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DIY Ice Cream In Five Minutes

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One Saturday, this past spring, my friend asked me over to make ice cream after we had lunch together. She had me at ice cream. My favourite flavours are cookies and cream, green tea and Kawartha’s dairy moose tracks (vanilla base with fudge swirled through and small peanut butter cups). If given the choice between vanilla and chocolate though… I’d choose vanilla. 🙂

We made two types: vanilla and green tea. I’ve included photos from both in this post.

Matcha Green Tea Powder & Sugar

Matcha Green Tea Powder & Sugar

 

small bag of cream, sugar, & matcha green tea powder sitting on top of ice and salt and covered with ice and salt.

small bag of cream, sugar, & matcha green tea powder sitting on top of ice and salt and covered with ice and salt.

Green Tea Ice Cream

Voila! Green Tea Ice Cream

My favourite step after SHAKE SHAKE Shaking… is eating. :)

My favourite step after SHAKE SHAKE Shaking… is eating. 🙂

I asked her how we were going to make it and what we needed. She told me all we needed was cream or half and half, vanilla, sugar, ice, a yogurt cup, some zip lock bags and salt. I was intrigued that this didn’t involve a fancy ice cream machine.

My friend is a high school teacher and she had her grade 9 science class do this. It was a very quick and delicious DIY activity and I would definitely see this as a fun experiment to do with kids or basically anyone that likes ice cream or single serving sizes of ice cream.

DIY Ice Cream

Davies, L. (2011). Neilson Science Connections 9. Scarborough, Ont.:Thomson/Neilson

Ingredients

  • 1 small sealable bag
    • (optional: double up to prevent bag with cream from opening up and having salt seep in)
  • large clean empty yogurt container (or large sealable bag)
  • 1/2 cup of cream or half & half
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla flavouring (or other desired flavouring)
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 2 tbsp of salt (preferably large crystals)
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cup
  • timer
  • oven mitts or kitchen towel

Method

  1. We put the sugar and the vanilla extract into the small sealable bag. Then added cream and squeeze out extra air and seal it up.
  2. Then filled the yogurt containers halfway with ice and 1 tbsp of salt.
  3. Then we put our small bag and filled up the rest of the container with ice and 1 tbsp of salt and cover with the lid.
  4. And now set a timer for 5 minutes, put on those oven mitts and start shaking the container. Stop at the 5 minute mark to check to see if your cream is becoming more solid. If your cream isn’t as solid as you’d like but you still have plenty of solid ice, add more salt. Otherwise, add more ice and salt to the container.
  5. Once your cream is looking more solid just carefully remove from the container and carefully open the small sealable bag.

How could this be?

When we add salt it lowers the freezing point of water and when the ice melts it starts to absorb heat from the ice cream which causes the ice cream to solidify. I might’ve enjoyed science class more if there were more food experiments that ended with the class eating.

Results

The texture isn’t as hard as hard ice cream straight from the box or your neighbourhood ice cream shop it’s on the ice-y side but both were delicious. I did get a bit of salt water that seeped into one and hence my recommendation to double up on the small bags. We used the half size small bags but that’s just because it’s what she had on hand. I’m sure the regular small size bags would work fine and might have less chances of opening up during the shaking as long as as much air as possible is squeezed out.

Vanilla Extract and Sugar

Vanilla Extract and Sugar

Half & Half, Vanilla Syrup, Small sealable bag.

Half & Half, Vanilla Syrup, Small sealable bag.

Ice cream is ready

Ice cream is ready

Vanilla Ice Cream for One. :)

Vanilla Ice Cream for One. Some cream fell into the yogurt cup during shaking resulting in less ice cream 😦

Have you made ice cream before? How do you make it?

If you decide to give this a go let me know how you enjoyed the process and end result. Also, let me know if you come up with some delicious flavour combinations.

 

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My No Poo Update

8ZzOUHeyyy! I’ve been keeping you in suspense for months. Hope you had an incredible summer and great kick off to the fall season.

Does she still no ‘poo? Has she done more experimenting? What is she washing her hair with?  So many changes ya’ll.. mm..not really..but sorta.. hang on tight. I’m going to address all of that. 🙂

First of all, I went into this alternative hair washing method for mainly these reasons:

  1. To go longer without hair washing
  2. Reducing my exposure to harmful ingredients
  3. Neat DIY

And most importantly, I went in with an open mind. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy transition but I wanted to make an effort to try this routine out. I knew that as my routine and life circumstances changed, it might make more sense for me to buy shampoo (cleaners with low toxins of course).

I can’t believe I started making my own rinses since the end of April 2012 – That’s 2 years and 5 months. Whoa.

Early on this spring, I tried a few shampoos from the health food store with mixed results. I tried a few bottles but I still felt my hair felt cleaner with no ‘poo and could go longer without washes with no poo. My hair tended to feel oilier after a day of washing. I’d use dry shampoo to stretch out my washings by another day or two and style my hair in braids. As with no poo, I could usually go 3 days from wash day to my next wash. So naturally, I went back to no poo after I finished a bottle.

