Vegan Deep Conditioners

IMG_4702-0

Using a deep conditioner once or twice a week, instead of using a “normal” conditioner on a daily basis, is so much smarter…

 

But, hey, who still even washes their hair every single day anyway?!

 

So, HOW do I apply this deep conditioner? Here’s some advice…

  1.  Applying any type of deep conditioner or hair mask, apply to your hair immediately after rinsing the shampoo out.
  2. Focus primarily on your roots because your roots require the most moisture and attention.  Applying conditioner above your crown line will lead to grease and unnecessary oil production.
  3. Leave the conditioner on while you finish taking your shower. This will allow the heat and steam of the shower to help the deep conditioner penetrate hair strands, immediately after rinsing the shampoo out.

 

 

Now for a few OTBC deep conditioners that I have run upon while doing my “research” lately…

Three of the best cruelty-free OTBC, (over the beauty counter), deep conditioners currently on the market are…

 

1. Lush Veganese Hair Conditioner

  • Ingredients…mineral-rich agar agar gel base, seaweed gel, lemon oil, lavender, and rosemary
  • Price…$9.95
  • Product Review…Alexis Emily Chin

 

2. Pacifica Coconut Damage Mask

  • Availability…Target, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Ulta
  • Ingredients…cruelty-free and vegan
  • Price…$16
  • Product Review…The Vegan Crazy Cat Lady

 

3. Surya Brasil Color Fixation Restorative Hair Mask

  • Availability…Sprouts
  • Ingredients…exotic butters and 15 herbal extracts from India and the Amazon forest, cupuaçu butter, buriti oil, rice proteins
  • Price…$12
  • Product Review…
Advertisements

Vegan Hair Mask Recipes

IMG_4702-0

As you know, the heat of your hairdryer and straightener, the wintery dry air, and wearing hats and scarves can all cause your hair to get really dry, brittle, and damaged this time of year.

And during the winter your hair is more likely to break, have more split ends,, grow dull, and lose its shine.

Thank goodness that there are several hair masks that you can make yourself  to help combat these problems—all of which include natural ingredients that can be found in the local grocery store, if not in your kitchen already.

Common ingredients as coconut oil, avocado, honey, eggs, and even bananas can help you repair any existing damage, nourish your scalp, get rid of product build-up, and finally achieve the shinier, silkier, healthier that we all strive for.

So let’s take a look at some of these all-natural hair mask recipes and their benefits

For all of these “recipes,” simply combine the ingredients and then rub the mixture into your hair, keep it covered for 30 minutes using a shower cap, and then shampoo and rinse as usual.

 

1.  Apple Cider Vinegar…1Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2C water

  • Benefits…contains loads of vitamins like B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium…heals flaky and itchy scalps…helps clarify, harden, and smooth the cuticles, the outermost layer of your hair…resulting in smooth and silky hair that shines and is less prone to tangling.

 

2.  Avocado…Ingredients…one half mashed ripe avocado, one egg, a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil, 2Tbsp olive oil

  • Benefits…adds shine…can help restore luster to your hair…rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids…will smooth and moisturize your locks without weighing down fine hair

 

3.  Bananas…Ingredients…mashed banana, 1Tbsp olive oil

 

4.  Butter…Ingredients…simply a small chunk of butter

  • Benefits…strengthens dry, brittle hair

 

5.  Coconut Oil…Ingredients…1Tbsp coconut oil, 1Tbsp honey

  • Benefits…keeps hair moist and soft…loaded with fatty acids…penetrates the hair more deeply than regular conditioners…prevents hair breakage because of its high moisture retaining capabilities…restores the moisture and shine back into your hair and softens it

 

6.  Eggs…Ingredients…one egg yolk, 2Tbsp coconut oil, 1Tbsp honey

  • Benefits…can produce healthier tresses due to their high volume of protein…great natural conditioner…helps retain the luster and shine in your hair…leaves your hair feeling healthy and restored…rich in Vitamins A, D, and E, proteins and fatty acids

