Archive for March, 2011

Last time we talked, I mentioned that I’d cut back on washing my hair. That was definitely the plan, and it worked for a few days. But then the greasies took over. Though my locks felt lustrous, they were limp and lame. Like others with fine, wavy hair, I apparently can’t get away with prolonged periods of washlessness. Had I tried this experiment seven months ago when I was working from home, the results might have been different. Had I kept my hair long instead of chopping it off on a whim (like I tend to do), I might not be complaining. I could have suffered through the greasy hump and given my hair time to return to a state of normalcy. Unfortunately, my hair is short, and I need to show my face in public every day. Therefore, I can’t look like a grease monkey.

So I caved. I used the Aubrey products yesterday. But even those couldn’t cut through the buildup of oils that had amassed in almost a week. It was time to take it to the next level and try some baking soda and apple cider vinegar. This morning I woke up five minutes early so I could tip-toe into the kitchen and mix up the concoctions: 1 tablespoon of baking soda in one cup of water for shampoo, and 2 tablespoons of ACV in one cup of water for conditioning rinse. I brought my two pint glasses of “cleanser” into the shower with me and got started.

Note to self: use warm water for these mixes! Pouring cold tap water over your head first thing in the morning is certainly a good way to wake up, but I didn’t sign up for shock therapy when starting these experiments.

Needless to say, I survived the ice water assault and emerged from the shower with much cleaner-feeling hair. Now I get to see how long this lasts.

A couple of hair styling recipes I tried:

Flax seed hair gel; a natural and healthy alternative to store-bought junk. I simmered 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds in a cup of water for 10 minutes. Doing so created a frothy gel-like substance. It seemed all well and good, until I tried to get the ground seeds out of there. Gel doesn’t exactly strain well, and I was left with a gooey substance full of brown flakes. Not exactly something I want in my hair all day. Similar complaints were posted online, along with a multitude of random solutions (like use whole flax seeds, for one). I may take the advice and give it another go, but in the meantime I found a nicer alternative….

Aloe hairspray. We all know that aloe has all sorts of great benefits, like making hair shiny, controlling frizz (bonus for me), and it’s hydrating. If it can do all that for my hair, why not put it in? So I took food-grade liquid aloe, put it in one of my old (cleaned out) Aveda hairspray bottles, mixed in a little olive oil and a couple drops of lavender essential oil. I sprayed it on this morning before styling, and it seems pretty nice! My hair feels soft, and it doesn’t have as many flyaways as usual. The true test will be when the weather gets muggy.

If I could make a volumizing product at home, that would be ideal. In the meantime, it’s all about the aloe.

More to come on the hair and skin experiment as I try new things (like massaging coconut oil onto my mug before washing it).

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It’s Friday, and I’ve been clean for five days. Don’t get the wrong idea; I was never a heroin addict or anything. (Though some days I wish I was.) I’m clean when it comes to my beauty products. The plan is to eventually be either using clean–or making my own–household cleaners, but the thought of tackling everything at once is too overwhelming. And since my everyday cosmetics get the most play on my skin, this has become my priority. (Oh yeah, and cosmetics are fun.)

Let’s start with the shower. I’m using Aubrey shampoo and conditioner when I wash my hair. The Aubrey line is the most common and the easiest to find locally. Before coming clean, I washed my hair every other day, the typical way: shampoo, condition, rinse. Now I’m doing it this way: condition, shampoo, rinse. Not only that, but I’m going to cut down on the washing frequency. At least that’s the plan – I’m not sure how long I can put up with greasy hair. But Siobhan and Alexandra (from No More Dirty Looks) suggest a baking soda and water or an apple cider vinegar rinse to help with that. Moving on to my body, I’m using Dr. Bronner’s Eucalyptus soap. It takes some getting used to, since it’s not very sudsy (a good thing) and doesn’t smell like flowers.

But let me tell you, I have never felt so squeaky clean after a shower! And, as I’ve been doing for several months, I use jojoba oil as body moisturizer afterwards.

This past Wednesday I had my regular haircut, except it wasn’t so regular. Before my stylist had a chance to put a drop of shampoo on my head, I told her that I only needed her to wet my hair, and that she couldn’t use any product. Naturally, she asked why, so I explained. Being the cool stylist that she is, she was more than happy to oblige and even said I was welcome to bring in my own products for her to use. Score! Later, as she dried my new ‘do, she mentioned how nice and clean my hair felt.

Onto my face . . . I’m still using beet juice as blush. But now, I’m putting it on under my foundation. What foundation? you ask. Jane Iredale PurePressed® Mineral Foundation. So far, so good. The foundation is sheer enough for the “blush” to show through and give me a nice glow. And *bonus* there is a place near me that sells Jane’s makeup! It’s called the Skin Spa, and the woman who owns it only uses clean products, like coconut and jojoba oils, hydrosol mists, etc. When you’re ready for your next facial, look her up! I’m also using activated charcoal for eyebrow filler. A bottle of the capsules set me back $10 at a local vitamin store, and I haven’t even finished the contents of one capsule! I dare you to find a cheaper way to make eyebrow filler and/or liquid liner (mix the powder with some jojoba oil or use it dry like I do).  As for my cleaning regimen, I’ve been doing several things: to try and kick-start the acne-fighting process, I swabbed my face with a tea tree oil and water mixture (10 drops of essential tea tree oil to one cup of distilled water), left it on for several minutes, and then rinsed it off in the shower. I’ll probably continue to do that once every week. For everyday cleansing, I’m using Aubrey’s Green Tea and Ginkgo cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. However, I may have to move to their Herbal or Blue Green Algae line if I can find them: my skin tends to get oily.

It could be coincidence or self-fulfilling prophecy, but my skin is already looking better than it had been for some time. I’ll have to see what happens over the course of the next month, when my hormones have a chance to wreak their havoc.

The best part of all this? So far, the products I’m using actually smell better than chemically-fragranced ones I’d been using before.

More to come…

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