A couple of changes I made since my No Poo series was I swapped ACV for lemon juice this summer, mainly to just see if it would work and so I wouldn’t have to refrigerate it. The latest change I made was stop using baking soda for my washes… Let me explain. 🙂

unIHS

Baking Soda, ACV Rinses & PH levels

The last time I washed my hair with baking soda might’ve been a couple weeks ago. *sigh* here it goes. I read Baking Soda Destroyed My Hair by Kanelstrand (Her blog goes into detail about the PH level with diagrams too! Definitely good to check out if you’re currently no poo’ing) that highlighted the effects of raising your scalp/hair’s PH level ((baking soda is alkaline and ACV is acidic) and lowering it in a short amount of time isn’t good for your hair in the long run because it makes your hair prone to breakage and dryness. And hence the importance of looking for a PH balanced shampoo.

The more I read, the more it made sense for me to try another alternative. I was experiencing some dryness and decided to try a shampoo recipe with aloe vera and glycerin from a blog post about no-poo alternatives by Sara at My Merry Messy Life. The mistake I made was that I read the post really fast and missed the part where Sara says she likes using it to freshen up her curls. She has curly hair but I don’t…and I didn’t realize this until after the 2nd wash. Regardless of my mistake, I really appreciated the insights from her post.

I happily mixed up a concoction of vegetable glycerin with aloe vera and some essential oils and I washed my hair. My hair felt heavy but I figured I was probably transitioning. So, I waited 3 days and used dry shampoo for the 2nd and 3rd day. On wash day, I washed it and it felt kind of greasy but I figured once again it was probably the transition. The next morning I looked like I had just slicked my entire scalp in gel.. So, I put my hair in a bun. I looked like I was ready to ready for a ballet exam or recital. GROSS.

I had no time for tears. My hair looked absolutely disgusting but it was clean and I was going to work out that day so I would deal with it in the evening.

I tried a PH balanced coconut milk and aloe vera gel recipe. I loved how simple this recipe was but given the state of my GREASY scalp, it wasn’t cutting it. I felt I needed baking soda. It’s a hard habit to break. I tried to mix a little bit in my palm with water and I scrubbed my head. It was still heavy with the residue/grease. I reached for the last bit of Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Shampoo by Live Clean from my pre-no ‘poo days. It was the best decision in that moment but I also felt defeated to be honest. I knew I needed something to remove all the buildup in my hair. There have been different times that I have returned to using this clarifying shampoo – a couple of weeks in June 2013 and a few times during my mom’s treatment this fall and this instance.

I had revisited the curly hair shampoo recipe post after I woke up with the really greasy ballet bun hair and realized the mistake I had made.

HS5oP

My Current Routine.

I decided the day of the greasy ballet hair bun to pick up a couple of new products to try from the health food store because I had no time/energy/patience to devote to tweaking hair recipes on top of my current routine. I probably spent about an hour in the store reading labels and checking the handy Good Guide app on my phone that scores the product based on the health concerns, the environmental and societal impact of the product. I can easily scan the product’s barcode with my phone to pull up this information while I’m shopping.

I have been using TheraNeem Gentle Therape Shampoo for the past two weeks (washing every 3-4 days), I am loving the mild scent and the lather was a surprise. I wet my scalp and scrub it as I normally would before adding rinses, and then I add in the shampoo and scrub really well all over. I wait a few minutes then rinse out the shampoo and towel dry as much as I can then blow dry.

I brush with a boar bristle brush everyday and I use my own dry shampoo (another recipe for another post) when my the crown of my head looks a bit oily (usually 2-3 days after a wash) or I’ll just put my hair up or braid it.

I will likely experiment with DIY shampoo recipes again – I would love to use more pantry items like herbs and tea. But right now, I’m going to use up what I’ve bought so far. I am not too ecstatic with the higher price tag.

Are you a no poo’er? Do you wash with baking soda? If you’re a no poo’er have you experimented with any baking soda free recipes? Do you have any PH balanced shampoo recipes to share?

Hope you have a great weekend!

If you’re interested in reading about the No Poo series: start with My No Poo Secret followed by the Transition Phase & Method and if you want more, Resources & Solutions 


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{DIY} Face Moisturizer

The other day, I shared about my simple 1-ingredient oil moisturizer. Today, I’m sharing a DIY recipe I made up with a friend this past summer. Disclosure: I’m not an expert on skin care and everything I’m sharing is based on my experience and what I’ve read online. To be on the safe side, please contact a medical professional for advice prior to experimenting with oils as with any change in skin care regimen, you may experience adverse reactions. Thanks for stopping by.

After my initial visit to buy face oils, I found myself going back to the health food store and researching online about making my own moisturizer. I read many recipes which intrigued me but I was nervous about taking the leap and actually doing it on my own. This past summer, I made my own moisturizer from a combination of oils (coconut oil, cocoa butter, avocado oil, grape seed oil, vitamin e oil and lavender essential oil).

