Friday, April 6, 2012

The Key To Healthy Hair

This just in S&SR Readers!

It has been found that lots of people do not know what it takes to get shiny, sparkly, healthy hair!  So I have created this detailed report to show you how to get a beautiful head of hair that makes Rapunzel jealous.
These are my top items that balance quality and affordability: Jojoba Oil (any kind), Paul Mitchell "Super Skinny Serum" and Lemon Sage Shampoo/Conditioner, Rusk Leave In Conditioner, Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist, TRESemme "Heat Tamer Spray," satin pillow case (any kind), microfiber hair towel (any kind), wide tooth comb/paddle brush (any kind)*.

In The Shower:
  • I know it sounds kind of gross, but try to wash your hair only every other day (less than that if you can.) Your natural oils nourish the hair and protect your scalp.  Mini Tip: If your hair starts getting oily on day 2 or 3, dab a bit or cornstarch or baby powder in, let sit for a minute, then brush out extra. No need for expensive dry shampoos!)  Feel free to SHOWER every day though.  BO is not hot--that is what shower caps and putting your hair up is for.
  • When you shampoo don't be rough with your hair.  Just massage gently into the scalp and squeeze the foam down the hair to clean the end.  Also, use a good shampoo.  Try and find one that avoids these bad chemicals Chick Here For Those Nasty Ingredients.  I like the Paul Mitchell "Lemon Sage Thickening" Shampoo and Conditioner.  They are light and the tea-tree oil, and other ingredients encourage blood flow to the scalp--thus promoting hair growth.
  • Apply your conditioner starting below your ears (so you don't weigh down those roots/clog the scalp) and squeeze down gently.   Let it sit for a minute or two.
  • Wash hair with warm to cool (not hot!) water.  Heat causes dry hair. Dry hair causes breakage.  

After The Shower:
  • Wrap your hair up in a microfiber hair towel.  They are super absorbent which cuts down on dry time. It is also lighter than a normal towel so it does not pull at your hair as much.  This means less hair comes out at the root or breaks.
  • De-tangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb starting at the bottom.  Hair stretches a lot when wet and is prone to breakage, so handle with care.  I don't typically need a de-tangling product, but if you have very fine hair you might.
  • Since my conditioner is very light, when my hair is combed and damp, I apply a leave-in conditioner (I like "Rusk Smoother Conditioner").  This helps it stay hydrated, protects it from the sun and other damage.
  • If you can avoid!  There are lots of tips and tricks for not heat styling (let me know if you want a report on it!)  If you are addicted to heat styling, on those lazy weekends, consider the air drying method (you know you're slumming it anyway...)
  • When heat is used (blow-dry, straighten, crimp, go out in direct sun for a long time, or plan on jumping through flaming hoops) use a heat protector.  No need to get anything fancy, TRESemme's "Heat Taming Spray" is well known for working and smelling great for around $5!
  •  When using bands to tie up your hair or make one of those ever so popular "Hunger Games" Katniss braids, use a hair tie with no metal pieces that will pull out your hair.  Make sure they are wrapped in thread since rubber/plastic ones also pull out and break hair. 
  • I use a paddle brush on dry hair.  Make sure to always start at the ends!
  • To repair damage from styling and life in general, 1-2 times a week use a deep conditioner instead of your normal conditioner to really hydrate those ends (follow your deep conditioner directions, but leave it in for a bit longer than recommended for extra conditioning!)  I like Aussie "3 Minute Miracle." It works great for normal-dry hair (maybe not for super damaged) and costs less than $5
  • I also think that using an oil treatment for your whole head once every 1-2 weeks is great for bring back oil to the ends and nourishing your scalp.  I use jojoba oil since it's chemical structure is the closest to human hair oils. I warm a liberal amount up in my hands and massage into my scalp all the way to the ends.  I put on a shower cap and sleep in it.  I shampoo it out and use my regular conditioning process the next day.  
Other Novel Tips:
  • Put your hair in a protective hair style when sleeping.  High buns, loose braids, and that "loopy pony tail" are popular.
  • Use a satin pillow case or head scarf when sleeping.  This prevents hair rubbing because there is less friction.  Also, the satin does not dry out your hair.  Cotton pillow cases such out the moisture.
  • Use a serum when you go swimming (or it is a really windy day.)  The silicone in the product will seal in moisture and make a protective barrier against the elements.  Just remember, silicone should not be used too often because the same way it keeps bad stuff out, it doesn't let good stuff in!
  • Trim those split ends.  When the hair splits, there is no way to "repair" it.  All those products are a waste of money.  Trims (either individual hairs on your own or a professional hair cut) is the only way to stop that dreaded "fried end" look.  
  • If you are trying to grow your hair, be aware that the average person's hair grows 0.5 inches a month.  So if you trim more than it grows, obviously, it will not get longer.
*I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions.

Shine & Sparkle!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Beauty Starts From Within

Reporting live to all S&SR Readers!

For my first report I want to emphasize that a beautiful body starts with what we put IN to our bodies.  So, I want to discuss my "must haves" for a healthy and beautiful inside.

My first attempt at staging the subject of a report.  Sorry you can't read "Flaxseed" on the Flaxseed oil.... 

Whole-Grains:  Here in America (like much of the Western world) we seem to eat primarily processed grains that do not have the nutrients or fiber that come from eating the whole grain.  They are in things such as bread, pasta and chips.  Often derived from wheat and corn, these processed grains are empty of nutrition and often very high in calories.  It is important to try and eat whole grains instead.  One easy way to get whole-grains is cereal in the morning (don't tell me you can't make cereal!)  When picking a whole-grain cereal you want it to have lots of vitamins and fiber, but as little sugar as possible.  As a self-proclaimed foodie, I also need my cereal to taste good.  I have recently been loving "Multi-Grain Cheerios*".

