Keeping it Real at the 2013 Oscars

Standing out tonight against all the weaves and wigs (there’s more fake hair on that red carpet than the real stuff, let’s face it) were 3 beauties at the 2013 Oscars. Charlize Theron, Robin Roberts, and Anne Hathaway all looked so beautiful and classic without the long locks getting in the way. To you and I this doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy or special, but in Hollywood where everyone is painted, polished, and primped to perfection- all abiding by the same beauty rules, this is truly an act of bravery. Maybe in some small way it sends a message that unconventional is beautiful too and we can start to see more images of women that don’t all look the same.

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And a shout out to Anniston for keeping it real rocking her signature hair style (which was by Chris McMillan who used Living Proof haircare btw.) Up-dos don’t work for me either, I always feel like I’m wearing a costume or something. Brides always tell me how they prefer their hair down but feel they should have it up for their weddings and this is the perfect example of how you don’t have to conform to a style you don’t like.  Stick to what makes you feel good, you’ll feel more comfortable and look happier (and better!) in your pictures.

jennifer anniston

I’ve Had the Baby, Now I Can Get Back to Looking Normal Again

D-Day came and went and now we have an 8 pound 3 ounce bundle of adorableness that has us totally in love and barely able to concentrate on anything else. So as long as I have some time focused here at my computer (she’s napping) I might as well make good use and let you know what I’ve been cooking up for my skin to get rid of the melasma and its general crappy, dull state. I didn’t think much about melasma since I was faithful to great skincare, but maybe it’s because I was busy being smug about escaping stuff like stretch marks and heartburn that melasma was hardly a worry. Not so lucky. The day before I delivered last week, I was having brunch with my sister who asked only the way sisters can ‘when did that discoloration start?’ Thanks. Better though than my 98 year old grandma in the hospital room remarking about how I ‘still looked pregnant.’ My family keeps my ego in check. Anyhow, even with 2 coats of good coverage, the damage is pretty noticeable especially on my un-Botoxed forehead.

Until I can wrap up this breast feeding thing, I’ll remain un-Botoxed but will start to fight the best (and safest way) I know how. Starting with the big guns. Lasers.

My pregnant sleepless nights were spent perusing nursery ideas on various sites, finding decor on Etsy, and researching the best kind of laser to use for getting my skin back on track. Fraxel remains the gold standard for overall skin rejuvenation including wrinkles, age spots, acne scars, and melasma. It takes care of it all in just a few treatments without the horrendous downtime that you’d get from say a peel or other lasers. You will get red – sunburn red – but nothing too disgusting where you have to hide out in your house for a week (not that I’m exactly hitting the town these days). A word to the wise, lasers hurt. When I did some IPL a while back they said it would feel like rubber bands snapping against the skin which was total bullshit, it was more like someone flicking lighted matches at me. Again, totally worth it if it works. And a nice chemical-free way to get my skin heading in the right direction without Botox or chemicals I shouldn’t use because I’d be essentially feeding it to the baby.

I stashed a bottle of Estée Lauder’s Idealist they sent me to review a while back for this very thing after I saw that it was working to fade spotting. It quickly gets rid of all sorts of discolorations on the skin and feels and smells amazing. I’ll use it during the day under my SPF that’s so essential to prevent more damage from happening.

If your skin needs changing, use Vivant. I swear it made a huge difference in my skin years ago when I was faithful to the line (which is hard when trying new things is your job), but everything they have is medical grade and reasonably inexpensive. Their Exfol-A is what I’ll be using for a kick of Vitamin A without having to use Retin A which is set in a cheap cream base that breaks me out every time I try to use it. This serum combines A with Lactic, Uric, and Kojic Acids – all known to fade discolorations and give skin a pretty glow.

I’ve lost so much hair this pregnancy that it’s actually really sad. The combo of my crazy thyriod and the estrogen going out the window after the birth has resulted in literally half of my hair falling out. There were a few times when I would cry after a shower just watching the massive amounts of hair being washed down the drain or combed away. Luckily my stylist Carrie works for Aveda and raves about their new collection for thinning hair called Invati. It’s supposed to reduce hair loss and help to regrow hair using a natural formula and she promised that if I stuck to it that it would work. I hope so. My hair’s my thing, yo.