I had been collecting glass jars and recently used up a raw honey jar. I washed it a few times with hot water and dish detergent. If there was still any odour I would’ve removed the odour from the glass jar before sterilizing. Since it was a moisturizer I wanted, I decided to use my honey jar to store my DIY moisturizer.

I went to my friend Cherry’s house after work to make it one friday night (one of my favourite nights this summer!). We had been talking for weeks about our big Green Beauty night. LOL! At first I was hoping we’d be able to make some lip moisturizers and body butters but as the days drew near we were both realizing we probably should just focus on one product. This face moisturizer took priority because we were thinking ahead about cold fall and winter months.

Naturally, I researched recipes other people had and printed 2 and told her I wanted to do a combination of 2 of them and just add whatever she had that sounded interesting (avocado oil). That’s pretty much my approach for cooking too. If I have a particular type of food in mind and I haven’t made it before, I’ll research about 2-5 recipes and do some combination of the ones I like the best.I wanted to incorporate grapeseed oil and coconut oil. Prior to this, I was just using grape seed oil or sweet almond oil on my face.

DIY Face Moisturizer Ingredients

DIY Face Moisturizer Ingredients

DIY Face Moisturizer

Ingredients

When I made this, I wrote down everything but the shea butter and cocoa butter amounts. I am guess-timating my shea and cocoa butter amounts.

  • 4.5 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp shea butter
  • 1 tbsp cocoa butter
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 2 tsp sweet almond oil
  • 2 tsp grapeseed oil (good for sensitive skin)
  • few drops of vitamin E oil
  • several drops of lavender essential oil
Before Melting Shot

Before Melting Shot

Instructions

  1. If you are reusing a glass jar, remember to sterilize your glass jar. I did this the night before actually making it to save time.
  2. Put your empty jar into the pot and fill with cold water with enough to cover about 1/3 of it. Make sure not to get any water into your jar as we’re attempting to make a face moisturizer not a lotion.
  3. Bring water to a boil. While water is boiling, combine oils into jar.
  4. Once water comes to a boil, bring it down to low heat.
  5. Once the oils in the jar become translucent, everything has melted.
  6. Take the jar out of the hot water carefully and set it on a trivet. Add essential oils at this stage.
  7. Let the jar cool then place in the fridge.
  8. You can leave it overnight and when you take it out, you can store it in a cool/dry place. If it begins to liquify, just stick it in the fridge. I’ve been able to keep mine just in my room all winter and it has remained soft. There you have it, you’re own very unique DIY Moisturizer, made by you! Woohoo!! 🙂

Ideas for Next Time

  • The only thing I would do next time is cut back on the coconut oil and try using more butter or incorporating some beeswax and perhaps trying different combinations of essential oils to change things up.
  • As I edited this post, it occurred to me, I could probably have just melted the butters with coconut oil then added the other oils when the melted mixture was off the stove and cooling since the other oils didn’t need to be heated. Something that I didn’t really think about until I was writing up this post.
Oils are all melted

Oils are all melted

This was a lot of fun to make. Cherry is a “go by feel, what’s the rush?” kind of girl. I’m more of a “precise and cautious” person when it comes to doing something new. We talked about this and laughed because she was so cool with just “eyeballing” and I wanted to track every spoonful/step. 🙂 I told her I wanted it to be as precise as possible so if I wanted to tweak it next time, I could compare and see how my adjustment effected my outcome and it would be easier to share (with you lovely readers) how I made it. She told me that a little bit of coconut oil goes a long way and she was right. I would like to try cutting back on the coconut oil next time to see if it will make it less oily.

Cooling

Cooling

DIY Face Moisturizer: Ready to use!

DIY Face Moisturizer: Ready to use!

When using this, I only needed a small pea size amount for my whole face. A little bit goes a long way. This is the same reason why this is such an economical thing to do. I use to probably spend around $80-90 for my facial moisturizers for the year. Now, I can spend about $30-35 on oils and butters and use it towards more than just my face and for more than a year.

I was so happy that Cherry was cool about having me over to learn how to make my own moisturizer. I told her I was nervous about melting oils in a glass container at home. LOL! YUp, I still get nervous about being alone and MELTING stuff on the stove and since we were melting oils in glass, I just had this fear that something could go wrong if I was on my own.

I was incredibly excited to try this when it was done. When you open the jar, the scent of lavender hits your nostrils. I ADORE this moisturizer. It took a lot for me not announce it to everyone I talked to. That level of excitement people. haha

I primarily use it on my face on cold fall/winter days and on my hands overnight. I can pretty much use it all over but I mainly use it for my face.

My recipe didn’t use water but if you wanted to use water in a DIY beauty project (perhaps making a lotion or spray) definitely take a look at this very informative link on DIY 101: Working with water by Crunchy Betty.

Check out my friend Cherry’s post on her DIY moisturizer.

What scents do you like in your moisturizer? Do you have a DIY moisturizer recipe to share? What’s in your favourite moisturizer?

Please share!


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Skin Care: Moisturizing Your Face With Oil

Grape seed oil and Jojoba Oil.

