"The most beautiful makeup for a woman is passion, but cosmetics are easier to buy."
                                                                                              —Yves Saint Laurent

If you're new to this blog, then read our guides to the basics: Skin (Part I), Skin (Part II), The Supernatural, Color Theory I, Color Theory II, Eyes, and Brushes.

Also, check out the blogsale.

· Just Notes: Simple Pleasures
· Fashion Notes: On Great Style
· Designer Index: Rick Owens
· Culture Notes: What Not To Wear
· Fashion Notes: Body-Con
· Fashion Notes: Spring 2009 Shopping List (Dorothy)
· Fashion Notes: Spring 2009 Shopping List (The Kindly One)
· Beauty Notes: Wavy Hair

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The Selfish Seamstress
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Just Notes: Simple Pleasures
by The Kindly One

O Brother Where Art Thou? was on tv last night. I watched a few minutes of it, inevitably thinking about the parallels between the Depression and now, and found it fitting to share a few simple, affordable pleasures I've been enjoying lately.
Now that "affordable" often means "free," I am not stopping by the MAC counter to check out their new foundation formulation, even though it comes in my color (NC15) and seems widely acclaimed on Makeup Alley. Instead, I've been reaching into my stash to use MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light as my foundation. Given the Natural formulation, there's no glitter or shimmer, just a luminosity on my cheekbones. It gives a good, even finish with medium coverage. It doesn't last all the way through to night, but I don't use it on days I want something permanent. It's more a quick way to get some coverage and get out the door.
As an alternative to a t-shirt, I wear a green Pendleton sweater vest under sweaters and jackets. Despite being wool, this is actually a lightweight combination, keeping me warm without overheating. I paid $16 for mine at a consignment store. I was shocked when I saw the retail prices for Pendleton clothes. They're a bit much for unfussy basics. (The above is actually a Woolrich sweater. I couldn't find something close enough to what I own on the Pendleton site.)

Now is not the time to be buying $14 Clinique lipsticks. Instead, I paid $10 apiece for a couple of Colour Surge Bare Brilliance Waterviolet lipsticks at a Cosmetics Company Outlet. Just as well - Clinique's discontinued this color in the Bare Brilliance series.

O Brother is one of my favorite Coen brothers films. I am actually not a Coen brothers fan, despite having seen almost every film they've made. I don't really understand their viewpoint, and I keep watching their films in the hope that I'll get it. I actually do get this one, though, and think it's immensely funny. I'm also impressed with the choice of color palette and how it so clearly evokes both the Great Depression and our own latter day, sepia-toned (mis)conceptions of it.

Cabaret is one of my favorite films, period. There is a quote by Liza Minnelli in which she states everyone goes into Cabaret thinking it's going to be a lighthearted musical and it's not. That's true for me. I expected nothing out of it and ended up being in awe of Fosse's work. Every camera angle, lighting direction, and line progresses the story, and that is a rarity in film. Minnelli also states the message of the film as being, "When everyone's having too much fun, watch out." True again, reminiscent of the 70s, in which the films was made, the 30s, in which it takes place, and now.

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3/31/2009 [3]

Fashion Notes: On Great Style
by The Kindly One

There is a widespread belief that women considered to have great style - Kate Moss, Lou Doillon, Carine Roitfeld, the Olsen twins - come by it innately, as though it requires no thought or effort for them to dress well. This is absurd. They put effort into their style just like anyone else. The difference between those with a well-developed sense of style and those who don't is a matter of exposure and experience. The women listed here, as well as most other style icons, have spent the majority of their lives exposed to a variety of designers, trends, and cuts. As models, Kate Moss and Lou Doillon have tried on thousands of garments, gaining the experience to know exactly what suits them. As the editor of Vogue Paris, Carine Roitfeld sees an extraordinary amount of fashion pass through her door, having both access to pretty much anything she likes and an editor's eye for what works. Being so tiny, the Olsen twins have spent their lives having clothes cut down for them and have learned how to navigate proportion and silhouette.

