I Tried A Sea Sponge Natural Tampon -- My Experience And Review

Hello everyone, I recently go the chance to try sea sponge tampons from Tom&Pat and I was really curious. I am all for natural, low-waste periods, and while I am a big fan of my period cup I realised that they may not work for everyone. The sea-sponge is a natural alternative to a tampons, there are low-waste since on can last around 6 months. They are a renewable resource, and have been used in ancient times -- and here I was, thinking that tampons are a modern invention. They are also a good alternative if you want to avoid the pesticides, bleach and halogenic organic compounds that are often found in conventional (non-organic) tampons and pads.

The sponges that I got are roughly the size of a plum, which makes them suitable for anyone with  medium flow. They got me through 8 hours of bleeding (I removed them after that time as I would a tampon, to avoid TSS). Tom&Pat offer them in three sizes, depending on how your flow is.

So, did they work? Yes! I didn't leak at all, and the sponge contained everything. And it was super super comfortable.
My friend, whom I gave a sponge to test, discovered that it best to soften them by wetting and then squeeze drying before inserting. The menstrual sponges are easy to insert, even if you haven't started bleeding yet. This is one huge advantage of the sponge over a tampon -- one of my worst period experiences was having a tampon stuck half-in because I had tried to insert it when I started cramping, but wasn't bleeding yet; the cotton kind of suctioned itself to the skin.
Just like a tampon, you need to insert the menstrual sea sponge deeper inside the vaginal canal. Once in, I couldn't feel it at all, and I didn't get that dry feeling that tampons give me. If the sponge is used just as a "plug" and not pushed in, it can feel scratchy. I think the reason that I couldn't feel the menstrual sponge at all is that a) it was moist and b) it adapts its shape to the body. Unlike the cup, the sponge can stay inside during sex.

Removing the menstrual sea sponge is easy enough at home, but messy. It helps to be in the shower or have a bit of toiled paper on hand to contain the mess. I would not use the sponge if I knew I had to change it in a public toilet, unless I was at the end of my period.

The sponge does glide out easily when it's full, so it was easy for me to remove it even without a string. People with a high cervix people like to attach a string to make it easier to pull out -- in that case I'd suggest a natural fibre, not dyed. Unwaxed dental floss is great.

Washing out the sponge was messy, but I expected worse. The sponge gathers the blood in all its openings, but the tissue itself doesn't soak up the blood. I washed the sponges out with cold (!) water and got them perfectly clean. I used a natural unscented soap to clean it properly, and soaked overnight with white vinegar to kill any remaining bacteria. I let it dry before using it, I feel like having it continuously wet would cause bacteria to multiply. Fortunately the package from Tom&Pat contains 5 sponges, which covers you for several uses. Some people use essential oils to disinfect the sponge, but essential oils are powerful active ingredients so I really don't recommend any tea-tree oil in your vagina.

Mashable got an expert to talk about the safety of menstrual sea sponges:
"Yes, they're absolutely safe," said Dr. Raquel Dardik, a gynecologist at the Joan H. Tisch Women’s Health Center at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.
"There haven't been a lot of really big alternatives to tampons and pads in forever. A tampon is just a piece of cotton that's shaped so that it absorbs blood so that it doesn't come out, and in that sense, menstrual sponges are doing exactly the same thing because that's what sponges do." 
I also have a theory that because the sea sponges don't "suck" moisture but rather collect it passively, they don't disturb the natural flora and fauna of the vagina.
Finally -- I have seen warning about sponges possibly having grit and sand inside from low-quality sponges, but my sponges from Tom&Pat were perfectly clean.

So, this was my experience with menstrual sea sponges! I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable and absorbent they are, and invite you to try them out. The ones from Tom&Pat are hand-harvested so as not to damage the root, and a part of their proceedings If you have ever tried menstrual natural sponges, tell me about your experiences in the comments!

The sponges were kindly provided by Tom&Pat, all opinions are 100% mine.


