The petite winter coat conundrum

So it’s cold outside, and I needed a new coat, and once again I faced a sad truth: there are few options that look good on women of rather small stature.

I am really perplexed about the trend of oversized coats for the last several seasons. I think I’m small and cute, but with an oversized coat, I just look like a cute little box. Or like a little girl that borrowed her granddad’s coat (when I wear my granddad’s coat, I don’t look incredible. Which is a shame, because there is an incredible Red Army one. WHATEVER, I’m loosing track of what I wanted to discuss ^^)

So, winter is hell. For fall though, I am happy with 60s-inspired wool coat options.

I have this Tara Jarmon baby that I bought second-hand on Ebay:


(sorry for the bad quality of the pics, I don’t own a camera and can’t borrow one at the moment, that’s why I usually don’t post any photos…)

Kate Middleton wears Tara Jarmon coats by the way, that’s one more reason for me to adopt them!
So these structured wool ones look good with my body type (in my opinion).

But when it gets really cold, they are just not warm enough (and I don’t own a car, so I walk and cycle a lot). So I have to possess some other coat for winter. And usually, I’m happy that my winter coat option keeps me warm, but I’m not feeling  confident from how I look in it; it’s just utilitarian.

With my small frame, padded jackets or parka-type coats tend to make me double in volume; I just feel eaten by them. So usually, I don’t find them very pretty or elegant on me. I’m a petite teaching assistant, and typically, when I arrive to the university with a parka on, people mistake me for a student. For some reason, I just look smaller and younger in this type of coats.

The thing is, outside of parkas you tend to have mostly animal options (plus faux fur, but cheap faux fur looks gross to me, and I’ve not found anything of the right shape for me made of nice faux fur). But I have vegan tendencies. However, when I want clothes or accessories made of animal materials, I’m okay with buying vintage stuff. By the way, if a real vegan reads me, I would love to hear what you think of that, because I’m kind of a newbie to vegan ideas. I thought that buying new stuff encourages firms to make more of them, but buying vintage stuff doesn’t (and if the animal was killed 30 years ago, it doesn’t make any difference not to wear the garment… I think?). I’m an advocate for second hand shopping anyway: it’s better for the environment, and cheaper.

So this year I looked for a LONG LONG time on ebay and I found THIS beauty from the 70s:


Bingo!! It looks really warm, the material is pretty thick (I think it’s real leather and faux fur), AND it’s fitted from the shoulders to the waist, which is essential for me so that the silhouette looks cute (and I don’t look eaten by the coat).
I think it really shows that it’s from the 1970s, reminds me vaguely of YSL’s “Russian” winter 1976 collection.
It’s been shipped and I’m waiting for the delivery, I hope I’ll pull this strong look off (usually I’m not afraid of vintage/retro, it’s just that I tend to be inspired more by the 1960s than the 1970s).

Still figuring out what accessories to wear with it though!! I will need some headwear, but for now I can only think of options that would either not go with the coat, or be too 1970s-literal.


My routine for dry and sensitive skin

My skin has always been both a blessing and a curse: it kind of doesn’t know the word “sebum”. On the one hand, I was really lucky to NEVER have to deal with breakouts in my life. Makeup lasts on me like forever, because it’s never melted by sebum. I can use tons of oil-based products without any inconvenient (so I don’t have to worry about that when choosing what I’m buying). My skin looks delicate and translucent. For that, I am really grateful and I learned to appreciate what I have.

But on the other hand, it comes with some inconvenients. My skin is super dry, so if I have a shower with regular soap and I don’t use any cream afterwards, my skin just feels like the Gobi desert. Eczema pops quicker than I can say “camel”. It’s all itchy and irritated. In terms of makeup, anything silicony emphasiszes the dryness. In terms of skincare, I’m avoiding silicones (because they tend to evaporate, taking some of the moisture from the skin with them. I just can’t afford to lose any moisture). I also avoid alcohol like the plague (not fatty alcohols, those are a moisturizing ingredient. But regular alcohol: as an organic beauty user, I have to worry about that because organic skincare has to avoid chemical preservatives… so they often choose to use alcohol instead, as it is cheap, and you NEED to preserve the product, else bacteria breed in it, ewwww). I also have reactions to harsch products, or I’m just allergic to some ingredients, and sometime my skin reacts just because I rubbed it too briskly!!!

