College O'Natural

My life as an earth-wise health-conscious college student. DIY, budgets, and the occasional rant!


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Alcohol in Hair and Skin Products: Friend or Foe?

Very science based article, but definitely something to consider when using cosmetics.

Nature's Pulchritude

Navigating ingredient lists for ineffective ingredients and cancerous or toxic chemicals can be challenging.  Many personal care products, specifically hair conditioners, gels, hair sprays and various skin creams, contain alcohols, however, all alcohols are not created equally (figuratively speaking).  Some alcohols can be very drying to the hair, whereas others have the opposite effect and provide a feeling of softness.

Chemically, alcohols are organic compounds that have molecules that contain one or more hydroxyl groups (neutral -OH) attached to a carbon atom.  The oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H) atoms form a covalent bond, or share electrons.  Alcohols vary in chain length, with fatty alcohols having 8-21 carbon atoms and a high molecular weight, and ‘simple’ short chain alcohols having 1-3 carbon atoms with low molecular weights.

Fatty Alcohols

Chain Length of Fatty Alcohols

Fatty alcohols are typically derived from natural feedstocks, such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil.  These…

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Monday Mash-up Recipe

I found this recipe awhile ago and fell in love. It is quick, easy, and paleo 🙂  Also, added bonus, my boyfriend loves it!

I don’t know why but it reminds me of a BLT in the taste, most likely because I add hot sauce.

I also include avocado which gives it some green and have made it into a lettuce wrap before.

I have included the original recipe below, but I’ve altered it so here is mine:

Sweet Potato Bacon Mash-up

Original


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Stevia

Hey guys it’s been awhile. Sorry I haven’t posted anything, the weather has been crazy making school crazy as well. Not to mention I’ve been sick and am now again. But I’m finally back! Woohoo.

Now let’s talk Stevia.

As far as I’m concerned, stevia is GOD. An all natural, zero calorie, low glycemic index sweetener, HECK YES!!

But with all foods, you still need to be careful. Just because a package says stevia doesn’t mean it’s 100% stevia.

Food babe, did this article not too long ago that I recommend everyone read. At the bottom she tells what brands are good and bad.

http://foodbabe.com/2013/04/25/stevia-good-or-bad/


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Poll Answer


Ascorbyl Glucoside is the correct answer. It is a stable form of Vitamin C made by combining with glucose.

 

Mineral Oil is on Nature’s Pulchritude’s Beware list.

Mineral Oil aka Parrafinium Liquidium – This is a petrochemical typically derived from crude oil.  It can be found in high concentrations (one of the first 5 ingredients, more on this later) in a variety of lotions, hair lotions, ‘grease’ and conditioners (deep, leave-in, and rinse out), however it appears in highest concentrations to products marketed toward African-Americans.  Mineral Oil prevents moisture from entering or leaving the hair shaft.  This can often lead to hair breakage and clogged pores on the scalp.

Toluene is the Avoid list.

Toluene – Commonly found in nail polish.  Toluene is an extremely volatile chemical (it likes to vaporize and mix with air) therefore its greatest threat is through inhalation exposure (the fumes you smell when you paint your nails).  Inhalation of toluene can cause dizziness, nausea, or even death at high doses.  This ingredient has been phased out of many nail polish formulas, but not all.

Nature’s Pulchritude


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Potassium sources

The answer is—

White beans
Then spinach then sweet potatoes then bananas

Surprising I know.


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Anti-wrinkle/aging cream

Hey guys!

Here early this morning as per request of my mom.  She’s been buying Orgin’s Plantscription creams and serums for some time now and liked them.  However, recently she’d been having allergic reactions and didn’t understand why. Being the diligent and wonderful daughter I am *cough, cough* I looked into the ingredients to these products seeing as she has had sensitivities in the past.

The main ingredient in these products is a plant called Anogeissus.

Unknown

This is an African tree that has actually been considered sacred among different African cultures. If you want to learn more about the science behind this tree I invite you to read the Environmental Journal article I read.

Now, there is nothing wrong with this plant or Orgins, in fact I like Origin’s products. The problem arises if you have sensitivities to tannins. Anogeissus’s leaves are very rich in tannins.  Tannins, are astringent compounds found within plants that often give a bitter taste. This blog does a great job in outlining where you can find tannins and more about sensitivity.

Now Mom hadn’t known for certain if she had a sensitivity to tannins, but I had suggested to her that it might be a possibility because she would sometimes react to red wine. A lot of red wine is heavy in tannins because they help with the ripening process. She has also had reactions to tea, another source of tannins.  However, all of these were minor reactions where she just cut out whatever it was that she was drinking before.

You may be thinking, but she had been using that serum and cream for years without any reactions. You’re right, she had zero problems before now. But allergies are funny that way. Everyone always assumed if you’re allergic, you’re allergic all your life. WRONG. While it is most common to develop them as a child, it is a definite possibility to develop them later in life as well.Why does this happen?

Most likely, you were always a bit sensitive to these foods but never knew it. With allergies, the usual problem is the proteins within the food. These proteins, your body cannot process properly, there aren’t enough or any of the enzymes needed to breakdown the incoming proteins. Because of this there is a build up in your system. As long as these levels remain relatively low, your body doesn’t usually react in an obvious way. Over time though, you eat more and more of these foods and eventually hit the threshold. Once that threshold is hit, histamines are produced and sent out causing reactions. Now you’re overly sensitive to this food. Each time you expose your body to this food, the sensitivity increases and histamines are sent out more rapidly.

With mom, she’d just started drinking wine. She had never liked it before but realized this may have been because she had only ever tried cheaper wine. And, she prefers red wine, high in tannins. So this face cream she had been using for years with the addition of the tannins from the wine = reaction. Her tannin threshold had been met.

(by the way this is my personal theory developed through research and what I already know, not a doctor’s opinion)

Now what?

  1. Stop using cream
  2. Stop drinking wine for a little while

Once the reaction has gone down she can slowly add the wine back.

I told her all of this as well as gave her a list of ingredients that were astringents, high in antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory.

“To mix how?” she asked.

Well, I don’t know. I’ve never made a cream before. So I researched and found these two.  Of course there are tons more on the internet, but these have the ingredients I’ve found to work best and the first one even has scientific evidence posted in it!! YAY!! So take a look.

Anti-aging organic cream

SalveJarPIN

Anti-aging salve

Now, these are the most convenient forms of anti-aging steps. However, if you truly want results you’ll use masks. At least once a week if not more.

You can make a mask with any of these ingredients:

honey

egg whites

tea (black, white, or green)

aloe

vanilla extract

peppermint

coffee

Vitamin C powder

Vitamin E oil

Cucumber

**It is best to make this mask cold if you can**

The ratios really don’t matter, do what you like best. Leave on for 10-20 min and rinse.

GOOD LUCK!!


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Face Scrub and More!!!

The rain this weekend ruined our hiking plans completely. So, instead I spent the day turning the kitchen into a mess experimenting.  By the end of it I’d come up with a few recipes.  Take a look at them below!

Just Add Water Face Scrub

Chai Body Scrub

Lotion Bars

Lip Scrub/Balm