She SAID: Going to Great Lengths

Terri Kennerson

Hair is one of those divisive topics that can make or break any given beauty conversation. While the crown on one’s head is as individual as the wearer, there are plenty of opinions on who should wear what, in what cut, color and style. The onset of the natural hair movement introduced plenty of new opinions, and now a random click on YouTube will introduce you to some of the strangest ‘hair-growth’ techniques you’ve ever seen. From hanging upside down to chucking shampoo forever, how far you go depends on your commitment to the (hair growth) cause. Believe it or not, some of this stuff actually works.

INVERSION:

Technique: Hang upside down for 3 to 5 minutes a day (off your bed or a chair). The idea is to longhair3have your head below your heart. While upside down, massage oil of choice into the scalp.

Pros: Once you realize that the only requirement is having your head ‘down’ – you can improvise. Yoga is a fantastic cheat. Forward Fold, Downward Facing Dog, or any head or handstand will do the trick. You won’t be able to do the massage in anything but a forward fold, but we found that even without oil, the scalp was stimulated by the rush of blood to the area.

Cons: If you don’t practice yoga, and can’t remember to actually go upside down… it’s a challenge to stay consistent. Also, depending on your choice of oils, styling can be a pain.

JAMAICAN BLACK CASTOR OIL:

If it ain’t broke…

Women (and men) of color have been using Jamaican Black Castor Oil for ages. The ash content of longhair2the oil is said to be the secret ingredient. This dark thick oil goes directly onto the scalp to treat follicles at the root and promote growth.

Pros: You can mix this oil with others to thin it out, and it’ll still work pretty well. You only have to deal with it once a week for great results.

Cons: It smells awful. Even with mixing and the addition of essential oils, it’s hard to get rid of the ‘burnt’ smell that is characteristic of the oil. It’s incredibly thick and difficult to spread on its own, and it sticks to everything like glue. Unless you’re keen to stay in the house for a couple of days or wear a stain-resistant hat while you’re out, a chignon may be your style choice for the duration of use.

PHYLIA DE M. RECONNECT:

This post-shampoo spray on treatment goes directly onto the scalp. The not-so-secret ingredients are fulvic and humic acids, and claim to grow hair much like a plant by cultivating the scalp to create ideal growth conditions.longhair1

Pros: Easy to use. After shampoo/conditioner, spray directly onto scalp and style as usual.

Cons: Expensive (considering amount/frequency per use). At $80 a bottle, you can easily go through 4 ounces in a week or two. There is also no moisturizing content, which means the use of additional products. A regimen with this spray can quickly add up, and may not be worth it in the long run.

We conducted a very unscientific study (one month for each technique/product), and found that some of them can actually promote growth upwards of an inch a week, hair type and natural growth rate considered.

He SAID: Seasonal Blues

Stanley Popovich

Autumn is upon us. And while millions of people celebrate the start to the new season, many others experience the opposite. The cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is still up for debate, but some scientists believe that hormonal changes and lack of sunlight during Autumn and Winter trigger the condition. The result can leave the affected person depressed, fatigued, and prone to weight gain.

If you find yourself in an uncomfortable or depressed state, there are some practical things you can do to shift back to a sunnier disposition.

Be Objective

This is obviously easier said than done. But the first step to combating a problem, is admitting that the problem actually exists. Ask yourself what you’re feeling, then follow by asking ‘why’ you’re feeling a certain way. Write down specific reasons for those feelings (I am sad about a specific thing vs. I just feel sad) and address them individually.

Pace Yourself

Rome was not built in a day, so don’t expect to solve every issue right away. Instead, give yourself time to identify a solution for each issue that affects you. Treat it like a budget: go over each item and take small steps to balance every thought and action. For example, if you’re struggling with weight gain, objectively identify what you’re eating, how much you’re exercising and adjust accordingly. Remember that it will take time and consistency to reach your desired goal.

Surround Yourself with Positivity

This might sound hokey, but try it anyway (you might just surprise yourself). Focusing on positive imagery, words and actions will help clear the ‘fog’ of depression, because you literally won’t have time to be sad. Take this choice a step further and outline a clear picture for the places you frequent, and the people you hang around. A brightly lit cafe in the morning feels very different from a dim bar at night. Friends and acquaintances who encourage and uplift you produce a different result than those who complain and drag you down all the time. This might mean deleting a few Facebook friends and unfollowing some folks on Instagram.