It's not necessary to be model, fashion editor, or Olsen twin to dress well. What it does take is practice, review, and editing. To dress well requires the wearer to have spent time practicing and reviewing what works for her body, trying on a variety of cuts and proportions to determine which shapes best suit her. The wearer must also set aside the constraints of ego, popular culture, and notions of beauty in order to edit her outfit. Editing requires the wearer to wear what is essential to her outfit and eliminate the rest, as in the above picture. Kate Moss is well-dressed because she has chosen one statement accessory, the oversized scarf. Everything else recedes into the background. Were she to have worn brighter colors or baggier clothing, the scarf wouldn't have so much impact, and the outfit would have dragged her down.

It's my opinion that the greatest style icons have endured because they dressed for their bodies first and fashion second. Neither Kate Moss nor Jackie Onassis have dressed spectacularly here. Their clothing is neither dressy nor period specific. Instead, they are well cut and fitted to their specific proportions. Having lean legs, Kate pulls of skinny jeans well, and her jacket is not so long or loose as to overwhelm her. Jackie's outfit is fitted close to accentuate her lean frame, and ankle-length pants can be elongating to women between 5'6" and 5'8". By dressing for their bodies first, their nods to fashion - the sunglasses, Kate's scarf - have a greater impact. Dressing for their bodies first also ensures an easier time of editing. By dressing with with the goal of enhancing one's shape, the desire to cave to the vagaries of fashion eventually lessons in proportion to the desire to dress well for oneself.

While it takes time to understand which shapes and proportions work best for your features, it's a process that's worth the effort, as it will eventually save you the time and money of investing in clothes that will never truly work for you. The way I've found which cuts and proportions work for me is by going to department stores with the express intention of trying on a variety of clothes to see what works. I've found that going to a store with this goal in mind has kept me more attentive to what's in the mirror as opposed to whether or not I've found something to buy. I've been careful to note everything I like about a garment's fit, whether or not the garment fits overall. Taking account of how individual elements flatter - a fitted sleeve, the cut of a shoulder - makes the exercise more productive than simply looking for a perfect shirt. I've done this exercise several times, and while no single time has given me all the answers, each session has been instructive, and the cumulative information has significantly reduced both how much I buy and money spent on unsuccessful purchases.

As far as editing goes, much of it occurs simply by dressing for your shape, as this alone weeds out a lot of possible cuts and silhouettes. After working so hard to find the cuts and proportions that flatter me, I'm not so eager to cover all that up with a ton of layers or with clothes that will disrupt the proportions. I'm more interested in finding what will work in concert with them. Admittedly, this initally felt a little boring to me. Having abandoned thoughtful editing for a couple of years, I felt constrained and impositioned with this return to thoughtfulness. The discipline has worked in my favor, though. No longer adopting an "anything goes" attitude to my wardrobe, I've significantly reduced the amount of clothing I have that I wish looked good on me and now possess a greater percentage of clothing that actually looks good on me.

This has required some sacrifice. I'm a great fan of boyish dressing and had developed a sizeable collection of t-shirts, sweatshirts, and jeans, all baggy to some degree. Even in narrower cuts, this overall aesthetic will never truly suit my body or my personality. As such, I'm learning how to better dress to accomodate both my body and aesthetics. Being a child of the 90s, I'm not yet able to give up that boyish grunge/alternative aesthetic. As a compromise, I leave the sweatshirts at home and wear narrower t-shirts and jeans with either straight or bootcut legs. I've replaced the sweatshirts with a cropped bomber jacket or, alternately, narrowly cut grandpa cardigans, staying true to the lean, elongated shape I prefer. Bagginess is no longer allowed.