Grape seed oil and Jojoba Oil.

My old face moisturizing routine included using a Vichy moisturizer during the winter months and a La Roche Moisturizer during the summer. I started this in university and before that I don’t remember (maybe a cream by Nivea). My face has always been on the normal/combination. I use to have dry areas around my nose and mouth and my forehead was on the shinier side. I would occasionally get pimples around my hairline or around my mouth.

It wasn’t until one cold fall day two years ago, that I applied my Vichy moisturizer after a summer of using La Roche and felt a burning sensation on my cheeks. At first, I didn’t think too much about the burning sensation, reasoning that it was because I took a break from using it in the summer. Then I thought “moisturizers shouldn’t hurt”, I don’t want to get used to this. I wanted something simpler and nourishing for my skin. I went to my local health store and asked one of the associates to recommend a daily moisturizer face cream. Unfortunately, this face cream still left my face with the same dry spots I had when I used my old Vichy moisturizer. I felt like I needed to apply it more than once during the day. I felt like my skin needed something stronger that would absorb into my skin and help it stay moisturized. I didn’t want to have to reapply during the day.

I researched online and learned that we could use oils to moisturize our faces. Just oil? Lotion and creams involve a combination of water and oil, take out the water and all I’m left with is oil. Definitely sounded like this would work. I figured, if I didn’t like it, I could always go back to experimenting with new facial creams. I started using grapeseed oil, then sweet almond oil, and am now using the jojoba oil. I’ve found that my skin looks and feels softer using these oils. Going this route wasn’t just good for my skin but for my wallet too! I use a few drops to cover my entire face.

Naturally, I went into work and couldn’t wait to share it with my two blogger friends. One of them started out with grapeseed oil. The other one tried sweet almond oil and has since made her own DIY moisturizer. I’ll share her link in another post where I talk about my own DIY moisturizer (Stay Tuned! It is on the way!).

Now, you might think it sounds a bit weird to put OIL on your face. Especially because there are products that are suppose to REMOVE oil off our faces (i.e. those oil blotting sheets). However, contrary to popular belief that oil is bad and we need to get rid of it, oil is very good for our skin as it moisturizes it without drying it out. As for which types of oils to use depends on your skin and preference.  There are lots of oils to choose from, I decided to start with these three because my skin was a combination of dry spots and oily areas. I’ve included some of the benefits of each oil. I feel like my skin has become softer and stays moisturized.

Grape seed Oil

  • Great for dry or sensitive skin
  • Light moisturizing oil
  • Helps protect collagen
  • Evens out skin tone
  • Easily absorbed and won’t clog pores
  • Can use on hair and skin

Sweet Almond Oil

  • Good for all skin types
  • Easily absorbed and won’t clog pores
  • Helps retain or restore glow
  • Nourishes skin and keeps it looking soft
  • Improves skin tone and complexion
  • Helps get rid of dark circles under eyes and reduce puffiness
  • Can use on body as well

Jojoba Oil

  • Good for dry skin and oily skin
  • Combating fine lines and wrinkles
  • Very similar properties to sebum 
  • Helps with oil control
  • Won’t clog your pores
  • Can be used on hair and body (dry lips and on cuticles)

Application

After washing and drying my face in the morning, I use few drops of oil (about 1/3-1/2 tsp) and spread it over my face using my fingers or a cotton pad. That’s basically it when it comes to my moisturizing routine. I’ve thought about trying out moisturizing at night too but I haven’t felt the need to.

I’m very happy I made the switch to oils and it was so easy to do. What do you use on your face? What’s your favourite oil? 

Disclosure: I’m not an expert on skin care and everything I’m sharing is based on my experience and what I’ve read online. To be on the safe side, please contact a medical professional for advice prior to experimenting with oils as with any change in skin care regimen, you may experience adverse reactions. Thanks for stopping by.

– Julie


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No ‘Poo Resources & Solutions

If you’ve been following the No ‘Poo series so far then you’ve read about my secret, my transition & method and maybe you’re ready to give it a go or maybe still on the fence but enjoy reading about it, that works! Everyone is welcome.

This post will have resources I used as well as factors to consider and finally a section on solutions to common problems. I’m not an expert on No ‘Poo (although, not sure if there’s such a thing). I’m sure I haven’t covered all factors and don’t have all the possible solutions. I write from my experience and from what I’ve learned from others.

My Go To No ‘Poo Resources (AKA My faves!)

1. How To Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo by Simple Mom. There’s also The Oh-So-Important Hair Update (24 months later). Tsh’s blog posts are what convinced me to give this whole thing a go. Her blog is about simple living. There’s always something interesting to read and learn. She’s got a book out on “Organized Simplicity” too.

2. No ‘Poo To You, Too!! by Crunchy Betty. In this post, she shares what convinced her to go no poo, what shampoo does to your hair and her method. I like this blog because there are lots of DIY sharing going on namely putting food on your face, hair and skin and household stuff. Love it!

