My Hair Story in Photos

I wanted to document my hair story, starting from a photo in 2016 to now, taking a look at the health and color of my hair (a part 2 of sorts from my post “Brunette to Blonde”).

In the first photo (air dried, no product), as crazy as it is to admit this, I thought this was just my hair type because it had looked like this for so long; damaged, frizzy and dry. I washed and flat ironed my hair almost every day because it was so frizzy (which of course made my hair worse) and the color was always bronze-orange from fading boxed color and in-salon color. I didn’t pay too much attention or care to my hair at that point.

The fourth photo (air dried, no product) is the healthiest my hair has ever been/looked. I then decided to go blonde (check that out here). It was a really great ashy platinum blonde that good with my skin and I really liked it. Sometimes you can do all the right things to maintain that color and keep hair healthy, but it doesn’t quite work out – my old red color started showing through the blonde, making the bottom half of my hair a yellowish, gold color (not a bad color, but didn’t go with my skin as well and I didn’t like it as much), while the top half of my hair was a more white blonde. Comparing the health and look of my hair to the before and after blonde photos, it looks drier more frizzy and thinner, not to mention the stiff, dry feeling after getting it wet in the shower still after 5 months. I think the light hair against my scalp made it look thinner as well. After much consideration, I decided to get a dark brown to blonde ombre balayage color melt and let my hair grow out (I’ll still need to get grey coverage). It looks much better and is lower maintenance without the damaging lightening sessions. Also, the darker roots fading into the lighter color makes finer hair look a bit thicker. Rewinding about 5 months, given the chance to go blonde again knowing what I know about my hair now, I wouldn’t do it. 

I have fine hair that has been thinning on the top of my head for a few years now. I’ve recently been using the multipeptide hair serum from the Ordinary; check out my 3-month results (I’ll be posting the 6-month results in the coming weeks).

Bangs (a fringe) are something I have considered for years every few months, always too nervous to actually get them (especially as I have wavy hair and I’d have to straighten and style them every day). About 3 weeks ago I had bangs cut to the bottom of my eyebrows and I love them. They were very annoying as I was getting used to them; they made my forehead itchy and I got a couple breakouts. When I wear my glasses they get oily streaks on them from my hair (I generally have an oily scalp and wash my hair every 4 or 5 days); dry shampoo helps. After washing my hair, I’ll flat iron my bangs and wear a silk bonnet type hat at night that keeps my bangs straight on my forehead. Once they grow a couple millimeters (which happens very fast) they need to be trimmed. The bangs make me look younger and disguises my thinning hair as I don’t have to part it.

Thanks for reading.


NIOD Re:Pigment Review

Re:Pigment (RP) is a skin brightening serum from Deciem’s NIOD that targets hyperpigmentation, uneven pigmentation and overall pigmentation issues.  This product claims to visibly counteract uneven pigmentation, such as spots, and to brighten the skin.

niod rp

Ingredients: Lentinus edodes mycelium extract, Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Propanediol, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Butylene Glycol, Acetyl glycyl beta-alanine, Myristoyl Nonapeptide-3, Tetrapeptide-30, Oligopeptide-68, Diglucosyl Gallic Acid, Evodia Rutaecarpa Fruit Extract, Algae Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Oleate, Disodium EDTA, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Pentylene Glycol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ethoxydiglycol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl glycol.

RP uses a number of active brightening technologies:  Diglucosyl gallic acid NIOD says is  sixty times more potent than kojic acid in visibly brightening skin tone, acetyl glycyl beta alanine is a  brightening peptide solution that claims to visibly enhance the skin’s radiance, a high concentration of white shiitake ferment claims to target the appearance of dark spots within less than a week of use, potassium azeloyl diglycinate (azeloyl glycine) is used for brightening and anti-redness, encapsulated oligopeptide-68 claims to reduce the appearance of pigmentation from sun damage, solubilized tetrapeptide-30 claims to even the skin’s complexion and red evodia fruit derivative claims to encourage skin radiance and evenness.

To target previous hyperpigmentation from sun damage and breakouts, I have also had IPL treatments (photofacial) and have used the Obagi Nu-Derm system, both with great success. I wanted to try a serum that was less expensive than those above and did not contain kojic acid or hydroquinone.

Directions state to shake lightly and apply in the morning and evening. Use sun protection.

I have hyperpigmentation (freckles) from the sun mostly on my cheek bones, redness to my skin and am prone to postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (these are darkened spots on the skin left behind after a pimple has healed). Hyperpigmentation takes a long time to treat, and I didn’t expect this product to work in just a few months (despite the claim that white shiitake ferment targets spots in less than a week), so took a full year to review.

I applied morning and night, one to two drops on each of my cheeks (the apples of the cheeks to the under eye socket and to the jaw line) as this is where I get hyperpigmentation from the sun and breakouts. There is not really a smell to the product. I don’t find it be oily on the skin, but it doesn’t seem to penetrate fully and on touching my skin, I can feel the product hours after application.


