Tag Archives: natural hairstyles

I’ve Become A Straight Hair Natural (without Heat Damage!!)

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And I like it!! That’s right, I said it. I’ve been natural for 15 years, big chopped twice, and have nothing to prove. I love my natural curls. However, right now, I love the convenience and ease of straight hair a lot more! And, sometimes, that’s really all there is to it.

Anywho, with the arrival of the cooler and dryer air of autumn, it seemed timely for a straight hair post. So I’m about to share why I began straightening my hair regularly and how I have managed to do so for the majority of the last year without suffering heat damage (the latter of which always seems to be the mythical unicorn of the natural world ;)).

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Anywho, I started straightening my hair around the 5th month of my pregnancy last year. When I realized that I could get at least 4 weeks out of straightened hair (sometimes 6), it was a no brainer given my increasing ungainliness and fatigue. When I had Wyntr in January, it again made sense as taking care of a newborn is two full-time jobs and I needed to give up my part-time (i.e. my hair on wash day). Then, as I was coming up on 3 months post-partum, I decided to straighten as a preemptive move to combat the threat of post-partum shedding. I figured that it would allow me to comb my hair between wash days in order to get rid of excessive shedding, making detangling easier when I did get around to washing it.

That’s the why. Following is the how. But first, two caveats. Number one: I do not care about having perfect hair 24/7. I don’t aim for bone straight hair and I live in a bun 99% of the time (Hello!! 8 month old!!). So, if you are looking for advice on keeping your natural hair straight and “laid” without heat damage … ummm … this may not be for you. Number two: I don’t have scalp issues, so I can easily go 4 weeks between wash days without excessive scalp build up/flakes.

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PREPARE & PROTECT, PROCESS, PRESERVE 

Following are the steps I take and my products of choice. I don’t straighten my hair any more often than once every four weeks and if I can stretch it longer, I do.

PREPARE & PROTECT:

  • Pre-poo to moisturize (virgin coconut oil mixed with Aubrey Organics GPB and/or Honeysuckle Rose)
  • Clarify to start with a clean base (Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo)
  • Protein treat to strengthen (Sally’s GVP Joico K-Pak)
  • Deep Condition to moisturize (Sally’s GVP Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm)
  • Apply a leave-in* conditioner (small amount of Kinky Curly Knot Today mixed with aloe vera juice)
  • Apply a heat Protectant* (Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist)

*Note: I’ve found that it’s very important to use a leave-in and heat protectant that are light and don’t leave my hair tacky. This allows my hair to glide/flow once straighten and reduces the amount of lint and dust that it attracts.

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PROCESS:

  • Choose one or the other (this controls the amount of heat used on the hair):
    • Blow-out slightly damp hair OR
    • Air dry hair stretched (in 2-4 braids) and flat-iron (usually dry one day and flat-iron the next.
  • If blowing-out:
    • Use a quality tool (Conair Infiniti Pro 3 in 1 Styler with double comb attachment)
  • If flat-ironing:
    • Use a quality tool with temperature control (BaByliss Nano Titanium Pro)
    • Use lower temperatures (280-320º max)
    • Take small 1″ sections
    • Gently comb section well using a medium to fine tooth comb
    • Two to three passes of the flat-iron on each section max
  • Seal/Shine (Shea Moisture Raw Shea Reconstructor Elixir and/or Sally’s GVP Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum)

PRESERVE:

  • Never re-apply heat between washes (that’s a surefire way to cause heat damage).
  • Use heat free styling techniques between wash days: braids, buns, rollersets, curlformers, flexirods, pin curls, etc.
  • Bun, braid, pineapple, or pin-curl hair at night.
  • Use a satin bonnet or scarf and sleep on a satin pillowcase.
  • Use an edge control paste/gel (Ampro Protein Gel mixed with moisturizer – IKR??? Who knew?!; Curls Blueberry Bliss)
  • Use a terry-lined shower cap.
  • Forget the umbrella for the rain, use a raincoat with drawstring hood.
  • Apply a light moisturizer that doesn’t cause reversion, as needed (Wonder Curl Get Slick Hair Smoothie; Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter).**
  • Apply a light oil as needed to seal moisture/add shine (Shea Moisture Raw Shea Reconstructor Elixir and/or Sally’s GVP Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum).**
  • Oil scalp, as needed (Wild Growth Hair Oil).*
  • Exercise with hair bunned and use an open-ended wig cap under a sweatband. (I’ll admit, I haven’t worked out with any type of consistency since the baby and my work-outs have been moderate in intensity. But, thus far, this has worked for me.)

