50 Shades of Gray. And Brown.

I wish I could stop dying my hair. I really do. I mean, sometimes, it’s fun to change things up and add highlights for spring/summer or go a bit darker for fall/winter. But for me, I just go for a boring, natural brown color. Because I really only dye my hair to cover my gray roots.

It’s so disheartening when I look in the mirror and all I see are bright white hairs shimmering at the part of my hair. I know shimmering sounds fabulous, but it’s not. They only look shimmery to call attention to themselves. Attention whores.

I’m not 100% gray – maybe about 25-30% at this point. At (almost) 24 years of age, I have been dying my hair to cover grays for about 9 years. And it’s only downhill for here. Gee willikers!

It’s not just me being up close and personal with my hair, nitpicking every single strand with a magnifying mirror. Those whom I have talked to about it always tell me, “Oh, it’s not that noticeable. You probably notice it more because you know it’s there so you focus on it. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

But then, when you are talking with people, and you notice that they keep glancing at your head, you realize that it’s not just you. Or (and this one’s my favorite) when they actually point it out with an astonished, “Wow, you have white hairs!”

Yes, thank you for making my day. But I digress. Kind of. For now.

I know coloring is terrible for my hair.

I know my hair has gotten so fried and over-processed with all the colorings over the years.

I’ve tried embracing it. There are times when I’ve considered going au naturel just to save my hair from the damage. My hair is dry and pretty fine (diameter-wise, not like “damn, she’s fine!”) as it is, so all this coloring is doing nothing to help grow it out and make it healthy.

I mean, back in the 16th-18th centuries, gray powder wigs were a sign of high social rank. Although these were worn originally to cover loss of hair from disease, from shaving the head to rid oneself of lice, or to cover grays, eventually a couple kings made them cool. Here’s an interesting article about the history of donning wigs. It has no references though, so I wouldn’t use it as a source for a research paper. Go to Wikipedia instead.

Look at these studs. Dudes got some locks! And Stacy London rocks her piece of gray (yes it’s real), and she’s a celebrity!

But I hate the way I look with gray hairs. It makes me look dull and drab. And older. Not in a flattering “Hey you don’t look twelve anymore” way, either. More like “Hey, you look like a 12-year old with a 40 year old’s hair.”

And don’t even get me started on all the different hair dyes I’ve tried. I’ve used almost any brand of hair color you could imagine. Walk down the hair color aisle and I’ve probably used most of what you see. Seriously. I’ve used Clairol (Perfect 10, Natural Instincts, Nice ‘n Easy, Nice ‘n Easy root touch-up), Garnier Nutrisse Herbashine, L’Oreal (Feria, Superior Preference).

I’ve tried color depositing conditioner by Aveda – expensive, not the greatest coverage, and not nourishing at all. I use Batiste dry shampoo for dark hair – better than regular dry shampoo, which leaves white residue. I’ve gone to the salon for colorings before too – all over color as well as highlights. Blonde-ish highlights sometimes make gray hair less noticeable…until my dark brown roots grow in with gray mixed in. Gah. I. can’t. win.

This time I wanted to try something different so I used John Frieda’s Precision Foam, and I like it. I read a bunch of great reviews and wanted to try something new, so I spent the extra $3 at Target to get it. I have to say, it was so easy to apply and I made no mess whatsoever. For those that color their hair often, you know that this is amazing. I have stained plenty a floor, wall, door, and under-the-sink cupboard with those liquidy squeeze bottle dyes.

The only thing I will say against this product (for now) is the color. I did read in many of the reviews that the resulting color was much darker than the box indicated. I am so glad I got Lightest Natural Brown because it did come out on the darker side. Anything darker would have made me look gothic. It’s only day two, so I’m sure it will lighten and fade a bit once I wash my hair.

But hopefully not enough to reveal gray hairs before they grow out. Someday I’ll be able to embrace my grays. Until then, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they find a legitimate cure for gray hairs. Maybe I’ll bring back periwigs. And corsets. Fight age and obesity all at once.

Hair, Skin, & Nails >1 Month Update<

It has now been 4 weeks since I started taking the Hair, Skin, & Nails supplement, so I’m updating with my overall impressions after one month. As was mentioned in my previous post, I am only taking 2 of the caplets when the suggested dose is 3 per day. So let’s see what (if anything) I’ve noticed…

DSCN1126

My skin has been on and off with pimples here and there, and it still feels dry without moisturizer. I realized, however, that when I work out my skin tends to freak out. Since our 5k at the end of June I haven’t been working out as much with school and my new job. My skin was looking fine and then one day I decided to run, and by the end of that day I had two pimples starting to take form. To be fit or not to be fit?

Also, the back part of my scalp went through a couple days worth of itchiness and I was actually afraid that I had gotten lice! I bought Neutrogena T-Sal shampoo and T-Gel conditioner and (thank God!) it felt better by the next day and (again, thank you Lord) I have not had the itches since.

My hair seems a little bit more lively, but I’m not sure how much the supplement has to do with that. For one, as mentioned before, I have a different shampoo and conditioner combo – I’ve been mixing the T-Sal/Gel products (for dryness and softness) with some Brilliant Brunette (to help with the color).

Second, I picked up the “It’s a 10 miracle leave-in product” and have used that every time I wash my hair for about two weeks now.

It's a 10

Third, to promote shine, I started rinsing my hair with really cold water in the shower. So after my whole shower routine is done, when I’m all ready to get out, I torture myself by turning the water to cold and holding my head to it for about 20 seconds. I haven’t gotten any comments about my hair blinding anyone with it’s shine, so it may be all for nothing, but what the heck? If nothing else, it wakes me up in the morning.

