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Hair care – my favourite minimalist routine

long hair care routineAs someone with long and fine hair, I’ve always struggled with finding a good hair care routine. Too heavy shampoos and conditioners would force me to wash my hair every other day, and too lightweight products would not nourish my hair enough, leaving my ends drier and drier.

After trying several products and  different hair care routines,  I discovered that we actually don’t need to buy super expensive products or follow 20-steps routines to have beautiful, healthy hair. The secret is to find a good shampoo specific for your scalp and hair type, and follow a simple but effective routine!

My minimalist routine consists of 4 steps and a few practical tricks. It can be applied to any hair type, provided that you use the right products for you.

 

1) Apply coconut oil before washing your hair

Research studies show that  coconut oil  treatments prevent combing damage of coconut oil hairvarious hair types.  In particular, a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science   clearly indicates the strong impact that coconut oil application has to hair as compared to application of both sunflower and mineral oils, which are  the most utilized base oils in the hair oil industry.  Among three oils, coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair!

The list of benefits of coconut oil for hair is very long. Being a  fatty acid, it has a high affinity for hair proteins, and  is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft. It is also  rich in antioxidants, and has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Regular application of coconut oil therefore prevents hair from breakage, repairs damaged hair, improves scalp health, fights infections and fungus, and supports hair growth. To date, it is the only known natural product that recovers the overall health of your hair!

My suggestion is to apply this wonderful oil as a pre-shampoo, in order to protect your hair from drying out while washing it.  Just apply it half an hour or so before stepping in the shower. Run the oil through the lengths of your locks, then use a wide-tooth comb to spread it  from scalp to ends.

2) Use  a shampoo specific for your scalp and hair type

shampoo hair type

Once you’ve picked a shampoo that is good for both your scalp & hair type (see my post on how to choose the right shampoo), gently wash your hair and rinse it with cold water.  Why cold water? Rinsing your hair with cold water will help close your cuticle after your hair is washed. Open cuticle is good while shampooing  your hair, but once you’re done, you want to seal the cuticle, so that your hair doesn’t get damaged too easily.

3) Apply a leave-in, multi-tasking treatment before blowdrying your hair

I love leave-in, multitasking conditioners! They have multiple benefits for your hair, and you don’t have to worry about how long you should leave them on your hair before rinsing! They serve many purposes: they nourish and moisturize the hair, prevent breakage and split ends, soften the hair, help correct roughness, aid in detangling, prime hair for styling, and… save your time!

Do not comb your hair when it is wet, as it is more likely to break or get damage! Just apply your leave-in conditioner on towel-dried hair, and proceed with drying your hair. Once your hair is dry, comb it and style as usual.

4) Apply a few drops of keratin oil from mid-lengths to ends whenever you feel that you hair is dry

The fortifying proteins of keratin oil will reinforce each strand of your hair. This oil helps hair resist breakage, and adds softness. It also prevents your hair from frizzing by eliminating static electricity. If you’re looking for a way to reverse a bad hair day, apply a few drops of this oil starting from the middle towards the ends. You will instantly get smoother and shinier hair! And a regular application of keratin oil will undoubtedly  repair your hair over time.

 

keratin oil

This hair care routine has changed dramatically my hair condition. I finally managed to grow my fine hair long, and dry and split ends are no longer a problem. I can’t remember the last time my hair looked that healthy – probably when I was very little 🙂

Let me know, in the comment section below, what aspect(s) of your hair you would like to improve. Till then, take care!

 

 

 

 

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How to choose the shampoo: 2 principles

Not every product is good for everyone! Before choosing your shampoo, you should answer the following questions.

1) What is your scalp type?

 

  • If you have an oily scalp, it’s important to select a shampoo that will remove excess  grease without stripping your hair of the natural oils it needs to stay healthy.  Avoid shampoos that are advertised as moisturizing, conditioning, or smoothing. Instead, look for labels that say volumizingsebum control, oil control, clarifying, or balancing.

 

  • A dry scalp isn’t producing enough of natural oil (sebum). Applying coconut oil before shampooing is especially good for those who have a dry scalp! Apply it directly to your scalp, and massage it with your fingers for 3-5 minutes. Then leave it for half an hour or so before hitting the shower, as mentioned in my favourite minimalist hair care routine . As for the shampoo, opt for a gentle formula made for dry hair that promote moisture and  hydration. Avoid products with alcohol, parabens and acrylates that will only irritate your scalp even more. If you scalp is also  itchy, inflamed, and flaky, consider visiting a dermatologist first, so that you can get the right treatment options for your condition.

