Monday, January 30, 2012

No Shampoo Success At Last

I have tried several times to implement the popular no shampoo technique without success. I found ordinary shampoo too drying and I had a hard time finding a shampoo that I thought was safe and non-toxic enough. For a long time I was using an organic shampoo diluted with an equal amount of water. That was less expensive and drying than using undiluted shampoo. I tried washing my hair with Dr. Bronners soap, which I love generally and I know lots of people like to use it for shampoo. It always left my hair feeling filmy and somehow greasier.  I tried the baking soda and vinegar no-shampoo method a few times, but I always broke after a few days when my hair never seemed to get clean and went back to shampoo. This is the gross first phase, when your scalp keeps on producing as much oil as when the detergent shampoo was stripping it away. This phase is the major no shampoo stumbling block. It has foiled some of my friends and it bested me more than once.

I finally cracked it though. It takes determination to get through the first phase, and it takes dry shampoo. I had been using dry shampoo way before I decided to cut out shampoo entirely, but at first I didn't think to use it to fix the gross early no shampoo phase. Dry shampoo is the answer. It makes up some of the difference between shampoo-clean and no-shampoo-clean while you and your scalp adjust.

The no shampoo things can take a few tries to get right and that it works differently for different people. Some don't like to use the vinegar wash, others just use vinegar apparently. And, the no-shampoo-holy-grail: some people use nothing but water. Do some experiments, see what you like. If nothing else, you can use hair powder to extend the life of shampooed hair. This process was really gradual for me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rich Cocoa Butter Cream

Cocoa Butter Cream

My skin has decided this week to freak out about winter. It's practically the end of January and my skin apparently only just noticed. Maybe it was the big snow (well big for Victoria) we had last week, but now my skin is all dry and thirsty. It reminded me that I had been meaning to make some cocoa butter cream for ages. It's really rich and moisturizing-it's the moisturizer equivalent of hot tea on a snowy day. It smells wonderful, light and cocoa-butter-beeswax-y. It'll fix you right up. It is oily and greasy though, which is something that you might not be used if you normally buy comercial skin creams. It took me a really long time to think it was a good idea to put oil on my skin after reading that it causes acne when I was younger. I am converted now though. 
Bees Wax
I love working with bees wax; it smells so good it makes me a little giddy. I usually buy it in large blocks and shave it with a vegetable peeler. You can buy it in little pellets that are easier to work with as well.

Coco Butter

I use almond oil in my cream, it is light and has very little scent. You can use any mild oil you like,  olive oil makes very nice cream as well. Use light olive oil, not strong flavoured, darker, fruity olive oils. Their smell is really overpowering and drowns the mild sweet cocoa butter-bees wax smell. You can use rosewater or a hydrosol in place of the water and you can add essential oils if you like. This recipe is just a guideline; you can trick your cream out any way you like.