Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

Organic, locally sourced, homegrown, sustainable are all terms that have a certain ‘calling’ to them, they are not a fad anymore! It is the need of the hour, after decades of living in a world with absolutely no regard for Mother Nature, a world, which looked towards chemicals and artificial man-made products, we are slowly waking up to the realization that this blatant abuse must stop. Young, responsible individuals are stepping up, challenging the monopoly of big corporate and giving us an alternative, allowing us to make a choice in favor of Planet Earth and I think it is only fair that we as consumers, reciprocate with our support.

Luxe is one such niche brand, that I had the opportunity to discover only recently, home grown in North Osaka, catering to a select discerning clientele, very exclusive, high-end and absolutely amazing. Their aim to provide chemical & preservatives free, simple, organic, natural Japanese beauty products to support your health and beauty has yielded in a portfolio of products from daily care, cosmetics to health food – a complete natural & healthy lifestyle solution.

Some of the products that I tried, and can absolutely vouch for, stuff that made me a believer are (in no order of preference, I love them all):
Escar cream as the name suggests has the exotic Okinawa snail extracts. The package description say that mucous forms the key ingredient, which stimulates the formation of collagen, elastin and dermal components that repair the signs of photoaging and minimize the damage generated by free radical that are responsible for premature skin aging. My feeling is that this ethereal cream with its super smooth consistency works like magic for my oily skin. It is easily absorbed and the results are very satisfying even for somebody like me who is extremely particular about the products I use.

Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

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Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

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Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

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Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

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Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

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Luxe Herbal Natural Soap is handmade and uses natural herbs, spices, oils and botanicals providing not only cleansing but also soothing and moisturizing properties. I am very skeptical about using soap on my face as they strip the skin of oils a lot more than a face wash. However this soap is not at all drying. My skin feels smooth and moist. I don’t feel stretchy or dry and can easily skip moisturizer.

Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

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Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

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Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

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Luxe Relax Bath Salt can treat rheumatism and skin problems. I love that it has spicy herbs that make my bath smell delicious as well provide me that spa kind of feeling in my own house. Another thing I like is that one bottle is enough for 20 baths!!! It is totally relaxing and refreshing, a must ritual after a long hard day.

Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

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Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

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Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

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Luxe : Organic Japanese Beauty Products

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They do international shipping if you order in bulk. You can contact them through their website here or Facebook page here. Also right now they are offering huge discounts on their products. Grab them now!! And don’t forget to let me know your experience. Happy shopping!! Happy doing your part … staying eco-friendly & fashionable.

エチュードハウス Etude House Baking Powder Cleansing Foam Moist Review

I was given this as a free sample when I purchased items worth $50 at one time at Etude House but I think it retails around $4-5 for 150gms in Japan. This sample tube I got is perfect for travelling so I had been saving it up for my travels, but as it is cold here and I was looking for something moist I thought it was high time to remove it from my reserve stock.
There are three cleansing foams in the baking powder range but the one I have is called Etude House Baking Powder Cleansing Foam Moist, for making you skin moist and smooth. It is formulated with baking powder to penetrate and cleanse deep within pores to remove makeup and residues. It maintains rich, smooth lather for moist sensation. It is meant for gentle exfoliation thanks to baking powder. This has ingredients to balance the drying properties of baking powder and is suitable even for dry skin!!

エチュードハウス Etude House Baking Powder Cleansing Foam Moist Review

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エチュードハウス Etude House Baking Powder Cleansing Foam Moist Review

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エチュードハウス Etude House Baking Powder Cleansing Foam Moist Review

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エチュードハウス Etude House Baking Powder Cleansing Foam Moist Review Vivalahighstreet

It is quite thick and creamy, almost like a moisturizer. It lathers well and leaves the skin moist indeed. Only a small amount is enough to cover the entire face. I have used it on and off for at least 2 months now and I have enough product left for more one month. It claims to remove make-up but I don’t feel that it can do on its own. It is better to use a make-up remover and then use this as a facewash.
I have used it regularly for 10 days now and I don’t feel any major changes.
It hasn’t minimised my pores yet as promised but frankly I don’t expect a $5 product to magically reduce my pores!! It gives me a clean and supple feeling when I use it and that is enough for me!!

