Ok, so why do people think sulfates are bad? Why is there this sudden rise in sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners? Are we all going to die from shampooing with sulfates?! No! We won't die. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with sulfates, it's just one of those crazes that has swept the nation and beauty companies see there's money to be made in a sulfate-free line of products, so they jumped on the band wagon.
All the organic-y people out there (before I get hate mail, I clearly realize not every person into organic products thinks this, I am being dramatic) think that chemicals are bad and the less chemicals the better, because everything from the earth is healthy and safe, right?! We know that's not true because arsenic is natural... anyways, some people out there like to use as few chemicals as possible because they think that makes them healthier. I also remember reading articles from years ago that sulfates make hair fall out. Since there are no medical studies to back any of this up, I don't see a reason why I should swap my lathering, cleansing shampoo for one that doesn't clean my hair as well. Also, every ingredient that's used in cosmetics has to be FDA approved. Let's have a little faith in our government, shall we?

I have used sulfate-free shampoos and I hate them. I can go several days between shampoos and after I used a sulfate-free shampoo, the next day my hair looked filthy. This was because it didn't clean my hair as well. According to the Beauty Brains, sulfates are the best way to get silicone (one of the ingredients in conditioners, shine sprays and serums that makes hair soft, shiny and untangled) off the hair . Almost everyone out there has some amount of silicone on their hair right now and if you aren't properly washing it off, it will build up over time. I think sulfate-free shampoos are not nearly as effective as regular ones.

Now, with that being said, there are some people out there who have very sensitive scalps and sulfates may be irritating them. Those people will probably benefit from using a sulfate-free shampoo. But by no means are people going to die and experience hair loss from a sulfate-based product. Give me my sulfates!

Do any of you kittens have a story you'd like to share about sulfate-free products? Do you like them? What made you try them? Leave a comment :) Meow.

Image: Google Images
References: www.LiveStrong.com

 So, what is BB cream? Is it a foundation? Is it a moisturizer? And what does it stand for?!

It's pretty much a glorified tinted moisturizer. It's a bit more pigmented (by that I mean it provides more coverage) than the regular tinted moisturizer but usually not as much as a foundation. I tend to like BB creams that are on the thicker, more pigmented side, but that's just me. Oh, and it stands for "beauty balm" or "blemish balm".

Some companies like to make it seem like their BB cream can do 84932 things when in reality all it's going to do is even out skin tone (but usually not as much as a regular foundation but more than a tinted moisturizer) and hydrate the skin (more so than foundation and I'd say almost as much as a tinted moisturizer).

I use a BB cream instead of foundation for my everyday routine. I love them. And for me, the thicker, the better. My favorite, currently, is by Missha (the one on the left). It's a Korean brand. A lot of people say they feel some of their colors are too ashy, but I have pink undertones that I don't like so it helps even them out. I'm also a fan of Maybelline's BB cream. It's highly pigmented (at least the medium color is) and I think it evens out skin tone very well.

If any of you kittens want to share your thoughts on BB creams, leave a comment :) Meow

It seems like every girl wants long, pretty hair. Fast. I see it everyday: a girl with medium length hair is anxiously waiting for her hair to get long but it just seems to never get past a certain point and it has a bunch of split ends. She doesn't ever get it cut because she's "growing it out". But that's the problem: hair needs to get trimmed in order to allow it to keep getting longer. This won't make hair grow faster, but it will make it longer faster.

When girls get to that stage where they claim their hair "just won't grow", it's typically not a growing problem they have, but a breaking off problem they have. Once a hair strand gets a split end, it will just keep splitting up the shaft until it breaks off. If it gets cut off right from the start, it won't get a chance to break off much of your hair. This is why it's so important to get regular trims: nip those split ends in the bud!

If you're hair is pretty damaged, I would see a stylist every 4-6 weeks. Ask for a "dusting" instead of a "trim". This takes off a minimal amount of hair; it only gets the very tips off. It may be that you need a good trim at first, but after that, if you keep up with it, dustings should suffice. For hair that isn't overly damaged, I would recommend a trim or dusting every 6-8 weeks. Once hair gets super healthy (that's the goal here!) you will find that every 10-12 weeks is just fine.

I know some of you may be thinking, "Why is she posting about this? Isn't that pretty basic?" but I've found that a lot of people out there don't know this. And that's okay because not everyone can be a beauty guru, or a beauty cat!

So how does one properly shampoo and condition hair? It's easy: remember that shampoo is mostly for the scalp area and a few inches of hair away from the scalp. This is the oiliest part of our hair so start out shampooing in this area and work the rest of the shampoo down the strands to about midway. The ends will get shampoo on them just from rinsing and that's plenty for them. There's typically not a lot of product or oil towards the ends so there's no reason to scrub shampoo on them. Over time this will just be damaging anyways.

