Monthly Archives: May 2012

Oil Cleansing Method

Alright, so apparently I’ve become obsessed with oil—mostly from the coconut, but oil in general. I’ve been using a little bit of oil to remove my eye makeup (which also is supposed to make my eyelashes grow lusciously long!), oil pulling, applying it to the ends of my hair for moisture, using it as a moisturizer for my dry feet and now I’ve discovered this Oil Cleansing Method that I’m going to give a try. I’ve been reading about it and at first I was freaked out that washing my face with oil seems somewhat counterintuitive…isn’t OIL going to make my skin more oily? But, everything that I’ve read says NO. Plus, it moisturizes your skin, so no need for chemical-laden lotions and moisturizers.

So here’s the deal:

You wet your face with warm water to open up your pores, massage some oil onto your face and allow it to sit for 30 seconds or so with a warm wash cloth over your face. Then, rinse really well with warm water (as HOT as you can stand it) and voila! Your face is clean!

I can’t tell you the intricacies of WHY it works, but it does. I’ve heard it said that like dissolves like, so maybe that’s the deal with the OCM and getting the oil off your face. One thing to note: OIL does not make your skin break out. It’s the DIRT that makes you break out. So, don’t be thrown off by lathering your face in oil to get rid of oil. I promise, it works! I started doing this last week and I’m loving it. Honestly, I like it because it kinda makes me slow down a bit. I’m always in such a hurry and I don’t know why that is, but it makes me just chill out in the shower and breathe…massage my face…breathe…relax with the warm wash cloth…breathe…rinse…breathe. Seriously. It just helps me feel more Zen. It takes a few minutes to massage the oil in and then let your pores open up with the warm washcloth, so enjoy it. It’s kind of your own mini-spa treatment. You deserve it.

Alright, here are the specs:

There are a few recipes out there depending on your skin type. My skin is more oily, so apparently that means you need to use more castor oil. Try to think in thirds for preparing your koncoction. If your skin is oily, use more castor oil. If it’s on the dry side, use more of your carrier oil. And, if it’s more normal, then use the same amounts of each oil. I used 2 tablespoons of castor oil for every 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil and I am just keeping it in a small glass apothecary jar, but you can mix it up as you need if you want to try it in small amounts first. Castor oil is the necessity here, because this is the oil that acts as the cleanser.

The carrier oils simply dilute the castor oil, making it therapeutic and dreamy. Your carrier oil could be anything from sunflower oil, to olive oil. Different oils are good for different skin types. Some have better anti-aging properties and some are better to treat acne-prone skin. Crunchy Betty has a great list of some oils and what they are good for. Check out her page here for some great details.  One thing to note, even though I’m a huge fan of a million uses for coconut oil, it has the potential to clog your pores, thus having an adverse effect on the OCM, so use something besides coconut oil.

That’s all there is to it. I have been using it in place of my old acne wash and so far, so good. I have only being doing it at night, when I shower and then in the morning, all I do is rinse my face with very warm water. No breakouts. No blemishes. Nada. I was afraid of this because when I’ve tried to change cleansers before, I would always breakout and just go back to my old chemical-cleansers that are bad for my skin even though it makes it look nice. The OCM doesn’t strip the oils, thus making my face clean without overdrying. And, as we’ve learned from no ‘poo, over-cleaning your skin, leads to the over production of sebum, thus leading to vicious cycle of cleaning, overdrying, cleaning, etc.

So, give it a try. I promise it’s worth at least a try. Folks back in ancient times used oil for so many different uses. We’ve become so commercialized to believe that we have to have sudsy, latherous koncoctions to be clean. That is SO not true. Oil works beautifully.

Below are some of the sights that I found pretty helpful. I’ve tried to sum it up, but if you want the dets, as I did, go ahead, click the links. You’ll find  so much helpful info. Happy cleansing:)

http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/

http://www.crunchybetty.com/nitty-gritty-on-the-oil-cleansing-method

http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2010/05/video-blog-how-to-wash-your-face-using-the-oil-cleansing-method.html

A Fix to No ‘Poo

If you’ve read any of my blogs, you have probably heard me talk about my no ‘poo experiment, which is basically stepping away from all the chemicals in modern shampoos and finding healthy substitutes. (You can find my blogs about it here.) I was using baking soda and water with a few drops of tea tree oil to “wash” my hair, followed by an apple cider vinegar (ACV) and water solution to “condition” my hair. Well, after about a month or so of this, I found that my hair just became too greasy. I couldn’t find the appropriate combination of water to baking soda and my water is super hard, making it even rougher on my hair. I just couldn’t handle it feeling so dirty, so I found an alternative. If you don’t follow Crunchy Betty, you NEED to. And I’m serious. Go over to her page now and follow her on Facebook or pinterest or whatever method you have to in order to find some really kreative koncoctions. Her blog is where I first heard of no ‘poo and where I also found a solution to my overly oily no ‘poo nightmare.