Lady Dior

At the very onset of this blog post, I would like to put your apprehension to rest and declare that the featured bag is certainly not an original Lady Dior Bag. Its not a fake either, so the overzealous keepers of the brand, the anti-fake crusaders can sheath their daggers, for I solemnly pledge that I do not support fakes, never have – never will.

It’s a knock –off, these are a bit different from fakes – although inspired, looking very similar, they do not feature any of the trademarked logo / branding.

To tell you the truth, I really didn’t want this (Dior) bag. It’s a long story, I will try to make it short … It was a dark and stormy night as the wind whistled through the trees – not really stormy and not dark either at the night market in Hong Kong. I was indulging in the touristic pleasures, soaking in the sights and sounds, enjoying the environs, window shopping when this sales guy decided to follow me around trying to sell me his wares. As I was about to reach the end of my patience and give him a swing with my trusty travel bag – he produced the afore mentioned culprit. He wanted HK$400 for it. I decided to counter him with a ridiculously low offer that would get me rid of this pest. HK$100 I offered, game set and match – and as I was about to feel a sense of victory, lo and behold – the bag was placed in my hand, my offer agreed to and one happy Hong Sales guy walked away with my crisp 100 note and a certain spring in his walk.
Carrying this bag around for a year now, has made me realize that bags that are soft and slouchy are the ones I prefer and I need bags that not only look big but can actually stock more than a few essentials!!

Lady Dior

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Lady Dior

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Lady Dior

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Lady Dior

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Lady Dior

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Lady Dior

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Lady Dior Vivalahighstreet

Turtle neck – GK-2 Market(Delhi), $10, 2003;
Skirt – Zara, $40 on sale, 2013, also worn here;
Coat – Opaque Clip, $50, 2015;
Cut – out Boots – H&M, 50 $, 2014; also worn here;
Bag – Hong Kong, $13, 2014;
Sunglasses – Zara, 45 $, 2012; also worn here;
Circle scarf – H&M, $6 on sale, 2011, also worn here;
Socks and tights – Tutuanna, $3 each, 2014;

ニベア Nivea In-shower Body Moisturiser Skin Conditioner Review

Best product ever for Winter. Period. ニベア Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturiser Skin Conditioner moisturizes instantly with no sticky feeling. It guarantees 24 hours moisture. It comes in 3 variants- for normal skin with skin conditioner and for dry skin and very dry skin with Almond oil. The key moisturizing ingredient is glycerin, a skincare emulsion that makes the skin soft and smooth. I was in a rush so I missed “very dry skin” otherwise I would have got that. A liitle extra moisture doesn’t harm, right!! But the one I have i.e.for dry skin is good too.

ニベア Nivea In-shower Body Moisturiser Skin Conditioner Review

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ニベア Nivea In-shower Body Moisturiser Skin Conditioner Review

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ニベア Nivea In-shower Body Moisturiser Skin Conditioner Review

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ニベア Nivea In-shower Body Moisturiser Skin Conditioner Review

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ニベア Nivea In-shower Body Moisturiser Skin Conditioner Review

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image via internet

image via internet

It is a thick and slimy white cream and spreads easily on the skin. It lathers on skin nicely and you can feel its soft texture. You should apply this while still in shower, because wet skin can directly take up the unique water activated formula so that it is easily and quickly absorbed. Wait some seconds and rinse off residues shortly. If you are running out of time you can rinse it off immediately because it is immediately absorbed by the skin. But it is advisable to wait for at least 2 minutes. There is no need to apply a body lotion and no greasy feeling after!! I am always in a hurry in the morning and even if I have time I am lazy to apply body lotion. Therefore this is a dream product for me (this one is good too but expensive).
I like the fragrance, smells kind of citrusy to me. It leaves a fresh scent on skin even after you have washed it.
It comes in a flip squeeze bottle. I find it difficult to squeeze out the product. It would be great if they used some brains and put a pump on it!! That is my only concern with this product.
This product is amazing. My skin is not itchy or dry even in extreme cold outside or dry air conditioned environment inside.
It doesnt leave waxy feeling or stains on my clothes. No!! Nothing at all!!
It doesn’t live upto its claim of moisturizing for 24 hours but 9-10 hours is good enough for me!! Yes I am content like that!!
I paid about $5 for 250 ml bottle in India (see what else I got from India here). A lot of product is required every time I use but it is still cheaper than some other similar products.
I didn’t have vey high expectations, so this product didn’t disappoint me. It is not as good as applying real lotion but it is almost there. I will definitely re-purchase. I have already located it in one of the drugstores here in Osaka!!