Conditioner is just the opposite: you want to concentrate it on the ends and work up the hair strands. Our scalps produce sebum (oil) which will condition our hair near the scalp so there's no need to concentrate conditioner there. If you feel like your scalp is dry, you can put a little there but I would caution using a lot because this will lead to oily-looking hair quicker. The ends are the driest part of our hair and need some extra loving to avoid split-ends, which is why we start conditioning here.

Did anyone used to scrub the ends of their hair? Or start applying conditioner at the scalp? Leave a comment and share! Meow :)

So, I thought I'd bring you guys a quick little tip of the day about manicures. Don't your nails look amazing when you leave the salon and for like, the next day or so? And even if they're not chipped, after a couple of days they're just not as "wow!" as they were at first? Just add a layer of a shiny top coat and voila! They look freshly done again! Easy, I know, but sometimes you just don't think of doing anything to nails that someone else did. It's like almost taboo or something.

I'm sure many of you, when you were little, were told by your mom that if you wax your body hair off, it will grow back thicker and blacker. Am I right? Well, good news: that's not true! In fact, over time the hair follicles may get damaged and be able to only produce wispier, thinner hair. And it will never come back darker. Nothing from the environment can change the predetermined melanin in your hair. The reason hair seems to grow back darker is because, let's take arm hair for example, the hair on your arms has been exposed to the sun over the course of its' life and has been lightened by it. So when you take all of that hair out at once and lots of it starts popping back up at once, it's going to appear darker because it hasn't had a chance to be lightened by the sun yet. You don't notice this happening when it's only a few hairs at a time that are falling out naturally and growing back out.

Now, let's talk about shaving for a bit. My friends and I always laugh about how our parents would scare us after popping out of the shower when we were like eight and they found out we attempted to shave our legs. "Oh no! Now you're going to have coarse, dark hair grow back! Oh! You're going to look like a monkey!" And they scared us into thinking that our rash decision to pick up mom's razor would result in us looking like King Kong in a few days. Well, again, this isn't true. It seems true because when you cut a hair off right at the skin, it gets cut off bluntly (see picture below). When hair falls out naturally or gets pulled out (either by tweezing or waxing) it grows back out to a point, making it look thinner in diameter than it really is. And, like I said earlier, that leg hair had been lightened by the sun and none of this new hair that's going to grow out will have ever seen the light of day before, so it's going to be darker than the hair color you're used to seeing which also contributes to it looking thicker.

How many of you got scolded for shaving your legs when you were little? Or told that waxing was a devilish activity? Leave a comment!
See how at the tip of the hair strand it's grown to a point and how that's thinner than the part of the strand that's right at the skin? This is why shaving makes hair appear thicker/coarser when it grows back.

Images: Google Images
References: www.HairFoundation.org
In case you didn't already know, I'm a huge skeptic and very jaded by the cosmetic industry. So, when I heard about a shampoo and conditioner that had "apple stem cells" in it and that claimed to be volumizing and strengthening I was skeptical to say the least. I researched apple stem cells to see if there was any truth to this claim at all and surprisingly I found that there was.

According to a study in the International Journal for Applied Science, stem cells from a particular apple tree (Uttwiler Spatlauber) found in Switzerland could be beneficial to the longevity of skin and hair.

Why the Uttwiler Spatlauber and not your average Granny Smith or Washington? Because the Spatlaubers can stay fresh for an extraordinary amount of time which means they should have notably long-living tissue stem cells that other species of apples don't offer.

In this study they took isolated hair follicles and found that an addition of 0.2% of an extract of Uttwiler Spatlauber stem cells slightly postponed hair follicle cells from dying off- they continued to elongate for a longer amount of time. They also found that the extract, at a 2% level, significantly decreased the depth of crow's feet, when applied twice daily, after two and four weeks. Pretty much this magical extract positively influences viability and helps postpone stem cells from aging and dying off.

Hm. I guess I should try and not be so jaded all of the time, right? Sometimes what cosmetic companies claim is true...

Aloxxi is the shampoo I was referencing earlier. They claim to use "apple stem cell technology" in their volumizing and strengthening shampoo and conditioner, so I contacted the company to see if they were in fact using this species of apple in their products and they are!

Here are a few companies I found that claim to use these snazzy stem cells from the Uttwiler Spatlauber species:
Andre Walker Hair
Naturans (they're from Italy)

Images: Google Images
References: www.MibelleBiochemistry.com
                       International Journal of Applied Sciences: Plant Stem Cell Extract for Longevity of Skin and Hair