No-Poo Method // How-To Save Time and Never Shampoo Your Hair Again //

What!? No-Poo!?

I’ll tell you a secret. Ok, it’s less of a secret, and more insider knowledge so you’ll be privy to something known only by my close friends. I haven’t washed my hair in over 7 years! I know, that sounds disgusting but what I’m really saying is I haven’t used ‘commercial shampoo’ in almost a decade. How do I clean my hair? Simply stated, the household’s best friend: Baking Soda! The ‘No-Poo’ movement isn’t a new thing but myself being a product, fragrance, and new hairstyle junky (I submit exhibit A proving no boring hairstyles even while not shampooing!), had to find a few hacks to keep this routine as fun as testing out new shampoos. I’ll share my recipes.

NO-SHAMPOO-HAIRSTYLES-No-poo

Why Give Up Shampoo?

The goal of shampoo is to clean your hair and primarily remove the sebum and pollutant build-up. In general, shampoos leave your hair clean, bouncy and smelling good, BUT, the tradeoff is over-stimulating your oil/sebum production forcing the NEED to wash your hair way more than you should have to, stripping your hair of natural conditioning and exposing you to some pretty harsh chemicals that are largely unnecessary. Commercial shampoo is generally made up of surfactant like sodium lauryl sulfate with a co-surfactant or other ingredients. Sodium lauryl sulfate and its’ similar sodium and ammonium compound cousins are known skin and eye irritants, toxic to organs, reproductive systems, and endocrine disruptors, as well as potential (but not proven) carcinogens. At the end of the day, who needs it! I just want my hair to feel clean and smell good.

sebum-build-up-on-hair

Bonus!

Let’s talk one more bonus to giving up the shampoo for good: Efficiency! In my daytime work life, my biggest strength is trying to make processes as simple and efficient as possible. Why work harder when you can work smarter? To that end, why do more when you can do less and have the same great result (or better)! I’ve cut my hair-washing schedule from an everyday routine to a twice-weekly activity. Why would I every want to add that task back into my life. Hello to an extra 5 plus hours a week of not dealing with shampooing and drying long hair.

The No-Poo Details

The base of what I use to clean my hair is baking soda. You can use the kind in the yellow box from your grocery store or I would also suggest seeking out the aluminum free kind you can find at most health stores (there is some controversy on this ingredient in baking soda at all so perhaps further research is needed). I like to change up my routine from time to time based on my hair’s needs or if my routine needs spicing up.

Everyday Baking Soda Cleanse-

Reasons-To-Love-Baking-Soda-No-PooI keep an oil (like kitchen olive oil) dispenser with a mixture of baking soda and water in it for general hair washes. Using the dispenser is useful in getting the mixture right to the scalp to clean the oils and leaves the rest of the hair with less exposure, keeping some of the natural oils in. The ratio is about 3 tablespoons of baking soda to one cup of water. For a little extra bit of fancy, I add a few drops of essential oil to keep it smelling fresh and different. My two favorite oils to scent my hair wash are lavender and lemongrass.

Something For The Product And DIY Lovers-

raw-honey-diy-no-poo-shampoo-shellandshineWhen I want a bit more shine, softness and fragrance, I wash my hair with a mixture of raw honey, baking soda and water. Honey is antifungal, antibacterial and is slightly acidic so it helps to balance the scalp and fight dandruff. I make this shampoo in a single-use amount right before use. With a half cup of very warm water, I dissolve a heaping tablespoon of raw honey (For an in-depth look at the benefits of raw honey wash, head over to this article from our friends at Empowered Sustenance). To that mixture, I add a tablespoon of baking soda, stir, add directly to my scalp and scrub. With all of these ‘No-Poo’ recipes, you will have to get used to the absence of suds. There is no luxurious lather but your hair will be squeaky clean and healthy.

Those Days You Need A Little Extra-

For the rare occasion that I have a lot of product or stuff in my hair, I’ll make a paste using BS and Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap. A little bit goes a long way so you only need about a tablespoon of BS and a dime size amount of Dr. Bronner’s. If you aren’t familiar with this soap, I recommend checking it out for multiple uses in your personal care and house cleaning routines. It is fair trade certified, mostly organic and created mostly from natural oils. I still use this sparingly in my hair care practice, but am happy to have it when needed.

dr-bronners-liquid-soap

What About Conditioner!?

