I don’t do resolutions for the new year, because I never keep them. Ever. But I do have goals. Since I will be moving to Japan in about 4 years- I have things that need to be in place before I go. The first thing was to identify products and find a maintainable hair routine for Japan. I think I have found that.
I meant to post this earlier in the month, but time has gotten away from me (again).
I managed to survive my first semester back in school (barely) with a nice solid B. Yay, me! If you are returning to school, and it’s been more than a year since you were last in school- I advise you to never EVER take an accelerated language class. Even if you were previously near-fluent. It will kick your butt, guaranteed.
– Shampoo: Purposeful Hydration Shea Butter and Sandalwood shampoo (http://www.lovebeautyandplanet.com)
– Conditioner: Purposeful Hydration Shea Butter and Sandalwood conditioner
– Moisturizer: Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream and Water (5%/95%)
– Leave-In/Styling Cream: Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream
Can I just say that I find this shampoo / conditioner combo to be a refeshing change of scent. Sooo many products out there are either some sort of tropical scent, or a generic purfume-y type smell. This one smells kind of woodsy… kind of musk-y. It’s the sandalwood, and it’s just a refreshing change to the norm. The shampoo and conditioner work slightly better than Suave (and with less harmful ingredients).
I have found the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash (which I did not buy) at Walgreen’s, Kroger, and Wal-mart.
So as a helpful commenter pointed out on my last post- there are actually SEVEN ingredients commonly found in beauty products that are formaldehyde releasers. I have nicknamed them the 7 Deadly Sins.
Check out @WhatTheFFacts’s Tweet:
This is not a paid review.
I have a hard time finding clothes to fit me. Curves are not something that many designers plan for; and since people come in ALL shapes and sizes- unless you are a Size 0, or making clothes to fit YOURSELF- you have to make do. As a plus size girl- I know that clothes are not going to fit me like I like them to. Clothes generally hug my frame like an overzealous lover, or they fit like a circus tent (usually equally as colorful). Because I have an ample amount of cleavage- anything with an empire waist will not fit me. Generally the “waistline” lands somewhere around my nipples, when it is supposed to lie gently under my breasts (and no amount of coaxing will get it to stop riding up). Because I have a decent amount of butt- I have to be careful about the pants I get. Skinny anything usually becomes low riders, and regular pants sometimes land mid calf, simply because my butt is taking up more fabric than the designer envisioned (and my legs are apparently longer than the standard size). If I go up a size (to gain butt space), I usually end up with extra fabric around my crotch, which makes me look like I’m fluffier than I actually am, OR that I have a penis. Not a good look.
First off- this is not a paid review. Second- this company has good reviews on Amazon. Also- many people on YouTube seem to like it.
I picked this as the first deep conditioner of my journey, because Nature Republic is a Korean company. And it is very easy to find all over Japan. I’ve tried this hair pack two ways- just putting it on in the shower, and letting it work while I clean other parts of myself, and also with a heat cap on, letting the heat permeate the product and, in turn, my scalp. Umm… I’m not really sure what to expect, since these were the second and third times I have deep conditioned in my entire life. It wasn’t impressive. I was expecting my hair to be softer and more manageable. My hair was not soft. In fact- whatever softness that was imparted by the shampoo- it felt like the hair pack took that away. My hair also felt dry.
I’m not sure if the Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie had anything to do with that (if I was getting too much protein), or if I am maybe sensitive to Argan oil, but I was not a fan of this one. I plan to give it one more chance on Week 6 Wash Day, as I have weened myself off of using the Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie as a Styler, so this will be the real test. Then we will revisit this review with a final decision.
Now- I should mention that I am low porosity, and I have medium density hair. Not sure if that makes a difference, but if you are in the same boat and want to give this hair pack a try- let me know if you get different results.
I started working out today. It was just about 25 minutes on the treadmill, but since I have not worked out in about 2 years (maybe 3)- it is best not to overdo it.
Oh, and this exercise high that people talk about? I’ve never experienced it. I’ve worked out for several months STRAIGHT and never experienced it. I mean I get that your blood is circulating at a faster rate, so you FEEL better. That part I understand. But I’ve never actually gotten a high from exercising.
I also have a 2 month subscription to the Daily Burn app. We’ll see how that one works on the days I don’t feel like trudging over to the fitness center, OR on the days when it is extra crowded.
Before we go into my history, let’s go over what I want to accomplish.
1) A simple / semi-simple hair routine that I can keep doing in Japan. This is paramount.
1a) I don’t need 1,001 products. I don’t WANT 1,001 products. I can’t take all of that with me anyway! I just need a Shampoo, Leave-In Conditioner/Detangler, Deep Conditioner, and a Styling Cream. That’s four products. (And probably identifying four back-up products, in case those get discontinued or the ingredients change, and they don’t work on my hair the way they used to.)
1b) Once those products are identified- I need to figure out how to get them to Japan. I hope I can order them and have them shipped, but if not- I need a reliable local source where I can buy a ton and put it in my checked luggage. And by a ton- I mean a year’s worth. Which means I also have to identify what I mean by a year’s worth. That’s probably 3 or 4 Shampoo bottles, but that’s easily 6 leave-in conditioner, and 6 styling cream bottles. EACH. Probably more. That’s a lot of luggage real estate.