Though I don’t have a simple solution for all my problems, I found a few hacks to make my life easier. Most importantly, these habits that I have figured out make my life more simple (and make me buy less stuff than I used to).

  • I bought a carbon filter for my shower, so it blocks chlorine and other particles. This is amazing. I paid 20€ for it, and the filter lasts for one year. I don’t know about your country, but in France there is a lot of chlorine in the water (although it does depend on the region). Sometimes I just had red itchy areas on my body while showering or just afterwards, and I suspect the chlorine for causing that. Or maybe it’s some other particle that was the one to blame. Anyway, the filter made a noticeable difference: my skin feels less irritated after the shower. And it made a difference for my hair too!
  • I use a soft shower gel without soap or sulfates, so it doesn’t rip the natural oils from my skin.
  • Following Michelle from the BeautyEditor‘s advice, I stopped using moisturizer on my face every day. Most of the time, I just use oil instead. Moisturizing creams have plenty of ingredients, so it just multiplies the chances to get a reaction from them. Contrastingly, an oil is just one single ingredient. I’m using coconut oil at the moment and my skin got much less irritated. It’s nourishing, and I can massage it into the skin. I know coconut oil is not for everyone (it can clog pores), but there is a lot of oils on the market, and it is usually much cheaper than buying face creams!!
  • If I want to use a moisturizing cream, I really check the ingredients list (even organic creams for sensitive skin can contain irritative stuff like alcohol!!). A packaging that prevents the cream from being in contact with air is a good option: as there is no air, bacteria can’t grow in it, so the formula doesn’t need to contain any preservatives! (for instance the brand Ren does that, AND their products are usually very effective, although I never tried their range for dry and/or sensitive skin)
  • For my body, I like to have several products: when I’m in a hurry, I like to use an oil as it is the quickest to spread (at the moment, I’m using jojoba oil). I transferred it into a spray, so I don’t accidentaly pour some on the floor when I just have two minutes and I move quickly. When I need to nourish very dry areas (in my case mostly hands, elbows and shoulders), I have a very rich cream (a Lavera one at the moment), and a pot of shea butter. I only use these on my whole body when it all feels dry and/or when I have the time (thicker procucts are harder to spread, and they need to be massaged into the skin for a while before they soak in, though they tend to be more effective to nourish the skin).
  • For makeup, I am using RMS Beauty’s (un)cover up, an organic oil-based concealer/foundation. It leaves my skin really really soft when I’m removing it at night, it feels amazing (with a skin as fragile as mine, I would never use makeup that does not take care of my skin at the same time). This is a product that is not recommended for people with oily skin because it’s oil-based, and does not stay on for long on people with normal skin… but on me, it can last more than 12 hours, and if I don’t use a moisturizing product before I put it on, it even looks dry in places!! (such as my driest areas: my cheeks and the center of my forehead). That’s how dry my skin is, haha. I have pale cool-toned skin, and the shade 00 is a fit for me. Anyway, with dry skin, my recommendation is to avoid silicone-based makup like the plague, and go for oil-based products. On me they just look much more natural as the skin absorbs the oil. (contrary to the silicones that make everything look even drier)
  • I’m using the “Bioderma Créaline” micellar water  for removing make-up. I’ve not changed this habit in about five years. It’s the only product which is really efficient for removing make-up, while not irritating my skin. I really soak the cotton pads in it (it’s not too expensive and a big bottle lasts for long), so that I don’t irritate my skin by rubbing it with dry cotton. I’ve read that it is best to rince this product after using it, which totally works for me, because I shower at night, just after removing makeup, anyway. If you have sensitive skin and are looking for a make-up remover, if you go to France one day, I highly recommend you try this product 🙂
  • I compromise with lip product texture. Yes, what I like best theoretically is a matte lip (that’s partly because my lips are already pretty full, and the shine tends to make them look even fuller). But matte lipsticks just feel terrible on me as they dry down my already dry lips. Plus, it just looks chappy and unhealthy. So I stopped using matte lipsticks on an everyday basis. I invested in beautiful tinted lipbalms, which are less pigmented and less matte, but much more comfortable. And when I want something pigmented, I’m using Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche (I bought it on a trip to the US). It’s less matte than what I normally love, but it’s so balmy that it’s comfortable to wear. However, I tried the Pixi tinted lipbalm which is matte, and I read that the Nuxe Rêve de Miel (clear) lipbalm is matte, though I didn’t try that one.

