Saturday, May 18, 2013
2005 Catnip can prevent split ends, as well as stain grey or white hair with a light or pale blonde colour, and replace the need for conventional hair conditioner. I discovered that first previously unknown property, through my own experimentation with cut and dried catnip leaves and buds, used as a hair treatment. My catnip cosmetic journey began in September 2004. I still tweak my method. I started out looking for a natural hair colour and found much, much more from the plant. Research I read told me catnip can produce a light yellow dye. What it did not tell me was how, or whether it would work on hair. It can as I found out. Its constituents work in harmony to produce all of the effects, which do not come from one single part of it, although the colour is from its tannins.
2008 I created new honey lightening recipes that work faster and better than previous recipes used, following research I did on on the topic. I provide you with explanations of how and why the recipes can work from that research. I created the term "honey lightening boosters" after researching the added ingredients used in the recipes.
2008 I developed a method for using coconut and argan oils, that helps protect hair from damage by: conventional hair colour that contains peroxide, bleach, and other peroxide levels. It is about the ability of both oils to chelate iron and copper, which react with hydrogen peroxide, forming damaging free radicals. That directly followed my research on honey lightening. Honey chelates iron too.
2010 I created a method to use coconut and other oils in shampoo, that can replace the need for using conditioner and styling aids, based on research I read, my own experience with catnip, and product knowledge. I also created a treatment method using the oils. The latest shampoo method version, I created from doing more research, enhances the method, makes it more user friendly, and eliminates method issues that were difficult for some people. It is not available here at this time.
2010 Based on research on club soda, I recommended that it be used as a rinse to remove hard water mineral deposits on hair, and it can be as effective as vinegar rinses for that purpose, without the need for dilution. It can also be used as a rinse to reacidify the hair and scalp, following the use of an alkaline product. It is not the same product as soda water.
2011 I realized cosmetic mineral oil can be better used specific ways, outside of just as an addition to cosmetic products, and not as other people have been using and recommending it previously. I created methods of use based on that information. It is about recognizing what it can do and why, from research on its known properties and results, including my own. Cosmetic mineral oil has been incorrectly categorized as synthetic, toxic, and a strain on ecological resources. Mineral oil is a by-product of petroleum production and is a natural oil. Cosmetic mineral oil has been purified and is safe to use. It is in direct competition with more expensive cosmetic products, which cannot do for hair and skin what it can, hydrate either for a longer period of time, and provide other benefits as well.
The information, recipes, methods, except for the advanced oil shampoo method are all here in detail for you to try, if you so desire. All can work extremely well. There are always variables with results. No cosmetic recipe, method, product or ingredient is a miracle. It is how they are all used and applied. With products and ingredients, there will be variations that include: quality, additives, species, or type with honey for example.
Information on club soda
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The advertising and marketing of cosmetic products needs a great title, one that grabs your attention.
Anti-Ageing cosmetics fits that requirement. However, the products need to work. They are usually in a higher price range. Can they deliver the results you want? Some of the products have claims made about them that are not allowed, according to cosmetic labelling regulations. See the FDA reference below. I have seen a number of anti-ageing hair care products come and go over the years. Most of them disappear.
There is no turning back time. You can take proper care of your hair and skin and that is by following basics. Skin needs to be kept hydrated and so does hair. Both need to be protected from the ravages of UV. Those two steps alone can work wonders and not cost a lot of money.
The reality is that for many women and men, hair thins with age. Some lucky individuals do not go through that but many do. What are the solutions?
There are thinning hair drugs in cosmetic bases for both men and women but there are simple solutions as well. Hair colour can add hair volume, natural colour like pure henna, which yields a red orange colour and can yield a deep burgundy colour with continued use, and conventional hair colour. Not overused, both can work well. Henna is in most cases a permanent hair colour. Another natural solution can be cassia senna, often referred to as "netural henna" although it is a very different plant, that can yield a pale golden yellow to no colour, and colour results can last a month or longer. It can also turn hair an unattractive brassy colour.