Jeanne Lanvin ジャンヌ ランバン La Rose Perfume Review

Jeanne Lanvin ジャンヌ ランバン La Rose perfume smells of roses with a touch of berries. It is a natural scent with a little touch of vetiver and cedar. It is a girly scent best described as a floral fruity. The top notes are raspberry, middle notes are rose and red currant and finally the base notes are of white musk, vetiver and cedar. However, I don’t smell raspberry at the top, just the rose.
The bottle looks sophisticated with two little tulle fake roses, one dark pink and another lighter one decorating the lid and an unique design on the cap. I found them really annoying while opening and closing the bottle so I took them off. The bottle is rectangular with see through glass and you can see pink liquid from inside.

Jeanne Lanvin ジャンヌ ランバン La Rose Perfume

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Jeanne Lanvin ジャンヌ ランバン La Rose Perfume

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Jeanne Lanvin ジャンヌ ランバン La Rose Perfume

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Jeanne Lanvin ジャンヌ ランバン La Rose Perfume

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Jeanne Lanvin ジャンヌ ランバン La Rose Perfume

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Jeanne Lanvin ジャンヌ ランバン La Rose Perfume

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Jeanne Lanvin ジャンヌ ランバン La Rose Perfume

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It smells fresh , romantic and delicate, very feminine and sophisticated, like roses in the garden after the rain.
Longitivity is horrible, doesn’t even stay on for an hour. It is best to be worn during the day time. I would never ever wear it to a club as it will not be effective. Best to wear it to work or the doctors as it is not over powering.
It is a very affordable scent, $30 for a 100ml bottle!! It isn’t anything exciting or something that took a lot of time or hard work to be created. It is just a simple and delicate rose scent. It is a safe scent to be given as a gift I feel!! However I am not getting it again for myself for sure!!

Japanese Fashion Event : 関西コレクション Kansai Collection, Osaka 大阪

I hardly get to go to any Japanese fashion events. And you can blame it on the language barrier!! So when I saw posters of Kansai Collection A/W 2014 event, all over the shopping centres like OPA or Isetan, frequented by girls, I squealed with delight!! Me and my friend along with thousands of fashion loving girls joined this event in October. It is held in Kyocera Dome every year and various Japanese fashion brands have their fashion shows. Also there are booths handing over free stuff if you are ready to line up for them (I could manage to get a bottle of sparkling wine, some cookies, i-phone cover, earphones etc.). Kyocera dome is basically a huge stadium, so they have stadium seats on one side and they had built a stage opposite to the seats and in the empty space between, they had stalls set up and had space to move around. What I liked the most was that we were not restricted to our seats, instead we could check out the stalls, watch the shows, eat karage and when tired just grab one of those empty seats. Shows were good and had some famous Japanese brands featuring their latest collections. And did I tell you..there were some musical performances by Japanese artists too!! Of course, I didn’t know them!! But music and fashion has no boundaries, right??

Kansai Collection Osaka

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P.S. This is what I wore!!

Kansai Collection Event Osaka

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Kansai Collection Event Osaka

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Kansai Collection Event Osaka

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Kansai Collection Event Osaka

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Kansai Collection Event Osaka

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Kansai Collection Event Osaka

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Kansai Collection Event Osaka

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Shirt – OPA Umeda, $10 on sale, 2014;
Skirt – Zara, $40 on sale, 2013;
Shoes – Zara, $40 on sale, 2014;
Bag – Armani Exchange アルマーニエクスチェンジ, $130 ( gift ), 2014; also worn here;
Sunglasses – Chanel シャネル, gift, 2014, also worn here;
Cuff – Forever 21 フォーエバー21 , $8, 2013, also worn here;
Watch – Marc Jacobs, gift, 2013, also worn here;

These sparkling wine bottles were free, only if you posted this pic on social media!!