When I start to feel constrained by the editing I've imposed on myself, I cheer myself with the new silhouettes I've adopted. While I've given up a lot of clothing that didn't work for me, this has given me the mental space to take in and appreciate what does work. These new revelations include finally finding the right cut and proportion of jeans, a body-conscious dress cut similar to a sheath while retaining the attitude of body-con, and a plethora of narrowly cut sweaters that both double as t-shirts and add polish and cool to my outfits. As much as these revelations have boosted my wardrobe, the real benefit has been in how I feel. Dressing boyishly was a way of hiding, and wearing baggy clothes didn't make me look or feel good. I've taken more pride in my body now that I've started to dress for it, and I'm no longer willing to settle for what doesn't work. I spend considerably less on clothes and like more of what I have. Overall, it's been worth setting aside my ideas of what should work and just appreciating what does work.

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3/24/2009 [3]

Designer Index: Rick Owens
by The Kindly One

All truly great designers, whether they be avant-garde, conceptual, or particularly adept with basics, design on two levels: the more visible promotion of the runway and the more saleable retail collection. What is notable about Rick Owens is the consistency of aesthetic between the two collections. Many designers (Miuccia Prada and Marc Jacobs are most notable) produce ostentatious, inspiration-driven collections for the runway while making their mint in handbags and cocktail dresses. With Rick Owens, there is no juxtaposition between the two design levels. His clothes for the runway might be more avant-garde than his basics, but they generally all follow the same aesthetic of "broken idealism," albeit some at a more advanced than others.

This would be an example of an advanced Rick Owens look. I frankly don't get it. I don't think I have the knowledge of fashion design history to put such designs in their proper context, and as such, I am often confused by his runway shows. I don't understand the complicated layering and can't even figure out how to put some of the garments on. It takes a good six months of seeing countless iterations of his designs, whether in Vogue Paris or as Target knock-offs, before I can really absorb and understand them. That's the moment when it clicks, and I revisit his runway shows, realizing the genius that he is (though this will never happen with the above picture).
What ultimately marks Rick Owens's design aesthetic is ease of wear, comfort, and accessibility. Once the complicated layering and intimidating cool of the runway is removed, you're left with simple t-shirts, dresses, and pants comfortable enough to be worn as loungewear, but luxurious enough to be appropriate at venues where simple American Apparel would fail. This is the true genius of Rick Owens - not intimidating coolness, but the ability to continually put his own stamp on the basics, making them interesting and desirable. This is the hardest task a designer can set out to do, which is prossibly why so many designers cop out and take the easier paths of selling youth, sex, and feminity.
That said, I would probably only wear 35% of what Rick Owens designs. As much as I truly appreciate his design philosophy, I prefer to wear spare, urban shapes without excess volume, and Rick Owens very often employs volume in his designs, though empire waists, extreme draping, and oversized footwear. It would be my assumption that all this volume would work as it always does, i.e. hang off me while dragging me down with it. Still, I'm enamored with how he cuts a leather jacket, as in the above example. I am generally not a fan of empire waists, but this jacket is less waisted and more cleverly belted. I am in awe of the sumptuous leather, as well. This is something that would mold to the wearer's particular shape and easily become identifiable with her.

While I'm unable to carry off a lot of volume, I am quite a fan of layering, and this look manages to incorporate both without compromising shape.

Leather gilets may not be basics for everyone, but as someone doesn't wear jewelry, these would provide interest and detail to my outfits without the weight of metal. I'm torn between them. I think I like the brown version better, with its slightly easier shape and contrasting collar. The fit of the black version might end up looking tortured. I would be happy to wear them both, though.
Finally, no discussion of Rick Owens can be complete without reviewing the jacket that started it all. Despite having designed for many years, Rick Owens can be said to really be noticed by the public when Ashley Olsen, and later Lindsay Lohan, were frequently photographed wearing this jacket. This is quintessential Rick Owens: a little bit biker, assymetrical, leather, and very black. Any real Rick Owens fan dreams of owning this jacket someday.

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3/17/2009 [4]

Culture Notes: What Not To Wear
by Dorothy

I'm fascinated by fashion and beauty; I'm also fascinated by the way we write and talk about fashion and beauty. Despite the enormous size of the fashion and beauty industries, there is something very intimate about our personal experiences with them, so much so that I myself sometimes feel exposed writing about what I like (one reason I blog under a pseudonym).