Above, on the right side of my face, I got a breakout at 3 months, which turned into a postinflammatory hyperpigmented spot. These spots take months to fade on their own. I can still see it faintly at 12 months, but I’m not sure it faded faster with the RP than it would have on its own. My complexion is more even and some freckling has a bit of fading by 12 months. I think for redness, NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides or SDSM is better (perhaps not for long term, however). Some of the scarring towards my chin and jawline looks better, I think due to more evenness of the skin. For evenness and exfoliation, I feel that vitamin C or an AHA or retinol serum does a better job for less cost and with faster results than RP.


On the left side of my face, the freckling looks a bit faded and there is more evenness to the skin.

I expected more from this product after 12 months of twice-daily use.  While RP claims to fight redness, even the complexion, fade spots and make the skin brighter and more radiant, there was only a slight fading of the hyperpigmentation and more evenness to the skin. As mentioned, vitamin C, AHA and retinols promote exfoliation, radiance and brightness as well as a more even complexion, while other anti-redness serums work better as well.

I will not repurchase this product.

Thank you for reading.

Briogeo Curl Charisma Chia and Flax Seed Coil Custard Review

Briogeo is a brand of hair care products that are 6-free (no artificial dyes, silicones, sulfates, phthalates, parabens, DEA) and color-safe. I have recently been using a few products from Briogeo (the shampoos and conditioners from the Don’t Despair, Repair line and the Be Gentle, Be Kind line) as I’ve been moving toward silicone-free products.

briogeo curl charisma

A newer product from Briogeo and their Curl Charisma line is the Chia and Flax Seed Coil Custard targeted toward those with curly, coiled and tightly coiled hair. This product claims to leave curls soft and supple while defining curls with a flexible hold.

Ingredients: Water, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Glycerin, Sorbitan Olivate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Rice Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Keratin Amino Acids, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Salvia Hispanica Seed Oil, Lactobacillus/Tomato Fruit Ferment Extract, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Acyl Coenzyme A Desaturase, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance

This product contains a number of moisturizing alcohols and oils, along with the following key ingredients; shea butter that softens and hydrates the hair, rice amino acids to prevent frizz, flax seed oil for conditioning and chia seed oil that nourishes and strengthens the hair. This product contains protein as hydrolyzed quinoa and keratin amino acids.

The directions on the Briogeo and Sephora websites differ a bit from those on the container. On the container directions state to apply evenly through damp or dry hair and style as usual, whereas on the websites it states to apply in small sections of damp hair while twisting and stretching the strands to activate the curl pattern (I suppose how to apply might depend on hair type and preference).

This product goes on a bit white and dries invisible. This is a thick, creamy leave-in treatment that smells light and fresh.

My daughter helped me review the Coil Custard. She has curly, coarse hair that is dry and prone to frizz. She has used it a number of times now; the first application she used too much and the curls, while defined, were crunchy and a bit flat on the top of her head. On subsequent applications she used less.

curl charisma



curl charisma


For the before photos, the hair was shampooed and conditioned using the Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair shampoo and conditioning mask and air dried with no other product. Some of the curls are not well defined (especially on the top of the head) and the hair is frizzy.

For the after photos, the hair was washed and conditioned with the same Briogeo products and the Coil Custard was applied throughout the damp hair with no twisting or stretching and air dried. It goes on slightly sticky and white, but as it dries, the stickiness and white color disappear. The curls do not feel stiff or crunchy and still have movement and bounce. Looking at the photos, the curls look defined and there is no frizz. The softness of the hair is improved. Scrunching my fingers through the dried hair I can feel a bit of the product. I wouldn’t say residue, but not like a leave-in conditioner that seems to absorb into the hair; however, not an off-putting feeling. I put a bit of product on my fingers, rubbed it in and let it dry and there is kind of a smooth, protective layer on my fingers that leaves no friction and they feel a bit moisturized.

My daughter’s next-day curls lose definition and become quite frizzy. With this product, the hair in the above 36-hour photo, while messier, is not frizzy and still has the curl.

I tried the Coil Custard a couple times on my hair as well. I have thin, wavy, frizzy, bleached, dry hair. I’m not sure my waves were more defined, but the curl custard took away the frizz (which probably enhanced the waves). One thing I am very happy about is how the product helped my longer bangs. They are not quite long enough to tuck behind my ears and turn into a frizzy, dome-shaped mess when air dried. I usually have to straighten them or clip them back. With this product I let them air dry and they look great; I don’t have to do anything else with my hair. At night I put my hair in a high bun and when I take it down in the morning, my hair has volume, some bigger waves and looks quite good just left down with no other styling.

In the before photo above my hair was air dried with a leave-in conditioner. The after photo is next-day hair after washing and applying Coil Custard in the morning and air drying, then putting in a bun overnight. These bigger, voluminous waves stay all day, and last multiple days if I put my hair in the bun overnight. This is an easy, no fuss hair style that, before Coil Custard, I had achieved using a flat iron, curling iron and hair spray.

I don’t think my hair was softer after using the Coil custard, but I’ve not used this long-term and my hair has a number of issues with being bleached.

I would prefer this product in a tube.