**Note: Again, it is important to use a light moisturizer and oil for maintenance to avoid tacky hair that attracts lint and dust. By reducing the amount of dirt the hair attracts, straight hair can be maintained for longer.

Finally, I do take a break between straight cycles sometimes with a stretched braid-out, twist-out, and even a WnG once! I also henna or henna gloss when I can. And those are my tips! Hope they help!

(p.s. My hair is the longest that it’s ever been and the fullest it’s been in a long time following this regimen.) 

 

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Are you a straight-hair natural? What are your tips of the trade?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heatless Curls on Flat-Ironed Natural Hair

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pincurls11 Just coming on here very quickly (well, not really, because I spent two hours putting filters on these iPhone pics, emailing them to myself, saving them, renaming them, uploading them … while “multi-tasking” and watching Duck Dynasty! LOL!) to share how I got these pretty curls, with no additional heat, on my 2 week old flat-ironed hair (straight hair maintenance post coming soon!). Wow … run-on sentence much?

Anyyyyyyyyywho … after debating between using flexi-rod or pin-curls to get some bouncy, heatless curls … I decided on the pin curls, because they wouldn’t disturb my sleep!! I remembered that Chime (aka HairCrush) had done a pin-curl video that I watched a couple of years ago. So, I pulled it up to refresh my memory on her technique.  

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Now, obviously, my process had to be a bit different as my hair  was straightened and I would be doing a “dry” set. Also, that “scrubbing” of product into her ends that Chime does? Yeah, her hair is obviously of the GANGSTA variety as my ends would come off in my hands and curse me out if I did that. So, I skipped that part.

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HEATLESS PIN-CURLS 

Products/Tools:

  • DevaCurl Set It Free
  • MetaGrip Premium Roller Pins (check out this post to learn why this brand of hair pins is AWESOMETASTIC!)
  • Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter
  • Shea Moisture (SM) Raw Shea Butter Reconstructive Finishing Elixir
  • 2 satin scarves (1 square; 1 oblong)

Set Process:

  • Applied a little Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter to my edges and tied down with the small square silk scarf.
  • Separated about 1″ wide sections of hair.
  • Pumped 2-3 spritzes of Set It Free into palm of hand and smoothed down section of hair. (I decided on Set It Free because I knew that it would make my hair damp enough to set the curls a little. But, because it has a creamy consistency, it wouldn’t make my hair so wet that it would revert. I often use it on my ends before rolling them for braid or twist and curls.) 
  • Rolled the 1″ section of hair around TWO fingers (my forefinger and middle finger), twisting the section about a 1/2 a turn at the same time I made each revolution around my fingers.
  • Secured pin-curl flat against my head with a MetaGrip Roller Pin.
  • Repeated process over my entire head (I worked from the front to the back on each side of my head).
  • Tied pin-curls down with my favorite EboniCurls satin scarf and hit the sack for a comfortable night’s sleep ;).

From this …

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To this …

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Take Down:

The next morning:

  • Removed the roller pins.
  • Applied a little SM Raw She Elixir to my hands and unraveled the dry pin-curls.
  • Separated the curls and used a wide-tooth comb to lift the roots to add some fullness.

To this …

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(Check out my IG post here if you want to see video of how the curls dropped to waves by the end of the day.)

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What is your favorite heatless curls technique?

Sofistafunking at The Mane Event

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PIC HEAVY POST

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So, a couple of weeks ago, I was a “model” in the Sofistafunk fashion show at the Mane Event (Luna Stage, West Orange). And, for such a special occasion, I wanted to do something a little special with my hair. So, I opted for a twist and curl (TnC) set on small perm rods.

curls8Up to the wee hours of the night (like, 2 am) washing, conditioning, and setting my hair.

Curly ‘Fro TnC Set

  • Separated freshly washed, conditioned, and finger detangled hair into 4 sections (2 in front, 2 in back). Did next steps working section by section.
  • Applied Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in conditioner.
  • Applied Curl Prep Sweet Buttah curl cream.
  • Using tail of rattail comb, began parting hair in small squar-ish sections.
  • Applied small amount of Eco Styler Olive Oil gel to smaller sections, two-strand twisted hair, and rolled twist on small grey perm rod (I always cover my rods in end paper to prevent snagging on take down).
  • Repeated until entire head set (I used a spray bottle, as needed, to dampen dried hair).

