Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere…You Can Even Use Them on Your Hair

  • Hard to believe, but Halloween has already come and gone….and Thanksgiving and Christmas are just lurking around the corner. My, how this year has so quickly flown by.
    And for those of us who totally love SL, pumpkin Oreos, and anything else that has pumpkin flavoring in it, one of the most wonderful times of the year is drawing to a close as everything shifts from pumpkin to peppermint.
    But there are ways to enjoy that pumpkin vibe all year long.
    No, I’m not talking about the processed, packaged stuff that comes in a can and will probably be still sitting in your pantry this time next year, at least in time for holiday canned food drives.
    What I’m talking about is using pumpkin-scented health and beauty products and walking around smelling like you just carved, cooked, and ate The Great Pumpkin…smelling like pumpkin from head and shoulders…knees and toes.
    As far as the “beauty benefits” of pumpkins, pumpkins are packed with vitamins and minerals—such as the ones mentioned in the previous post Pumpkins…The
    Why?!
    Let’s take another look at a few of the nutrients contained in pumpkin, but this time from the view of what pumpkin can do for your skin and hair.

     

     

    Carotenoids…Carotenoids—such as alpha-carotene and beta-carotene—are the antioxidants responsible for giving pumpkins their bright orange color. Pumpkins can help reverse UV damage and improve skin texture.

     

    Minerals…Minerals—such as potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, and iron-that are found in pumpkin. Two of the important minerals as far as hair and skin are…

     

    Potassium…Potassium helps promote healthy hair and regrowth.

     

    Vitamin A…encourages hair growth

     

    Vitamin B…Pumpkin is a good source of most of the B vitamins—including niacin, riboflavin, B6 and folate. This makes pumpkin great for treating acne, improving circulation, and increasing cell turn over and renewal.

     

    Vitamin C…Vitamin C helps prevent wrinkles and skin cancer, promotes collagen production, and improves skin tone and elasticity….also strengthens hair follicles.

     

    Vitamin E…stimulates blood circulation in the scalp, which then promotes hair growth)

     

    Zinc,,,prevents and treats flaking, irritation, and itching scalp

Shampoo...Many companies have started adding pumpkin shampoo to their product lists claiming that the shampoo will help your hair grow, moisturize, and kill frizz. A few options to try that actually smell like pumpkin and might help with PSL withdrawals include…
  • Acure Organics Mega Moisture Shampoo
  • EcoLove Shampoo Orange Collection
  • Ecosevi Pumpkin Seed Shampoo
  • Good Earth Beauty Pumpkin Chai Restorative Shampoo.

 

 

 

Conditioner

As far as conditioner, one of your best options is to make your own. To make your own conditioner, combine the following ingredients…

  • 1/2C pumpkin puree
  • 1/4C yogurt
  • 2Tbsp honey
  • 1Tbsp coconut oil

A great store-bought option would be this conditioner by Sexy Hair Concepts.

 

Pumpkin Hair Serum…This hair serum helps you deal with dead ends and fly-away’ away hair.  The apricot seed oil is a lighter oil than the pumpkin oil and keeps the pumpkin oil from making your hair feel so “weighty.”

Here’s how…Combine one part pumpkin seed oil with two parts apricot seed oil. Lightly spritz water in your hair. Comb the pumpkin serum through your hair.

Pumpkin Hot Oil Treatment…Combine equal amounts of coconut oil and pumpkin puree. Heat on top of your oven over low heat. Let cool slightly. Apply to soaking wet hair, working from the ends to the roots. Wrap hair in a heot towel, Wait twenty minutes. Rinse well.

Pumpkin Oil Hair Vitamin Mist…Fill a spray bottle with two ounces of pumpkin seed oil and 1Tbsp coconut oil. Fill the bottle with distilled water. Shake before each use.

Pumpkin Puree Hair Mask…Believe it or not, the cinnamon that this hair mask contains is there not only because it makes the hair mask small awesome, cinnamon also helps with circulation and promotes better hair and scalp.

Mix together…

  • 1tsp argan oil
  • ½C pumpkin puree
    2tsp coconut or olive oil (unrefined)
    1tsp cinnamon
    1 Vitamin E capsule

Apply the concoction on your hair, making sure to cover your strands from tip to roots. Put on a shower cap to keep the goop from dripping all over while you wait. Wait at least 25 minutes before shampooing your hair. Use this mask once or twice a week to help make your hair soft, shiny and silky.