Cassia senna can be made to yield reddish tones by adding acidic ingredients to it, as the colour it imparts is pH sensitive. A number of herbal rinses used for hair colour are pH sensitive in terms of colour results.
Other herbs and plants used for temporary hair colour can add temporary volume as well. Like henna and cassia they coat the hair and the coatings wash out over time, between applications. These coatings are usually resins and mucilage.
Conventional anti-ageing hair products coat the hair to make it appear thicker with polymers and other ingredients, and some contain drying alcohol. While all of these solutions can work, there can be downsides. These include hair dryness, heaviness, split ends and breakage if the products are overused and the hair is not clarified at some point with conventional product use, to remove excess coatings, or enough time has not elapsed with natural product use, to allow coatings to be gradually washed out between reapplications.
A simpler solution to help with thinning hair can be to use lightweight hair products for your regular hair care routine and not use too much of any of the products on the scalp area. I use a shampoo that does not cause build-up, catnip (it gives me gray coverage with a pale yellow colour as well) and mineral oil baby oil, which wash out easily with one shampooing, to not cause build-up problems. All of them are lightweight. My scalp is not nearly as oily as it once was but I still need to be careful with not overdoing it, when I apply anything to my scalp that contains, or is an oil. All have resulted in extra hair volume for me. It is a matter with any products of finding the right balance of amounts for you.
There are numerous lightweight shampoos and conditioners on the market that are inexpensive. They can be supplemented by using a lightweight, non-drying oil as a grooming aid, used carefully, to help with shine, retaining or adding moisture, conditioning and detangling, while not causing extra build-up.
The more lightweight the hair products you use are, the more hair volume you have.
You do not need to spend extra money on expensive hair care products with a catchy title. A number of products designed to add volume to hair often contain a high percentage of polymers too, and that means extra build-up. Uncomplicated products that are labelled for "normal" hair can be a better choice and milder.
Conventional hair colour can add volume to hair by leaving the hair swelled because of the pH needed, and the cuticles roughened. Shampoos and conditioners for colour-treated hair are usually more acidic to help counteract that but they also often contain extra silicone, oils and other ingredients, which can leave your hair heavy and cause more build-up, than products for "normal" hair.
To help give your hair more natural volume after such colouring, and deal with post colouring effects, you can use a well diluted, white vinegar rinse, which will not negatively affect your fresh hair colour, after shampooing with a shampoo for "normal" hair that is "safe for colour-treated hair" (read that as not too strong to cause dryness that can allow extra water to enter the hair and cause colour fading). Then condition with a lightweight conditioner if needed, and use a lightweight non-drying oil for extra shine, moisture, conditioning and detangling.
I just Tweeted a great article by WebMD on skin care myths (see my Tweets for May 15, 2013), which includes information on anti-ageing skin care. I highly recommend reading it. Update May 16, 2013: I just shared it on Google+ too.
There is new follow-up scientific research, with the abstract included under the article, in "References", on "curing" gray hair. The operative word in the article is "may". No product based on the research is available yet. I Tweeted it recently and I have included it as a reference here, and a reference on anti-ageing resources.
Medical News Today, "Cure for Gray Hair And Vitiligo Found", with abstract, 2013
FDA, Import Alert 66-38, 2013
Fighting Ageing!, "Resources"
Mayo Clinic, "Medical Edge Newpaper Column", 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
The natural approach to hair and skin care is all the rage today. It has become a booming business. Just remember, that it is a business.
This blog is set up as a resource of reputable information on products, natural and conventional, that is referenced accordingly, to help guide you through separating fact from fiction. There is a post on organic food as well and information on organic labelling. Organic does not mean pesticide-free.
There are many ongoing scientific studies on hair and skin care products and ingredients. I have created ways of using some natural products differently than you may be used to, or aware of and have written about them here. There are no magic solutions to hair or skin recovering from damage, preventing all damage (there are variables including product overuse) or illness, or growing hair faster, as some online information and marketing hype would have you believe.