So that’s it! It took me several years to figure this out, and in the process I did buy plenty of stuff that proved useless for me…

When to cut or NOT to cut layers in your hair?

I am currently growing a bad haircut so I spent plenty of time thinking about it, haha!

I arrived to the conclusion that layers make your hair appear more voluminous. But they also emphasize the fact that the ends of your hair are always already skinnier than the roots, and the top layer of hair is usually the most damaged (from hair pins, clips or elastic clasps, or from highlighting or styling them with hot tools). Thus, if you have a layered haircut while growing your hair longer, the damaged state of the ends and of the upper strands can be emphasized by the layering… Plus, non-layered hair is more versatile in terms of updos.

Thus, I recommend to cut layers if:

  • You have curls or waves that you want to show off. Indeed, layering will make your strands of hair lighter, which will make them keep all their natural movement! (rather than being weighed down).
  • Your hair is really thick, the ends are not thinning out, and it tends to have a pyramidal shape if you cut it one-length. Usually, the shorter your hair, the more acute this problem is.
  • You want to maximize your volume. Same argument: layered strands of hair are lighter.
  • You wear your hear down most of the time and you want it to have a nice movement.
  • You are maintaining a length that you are happy with.


So I recommend NOT to cut layers if:

  • You are in the process of growing out your hair. If you really want to keep a layered haircut during growth phase, from my experience you might have to go to the salon every 3 or 6 months to maintain your ends in good condition. Else, the ends may look really skinny, and the top layer really damaged. Contrastingly, a one-length haircut can handle a little thinning ends without looking too damaged overall, and it is much easy to trim by yourself (or by asking your mum of flatmate or whomever). My point is: from my experience, a blunt cut may save you a bit of money and trouble from going to hair salons during the growth phase.
  • You wear your hair up most of the time and like to try different hairstyles. I mean, have you tried to do a braid on layered hair? It just won’t hold (except for French braids and the like). Buns also look messier, and have more trouble holding, when you have layers.
  • You often wear ponytails, and you don’t like the look of a skinny ponytail. Because a layered ponytail WILL look skinny.
  • You want to maximize shine. Indeed, non-layered hair (or long layers, on very long hair, that start no upper than at shoulder level), give your hair strands enough length to reflect the light. Especially if your hair is not perfectly straight. Mine is mostly straight BUT a little bit wavy and frizzy, so I struggle to have shiny hair, and having enough length to reflect the light makes a major difference! (contrastingly, when I have short layers, my strands of hair go in every direction so they don’t reflect the light)
  • Your hair holds any wave or curl easily. If it does, you don’t need to lighten it up by layering it in order to get a nice effect.


Personally, my hair is rather coarse and voluminous. So from my experience: if my hair ends anywhere above the shoulders, I need at least a bit of layering, else I look like I have a bowl or pyramid on my head.
However, when it’s at shoulder length or longer, I tend to wear it up, because it gets tangled really easily. Besides, I like to wear my hair up during my commute so that it doesn’t get tangled or it doesn’t get stuck between my bag and my shoulders. But then I like to wear it down at work to look nice. And then wear it up again for my workout at night. Thus, I like to do a really quick and simple bun, braid or ponytail that should hold without any fixating product. Plus, my hair holds any wave really easily. So when my hair reaches my shoulders, I feel much more comfortable with something more like a one-length cut.
However, when my hair gets really long (like below the bra strap), it starts to be a little weighed down and just hangs there, so a bit of layers starting from the collarbones (or lower) can give it more movement without making the ends look too skinny.
Right now I’m at the awkward phase when my layered bob is no longer a bob, but is still layered! So I’m cutting the ends patiently until it gets one-length. And I’ll start layering again in one or two years when it becomes really long!

So in the meanwhile, I compromise: if you have layered hair but want to wear it up, there is a variety of pretty updos based on french braids that can look really cute (I can make a video to show the ones that I do). This is if you tend to do your hair in the morning and want to keep it up all day, because it takes a few more minutes than a plain pony, and might require a bit of pins and product to hold.