3. Going no ‘poo by Stephanie over at Keeper of The Home. She shares a link with resources and info and goes on to share what excerpt made her want to try this out. Also her No ‘Poo Update post (a year later) with details on her hair washing method.

4. The No Shampoo Alternative by Christi at Nature Mom’s. This was where I learned about the importance of really giving your scalp a good scrub. The post also shares about why you should go without shampoo (your health), the chemicals in shampoo, how to no poo and trouble shooting (including a tip on dealing with frizzy hair).

5. Secrets to My No Poo Success by The Eco Cat Lady Speaks. Extremely informative post. It covers her system, motivation, sebum, silicones in shampoo, dealing with hard water (you need to use more acid the harder your water is), baking soda, acid rinse and brushing.

Factors to consider when going No ‘Poo

  • Hard water versus soft water. Washing with baking soda in hard water can leave hair feeling like it is dirtier than before washing. As Veggie_One describes “the minerals coat your hair with a fine powder which can mix with sebum and cause hair nastiness”. The baking soda combined with the minerals in the hard water leaves soap scum in your hair. I noticed this texture in the early stages of no poo. Using baking soda and water is like a natural soap and the hard water will leave a residue in your hair making your hair feel greasy, waxy or dusty. This is unlike traditional shampoos which are detergents that are made to lather in both hard water and soft water.
  • Ratio of baking soda to water. If you use too much baking soda it dries out your hair, start with 1tbsp and go up and down. You can also try making a paste of baking soda in your palm.
  • Ratio of apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) to water. Start with less if you’re hair is normally on the greasier or oily side. Focus on your ends rather than on your scalp. I only use about 1-1.5tbsp (I eyeball it) on my actual scalp. Also, if you’re worried about lightening or darkening your hair. I’ve read that lemon juice lightens dark hair and apple cider vinegar can darken light hair. Keep in mind, the purpose of the acid is two fold: 1. Cut through the soap scum 2. Restores the pH in your hair.
  • Frequency: How often you wash during the transition (less is better – start with less than before you started No ‘Poo) AND how often you use to wash (at least in the beginning of your transition) can have an impact on how your hair/scalp reacts. You might want to consider stretching out your washes with water only washes or dry shampoo’s between actual washes (no ‘poo)
  • Other products you use in your hair. I would refrain during transition time and stick with natural oils to style your hair – like almond, coconut oil, jojoba oil and grape seed oil, but this is my personal preference. Do what works for you!
  • Hair brushing routine. Make it daily. (Confession: I didn’t use to do this, couldn’t be bothered before. So this whole no ‘poo thing has me playing with my hair more than EVER before. Cannot stress the importance of this.).
  • Brushing your hair before you wash
  • Pre-mix your solution or mix as you go. I pre-mix my acid/conditioning rinse but make the clarifying rinse (“shampoo”) right before hopping into the shower.

Solutions for Common Problems

Issue: Oily/Greasy hair

  • If this happens during the transition, it could just be your scalp over-producing oil like it use to when on shampoo, it will take some time to adjust.
  • In the short term, to combat the greasiness, I’ve tried increasing the baking soda to 1/2 tbsp for the next wash to get rid of the grease, but make sure to follow that up with an acid (ACV or lemon juice) on your hair.
  • Try lemon juice in place of the ACV. This worked for me and I stuck to lemon juice up until late November. I decided to try ACV again now that my hair had adjusted.
  • It could also be too much of the conditioning rinse. I remember finding that I was using too much apple cider vinegar when I first started and it left my hair feeling heavy/oily.
  • You might want to use a dry shampoo when you are stretching out your washes. Sprinkle a bit on your scalp where it is greasy (usually the crown), scrub it in and brush it out with a comb. It will soak up the sebum. You’ll have nice volume too. For ex. Assuming you’re in the transition phase, if you were washing everyday before No ‘Poo and now you are doing every other, you might find your hair is getting greasy by day 2 around your crown.
  • Not rinsing out well enough. Make sure you are scrubbing your scalp well (focus on your scalp not your hair) when you wash your hair and spending a good amount of time rinsing out the solutions.
  • Try putting just a small amount of the conditioning rinse on your head (some people omit this all together) and pour more on the ends and bottom half of your hair.
  • Brush and comb your hair right before hopping into wash
  • Brush daily. Start with the ends of your hair and work your way up. I like brushing from my bottom layer up to the top (4 sections).

Issue: Itchy Scalp

  • Scrub your head for longer during the baking soda rinse. Spend a while rinsing it out and making sure to scrub all over your scalp paying close attention to the crown of your head.
  • Add aloe vera gel to your baking soda solution. I felt that this help me when I had an itchy scalp.
  • Also add lavender essential oil to your conditioning rinse. Tea Tree oil or lavender, peppermint essential oil could work well too.
  • Brush daily with your boar hair brush.
  • Wash your combs/brushes weekly or every other week.

