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My kitchen, my lab – where I experiment natural beauty stuff on myself

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had a renewed interest in preservative-free, natural beauty products. Five months on, it’s starting to be an obsession that not many people understand. The biggest motivation for me to do this is due to my family’s history of breast cancer. My mother is a breast cancer survivor and we were close to losing her. Even though with the current data, there’s not much to link the use of the parabens in all the products that we use on our skin to cancer, I believe that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Anyway, in the five months since that post, I’ve stopped using shampoo and my little collection of natural products has increased to the point where I’m just experimenting in my kitchen with new things. I just realised yesterday that I have a good collection of oils that I’ve been using on a regular basis. My kitchen is now like a mini lab for me.

Let me list out the things that I’ve been doing lately.

Baking soda and Apple cider vinegar wash

Known, unfortunately, as the no ‘poo method. I’ve (almost) completely stopped using shampoo and conditioner, using baking soda and the vinegar wash every other day, to clean my hair. I’m still experimenting with the proportion of baking soda I use but I think I might have found the one that suits my hair and my lifestyle.

Here’s my how I mix up my hair wash solutions:

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  •  500ml water

– The baking soda doesn’t dissolve so I have to shake the bottle every time I want to use it, to get the powder mixed evenly.

  • 2tbs apple vinegar
  • 500ml water
  • 5 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 5 drops tea tree oil
  • 10 drops peppermint oil

– shake the solution bottle every time before use, just to get the oils dispersed as evenly as you can through out the bottle.

500ml of each usually lasts for about 4-5 washes for me, since my hair is fine and thin and not very long.

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[REVIEW] Badger Balm Damascus Rose Antioxidant Body Oil

Smells wonderful

I have relatively dry skin and most commercial, over the counter moisturisers are either too heavy for my skin, leaving it greasy, or just goes on like water with no effect what so ever. It doesn’t help that the moisturisers was off every time I wash my hands (working in the lab = over washing my hands). It doesn’t help that my skin is a lot more sensitive now after the horrendous allergic reaction I had some time last year. The moisturisers made my skin tingle and itch.

Ever since I found out that body oil is a healthier way of moisturising my skin, I’ve been on the search for a good, preservative and chemical-free one. Most of the ones easily available are mostly chemicals and preservatives, with only a touch of oil. I wanted something natural and after a long search, I finally found the body oils from the Badger Company, where all their products are made with no preservatives and are organic. I chose the Damascus Rose Body Oil mostly because it smells nice.

I’ve been using it for at least two weeks now, slathering it on after every shower. Even though it’s jojoba oil based, it doesn’t leave me feeling greasy; unlike some of the moisturisers I’ve used previously. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t make my skin tingle or itch at all. My skin is not dry, flaky or rough anymore. My skin has a healthy glow to it too. I think it’s also making my tan last longer, not that I mind.

I would totally recommend it to anyone who wants to switch over to using body oil. The Badger Company has an unscented and a vanilla orchid version of this body oil. It’s available at local Unity pharmacies at SGD42.

No ‘poo’ shampoo?

At the recent Handmade Movement fair, I attended the Detoxify Your Skincare workshop and that renewed my interest in looking/making preservative-free, natural skincare products, like bath scrubs, toners and face masks. During the class, the demonstrator was talking about the No Poo method, where instead of using shampoo, you use alternatives like baking soda instead.

Now, that got my attention. I’ve been using baking soda as a facial scrub (as long as it’s not the double action baking soda; that’s a whole other different matter) for a while and I’ve used baking soda as a clarifying wash. I didn’t know that baking soda can be used as shampoo too. One of the things that I learnt in that workshop was that regular shampoo strips the natural oils from your hair and scalp, so your scalp produces even more to compensate for that. Also, all that chemicals that you’re slathering all over your body may not be very good for you.

Anyway, I’ve been using baking soda to ‘shampoo’ my hair the past couple of days and letting the natural oils to build up a little. It feels little greasy but my hair didn’t have the usual frizzy, crispy feel to it after I’ve been in the pool for a while. In fact, it was nice and soft, as if I’d just used conditioner on it.

I’m also trying not to shampoo as often but in our local weather, it may not be easy.
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My Facial Routine (Why It Takes Me Forever To Get Ready)

I had acne through my teenage years and right up to my late twenties, so I get a little more particular about my face than most people. It takes me about an hour just to deal with my face when I get ready in the morning. I don’t know about anyone else but to me, that’s the norm.

Here’s my face routine in the morning:

1. I swipe on the toner.

2. Slap on the pre-treatment serum.

3. Moisturise.

4. Slap on the sun block.

During this time I usually have my breakfast and then I start on my make up. This is just to allow the moisturiser to settle, so that my make up won’t slide off over the course of the day. Or something like that.
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What’s In My Bag? (Make up edition)

This is my make-up bag.

make up bag

Yes, it’s from The Bodyshop. As mentioned in many, many posts before this, I have much love for The Bodyshop.

Due to the fact that I’m going out today, here is what I have in my make-up bag.

make up in my bag

From left to right:

– Bodyshop blusher #03
– Bodyshop Wild cherry lip butter
– Everyday Minerals Foundation in Buttered Tan
– Everyday Minerals Finishing Dust
– ZA eyeliner in BK99
– Bodyshop Super Volume Mascara 2.5ml
– Bodyshop Hi-Shine Lip Treatment #06
– inouvi Eyebase
– Davidoff Cool Water Wave for Women (in the silver atomiser)
– Revlon Colorstay #01 Copper Spice

What do you have in your make-up bag today?

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Why I Can Never Travel Light

I've always envied ladies who could go out with a minute handbag, putting only their essentials in there. For me personally, even when I try to travel light, I end up with a bag that could fit in a baby elephant. When I try to pare down the essentials to the bare minimum, I end up needing what ever it is that I left behind.

Here's a list of things that I have in my work bag:

– 14oz water bottle
– umbrella
– notebook
– pen
– wallet
– a bag full of womanly essentials
– a bag for my USB drives (yes, I have a few of various capacities)
– novel (word or graphic depending on my mood)
– calendar organiser
– mobile phone
– tissue, both wet and dry
– iPod
– iPod charger with 2-pin adapter
– keys

You can see why my bags are always heavy.

What are the essential things that you MUST have in your bag when you go anywhere?

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Pampering Myself

Once upon a time, before there was such thing as going back to school, I had a life. I had a relaxing life even. I had time to go for relaxing facials, put on masques on my face to pamper my skin, moisturise my limbs and even to treat my hair with deep conditioner.

Now however, I barely have time or the energy for things other than the essentials. On school nights, I would fall into bed with my hair still wet and conk out. It’s really bad for the hair. On top of that my skin is dried out ( flaky elbows, rough knees), my hair feels like hay some days, there are dark rings under my eyes and my lips are chapped even though I’m really generous with the lip balm.

So today, I decided I’m taking that pampering back. I didn’t have class today (term break, yo) so I took the time to pamper myself. I used the Moringa Bodyscrub that my sister left behind, which weirdly made me smell like hair dye but made my skin so smooth and soft. This was followed by my body butter that made my skin smell like candied ginger.

I feel so much better, so much more like myself. I forgot what it feels like to feel fully relaxed. My skin feels smooth and nice. In short, I feel rejuvenated. I think I need to start with my self-pampering again. It’s good to have at least one day a week where you get to relax and recharge for the coming week. That way, I wouldn’t be pushing my body too hard and fall sick again.

How do you relax and pamper yourself?

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