To conclude, I’ll say that we should really talk to our hairdressers. Too often I stepped out of the salon with a cut that doesn’t fit my hair type, or my needs, or just looks bad with my natural texture.

I can cut hair one-length myself on other people (I’ve been doing that on my mum for 15 years); I can also do it on myself when it gets long enough. But I’m too afraid to cut layers myself, I’ve managed to do it on a friend like two times, but the third time I tried the result was a complete failure, so I tend to recommend to see a professional for anything a little complicated. Unless you feel really adventurous and feel comfortable following a Youtube video for a layered cut.
So if you can’t afford to go to the salon every month, the required frequency of trimming, and whether you can envisage do do it yourself (or ask a friend) may be something to consider.

Have a good day, and have great hair! (and now I’m sighing, looking at the layered mess with skinny ends that ends somewhere around my collarbones and looks really funny)

It is time to wear lip gloss again!!


Emilia Clarke at the 2016 Emmy Awards, wearing a clear lip gloss

I just realized that I feel like wearing lip gloss again!

Last time I bought one, it must have been about ten years ago! As a teenager in the early 00s, it was in style. Plus, it is not too visible, so my parents considered it age-appropriate.

But afterwards, at least here in France, sometime around, I dunno, 2007, gloss went out of style, and became kind of the epitome of vulgar. Indeed, gloss is supposed to make lips look fuller, so it was categorized as “sexy”. Personally, as I don’t consider my style as “sexy”, I stopped wearing anything shiny on my lips for YEARS. Even for lip balms, I always looked for something as matte as possible. As for when I wanted to wear color, like a lot of Parisian girls, I turned to a matte red.

But then, in the 2010s, the Internet taught us all how to apply make up. Queen Lisa Eldrige explained that matte is actually better to make lips look fuller, because it catches the light as a single area of color whereas shine tends to emphasize any difference in volume (in particular, the limit of the lip).


Lips overlined with gloss: WRONG (sorry JLo). 

Lip injections also became more popular as a way to make lips look fuller.
And now, “sexy girls” wear matte lips.


Kylie Jenner on Instagram, rocking a matte lip. She was helped by lip injections, but also overlines her lip carefully with a lip pencil


Fashion is all a matter of cycles. For something to appear fresh, new and exciting, it has to have been out of style for long enough. Then it becomes fashionable for a while. Then it becomes mainstream, that is to say, people wear it because it is flattering, and they wear it the flattering way. But then it loses its element of novelty and freshness. So we have to look for something else for novelty.

I think that lip gloss fits in this category now. Clear, or very transparent, lip gloss in particular. With or without glitter. It used to be so out that it feels exciting to me now.
On the contrary, a colored lip with a bit of shine never really went out of style (I am thinking of nudes and pinks in particular). Thus, it doesn’t feel strongly either way to me right now. Do you agree?


And also, personally I don’t feel like wearing matte anymore because now “matte” is considered “sexy”.
When I abandoned gloss circa 2007, I think that it was partly because I had internalized slut-shaming, so I was afraid of being perceived as “sexy” by society. Now it is not the case anymore, hopefully I deconstructed my prejudice and I really don’t want to judge anyone.

It is just that I am feeling like today, if you want to tell society “I am sexy”, matte will send that message.


This 2016 look by Ariana Grande reads “I am sexy” to me


Whereas a clear lip gloss has become less mainstream, so it looks more “I am a cool girl” to me. Not that Kylie Jenner and consorts are not “cool”. There is cool-sexy, and there is cool-I-am-wearing-the-contrary-of-mainstream-sexy-haha-thug-life (hum this reaction might be slightly exaggerated).



(Emilia at the 2016 Emmys again) To me, this makeup look doesn’t read “I want to be sexy”

(on the Jennifer Lopez pic above, as she overlined her lips, the effect is really different, because it feels like gloss applied the OLD way: in order to make lips appear bigger)


So I think that deep down it is not that I really loved gloss (from 2002 to 2007) and then I really loved matte (from 2007 to 2015) and now I really love gloss again. Maybe I’m just the type of people who will always prefer what is not categorized as “sexy” by society. Thus, as society changes, my tastes change too.
(However, I don’t like how flat mattes or silicony mattes make lips appear too dry. If lips don’t look healthy, I can’t like the look).