Educate Yourself

Knowledge is power. Learn as much as you can about managing anxiety and depression. There’s no shortage of credible information both on and offline. Start digging, cross-referencing and consulting the top experts in this field. Much of their work is readily available, and might help you take an objective look at the way you feel.

Get Help

Take all that information and consult a professional. Most Mental Health Programs are covered by insurance. Do some research at your place of work, and take advantage of those health benefits you pay for. If you’re not employed, there are free programs available for low income and disadvantaged citizens. Help is out there. Do the research, and find a program that best works for you.

*Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods”

 

She SAID: Red Carpet to Reality

Shahada Karim

If you’re ever wondering about the next trend in beauty, look no further than the red carpet for an indication of where the next season will take us. Evidence of Autumn/Winter beauty trends were rampant along the red carpet at this  year’s Emmy Awards. Looks ran the gamut from polished to nearly punk, but every result was effortless and flawless. Even the most high maintenance looks didn’t appear so, and are easily translated from red carpet to reality.

SOFT FOCUS

emmybeauty4Claire Danes epitomized the idea of soft definition, with lightly lined eyes and a pale pout. The overall look was polished and general unobtrusive, despite eyeliner and false lashes along the top lashline. Her brows were red carpet beauty 7softly defined, and there was hardly evidence of real color on her cheeks.  A satin pale pink pout tied the look together.

This look is easily interpreted with a natural finish foundation like Armani Maestro Fluid Makeup, and a soft cream cheek color from the likes of Bobbi Brown or Clarins. Soft brows, wispy falsies (or a kick ass mascara like Too Faced Better Than Sex) are all pulled together with a pink lipstick like Louboutin’s offering in Bikini.

GLAM SQUAD

It’s just so lovely to see Lady Gaga’s actual face these days, without all of the distracting gear emmybeauty2that used to define her signature style. The entertainer showed up on the red carpet looking every bit of Old Hollywood, buffed to icon-style perfection with fluttery lashes, light contour, and a polished pout. red carpet beauty 8

Pulling this look off requires a stronger foundation; think MAC Pro Longwear for coverage and staying power. Contour (and highlight) is visible, but just barely so beneath a distinct peach blusher like Kevyn Aucoin’s Dolline. Ditch the iconic red Hollywood lip, and opt instead for a peach number like Guerlain’s Kiss Kiss Lipstick in Satin Peach.

POWER PLAYER

Much like her onscreen television persona Cookie Lyons, Taraji P. Henson’s Emmy looemmybeautyk made a statement the minute she emerged onto the carpet. Smoky eyes, polished contoured skin, and a pale nude lip managed to look no-nonsense and completely glamorous all at once. She even added a bit of a ‘punk’ edge with a dress featuring chain adornments.

Channel your innred carpet beauty 9er Cookie with a strong base like NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. A natural contour from a palette like Cover FX will take care of any desired ‘shaping’ needs. On the eyes, opt for a foolproof shadow like Burberry’s Eye Color Cream in Charcoal. The long wearing formula will not crease or fade, even under the hot gaze of Southern California’s current heatwave. Finish the look with a true nude suited to your actual skin color (not by definition of the word ‘nude’ on the box) like Ardency Inn Lipstick in Sweet Nothing.

HE Said: Viola for THE WIN!

Christopher M. Enis

The 67th annual Primetime Emmy’s was tearjerker!

No, not because of Andy Samburg’s hosting. To be honest, he wasn’t the worst. *I’m looking at you Anne Hathaway and James Franco*

Teary Moment #4—Tracy Morgan’s comeback.

There was a pretty good chance that Morgan would never be the same after his tragic accident last year. He showed up at the Emmy’s looking slightly nervous at first. But after a few seconds he shook off the butterflies and was the same, raunchy Morgan that we’ve all come to know and (mostly) love.

Teary Moment #3—Jon Hamm (finally) winning an Emmy

The 8th time proved to be the charm for Hamm, who finally won an Emmy for his performance as Don Draper on Mad Men. It was a case of everything lining up perfectly for Hamm… including no more competition from Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), or sentimental favorites like Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights). It also helps that it’s the last season for MAD MEN. His win was the first (last) for the series out of an astonishing 34 overall cast nominations. Now that’s enough to make you cry.

