Green Beauty

    No-Poo review 2!

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    It has been nearly 4-weeks since my last update on the no-poo experiment. And I have to confess that it hasn’t been plain sailing- I had a mini-meltdown that lead to a halt:I sort of cheated, albeit with only a tiny amount of shamPOO.

    You see, I travelled to London by train with Bean immediately after work about two Friday’s ago. On our way to West Acton I managed to get something sticky in my hair, then me and my hair got rained on (acid rain is never a good look) this meant that my -by now- already VERY greasy hair looked like clumpy rats tails. It didn’t help I was off to a farewell party the following evening and had planned to wear my hair up, but as I tried to rinse with plain water and a little rose geranium essential oil (the only one I had that had travelled with me to London) and saw this really didn’t help the state of my hair, so the following morning I reached for my friends shamPOO:( (I truly felt deflated at the time).

    I can’t remember the make but she bought it from TK Maxx,  it said it was organic but I read it contained SLS! So I accept it as a fail.

    You can’t pretend not to care when you do…

    I also accept that no matter how hard you try, you can’t pretend not to care about certain things you just do care about- and I care about my hair, or more specifically how it looks at a party (vanity, all is vanity).

    I can handle wearing it up and using the dry rye flour shampoo, this doesn’t bother me. But, when it is so dry combined with grease, sticky, rained on and not even a good rinse with water and rose geranium will do, I had to draw the line (the fact that there was a party definitely weakened my no-poo stance somewhat as well).

    However to (over) compensate for this fail I then proceeded not to wash it for the 2-weeks that followed  and surprisingly I am happy to report that my shamPOOing doesn’t seem to have derailed the no-poo benefits too much because in this period only a small amount of grease appeared, that warranted only a few applications of the rye flour compared to the previous weeks 👊.

    When I finally gave it a no-poo wash…

    When I finally washed it, I used my soap bar by Funky Soap that’s all natural and surely no-poo (or have I failed again?). I never use much. This is what I learnt the hard way when it comes to solid shampoo bars: you don’t need much or else you’ll be left with a residue that really wants to stay clinging to your hair.

    So, after 2-weeks of not even rinsing my hair I used:

    • 1 funky soap solid shampoo bar- black walnut
    • Rinsed with cider vinegar, water and loads (about 10 drops) of lavender

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    Then, a proper game-changer, I invested in a bristle brush…
    To be continued.

    Green Parent & Baby

    Cafe W

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    I love Cafe W.

    Cafe W is Waterstone’s cafe, in the centre of Bristol. It’s really chilled, has great food and family, kid and toddler friendly (look↓ it even has  a slide).

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    Since its hard to completely escape the need to go into your city centre (believe me I have tried), and if you do have toddlers and young people who need to vent a bit of their pram-cabin-fever frustration (fair do’s) I urge you to see whether your local Waterstone’s has their own family friendly retreat. It could be the difference between a good shopping trip and a bad one. And so far into motherhood, a bad one is the reason I hadn’t visited my own city centre for over 3-months!!

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    Bean exploring the books

    Cafe W is perfect especially if it’s raining. OK my Bean inevitably still runs off and I have to chase him mid coffee sip, with a mouthful of their really yummy caramel slice (VG) but the slide, the dressing up box and the coloring in table might just keep them occupied long enough for you to sit down, gather your thoughts, enjoy your drink, eat some cake and reminisce about your favourite books from childhood. Which incidentally were all around me on our last visit.

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    Soya latter and a vegan caramel slice

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    I am sure there are others in the centre of Bristol that I have yet to discover. Perhaps I will check Foyles next time-am I stereotyping book shops?

    But I think Cafe W is my fav. Their coffee is really great, and they serve bombay Railway chai which,  if you’ve not tried, is immense, as well as chocolate tea (omg). They offer at least one vegan cake, and have lots of gluten free options,  their kids menu is pretty good and it’s very reasonable-I never spend more than £7. 

    And if you really wanted to (which did occur to me on my last visit) you could sneak in a cheeky slice of your favourite cake from Ahh Toots …but I implore you to try Cafe W’s drinks, their awesome.