 

7.  Greek Yogurt…Ingredients…1C Greek yogurt, 1Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1Tbsp honey

  • Benefits…helps give your hair a protein boost

 

8.  Lemon Juice…Ingredients…2Tbsp olive oil, 2Tbspoons lemon juice, 2Tbsp water

  • Benefits…fights dandruff …helps rid your scalp of any loose, dry flakes of skin…leaves your hair feeling nourished and refreshed

 

9.  Mayonnaise…Ingredients…enough mayonnaise to coat your hair

  • Benefits…adds softness and shine

 

10.  Olive Oil…Ingredients…1Tbsp honey, 2Tbsp olive oil

  • Benefits…attracts and holds onto water molecules…locks in moisture…prevents dryness of the scalp,hair breakage, split ends, and even fly-aways…produces soft and shiny hair…softens dry hair

 

11.  Pumpkin…Ingredients…2Tbsp honey, 1C pumpkin puree

  • Benefits…rich in vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, potassium, and zinc.

 

12.  Rhassoul Clay…Ingredients…¼C Rhassoul clay, 1Tbsp avocado oil, 70ml of water, a few drops of an essential oil like lavender

  • Benefits…adds shine and lustre to hair…decreases breakage…leaves your hair smooth, shiny, and stronger than ever before…restores moisture to hair…soothes irritated scalp conditions like dandruff

 

 

 

 

Vegan Shampoo

IMG_4702-0

As I make the transition this year to a healthier vegan and minimalistic lifestyle, one of my goals has been to vegan-friendly, cruelty free beauty products that neither contain-animal derived ingredients nor are tested on animals.

Many of the most popular in-store brands are owned by big consumer companies actually do that test their products on animals or use animal based by-products to reduce costs. Also many of the chemicals and ingredients contained in these shampoos can cause rashes, marks, and itchy skin.

Vegan shampoo is only made from completely organic plant-based ingredients and contains no harmful chemicals or toxins…and quality vegan shampoos will still give you that same amazing clean and fresh feeling as quality regular shampoos.

Factors to consider when shopping for vegan shampoos include price, reviews and overall effectiveness. Here are a few of the best cruelty-free shampoos that I have found currently on the market…

But before getting to the list, let’s talk about two frequently asked questions as far as shampooing your hair goes…

 

1.  How often should you wash your hair?

  • Washing your hair no more than twice a week should be frequently enough to help maintain natural oil production, yet achieve moisture balance. Washing your hair too often can make your hair dry out. Washing your hair too seldom can cause a buildup of oils, flaking, and redness.

 

2.  What is the “proper” way to wash your hair?

  • Always brush your hair both before and after taking your shower, preferably with a plastic vent brush. This will not only allow you to work through any tangles, but will also help prevent clogged drains.
  • When ready to start washing your hair, put a quarter-size dollop of shampoo in your hands.
  • Distribute the shampoo evenly throughout the hair, focusing on the nape of the neck, scalp, and roots because this is where dirt and oils usually collect.
  • Scrub for a complete minute before rinsing.

 

 

Now for the list that I promised…

 

1. Beauty Without Cruelty Daily Benefits

  • Ingredients…purified water, aloe vera leaf juice, lemongrass oil, sweet orange oil, lavandin oil, birch leaf extract, birch sap extract, clover blossom extract, yarrow. extract, rosemary extract, sage extract…no animal ingredients, paraben or synthetic fragrances
  • Price…$11
  • Product Review…Makeup Alley

 

2. Christina Moss Naturals Organic Shampoo

  • Ingredients… certified organic ingredients, including extracts and essential oils…NO harmful chemicals what-so-ever. No SLS, SLES, parabens, PG or PG derivatives, sulfates, dyes, synthetic fragrance or anesthetizing agents….
  • Price…$20
  • Product Review… Dry Scalp Gone

 

