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Aloe Vera leaves, scarves for soft, luxurious hair and Chinese chopsticks: how I discovered some remarkable benefits for the least amount of money.

Published May 10, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

Okay, I admit, it still costs money to buy these things to get started if you don’t have them around your house. However, since I’m always cramming my cranium with more knowledge about health benefits, pros vs. cons using everyday commercial hair care products that I grew up with my entire life and studying up on tons of articles out there both in print (freebie magazines from the health food store and via the internet and Farmer’s Almanac). I used to read the Farmer’s Almanac religiously when it was inexpensive years ago. An issue nowadays will cost $6.97… ouch! And along the way I discovered some fascinating healthy tidbits in my own pursuit of continuing my good health and overall well-being, especially from the of the dusty antique pages of my beloved set of late natural path Bernarr Macfadden Physical Culture encyclopedia. Now, I’m not saying this man is god. His methods and remedies, although outdated by today’s standards, may seem very far out there in left field, but the knowledge he presented (and updated from time to time clear into the 1940s) I find to be highly invaluable and educational. And it was Bernarr Macfadden who essentially opened my eyes to a healthier lifestyle. I also have a copy of his book written specifically for women that includes tailored exercises of the day, ditching the corset, health(ier) clothing choices although plastics weren’t invented yet when this book was written and a host of other information.

And I wanted more than just the egg hair rinse. I began my new hair care routine with the natural and health benefits of the aloe vera leaf. Sure, you can buy an itty bitty spindly aloe plants at Lowe’s on their discount/ distressed plant shelf for about $4 or maybe even at your local grocer for an astronomical amount for a little plant containing three puny leaves that look half dead… and let’s face it, unless you live in an arid, hot year-round climate, then growing your own aloe vera in your backyard for harvesting is nearly impossible to do in cold climates unless maybe if you bring it indoors for the winter. Believe me, I tried keeping small aloe vera plants alive indoors and just didn’t have the right terrarium atmosphere for them to survive. And then again, I only knew as much as my pre-Internet knowledge allotted me back in the day. I understood that aloe vera are desert loving plants and that’s was about it. And I knew back then the juice from a snippet of aloe leaf did wonders for burns, bruises and minor cuts. However, I didn’t come to realize just how beneficial these plants truly are until just a few months back. I live in an area that do stock aloe vera leaves (huge leaves at that). However, sometimes I can find two or even three large aloe leaves bundled for 40 cents-80 cents in the reduced merchandise cooler. Even if the aloe vera leaves look a little expired, I still find that they come in useful for my skin and hair regimen since I don’t consume the juice in smoothies.

 

And what are the health benefits? For starters, the aloe vera juice extracted from a leaf when applied to a burn, minor cuts or even scrapes helps promote healing. But did you know you can also cut open the aloe vera leaf of that clear slimy substance and whip it up in a blender to use straight as a natural skin and hair softner?  Yep, and it feels baby soft to the touch from my personal experience, gives natural luster to the hair follicle, again based on my experience, and when added in with fruit and veggie smoothies packs a lot of vitamins and antiseptics. In actuality the extracted aloe vera gooey stuff has no taste whatsoever. The kind that is produced in the bottles is oversaturated with nasty sugars.

 

It is advised to avoid consuming the yellow-ish aloe vera gooey substance because this acts like nature’s fast acting laxative. And when adding in aloe vera juice to a smoothie, do so sparingly as suggested by some health advocates and avid juicers due to a laxative effect. Also, the leaves I have found to be of use long after I remove the gooey clear substance. I like to cut the leaves in chunks and then freeze them for use later on and scrape the remaining gooey substance and use that to shave my legs with (makes the skin velvety smooth when dry shaving) and it feels excellent after a hard day working outside in the heat as well.

