clothes wearing a new shirt entire outfit. change our clothes,  wardrobe clothing wardrobe clothing fits and fits clothes clothes clothing a jacket or shawl a jacket or a shawl jacket in the car wardrobe purse wardrobe purse. everyday wear wardrobe malfunction wardrobe wardrobe wardrobe your face face throw water wash your face in the morning and then apply your makeup. Taking care of your face takes time, dedication, and effort. If you want to have flawless skin you will need to stick to a routine. You also need a few ingredients that can give you the most successful results. You're in luck because this article will list the main ingredients and give you tips to getting healthy, flawless skin. All that's left is you. see a difference in your skin. important for your body. Your body tends to build up toxins in your system over time by various things for various reasons. When you drink water, it removes and cleanses those toxins from your body. It's kind of like giving the inside of your body a bath. If the outside of your body gets bathe regularly, then the inside of your body deserves the same treatment. When you are regularly drinking a recommended amount of water daily, then you are removing the toxins from your body, which means you are reducing the amount of oil in your face that creates those nasty bumps. to clear those toxins from your body. While drinking the recommended amount of water daily, another important ingredient for healthy flawless skin is vitamins. Value of Vitamins Add vitamins to your daily routine. May people in the world are deficient in one vitamin or another. Vitamins do tons of wonders for us and our bodies. Vitamins help grow and repair our bodies in so many ways we do not see or recognize. Taking vitamins helps you try to maintain a healthy balance in your body, because you are getting the healthy supplements you need. You will see your skin begin to show a natural glow. A glow that no bronzer or make up can give you. If you continued on a daily vitamin regimen, you should begin to see your skin brighten in its own natural way. Day & Night Wash The next step to a "clean and clear" face is to wash your face daily morning and night. Washing your face helps to remove dirt and dead skin cells that is on your face. When you don't wash your face, the dirt and dead skin cells build upon your face clogging your pores, in which they cannot breathe, resulting into an unhappy pimpled face. Your pores need to breathe just as you do. Remember, you can not be lazy on this step. Most people begin the routine of washing their face daily, morning and night, but then they slowly discontinue the process and ask themselves a few days later, "Why isn't my skin clear?" It's not clear because you stopped your regimen! If you are saying to yourself right now, "Ugh, I don't have enough time." or "It is too much effort.", then you will not see the best results. The Best Cleanser wash your face morning and night with a face cleanser. best type of face cleanser that is for you. A face cleanser may work for your friend but not for you, because everyone's face is different. Do some thorough research for the skin type you have and the types of face cleansers you could use. Once you have found some face cleansers, it's time to begin to try them out to see if it will help you. It is understandable that you are in a hurry to achieve a flawless look but don't use the cleanser for two days and then toss it away because you assume it doesn't work for you. You should continuously use the cleanser for a minimum of 4 weeks, to determine if you see some improvement or not. Make sure that you are washing your face morning and night or washing your face as the directions on the cleanser tells you to. Be diligent and you will be happy with your results. Moisturize, Moisturize, & Moisturize Moisturizing your face is another important step to achieving flawless skin. Moisturizing your face helps to keep your skin from drying up and also keeps your skin nice and soft.  It is best to moisturize your face with something that is oil free and fragrant free. Again do thorough research on the type of moisturizer you should purchase for your skin type. You are what you think, you are what you do, and you are what you eat. To obtain flawless skin you have to watch what you eat. Eating a lot of oily and greasy foods can lead to an increase of breakouts on your face. Begin to eat healthier one day at a time to improve your diet. A healthy diet produces healthy skin, and healthy skin dramatically increases your chances of having flawless skin. We're all hoping for it to come soon.  The warm weather, shining sun and the cool breeze. It's such a great time of the year. With the seasons changing, our wardrobes change along with it. We begin to wear lighter clothing, flowy dresses and skirts. This year when making the transition, make it chic, savy, and playful. Tips for Dresses & Skirts Think of spring as a playful and happy type of season. Imagine how you can incorporate it into dresses and skirts. Your dresses and skirts should be feminine and playful. Be sure to wear your dresses and skirts in a manner that represents you best. You don't want to wear anything that gives the wrong impression of who you are. You are a divine being, let others treat you with respect by observing what you wear. Tips for Shirts Bright colors and pastels are in! Wear bright colored shirts that have a soft tone. The best colors to wear are pastel colors. These colors are bright but still have a soft tone to them. A good combination to use would be to wear bright colored shirts as the main base to your outfit, then add a little bit of darker colors to your outfit here and there. For example wearing a blue pastel shirt with some dark brown jewelry, or yellow pastel shirt with a dark green tank top underneath that shows a little bit of the color. Wearing blouses in the springtime is also a plus; it gives you that playful feel which works well in the spring. Make sure to mix the colors, picking shades that work well together, other wise it could lead to a big wardrobe disaster. Tips for Wearing Sandals Another great plus during the warmer weather is the ability to wear sandals. Bright colors on toenails do not quite fit in with the spring season. So save those bright color nail polish for the summer time. During the springtime wear neutral deep colors that will give a nice finish. For example nice plum color or forest green or deep blue will work. Colors like these will give a good balance to the rest of your spring outfit. Knowing Your Seasons When looking in the closet to select your wardrobe, ask yourself, "Does this work for the feel of spring?" Get into the habit of knowing what will work and what does not work for different seasons of the year. Every season you can look fantastic and chic! Start now to get in the rhythm of knowing what to wear each season. declare your summer independence from blow dryers, straighteners, and curling irons today. It's difficult to maintain heat-it-to-achieve-it styles in the summer. The sun is scorching hot and washing your hair becomes more frequent. Thermal styling tools can give you an instant look, but constant heat styling can thin and damage natural, color- and chemically-treated hair.  Let your hair cool off by trying alternative no- to- low heat methods for volume, texture, or sleekness. .Flip your hair upside down using a paddle brush, smoothing the back of your hair from the nape to the front (Optional: For extra hold, lightly spritz your hair with alcohol-free hairspray) When you use your heat styling tools less, your strands get a chance to breathe. Challenge yourself to give up heat for two weeks and evaluate your hair.  If it hasn't been severely damaged by heat, you may notice that your hair looks and feels healthier and stronger. Each low-to-no heat method requires less stress on your hair and an overall healthy approach to your styling routine. Spend the rest of summer working on your tan, and not your hair. Eliminate Puffy Eyes Before you wash your face in the mornings, use a cue tip to lightly dab a very small amount of aloe vera gel (revered for its healing, anti-inflammatory, and cooling properties) over your eyes. Leave the gel on your eyes for five to ten minutes and then wash your face with your regular cleanser. You will you feel instantly refreshed and your eyes will look brighter and more youthful. The late-night puffiness around your eyes will begin to disappear. Good morning, Sunshine! Banish Rough Skin To remedy dry and cracked skin, formulate your own brown sugar scrub body treatment. The natural glycolic acid found in sugar works to gently slough off dead skin cells to reveal brighter skin. massage your sugar scrub to dampened skin. To lock in moisture, towel-pat dry and apply your lotion while your skin is slightly damp. Save your skin from damaging sun rays with a generous amount of sunscreen. Nothing can wreak havoc on your skin like sun damage. a sunscreen with SPF 15 may allow you to stay in the sun for 150 minutes without getting burned. However, even if you use sunscreen, try to chill in the shade for most of the day and feel fabulous in a big floppy hat for maximum skin protection. Your hair may be fighting the common hair cold right now- dryness, breakage, and dullness- due to the harsh weather. balance of protein and moisture in your hair. When the moisture and protein levels in your hair are in sync, you will notice less breakage, length retention, and an overall increase in the health of your hair. If your hair is hard, rough, or brittle you may need a deep conditioning treatment. This will help you restore softness to your hair and smooth your cuticle, the outermost layer of your hair strand.  When applying a deep conditioning treatment, try to use a conditioner that is water-based and contains at least one humectant.  