Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Caffeine - Yes or No


I am a tea drinker by nature.  I like my tea black, strong, and hot but my siblings are coffee drinkers who need their coffee to get going in the morning.  I’ve read about it.  I’ve seen it as an ingredient in topical eye creams.  One time I went to the United Kingdom, I ended up drinking some orange drink that gave me issues and I found out it had a ton of caffeine in it.  So is caffeine good for us?

Well, when used as part of your daily facial routine, definitely.  Caffeine when used around the eye area tends to constrict blood vessels that lie below the surface while reducing dark circles under the eye and decrease puffiness.  Unfortunately, you can’t just take your leftover tea leaves or coffee grounds and slap them on because they don’t have enough concentration of caffeine to work.  

On the other hand, if you want to enjoy caffeine in your drink, that is a different topic.  Caffeine is not only found in coffee and tea, but is often added to sodas and energy drinks.  Caffeine is considered a natural stimulant that works on your central nervous system.  It can be used to create a temporary increase in alertness and  energy but it peaks about an hour after being consumed and half is eliminated by the body within four to six hours after consuming caffeine. 

It has been found that people react differently to caffeine based on their sensitivity and how quickly the body digests it.  If the dose of caffeine is too high, it can cause both heart rate and blood pressure to increase but under normal circumstances, the intake of caffeine should not affect either.  In addition, there is some evidence that caffeine can help the brain protect itself from dementia and it can help you during your exercise sessions while boosting your metabolic rate.  

On the other hand, there are some issues with caffeine that make it so it is not good for you.  Some people  find it is addictive so when they decide to quit, they go through withdrawal symptoms.  This substance can also cause some people to experience headaches or migraines.  There is also a possibility that the caffeine may interact with certain drugs so it is important to talk to the doctor when you are prescribed a new medicine.  Unfortunately, it can also cause anxiety in individuals.

As far as drinking coffee, tea, soda, or energy drinks, coffee and tea have no calories unless you add sugar or milk/creamer.  Soda and energy drinks tend to be quite sweet and it’s the added sugar that can cause weight gain.

So caffeine can both be either good or bad depending on the individual. I love my tea whether it’s black, green, oolong, or white but I drink mine unsweetened.  Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear, Have a great day.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Chocolate _ Good Or Bad?

If you enjoy chocolate, you know that some form of controversy still surrounds it. I don’t eat much chocolate but there are just times when you have to have it.  Popping a small piece in your mouth after a long hard day at work can put a smile on your face and make you feel better.  

I’ve done some research and the answer to the question “Is chocolate good for you?” is “It depends.”  Yes, that’s right,  It depends.  So let’s delve into the topic in more detail so you know why you got that answer.  First of all, we need to distinguish between cocoa and processed chocolate.  

There is a difference between cocoa and chocolate is that cocoa is less processed than chocolate.  Furthermore, chocolate is made up of cocoa solids which have all the flavor and cocoa butter which provides the creamy texture.  Cocoa in powdered form is made up of mostly solids with very little cocoa butter.  

As for cocoa powder, there are two types one needs to be aware of.  First is natural cocoa which has nothing done to it and the other is Dutched.  Dutched cocoa powder has been treated with an alkali to increase the pH and cut the sharpness of the flavor.  

Overall, studies indicate that both seem to reduce the risk of heart disease and Flavanols from the cocoa bean also reduce cell damage associated with heart disease.  In addition, flavanols are found in higher concentrations in dark chocolate and might help reduce blood pressure.

Mayo clinic recommends using cocoa because it is lower in fat, sugar, and calories than commercial chocolate.  If you use too much commercial chocolate, it  could contribute to weight gain, higher blood pressure, and contribute to heart disease.  The American Cancer Society says that if you really must have your chocolate, look at enjoying dark chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa because it has less fat, sugar, and calories making it a healthier choice.

Dark chocolate with 70 to 85% cocoa is better for you in other ways such as containing fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, along with potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. In addition, the fats found in dark chocolate are a combination of saturated and monounsaturated with a bit of polyunsaturated.  It also has certain organic compounds that are active and function as antioxidants contributing to possible lower of LDL cholesterol.

