My Haircare Routine

I’m Currently Digging These 3 Haircare Products

April 26, 2013

Hello my loves! So I’ve got a closet that overfloweth with beauty products and I know that I’m really behind on writing my reviews on them.

And since I’ve got a lot on my plate this weekend and with an upcoming road trip next week to Amsterdaaaam!!! (oh yeah!!) I’m going to have to keep this one as short as possible! (I can hear some of you cheering to that…)

But I really do wish I could give each one an in-depth review because they’re all so wonderful!

So today, we are going to have a quick look at…

My Haircare Routine

1) Aroma Zone’s Base Lavante
2) Beliflore’s Restructurizing Hair Mask
3) Phyto’s Secret de Nuit

Aroma Zone Base Lavante


The literal translation of Base Lavante is Basic Washing. This is a ph neutral, stripped down cleansing formula.

You can use this to wash your hair, your face and your body. This formula is so basic that you could use it as a base to create your own shampoo or bodywash formulas.

I alternate between this base lavante and my regular shampoo. Because this is such a basic and gentle cleanser, using this as a substitute for regular shampoo helps reduce product build-up in my hair.

There’s nothing in here to moisturize, strengthen or repair hair. It just gently and effectively cleanses. Which is sometimes all I want out of a shampoo.

I discovered the Aroma Zone Base Lavante through the recommendation of a french haircare blogger Edelweiss Haircare.

It’s composed from organically sourced plant ingredients. I bought a 250ml bottle for 4.5€. And you can buy up to 2.5 liters (that’s A LOT) of this stuff for less than 30€. Not too bad, I’d say.

Beliflor Restructurizing Hair Mask


This is an incredibly moisturizing hair mask for dry, brittle hair.

It’s made with bamboo extract and ceramide, though it lists a lot of other ingredients before you even get to the bamboo part. I wish I had time to delve into each ingredient. But…

For now, I’ll just say that this mask smells wonderful and does a great job of moisturizing and keeping my hair soft and shiny.

I use this mask twice a week. The only annoying part is that you have to leave it in for at least 10 minutes. So in between the shampoo and the final rinse, I find myself sitting around wearing a shower cap and waiting for the mask to set in while my dry skin becomes uncomfortably dry.

I bought this mask from my hairdresser, who used it on my hair the last time I went to get my hair cut. He sold it to me very persuasively at 17€ for the jar. And then later of course, I found it in a natural foods store for 12€.

*Slaps forehead* Never buy products from your hairdresser!

Phyto Secret de Nuit


This is the star haircare product in my cabinet.

Phyto’s “Secret of the Night” received Votre Beauté magazine’s 2013 Gold Medal Award (alongside the Kiehl’s Magic Elixir which I still use and love)!

This is a leave-in treatment that works to hydrate and regenerate your hair at night while you sleep.

I’m not sure why sleep is a prerequisite for this to work… hmm, methinks that’s just another marketing ploy. But nevertheless!

I do prefer to use this at night and wake up in the morning with really soft and well-bodied locks. 

Actually will someone please explain to me what people are talking about when they say hair has a lot of “body” ? Because in this context, when I say that this product gives my hair a lot of “body,” I mean that it helps define and shape the natural waves of my hair. But I could be wrong, maybe that’s not what people mean when they say hair has a lot of “body.”

Anyway, I use this product twice a week. You can find it in many french pharmacies. Although Phyto isn’t an organic brand, their products have a high content of plant-derived ingredients.

Also, I need to mention that this is a really pricey product! One 75ml bottle costs me 27€. So you have to be efficient at using this. The best way to apply this is to use a wide-toothed plastic comb to distribute the cream throughout your hair.


So these are some of the hair care products that I’ve currently been helping myself to.

I’m curious to know from my readers if you’ve found a basic cleansing formula that’s the equivalent of the Base Lavante. I think this one deserves to be a staple in my haircare routine.

As for the Beliflore mask and the Phyto treatment, they both work very well at moisturizing my hair and keeping it soft. And I love them for it.

But I’m going to be on the lookout for alternatives. Hopefully ones that are a little easier on my budget.

What about you? What are your haircare staples and magical hair treatments?

Breathe. Creative Commons License Image.

Breathing. And Why I Encourage Yoga For Beauty.