Any product that lists humectants- propylene glycol, honey, glycerin- and water at the top of their ingredient list will work best to help your hair stay soft and moisturized. No More Weather Hair Worries When rain arrives unexpectedly, you aren't running to find shelter or making a make-shift umbrella out of a newspaper or your purse. You can play in the rain without worrying about you kinky hair getting ruined. Even in humidity, you can tie your hair back and let the humidity amplify your curls and get unbelievable volume. Curly girls who don't enjoy frizz or undefined curls can still leave the house and venture into high-humidity weather. Just be sure to apply a silicone-free styling serum on dry hair to keep your curls in sync. Your Facial Features Pop Some women with more traditional African features -full lips, broad nose, and high cheekbones- can appear more youthful with curly hair than straight hair. Flat hair can make these facial features seem larger than they actually are, and hide its true beauty. Shorter, tightly curled hair seems to defy gravity when worn out in an Afro style. It "lifts" the face and draws more attention to the eyes and cheekbones. You Become Healthier many times have you heard, "I know I need to go to the gym, but I don't want to mess up my hair"? When you wear your hair curly, you don't have to make the choice of having either a great head of hair or a great body. Let's be honest, your hair needs more than the perfect shampoo and conditioner. To give you hair optimum health, you have to eat right and exercise. When you have naturally curly hair, you no longer worry about your hair "reverting" when you sweat from a work-out. To freshen your curls after the gym, you can water-rinse or cleanse you hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. You Can Experiment with Color When you let your natural tresses roam free and treat it with care, you can experiment with more color without worrying about double-processing your hair with chemicals or daily doses of heat. If you apply heat on a daily basis or wear a relaxer, adding another hair-altering chemical like color to the mix can be a recipe for dryness and breakage. Even with chemical-free hair, color can still be damaging.  Look for alternative and gentler coloring options like Henna or semi-permanent glosses. Maintain a healthier head of hair with color by putting the relaxer away, and treating your hair with nourishing products formulated for color-treated hair.Running to the salon every few weeks to tame those "unruly roots" is no longer your concern. Salon chemical and hair straightening services can cost upwards of fifty dollars per visit. Now that you've embraced the beauty of your bouncy ringlets, your wallet is packed with extra cash. Indulge your hair with at-home nourishing treatments using deep conditioners and essential oils. The next time you see a woman with an eye-catching hair style or lustrous curls, give her a compliment. Whether you have a spouse to give you roses or not, give yourself a love letter this month that highlights every feature you love to play up, make your hair one of your favorite features. Whether your hair is short or long, curly or straight, it is beautiful and deserves to feel loved. The New Year is your time to shine. Your hair should be no exception. If you need more products just to fake a healthy appearance from split ends, dullness, or limp hair, January may be the perfect time to start over.  A healthy hair goal can be achieved if you start with the right plan.  Trim Your Ends Get rid of split, frayed, and heat-damaged ends with a professional trim. Your hair cannot look its best when damaged ends are getting all of the attention.  A trim can be anywhere from one-fourth of an inch to two inches, depending on the amount of damage. If you are apprehensive about getting a trim, you can do minimal shaping each month. However, eventually all the damaged ends will need to be cut off. Once damaged ends are removed, your hair will instantly look fuller, smoother, and healthier. Categorize your products (shampoos, conditioners, styling crème, etc.) and select one from each that works the best for your hair. The products that you do not select can be given away to friends, thrown out, or saved for the summer time. With a simple selection of tried and true products, your hair can be pampered and nourished with the correct products that work best on your hair. Commit to a Hair Care Schedule Consistently bathe your hair in deep conditioning, hot oil, and protein treatments. Your hair type and needs will determine how often you should do each treatment. There should be a healthy balance of protein and moisture to promote softer and stronger strands. Have a trusted stylist evaluate your hair. He or she will be able to help you commit to a healthy hair care schedule and help decide what healthy hair practices would work best for you.Handle Hair with Care Now that you are fully invested into your customized healthy hair journey, be gentle to your strands. Avoid styles that pull at the scalp and edges of your hair. The corners of your eyes should not meet at your scalp line. Instead, style your hair into loose, chic ponytails and buns. Keep hair manipulation low, only using proper combs and brushes sparingly and gently to detangle and style hair. Always moisturize and protect the ends of your hair to minimize split ends.  Treat your hair with care, and it will flourish throughout the New Year. Curly hair has been called many names: beautiful, unique, unkempt, trendy, unprofessional, rebellious, romantic, lustrous, and the list goes on. Within the past five years, major hair companies have realized that curly hair is also very "marketable". When you listen to your hair and notice what it likes, your curly hair can become synonymous with another word - healthy.You are mingling at a party and in walks a bombshell in a fitted jacket, the best pair of skinny jeans you have seen, a head full of luscious curls, and a confident laugh that fills the room.  You immediately envy the stillettoed goddess.  improve your look and overall confidence.  With minor changes and implementing the following "secrets" you will have the tools to always feel confident and look and your best. Wear Your Favorite Outfit When you like what you are wearing your confidence level rises.  However, there are a few fashion tips you want to keep in mind.  Tailored waistlines on dresses or jackets create slimming effects and pencil skirts hide upper leg blemishes and highlight calves.  Black is always slimming but spice it up with red accents (scarf, shoes, jewelry).  Highlight your best feature to feel extra sexy. Hair Is Important Many women overlook the importance of a well coiffed do.  This year, to the benefit of all women, volume and curls are in.  Try using hot rollers because they are easy to use, quick, and will not damage your hair.  They create a loose curl that softens any look.  Leave your hair down.  If this drives you crazy, use a decorative clip to sweep up a side.  If you don't have rollers, use a curling iron to add volume and curls to your tresses. The Arsenal Of Beauty Secrets These are wonderful beauty weapons used by many Hollywood stars. Most women are so good at these "tricks" that the result appears to be natural. Non Make-up Wearers You are blessed to have a fresh clean look naturally.  For a special event, it is nice to wear a minimal amount of make-up for a more formal look.  If you don't wear make-up, mascara and lip-gloss will enhance your look.  Fake Eyelashes Fake eyelashes are a great way to widen the eye and create a come-hither look.  The packs with sections or individual lashes rather than the full strip are easier to apply and look more natural.  Apply them to the outer corner of your eye following the natural lash line.  It will add a little length and enhance the look of the eye. Curly hair is a commitment, a long-term relationship. It is more prone to splitting up, as in split ends. It is constantly changing its mood, one day it's a poof, then it's a tangled nightmare. Style & Class Let's face it baggy jeans, baggy t-shirts, and over-sized flannels are not stylish. Anything that may fall into that category needs to be removed from your closet now! Also remove anything that is too tight. Clothes that are too tight are never in style however, don't confuse fitted with too tight. Confidence is Fashion There is nothing more sexy to a man than a woman that walks into the room with confidence. Make sure that whatever it is your wearing you feel great in it. Whether you are running errands or going out you should always feel confident in what you are wearing. The 4 Must-Haves A fitted jacket is essential this fall. Whether you are wearing it with your dress slacks to work or with your trendy worn jeans, a fitted jacket is a must have! Fitted Jacket For the tall and slim- Military jacket For the athletic build- tattered Levi jacket For the curvy- lightweight trench Tall Boots Tall boots make heads turn. You will want to splurge on this buy and ensure that you are getting good quality. They are great for the office or for a night out on the town. For the office put on a pair of tights with a skirt and for the night out leave the tights at home. The Perfect Pair of Jeans Every woman should have a pair of jeans that shape her figure, gives her comfort and builds her confidence. For this fall go for a fitted boot cut with embellishment on the back pockets or for the tall and slim woman go with the skinny jean and tuck them in your tall boots. Large Leather Hobo Handbag With the chill in the air a large hobo is needed. It will carry all your normal hand bag items like your wallet, phone, water bottle, ect. You can put a scarf and gloves in there too. To keep it stylish go with something that has a rock star edge to it. Just remember to control the amount of rock star. Shop around for the perfect hobo for you. Remember that every woman has a unique body shape. Take the fashion forecast and make it your own. Put your own unique spin on everything that you wear and remember to just be you! Fall is a great season to try out new colors. Now that we know the models wearing the colors are not perfect, hopefully we will feel a bit more adventurous with fall trends! You are just as beautiful as these models, so embrace your uniqueness, and remember they make you who you are. You are beautiful and unique. Every laugh line that is etched on your face should be treasured, every wrinkle, and every scar should be worn with proud. All those things have made you who you are today, and with that, you should be proud. Eyeshadow, Blush, & Lipstick This season, we are seeing lots of purples and grays on lids.  These eye shadows have a ton of varying shades, so there is definitely one that is guaranteed to look fabulous on you.  Maybe even more than one!  These shades work with all eye colors, so do not be afraid to experiment.  With all the focus on eyes and lips, you can take it easy on the blush. Shoes shoes shoes fabulous shoes Shades of roses and mochas will match these shadows fabulously, and keep you looking fall fresh. For lips, try shades of berries and reds. mascara and lip-glosses.  Used mascara's can be very irritating to the delicate eye area, and lip-glosses can harbor unwanted bacteria.  Lipsticks can be cleaned with a quick swipe of alcohol.  Clean all eye shadows, swiping a tissue with alcohol over the shadow or the cream shadow.  Also be careful.
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Style Yourself  Articles
Six Tips To A Flawless Face