So if you want to enjoy the benefits of chocolate, switch to dark chocolate which is better for you.  I discovered that I am satisfied with a small piece of dark chocolate but if I eat milk chocolate, I want more and more due to the sugar in it.  Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Chocolate Alert!!!

For the most part, I'm very good about my diet but occasionally, I slip and have chocolate. Right now, I'm slowly working my way through a box of chocolate I received as a Christmas gift and yes, I'm really enjoying it.  Anyway, I was researching something on the price of chocolate historically when I ran across a couple of articles focused on when certain chocolates hit the marketplace and have since become a part of our 

Let's start with a regular Hershey's chocolate bar which is considered the first mass produced chocolate bar was released in 1900.  Milton Hershey, founder of Hershey's chocolate took local milk, cocoa and created a smooth creamy bar that is still around today and whose recipe is highly guarded.

The 1920's proved to be a great era for the creation and release of several new candy bars.  In the 1920's Conneticuit chocolate maker Vincent Nitido created the timeless Mars bar with a center of sweetened and shredded coconut covered in a rich chocolate.  It originally sold for five cents each but in 1929, the Peter Paul Manufacturing company purchased the product from Nitido and began production and marketing of it. The Mars bar proved to be so popular that the company continued producing it during World War II even with all the shortages.  The Mars bar is now owned by Hershey's.

Then in 1920, The Curtis Candy Company took its Kandy Kake product, redesigned it, renamed it and released it to the public as the Baby Ruth bar.  This was such a popular candy that it set a record as the highest selling 5 cent candy during that decade.  The candy also has some controversy attached to it.  Was it named after the famous baseball player Babe Ruth without his permission or was it named after President Grover Cleveland's daughter Ruth?  No one knows for sure but it is still around today.

Not long afterwards, in 1923, The Curtis Candy Company released the super sweet, super crunchy Butterfinger bar.  The name Butterfinger came from a naming contest held in 1922 and the owner of the company created it to match the name. In addition, the Curtis Candy Company used advertisements to promote this bar countrywide.  If you look closely, you'll find this candy bar in Baby Takes a Bow starring Shirley Temple, one of the first example of product placement and the company also arranged for pilots to drop these candy bars over multiple cities.

Then in 1924, Frank Mars released the chocolate covered caramel centered bar to the country.  This bar proved quite popular bringing in over $800,000 in its first year of release.  The last bar released in the 1920's that is still around today is Reeces chocolate covered peanut butter cup.  This bar, created by former Hershey's employee H.B. Reece, uses Hershey's chocolate and is still quite popular.

The 1930's brought us more of our favorites beginning with the Snickers bar created by the Mars Candy Company.  This wonderfully nutty chocolate bar was named for the Mars family horse Snickers.  The Mars company followed with their 3 Musketeers bar in 1932 and inspired by the story of the same name.  Originally the bar came in three pieces, each piece a different flavor - vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, but due to the shortages of World War II, the company focused only on a chocolate bar with a whipped nougat center.

Then in 1935, Kit Kat made it's appearance but this treat originated in the United Kingdom as Rowentree's Chocolate Crisp bar.  In the United States it was named the Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp, later shortened to simply Kit Kat. And the last bar of the 1930's was the Dove Bar which was actually an chocolate coated ice cream bar. The solid chocolate bar wasn't released till the 1960's.

No new bars hit the market until after World War II when Almond Joy joined the list of chocolate bars.  This one was created in response to a demand by the public so the Peter Paul Manufacturing Company added an almond to their Mounds bar.  Side note, in 1988, Hershey's Chocolate bought out Peter Paul Manufacturing Company making Almond Joy, Mounds, and York Peppermint Patty.

These are the main candy bars most people end up indulging in.  I try not to indulge but I do enjoy a couple on the list.  Let me know what you think and on Monday I'll be back to my normal topics.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Beats Per Minute into Miles Per Hour

During the winter, when it is horrible outside, I use exercise DVD's to get my workout done.  Many of my DVD's state if you do the whole video, you'll have covered 4, 5, or 6 miles and if you only do one mile, it takes somewhere in the range of 12 to 15 minutes.  I've often wondered about how the person determined that you'd done a miles since many of the moves involved going backwards or sideways or are stationary such as with knee lifts.