So, needless to say, my hair was oily. I mean, couldn’t run my fingers through it oily. And when I did try to run my fingers through it, my hands felt filmy, as if I was wiping away some of the oil that had accumulated. I had gotten in the routine of no ‘pooing probably every 3 days or so, whenever my scalp started to feel itchy or dirty. I wore it mostly in a pony tail, except for the few days when my hair didn’t look disgusting. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was looking through old photos and saw how long, shiny and pretty my hair was and felt envious. Why was I putting myself through this for the sake of being natural and not really reaping any benefit from it? Well, I still want to be somewhat natural and use organic and healthy things on my skin and hair but I also am somewhat girly and want to look nice. So, something had to give.

That’s when I stumbled upon “sorta ‘poo” as Crunchy Betty calls it, which is a mixture of coconut milk and castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s lavender because I love the smell, but there are a few different makers of castile soap out there). There is the recommendation to make your own coconut milk from pressed coconut and water (you can find the recipe here) but I just used organic coconut milk from Whole Foods and it worked wonderfully. And by wonderfully, I mean, OH MY GOODNESS!! There was so much lather, I didn’t know what to do with  myself. Having gone a month with no suds whatsoever, I felt I was in heaven.

So here’s what I did: I mixed 1 teaspoon organic coconut milk per 1 Tablespoon of castile soap. Some say you shouldn’t mix too much up at a time because it will go bad, but I’m going to keep mine in the refrigerator and hope I can get a week or so out of it. I probably mixed about 10 tsp/tbsp of each because I won’t be the only one in my house to use it. Then, you just sorta swish it around so the two mix together (not too much or it will get super sudsy) and then lather up. I probably used a little too much on my hair this morning just because it felt so gross from the bs/acv mess but you probably only need about a quarter-sized up to a tablespoon.

After I washed, I rinsed with my same koncoction of vinegar: 1 Tablespoon of ACV to 1 Cup of water. I let the ACV sit on my hair while I wash and hang out in the shower and right before I get out, I rinse it off. I promise, you don’t end up wreaking of ACV−the scent dissipates as your hair dries, but if you must, you can add some essential oils to make it smell all girly. I’m trying to be as simple as possible, so for now, I’m just going to use the basic rinse.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that I found this solution to going natural. Castile soap is amazing. I’ve been using it for a while now as a body wash, but when it’s mixed with the coconut milk, it creates a creamy lather that you will die for! It’s supposedly great for shaving too. I have only done this today, so it will obviously take some time to see if it works on my hair long-term but I really hope the results are better than the no ‘poo. I’d been reading about the no ‘poo method and maybe I gave up too soon because some folks say it can take 8 weeks before your hair finally evens out and stops being so oily but I wanted my soft mane back again and so far so good. I can actually run my fingers through my hair. Today, I left the house with my hair slightly damp and it dried naturally on my way to work. It still looks great! I still have this natural wave that appeared when I gave up regular shampoo awhile back, which I really like. My hair used to be so straight, like I flat-ironed it straight, so it’s nice to have some volume and body now. I’m convinced that somehow I’ll find the perfect homemade substitution for shampoo. I hope this is it. I’ll keep you posted!!

Oil Pulling Follow up

I think I have been doing my oil pulling for about three weeks now and unfortunately, not much has changed for me and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. I’ve been pulling daily, first thing in the morning before I eat or drink anything for about 15-20 minutes. After I spit, I still feel my sinuses drain pretty quickly but my sinuses and allergies are still bothering me pretty regularly. (I was hoping to find a quick cure that would get me away from using my neti pot because Ihatethat feeling of saline in my nose, but I may need to go back to that because it is SO effective!) My boyfriend, who suffers from migraine headaches has also been oil pulling the same amount of time that I have and he is still getting his migraines pretty regularly. I had read previously that oil pulling can help with our particular ailments, but maybe not. We’re now even more skeptical that this may not work for us, but again, we’re going to keep at it for a while longer to see if our bodies “detox” and things start to go better for us.

A curious post by Dr. Andrew Weil that I came across today seems to stomp what I’ve read elsewhere by stating:

On the Internet, oil pulling is promoted as a cure for a long list of disorders including headache, bronchitis, toothache, thrombosis, eczema, ulcers and other diseases of the stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, lungs and female reproductive organs. I’ve also seen claims that oil pulling can prevent the growth of malignant tumors. I know of no evidence to support any of these claims. (Emphasis mine. Read Dr. Weil’s Q&A about Oil Pulling here.)

Well, that kinda makes me rethink this process. However, one thing I can attest to—my mouth feels and looks cleaner. My teeth are nice and white and it’s also helped with the pain from a cavity I have in one of my molars. If you’re anything like me, you hate going to the dentist, so I keep putting off getting it filled. It had been bothering me for a while and since oil pulling regularly, I’m not feeling any pain. So, maybe oil pulling won’t cure all of my ailments and maybe I need to go back to that darn neti pot, but I’ll probably keep the oil pulling up just to see what happens. From what I’ve read, the effects of oil pulling on internal organs and issues could take several months to clear up. I’ll let you know the outcome! 🙂

I did find a couple other websites related to oil pulling that you may find helpful if you have more questions. Happy swishing!