Beat the Heat: Summer Styling with ...

Save Face: Five Skin-Glowing Must-Haves

Fall Into Fashion -  Your Season Must ...

Avoid A Wardrobe Disaster

Spring Wear & You

Fall Into Fashion -  Season Must Haves

Beat the Heat: Summer Styling with ...

You Glow, Girl: 5 Skin-Saving Tips for ...

Lights, Camera, Personal Beauty ...

Balancing Act: Getting the Right ....

Adoring Your Curls 

Healthier & Happier Hair

Spare Your Curls: Product Ingredients ...

Beauty Tips Every Woman Should Know

Curly Hair Commitment

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Six Tips To A Flawless Face
By: Catherine Olumba

Taking care of your face is an essential part of an everyday care routine. To care for your face doesn't mean to throw water on it in the morning and then apply your makeup. Taking care of your face takes time, dedication, and effort. If you want to have flawless skin you will need to stick to a routine. You also need a few ingredients that can give you the most successful results. You're in luck because this article will list the main ingredients and give you tips to getting healthy, flawless skin. All that's left is you. You have to be willing to take on the challenge. If you follow the regimen below faithfully, you are going to see a difference in your skin.

H2O & You
You my have heard this time and time again, but it has to be reiterated to you because it truly is important. Water is essential Drinking water is very important for your body. Your body tends to build up toxins in your system over time by various things for various reasons. When you drink water, it removes and cleanses those toxins from your body. It's kind of like giving the inside of your body a bath. If the outside of your body gets bathe regularly, then the inside of your body deserves the same treatment. When you are regularly drinking a recommended amount of water daily, then you are removing the toxins from your body, which means you are reducing the amount of oil in your face that creates those nasty bumps. Ahh…..what a refreshing feeling it is to clear those toxins from your body. While drinking the recommended amount of water daily, another important ingredient for healthy flawless skin is vitamins.

Value of Vitamins
Add vitamins to your daily routine. May people in the world are deficient in one vitamin or another. Vitamins do tons of wonders for us and our bodies. Vitamins help grow and repair our bodies in so many ways we do not see or recognize. Taking vitamins helps you try to maintain a healthy balance in your body, because you are getting the healthy supplements you need. You will see your skin begin to show a natural glow. A glow that no bronzer or make up can give you. If you continued on a daily vitamin regimen, you should begin to see your skin brighten in its own natural way.

Day & Night Wash
The next step to a "clean and clear" face is to wash your face daily morning and night. Washing your face helps to remove dirt and dead skin cells that is on your face. When you don't wash your face, the dirt and dead skin cells build upon your face clogging your pores, in which they cannot breathe, resulting into an unhappy pimpled face. Your pores need to breathe just as you do. Remember, you can not be lazy on this step. Most people begin the routine of washing their face daily, morning and night, but then they slowly discontinue the process and ask themselves a few days later, "Why isn't my skin clear?" It's not clear because you stopped your regimen! If you are saying to yourself right now, "Ugh, I don't have enough time." or "It is too much effort.", then you will not see the best results.

The Best Cleanser
Wash your face morning and night with a face cleanser. Do your research online to see the best type of face cleanser that is for you. A face cleanser may work for your friend but not for you, because everyone's face is different. Do some thorough research for the skin type you have and the types of face cleansers you could use. Once you have found some face cleansers, it's time to begin to try them out to see if it will help you. It is understandable that you are in a hurry to achieve a flawless look but don't use the cleanser for two days and then toss it away because you assume it doesn't work for you. You should continuously use the cleanser for a minimum of 4 weeks, to determine if you see some improvement or not. Make sure that you are washing your face morning and night or washing your face as the directions on the cleanser tells you to. Be diligent and you will be happy with your results.

Moisturize, Moisturize, & Moisturize
Moisturizing your face is another important step to achieving flawless skin. Moisturizing your face helps to keep your skin from drying up and also keeps your skin nice and soft.  It is best to moisturize your face with something that is oil free and fragrant free. Again do thorough research on the type of moisturizer you should purchase for your skin type.

You Are What You Eat
You are what you think, you are what you do, and you are what you eat. To obtain flawless skin you have to watch what you eat. Eating a lot of oily and greasy foods can lead to an increase of breakouts on your face. Begin to eat healthier one day at a time to improve your diet. A healthy diet produces healthy skin, and healthy skin dramatically increases your chances of having flawless skin.


Note: If you have tried everything and all else fails make an appointment with a dermatologist. They will be able to get to the deep down issues of your face issues, and give you solutions for your specific situation.

Published  Esteem Yourself  © Copyright


Beat the Heat: Summer Styling with Zero to Minimum Heat
By: Christina Mason

Before the fireworks begin this Fourth of July, declare your summer independence from blow dryers, straighteners, and curling irons today. It's difficult to maintain heat-it-to-achieve-it styles in the summer. The sun is scorching hot and washing your hair becomes more frequent. Thermal styling tools can give you an instant look, but constant heat styling can thin and damage natural, color- and chemically-treated hair.  Let your hair cool off by trying alternative no- to- low heat methods for volume, texture, or sleekness.

Make sure you start each style with a clean head of hair for longer-lasting results.

1.Wash and condition

2.Squeeze excess water from your strands using a silk or satin material (towels will give you frizz)

3.Let your hair-dry
(Optional: Use a blowdryer on the lowest setting, moving the dryer quickly over your head as you go)

Sleekness
The Wrap
Sleek, flowing tresses are carefree and simple to achieve, without using excessive heat. This method works best for fine, relaxed, and slightly wavy hair types.

1.When your hair is slightly damp, apply a light leave-in product

2.Pull your hair in a low ponytail with a no-snag hair tie

3.Gently smooth your ponytail and remove tangle with a paddle brush or seamless comb

4.Wrap your ponytail into a loose bun and secure with a bobby pin

5.Use the lowest setting on your blowdryer to dry damp areas

6.When your roots and hair feel completely dry, undo your bun and remove hair tie

7.Using your paddle brush, wrap your hair around your hair head, securing with pins as you go

8.Wrap a satin or silk scarf securely around your head

9.Wait 2-3 hours or sleep with your scarf overnight for better results
(Optional: Apply a dab of serum for added sleekness and shine)

Texture
The Braid-out
Simple and effective, the Braid-out is an easy and gentle way to live your summer days as a lioness.

1.Apply a leave-in product when your hair is slightly damp

2.Part your hair in 4-12 sections ( this will vary depending on the thickness of your hair)

3.Braid each section one at a time

4.Roll each braid into your scalp

5.Secure with a bobby pin

6.Let your hair air-dry overnight or sit under a bonnet dryer for 30-45 minutes

7.When your hair feels completely dry, undo each braid
(Optional: For more texture, lightly mist your hair with spring or distilled water and scrunch)

Volume
The Roller Set
With a roller set, you can achieve 90s supermodel hair where big body hair reigned supreme.