There are, of course, a number of reality shows devoted to fashion, from the addictive trainwreck America's Next Top Model and the creepy Ten Years Younger to the slightly (I said slightly!) less silly Project Runway. But What Not To Wear, the American version, is one of the few exclusively about the buying and wearing of clothes, and is also hugely successful.

What Not To Wear's gimmick is re-dressing people who, almost invariably, are terrible dressers; it gets repetitive, since said terrible dressers usually fall into one of three categories: skanky, frumpy, or aggressively weird. In each episode, Stacy and Clinton, the hosts, "surprise" the terrible dresser in a location where his or her family and friends just happen to be hanging out, force him or her to watch videos of his or her sartorial sins ("we've been secretly filming you for the past two weeks"), and make snarky comments that are just this side of hurtful. (In the British series I'm pretty sure they go to the other side of hurtful.) The terrible dresser is given $5,000 for a new wardrobe, a list of "rules" to follow when selecting that wardrobe, a new haircut, a makeup consultation, and two days to shop, usually in Manhattan.

And I'll say, the terrible dressers usually do end up looking better at the end of the week; they have clothes that fit (I assume TLC pays for tailoring) and generally look well put together in a J. Crew model sort of a way. There's definitely a What Not To Wear style: preppy, heavy on neutrals and jewel tones, made up in shimmery neutrals, with multiple brightly coloured accessories to add "a pop of colour" (an overused phrase on WNTW).

Above, an example of a successful WNTW makeover. The new haircut is much better, the clothing is flattering; none of this is terribly innovative or exciting, but she looks nice, tidy, put together. The makeup is appropriate, enhancing without drawing attention to itself (a touch more powder might help, but that's a quibble).

I'm not giving up my undereye concealer.

In a way, I'm reluctant to criticize this style. It's useful, it's digestible, it's far better than dressing oneself in cheap acrylic-knit crap or wearing pyjamas in public. Its sameness is almost its point; for many activities, the wisest thing to do is to look tidily upper-middle-class, not high-maintenance, not eccentric, not difficult. One could even say that knowing how to dress appropriately is really a form of etiquette and not strictly fashion. (For example, when I look askance at people who wear bright colours to funerals, my objection is in no way aesthetic.) Stacy and Clinton like to emphasize that people get better jobs, attract more dates, etc., when made over; I think there's probably some truth to this. Hell, if I look at my own closet I see that I tend to follow What Not To Wear "rules"; I own lots of fitted sweaters, dark jeans, pencil skirts, jewel-toned tops. I may dream of spending my life in silk dresses, three-piece suits and vintage heels, but I don't actually do it.

At the same time, What Not To Wear style is very one-size-fits-all, and by its nature, it's rushed, approximate. WNTW guests can't take the time to find the one perfect bag or pair of shoes that they'll use day in, day out, for years to come. Many of them can't be persuaded that neutrals aren't inherently boring, hence WNTW's "pop of colour" aesthetic. (Personally, I think wearing magenta shoes with a neutral pantsuit to "add interest" is more than a little precious.) $5,000 seems like a lot of money to spend on clothes, but it's not enough to spend willy-nilly without regard to quality, especially if you need winterwear and supportive undergarments and there won't be another $5,000 available next year. When Stacy and Clinton send their guests back home with a bag of $40 shoes, one wonders how long they'll hold up.

That may be my own major issue with What Not To Wear: its occasional, perplexing impracticality. I recall a couple of guests from Toronto who were strongly discouraged from buying flat winter boots. Toronto has mild weather by Canadian standards, but even so, winter boots are not optional in Toronto; it snows, it hails, it gets icy, and even if you can afford to take taxis wherever you go, you can't always get one. I haven't been to New England in the winter, but I expect it's similar, if not worse. I regard my own flat, practical winter boots with the enthusiasm of a child contemplating Brussels sprouts, but I still wear them everywhere in the winter because it beats salt-staining my high heels or cracking my ankles. A show that exists to explain Clothing 101 to ordinary folks shouldn't gloss over the fact that ordinary folks frequently need to do unglamorous things.

