Beauty · Hair

Haircare For Box Dye Addicts

I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair until I graduated high school with the caveat that I had to pay for it.

I give my mom some thanks for this- I have fine hair, but it’s always been extremely healthy. Also, my high school years were right in the prime of the emo era, so while I still have probably more than the required amount of embarrassing high school photos, at least they were somewhat subdued.

embarrasing high school picture
Yes, that is a tie that I sewed into a bracelet. 2008 was wild.

I did a lot of Lush hennas– which, if you don’t want to dye your hair chemically I 100% recommend. The upside is that you essentially sit your hair in cocoa butter for hours. It also gives you a great excuse to do nothing all day. The downside- or another upside if, like me, your life’s quest is to be Anne Shirley- is that everything has a very red tint. The one I had done in that pic was the noir henna (back then called caca noir which was a special treat for some language speakers) with added coffee to tone down the red a bit. Also, if you henna your hair you have to grow it out before you chemical dye it.

My first hair dye was a $3 black box dye that I bought at the late night pharmacy on the way home from a night out. There is one surviving picture that I do not have hold of. It was not good. I promptly got it lifted out and I got my hair redyed by a stylist who I’d been going to for four years. She was baffled but not surprised by my decision.

Seven years later I’ve become a bit better at dyeing my hair. I know box dye isn’t the best thing to put in your hair, but professional salons are quite expensive and honestly, it’s weirdly fun to put the stuff in your hair and have it come out. It’s almost soothing.

I’ve learned a few things in my box dye adventures…

Like henna, everything has an undertint of red.

I don’t know if this is because my hair is naturally auburn or if it’s just the way the dye is. Black and dark brown shine red in the sun. Any light or medium brown shines auburn. I’ve decided to steer into it and keep my hair about a shade redder than my natural auburn. I’m tempted to grow it out and see what happens, but I’m terrified I might find some grey and quash my “I’m still young!” delusion.

Wait 1-2 days between a hair wash and a dye

I started dyeing my hair by thinking that oilier I could get it the better. I mean, hair’s natural oils would protect it and keep it from drying out, right?

No. No baby Sandy, no.

Companies make the product knowing full well you have no idea what you’re doing. You could probably dye straight after a shampoo- you shouldn’t, but I’m sure there’s enough stuff in there it wouldn’t be completely tragic.

I like to wait for a day or two after my last shampoo. Short enough that I haven’t put extra stuff like dry shampoo in my hair, but long enough that my hair does have a bit of protection. The conditioners they include in the boxes tend to be pretty full on, so adding that on top of four days of hair grease is going to result in some grossness. It’s better to wait to shampoo after your colour to help prevent fading.

Condition, Condition, Condition

I always use the included conditioner after I dye, but they’re so intense. I’ll use it every so often, but definitely far short of the once a week recommendation. Instead, I love a good conditioning treatment- Aussie’s 3 Minute Miracle is my fave. I like the nourishing and moisturizing as I found the reconstructor way too much- though it works fabulously on Adam’s beard, so hair type.

Look, box dye will never be the best thing you can put in your hair, but if you try your best to offset the consequences with basic hair care and a balanced diet, it’s not the worst.

And it’s certainly the most fun.

Beauty · Skin and Body · Spa

Mud Masks vs. Sheet Masks: Why I Use Both

I can remember the day when masks were a bit one-note. You put goop on your face, laughed at how weird you looked, and rinsed it off 15-20 minutes later. If it had mud or clay in it you’d make sure you didn’t have to talk or move your face so you wouldn’t crack it while it dried.

Enter modern day where it’s a bit of a mask gone wild situation. The biggest turnaround has to be the introduction of Korean beauty and the sheet mask. Is it worth replacing your good old goop for the sleek, easy sheet mask?

Despite both of them being called masks they’re really not the same thing.

Wash Off Masks

These are the mud masks, clay masks, the traditional put it on your face, give it a bit and wash it off. Ingredients in a wash off mask tend to focus on being cleansing. Ingredients like mud and clay draw out impurities and leave your skin feeling awesome. Generally, you’ll notice that your pores look smaller and clearer. Even in clay and mud free ones, all ingredients and botanicals benefit from longer contact time with your skin.