Often such information includes products for sale on the page, despite disclaimers stating that products are not being promoted. Advertising is carefully planned and placed, especially when an author has their own line of products, which are then marketed to become associated with specific text. That is how advertising is designed to work effectively. There is no advertising in this blog. That is a choice I have written about here too.
There are simpler solutions that are cost effective for dealing with all of the above except health issues (see a qualified medical doctor) but when it comes to stimulating hair growth and other misleading claims, the laws set up to prevent the advertising of cosmetics that state such, exist for a reason. No cosmetic, natural or otherwise has been proven to do so. Hair growth spurts can happen naturally and are affected by but are not limited to, diet and health. Hair growth can also be affected by prescription medication(s).
Cosmetics that are also drugs for hair regrowth, contain government approved drug(s) in a cosmetic base and are regulated.
My posts are copyright protected and I respect the copyright of others. The information here comes from online research and other sources, including my own experimentation. It is designed to help you avoid purchasing extra products you may not need, and discover others you may want to try, after reading about them in accurate detail.
Some people are genetically blessed with strong hair and great skin, they have taken the time to avoid damaging by not being rough on either, and staying out of the sun, a major cause of both hair and skin damage.
Other practices, like overdoing chemical processing and colouring, synthetic and otherwise, overusing cosmetic products in general, and making connections between some of the natural products you may be using and problems are addressed here too. I have debunked the hype with legitimate references, so that when you do make a product or ingredient choice, you can do so with the understanding of why products and ingredients can work better used certain ways as opposed to others.
Not every product or ingredient touted as being all natural is so. Not all ingredients demonized as being all synthetic, or synthetic are so. Everything contains chemicals. It is about which products or ingredients are safe, for how long, and in what quantity, that are issues as well. Not all sulfates or parabens need to be avoided. Not all sulfate-free, paraben-free products are the best choices. Not preserving cosmetic products properly or at all, that need preservation is unhealthy, and contravenes legislation many countries have on safe manufacturing practices.
You can search within this blog using keywords. See the top left corner of this or any page.
I reply to all legitimate email questions on topics I write about. I delete all spam.
FDA, "FDA Authority Over Cosmetics", updated 2013
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
1. I do not want to choose whose comments are to be published, or moderate comments. I reply to all legitimate email inquiries and delete all spam.
2. Comments online often ask the same questions already replied to in detail, in other blog posts. That is also why I refer to and link, previous blog posts on topics I write about.
3. I have found that people are very often reluctant to post online about how upset they have become about a hair, or skin care problem when this was not the case for them previously. They are embarrassed by feeling that way now, and it is really more about their frustration at not being able to find a solution to the problem. Email allows better interaction, and privacy, while options are explored.
4. People are open to giving more details in private emails, and I can ask questions to help me understand what their hair, or skin care routine is now and has been in the past.
Any personal, identifying, or sensitive information is not published by me, only the relevant details, or problems concerning topics, which I occasionally post to help others.
No cosmetic product or ingredient can replace needed qualified medical treatment, stimulate hair growth, or prevent illness. Scientists continue to do research on botanicals and other natural products for health and cosmetic applications. Legitimate products for hair loss contain a drug that has government approval and specific percentages for use.
I will not be posting all blog posts on Twitter, or on Google+.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
I sent an email to Health Canada about mineral oil baby oil use on skin and UV and received this back some time ago, colour added by me. I asked for references too and received them as well. This email information was posted by me online previously but not in this blog. Outside of phototherapy, a lot of oil is not going to do much to protect you from UV without a decent SPF, and a broad spectrum SPF is best. A thicker application of petrolatum (vaseline), or a cream is about such use negatively affecting desired phototherapy results, and possibly the safety of some types of phototherapy. Risk factors include the number of treatments and the UV dose used. See the end of this post for SPF information in previous blog posts.
