Natural’s Not In It: I’m Back and Blonde

Back and Blonde | Those Graces.com

After a two month hiatus from blogging, I’m back! For awhile life was hard and I couldn’t find much joy in my once beloved hobby, but you know what they say. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, which is exactly what happened so I’m back! And BLONDE! So, so blonde. And I love it!

Let’s jump right in talk about the hair. I needed a major change and highlights weren’t going to cut it. I went to see my colorist and friend Andrae at Mirage Hair Design in Natick. When I got there I was on the fence about going really blonde, so Andrae and I debated back and forth about the merits of being really blonde versus just kind of blonde. Once I sat down in the chair, I told Andrae, “I just want to feel like I’m doing a big change.” He jumped in immediately and said, “Let’s go for it, let’s do all blonde.” I was sold!

Going blonde isn’t the most glamorous process. It takes time and you look silly. Which I guess is probably how I felt the the first time I was blonde, except my friends did it, which definitely was not a salon experience. I can tell you right now that if you want to go from brunette to blonde, do it at a salon unless your best friend is also a colorist. Just trust me on this.

The whole process took about two hours, which seemed short to me. I swear when I was blonde before and I would go for highlights, it took four hours. Needless to say, Andrae is amazing at what he does and I’m sure that’s why the process was quick and painless. No really, it didn’t hurt at all. I even have such a sensitive scalp that I tear up when people brush my hair. This was the fourth or fifth time Andrae did my hair. He’s done everything on me from ombre to brunette to blonde and it always turns out amazing.

I’m glad I took the leap to go back to blonde. I’m under no delusions that it will be easy to maintain, but I’ll tell you what, it sure does look great.

You can (and should!) follow Andrae on Twitter and Instagram. He’s hilarious, genuine and gives great advice along with doing amazing hair.

9 Steps for Unearthing Products with Harmful Plastic Microbeads (Updated)

How to Find Out if Your Exfoliator has Plastic Microbeads {Those Graces}
My heart sunk last week after reading the article Don’t Lather, Don’t Rinse, Don’t Repeat, which describes a study of the Great Lakes that revealed something quite disturbing. The microbeads, or microplastics, found in beauty products are ending up in the world’s lakes, rivers and oceans. What damage are they doing exactly? On Earth reports,

While microbeads may be less visible than plastic bags, they are no less environmentally problematic. For one thing, they “look just like fish eggs, and thus like food” to a variety of aquatic organisms . . .  All marine micro-plastics are troublesome, given their tendency to absorb and concentrate persistent organic pollutants that can potentially accumulate in the fatty tissues of anything that eats them. Moreover, when plankton, lugworms, mussels, or fish fill up on toxic junk food, they may well lose their appetite for healthier fare. Dutch scientists who fed mussels tiny nano-particles of polystyrene found that the shellfish subsequently ate less and grew less.

Since they are small enough to pass through pipes without issue,  they are also small enough to get through wastewater treatment systems. And Americans buy cosmetics containing more than 573,000 pounds of microbeads each year. This has become such an important issue that New York is now seeking to ban products containing microbeads.

Chances are you probably own products containing the plastic microbeads. If you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll want to invest some time figuring out if the products you use hurt our valuable water sources. In this post, I’ll teach you how to do that as well as provide natural alternatives to these harmful products. 

9 Steps for Unearthing Beauty Products with Plastic Microbeads

To figure out if your products contain plastic microbeads, you’ll have to perform an amateur science experiment. OK, I’m not sure it’s actually scientific, but it worked for me.

Step 1: Gather suspected products. This means cleansers, masks and exfoliators. If you’re unsure if something contains microbeads, squeeze a small amount of product between your fingers and rub them together. If it feels gritty or sandy, it most likely has microbeads.

Step 2: Grab the number cups or containers that corresponds to how many products you’re testing. Make sure you choose a container  you can easily fit your hand into. Line each product in front of its corresponding cup.