I do like Kylie and Ariana and consorts!! It is just that my contradictory spirit tells me that, if I want to make a statement with my lip texture, I will look less “conventionally sexy” with gloss rather than a matte lip. Thus, more like myself. Thus, cooler (somehow), because we are always cooler when we wear something that embodies our inner self.


Does this make sense?? What do you think? Did you observe such shifts in lip texture trends in your country?

Food and drink hacks to feel better in everyday life

When you work and want to keep several activities (such as exercising, and taking part in an NGO), while keeping a social life… you are always on the go, and it is hard to eat, drink and sleep properly. I shared my tips for better sleep, now I turn to the eating and drinking part.

When I moved to Paris for studying, I was 17, and frankly I had no clue how to treat my body well with food and drinks. I was having an active life, but I was systematically tired. Part was due to my sleeping issues; part to my problems was caused by eating trash and drinking excessive amounts of tea and coffee…

Get enough hydration, but drink proper stuff
The first tiredness problem that you can fix by changing your habits is to drink enough. But some drinks are to be avoided, or at least consumed with moderation.
Water is good but… I realized that sometimes it was not helping to drink glasses and glasses of it. If you drink a big glass of water and still feel completely dry, try something sweet or salty (fruit juice or vegetable broth). Or even better, if you like the taste, coconut water. It is full of electrolytes and antioxidants, and it is the MOST hydrating thing I ever tried (unfortunately, it is rather expensive…).
And if I want something sparkly, I got used to sparkling water. It is fresh and bubbly, but without the bad chemicals of soft drinks. I didn’t like it when I was younger, but really now I love it.

Coffee is ok, but to be consumed in moderation
Coffee wakes you up, but if you have too much, not only it prevents you from sleeping properly, but in my case, it also feels kind of de-hydrating, and makes my stomach kind of burn if I have too much. Moreover, it tends to make me more nervous and sweaty. I tried to give up coffee, but I just can’t… what I could do is to reduce my intake to one or two cups a day: one in the morning, and if I feel like it, one after lunch. But never in the afternoon, and I try to really keep this limit of two a day. So I am trying to have a relaxed approach to coffee: it is OK if I can’t give it up, I should just consume little amounts.

Tea is good, but if you have too much of it, it can cause iron deficiency
If you tend to suffer from anaemia, beware!! Drinking too much tea can prevent the iron from staying in your body. Green tea is very good for your health, but it is even worse than black tea in terms of potentially causing iron deficiency. This is why, when I tried to replace my 6 to 8 daily cups of coffee (!!!!!!!! that was my worst era) by tea. I was feeling more tired than ever. Well, now, again, I am having at most one or two cups of tea a day, and it’s much better.
However there is a substitute: there are many sorts of herbal tea with all kinds of benefits. I prefer calming ones, such as verbena, chamomile or lavender, because again, I tend to be a crazy anxious freak, but they all smell amazing. And herbal tea gives the same comfort and satisfaction of having a cup of something warm, but without the drawbacks of tea and coffee. Again, that’s something that REALLY makes me feel better now that I figured it out.

Cooking for several meals
Eating healthy food on a regular basis makes you feel amazing. But if you buy it already cooked, it is going to ruin you, and if you cook it every day it just takes too long. So I try to cook BIG amounts of food, so I spend one hour about once a week, and then during the week it just takes a few minutes to warm a plate.
Reconnecting with cooking really helps having a healthier relationship with food. And using more raw ingredients and less ready-made ones makes me feel much healthier.

Carrying fruit and water around
If you are always on the go, you might often be hungry and need a snack. I try now to always carry something like an apple in my bag, so that if I’m starving I don’t have to buy the first snack that I can find (and that usually is packed with sugar, trans fats and all the bad stuff). And having a bottle of water with me makes me save a lot of money; I just refill it from a tap. Because when you are on the go, the nearest available drink tends to be expensive (and in my case, if I have to spend 2€, I tend to buy a soft drink, because spending 2€ on water feels just unfair).