My daughter and I will continue to purchase this product.

Thank you for reading.

Three Month Results – The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density


I’ve been using The Ordinary Hair Density serum for thicker, fuller, healthier hair (and eyebrows) for 3 months. Over the summer I got my hair colored blonde and while I like to change as few variables as possible while reviewing products (I had been using the hair serum for 3 weeks before going blonde), I also wanted to see how my hair grows and let my roots grow in a bit so it is easier to see the results. You can read about the hair serum ingredients and use in this post. I’ve used about half the bottle so far and will post the 6-month after photos in the coming months.


I kept forgetting to apply the serum to my eyebrows, so I probably used about every second evening. I don’t think there is much difference in growth or thickness.


Looking at the front of my hair, I think I can see a bit less of my scalp in the after photo. Toward my forehead in the next photo there is definite hair growth.


The edges of my hair have shown some growth and thickening as well. Looking at the root grow out, the edges and front of my hair seem to grow slower than more towards the back (or there is just such thin hair the grow out is not seen as well).

I was surprised to see that I got results with hair growth after 3 months, as I definitely did not notice any results in the mirror. I will continue for another 3 months and write an update at that time, so keep an eye out in December for those photos.

Thank you for reading.



NIOD Modulating Glucosides Review

Modulating Glucosides (MG) from Deciem’s NIOD is a relatively new product that is silicone and oil free and targets signs of skin sensitivity, discomfort and irritation by reducing the look of redness and reduces itchiness and stinging, particularly caused by procedures, acids and retinols.


Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Squalane, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Hexyldecanol, Bisabolol, Butylene Glycol, Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside, Rosmarinyl Glucoside, Caffeyl Glucoside, Gallyl Glucoside, Tetrasodium Tetracarboxymethyl Naringeninchalcone, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol, Cetylhydroxyproline Palmitamide, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Palmitoyl tripeptide-8, Superoxide Dismutase, Sodium PCA, PCA, Arginine, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Aspartic Acid, Sodium Lactate, Mirabilis Jalapa Callus Extract, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Curculigo Orchioides Root Extract, Isochrysis Galbana Extract, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Stearic Acid, Dextran, Isoceteth-20, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Xanthan gum, Tocopherol, Propyl Gallate, Tromethamine, Dehydroacetic Acid, 1,2-Hexanediol, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol. 

This product contains a number of actives – bioactive glucosides to soothe skin and counteract uneven skin tone caused by sensitivity or irritation; a lipid complex to reduce stinging, itching and redness; a lipopeptide to reduce chemical-induced irritation; naringenin chalcone to comfort stressed skin; superoxide dismutase, a potent antioxidant; a pH balancing agent; tasmanian pepperberry to calm stressed skin; a molecule for barrier support that offers hydration.

Directions state to apply a few drops to the face morning and night. If using in a NIOD regimen, apply after CAIS, but before MMHC.

I bought this product before the Deciem website listed anything in the information section (this information really should have been on the website at launch), but read in an Instagram post that MG was for redness on the skin. I have oily, breakout prone skin that is not sensitive, but I have redness of my cheeks almost all the time except for some mornings (not from rosacea or other skin condition). I bought this product in hopes that it would soothe this redness. At the time I used MG I was not using any acids or retinols nor had any procedures, so cannot speak to the efficacy of MG in those scenarios.

This product is like a thin lotion, yellow in color and comes in a brown dropper bottle. It has a bit of a medicinal smell that dissipates quickly. While it does soak into the skin, I find that it leaves a bit of a protective barrier on the skin pretty much all day, so that I can still feel the product with my fingers hours after application (I don’t use too much; 3 to 4 drops for the whole face). I’m surprised it is to be applied after MMHC, as MG is thicker and seems to stay in a layer on the skin (though the MMHC still seems to get absorbed).

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I used NIOD Modulating Glucosides for 2 months, morning and night. On looking at the photos, it looks like I had about a 50% reduction in redness and some of the texture and irritation was reduced on the right side of my face. I don’t find MG to be hydrating on its own. I am surprised that this product comes in a dropper bottle, as this is messy to use. You can buy a NIOD pump separately, but why doesn’t it come with a pump bottle on purchasing? The same was true for the NIOD sun care, but I see it comes in a pump now. While there was reduction in redness (which I was hoping for) and reduction in the texture and irritation that is often present on the right side of my face, the Modulating Glucosides didn’t completely resolve the redness on further use and the redness, in fact, came back. I got similar, if not better results on using NIOD SDSM (albeit the redness came back after 4 months’ use as well). I don’t see sufficient or continuing results on further use of the Modulating Glucosides to consider a repurchase.

Now that I have blonde hair (I was a dark brunette; you can read about the process here), the redness in my cheeks is more noticeable. I just purchased Your Best Face Skincare’s reformulated Balance that similarly claims to calm skin and reduce redness and breakouts while balancing oils . The previous Balance formula was promoted as an oil absorbing mattifying treatment (which my skin loved). Keep an eye on this space to see the new Balance review in the coming months.

Thank you for reading.