May 012013

Coconut oil has been touted as one of the best oils you can use in cooking because of its high smoke point (higher than extra virgin olive oil’s, which is usually my go-to oil) and health benefits. Researchers have found that the medium-chain fatty acids (MSCFAs) that comprise coconut oil are easily digested and converted to energy by the body. This is in contrast to long-chain fatty acids such as are found in other saturated fats, like butter. Long-chain fatty acids have a greater tendency to be stored as fat. In fact, recent research suggests that MCFAs can help promote fat loss. So go ahead and cook with extra virgin coconut oil – it’s good for you!

But the health benefits of coconut oil are not the point of this post.

The other day, I was surfing around and stumbled on an article that suggested using coconut oil as a hair conditioner. Intrigued, I logged into my account on MakeUp Alley and was surprised to see it had a 5 lipstick rating. Several reviewers mentioned that it was great at calming frizziness due to humidity. As someone who lives in a climate where it’s always humid, I had to try it.

I already had a huge tub of extra virgin coconut oil on hand since I use it for cooking. I transferred about 1/2 cup into a small bottle and brought it into the shower with me. I shampooed my hair as usual and then applied coconut oil to the ends while I finished my shower. I rinsed out the coconut oil and styled my hair as usual (read: combed it and let it air dry). On the plus side, my hair was not frizzy. But it was lank and greasy – definitely not a good look. Back to the shower for another shampoo.

Amazingly, after the second shampoo, my hair was soft and shiny. So much so that when I went to the gym a day and a half later, one of the regulars commented on how shiny my hair was.

So it seemed that the best way to use coconut oil was as a pre-treatment. Accordingly, when I next showered, I put the coconut oil in my hair first, and let it sit while I lathered up my body. Then I rinsed out of the coconut oil and shampooed and conditioned my hair as usual. Soft, shiny hair resulted. It even held up in the rain! I’m sold. I hear coconut oil is a good moisturizer, too. I’ll be trying that next. :)

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Sep 052012

Update: We still have supplies left, so we are extending this offer through September 15. Get yours now!

I wrote about DIY Deodorant last month. Since that time, I’ve been on a quest to develop a deodorant that can stand up to the demands of an active, menopausal woman living in south Florida. I think I’ve found it, and my two testers (daughters aged 13 and 20) agree.

Let me say that this is a deodorant, not an anti-perspirant. I am convinced that it’s not possible to create a natural anti-perspirant because perspiration is natural. Blocking it is not.

Great care went into assuring that only truly natural and non-toxic ingredients were used in our formula. As you’d expect, we left out all the big-name harmful ingredients, such as:

We also had to say no to some ingredients that frequently appear on the labels of so-called natural products because they all contain hidden aluminum. Ingredients in this category include:

  • Mineral Salts/Potassium Alum – Contain aluminum. Crystal and other “natural” deodorants include mineral salts (sometimes labeled as such and other times labeled as potassium alum). Potassium alum is an abbreviation for potassium aluminum sulfate, also known as aluminum potassium sulfate. Although some makers of deodorants claim that potassium alum is safer than other forms of aluminum, there is no data to support this claim. In fact, the existing data suggests that all forms of aluminum are absorbed when applied topically.
  • Kaolin Clay – Made from aluminum silicate. Sure, a deodorant with kaolin will provide better anti-wetness than one without it, but if you’re trying to avoid aluminum, then you need to avoid kaolin and other clays.

So what is in the formula? Here’s what’s in our all-organic, Wholly Natural deodorant:

  • Corn starch (organic, non-gmo) – absorbent
  • Baking Powder (organic, aluminum free) – deodorizer and absorbent
  • Baking Soda (organic, aluminum free) – deodorizer and absorbent
  • Jojoba oil (organic) – natural emollient
  • Shea butter (organic) – natural emollient
  • Tea Tree Oil (organic) – natural antiseptic
  • Essential Oils (organic) – natural fragrance

This deodorant comes in a cream that you apply to your underarms with your fingers. It is non-staining and absorbs quickly into your skin.

Get Yours Free!
We want your feedback on this formula. To that end, we are offering a limited quantity of free jars in exchange for your honest feedback. Deal? If so, send us your name and address and we’ll get one out to you. Use our Contact form and indicate “Wholly Natural Deodorant” in the subject line and your mailing address in the message.

Note: This offer is limited to US residents in the contiguous 48 states and will be discontinued on 8/31/12 or when supplies run out.

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Jun 112012

I sweat. I mean, I really sweat. I am not sure if this is an age-related thing (I suspect so), but long gone are the days when I needed a sweater any time the thermometer dropped below 80. Now, it takes weather under 70 degrees to get me to wear something more full-coverage than a tank top. As my internal thermostat has risen, so has my desire to find a deodorant that actually works. To date, although I keep purchasing products with higher levels of active ingredients, nothing seems to stop the sweating. As you can imagine, this has completely put the pox on any chance of me finding a natural deodorant, free from all those harmful chemicals conventional deodorant is laden with. An aside here: if deodorant is not somehow involved in breast cancer, why is it that the upper, outer, quadrant of the breast is the most common site for tumors? Could it be that the combination of chemicals and open skin (from shaving) is not a good one?

Ok, back to the matter at hand. I was surfing online the other day and stumbled on the No More Dirty Looks web site. Cruising around, I found a blog entry about a DIY deodorant that the author claims keeps her dry even after a run. The ingredients were simple: coconut oil, baking powder, corn starch, and some optional essential oil (more about the ingredients later). I decided to make a batch. I ended up tweaking the recipe a bit and I didn’t make a lot since this was my first time; no point in having tons of the stuff if it wouldn’t work. My recipe looked like this:

  • 2.5 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp rose water (I didn’t have any essential oil lying around)

I mixed the first three ingredients in a small glass jar, then added the rose water.

When I first put it on, I was skeptical, because there were white blobs that I couldn’t quite get worked into my skin. But after 20 minutes or so, they were gone. I guess the heat from my body let them melt in.

All day, my armpits were dry and smooth. They were touchable. I realise this sounds weird, but when regular deodorant dries, it still leaves a slightly tacky feeling. This was nothing like that – my armpits were dry and soft. The real test came after dinner, when I went for my nightly walk. Now, before you think, oh, she’s walking at night when it is cool, please keep in mind that I live in Florida. According to the Weather Channel, when I went walking at 6:30pm, it was 86 degrees with 75% humidity. And guess what? I only sweated a little bit! Definitely less than with my conventional deodorant. Today, I am wearing the stuff to the gym, but I am expecting success. My daughter is also trying it out today.

Ingredient Confusion

As you can see, I made the concoction with baking powder. When I returned to the NMDL site this morning, I noticed that the picture for the recipe showed baking soda, but the ingredient list (which is what I copied onto a scrap of paper and took into the kitchen with me) lists baking powder. I suppose my next move will be to try the recipe with baking soda. If you end up doing so before I do, let me know how it works!

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