Step 3: Fill the container with lukewarm water similar to the temperature you use to wash your face.

Step 4: Squeeze about half a teaspoon of product into the water. I recommend using more than you would on your face so you can get a larger sample.

Step 5: Swirl the product in the water to break the product up.

Step 6: Let the container sit overnight. Make sure to leave the corresponding product in front of the container so you remember what’s in there.

Step 7: The next morning, slowly empty your container halfway.

Step 8: Put your hand inside of the container and feel for any product that settled at the bottom.

Step 9: If you feel that same gritty texture you felt in Step 1, you have plastic microbeads on your hands. Literally. It didn’t dissolve over 8 hours and probably never will.

I did this test for all my products with microbeads. Sadly, there was plastic in every single one. I’m still questioning what to do next. I’m definitely not going to use them, but I feel just as bad by sending them to the  landfill. What an eco-friendly dilemma! My plan is to throw them under my sink, pretend they don’t exist and then toss them out next time I move. I figure in the end, they’re probably less harmful in the landfill than they are in our lakes and streams.

Natural Alternatives

Do not fret! There are tons of natural exfoliators out there that you can make yourself. From baking soda to lemons to salt, I promise you there are options. I pinned about 17 natural exfoliators and recipes to my Beauty Board on Pinterest to help you get started!

What to Do With Them

Microbeads have been in the news lately, and like me, a lot of people are wondering what to do with their microbead-filled products. You can read more about what to do with yours here.

More Information

Thank you to readers who contributed more information in the comments section.

I know some brands are aware of the problem and are planning on phasing them out. I found this link: http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/industry.
–Caryn

I have been telling my clients for years to stay away from microbeads. Very harmful to the skin.People tend to rub so had without realizing it that they cause micro tears in the skin. Unseen to their eyes. These micro tears thin the skin making it age faster. It can also cause hyperpigmentation since the body is trying to repair those tears quickly.
Susie of Esthetic Goddess

That One Time I Was Blonde

That One Time I Was Blonde {thosegraces.com}

One January night in Philadelphia six years ago, I was busy bleaching the life out of my hair with the help of one of my best friends. We worked until late in the night, bleaching it once and then again. My scalp burnt in anger, but I got the desired effect. I was blonde at long last!

You’d be surprised at the downsides that accompany blonde hair. For example, people asked me, “Do blondes have more fun?” To which I would always reply, “If you consider being hit on by more creepy drunk guys fun, then yes, blondes have more fun.” Nearly every time I went out to the bar, I got some weird comment like, “Hey, Goldilocks!” Not to mention bouncers would stare at my ID where I was still a brunette, and look at me, apparently in disbelief that hair dye existed. It was the only time I was ever asked my astrological sign as if I had a fake ID.

Another downside of blonde hair is that your hair falls out. Well, not a lot of it and it mostly grew back. But I remember playing with my hair when all of a sudden, I realized that I had about twenty strands of hair in my hand. Yes, it’s true, if you bleach your hair at home with no prior bleaching experience, your beautiful blonde hair will mostly likely fall out. But don’t worry, you most likely have more hair where that came from. And if you don’t, then hopefully the clump came from the underneath part that doesn’t matter anyway.

By May, I was fed up with being blonde. The maintenance didn’t suit me. No one told me blonde hair meant sitting in the salon for four hours every two months. I don’t regret that time, however, because I saw my kindergarten teacher smoking cigarettes outside while her hair dye set in. So at least there’s that.

All this should probably mean that I would never want to go blonde again. But that would be a lie. I definitely would go blonde again. In fact, I would go white blonde like Lady Amalthea from The Last Unicorn. And you know something is a great idea when you want the same hair color as an animated woman who turns into a unicorn.

Kryolan Opens Boston Store and I Geek Out

Kryolan City Boston
When I first started geeking out about makeup about six years ago, one of the first brands I stumbled upon was Kryolan. The German brand made its name in theater and became critically acclaimed for its professional grade products. Up until recently it was only available in-store or by special order, which is why I never saw their products in person. So you can imagine my excitement when fellow Boston blogger Elissa of Style Wire told me that they opened a Boston store.