Teary Moment #2– Uzo Aduba’s Heartfelt Acceptance Speech

Last year, one of my Emmy gripes had to do with Netflix’s ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, a show about life in a woman’s prison, being placed in the Best Comedy category. Although the show had its funny moments, at the end of the day, I felt that there was nothing funny about being in prison. Looks like the powers that be over at Emmy’s HQ agreed and, this year, the series was placed in the Drama category. Due to the change, it gave the opportunity for Aduba, who won an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren last year, to win for the same role in the Drama category this year, a first in Emmy history. The only thing better than that, was her acceptance speech that was full blown humble and, yes, teary, man.

Teary Moment #1—Viola Davis Historic Win (and Tatiana Maslany’s “Loss”)

One of my other Emmy gripes was the flat out snubbing (is that a word?) of Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany, who I’ve spoken on before. I love her work, she is awesome and FINALLY, the Emmy people came to their senses and nominated Maslany this year!

Yes!

Too bad her first year as a nominee had to coincide with Viola Davis’ tour-de-force performance as Annalise (Annie Mae) Keating on HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER. Lord, how I wish I could say that it was a close contest between Maslany and Davis but…

I am so sorry, Tatiana, but Viola had this one in the bag right after she took off her makeup, pulled off the wig and asked her husband about some d*ck pics.

Viola’s acceptance speech for becoming the first African American to win Best Actress in a Dramatic Series was so good… she should have been given an Emmy for that too.

He SAID : Life is Rough on the RED CARPET

Christopher M. Enis

  1. I started 15 minutes later because, silly me, I didn’t know the Emmy Red Carpet thing started 2 hours before the Emmys.
  2. It’s hot. It’s very hot. It’s an on-going thing during the show.emmycarpet2
  3. How hot it is. Lord, the actors are hot! They are sweating! Will someone think of the sweaty actors?
  4. Ryan Seacrest is hosting this thing. I thought he owned E!
  5. Giuliana Rancic still works for E! I thought she was given the boot after, you know, “that thing”.
  6. Whose idea was to have the interviews take place at the top of stairs? All these women wearing gowns and you have them climbing stairs? I’m sure that a man (probably Seacrest) had something to do with this.
  7. E! Correspondent, Ross Matthews has the latest Samsung Note and is using it to describe what people are wearing. I don’t know what’s worse, him having the latest hot phone or using it to tell me what accessories the cast of Modern Family has on.emmycarpet3
  8. What the hell is a GlamCam 360? I may not make it 2 hours…
  9. Heidi Klum is here; Donald Trump talked about this woman’s looks. If for nothing else (which is pretty much everything that comes out of the man’s mouth) you should never take a man seriously if he considers Heidi Klum less than a 10.
  10. E! has a constant scrolling banner like they’re CNN, but it’s about fashion and what expensive food the sweaty actors won’t will be eating after the Emmys. The struggle is real.
  11. Just when you think that the ratchetness has been toned down since past mishaps,  Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) sings what has become his catch phrase, “Pino Noirrrrrr.” This is, apparently, his tribute to “black penis.” Alrighty then. Giuliana Rancic hasn’t looked this panic since she read her Twitter time line after, you know…that thing.
  12. Seacrest mentions a bit of Emmy History being made on the Red Carpet; Taraji P. Henson is the first person to wear chains to the Emmys. (What… Mr. T never attended the emmycarpet1Emmys?)
  13. Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks… now there is a grown ass woman!
  14. Jaime Alexander looks great. Man she’s tall. I hope that her new show, BLINDSPOT, is good. Good Television makes me smile.
  15. E! says that Anthony Anderson is upcoming. Thanks for the heads up! I turn down the volume on my TV.
  16. LL Cool J! And he’s in mid-season lip-licking mode. I doubt it has anything to do with how hot it is. You have to respect LL Cool J’s commitment to Kangol.
  17. Joanne Froggett is happy to be wearing some sheer thing because “it’s so hot!” (The only thing worse than a sweaty actor is a sweaty British actor with the last name “Froggett”)
  18. Anthony Anderson ARRIVES ON THE RED CARPET!!!! His cool and dapper looking son Nathan is with him and he tells America that his dad is as loud at home as he is on TV.emmycarpet4 I don’t doubt it one bit, kid.
  19. Sarah Hyland is talking about her show Modern Family…and how hot it is.
  20. Now it’s Allison Janney’s turn to discuss how hot it is. The Pope prays for a El Nino breeze to swoop in and cool the sweaty actors off.
  21. Laverne Cox is on that 360 Glam Cam thing. She’s tall and her shoes are very yellow. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
  22. Mayim Bialik breaks the “how hot it is” discussion stream by talking about how she is a role model to young girls because not only gets to play a neuroscientist on TV that she is one in real life. No wonder she’s not hot, that was pretty cool (see what I did there? No? Fine.)
  23. Keegan-Michael Key, a Detroit native, says that if he wins an Emmy, he’s going to have “mucho shout outs”. I’m sure the band can’t wait to play his ass off.
  24. Sarah Paulson will be portraying Marcia Clark in the upcoming OJ mini-series. I don’t emmycarpet5care.
  25. Grown Ass Woman Alert: Morena Baccarin. Mercy!
  26. Angela Bassett, ladies and gentlemen. Look up “Black Don’t Crack” in the Urban Dictionary; you will see her picture, literally.
  27. Jimmy Fallon has arrived on the Red Carpet. The Anthony Anderson rules apply; I turn down the television.
  28. No one can actually out-skinny Giuliana Rancic, but Emma Roberts and Claire Danes are giving her a run for her skinny money.
  29. Speaking of Claire Danes, she’s wearing shoulder chains, too. Mr. T is pissed.
  30. Grown Ass Woman Alert! Kerry Washington.
  31. Washington is talking about how hot it is but is distracted by Seacrest’s tuxedo and she asks who made it. Turns out it’s a Ryan Seacrest original. Of course it is.
  32. Queen Latifah won an Emmy for her HBO mini-series BESSIE? Good for her!
  33. Grown Ass Woman Alert! Sophia Vegara!
  34. I think that E! should get an Emmy (and possibly a Nobel Peace Prize) for going almost 2 hours before showing one Kardashian show promo.
  35. Thank God no actors died from the heat…
  36. Aww, dammit.