Also, the idea of wearing white pumps with a black pinstriped suit makes me a bit ill. Well, it does.

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3/15/2009 [6]

Fashion Notes: Body-Con
by The Kindly One

We all dress to allure, whatever your particular style. My own style is body-conscious dressing, lacking the curves for flimsy slip dresses ofr the personality for ruffles. While body-conscious dressing is associated with the extreme fit and cut of bandage dresses, I define it much more literally as consciously framing the body, allowing the wearer's dress to act as accessory and her body as the statement. For all its boldness, this is a very minimal loook that leaves jewelry, big hair, and excessive layering to other, weaker statements.

Body-con gained a bad reputation for excessive aggression, but it need not be so aggressive. The best looks balance the straightfoward display of the body with softness in fabric or cut, allowing for a look that's more feminine and less raunchy. L'Wren Scott's design is a perfect marriage of the extreme cut of body-con paired with a muted, respectable blue and an elogated shape to flatter and balance out othe tightness. I'm particularly fond of her inset shoulders, as they subtly reveal skin without degrading ito vulgarity.

Thakoon's shift dress provides a feminine take on bandage dresses. The fact that this is a shift dress need not throw you. Most body-con dresses, including bandage dresses, are essentially shift dresses cut down to exactly conform to the body. Thakoon's shift dress detours from standard office wear with the embellishment of black ribbon bandages, providing a knowing nod at bandage dressing in a far more feminine and forgiving cut than bandage dresses could ever claim.Of all the included dresses, I find this Prada dress the sexiest. While not as tight as the others, it is even more body-conscious, as the cut's plunging neckline and slit literally point to what's underneath. The fuller cut also allows for a movement of fabric impossible in a narrower cut, allowing the dress to slink around the body with each movement. The tension between the obscured view and revelation, as well as friction of the fabric against skin, heightens the dress from mere body-consciousness to eroticism.

Finally, no discussion of body-con can be complete without inclusion of bandage dresses. Though Lou Doillon's dress is too short and, really, too tight, I've chosen it as an example of the design possible in bandage dresses. The beige contrast provides more interesting detail than would be found in a simply black dress, and the off-the-shoulder cut also softens and feminizes the look. What strikes me most about this picture, though, is the wearer. Lou Doillon is looking the camera dead on, smiling and owning the outfit. This is largly unseen in sexy dressing. Too often, women allow the outfit to wear them, as though putting on a standard, uniform "sexy dress" will make them into standard sexy people, denying the responsibility of finding their own look and sexuality. I love this picture because my attention is on Lou Doillon, not on her sexy dress or on a naive "sexy" posturing. This is what I appreciate most about body-conscious dressing, that it forces the wearer's body and wearer herself front and center. There's nothing to hide behind, with no room for passivity. It takes consciousness and confidence to wear these clothes, separating them from ubiquity and slutty vulgarity. These are clothes for women of thought and self-possession.


3/11/2009 [5]

Fashion Notes: Spring 2009 Shopping List (Dorothy)
by Dorothy

At present my wardrobe is rather too big than too small, even keeping in mind the skinny jeans I had to retire (for fashion, yes, but I also gained five pounds). I am trying to purchase more selectively, bearing in mind that sometimes it is the impulse buys, the things one has to have on sight, that see the most use. My student life is (I hope!) coming to an end, which means most of my purchases for the future should be work-appropriate, but at present, when I look forward to spring, I'm dreaming of the weekends.