Did they used the 10,000 steps a day idea where 2,000 steps approximately equals a mile but if the person is trained, they'd know that originally started out as a marketing slogan and stayed around. It took a bit but then  I discovered  a mathematical formula involved in helping the instructor determine when they've reached a mile.  If you've every worked out in some sort of group exercise such as aerobics, the instructors always have music on.  If it's a cool down, the music is slower, if its at the point of highest activity, the music is faster.

The background music inspires us to move faster or slower and it is the music that helps instructors calculate when they've incorporated enough movement into the session to reach a mile or more. The calculation begins with the number of beats per minute the music is set at.  The slower the music the fewer beats per minute and the faster, the more beats per minute.  It is the number of beats per minute that is the starting point to calculate miles per hour.

The beats per minute is either comes with the music if it is specifically designed to be used with an exercise routine or it can be found by counting the number of downbeats during one minute of music.  The next step is to determine how long your stride  or the distance between one step and another.  An easy way to do this is to place a marker on the floor as your starting point, then walk or stride for 10 steps and mark where your foot is.  Take a measuring tape and measure the distance between starting and finishing marks.  The last step is to take this distance and divide it by 10 to determine the distance you cover in one step.

So now we are ready for the actual formula used to convert beats per minute into miles per hour.

(Beats per minute x stride length in feet x 60)/ 5280 feet

This means the instructor on the DVD used this formula to determine how far they might travel in one hour. Then using a bit more math, they'd figure out how long it takes them to cover one mile and you end up with the time it takes to complete the mile based on the pacing of the music.  This is why they separate the warm-up and cool downs from the actual mile so the calculations can be done 

Based on this, the miles done on the DVD's are based on the instructor's stride but I tend to look at time only when I record my daily exercise but it is still cool to see the math behind this.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Why Exercising Makes You Feel Good.


It is well known that exercising makes you feel better and helps eliminate stress at the same time.  It can energize you while helping you face the rest of the day but how does exercise do this?  Let's start at the beginning by looking at stress.

Stress is something most of us face every day.  It might be from work, from the kids, or life in general but it is there.  It can effect our health so we end up in poorer shape.  Stress can also increase the possibility of depression.

Fortunately, regular exercise can help counter stress and possibly depression.  When you exercise, your heart rate increases which in turn causes your blood to flow better through the body.  As the blood flows, it brings more oxygen and nutrients to the brain. In addition, exercising helps release specific proteins designed to keep brain cells healthy while helping new neurons form.  

Furthermore, exercising releases certain chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin,  and dopamine which help the brain.  Endorphins are made up of a large chain of  peptides  produced by the pituitary gland and the central nervous system. Endorphins are designed to reduce pain while increasing the feeling of well-being.  At the same time, it also reduces anxiety and stress, and helps you loose weight.

On the other hand, dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that sends messages between the nerve and brain cells in your body. This chemical helps us focus, feel pleasure, and find things interesting.  Dopamine is made out of the amino acid tyrosine by the body using a two step process.  It helps lower blood pressure, increase the feeling of well-being but too much of this can create issues.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter sometimes called a hormone that helps us maintain our good mood, sense of well being, and helps with sleeping, eating, and digestion.  Serotonin actually enables cells from the brain to communicate with cells from the brain with cells with cells from other parts of the body.  It is produced by the intestine and the brain because it cannot cross the brain - blood barrier so the brain must produce it's own.

In addition to producing these good chemicals, exercising gets rid of the chemicals that cause you anxiety and stress such as cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol is one of the hormones associated with stress and trauma.  It is produced by the adrenal gland at the top of the kidneys.  When you have too much cortisol it can cause your systems to get out of whack and cause issues.

So how much exercise is suggested to keep us feeling good?  It is suggested a person get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of aerobic exercise each week but the good news is that it doesn't have to be done in a gym.  It can be done by taking regular walks around the neighborhood, or hit the swimming pool during lap time.  One can take the stairs or park in the farthest reaches of the mall, perform squats when picking up things off the floor.  

