the fisherman’s sweater ii

On March 24, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

It can take a few wearings for a piece to be integrated into my wardrobe, with the first few wearings somehow stilted or off. It’s too new, I overthink it, I try to do too many things at once. I didn’t love this look, in retrospect (and it wasn’t that long ago):

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I thought: I can do this better.

Not just wear the sweater again, though this is also certainly part of the plan, but try this look again. This torn jeans, oversized sweater, leather accents, minimal embellishments look. I want the lip to be brighter and more transparent, I want the eyes smudgier, I want a different hair/head situation. Bigger hair. No hat. Or not this hat. This hat needs different hair entirely (cue entirely new vision).

[What I imagine to be a common practice of trial and error is less notable (less potentially galling) when one is not in the habit of publicly recording what one wears…]

Anyway. Sometimes I want a do-over.* And not to do it “better”, exactly, as I think that’s not a very useful word here, but more in line with the spirit of the concept, the original vision. The effect in the first case is too polished, too tightly controlled, not casual enough – given the reference point. It looks fine, but it’s not how I wanted to look.

*This is distinct from liking a look so much that I want to try infinite variations of the look, which I suppose isn’t a bad definition of a clear personal style.

This is more what I was thinking.

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I swear I was trying to make a neutral face here. I think my neutral face is just not very friendly.

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Carraig Donn sweater (thrifted), AG jeans (thrifted), Ann Klein loafers, Skagen watch, Mulberry bag (thrifted). On the lips: MAC lipstick in Speak Louder. On the nails: Barry M Gelly nail paint in Satsuma. I think gold liner is such a great alternative to brown. Oh, and this is the Michael Kors bronzer at work, though I recently tried the Hard Candy Hula Hula bronzer and found it a great budget option in the same deep, shimmery style.

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This nail color is incredible, a saturated mandarin orange. Better angle:

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Why why why do I not wear my hair like this all the time? OK, I know why, but here is my official reminder to change my ways.

x

into: hair oils

On April 1, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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My hair is perennially parched, ultra-absorbent, and scoffs at standard conditioners. The answer: oil. Straight up oil.

I find that oil is the answer to many things.

[Though if your hair is fine, it would probably be disastrous to use the kinds of volumes I am using.]

So, I wash it (if it is a washing day), condition it, do a rough towel dry and then:

1/2 – 1 tsp. of a blend of coconut oil and Vatika, a coconut oil based hair treatment that you can find at Indian grocery stores†. It smells like coconut mixed with lemon and the rich, earthy scent of henna. It is not very expensive, but I blend it with the slightly cheaper coconut oil to stretch it and to up the coconut scent, which I love. These are both solid at room temperature but melt instantly upon contact with skin. Melted between the palms, I apply this generously to all but the first few inches of my hair (onto which I smooth the last remnants), and then comb out.

To the tips I add another custom blend. As with face oils, I just look for organic, 100% pure options, whatever looks good. The blend changes over time, as I just keep arbitrarily filling my little pump bottle (the Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment, which smells awesome and masculine and ambery, but which is not great because it has silicone* in, and is expensive, anyway, so I just use the bottle now) with whatever I have at hand, but it is something like this:

[it turns out I forgot to put a few in the picture…you will have to imagine them, or look at my post on face oils]

macadamia nut oil. 100% pure, the kind you would buy for cooking. This shows up in a lot of drugstore hair products these days, and it is not a coincidence. No distinct odor. This is the dominant ingredient.

sweet almond oil. Because it’s not too expensive and is ultra-nourishing. This is probably next on the official ingredient list, quantity-wise.

avocado oil.  Smells a bit like food…but only a bit. Avocados and avocado oil are good for most things relating to hair and skin. I also cook with this.

olive oil.  Also extremely versatile and generally good for hair and skin. And doesn’t have to be expensive.

apricot kernel oil. Why not? Provided the textures play well together, the more the merrier, with oil blends.

argan oil.  Just a few drops, to give the blend an air of luxury.

sesame oil.  Maybe a TINY bit, because it smells strongly of food, but it is great for skin and hair. Great way to use that inedible sesame oil you accidentally bought from the American supermarket, because six years ago you thought you would be fine not going with an Asian brand. [But it was not fine, was it?] Alternatively you can put it on your feet.

All of this is still cheaper than some high-end leave-in treatments I’ve tried, and I am so much more satisfied with these results.

[Soon I’ll experiment with castor oil as a base for a scalp stimulant. Castor oil is a lot more viscous than the oils above and doesn’t mix readily with them.]

Pin up into the loose, old-lady bun I’ve been doing lately, and air dry [always]. My hair IS actually oily after this. For hours. That is, if you touched it your hand would come away slightly besmirched. It doesn’t look oily, though. It glows with health, and is soft and hydrated. The curls are wonderfully defined and have good integrity (once dry I can move them around quite a bit before they disband into frizz). And I don’t want people touching my hair anyway.

 

† I cannot, however, recommend the jasmine hair oils you can also find in Indian grocery stores. Jasmine is a notoriously animalic, fecal essence (some of the molecules in jasmine and feces are nearly identical), and you will not smell like a flower garden.

* Silicone is not bad, really, but its effects are cosmetic only, and you have to wash periodically with clarifying shampoos to remove build-up. I avoid it because I want a genuine sense of the health of my hair, and I want to nourish it, not just create the effect of nourishing it. It’s in so many products now, though.