05 August 2014

Summer Dye: Ion Color Brilliance Brights

Misleading photo of my Manic Panic slightly purple hair.
As may be evident, I've been trying to get some fun and interesting colors into my hair, hopefully without bleaching it first. My first attempt was with Manic Panic in Pillarbox Red. You can find my post about it here. My hair definitely turned out red, but a fairly natural red. I also tried Purple Haze over my natural hair, and the color was so subtle that I never even blogged about it. I do have one picture which showed how the purple popped a little in the right light. It was certainly not the vibrant color I was looking for either, though.

I was ready to go in and get my hair bleached, but I had to wait for the Manic Panic to all wash out before I could go. While I waited, I hit tech for Twelfth Night, and so my plans to get my hair bleached were put on hold. I happened to be browsing the Sally Beauty site and saw another of the semi-permenant hair colors they offered that had some interesting colors. It was the Ion Color Brilliance Brights Semi-Permanent Hair Color line. They have a line of traditional hair colors, but this is their "hi-fashion hair colors designed to give vivid, boldly intense results." Like most hair colors, they recommend bleaching first. However, there were many positive reviews about how well they layered over unbleached hair, and also how fade-resistant they were. At only $4.79 a tube, I figured it was worth a shot before I spent significantly more time and money bleaching my hair.

After doing a bit of research, I decided to buy the Ion Color Defense Intense Moisture Conditioner and the Ion Color Defense After-Color Sealer in addition to the Ion Color Brilliance dye. Many reviews mentioned that the dye was quite thick out of the tube and that they'd found it helpful to thin it with some conditioner. I didn't want to thin it with a cheap conditioner, which is why I invested in the Ion conditioner. Also, I figured even if I never used the Ion dye again, it would still be great conditioner to use at any point on my dyed hair. The After-Color Sealer is recommended by Ion (of course, because they want to make more money) but there were several positive review regarding its use. And, again, even if I hated the Ion dye, I could use it after other dye jobs in the future. 

The experience of using the Ion Color Brilliance dye was quite pleasant. It was very thick, but the conditioner helped get it to a nice, workable consistency. I went ahead and applied the dye the way I feel most comfortable, which is brushing it along the roots, starting at center and working first towards on side, then the other. Next is the roots in the back. Once I'm satisfied I've gotten all my roots, then I slather it on the ends, comb it through, and clip it up. I left it on for 40 minutes, which was the longest recommended on the packaging (it said 20-40 minutes). I also heated it up a couple times under my glamorous bag shower cap while I waited. I think given that it is an ammonia and peroxide free treatment, I would probably stretch it to a full hour next time.

The color I picked out was Red. I hesitated for a moment at the Magenta and the Fushia (which looks much cooler on the in-store swatch than it does online) but as I didn't know how well it would go on my hair, I played it safe (relatively speaking) with the Red. The Red is actually fairly pink, in my opinion. It comes out of the tube red, but anytime it got on my skin, towel, or other porous surface (like the poor Brita filter on the faucet in the kitchen or the door jamb in the bathroom) it looks very pink. Like bright, hot pink. It seemed quite pigmented and was pretty hard to wash out of my hair, though it didn't stain my scalp as badly as the Manic Panic did. I spent a good 5+ minutes in the kitchen trying to wash the bulk of it out of my hair before I moved into the shower. I don't think I would have noticed as much had I not been in a hurry to get to work, but in the end I'll admit I didn't wait until the water was 100% clear because it seemed like that was just never going to happen.
Ion Color Brilliance Brights in Red or Squinty smirk in the back alley.
All that to say, I am really happy with the color. I took a picture the first day to document (though I don't love the photo). I'll try and take another, hopefully better one, after I wash it for the first time tomorrow. It definitely reads more as a magenta than a true red, but as I almost got the Magenta anyways, I'm perfectly happy with that. It's not crazy in-your-face about being an unnatural color, but it's unusual enough to make me very happy and feel more me. I never feel like myself when my hair is brown. Given how well this turned out, so long as it doesn't fade crazy quick, I'll most definitely be trying some of the other colors to see if they pop as well over my natural hair. But, I would 100% try this color again. I've gotten tons of compliments on it, and zero weird looks, so I'm calling that a win!