Once it gets warm enough, I take long walks around the neighborhood but one route has me going through an area with tons of mosquitoes but it's quiet or I follow the bike path next to the highway with lots of noise.  I keep DVD's to use during the winter and on bad weather days.  It's not hard to work  exercise into your daily routine.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Working Abs Without Crunches.

I hate doing ab crunches because my back is slightly curved and my lower back gives me issues when I try to do them.  I avoid them as much as possible but I want to have toned abs.  I am not interested in well defined ones, just toned so I look nice come summer.  Fortunately for me, there are some exercises I can do that will help me reach my goal without doing crunches.

The Plank comes highly recommended because it works your abs without using any movement.  To do you stretch out on the floor with feet extended and you are up on your arms and elbows.  Clasp your hands, then raise your body so only your toes and arms/elbows are touching the floor, the rest of your body is straight like a plank.  Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds before relaxing.  Repeat.

There is also the Side Plank where you lie on your side, leaning on your arm/elbow and with your legs straight down.  You will lift your body up so it forms a flat line from shoulders to toes.  To help with balance, lift your free arm up to the ceiling as you rise.  Hold for thirty to sixty seconds before relaxing back to the ground.  Repeat on the other side.

The Suitcase Deadlift uses two weights and flat surface.  First place a heavy weight on a flat surface that hits you about mid thigh.  Stand next to it so your side is next to the surface.  Squat down and grab the weight.  Stand up without leaning sideways much like you pick up a suitcase and then place the weight back down on the surface.  Repeat on the other side.  Make sure you do the same number of reps on each side.

The Glute Bridge is another recommended ab exercise.  It is the one where you lie on your back with both legs bent and placed as close to your rear as possible.  Left your rear off the floor while pushing with your legs so you are flat from shoulders to the top of your knees.  In addition to working the abs, this exercise is also good for the rear.

The Dumbbell Side Lift uses only a heavy weight.  Stand upright, with a dumbbell in one hand and place your feet about a hip width apart.  Make sure you keep your back straight as you lean sideways with the dumbbell in your hand as far as is comfortable before standing up straight again.  Repeat several times, then do it on the other side with the same number of reps.

The Flutter Kick is a good one for abs.  Lie on the floor and place your hands under your rear with your legs straight.  Lift your legs off the floor about six inches, then kick your legs as if you are swimming. Make sure your back is kept pressed to the floor.  Perform the flutter kick for 30 to 60 seconds.  

The Bird-Dog exercise is one of my favorites. You kneel so you are on knees and hands on the ground.  Make sure you've pulled your abs in and then stretch out your left leg and right arm in opposite directions.  Hold a couple of seconds, before bringing down to the ground.  Then repeat using the right leg and left arm.  Repeat several times.

Each of these exercises can help tone your abs without the need to use crunches.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Keeping Hair Hydrated!

I always struggle with keeping my hair properly hydrated so it remains in good shape and does not frizz.  I notice how easy it is for my hair to frizz and I'm sure there are others out there who have the same type of problem.  I also do not have the time to wash it every day or two but too much washing can also cause problems.  So back to the question at hand.  How do you keep your hair hydrated?

Fortunately, there are things we can do to keep our hair hydrated between washes.  One thing to do is to apply coconut oil, olive oil, or even coconut milk to your hair approximately 30 minutes prior to washing so when you shampoo, you won't strip all the oils from your hair.  Look at using a shampoo designed to hydrate your hair so it doesn't strip out the oils out.

When you are ready for the conditioner look at placing a lot of it on your hair.  I know they say use only enough to cover it but if you use more it allows your hair to absorb more.  Don't be afraid to gently run your fingers through your hair or use a detangling comb at this point to separate strands.  In addition, consider using a deep conditioner filled with avocado, olive,  almond oils or shea butter regularly as these oils help shield the hair an keep it hydrate.  One other product to check out is a leave in conditioners because they protect your hair by coating it so your hair is not exposed directly to environmental factors. 