"There are a number of resources that support the fact the baby oil (oils in general) can intensify the absorption of UV rays. First of all, oils applied to the skin causes less reflection and refraction (bouncing-off) of the UV rays, therefore allowing larger proportion of the UV radiation to be absorbed by the skin. The skin surface on close inspection is quite irregular and by applying oils you make the surface smoother and more uniform, allowing a larger proportion of the UV radiation to be captured by the skin. Lastly, there are tiny air pockets between the horny scales in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the skin), creating spaces that allow a lot of scattering of the UV radiation. Oil is the perfect substance that is able to seep between these horny scales and minimizes diffusion of UV rays allowing more of it to penetrate deeper into the skin to be absorbed.
Here are a number of resources/references.
Penetration of epidermis by ultraviolet rays. Everett MA, Yeargers E, Sayre RM, Olson RL.
Photochem Photobiol. 1966 Jul;5(7):533-42.
The light barrier of the epidermis Dermatol Wochenschr. 1965 Jul 24;151 (30):887-9.
Increased penetration of epidermis by high intensity ultraviolet rays following the application of vaseline oil.
Leroy D, Dompmartin A, Deschamps P. Photodermatol. 1986 Feb;3(1):51-2.
Change in ultraviolet (UV) transmission following the application of vaseline to non-irradiated and UVB-exposed split skin K. Hoffmann, K. Kaspar, T. Gambichler, P. Altmeyer British Journal of Dermatology
Volume 143, Issue 3, pages 532–538, September 2000"
It is the thickness of the vaseline or petrolatum application, or cream used, which can make a difference in phototherapy. Thicker application of either can result in a higher dose of UV used, or an increased number of phototherapy treatments.
"Effects of topical preparations on the eyrthemogenicity of UVB: implications for psoriasis phototherapy." 1995, colour added by me.
"Thick application of petrolatum and emollient creams can reduce transmission of UVB. Mineral oil and a clear liquid emollient did not significantly affect transmission or erythemogenicity of UVB."
"Change in ultraviolet (UV) transmission following the application of vaseline to non-irradiated and UVB-exposed split skin." 2000, colour added by me.
"The thicker the layer of vaseline applied, the lower was the difference in transmission between non-irradiated split skin and UVB-exposed split skin.
CONCLUSIONS:Application of the correct amount of vaseline can enhance transmission in either the UVA or UVB range, and would enable dose reduction during a course of phototherapy."
While NB-UVB treatment appears to have lower risks, more research needs to be done.
"Incidence of skin cancers in 3867 patients treated with narrow-band ultaviolet B phototherapy", 2008, colour added by me.
"CONCLUSION: We found no significant association between NB-UVB treatment and BCC, SCC or melanoma. There was a small increase in BCCs amongst those also treated with PUVA. These reassuring results do not demonstrate the early increase in skin cancers that was found associated with PUVA treatment. However, cautious interpretation is required as the cohort contained relatively few patients who had a high treatment number and because the slow evolution of skin cancers may result in a delayed incidence peak. Ongoing risk assessment is therefore essential."
"Enhanced response of childhood psoriasis to narrow-band UV-B with preirradiation use of mineral oil." 2008, colour added by me.
"The cumulative dose for clearance was significantly lower on the emollient pretreated side. No adverse effects were observed with mineral oil or narrow-band ultraviolet-B phototherapy. We conclude that preirradiation use of mineral oil enhances the therapeutic efficacy of narrow-band ultraviolet-B phototherapy in children with widespread psoriasis."
Phototherapy risks 2009
"[Narrow-band UVB therapy in psoriasis vulgaris: good practice guideline and recommendations of the French Society of Photodermatology].", colour added by me.
"(2) Adverse effects. The immediate adverse effects were generally of little consequence, with later effects alone posing problems. Because of the risk of induction of cataract, ocular protection must be used during sessions. In the absence of symptoms or known ocular disorder, prior ophthalmologic control is not considered necessary. The risk of skin cancer remains poorly defined, and this risk has not been clearly shown to be lower than with broad-spectrum UVB therapy or PUVA. The studies give no indication of the number of sessions after which therapy must be completely discontinued."
