DIY Curly Hair Gel, Light hold

I got this recipe for curl conditioning serum from the Minimalist Beauty blog. I’ve also seen it posted in various curly hair forums.  I’m not sure why it’s called a curl conditioning serum.  To me it seems more like a gel with light hold for those with curly hair. People with straight hair, this gel might be too greasy for you. Us curlies need more moisture in our hair. I have 2c or 3a hair type just to give you an idea. Guys with curly hair could use this as well. The great thing about this gel is that all of the ingredients are easily obtainable if you don’t already have them in your kitchen.  Plus, its super easy & super cheap to make. A little goes a long way. The first time I made this gel I used the recipe straight & it lasted me about a week & a half.  This second time I made this gel I doubled the coconut oil since I have dry scalp. You can play with the quantities & tweak it to what’s suitable for your hair/scalp. Have fun!

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My Curly Hair Gel, second batch. It looks so pale because I doubled the coconut oil to counteract my dry scalp.

DIY Curly Hair Gel – Light hold

1 – jar (plastic or glass)

1 tsp – vegetable glycerin

½ tsp – agave

1 tsp – coconut oil

3 tbsp – aloe vera

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Here’s how the curly hair gel looks in my hand. Hmmm, needs more whisking?

Put all ingredients in a bowl for mixing. I like to whip the mixture using a hand whisk until all the lumps are beaten out of the coconut oil. I didn’t melt it before mixing as it will re-solidify in cool temperatures & get lumpy again. Once everything is mixed to your liking use a spatula to transfer the prepared gel to your jar. The original instructions say to refrigerate this gel in between use but I didn’t bother to do this. Perhaps if you live in a really warm, humid climate this might be necessary to prevent spoilage. But I live in Toronto & the gel was perfectly fine until I used it all up. No funny smells, no funny textures. Give it a go & let me know what you think!

Book Review: The Truth About Beauty, by Kat James

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I read this book recently & while it’s not technically about being eco-friendly it does fit into the general ethos of the community. I like to boil it down to this one phrase: “getting back to basics.” Or if you subscribe to reduce, reuse, recyle, this book focuses on the reduce part of the phrase.

About the author:
Kat James was a sought after beauty expert & celebrity makeup artist in the 90’s. But she had a number of health issues that got so severe it led to a health crisis.  She went to numerous doctors but they would only advise her to go on drugs she didn’t want to be dependent on for the rest of her life.  So she had to take a different approach to healing her body. One by one she healed her health issues & this book is the result of her journey.

Book Review:
Published in 2004, this book is still very relevant today.  The media still tries to sell us the “magic pill” for everything, be it skin issues, weight issues, etc.  I liked this book because James emphasizes getting back to basics.  She promotes minimalism. For example, more supplements or more beauty products are not going to help you if you’re not eating healthy food or taking care of your body in a general sense. She goes through the most common things people do that rob them of health. Chapter 1 is all about drinks that harm the body like caffeine, sodas, alcohol, etc, & then she suggests what you can replace those drinks with that would actually add to your health. Same goes for the rest of the chapters she talks about bad foods, food addiction, supplements, cosmetics, chemicals in cosmetics, etc. In Chapter 13 she talks about minimizing your beauty wild cards:

  • learn about your health issues
  • don’t risk your health with standard care
  • take a look at integrative medicine –> get a real check up to know where you currently stand health-wise
  • learn about your hormones & options
  • strategize against stress, sleep & mood issues

All very wise advice I think. She also advises people to “make life an authentic beauty ritual.” To her, the real beauty splurges aren’t products. Real beauty splurges are: pure, healthy food, pure water, pure air, pure personal products, high quality supplements & high quality healthcare.  She does give a list of products & brands that she thinks are good. I agree with some of them but not all of them. I liked her method of presenting beauty myths & then debunking them. One of those myths is about counting calories. It’s not just the amount of calories that you eat which are important but what kinds of calories. I’ll give you a really obvious example.  Compare the calories from an alcoholic drink vs a green smoothie. One is obviously more healthy than the other despite the fact that a green smoothie could have more calories than an alcoholic drink. 

Anyway, I think this book would be a real eye opener for someone new to being eco-friendly or holistic. It’s not just about using eco-friendly cosmetics or wearing eco-friendly clothing & shoes.  It’s also about taking care of yourself in a natural way. A lot of people don’t think the way that Kat James does, but more people are getting that way. More people are realizing that we can’t always trust the general governmental guidelines for healthy eating or that corporations like McDonald’s have our best health in mind. Basically Kat James is telling us to make our own decisions to getting healthy by listening to what our bodies are telling us. I don’t think you can go wrong with that.

