The 3 stages of hair growth explained :)

Hi everyone!

So if you enjoyed the last hair related post I did (HERE) I’ve got another one to share with you this week! Did you know that a single strand of human hair goes through 3 stages? There are primarily 3 stages of growth and shedding for human hair and interestingly, at any given time, the hairs on our head will be at different stages of this cycle.

First off lets take a quick look at the structure of the human hair.

File:Blausen 0438 HairFollicleAnatomy 02.png

(Image Source: Wikkimedia Commons)

We can divide the structure of a hair strand into 2 parts; the shaft and the root. The structure of the shaft was explained in detail in the past post on hair which I have linked to in the beginning of this post. The focus today will be on the root since it is this region that plays an important role in the hair growth cycle! The hair follicle/ root end in a bulb like structure which is where cell division occurs to produce new hair strands. Like I mentioned earlier the human hair growth cycle can be divided into 3 stages.

1. Anagen stage

This is also refered to as the active phase of the hair cycle. This is because during this stage, the hair is actively growing with materials being deposited on the hair shaft by the cells in the follicle. Cells above and around the hair papilla actively divide and grow upwards during this phase to form the hair shaft. During this phase, hair can grow at a rate of 1cm every 28 days. Hair on the scalp can be in the anagen phase anywhere between 2 to 6 years and the exact time frame is found to be genetically determined. The hair on other parts of the human body have a much shorter anagen phase which is why body hair, lashes etc are much shorter than hair on the scalp.

2. Catagen stage

This is refered to as the transition phase. At any given time 3% of scalp hair is in this phase. During this phase, protein and pigmentaion production stops.The outer areas of the root start to shrink and attach themselves to the main root and the resulting hair is called club hair. This Phase is thought to last for 2 to 3 weeks.

3. Telogen Stage

This stage lasts for almost 100 days in the case of human scalp hair. During this phase the club hair is fully formed. you must have heard at some point how its normal to shed 100 hair strands a day. Well, the strands that are shed are usually in the telogen phase 🙂 This is also aided by the pushing out of old hair by the newly developing hair in the follicle.

These 3 stages of hair growth and renewal are greatly affected by external factors like diet, environment and chemical exposure. So in addition to thanking good genetics, it is very important to have a healthy diet and lifestyle as well to have thick growing hair!

I hope this post helped you guys understand your hair a little bit better!

Until next time ..ciao!!

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Maybelline Color Sensational Matte Lipsticks

Hey everyone!

So, as many of you guys are aware, the trend this season is matte lips! To be honest I never used to buy any matte lipsticks since I kind of assumed they will all be drying and cakey looking on the lips. However, the last couple of months I have been experimenting more with matte lipsticks and was surprised to find a few that are not drying and look lovely on the lips. Hence having become a recent matte lip convert I just had to try the new Maybelline Color sensational matte lipsticks!

Maybelline color sensational Matte lipsticks

Maybelline color sensational Matte lipsticks

I picked these up in 2 shades; Lust for Blush and Touch of Spice. Both these shades are pink toned and before I get to the details of each shade lets talk about how good the formula is!

I am very impressed with this line..both the lipsticks apply smoothly with no tugging and they are very pigmented! The biggest surprise was how they don’t feel drying on the lips. After applying these lipsticks if you purse your lips together you will notice there is still some tact, in other words the lipstick has some moisture and does not dry down after applying on the lips. These are impressive qualities for a drugstore lipstick!

These do have reasonably good lasting power. I noticed very little, if any transfer to glasses and cutlery when eating and drinking. I would say they can last for 6 to 7 hours with light eating and drinking. Also as the day goes by, I did not notice my lips getting drier from the lipstick which is again good news!

Lust for Blush Swatches

Lust for Blush Swatches

Lust for blush is a cool toned pink shade as you may have noticed from the swatch. I am not a very big fan of this shade mostly since I feel it looks a bit barbie doll like on my skin tone 😛 I may just pass this on to someone whose complexion is better suited for cool toned pinks! I like how pretty it looks swatched on my hand, but not so much on my lips!

touch of spice swatches

touch of spice swatches

I really love touch of spice! It is the perfect my lips but better (and pinker) shade for me. It looks really dark in the tube and also swatched on my arm so I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of pink that comes through when worn on the lips.