April 23, 2013

“Breathing Is Essential!” I hear Jane Fonda say in a singsong voice from the TV screen.

I raise my eyebrow and snort out of my nose. I’m in the middle of doing a side leg lift, hands on my hip and I’m feeling extra ridiculous. “Oh really, Jane?”

That was years ago.

Please don’t ask me why I used to do Jane Fonda workout videos. It was just something my friend and I did for giggles, ok?

But to this day, I’ve never forgotten about that Jane Fonda workout. OR that ridiculous quote ringing in my head…

“Breathing is essential!”

Of course it is.

It’s a fact so OBVIOUSLY true, that oh my god, do you really need to say it?

But yes, actually you do. You do need to say it. And then repeat it. Again and again. Because most people don’t think about the importance of their breath.

Or how the quality of your breath can affect the state of your mind. 

Breathe. Creative Commons License Image.

Many of our important emotions (ie. joy, fear, anger, sadness) are associated with a signature breathing pattern. A recent article from Acne Einstein‘s blog breaks down four different signature breathing patterns.

Basically, when you’re relaxed, you tend to breathe slowly and deeply through your nose. Your breathing pattern is regular.

But when you’re stressed or angry or anxious about something, your breathing pattern changes. It becomes shallow, irregular and your ribcage becomes tense.

Even without thinking about it, your body’s breathing patterns change with your emotions. But this connection between our minds and our breaths isn’t a one-way street.

Things can also go the other way.

If you can control your breath, you can also begin to control your emotions.

Yoga as a Stress-Buster

When we let stress run amok in our lives, it can wreak damage to our physical health. And the health of our skin.

Stress and acne are strongly linked together (in my case, I would even say that it CAUSED my acne). It can flare up eczema and rosacea. And it can keep us from getting the most out of our much needed beauty sleep.

But in the face of a stressful situation, if we consciously relax our muscles and control our breaths to become deep, slow and regular breaths, we can reduce and disperse the feeling of stress.

Control over your breathing patterns means the ability to keep stress at bay. 

And this is why I constantly encourage people to practice Yoga.

Yoga is amazing at keeping your body physically fit and keeping flexibility in your spine! What’s more, the breathing exercises and lessons that you learn from yoga are incredibly valuable.

Before you can control your breathing patterns, you must first become familiar with the way you breathe while being completely relaxed.

And the best yoga pose for this is one that’s so simple you wouldn’t even think that you’re doing yoga…

SAVASANA: Complete Relaxation

Savasana (also known as Corpse Pose) is usually the pose that you take on at the end of your yoga practice.

To take on the Savasana pose, you basically lie on your back, with the weight of your body evenly distributed throughout and your spine properly aligned. Then you allow yourself to completely melt into relaxation.

The best place to practice Savasana is on the floor because it provides a firm and even surface. You can place a blanket under the length of your body. Also, to keep your body from getting cold, be sure to cover up with socks and a long sleeved shirt.

This is the best time to become familiar with your relaxed breathing pattern.

Image by Yana Stowe. Used with permission.

During Savasana, you can actively practice diaphragmatic breathing. 

This is a deep, calm type of breathing that allows the maximum amount of oxygen to enter the bloodstream:

  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  • Breathe in slowly and evenly through your nose.
  • When you breathe in, the hand on the abdomen should rise slightly higher than the one on the chest.
  • Exhale slowly and evenly through your mouth.
  • Find a regular rhythm between your inhalations, holding the breath in and exhalations.
  • You can deepen the breathing by exhaling more air, so try gently contracting the abdominal muscles to evacuate any remaining air from the lungs.
  • During exhalations, release any contraction of your muscles.
  • Close your eyes and relax your eye muscles.
  • Soften your tongue, your jaw and the skin on your forehead.

Even though this is a relaxation exercise, Savasana does require some effort to keep your mind focused. Your mind may tend to wander over to your worries or start going over your day’s To-Do list. But if this happens, just gently bring your mind back to the present moment.

Ideally, you would do Savasana right after a yoga session.

But even if you don’t practice yoga, you can and you should practice this simple pose!

Try doing this relaxing exercise at least once every day, right before getting out of bed or right before falling asleep.

I promise it will change your life!