Photo credit: VenusianGlow

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What Everyone With Greying Hair Should Know About Sunlight -- Aka How I Fried My Hair Last Summer

This was taken in June -- the beginning of summer -- but you can already see the dryness and coarseness in spite of loving conditioning.

Hey everyone, now that summer is coming I have to write about this. I made a huge mistake last summer which really damaged my hair, and I hope that this post can help some of you from repeating my mistake.

To preface this -- I have quite a bit of grey hair. I started greying when I was in my early twenties, a few whites here and there. Now there are many more, though not yet enough for a proper salt-and-pepper look (I tried, and it did not look good). If you have any greys you might know that they don't just have a different colour, they have a whole different texture. You might have noticed your first grey because they grew straight up like an antenna (I did). They are coarser and stubborn. And they are very susceptible to UV damage.

I did not know this.

Last summer I took great care of protecting my skin from the sun, but for the first time I didn't cover my hair. Instead of my usual wide-brimmed hats, I used those headband-hats where the top of your head is uncovered. Or no hat at all, just sunscreen on my face. And I was outside a lot, including an hour+ long commute on my bicycle. At the end of the summer my hair looked bad. It was frizzy, it was rough, and wouldn't cooperate. (I wanted to post a photo but I realised I had deleted the ones where my hair looks wacky). Found one.  I had no idea what was going on, since I hadn't changed anything about my routine. Then I stumbled upon the information that sunlight damages hair with no melanin more than regular hair. To clarify -- dyeing your hair (whether with Henna or chemicals) does not protect the hair from UV light, just like self-tanner doesn't protect the skin.

So there you go -- a cautionary tale. Protect your hair from the sun this summer, whether it's greying or not.
Photo credit: Max Rovensky on Unsplash

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Weekend reads 10-20-2020

Hello everyone, hope that quarantine is treating you right! Here are a couple of lovely links to sweeten your weekend:
  • This stork nest webcam is so adorable. My favourite part is when the dad(?) returns to the nest at dusk and they kind of greet each other and chat before settling down to sleep.
  • I  am doing the Science Of Well-Being online course from the Yale University and can really, really recommend it. It goes beyond the basics and delves into really interesting research (did you know that our minds are really bad at predicting what will and won't make us happy?) and is very pragmatic.
  • Älois Guinut asks thought-provoking questions about fashion and consumerism post-Covid. We all hoped that the quarantine would save the environment, but it looks like production and consumption is going to soar as soon as quarantine is over.
  • Kim's Convenience is a series that I have been binge-watching. It's about a Korean family that owns a small convenience store in Toronto. It has a comforting humour and deftly plays with east-asian stereotypes without falling pray to them. My favourite part are the weird repeat customers in the stores and the very dorky Shannon.
  • The Hemingway Editor is not only an amazing spelling and grammar checker, it will streamline your writing style and help you keep your sentences readable.
  • Chilled Cow is fully of low-fi beats for the best background music. This track is my current favourite.
  • And now I give you the best fashion and makeup channel on youtube: Aly Art. I recommend starting with her body type videos. Dipping into this system of understanding face and body types has really done wonders for me in terms of understanding why certain looks don't work for me even thought they should because I'm a "pear" or whatever. Aly throws in tiny pearls of wisdom in her videos that have been game-changers for me -- for example I followed her suggestions for my body type (SN) and did my eyeliner soft and chunky and then lightly smudged my lipstick in the corners, and bam! I can't believe what a huge difference this made.
  • @brownhistory is the most interesting account of instagram. It documents unseen and forgotten moments in the history of brown communities, with both heartbreaking and heartwarming and sometimes quite humorous stories and pictures.
  • @mazale has the most swoonworthy home ever.