Fiber is filling – really
I tend to exercice thrice a week, and walk or cycle every day, so I do need a lot of energy. But I discovered that I don’t have to eat tons of pasta to feel full. I am by no means advising anyone to “cut back on carbs to lose weight” (do want you want with your weight, and eating no carbs is probably dangerous). But I discovered that, after substituting more fruits and vegetables for things like bread and pasta, well, I am NOT feeling more hungry all the time. What i AM feeling, is less tiredness after each meal. I did not do this to lose weight, I am not on a diet (and in fact, I didn’t lose weight). But eating more things that are full of fiber such as salad and apples just makes me feel lighter and more energetic. I think the reason is that fiber makes your stomach feel full, but at the same time it is easy to digest. So when I have a workout at night, I used to eat tons of pasta at lunch, and then having a piece of bread as a snack in the afternoon. Now I eat less pasta and more salad at lunch, and have an apple for a snack. But I drink coconut water instead of water during and after my workout. Probably same amount of calories, no weight loss, but I am feeling so much lighter and better every day.

Learning to say no to booze (to some extent) 
I still go out, I still get drunk about once a week, but while getting older I slowly learned to say no to “one more drink”.
The hardest part when reducing your alcohol intake is peer pressure. But as I was seeing lots of friends, I realized that I was going out maybe three or four times a week (!!), and it was just too tiring to be hungover that often. So I try to go out once a week, but the rest of the time, when seeing my friends, I suggest to go ANYWHERE but to the bar. That helps.
Also, when I am already tipsy and someone offers me one more drink, I learned to say “no thanks” and have a glass of water instead. Really it makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER.


So learning to listen to your body and eat and drink healthier is a long process. I am not recommending to give up coffee or alcohol completely.
What I am in the process of doing is reconnecting to my own body; I try to not do something when I KNOW it will make me feel bad. Really, eating or drinking something while knowing it is good for me makes it much easier.
It is not about being on a diet because you hate your body. I have been there, I have done that (even having slight eating disorders when I was much younger).
It is about loving your body and doing it good. When you learn to love your body, you don’t feel the contradiction “it tastes amazing so YOLO I’ll have it / I feel tired all the time because I eat trash”. When loving your body and caring for it, there is no contradiction, just things that are good for you (so you are happy to have them), and things that are bad for you (so you are not sad to have just a tiny amount).

How to get more sleep (confessions of an insomniac)

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My cat is yawning, because he needs some SLEEP

I have been insomniac since I was 12 years old, so it’s been half of my life. I tried sleeping pills, but I didn’t like them: it kind of knocks you down to sleep, but this type of sleep never felt really regenerating to me, plus, I woke up feeling dizzy…

So I tried a lot of different ways to make myself fall asleep, here are some of the solutions that I found.

Don’t just hang around with your phone or computer
If I start reading “stuff” on the Internet, I can spend hours doing it. Indeed, apps and websites are designed for us to spend a maximum amount of time browsing them. It is just addictive.
So if it’s time to go to bed, I try to just avoid to get lost on the web. I try to check my emails and messages on my phone one last time when I set my alarm clock, and then leave it not too close to the bed, and not touch it until morning. My boyfriend even puts his phone into plane mode for the night; I should take this habit too.
As to my computer, when I don’t need to use it at night I tend to leave it in my desk at the office. If I have to work a bit late, when possible I tend to stay in the office, and then go home when I am done, so that at night I’d rather read a book than just navigate from post to post in the Internet. It also helps to separate work from leisure, and makes me feel more relaxed when I’m home.

Download an app to make your screen less blue and more yellow at night
Phones and computers don’t only vampirize our attention. Their blue light also sends a signal to our brain to stay awake, kind of like daylight. There is a solution to that: you can set your phone and computer to make their screen more yellow, for instance from 10pm to 7am, so that if you have to consult them, at least the light will not tend to wake you up that much. For instance on recent iPhones there is NightShift.

Watch or read something moderately boring
I tend to be a nervous person, therefore, much too often, when I go to bed, I just can’t help but freak out about something. My thoughts just keep spinning in my head, and I can’t stop this process that keeps me awake.
I found a solution that works quite well for me: I just read or watch something a bit boring. It focuses my attention just enough so I don’t freak out, but not enough to prevent me from falling asleep. I must confess that sometimes it does take LONG to fall asleep (when my insomnia is bad, it is not uncommon that it lasts four or five hours), but at least, I am calm, rather than mad at myself for not sleeping. It kind of alleviates the feeling of guilt for not being able to fall asleep even if you are crazy tired.
A book about something that you are not really interested in (for instance, in my case, heraldry), or a TV show without suspense that you like but have already seen ten times, should do.