Now, I did this late at night and had to get up early as call time was 10 am and the fashion show didn’t start until 6 pm!! So, I knew that I needed to get my workout in first thing in the morning. And, I was praying that my hair would dry in that short time as well.

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Well, my hair wasn’t dry in the morning … but that didn’t deter me. I got Day 146 of my 365 Days of Fitness in with a 20 minute run, rollers, hairnet and all!! I ended up lugging my portable, soft bonnet, Gold n’ Hot dryer along with me and sitting under it for a good 2 hours while the other models in the show got their hair and make-up “did!”

Once my hair finally felt dry, I smoothed a little SheaDecadence Sweet Marmalade Pomade down the twists to seal and add shine … then I fought to release some of them as the ends were snaring on each other. I was sure that all my efforts would be in vain as I felt frizz setting in as I wrangled with twists and got sweaty and annoyed with the take down process!! But … all’s well that ends well …

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Yup!! It turned out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. There was some frizz from shorter strands near my front part, but, other than that, it was all good. And, in fact, I think it looked better in person! Photos always seem to make hair look smaller than it does in person! LOL!

So, after the hair was in order, I got made and dressed up all pretty like and eventually hit the “runway” with all the other lovely ladies in their gorgeous Sofistafunk finery!!

No. No, I don’t know how to wobble. LOL!!

Now, some pics:

All skirts by Sofistafunk the Skirt Company.

Oh … and one last thing … I got to play bride for a moment with some fashion wizardry by Arlinda …

Tee hee … I felt purrrty!!

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Curlformers Convert!!

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Okay, so I’m gonna try to keep this quick and too the point …  you know that’s a feat for me … which is why I don’t really Tweet/Twitter!! But, I gotta get ready to head out for Man of Steel and don’t have time to go into deep detail. So, here goes.

This past Saturday, I hennaed my hair, applied mix of Sally’s GVP The Detangler, aloe vera juice and JBCO/EVOO mix to my hair. Then, I twisted it … but first I attempted to set a section of hair with a Curlformer … and I very easily did it for the first time!!!! (I guess all those YouTube tutorials finally sunk in!).

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I wore my twists down on Sunday and in an updo for work from Monday-Thursday. I have an event this weekend and decided I was going to finally give it the old college try and attempt a Curlformer set. I watched Naptural85’s Updated Curlformers Technique tutorial and MahoganyCurls Curlformers on Natural Hair: My First Impression again. Then, after work, I got to it.

My hair was still moisturized from being in a twisted updo all week, so I didn’t feel a need to re-moisturize. It was also almost perfectly sectioned and essentially detangled due to those same twists. So, the products and tools I used were very minimal.

Products
Water in a small spray bottle
ORS Lock and Twist Gel (I♥ this gel and originally purchased it b/c of the GORGEOUS flexirod set KaiRox’s achieved with it.)

Tools
Curlformers (Extra Long & Wide 40 pack [20 clockwise & 20 counter-clockwise] for hair up to 22″ long)
Hair clips
My 10 Fingers

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Process

  • First I secured all but the bottom left twists of my dry hair up with hair clips.
  • Working from the back left (nape), I separated each twist and grabbed about 1-2″ sections (usually 2-3 per twist).
  • Once I had the section I wanted to set, I would prep a pink Curlformer on the wand.
  • Then, I spritzed the section of hair with water until it was slightly damp (not soaking wet) and smoothed a nice size dollop of ORS lock and twist gel down the length making certain the hair was detangled.
  • Next, I twisted the roots of the section to make it small enough to get the hook of the wand around all of the hair.
  • Finally, I hooked the wand over the root (not too close to the scalp), pushed the curler up over the top of the wand, and pulled my hair through the curler.(If the curler twisted wrongly, I fixed it to form the correct shape.)
  • I repeated this process on the left side and then completed the right side using the orange curlers.
  • The entire process took me about 1 hour 30 minutes, which wasn’t too bad given it was my first time.
  • I can’t remember how many Curlformers I used now!! But, I think it was about 38 … and, get this … there were at least an extra 6 pink curlers in my kit!!! #WINNING

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Things I Learned

  • My hair is longer than 22″ in some sections?!?! Go figure. So, I had to pull a lot of the Curlformers down about an inch to make certain my ends were fully enclosed in the curlers.
  • I could have twisted the roots first so that the section out of the curler still had a wave to it (but, even though I didn’t do that, my roots were very smooth).
  • They make “Spiral Curls” Curlformers for super long hair up to 29″ now!! But those jokers are $73.95!! I’ll stick with pulling mine down from the root since that worked perfectly fine!! LOL!!