Conditioning with the ‘No Poo’ method couldn’t be easier. I regularly use a rinse of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and that keeps my hair soft and shiny. For this mixture you add about a tablespoon of ACV ( further instructions here ) to a half a cup of water and use it as a rinse over your entire head. I choose to add a few drops of a strong smelling essential oil to keep from smelling like a salad. After leaving this rinse on my hair for about a minute, I rinse using cold water. There are so many other great DIY conditioner treatments out there for deep conditioning, but this one is a great option for everyday.

*A word of warning*

I’ll end this article with cautionary advice. If you are planning on transitioning to a ‘No-Poo’ lifestyle and forgo your shampoo forever, be prepared for a transition period. Your hair will be greasy for a little while and probably not look great. Think about it- You have been faithfully chemical’ing up your scalp for years and your oil glands have been keeping up with you! It will take them awhile to get with the new program, but it will happen. In my experience, it took about 3 weeks for my hair to go from being greasy to being normal again. It is really just an exercise I patience and hat wearing. In the end, it is totally worth it to going from washing your hair everyday to only a few times in a month and knowing that you are lessening the toxic crap you are rubbing into your body’s biggest organ.

 

Stay tuned for my recipe for dry shampoo to keep your hair looking right in between washes! Smells great and makes your ponytails look amazing. Coming soon.

No-Shampoo-Guide-No-Poo-Method

Dr. Jessica Wu’s ‘Feed Your Face’ Review

Feed Your Face

“Feed Your Face” is refreshing for a skincare book read. I have spent more time than I would like to admit in doctor offices over the last few years for issues ranging from thyroid disease to back injuries. The one thing I am always shocked by (but perhaps shouldn’t be) is the lack of focus on the role diet and nutrition plays in your health. Don’t get me wrong, I am not someone who downplays the fantastic tools and assistance available by traditional western medicine, but I am downright angry at its’ discount of how you can help yourself, your conditions, and your overall wellness by also paying attention to what you put in your body. Nutrition is important! What’s better, I found a book that gets it. Dr. Jessica Wu’s book, “Feed Your Face”, is the first publication I have found in quite some time that is research and science based but talks conversationally about how you can help support your skin health with what you are eating (as well as offering a few other treatment suggestions).

Feed-Your-Face-Paperback
Dr. Wu comes across as approachable, realistic, and relatable. For occupying the often times conservititve medical profession, she does a good job of setting herself apart as a unique individual by telling the reader about her specific interests, inspirations, and struggles, which makes this a more interesting read than coming from a place of faceless (pun intended) authority. I’ve read some reviews in which Wu gets criticized for touting her schooling or her client list. That, however, didn’t bother me in reading this book and I found her practice and training experience interesting.

About Dr. Wu

A Harvard-trained dermatologist, Dr. Wu’s practice caters to the skincare of Hollywood’s elite beauties and celebrities. She is no stranger to specific needs and requirements tailored to the individual. From an interview with EverydayHealth.com, she explains,

Feed Your Face is designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, clear acne, soothe rashes, and minimize the signs of sun damage — all while helping jump-start your metabolism and stabilize your blood sugar.”

Dr-Jessica-Wu-DermatologistIn the book, Dr. Wu also gives advice for specific skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and varying inflammatory responses. There are a lot of diet recommendations in “Feed Your Face” and as with anything, you have to remember that you know your body best. What works for one or most people, might not work for you. This book gives some good guidance and jumping off points to start your own Food-As-Skincare plan. If you are interested in how nutrition affects your skin, I recommend you give this a read. In fact, I lost my first copy and bought another hard copy to have on hand for reference. Keep this on the shelf at easy reach; you will use it often.

To learn more about Dr. Jessica Wu and her practice visit her website.

 

*As with all products/books I’ve written about, I purchased this book with my own money and have not accepted any payment for endorsement.