09 July 2014

Tony Awards Themed Make-up and Hair

This is extraordinarily tardy, but I did my make-up and hair special for the Tony Awards last month, which also happened to coincide with closing for Secret Garden. I did something I'd done before, which was gold shadow and a black winged eye liner. I also used one of my gold hair accessories to complete the look. Had it not been such a crazy day, I probably would have done a bold lip as well.

07 July 2014

Mud Scrub

A while back I threw a recipe for Mud Scrub into my files to try out later. Now that it's summertime and my legs are out in full view and getting shaved rather frequently, I realized I should be exfoliating them more. I decided to try out this recipe and I am really loving it!

Mud Scrub
1 cup brown sugar
5 Tbsp coffee grounds
~1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the brown sugar and coffee grounds. Slowly mix in the oil. You may not need the full 1/4 cup. I think I only used a couple tablespoons. It also depends on how liquid vs solid you like your scrubs. I made this particular batch fairly solid (if you look at the original blog, she made hers a lot more liquidy). Once the oil-sugar ratio is to your liking, add the peppermint and vanilla. You can of course skip the extracts, but they do add a lovely scent. That is actually one of my favorite things about this scrub- it smells AMAZING!

Part of the reason I decided to make this scrub in particular was because I have some old coffee lying around that I won't ever drink and my brown sugar had turned into rocks, so this was an excellent way to use some of it up. To combat the brown sugar rock problem, I recently got a Brown Sugar Bear and it is the best thing ever! He keeps the sugar nice and soft. You can of course use white sugar rather than brown if you want and the oil can be whatever kind of oil you like to use. I have a big bottle of grapeseed oil that I use in all my DIY beauty products because I like that it doesn't have a strong odor and is relatively inexpensive.

I've been using the mud scrub every couple days for the past few weeks and I'm really loving it. It does a good job exfoliating, smells positively delicious (I swear it helps wake me up because of the coffee smell), and leaves a nice moisturized feeling once I'm out of the shower. It is a bit messy in the shower since the coffee grounds don't dissolve like the sugar does, but it's easy to quickly rinse off the walls before your shower is over. Definitely my favorite DIY scrub to date!

Rhubarb Cake

Summertime means lots of fun fruits and vegetables, including rhubarb! Growing up, we never had to buy rhubarb, because either we or someone we knew had it growing in the back yard. Well, that is no longer the case for me, but I had a hankering so I went to the grocery store and picked some out. I didn't really feel like making pie, so I decided to make my great-grandma's Rhubarb Cake. Mike wasn't thrilled with it (we suspect he doesn't like rhubarb) but I love it. It's sort of like coffee cake with rhubarb throughout. If you like rhubarb, you'll think it's delicious!

Grandma Settle's Rhubarb Cake
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13x9 pan. Combine flour baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. Cream the brown sugar and margarine. Add the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. Stir until well combined. [I went the easy route and did the 1 tablespoon vinegar + enough milk to make a cup instead of buttermilk because I don't keep buttermilk in the house.]

3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Stir in the rhubarb. Spread into pan. Sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon topping over the cake. Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

4. Cool and enjoy!

All that's missing is a fork!
I could also see walnuts in this being good. My family is not good on nuts, so they may have been in the recipe to begin with and were cut.

06 July 2014

Spring Knitting

I was able to finish up several projects last week that I'd started this spring. I'm very excited to use all of them. The first was this cowl that I've been working on FOREVER. The knitting of it actually didn't take all that terribly long, but it I couldn't motivate myself to do the kitchener stitch to finish it off until recently.

