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Save the planet one safety razor at a time

The other day someon asked me about my razor. They assumed that safety razors where more dangerous than the plastic disposable kind we have grown accustomed to, the PLASTIC kind. I said it wasn’t, that they’re simple to assemble and showed her. Then I decided that perhaps others were on the fence, unsure whether to #DITCHTHEIRDISPOSABLES and reach for the reusable. This video above demonstrates just how SIMPLE it is. Plus don’t you think they’re just so gorgeous?

Five reasons you need to switch to a reusable razor: 

  1. They’re reusable-it’s a no brainer #reuserevolution
  2. A safety razor will save you money in the long run
  3. They’re completely recyclable
  4. They’re very stylish
  5. It is estimated that in the US alone, 2Billion disposable razors are thrown away every year- which is a lot of plastic in landfill or our waterway

 

 

 

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Living Naturally Ayurvedic Herbal Hair Mask (No-Poo 3)

No-Poo has been really tough…

Much tougher than I could have anticipated. I mean not washing your hair sounds like a challenge, but I would never have expected it to make my hair look so lank and greasy (that even a homemade arrowroot and cocoa dry shampoo could not rescue) I started to feel a bit lank and greasy on the inside too:(! Coupled with the daily aches of being a Mamma to a super busy toddler, that something had to give.  I know if no-poo worked for you, you are probably thinking, “surely no-poo is a time-saver?” Yes, if it works! Otherwise you’re just trying to find inventive ways of disguising the grease and in my case for nearly 4-months.  

Is it just me, but when I am tired, no wait, exhausted, I just love and need to wash- this makes one feel much better about everything:  a lovely long, replenishing shower! I guess that I also craved running my hands through my hair without getting them caught on a knot! And also leaving it down- this is not a good look when your hair is clumped together with glue-like grease. 

Perhaps hair like mine: very, very thick, was never going to take to the no-poo experiment well or that it might just take a lot longer. I gave it my best shot and refrained from all soap-based products and used rye flour, followed by cider vinegar and lavender hair rinse and followed this with a lavender  water rinse. And at the end of the day, there are so many natural options to choose from anyway, right? The lure and promise of clean hair for the rest of my life, without ever needing to wash it is still tugging at me (have I slightly exaggerated/romanticised the no-poo in my head, with visions of waking and giving my hair a shake and off I go?!) but that said, I may try again…

Besides, my hair showed no signs of adapting to cleaning itself at all. And I waited for over 3-months, and this just feels like a very long period of time when you’re waiting for a miracle to happen. I read it should take 6-weeks for your hair to learn to clean itself, so  I had long surpassed this point and felt and looked poo! Anyhoo, no-poo does not mean a return to nasty and plastic packaged shampoos, I am still actively avoiding both the nasties like SLS and the packaging. So with this in mind, I turned again to the lovely Insta-discovery shop,  Living Naturally Soaps (aka soapnuts.co.uk).

Who are Living Naturally?

Living Naturally are based in the UK and produce among other things, a lovely range of handmade soaps and shampoo bars that come in a cotton bag. Mindful of avoiding wasteful packaging  and inspired by nature to create products that can be used by those suffering with eczema and psoriasis, their products are proof that we can place our trust in nature. And thank goodness for companies like this one!

As part of their hair care range Living Naturally offer an Ayurvedic Herbal hair mask that contains an eclectic mix of ground ingredients that combine to give your hair the waw factor- I am very happy I ordered this little pot of wonder. The mask contains: amla, shikaki, Maka, brahmi, neem, tulsi, and organic hibiscus.

The hair mask comes in a cute little tin pot (below) and you simply blend equal parts powder to water to use either as a mask, which is left on for minimum 10-mins or a shampoo. If  you’ve ever used Henna on your hair, it has a similar consistency but I assure you, it it much easier to rinse off.

Clarifying herbal hair mask inspired by Ayurveda
Ayurvedic Herbal Hair Mask

As a shampoo…

As you have the option of using the powder as a mask or shampoo, and I have tried it as both. I first used it the day it was delivered, last Saturday when I used it as a shampoo: made the paste, rubbed it into hair and scalp and rinsed it off. The results were perfect: my hair felt very clean, looked really healthy and it was unusually easy to brush. Given that my hair is prone to tangling, this impressed me.