    ***Plus they serve water from a canister where you can easily refill your flask, offer a flamboyant selection of loose teas and utilise minimal plastic.

     


    Green Beauty

    No-Poo! (4-week update)

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    I didn’t walk into this no poo experiment with much of a plan. It was more the case I hadn’t washed it for about 2-weeks (possibly more) and a no poo experiment seemed the natural progression. Of course in this time it began to look greasy, especially at the front. I delt with it by wearing a wide head band to disguise it. And later, after three weeks added flour. Considering I haven’t read that much about other people’s no poo journey or read much about the pre-shampoo era (basically anything before 100-years ago was the no-shampoo era) this means I have so far been properly winging it and amazingly, it doesn’t look half bad. Which is why I am as curious and determined to continue on this hair detox.

    What people (especially those that tend to grimace when you admit you’re going no poo) don’t fully understand is no poo basically means avoiding nasty chemicals that are bad for our hair, our skin, our bodies (everything we put on our skin gets absorbed) and it’s bad for our environment, which then goes on to having a myriad of repercussions, and if the ingredients are toxic, none of these side effects are positive. A no poo lifestyle means you DO wash your hair, but you choose gentle alternatives, ones you generally won’t find in your local Boots, but probably in your kitchen cupboard. I don’t know why, but I get a buzz from making my own cleaning products for the house. I get a buzz from knowing that the simple infused vinegar, which can be ingested, is so safe for my family, I can use it without ever questioning its safety. This mindset is fast spreading to every single aspect of my life.

    When I wrote you are more likely to find no poo in your kitchen cupboards, this is completely true in my case. So far I have added the following to my hair:

    1.Bicarbonate of soda

    2.Rye flour with lavender

    3.Cider vinegar with lavender

    4. Soap nuts and clove no poo rinse

    5. Coconut oil


    The Bicarb:

    I found this a little harsh to be honest, even after just one wash. 

    Method: I read that you add the powder to your hair, add a little water to make a paste and scrub using your nails. Then you rinse thoroughly, following up with a conditioner of your choice.

    Would I use this method again: No and simply because I consider the flour option to be much gentler and equally grease absorbing. It mimicked squeaky clean hair, but didn’t look like freshly washed hair. I read about this affecting your ph balance on your scalp and therefore shifted to flour.


    The rye flour:

    Like the bicarb, the purpose of the flour is mop up the grease and rinse it away, following up with a no poo conditioner. 

    Method: Much the same as the bicarb, apply to your hair, concentrating on the grease areas. Mine tends to build up right at the bottom by my hair line and underneath which I find a tricky area to get to, and of course the hair around my forehead.

    Would I use this method again: SO far, I am really happy with the rye flour and mixed the second batch with dried lavender. I might try cornflour as it’s lighter, but only once my rye flour has finished. Yes, I am going to stick with this- I loved it and it works well as a dry shampoo as well.


    Homemade soap nut and clove no poo rinse:

    So, Thursday eve I got a bit frustrated with my hair. It’s gone bit matted and dry at the ends and the underneath looks heavy and lank. As I had visited Amphora Aromatics that afternoon and bought Clove essential oils, I decide, totally on the cuff, to boil up a no poo hair rinse. Soap nuts or berries produce a gentle, natural surfactant capable of lifting the grease and grime.

    Method: Boil about 6 soapnuts and roughly 1tsp of whole cloves for about 15 minutes until the water has turned brownish. When it has cooled add a few drops of clove to the mixture. Wet your hair as normal then add the rinse , gently rubbing all over scalp, rinse thoroughly. 

    Would I use this method again: It’s not bad, so YES! I am quite pleased I conjured something effective.  My hair looked really shiny and clean


    Cider Vinegar and lavender rinse:

    This is my usual hair rinse and something I am unconvinced by as my hair always looks really shiny afterwards.  

    Method: Add 1 part cider vinegar to 5 parts water with clove, lavender or any essential oils with antibacterial properties of your choice.