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The setting went very easily. I only had to start over on two sections because the hair wouldn’t slide through smoothly. I decided to set my hair only slightly damp with the hopes that it would dry overnight. So, speaking of overnight, let’s talk about sleeping in these. I followed Naptural85s suggestion and secured the front sections with hair elastic. Then, I split them down the back and laid on my back to sleep. Yeah … I’m a side, fetal position sleeper and didn’t get much sleep that way. So, finally, in the early hours, I flipped on my side, threw the curlers over the edge of the pillow and balled the corner of the pillow up under my chin to elevate my head a little. That worked a lot better for me.

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The Take Down

 The next morning (about 8 1/2 hours later), I removed the curlers and set my curls in buns for my morning workout following Naptural85’s technique for stretched curls.

  • Working from the front left first (pink curlers), I held the end of the curler near my roots and stretched the curler straight (this can be a little tricky as the Curlformers are firm and have a lot of “recoil” action, which help smooth the hair and retain their shape after repeated uses, I think).
  • Then, I squeezed each end of the curler to make it open and pulled the curler down the strand, keeping a grasp on both ends.
  • I “corrected” any curls that twisted/flipped by twirling/flipping them in the proper direction with my finger.
  • Next, I applied a little Shea Decadence Sweet Marmalade Pomade to my ends to seal the hair and add shine. (Yo. I’ve been using several items from Shea Decadence for about a month now. LOVE them and have to get you guys a full review soon as it is soooo overdue!!)
  • Repeated on next section. (I had one section that didn’t fully dry, so I just pin curled it and left it that way until I released all of my hair.)
  • Once I had two sections free, I combined the curls. (I did not clip the ends as my curls stayed together without one and I didn’t want my curls to stretch too much.)
  • I repeated until the left side was one big “twist” and then did the same on the right side.
  • Once both sides were done, I loosely wrapped and bunned them at the back of my head using hair pins.
  • Then, I tied my hair up in a satin scarf and donned a sweatband for day 117 of my #365daysoffitness (30 min. progressive incline walking on the treadmill … decided to not run to try to reduce the amount I sweat … yeah … I still sweat a lot. But, health over hair.)

So, yeah, I removed the sweatband, but left the scarf on my hair (and actually added a second thinner one around my edges to absorb more sweat) until I got to work. When I uncovered my hair, the scarf and my hair were still damp :(. But, I released my buns anyway and gently separated the curls. I left the roots alone to try to allow them to air dry.

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And, by the early afternoon, after it had long since dried, I played around with the part to get it more to my liking (meaning, I needed to create more volume at the front!).

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Final Thoughts:

So, what do I think of Curlformers? I LOVE them! They weren’t whistling dixie when they said these get the hair soooo smooth like a curling iron! I was also soooo impressed that even though I had to leave the first inch of my hair out, my roots still looked smooth and silky (until I worked out ;))!!! Though the curls looks similar to my perm rod sets, I think my hair is a lot smoother and more stretched. The application process went very smoothly for me, which was my biggest concern and why I didn’t try these things for 2 years!! The removal was also pretty easy, though I didn’t do it quickly to make certain I didn’t snag or ruin a curl. My hair didn’t get snagged or pulled out in the curlers during the application or removal process (I only removed shed hairs that I saw … no broken hairs from the curlers).

Now, the cost of Curlformers may be prohibitive for some at $50-$75 for most complete kits. But, if you can swing them, I would definitely recommend!!! Sally’s carries them on the ground, and you might be able to catch them on sale and use the 15% discount if you are a rewards member. Oh, and if your goal is to grow your hair long, I’d suggest getting the longest ones you can afford so that you don’t outgrow a shorter set and have to spend more money for longer kit. In the alternative, if you just can’t see yourself spending that much on “rollers,” I know that there is a knock-off brand called Magic Levarag. It’s sold on eBay and Amazon for at least half the price. However, that brand doesn’t have the length options that Curlformers have and I’ve read mixed reviews, so I’m not co-signing on it at all and would suggest that you do your research first.

Alright … it’s obvious I don’t know how to write a short post! I started this yesterday an hour before heading to the movies (BTW, I HATED Man of Steel) and had to finish it this morning!! Oh well … at least I’m thorough … right (humor me please ;))?!?!