I’m sure I can use a lot more to try and get myself back to looking somewhat human again, but I’m supposed to be simplifying my routine and not making it more complicated. What am I missing? Tweet me your beauty suggestions for post-baby beauty @HookedOnBeauty

Apple Cider Hair Treatment

After the success of my Coconut Oil hair treatment I thought I’d tackle another DIY home beauty remedy I’ve been wanting to try for a while – rinsing my hair with Apple Cider vinegar. Gross. I think the idea of pouring warm vinegar all over my hair (and subsequently body) just wasn’t that appealing for obvious reasons, but seeing this John Masters Organics cider vinegar treatment at a recent trip to the store re-ignited my curiosity for what has long been one of the most popular (and easiest) home hair treatments out there. I convinced myself to go for it, but I’d mix my own – the John Masters version was mainly vinegar anyway with just a few natural extracts splashed in there to neutralize the scent, I thought I could get the same results at home for less than the $17 they were asking.

I thought the treatment was only used as a clarifier, something to remove reside from the hair and scalp but I was happy to find out how much more it actually does. I mixed together about 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water into a plastic cup. After shampooing twice (as I always do), I slowly poured the cider over my head until I felt it reach my scalp and trickle down the length of my hair. No rubbing or massaging required – just leave it in a few minutes to absorb and give it a quick rinse. This is about the time I started to worry about my thick, coarse hair not being conditioned enough to comb it out. I was sure I’d have giant knots and dried out hair without the usual slab of conditioner I carefully work into my ends – I thought I’d have to jump back into the shower and re-wash and condition to undo the mess I thought I was making.

I was pretty shocked when I was able to comb right through my hair (after my styling products were applied) just like usual. After it dried I could see that this was the best hair treatment I’ve ever used and my hair never looked better. It didn’t leave a squeaky clean feel like most clarifiers do (a good sign that some natural oils were left in) – instead it rinsed out enough reside and build-up to create a really intense shine. Best of all, my hair had a crazy amount of softness which I didn’t expect, it felt like I just left the salon with the kind of bounce and life that typically only happens after my stylist works her magic – but nothing I’ve ever created on my own.

Not knowing if it was just some crazy hair fluke, I did it again a week later. Again, magic. I’m addicted.


After my first treatment. Click to enlarge

I’ve read varying reports on whether it strips color from hair, but I’m not concerned about it since it’s so gentle and the John Master’s version claims to neutralize your hair’s pH that can get out of whack after coloring so it’s actually good to keep your color fresh. One thing of note: I used Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar ($5.50) some of the best around, it’s unpasteurized with a low acidic level. I read that the type of vinegar you use does make a difference since a high acid cotent can actually be too harsh and not deliver the same results, so grab a good quality vinegar – it’s still a fraction of the cost of the store bought treatment and worth every cent.

Coconut Oil Hair Treatment

My hair itself doesn’t get nearly as dry as my scalp does in the winter which is why I rock a Coconut Oil treatment from time to time. I love me some Coconut Oil, it’s what I normally use post-shower instead of lotion because it absorbs fast and moisturizes like crazy. It’s fantastic on your hair too for a quick treatment to perk up your strands and get the dullness out. Here’s how..

- Warm a little coconut oil so it liquefies, I just zap it for about 10 seconds in a bowl in the microwave.

- Spritz your hair so it’s damp and run a comb through it so you’re able to really work the oil in.

- Drizzle the oil onto the hair and massage it into your scalp.

- Toss a towel into the dryer just long enough for it to heat up and wrap your hair.

The oil isn’t heavy so it shampoos right out without any lasting residue. It feels like an expensive salon treatment – you’ll be addicted and want to use coconut oil on everything all the time like I do. Any kind of coconut oil will do, but the one I use is shown below.

The FDA’s new Brazilian Blowout Warnings

Things are heating up between the FDA and the makers of Brazilian Blowout with the company’s labeling called “adulterated” and “misbranded” by the administration. Still addicted to the hair treatment? Find an alternative, it’s just not worth it.

Check out the EWG’s article HERE, and their investigation into other dangerous hair treatments HERE

I (Still) Love LUSH Solid Shampoo Bars..

As you can imagine, I have a lot of stuff. My house is a virtual Sephora filled with every beauty product imaginable waiting on me to sample, approve, and blog the results. Admittedly, it’s the best job ever.

It isn’t until I’m *gasp* out of something completely that I think about what I’d buy with my hard earned cash, something that gets the job done for the best value. What I’ve discovered is that when I need to buy a shampoo, it’s typically a Shampoo Bar from Lush. I’ve tried almost all of them but my fav is the Godiva because it gets foamy, but not overly so and it doesn’t leave any trace of residue. I don’t love the jasmine scent, but it mostly fades away yielding only a slight pouf of floral goodness from a quick head toss from time to time which I can live with.

For $10, it’s hard to beat this travel-friendly little bar that cleanses and softens hair beautifully.