Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another myth debunked: testing a natural oil for purity by refrigerating it to see if it solidifies

I thought that the test sounded strange. If an oil were mixed with another oil that solidifies in the same way, that would not be a true test. Jojoba oil for example, solidifies when left in the fridge and it is technically a liquid wax.

So, I researched it.

Why that test is not valid regarding the purity of any oil for a number of reasons. About the author of the text quoted in part below. The same things exactly would apply to other oils.
"Clever fraudsters will just add enough ‘other stuff’ so as to just make it difficult for authorities to definitively say that “yes this oil is fraudulent” without having to resort to expensive sophisticated testing and lengthy court cases. An adulterated olive oil that contains 90% extra virgin olive oil and 10% canola oil will still have a high level of monounsaturated fat* and will therefore solidify at fridge temperature. Next to the authentic EVOO, it will look exactly the same."

Labelling and the right seals plus a little Internet or email investigation will tell you whether an oil is approved, certified and pure and where it does come from. If the right questions are not replied to by email with a way to back them up, I would buy from another supplier or purchase a different brand of the oil in question.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Debunking the silicone myth in hair care

There is nothing in scientific research literature to state that the use of silicones in hair care products causes hair damage, over time or otherwise. Just the opposite has been observed by those doing the research and testing.

I do not for one second doubt reports of silicone-free products yielding better hair results for people. I simply do not believe that the lack of silicones is the sole or only reason for the results. I think there are other reasons like the formulation of the different products and changes of the hair care routine.

In this study, the repeated use of a silicone caused hair luster to diminish. The same can be said of any natural oil that is overused though. Some silicones do require clarifying. That has to do with their weight, soluability, frequency and amount used, and how they are used in a formulation.

Clarifying the hair to remove conventional and natural product build-up does not have to be done with a harsh shampoo designed for that purpose. Switching products can reduce, or eliminate build-up too. Not using a product that builds-up for a while and using a shampoo that does not build-up can remove product build-up. The length of time to do so will vary with the amount of build-up on the hair and the strength of the shampoo used. Sunsilk Lively Blonde Shampoo, a sodium laureth sufate based shampoo has done just that for me. It is the only shampoo I use. It is not a strong shampoo.

Catnip treatments do not cause build-up for me. I do one following every shampoo. Lively Blonde Shampoo contains one silicone, has not caused build-up for me in over 3 years of use and removes enough of the catnip each time I wash my hair that there is no problem whatsoever. In the past, I used conventional conditioners and natural products that did cause build-up. When I stopped using them, Lively Blonde Shampoo removed the build-up over time.

The writer of this article is a Board Certified Dermatologist.

There are different dimethicones. It is about reducing hair breakage, which can make it appear that hair is not growing. Silicones have a professionally respected and scientifically validated place in hair care.

In this referenced article, Dow Corning, showed that human hair subjected to very high heat was protected from damage better with silicone solutions, than without.

Silicones: uses and safety

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vinegar Rinses for hair and skin

I will be adding to this post.

Vinegar "is essentially a 5-8% solution of acetic acid in water." However, "diluted acetic acid is not vinegar". All vinegars used as hair or skin rinses need to be well diluted. You can buy pH test strips to read the final pH result. The pH of undiluted vinegar straight from the bottle is on average, between 2-3. Products with a pH of below 3.5 can be damaging to hair and skin, depending on how much is used, how it is used (leaving it in the hair as opposed to rinsing it out for example), and how often it is used. See also this article and updated - this blog post.

Acetic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid.

"Alpha Hydroxy Acids", 2015, @US_FDA 
"How can AHAs be used safely?
... The final product has a pH of 3.5 or greater." 

A vinegar rinse can help remove some natural product residues, soap scum and hard water minerals from hair. It cannot chelate metals like iron or copper, nor can it replace a clarifier to remove conventional hair product build-up (residue). Its acidity can help keep hair cuticles smooth and aligned and make the hair shiny. It can be used to reacidify the skin following washing with an alkaline soap. It has been demonstrated to have antibacterial properties. However, that does not make it a health cure, or the only cleaning solution to be used for other purposes.