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My kitty thinks The Idiot by Dostoyevsky is boring (I don’t, it’s amazing!!!), so he fell asleep


Learn to say “no”
Another of the reasons why I don’t sleep enough, is that I tend to be a “yes” person as far as social relationships are concerned. As the amazing Amelia Diamond from The Man Repeller puts it:  saying “yes” to three activities on the same night feels like “running around like a neon-paisley patterned chicken with my head cut off trying fit in too many cross, up, and downtown things”. And I used to do that: on the same night, go to a ballet class, an activist meeting, and then a dinner with friends. Or a dinner with a friend, and then a party at another’s place. I felt stressed and exhausted, and as I said “yes” to too many activities involving booze, it tended to end late AND give me some bad drunk sleep.
Then I started to try to learn to prioritize: I need my ballet lessons to feel happy, so they have to be a priority. I love my friends, but I feel really good meeting them if I meet ONE friend or group of friends at ONE event per night. I like to drink, but more than once or twice a week it is JUST TOO EXHAUSTING. Then it takes a bit of work to figure out what my priorities are, and to learn to resist peer pressure. For instance, I abandoned some of my activist activities that felt just too stressful and demanding. They were important to me but I learned to admit that I can’t sleep and work well while doing too much activist activities on my free time.
So, even if I still have a lot to learn and a lot of efforts to make, I hope I’m on a good track for this.

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I hope one day I’ll sleep as tight as him, every night


Getting enough sleep is important, our mental health is important. I decided to reconsider my life to get enough sleep and fight the stress. And I understood that saying “no” to a friend or to a non-for-profit activity, or putting the computer away, takes efforts. I hope I will take good habits that I’ll keep for the rest of my life.

How to have better hair, while buying less stuff

Is your hear dry, frizzy and fragile, while your shelves are filled with useless hair products? Then you might relate.

I went through phases of despair concerning my hair. It is incredibly fragile, so I applied all the advice I could find on the Internet: I didn’t dye it, I didn’t use heat to style it, I avoided hair ties that cause a lot of breakage, I bought a soft brush, I bought silicone-free and sulfate-free hair products. I used moisturizing products, such as hair oils and creams, every day. I did deep conditioning once a week.


Despite my good care, my hair still looked like a horse’s tail, with a little oil in it

All these efforts made me buy a lot of products, most of which I tried a few times and then just abandoned on a shelf, because they did my hair no good. So I was buying a lot of stuff, I was wasting most of it, and my hair still didn’t look healthy. It was frizzy, it was dry, it was growing in every direction, it got tangled really easily.



My hair at its worst: crazy frizz


So I had the feeling that I had tried everything, and my hair still looked weird.

Then I was completely lost, and tired of all these efforts which only kept my hair looking bad. So I cut it short. But it was still coarse, frizzy, and growing in every direction. I suppose I could have been happy in the 1980s, but in 2015 (at the time) it did not look right and I still felt bad about how it looked.

One day I washed my hair with shampoo (an organic one, sulfate-free and all), and I just faced a simple fact: shampoo does my hair no good. It strips it from the natural oils that my scalp produces. And my hair texture is such (I don’t know what the problem is, maybe it’s naturally porous or I don’t know), that if I just put some nourishing product on my lengths after washing it, it never looks right. If I put a little product, my hair still looks dry. Then I add a tiny bit, a tiny bit, a tiny bit, it still looks dry, and then boom, it looks oddly oily. It’s like the oils sit on top of the hair, it doesn’t look like healthy hair, just as dry hair with oil on it.

So weirdly, I cannot just compensate for shampooing by using conditioner, masks, oils, aloe vera or other moisturizing/nourishing products. I mean it works a little, still better than when I don’t put product in my hair, but it’s not good enough.

The last five years or so, I have been washing my hair every 3 to 5 days, which sounds like a reasonable frequency, but apparently it was still too harsh for my fragile locks.