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A Quick Way To Get Rid Of Cherry Angiomas (Red Moles) At Home

Hello everyone

Here is a tip I have been sitting on for a long time, no idea why I didn't share it yet! It's my favourite kind: quick, easy and so effective.
Cherry angiomas are small, red mole-like skin growths that often appear on the chest area and sometimes on the face. Often they turn up when you turn 30. They are harmless and usually pretty unnoticeable. I had a couple and they didn't bother me, but when I heard about this way to get rid of them I got curious had to try it out.

Here is how to do it: you get a needle or a pin (pins are better because the plastic head doesn't get hot any you can hold it). You heat up the pin on a candle flame and then lightly touch the cherry angioma with the tip. The cherry angioma just pops! 

This method of removing cherry angiomas doesn't leave scars and the cherry angiomas haven't come back (it's been a few years).

So there you go! If your cherry angiomas are something you're not so fond off, give this a try! If you want to keep them, that's find too. Just one thing -- don't try this on spider veins, regular moles or anything else, it won't work, and you might get a scar. 


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How I Currently Deal With Anxiety -- My Tips For You

Hello everyone

I'm back after a long time. I had been very busy with a vocational training and life in general. Now because of the quarantine, I found myself with extra time on my hands -- so here I am, with a new post.

When the quarantine started I found that my anxiety skyrocketed. And I'm definitely not the only one, I realised that a lot of people around me were dealing with similar issues. Everyone is going though a hard time with all the uncertainty around the Covid virus, but people with pre-existing mental health issues can have an extra hard time.
So I wanted to share a little bit how I take care of my mental health right now. and I hope it is useful for you.

I manage my anxiety with "first aid methods" when it strikes, by training my mind, and by building routines into my day that support me.

When anxiety strikes:

This method is from my therapist and is very very effective, especially if you do it regularly as soon as any negative emotion comes up. It's based on the fact that emotions are messengers: they will go away only when they have been heard. If you ignore them, they will bide their time and come back to bother you again.
I breathe deeply, and ask how my body feels. Where is the emotion in my body? In which body part? How does it feel? Hot, cold, tight, heavy...? I name and describe the sensations. I keep on breathing. How does the emotion feel in my body now? Breathe again. And now? And now how does my body feel, has anything shifted? I continue till I have worked though the feeling.

Training my thinking:

This little exercise helps my have more control over my thoughts. As someone with ADHD, my thoughts usually go run all over the place, often in directions which cause me a lot of stress and anxiety. Three minutes daily of the "pencil exercise" puts me in the drivers seat of my mind, so that when anxiety strikes I can bring my thoughts back on track.
Take a simple object like a pencil or a paperclip, and for just three minutes concentrate on it and think only about it. Examine it, look at what it's made of. Every time your mind wanders bring it back. I do this in bed after waking up, and sometimes it's easy and at other times it's really hard -- but it always calms my mind for the day.

Daily sayings:

I have a verse or saying that I say in the morning and another one for the evening. These set the tone for the day (or the night), and bring my focus towards certain things. The same couple of lines read every day can have a powerful effect.
Choose something that strengthens you or guides you, it could be the serenity prayer from Niebuhr (God grant me the serenity / to accept the things I cannot change; / courage to change the things I can; /and wisdom to know the difference.) But also it could be the litany against fear from Dune, something religious, tow lines of poetry. Anything that speaks to you and helps you, be it peace, patience, comfort, courage or strength.

Daily movement to stay grounded:

Movement helps me be less in my head and connect with my body better. It is really important for me that I practice joyful movement -- that is I do what I enjoy, and not to control the way my body looks or weights. Right now I like to do Yoga every morning, right after I wake up. I don't have much space, I often have kids climbing over me, yet I make sure I do this every day. Before I start I take a few slow, deep breaths, because I'm usually a shallow-breather. I like to get inspired by @yogafundamentals and @inflexibleyogis. Don't underestimate simple poses which can give you a good stretch or work your muscles without injuring yourself due to improper posture. This one and this one are really simple poses that still give me a lot every day. For something more fun I like to dance along to the Fitness Marshall videos -- they are so over the top that it always puts me into a better mood.

