairs per square inch) of hair on your scalp. Thin meaning there are few hairs on your scalp. Sarah's hair, although fine, is also thick. She has plenty of hair, its just the hairs themselves aren't very fat. 

Sarah did purchase Raw in Deep Purple and is going to try to re-apply herself to see if this formula is any better. You may also find out for yourself as you experiment with temporary colors that certain brands just don't work as well as others. I've personally never used Raw. I've had luck with Manic Panic's Classic Line as well as their Amplified formulas (which do indeed seem to last longer). I've tried N'Rage with just OK results (smelled good, washed out quickly). Color Jamz washed out way too fast and wasn't as bright as I wanted it. Jazzing had a crappy applicator, doesn't come in a lot of colors, and I don't recall it being good or bad at staying in the hair. I have not yet tried Ion's colorful colors. I've had Pravana Vivid Red in my closet for at least a year and haven't used it yet. I bought it because my friend Lexie said "It's like sharpie for your hair!" I will report back once I use those last two to review.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

L'Oreal True Match Concealer, Foundation, & Powder

I'm going a bit more in depth in my review of my daily-wear makeup. I can't explain enough how much this makeup has improved my life. I've really come to love L'Oreal's True Match line of makeup. I had a very hard time finding a makeup that does these 3 things well: Provide appropriate coverage, match my skin, and not make me break out.

I've got the weirdest skin it seems sometimes. It's oily mostly only in the t-zone area. It's very sensitive to what I put on it - I'm allergic to peroxide, latex, band-aids, medical adhesive and recently I found out, EKG goop! Yay! I get whiteheads and blackheads regularly but I can live with them. Mostly if I have a zit, its a deep, cystic type one that gets really red and painful but usually doesn't pop or even come to a head unless I lance it with a needle. Plus its super soft, pale, and fragile. So if I squeeze anything, I usually end up with very angry torn skin. Also, I have under eye circles that just never go away.

So long story short: nice makeup is a nice way to cover these occasional breakouts and even out my skintone!

I'll go in the order I put them on: foundation, concealer, powder.

Right now, I've got two colors in my kit. They're really similar to each other. I used their little plasticy device at CVS to figure out my color. It says to get the one that disappears on the inside of your wrist. I compared as well to my face. I've been wearing the N1 for a really long time but I thought it looked a bit pink on me, so re-evaluated recently and made the purchase for the W2. Though I think the W2 is closer to my actual fleshtone, I've been going back and forth. The W2 feels too light because in comparison, I've been wearing something darker. I have to get over the fact that the N1 doesn't seem to match me right now. I usually use my close-matching foundations to the bar so I'm not wasting good money.

Don't get me wrong, they are BOTH really pale. But the W2 seems paler when it's on me. My skin is kind of yellowy so I think its a better match. I tried the W1 once and its like WOAH pale. I'm almost see-through I'm so white. So I'm surprised and pleased there are colors lighter than me out there. I'd be interested to know how people feel about the darker end of the spectrum, but they really seem to have a huge variety of colors. More than any other maker I've seen. Especially the high-end brands!

This concealer is really great for under eye circles and zits because once it dries, it doesn't come off easily. If you need more coverage, let it dry and dab some more on. It is nicely buildable. Once you've got the coverage you like, use the sponge on your powder makeup to set it. This is the lightest neutral which doesn't match my W2 foundation so much, but it still works just fine for under-eye circles.

I don't have a lot to say really about the powder. It matches me nicely, doesn't clog my pores all to hell, makes me matte instead of shiny and kind of locks the makeup on. I use powder because if I just used foundation, I'd end up rubbing my face all off by the end of the day. That's a tip: try not to rub your face! I rub the tip of my nose a lot I've found out, so that's usually messed up a bit by the end of the day. Usually its feathered out though from inconsistent rubbing so it isn't too obvious.

I will say that I only use the sponge that comes with the powder to apply it to my under eyes and to dab on top of my zits. To put the rest on, I recommend a fluffy powder brush. I do my under eyes, then brush on my whole face, then dab on my zits. That seems to get the best coverage. If you have a particularly large zit to cover, its possible that you'll need to go over it again with concealer and powder. It happens. Don't worry. This stuff doesn't really seem to aggravate zits. That's one reason I love it.

Well, good luck everyone! Try this makeup. I think it's worth the money!