1.When your hair is 85-90 percent damp, apply a light setting lotion

2.Section your hair (fewer and smaller sections will give you tighter curls)

3.Apply soft rollers or rods securely to each section of hair from the bottom up

4.Secure with a bobby pin
(Optional: If your roots are still damp, use the cool shot setting on your blowdryer to speed up drying time)

5.When finished, wrap your hair with a silk or satin scarf

6.Remove rollers in the morning

7.Flip your hair upside down using a paddle brush, smoothing the back of your hair from the nape to the front
(Optional: For extra hold, lightly spritz your hair with alcohol-free hairspray)

When you use your heat styling tools less, your strands get a chance to breathe. Challenge yourself to give up heat for two weeks and evaluate your hair.  If it hasn't been severely damaged by heat, you may notice that your hair looks and feels healthier and stronger. Each low-to-no heat method requires less stress on your hair and an overall healthy approach to your styling routine. Spend the rest of summer working on your tan, and not your hair.
First published by Esteem Yourself  © Copyright



Spring Wear & You
By: Catherine Olumba

We're all hoping for it to come soon. Spring Time. The warm weather, shining sun and the cool breeze. It's such a great time of the year. With the seasons changing, our wardrobes change along with it. We begin to wear lighter clothing, flowy dresses and skirts. This year when making the transition, make it chic, savy, and playful.

Tips for Dresses & Skirts

Think of spring as a playful and happy type of season. Imagine how you can incorporate it into dresses and skirts. Your dresses and skirts should be feminine and playful. Be sure to wear your dresses and skirts in a manner that represents you best. You don't want to wear anything that gives the wrong impression of who you are. You are a divine being, let others treat you with respect by observing what you wear.

Tips for Shirts

Bright colors and pastels are in! Wear bright colored shirts that have a soft tone. The best colors to wear are pastel colors. These colors are bright but still have a soft tone to them. A good combination to use would be to wear bright colored shirts as the main base to your outfit, then add a little bit of darker colors to your outfit here and there. For example wearing a blue pastel shirt with some dark brown jewelry, or yellow pastel shirt with a dark green tank top underneath that shows a little bit of the color. Wearing blouses in the springtime is also a plus; it gives you that playful feel which works well in the spring. Make sure to mix the colors, picking shades that work well together, other wise it could lead to a big wardrobe disaster.

Tips for Wearing Sandals
Another great plus during the warmer weather is the ability to wear sandals. Bright colors on toenails do not quite fit in with the spring season. So save those bright color nail polish for the summer time. During the springtime wear neutral deep colors that will give a nice finish. For example nice plum color or forest green or deep blue will work. Colors like these will give a good balance to the rest of your spring outfit.

Knowing Your Seasons
When looking in the closet to select your wardrobe, ask yourself, "Does this work for the feel of spring?" Get into the habit of knowing what will work and what does not work for different seasons of the year. Every season you can look fantastic and chic! Start now to get in the rhythm of knowing what to wear each season.

First published March  © Copyright



Save Face: Five Skin-Glowing Must-Haves You Need Now
By: Christina Mason

This is the best time of the year: stealing that footbath at the White Elephant office party, preserving your reindeer-sweater sexy at Ugly Sweater soirées, prompting accidentally-on-purpose mistletoe crossings with your crush, and stiletto-stuntin' with the glitterati when the ball drops New Year's Eve. Photos will be taken and you refuse to be the makeup martyr. But holiday honeys, beware; when makeup is a must at parties 'til the AM combined with frigid temps, alcohol and sugary treats, your skin could look like a winter wasteland the next morning. Try these five natural must-haves to keep your face a-glowin' and photo album ready throughout the season.

1.Flaxseed: The Mighty Omega
Let it glow, let it glow, let it glow. Use flaxseed to get your fatty acid fix and promote supple skin. Flaxseed is rich in omega fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6), which help effectively treat skin care conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Flaxseed also prevents the build-up of sebum and helps eliminates toxins from the skin, promoting a smoother and even complexion. Take flaxseed in powder form for the most effective benefits. Sprinkle two tablespoons (equivalent to eating 25-30 cups of broccoli!) whole ground flaxseed powder over a cup of Greek yogurt each morning.

2.Hyaluronic Acid: The Fountain of Youth
All you want for Christmas is youthful skin. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a natural anti-aging (and joint-supporting) substance found in our bodies that gives our skin elasticity and strong collagen production. Hyaluronic acid acts as a sponge, attracting and binding water to our cells and tissue. Try hyaluronic acid as a serum or as a supplement. Products with at least 25-percent HA are the most effective (for your face and wallet). If you take HA as a supplement, combine it with a collagen supplement for an extra skin-plumping boost.

3.Coconut Water: The Hydrator
Dried skin just got a tropic punch. Coconut water, not to be confused with coconut milk, is packed with minerals (potassium, magnesium) with traces of vitamin C, making it the ideal resource for energized skin.  It also includes a high amount of cytokinin, a regulating substance that keeps facial tissue strong and hydrated, minimizing wrinkles and decreasing age spots. Drink coconut water throughout the day (especially during workouts or cleaning the house for the Christmas party) for ultimate skin hydration. If you have acne-prone skin, try it as a facial. Coconut water contains anti-inflammatory properties and acts as a natural toner that helps eliminates excess oils.

4.Rose water: The Super Spritz
When our skin is upset with dryness, flaking, and excess oils, we need to give it a bouquet of roses. Rich in multiple vitamins (A, C, D, E, B3), rose water restores the pH balance in our skin, replacing a dull complexion with a dewy finish. For on-the-go skin boosts, store rose water in a travel-size spritz bottle. Rose water can be used as a toner or combined with lemon juice for an oil-zapping facial. Squeeze a lemon (which is loaded with sebum-soaking alpha hydroxy acid) and combine the juice with a tablespoon of rose water. Apply to the face, leave on for 10 minutes, and then rinse with cool water.

5.Steam: The Detoxifier
Give your skin the gift of steam each week to combat winter nights and drying indoor heaters. Water vapor combined with high humidity levels create a steam treatment that opens pores and detoxifies impurities out of the skin. Create a steam experience in the bathroom by running hot water in the shower and closing the bathroom door shut. Mist the air with a mix of rosewater for added hydration. In the kitchen, boil a pot of water and hover over using a towel to trap steam. Add 5-10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil for an energizing effect. (Do this before your last-minute Christmas Eve shopping. You might need it).

December is fun, but it's busy. We are prepping and primping for the next holiday happening. Who even has time to make a fruitcake let alone pamper our skin? Yet, we tend to put more stress (and more makeup) on our skin in the winter than in the carefree days of summer. To make it easier, try incorporating at least one beauty tip once a day for a week. Then, add on a new tip the next week. Glowing skin that rivals the lights on your Aunt Tilly's massive Christmas tree is worth being fashionably late to the Ugly Sweater party.

Published  Esteem Yourself  © Copyright



Fall Into Fashion -  Your Season Must Haves
By: Celes Tina

Fall has introduced itself and you feel like it invited itself in without your permission. Instead of focusing on that feeling we get when we first get that swift cold breeze that makes us straighten our posture and notice the weather, focus on the happiness of knowing that a fresh new season full of rejuvenating outfits and accessories are just around the corner. Fall season greets us with an array of fashion must haves and exciting pieces for our closet.

Fitted Jacket
The fitted jacket is a must have this fall. Find a jacket that fits you perfectly and can give you a sense of of your very own style. We tend to get any jacket that will work but what really matter this fall is the  right colors and the right fit. If it's too small it will not work. You need to be able to button it up feeling uncomfortable.

White Long-Sleeve Button Shirt
There is nothing like a white long-sleeve button shirt. School, work, and life is in section and when it comes to making a first impression or finding confidence in yourself wardrobe choices, a white long-sleeve button shirt can make that statement. Get your white long-sleeve button shirt and create an array of outfits.

Plaid Jackets & Skirt
Plaid jackets and skirt are a huge plus this fall. Wear them with plain colored coordination pieces. You will love the unity and originality it will add to your outfit. It will give your wardrobe a fresh feel and make you look elegant.

Tall Boots
Tall boots are always a must have for fall. This fall the taller the better. Buy boots that work for you, weather you like flat heels, one inch heels, or higher. Make the boot your own fit and style. The fall the design does not matter. The tall feature is  we recommend.

 
Large Leather Bag Leather
A must have accessory is a large leather bag. These bags give you a sense of comfort, support, and elegance. Think of it as your best friend this fall as you push forward towards your daily duties. Your leather bad will give you a touch of strength and make you feel ready for anything.