Product Review: @Pure_and_Simple Refining Peach Enzyme Treatment

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Ingredients List

I’ve been using this Peach Enzyme Treatment for about a month now, every other day. I have to say, it’s great stuff! This is my first time using a chemical exfoliant instead of a manual exfoliant. I was kind of skeptical since I’d never used this kind of product before. But I’m finding that I like it better than all the scrubs I used to use. All you have to do is slather this on clean skin, let it sink in for 10 minutes (I leave it on longer) & then rinse off. Easy peasy! Guys, you can use this product too. Especially when you have dry flaky skin from a day spent outdoors. It smells pleasantly like peaches. But it’s not a strong smell at all. It’s very gentle as well. I didn’t experience any skin irritation at all. In appearance it’s a light orange/yellowish coloured jelly that disappears into your skin once applied. The smell also dissipates once you’ve washed it off. I had a bad breakout recently & used a clarifying toner to shrink my zits. But it left my face peeling like crazy. So I used the Peach Enzyme Treatment, then moisturized like a mad woman before going to bed. The next morning when I woke up & rinsed my face all the peeling skin was gone. I would definitely repurchase this product. I think this just might become a staple in my skin care routine.

Have you ever tried a chemical exfoliant?

Cost: $49.45 CAD, 50 ml
Available at: Pure & Simple
Rating: 5/5

Product Review: Organic Lifestyle, Organic Cotton Sheet Set

In early March I bought a Organic Cotton, 325 Thread Count Sheet Set in Sky Blue from Organic Lifestyle for our new non-toxic bed. Yes, eco hubby & I bought a new King sized bed. It’s not 100% organic but it is non-toxic.  The review for the bed itself will be posted later. Anyhoot, the double bed we’d been using (also non-toxic) was one I’d bought during my single days. But the way eco hubby & I sleep (I’m a starfish & he sleeps on a diagonal) we needed more space. Add to that mix a tall, medium haired, lovable furry cat & we three were kinda squished in my lil ole double bed. Did I also mention that I’m mildly claustrophobic?  Yeah, it was time for a larger bed.

Since we went to the expense & trouble of buying a non-toxic bed it didn’t make sense to me to buy toxic bed sheets.  It’s true that organic cotton sheets are pricey but if you are paranoid like I am about offgassing & how every product you use affects the environment, then organic is the only way to go. Some information about organic vs non-organic cotton first before my review.

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This is what organic cotton looks like. Isn’t cute?
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Non-organic cotton is laden with pesticides & when processed into fabrics this stays in the material. Offgassing occurs when the fabric releases the chemicals into the air. This happens naturally over time as fabrics get worn out. Organic cotton is made from plants that are not genetically modified & not treated with chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Organic cotton farming also has a smaller ecological footprint & reduces soil erosion. While organic cotton may not be 100% free of pesticides at least it will have reduced amounts of toxic chemicals that your body won’t know how to deal with. As my mom always taught me, better to be safe than sorry.

And now, on to my review. Honestly, I could tell the difference between organic & non-organic cotton when I opened the package.  The sheet set didn’t smell that plasticky newness smell. The fabric is 325 thread count & I got them in the sky blue colour. It has a bit of a sheen to it & feels smooth. I’m a sucker for things that feel great. I washed them before we slept on it. My verdict? Drumroll please. I think these sheets are great! I do hope they last a long time. While I bought these on sale, they still cost a pretty penny. I would repurchase but probably only when a) I’m flush with cash & don’t need to buy anything else, b) when they are on sale & c) when my old set gets worn out. Remember, these sheets are King sized sheets so they are the most expensive size. The sheet set came with 1 fitted sheet, 1 flat sheet & 2 pillow cases.