He SAID: The Perfect Pile Of…

Scott F. Evans

The Perfect Guy is the perfect title for this film. It’s bland, unoriginal, and insipid. Directed by David M. Rosenthal, with a screenplay by Tyger Williams, this film couldn’t be more theperfectguy5predictable and generic.

The film’s problems are specifically with writing and direction. Williams hasn’t written a feature length screenplay since 1993’s Menace II Society, and it shows. None of the dialogue feels authentic or natural. There’s not one moment of this film that feels even remotely clever or original. It’s like Williams just cribbed together scenes from every sex thriller from the 1980’s and 90’s, updated them with modern technology and threw them into this mess of a script.

And then Rosenthal completely neutered it. For frivolous stalker films like this to really work, they need to commit to the lurid nature of the concept. Like 1987’s Fatal Attraction or 1992’s theperfectguy4Basic Instinct, The Perfect Guy has nothing to actually say about human nature or behavior patterns. It’s not interested in examining how the lead character’s age and gender causes her to make poor relationship decisions. Nor is it interested in exploring the antagonist’s particular form of mental illness. It doesn’t have to, but the film could at least deliver some cheap, lurid thrills. The Perfect Guy isn’t particularly sexy, violent, or thrilling. It’s so middle-of-the-road safe in content and direction, that it plays like a Lifetime movie with a bigger budget.

To their credit, the cast tries their best with this trite material. Sanaa Lathan plays Leah Vaughn. She’s beautiful and competent. She gives it her all, but the script fails… giving her nothing but stale tropes to play. Michael Ealy plays Carter Duncan. He’s handsome and competent. He hits all of the “crazy but charming” beats you’ve seen in every film with this kind of villain. He tries, but he’s not given much to do beyond play tired clichés. Morris Chestnut plays Vaughn’s boyfriend Dave. He’s handsome and practically a cameo in The Perfect Guy. He shows up in the beginning and disappears for a lot of the run time.

Chestnut isn’t given anything to do besides be an obstacle for Ealy’s character. And if it wasn’t enough to deal with lazy scripting and boring direction, the three leads are honestly too old (intelligent?) for these clueless characters. They’re all in their forties (to be clear, none of them look it). They move and are styled like middle aged adults, but the story is written for characters in their early to mid-thirties. They play like stunted versions of their younger selves, potentially displaying a psychosis of repeating patterns well into an age when they ought to know better. But again, none of this is addressed or even considered in an attempt to make the story interesting or original.

Like No Good Deed (released about the same time last year), The Perfect Guy is yet another watered-down thriller featuring three leads of color. It’s a shame that filmmakers feel the need to sanitize these films so much, because they at least have the potential to offer up some fun, racy thrills. There’s a reason people still talk about Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct decades after their release. For all of their pulpy sleaze, they’re at least memorable. You’ll forget The Perfect Guy on the way to the parking lot.

RATING: Television