A Personal Experience with Oil Pulling

The Benefits of Oil Pulling

Dr Weil’s Q&A

Oil Pulling for Detoxing

Tea tree oil and no ‘poo

Well, I’m well on my way to detoxing my scalp and hair of chemicals and the vicious cycle of over-washing. Today, for the first time, I wore my hair down with confidence that it didn’t look gross and actually looked pretty. Again, I’ve gotten this wave in my locks that I’ve never had before, which I hear is common when going no ‘poo. I have no complaints about it. It’s better than straight, stringy hair that I normally have. I’ve gone a good THREE days with no baking soda/ACV rinse and certain that I’m on the path to recovery–I can feel it!

But, this weekend I felt a hiccup in my routine. I was going to go all weekend without rinsing but on Saturday, my scalp got really itchy. And I mean ITCHY! I have had dry scalp in the past but usually this happens when the air is cold and dry–neither or which happens often in Southeastern Louisiana. So, my only conclusion for the itchies was detoxing from the chemicals my body was used to. I did some research online and after a hunch, I already knew that tea tree oil may be just the thing to cure my itch. Tea tree oil is great for scalp conditions and because it’s a natural anti-fungal, it can be great if you have dandruff or other fungus-related stuff like that going on. (My boyfriend uses it mixed with coconut oil to get rid of athletes foot from time to time and it works great!)

Anyways, I decided to add a few drops of tea tree oil to my baking soda mixture to see if that would do the trick and immediately I felt relief. I can’t tell you why, but the tea tree oil is fantastic and I plan on making it part of my routine from now. It’s a nice, clean scent and feels like it opens my pores up and just feels good! Rather than reinvent the wheel, I found a couple of great sites that list some of the many uses of tea tree oil. It’s pretty amazing how one oil can be used in so many ways! Here’s a list of sites I found with lots of helpful information:

So there you have it…if you are struggling with the no ‘poo method and maybe have itchy, irritated scalp, try a little tea tree oil  and see if that helps. But remember, a little goes a long way–some folks have sensitive skin and the TTO has an adverse affect. Always try it on a small area of skin and see how your body reacts. Good luck!! 🙂

Worms in My Tomatoes

I have been so ecstatic this year with my garden. It’s my very first attempt at gardening on my own. I got a plot with my community garden and found out I had fantastic soil for growing–good rich, dark soil and topped it off with some fresh compost. Up until this weekend, everything was going great! All my plants have vegetables growing on them and from what I could tell, looked full and healthy. This weekend, when I went to clean things up (weed, water, etc.) I noticed that my Roma tomato plant was looking a little “under the weather”. I was kind of in a hurry, so I didn’t pay much attention to it and figured maybe I’d gone too long in between watering with the warmer temperatures, that maybe those yellow leaves were just from it being too dry. WRONG!

I went back yesterday to check on it, and now my plant was looking very limp and I noticed that several of my tomatoes had WORMS in them!! Lots of yellow leaves, rotten stems and well, worm-filled-tomatoes. Needless to say I was livid. Here I am working my tail off—watering, feeding, nurturing—my precious seedlings in hopes of a wonderful harvest and BAM! A little, bitty inch worm comes along and nearly devours an entire plant in a DAY! All I could think of when I saw them was my childhood. LOL…I Remember watching “Winnie the Pooh” as a kid and how upset Rabbit got one morning when he found his plants devoured by the same pesky insect? Yeah…that was me in my garden yesterday. And now I understood his frustrations.

(I love me some “Winnie the Pooh” and hope you do too🙂 !)

Needless to say, I plucked off the rotten stuff and made sure my other plants didn’t have any visible signs of worms and then I went and did some research. What I found was that these little boogers are nasty! They can literally kill an entire plant in a day! They eat and eat and eat until it’s all gone and then they move on to the next plant. The Old Farmer’s Almanac Online provides some great detail about the insect and how to watch out for it:

“Tomato hornworms can be up to 5 inches long—which can be quite a shock when you first come across one! They do the most damage in the caterpillar, or larvae, stage. They are pale green with white and black markings, plus a horn-like protrusion. (They are not capable of stinging.) The life cycle is as follows:

  • In late spring, large adult moths lay eggs on the undersides of foliage, which will hatch within a week.
  • Caterpillar larvae will feed from 4–6 weeks before creating a cocoon for overwintering in the soil. If the weather is warm enough, larvae may only burrow for as little as 2–3 weeks.
  • Moths will emerge in the spring, and can be identified by their orange markings. They will then lay eggs once again. More than one generation a year may be possible in warmer climates.”

Now, my community garden, as I’ve mentioned before, is all organic, so I can’t go out and get some lethal sprays to get rid of the pests (nor do I want to ingest that stuff), so I have to find a healthy alternative. Again, I took to the web and found that regular old dish soap mixed with warm water will work. Because we’re all natural, I used some Dr. Bronners Castile Soap in place of dish soap. I also got kreative and mixed in some lemon juice and crushed garlic, because I’ve read that things with strong scents keep the bugs away. I’m gonna spray the plant every couple of days or so and see what happens and I’ll let y’all know if anything helps.

If you have any input or have found anything that works well for you, PLEASE let me know. I really wanna eat some fantastic tomatoes this year and hope the pests don’t enjoy them before I do! Happy gardening!