Cost: Sale price, $191.54 CAD, King Size Sheet Set, regular price is $339.00 CAD
Available at: Organic Lifestyle, retail & online store in Toronto
Rating: 4/5

Product Review: Vapour Organic, Soft Focus Stratus Skin Pefector in 903

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Ingredients List

Well I have to say after all the hype I’d been reading about this product I was really disappointed. It left my skin feeling greasy & slimy. Pumping it from the bottle it’s an even yellow liquid. In theory it sounded like it would work. Heaven knows I’ve read enough reviews singing its praises. So it does work for other people. But it just didn’t work for me. At all. It didn’t even help my make up go on better. Total waste of money for me. The only thing that’s assuaging my regret on buying this item is that I bought it on sale so at least I didn’t pay full price for it. Now it’s sitting in the back of my cabinet & I’m wondering what to do with it. Maybe I should hand this off to my mom. She has extremely dry skin so it might work better for her.

Have you ever tried Vapour Organic’s Soft Focus Stratus Skin Perfector? Did it work for you?

Cost: $54.00 CAD, 30g /1.06 oz
Available at: Saffron Rouge
Rating: 0/5

February/March: Empties

I don’t have as many empties this time as I’m trying to be more frugal & minimalist. As a green beauty blogger this can be hard. It’s so exciting to hear about a new brand or product & my immediate response would be to buy it asap to try it myself. But I don’t want to have a closet full of products so I’m only buying new products when I finish off old ones.

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Hurraw, Grape Fruit Lip Balm

Read full review here. I really loved this lip balm. As I mentioned in my review it’s softer than other lip balms I’ve tried before. But the flavour is so delish! I would repurchase this but try different flavours.
Cost: $3.79 CAD
Available at: Hurraw, The Big Carrot & Noah’s Natural Foods.
Rating: 5/5

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Kynk Naturals, In the Raw

Full review to come. I heard about Kynk from Clean Care as they are one of the members. I’d already tried some of the other products from Clean care members so I wanted to try one of Kynk’s products. I needed a new lotion or cream so I picked this one up at Noah’s. It’s great stuff. It’s only one ingredient: soft whipped shea butter. Very thick though so I found it best to use after the shower. I think I would prefer something a little easier to spread on. It might be easier to use in the summer time.
Cost: $19.00 CAD, 90g
Available at: Kynk Naturals, Noah’s Natural Foods
Rating: 4/5

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Miessence, Balancing Cleanser

I’d previously tried the Purifying Cleanser which was way too drying for me. So I had thought that the Balancing Cleanser would work better for me. Boy was I ever wrong. This also dried out my skin, though not as bad as the Purifying Cleanser. I guess my skin just doesn’t get along with Miessence products. I won’t be repurchasing this one.
Cost: $49.00 CAD, 250 ml
Available at: Urb Organic Spa
Rating: 2/5

 

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Antipodes, Hosanna H20 Serum

Read full review here. This is one of my fave facial serums. I’ve finished two bottles of this product in years past. I wanted to try a new serum however so I’m not repurchasing for now. But I will most likely repurchase in the future unless I find something that trumps this one!
Cost: Cost: $43.00 CAD
Available at: Spaboutique & Urb Organic Spa
Rating: 4/5

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Antipodes, Ressurect Clarifying Toner

Full review to come. I’m not sure if it was the combination of using the Miessence Balancing Cleanser (see above) with this toner that completely dried my skin out. But needless to say, I won’t be repurchasing this toner again. Just didn’t work for me.
Cost:
$32.00 CAD, 100ml
Available at: Urb Organic Spa
Rating: 2/5

Earth Hour: March 29th at 8.30pm-9.30pm

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Have you heard of Earth Hour? It’s an initiative started by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund, not the World Wrestling Federation!) to help remind us to reduce our carbon emissions. We often take things like water & electricity for granted because we usually don’t have to think about where it comes from. But let me tell you, during the ice storm this past December it really hit me hard how essential to life electricity can be. Our house lost power on December 21st & didn’t regain power until December 27th. We have no fireplaces in our house so there was no way to heat the house without power. We had to leave the house to stay at my mother-in-law’s place since she had power & heat. Thank goodness we had somewhere to go. A lot of people in our neighbourhood didn’t have someone to stay with & ended up at the warming shelters or at a hotel.

So with all this in mind, please think about what you would like to do for earth hour on March 29th at 8.30pm-9.30pm. As for me & eco hubby, we’re going to turn off the power & use candles. Maybe I can get him to dance with me in the candlelight? We’ll see, eco hubby hates to dance! I’ll leave you with one of my favourite sayings: “Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints!” – Chief Seattle

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Further Reading:

WWF Canada, Integrating Energy Efficiency

Earth Hour City Challenge 2014

Earth Hour

Earth Hour – Wikipedia info