Ayurveda: inspired by nature
Living Naturally Ayurvedic Herbal Hair Mask

As a hair mask…

This afternoon I decided to use it as a mask. I mixed it up, smothered all over my hair and left it for nearly 1 hour! (Bean is asleep so I caught up on some I-Player and pottered for a bit-a rare treat!). The results of leaving it on mean my hair is even shinier compared to when I used it just as a shampoo. I gave it a very good rinse and even though I think there are a few grain remaining (the only tiny criticism I have) my hair feels absolutely lovely. Again, as though  it is a flower or plant, fed some highly nutritious feed! In case you’re unclear, I would definitely recommend this hair mask!

Next time…

One thing I didn’t order from Living Naturally was their conditioning hair rinse. I did worry that the hair mask alone might leave the ends of my hair feeling dry but happily, my hair felt incredible. In fact as though it had been conditioned meaning the mask has deep condition properties as well…Although I am probably going to make their herbal rinse my next purchase.

Final thoughts: 

Even though I have declared I have given up on the no-poo challenge for the time being, I used this hair mask on Saturday and it has kept my hair looking really clean/grease-free until today: that’s 5-whole-days!

I love a discovery that ticks all my favourite boxes:

-handmade

-100% natural

-eco friendly

-non-plastic reusable or recyclable packaging

-cruely free

-vegan

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The bristle brush (part of the no-poo series)

Can a brush keep me on my no-poo journey? More than 8-weeks into my no-poo experiment (see no-poo review 1 and 2 for more info) and after experiencing peak greasiness a few weeks back (and admittedly close to throwing in the towel and repealing no-poo) I decided to research more about the process and ‘science’ behind it as I really want it to work with the promise of beautiful low maintenance hair spurring me on.

One tool I seemed to be reading about a lot on the numerous blogs and websites I turned to was the bristle brush. I gathered that we need to turn away from most or all things once deemed a normal haircare choices and instead adopt a more natural approach. And this includes looking at the type of brush you use. The bristle brush is the brush of choice for no-pooer’s it seems. 

So what is a bristle brush and why might it help someone who is trying to give up on shamPOO?

The body of a bristle brush is generally made of wood, and the bristle’s from stiff wild boar hair (does this mean they’re not vegetarian?).

While I am not sure if the following is evidence based, but as I agree with many of the points, I decided to include the following list taken from a Moroccan website discussing the benefits of using a bristle brush. The benefits for your hair include:

  1. Grows hair faster and prevents hair loss
  2. Conditions hair
  3. Adds shine (I concur, it really does)
  4. Cleans hair (Yup, if this means removing the dust, then I concur again)
  5. Prevents breakage and frizz (Yup, although it does make hair static too but this is short-lived)
  6. It’s a great styling too
  7. Balances your scalps oil (if this is true, then this hair brush it vital when conducting a no-poo experiment)
  8. Softens hair (I’d have to agree to this as well)

Source: Morrocco Method

I managed to buy my bristle brush in a local pharmacy here in Bristol and it’s  made of olive wood, in the process I managed to:

  • Support local
  • Invest in a natural and compostable product
  • That was minimally packaged*

*I have to add that while it was minimally packaged,  the information card was attached to the brush with a black plastic tag that was very difficult to remove 🙁 and in the process I managed to scratch the brush with the scissor.

A brush that ‘Clean’s’ hair:

Point number 4 above claims the brush ‘cleans’ your hair. I agree as it managed to dust and extract ‘bits’ that find their way into our hair. And I know this because the first time I used it, the brush was covered in dust even though I had rinsed my hair the night before.

I used it when there was a little shampoo bar residue remaining. After a few brushes over the course of the day, the residue was gone. This must have been down to the brush as I had not washed or added any product to it- not even my homemade dry shampoo.

I am now so convinced by this brush and the benefits it seems to bring my no-poo journey, that I am determined to stick with the experiment. I think all my life, or rather, since my teens, I have been treating my hair all wrong. Exposing it to plastic hair brushes and combs and over-thought, complicated man-made, synthetically produced shamPOO’s that have confused my scalp’s natural oils, making it demanding due to increasing its grease levels and drying it out due to overwashing. Not to mention all the other products and heat-exposure (straighteners, hair-dryers, curlers) that I have used.

A green life seems to be a simpler life too, as I keep discovering. I will still use my shampoo bar for now, follow this with lavender, but increasingly i think about the mantra, don’t put anything on your skin you wouldn’t put in your mouth and this no-poo journey has put my drive to natural living under a microscope and gradually, I hope to be as compostable in my human self as my bristle brush! (if you know what I mean!!)

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No-Poo review 2!

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.

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No-Poo! (4-week update)

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…

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Living Naturally Hemp & Patchouli solid shampoo

, ,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.