 

The shelf life of aloe vera juice when blended into a frothy foam that settles in the container can be stored in the fridge up to one week. I have heard from many women who also add in olive oil and coconut oil for their hair care routines, but if you hate the greasy weighed down feel it might produce, avoid using these oils entirely. It’s all about personal preference though. Personally, I found the DIY coconut oil and olive oil leave-in hair treatments to soften and restore damaged hair make my hair look and feel really gross as though I haven’t washed it in many months. And it doesn’t help living in a hard water area with nasty, industrial waste fluoride treatments, either. And it took several repeated ACV washings to get said oils out of my hair. I have alternated with the no shampoo, or “no-poo” trials with not so impressive results, either. My hair doesn’t look dirty or anything, but it’s either dry or brittle as a result even though I refrain from using shampoos and conditioners. I do, however, find that washing in city water isn’t helpful at all. I find that I’m literally at my wits end trying to get rid of the chemicals out of my life, especially when it comes to finding a shampoo that doesn’t contain Dimetheicone and its many sneaky aliases which is a polymer silicone and used in a wide array of hair products, skin care products, etc. and I believe I when doing some extensive and exhaustive night owl reading and research into this chemical is also classified as toxic according to the EWG (Environmental Watch Group). Dimetheicone also belongs to the polymeric organosilicon compounds (silicone). It is also used as an antifoaming agent, skin protectant, and skin conditioner. It is also approved for use in food as well. Eww, I’ll pass on that second helping of mystery pie. Here are Dimetheicone’s many different aliases:

 

DIMETHICONE COPOLYOL; DIMETHYL SILICONE; HIGHLY POLYMERIZED METHYL POLYSILOXANE; METHYL POLYSILOXANE; SILICONE L-45; DC 1664; DIMETHICONE 350; DIMETICONE; DOW CORNING 1664; MIRASIL DM 20; VISCASIL 5M.

 

Whew! Now that’s a long list to add to my shopping list of no-no’s. Moving along… the aloe vera leaf has many healthy properties. I heard it might help with anti-aging although I’m a firm believer we all grow ‘old’ gracefully and that is a fact of life. No amount of beauty creams and downright overpriced anti-aging concealers and beauty ‘add-ons’ that are pushed onto us women will amount to much, except perhaps do the exact opposite of what the products promise and could, for example, maybe exacerbate the natural aging process and help it along rather than magically ‘fix’ something that  isn’t broke. I also go by the philosophy, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

 

I noticed first hand the benefits of using pure aloe vera after the first week of using it like lotion. I’m not talking about the chemically-laden fake aloe vera that comes loaded with man made sugars in a 10 gallon oil drum for $1.80 at Big Lot’s. Okay, I exaggerated on the 10 gallon oil drum serving. I think it was more like 32 ounces, but still—that’s sugar overkill if you ask me. I don’t even use sugar in my evening/ morning beauty routine, although I have heard it makes the skin soft and so does pure raw honey. But skin can also absorb the sugars just the same.

 

I like to use straight aloe vera juice and go through one leaf per two weeks (when I can stretch it that far). It does wonders when your hair is damp and you’re drying it naturally (without heat of a hair dryer). I also wrap my damp hair in a soft cotton and/ or silk long scarf and let it completely dry. Using long scarves as in place of a bath towel or hair dryer to dry the hair I stumbled upon quite by accident and I highly credit a youtuber Steph Arizona for using scarves when applying hair masks to prevent it from dripping all over the place and also for throwing out some helpful advice on what to do with all those plastic grocery sacks that can accumulate like dust bunnies around the house. The grocery sacks make really good ‘one use only’ improvised shower caps and you’ll save a few bucks as well.

 

So, I gave some of Steph’s hair care tips a try and went at it with a somewhat skeptical approach at first since most of these DIY hair masks never worked for me in the past. I tried the coconut milk hair mask Steph uploaded on her youtube channel and individual results will vary. Therefore, I wasn’t discouraged when it didn’t work for me. I was only out $1.25. But I didn’t like the chemical they sneak into the Polar brand of Organic Coconut milk that I purchased wasn’t a natural ingredient and the actual coconut content didn’t amount to much. My result was my hair was very weighed down, limp and felt like it had a thick film on it that wasn’t easy to wash out even with repeated ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinses and followed up with a full strength distilled white vinegar rinse with distilled water.