Daily Jud

Psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr Judson Brewer does daily short but super-helpful videos on dealing with stress anxiety and other problems in this Corona time on his Youtube channel. I have been following his past research on mindfulness as a ways of healing anxiety, eating disorders and addiction; and now every evening I watch my daily dose of Dr Jud. the advice is very doable and the videos are really calming.

That's all from me today, I hope you found this useful! Stay healthy!

Photo credit: Benjamin Zanatta

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Reader Question: My Bra Strap Pinching The Brachial Nerve On My Shoulder!

A while back Irene, a reader from Ottawa with severe scoliosis wrote in with this problem:

For the post few years I have relied primarily on extenders -- an elastic piece with hooks and receptors which is attached to the bra back.  But the same problem of the straps being moved so far over that they fall off.   I remedied this by attaching a thin elastic between the straps to keep them loosely taut.  However, I find that one strap presses on my brachial nerve, causing pain in the shoulder and arm area. This also happens with racer back and cross-backed bras.
 I can only wear the bra on “out” days.  Otherwise I go braless and wear seasonal vests for cover.
I have also tried sticky bras, but at my age, 74, droop makes this unattractive.  Strapless bras work for short periods, but the underwires do dig in.
I had a lumpectomy 18 years ago and use a variety of padding, depending on what bra I’m wearing .
Would be great if someone invented a “better mousetrap” for this problem.

Dear Irene

If your bra strap is putting that much pressure on your shoulder, you might need to find a bra that actually fits you properly. Support should come from other areas besides the shoulder-strap. In this post I have explained why bra straps falling off might be a sign you are wearing a bra that doesn't fit your correctly, and what to do about it. If you've never had a really well-fitting bra, you could be in for a very pleasant surprise! 

This post about fitting adjustments for women of an advanced age is also worth reading. Also here are tips for bra fitting for women with scoliosis.

Chances are that when you find a better fitting bra, it will not pinch your brachial nerve, because the band will be doing 90% of the work (instead of the straps carrying the entire weight). However if you still find that one strap pinches your brachial nerve, here are some products to try out:

* Comfy Shoulders from Fashion forms. These (or similar)  gel cushions are available online, as well as in several brick-and-mortar stores.

* Broad bra straps. I have used comfort straps from Ewa Michalak (middle picture) myself and find them very comfortable. Similar straps can be found in many lingerie and sewing stores.

I hope this helps! If any of you lovely readers have any tips for Irene, let me know in the comments!
Photo credit: VenusianGlow

Photo by Morgan v on Unsplash

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Weekend Reads November 2019

From my other blog

 * @mazale_ has the most beautiful home ever.

* Seven ways of accessorising vor visibility.

* Hitting those high notes. Wait, what?

* Can exercising make your skin look younger or even reverse ageing?

* The Ashen Cat

* What is really behind the trend of modest clothing. A multi-layered and fascinating read.

* Small space hosting hacks, from people who actually live in small spaces.

* A Top Derm On What Every Woman Should Know About The Beauty Industry. A very interesting episode, even if I don't agree with all of her opinions.

* TrippinThroughTime. I love this one.

Turkish reporter talking to a mushroom instead of microphone


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Greasy Hair Even After Washing? Might Be Seborrheic Dermatitis

Since a while I have been struggling with waxy, sticky buildup on my hair, which appeared hours after shampooing. Usually a small patch at the back of my head, and sometimes the entire back of my head. I blamed my Henna, I blamed my styling products, till I found out that this waxy buildup on my hair was in fact a form of seborrheic dermatitis.

This blog post explained that a waxy, greasy scalp can be a symptom of seborrheic dermatitis. I very much agree with her that certain foods can trigger outbreaks of waxy buildup. (Especially animal protein, for like her I am milk-protein intolerant but am not very good at avoiding it). Stress, depression and sickness are other triggers.

