Sunday, September 26, 2010

Starters for the D.I.Y Beauticians

So, you have a basic understanding on the knowledge of herbal-lore. And now, you want to take this further. So... whats stopping you?
Possibly motivation... or possibly understanding... or probably, if you are a consitent reader, just a little more guidance into the direction of creating your own cosmetic line.

Firstly, I would like to share that I have been overjoyed from what I have been witnessing over the internet. Before, when I first started this blog. There were no websites out there, to support the idea of creating your own cosmetics... and hardly any companies that would develop 'organic' products. Since, this blog has been posted up, I have been 'wowed'! There has been a sudden 'boom' in the market for organic and DIY products, that I must say... I am very impressed.

My only drawn back is, that even though the boom is good.
I will warn readers to be very careful on some of these recipes being posted on others sites. Some of these sites (possibly out of ignorance) post some ingredients that will actually do HARM to your body, rather than improve it. So be careful.

This is also why, I think it is a priority that I post information about different ingredients. I want you to have an understanding of what you are putting into your recipes. One ingredient in particular, Lemon, has great benefits... if used in the correct reciepe.

For example:

Lemons, are great for lightening up your skin, and creating lovely natural highlights to your hair. BUT the high acidity in them, can be HARSH to your skin and scalp. And can cause unwanted bleaching, if not used correctly.


Anyways, enough of the preaching. Lets get down to business. This post is strictly about different ways to 'prepare' your chosen ingredients for your recipes.

Different types of preparations are as follows:

  • Tinctures
  • Infusion
  • Decoction
  • Distillation

Tincture: Is a solution that has either an alcoholic base or non-volatile substance (like, witch hazel). The base solution is used to extract the properties from natural substances (like, plants or minerals). In this process, a lot of the original properties from the original substance is preserved. Tinctures are considered one of the closest forms of the original extraction.
(example of commonly used tinctures: Witch Hazel)

Example Recipe: Witch Hazel

1/2 cup of vodka
1oz of witch hazel flowers

Place items in a tinted glass jar. Let the mixture set for 6 months (max.) in a cool and shaded environment. Shake the contents weekly. Filter the loose leaf out using cheese cloth; and use in recipes.

Infusion: Is a solution that has an oil base (usually olive oil). Like the tincture technique, it extracts the properties of the original subject. Though Infused solutions carry a great percentage of the original subject's properties, it is not the closet form of the original extraction. However, most recipes that will be used on the skin/hair, will use mostly infused solutions or decoctions, since tincture solutions (due to the alcoholic base) are to harsh for the exterior body.
(example of commonly used Infusions: Calendula Oil)
Preparation is for external usages

Example Recipe: Calendula Oil

1 cup of Castor Oil (or Olive Oil)
1 1/2 oz Calendula flowers

Place contents in a tinted jar. Place container in a shaded environment for 3-6 months (min), shaking the contents weekly. Filter the loose leaf out using cheese cloth; and use in recipes.

Decoction: Is the most common form of preparation, when using fresh or dried herbs. Decoction preparation time is more instant, making it more convenient. However, because the herbs are prepared on a high temperature, most of the natural properties are cooked out of the herbs/minerals, making the mixture not as potent as it could have been without decoction.
(Example of Decoctions: Tea)

Example Recipe: Peppermint Tea

4 fresh twigs of peppermint
3 cups of water

Place water into a small pot; bring to a boil, then add peppermint leaves. Bring the temperature down to 'low heat'. Then let the mixture simmer for a couple of minutes (sweetening the tea, whilst it is over a heat. Sweeten to preferred taste). Take pot off of the stove, and let the mixture seep for 3 minutes before serving.

