Fashion challenge update

Four months ago, around the start of the new year, I decided to embark on a fashion challenge to only buy handmade, pre-owned, locally made, or locally available fashion–with the exception of technical gear–and to only buy things I love or truly need or both.

Almost everything I come across does not fit this criteria. I’m seeing lots of cute items and fun trends everywhere, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have to muster up some serious willpower sometimes to resist indulging. I remember this being tough at first–a real challenge–but one of the reasons I made these goals this year is because I know it is doable, so I pushed through the initial resistance.

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My search for an SLS-free shampoo that doesn’t suck just got way more strategic

Over the years, I have tried so many “natural” shampoos in an attempt to avoid Sodium Laureth Sulfate, or SLS for short, that result in major build up, doubling the space my hair occupies around my head like Monica’s Barbados hair, except because of dulling build up instead of humidity. I’ve also inadvertently used products relying on surfactants or other chemicals that are actually considered worse than SLS in an attempt to avoid it (see Cocamidopropyl Betaine, an ingredient I’ve seen pop up in a lot of SLS-free drugstore shampoos lately).

People have been saying that SLS is bad for you for years. Three years ago, Forbes posted a response from an organic chemist that shed some light on why. Long story short, the chemist said there are two issues with SLS to be aware of: some people can have an allergic reaction to the chemical, and SLS can potentially be contaminated in its manufacturing process with 1,4 dioxane, a known carcinogen that’s pretty bad. Apparently it is possible to remove the contamination with another process, but I’ve never seen a beauty product at any price point touting that they’ve taken this step or even tested their SLS for contaminants. For anyone wanting to avoid SLS and its potential downsides, the chemist in the Forbes article recommended looking for products that “contain surfactants from the alkyl polyglycosides.”

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How to find glasses that fit and flatter your face shape and skin tone

If you’ve seen Jeff Goldblum (also this) or Oprah lately, you know the power of a great pair of glasses. I’m here today to share all my tips for finding the perfect pair of glasses for you. These tips work well for any type of glasses–prescription, reading, fashion, and sunglasses.

In my opinion, there are three elements to experiencing glasses nirvana, and the most important is fit.

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An unsponsored first reaction to American Blossom Linens’ organic cotton percale sheets

On a particularly hot summer day some time in the 1950s, a young lady went to the local five and dime to buy a set of bed sheets. She wore a poodle skirt she sewed herself and her favorite cat eye glasses. There were maybe two different sets to choose from. After feeling both, she picked one. It was cool and crisp, soft, yet weighty. That’s what I imagine buying sheets was like before the internet.

Sixty years later, many of us search far and wide to find a vintage sheet like this. Knowing that all percale is not created equal, we lurk in Reddit BIFL, sift through product reviews, and ultimately face more glossy marketing campaigns than ever that stoke hype yet lack useful product specifications. If I’ve learned anything from shopping for sheets online, it’s that the technology to assess how cool, crisp, soft, or weighty a fabric feels on a screen does not yet exist. We’re left to guess at all of these criteria from the one common albeit compromised data point every retailer of sheets does provide–thread count. If you’re shopping online, the only way I know of to find out where your sheet falls on each spectrum is to buy it and see.

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