3. Giovanni Smooth as Silk Vegan Shampoo

  • Ingredients… grapefruit, apple and aloe extract…no parabens, lauryl or laureth sulfate…100% vegan…no animal testing or animal by-product
  • Price… $9
  • Product Review…Un-Ruly

 

4. Mukti Organics Botanique Shampoo

  • Ingredients…gluten, nut, wheat & silicone free…made entirely out of organic and non-animal-based ingredients…100% vegan …contains no beeswax or honey… 100% vegan brand who never test their products on animals, export to countries that engage in animal testing, or buy raw materials from companies that do
  • Price… $40
  • Product Review…Truth in Aging

 

 5. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo

  • Ingredients…tea tree oil, peppermint and lavender
  • Price…$13
  • Product Review…Makeup Alley

 

6. Puracy Citrus & Mint Natural Shampoo

  • Ingredients…non-toxic, vegan friendly, gluten-free, biodegradable…squalene to provide endless moisture, eliminate frizz, and create frictionless hair…no sulfates, parabens, perfumes, animal by-products or other harsh chemicals…100% vegan, gluten-free, and biodegradable
  • Price…$15
  • Product Review…Perhaps Kale 

 

7. Sweet Baby Natural Shampoo

  • Ingredients…natural plant based ingredients…free from numerous harmful chemicals including sulfates, parabens, phthalates, phosphates, and dyes…specially formulated to be used on younger children and babies
  • Price…$10
  • Review…My Milky Baby

 

8. The Wonder Seed Virgin Hemp Seed Oil Shampoo

  • Ingredients…100% toxin and cruelty free…organic plant based ingredients… no toxins or chemicals…virgin organic hemp seed oil and a mix of essential sweet orange or green tree oil…
  • Price…$16
  • Product Review…Organic Bunny

 

 

Vegan Shaving Creams

 

IMG_4702-0

 

There are a number of excellent shaving creams that will meet the needs of even the choosiest vegan…great alternatives to the typical commercial brands that almost always contain many animal byproducts.

Even though almost none of these vegan shaving creams can be found in the ordinary pressurized cans, there are several premium vegan shaving gels that work every bit as well as conventional creams.

When shopping for a vegan shaving cream, there are many factors to consider. These include ingredients, scent, texture, and volume.

1.  Ingredients…Choosing natural and organic ingredients is always a good idea because these products have no harsh chemicals, pesticides, or synthetic ingredients that might be absorbed into your skin.

2.  Scent…The scent that you choose is simply a matter of personal preference,  but if you are going to use a scented shaving cream, you’re typically better off choosing a lighter, less noticeable fragrance…a shaving cream that contains essential oils, not whatever the heck the word “fragrance” might mean on the package.

3.  Texture…If you are truly committed to doing your part to create and maintain a safer, cleaner planet, you will want to avoid typical foamy shaving creams. The chemicals, hydrocarbons, and compressed gases that are released when creating that foam have been shown to be unhealthy for our environment.

4.  Volume…The amount of shaving cream that  you want to purchase at one time and the size of the shaving cream containers depends on many factors—travel regulations, desire to sample a new product without having to buy a large container you are never going to use, how often you take showers and shave, how many people will be using the product, and any savings that can be enjoyed by purchasing in bulk.

Now for a few of the vegan shaving creams available…

 

1.  100% Pure Seaweed Vegan Shaving Cream  

  • Fragrances Available…Pink Grapefruit
  • Ingredients…all-natural ingredients such as citrus essential oil
  • Price…$21  
  • Product Review…

2.  Avalon Organics Cream Shave

  • Availability…Kroger, Sprouts, Whole Foods
  • Fragrances Available…Aloe, Peppermint, Lavender
  • Ingredients…vegan and cruelty free product that contains mostly organic ingredients such as organic peppermint essential oil
  • Price…$8
  • Product Review…

3. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Soap

  • Availability…Walgreen’s, Target
  • Fragrances Available…Lavender, Lemongrass Lime, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Unscented
  • Ingredients…Dr. Bronner’s well-known pure-castile liquid soap base, and organic shikakai, the seed pods of the Acadia plant
  • Price…$9
  • Product Review…

4. Kiss My Face Moisture Shave

  • Availability…just about every store across the US
  • Fragrances Available…Peaceful Patchouli, Pomegranate Grapefruit, Cool Mint, Key Lime, Lavender Shea, Green Tea & Bamboo, and Fragrance Free
  • Ingredients…antiseptic goldenseal and peppermint, arnica, orange flower, sage, soapwaort, lemon grass, vitamins A & E, and emollients olive oil, coconut oil, and aloe vera
  • Price…$8
  • Product Review
  • Product Review…

Homemade Shaving Cream

IMG_4702-0

 

Our goal now is to make or purchase a fragrance-free, relatively inexpensive shaving cream that goes on smooth, leaves your legs moisturized without clogging up your razor, and nourishes and protects sensitive skin while helping you get a good, close shave.

This recipe seems to be the most popular recipe for homemade shaving cream floating on the internet these days, and one well worth trying as we make the switch to organic and natural products.

 

Homemade Shaving Cream…makes about 4-6oz

  • 1/3C coconut oil
  • 1/3C shea butter
  • 2Tbsp oil—olive, jojoba, sweet almond, or grapeseed
  • 2Tbsp liquid castile soap

Melt shea butter and coconut oil over the lowest heat setting on the stove. Stir occasionally until fully melted. Add oil. Stir until fully blended. Remove from heat. Transfer mixture to a medium-sized jar. Refrigerate overnight or until solid. Remove from fridge into mixing bowl. Whip using a hand mixer or stand mixer for about four minutes. Add castile soap. Whip until fully combined. Spoon shaving cream into a glass jar with a lid. Store in a cool, dry place.

 

Now let’s talk about the specific ingredients and why they are good for your skin.

1.  Coconut Oil…Coconut oil is a great moisturizer that contains lots of anti-aging benefits and protects the skin from free radicals.

2.  Raw Shea Butter…Raw shea butter is extremely moisturizing and provides immediate softness and smoothness. It is also a significant source of anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor promoting compounds.

3.  Oil…There are several options available as far as the oil to use when making your shaving cream. These include…

  • Olive oil is great at preventing dry skin and contains moisturizing vitamin E.
  • Jojoba oil is great for combatting skin scarring, fatty tissues, and facial lines.
  • Sweet almond oil is great for dark circles.
  • Grapeseed oil is a great source of vitamin E and moisturizing fatty acids.

4.  Liquid Castile Soap…Liquid castile soap is an all-natural chemical-free soap, and adding it to your shaving cream provides a bit of texture so that the shaving cream is more effective..

5.  Essential Oils…There are also several options as to essential oils to add to your shaving cream. Popular essential oils to use include…

  • Lavender oil is a soothing oil that restores skin complexion, slows aging with its powerful antioxidants, and improves eczema and psoriasis.
  • Frankincense helps improve circulation, lowers symptoms of arthritis, and helps decrease muscle aches.
  • Tea tree oil is a good antiseptic if you should cut yourself.
  • Peppermint oil gives a cooling sensation.

Razors

IMG_4702-0

All women…at least American women…want to have well-shaven, silky-smooth skin on their legs, armpits, and bikini area. And the best results almost always result from using the best razor for the job.

Benefits of using a quality razor, as opposed to a cheaper razor, include saving you money in the long run, reducing the risk of skin irritation and razor burn, and giving you better results for your efforts.

Electric razors, such as this Panasonic ES2207P Ladies Electric Shaver,  are another option for shaving. These razors reduce the risk of getting cuts, burns, and nicks. They are especially great for women with sensitive skin.

Factors to consider when choosing the “perfect” razor include whether or not the razor comes into contact with your skin too much, if the razor creates a close enough shave, how much control you have over the razor so that you can avoid accidentally cutting yourself, and if there are conditioning and smoothing strips.