Colors
Stick to the falling leaves colors. Think green, orange, red, and brown. These colors will help you remence your summer but fall into fall with easy and style. For example a scarf. Wearing a bright scarf to help bring that fall feeling into your life. The bright fall colors will work wonders for you. If you give your outfit a pitch of these fall colors, like the example of the scarf, you outfits will not only transition you from summer to fall but also but also add a touch elegance and style.

Published  Esteem Yourself  © Copyright




Avoid A Wardrobe Disaster
By: Catherine Olumba

        We all have those moments when our clothes decide not to fit correctly, have a tear here, or find a stain unexpectedly right in plain sight. What are we to do then? We just feel like magically wearing a new shirt or changing our entire outfit. Although we cannot magically change our clothes, we can take some steps in advance to prevent a malfunction and eliminate wardrobe disasters.
        Tying on clothing when first purchasing it at the store is a critical step to preventing wardrobe malfunctions. Make sure that the clothing fits and fits correctly. If you are purchasing clothes that are to tight around the waist or to low on the chest you are bound to have a malfunction sooner or later. Make sure that the clothes fit well and you are comfortable. If you can, it is best to double check if the clothing will work for you. Sit down in it, stand up, walk around, and jump up and down to help illuminate wardrobe malfunctions.
        If you run into a wardrobe malfunction, a jacket or shawl are great things to have around. You can always slip it on to cover up the malfunction that has occurred. Even if the weather is warm and you feel as though you won't need a jacket or a shawl for the day or evening, still take it with you. You can always leave the jacket in the car and if you do need it, you can easily go back to the car and retrieve it.
     We can carry a small eliminating wardrobe malfunctions kit in our purse just in case we need to be prepared when such malfunctions occur. It is a smart idea to have a small wardrobe malfunction kit with you in your purse. The kit will be handy for everyday wear or for formal events wardrobe malfunctions.

Some of the things that your malfunction kit should contain include:
Safety Pins (different sizes with some black colored ones)
Small Tide-to-Go Pen
Mini Lint Remover
Strap Holders
Double-Sided Tape (also great for lint removal)

        These items can all be very helpful in moments of a wardrobe malfunction. If there are other items that you believe serve the cause,  that can be placed into your kit then include them, as long as they are small enough. The purpose of the kit is to give nessasry provide items that can help resolve wardrobe malfunction temporary without the item being inconvenant to carry around. By being prepared you not only prevent a wardrobe malfunction but you also correct one in case it happens.  Now go out there and have a good time without the stress over a wardrobe malfunction.

Published  Esteem Yourself  © Copyright


Lights, Camera, Personal Beauty Satisfaction!
By: Christina Mason

Every woman has had a person who tries to make us feel insecure, insignificant, or stupid.  That person can take the form of magazine ads, coworkers, and even close friends. People who make remarks like, "You should wear your hair straight, you look prettier" or "You can't get a husband with your hair like that", do not appreciate your true beauty. Standout features that go against the beauty standards should be center stage and never behind-the-scenes. How do we get over our fear of the audience and embrace the role we were born to play?

Be Your Own Director
A little over a year ago, Tyra Banks launched the "So what?" campaign after the media went in on some unflattering candid photos taken of her in a bathing suit. Those two small words can make an incredible impact on your attitude: "So what if my hair is frizzy?", "So what if I'm not a size two?" When you say these words aloud, you begin to reclaim a positive attitude. It's psychological empowerment, and it helps you move forward and direct your own scenes.

Write a Script
Do you hear the same negative comments from friends, relatives, or coworkers about your hair or how you choose to dress? Write down any scathing remarks and then craft a response. The next time they mention how your hair will ruin your career, you can calmly reply, "I guess when corporate America made Ursula Stephens the President of Xerox, they thought her short afro was 'unprofessional'."  You write the script for your career and edit the negative comments.

Ignore the Critics
Everyone will not agree that you have the best hair, the best voice, etc. Some people choose to stay insecure and tear you down to lift themselves up. The next time you detect someone trying to project their negativity on you, remind yourself that you love what you do, how you look, and you how hard you work. The hilariously honest comedian Kat Williams said it best: "If you have twelve women hatin' on you, figure out how to get to sixteen by the summertime!" Use negativity to give your greatest positive performance.

Stay Positive Behind-the-Scenes
At the end of the day, you choose who you want to be. It's up to you to decide how you react to the negativity of others. Look in the mirror and repeat affirmations. Believe your own hype. Tell yourself who you are and stand by words of self-encouragement. Some may ask, "Who are you to be beautiful, talented, and intelligent?"  Who are you not to?   You are the star of your own show.

First published 2010  © Copyright

Beat the Heat: Summer Styling with Zero to Minimum Heat
By: Christina Mason

Before the fireworks begin this Fourth of July, declare your summer independence from blow dryers, straighteners, and curling irons today. It's difficult to maintain heat-it-to-achieve-it styles in the summer. The sun is scorching hot and washing your hair becomes more frequent. Thermal styling tools can give you an instant look, but constant heat styling can thin and damage natural, color- and chemically-treated hair.  Let your hair cool off by trying alternative no- to- low heat methods for volume, texture, or sleekness.

Make sure you start each style with a clean head of hair for longer-lasting results.

1.Wash and condition

2.Squeeze excess water from your strands using a silk or satin material (towels will give you frizz)

3.Let your hair-dry
(Optional: Use a blowdryer on the lowest setting, moving the dryer quickly over your head as you go)

Sleekness
The Wrap
Sleek, flowing tresses are carefree and simple to achieve, without using excessive heat. This method works best for fine, relaxed, and slightly wavy hair types.

1.When your hair is slightly damp, apply a light leave-in product

2.Pull your hair in a low ponytail with a no-snag hair tie

3.Gently smooth your ponytail and remove tangle with a paddle brush or seamless comb

4.Wrap your ponytail into a loose bun and secure with a bobby pin

5.Use the lowest setting on your blowdryer to dry damp areas

6.When your roots and hair feel completely dry, undo your bun and remove hair tie

7.Using your paddle brush, wrap your hair around your hair head, securing with pins as you go

8.Wrap a satin or silk scarf securely around your head

9.Wait 2-3 hours or sleep with your scarf overnight for better results
(Optional: Apply a dab of serum for added sleekness and shine)

Texture
The Braid-out
Simple and effective, the Braid-out is an easy and gentle way to live your summer days as a lioness.

1.Apply a leave-in product when your hair is slightly damp

2.Part your hair in 4-12 sections ( this will vary depending on the thickness of your hair)

3.Braid each section one at a time

4.Roll each braid into your scalp

5.Secure with a bobby pin

6.Let your hair air-dry overnight or sit under a bonnet dryer for 30-45 minutes

7.When your hair feels completely dry, undo each braid
(Optional: For more texture, lightly mist your hair with spring or distilled water and scrunch)

Volume
The Roller Set
With a roller set, you can achieve 90s supermodel hair where big body hair reigned supreme.

1.When your hair is 85-90 percent damp, apply a light setting lotion

2.Section your hair (fewer and smaller sections will give you tighter curls)

3.Apply soft rollers or rods securely to each section of hair from the bottom up

4.Secure with a bobby pin
(Optional: If your roots are still damp, use the cool shot setting on your blowdryer to speed up drying time)

5.When finished, wrap your hair with a silk or satin scarf

6.Remove rollers in the morning

7.Flip your hair upside down using a paddle brush, smoothing the back of your hair from the nape to the front
(Optional: For extra hold, lightly spritz your hair with alcohol-free hairspray)

When you use your heat styling tools less, your strands get a chance to breathe. Challenge yourself to give up heat for two weeks and evaluate your hair.  If it hasn't been severely damaged by heat, you may notice that your hair looks and feels healthier and stronger. Each low-to-no heat method requires less stress on your hair and an overall healthy approach to your styling routine. Spend the rest of summer working on your tan, and not your hair.
First published July 2010  © Copyright


You Glow, Girl: 5 Skin-Saving Tips for Radiant Skin
By: Christina Mason

After a cold season of tights, boots, and long sleeves, your skin may be looking lackluster as you begin to strut in leg-baring dresses and gladiator sandals. Expensive spa sessions and makeup can give you a temporary or faux glow. For lasting results, look to natural ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. To help you achieve that glowing skin just before the summer approaches, indulge your body in these budget-friendly radiance remedies.