I think there are some 8 to 9 shades available in this range, most of them leaning towards brighter pinks. Overall, these are very good for the price ($5.50) and I find them to be very comfortable on the lips. The only complaint I have with these is the smell! They do have a synthetic vanilla smell to them which I am not a fan of. However, the smell dies down pretty soon after application so in the end it isn’t that bothersome.

Have you tried these new lipsticks at the drugstore? What shades did you get and what do you think about them?

Until next time …ciao!!

Neutrogena Moisture Wrap Daily Repair Body Lotion

Hello!

Now that it is officially Fall, I thought I’d talk about a body lotion that is pretty much permanently there by my night stand but comes in handy mostly during the cooler fall months. The Neutrogena moisture wrap body lotion is a Norwegian formula which can heal uncomfortable dry skin according to the bottle. Although the marketing seems to target folks looking for a body lotion to use in the winter, I find this very comfortable to use all year around but especially during fall!

Neutrogena Moisture Wrap Body Lotion

Neutrogena Moisture Wrap Body Lotion

I am the sort of person who needs at least 3 different body butters/lotions around at any given time! I love to use many different body products in rotation so that I have multiple scents and textures to play with 🙂 This particular lotion however is always around. It is not only affordable but very effective!

I love to use this immediately after a shower and it absorbs really quickly into the skin and is not greasy at all in my opinion.Post application, my skin is soft and smooth! I find this lotion light weight enough to use during the summer months and intensive enough for fall and spring. However in the winters, when it gets particularly harsh (New England winters!), I do need to use something else which is more moisture intensive.

The smell of this lotion is awesome! I dunno how to describe it but its a light and clean scent which is neither too floral or musky. It also linger around lightly without being over bearing  for an hour or so after application.

Ingredient List

Ingredient List

A look at the ingredient list will confirm that this lotion doesn’t have any fancy ingredients. It is a basic lotion with most of the moisturizing aspects being taken care of by simple ingredients like glycerin, glycerides, octyldodecanol and petrolatum.

However, this does contain dimethicones and parabens, so if you are avoiding these ingredients this lotion might not work for you.

In case your shopping around this fall for an affordable and effective body lotion that smells amazing do check this out! If you have used this lotion let me know in the comments why you like it so much/ don’t like it 🙂

Until next time…ciao!!

Around the world via beauty products : PRE de PROVENCE from France

Hello everyone!

So last week I had announced the start of this new series on the blog which is all about exploring beauty brands which are strongly connected to a geographical area. You can read all about the details of this series in my intro post HERE. I had promised to kick start this series with french products and so today we are going to explore the brand PRE de PROVENCE. All their products are made in the Provence region of France with some of their products made in centuries old traditional ways by local artisans. They have a huge selection of bath and body products and today I’m going to share with you my thoughts on a handful of them!

Pre de Provence

Pre de Provence

My plans were to photograph these items on lush green grass but unfortunately fall has decided to turn everything brown a little too early!

1. Rose de Mai beauty oil

I dunno about you but I love beauty oils and therefore was very excited to try this out! This oil is from their Rose de Mai collection which is all scented with the perfume extracted from special roses that bloom in May in Provence..fancy eh? I love the smell ! Trust me it has a slightly  complex scent and does not smell like your granny’s rose perfume.

Rose de Mai beauty oil

Rose de Mai beauty oil

The primary ingredients in this beauty oil are Jojoba seed oil, Borage seed oil and grape seed oil with the fragrance being the rose de mai perfume. As per the description on the box, this oil can be used on the skin, hair and nails as well. I used this oil alone as a body moisturizer and also tried it on my nails and loved the results, which isn’t surprising since the first ingredient listed is jojoba oil which has fantastic moisturizing properties!It is not greasy and absorbs very quickly leaving a nice faint rose scent behind 🙂

2. 20% Shea butter hand cream

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I love my L’occitane shea butter hand cream to bits. I am thrilled to report that this hand cream is as awesome as my L’occitane one! I am not too surprised..after all they are both made in Provence and contain 20% shea butter!

Shea butter hand cream in lavender

Shea butter hand cream in lavender

The combination of Shea butter and glycerin makes this a very moisturising hand cream. It has a nice light texture and also absorbs really quickly with no greasy after feel. I usually use hand creams just before bedtime and I find the soothing lavender scent just perfect for sleepy time ! However, I would probably pick out another scent to use during daytime since the lavender can become a bit over powering to use during the day.