Distillation: Is the most potent solution and the most commonly used solutions used. It is oil based like infusions. Distillation is similar to Infusions. The only difference that Infusions are prepared and left to sit in dark cupboards, and their preparation time is much longer. Distillations can be left to 'infuse' outside in the sun, for a shorter period of time. The process is great, however, it does require a large amount of herbs/minerals to create a solution that is greatly potent. Preparation is for external usages

Example Recipe: Lavender Distillation

1 oz of Lavender Flowers
1 cup Olive Oil

Place contents in a jar (preferrably a tinted jar, but not required). Place the container outside, in a stable location, where the container will recieve a large amount of sun. Leave the container in this location for 2 weeks (max), shaking the container bi-weekly. Filter the solid contents out, and bottle the liquid into a tinted container, and store in a cool location.
  • Essential Oils: are a sub-catergory in Distillation. After the herbs have been infused in the sun for a couple of weeks (allowing the substance to become some what oxygenated), the solution is then further filtered. From the base solution, they extract the plants natural oils. Essential Oils require a HUGE amount of product (like, a few pounds), just to make a 2 oz bottle. The process is very delicate. And takes a lot of time to produce. However, if done correctly, essential oils are the CLOSEST format of the original subject. And can be used in almost any external type of recipe. Preparation is for external usages

And there you have it... the basic preparations when working we herbs. So what do you do from here? Try it yourself. Try combining different types of herbs to create a new oil infusion (like, calendula & lavender). With making "base infusions" (like distillations; tinctures; and oils) you are cutting down on preparation time when you are in the kitchen. Also, you are cutting down the costs, since you will only need to use a few drops of your homemade solutions, verses a few cups of your materials.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Vegan Cosmetic Diet

Over the passed year or two, I have been trying out my own personal experiment. I wanted to discover the best possible solutions for improving my appearance... other than the typical resolutions like losing weight or eating better.

I believed, full heartedly, that the cosmetics that I was paying hundreds of dollars for (per year), were wasting my time and money.

I also believed that if God (if you believe in God), created this world especially for us to thrive in, then there were resources surrounding us, that would indeed 'heal us' for whatever ails us.

Before I could make a my theory be seen as a FACT. I had to endure the full chemical cosmetic lifestyle for a month or so.

So, I lathered myself up with fragrance induced soaps; oiled
myself up with Palmer's coco butter; fed my hair organic root stimulator hair food... and washed my face up with Ne

Thru that time period. Nothing really seemed to change. The worst part was that because I had been using a few natural products before, my body seemed to be repelling the products. I felt the residue from the soaps; the lotions and hair food. My face broke out, which is rare for me, and I felt either super greasy or super dry. My hair began to develop dandruff. And my skin, started to look really scaly.

During this uncomfortable time period, I continued my
studies on Natural alternatives. Taking classes in Herbology, etc.

When the month ended, I began the full vegan cosmetic diet with confidence.

Unlike, changing from a meat eater to a vegan, there were no withdrawal symptoms.

In fact, there was a rapid change in quality of my skin and hair. My stretch marks and scars, that seemed to never vanish, began to fade. And my hair became silky soft.

After 6 months of being on this plan, my skin looked so radiant, that people were stopping me on the streets to compliment about how beautiful my skin was (both men and women).

My hair, which seemed to take forever to grow (when I used chemical hair products), seemed to explode with length and thickness.

Being inspired by the results, I then took my change a little further... but before I inform you of what it is, here is a back story:

For 5 years, my menstrual cycle stopped, for unexplainable rea
sons. Being 19 when it stopped, I spent so much time and money going to hospitals to figure out why it stopped. But the doctors couldn't find a solution... I just stopped having periods.

If you didn't know, periods are important to have, not only to reproduce, or to clean out toxins out of a woman's body... but to 'balance your hormones.

Without a period, my hormones became extre
mely unbalanced, which then caused a series of problems... the biggest one, being that my body started to swell. My breasts increased drastically, but as they increased they caused an unbearable amount of pain.

I always would go to bed crying because I was in that much agony.

Getting back to my natural cosmetic diet... I started to gain positive side effects from the homemade recipes I was using.

Not only did the scars and stretch marks go away... but my body's hormones began to balance out. And the agonizing pain I use to experience... vanished.

Happily, I can say that my body is back to normal, as if... nothing every happened.


Once again, the more and more I discovered, the more and more I wanted to go deeper into my change of lifestyle.

I took my recipes and decided to try out the same recipes with 3 of my friends. And put them on a strict cosmetic diet for a month.

Friend #1: Hair Type/ Asian. Her issue was that she worked a very laboring job (day porter). Because she was very active at work, her hair would become frizzy and greasy, so she would always wear baseball caps, to hide her hair.