Eliminate Puffy Eyes
Before you wash your face in the mornings, use a cue tip to lightly dab a very small amount of aloe vera gel (revered for its healing, anti-inflammatory, and cooling properties) over your eyes. Leave the gel on your eyes for five to ten minutes and then wash your face with your regular cleanser. You will you feel instantly refreshed and your eyes will look brighter and more youthful. The late-night puffiness around your eyes will begin to disappear. Good morning, Sunshine!

Banish Rough Skin
To remedy dry and cracked skin, formulate your own brown sugar scrub body treatment. The natural glycolic acid found in sugar works to gently slough off dead skin cells to reveal brighter skin. To make your own brown sugar scrub, you will need: 1 cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of sweet almond or olive oil, and a lid container. You can add a few drops of essential oil to give your sugar scrub a personal fragrance. Mix ingredients together until you get a smooth consistency and gently massage your sugar scrub to dampened skin. To lock in moisture, towel-pat dry and apply your lotion while your skin is slightly damp.

Chill Out
When it's hot outside and your fan is not cutting it, cool off with your essential beauty products. Leave your face and body lotions in the refrigerator overnight, and apply it to your skin in the morning or in the middle of the day. If you want an extra beauty boost, combine your favorite light oils- coconut, jojoba, and sesame oil- with aloe vera gel and mix it in your lotions before you put them in the fridge. Your skin will appreciate the smooth and cooling sensations away from the summer heat.

Protect Your Skin
Save your skin from damaging sun rays with a generous amount of sunscreen. Nothing can wreak havoc on your skin like sun damage. Don't go outside unless you have slathered on a sun protectant, on all exposed areas. A quality sunscreen will have ingredients that can filter both UV and UVA rays. When purchasing a sunscreen ask yourself how long it would take for you to turn red in the sun without sun protection. For example, if it would take you ten minutes, a sunscreen with SPF 15 may allow you to stay in the sun for 150 minutes without getting burned. However, even if you use sunscreen, try to chill in the shade for most of the day and feel fabulous in a big floppy hat for maximum skin protection.

Get Fully Hydrated
Glow from within by making sure you drink 8-12 glasses of water every day. If you are addicted to iced lattes and carbonated drinks, learn to have them in a healthy moderation. Without a daily adequate intake of water each day, you cannot achieve glowing skin. If you feel bored drinking water, take a break with chilled green tea. It is packed with antioxidants and gives you an alternative to sugary drinks. Carry a refillable water bottle with your throughout the day, to keep your skin hydrated and glowing all summer.

First published  May 2010  © Copyright



Lights, Camera, Personal Beauty Satisfaction!
By: Christina Mason

Every woman has had a person who tries to make us feel insecure, insignificant, or stupid.  That person can take the form of magazine ads, coworkers, and even close friends. People who make remarks like, "You should wear your hair straight, you look prettier" or "You can't get a husband with your hair like that", do not appreciate your true beauty. Standout features that go against the beauty standards should be center stage and never behind-the-scenes. How do we get over our fear of the audience and embrace the role we were born to play?

Be Your Own Director
A little over a year ago, Tyra Banks launched the "So what?" campaign after the media went in on some unflattering candid photos taken of her in a bathing suit. Those two small words can make an incredible impact on your attitude: "So what if my hair is frizzy?", "So what if I'm not a size two?" When you say these words aloud, you begin to reclaim a positive attitude. It's psychological empowerment, and it helps you move forward and direct your own scenes.

Write a Script
Do you hear the same negative comments from friends, relatives, or coworkers about your hair or how you choose to dress? Write down any scathing remarks and then craft a response. The next time they mention how your hair will ruin your career, you can calmly reply, "I guess when corporate America made Ursula Stephens the President of Xerox, they thought her short afro was 'unprofessional'."  You write the script for your career and edit the negative comments.

Ignore the Critics
Everyone will not agree that you have the best hair, the best voice, etc. Some people choose to stay insecure and tear you down to lift themselves up. The next time you detect someone trying to project their negativity on you, remind yourself that you love what you do, how you look, and you how hard you work. The hilariously honest comedian Kat Williams said it best: "If you have twelve women hatin' on you, figure out how to get to sixteen by the summertime!" Use negativity to give your greatest positive performance.

Stay Positive Behind-the-Scenes
At the end of the day, you choose who you want to be. It's up to you to decide how you react to the negativity of others. Look in the mirror and repeat affirmations. Believe your own hype. Tell yourself who you are and stand by words of self-encouragement. Some may ask, "Who are you to be beautiful, talented, and intelligent?"  Who are you not to?   You are the star of your own show.

First published April 2010  © Copyright



Balancing Act: Getting the Right Amount of Protein & Moisture 
By: Christina Mason

Your hair may be fighting the common hair cold right now- dryness, breakage, and dullness- due to the harsh weather. Despite taking your medication (i.e. wearing protective styles, moisture -sealing your ends, increasing your water intake), the state of your hair may still be less than stellar. Diagnosis? You may not be getting the right balance of protein and moisture in your hair. When the moisture and protein levels in your hair are in sync, you will notice less breakage, length retention, and an overall increase in the health of your hair.

Your hair needs a balance of protein and moisture to thrive. Like a woman walking a tightrope, balance is crucial. It can also be difficult to find what works best for you without taking a misstep. The protein and moisture balance in your hair can be affected by different factors including genetics, dietary intake, medication, hormones, and so on.  Not all heads are created equal. The perfect balance for you will be based on the unique needs of your own hair.

Most people can determine their hair needs based on how it feels, looks, and responds to tension. If your hair is either gummy, mushy, or has a weak elasticity, then you may need more protein. Hair that has the right amount of protein level absorbs moisture more efficiently, and helps retain a healthy balance of moisture in your hair. Moisture is important to your hair for two reasons. It gives hair its softness and elasticity. Products with humectants, a substance that attracts moisture from the air, provide additional moisturizing benefits.

If your hair is hard, rough, or brittle you may need a deep conditioning treatment. This will help you restore softness to your hair and smooth your cuticle, the outermost layer of your hair strand.  When applying a deep conditioning treatment, try to use a conditioner that is water-based and contains at least one humectant.  Any product that lists humectants- propylene glycol, honey, glycerin- and water at the top of their ingredient list will work best to help your hair stay soft and moisturized.

The weather can be very dry in the winter. If there is no moisture in the air, humectants pull in moisture from the hair strand, leaving your hair feeling dry, negating your moisturizing efforts. In the winter, apply water and humectants-based products to your hair before you shower. The humectants will pull in the moisture from the shower steam. This will help keep your hair moisturized well into the end of the next day.

Protein provides a balance to the softness of your hair by giving it strength. Hair is made up of keratin, a type of protein that makes up most of your hair. Ladies who dye their hair or wear a relaxer require more protein in their hair than others. Due to the chemical nature of the relaxing and coloring process, bonds are broken down within the hair shaft. This makes the hair weaker and more prone to extreme breakage. Protein treatments help counteract this effect by restructuring the broken bonds in the hair and aiding in the retention of moisture. 

If your hair is free of chemicals or processing treatments, you hair can still become weak from excessive brushing or daily heat styling. A protein treatment will strengthen your strands, but you must always balance a protein treatment with a deep conditioning treatment. There's a common misconception that any amount of protein will harden your hair and cause it to break off. This generally happens when you don't immediately follow a protein treatment with a deep conditioning treatment, or if you apply a protein treatment too often. Use your best judgment and assess your hair based on its condition, not on someone else's hair care routine.

Moisture and protein act as different agents in the health of your hair. While both provide the hair with excellent health benefits, an imbalance of the two can result in dry, lifeless hair. Determine what your hair is lacking by evaluating the look, feel, and elasticity of the hair, and treat your hair accordingly. When you evaluate your own hair, you can decide if it is moisture-starved or protein deprived, and learn what a balanced head of hair means to you.  Once you find the right amount of protein and moisture balance that works for your hair, your hair will be in optimum shape just in time for spring!