Dark-Leafy Greens:  Simply put, these things are packed with fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants (these prevent aging and bad "free radicals" in your blood.  Good stuff.)  You should eat lots of them. 

Tomatoes (and other Fruits): Fruits in general have lots of necessary nutrients, but tomatoes are a tasty beauty secret.  Tomatoes are great for promoting a shiny and sparkly complexion.  Not only that, but scientists are finding links to consuming tomatoes and fighting cancer! So next time eat that tomato on your salad, or opt for some tomato based pastas or soups instead of the creamy ones!

Lean Protein: Lean proteins such as eggs, tofu, chicken, and fish are great for having healthy muscles, hair, nails, and little growing humans.  One of my favorites is eggs. They are not only healthy but they have great beauty applications such as facial masks and hair conditioners (I hope to do a blog post just about eggs at some point.  Comment below if you are interested!)

Water:  Drink it. If you are 70% water, then it makes sense to look and feel your best you need it.  Debate all you want about filtering, water bottles, etc.  I say--if you are drinking water not sodas and processed juices, A+ for you.

"Blah blah healthy, exercise, I've heard it all before.  Healthy food is booooring!"  I know we have all had these thoughts.  These tips apply if you are a marathon running-baby saving-super model; or someone who is reading this eating your 16th slice of pizza (yeah, you know you just ate two whole pizzas.)

Spices:  Take anything healthy above and add some spices!  They really make the seemingly boring food sparkle (we love things that sparkle!) There are tons of spice blends available at your local market, or you can experiment with your own (or use google...)  Spices can make simple foods into a wide range of flavors from many different cultures.  When choosing your spices, be aware of which have salt and which do not.

Multi-Vitamin**: No supplement can ever take the place of the real thing (you know...that boring healthy food above) but it can help if you can't get around to all the healthy stuff in a day.  I always look for one with a lot of B vitamins, Iron, and Calcium (most do.) I personally love the "GNC- Womens Ultra Mega"* multi-vitamin.  This vitamin is taken twice a day with food.  Along with all your regular vitamins, it has a "beauty blend" of vitamins to promote healthy skin, hair, and nails.  It also has an anitioxidant blend for when you can't get all the necessary fruits and vegetables.

Fiber Powder**:  So if you are not getting all your veggie/fruit nutrients, it's unlikely you are getting all your recommended fiber for the day.  Fiber is important for....cleansing your digestive tract.  I like Benefiber* because it is an easy way to get that 20g of fiber you need a day.  It disappears into water or soft foods easily.  It also is tasteless and non-thickening.  No joke, I put it in a glass of water, stirred, and was left with water.  So weird.

Flax Seed Oil**:  Last but not least, the beauty lover's best friend--Omega3 Fatty Acids.  These are very important for your skin, hair and nails.  It also can lower the risk of heart disease and cancer (score!).  Naturally you can get Omega3's from fish/fish oil, or flax seed.  I prefer flax seed since I eat quite a bit of fish.  Also, there is some concern that fish oil pills can have mercury which is certainly not good.  There are lots of debates about fish vs. flax seed oil.  Susan Sparkles says, either one is better than none.

*I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions.

**Before taking any supplement please consult with your doctor, especially if you are taking medications or may/are pregnant.  If you don't, "it said so on the internet" is not a great explanation to St. Peter.

I hope you enjoyed my first blog post!

Shine & Sparkle!


Hello New and Current Readers!

Welcome to Susan Sparkles's
  You have come across another beauty blog!  My goal for this blog is to report back to the world all my accumulated knowledge regarding the world of personal beauty (wow look at this horrible first draft of a blog banner that I had...eek!).

I am now posting every Wednesday thanks to my acceptance into Her Campus Blogger Network! This is to ensure the highest quality of the information I am presenting. I am really passionate about giving FULL beauty reports (hey, is that why it's called "The Shine & Sparkle REPORT?!) This is so that you do not have to go to a lot of different places to get the low down.  The down side, is that the posts can be a bit long.  I strive to strike the perfect balance between comprehensive information, and wasting your time.  I also have "Quick Tip" posts for those of you who appreciate brevity.

I believe everyone is beautiful and hopefully this blog helps bring it out in you!

I'm looking forward to getting to know you all!  Feel free to comment and make blog post suggestions.  Please consider following me on Instagram, Twitter, and following me on Facebook! 

You will also find, that my guinea pig named Squiggles has become a fairly integral part of my blog.  Unfortunately, my hamster Atherton (RIP lil' guy) passed away before he could be too informative about beauty.

If you are looking to contact me for a media/event/sponsored post request, please contact me via any of my social media (TwitterInstagram, and Facebook) or via email:

Most of all, do not forget to...

Shine & Sparkle!

Here is a quick disclaimer.  My blog is in no means meant to take the place of professional advice.  Be it physical, psychological, or spiritual--I am no expert.  I am simply a young woman with a lot enthusiasm for the world of beauty.  Along the same lines, I am not endorsed by any companies for my product reviews.  If I ever get enough readers to get free stuff to review, you bet I'll let you know it is sponsored and give my COMPLETELY HONEST opinion (good or bad).  Also, any images/clip art I may use is probably owned by someone. I will gladly remove it if you contact me like a reasonable person.