How To Treat A Greasy, Waxy Scalp 

If your sebaceous dermatitis is severe, do consult a dermatologist!

1:1 solution of cider apple vinegar and water can be used to pre-treat my hair before washing, I like to leave it on for half an hour. I apply it on my scalp with a small sponge.
Fermented rice water also works really well.
If my hair is really greasy I mix baking soda with shampoo, but I do this as rarely as possible since it it quite harsh.

Diatomaceous earth and green clays are great against seborrheic dermatitis, but a bit tricky to use on the scalp. I like to mix them with a bit of gentle shampoo, massage into my scalp for two minutes, and leave on for a couple of minutes.
Shampoos with salicylic acid, zink, coal tar or urea can help with seborrheic dermatitis. It is easy to mix urea into your shampoo by yourself.

Dilute an antibacterial essential oil with a carrier oil (for eg sunflower) and massage it into the scalp. Tea tree oil is a good and gentle oil, other more potent ones are oregano, rosemary, tamanu, manuka, frankincense and eucalyptus.
Do take care of your digestive system, as it is often the trigger behind seborrheic dermatitis. Try eliminating animal protein or citrus fruit from your diet for a week or two and see if anything changes. What also helps are probiotics and simple, easy to digest foods.
It's also worth ruling out hormonal imbalances.

Between washes you can spray your scalp with hydrolates of the above mentioned herbs. If you don't have access to hydrolates, you can prepare a tea out of rosemary, salvia or oregano and put it in a spray bottle. You can of course also use dry shampoo to tide you between washes.

Getting to know your triggers and managing seborrheic dermatitis can take a while, so don't get discouraged. Of course if your symptoms don't get better do consult a dermatologist.

Have you ever struggled with a greasy scalp? Or are you one of the lucky ones with a perfectly healthy scalp?


Photo credit: VenusianGlow

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Why You Should Use Vitamin C, And How To Choose The Right Kind

Today I want to talk about one of the cornerstones of my skin care routine: Vitamin C. A good product with Vitamin C is something that should be on everyone's bathroom shelf. Today I'm going to give you a couple of pointers and product recommendations.

PS Huge shout-out for the lovely person who gave me a generous tip a couple of weeks back! It was much appreciated!

Why use Vitamin C?

Basically it is an extremely effective, well-researched ingredient that is good for all skin types. It's a one-stop for your anti-aging, anti-pollution and skin brightening needs. Here are the benefits in short:

* This extremely effective anti-oxidant counters free radicals. Free radicals not only make our skin age faster, the can also lead to serious medical conditions such as skin cancer. be it from cigarettes, alcohol, pollution, medication or hormonal contraception ......

* Prevents hyper-pigmentation by inhibiting the production of melanin. It however cannot reduce existing hyperpigmentation.

* It brightens the skin. Unfortunately the effect is temporary, so it only lasts as long as you are using the product.

* It helps reduce post-acne marks.

* Reduces sun damage by encouraging healthy cell turnover, helps to heal the skin in case of sunburn, neutralises the free radicals from UV rays, and prevents discolouration.

* Lightens fine lines and wrinkles, by boosting the skin’s collagen production and decreasing loss of water from the skin.

Vitamin C is a very important part of a healthy diet, and it's important to always include foods rich in it into our meals. However the skin is at the end of the queque when it comes to distribution of nutrients, so it's a good idea to include it in our skin care.

Counterindications: Some people are allergic to vitamin C, in doubt do a patch test in the crook of the elbow.

How To Use:

  • Wear the vitamin C product under your sunscreen to boost its effectiveness.
  • Apply it right after cleansing and toning, and let it work for 15 minutes before applying the next product. Vitamin C is pH sensitive, if you use another product immediately, it might change the pH level and destabilise it.
  • Use within 3 months, as after that the vitamin C is probably not stable any more.
  • Store it in the fridge to keep it stable longer.