Although it did make my hair look shiny and silky, it was a huge mess to wash out. I then tried Steph’s ‘rice milk’ hair mask. Although, here again I didn’t allow my rice to ferment for three days (I believe that’s what she recommended) so I didn’t notice much of a difference in my hair. And mind you I did these hair mask recipes two weeks apart to give my hair some rest. What I didn’t do was reach for the Mane and Tail conditioner or the even the vegan shampoo (found at Sally’s Beauty Supply). However, even though its listed as vegan the shampoo is still loaded with chemicals in extremely small print, so you’ll need to carry a jeweler’s loop on your person to read these ingredients on the bottle. So I only reserve the vegan shampoo when the olive oil and coconut oil hair mask blunders made my hair greasy, albeit shiny. Also, I had some success with an avocado hair mask mixed with some aloe vera juice in place of shampoo.

 

But since doing the scarves for the hair mask recipes, I do strongly urge to make careful buying choices when shopping for scarves. I admit I buy mine from thrift shops and often times they don’t have tags listing the fabric content. Sounds icky to buy second-hand stuff but if you add a little bleach to the wash (before you put your laundry in), this helps and believe me, anywhere I can save money, I opt for that and leave the big box retailers and online shops alone.

 

Also, when purchasing used scarves for these hair masks I made quite a few ‘disastrous DIY infinity scarf’ shopping blunders, not ‘buyer’s remorse’ per se since I didn’t know said scarves weren’t wide enough, but instead thin, long and slapped together likely by a newbie to using a thimble, needle, and thread (hand stitched in most cases, not that that’s a bad thing). Most of these disastrous homemade infinity scarves I do happen across are less than $1. Sometimes they’ll set me back 49 cents here and there. And if there’s a tag attached to the scarf look for silk and/ or cotton. If its polyester this is spun plastic. And rayon is even worse yet since it’s a chemical that can leech out toxins.

 

Oh, and some helpful buying advice: always look for the tag and read the label for the fabric content. This threw me off a few times since the scarves would lack their tags and feel like soft cotton, when instead they were still stretchy, clingy, and made of either nylon, rayon, and viscose fabrics. Since I did some major spring cleaning yesterday, cleaned out my overburdened closets and donated ten large bags today, I got rid of nearly all of my clothing that not only no longer fit me, but also contained polyester, rayon (which is a toxic chemical and potential carcinogen that can seep into your skin), and nearly all nylons (including hose, trouser socks, trousers, and tank tops). This included many of the scarves that I just recently purchased for my hair mask treatments and natural hair drying.

 

Then what is advisable to wear in place of all these synthetic fabrics? And what if you have extremely sensitive skin? Then what? Look at the tag in the clothing and/ or scarves before you buy them. And do TRY on the clothes before you buy them. I am a repeat offender of ‘assuming it will fit’ mentality, when in fact, it’s the opposite in some cases and it make not look good on me or it make look fantastic on the dress form, but too small around the bust or too large around the waist, etc. And why is this a ‘one size fits all’ society all the sudden nowadays?! Aw, man!

 

I hauled ten trash bags crammed full of clothing and that outgrew me since I lost weight and changed my diet for better and made (hopefully healthier) eating choices for myself in the long run. I’m almost completely vegan now, except I do eat the occasional hard-boiled eggs about once a month. So if I were to say I was full vegan, then it would make me a hypocrite. I am a full vegetarian though and don’t consume meat, chicken, pork, or even hamburger. I don’t even do those ‘veggie burgers’ since here again its all highly processed foods on my ‘no-no’ list.

 

And what does this have to do with Chinese chopsticks? Well, aside from wanting to learn how to use a pair of chopsticks (that’s on my bucket list of things to learn how to do eventually when consuming rice), I also found a new pair of wooden chopsticks today for 29 cents and they were a lucky thrift store find. There’s nothing special about them and they’re not fancy or anything. When I opened the package I was slightly disheartened to see a few splinters so I designated these pair of chopsticks as hair sticks. Hunh? Hair sticks to hold your bun in place. I found some beautiful, elaborate //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=antiquemystiq-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00RHL8XR2&asins=B00RHL8XR2&linkId=89fc8d0b469478d24b773175273788f6&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>hair sticks on Amazon. So, I did a quick skim on youtube for tutorial hair stick videos and used one of the chopsticks to draw my hair in a bun and let it completely dry.