Image Sources:
Breathe – by Shawn Rossi. Creative Commons License. Used with attribution.
Corpse Pose – by Yana Stowe of Used with permission.
Things To Do In Paris

Things To Do In Paris: Be A Tourist! (Part 1)

April 20, 2013

Things To Do In Paris

It’s been a while since I last wrote a Paris related post.

And since my friends and family have been asking me to do one, and since my older brother is coming to visit me next week, I’ve been thinking about all the fun things you can do in this beautiful (but sometimes very maddening) city.

So! For everyone who’s been curious and asking me about what you can do when you come here for a visit, here is my list of the Top 10 Touristy Things To Do In Paris. 

And by touristy, I mean all the things that EVERYONE does when they come here. So if you are looking to join the “Paris Tourist Club”, then the following places and activities are A MUST!

1) Climb The Eiffel Tower. Duh.

Okay, not everyone actually does this. Parisians don’t do this. And I haven’t done this. Mainly because I’m averse to long lines and waiting around for hours. But I’ll finally do this when my brother comes to visit.

I’m sure the view from the top will be absolutely worth it.

You can pay a small fee to take the elevator or climb the stairs, but only up to the 2nd level. To get to the very top, you have to take the elevator all the way and pay €14,50. For more information, visit The Eiffel Tower’s Official Website.

eiffel-tower copy

2) Visit The Museums 

Paris itself is kind of like a big museum. Even if you do nothing but walk around, it’s already like getting a free history lesson. But if you’re really intent on getting the most out of your time here, then you can steamroll through some of the biggest and most visited museums.

There’s the Louvre of course, which houses the Mona Lisa and A BUNCH of other stuff. And then there’s the Pompidou, which is filled with contemporary art and A BUNCH of other stuff.

There’s also a long list of smaller museums to check off. Like the Musée D’Orsay, the Picasso Museum, the Rodin Museum, the Salvador Dali Museum, the Orangerie and so on and so on. Basically, you can spend all of your time in Paris walking through museums and still lack the time to see everything.

If you’re a museum lover, I suggest you look into getting the Paris Museum Pass.

Inside The Louvre

3) Visit The Notre Dame Cathedral

After the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral is the second most iconic structure in Paris. It is located in the heart of the city, sitting on a little island surrounded by the Seine river.

There is so much gothic detail to admire from the front that people often forget the back of the Cathedral is also magnificent to behold!

You can go into the main part of the Cathedral for free. There’s often a Catholic mass going on inside. I’ve even seen people go into confessional booths to talk to priests.

If you want to climb the towers, you have to get in line and then pay a small fee to climb a seriously long, steep flight of stairs.

The Notre Dame

4) Walk Through The Catacombs

Paris has many secrets. Beneath the charming buildings and cobbled streets, there are numerous dark underground passages filled with remnants from the past.

The Catacombs is an underground network filled with the bony remains of around 6 million people. These bones and skulls were relocated in the late 18th century from cemeteries in central Paris, after they became too crowded and caused unsanitary conditions.

Now the Catacombs are open for the public to explore. The tour will take you from one part of the city and you’ll come out in another part. In other words, it is a long sprawling network of creepy delight. Not for the squeamish, the faint of heart or people who suffer from claustrophobia.

Though there are people who go together here on their first date!

Paris Catacombs

 5) Take A Stroll In The Gardens

The French love Nature! As long as Nature follows a few certain rules…

In order to get some face time, Nature must be orderly, controlled, manicured, symmetrical, well-coiffed and well-behaved. I can think of no better example of this than the way French gardens are manicured.

Seriously though! French gardens are impressive displays of how humans have shaped and tamed their natural environment.

My favorite garden in Paris is the Tuileries, which extends from the Louvre. I love the Tuileries mainly because it’s my playground. But other people also really love the Jardin de Luxembourg. I don’t go to that one very often. That’s like, on the other side of the river.

Other gardens you must visit: the one in the Rodin Museum (for the amazing statues) and the Jardin de Plantes (for the tropical green house).

Me Standing In The Garden

To be continued!

I’ll write the 2nd part of the “Top 10 Touristy Things To Do In Paris” next week. And keep an eye out for other “Things To Do In Paris” posts.

You can also check out my “Paris My Love” series.

Hasta pronto!