With genuine or true vinegars, the flavours and aromas come from the acetic acid source.

Any vinegar that is not white or clear has the potential to alter or stain hair colour somewhat. Such stains are not permanent but can be difficult to remove, depending on how dry and porous the hair may be.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
At a 5% acetic acid content and used well diluted, as with any typical vinegar used on hair or skin, apple cider vinegar acts the same as the others. It can add a red tint to hair. It is the acetic acid that is working to close the cuticles and smooth the hair, even with the mother in organic ACV being touted to do more. Mother of vinegar is a term used to refer to the mass of bacteria scum that forms on top of cider when alcohol turns into vinegar. The pH of ACV is about 3.1, e.g. Bragg ACV"pH = 3.075"

"The truth about 'miracle foods' -- from chia seeds to coconut oil", 2015, color and bolding added by me, @guardian
EFSA is very clear ... very strict ... what health messages it allows companies to use in the marketing ... Apple Cider Vinegar ... anecdotally linked with ... potential health benefits in areas including: digestive disorders, sore throats, high cholesterol, indigestion, preventing cancer, dandruff, acne, energy boosting, cramps, and helping with blood sugar control. The EFSA ... hasn’t approved any of these claimsMany of the studies have been on animals or in laboratories using human cells." -UNPROVEN! EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) 

"Functional Properties of Vinegar", 2014, color and bolding added by me
"daily intake of vinegar may affect human health and metabolism. Further studies related to health effects of vinegar consumption by humans are necessary." - Lots of studies for this conclusion -UNPROVEN!  - The EFSA is quite correct!


"Veterinarian dismisses apple cider vinegar claim" - The Western Producer", 2015, color and bolding added by me, @westernproducer 
"apple cider vinegar ... choosing ... it instead of a scientifically proven product can have deadly consequences." That sums it up about ALL quackery - direct and indirect harm can be and often is - fatal. 

Malt Vinegar

Genuine malt vinegar has no added sugar or other additives. With an acetic acid content of 5% (the usual percentage of most vinegars not for specialty use like pickling), it will work on hair like white vinegar or apple cider vinegar or any other true vinegar with that percentage and no additives. Heinz malt vinegar "Ingredients: Malt Vinegar (Barley, corn malt), diluted with water to 5% acidity." In this case it is not a purely barley malt vinegar but it is a genuine malt vinegar and is suitable for cosmetic use.

One needs to read labels carefully. There are immitations labeled malt vinegar that do have additives. Vinegars with higher percentages of acetic acid, can need to be very diluted for cosmetic use, much more so than the average vinegar at 5% acetic acid content. Concentratied acetic acid is corrosive. Wiki on acetic acid is a good source of information and well referenced.

Malt vinegar

"barley is malted ... soaked in water and allowed to germinate before being roasted ... partial germination and roasting converts the natural starch in the barley into ... maltose. ... malted barley is fermented ... maltose will convert to alcohol. ... the alcohol turns to vinegar ... some companies make immitations of this popular vinegar ... dyed with ingredients like caramel ... "

Balsamic Vinegar

True balsamic vinegar has no added sugar either. Heinz balsamic vinegar "Ingredients: Burgundy wine vinegar dilute with water to 5% acidity, sulphur dioxide added to wine to protect color." A preservative was added to preserve the colour only.

Traditional balsamic vinegar is not considered to be the same as wine vinegar. Wiki is a good source on this too.

"Traditional balsamic vinegar is produced from the juice of just-harvested white grapes (typically, Trebbiano grapes) boiled down to approximately 30% of the original volume to create a concentrate or must, which is then fermented with a slow aging process which concentrates the flavours. The flavour intensifies over the years, with the vinegar being stored in wooden casks, becoming sweet, viscous and very concentrated."

Balsamic vinegar has been reported to work well on hair on the Long Hair Community boards, with no discernable difference to using other vinegars more typically used. Other than a possible preservative for colour it can be as basic as any other vinegar. The acetic acid content is what one needs to be most concerned about.