What to look for in a Vitamin C product

* Look for opaque glass bottles, as Vit C is easily destabilised by light. If your bottle turns out to be clear, you can try to tape it over with masking tape. A medicine dropper type of bottle is better than an air pump.

* Vitamin E increases the effectiveness of vitamin C.

* Ferulic acid stabilises vitamin C and increases the effectiveness of both vit C and E.

* There are many types of vitamin C out there, and some are better than others:
Whole Vitamin C is found naturally in sources such as rosehips, cloudberries, sea buckthorn berries, amla berries, citrus fruits, marula oil, pomegranate seeds, etc. These contain ascorbic acid as well as all of the other natural components of Vitamin C including natural enzymes and bioflavonoids.
L-Ascorbic acid is most effective synthetioc form of vitamin C as it penetrates the skin barrier most easily. However it is extremely unstable,and changes when it comes into contact with light, water and heat. For this reason many brands prefer to use other forms of Vitamin C, and frankly it is really difficult to get an overview of which ones are the best. For this reason I like to switch up my Vitamin C serums, until I find my holy grail.
Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is non-irritateing, extremely good at boosting collagen,
Ascorbic Acid Polypeptide in low concentrations and Ascorbyl Phosphate may convert to ascorbic acid once absorbed into the skin.

* Concentration is key. If you are looking for something really effective, go for 8%-20%. Many manufacturers don't disclose the concentration of Vit C in their product, in that case I look for products where the Vit C is one of the first three ingredients. If it's lower down, there is too little of it in the product do make much of a difference.

Product recommendations:

I find it very hard to find an affordable vitamin C product that are organic (or at least free from problematic ingredients).I generally don't like to spend much on skin care, but if you want to splurge somewhere a well-formulated and thoroughly tested vitamin C product is a great place to do it.
My favorite haunt for Vit C serums is TK Maxx, they always have several there that are either certified organic or with good ingredients (few is best, free from silicones, propylene glycol, butylene glycolparabens, etc). Always look for the orange packaging.

Affordable vitamin C product recommendations:
  • The best solution is to make your own, it is really simple and easy. 
  • Daytox Serum Vit C (10% Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate), DM (Vegan, Cruelty Free)
  • Provida Organics Mille Fleurs Protecting Vitamin C Serum  (Ascorbic Acid), Demeter certificate, cruelty-free, vegan)
  • Junglück Vitamin C Serum (5% Ascorbyl Glucoside) (Vegan, Cruelty Free)
  • Satin Naturel Vitamin C Serum Hochdosiert (25% ascorbic phosphate and ascorbic acid). vegan, cruelty-free
  • Lanoline Vitamin C Serum (ascorbyl phosphate) 
  • Fitocose Jalus Vitamin C Serum and Jalus Vitamin C Anti-Age Fluid (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate und Ascorbyl Palmitate), Fitocose C10 Jalus Facial Serum (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate)

Do you have a favourite Vitamin C product that you use? Let me know in the comments!


Photo credit: VenusianGlow

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Reader Questions: Henna Aftercare, Permanence + Recommendations For Australians

I got this in my mailbox the other day:

I am quite I inspired by your blog on Ayluna hair color. I am in Australia, of Indian origin with dark brown hair.  have been dying my grey (more than 50%) hair with permanent hair dye (Jeval). I use L'Oreal color protection shampoo and conditioner. My aunt uses henna for a long time and I know for sure that henna is a temporary dye, it fades away. But My questions are:
  • Why henna powder is called semi permanent? 
  • Is preparing with Khadi detox mask is enough? Or do I need further prep?
  • Khadi and Ayluna are difficult to get in Australia. Can you refer any other brand?
  • Can you also give an idea of how to maintain the color? Do I need to use organic shampoo?

Is Henna Semi-permanent?

The short answer -- depends on your hair and on the exact dye, but it's pretty much permanent.