2) What is your hair type?

 

  • long hairIf you have fine hair, you need a shampoo that adds thickness, and doesn’t weight down your roots. Avoid formulas that are packed with heavy silicones that weigh down roots and leave hair looking greasy after just a few hours. Instead, look for formulas that contain thickening ingredients, like panthenol and advanced polymers for increased volume.

 

  • Formulas containing sulfates are usually harsh on curly hair. If you have this hair type, the general recommendation is to look for anti-frizz, sulfate-free formulas that have conditioning ingredients such as coconut, jojoba, and olive oils.

 

  • Coarse and damaged hair  can sometimes look straw-like. Look for rich shampoos that contain the ultra-conditioning ingredients keratin and avocado oil for smooth, soft, and protected locks.

 

hair types

Once you are aware of your scalp & hair type, you’ll know what products you should be looking for!   Let me know, in the comments section below, what is your hair and scalp type, and how you normally choose your shampoo  🙂

 

 

 

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How to choose the moisturizer: 3 principles

While the choice of a good concealer or a good mascara is essentially based on moisturizerits  quality/price ratio, there are more factors to be considered when  looking for a good moisturizer! That is why many women struggle with finding a product that works well on their skin.

3 key factors should be considered when looking for the right moisturizer for you:

  1. INCI,
  2. your skin type,
  3. your lifestyle.

1) The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI)

INCI moisturizerThe International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, abbreviated INCI, is a unified naming system for identifying the ingredient content. It is based on scientific names and other Latin and English words, so for example you’ll see “Aqua” instead of water. A list of of several common ingredients and their corresponding INCI names can be found here.

The ingredients are indicated one after the other starting from the substance present in greater quantities and up to that in smaller quantities.  If you wander what each name corresponds to, you can decode the INCI of your product here. Just type in the name of the product, and you’ll get the list of  ingredients and their explanation! If you don’t find it this way, type in the name of the brand, then choose your product from the list.

Having excluded any ingredient you are allergic to, the general recommendation is to avoid the following ingredients, often found in moisturizers:

  • petroleum/paraffin/mineral oil: chemicals  derived from petroleum (sounds scary, doesn’t it?).  dangerous ingredients moisturizerThey seal off  the skin creating a barrier that doesn’t allow the skin to breath. Petroleum derivatives can therefore clog pores and promote the development of comedonal acne;
  • parabens: commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. These chemicals can mimic hormones in the body and disrupt functions of the endocrine system.

2) Your skin type

skin typesNot every product is made for everyone! There are moisturizer with a super good INCI that may, however, not be good for your skin type. Using products that are too harsh, even if they are recommended for oily skin, may send the information to your skin that more oil is  needed. Conversely, applying moisturizers that are too heavy can result in less natural oil production, which, in turns, lead to  drier skin. Understanding  your specific skin type is a crucial step in taking  care of your skin!

What skin type are you?

  • normal skin: well balanced skin. Not too oily and not too dry.
  • dry skin: dry skin produces less sebum than normal skin. It can feel tight, and may experience flaking.
  • oily skin: this skin type is characterized by an excessive sebum production. Oily skin is prone to comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and to  forms of acne.
  • combination skin: a combination skin is characterized by dryness on the cheeks, and an oily T-zone (forehead, chin and nose) .

The best moisturizers for dry skin are those containing hyaluronic acid (often listed as sodium hyaluronate), glycerin, and marine actives like algae. Look also for ingredients with emollient-like properties that will help keep your skin soft and smooth . Common natural emollients include squalane (derived from olive oil),  jojoba and avocado oils.

If you have oily skin, you may feel that moisturizer is your enemy, but this is a aloe moisturizermistake! Without it, your skin will become dehydrated, and it will overcompensate by producing even more oil! If your skin type is oily, look for a light oil-free moisturizer that’s labeled noncomedogenic. The formula should contain  ingredients that control sebum production, such as   dimethicone, glycolic acid, and clay. Aloe vera and antioxidants do not do any harm to oily skin, so definitely go for formulas that also include these super ingredients. Needless to say, if you suffer from moderate to severe acne, it is always a good idea to visit a dermatologist first. You’ll be given  the right treatment (often drugs that contains benzoyl peroxide) to kill the bacteria associated with acne.