2) I would like to grow my HEALTHY, CURLED hair to shoulder-length all the way around. This is not vitally important, but it is a want. And I absolutely don’t need or want waist-length hair. But I think shoulder length is doable. But if I don’t get to this step- that is fine, too. I am good with my hair at it’s current length. I just want it to be healthy.
What I am looking for in hair products:
No idea. I haven’t had a shampoo that I love. Every shampoo I’ve EVER had (and I’ve picked up pretty much all of the cheap brands, and a fair amount of the mid-priced brands) has just been okay. A few of them have stripped my hair, but I have learned to stay away from those. I’ve never had a shampoo WOW me, so I don’t know what that would be like. And yes- I’ve tried several Aveda products (my best friend is an Aveda junkie), but none really seemed to work for me.
To be honest- I think this happens to a LOT of people- they just never say anything. You find a product that works reasonably well – not GREAT mind you, just reasonably well, and you stick with it. Well I want to find something that works GREAT. This way I can brag about it.
Something fantastic. When I had relaxed hair- I used to use Infusium 23 and another scientific-type conditioner (don’t remember the brand, but I can’t find it now, so it may have gone out of business), which worked very well on relaxed hair. However, when I stopped getting relaxers- Infusium 23 didn’t work the same. My hair chemistry changed, and I was at a loss as to what to do about it. So I am on the hunt for a fantastic conditioner.
Everything else needs to be about hydration and stability. And what I mean by stability, is that I need leave ins, moisturizers, and styling creams to be able to hold the moisture in, but to also not mind my piling on of the product. I’ve had a few styling creams that you could not reapply. They made your hair feel greasy and limp, and a few even flaked if you reapplied over an older application. I’m mostly going to be washing my hair weekly, but there are a few times where you miss that weekend wash day, and you really don’t have time to go through the WHOLE routine during the workweek. So I need products that will take reapplication well.
I’m not sure what my hair type is. I’m fairly certain that I am a combination of most of the type 4s. But my curl pattern is not the issue. I have mutt hair. I call it mutant hair. Mostly not in an affectionate way. So as I figure out what works for my hair – I will be trying out several brands, changing one thing at a time, until I find things I like. As I go, I will be posting honest reviews of each product.
First – the backstory.
When we got married, my husband and I were brainstorming on places we wanted to live. There is no reason that we have to live in the same state where we were married (or the same country); so we were throwing out possibilities and how easy or difficult it would be to live there. The stipulations were that we had to live in a semi-major city, with relatively easy access to a good hospital. The reason is that my husband has Crohn’s disease, so easy access to medical care is a must. (which rules out his dream of living high in the mountains.)
Well early in 2015, my husband asked about the possibility of us living in Japan. He had taken Japanese in college, and he loved the language and culture, so he wanted to put Japan on the table. There are other reasons that Japan is on the table, but it seemed the most versatile of anywhere we were thinking, so I thought why not?
So. We’re moving to Japan.
Not RIGHT THIS MINUTE, mind you. There are things that need to get done first.
1) We both need to learn the language. So- we both need to go back to school. For Japanese. Which means it’s going to take about 4 years, before we are ready to move.
2) I need to learn how to care for my hair. I’ve never really learned to take care of my hair- I’ve just been muddling through… for YEARS. But since the availability will be scarce of black hair care products- I’m going to need to lock down a routine, and then find a source for my products (which will probably be Amazon).
3) We currently have a cat. So, if we have a cat in three years- we need to figure out how to get him through the quarantine procedures as quickly as possible. (Which means starting a year before we leave for Japan and getting him the vaccinations he needs to breeze through quarantine.) Now- please note that I don’t plan on getting rid of the cat- it’s just that he is about 13 years old, so he realistically may not be alive in three years. But, since they can live 15-20 years. It’s likely that he’ll still be around.
4) I’m a plus size girl. I do plan to lose some weight (see point number 5), but I’m not going to get down to being absolutely thin. Just healthy. And healthy… is still around a size 10/12. And an American size 12 is still too big for 90% of the clothes in Japan. Plus- we Westerners have a bigger build than Japanese women, so even if we could fit- most clothes would still fit weird. Our shoulders are broader, so sleeved clothes would have a weird shoulder seam, and the sleeves would probably not be long enough. Also- the pants definitely wouldn’t be long enough. So bringing my own core wardrobe, PLUS having reliable sources of clothing is a must.
5) Getting an exercise routine. And mostly it’s going to have to be a routine that doesn’t use weights. Now hand weights are fine, but even the gyms in Japan don’t have a lot of weight machines. Not to mention the gyms are expensive. So it’s going to have to be workouts that can easily be done at home or at a public park.
So if you have read this far- this part may affect you. I will be tagging my posts. Posts about my hair will be tagged [Hair Journey] in the title. Posts about clothing will be tagged [Clothes Journey], posts about language will be tagged [Japanese] (or whatever language I’m using), and posts about exercise will be tagged [Fitness]. This way you can just skip the post if you’d rather not read about that subject.