Pumpkin Seed Oil Hair Mask

1 Tbsp. pumpkin seed oil
1/2 apple puree
1 tbsp. shea butter
1 egg

Process half of the apple in your blender. Add shea butter and pumpkin seed oil. Whisk egg by itself. Stir the egg into the mixture. Apply to freshly washed hair. Leave in for twenty minutes. Rinse out.

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Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

13 More Uses for Cedarwood Essential Oil

In addition to using cedarwood essential oil for your skin and hair, there are many other great uses for cedarwood essential oil. These include…

1. Aches and Pains…Cedarwood oil, especially Himalayan cedarwood, is a natural analgesic. This means that cedarwood essential oil can help get rid of any aches and pains. Many over-the-counter and prescription topically applied pain lotions and creams that are used to treat joint and muscle pain actually contain cedarwood essential oil.

To use cedarwood essential oil to help cure aches and pains, try one of the following…

  • Hot Bath…Take a hot bath with five drops of cedarwood essential oil
  • Massage Oil…Blend eight drops cedarwood oil with four teaspoons carrier oil

Blend for Aches and Pains…

  • 3 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops helichrysum essential oil
  • 3 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil

2. ADHD…Cedarwood oil has been used to help children with ADHD. The oil is believed to be able to help these kids stay focused, and also to boost their learning capacity. In recent studies, children suffering from ADHD have been shown to have experienced improvements in brain activity and fewer ADHD symptoms after using cedarwood essential oil.

To use cedarwood essential oil to help you stay focused, try one of the following…

  • Inhalant…Inhale deeply while holding a bottle of cedarwood essential oil three times a day.

Blend for ADHD and Improving Focus/Learning Capacity

  • 3 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops vetiver essential oil
  • 3 drops rosemary essential oil

3. Anxiety and Stress…Cedarwood essential oil has natural sedative properties.

The calming effect of cedarwood essential oil can be helpful for anyone having to  combat stress, anxiety, and depression…or looking for a decent, uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Cedarwood essential oil contains cedrol, a substance that promotes the release of serotonin in the brain. This serotonin is converted into melatonin and, as a result,  encourages restful sleep and helps you calm down and relax.

  • Diffusion…Diffuse cedarwood essential oil in a diffuser machine
  • Inhalant…To use cedarwood essential oil to combat stress, anxiety, and insomnia, try simply inhaling the oil straight from the bottle or from a handkerchief whenever you start feeling weird.

Blend for Anxiety, Stress, and Insomnia

  • 4 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil…
  • Massage into the body and heels of your feet before bedtime…

4. Arthritis and Rheumatism…Cedarwood oil, especially Himalayan cedarwood, acts as an anti-inflammatory properties.  This makes cedarwood essential oil great for people suffering from pains and stiffness of the joints—such as people with arthritis and rheumatism.

The best ways to use cedarwood essential oil to help treat arthritis and rheumatism both topical—as a massage oil, or added to a hot bath.

  • Bath Soak…Add five to ten drops to your hot bathwater.
  • Massage Oil…Dilute eight drops of cedarwood oil with a carrier oil. Rub into the affected joints and muscles.

Blend for Arthritis and Rheumatism

  • 3 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil

5. Athlete’s Foot and Other Fungal Infections…Cedarwood essential oil is a antibacterial and antifungal agent that can be used effectively in treating a variety of fungal infections—such as athlete’s foot and toenail infections.

Blend for Athlete’s Foot and Toenail Infections

  • 3 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil

6. Bad Odors…Cedarwood essential oil is a natural deodorizer that can be used to freshen the air in your home. The oil can have long-lasting therapeutic effects for both you and your home.

The oil is used in many perfume and oil blends to add a warm, pleasant, wood-like scent that is both reassuring and comforting.

  • Diffuser…In order to not only deodorize your home…but also to create a calming, mood, try using the oil in your diffuser—either alone, or combine with two drops each of sandalwood and wild orange essential oils
  • Garbage Can Anti-Groucher…In order to keep your garbage cans from smelling like Oscar the Grouch just farted in there, combine several drops oto a spray bottle with water and spray it around garbage cans and anywhere where musty smells can erupt

Blend for Getting Rid of Bad Odors…Combine all ingredients in a glass spray bottle. Use to dust as you would regular furniture polish.