3.Argan Body Butter

Body butters become my best friends during the cold and dry winter months! This one too is going to be a keeper for the coming winter.

Argan Body Butter

Argan Body Butter

Although this is called Argan Body butter, it is mostly the shea butter in the cream that does all the work. Argan oil is present but being the 9th ingredient on the list I think its safe to assume that shea butter (2nd ingredient after water) is the star of this product too. Here is the ingredient list if you are interested:

Aqua (Water), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Ceteareth-20, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glyceryl Stearate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Carbomer, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Tocopherol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Cyclomethicone, Olea Europaea (Olive) leaf Extract, Prunus Amygoalus Dulcis (Almond) Shell Extract, Citric Acid, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Geraniol.

The orange peel oil in this body butter gives it a lovely subtle scent! Like most body butters, this one too has a thick consistency but is easy to spread and absorbs quickly too. As mentioned earlier, I see myself relying on this guy during the colder months ahead!

4. Shea Butter enriched soaps

These soaps are out of this world! They smell amazing. How I wish I could share the smell of these with you guys through a blog post! I was sent a big bar of soap in the scent called Linden which I like to keep sniffing whenever I walk past it! I was also sent a set of 7 small soaps, each a different scent. I can’t get over how amazing these smell! I am currently using a soap in the rose scent from the set of 7 and every time, after a bath my bathroom smells of fresh roses!

Shea enriched soaps

Shea enriched soaps

These soaps lather well and are non drying as well which is a huge plus. Traditional luxury french soaps are triple milled to produce a smooth bar of soap. PRE de PROVENCE states that their soaps are quad milled to get an even smoother and luxurious bar of soap. Their soaps are made by artisans in Provence who follow traditional methods. That probably explains why these soaps feel like little gems of luxury during bath time!

Overall, I am thrilled to have discovered this brand which has so many exciting bath and body products to offer! Most of their products are available on amazon for reasonable prices. Hope you all enjoyed this post and stay tuned for more around the world via beauty posts!

Until next time…ciao!!

 

*PR sample. Opinions expressed here are my own. (no affiliate links)

Brand Focus: Zao Organic Makeup (discount code for readers!)

Hello!!

Are you looking for a makeup brand that is cruelty free, vegan, gluten free, uses biodegradable reusable packaging and is certified by Ecocert, CosmoBio, Cruelty free international and campaign for safe cosmetics?..look no further my friend! let me introduce you to the wonderful world of Zao makeup! Its not every day you come across a brand like that now is it? 😉  Zao makeup is an Italian brand that has an entire range of color cosmetics from foundations to eyeshadows to mascara; all made from  naturally derived ingredients! I had the opportunity to chose some products to review on the blog and I decided to check out 2 of their lip products; a lip polish and a matte lipstick.

Zao makeup lip polish in Burgundy

Zao makeup lip polish in Burgundy

1. Lip Polish in Burgundy

Before we talk about anything else..lets take a minute to admire the beautiful bamboo tube! I absolutely adore the packaging. I was sent just the tube, but if you were to purchase this from their website, the tube comes in a pretty cotton pouch! Out of the 2 products, I was most excited to try this since so far I have had no luck with natural lip gloss type products. The Lip Polish is described as a lip lacquer which is opaque and glossy on the lips. The applicator is a doe foot type applicator and I am impressed with how pigmented it is! One swipe and I got a nice opaque lustrous coat of color on my lips.

Burgundy Lip Polish; Swatch and on the lips!

Burgundy Lip Polish; Swatch and on the lips!

I really enjoyed wearing this lip polish throughout the day; it did not bleed outside the lip line and it was lightweight, non sticky and super comfy on the lips! I feel this shade is perfect for fall ! It comes out looking more berry toned on my lips compared to the swatch so the final shade might depend on your natural lip color. They do say that this can be used on top of a lipstick, so you can always manipulate the final shade on your lips by changing up your base color. As far as the staying capacity is concerned, I think the lip polish did a good job! The shine did wear off with eating and drinking throughout the day but the color did stick around. Once the gloss wears off, it looks like a matte stain ( which also looks cool in my opinion!).