Finding a good moisturizer for combination skin is a bit of a challenge. In fact, you need to keep  your cheeks hydrated, while  shining down the T-zone at the same time. It may sound impossible, but it’s not! My skin  is combination type, and after trying several products, I finally found a moisturizer that doesn’t clog my pores, and keeps my cheeks hydrated even in the cold scandinavian winters ! As for the oily type, the rule is to avoid heavy moisturizers that may clog pores. Instead, opt for an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula, that also includes dimethicone, glycolic acid, and clay to keep the sebum production under control. Since the cheeks area is much drier than the T-zone, look for formulas that include a heavy-hitting hydrator like hyaluronic acid.

Normal skin types are lucky, but this doesn’t mean they don’t need a moisturizer! If you’re lucky enough to be this skin type, a good moisturizer for combination skin is the best option for you!

3) Your lifestyle

The choice of your moisturizer should also take into account your lifestyle. How much time do you spend outside? Where do you live?

As someone who lives in a nordic country  and  spends long hours in the office, I don’t  need a moisturizer with high UV protection most of the time.  If you live, however, in sunnier countries, and find yourself spending time outside, especially during midday hours, it is very important that you choose a  moisturizer with a minimum SPF of 30.  I would also recommend wearing a hat. Stay stylish & safe!

SPF moisturizer

 

I hope this post will help you choose the right moisturizer for you! Please let me know, in the comment section below, what is your skin type, and if you are experiencing any particular issues  (dryness, irritation, acne etc…). I will be very happy to help you out, and target those issues in the next posts!

See you soon 🙂

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Best face skin care routine

daily skin care routine

Not having much time to dedicate to my skin care routine during weekdays, and not having enough money to buy expensive products, I had to come up with a fast and affordable skin care routine. I did some research online, and after trying a bunch of products and face massages, I implemented a routine that really works well on my skin. It consists of 5 simple steps that I’m going to list here.

 

 

1) Wash your face with cold watercold water face

You skin care routine starts by washing your face. Splashing cold water on your face not only wakes you up, but also has 3 wonderful effects on your skin:

  •      It tones your skin
  •      It closes your pores
  •      It promotes blood  circulation, reducing inflammation and swelling.

2) Perform a 3 minutes facial massage with your favourite cream

facial massage

With your favourite cream, give yourself a Japanese facial massage. It is simple, fast, and super effective. You can easily find several tutorials online. Personally, I really like the  Yukuko Tanaka’s face massage , invented by Yukuko Tanaka, a Japanese makeup artist. By stimulating lymphatic drainage, this massage speeds up the discharge of toxins and excess fluids from the face. If performed regularly, it will reduce wrinkles, lift the face, reduce pore size, restore the skin’s original elasticity, and make the bags under your eyes disappear.

After only 2 weeks of doing this massage every morning,  I  started to notice a huge difference: my skin looked definitely younger, and the fine lines due to stress and lack of sleep had almost disappeared!!!

 

3) Use a good  concealer

Unfortunately, lack of sleep and stress can really affect the area under your eyes. For those of us who work long hours, t is almost impossible not to be affected by under eyes bags and dark circles, that is why a good concealer can save your day! Make sure to use the right color for your skin: it should blend into your skin, and appear natural. If it matches your skin tone, you won’t have to apply any foundation on top of it. The whole point of this low-maintenance strategy is to look naturally flawless!

4) Apply a veil to matify and blurr your complexion

I like to keep things light by only applying a translucent powder -it  gives my skin a matte finish by soaking up excess oil, and it does not alter my natural skin tone. Translucent powders will work great on you as well, if you look for a natural, fresh look. I always keep one in my purse, so that I can go powder my nose whenever I want! Keep in mind that powders with shimmer only accentuate pores and highlight shine, so always go for a mattifying powder.

I am not  a fan of heavy skin foundations: they can clog your pores, alter the natural color of your skin, and give you an unnatural look.  With a good skin care routine, you will no longer need to apply any foundation; however, if you really don’t want to give them up completely, you  can use a natural mineral foundation which is comparatively less harmful.