Kansai collection Osaka

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Tried on these Mojito style shoes from Julian Hakes, London!! Don’t ask me how they resemble Mojito!!

Kabsai Collection Osaka

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バティステ ドライシャンプー Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

I love dry shampoos and I am going to do Batiste Dry Shampoo review today!! Dry shampoo is the best invention ever and who ever invented it, a big thank you from my end!! It is the same principle as talcum powder only a little finer, convenient and not messy!! Batiste is a very famous British brand and their dry shampoos come in spray cans. バティステ ドライシャンプー Batiste Dry Shampoo is the quick and convenient way to get soft, clean and fresh smelling hair without water!! Batiste offers an instant fix by revitalizing greasy, dull and life less hair. It thickens thin fly away hair and adds texture and body for that easy style solution. I bought two of these during my trip to Shanghai. They come in many variations and different colors to blend in your hair. The one I got was called Fresh and was quite expensive at $8 for a 290ml bottle.

It is very simple to use this dry shampoo. You have to shake the bottle vigorously, spray evenly over hair, massage into scalp with fingertips, let it sit a few moments and brush out. Don’t hold too close to avoid white streaks that are difficult to rub out. You can also spray in your roots for more volume. Avoid spraying on just one spot or you might end up with sticky white powder. Also I have noticed that white flakes are more if you don’t shake the bottle well or if the bottle is new. It leaves a lot of powdery residue that it just falls down every time I shake my head (serioulsy!!!) I have to be extra careful by combing my hair and rubbing it out before I leave my house so that people don’t think that I have gray fair or even worse dandruff!!!
By far this is the most effective dry shampoo considering the effectiveness. So now I apply it the night before. That way it works better in absorbing the oil and grease from the roots. Scent is really fresh and it feels really cool and refreshing after use.
It is my all round hair saviour!! It is the best product to absorb oil and go for 3-4 days between washes!! Great product for the mornings when I feel lazy to wash my hair or if I am running late. Also a great way to protect your hair from blow drying or straightening everyday. Well, the best option is real shower but this one is nearly there!! Inspite of all the cons I still can’t live without this product!!

バティステ ドライシャンプー Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

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バティステ ドライシャンプー Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

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バティステ ドライシャンプー Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

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バティステ ドライシャンプー Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

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バティステ ドライシャンプー Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

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French Dining in Osaka : Chelsea Dining, Namba Parks チェルシー なんばパークス

These pictures are from last year, by last year I mean December when I went to have dinner at Chelsea Dining チェルシー なんばパークス that is kind of French dining at Namba Parks. The restaurant has an all Japanese menu, with no information in English so the only way to order food was by looking at pictures and that is what I did. Food was good, and not to forget their selection of Sangrias. Frankly in the past I had only had Sangrias with red wine and fruits, but they had options like Mojito Sangria!! I ordered some sort of duck, cheese platter, charcuterie platter and steak. Food was excellent although the portion sizes of the main course can be improved upon. I also ordered hazelnut cake and a creme brulee for dessert which was really good, I have to say!! Last time I went there was in the evening, and so they handed me their cake and tea menu. I saw others having cheese and pizza so I asked them for another menu that had savory items but as I couldn’t explain it to them in Japanese, I asked for “french fries menu”. My fault, because they came back with two portions of french fries!! Not even one, but two!! Definitely will go there again, but this time after brushing up on my Japanese!!
P.S. I went there after work so just updated my work outfit with this broad metallic belt!!
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Sweater – GAP ギャップ, $30, 2013;
Skirt – Mango マンゴ, $55, 2008, also worn here;
Bag – Asos エイソス, $30, 2013, also worn here;
Belt – Forever21 フォーエバー21, $55, 2008, also worn here;
Shoes – Aldo アルド, $123, 2008; also worn here;
Sunglasses – Hep Navio ナビオ, $10, 2014, also worn here;