Finally, and probably most helpful, I have cut down on using heat on my hair. I’ve only used my straightener to curl my hair maybe 6 days this month as opposed to every other day. It helps that it’s been so sticky and humid. Honestly, there’s no point in even trying to make my hair be anything but curly and frizzy when it’s so hot and humid. So I save time and my locks when I go semi-au natural.DSCN1136

So when I wash my hair with said shampoos and conditioners, I spray said leave-in product and squirt some mousse in my hair, comb with my head upside down, flip right-side up, and finger-comb/shake my waves out to my normal parted style. I then create a braid at the front of my hair using my bangs because they get the most out of control and awkward looking when left to air dry (seen above…kind of).

Against all these great improvement-inducing products and routines, I dyed my hair about 2 weeks back. I am now all brunette again (I used Natural Instincts #12 Light Golden Brown if anyone is wondering) because I wanted to blend my highlights and cover my grays. I let it go for quite awhile longer than normal, but a male coworker pointed it out one day so my self-conscious self took over and I caved. Ugh, when are they ever going to patent that cure for gray hair?Natural Instincts #12

All that said, I’m glad to report that I definitely notice my baby hairs are less pronounced and seem to be growing because they aren’t breaking due to heat tools.

My nails took a beating at the beginning of the 4 weeks because I had gotten gel nails done at a salon. After almost 2 weeks, I started picking and pulling at them and a few of my nails ended up really beat up. Because the top layer(s) were pulled off with the gel nail, I ended up buying acetone to take the remainder off. So needless to say they’re still recovering from that.

I haven’t felt nauseous or anything while taking the supplement, but I’ve been taking them with breakfast and dinner, so I think that helps. I have about 3 weeks left of these pills and I’m not sure whether I want to continue with the regimen or not. If I do, I will definitely look into getting a different brand/pill because these are large and horrid tasting when they don’t go down the first four tries because of their being large. Since I take 12 pills a day for my Crohn’s, I’d rather not continue to add two more huge pills to the equation.

I will update either when I finish the supplements and change over to a new kind or in another month. Or when my hair is thick and luscious enough to do a super sexy hair flip.

Until then, I’ll just keep looking like this:White Chicks

Cheers to healthy mind and body. And humor.

Hair, Skin & Nails (oh my!)

DSCN1126I’ve decided to try taking the Hair, Skin, and Nails supplement by Spring Valley in hopes that I will become a smokin’ hot, glowing supermodel with long, luscious locks to my tush. Alliteration aside, I guess I would settle with stronger hair with less fallout, stronger nails with less breakage, and maybe a bit of a glowy complexion. That sounds a bit more realistic.

I have heard so many girls (mostly on YouTube) who buy Prenatal vitamins in hopes that their hair/skin/nails will improve. I mean, we all hear about how pregnant women’s skin glows and how their hair and nails grow like dandelions on Miracle-gro. But honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with hormones. So instead, I’ll try this collagen support vitamin and hope for the best!

So I’ll start by giving you an idea of what I’m dealing with right now so that an update can hopefully show improvements.

A little about me: I’m a very dry person. And no, I’m not talking about my humor.

My hair is really dry, so it frizzes if I don’t put some sort of product in it. I usually use a mousse because my hair is curly but fine, so I don’t want anything too heavy to weigh it down or make it flat but I need some sort of control. I color my hair quite often because I was blessed with graying hair at the age of 16 (Proverbs 16:31 – crown of glory, holler) so that adds to the dryness.

Lunch copyAt the moment, my hair is about 2 inches past my collarbone and is not very thick (density-wise, not diameter); I have fine hair, but quite a bit of it. I also have a ton of baby hairs around my face, so I’m hoping this whips them into shape. I also have been trying to cut down on using heat on my hair, so hopefully that will help as well. It stinks that heat makes it look so much better! #firstworldproblems anyone? Anyways, see picture (left) for current hair condition.

My skin is always dry unless it’s really hot and humid (causing me to sweat profusely) so I am constantly reaching for lotion. I have had bouts of eczema on and off since high school, so I try to be very conscientious of applying lotion when my skin feels dry. My face suffers hormonal breakouts around my T-zone (typically once a month, if ya know what I mean) and is sensitive, so finding gentle but effective cleansers and moisturizers is difficult.

My nails have taken a beating over the past year; I was diagnosed with Crohns disease in October, and my malnutrition showed in my nails. I had pits and ridges on every nail and was unable to grow them very long because they were pretty brittle. Since I have returned to normal eating habits, they have gotten better, although I still have some ridges and waves.

DSCN1124So that is the condition of my hair, skin, and nails right now. In terms of the supplement, the serving size is 3 caplets per day, to be taken with meals.  So far I have been taking them for three days, although I have only taken two caplets each day instead of the suggested three.  They are kind of large and are kind of smelly, but I’ve taken larger pills, so it’s no big deal. I’ve heard that it should take 2-3 months before full benefits are seen but I will update any changes I see after the month mark.

I looked up a bunch of reviews, from YouTube to Amazon (you can read through them here), and here’s what I found:

Good experiences

  • Many reviewers on Amazon and YouTube claim that their hair and nails grew longer and stronger after only a couple weeks. Also, skin was less oily and more glowy with fewer breakouts.

Bad experiences

  • I read a bunch of reviews where bad skin breakouts occurred; apparently the collagen found in these kinds of supplements is broken down through hydrolysis, so it is recommended by many to drink plenty of water while taking it.
  • Others complained of nausea caused by the pills; it is important to take any supplements with food. Your stomach will be producing acid to break up the food and supplement instead of the lone supplement sitting and rotting the lining of your stomach and/or causing nausea.

Unfortunately I was unable to find any proper research on these sorts of supplements, so this will be a self-study. I shall update after one month. Ready. Set. Sports Illustrated cover, here I come.