Sep 29, 2009

Facial Exfoliant

A very effective facial (and body) exfoliant.

This mix of rice grains (used in Japan for cleansing and smoothing the skin) and baking soda, reknowned for its mildy abrasive cleansing properties, is particularly suitable for oily skin.

If you cannot obtain soap crystals they may be left out, but the scrub will not lather.


2T (30mls) baking soda
2T (30mls) ground rice (you can buy it ground or do it yourself in a small coffee grinder)
1t (5mls) soap crystals (optional)
1t (5mls) finely grated lemon peel

To make

All ingredients in this recipe are dry so they may be mixed together and stored for a fairly long time (baking soda is a natural preservative).

To use

The rough texture of this scrub means it will remove dead skin cells, leaving you with fresh and clean skin. Apply in small handfuls and vigorously rub into areas of the fave until the soap lathers up. Dry your face with a soft towel and gently apply moisturiser if required.

My notes:

My skin is dry to normal, and I found this formula fine. Used once a week you can be assured of silky smooth skin.

I did not use soap crystals and found it perfectly fine. I simply wet my fingers and pressed them into the mixture and gently rubbed it onto my skin.

Stored in a pretty jar, this feels a treat to use.

Source: Recipes for Natural Beauty; Katie Spiers

Sep 12, 2009

Facial Oil

Apothecary Shop, circa 1920's

For quite some time now I've been using facial oils in place of regular moisturisers, including my own recipe and also store-bought organic rosehip oil (Trilogy and Evolu).

In my own recipe I used a base of Jojoba and added the essential oils Neroli and Frankincense (which apparently Cleopatra used too). I've seen these essential oils often in other facial oils too including Rodin's Olio Lusso (has anyone tried this by the way?).

And in an old Gayelord Hauser book, I found this:


Here is a combination of the world's finest and richest polyunsaturated oils. No cosmetic externally applied can do more to make the skin softer and younger looking. It is amazing how dry, wrinkled skin will gratefully soak in this combination of pure and wax-free oils. Modern cosmetic houses already manufacture polyunsaturated combinations but it is so easy to make your own. Simply mix in a measuring cup the following clear, natural oils:

3T safflower oil
3T sesame oil
2T sunflower oil
2T avocado oil
2T peanut oil
1T olive oil
1T wheatgerm oil
5 drops of rose geranium or your favourite perfume.

Seven drops of this combination, applied to your face, will convince you of its efficacy and purity. Use it regularly on face and neck; and if your scalp is dry rub in a few drops there.

Sounds too good to be true!

I am going to try the above facial oil recipe but make a few subtle changes such as adding rosehip oil in place of peanut oil (which I'm avoiding while nursing). And perhaps adding jojoba, and essential oils Neroli and Frankincense.

I think the above recipe will give me an idea of the quantities to use though.

Yes, making my own facial oil and washing hair in bicarb is sure to be a money saver but I think the real appeal lies in the fact I can make everything myself and not rely on manufacturers (except for the raw ingredients, of course). Who said Capricorns were control freaks?!

Here in New Zealand Go Native looks to be a great source for making your own beauty products.

Aug 18, 2009

first shampoo wash

The day I was dreading - going to the hairdresser and getting my first shampoo wash in over three months. The smell of it was sweet and chemically and detergenty, and overall rather artificial. It did feel really soft afterward, but I noticed when it was dried it didn't have the same shine as it does when rinsing with ACV. And for the first time since starting the no-shampoo regime I was forced to use styling product! The next day I washed my hair with bicarb and found it (surprise surprise) much easier to style. But I won't be sharing any pictures here yet of my new haircut. You know how hairdressers get a little enthusiastic with the scissors? I asked for a long eye-brow skimming fringe (bangs), and so she cut it (higher than I would have liked), and then went on to chip into when it was dry. So, you guessed it, my fringe is shorter than I had hoped for. She even said 'you'll look like a little girl with a fringe' at the exact same time the scissors sliced off about 4 inches of hair. Way to go, Terri!

Back in my teens this would have been such a drama for me, but now I know it'll all change within 2-4 weeks. I do think hair grows faster by not using regular shampoo and conditioner, if only for the vigorous massage required with the no-poo method.