Good view of the lattice stitch. Project page on Ravelry here.
What it looks like on.
The color is a bit washed out in these photos. The blue-green is a bit brighter. The yarn I used is the Herriot yarn from Juniper Moon Farm in Iceplant Green. The pattern is a JMF free pattern that can be found here. Because the Herriot is baby alpaca, the cowl is unbelievable warm and soft. It almost makes the prospect of cold weather exciting, because then I can start wearing it!

The second project that I finished was this fun (and of course slouchy) hat:

Front view. Project page on Ravelry can be found here.

Side view to show off the lace pattern better.
This was something I decided to whip up after I had a ton of trouble trying to start another cowl. The yarn is the Zooey yarn from Juniper Moon Farm in Toasted Coconut. It is a cotton linen blend which makes it nice and cool to wear, as well as quite soft. It's the perfect yarn for a spring-summer hat. I'm actually wearing it right now! I'm glad I made the hat with the Zooey, because the yarn is a bit unusual to work with, so it was nice doing something easy with it before I jumped into the cowl. I got the pattern off Ravelry, but you can get it directly from the blog here. I did add in a few repeats of the lace pattern to make it a bit slouchier, and I'm glad I did because I love the end result.

The final project that I finished last week was something that I didn't have a pattern for but sort of just cobbled together a few different stitches. I wanted a small little clutch purse that would fit my phone and card case, for when I didn't want to carry around my whole backpack, purse, or even wallet. The idea being that I can just throw my phone, credit card, ID, and a chapstick in it and go.

My phone clutch. The project page on Ravelry is here.
Anyways, I couldn't find a pattern that was exactly what I wanted, so I decided to practice a few techniques. I used this Peacock Tail stitch for the detail on the bottom, then I did stockinette for the rest. To make the holes for the ribbon, I did a simple yo, k2tog interspersed amongst the knit stitches. To do the back, I picked up a row of stitches after the Peacock Tail stitch on the wrong side and then knit from there. After that, all that was left to do was seam up the sides. I used my US size 2 DPNs and the Findley Dappled yarn from Juniper Moon Farm in Springtime. (Yes, all these were made with JMF yarn!)

I've started another project since I was a good girl and finished all my works in progress. Maybe I'll blog a sneak peak of it soon!

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July! This has been a crazy week of rehearsal which is why this post is two days late. But better late than never, right? That's the attitude I took towards my festive manicure at least. I finally got the time to do it last night. And here it is!

So the thumb is a dark pearly, green-blue with sparkles over it to be the fireworks. And the rest of the fingers are obviously the flag! Sadly, I had to take a picture of my left hand, which wasn't as clean, because when I put the top coat on my right ring finger, it totally smeared the dots. :(

29 June 2014

Product Review: Neutrogena Naturals Night Cream

One empty jar and one new jar still in it's box!
I've been meaning to post about this product for quite some time and am finally getting around to it now that I'm on my second jar. What product you ask? The Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Nourishing Night Cream (wow! that's a mouthful). I use this every single night after I wash my face and I love it!

It took me a while to get around to using night creams, but after realizing I was putting on a daily moisturizer with SPF on my face before going to bed, I decided to re-think that decision. The first one I tried was Neutrogena's Light Night Cream. It was moisturizing and not too heavy, but didn't love it. I also tried out Clinique's Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, which is technically for all skin types, but not specifically for night time. I found that it was just a bit too moisturizing for me to use all over my face every night. I have been using it in a pinch for the past week because I'd run out of my Neutrogena Naturals and couldn't get to the store, but I like using it best as an eye cream at night, not all over my face.

The Neutrogena Naturals Night Cream is the perfect balance of moisture for me. I have combination skin, so I'm constantly combating oiliness, but I also have to contend with dry skin in places. This night cream does an excellent job of making my face feel deeply moisturized but also feeling like it soaks in completely and doesn't leave an extra layer of greasiness on my face. Like all the Neutrogena Naturals line, there are no harsh chemical sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, dyes, or phthalates. And it is, of course, non-comedogenic (won't clog pores). So, if you have combination skin and have been searching for a night cream, I highly recommend this one.