    Would I use this method again: Well YES! I have been using it for years.


    Coconut Oil:

    I had read that coconut oil is terrific when you go no poo, and as my hair felt very dry I decided I would give it a go. One thing I would say here is, I have been using coconut oil for years on my hair but usually follow with a shampoo to remove it, otherwise I feel it lingers and makes your hair feel heavy and look greasy. I did begin to wonder whether flour and water would effectively remove it.

    Method: Apply as much as you need to your hair ensuring you massage it into the dry hair.  I left it on for AGES, then added some flour before rinsing but I could feel the oil wouldn’t rinse away and it took three washes or so before it was fully out.

    Would I use this method again: Only if I could find a way I could rinse it out.


    Conclusion of this NO POO 4-week update:

    I am now entering my fifth (possibly sixth) week of no poo- the exact start date escapes me! I am really excited to see if the theory of no poo will eventually mean your hair and the sebum readjusts to become ‘baby-like’ hair, or whether I will just turn into a greasy lanolin scented lady covered in flour…hmmmm, the no poo journey continues…

    Green Earth Green Parent & Baby

    A lot of luna love for the Mooncup

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    I decided that I would use a menstrual cup a few years ago, just before I realised I was pregnant in fact (doh). If you’re still on the cusp and need any convincing about the benefits it will make to your life and crucially our beautiful planet, read the following:

    • Women produce approximately 11,000 sanitary towels in their reproductive lifetime
    • Producing 200,000 tonnes of waste annually
    • They ALL contain plastic
    • Most pads are 90% plastic: filling landfill, where they will take years to biodegrade or worse
    • End up in our rivers and oceans where they will contaminate water, sea-life and ultimately our eco-system

    To put the last point in perspective:

    In 2010, a UK beach clean found an average of 23 sanitary pads and 9 tampon applicators per kilometre of British coastline.

    Source: WEN.org


    I didn’t have a ‘proper’ period postnatally until the Bean stopped breastfeeding for about half a day. This seemed to trigger their return (apparently prolactin, the hormone released when producing breast milk keeps our periods at bay as it keeps our ovaries asleep and has a bit of a contraceptive pill effect-although that said, mine seemed pretty determined to return as soon as they could 🙁 …). In fact, breastfeeding in general has meant my periods were irregular until the Bean reached 8-months. At which point I was finally able to accommodate my new -and what would become my invaluable friend- into my monthly cycle properly.

    12-months+ of Mooncupping

    I have now been using the Mooncup for a whole year. In this time, I’ve gone from experiencing mild anxiety before removing it (it takes a bit of practise. For me, when trying to remove it,  it was opening quickly and the blood was spilling out. This did lead to a few embarrassing scenarios involving blood on my trousers, but be mindful: I am super clumsy, which will definitely make a difference) all the way to becoming, quite frankly, a bit of a pro at inserting/removing it, and avoiding aforementioned messy situations (most of the time). And I found myself falling a little more in love with the Mooncup with each passing Flo…and here’s why:

    1. Sustainability- I just love that it is self-contained and literally an all-in-one product that answers our needs. You need water to clean it, but that’s it.
    2. Longevity- It’s said to last for a very long time, upto 10-years in some cases!
    3. Economics- I paid £22 for mine, and I must have saved a LOT of money already by no longer buying pads
    4. Practicality-It’s just perfect for any kind of lifestyle : on the go or sedentary
    5. Transportability- I put it in its little pouch and away we go. And to date, I have not forgot to take it on my jaunts! In fact I think I’d sooner buy a second Mooncup should this happen, than buy sanitary towels again. They’re so small that they really are easy to put in your bag and GO!
    6. And I love the little cotton pouch all Mooncup’s come in **obviously**

    GRASSROOTS:


    The more I use it, the more
    I lament the amount of sanitary pads I must have sent to landfill. Why aren’t Mooncup’s (and all menstrual cups) normalised in school’s when we were young women, and being educated about menstruation.