I remember, back in my late teens, getting my hair cut from long to very short and the depressive slump that followed. I couldn't believe the difference in the way I was treated. Before, men would hold the door for me. With short hair, they were pushing ahead of me. I felt invisible. Again, I was an emotionally-charged teen and this probably all sounds melodramatic, but it was real for me then.

Apart from my 'little' fringe, the rest of the haircut is really nice and maybe in a few weeks I'll have the haircut I was hoping for. Damn that gorgeous French lady I met at a (children's) party last week, with her bouncy brunette fringe brushing over her big doe eyes. I think I was listening to what she was saying...

So in place of a picture of me, here's a picture of the gorgeous Anne Hathaway with perfect brunette bangs.

Jul 22, 2009

no-poo for curly hair

I've received a couple of questions about the no-poo method for curly hair. My hair is (obviously) straight to slightly wavy, so I can't give first hand experience though there are many sites out there hosted by curly-haired girls. One method is washing hair with water only, followed by an ACV rinse.

With all no-poo methods you must massage your scalp properly (using fingertips, not fingernails, massaging thoroughly around the crown, temples, etc for about a minute). I think because regular shampoo lathers up so much we tend not to massage properly as the nasty sodium lauryl sulphate* does the work for us (*SLS is essentially a harsh, stripping detergent). In massaging properly, you may find you can ditch any cleansing products altogether (bicarb, etc) and just finish with an ACV rinse. I have read that this method can be successful for curly hair.

Here are a couple of links for curly hair. I am quite interested now to try the water only wash on my hair, and I'll report back.

Jul 19, 2009

Hair Update

I'm still excited about this no-poo hair regime, even after 3.5 months. I'm thrilled actually. Something I thought of this morning while massaging away with the baking soda is that my hair is a lot more predictable, behaviour-wise, than when using regular shampoos and conditioners. Often I would wash and dry my hair and it wouldn't behave like it did the previous wash. This caused great frustration when I was getting ready to go out in the evening (like that ever happens now). My hair in these photos was lightly styled in the morning, but not brushed prior to the photos. When it is brushed it goes rather silky. But I like it a bit tousled and messed up. The natural shine you get from just using ACV is amazing too. It beats serums hands down. Serums build up anyway, and can leave hair looking lank.

The only other product I use is a bit of Jojoba oil on the mid-lengths to ends. I tried coconut oil but didn't like it - for one, it solidifies when cool and this made my hair look a bit icky. The jojoba oil, as I've mentioned before, is closest to hair sebum and works really well for me.

I am still using just apple cider vinegar, rather than honey ACV - the latter made my hair a bit heavier. Nice every now and then for conditioning but on a regular basis - washing my hair 2-3 times per week - the ACV is light and works best.

My pallid complexion in these shots has something to do with Audrey waking me up every 45-90 minutes throughout the night - nasty! Two coffees have perked me up, and I managed a small smile for the camera so can't be doing too badly (yet, wait until evening comes).

If you are considering going no-poo, I totally recommend you give it a go. If you don't like it (and often it comes down to working out the best ratio of bicarb/ACV) then you can always revert back to your usual products.

The no-poo method is a nice money saver though, quite the bonus on top of healthy hair. So far, no turning back for me.

Jun 29, 2009


I found some interesting health recipes in a recent Vogue UK magazine that I hope to try over the coming months. If anyone tries them, I'd love to hear what you think - whether you looked like Daria W after, whether the recipe stunk, whether you'd try it again, whether you found a better way of doing it, etc? I'll post each recipe separately for that reason, and there'll be a link on the sidebar so you'll be able to easily locate them too.

Beauty Recipe | DIY Hairspray

"Dissolve a tsp of sugar with a teaspoon of salt in hot water, then pour into a plastic spray bottle. When cool distribute through the hair whenever you want a sexy tousled look with great hold."

Source: Zoe Irwin, creative director of Hari's hairdressers

Beauty Recipe | Hair Gloss Treatment

"This recipe for a nourishing and restorative hair mask has been passed through my family for three generations: whisk together a few tablespoons of olive oil, an egg yolk and a couple of splashes of rum. Apply the mixture to wet hair - it smells delicious, like cake mix - and wrap in a warm towel. Shampoo out ater 30 minutes to reveal hair with a rich, hydrated lustre."