Issue: Dry Hair or Straw-like Texture (Cause: Too much baking soda)

  • Reduce baking soda ratio
  • Leave your conditioning rinse in longer before rinsing it out.
  • Use oil to condition your ends. Just a drop can go a long way. (coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, and sweet almond oil).
  • Brush daily with your boar hair brush.
  • Don’t wash too often

Issue: Waxy, dusty residue in hair. It feels like there’s gunk in your hair AFTER you washed it. (Cause: Hard Water)

Assuming the cause is hard water, try one of the following suggestions:

  • Install a water filter in your tap. This will filter out minerals in your hard water.
  • Using distilled or previously boiled water (way to soften hard water). Here’s a post on the no shampoo method with hard water using boiled water for the baking soda rinse.
  • Water temperature. This worked for me not sure if this would work for everyone. I just use hot tap water when I make my baking soda rinse and I also wash out the baking soda rinse with hot tap water in the shower. I finish with a cold conditioning rinse and the very cold water (the coldest I can handle). In my quest to find a post on how to solve another issue I was having, I came across this post by Sara Valor where she shares that hot water opens up the hair cuticle and cold water closes it up. Two birds, one stone.
  • Switch from ACV to lemon juice. Some people have also switched from ACV to white vinegar. The acid helps cut through the soap scum. Let the acid sit in your hair for a few minutes before thoroughly scrubbing and rinsing out.
  • Increase the amount of acid you’re using.
  • Brush your hair before you wash and scrub your scalp really well while washing and rinsing.

Issue: Washing Too Much

Maybe you’ve found yourself washing more than you’d like (just as much or more than you use to with traditional shampoo) or maybe you want to cut back.

  • Stretch out the no ‘poo washing with water only (WO) washes. Still scrub your scalp really well but without the baking soda and ACV rinses. I’ve done hot water followed up by cold water.
  • Another way to go longer between washes is to use dry shampoo. I explain how to use it in the Greasy/Oily section above.

Issue: “Dandruff” or Dusty White Residue Covered Bristles (Cause: Baking soda residue)

  • Wash your brushes. Gets the gunk out of the brush and keeps it out of your hair. I started doing this when noticed the white stuff on my bristles. I also started scrubbing my scalp longer and rinsing longer because I knew it was probably baking soda residue on my scalp.
  • I wash mine once a week with a simple solution of warm water and Dr. citrus liquid soap and an old tooth-brush.
  • I leave it to dry overnight lying on its bristles on top of a towel.
  • Up your lemon juice or vinegar in your acid/conditioning rinse.

Issue: Staticky Hair

  • Using some honey in your BS solution. I’ve read some people using 1 tbsp worth. I had static a few weeks ago and didn’t get around to try this tip out because I didn’t have any more static after the next time I washed.

General Advice

Don’t obsess about the basic ratio (1TBS to 1 cup). If it doesn’t work for your hair, change it. Keep experimenting. Don’t obsess about getting the right ratios quickly. You need time to figure out what’s best for you.  I found that I had to tweak when seasons changed and when I was working out or perspiring more. Your baking soda amount might be more than your apple cider vinegar (ACV) or lemon juice amount. I remember when my hair was greasy/sweaty in the summer, I upped it to 1.5TBS to 1 cup of hot water for my baking soda rinse. And in the fall I changed back to 1TBS to 1 cup of hot water.

Experiment, change things up, try something new, get dry shampoo (or make it) and make sure you have some hair ties, big hair clips for those not-so-pretty days. It’s not a quick and easy transition for most, so don’t fret when things are not as smooth as you had hoped.

For the acid/conditioning rinse with ACV or lemon juice, be careful not to get this in your eyes. I haven’t had any issues (it’ll hurt), but at the beginning I use to close my eyes tightly while carefully pouring the solution on my hair.

What do you think about alternatives to traditional shampoo? Do you have any shampoo recipes to share? What is your hair brushing routine like?

Have you kicked shampoo to the curb? What was your motivation and how are things going? Would love to hear your thoughts. 

If you start to no poo after reading my series, leave me a comment so I can hear how things are going. If you try any tips I’ve shared, let me know as well. Got any to add? Please share!

In case you missed the other posts in the series, here they are.

My No Poo Secret

My Transition Phase and Method

Have an awesome Saturday!


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My No Poo Secret

This post has been sitting in my queue for months. I’ve been tinkering with it here and there, every now and then. The longer I go between edits, the longer the edits take. Do you experience this as well? Here’s hoping the wait was worth it and you enjoy the post. 🙂

I stopped washing my hair with shampoo at the end of April 2012.

Really? Yes! Yes! And I’m not a mess! Totally wrote that because it rhymed and showed excitement.

I basically went No Poo. Which means I stopped washing my hair the traditional way with commerical shampoo products. I started to wash with baking soda, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, aloe vera gel, essential oils and water. Although, not all at once. I spent a few months experimenting. I’ll share with you in another post. Prior to this, I had been using Live Clean Apple Cider shampoo (just the shampoo, no conditioner) for well over a year. I loved using it. The bottle felt good in my hands and I felt like it was probably one of the better shampoos at the drug store.