    It’s surely time that the education of women’s menstrual products and the production of waste go hand in hand together. We need to create a new dawn: the next generation of citizens to whom being sustainable is normal. Furthermore, why aren’t menstrual cups promoted more in family planning clinics and even surgery waiting rooms? It’s time for change.

    What did women use before the invention and commercialisation of sanitary towels?

    A brief history of menstrual pads. Extract taken from Eco Menstrual:

    • Animal pelts
    • Mosses (see the episode of ‘The Victorian Farm’? Moss is extremely absorbent they say!)
    • Grasses
    • Sea sponges
    • Seaweed

    **Native cultures continue to use many of the above today.

    Textiles: Among the poorer members of society old rags were often used – this is the origin of the term “on the rag”. Once mass manufacturing of textiles and garments became possible, as well as “more modern” laundering methods, manufactured cloth pads became available (mid 1800 to about 1940).

    Also popular were underwear with built in sanitary pads, which were not unlike adult sized nappies.

    Washable pads and sea sponges have been re-discovered and menstrual cups were a wonderful innovation.

    The Keeper was the first to be manufactured in 1987 in latex rubber and several other companies followed suit making them in silicone rubber. (Many reported allergic reactions to latex rubber).

    Women are having increasing concerns about health and awareness of environmental issues related to disposable products.

    The modern tampon was developed in the early 1900s and remains the most popular disposable menstrual product today.


    Size, material and packaging:

    The Mooncup is available in two sizes and is made of medical grade silicone. It comes in a little cotton bag to transport it in and this is sold in a little paper box. It is said to last for as many as ten-years. 

    A lifestyle shift

    Periods are natural. A bleached plastic sanitary towel is not. – WEN.org

    The Mooncup has properly changed my life. As mentioned, the journey from the Mooncup fitting comfortably into my new routine was forestalled by some mildy tricky situations. I think I would advise you to:

    1. Practise inserting it to grow in confidence 
    2. Be patient
    3. Get to know your Flo

    I would advise practicing with the Mooncup before taking it abroad, wearing it to work, or in my case on a plane, for the very first time. Try if you can, to wear it when you’re in the house and then in places you feel most comfortable.  This means you can get use to it and how it feels.

    It felt funny wearing the Mooncup for the first few Aunt Flo’s, which was also distracting. I am a bit of a worry wart, plus have always suffered with very, very heavy Flo. You might even find, especially if you’ve been a tampon user (never successfully inserted one:(  ) up until the point you convert to a Mooncup, that insertion is easy and you aren’t even aware it’s there.

    1.Practice inserting and removing the Mooncup as it needs to be removed carefully to avoid spilling the collected blood everywhere. *TOP TIP*: When out and about try to locate a mum and baby, disabled or toilet with sink in. This is something a lot of people pointed out that they found the Mooncup awkward when there nowhere you could wash it.

    2.Be patient and let your vagina get used to it. Like I said, it felt really funny for me at first. I did have an episiotomy, but not sure this would still have been affecting me 8-months on. But this ‘funny’ feeling fast disappears and I started to feel really emancipated. 

    3.Get to know your Flo. I realised I lost a lot more blood than I thought. (Another great reason for using a mooncup: it keeps things real. You get to see your blood loss close-up.  I needed to know how often to empty it (this will inevitably be different for each individual) and until I got used to it there were a few incidents of leakag. I simply got to understand my Flo and when it would peak-generally day 2 and 3 would be really full-on. 

    ONE MORE BENEFIT:

    If you were previously a sanitary towel user, think how often you would change them and how many you would need to carry around with you. The Mooncup is small, discreet and you can leave it in for upto 8-hours if it suits your Flo!