  • 1/3C water
  • 1/2Tbsp liquid castile soap
  • 8 drops wild orange essential oil
  • 4 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 4 drops lemon essential oil

7. Coughs and Other Respiratory Problems…Cedarwood essential oil, especially Himalayan cedarwood, has antispasmodic ability. This simply means that cedarwood essential oil can be used to help with respiratory problems—such as colds, the flu, congestion, and asthma.

Cedarwood essential oil helps to clear phlegm and other breathing difficulties that come hand in hand with your flu or cold. Cedarwood essential oil also helps to relieve other symptoms of a cold such as a headache and watery eyes.

  • Chest Rub…Combine eight drop of cedarwood essential oil with 4tsp of a carrier oil.  Massage onto your chest and neck area before going to sleep at night.
  • Inhalant…Sniff the oil directly from the bottle when needed.
  • Steam Bath…Make a steam bath by adding a few drops to a sink full of hot water. Cover your head with a towel, Inhale the vapors for five minutes.

Blend for Coughs and Other Respiratory Problem

  • 3 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil

8. Cuts, Scrapes, and Minor Wounds…Cedarwood essential oil is a natural antiseptic that can help cuts, scrapes, and minor wounds and skin damage by keeping the area from becoming infected.

To use cedarwood essential oil to treat minor wounds and skin damage, try…

  • Massage Oil…Add a few drops of cedarwood oil to coconut oil and massage gently onto any cuts, scrapes, or minor wounds.

Blend for Cuts, Scrapes, and Minor Wounds

  • 3 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil

9. Insects….Cedarwood essential oil is a natural insect repellant that is able to repel mosquitos, ants, ticks, fleas, and other bugs.

  • Bed Spray…Spray a diluted mixture of cedarwood essential oil on your bed sheets and pillows.
  • Bug Spray…Add five drops of cedarwood essential oil to an ounce of water. Add several drops of a carrier oil to the spray mixture to help absorb it into your skin easier. Spray on your skin.
  • Diffuser…Use cedarwood essential oil in your diffuser.
  • Dog Spray…Carefully spray your dog with a diluted cedarwood essential oil mixture of six drops of cedarwood essential oil and one ounce of water.
  • Entry Barrier…Spray cedarwood essential oil on screens and around doorways to keep fleas and other insects from entering the home in the first place.
  • Furniture Spray…Spray diluted cedarwood essential oil on your furniture to keep pests away.
  • Mosquito Repellant.. Add cedarwood essential oil to lemon eucalyptus essential oil  to make a powerful and natural mosquito blend.
  • Moth Deterrent…Dip cotton balls in cedarwood essential oil. Place them in your closet, on your hangers and inside of storage boxes.

10. Poor Muscle Tone…Cedarwood essential oil is a natural astringent that can tighten the skin, improve muscle tone, and leave you feeling rejuvenated.

  • Massage Oil…Dillute cedarwood essential oil with a suitable carrier oil—such as coconut, jojoba and almond oil.

11. Restless Leg Syndrome…Cedarwood essential oil can help relieve the symptoms of restless legs syndrome, the uncontrollable urge to move your legs constantly, because of its calming and soothing properties.

Blend for Restless Legs Syndrome

  • 3 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops vetiver essential oil
  • 3 drops black pepper essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil

12. Stress…Cedarwood essential oil is a natural sedative with the power to relieve tension and stress that can negatively affect your health. Its sedative properties and calming effects of cedarwood essential oil can help combat stress, depression, anxiety

The aroma of cedarwood essential oil promotes the release of serotonin in the brain which gets converted to melatonin which encourages restful sleep and a calm mind.

  • Diffuser…Diffuse cedarwood essential oil in a diffuser machine.
  • Inhalant…Simply inhale cedarwood essential oil from the bottle or put a few drops on a handkerchief and breathe it in whenever you feel the need.