If you use hot styling tools to give your hair just the right look, make sure you use some sort of create or spray to protect your hair but in the summer, you might want to consider switching to air drying and letting your hair rest because the heat of the summer is already sapping moisture from your hair.  Speaking of summer you should cover your hair when you go outside, because no one has created a sunscreen to protect your hair so it is best to cover it with a hat, scarf, or turban to protect it.  This is also a great idea for the winter since the cold and wind can damage hair.  One last thing on this, one should also wear a swimming cap when swimming in a pool to protect hair from chlorine and other chemicals.  

Then there are other things to do to keep hair hydrated in-between shampoos.  Look at either spraying water on your hair or look at a hair mist that is formulated to be sprayed onto your hair.  Be sure to massage the moisture into our hair and down to the roots.  I use one and find my hair feels nice again without having to wash my hair again.  In addition, I've been known to coat my hair with a light layer of coconut oil and found it can leave my hair feeling like new.  

As mentioned in another article, try using a t-shirt to dry your hair rather than a regular towel because the T-shirt does less damage to your hair.  At night, try using a satin pillow case or a satin scarf because cotton pillow cases will absorb moisture from your hair when you sleep. The cotton pillowcase will also cause friction with your hair leading to damage, so think about protecting it.

 The final step is to drink lots of water every day to help the texture of your hair.  So it is as important to have a good routine with your hair as with your face.  I'll be honest, it's only been in the past few years that I've learned to take proper care of my hair so it didn't frizz and break all the time.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Daylight Saving Time?

I am one of those people who tend to be groggy for the first week after either time change and my body seems off since the clock doesn't match up with the time my body says it should be. I know people who have to work Sunday's and they hate the change, while others love it because they think they have an extra hour.  

I've done some reading on how going on daylight saving time does not really save us all that much and it can interfere with our health and our lives.  I keep hearing that it can save money because everyone has more daylight, especially after work but I might argue with that depending on where you live.

In many states where it gets hot in the summer, being on daylight saving time is not an energy saver.  Think about it.  If it gets hot, then the temperatures don't drop until after the sun has set.  If the sun sets later, that means a person might have to run their air conditioner for longer thus costing them more money.

In addition, research has shown that people are involved in more accidents for the first few days after going onto daylight saving time. In addition, the number of deaths associated with traffic accidents also increases.  I suspect that has to do with the sudden one hour change leaves us groggier than normal so our reflexes are slower and we are not attentive.

Furthermore, its been discovered that this change increases the chances of having heart attacks and strokes and such in the first day or two after the time change.  I suspect that this change can be more stressful for some people and they end up suffering a stroke when they might not otherwise. 

In addition, it appears that people loose between 15 and 20 minutes of sleep during the transition because the jump forward or backwards throws the biological clock out of order.  The biological clock impacts brain functions such as energy level and alertness and the biological clock is a structure in the brain.  This is why we feel groggy the day after a change.  

Now you might think the idea of daylight saving time is fairly new since it was not really adopted in the United States until the last century but the idea has been around for a very long time.  The idea has been around since the time of Benjamin Franklin but it was not really implemented until the 20th century. 

Since scientists have had a chance to research the effect daylight saving time, many countries have decided to stop doing it because the advantages of staying on either on standard  or on daylight time is more beneficial to it's population.  I live in Alaska and we'd rather stay on standard time because we have such long days in the summer.

I have a relative who farmed for years and he said daylight saving time is for people not for farmers because the cows were ready to be milked at the same time every day and they don't go by the clock.  If I could vote, I'd say get rid of all the time changes.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Blow Dry Or Air Dry?

 We all have to dry our hair after washing it.  I use the standard method of letting it dry on it’s own but it takes multiple hours due to the length of my hair and the season.  My sister always used a blow dryer but she suffered issues with split ends.  One time when I visited the hair salon  to get my hair trimmed, she asked if I dried my hair using a blow dryer or some sort of heated tool.  I said “no” and she said that’s good because too many people ruin their hair that way.

There are things you can do to help keep your hair from drying out too much or damaging it.  Air drying has been around for a very long time but if it is not done correctly, it can damage your hair.  For instance, my grandmother taught me to towel dry my hair before allowing it to dry naturally but research has shown that towel drying can cause damage.  By towel drying, I mean you rub your hair with the towel rather than just blotting it.  