    A very brief history of the Mooncup landing and other fun facts:

    • Mooncup was founded in 2002 by two friends Su and Eileen
    • In 2017 the Mooncup is available in 50 countries
    • The first store to stock the Mooncup was Infinity in Brighton
    • The Mooncup won the award for Best Non Food product at The Natural Trade show in 2003
    • In 2003 word spreads across Europe about the Mooncup and grassroots movements in Spain promote its use
    • Due to customer demands, Boots starts to stock the Mooncup
    • In 2006 Mooncup received its first full-page news coverage  in the Times
    • The Love your Vagina campaign hits the London Underground creating an impressive social media buzz in 2010
    • Mooncup became employee owned in 2014

    Some interesting links for further reading:

    Eco Menstrual

    Women’s Environmental Network

    The cost of periods: Guardian & Huffington

    Green Earth Green Eats/Health IN THE GREEN NEWS

    WastED comes to London

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    I love this⬇it’s an inspiring and important read and particularly topical right now.

    Top chefs including Gordon Ramsay will demonstrate that food need not be wasted at London’s WasteED food festival under the guidance of renowned anti-food waste chef: Dan Barber.

    Barber- who is based in New York- is a pioneer of cooking creations made from food that would otherwise be thrown away.

    Think Real Junk Food project managed by a michelin starred chef or two! Click link ⬆ to read more and source tickets.

    Green Beauty

    Living Naturally Hemp & Patchouli solid shampoo

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    , ,A shampoo that travelled from Bristol to Dhaka and back again…

    Solid shampoo bars -for obvious reasons- will find their way into any good zerowaster’s cupboard: they last a long time and there is generally no packaging, so what could be better? Also, I often find that solid shampoo’s contain less of the nasties that we should all actively be avoiding.

    NO POO

    While I am not yet a ‘no poo’ person, I have been going sort of no poo for a long while, and trying really hard to locate the best solid shampoo for my very temperamental hair. I have now tried out quite a number of solid shampoo bars, and frustratingly many don’t work with my hair type, which I am told is ‘woolly’ 🙁 And so, the search continued. On a positive note, as they are easily transportable and double up as body soap, they never go to #waste.

    Less nasties

    As aforementioned, I always find that solid shampoo bars tend to avoid much of what I would identify as ‘poo’ compared to liquid ones in particular, and as a plus they’re refreshingly plastic free. Just to be clear on the ‘no poo’ concept I found this and thought I’d add it below:

    The idea of shampooing less frequently may make you cringe. (Like this woman who didn’t shampoo for 5 years?) But according to certain hair experts and anti-shampoo advocates—some who follow what’s known as the “no ‘poo movement”—lathering up every day is unnecessary at best, and potentially harmful to your tresses (as well as the Earth) at worst. Shampoo has been around for less than a century, after all, and only in the last few decades has it become a daily essential.-Source: health.com

    What are the nasties we should be avoiding in our shampoo’s?

    Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)
    A surfactant found in many cleaning products. Also an insecticide. The sodium and ammonium laureate sulfates are known cancer-causing ingredients. Also causes liver damage, skin rashes, depression, diarrhea and eye damage.

    Fragrance
    Fragrance of any kind isn’t good. It clogs the lymphatic system and induces major organ system toxicity. Also causes endocrine disruption.

    Cocamidopropyl Betaine
    This foaming agent has been associated with skin and eye irritation and allergic contact dermatitis. Although the government regards it as safe, many people have negative reactions to it.

    Triclosan
    With a moderate hazard rating, triclosan should be avoided at all costs. It can accumulate in our fat cells and keep our body in a state of toxicity. It causes irritation of the skin, eyes and lungs, and causes endocrine disruption and organ system toxicity.

    Polysorbates
    Used to dissolve fragrance or other oil additives. Often found in conditioners. It leaves a residue on the skin and scalp, disrupts the skin’s natural pH and destroys the natural protective barrier of our skin and scalp. Polysorbate-80 is the worst of the bunch – but stay clear of all!

    Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
    Often found in conditioners, PEG contains dangerous dioxin levels, often found as a by-product of the ethoxylation process in manufacturing. Dioxins have a direct link to cancer, and also cause organ system toxicity.

    Potassium Sorbate
    Potassium sorbate is used as a preservative in hair-care products. It causes skin and organ system toxicity.

    Phenoxyethanol
    Another preservative used in cosmetics and hair care products. Causes organ system toxicity, and is an irritant to the skin, eyes and lungs. The FDA even warned that phenoxyethanol can cause shut down of the central nervous system, vomiting and contact dermatitis.