Blend for Stress Relief…

  • 3 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil

13. Urinary Tract Infections, Kidney Trouble, Hypertension, and High Blood Pressure…Cedarwood is a natural diuretic that can increase the frequency of urination. This means that cedarwood essential oil can promote both the volume of urine produced and the frequency at which a person urinates. This is important is getting rid of any toxins, fats, and excess water.

  • Massage Oil…Try rubbing a few drops of cedarwood oil into your abdomen or bladder region.

Blend for Urinary Tract Infections, Kidney Trouble, Hypertension, and High Blood Pressure

  • 4 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 4 drops lemon essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Cedarwood Essential Oil—Great for Your Skin

In the last post, we learned that cedarwood essential oil is great for your hair—especially in treating dandruff and dry scalp, preventing hair loss, and encouraging hair growth.

Cedarwood essential oil is also great for your skin. The fresh, earthy aroma and the calming effect of cedarwood essential oil will make you want to use the oil as many ways as possible.

The anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties of cedarwood essential oil make it a great tool in safely and effectively treating a number of skin conditions—including eczema and acne.

As far as eczema is concerned, cedarwood essential oil helps regulate the production of sebum, reduce the symptomatic skin peeling associated with eczema, and treats any unpleasant inflammation and dryness caused by the condition.

As far as acne is concerned, cedarwood essential oil is a natural antiseptic that can protect and heal your skin against unsightly acne. Cedarwood essential oil prevents clogging of the pores of your skin and protects the surface of your skin from intrusion by harmful particles and bacteria

Cedarwood essential oil can be used both topically or aromatically through the use of your diffuser, (or even your nose?!)…

  1. Bath Soak...Add four or five drops of cedarwood essential oil to your bathwater.
  2. Facial Scrub…….Combining a few drops of cedarwood oil with coconut oil and oatmeal.
  3. Massage Oil...Blend eight drops cedarwood oil and four teaspoons of a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. (You may also try replacing a few of the drops of cedarwood oil with other essential oils—especially chamomile and lavender.) Massage the mixture on to any infected or itchy areas.
  4. Product Enhancer...Adding a few drops of cedarwood essential oil to your favorite lotions, creams, and other skin care products. This will give even your most favorite products an extra kick in the pants.

 

Getting Dressed, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Articles About Argan Oil…Argan Oil for Your Hair

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Sorry, but the last thing that I want to think about after taking my shower…especially since I take one as the very last thing of my day…is having to rifle through a dozen different products for my haircare and skincare needs…let’s keep things simple…

So I simply grab for a bottle of pure argan oil…and use it from head to toe…

I could even do that without my glasses on or my contacts in…which is a good thing because I am legally blind, right?!

Benefits of using Argan oil on your hair include…

  • improving the texture of your hair by making it softer, silkier and shinier
  • making your hair more manageable by helping to tame frizz and fly-aways
  • preventing and repairing protecting your hair from damage caused by the heat of hair dryers, curlers and flat irons…as well as pollution, chemicals and UV rays
  • promoting hair growth because of its vitamin E content
  • repairing split ends
  • stopping dandruff before it causes serious problems
  • moisturizing your hair because of its essential fatty acids content

Regular Use…Depending on the thickness, texture, condition and length of your hair, you may need anywhere from 1 drop to 3 drops. Getting the right amount may take some practice. Start with a drop (or for short hair a ½ drop may do) and warm in your palms before raking your fingers through your hair, paying special attention to your ends. Once complete, add a ½ drop to your fingertips and massage into your scalp. Rub any excess into your face, neck or hands.

Overnight Deep Conditioning Treatment...Using argan oil once a week as a deep conditioner for your hair will amplify its benefits even more. If you have dandruff or dry scalp, you should probably use this as an overnight treatment twice per week until the dandruff is gone.

Warm about seven drops in your hands. Massage into your hair, working from the scalp to the ends. Put on a shower cap. (Not only will this keep your pillowcase free from oil, but it will also help your body’s natural body heat, as retained in the shower cap, to help the oil work more efficiently.)

In the morning, wash your hair, rinsing until all residue is gone.

 

Getting Dressed

My Angle on Tangles

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We all want healthy, shiny hair-
-free from common hair problems such as static, grease, and limpness–and are willing to change shampoos, styling products, and even how we blow dry or straighten our hair in order to get it.