Towel drying can cause the hair itself to snarl, become brittle, and fragile.  In addition, the cuticle on the hair is rubbed and it can make the hair more frizzy so it doesn’t look as good.  It is recommended you squeeze your hair first before patting it to absorb the moisture.  Do not rub, just pat and squeeze for best results.

On the other hand, many people use a blow dryer of some sort to dry their hair but that isn’t always the best solution.  You do not want to put the blow drying on it’s hottest setting because it can damage the hair fiber, the cells and the cuticle by causing the moisture in the cuticle to bubble and break which leads to split ends and breakage.

In addition, when you dry your hair with too much heat, the hair can become dull and lose its luster. Furthermore, too much heat can also suck moisture out of your hair leaving it quite brittle and breaks regularly.  It is said that if your head feels hot, then you're using too much heat. 

So if you want to use a blow dryer, the best way to use it is to make sure your hair stays healthy is to fill in any weak areas with either collagen or protein and to comb through a decent amount of leave-in conditioner before you even consider using the blow dryer.  When you choose a setting, do not choose anything higher than a medium heat and medium air but the lowest setting is considered strongly recommended.  Yes the lowest setting will cause your hair to take longer to dry but it will remain healthier. 

It is also suggested that you blot your hair about 70 to 85 percent dry before you consider using the blow dryer.  Make sure the blow dryer is kept a good distance from your head and if your hair begins to feel warm, you need to give it a break.  If your hair starts getting too frizzy, or too dull, you might want to take a break from blow drying.  Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Sulfate Free Shampoos

 If you check out ads enough, you’ll notice one for sulfate free shampoos.  I’ve always wondered how they differ from regular shampoos and why we should be using them.  Sulfate is the ingredient used in shampoos that make it produce suds.  Those rich suds that most people associate with a shampoos ability to clean.  It is the ingredient that helps remove dirt and dead skin cells from your hair and skin.  Unfortunately, they can also strip natural oils from your hair and dry it out.  In addition, if you have sensitive skin, 

Technically sulfates are actually a surfactant which are designed to remove oil and grease.  There are three types found in shampoos, facial cleaners, toothpaste and other beauty products. If you read the ingredients, you’ll see either sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and ammonium laureth sulfate.  Those that end in -eth are a bit gentler than those that end in -yl.  

Although ads give the idea that everyone should switch to using sulphate free products, that isn’t quite true.  It is recommended that only certain people switch. For instance, if you color your hair, it is alleged that by switching to a sulfate free shampoo you can actually help the color last longer but there is some evidence that this may not be correct.   

If you have frizzy hair, it is recommended you use this type of shampoo because it can dry out your hair and make it frizzier. The sulphate cleans hair by lifting cuticles to remove dirt and this is what can make your hair frizzier. Understand that a sulfate free shampoo may not get your hair as clean as regular shampoos. On the other hand, if you have oily hair or dandruff, sulfate based shampoos are good for getting rid of both the extra oil and dandruff.  

If you switch to a sulfate free shampoo, you need to know you must use a slightly different technique.  First, make sure your hair is totally wet, otherwise the product won’t work right.  Since it is a sulfate free product, this means you will not get the same amount of suds as with normal shampoos.  So when you use your normal amount of shampoo, you are not going to get the lather you are expecting but do not add more because this will not help.  You need to use additional water to activate all the ingredients.  

Although it is recommended you only wash your hair once when using regular shampoos, it is recommended you do twice with sulfate free shampoos since they are not quite as efficient at removing dirt and grease.  Make sure you rinse your hair thoroughly to get rid of any residue. Finally, use a conditioner and know all conditioners are sulfate free so you don’t need one that is specially labeled.

I admit to using both regular and sulfate free shampoos.  Based on my personal experience, I find that I prefer the results from using the sulfate free ones as I have colored, curly hair.  Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, March 8, 2021



Masks, masks, everywhere but do we use them enough?  I’ve been wearing a face mask at work every day for almost 8 hours which has messed with my face and since it’s winter, my hair is suffering it’s usual dryness.  I’ve been using masks of all sorts to help my skin and hair improve.

Hair masks are great for helping to make your hair look and feel better.  One has to read the labels to see if the mask is good for rehydrating hair, repairing broken strands, define  curls, or just provide a general pick-up.  