To wrap this up … Curlformers get four hearts out of five (I took one off for the high price tag ;)).

♥♥♥♥

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Have you used Curlformers? What do you think of them?

Accidental Style and TnC Results

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As promised, here are the results from the twist out set I did on Wash Day Sunday. I turned out pretty well, though I did have to add some moisture to my ends as they were feeling a bit dry. And, let me tell you, I was NOT happy when I first released it because it looked so piecey, was not falling right, the tail was in full effect and the parting wasn’t working. My part was also to far back, so it looked totally flat on top.

IMG_7978Can you tell that I’m not happy?

But, after playing around with it a bit, changing the direction of the hair to go back from my face, it allowing it to settle, I got it to look satisfactory.

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The funny thing? This was after work and never saw the light of day. LOL!! I actually ended up wearing my twists to work again!! See, what had happened was … I twisted them up and secured with a hair fork in the morning in order to shower. When I took off my satin scarf and shower cap, I realized that the updo looked kind of cute! So, I decided to go to work with it as is!! Don’t you just love easy accidental styles?!?!?!

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HAPPY HUMP DAY!!

January 2013 Length Check: Post December Haircut

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The Wednesday before last, after my Katie Show outing, I had my sister take a few quick length check pics. I hadn’t taken any after my haircut in December, Wei was out of town and they are difficult to do alone. So, I took the opportunity of having another set of hands present to get a few quick shots.

If you recall, I wore my hair in a braid and curl (BnC) for the show’s taping, so my curls were stretched. As of 1/9/13, the shortest layers around my face are about armpit length, the side and crown layers are around bra-strap/mid-back length and my longest layer is waist length. So, my hair is back to where it was after my haircut in June 2012 (see here).

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That was a really good BnC! Gotta go refresh my memory about what I used and do it again ;)! *lol* Anywho, I’ll be sticking with stretched, low-manipulation, protective styling and search and destroys for the next 6 months or so to see if I can gain/retain an additional 2-3 inches all around. Working my way towards that tailbone/hipbone length hair ;). Need to get my diet and exercise game right first though :(.

 

Getting Ready: Hair√, Face√, Clothes√

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I need to get in the shower in a few, but figured I’d share the plan for my “look” for the Katie Couric show today! LOL!! So, as you may  know, the braid-out won the poll for my hair look today! It was a close race, but the braid-out kept the lead the entire race, sometimes by only 1 vote. But, as of this moment, it beat out the curly ‘fro 138 to 126. So, last night, I gently finger detangled my hair with my coconut oil whip and then set it in 12 braids (3 in each quadrant). I used a little Wonder Curl Get Set Hair Jelly at the roots to smooth and set them, dampened the braids with water once done and then used Deva Curl Set It Free on the ends before rolling them on grey perm rods. I set my ends to make certain that they would be curly today as I usually sleep on one side and flatten some of the ends.

This morning when I woke up, I decided to do the bentonite clay mask that I failed to do last night. I mixed the clay with plain, whole milk yogurt for the low-grade peel qualities of lactic acid and added a little tea tree oil for the antiseptic qualities. Plastic utensils should be used to mix bentonite clay as metal decreases its ability to draw out impurities from the skin. Has something to do with negatively and positively charged molecules or electrons or something sciencey like that ;)! You can find a variety of bentonite clay mask recipes online, as well as info about the benefits of using bentonite clay internally and for topical applications!

KCbentoniteclaymaskThis mask is still on my face, immobilizing it like Botox! LOL!

Finally, I think I’m set on my OOTD, which is my awesome Sofistafunk skirt and the top that I bought from The Unique Pieces at The Mane Event on Saturday.. I may swap out the top though. I LOVE it and the color, but since I’m wearing my hair down, I think the mock turtleneck may make me look squat!! I’ll be wearing a cardigan as they warned that the studio can be cold and I freeze easily. With the hair down, the mock turtleneck and a cardigan, I’m afraid of looking stumpy. So, I may wear a yellow tank top under the cardigan instead to expose my neckline. We’ll see.

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Oh, and I’ll be wearing my Michael Kors knee-length, black, suede, scrunchy boots. Don’t worry, you’ll see the whole look pulled together soon. Hopefully, it’ll be good!!

A’ight! I better get to it!! Gotta wash off this mask, iron some clothes and hit the shower!!

Lata Gatas!