 

Top 12 Essential Oils for Healthy Skin

Skincare and Essential Oils

One of the simplest and most natural ways to care for your skin is incorporating essential oils. Here are the top 12 essential oils (in alphabetical order) essential to your skin’s health:

  1. Bergamot
  2. Cedarwood
  3. Chamomile
  4. Frankincense
  5. Geranium
  6. Lavender
  7. Tea Tree (Melaleuca)
  8. Myrrh
  9. Neroli
  10. Rose
  11. Rosewood
  12. Sandlewood

Essential-Oils-Skincare

Essential oils are great for skincare and very versatile. Although most are fairly gentle, you should always be cautions when putting anything on your skin. Test first to make sure you don’t have any sensitivities or allergies to the oil, as everyone’s skin reacts different. Additionally, some of these oils should be diluted when used topically so make sure and research each oil before you decide to use one. I keep a pump of carrier oil (I prefer food grade sesame oil) in my bathroom to dilute many of these oils when applying them to my body.

  1. Bergamot-

    Versatile oil used for hormonal support and antibacterial properties. Bergamot works great for skin conditions associated with oily complexions and helps with the distribution of pigments and melanin, evening out skin tones. This oil is used often to eliminate effects of acne and scars and marks that have aged. Bergamot can make skin UV sensitive for up to 36 hours so use with care. Oil should be diluted when used topically.

  2. Cedarwood-

    Regularizes sebum production, which makes it great for acne treatment and eczema therapy. Cedarwood oil also promotes hair growth, is antibacterial and is a lympatic stimulate. This oil is great for treating dandruff, dermatitis and oily skin. Used in high concentrations, Cedarwood Oil may produce irritations on the skin so use in judicious quantities.

  3. Chamomile-

    All hail the calming neutralizer of skin irritants! Chamomile is the all around helper of the essential oils for skincare. It is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypoallergenic oil great for treating sensitive skin for acne, eczema and scar tissue. Chamomile is also a natural skin lightener that promotes a healthy glow as it heals and restores skin’s natural moisture content. It is also great to use with other oils as it increases the penetration and effectiveness of other skincare topicals.

  4. Frankincense-

    With a rich history of use as an essential oil, is an important immune stimulant that has the ability to turn off the DNA of cancer cells and restore skin to a healthy state. Frankincense is cytophylactic, which means when applied topically, it helps to eliminate scars, marks after boils, acne pox, and sun spots. It is also great for treating dry skin and regeneration of healthy cells to generally tone and tighten skin all over the body. This makes it great for treating micro-wrinkles around the eyes and cheeks. Frankincense oil can be used undiluted.

  5. Geranium-

    One of the most versatile skincare essential oils. What can’t Geranium do? It is regenerative and healing with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal qualities. Geranium improves blood flow and acts as an astringent, which makes the skin, tissues and blood vessels contract. When used alone, it can prevent sagging, loose skin and because of its’ astringent qualities, can help prevent wrinkles from forming. Geranium is good for treating dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, acne, vitiligo, scars and skin spots. It also encourages dead skin cells to be recycled and stimulates the production of new cells resulting in more radiant skin.

  6. Lavender-

    One of the most commonly used essential oils, Lavender oil inhibits the bacteria that causes skin infections and helps to regulate the over-excretion of sebum by hormonal regulation. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that promotes tissue regeneration and stimulates the upper layer of skin rejuvenation. Lavender oil is great for perineal repair, acne, eczema, psoriasis, scaring, stretch marks and burns.

  7. Tea Tree (Melaleuca)-

    The ultimate disinfecting oil. Tea Tree is anti-microbial, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, all properties making it a great treatment for fighting acne. The oil penetrates the blockage between your skin and the glands and is great at disinfecting pores and drying out whiteheads and blackheads. Tea Tree oil is also great for treating dandruff because of its’ different moisturizing properties while soothing itchy scalp. It can be intense on sensitive skin so you should make sure to test it before use. People suffering from eczema should be cautious in using Tea Tree oil.

  8. Myrrh-

    Prevents signs of aging and is great for soothing cracked or chapped skin. Myrrh is also a great essential oil to use on wrinkled skin or to sooth painful stretch marks.

  9. Neroli-

    Increases blood flow and helps keep skin healthy by promoting skin cell regeneration and preserves skin elasticity. Neroli oil is also great for use on scars, stretch marks, thread veins and wrinkles. It can help relieve under eye circles, balance oil production and clean dirt and bacteria from pores. Neroli is labor intensive to produce which makes it a bit pricey and in turn, harder to find in your local stores.