More and larger studies need to be done.
"Carcenogenic risks of psoralen UV-A therapy and narrowband UV-B therapy in chronic plaque psoriasis: a systematic literature review." 2012, colour added by me.
"CONCLUSION: There is an increased risk of skin cancer following PUVA, shown by both US and European studies. The greater risk measured by the US studies may be at least partly explained by high UVA dose exposure and the lighter phototypes of the treated patients. The lack of prospective studies in psoriasis patients treated with NB-UVB constitutes a barrier to the robust assessment of carcinogenic risk of this phototherapy technique."
See more about phototherapy at the Mayo Clinic 2011
The New York Times Article "Phototherapy" 2013, information review date "11/6/2011"
and these blog posts, here, here and here, for more details on SPF and hair and scalp protection
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
This topic came up in several emails regarding coconut oil and mineral oil use. Coconut oil was and still is being used as a pre-treatment before conventional dye with peroxide, to help prevent damage. For that purpose, helping to condition hair during dyeing, the better feeling of the hair (compared to without using it) after dyeing and helping with dye uptake, it is working very well.
Mineral oil is being used right after and in between dyeing the hair, to moisturize and help condition it and it has proven to do so better than coconut oil, when the two oils were assessed for those purposes. While it has also been working very well, mineral oil now works even more effectively because more of it is being used and its distribution throughout the hair after washing has been improved. The hair has not become heavy or greasy.
Coconut oil used as a pre-treatment needs to saturate hair well and that means coatings on the hair are best removed to allow that. Washing the hair can remove mineral oil easily. It can remove enough conditioner too, as long as there is not a lot of residue present. It is best though, to wait a day or so before washing hair and dyeing it. Why? It is about the scalp, not the hair. The day or so allows natural oil from your scalp to recover sufficiently after being removed, to help offset conventional dye ingredients and less irritation can result. That is why dyeing is often done on hair that is not freshly washed.
Hair stylists often recommend that you do not deep condition your hair before dyeing it. Deep conditioners usually contain more coating ingredients. It is about the dye taking evenly and well. Coconut oil used as a pre-treatment can help dye uptake by chelating copper and iron, as well as help protect hair from peroxide damage and condition it. Argan oil can do the same things.
The solution to conditioning hair during the waiting time before a coconut oil pre-treatment can be to use a small amount of coconut oil alone, on damp to wet hair if the hair is dry and then adding more coconut oil for at least an hour before dyeing the hair, or other conventional processing like using peroxide alone or bleach.
A problem can occur when reapplying more coconut oil and did, when waiting more days between the initial wash and dyeing the hair and is applicable to using more of any oil frequently on your hair to help keep it moisturized. The hair in this case is dry and is made more so from frequent but not too frequent (once a month) dyeing of the roots. The hair became greasy and heavy and not more moisturized, even though misting had been done. In fact, even though oily, the hair felt drier. Needed water had evaporated and had not been replaced during those few days.
When oil is applied to hair, it can reduce the amount of both water vapour and water absorbed by hair.
Misting hair lightly enough to dampen it and applying more oil can be counterproductive in 2 ways.
1. Enough water to help moisturize your hair is being restricted by the oil already on or in your hair.
2. Adding more oil can make your hair greasy and increases the chances of build-up, by it not completely being washed out with a mild shampoo or other cleansing methods. That possibility is increased with the use of heavy oils and especially drying oils, that often need repeated clarifying to be completely removed. Some conventional dyes when rinsed out can effectively remove coconut and argan oils, leaving the hair clean and one did remove the coconut oil, for this person.
When I have written about the reapplication of mineral oil, I have referred to enough of it being not been used during the initial application and needing more, to be added to areas of your hair that have been missed. It is about making up the difference in the total amount used, not a full reapplication of it. If enough mineral oil is used on your hair the first time and evenly distributed throughout your hair, more should not be required until after your next hair wash.