First published March 2010  © Copyright



Adoring Your Curls
By: Christina Mason

Valentine's Day is approaching, and before you indulge yourself in chocolates, heart-shaped cards, and flowers sent to you (or from you), remember everything in your life that brings you love and gives you love. On that list should be all of your gorgeous features-including your hair. Winter can be particularly cruel on curly hair, making you feel frustrated and anxious for a flat iron. However, appreciating your curls is in full demand this Valentine's Day. Here are just a few reasons to remind you why each curl on your head deserves a love letter.

You Stand Out
Curly hair is unique and garners attention and compliments from family, friends, and even strangers. Naturally straight hair is fabulous, but can seem like the staple style in everything from movies to magazines. Even if a curly-haired girl arrives on the scene, your curly hair is only part of spectrum of highly-textured hair types. Like vintage couture, your curls are one-of-a-kind.

Endless Styling Options
Limitless styles and highly-textured hair will never be mutually exclusive. Your hair has the ability to transform into styles that aren't so easily achieved with straighter locks. You can wear braids, twists, locks, cornrows, modern and classic afros, and the list goes on. You can make your hair adaptable to your personality any day of the week. Whether you rock your hair in a bun or in braids, always be sure to keep those fabulous styles moisturized and tension-free on the scalp.

No More Weather Hair Worries
When rain arrives unexpectedly, you aren't running to find shelter or making a make-shift umbrella out of a newspaper or your purse. You can play in the rain without worrying about you kinky hair getting ruined. Even in humidity, you can tie your hair back and let the humidity amplify your curls and get unbelievable volume. Curly girls who don't enjoy frizz or undefined curls can still leave the house and venture into high-humidity weather. Just be sure to apply a silicone-free styling serum on dry hair to keep your curls in sync.

Your Facial Features Pop
Some women with more traditional African features -full lips, broad nose, and high cheekbones- can appear more youthful with curly hair than straight hair. Flat hair can make these facial features seem larger than they actually are, and hide its true beauty. Shorter, tightly curled hair seems to defy gravity when worn out in an Afro style. It "lifts" the face and draws more attention to the eyes and cheekbones.

You Become Healthier
How many times have you heard, "I know I need to go to the gym, but I don't want to mess up my hair"? When you wear your hair curly, you don't have to make the choice of having either a great head of hair or a great body. Let's be honest, your hair needs more than the perfect shampoo and conditioner. To give you hair optimum health, you have to eat right and exercise. When you have naturally curly hair, you no longer worry about your hair "reverting" when you sweat from a work-out. To freshen your curls after the gym, you can water-rinse or cleanse you hair with a sulfate-free shampoo.

You Can Experiment with Color
When you let your natural tresses roam free and treat it with care, you can experiment with more color without worrying about double-processing your hair with chemicals or daily doses of heat. If you apply heat on a daily basis or wear a relaxer, adding another hair-altering chemical like color to the mix can be a recipe for dryness and breakage. Even with chemical-free hair, color can still be damaging.  Look for alternative and gentler coloring options like Henna or semi-permanent glosses. Maintain a healthier head of hair with color by putting the relaxer away, and treating your hair with nourishing products formulated for color-treated hair.

You Save Money
Running to the salon every few weeks to tame those "unruly roots" is no longer your concern. Salon chemical and hair straightening services can cost upwards of fifty dollars per visit. Now that you've embraced the beauty of your bouncy ringlets, your wallet is packed with extra cash. Indulge your hair with at-home nourishing treatments using deep conditioners and essential oils.

This Valentine's Day give and receive love. The next time you see a woman with an eye-catching hair style or lustrous curls, give her a compliment. Whether you have a spouse to give you roses or not, give yourself a love letter this month that highlights every feature you love to play up, make your hair one of your favorite features. Whether your hair is short or long, curly or straight, it is beautiful and deserves to feel loved.

First published February 2010  © Copyright



Healthier & Happier Hair
By: Christina Mason

The New Year is your time to shine. Your hair should be no exception. If you need more products just to fake a healthy appearance from split ends, dullness, or limp hair, January may be the perfect time to start over.  A healthy hair goal can be achieved if you start with the right plan.  Despite most New Year's resolutions being forgotten by the time you celebrate Martin Luther King Jr's Day, achieving healthier hair can be a realistic resolution you can keep.

Trim Your Ends
Get rid of split, frayed, and heat-damaged ends with a professional trim. Your hair cannot look its best when damaged ends are getting all of the attention.  A trim can be anywhere from one-fourth of an inch to two inches, depending on the amount of damage. If you are apprehensive about getting a trim, you can do minimal shaping each month. However, eventually all the damaged ends will need to be cut off. Once damaged ends are removed, your hair will instantly look fuller, smoother, and healthier.

Product Overhaul
This is the perfect time to reevaluate your hair product arsenal. Which ones do you use most? Which ones encourage good hair days? Do you switch products according to the season? Categorize your products (shampoos, conditioners, styling crème, etc.) and select one from each that works the best for your hair. The products that you do not select can be given away to friends, thrown out, or saved for the summer time. With a simple selection of tried and true products, your hair can be pampered and nourished with the correct products that work best on your hair.

Increase Your Water Intake
Did you know that most models drink water on a schedule?  Water is the ultimate beauty product. Most of us, who strut the streets and not the runway, don't drink enough of it. Typically, to determine how much water your body needs each day, divide your body weight by two. Drink the resulting number in ounces. If your body is dehydrated, then your hair may become dry, brittle, and more prone to breakage. When you commit to drinking more water, your hair will become shinier, grow faster, and it will contribute to your overall health.

Commit to a Hair Care Schedule
Consistently bathe your hair in deep conditioning, hot oil, and protein treatments. Your hair type and needs will determine how often you should do each treatment. There should be a healthy balance of protein and moisture to promote softer and stronger strands. Have a trusted stylist evaluate your hair. He or she will be able to help you commit to a healthy hair care schedule and help decide what healthy hair practices would work best for you.

Handle Hair with Care
Now that you are fully invested into your customized healthy hair journey, be gentle to your strands. Avoid styles that pull at the scalp and edges of your hair. The corners of your eyes should not meet at your scalp line. Instead, style your hair into loose, chic ponytails and buns. Keep hair manipulation low, only using proper combs and brushes sparingly and gently to detangle and style hair. Always moisturize and protect the ends of your hair to minimize split ends.  Treat your hair with care, and it will flourish throughout the New Year.

First published January 2010  © Copyright



Spare Your Curls: Product Ingredients to Avoid
By: Christina Mason

Curly hair has been called many names: beautiful, unique, unkempt, trendy, unprofessional, rebellious, romantic, lustrous, and the list goes on. Within the past five years, major hair companies have realized that curly hair is also very "marketable". They have also found that curly-haired women tend to spend more money on hair products and how could they not? Many hair products marketed for curly hair tend to contain harsh and drying ingredients which leaves the hair thirsty, tangled, and unmanageable.

Curls need products with ingredients that work to achieve moisture, nourishment, cleanliness, and definition. No matter how a hair company markets their product they are legally bound to provide the consumer with a list of all ingredients used in that product. The list of ingredients are listed from greatest to smallest. As you learn to decipher ingredient lists, you can save money by selecting quality products free of some of the common curly hair culprits.

Sulfates
Sulfates are harsh detergents, usually the second or third ingredient used in most shampoos. They effectively cleanse the scalp, but "squeaky clean" hair is not good for coils. Sulfates can strip the hair of it natural oils, drying and tangling hair. Instead of using a sulfate-based shampoo to cleanse your hair, you can use Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and baking soda to clarify and remove product buildup. Not only does ACV gently cleanse and clarify, but it also leaves the hair soft and easy to detangle. 

Silicones
Silicones are used as a lubricant for the hair. They coat and smooth the hair shaft, making silicones excellent for detangling wet curly hair. Silicones can give the appearance of shiny, healthy curls. However, it can block moisture from reaching the hair shaft, resulting in moisture-starved hair. Instead of using silicones, try looking for products with emollient-heavy oils like avocado or olive. If you have a coarser hair texture and you feel you need silicones for easier detangling, make sure to use water-based silicones that can be washed out easily to avoid buildup.

Alcohol
Any type of grain alcohol, like isopropyl and methanol, is drying for the hair. However, not all alcohols are created equally. Moisturizing alcohols like stearyl and cetyl alcohol should be found at the top hair product labels. They provide weight to curls, without making it greasy and add a nice amount of "slip" for detangling. If the "good" alcohols are not listed near the top of the ingredient list, look for glycerin as a more natural substitute.