I’ve always loved that green faced, cucumber-eyed, spa robe visual but mud masks are also great for when you want to look nice while still getting things done. I’m wearing one right now.

A quick note, you shouldn’t actually let a mask dry completely. If you leave it on too long it can end up being really dehydrating.

Another great thing about a wash off mask is the DIY potential. Mashed banana, honey, yoghurt… there’s so much kitchen beautician potential that you just don’t have with the sheet mask.

Sheet Masks

Sheet masks consist of, well, a sheet that’s been soaked in essence or serum. It has cutouts for your eyes and mouth and a flap for your nose. The sheet blocks ingredients from evaporating quickly so your skin has more time to soak up the goodness.

There’s something magical about the first time you use a sheet mask. You look ridiculous, but if you do it at night you wake up in the morning looking just plain amazing. While they seem a bit more convenient because you don’t need to wash them off, they can be a bit difficult to meander around in. Nothing’s worse than tilting your head at the wrong angle and having your sheet mask fall into your lap five minutes in.

I do love a sheet mask on a long haul flight. You may get some weird looks but when you hit baggage claim looking well rested and amazing none of that matters anymore.

So, which is better?

I have aggressively normal skin so I stick with a hard both. You can get both mud masks and sheet masks for any skincare concern. The main thing is not putting something made for oily skin on your dry skin (or any other combo of skin types) no matter what the product. I like one of each once a week, though if you want to do more stick to sheet masks as clay and mud can be drying if you overuse them.

The cost is probably the biggest factor. While I found sheet masks to be super affordable in Canada- shout out to The Face Shops buy ten get five free deals– they’re super expensive in Ireland. Finding one for under €3 is a struggle.

While I’d love to use a sheet mask every night I also worry about the environmental impact. I love individually wrapped stuff but it does create a lot of waste. Mud masks tend to be available in bulk, but the DIY route is also great. Got a banana that’s seen better days? Mash it up with some honey and oats and you’ve got an amazing, affordable mask.

Whatever mask you use, one of the greatest joys of the process is taking the time to actually care for your skin. It’s a good feeling knowing that you’ve taken time for yourself.

Beauty · Bedroom · Hair · Health · Home · Skin and Body · Sleep

Why I Love My Silk Pillowcase

I’ve always loved the idea of silk pillowcases. They seemed so needlessly luxurious. I ended up buying one on sale ages ago and… I mean, I brought it with me when I moved continents. There’s a reason- besides just feeling super fancy because you’re sleeping on silk.

Silk doesn’t conduct static the way cotton does, so your hair doesn’t frizz. There’s two types of fibre- staple and filament. Staple fibres are made up of a lot of short fibres being spun together to make one long thread. A filament fibre is much longer and smoother, so even when spun together you don’t get the fluffy halo-like appearance. Silk is one of the few filament fibres found in nature.

That filament fibre action makes it nice and slidey so that your face doesn’t get stuck on it. Less tugging on your face is always great for wrinkle prevention and overall comfort.  Silk also doesn’t pull moisture from your face- that means your nighttime skincare stays on your skin longer so it can work. Since silk doesn’t produce static hair stays much less frizzy and easier to manage.

Silk is naturally hypoallergenic and it’s not as hard to clean as it seems- just throw your pillowcase in with everything else you clean on the delicate cycle and hang to dry. I find silk to be super quick drying as long as I put my laundry in by noon my pillowcase is dry by bedtime.

The biggest downside is definitely the cost- I paid $32 for mine five years ago, and that was on sale. The good thing about any sort of linen situation is that department stores tend to run really good sales. If you’re a bit diligent about it you can snap one up for a decent enough price.

Another option is to make your own. I’m definitely going to try this the next time I find a good price on silk satin. I tend to sleep weird and would love a more envelope style as my pillows tend to slip out of their pillowcase slots.

Overall with a silk pillowcase, I sleep better, I feel fancy, and I honestly think my skin and hair is thankful for it.

If you see a silk pillowcase definitely snap it up, or hey, it’s never to early to start your Christmas list!