This blog post
and this one
and this forum thread post "" on conditioners and this one as well. The information in patents is most illuminating and free of marketing hype.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
The short answer is no. However, it can depend on the extent and type of damage and your patience. I had gone from longer hair to pixie short hair long ago, to deal with that. I know better now because of help I received from the cosmetic industry, my experience and research I have done.
I consulted years later, also long ago, with the head cosmetic chemist of the Research and Development division of a fairly large cosmetic company regarding my own hair, which had become damaged by one of the company's products, by my over zealous use of it, not realizing how badly it could and did, dehydrate my hair. It was a clarifying product. The cosmetic chemist created a regimen for me with the company's products, that re-balanced the moisture level of my hair and strengthened it, while I trimmed off split ends and kept my overall hair length.
The products I used then to help my hair are gone. The company was sold and the products I used were replaced with others I later tried, only to find they were not as effective for my hair. The point is that it can be done. The moisturizing product I used in the regimen contained mineral oil.
Protein treatments along with moisturizing treatments can be a solution to well balanced hair care. Protein treatments do not last though. They can wash out easily and should not be repeated too often on their own as that can be drying to hair. The balance of the two types of treatments can be tricky. I learned that firsthand with my own hair, during the regimen I used. My hair before starting the regimen had a lot of splits and breakage.
It is important to not continue to abuse your hair when it is damaged by: rough handling, the overuse of product, heat styling at too high a temperature, or processing and more. I never used that clarifying product again. I could not even look at it, although I overused it. The reality is that many people do continue to abuse their hair while trying to deal with hair damage.
When I first theorized about mineral oil, I did not know everything it alone can do for damaged and undamaged hair but as I said here, there is absolutely no reason why mineral oil should not help even severely damaged hair. Through subsequent research here, in other posts in this blog, plus my own experience as well as reports from friends and others, I realized just what it is capable of doing on its own and importantly to me, how and why it can work so well.
The keys to damaged hair "recovery" are about protection and the hair's moisture level, which can help the hair not continue to break or split and be subjected to abrasion through tangling and any more abuse, while new growth is happening.
The protection mineral oil can provide is fivefold and can also strengthen hair.
1. It can take the place of lost cuticles by coating hair.
2. It can reduce the amount of water vapour and water absorbed by hair, by coating hair.
3. It has superb slip or detangling properties.
4. It can supplement, or replace lost lipids within the cuticle structure of hair.
5. It can help protect hair from heat during thermal styling.
The moisturizing mineral oil can provide is twofold.
1. It can retain or reduce the loss by evaporation of added needed water in hair, by coating hair.
2. It can retain or reduce the loss by evaporation of needed water present in hair, by coating hair.
Regarding needed water, colour added by me, "Hair is composed of proteins, lipids, water, and small amounts of trace elements." Hair also typically contains "pigments", See "Result 1" or "Page 105".
Mineral oil's long lasting moisturizing capabilities and its application, without timing, or needing to cover the hair, or needing to be washed out after use, or fuss in general, can make it a very user friendly, cost effective, easy way to deal with hair damage. It can simply be applied in a small amount, after your hair is washed, can work beautifully without causing build-up and not need reapplication until after your hair is next washed.
Mineral oil can protect and moisturize damaged and undamaged hair without leaving either looking or feeling greasy, heavy, or sticky.
See Also this blog post, for a research study included in the book Aging Hair here, in 2010. More information about the book can be found here, See "Result 2" or "Page xv".
Update March 25, 2013
This research study applies to hair, not skin. While mineral oil and sun or UV filters in cosmetic products may help protect hair, with no SPF do not take UV exposure risks.
When there is no or a low SPF on a hair sunscreen product, cover both hair and scalp to help prevent sun exposure and wear a sunscreen with a high enough SPF on your skin. To me that is 30 or more.
More information can be found here, here and here.