But perhaps the real barrier keeping us all from having this beautiful, shiny hair is an everyday mundane task most of us don’t even think about—brushing your hair..

Sure, we all know how to brush our hair…we’ve been doing it for years…But…

Are we all doing it right?

In fact, IS there really a “right” way and a “wrong” to brush your hair?
The answer is “yes,” and the fact is that most of us have been brushing our hair the wrong wYfor our entire lives–down instead of up.

Starting at the top of your head and brushing down our strands is actually bad for hair because this could pull the hair out of the follicle…and might eventually make us all prematurely bald.

Instead we should all be starting to comb or brush our hair at the bottom and brush our way up. Brushing up allows you to tackle tangles along the hair shaft, but without this risk of pulling the follicle out of its root.

To brush your hair in what most of us would call the “wrong” direction, start brushing a few inches from the ends. Once this section is detangled, keep moving up a few more inches at a time and continue brushing sections of hair until you reach the top.

Even though, brushing up your hair like this may feel unnatural at first, if it will keep you from pulling all your hair out…(or at least the hair still left after being with rowdy children or rude co-workers)…wouldn’t this be useful?

But before even trying to detangle your hair, first apply a detangling product. The detangler will make your hair slippery, and the comb will go right through.

 

A spray detangler, such as Not Your Mother’s Detangler Tahitian Garden Flower & Mango, works best for fine hair.

A lotion detangler, such as Paul MItchell Lite Detangler, works best for “average” hair.
After drenching hair with detangler, brush or comb gently. Never yank through a particularly snarled section in an effort to remove any knots.

Instead gently remove any knots with a detangling brush, Tangle Teezer, or  wide-tooth comb.

  
1.  Detangling Brush…The traditional paddle brush is the best type of  brush to use when detangling your hair. This type of brush is strong enough to detangler your hair, but is still gentle because the flexible plastic bristles of the brush are spaced further apart, and these brushes have a padded base. A densely-packed brush, such as a boar-bristle brush, will pull on your hair way too much as you try to detangle your hair.

This EcoTools Detangler Paddle Brush, is a great option for  removing tangles. The EcoTools Detangler Paddle Brush has a sustainable bamboo handle, 100% cruelty-free nylon bristles, large paddle, and a vented cushion to provide maximum detangling with minimal pulling and damage.

2.  Tangle Teezer …The Tangle Teezer is designed with ergonomically designed handle(?!) to fit snugly in your palm and flexible plastic teeth to  make removing tangles and knots quicker, easier, and pain-free… and minimizing hair breakage and cuticle damage.

3.  Wide-Tooth Comb…A wide-tooth comb, such as this Detangling Comb from The Body Shop is a third option. If you are going to use a comb to detNgle your hair, make sure that the teeth are spaced further apart.
And that, my friends, is my Angle on Tangles…

Getting Dressed, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Air Drying Your Hair—The Lazy Vegan Girl’s Guide to Styling Your Hair

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It is important to take care of your hair while it is wet, mainly because this is when your hair is most likely to fall out…and none of us wants our hair to fall out, (even though there are many days when I feel like pulling my own hair out because of stress)…

 

Heat can be your be your hair’s best friend or worst enemy.

Heat can create bouncing curls, waves, and tendrils from an unruly mane or flat, lifeless locks in no time at all…

Heat can also cause serious damage and split ends, make your hair rough and dull and more susceptible to damage and cause your hair to lose moisture faster than it can be reabsorbed from the air, leaving it brittle.

 

And the heat of the hair dryer can be the greatest enemy to the health of your hair.

 

So let your hair air dry naturally if possible, at least partially.

 

Air-drying your hair, instead of blow-drying and heat-styling it, will save you both time spent doing your hair and this risk of damaging your hair.

Here are a few simple secrets to air-drying hair and having it actually look like one great big frizzy mess.


1. Air drying your hair doesn’t mean you should skip product…All hair types should follow up towel drying with a detangling leave-in conditioner,  a protectant spray or cream or a blow-dry serum…combing it  through with a large-tooth comb.

Product will help set the hair, add volume, and reduce frizz and unruliness.

If your hair is on the finer side and lacks a true natural texture, also spritz a sea salt spray at the roots continuing through to the ends to help give the hair more volume. Then leave hair alone until it dries.