I don't normally care for prints, nor am I normally flattered by Empire-line tops that cover up my waist, but I would love something like this Liberty print top from Cacharel. This muddy, muted floral print remind me of fairytale books of a certain age, specifically a version of Red Riding Hood that was read to me when I was a small child, published at that time in the '70s when homespun "naturalness" was the thing and clear, bright colours were out of fashion. Red Riding Hood -- there depicted without a hood, as a pale-faced little girl with thick black hair -- followed a trail of pink, white, and orange flowers into the murky darkness of the woods. I can't do simple, sunny prettiness -- this iteration of the top would look awful on me -- but in spring, one wants something with flowers.

I've become a fan of Level 99: their trousers are cut well for my slim-but-hippy frame, their fabrics have the right blend of heft and give, and they generally avoid the rhinestone-on-the-butt affectations of other brands. I rather favour the Ariana trousers above: casual and stretchy, yes, but that purple shade is such fun -- almost, but not quite, neutral.

My love affair with Re-Mix Vintage continues, although shipping their shoes up to Canada is a pain. (Trove, in Toronto, has apparently taken on some stock, but that doesn't help me much out East.) These 1920s-style vented T-straps have shot to the top of my summer list: so light and fanciful, yet prim, and I have enough black shoes.

With spring comes the search for a truly easy summer dress, one I can throw on with a cardigan and go -- to work (at least casual Friday), to shop, wherever. I like the lines of this Vanessa Bruno Athé dress, twisted jersey is a great weakness of mine and the fabric actually looks substantial enough not to cling in awkward places, but honestly, I will probably end up sewing my own. Current fashions are turning my shopping list into a list of nos: no bagginess, no mini, no maxi, no strapless bra required, please.

Fantasy item:

This RM by Roland Mouret dress is absurdly beyond my budget. It would refuse to speak to anything else in my closet. I would have to put on a full face of makeup before even going near that startling, uncompromising blue, somewhere between the Pan Am logo and the deepest of swimming pools. But oh, that pencil skirt, those perfect little cap sleeves, that sharp, precise pleating -- an origami Galaxy. I love it.

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3/07/2009 [3]

Fashion Notes: Spring 2009 Shopping List (The Kindly One)
by The Kindly One

My spring shopping list focuses exclusively on basics. Having lost a bit of weight recently, I'm less in need of sartorial reinvention than I am of having clothes that fit.

I've finally found the jeans silloutte that best suits me. Anything that hugs the thighs and creates a straight line down the calf elongates my legs and prevents me looking weighed down by excessive volume. Both smaller bootlegs and straight jeans work for me, and I like the medium rinse of this pair. The best jeans end somewhere over the arch of my foot, elongating my legs as much as possible, and at 5'4", I need anything that'll give the illusion of length.

I can't wear full-length jeans all spring, though. Living in the sub-tropical climate of east Tennessee means at some point in the spring, people stop dressing primarily for fashion and dress instead for the wretched heat and humidity. Jean shorts are one of the most popular warm-weather items to wear in this area, and they're something I've had difficulty adopting. Either the cuts are trashy and unflattering, or they have an ugly rinse/random shredding. These look decent, though. They wouldn't be too short on me, and they look like a simple pair of jeans someone cut into shorts, which is exactly what jean shorts should be.

It's amazing how much cooler and lighter I feel in the summer heat when I switch from trainers to sandals, and living in a climate where the weather quickly becomes humid and very hot, anything that can keep even part of me cool is essential. This pair meets my sandal prerequisites. They aren't flip-flops, they have the look of natural leather, they don't cut off my legs at an ungainly height, and they have interesting design details due to the placement of the buckle and straps. Also, as someone who doesn't believe in spending a lot of money on sandals that I will inevitably trash, they are not very expensive.

Being small, I best suit dresses that skim the body. Despite the prevailing belief that bandage and body-conscious dresses are overly tight, properly fitted ones hug and flatter the body. Their design is no accident; the placement of each stripe of cloth is such that these dresses make the most of their wearer's bodies, giving them their best possible shape. Plus, they have the wearable ease of shift dresses.