 

I used to keep my hair in a bun all the time back in my younger days with plastic hair clips before I fully understood that plastics are bad for the environment, etc. and keeping my hair in a bun constantly used to give some natural curls to my hair when I let it down so I wouldn’t have to kill my poor [then] chemically treated dyed hair or submit it to harsh hair spray. I used to be a fan of Aqua Net ‘concrete’ super hold hair spray back in the 90’s and that’s how we younger women got that ‘big hair’ look. Back then we called it, “teasing our hair” since the term ‘big hair’ didn’t come into vogue until about, oh… let me think here, around 2008 when I first heard of the term, that and the saying “big hair bands”. We simply used to call our beloved rock stars “hair bands” back in the day and not to be confused with the pony tail holders.

 

So, I’m trying out the chopstick bun in my hair as I write this and will give an update later on. I have a very tough day ahead of me and I need to get some beauty sleep. Oh, and I haven’t packed my lunch, either. I was more pre-consumed with food prepping earlier this evening and making space in my fridge for my leftovers of mashed potatoes mixed with red and yellow onion, fresh broccoli, and Chia seeds and my one pot meal of tri-color Rotini (spinach and tomato variety) without the added man made ‘enriched’ junk. I will post my mashed potato recipe for anybody that might be interested. It’s simple and takes a few minutes of food prep work, but so filling and good after a long day of running one’s legs off. I always say a hot meal, iced herbal tea (not the cheap instant teas), and some dessert of cut up fresh banana, strawberry drizzled with homemade chocolate sauce using Baker’s Unsweetened Baking chocolate bar, two tea spoons of raw honey and a few Carbo unsweetened chips is a real treat! As always thanks for reading, liking, commenting, re-blogging, tweeting, etc. I always truly appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Rosemary and Basil: my new best herbs for hair care:

Published June 13, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

It’s been known that using Rosemary in your home made hair shampoo will help your hair retain its natural color longer and prevent noticeable gray hairs. I sincerely believe this is true because I’ve made my own Rosemary-scented hair wash going way back to 2005. Now I haven’t used it religiously like I should have all that time simply because I was buying Rosemary in its dried form from the health food store and it became costly. Little was I aware back then though Rosemary is also an herb used in cooking and could be found at my local supermarket for a lot less. Live and learn as the saying goes.

Now Basil, other than it’s an herb used in cooking what other uses does it have, especially for the hair wash? It helps to strengthen the hair roots and shaft. Plus it gives off a nice, pleasant scent when steeping. I recently bought the last Basil plant my local supermarket had and planted it out in my garden. I did try adding it to my hair wash and used it last night with amazing results. Oh, and I have officially kicked the city water to the curb since the difference between that and using distilled are vastly different.

With city water (and ours tends to be heavily laden with chemicals, chlorine, fluoride)… yuck! And on a related note, our town voted to keep adding fluoride a few months back as well and who knows what else. All I know from drinking the city water is that it has a very faint sweet taste to it plus the chlorine will make you gag when they flush the lines. And the water is discolored and filthy on those line flushing days every so often. So not only is doing laundry out of the question, but so is consuming the city water even though the circular they send in the mail states it’s “safe to drink”… yeah, right. I don’t want anything resembling a kidney infection in my glass. That’s nasty!

And here again, irritation drove me to find a better solution. I also noticed that drinking the city water will cause pressure on the bladder (and no, I don’t have a bladder infection). I know from past experience what those are like. I suspected what I kept feeling was coming from the city water’s supply, but couldn’t be certain about it until I switched over to drinking strictly distilled water. And now I won’t even rinse my fruits or veggies without distilled water. I won’t cook without it either. I found relief at long last when I switched over to distilled and never looked back. Also, whatever is in the city water will make you get up and heed nature five times a night, so you know even when you haven’t guzzled a ten gallon oil drum of water before bedtime, and you really gotta go like a race horse, then you start questioning, “What do they put into the city tap water?”

I also noticed that my hair is healthier since washing it with distilled water instead of washing it under the tap, and ta-da! I might have answered my own question as to why my hair constantly felt brittle like all the nutrients had been sucked out of the roots and hair shaft even after spending a boat load of money on vegan hair care products with very little results. Plus I noticed a decrease of stray hairs winding up in the drain, too.

Ah-hah!
What else is alarming about the link between fluoride and city water other than conspiracy theorists will debate that it dumbs us down it can be a key to hair loss in women and not just when the elderly, but young women are experiencing this more and more. And it’s very creepy! Now I know how men must feel and balding isn’t just a gender-specific issue nowadays.