New Year’s Lunch Buffet @Windows on the World, Hilton Osaka ヒルトン 大阪

New Year in Japan is very unique and traditional. Most Japanese return to their hometowns over the New Year break and most shops and restaurants are closed. The majority of Japanese people usher in the New Year by staying at home and eating toshikoshi-soba (the reasoning behind this is that, like the long and thing soba noodles, we hope to live a long and healthy and thin life) and pre-prepared treats like o-sechi. In addition, people go to local temples or shrines to pray for health and happiness in the New Year. It is mainly a family affair with lots of eating and drinking. There are not many options to spend 1st January in Japan for foreigners I feel. Only a selected few hotels have special new year lunch buffet and most of them are reserved well in advance. Luckily I was able to make a reservation at Windows on the World, the Italian restaurant at Hilton Osaka.
Surprisingly it was not crowded at all whereas I had called Westin and Ritz Carlton too but they didn’t have a table. Now coming back to the buffet, I don’t think it was any thing special. Food was cold and nothing extra-ordinary. All the items were really average and not up to the Hilton standard I felt. I have had better food at buffets before. There were not many choices too and the dessert counter made me sad. And the drinks section lacked basic beverages like fruit juices and soft drinks ( they just had two mocktails ). To give them some credit they had two types of beauty drinks with collagen and all the ladies could be found at that corner!! The view from the 35th floor was stunning but the interior was really old and run down. I don’t recommend ruining your New Year like this, at all!!

View from the restaurant…
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Dress – Forever 21, $16, 2009;
Blazer – H&M, $40, 2014;
Shoes – Charles & Keith, $60, 2014;
Tights – Tutuanna , $3, 2014;
Sunglasses – H&M, $10 on Sale, 2014;
Bag – Chanel, gift, 2014, also worn here;

Latest Hair Trend : Keratin Treatment and My Experience

Keratin was always on my mind although I was a little intimidated as my past experiences with hair straightening had ended up on a bad note (read a lot of hair breakage!!) I guess it is because of the harsh chemicals they use in re-bonding. But thankfully keratin treatment has nothing to do with hair breakage. And as stylists tell it is the flat iron that is too hot and scorches the hair leading to its breakage. Keratin is a protein that is naturally present in the hair. Keratin hair straightening products are applied to hair and then the heat of a flat iron is used to seal it. Keratin is a restorative treatment. It strengthens the shaft and makes your hair resilient. It can make your kinky locks straight, sleek and frizz free!!
My natural hair before, straight but frizzy and wavy…
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Procedure:
I had gone for a hair spa on my last day in India in November and I casually asked about keratin treatment and they came up with two different kinds of treatment – one that would last for a month and another and the better one that would last for 4-6 months. No guesses about the one I chose!! After two rounds of shampoo ( plus one round at home ) the formula was applied on my hair. There was no bad smell or burning of scalp, it was just that my eyes watered a lot. Once my hair was completely covered with the formula I was given a blow dry and then my hair was ironed so that the heat molds the keratin treatment with the keratin already present in the hair to create new bonds for that super glossy feeling. This process took about 90 minutes on my shoulder length hair and cost me $160. I was told to wash my hair only after 24 hours and use a hair dryer to dry my hair.  I was also advised to use a keratin shampoo to maintain my hair treatment. The treatment is supposed to be effective for at least 3-4 months. But if I use normal shampoos with sulfate, chances are that the keratin will wash off.

P.S. Please check with your dermatologist before you go for this treatment because keratin has formaldehyde, although a very minute amount which is an allergen.

My IRONED hair before the treatment..with a little volume ( I hope!!)
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Life after keratin:
Well I am getting used to the fact that I don’t have to get 20 minutes earlier to blow dry and iron my hair in the mornings. Now I just walk out of the shower and I am ready to go. My hair is getting more complements. They look soft, shiny and sleek (specially under the lights). The amount of time I now save in the morning, is well worth the risks and money I paid.

My fine hair has no volume left but I am getting used to using a lot of volumizing and texturizing products and sprays. But that is MY UNIQUE PROBLEM. I am sure that people with thick, frizzy or JUST normal hair will not have MY kind of issues!!
My first day just out of the shower hair now…with the help of a liitle hair spray..
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Well for now, won’t be surprised if you find me under the lights fishing for complements!!