Overall, I am impressed with the lip polish! It does not dry out my lips and is not so over moisturizing that it feels slippery and goopy. Oh one more thing… This shade makes my teeth look whiter than normal! yay!!

2. Matte Lipstick in Old Pink

The past couple of months has seen me gravitate more towards matte lip products and I am happy to add this to my growing matte lip products collection. The shade I picked up is called old pink. Zao makeup sent me their refill tube. If you like, you can purchase the lipsticks with the bamboo case or just the refills. I think its a neat concept! You can always swap out your old lipstick for a new one and reuse the lovely bamboo case.

Matte lipstick in Old Pink

Matte lipstick in Old Pink

Here below is how the lipstick looks like in the bamboo case if you were to purchase lipstick with the bamboo packaging.

 

Matte Lipstick - 8 color options

I tried this lipstick out in 2 ways; with a lip balm underneath and without it. In both cases the lipstick feels really lightweight on the lips, however without the lip balm my lips did start feeling dry after maybe 5 to 6 hours of wear time. Again, the pigmentation like the case of the lip polish  is awesome..there was still a reasonable amount of color on my lips after eating and drinking. I do feel that with a lip balm underneath the color was more vivid and my lips felt great till the end of the day. So if you are prone to dry lips like me  make sure to dab on some lip balm!

Matte lipstick in old pink; swatch and on the lips!

Matte lipstick in old pink; swatch and on the lips!

The color is a nice blue toned cool pink as you can see from the picture above. Overall, I like the matte lipstick since it works really well for me when paired with a lip balm. If you live in an area that isn’t dry and cold you might be able to get away with no lip balm underneath!! 😉

Zao makeup has quite a few different types of lip products alone..so if you wish to explore the brand even further check out their website at www.zaoorganicmakeup.com. Zao makeup was kind enough to provide a discount code for all of you…so in case something catches your fancy use the Promo Code: ZAO914 (case sensitive) for a 15% discount! You can also follow them on Facebook and twitter as well to keep up with new releases and news!

Until next time…ciao!!

 

*PR sample. Opinions expressed here are my own. (no affiliate links)

Why do you have curly red hair? The why behind hair types and colors explained!

Hello everyone!

Have you ever sat at a hair salon and wondered why your hair and the hair on the heads of people next to you are so different not just in natural hair color but also texture? Well if you have, this post might just be your cup of tea; and if you never thought about it during your haircut session, it looks like you have a chatty stylist/something more fun to do than question things around you!!

(Image source: wikkimedia commons)

In order to understand why people have different hair colors and textures, we need to first take a look at the basic structure  of a hair strand/shaft. We can broadly say that there are 3 main parts to the hair shaft. The outer most thick scale like structure is called the Cuticle. The cuticle layer is colorless and  allows light reflection, so it plays a big role in having shiny lustrous looking hair 🙂 Over brushing of hair and too much friction can damage the cuticle (that is why they say backcombing is bod news in the long term).The Cuticle is followed by the Cortex which forms majority of the fiber mass of a hair strand. The Cortex contains spindle shaped cells which are aligned parallel to the central axis of the hair strand. Finally, at the center of the hair strand you have the loosely packed porous region called the medulla.

structure of hair shaft medulla cortex cuticle

(Image Source: Wikkimedia Commons)

 Hair color

When it comes to hair color the Cortex is the most important layer. This layer in addition to the spindle shaped cells also contain the pigment cells (melanin).  The type of melanin and its distribution in the Cortex determines the persons natural hair color. There are 2 types of Melanin pigments : Eumelanin and Pheomelanin. All human hair colors have both these types of pigments present, but its the ratio is which they are present which ultimately decides if you have blonde,red , brown or black hair.

Black to brown hair: A higher amount of Eumelanin pigment is found in these indivuduals as compared to Pheomelanin.

Red to Blonde : A higher amount of Pheomelanin (with red hair having the highest) compared to Eumelanin.

Grey Hair: No melanin pigments!

Hair Type

The type of hair you have on your head is greatly influenced by your race. Broadly there are 3 races: Mongoloid, Caucasian and Negroid, with all of them having very distinct hair types. It all comes down to the differences you see when you take the cross section of a hair strand/shaft. Scientists have found that mongoloid hair is straight and has a circular cross section. Interestingly, Caucasoid hair can be straight, wavy or curly but still give the same type of cross section; elliptical. Negroid hair on the other hand has a larger diameter and flattened elliptical cross section. So why is the cross section shape so important you might ask?