And city officials agree to keep adding fluoride to the water supply? Then again, they likely don’t consume the city water. They’re probably better off financially to have purified water trucked into their homes or have access to untreated well water. It appears this goes way back to as early as 1965 when they began adding fluoride to the city water because of its ‘anti-cavity’ properties that don’t do a thing to prevent cavities from what I’ve read and heard about on the radio.

Perhaps I’ve become heavy metal sensitive—and I mean to the extreme where if it doesn’t cause me a rash or some break out, then it will sicken me in one form or another.

Do I still want to take a leisurely swim at my local Y? They use city water and from what I’ve noticed the two times I did go there was that my beautiful hair had again turned thin, limp, brittle and a few strands wound up on my swimming suit.

The Y also requires you to shower before and after you swim which makes sense. I just wish they’d find alternatives for a water supply that doesn’t have anything less other than chlorine in the water and that’ll never happen. I might go for the exercise equipment, but I don’t know if I want to subject my hair to anymore fluoride treatments. I do care about my hair and strive to find ways to keep it naturally clean. And I never ever brush it when wet. This will cause it to tangle and break

Well, it’s a long a** cross-country hitch-hike to get to Arkansas where they supposedly have hot spring pools and the other closer location would be in Colorado. However, whether or not they pump their water full of fluoride remains unknown. I have heard health benefits of soaking in hot springs (naturally fed from spring water in the earth) and have experienced therapeutic relief in my sense of being and spirit since I’m light years away from developing arthritis at my age when I did live in Colorado.

Yes, I went way off topic, some how the fluoride, city water and my home made hair wash do correlate, I suppose.

I use fresh Rosemary picked from my garden and I also dried it when the actual plant is on the verge of dying for the winter. Then I grind it up and sometimes I’ll leave it attached to the branches. From there I keep it in glass jars with secure lids. I use mason canning jars and label what’s in it and when I harvested the plant. I also do this same thing for my Lavender and peppermint as well.

To make the Rosemary hair wash:

Bring a large pan of distilled water to a boil. Place in your dried herbs (or fresh) and keep an eye on it. As it begins to boil, the water will become dark like steeped tea. You can then add in Castile soap shavings, or omit these entirely. I have long since not relied on the soap shavings because a suspicious ingredient, “fragrance” is now added and that could mean anything toxic.

Then I turn off the burner, allow the Rosemary hair wash to cool down entirely, then using a strip of white t-shirt cloth, I stick that over the mouth of the container (held taut with a rubber band) and use a funnel to pour the contents into the container (a milk jug works) going very slow to prevent an overflow. The t-shirt material will act as a strainer if you don’t have a tiny inset sink strainer on hand. Remember to label the container and keep it in the fridge.

When you’re ready to use this hair wash just take it out of the fridge. I’ve used ice cold water (no ice cubes) on my hair to keep it soft before and it does work, but it gives me an equivalent to an ice cream headache if poured over my head too fast. Therefore, I take it slow.

I don’t know if this would work for any color-treated (dyed hair) or anybody that might have light-colored hair. For example, I have no idea if this would change the color of the hair or not. I don’t notice a difference for myself personally, but everyone’s different.

Also, just about any spice/ herbs can be used when making Rosemary hair wash. I’ve also tried adding in some Herbs de Province which have Rosemary, Sage, Lavender and other spices. Again, this mixture will need to be strained out after steeping for five minutes or so. I don’t know if there’s any added health benefit to using Herbs de Province, but it was something I used on a whim.

Oh, and I seldom follow instructions when cooking, baking, or doing anything kitchen-culinary-related and have recipes that do turn out good. And those are usually the ones I write down later and they don’t turn out as spectacular the second time around or even the third. I call them “whim” or ‘winging it’ cooking which seems to work for me.
I know I likely covered this in my first hair tutorial. I don’t remember Bernarr Macfadden ever covering using Basil or Rosemary in the hair washes he mentions in his hair care guides, so those two ingredients are likely far removed from his own hair wash recipe. Thanks for reading, liking, re-blogging, tweeting, etc. I sincerely appreciate it.