These moistening and conditioning strips will moisten the area before the actual razor blades pass over the skin and help avoid any skin irritation that might result from shaving.

There is much debate as to whether disposable or refillable razors are best. While disposable razors are a lot cheaper, they aren’t always a good value over refillable versions.

Even though refillable razors are typically going to be more expensive than  disposable ones, they have a longer useful lifespan than disposable ones and cost less to replace. Refillable razors are also typically made with higher quality blades and handles.

Personally I have found the best razors to buy are the Gillette Swirl HydroSilk, Gillette Venus Embrace, Schick Hydro Silk Trim Style Moisturizing Razor, and Gillette Fusion ProGlide.

Loofah

  • exfoliates or brushes dead skin cells from the surface of your skin
  • sweeps away places where bacteria and soil could collect
  • increases circulation and localized blood flow by forcing your capillaries, the tiny blood vessels closest to your skin, to expand

Taking Care of Your Loofah…

  • help keep your skin in good shape
  • Your loofah can actually harbor harmful bacteria in its many tiny holes if you do not take proper care of it.
  • Allow your loofah to air-dry between uses so that it will not decay by being constantly wet.
  • How your loofah is maintained will affect its longevity.
  • As you use your loofah to exfoliate your skin, dead skin cells will get caught in the nooks and crannies of its fibers.
  • Leaving your loofah in the bathroom between uses creates an excellent opportunity bacteria to cultivate and grow because of the humid and closed-in environment.
  • There are a few steps that you can take to lower the risk of your loofah harboring bacteria. These include…
  • Allow the loofah to dry between uses.
  • Replace your loofah frequently, especially if the loofah changes color or smells funky.
  • Microwave your damp loofah for twenty seconds once a week to clean it and help kill bacteria. Another similar option would be to soak the loofah in a solution of 5% bleach.

What is a loofah?

  • The insides of this vegetable form what we know as the loofah sponge, a network of fibers that harden and become very durable when dried.
  • A loofah is actually not a sponge or sea creature, but a vegetable.

The benefits of using a loofah include…

  • exfoliates the skin – The various natural fibers in a loofah exfoliate the dead skin cells from your skin
  • removes any dirt or pollutants that might be stuck in between the pores of your skin
  • improves blood circulation of the skin
  • helps the skin get rid of any harmful toxins and chemicals
  • helps keep the skin firm and smooth
  • removing all of the “gunk” from the skin surface

Loofah sponges come in several different shapes and sizes, and are designed for many different uses and skin type needs.

  • can help you save money on shower gels and soap because there is enough texture to make lather out of even a small amount of soap or shower gel.

Always rinse the loofah after each use to make sure there are no traces of dirt, soap, or anything else that may harbor bacteria. You may occasionally want to brush the surface of the loofah with a toothbrush.

Rinse your loofah and allow it to dry completely after each use.

Do not leave your loofah in the bathroom because the humidity will keep it from drying quickly. Instead place the loofah somewhere where it can dry right away.

Sterilize your loofah at least once a week either in a pot of boiling water or in the washing machine with a load of towels.

  • The small holes and portions of your loofah are places where bacteria can grow and thrive, even if you rinse and dry your loofah properly after use.

Replace the loofah after using it for about a month. After about a month, the fibers that form the texture of the loofah may begin to break down, making the loofah inefficient…and as the loofah begins to get ‘older’, any bacteria may slowly develop, making it a harbor of bacteria and other harmful microbes.

Many companies manufacturers produce and sell various types of loofah, but you want to find a high-quality and all-natural loofah.

The loofah fruit is a type of cucumber commonly found in Vietnam, where it is used as an ingredient in soups and other dishes.

The pink fruit is shaped like a breast, with an enlarged end portion that has a black lump in the breast similar to nipple.

The loofah sponge is made from a loofah fruit.