There was a time not so long ago when crewneck cardigans were cut closer to the body, hitting at the hip to elongate the figure. Not so anymore. They are now invariably cut in a boxier shape. As I have a torso and not a trunk, this cut doesn't suit me. I would simply like to buy one crewneck cardigan that can be left buttoned or unbuttoned without stretching or tenting over me in a slimmer cut. So far, this is as close as I can find. Along with this, I would like to buy one or two racerback tanks in the shape I used to be able to buy, with the straps slightly inverting to carve some of the weight in my shoulders. As it is, I can only find tanks with perfectly vertical straps. This will not do.

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3/07/2009 [1]

Beauty Notes: Wavy Hair
by The Kindly One

Having very thick, course, dry, wavy hair (as well as a lot of it), it has taken me twenty-seven years to figure out how to manage and take care of it. As a teenager, I cut my hair into the very short cut you see in my sketchbook, in large part so I wouldn't have to deal with so much hair. As it turns out, short hair is a lot of work. I ended up using a straightening lotion and blow-dryer for ten minutes every morning to style my hair. After a few years of that, I cut my hair a little bit shorter and used Bumble & Bumble Sumo Tech every day to give my hair shape and hold.

About a year ago, I got tired of having extremely short hair. I'd had variations of the same cut for ten years, and while it was flattering, I needed a change of pace. I decided to grow my hair somewhere between a bob and shoulder-length. Although this plan never saw fruition, during the few months I tried to grow my hair out, I had the opportunity to stop hiding it behind hair cuts and products and truly learn how to take care of and enhance the hair texture I have.

In the process of learning how to care for my hair, I've found it's far more important to actually care for my hair than it is to style it. I suppose that's true of all hair types, but I feel it's especially true for dry, wavy, and curly hair. Without proper moisturization, these hair types quickly start to look and feel dry, compromising even the best hair style. Hair has to look healthy in order to look good, and it's easier and cheaper to actually care for your hair than it is to load it up with chemicals to reverse the damage of previous chemicals/heat tools. It's also easier and cheaper to work with your hair texture than to try to turn it into something it isn't. As my hair has a lot of volume and wave, the only product I need is to use something to help hold its shape. This is a huge relief, having previously believed I needed to use force to coax my hair into manageability. I have found the single most important thing I can do to take care of my dry hair is to use a deep conditioner every time I shower. As long as I use a deep conditioner, I can get away with using lighter and cheaper leave-in conditioners. My conditioner of choice is Bumble & Bumble Super Rich. It's the only conditioner I've ever tried that has a fragrance I can stand and that leaves my hair soft to the touch. The first time I used it was the first time I ever had soft hair in my life, and hair texture continues to soften and improve with continued use.
Although I don't absolutely require a deep leave-in conditioner, using one does leave my hair even softer and healthier. The deepest leave-in conditioner I've found is Bumble & Bumble Grooming Creme. Combined with Super Rich, this conditioner leaves me with the healthiest hair it's possible for me to have.
I'm lucky enough that my hair looks good airdried. I'm not prone to frizz, and the waves give it body, shape, and texture. The problem is that I often go to bed with my hair wet, after which I wake up with it either plastered to my head or in some ungainly sculptural shape. When this happens, I wet my hair and use Bumble & Bumble Styling Creme to give it a bit of hold. As my hair is dry, the wetter or oilier a product is, the more my hair soaks it up and loses shape. Styling Creme has a dry finish and is one of few products that is dry and strong enough to keep my hair's shape. Plus, it looks better throughout the day.

Another problem with sleeping on wet (and sometimes dry) hair is that doing so compromises my hair's volume and wave. I use John Frieda Sheer Blonde Fine Mist Wax to enhance my waves. Spraying it directly on the hair deposits too much, so I spray two or three spritzes onto my hands and run it through the underside of my hair on the ends. The method of application brings back my volume, and as the product dries, it enhances and defines my waves. It's the only product I've found that does so. Everything else has either not had an effect or makes my waves kinky.

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3/02/2009 [2]

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