 

2.  Apply argan oil to damp hair from the mid-lengths to the tips. This will seal the cuticles, tone down frizz, keep your hair smelling clean and fresh, and enhance natural waves. Two quality ARGAN oils worth checking into are…Josie MaraNatha ARGAN OIL…and Zweena Pure Organic Argan Oil.

 

3. Never brush wet hair…Brushing your hair while wet can stretch the strands, causing damage and splits while it is at its most delicate.
4.  Sleeping on a satin pillowcase will also keep hair from frizzing because satin is gentler on  hair cuticles…Although sleeping on wet hair might initially seem like a good idea,  the combination of cotton pillowcases and tossing and turning as you sleep can cause breakage, frizz and tangles. Avoid it at all costs.

5.  Don’t touch your hair as it dries. …The more you touch, play with, and otherwise mess with your hair, the frizzier it will get.


6.  Never use a hair tie to pull your hair back into a ponytail or bun as it’s drying. This will not only break your hair, but will also result in strange kinks and texture

 

7.  Apply a spritz of dry shampoo to your roots once your hair is dry for extra lift and texture.

 

Getting Dressed

Vegan Deep Conditioners

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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…
Getting Dressed, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Vegan Hair Mask Recipes

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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

 

 

 

 

Getting Dressed

Vegan Shampoo

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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

 

 

Getting Dressed

Splish Splash…I Was Taking a Shower

  
Taking a shower has the ability to clear your head and relax your muscles as you start your day ahead….and should be both refreshing and relaxing.

Although there’s really no wrong way to take a shower, there are several things to know in order to make the most of this time.

The following tips will help take your everyday shower from ordinary to indulgent.

Temperature

Although a steaming hot shower can be a great way to warm up on cold mornings or unwind after a stressful workday, hot water can actually be bad for our bodies. Hot water strips the skin of its natural oils, can make common problems like eczema even worse, and damage the skin faster.

Instead stick to a lukewarm, or cooler, shower.



    Time…

    Taking too long of a shower can actually remove much-needed moisture from the skin. This will leave your skin feeling dry and itchy.

    The shorter the shower, the better. Keep your shower time down to no more than five to ten minutes.


    Frequency…

    There is no hard-and-fast rule as to how often you should shower…but most of us can cut back to a few times a week. Just don’t cut back so much that you smell or risk having skin infections.

    Shampoo

    Washing your hair no more than two times a week should help maintain the natural oil production, while achieving moisture balance.

    Washing your hair too often can be drying, especially for anyone with gray hair or colored hair…Washing your hair too seldom can cause a buildup of oils that lead to flaking and redness.

    Always brush your hair before you get in the shower to work through any tangles. This will also help prevent clogged drains. After you shower, brush your hair again. Plastic vent brushes are best because they have multiple bristles.

    Put a quarter size amount of shampoo in your hands. Distribute theshampoo evenly throughout the hair, instead of simply pouring it on top of your head. Avoid using too much shampoo on your ends because they’re prone to dryness and brittleness.

    Make sure to get the nape of the neck, scalp, and roots because this is where dirt and oils usually collect. Scrub for a complete minute before rinsing.

    Conditioner

    Instead of using a regular conditioner, apply a deep conditioner once or twice a week. The heat and steam of the shower will help the deep conditioner penetrate hair strands.

    Apply the deep conditioner, oil-based serum, or simply olive oil to your hair immediately after rinsing the shampoo out. Leave this on while you wash the rest of your body. 

    Applying conditioner above your crown line will lead to grease and unnecessary oil production. Instead, focus on your roots first because this is the area that requires the most moisture and attention.

    Finally, wrapping your hair tightly in a towel can cause severe damage to your hair. Instead, gently squeeze out excess moisture with a cotton t-shirt or a dry towel. Pat hair dry, rubbing your hair too roughly can cause knots and frizz.


    Soap

    Soap contains surfactants, chemicals that attract both oil and water and that are able to bond with and remove the natural oils in your skin…leaving your skin feeling tight, dry, and itchy. 

    Use a creamy soap-free, water-based body wash or cleansing oil instead of drying soaps. These will moisturize with natural oils, without stripping your skin of its own. 

    Look for products labeled as “cleanser” instead of “soap.”