I had tried the no-poo thing (completely stopping to use shampoo), first by using only water, then using only conditioner, including on the scalp. I also tried replacing shampoo by baking soda and vinegar, but my hair is just too dry and fragile for these products.



My compromise for better hair, with less consumption and efforts: one shampoo a week

So two months ago I found a new solution: I decided to go back to what I was doing when I was a little girl with smooth hair: not overthink it, and shampoo only once a week. The summer is actually a good time to do the transition: my hair got wet all the time (from bathing at the beach, in swimming pools, in rivers), everybody was coming around with wet hair, and everybody was sweating, so if my hair was a bit greasy nobody noticed. I washed it with water every time I felt like I needed it, but I stuck to one shampoo a week.

After two months, my scalp does not look very greasy after one week, I mean, it looks like I should wash my hair, but just as it did on the last day when I washed it every 4 days. Weirdly, there is only one spot where it looks very greasy: at the center of the back of my head. I suspect it’s the spot where I attach my ponytail; maybe the hair tie prevents the oils from circulating from scalp to ends or something like that. But luckily, as some strands of hair grow on the top of my head and cover that spot, nobody can see it (I can just feel a little discomfort, like I sense that spot being greasy). Maybe I should always put my hair up in different ways, so that the grease does not all stay in one spot.

If I work out (or just sweat after a hot day), if I go to the beach or the swimming pool, I just wash my hair with water. At the moment my hair just starts to reach my shoulders, so it’s too short to use conditioner.

So this is it: I use only shampoo (I have a sulfate-free and silicone-free one, but frankly, when I was at someone’s place and used a chemical one, I saw no notable difference). I use it once a week so I don’t use a lot of it. When my lengths are very dry, I put just a little bit of product in it (a silicone-free dry oil, the main active ingredient in it being macadamia oil).

And after two months my hair looks healthier. It looks more shiny, and less frizzy. It still has cowlicks and natural waves so it grows in an anarchic fashion, but at least it looks much smoother than it used to.


Hair just after weekly shampoo, no product in it

The one more thing that I need to do now is to wash my brush regularly, every one or two weeks. But it’s made of plastic so it’s quick and easy, I can just wash it with soap.

You might want to use dry shampoo during your transition to make your scalp look less greasy. I bought one in the supermarket, and it was expensive, lasted for not long at all, and made my scalp itch. So I just went back to plain cornstarch made for cooking. I tapped a tiny bit on my scalp, left it for a few minutes, and brushed it out. And boom, non greasy-looking scalp. Cornstarch is less filled with chemicals, cheaper, and one pack lasts much longer than actual things marketed as “dry shampoo”. (granted, if you can afford the high-end ones that don’t look white but transparent, it may be better than the cornstarch, which can left some residual white or ashy color in your hair if you don’t completely brush it out. But most “dry shampoos” on the market fall into this category anyway).
After two months, I am not using dry shampoo anymore because I don’t feel like I need it.


Sometimes, for better hair, less is more

I’m not recommending my method as a universal solution (though, if you have a scalp that gets greasy after a few days, AND dry and fragile lengths, you might want to give it a try).

What I learned from this experience is that sometimes, buying stuff makes our hair worse, not better. The more often you shampoo, the more you strip your scalp from its oils, and the more often you need to shampoo. The more you shampoo, the more moisturizing products (conditioner, oil etc) you need to buy to keep your lengths alive. The more you put styling products into your hair, the more you need to wash it. The more heat you use to make your hair look smooth, the less smooth your hair ACTUALLY is, so the more you need to use heat… etc.

Sometimes, it is more effective to just go back to what we did as kids if we had nice hair back then, or what our grandmothers did when they were young (at it seems that our ancestors did not shampoo as often as we do).

This post is not offering a universal solution, it is just the story of how my hair got better at the same time as I stopped spending too much money and energy to take care of it.

I think that we should stop this symptom that a lot of us have (and me maybe more than anyone else) to think that to solve a problem we always need to buy something. We don’t. And maybe our skin, hair, and all, can get better, while our shelves stopping to get full of useless stuff, and our bank accounts stopping to get empty from compulsive purchases. It is less alienating for us, and better for the environment. That’s one of the main things that I want to explore with this blog.