Mineral Oil
Mineral oil or petroleum is used as inexpensive filler in many products. It can add a luster to hair, but it acts like a plastic coating on strands. This results in suffocated curls. Also, mineral oil builds on the hair and scalp, attracting dirt and debris throughout the day. To avoid this, use products that list lighter, unrefined oils like jojoba oil to give you a natural shine that won't coat your curls.

Some curly heads suffer from dryness, breakage, or unruliness. As you begin to understand ingredients in the products you buy, you can learn what works best for your curls, and what does not. Of course, no product can substitute the intake of a healthy diet, daily multivitamin, and water. Even if a product is labeled all-natural, it still may not be right for your hair texture. When you listen to your hair and notice what it likes, your curly hair can become synonymous with another word - healthy.

First published December 2009  © Copyright



Beauty Tips Every Woman Should Know
By: Molly Kukachka

You are mingling at a party and in walks a bombshell in a fitted jacket, the best pair of skinny jeans you have seen, a head full of luscious curls, and a confident laugh that fills the room.  You immediately envy the stillettoed goddess.  Don't let jealousy ruin your mood.  You can learn a lot from this woman and use her tricks (we all know every woman has her own hat of tricks) to improve your look and overall confidence.  With minor changes and implementing the following "secrets" you will have the tools to always feel confident and look and your best.

Plan in Advance
Making plans early will help you feel more confident in your choices.  Allow yourself enough time to get ready.  Pick out an outfit and hairstyle in advance.  This will save you a lot of time the day or night of.  If you are trying a new hairstyle be sure to practice before to assure that you will be happy with the results.

Exercise Is Part Of Confidence
You know you will be going to parties or at least be seen in public at some point.  Start preparing now instead of the week before.  Shoot for 30 minutes of exercise daily.   Chose something you enjoy, a nice walk outside, a run, aerobics with Jane Fonda, but commit to do this every day.   Exercise is the easiest way to increase your endorphins (those feel good chemicals your body produces) and feel better about your body which in turn increases your confidence.

Wear Your Favorite Outfit
When you like what you are wearing your confidence level rises.  However, there are a few fashion tips you want to keep in mind.  Tailored waistlines on dresses or jackets create slimming effects and pencil skirts hide upper leg blemishes and highlight calves.  Black is always slimming but spice it up with red accents (scarf, shoes, jewelry).  Highlight your best feature to feel extra sexy.

Hair Is Important
Many women overlook the importance of a well coiffed do.  This year, to the benefit of all women, volume and curls are in.  Try using hot rollers because they are easy to use, quick, and will not damage your hair.  They create a loose curl that softens any look.  Leave your hair down.  If this drives you crazy, use a decorative clip to sweep up a side.  If you don't have rollers, use a curling iron to add volume and curls to your tresses.

Confidence With Good Posture
Sometimes your posture will tell others if you are confident or uncomfortable.  Folding your arms across your mid section lets everyone know that you are uncomfortable and insecure.  To achieve the best posture, tilt your hips forward so your spine is straight, tighten your abs and stretch your torso up. Pull your shoulders back and down. Pull your neck back so it follows the straight line of your back.  Let your arms hang at your side, put a hand on one hip or into a pocket.  Good posture is the best way to visually drop 10 pounds and appear self-possessed and confident.

The Arsenal Of Beauty Secrets
 These are wonderful beauty weapons used by many Hollywood stars. Most women are so good at these "tricks" that the result appears to be natural.

- Slimming Tea & Epsom Salt
If you are in a slam a few days before, drink a diuretic tea after every meal to lose water weight and bathe in 1 - 2 cups of Epsom salt to pull out excess water as well.

- Sunless Tanner
Unless you have Nicole Kidman's brilliantly porcelain skin, a tinted moisturizer or sunless tanner mixed with your favorite moisturizing lotion to dilute it will give you an added glow. 

- Bronzer
Although it is not summer, you can still use a bit of bronzer to freshen your look.  Chose a lighter shade and lightly dust the area above your cheekbone, and your forehead.  If you want to create more cleavage, dust in between your breasts and in a half circle around the tops (be sure to blend well).

- Non Make-up Wearers
You are blessed to have a fresh clean look naturally.  For a special event, it is nice to wear a minimal amount of make-up for a more formal look.  If you don't wear make-up, mascara and lip-gloss will enhance your look. 

- Fake Eyelashes

Fake eyelashes are a great way to widen the eye and create a come-hither look.  The packs with sections or individual lashes rather than the full strip are easier to apply and look more natural.  Apply them to the outer corner of your eye following the natural lash line.  It will add a little length and enhance the look of the eye.

Keep Things In Perspective
Everyone at the party is thinking about themselves.  They all have the same concerns.  Nobody is scrutinizing you, they are wondering how they look, so relax.  Truly engage in the conversation you are having, listen attentively and mingle.  When you feel confident, you will look better.  Confidence esteems you.  Keep your head high and optimism high and you can't fail.  If you begin to implement even some of these tips, you are sure to become the "envied" not the envier. 

Note: Contact your doctor before trying any recommendations to avoid possible allergies. 

First published November 2009  © Copyright



Curly Hair Commitment
By: Christina Mason

Curly hair is a commitment, a long-term relationship. It is more prone to splitting up, as in split ends. It is constantly changing its mood, one day it's a poof, then it's a tangled nightmare. It is hard to keep satisfied, even the most expensive deep conditioners can leave the hair starved for…something. And like a relationship, you have got to invest time and effort into it. Otherwise, you end up resenting your hair, wishing it was something else, and never wanting to deal with it again.

There are somethings we can do to help our hair. Whether your hair is as deceivingly delicate as the tightly coiled or has the loosest curl, there are simple tips to make
your tresses healthier and more manageable. These tips will keep your curly
commitment more romantic than frantic. Even straight-haired ladies can use the tips for a little extra TLC.

Invest In Wide-tooth Combs
Curly hair is exceptionally delicate and easier to snag on almost anything, including grooming tools. The seams on the teeth of plastic combs can cause micro-splits in the hair, making your ends weaker and easier to break off. Stay away from plastic combs. Stick to wooden, wide-tooth combs for easier, snag-free detangling. These combs are inexpensive, found in most drugstores, and a great investment for you curls. 

Wear Your Hair Up
Now that winter is almost here and you're pulling out winter fabrics be aware that certain fabrics can damage the ends of your hair. Hair can get caught on cotton and wool coats, causing the ends to break off. When you wear your hair tucked into a chic bun, you keep your hair protected from the winter fabrics and cold weather. To make you and your curly ends happy, wear your hair up. Not only will you avoid damaging hair but you will also have a sophisticated look.

Moisture & Seal
The ends of curly hair are naturally drier than straight hair. It takes longer for the natural oils in our scalp to travel down the entire strand because of the loops it has to follow. Wet the ends of tips at night, applying a moisture-rich product, and "sealing" it with natural oil: jojoba, avocado, or almond.  When you "moisture-seal" the hair your curls stay smoother, shinier, and retains growth.

Style Wet Curly Hair
Curly hair is much more pliable and easier to mold into smooth curls when it is wet. Apply product to hair when it at least a little damp. Wait a few minutes to let the product absorb into the hair. Wet styling the hair and letting it dry completely will also help your hairstyle last longer. Consider braiding or twisting your hair. The number or braids and twists you do will depend on how big or small you want your curls. Let your hair air-dry overnight or use low heat on the roots.

Avoid Detangling Disasters
Gently separate the hair into sections, finger-comb the bigger tangles, and then wide-tooth comb, working from the bottom-up.  When you practice gentle combing techniques you should notice less hair in the sink and more on your head. This is effective because you will detect fewer knots in your mane and detangling your hair will take less time. This is important because when your curly hair is more manageable, you will have more positive feelings about your curls.

Learning how to treat your curly hair and appreciating its beautiful strands, will remind you of why you fell in love with your curly hair in the first place. Curly hair is unique, like snowflakes, no two curls are the same. Curly hair invites curiosity, "How do you get your hair so big?" Curly hair makes you interesting. One day you're a rock star, the next you're Shirley Temple.

First published November 2009  © Copyright

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