After the earth week lecture I went to, I was convinced that a shampoo change among other greener changes was in order. I had researched about shampoos and came across some very interesting posts on “No Poo”. Sounds disgusting right? Like we’re giving up on going #2. As it turns out, “No Poo” is just short for “No Shampoo”. You read that right, No shampoo for real. And as much as I wanted to jump on the No Poo train. I didn’t feel like I could at the moment because I didn’t know how I would be after the operation and whether I would have time/energy to tinker with a washing routine. Heck, I didn’t even know if I would need assistance in the shower or the washroom for that matter, so I wouldn’t want to put it on anyone else to help me with my new no poo routine. The idea took a backseat.

I remember being a teenager and struggling with greasy scalp and dandruff and not really knowing what to do. I would go to a beauty supply store to pick up a fairly pricey shampoo to help me with this problem. That was expensive and I relied on these products to get my mane looking tame. Ohhh that rhymed! Eventually, I stopped buying the stuff (couldn’t afford it) and returned to the regular drug store shampoos and rotated around. I still felt like my hair would end up looking terribly greasy when I washed every other day, so I went from every other day to almost every day (as often as I could). Sound familiar? Many people are in this boat with shampoos. Even though I heard that washing it often was not good as it stripped my hair of it’s natural oils, I would do it feeling that it was a necessity. Eventually, I cut back to every other day and if I stretched it I would go two days without max. The point of this story was I needed to buy a professional shampoo to get keep my scalp grease and dandruff free and it just wasn’t economical for me. Also, that gradually I found myself washing more often to prevent the greasy look.

So if you were like me, someone who found themselves washing more often than I knew was good for me, maybe you have a greasy scalp, dandruff, this post might be something for you to try out. Or maybe your a DIY’er or an aspiring DIY’er (high five!), whatever the case, you have nothing to lose by trying. Before embarking on this venture though, my hair looked and felt fine. I just wanted to try this greener and economical alternative out.

If this is the first time you are hearing about No Poo you maybe thinking this is disgusting, too “weird” for you to even consider. I would encourage you to just try to keep an open mind. This is just something that has worked out well for me and I’m sharing in hopes that if you have ever considered an alternative to shampoo, perhaps you might be open to trying this.

What is No Poo exactly? Washing without using traditional shampoo’s. The most basic method ratios.

1. Clarifying Rinse: 1 cup of water & 1 tbs of baking soda

2. Conditioning Rinse: 1 cup of water and 1 tbs of apple cider or lemon juice.

After my recovery and when I returned to work, I remember thinking about the idea and still put it in the backseat because I had gotten a few bottles I needed to use up first and besides, I was still transitioning back to real life. Lol! It was hard.

As I mentioned in this post, I had begun my journey of changing over to greener products well over a year ago. This spring (May 2 to be precise), I remembered I ran out of shampoo a couple days before and I needed to wash my hair. What was a girl to do? I was heading to the nearest Shoppers when a nagging voice inside of me went “This would be a good time to ditch shampoo”. I remembered No Poo and reread the blogs I had previously come across. This was it, what better time then now I thought. A small part of me was thinking, really? BUT it’s spring…and before I know it, it will be summer, won’t it be tough? And the bigger part of me thought, won’t I always have an excuse? Won’t life only get crazier? haha Doesn’t it always? 🙂

That day, I read as much as I could about other people’s experiences and was prepared for the transition that was going to happen. There would be no lather (bye bye sodium lauryl sulfates!) and my hair would be clean but probably feel very different than after I shampoo because there would be no leftover film coating it to feel soft. OK. Goodbye CRaP! Sounds good. I’m game.

Don’t get me wrong, I was very excited for this. To kiss my dependence on shampoo products goodbye was incredibly liberating. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs in excitement. I felt like this could be the one thing that inspires me to continue with DIY projects. And it did.

I won’t lie a part of me was also afraid. Could I lose friends over this? Haha Would I look so terrible that it would look like I hadn’t washed at all? Would I smell? All valid concerns. Naturally, I kept this a secret from most folks unless I felt like the opportunity was right to share. So I told a few people I trusted could handle this.

The other part of me was saying “What’s the worst that can happen? You will have pushed yourself to try something new and you will see what your hair is like without shampoo”. Things can always be worse.

I didn’t give myself a timeframe for a trial because I knew that the transition period would take a while. I figured a couple of months at least and see if I like it.

I’m proud to say I’ve been a No Poo’er a little over 6 months (it has been six months and 6 days) since I started No Poo on May 2, 2012.

During these 6 months, I got my bangs trimmed once in July and on Oct. 26, I got my hair washed and trimmed. I was so busy on Oct 26, that I didn’t think of washing my hair first before going to the salon (which is really the only way to keep it No Poo). And by the time it hit me that I was probably going to get my hair washed, I was panicking a little on the inside “What about my whole No Poo thing?” I was sort of bummed… but figured, I’m already here (there are seriously bigger problems than my hair) and my hair could use a wash (even though I would prefer washing it the No Poo way). Gross thing was, after my hair was washed and cut, my scalp tingled and the smell of the shampoo and the styling product kind of made me feel gross. I missed my No Poo ritual. haha

Needless to say. I’m a full fledged No Poo’er.