5) Gently clean off your skin with micellar water

Before going to bed, make sure you remove any trace of make-up!  Micellar water is one of the  most gentle, simple, and affordable make-up removers. It is made of tiny micelle particles that work like a magnet, attracting the impurities in your skin: these particles contain hydrophilic tails that draw out the sebum and dirt on your skin, leaving it clean, fresh, and soft. Another bonus is that the solution doesn’t contain alcohol, so you can use it on sensitive areas too. Since micellar water doesn’t require any rinsing, it is a convenient cleansing option for anyone who’s travelling, at the gym, or simply always on the go.  And that’s it! Make it your evening routine, and start seeing benefits immediately!

This simple skin care routine only takes you 5 minutes of your day. If you do it regularly, you will soon see amazing results. Not only will your skin look much better, the Tanaka massage will also prevent the appearance of wrinkles, slowing down the aging process. Do try this routine for at least a couple of weeks, and let me know what you think 🙂

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About me

This website may be of interest to you if …

  • you want to be ready for any occasion without having to buy countless items,
  • you want to take care of your skin and hair without having to spend a fortune, and follow 15-steps routine;
  • you want to read about timeless beauty and style tips… and find the ones that work best for you!

We do not always have the time and resources to take care of ourselves. Here, I would like to share with you my tips on how to simplify your beauty routines and save  money on beauty products and clothes.

Welcome to Cute, Classy, Cunning The 3 Dangerous C!

I would like to share with you a piece of my story. This will help you understand why I decided to start this blog. Some time ago, I experienced a difficult time. I was no longer sure about anything: my life choices, my job, the country I was living in… I was living day by day without a plan,  questioning everything my life had become, without being able to find a way out. I was actually sailing without a compass.

As my insomnia became severe,  I started to look very tired. Sleep deprivation, in fact,  affects  collagen growth, skin hydration, and skin texture. Simultaneously, I was losing lots of hair.

I was no longer able to perform at my best at work, and I started to feel less and less eager to interact with people. As a result, I was  coming across as socially unappealing to others as well. I was entering the loneliness spiral…

One morning, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I could barely recognize myself. What had I become? And why? I decided that I could no longer wait for a big change  in my life to happen: I had to start with the core of the problem, which was a LACK of SELF-CARE.

Changing a job, moving to another country, would not have solved the problem, because I would have repeated the same pattern in the new country and in the new work place  as well.

I came to realize that starting to treat myself well with little acts of self-care would have trained my brain to value me more. Those acts didn’t have to be big. In fact, small changes can change everything -it is the so-called butterfly effect! This very idea came from Lorenz, an American mathematician and meteorologist , who suggested that the flap of a butterfly’s wings might ultimately cause a tornado!

Why not counteracting the damaging effects of lack of sleep by nourishing my skin with good products? Why not fighting the stress-related hair loss by taking good care of my hair? Why not implementing a healthy (but still tasty) diet?

The big change started from there. I read several tutorials online, tried several products and beauty routines, before coming up with a skin and hair care routine that would be fast, affordable, and effective. After a couple of months of implementing these routines, my skin and hair condition had notably improved. I was still suffering from insomnia, but I definitely looked better, and this made me FEEL better.

Simultaneously, I worked on my “style” routine: instead of going shopping on sad days, and buy several items that I would not use more than three times in a year, I made a  list of timeless items that could flatter me on several occasions. That list includes classical items such as a pair of black ballerinas, white shirts, and a tube dress… 🙂

I believe that style has nothing to do with fashion. Style is forever! And of course, it  is very personal. We don’t need to follow fashion,  but rather,  develop our own style by playing with a few  good quality items.

I’ve decided to start this blog because I want my experience to be useful to those who have experienced  a similar situation. Helping yourself feels great, but being able to  help others too feels even better!

The goal of this website is to  help you in your wonderful journey to self-care. I will share with you all that I have learnt so far: from simple and effective skin  and hair care routines, to supplements, diet, and style tips.

I also hope that this blog will become a safe place where people could share their little acts of self care. Your experience can be of great help to others!

If you ever have any questions or want me to write about a specific topic, feel free to leave a comment below, and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Margherita
margherita@cuteclassycunning.com

 

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