Source: Olivia Chantecaille, cosmetics creative

Beauty Recipe | Miraculous Mask

Blend three tablespoons of oats in a coffee grinder and give it an antioxidant kick with 1/4 tsp of tumeric powder, 1/4 tsp of ginger powder and 1/4 tsp green tea powder. Drizzle in enough water to mak a thick paste and add 1/2 tsp flax seed oil. Apply the mixture to cleansed skin and leave for ten minutes, then buff off with a muslin cloth. It leaves skin radiant.

Source: Margo Marrone, founder of The Organic Pharmacy

Jun 27, 2009

on supplements

I'm really into supplements. I mean, really. My main memory of popping pills was when I was in my late teens and seriously into the gym and running. I'd not care to think how much I was spending then. These days I try to follow a simpler, and hopefully more effective, health regime.

I know this will probably bore some of you, but I really dig it. And to be perfectly honest, I do it for the outside as well as the inside.

Every day I have...

  • LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond mix) - I used to buy this, but after a bad batch and the inconvenience of realising I'd run out at breakfast time I decided to make my own. It's much cheaper and it tastes so much fresher. The ratio I use is 1C linseed(flaxseed), 2/3C sunflower seeds, 1/3C almonds. I found my redundant coffee grinder produced an even, find grind. Store it in the fridge.
  • Brewers yeast - a tablespoon six times a day, or 2 tablespoons three times a day. You do the math. I read in Adelle Davis's book that it is great for maintaining breastmilk supply. I think it works too. Brewers yeast also contains b vitamins, iron and other trace minerals. I love this!
  • Lecithin - a good source of fatty acids, and also great for warding off mastisis in breastfeeding mothers. Thanks to those lovely people (Angie, Kelly, Sara, to name a few) who told me of this (via comments on lucyandi) when I was ailing with mastitis a few months back.
  • Calcium/magnesium tablets - I find the calcium is great for me for nursing, and when I don't have the magnesium I get twitchy. Not good. Nursing does take it out of you, not to mention looking after kids.
  • High potency vitamin/mineral supplement (the formulation varies when I am nursing)
  • Vitamin C Powder

Some of you are probably thinking 'can't food provide all the nutrients you need?' It should, but it doesn't from what I have read (and felt). The soils are not the same as they used to be, manufacturing methods probably aren't helping to retain the nutrients, and we lead busy lives often not taking the time to make good food at home.

I think me being so interested in this is the influence of my mother's diet. She has a little box of 'potions' she takes each day. During Audrey's pregnancy I felt quite ill for a couple of weeks - my iron and blood pressure were both really low. My mother said during her pregnancies her iron count was perfect (which amazes me considering how demanding, nutrient-wise, pregnancy can be). Even her doctor was surprised, yet dissed her when she told him she ate 'dried apricots, nuts, etc'. Typical back-ward thinking doctor!

I used to drink chlorophyll years ago but haven't yet gotten back into that. It's dubbed 'liquid greens' and is, among many other things, a potent purifier.

Anyway, a waffly introduction into this diet of mine. I'll also post as sidelinks my favourite books and sources on nutrition too, which I will keep updated.

mirror mirror on the wall....

I've realised that there is only so much I can post about the state of my hair on this no-shampoo adventure of mine (surely you agree too), so now plan on writing about other health and beauty-related topics too. I'll be back soon...

Jun 2, 2009

ACV sans honey

Just a quickie update. I ran out of honey apple cider vinegar, and as the two remaining bottles at the shop looked a bit motley I decided to go with straight apple cider vinegar. In hindsight I think the honey was adding a faint stickiness/heaviness to my hair, and as a result of using the apple cider vinegar my hair feels a lot lighter. I would still use the HAVC occasionally but not for all washes. I know some people only use the rinse every other wash but I feel my hair is still too dry for that still. On the subject of dryness, my ends don't have that parched feeling as they did when using shampoo. So either my hair is repairing, or the new wash is not as drying. Whatever the reason, great!

Must get that Mason Pearson brush. I haven't been religious with the morning and nightly brushing, which I should be doing to distribute the natural oils. Tut tut.

May 22, 2009

hair & skin

Still so far, so good. You get great shine with the bicarb/ACV method so my serums sit lonely and neglected in the bathroom cupboard. Ditto for the bodifying products and irritating attempts to put body into the roots such as the old 'comb-teasing'.