Friend #2: Hair Type/ Relaxed. She had relaxed hair, and her issue was that her hair kept breaking, and never would grow. She had to keep cutting it off.

Friend #3: was Caucasian. Her hair was healthy. But not perfect.

I altered the Conditioning solution that I would use for my own hair, for Friend #1 and #2, since it would have been too heavy for their type of hair.

I expected to see results in a week or two. But to my surprise, the next day they came back to me thrilled! And gave me their reports:

#1: I'll be honest, I was skeptical about trying this solution that you gave me. But, when I was in the shower, and started using your shampoo... I could feel a difference in my hair automatically. It was like it was coming to life, or something. I put the light oil on my damp hair, as instructed afterwards, afraid that it would make my hair greasy. But it did! I was shocked. My hair feels soooo soft, and shiny. Thank yous!

#2: I tried out your hair stuff, last night, and... WOW. My hair became super curly in the shower.. but really soft, even under the water. I used the conditioning solution afterwards, and when it dried, my hair became super manageable all of a sudden. It was such a change, it was like I didn't recognize it.

#3: My hair is really soft and manageable. I love it. Wow. When can I buy a bottle.

In two weeks, I watched (super happy) as my friends changed. They seemed more and more confident. #1 stopped wearing baseball caps; #2 started wearing her hair down, instead of pulling her hair back; #3 was just.. well, happy. She started styling her hair in a different way, each day. And the added bonus, was that ALL of them has experienced a sudden improvement in the skin quality. Their complexion was much more clearer.

My Conclusion: Chuck the store bought junk, and pick up a herbology book... free your mind, and you may find something quite interesting.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Recipe: Avocado Wash

This is a treatment that should be used, in cases where your scalp and hair is seriously damaged. As I mentioned before, the Avocado has an excellent abundance of natural fats, that the skin, scalp and hair love.

  • 1/2 Avocado

Taking half of a ripe avocado meat, apply to hair and scalp, massaging it in for about 3 minutes. Let it set for another 2 minutes. Rinse out under COOL water until all contents are out. Hand dry your hair, preferably. Or dry under the COOL setting with your hair dryer. You don't want to create any further damage to your hair/scalp from using heat, when your hair is in this delicate state.

You should only need to use this treatment once or twice. (For Nappy/Kinky hair wash hair once a week. All other types of hair, can use this treatment twice in one week)

*Note: You will automatically notice that your hair will start to become super curly, this is a great sign. It just means that your hair is well moisturized. The botanical properties from the avocado in its rawest form, should help in bringing your hair/scalp back into a more healthier and balanced state.

Playing The Guinea Pig

So from 2008 to present day, I have been conducting a series of personal experiments on myself. I became a "Mad Scientist", determined to find answers to my own personal questions.

A couple of assignments were completed. While some, are still are still being worked on. I needed answers, and became willing to sacrifice myself (as the lab rat) to find them.

I had a series of theories, like:

  1. Would my body thrive better on a "Vegan Cosmetic Diet", or would the results be the same if I used other types of ingredients?
  2. What would happen if I went "back" to using store bought products, after being on a Vegan Hair/Body Diet for a year or two? Would the product benefits on the container labels, give me good results? Or back fire?
  3. Is chemically altered hair, permanently altered and bounded to using a cycle of chemicals to maintain it?
  4. Can relaxed hair successfully be locked? Or do you really need to chop it all off?

Quick Tips: For the D.I.Y Beauticians

For all the readers who are developing their own custom Shampoos, Conditioners and Hair Food... here's a cool tip for your recipes:

Add Color Enhancing Ingredients to Your Recipes

Ever wish that your natural hair color was a little more richer or more vibrant, without having to dye your hair? There are several plants in the natural world, that have the ability to enhance our natural hair color. Causing your typical black hair, to become even more darker and richer looking. Or your red hair to become even more shiny and vibrant without having to dye your hair.

Here are some basic color enhancers...

Blond Hair:

  • Chamomile
  • Honey

Auburn & Red Hair:

  • Cinnamon

Brown & Black:

  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Sage

Natural & Nappy

Hurray! "Natural & Nappy" Blog finally got its own personal make over. All the links and interesting stuff should be all up to date. Once again, I apologize for the delay in new articles. And also I apologize for any delays in answering your questions.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Bar-Kays play "Son Of Shaft" live in Los Angeles 1972

I had to post this again. Cause the other link, apparently no longer works. :-(

Enjoy, if you haven't seen this already...