Face masks come in different types and are targeted to help specific problems.  I’ve tried the masks that you smear across your face, wait, before either peeling it off of washing it off.  I actually prefer the ones where the paper is soaked and you place it on your face for 15 to 20 minutes before taking it off and throwing it away.

Under eye masks are designed for that area right under your eyes.  Face masks are designed to be used on the face but not directly under the eyes because of the sensitivity of the under eye skin.  These are designed to hydrate and brighten the skin in that area.

Lip masks are wonderful.  I saw one on Amazon and decided to try it since my lips are  constantly dry due to wearing a mask so much.  Lip masks come in a wide variety from balms and creams to sheet to gel masks.  The one I found is easy to use.  I apply it to my lips, let it sit for 20 minutes before cleaning it off and then finish with a super nutritious balm.  I love it. 

Hand masks are designed to help the hands out.  Most of us end up fighting dry hands at various times of the year.  It is suggested one use these at least once a week.  The newer hand masks are found in sheet form that you drape on your hands.  Just relax and 20 minutes later, reveal the nice hydrated skin.

Foot mask which look like socks or booties you wear.  These are impregnated with a mixture designed to nourish your feet while exfoliating dead skin giving a nice soft foot as a result.  These you put on when you take a nap or are watching television.  

The last type of mask is the butt mask. The rear is especially prone to acne and hyperpigmentation.  Butt masks have higher concentrations of active ingredients since the skin on the rear is thicker than on your face.  Although using a sheet mask is the easiest, you can also find masks similar to those for the face that you put on and either peel or wash off.

I use masks for the face, under eye, lips, and hair and use them regularly.  I love the results.  Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Friday, March 5, 2021

Under Eye Area


We’ve all had that morning.  The one where we didn’t sleep well and end up looking a bit like the Bride of Frankenstein when we look in the mirror.  Fortunately, there are things to do to help keep the under eye area in good shape so we look awesome.  One thing to know about the under eye area is that it is the first place to show signs of premature aging because the skin there is extremely thin and delicate.

In addition, our eyes are always blinking, looking, moving, so the skin is being pushed and pulled a bit.  There is also exposure to UV rays, stress, and certain lifestyle choices such as smoking.  All of these contribute to premature aging. 

Fortunately, there are some things everyone can do to help keep the eye area looking good.  One of the first things recommended is to moisturize the area because it helps plump it up.  That skin does not have oil glands, so the skin around the eyes can be dryer.  When the skin below the eyes loses moisture, so the skin dries out and wrinkles appear.

One can use regular face cream but it is possible the eyes might react.  I use a good eye cream for the area since it is designed for the skin under the eye.  It is also important to make sure the eye cream has the right ingredients for the problem.  If you see lines under the eyes, you might want an eye cream with retinol, or peptides but if you have dark circles, look for soy, vitamin C, niacinamide or Vitamin B-3.  

If the area is puffy, look for caffeine or green tea but if you just want something more general, look for Vitamin C, E or B-3.  No matter what, be gentle when you are doing anything around the eyes.  For instance, if you need to remove makeup, use a cotton ball dipped in the makeup remover and gently press it on to your skin before carefully dragging it across the area.  Repeat until the makeup is gone.

When applying makeup or moisturizer to the area, it is recommended using the pinky finger to dab it around the eye including the eyelid.  Continue patting until the makeup or moisturizer is absorbed. Do not forget to use sunscreen to help protect the under eye area from UV rays and sun damage. Furthermore, add a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes.  

Another way to combat damage is to get enough sleep every night, regularly exercise, and eat properly.  If you do not get enough sleep, the area around your eyes can look puffier, darker, and not look right.  

If you take good care of the skin around your eyes, you can look awesome as you age.  Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Oil cleansing


My mother was of the “wash your face with soap and water” school because she grew up with that.  Once I became a teenager, I started using Noxema because of seeing other girls on television using it and as an adult, I kept using it.  One day, I actually stopped and looked at things and began using proper facial cleansers but I’ve seen some recommend using oil based cleaners and others suggest staying with a very mild mildly foamy one.  