Lets go back to the hair cortex. We all know that keratin, a protein is the primary component of hair. Proteins are made up of amino acids and they link together to form longer chains. One of the amino acids involved in keratin strands is cysteine which has a sulfur group which is capable of forming bonds called disulfide bonds with other sulfur groups. Hence, the cysteine residues in adjacent keratin strands are able to form bridges or links through disulfide bonds.  A very round shaft (circular cross section) allows less disulfide bonds, and those that are present are in line with one another, resulting in straight hair. The flatter the hair shaft(flattened elliptical cross section), the curlier hair gets, because the shape allows more cysteines to come in contact with one another and form the necessary disfulfide bridges. In other words, the more the interaction between the cysteine groups of different keratin strands, the tighter the curls get !!

Hence although we all have the same keratin protein in our hair, the cross section/ shape of the hair shaft plays a huge role in determining the type of hair you have!

Hope you enjoyed this post! In the coming weeks w’ll chit chat about the hair growth cycle, what happens when you get a straightening treatment etc 🙂

Untill then…ciao!!

 

 References

1. Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair. Clarence R. Robbins.

2.Rodney D Sinclair.(2007) Healthy Hair: What Is it?.Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings 12, 2–5.

3.Khumalo NP, Dawber RPR, Ferguson DJP (2005) Apparent fragility of African hair is unrelated to the cystine-rich protein distribution: a cytochemical electron microscopic study. Exp Dermatology 14:311–314

Blinc Eyebrow Mousse

Hello everyone!

Hope your having a great week so far! Today I am going to talk about another Blinc product I have fallen in love with 🙂 The first one being the Ultra thin eyeliner pen (review HERE). Now I have to admit I am not much of a brow product fan mostly because all the things I have tried so far looks really fake and un natural on me! When I first got this and started playing with it I thought, well here we go again I look like a man when I fill in my brows 😀 but after a couple of tries I am beginning to enjoy using this product!

Blinc eyebrow mousse in Dark Brunette

Blinc eyebrow mousse in Dark Brunette

If you check out the Sephora website or the Blinc website you will see that this is available in quite a few shades (9 shades) which is impressive. This product is a fusion between a brow tint and a gel and thats a good thing! It comes in a pretty recyclable aluminium canister like most of their products. The shade I picked up is Dark Brunette and it is the second darkest shade available. The product as such is housed in a mascara like tube and has a mascara like wand applicator.

The wand above and dark brunette swatched below

The wand above and dark brunette swatched below

Like I said earlier, after playing with it for a while I found out the best way to use it. The key to using this is to use a light hand! and it also helps you get much better control over the amount of color your depositing on your brows if you wipe off excess mousse off the brush. I know all this sounds like basics but in case your a bit of a newbie with products like this (or a klutz with brow products like me) I hope these tips help 🙂

The kind folks at Blinc told me that its always better to use brow products which are a shade lighter than you natural brows so that when you fill them in you don’t look scary un natural! I am glad I took their advice 😉

Now on to product performance… I am impressed! I found that that this fills in my brows without it looking un natural and it also helped keep all the brow hairs in place. When applied it dries quickly too! The one thing I am most impressed with is the lasting power! I wore this on a terribly humid day and was outdoors for a long period of time and I didn’t notice any color bleeding or smudging out of my brows. yay!

Left: Before filling in Right: After filling in the brows

Left: Before filling in Right: After filling in the brows

If you take a look at my eye mugshots above you’ll see on the left, my natural brows which are a little scanty near the inner area and the tail area. I applied the brow mousse concentrating mostly in these 2 areas of my brow and see the results on the right…not bad eh? I think it looks natural and adequately filled in. what do you think?

The only negative point I can think of with this mousse is that if you go a bit over board with the gel in a single spot on your brows,  you will land up with crunchy brows!

To sum up, I think this would be an awesome product for folks who have some amount of thickness to their brows and want to do some ‘finishing’ touches without going overboard. I am not sure how natural this product would look on someone who has very scanty eyebrows. I generally do not like overdrawn eyebrows so I like that I am able to fill in my brows and still maintain the soft look.

Until next time…ciao!!

*PR sample. Opinions expressed here are my own.