A few weeks back I even did a coffee rinse for my brown hair. Brendan saw me, and said I should still be back living in my ramshackle cottage in the country. I was raking out used coffee grinds from our machine for this. I won't do it again though as it didn't leave it in as good a condition. I have yet to do a beer rinse in place of the ACV but will report if and when I do this.

I'm also using my own facial cleanser now, this formula made from glycerine, rosehip oil and tea tree oil (a great antifungal/antibacterial). I can't recall if I added anything else, so will have to start again when I make the next batch. I basically looked at the ingredients in my last cleaner (Trilogy) and read a bit and came up with this. And it actually seems to make my skin look better than before.

But my daily drink of HACV in water could be doing that too (1T:1C). I highly recommend this and used to do it all the time when I was younger (along with taking brewers yeast and lecithin and countless other potions and tablets) but forgot until a friend started doing it. It really does seem to purify and clear my skin.

I have also yet to do any natural hair masks, but am keen to try banana and also avocado. And perhaps a hot oil treatment.

May 6, 2009

one month progress update

One month into the bicarb experiment, wowee. All is still going well (i.e. no going back), though the challenge the past week or two has been working out a suitable formula from this point on, i.e. one that washes my hair but doesn't dry out my ends. I went with the paste method this morning so I could just concentrate washing the target areas (crown, temples, nape) without exposing the ends to a wash that wasn't necessary. Then I finished with a more concentrated HACV rinse. I still don't know if this is the perfect formula for me, but will just play around with the quantities each wash until I find one most suitable.

Lucy also had her second bicarb wash, and it's silky and thick and stays cleaner for much longer. That has to be a great thing, as Lucy doesn't really care for her hair being washed. I mean, the water being dumped on her head, the random eye-stinging from roving suds; enough to make any toddler run for Dirty-Hair Hill. The bicarb method is quick to do, and as it doesn't lather I think it's a bit kinder on the eyes.

One gripe I do have, and I don't know if it's common or not (do you?) is after the HAVC rinse, my shoulders (where the rinse has run on to) itch like mad and I come out in tiny bumps. This subsides pretty quickly, but I don't know if I'm having a common or allergic reaction, or maybe the pH of the HACV is different to my skin. Or maybe the my formula is too strong in general.

I might actually try a beer rinse next wash. When Brendan heard this I got the feeling from the look in is eyes that I wouldn't be touching his beer. 'Go buy some cheap beer...' I heard him mutter.

My hair prior to my bedtime brush (and prior to a wash)

Hair post brush

I read you are supposed to brush your hair morning and night to help distribute the natural oils down the hair shaft. I have been wanting to buy a Mason Pearson brush for as long as I can remember. Maybe now is the time.

Apr 26, 2009

my week three and lucy's first wash

Lucy was pleased (sic) to have her first bicarb/HACV wash today. It didn't sting her lovely blue eyes, was overall very easy to do, and left her with the silkiest, shiniest, softest hair. I kept looking at it and touching it and remarking on it to Lucy. I am her mother though, and mothers do things like that. Seriously, I am super impressed and although she wouldn't let me give it a good brush, the parts I did manage to brush were done with relative ease. That's the main reason I wanted to try this for Lucy, as I've heard its great for knots and tangles. So fingers crossed it does the trick. If so, Lucy may even warm to hair brushing again.

Also, I am still really pleased with how this is going for me. I have to say again, and this might sound odd, my hair looks like real hair again. Rather than going fly-away when I brush it, the more I brush it the better it looks. Full of body and feeling nicely moisturised. To hell with shampoo! And still using only a little spray on the odd day. No other styling products at all (despite a drawer full of them). And if you knew me, you would say that in itself was a miracle.

So exciting.

Apr 21, 2009

day sixteen

I feel I've been doing this forever now (but obviously only sixteen days)! I've tried both a bicarb liquid and a bicarb paste formulation, and for my hair prefer the liquid. That is:

The Wash: 1C water with 1T baking soda/bicarb dissolved. Pour into a recycled shampoo bottle or similar, and pour over the hair. I often get 2-3 washes from a bottle, so obviously I'm using a lot less bicarb per wash than others might.

I did try the paste method (1T bicarb mixed with a little water to a paste, then worked into the scalp/hair) but it felt too drying for the way my hair is right now. Maybe I just left it in too long? Whatever the reason, I prefer the liquid/dilute version.