    Retinyl Palmitate
    Retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, can speed the development of skin tumours and lesions, making it a possible carcinogen. Causes reproductive toxicity and organ system toxicity.

    Dimethicone
    Dimethicone is a silicone oil that can make the scalp and skin incredibly dry and irritated. It forms an almost plastic-like barrier on the outside of the skin and traps bacteria, sebum and impurities with it. It is also an eye irritant and is non-biodegradable and horrible for the environment.

    Behentrimonium Chloride
    Behentrimonium Chloride is a type of ammonium salt used as a preservative and surfactant. It is a toxic compound, with concentrations of 0.1% and higher having been shown to damage the eyes. It is irritating to the skin and causes inflammation.

    Quaternium-15
    This lovely chemical is another quaternary ammonium salt used as a surfactant and preservative in personal care products. It acts as a formaldehyde releaser and is definitely not safe. Formaldehyde is extremely carcinogenic, and should be avoided at all costs.

    Source: LiveLoveFruit.com

    My favourite bar so far

    My favourite by far is this one: Naturally Livings: Hemp and Patchouli solid shampoo bar:

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    The smell is exquisite and I was contemplating buying one to have as a room scent 😂. The packaging is perfect too: a cotton bag ready for on the go, as well as as an incentive to keep the bar dry which will enhance its longevity. #wasteless

    The wash

    It is really easy to use and I found it produced a good amount of lather not to mention the fragrance which is just mmmmmm. I also found that I don’t use much each time, so after nearly 3-months it is still going strong!

    Not a good start

    I must admit that I did have to work out how to utilise the hemp and patchouli bar after the first tries. Perhaps I was using too much because a residue of shampoo was being left behind on parts of my hair, leaving it looking lank and greasy once it had dried 🙁

    Just as I nearly lost faith in another solid shampoo bar, the shine on the rest of my hair convinced me to persevere and try to work out how to get the most out of it. I am very glad I did. I now like it so much it made it all the way to Dhaka and back with me.

    Ingredients

    The Hemp and Patchouli soild soap shampoo contains:

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    About Living Naturally Soapnut Apothecary:

    I discovered Living Naturally Soapnut Apothecary on Instagram. I was initially intrigued by their stain remover for clothes I had seen on another instgrammers feed. It’s quite difficult getting stains out of the Beans clothes at times, which is why I thought I’d find out more about them. When I visited their website, I was amazed.

    Living Naturally Soapnut Apothecary are a small family-run business based in London that specialise in natural handmade products for hair, skin and bath as well as laundry (their soapnuts). They’re certified vegan, natural, organic and their ingredients are ethically sourced, sustainable and cruelty-free. Their products are also free from SLS, parabens, mineral oil, palm oil, artificial additives or fragrance.

    The founders, a husband and wife team, found that both of their children suffered with eczema and so, in order to avoid aggravating the skin condition, they decided to create a toxic-free home. On recommendation, the founders switched to soapnuts for everything from cleaning the house, their clothes and themselves, and were amazed at the improvements they saw in their children’s eczema and at how effective soapnuts were.

    SOAPNUTS

    Soapnuts grow on trees and contain a natural surfactant that gently removes grease and grime. They’re biodegradable and compostable meaning they won’t add any bizarre chemicals into our water system as they’re planet kind. And so began the story of Living Naturally Soapnut Apothecary who now produce beautiful products that have been developed alongside herbalists and traditional Ayurveda. Many of their products have been acknowledged and nominated for awards in the green beauty category.

    Living Naturally also gets my vote on the packaging, look how they packaged my order ↓

    To further compound their credentials as a natural eco-conscious apothecary, look at how they packaged the goods I ordered:

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    I just love that they re-purposed an old tea carton instead of buying a brand new box. This should be standard.  I have purchased from a number of so called ‘eco’ and ‘ethical’ companies in recent years and am always surprised when they have used things like polystyrene for padding, wrap the item in plastic and provide an enormous box for something very tiny.