I use both together but have wondered why an oil based cleaner because it seems counterintuitive.  In reality, cleaning with oil does have some great benefits for the face.  Oil cleaning means you apply an oil to your face to lift the extra oil produced by the face while making sure clogged pores are cleaned, and removing dead skin, make-up, and dirt from your skin.  It is great because it can be used on any type of skin. 

It works by melting away any bonds holding dirt, dead skin cells, or debris while taking away bacteria and excess oil.  Oil cleansers work on removing the longest lasting makeup and the heaviest duty sunscreen equally well.  They replenish moisture levels and can help lock in hydration and make the skin look and feel nice.  

Furthermore, it does not irritate or dry the skin.  It is easy to purchase a premade mix from online or brick storefronts but it is just as easy to mix olive oil and caster oil together in a 1 to 1 ratio.  Olive oil has been found to be rich in vitamins and antioxidants while caster oil is considered antibacterial and works as an astringent.Other oils suggested for use in an oil cleanser are jojoba oil, avocado oil, sweet almond, grape seed, almond kernel oil, argon or sunflower oil.  

Once you have your oil cleanser you need to use it properly.  First,  you place one to two teaspoons of oil into your hand.  Then apply the oil to a dry face and massage it into your skin to loosen makeup, dirt, and dead skin.  Finish by wiping your face with a damp warm washcloth without scrubbing.  Once done, you may either apply a moisturizer or follow it with a second cleaning using a mild cleanser and then the moisturizer.

It is suggested you use the oil cleanser no more than once a day and it should be used at night for best results.  If you want to use the oil cleanser as a special treat, that is fine but keep an eye on your face when using it.  Some people will have an allergic reaction, in which case it is easy to stop using it.  

I love using an oil cleanser because it leaves my skin feeling great and I believe my skin looks better than when I didn’t use it.  If you aren’t sure, give it a try.  Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Hydrating The Face


If you do much shopping for facial serums, creams, etc, you’ll know there is a huge push to make sure your skin is properly hydrated.  The advertisements describe in detail what each ingredient is good for and how it helps hydrate your skin.  My mother was of the “use your face cream” at night and you’ll be set for life but now they say that is not enough to keep your skin hydrated all day.

Fortunately, there are ways to keep your skin fully hydrated so you look great.  For instance, always use a mild cleanser both in the morning and evening.  Next, make sure the moisturizer has ingredients like hyaluronic acid or look at a water based moisturizer.  Either work well. The best time to apply a moisturizer is when you skin is still damp and you should extend the application to the bottom of your neck.

If your face needs additional hydration, look at using a serum which often adds moisture.  It is to be applied between cleaning the face and applying the moisturizer.  Then once or twice a week, use a face mask to add a bit more hydration.  In addition, look for something to spritz on your face around lunch time to freshen your look and add hydration.  

Furthermore, long, hot, showers actually can strip moisture from your skin rather than adding it.  It is better to use a humidifier to add moisture to the air while keeping your skin hydrated.  This is especially important in winter or in low moisture conditions. Finally, be willing to switch up moisturizers based on the season.  You might want something with more moisture in the winter but prefer something lighter in summer.

Most people know one needs to moisturize right after cleaning their face, at night and in the morning but there are other times one should use a bit extra moisture.  If you are planning to take a flight that day, be sure to apply moisturizer before you step on the plane and after you arrive because air travel can take the moisture out of your face.

This piece of advice sounds counterintuitive but if you start breaking out, apply extra moisturizer because your skin needs the continued routine.  Furthermore, if you quit applying the moisturizer with the idea that your skin needs less moisture, you are wrong.  

If you plan to skip wearing all your usual makeup use a good layer of moisturizer instead so you end up with beautifully glowing skin.  Even if you are wearing makeup, always use a layer of moisturizer before applying makeup for the best results. 

Finally don’t forget to apply moisturizer to your body after a shower or bath especially at night.  There are certain parts of your body such as ankles, or elbows that tend to get dehydrated easily.  One way to help your hands and feet absorb the moisture is to apply it and cover your hands with cotton gloves and feet with cotton socks to protect them and allow them time to rehydrate. Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.