Henna is not something that will completely wash out in a few weeks. My hair is half very dark brown, half gray, and I use Henna only on the roots and crow. On the photo above you can see how the ends, which haven been last dyed with Henna some two years ago, look like.
I feel like Henna "clings" better to porous hair, while really smooth hair may have trouble holding on to it.  I find that on my hair after a few weeks the colour is less intensive and softens. Red shades get ruddier. If your hair is very dark, then the reddish glow goes away with time. At this time I am letting my greys grow out and there is no sharp "edge" between the greys and the hennaed hair like there is with dyed hair, the transition is soft.
If you are using not pure Henna but Henna-based dye, then the other ingredients can influence how long the colour stays true -- Indigo does fade with time, walnut seems to last quite long.
Finally, the actual type of Henna -- both the strain of the plant, as well as how well it has been processed, can influence it's permanence.

Henna Prep

The Khadi Detox mask is pretty good at removing products from the hair, so it's normally enough. However if you have been using a lot of styling products, especially the "string hold" kind, you can clarify your hair with shampoo with a teaspoon of baking soda in it, followed by an acidic rinse (1:1 apple cider vinegar and water).

Henna Aftercare

Henna doesn't demand much aftercare, still there are some things you can do to prolong the intensity of the colour. Wash out the Henna with plain water or conditioner (if it's not coming out), not shampoo. Don't wash your hair for at least the next three days after dyeing, that helps the dye to oxidise to a deeper tone. Finally, a bit of oil spread on the hair deepens the colour and protects it.

Washing Henna Dyed Hair

(Certified!) Organic shampoos are great because you know for sure that there are no sulfates which are harsh detergents that pull out the colour. Both the shampoo you mentioned as well as the conditioner contain sulfates (I can't understand why the conditioner contains sulfates!).
But you can also a "regular" SLS-free shampoo, or -- my secret tip -- a feminine cleanser meant for sensitive skin. No really! These are pH-neutral and very mild.
You can also try washing your hair with just conditioner. I have written more about how to do it and what conditioner to pick here. If you prefer shampoo, conditioning afterwards is generally a good idea, as Henna can make the hair texture a bit coarse and dry. I also highly recommend acidic rinses (diluted cider vinegar) at the end.

Recommended Henna Brands In Australia

Khadi is available from Sattvic, it costs a bit more than it does in Germany. I searched for other Here are some recommendations I found:

  • Desert Shadow Hair Colours
  • Radico Colour Me
  • Jamila Henna (pure Henna)
  • Organic Henna from NatureShop, along with Indigo and Senna, if you want to mix your colours yourself.

Any Aussie readers that could chime in with their Henna hair dye recommendations?


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Fermented Rice Water -- Scalp Treatment And Hair Rinse

Hello everyone

Today I wanted to write about something I have been testing since a while, and loving -- fermented rice water. Now there are lots of rice water rinse recipes out there, but today I want to talk about the fermented kind as it has done wonders for my scalp.

Fermented rice water is great for boosting hair growth when used on the scalp, not so much because it makes the hair grow faster, but it slows down shedding which means you get to retain your longest hairs. It also cuts down on hair breakage. So it's a great simple solution for those of you who are would like to boost the process.

This rinse has an acidic pH level, which is especially important if you have hard water, dandruff, or use hair soap. It works as a scalp detox, like a chemical exfoliation -- it loosens all the dead skin on the scalp. I recommend rubbing it on the scalp, keeping it on for 15 minutes, then using a scalp scrub to get rid of the flakes that have been loosened. Or you can scrub them off with shampoo and your fingers, briskly rubbing your scalp in circles (I usually count slowly to 120 to make sure I did it for two minutes). It makes my scalp feel so clean!

Finally, the starch in the rinse absorbs excess oiliness and make the hair smoother to the touch. It smooths the cuticles which makes the hair easier to detangles and minimises rubbing and breakage.