    Avoid shower gels and body washes with excessive lather. The more bubbles or lather a cleanser has, the more it strips your skin of its natural oils.

    Both Dove and Olay make excellent body wash products that strip fewer lipids and proteins from the skin, leav ing the skin better hydrated than most other body washes.

    Be sure to rinse the soap completely off of your body. Not properly rinsing soap off can cause skin irritation and dryness. Harsh cleansers can be irritating if left on the skin, because of the chemicals and fragrance these soaps contain.


    Face


    Doing a mask in the shower is great because the steam from the shower opens your pores and allows the nutrients and vitamins to actually be absorbed into your skin much more easily.

    A gel-based mask is better than a creamy version. Although the mask is still emollient, it will not  slide off your wet skin

    Masks should only be applied before washing your face, not after. Washing your face both before and after a mask may be too drying for many skin types.

    Anything applied after a shower will be more rapidly absorbed and may cause breakouts. Instead, apply a moisturizer after your shower to add back and seal in moisture.

    Exfoliating

    The biggest mistake people make is responding to dry, flaking skin with harsh exfoliation. Actually exfoliating more than twice a week can actually irritate your skin.
    There are three different levels of exfoliation…

    The first level involves simply adding a bit of raw sugar or iodized sea salt to your loofah along with your normal body wash.

    The second option is to buy a sugar scrub or make your own.

    For example, try this homemade coffee sugar scrub. This scrub has so many benefits. The coffee beans reduce inflammation and redness of the skin. The cinnamon acts as a drying agent, can help clear your acne, and helps bring blood and nutrients to the skin’s surface. The coconut oil acts a moisturizer, and helps slow down the process of your skin aging.

        

      Homemade Coffee Cinnamon Scrub
      1/2C ground coffee
      1/2C used coffee grounds
      1C sugar
      1/2C coconut oil
      tsp cinnamon

      A third option is dry brushing. Dry brushing involves stroking from your feet upward with a natural-bristle brush for three to five minutes before stepping into the shower. 

      This improves circulation, stimulates skin cells, flushes toxins surrounding these cells, and sloughs off dull, dead skin cells. 

                Feet

                 Giving your feet a good scrub while you are in the shower will help you avoid foot fungus or bacteria.Be sure to (Actually you should take the time every day to thoroughly wash your feet with mild soap and thoroughly dry them every day.)

                Rub any conditioner that is left on your hands after you condition your hair onto the heels of your feet and into your toenails.

                Shaving

                Shave at the end of your shower so that the hairs are already damp and soft and that the pores are already opened. This will allow you to get the closest shav and reduce your chances of getting an ingrown hair.

                Consider swapping traditional shaving cream for a hydrating shaving oil.

                Make sure the water is warm, not scalding hot. Scalding hot water will cause your follicles to swell and your hairs to be more likely to break before they can be removed.

                Drying Off

                How you dry off is just as important as how you shower.
                Rubbing your skin vigorously with a towel can cause irritation, leave you itchy, and make dry skin get even worse. 

                Instead pat yourself dry. This leaves some water on the skin, which can be sealed in with moisturizer after each shower.
                Be sure to dry certain areas-any skin folds, between your toes, in the groin area, and under your arms-in order to prevent rashes and infections.

                Moisturizer

                 if you don’t moisturize your skin right after your shower, you can be doing your skin a great disservice. Applying moisturizer to freshly-showered skin maximizes its absorption.

                Applying a thick all-over layer of moisturizer right after lightly patting skin dry, even when you’re still damp, will lock the water into the skin and protect the epidermal barrier. Moisturizing while the shower door is still closed will help your skin absorb the product 

                People with dry skin should try a cream moisturizer instead of lotion. Look for a cream containing ceramide or alpha-hydroxy acid. 

                Look for a fragrance-free cream or lotion with humectants, such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which actually attract water vapor to the skin’s surface and promote its absorption. 

                Loofah

                 Always wash the loofah thoroughly and wring it out. Store it in a dry place, not in your shower.

                When you use a loofah, dead skin cells become lodged in the nooks. These dead skin cells become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and yeast. Never share your loofah for this reason.Allow your loofah to dry completely between uses. This is the best way to keep your loofah clean. 

                Replace your loofah frequently, at least once a month.