Archives for posts with tag: Beauty
orange: beautiful in many ways

orange: beautiful in many ways

A few weeks ago, I shared a link to a video that showed how easy and inexpensive (and non-toxic) it can be to make one’s own hairspray.

Shortly after, I went out and bought myself an orange (something that I normally don’t buy) and some rum (another thing I don’t buy… I’m a gin or scotch girl!) and went about making me some home-brewed hairspray.

The results: I find that it maintains a gentle hold, and smells very nice. My head smells faintly like an orange daiquiri! Not unpleasant at all. When it was very hot and humid, and I needed to perk my hair up a bit for a wedding event, I used a blow dryer on my dampened, hairsprayed hair. This added a lot of body. I then styled it, gave a short squirt, and presto I was done. It held its shape pretty well, again not rock solid like an AquaNet net.

Final Words: I would recommend trying this. It took only a few minutes, and the price of an orange and a drop of rum. You can use rubbing alcohol, if you have it, instead. I’ll try boiling it down a little more next time, to see if the hold increases.

I am glad to not support an industry where the bottles have dozens of mysterious ingredients on the label!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

A few months back I decided to never dye my hair again. Knowing that the toxic chemicals used in hair dye are linked to cancers, why on earth would I opt to have contact with this stuff? Also, with a bit of white hair coming in, I knew it would only be a matter of time until I would be trapped in the cycle of constantly colouring to keep the impending greys at bay. So I decided to just grin and bear it, look my age, and deal with what nature decided was best.

In all honesty, though, I missed being called “Red” sometimes. I missed seeing my strawberry blond or copper tones in the sun. In choosing to not go for a toxic soup while missing the colourfulness of past days, I was lucky to find an alternative.

it's happening!

In conversation with my Herbalist (Tammy Schmidt, CHT) I recalled that when I was a teen, I had used henna on my hair a few times. I would always go red or copper. I liked it, but eventually changed over to regular hair dye, as it was more convenient for me then. 

Turns out that using henna on the hair is not only safe to do, but some find the process and tradition to be spiritual and rejuvenating, as well as beautifying. Here I will describe a bit about the process that I went through the other evening when I made time to henna my hair. (Thanks to my Herbalist to provide me with information about the process, and for finding me some very good quality, organic henna!)

The experience: After reading instructions and suggestions, I mixed up a subtle and conservative colour mixture that would add a touch of colour to my hair. (In the future I think I will be more daring.) When I had my wonderfully pungent mixture ready, I globbed the henna onto my hair, eventually slapping on piles of the aromatic organic goo. It stuck to my head with the consistency of clay.

Because one ingredient was boiling water, the henna mixture was nice and warm.

post-henna lighter bits

Not only did my hair and scalp get a wonderful herbal treatment, but the warmth was very calming. Another benefit for my skin was the organic olive oil I rubbed into my hairline, forehead, hands, and all over my ears beforehand. This action was in order to prevent the henna from dyeing those parts of me, but a side-benefit was a good moisturizing.

I have never moisturized my ears, before!

post-henna darker bits

When I used old Ms Clairol, I would always have a drip or two of unruly colour left over on my neck or ears… this time that didn’t happen. The aroma was rich, and natural feeling and smelling. With toxic dyes, the smell is a chemical odour or a fake perfumed stench. While my hair was wrapped up and I waited for the magic to happen, I felt good. It is hard to explain, but using a natural plant-based dye made me feel connected to culture and nature, in a way that buying into stinky and mysterious chemicals does not do. I will never dye my hair again… but will continue to henna!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Felted soaps make really cool presents, and are conversation-pieces.

Felted soap is a lovely and unique gift that just takes a bit of patience, but anyone can do it! You need some wool roving, a soap of any type, a bit of bubble wrap (or a bamboo mat, or a texured waterproof surface), a towel, an old pair of nylons, and then some hot water (even boiling!)

A soap, some roving... a bit of bubble-wrap, a towel.

For the roving, you can ask at your local wool-shop if they have roving, otherwise you might like to order some online.

Wrap the bar of soap in wool layers, placing the wool at right angles. It is good to wrap the soap fairly snugly. If it is too loose, it could cause weird bumps, but on the end it would still be ok. Work a few layers, until you cannot see the soap anymore. Keep in mind that the wool will shrink and shift somewhat as you do this, so what you lay out on the soap will probably not be exactly what you will end up with! The factor of surprise in this is actually part of the fun.

Beginning to wrap the soap in wool roving...

Place the felt-covered soap inside a pocket made from nylon pantyhose. I bought my first pair of nylons in possibly decades in order to make felted soaps. From those nylons I cut a few lengths and tied off the ends to make several pockets, so then I could teach soap-felting workshops. Don’t worry too much if the wool shifts a little while you put it in the pocket; it is possible to adjust the wool when you remove it from the pocket later on.

Pour hot water over the pocket. Rub the soapy mass inside the pocket for about eight to ten minutes. Roll it in a towel to remove some of the lather and excess moisture.

Wool-covered soap in the pocket!

Remove the soap/felt from the nylon pocket, then rub the felted soap on bubble-wrap until the felt is truly felted down and matted against the soap. During this process, you might need to rub a little more water on the soap, or roll it again in the towel if it’s a bit too lathery. Do this until you see that the wool is all stuck together, a few minutes. Try making a few of these felted soaps, and you’ll get the hang of it!

The felt will shrink as you use the soap over time, until there is no soap left and you have a cute little ball of wool that you could cut to turn into a little pouch, or a cat-toy… or even Christmas decorations.

In the process of felting the soap!

I have a business selling felted soaps (amongst other things) and my clients have told me that they love the gentle exfoliation of the wool, how fine and frothy the soap lather is, and that the soap lasts much longer than if it wasn’t wearing such a nicely felted wool sweater! Enjoy!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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