...Holy Basil!

Wazzzzz UUUUUUUUUUUUUUuuuuuup!!!! lol. It has definitely been a while since I posted anything new on this blog. I am not sure, if at this point anyone is still interested in reading anything on here... but what the heck.

Here... finally, for over a year, is the next AMAZING Plant! Basil!

[And the the crowd says: "ooooooooh... and ahhhhhhh"]

Yep, basil. It is not just an Italian garnishment for meals. It is a semi-super plant. And I say 'semi' only because it is not considered a miracle plant like Hemp. But just because it is not a a miracle plant, it doesn't mean that it doesn't have stunning properties of its own.


Like always, before going into what Basil can do for you... let's learn a little bit about the wonderful Basil.

Basil is indeed seen as a 'holy' plant. In many cultures Basil symbolized: Love; Loyalty; Honor; and Holiness.

It originates from India, where originally it was used regularly to swear oaths in the courts. And in Greece, it was used in preperation of the Holy water used in the Orthordox Churches.

Basil, throughout history, could be found in various places around the Mediterranean; Middle East and even in Central America.

But the reason Basil spread to various parts of the globe, was not just because of its sweet flavoring. It was due to its healing properties.

The Well-Known Benefits of Basil:
  • Anti-inflammatory {(E) Beta-Caryophyllene: aka BCP}
  • Antioxidants
  • Antibacterial
  • Magnesium
  • Minerals
  • Eugenol

Healthy Benefits from Basil in the Inside:
  • Boosts up your immune system (fights off flus; colds; etc)
  • Kills Bacteria
  • Helps to diminish inflammations
  • Pain Relief (head aches; migraines; etc)
  • Helps to keep your Heart Healthy
  • and so on, and so on

So, what does Basil have to do with keeping you looking beautiful? You ask.

The common known cosmetic factor about Basil is that...
the eugenol works well to relax an individual... Basil Aroma therapy

But what else...

Something to always remember is that every living plant that exists in our world, usually have more properties than is listed in Science Text books!

Scientists are always discovering a new element that they didn't see originally with the natural world around us.

For example:

Did you know, that Basil naturally boosts the hues of your hair color (both natural and dyed)?

It works best for people who have darker colored hair (brown and black for example). Basil will enrich the colors of your hair naturally. Given a more profound & richer effect that chemicals can't ever fully mimic (if processed correctly).

The natural properties and minerals found in Basil, not only improve the visual appearance of your hair. But also, they improve the health of your hair too.

Here's an experiment tip to always remember...

Whatever benefits your hair most likely will give similar results to your skin. And that tip works the other way around, too.

Happy Birthday Hair! - February 2008

This Video inspired me t try to start my locks. I thought it would be nice to share to all of you

Q & A

Sorry once again, for not keeping up on this blog, as much as I should. Anyways, I received a lot of questions, so I figured I should share the questions and answers with everyone:

1. What is the best way in finding the best 'hair care remedies'?

ANSWER: The best BASIC hair food known to this planet will always be:

A combination of shea butter; coco butter; rosemary extract; and basil extract. Shea Butter will always be a great base for nappy/natural hair, due to its properties, along with Coco butter. But did you know that Rosemary and Basil has great properties of their own? Basil naturally boosts your natural color; whilst rosemary that fills your hair with a great balance of vitamins and minerals to keep your scalp well fed with a healthy nutritional diet.

Essentially, products that you buy over the counter, are going to sit on your scalp causing a collection of gross residue. The ingredients I listed above, will absorb into your hair strands and scalp, giving you a better result. Without that nasty greasy hair.

When your buying hair products, look at the ingredients on the bottle, like you would if you were buying food to eat at a grocery store.

The following ingredients will always be a BIG "no no" for a choice of 'hair food':

  • Mineral Oil
  • Fragrance
  • Petroleum

These listed ingredients will cause WAY more damage than good. Mineral Oil, for example, will 'dry out the scalp' even further, rather than keeping it properly moisturized.