In another post, I’ll share pictures, more details on my method, resources and more on my experience so far.

Do you No Poo? What was your experience like? Enjoy this post or got something to share? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments.

Here’s wishing you a great Thursday!

– Julie


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Recipe: Fruit Infused Water

How’s your hydration going? In this humid hot weather we’ve been having in Toronto, I hope you are drinking more than I am. This week has been mostly tea, plain water and coconut water. Last week? Last week, I was on a fruit infused water train. Normally, I drink plain water with nothing in it or a slice of lemon. I don’t mind the taste, it’s just sort of blah sometimes. It doesn’t get me excited to drink it. I just know it’s good for me. And as I sit and write this, I realize that a couple of hours have gone by and I have not poured myself anything to drink. Darn. I’m working on keeping hydrated, hence motivation to experiment the fruit infused water last week. Last weekend was full of social activities and I’m feeling like this week combined with the muggy weather is making me feel a bit off. Hoping to get back to it tomorrow. Starting with more watermelon!

After writing this post, I was inspired by Yummy Life’s post on naturally flavoured water and a few fruit infused water ideas have been lingering in my mind. Last week, I bought different fruits and remembered the fruit flavoured water idea. I decided this was the week I was going to make some fruit flavoured water concoctions.

I haven’t used measurements here so it’s a fairly loose recipe post, with a description of what I did. So easy, anyone can do it. Really, you should and just play around with it.

Method.

For the watermelon, pineapples, mango, and strawberries, I diced some pieces more fine then others so that I could mash them more easily with a fork in the jar.

For the citrus fruits, I sliced the fruit and squeezed the slices as I tossed it in. (This reminded me of sangria!! ooh gotta try to make a sangria inspired one, some day). When I was done filling the jar with fruit, I filled it with water and let it sit in the fridge for 2 hours. Then I took a fork and squashed some of the fruit against the side of the jar.

This was a very fun way to experiment with fruit flavoured waters. I’m getting more ideas and perhaps if I try enough other combinations I’ll do another post on this topic.

Main reasons why I like doing fruit infused water in glass jars.

1) Visually appealing – I love seeing a pop of colour and these drinks really added a splash of colour to my day.

2) Easy to do – It doesn’t take long to wash a few fruits, you can just save a few slices or pieces from whatever fruit you are already eating. Although, most of mine this week has mainly been for this drink. It’s just fruit pieces, some mashed with a fork a bit, maybe some herbs in water. Simple. Tasty. And quick to assemble.

3) I can SEE how much I am drinking. I’ve found I drink more because of it.

4) Conversation starter – LOL! As I assembled these at work, many people have asked me what I’m up to throwing pieces of fruit into a jar and filling it with water. I’ve gotten different suggestions from people – even without asking for them. “Have you tried making smoothies, that might work better?” One person asked as I was mashing my fruit with my fork. “Oh yes, I have”…Trying to politely explain that I’m just trying to flavour my water. I didn’t want to get into the specifics of this not being a smoothie and me not wanting it to be anything than what it was.

Fruit Flavoured Water Combinations

Watermelon Mint

Fruit & Herb: Watermelon mint

  • I cut up watermelon into small chunks, washed a few leaves of mint and threw into the jar. In the jar, I used a fork to mash some of the chunks against the jar, so the watermelmon juice flavour would mix with the water.
  • My fave so far and tasty because of the sweet and light flavour.

Strawberry, Lemon & Basil

 Fruit & Herb: Strawberry Lemon & Basil
  • I sliced a handful of strawberries, diced a couple into small chunks, used 1.5 thin slices of lemon, and added a few basil leaves.
  • Using a fork, I smashed some of the strawberry pieces against the side of the jar.
  • I found the lemon flavour was too strong, I should’ve put more smashed strawberries or cut back on the lemon.

 

Citrus Trio: Lemon, Lime & Orange

Citrus Trio: Lemon, Lime and Orange

  • I cut up a few slices of lemon, lime and orange and added to the jar as I squeezed the juice from each of them.
  • Whoa sour! I would recommend adding some honey or agave to sweeten this baby. I only realized this after I had made it so I poured a bit of hot water into a mug and mixed in some honey then poured it into my drink.

 

Tropical Duo: Mango & Pineapple

Tropical Duo: Mango, Pineapple

  • I diced mango and pineapple into small chunks. Using a fork, I mashed some of the mango and pineapple against the side of the jar before I added water.
  • This was a really nice combination. Probably the sweetest of the bunch.
Everytime I took my jar out of the fridge, I was excited to drink. Definitely beats plain water. Although I’m not eliminating that all together.
 
Major benefit of all this fruit infusion water making was that I think I drank more water last week than I had in a long while. Also, I was very excited every morning to have a new experiment to try.
 
What are your favourite fruit flavoured water combinations?
What foods and drinks do you have to stay cool during hot muggy weather?