The Rinse: 2T honey cider vinegar in 1C water, poured into another bottle, which I then pour onto my hair. Again, this amount lasts a few washes.

To Finish: Once towel-dried, I rub a few drops of Jojoba oil through the mid lengths to ends. If blow drying, I apply the Jojoba oil first, and may add a touch more as a finisher depending on how my hair is looking/feeling. Jojoba oil is the closest to human hair and skin oil, and I find it is great for adding moisture and shine.

Since starting this my hair feels sufficiently clean and shiny, has plenty of body and texture, and has almost diminished my need for styling products with the exception of a little spray on occasion. When I tie it up or back, it holds better than it did when using conventional shampoos and conditioners. I found then that I needed products to thicken it up.

Here are some photos of my hair over the last week (natural/unstyled):

So, all in all, I am really happy with the way this is going and have no intention of stopping. I have yet to wash Lucy's hair with it, but am keen to do it soon as I've heard it helps with knots and tangles. Lucy is comb-shy now, so tends to have a head of tufty blonde hair. She's still beautiful though, tufts, tangles and knots aside!

Apr 11, 2009

day six

Today I used bicarb paste and massaged it into my scalp for a minute or two and then put the HAVC rinse only on my ends (whereas before I had been putting it all over). The last two times I’ve also roughly blow-dried it, but this time I will let it air dry, which is what you’re supposed to do (it’s been a bit cold though lately, and I can be a bit of a wuss).

When I’ve used shampoo and conditioner in the past my hair often needs product or styling to boost it up a bit, or tame it, or curb fluffy bits. This method seems to make my hair thicker and more manageable, adding texture. You gotta love that! It also feels moisturised, and despite it feeling like it might be a little tangled after the wash a comb easily glides through it.

Also, there is no residual ‘fragrance’ from the apple cider vinegar which I’ve heard others complain about. Not a trace. Mind you, my Honey ACV smells quite nice to start with, and not potent like some vinegars can be.I think I’ll wash Lucy’s hair with bicarb tonight. It tends to look lank quickly, and gets rather tangled so maybe this will change that.

I am still astounded I am able to get nice hair from simply washing it in bicarb and rinsing it in vinegar. I feel self-satisfied thinking of the money the hair industry is currently not getting from me. Long may it continue!

Apr 8, 2009

day one

Today the 'shampoo' felt like it was actually cleaning my hair, and the rinse seemed lighter than what I am used to from a conditioner but then I think I over-condition anyway. Once it was towel dried I rubbed a couple of drops of jojoba oil through it (I have long-term colour treated hair).

My hair has a lot of body and feels ever so slightly dry but totally fine. As I said, I think I over-condition so this is just a new feel for me. Funnily enough, since my haircut a few weeks back it looks the best todayI asked Brendan what he thought of my hair, and he said it looked good and had I coloured it? When I told him what I done, admittedly he pulled a face.

If I can get my hair looking good without spending all my money on expensive hair products with big claims how happy would I be?! More money for fabric perhaps.

in the beginning

I've been seeing a lot of this no-shampoo lifestyle lately and am intrigued. I'm sure it's been going on for quite some time, but just this week I've started noticing it.

I confess I am a serious hair product junkie. If there were a support group (HA perhaps?) I should be attending it, heading it perhaps. Mum used to joke about me and my hair, and my obsession to get it looking just right (whatever 'just right' meant). Perhaps the influence of too many Vogue magazines at a tender age?

Lately, and given it's probably partly post-partum talking, my hair has been dismal. Today it has been lank and lifeless and has been making me feel the same. And this is after using $40 shampoo and $30 conditioner not to mention expensive styling products! To think I almost bought a $50 Kerastase product the other day in the hope of 'silky, lustrous hair'. I'm so glad I didn't get suckered in like I might have in the past.

So today, and it was the best possible day to start this given the description of my hair (above), I started the no-shampoo trial.

The formulation I am using is:

Shampoo: 1T baking soda to 1C warm water (dissolved)

Conditioner/Rinse: 2T HACV (honey apple cider vinegar) to 1C warm water

For as long as I do this (which could be days or weeks or months) I'll document my progress.

No-Poo Links (just a few of the many around):