How To Make Fermented Rice Water

Any sort of rice is fine. Give it a quick wash to get rid of any dust and dirt, and to remove excess ground rice which can leave a white coating on the hair.
Pour half a cup of rice into a jar and add 1 cup water. Close the jar (!) and let it stand for two days. If you don't close the lid, it will go off instead of fermenting. When the liquid smells slightly sour, put it into the fridge to stop the fermentation process. To use, dilute it (ca 2-3 tbsp to one cup of water). It can be stored for a very long time.
To use, pour it over the hair after washing and squeezing out excess water. Use a bowl to catch the rice water dripping down the hair and pour it over the hair again. Or even dip the length of the hair in the bowl for a few minutes. I like to not rinse out the rice water if I'm not going anywhere the next day (it has a vinegary smell).

I recommend trying the rinse solo, later on you can add other things -- honey to moisturise and to hold the curls, lemon juice for an acidic pH,

If you have been reading this far, and have wondered about the radio silence on this blog -- a lot has been changing in my life on many levels. I went through a very turbulent personal phase, which has been hard but paved the way for a lot of personal growth. I also began a new job and then a new vocational training, which absorbed a lot of time and energy. So I wasn't blogging much. My posts can take up to 3-4 hours to create (I like to research very thoroughly before I post, googling information in several different languages, and even a photo like the one above can take surprisingly long to take and to edit). And since I don't like to half-ass my posts, I wasn't very active. But don't worry -- I don't plan stopping to blog anytime soon.


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My Hair Hits: Ayluna Henna and Khadi Detox Hair Mask Review

Henna has come a long way from rusty orange and difficult preparation. I'm happy when I see brands making innovations -- easier application, a bigger range of colours. Today I want to talk about my new Henna love Henna: Ayluna Henna in Chili and Mahagoni.

I've always wanted to be a redhead, but my dark brown hair peppered with greys gave me at most a chestnut tint. I didn't want to go down the chemical routine. My hair loves henna and on my mom's hair I have seen the how harsh chemical dyes can be. 

I got the Ayluna Chili Henna just for my usual root touch-up. But I was so surprised at the intensiveness of the red that I had to dye the lower sections so that it didn't look weird. You can see the results here, the colour variation is due to me having lots of grays. Alyuna's red shades mix henna with madder root which gives a beautiful wine-red dye. It also contains Indigo, which keeps the colour from going to the infamous rusty direction. Brahmi, Fenugreek and Chamomile care for the hair and add shine.

The henna powder is ground quite fine, like Khadi Henna, which makes it much easier to apply and wash off that "normal" hennas. The colour stays brilliant after several washings. I feel like the Mahagoni shade is more of a wine red, while the Chili has a more typical rusty henna tint. The Ayluna Henna gives my hair volume, though less than the one from Khadi.

My hair is shoulder length and very thick, and one package for ca 7€ gives me at least 5 root touch-ups.

The strands towards the front is what the Ayluna Chili looks like. The auburn strands at the back are from the red Khadi Henna I used in the past.

I pre-treated my hair with the Detox Hair Mask from Khadi, which is meant for deep-cleansing and pre-colouration. It's a mix of Moroccan lava clay and Reetha fruit powder. The clay absorbs oil, dirt and other impurities. Reetha (soap nut) is a great cleanser with an acidic pH -- I've loved washing my hair with them, can't believe I haven't blogged about that. The paste was rather difficult to apply, but I felt that it cleansed my hair really well. The Henna coloured my hair more evenly than usual. It also does a great job of cleansing the scalp. I suggest you try it if you have problems with dandruff, itchiness or oiliness.
One thing I found problematic -- the warning to not let the mixture come into contact with metal was not included in the instructions but below them, and was easy to oversee -- I had already put the powder into a metal bowl!

The package is rather small for 10€, but it does last for several uses.

What do you use to cleanse your hair before using Henna? Have you tried Ayluna? What was your impression? Let me know in the comments.

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