Kryolan City Boston
Though they have stores all around Europe, Kryolan City Boston is the brand’s third U.S. store. They also have locations in San Francisco and Chicago with plans to open up a New York City store next month. My experience at the store was unlike any other makeup store. U.S. brands like MAC and Sephora pale in comparison. The store is bright yet friendly and the products are a-maz-ing!

Kryolan City Boston
These products pack a punch with quality pigmentation and unique colors. They carry a green lip gloss and lipsticks that glow under a UV light. They even carry blue lipstick, which I’ve been hunting for since December. They have eyeshadows in just about every color. Needless to say, this isn’t a routine shopping experience.

Kryolan City Boston
The staff was also very helpful, and unlike other stores, I never felt talked down to. They had great advice and helped me find exactly what I was looking for! It was very welcoming and I never felt intimidated despite never having seen Kryolan in person.

Kryolan City Boston
Another great thing about Kryolan is that prices range from $2 to $42. I bought two lipsticks that retail for $2.40 each. Their lip glosses run around $17 while their HD foundation costs about $42. Since Kryolan manufactures their own products, they’re able to keep prices relatively low. If you don’t want to spend a fortune to have some fun playing with color, Kryolan is a great place to get started.

Kryolan City Boston
I definitely plan on stopping by Kryolan City Boston soon! You can visit them at 31 St. James Avenue in Boston.

View More Photos from Kryolan City Boston

4 Lessons Learned From My Most Controversial Post

When I wrote Lush and the Unnatural Truth last September, I didn’t expect it to turn into a controversy. In this post I posed that Lush Cosmetics was misleading consumers by advertising themselves as an “all natural” company while being anything but. One year, 12,000+ views and a few  Tumblr fights later, I’m sharing lessons learned from “The Lush Post.”

Lesson One: Don’t Silence Yourself But Be Ready For the Fall Out

I’m no stranger to controversy. I’ve shared my opinion on race and fashion blogging. I’ve criticized Lucky Magazine. I’ve talked about thinspiration. With these posts, I prepared for fall outs that never came.

I wasn’t ready for what happened after The Lush Post.

One of the great things about blogging is that anyone can share their opinion. However, this also means that anyone can disagree. Strongly. I realized that readers weren’t attacking me, but my view. And since I stood behind what I wrote, that was totally fine by me.

Lesson Two: Don’t Obsess Over Where People Are Discussing The Post

In the month following The Lush Post, I scoured my Google Analytics trying to figure out where people were  discussing the post. Don’t do this. It will drive you crazy. Eventually I realized this one posts wasn’t me. It was just a post, which people were entitled to have opinions on,  just like I was entitled to have an opinion.

Lesson Three: Know When To Stop Arguing

It is my  comment policy to reply to every comment left on my blog. The Lush Post was getting comments nearly every week, forcing me to revisit the argument continuously. After awhile, I was exhausted and I realized there was nothing more I could say about it.

So I did something I agonized about for weeks: I closed the comments. To date, The Lush Post is the only post where I’ve ever had to close comments. However, no comments were deleted. To date I have only ever deleted one comment on my blog because it was disparaging to Audrey Hepburn. No one messes with  Audrey.

Lesson Four: People Love Lush. Like Love.

Throughout this entire experience, the most fascinating thing to me was people’s love for Lush. I’ve encountered a lot of brands in my three years of blogging, but never before have I’ve encountered a brand that is a lifestyle as much as it is a company. If anything, the enthusiasm of Lush’s customers is a testament to the company’s products and branding.

In Closing

The most important thing I learned was to take deep breaths, don’t take it personal and know when to walk away. In the end, writing that post and seeing how people responded taught me a lot of blogging and the type of blogger I wanted to be. Would I write another post on this blog about Lush? No, probably not. But hey, that’s OK, too.