  10. Rose-

    Contains a complex collection of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Rose oil has excellent emollient properties, which makes it an ideal skin moisturizer. This oil is great for refining skin’s texture and controlling psoriasis and dermatitis. Rose oil is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent and is a good option for reducing appearance of scars and wrinkles.

  11. Rosewood-

    Natural anti-aging oil that is great at minimizing fine lines, wrinkles, treating acne and improves skin’s elasticity, keeping skin healthy, tight and firm.

  12. Sandlewood-

    Mostly used for acne, wrinkles and scars. Sandlewood has a toning effect, which helps in tightening pores and improving skin texture. This oil is also said to revitalize skin by inhibiting many types of cancerous cell growth.

 

Again, each person is different so make sure you test oils before you use them on your skin and gauge your sensitivity. Diluting the oils with a carrier oil is a good way to minimize your sensitivity and to make your essential oil supply last a bit longer. There are also tons of fantastic ways to incorporate oils into your beauty products and routines (recipes coming soon!) so you are bound to find a formula and application that works for you.

Our friends over at Oshadhi have put together a thorough beginners guide to using essential oils and I encourage you to check it out as a resource for everything from the distillation process to suggested applications.

 

 

 

Rose Tea Time!

A large part of skincare is not what you put ON your skin but what you put IN it! Nutrition is such a fundamental factor in healthy skin, which includes not only what you eat but also what you drink. Teas have been used for millennia for their medicinal properties. I was so excited to find one that specifically promoted a healthy complexion and, BONUS!, it tastes delicate and wonderful too.

Siberian-Rose-Tea

The Vital Tea Leaf

A few years ago, my good friend Angel (who is also an amazing designer and seamstress; Check out her etsy shop, Glam Cloud if you like cute dresses) turned me on to this tea. She took me to the Vital Tea Leaf and it was an amazing experience. Their store is located in by Seattle’s Pike’s Place Market and you should plan on your visit lasting awhile. One store wall is lined with Chinese teas from Pu-erh, Green, Black, Red to Herbal and Floral. It is set up like a ceremonial tea bar and they will guide you, new and seasoned, through a tea tasting wonderland. I saw a gentleman wander in off of the street with a stomachache and in 10 minutes they had his stomach settled with a Pu-erh for digestion. They truly know their stuff.

Vital-Tea-Leaf-Wall-Of-Tea

About Siberian Rose Tea

The tea itself is a beautiful mauve pink and grows in the northeastern region of China near Siberia. It is subtly aromatic and smells like a rose garden. Daily use of the Siberian Rose tea is said to give you a healthy complexion, promote skin hydration, and act as a gentle sleep aid. It is helpful in clearing toxins and restoring balance to the intestines. Rose teas are very high in vitamin C, which is an important component in maintaining healthy and radiant skin. The Chinese have also used this tea to balance female hormones and endocrine imbalances. I find this extremely helpful for keeping harmony with my skin throughout the month.

How To Steep It

Making the Siberian Rose Tea is simple but there were a few tips to share that improve the cup. When the folks at Vital Tea Leaf prepared the teas, they said that you should always do a rinse pour before you steep. Teas have been dried, shipped, and stored in a range of conditions (none of which you know!) and this insures that you rinse off a lot of dust or debris that may have accumulated. You can also incorporate other teas that complement the rose to make the flavor more complex. I prefer to add Osmanthus tea to my brew. This tea is a neuroprotective, free-radical scavenging, antioxidant.

To prepare, add a few buds (a heaping tablespoon) and a pinch of Osmanthus to a large tea basket. Make sure you give the tea room to move around in the basket. After a discarded rinse pour, steep your tea in 8 ounces of water at about 160 degrees for about 30 seconds. The roses are delicate so make sure your water is not too hot or it may become bitter. That’s it! You are ready to enjoy, but don’t throw out your basket of goodies just yet. After you drink your cup, I’m sure you’ll want more. This tea is good for several steeps and I think it gets better on the second go-round.

Where To Get Siberian Rose Tea?

I’m so glad I decided to revisit all of the skin nourishing benefits of this tea. It reminds me to make a trip down to the market to get more! If you don’t live in the Seattle area or can’t find a local store that carries Siberian Rose Tea, you can find it and other great teas on the Vital Tea Leaf website. Enjoy!

Rose-Tea-Flower